Croatian crash landing

Oh darn, we were in such a good mood after giving the ballad from Bosnia and Herzegovina raving reviews the other day. At the same time it made us a bit anxious. Does this mean that we are actually starting to like Balkan ballads? That clearly is not good for our image, what will our readers think if we go all soft and mushy on them? Leave the ballads to the old folks!

We felt an acute need to put this new tendency of ours to the test by placing another of the many Balkan ballads in semi-final 2 under serious scrutiny. However, after a couple of runtroughs of Croatia’s entry “Nebo”, by Nina Badrić, it didn’t take us long to realize that our fears were groundless. We went from being up in the sky to having a nasty crash landing in a matter of seconds.

In our opinion this is simply not a good song. And it reminded us that we have a really hard time making head or tail of this kind of contemporary pop-rock genre that seems to be so popular in the Balkans and southern parts of Europe. Nina Badrić’s bio on the tells us that she is one of the most successful musicians in Croatia, and her fame and popularity reaches far beyond her home country’s borders. That’s why we fear she will get bucketloads of votes and completely undeservedly snatch a ticket to the final, not based on the actual song she’s competing with, but on previous merits. After all she has tried to represent Croatia in ESC four times without making it out of the national final. The audience seems to award that kind of determination in the end.

As we have no previous knowledge about this artist, our point of departure is to judge the quality of the song and the performance. And even though there’s no doubt in our minds that she will give a competent performance live in Baku, the song does nothing for us. Despite her slightly raunchy voice and insisting mix of desperation and melancholia, it all falls flat on its face. We’re not moved, we’re just annoyed and wish she would just cut the dramaqueen act and stop wailing. Perhaps these dramatic emotions on display here are just a tiny tad too much for us cold and controlled Scandinavians. Maybe we’re more into the understated stuff, where you suffer in silence and would rather be caught dead than badger everybody else with your misery.

It’s probably the classic culture clash issue. Maybe this is a brilliant ballad. We just don’t get it. And in this particular case we’re fine with that. In all likelihood there’s already far too many people that will vote for this song anyways.

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