09 April 2018

Who We Are / Jessika ft. Jenifer Brening / San Marino | Review

Jessika Muscat | San Marino | 2018 Eurovision
Jessika is joined by Jenifer Brening to represent San Marino
In the capable hands of Valentina Monetta, qualifying for the Grand Final in 2014 was a massive accomplishment for San Marino. Even though they ended up close to the foot of the scoreboard, they convinced everyone that Eurovision's smallest nation could compete with the best of them.

Flag San Marino
However, having once again experienced the agony of non-qualification for the last three years, San Marino have nevertheless returned to the fray, selecting their entry through a somewhat convoluted format. The result? Malta's Jessika Muscat, assisted by Jenifer Brening, will perform Who We Are in Lisbon.

It's great to report that their recent defeats have truly energised San Marino. The involvement of foreign singers, as well as the votes of a jury and the public, is a promising step forward - even if bankrolling the national final through a crowdfunding investment seems somewhat seedy. Nevertheless, there were some interesting choices on show but it was Jessika's song that demonstrated a shrewd change of pace by at least trying to bring San Marino's entry into 2018.

As you might expect, Who We Are sounds as if it could have arrived in San Marino via Malta's own national final. Whether it would have won or failed there is up for discussion, but at least it sounds as if it might have had a chance.

Jenifer Brening | San Marino | Eurovision 2018
The song incorporates a rap from Jenifer Brening - nothing aggressive - which tries to distract from the fact that this is pure pop. Pretty repetitive pop, at that. Once the rap has come and gone, there is the distinct whiff of a previous Eurovision winner. Part of the refrain sounds as if it is going to break into Måns Zelmerlöw's Heroes - which has been accused of being a rip-off itself, but that's another story.

It’s far from being a complete flop, though. The songwriters seem to have a reasonable appreciation of how to create a well-developed entry and the chorus is memorable, if overly familiar. Besides, in Lisbon, we can expect an upgrade to the amateurish staging from the national final which may give the whole package the added appeal it needs.

Whether that will be enough to return San Marino to the Grand Final is debatable. This is a fairly reasonable effort, but it feels much more likely to get lost in the mix than to qualify.

San Marino 
Artist: Jessika ft. Jenifer Brening
Song: Who We Are 
Semi-Final 2 | First Half

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