Tim: Our reader, Bjørnar, reckons this is “a powehouse synth pop ballad giving me chills. Strong message and catchy chorus.”
Tim: And I’m not really tempted to disagree with him.
Tom: That reminds me a lot of LIGHTS in style, and I mean that as a big compliment. It’s such a similar style, actually, that even after writing this I’m still half-convinced it’s some unreleased material from her. I don’t think I can give this an objective judgment, because it sounds so familiar.
Tim: It may sound familiar, but that could just be because it’s a good style. Now, in most songs the chorus is the stand-out part, but here it really is – I got a bit distracted and when the chorus came along I thought “oh, yes, I forgot that was playing”. That’s not to say the verses are bad, because they’re not at all: they’re very good at doing what they do, conveying a quiet and gentle message that’s just waiting to be amplified.
Tom: There’s still a lot of good work going on with the synths underneath, though — and the vocals are great, too.
Tim: They are. It’s just a bit of a shame, though, that with that structure in mind they have to suffer for the chorus to come in with the effect that it does. I’d suggest turning everything up by 25% or so, but then the chorus might sound too loud, and it’s that contrast that makes the song what it is. I don’t know – either way, I’ll take it.
“The intro on this… completely restored my faith in music.”
Tim: I don’t know if I’m in a bit of a funk at the moment, Tom, because I’ve listened to a good half dozen new tracks today and not a single one has done anything for me. The intro on this, however, completely restored my faith in music, so have a listen.
Tom: Restored your faith in music? That’s quite a…
Tom: …yep, okay, that’s fair.
Tim: A classic? No. But something that’ll get me sitting up and somewhat enthusiastic after a long day? Yeah, it’ll fit the bill for that nicely. It reminds me of a track that Bright Light Bright Light might come out with (or possibly did come out with, as some of it is a tad recognisable), and that’s certainly never a bad thing.
Tom: I was thinking more Miike Snow: those synths, and that wall-of-sound-esque style. Both are good comparisons to make.
Tim: I was slightly worried by those verses, that it might suddenly have lost its energy never to return, but of course it hadn’t. That chorus brought that sound back just as big and strong as before, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable. Good work.
Tim: Hanna’s off Sweden, and we’ve not featured her before; it’s good that I came across this via SoundCloud and not YouTube.
Tim: Because, damn that takes a long time to get going (if in fact it ever does, which is debatable), and it was only the promise from waveform that kept me from switching off in boredom after ten seconds.
Tom: And given all the loudness-war hyper-compression that’s going on lately, that’s an unusual waveform to see.
Tim: I’m glad I stuck with it, because it’s nice – really nice – when the choruses come along, in a Röyksopp-y kind of way, but I really do wish there was more happening outside them.
Tom: Given the overall sound of the track, I’m happy with that; it’s not trying to be something that it’s not. Instead it’s calm, it’s chilled-out, and it’s got some lovely melodies in there. I’ll take this.
“I know its not even a good tune, but I find it unacceptably catchy.”
Tim: ZABO is from Argentina, but this has been sent in by our reader Gian, who says “I know its not even a good tune, but I find it unacceptably catchy.” Certainly an intriguing intro, so…
Tim: Well. First off, I can’t remotely be bothered to type all those lyrics into Google Translate, although I do know the title translates to ‘New Life’.
Tom: Full marks to them that actually hooking up a smart phone to a screen recorder for the video. I don’t think the minutes of introduction were required, but it’s an approach I’ve not seen before. And opening up Tinder, only to get a phone call from the person they’re (presumably) just dumped, is a really good ending.
Tim: Gian expects us to disagree about the catchiness, what with us not speaking Spanish, but I’ve got to say: it’s still catchy. Not necessarily in a good way, because he’s right about it not really being a good tune, but it’s certainly a song that’s got stuck in my head.
Tom: Agreed: it’s the first one you sent me this week where I’ve gone “I like this”. And I think that’s mostly because it’s a really simple pop song; there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of complexity there, but you know what? Sometimes there doesn’t have to be.
Tim: Fair point. I’m not remotely a fan of the verses – don’t think I would be even if I did speak Spanish – but that chorus actually is really enjoyable. I’d probably, in fact, be happy with the whole song if she was singing throughout.
Tom: You know it reminds me of? “Wasn’t My Fault“, which I loved. Similar instrumentation, similar melody, similar message.
“How about something to make you get up and about?”
Tim: End of the week, how about something to make you get up and about this weekend?
Tom: Methylphenidate? No? Okay.
Tim: Got this for you, from a duo consisting of David (on vocals) and Raife (on electronic bits).
Tim: In their words, this is “a wake up call; a realisation, a message to say ‘you’re better than this, get out there and do it'”, and I’ll take that. My initial thought was that that first drop was a bit weak, but then the main one came along and all was right with the world.
Tom: Agreed: not sure about those bass synths in the chorus, but everything else about it is good.
Tim: Beat was there, strong vocals (particularly the lengthy drawn out ones over the chorus, and its always nice to have a guy hit the high notes), and, yeah – a strong message.
Tom: That’s a very British indie singer voice, too, and it’s interesting to hear that over the top of something electronic rather than just guitars.
Tim: Yeah – not a million miles away from him off Bastille, really. I like this a lot.
Tim: I know we binned off Tropical Fridays, but that was largely because all that was really happening was your otherwise normal act sticking a steel drum on to boost streams. Sometimes, though, a properly decent tropical track does still come about. But even in November?
Tom: Oh COME ON, “California / waitin’ for ya”? Will whoever wrote those lyrics please turn in their union card. I don’t care if they’re not a part of the union, I want them to turn it in anyway.
Tim: Okay, that’s fair enough.
Tom: Also: that ‘California’ bit seems remarkably familiar. Anyway. Sorry. Tropical in November. You were saying.
Tim: Well, yes, because actually, as it turns out the song is all about not wanting to wait, but having to, even if it will be another six months or so before this becomes acceptable again.
Tom: I’m not even sure that’d be acceptable then: it’s a bit too dull and plodding to be worth it.
Tim: Seriously? I think it’s very much at the higher end of the spectrum – certainly got me out of my tropical grump. Admittedly the song is more likely talking about some woman or other, but I prefer my slightly more meta interpretation – it’s a just about valid excuse to bring out the pineapples again, and to be honest it was more the cynicism than the genre that wore me down. BRING ME A GRASS SKIRT and a BANANA DAIQUIRI.
Tim: I’ve more or less given up on The Sound of Arrows – Stefan’s said they’re working on some new stuff, but that was when I saw them a year ago and nothing seems forthcoming (except the soundtrack for a recent Swedish TV version of The Neverending Story, which was pretty nice). Therefore, I need a new source for pleasant dreamy pop, and so I clicked on this, from a new Swedish duo, with high hopes…
Tim: …and didn’t really have them met.
Tom: Really? Because this sounds like the sort of thing you’d love.
Tim: The problem is, it wasn’t until that chorus hit at 1:27 that I was actually drawn in and engaged by it.
Tom: I’m surprised by that. Because the part where the introduction kicked in woke me up. Granted, the first verse isn’t quite as exciting, but I literally sat up and listened.
Tim: Listened, yes, but not excitedly. Thing is, it’s a lovely chorus, and one of my favourites of recent times. But then all too suddenly (but largely predictably) it drops down way too low for the second verse. Sure, it’s back up for the second chorus, and up again after the dip for the middle eight, but I just want something heftier. Perfect genre, too light.
Tim: There were a number of Big Releases last Friday (by which I mean music, before you jump in with something rude), some of which (HI NIALL) were a tad disappointing. Others, though: not so much.
Tom: This does not sound like Busted. It does, however, sound good.
Tim: I got all worried a few months back, when Busted said their new stuff wouldn’t be like their old stuff, and it’d be a bit more serious. Turns out that is all true, but all that my worries were unfounded, because this is at least five times better than what I was worried it might be. (I had, incidentally, completely forgotten about their comeback single.)
Tom: That’s a difficult sentence to parse, Tim, but yes, I agree.
Tim: It’s a curiously funked up number, which to be honest I’d be surprised if anyone was expecting, but it works well. I don’t know if I’d have enjoyed it as much if it was, say, on the next Daft Punk album (yes, a surprising comparison but still appropriate), but as a new Busted track? I’m game.
Tom: I actually thought ‘this sounds like something off Random Access Memories’. Which might be a bit of a backhanded compliment, but even so. Well done them for trying something new and pretty much pulling it off. Even that sax solo.
“Let’s call it inspiration rather than ‘bandwagon we totally jumped on’.”
Tim: Here’s a synthy track for you, and, well, have you seen Stranger Things?
Tom: No: it’s not really my sort of show.
Tim: Fair enough. There is reasoning for my question, though – have a listen, then I’ll explain.
Tim: Thing is, I’ve a hunch that people’s feelings for this may somewhat mirror their attitudes to the TV show. “You like 80s stuff? Well then here’s the song for you!”
Tom: And if you think that the majority of songs from the 80s were a bit rubbish, same as the majority of songs from any decade, and that the only reason we look back at the 80s with such nostalgia is that all the terrible music has been forgotten in hindsight, and that all the retro 80s bars and radio stations play from essentially a list of a few hundred tracks at most…
Tim: Well, look at you cutting all the bullshit right down to size. I don’t know, I may be being too cynical here – God knows it wouldn’t be the first time – but given that this is a fair break from her previous tracks, I can’t shake the idea that someone thought “hey, 80s nostalgia really is massive right now, isn’t it? I’m having A LOT of that”.
Tom: Right. But 80s nostalgia has always been massive. We’ve had so many resurgences of it.
Tim: True. But specifically in this instance: there’s a line on her website, that says “Bonus points if you can tell me what inspired the song.” I’d say the answer is blindingly obvious, and perhaps someone else thought “hang on, we’re gonna get flak for this? Let’s call it inspiration rather than ‘bandwagon we totally jumped on’.”
Tom: Our reader, Alan, sends this in, saying it’s “one of the best tracks off their recent album”.
Tom: Now, that’s not a message you hear from a song very often, and it’s a good one.
Tim: Yeah, I can see why people might go for that – and your right, it’s not very common, though I’d say it’s more likely just that it’s not a widely-held enough view to be worth singing about.
Tom: The chorus is catchy, and manages to get an appropriate amount of happiness and wistfulness to match the lyrics. I can’t remember the verse, but then if you can remember the verse after one listen, then you’ve basically got a number one hit on your hands.