Saturday Flashback: Nathalie Source – L’Envie de Vivre

“Guys. It’s time for some musical theory.”

Tim: Since we’re apparently just discussing songs for key change reasons, as with Eternal last week, I’ll put this on the table. Now, it’s well known by people who pay attention that key changes are really quite a no go in Eurovision, and have been for quite some time.

Tom: It’s still joyful when it happens, but yes: it’s like 128bpm.

Tim: That didn’t stop Belgium in 2000, though, who decided to play with the format. Guys, it’s time for some musical theory. You see, your standard key change: a semitone. Brings some life in, doesn’t sound too ridiculous. If you want to push the boat out, Linda Bengtzing-style, you might double that and go with a full tone. Sounds ludicrous, but guaranteed to bring an enormous smile/yell of disgust.

Belgium went with six semitones.

Tom: Good grief, that is very 2000, isn’t it? All it needs is a record scratch sound effect.

Tim: Yes. And what with that and it sounding like two completely different songs pushed together: it came dead last.

Kygo & Ellie Goulding – First Time

“Hi, Ellie, I’ve always wanted to work with you…”

Tom: Kygo continues his tour of female pop vocalists – and this time, one with a distinctive voice.

Tom: Somehow, Ellie Goulding singing “ten dollars was a fat stack” in her English accent sounds very wrong. I mean, none of those lyrics are great, but I feel like they gave the wrong track to the wrong singer there.

Tim: Yeah, that stuck out for me as well – almost as if someone else was lined up, they dropped out, and then Kygo went “Hi, Ellie, I’ve always wanted to work with you…”

Tom: I guess this is Kygo doing a more chilled-out sound — there are still his trademarks, like that jingle-bell-like sound that marks the start of the second verse, and a middle eight using resampled vocals from elsewhere in the song. But other than those, this sounds… well, a bit generic, really. I guess chillout dance just isn’t for me.

Tim: The first time I heard this last week I didn’t think much of it; hearing it now, though, I like it quite a bit more. It’s not a classic, and it sure as hell isn’t an It Ain’t Me (that song just keeps growing on me, even now), but it’s a good track. I’ll take it.

Mondelia – Boys B Boys

“Straight from the soundtrack of a Disney Channel Original Movie”

Tim: Zara Larsson’s got massive, so Scandinavian pop’s got a big “solo teenage girl” vacancy; Mondelia’s coming along from Norway hoping to fill it. Advance warning: it’s very solo teenage girl.

Tim: In fact, it’s so solo teenage girl it could come straight from the soundtrack of a Disney Channel Original Movie, partway through act 2 where our protagonist’s just found out the hot guy she’s kind of seeing is also getting it on with the head of the cheerleaders because he “didn’t think we were being exclusive”.

Tom: That is overly specific, but yes. You know what this sounds like? B*Witched, if one of them decided to go solo. Complete with irritatingly spoken chorus.

Tim: Huh – I’d not thought of that comparison, but you’re not wrong.

Tom: It is, of course, incredibly well produced and catchy — but it’s also targeted at one demographic only. The thing about B*Witched was that everyone could sing along with the chorus of the One Big Song; here, not so much.

Tim: Yeah. I think, if it was in a Disney Channel movie, or some such, and I was in the mood to watch it, it’s perfect. For anything else: oof, there’s way too much sugar for me.

Saturday Flashback: Eternal – I Wanna Be The Only One

“One reason, and one reason only.”

Tom: A video uploaded to YouTube more than ten years ago, Tim.

Tim: And a song that yesterday celebrated its 20th birthday. Any reason it’s here?

Tom: I know the song, of course. Everyone knows the song. But I heard it the other day, perhaps for the first time in about ten years, and I’d forgot about one thing. I link you to think song for one reason, and one reason only:

Tom: Three. Key. Changes.

Tim: I do love it when a song pushes the boat out. That last one – oof, that’s pushing it a bit, though.

Tom: Pushing it into awesome.

Cheat Codes feat. Demi Lovato – No Promises

Tom: The big questions here: who are Cheat Codes, and how on earth did they get Demi Lovato? I don’t actually care, I’m just asking a rhetorical question to provide an introduction to this post.

Tim: Never let it be said we’re not brutally honest.

Tim: Yeah, that is quite prevalent, certainly. Any other views?

Tom: …sorry, that’s all I can hear, really.

Tim: Fair enough. Not a bad song, though.

Thomas Anders – Sternenregen

“Exactly what I wanted to hear from a Thomas Anders single.”

Tim: Shall we see what’s going on in Germany? Yes, we shall, and amongst other things there’s this.

Tom: Wait, I recognise that name. Thomas Anders, a little bit of research has just reminded me, was one half of astonishingly-popular-but-only-in-Germany duo Modern Talking. They were bloody amazing.

Listen to this, seriously, listen (and also, watch that incredible mid-80s video). Oh, wait, was that too 80s for you? That’s fine, after they split up and got back together, they made an EVEN BETTER nineties remix.

Tim: Oh. Oh, that is good.

Tom: They eventually split up again in 2003, which… wow, turns out that’s fourteen years ago. Damn. Anyway, even if this is only one half of the group, I’m still looking forward to this.

Tim: Excellent. And by the way, if you’re wondering why the fan-made slideshow is all spacey, it’s (probably) because the title means ‘Starfall’.

Tom: YESSSSSS. It’s like Modern Talking became a bit more, well, modern. And schlagery. Yes.

Tim: Starts off bringing back memories of Bad Romance, quickly finds its own comfortable zone, and then doesn’t really let up; I’m fine with that.

Tom: Is this great or innovative music? No, of course not. It is, however, exactly what I wanted to hear from a Thomas Anders single.

Tim: I mean there’s a reason it hasn’t broken out of Germany, even if you ignore the lyrics, but damn, I do love this stuff. I can’t find the lyrics anywhere online, annoyingly, so I can’t confirm that’s it’s basically German Wordsworth, but I’m sure they’re as deep and meaningful and they sound. A work of art, truly.

FO&O – So So Good

“I’m glad it’s not a full length track.”

Tim: After several years, several name changes and one line-up change, this lot have finally got an album; here’s the track to go with it, and unlike the journey so far there’s no messing about waiting.

Tom: Blimey, there’s not, is there? Full marks for that – I’m surprising, in this era of pop music, that more pop songs don’t do that.

Tim: No waiting for the chorus, and barely any waiting until the end of the song, what with it being just a couple of minutes.

Tom: Yep. They’ve basically just cropped it down, and while I think that’s for the best — songs should last as long as they need to — two minutes is putting this into “radio jingle” territory rather than “song”.

Tim: Unusual structure, binning off the first verse and the middle eight, and that works for me. It’s good, I think, that it is short, because it does get repetitive, and after a couple of listens the annoying bit does get really annoying – specifically, that pause in the chorus.

Tom: Oh thank you, it’s not just me.

Tim: No. It could work okay, but only if they didn’t completely break up ‘intoxicated’ – even if they’d just held the vocal it might have passed muster, but the total disconnection just sounds odd. So it’s an alright track, but I think I’m glad it’s not a full length track.

Samir & Viktor – Kung

“Exactly what we’d expect from them.”

Tim: Viktor off these two had a solo song out recently; it was a bit rubbish to be honest, all gentle guitary and ballady and basically bollocks. HOWEVER, they’re back as a duo, sounding GREAT, and also a bit offensive: an English/Swedish f-bomb right from the get go, and a couple of Swedish ones in each chorus. And some spelt out in the video. Basically, if you’re a prude, come back tomorrow.

Tom: Okay, let’s got one thing out of the way: that’s a really irritating introduction, with what sounds like a tin-whistle and a rewind. But the mood’s pretty clear.

Tim: Indeed – PARTY PARTY PARTY because that track has got me enthused enough to clap my hands above my head, not a frequent occurrence. As with most of their songs. as long as the vocals have been tweaked for a studio recording it sounds really good. Well, good enough for what they want it to be, anyway.

Tom: I’m not sure any of the individual parts match together: the verse, pre-chorus, chorus and middle eight all sound like they’ve been brought in from different songs.

Tim: Hmm – there’s certainly different styles between them, you’re right. But regardless, it’s exactly what we’d expect from them – enthusiastic, getting everybody involved (particularly with De Vet Du joining them in the video for no apparent reason) and a fair amount of people getting their kit off.

Tom: I know very little about De Vet Du, but between Road Trip and this I seem to have taken an instinctive liking to them. They know they’re being ridiculous, whereas Samir and Viktor just seem to be trying a bit too hard.

Tim: When it gets results like this, though, I don’t mind extra effort. I’m very glad they’re back together and PLEASE don’t take a break again.

Saturday Flashback: Katrina & The Waves – Love Shine A Light

“And that’s how you do Eurovision.”

Tim: Tonight, the big night, the second biggest night of the year in European music television, and largely very disappointing indeed. Therefore, let’s not finish off with a similarly disappointing reject, but instead celebrate and think of what Eurovision should be, with one of the greatest winners. Ever.

Tim: And that’s how you do Eurovision.

Tom: With a live orchestra, a song that was designed as an anthem for the Samaritans, and one missing shoulder pad.

Tim: And a small ‘woo’ as the main guitar kicks in.

Tom: We’ll be that good again, someday, Tim. Someday.

Tim: Someday.

Moment – All This Time

“Well, that’s a pretty dull first v– oh.”

Tim: We featured their last tune about a month back and both enjoyed it; they’ve now pointed us in the direction of this, their new one.

Tom: Well, that’s a pretty dull first v– oh.

Tim: Yes indeed, and I will absolutely take that. Verses don’t do anything for me, same as you, but I’m guessing they’re not meant to – all about that chorus, and what an instrumental it is in the second part of it.

Tom: You can’t hang an entire song on just a chorus — well, okay, you can, but it has to be absolutely spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, though, this is a good chorus.

Tim: Proper banging, proper dancey, and there’s not a lot more to say about it. Two good tracks in two months, and that’s a good rate as far as I’m concerned. Though still, wouldn’t mind a bit more in those verses.