Bjørnskov – Videre I Mig

“A very, very decent farewell.”

Tim: Bear in mind when you press play that the melody for this was apparently written “about fifteen years ago”; Nelly and Kelly Clarkson had a massive smash hit with Dilemma just under fifteen years ago.

Tom: Heh. Nelly and Kelly. That’s the one where she texted him in a spreadsheet on a Nokia Communicator. So, yeah, fifteen years ago.

Tim: I am therefore willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, and accept that it’s a coincidence. A massive, massive coincidence.

Tim: According to him, he only recently came up with the lyrics that would fit it, apparently about his mum who died a while back, and it’s taken him ages to perfect it to be a decent farewell and that sort of stuff, and actually it really is a very, very decent farewell.

Tom: Blimey, that’s an emotional backstory for a song. I am prepared to agree that it’s a coincidence, though, because there are only so many ways to pleasingly arrange notes.

Tim: It took a while to convince me – to be honest the only reason I didn’t get bored of it before the chorus was that I was looking up Dilemma’s release date.

When that chorus hit, though, it was more than enough to get me to keep listening, because blimey it’s strong. The voice doubles down on the passion, the strings come in and it all seems worth it.

Tom: It’s difficult for me to dislike a song about someone’s deceased mother, but I’M GOING TO DO IT ANYW… no, just kidding, this is actually a really good track.

Tim: I’m not sure about the distorted vocals in the middle eight, mind – they stick out a mile in this otherwise traditional ballad – but overall I like this a lot. It’s good.

Miley Cyrus – Malibu

“It’s no Wrecking Ball. Hell, it’s not even The Climb.”

Tim: We’ve all done it – been through parts of our lives that we now regret, become different people, want to move on.

Tom: And don’t I know it.

Tim: Sadly for Miley, she reckons she’ll never be able to move on from Wrecking Ball, which she apparently now hates because of the video – “I will always be the naked girl on the wrecking ball”. Shame, but there we go. Here’s her new one.

Tim: Now, I get why she might not like the video for Wrecking Ball, but no-one can deny it’s a stunner of a song.

Tom: Yep. The video may have driven its popularity, but it’s still a belter. And, heck, it’s not as if this new video isn’t at least “a bit racy”.

Tim: This, on the other hand, is…nice, and there’s not a lot else to be said for it. It’s good, it’s cheery, it’s lovey dovey, but it’s no Wrecking Ball. Hell, it’s not even The Climb. From a new artist I’d probably say “yeah, I’ll take more of this, let’s wait for her second”; with Miley, there’s more a sense of disappointment, and that makes me sad.

Tom: Agreed. I actually skipped forward to see if it actually went anywhere — and it sort of does, but it’s very much an Album Track, isn’t it? That “dream come true / Malibu” rhyme is disastrous.

Tim: Apparently this is where we are now. BOOO.

PSY – I Luv It

“Starts out like Hairspray, immediately moves in a wildly different direction.”

Tom: PSY’s got a new album. As usual, he’s released two singles at the same time. And while K-pop isn’t usually what we cover, I want to talk about the second one, same as last time. Why?…

Tom: …because, seriously, that’s a BANGER.

Tim: Hmm – starts out like Hairspray, immediately moves in a wildly different direction.

Tom: I’d ignore those translated lyrics in favour of two things: one, just how good that chorus is, and second, that cinematography.

Tim: Good? Really? But okay, let’s talk about the filming.

Tom: I have never seen an effect like that: for a while, I thought it was hyperactive CG, but no: at the end of this making-of video you can just see it’s an actual crane doing ridiculously fast and controlled camera moves (although sped up in post). That is such a brilliant effect, and I expect to see it ripped off by everyone for the rest of the year. I’d rip it off if I had a budget and a possible use for it.

Tim: See, you say brilliant, but I’d say disorientating and a bit unpleasant. It leaves me feeling more queasy than impressed. Please don’t rip it off.

Birdflipper – Come On!

“A fun and definitely not gimmicky 360º video.”

Tim: New Swedish group, EP out now, and here’s one of their tracks, with a fun and definitely not gimmicky 360º video.

Tim: I’ll be honest: I don’t like that video.

Tom: Media world: stop trying to make 360º video happen. It’s not going to happen.

Tim: No. And here’s the deal: I like the let’s have fun and party vibe, but the 360º thing ruins it. I want to be able to watch everything happening – I don’t want to be swinging my phone around wildly worrying about what I’m missing out on, when I should be paying attention to the music as well.

BUT ANYWAY, I do like the song, sounding as it does like an early Avril Lavigne track (by which I mean the ones she did before she got replaced by a lookalike).

Tom: The trouble with bands like this is they’ll always get compared to either Avril Lavigne or Paramore, and it’s difficult for the sound to stand on its own. This is pretty good, although… look, it’s basically a Paramore album track at best, and I sort of hate myself for making that comparison.

Tim: It’s fun, it’s rocky – I’ve always got room for decent female-fronted rock – so all in all I’m very much in favour. The whole EP’s in a similar vein, so if you like this it’s definitely worth a bit of your time. CHECK IT OUT.

Niall Horan – Slow Hands

“That’s an improvement.”

Tim: On Friday we wrote about Katy Perry going from a great track to a terrible track. Niall’s debut track, as we’ve already detailed, was utterly atrocious, which leads me, pleasingly, to be able to say that there’s only (wait for it) ONE DIRECTION (hahahahahahah you see it’s funny because he used to– yep– oh, you’ve got– okay, fine) he can go from there.

Tom: Well, like you guessed, that’s an improvement. I don’t think it’s all that good — it’s one of those songs where the middle eight is the best bit, which isn’t a great sign — but at least it’s not a dirge.

Tim: Indeed, and so the question on everybody’s lips is WHY THE HELL wasn’t that the lead single? This Town, deservedly, barely scraped the Top 10; it was beaten comprehensively by James Arthur, for God’s sake. This, on the other hand, is an enjoyable track, with life to it, a funky personality, and a happiness to hear it again.

Tom: I don’t think the phrase “funky personality” has been used outside early-90s episodes of Blind Date, but you’ve got a point there.

Tim: Apparently he wrote about 70 tracks for his new album, so hopefully he took the lesson from last time and will be binning off all the dreadful melty ballads in favour of lively music like this. Come on Niall, do the right thing.

Buster Moe – Drowning

“Fancy some light-hearted guitar pop?”

Tim: Fancy some light-hearted guitar pop? Well, light-hearted instrumentally, at least.

Tom: Blimey, the guy from Keane’s aging well.

Tim: Lyrically we’re pretty much as down as we can be, but at least we’re talking about our problems, which is something. Mind you, I do wonder if you’re allowed to call it a lyric video if you only show about a tenth of the lyrics – surely something for trading standards to get involved in.

Tom: And given that it stars him, singing the song, this is… well, it’s a music video, really.

Tim: But to be honest, with the music as it is I can put aside my pedantry, because I quite like this. As I said earlier, it seems a bit jaunty, and right now jaunty will do me just fine.

Tom: It’s not going to hit my playlist any time soon, but that’s more because it’s not my type of music, rather than anything that’s wrong with it.

Helena Paparizou – Haide

“Let’s embrace the Mediterranean, shall we?”

Tim: You’ll remember that Helena’s half Swedish and half Greek; there’s an English version if you want it (and the title means Come On), but let’s embrace the Mediterranean, shall we?

Tom: There’s a slogan for a dodgy tapas restaurant, right there.

Tim: Now that intro was incredibly promising, which makes it quite sad that the first verse marks a sudden drop right down, and almost disappointing. Chorus, though, we’re up and getting our Shakira on, and then for the rest of the song it barely lets up.

Tom: And I’d swear there’s a bit of Bollywood influence in there too, from subtle instrumental hints, to the percussion and synth patterns, to some of the song structure.

Tim: That extended instrumental in the middle is unusual, defenestrating the standard pop structure entirely, and if I’m totally honest I think it ever so slightly harms the song – musically it’s great, but it did leave me wondering “hang on, what’s going on”.

Tom: Yep: there’s several things that could count as ‘pre-chorus’ or ‘middle eight’, depending on how you categorise them, but I think you’re right a bit… different. Not bad, just different.

Tim: On the other hand, only music nerds will care, and I don’t really care unless I’m properly paying attention to it, so who cares? It’s great.

Drifters – Om Du Fick Se Mig Gå

“Dansband! Oh, it’s been ages. I’m looking forward to this.”

Tim: Drifters, a Swedish dansband who I thought we’d featured more than just the once we actually have; anyway, here’s their latest. No video, alas, but here’s a live performance.

Tom: Dansband! Oh, it’s been ages. I’m looking forward to this.

Tim: Tom, before I get started I’ll tell you and our reader that I’ve just watched the Line of Duty finale and so am properly pumped full of adrenaline; that may or may not have quite a lot to do with the fact that I shouted “OH, YES” when that chorus came along, and almost destroyed my brand new Lego Snowspeeder throwing my arms around.

Tom: That’s possibly the most Tim sentence I’ve heard in a while. For reference, I wrote this while a bit tired.

Tim: We don’t hear schlager like this very often any more, but oh doesn’t it just sound wonderful?

Tom: The opening verse confused me – it actually sounded like a modern song. And then the chorus kicked in, and I actually laughed.

Tim: The thing that gets me about songs like this, the one massive thing, is that they’re just so happy. I can’t find the lyrics online anywhere, but the title means “If You Saw Me Go” – that doesn’t imply a particularly upbeat song, but I can’t stop myself smiling.

Tom: They know exactly what their audience want, and they deliver it. This particular studio audience also sounds like they’re clapping on the 1 and the 3, but I’ll let that slide.

Tim: Particularly, of course, at the key change. The GLORIOUS key change. God, I miss this so much. So, so much.

Albin Wass – Radio

“Ooh, this’ll do me nicely.”

Tim: A new artist from Sweden, and within a couple of seconds of pressing play I was already thinking, “ooh, this’ll do me nicely”. Have a lyric video, which as we shall discover is possibly a misguided choice.

Tim: You see the thing with lyric videos is that, by their very nature, they draw your attention to the lyrics. And when your entire song consists of a metaphor that starts out fairly well but eventually ends up comparing ex-boyfriends to mixtapes, that might not be an ideal outcome.

Having said that, though, that’s all I really have to complain about with this song.

Tom: I really like the verses; I really like the builds that they’ve got going on. But the choruses really aren’t my sort of thing — and I’m surprised they’re yours.

Tim: Really? Because my initial reaction of ‘this’ll do me nicely’ was entirely borne out musically, as he’s got a decent voice and the sound’s exactly my type of thing, so overall I’ll give this a thumbs up.

Tom: Good heavens, how times have changed. I remember you complaining so much about this type of sound — both the dubstep influences, and the overcompressed synths. I agree there’s nothing wrong with them; I would have just preferred something a bit more traditional in the choruses given everything that led into them.

Tim: Hmm. You saying that prompted me to listen again to the choruses to see what I’d missed – and yes, I guess there are influences there, but so very minor that they work very well with the rest.

It’s just – well, could they not at least have updated ‘mixtape’ to ‘playlist’?

Paramore – Hard Times

“I guess the 90s are back in style properly now.”

Tim: Paramore, the primary purveyors of female-fronted mainstream rock. Right?

Tom: Great guitar work, catchy hooks, verging on the anthemic at times. Right.

Tim: Wrong. That’s new, and oh, I’m not sure it works all that well.

Tom: I guess the 90s are back in style properly now. And they’ve gone all… funk-ish, I guess? I do like it, it’s just not what I expected from Paramore. I think there’s a glockenspiel in there somewhere.

Tim: I would absolutely love to know the thought process behind this, because I have absolutely no idea what they were going for. A one-off experiment? A full directional shift? A bit of “hey, let’s freak people out”? The thing is, unless it was that last one, I’m not sure it works.

It’s alright as a track, I guess, and after a few listens it’s a bit catchy, but that middle eight for starters is just a bit bizarre really.

Tom: Ah, but that outro actually made me grin: it was unexpected, but also really good. Yes, it took me a listen or two to get it, but I really enjoyed this. It’s a rarity here, Tim, to find a song that I immediately like while you don’t.

Tim: I’m all for experimentation, I guess, so I won’t criticise this too harshly, but I do hope this is a singular experiment. Really, I do.