Saturday Flashback: Grégoire – Soleil

Inoffensive, chirpy and largely relaxing.

Tim: Brought to Europlop’s attention by a French radio station as I was visiting my sister, this came out in January of this year.

Tom: Today’s “applying logic to a music video” moment – how is he touching those incandescent light bulbs without hurting his hand?

Tim: Oh, stop being finicky. And is he touching them? Looked more like cupping to me, and just long enough for it to almost but not quite hurt. The lyrics, meanwhile, go on about how despite how we all have different flags and countries and parents and tastes and all that, we all live under the same sun so we should all be nice to each other. Sounds like a load of hippy crap to me, but the French people apparently liked it so I guess that sort of proves his point.

Tom: At least it’s not a generic love song. I was about to complain about it being musically generic, but it seems happy and friendly enough that I don’t really mind.

Tim: Yeah – I quite enjoy the music, or at least I’m fairly sure I do – it’s inoffensive, chirpy and largely relaxing.

Tom: It’s absolutely designed to hit all the typical emotional happy-pop notes.

Tim: And indeed it does. Good.

Jason Derulo – Don’t Wanna Go Home

This is so much less than the sum of its parts.

Tom: This is so much less than the sum of its parts.

Tim: Oh, God, I’ve heard this on the radio, and it’s awful – why are you trying to make me listen to this?

Tim: I hadn’t seen the video. It doesn’t really improve anything. The only good thing about it is Jason’s facial hair, which NEVER FAILS to impress me.

Tom: It’s a shame, really. Sampling ‘Day-O’ as your chorus – and then twisting it to be the opposite of the original – is actually a pretty good gimmick. And “Show Me Love” is a pretty good track – I can imagine any number of decent songs coming from reimaginings of that.

Tim: Yeah. And I can imagine any number of bad ones as well. This is somewhere near the top of that list.

Tom: In those first few seconds – the a cappella intro and the start of the backing – I thought “this is going to be brilliant”. And then he sang his own name, and it went so, so wrong.

Tim: As ever.

Tim: Helps a bit. Cheers.

Teddybears feat. Cee-Lo Green & The B-52s – Cho Cha

Genres splashing together all over the place.

Tim: The next logical step from a Robyn collaboration? A Cee-Lo Green collaboration, apparently.

Tom: And the B-52s. Yes, they’re still going. It was a surprise to me, too.

Teddybears – Cho Cha feat. CeeLo Green & The B-52’s by Big Beat Records

Tim: First off, something that may alienate a few readers: I don’t like cats. Not at all. Really not. So I’m immediately predisposed to not like this song all that much.

Tom: Now, I don’t mind cats, but it’s previously been established that I don’t like talky-songs. Cee-Lo’s got an incredible singing voice; why’s he not using it here?

Tim: Having said that, with it being standard Teddybears fare right from the outset, with genres splashing together all over the place, musically I don’t mind it. Verses aren’t particularly exciting, but I do like the chorus melody, which after a while becomes at the very least something you can bounce your head to.

Tom: Once I got used to exactly what was going on, I found myself… well, ‘liking it’ is probably a bit strong. Let’s go with ‘tolerating it’. It took my brain a good while to get around the fact that this isn’t really a Cee-Lo track, or a B-52s track, or… well, anything like I’d expect.

Anniela – Sin Of My Own

Unexpected in-bridge swearing.

Tim: We last saw her being kicked out of Melodifestivalen after singing Elektrisk, and now she’s turned up with a cover of of September album track.

Tom: That’s not the most promising introduction you’ve ever written.

Tim: This is somewhat different from the September version, and weirdly sounds more like September than that one did.

Tom: Add a few more people singing harmony, and I reckon this could sound a bit like Steps.

Tim: Whoever it sounds like, I think it’s alright – it does still sound a bit album trackish, though.

Tom: Especially the unexpected in-bridge swearing. It did wake me up, though.

Tim: Fairly vibrant, building slightly throughout, but never really enough to get properly going. Not something I’d turn off, but equally not something I’d go wild for in a club.

Tom: Half marks?

Tim: Half marks.

Calvin Harris feat. Kelis – Bounce

All right, you Scottish DJ genius. What’re you up to?

Tom: All right, you Scottish DJ genius. What’re you up to now? Teaming up with Kelis bodes well. Let’s have a listen.

Tom: Is that a chiptune backing I hear? Not when it kicks in, of course, but that intro is pretty close to 8-bit to my ears, even if he’s not using genuine old-school soundfonts. I’m quite glad that’s going properly mainstream.

Tim: Erm, because it reminds you of the good old days when music was produced on a SNES?

Tom: Ah, now that’s not strictly true. It’s a genre in itself these days, notable enough for Timbaland to rip it off.

Pity the rest of it’s a bit boring. I know that’s kind of Calvin Harris’s shtick – somehow making dance tracks sound laid-back – but it seems to come out as just being… well, a bit dull. It tries well to amp up in the bridge, and admittedly the final chorus has something to it. But it’s just not enough.

Tim: Perhaps. On the other hand, if we look at this as a Kelis track, it knocks spots off Milkshake and all the other crap that she’s put out over the years, so I’m happy with it.

Tom: Plus, “bounce to this track”? It’s a song about itself, Tim, and you know how I hate those.

Tim: Oh, stop whining.

Tom: Shan’t.

Galaxies – I Don’t Want This Love

Ground-breaking and original? Not really.

Tim: A new two-piece from Iceland. Based on this, I’m hoping they’ll hang around.

Tim: Ground-breaking and original? Not particularly, although the flute and violin they play during the bridge do take it somewhere unexpected, and nice.

Tom: When they finally kicked in, I was thinking “it’s about bloody time”. Does it change at all during the first two and a half minutes? I’m not sure it does.

Tim: Not really, and it’s not particularly catchy either, or memorable, but what it is is happy, and cheerful, and it’s very much put-down-your-drinks-and-make-your-way-to-the-dancefloor. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a couple of recent Eurovision dance tracks – more stylistically than melodically, but it still puts me in mind of This Is My Life, and definitely not in a bad way.

Saturday Flashback: Tom Boxer feat. Antonia – Morena

It is a bit raunchy, isn’t it?

Tim: In the past twelve months Romania has already provided us with Stereo Love and Inna, and now at Europlop’s doors from Radikal Records* arrives this Romanian bloke, whose track Morena was released last September.

* They’re not just radical, they’re Radikal!

Tom: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with a YouTube commenter. Thank you to ‘vgasparis’, who simply says “This porn has nice background music.”

Tim: It is a bit raunchy, isn’t it? And the music is nice – repetitive but decent hook, good tune throughout the rest of it, consistent strong beat and added piano here and there. I like this.

Tom: Repetitive: yes. Decent: no. The verses don’t have a bad tune, I’ll give you that, but the rest really could use… well, anything.

Tim: Hence the lesbian storyline in the video, presumably, which is a surefire way to get most blokes on board, as the dribbling masses displayed in the club demonstrate. It’s all decent enough.

Tom: It’s really not.

Basic Element – Turn Me On

Not one of those tracks that takes a while to get going.

Tim: Basic Element, a Swedish dance group. This, a tune I present to you with one instruction: PUT YOUR HANDS UP.

Not in a bank robber way, mind. Like, in a dancey way. You know.

Tom: Blimey, that kicks off fast and strong, doesn’t it?

Tim: Yes – it really isn’t one of those tracks that takes a while to get going, which partly seems to be out of necessity. We all know I’m not one for a long track, but here, there’s just not enough time for everything to happen without getting crowded. It seems like a TV show where the producers want to make a episode that’s absolutely insane, with the viewers going OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD THAT’S HUGE, but they forget that they’ve only got so much time to do it in and it all comes out all a bit confused and there’s no time for anything to have any impact.*

* Steven Moffat, I’m glaring at you.

Tom: My Eurobeat-loving roots mean that I should be absolutely OK with a dodgy Euro-rap bit in the middle of the track, but it just seems out of place here. You’re right about the track insanity, though: it’s not really genre-shifting at all, it’s just rather quick. That’s perhaps for the best – if they’d made it longer, I think it’d have gotten dull rather fast.

Tim: Here, obviously there shouldn’t be any time constraints, but it seems like a similar problem – they’ve tried to squeeze a five-minute track into 170 seconds, and it’s really just a mess.

Tom: An energetic mess, though.

My Chemical Romance – Bulletproof Heart

Just get the damn album, it’s brilliant.

Tom: My Chemical Romance are one of the best bands performing in the world today. Who else does seriously good concept albums to enormous critical and popular appeal?

They’re still bringing out singles from the fantastic Danger Days, and with good justification. YouTube compression doesn’t do justice to the track, but nevertheless:

Tom: Listen to that, damn it. For a band that started as ’emo’ – even if they denied it themselves – they’ve basically become a modern glam rock band. And they’re good. How is that even possible? Just get the damn album, it’s brilliant and it’s only about a fiver now.

Tim: You know, there’s not much for me to add there.

Eric Saade feat. J-Son – Hearts in the Air

We seem to have left Manboy far behind.

Tim: Don’t give up on this too soon.

Tim: Intro: dire. Verse: somewhat crap.

Tom: I rather liked the intro, but I’ll agree with you that the verse is terrible.

Tim: Chorus: good when it starts, heading for GREAT from the ‘why should I care what they say’ bit. But that’s all the positiveness I can really give this – it’s just nothing special. Unfortunately we seem to have left Manboy far behind, and that’s a big shame.

Tom: It’s just not got that sense of excitement about it – a lovely chorus like that shouldn’t sound like it’s being sung by rote.

Tim: Actually, scratch what I said about it not being special, because there’s the bridge. This s special, because it lures you in like an evil temptress, with a reworked second (a.k.a. best) half of the chorus, and then right as you’re gearing up for a great key change at 2:39 that will make this song alright, perhaps even downright good, it comes back. With a bloody awful rap bit. I had never heard of him before today, but right now I hate this J-Son bloke, for ruining our Eric.

Although I also hate him because it took me a good twenty minutes to realise his name is a play on Jason. Or at least I think it is, but then Jason isn’t actually his name – basically, it seems he chose a name that may or may not be a bad rewriting of something that isn’t his name but that took me too long to figure out even if it wasn’t there to figure out in the first place. I am entirely confused now, and hatred is all I have left.

Tom: Hey, it took me years to work out that “Flo Rida” was a pun on “Florida”.

Tim: True. Still can’t believe that.