Editorials & OpinionFeatures

Slideback Sunday; Serbia & Montenegro!

How many of you can say that you absolutely 100% LOVE every single song a country has ever sent to Eurovision? Even if we include your own country? I sure never thought I would be able to say that, and mean it. As many people know, I have, on numerous occasions, tried to claim that I love everything to come out of Iceland, but then came 2010. And since I make a point out of not telling lies; that was the end to that particular story. However, even if we don’t count Iceland, there is a country who’s actually done a perfect job at selecting Eurovision entries; Serbia & Montenegro!

I LOVE all Serbia & Montenegro’s entries!

Yes, I know that Serbia&Montenegro have only sent two songs to the contest, but hey; who’s counting? I can still say that I LOVE all their entries.

The biggest grower

2004 is one of my favorite years at Eurovision (joining 1991 and 2000 to complete my top 3), and “Lane Moje” is one of my favorites from that year. And back in 2005, when I had “Zauvijek Moja” in fifth place, I never thought that I would ever in a million years, prefer it to “Lane Moje”. I mean; in addition to being a beautiful song, “Lane Moje” has Zeljko. But over the years, “Zauvijek Moja” has just kept growing and growing and growing, to the point of it now being on my “Top 10 songs in the history of Eurovision” list.

But why?

So what is it with this song that makes me love it so much? First of all; the rhythm and instrumentation. These Balkan ballad beats (in this case it sounds like 7/8 to me, or is it 9/12?) and the wonderful use of instruments gets me every time.

Another thing is the vocal harmonies. As a lot of people can attest to, I’m not exactly an amazing singer, but I still love singing. And this is one of my favorite songs to sing along to. LOUDLY! Preferably with other people.

Then there’s the performance on the night. As you will see in the “What does the team think?” section below, not everybody likes the live performance and the staging. I however adore it. It just feels genuine in a way. It’s like they are allowed to move somehow freely within the boundries of the choreography, and for me that makes it seem real and alive, not staged and static. And the joy! It looks like they’re having a really good time up there. Some of them perhaps more than what would be recommended, cough-drummer-cough. Also, the video is sheer beauty!

This week’s guest star; Lisa-Jayne Lewis

When I asked Lisa to describe herself for this introduction she said “Eurovision broadcaster and journalist, manager to Slavko Kalezić, Balkan-hearted ESC enthusiast, sometimes credited on TV as a Eurovision expert but that’s debatable!!” As this sums her up perfectly; why change anything? All I wanna add is; she’s a great friend of escXtra, and a very welcome guest on the livestream! Also, she’s simply a wonderful person.

“Zauvijek Moja in Kyiv 2005 holds two important milestones for me and it’s probably only with hindsight that I can get a clearer picture of the significance of the moment that this represents at the contest and in the wider culture of the Balkan’s in that period of history.

With Serbia&Montenegro still being one united country the controversy surrounding the selection of No Name, confirmed on a very public stage the growing animosity between the two nations and the desire for Montenegrin independence. The 4 jurors from RTCG giving no points at all to the Serbian favourite and the Serbians giving only a few to No Name who were from Montenegro, there was clearly a deep division and probably a little bit of powerplay going on too. The following year saw the two countries break apart, withdraw from Eurovision and regroup for 2007 as two separate nations…

Which brings me on to the significance of this in the contests history. Zauvijek Moja is a very obvious stepping stone on the way to Serbia’s victory in 2007. The previous year’s entry had come 2nd, No Name took a 7th place finish, other Balkans were riding high at that time and delivering a truly national identity in the style and vibe of their songs it was almost inevitable that a Balkan win was coming soon. When Serbia won in 2007 (my favourite winner ever, you won’t be surprised to know!) it was due, in small part, to the successes that had gone before from the duel nation entries. Whilst Zauvijek Moja is a song that I love and def enjoy when it comes around on my playlist, I probably prefer Lane Moje from 2004. Looking back at the artists that have represented Montenegro over the years, I think most people know that my heart belongs to only one Montenegrin artist. 2017 gave me one of the best friends I have ever had and now working with Slavko has bought me opportunities I never imagined. So I can’t choose any other Montenegrin artist as my favourite, Space is probably the Eurovision song I have heard the most, in shows, rehearsals, in the car, singing it with Slavko, playing and recording a piano ballad version (which may see the light of day sometime!). I am of course sad that Montenegro will not be on the stage in Rotterdam, but am pretty confident that whilst we are out at the moment, we’ll be back soon!”

What does the team think?

Oliver

For me, I have super mixed feelings about the song. I like the instrumental, but the song doesn’t seem to fit No Name? The guys are pretty young but I feel this song would better fit a slightly more mature group… Perhaps the performance messes with my mind. It’s super minimalist and a little cringe worthy. The air violin? Ew. They sing well, but the jumping about the stage and ODD choreography comes across like a lads night out from a secret cult. In their super short history in the contest, this is Serbia&Montenegro ‘s least polished package – sorry!

Matt

I don’t like the beginning with the choreography. I want traditional dress with a song like this. Make me feel what’s going on. Great use of violin though! It’s the best element of the composition. The vocals are a bit all over the place but really good in places. Watching now in retrospect, the melody is very similar to Love, Love, Peace, Peace. Or more correctly, vice versa. This is a great song, sung mediocre. But still a good throwback!

Alexi

I messaged Wivian soon after she revealed the Slideback Sunday song for this week, lamenting the fact if it had been 365 days earlier we could be chatting about one of my favorite Serbia&Montenegro entries – Lane Moje. But no bother! Because ‘No Name’ by Zauvijek Moja is a classic noughties ESC entry. It’s one I wasn’t too familiar with, but upon some rewatches the prominent thinking of mine was actually to lament the fact that these sort of entries are more rare in the contest nowadays. Balkan vibes in the soundtrack, a memorable routine on stage and still very catchy – the song is certainly a strong entry. It is a throwback to that specific time period of the contest, one in wish I hope we may see again in future entries. Old school, fun and rhythmic – ‘No Name’ is a classic Serbian & Montenegrin, and 2000s, entry.

Natalie

When you think about Serbia&Montenegro ’s short lived legacy in Eurovision, your mind goes straight to Lane Moje, right? It almost makes you forget just how incredible Zauvijek Moja is as well as their debuting 2nd place entry. Zauvijek Moja tends to be underrated by the Eurovision community, but it certainly shouldn’t be forgotten. I’m pretty biased towards these kind of songs. In a way, they take you to another world and you feel elevated from the beautiful instrumental. Zauvijek Moja does just that, and the performance still feels fresh and immensely enjoyable to watch.

Next week

Make sure to join us next week, when Simon will slide us back to an outstanding entry from Albania! In the honor of FiK-mas, of course.

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