MONTENEGRO: D mol “Heaven”May 5, 2019
Here we have Eurovision minnows - Montenegro - a country that doesn't exactly have the best of Eurovision records. Heck, they even took out the recent "Worst Of" title in OGAE Australia’s All Stars competition, with Rambo Amadeus’ unforgettable humdinger Euro Neuro. They have, however, made the Eurovision Grand Final twice since debuting as a nation in 2007.
This year Montenegro’s hopes are pinned on a half dozen kids from the local "D mol" singing school in downtown Podgorica. It seems like 7th placed 2005 Serbian and Montenegrin contestant, Danjiel Alibabić (from No Name fame) tapped into his inner Simon Cowell, forming his vision of S Club 7 (with 6 people, of course, because, you know - it's Eurovision). Tamara Vujačić, Mirela Ljumić, Željko Vukčević, Ivana Obradović, Emel Franca, and Rizo Feratović make up D mol (D mol being Montenegrin for D minor), and are all aged between 16 and 21. The youngest and most experienced of the sextet, Tamara (the dark haired girl) has been performing in children’s festivals since her childhood. The group have dreamed of participating in Eurovision and are grateful to Danijel for giving them the opportunity. Danijel has said that they are in better form than what No Name was.
D mol won the Montenegrin selection final, Montevizija, defeating Ivana Popović-Martinović in the Superfinal by receiving 62% of the televote. International jury members in this year’s competition included former winners Ruslana (Ukraine 2004) and Eldar Gasimov (Azerbaijan 2011), plus Lea Sirk (Slovenia 2018), András Kállay-Saunders (Hungary 2014) and Ira Losco (Malta 2002 and 2016) as well as Swedish television presenter Jovan Radomir.
Heaven was recorded in both Montenegrin and English, with the group deciding to enter the competition with their English version, because they felt it sounded better and was more effective. They also define the song as modern, urban and youthful, described as a ballad that grows dynamically into a joyful love song. D mol says the song also contains a strong message and is a breeze of fresh air in today’s music scene.
Honestly other than being youthful, I do not see it. This song to me sounds quite dated and is something I expect to hear in a junior school choir. When I think of Urban and Modern, Kristian Kostov’s Beautiful Mess from 2017 comes more to mind, Heaven does not, although it certainly has the resonance of a teenage love song which is a very sweet contrast to some songs in this year’s competition. If you take this song with a grain of salt and listen to it for what it is (simple pop fluff escapism), then you will enjoy it. It's just not Eurovision winning material.
The song was revamped to accompany the rather visually appealing and very cinematographic video, filmed in Žabljak. It features many students from the D mol singing school as well as acclaimed Montenegrin violinist Vili Ferdinandi. Montenegro sure looks like a very beautiful country. The mountains in particular are stunning.
Unfortunately, on hearing the song, not one single members’ voice stood out to me. There could have been 2, 3, 4 or 5 members of the vocal group and it would not have made an iota of difference. The song has an innocence about it, but is probably more suited to the JESC stage rather the ESC one. That said, it is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I shamelessly enjoy singing along to it much like I did with San Marino’s Who We Are from 2018. D mol have been designated the coffin slot (performing second in Semi-Final 1), well before things start to get all wacky and weird in the second half. But don't take that as any excuse for not reaching the Grand Final. Regardless of where Heaven is in the running order, I just do not see it making it out of the semis.