Basic Element – Someone Out There

Tim: Here’s one for a Friday, to get you READY FOR THE WEEKEND. (And before you ask, no idea about the car.)

Tom: Well, that qualifies as a CHOON.

Tim: I’m writing this on Thursday evening; when it goes up I’ll be desperately trying to manage hordes of people all desperate to get their hands on shiny new phones. And you know what? This is a perfect track to accompany that. It’s loud, it’s a bit messy with the rapping on top, it’s reminiscent of dance tracks of old (fairly sure there’s a Faithless track lying around in there somewhere), but more importantly it’s LOUD.

Tom: Agreed. It’s a fairly 90s track, all things being equal, and someone how that’s not a bad thing.

Tim: BANGING, in fact, if that word hasn’t lost all meaning yet. This is a middle of the set track, to be played when people are jumping around and happy to keep on do so, and ideally as far away from God Is A DJ as possible so people don’t notice.

Posted in Dance | Tagged | Leave a comment

CLMD – Wild Men

Tim: This is a video that could be taken several ways: funny, weird, maybe horrifically disturbing. Either way, the first time you push play you won’t be concentrating on the music.

Tom: Which doesn’t say much for the music, really.

Tim: Perhaps not, but if you switch the screen off and just focus on the sound, you can really appreciate it somewhat, or at least understand what the video has to do with the music. It’s not particularly special – this would most likely fall into the forgettable category you introduced on Tuesday – but I think the video at least is worth a note.

Tom: I’m not sold on that video: adding subtitles doesn’t really work in a music video.

Tim: No – only really serves to further distract from the sound. It’s not a bad track by any means, but it’s all somewhat standard, and the video really isn’t. So what does that tell us? That the two dance producers would be better off script-writing? They should just focus on the day job? Or perhaps nothing at all, and what we should really be doing is DANCING when a DJ puts this on in a club, because I’d very happily do that.

Posted in Dance | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tove Lo – Timebomb

Tim: Do you fancy rhythm in your verses? If you do, you’re out of luck with this. On the other hand…

Tim: …everything else about the track is bloody wonderful, and even the verse thing is overlookable once you’re expecting it.

Tom: It’s an interesting approach, certainly: it’s been tried before a few times before, and I’m not sure it completely works here — but at least it provides a contrast into that absolutely gorgeous chorus.

Tim: It does, and as for the rest of it: a lovely piano line underneath everything, a nice speedy drumbeat on top of that, and once the pre-chorus comes along, and then gives way to the full-on chorus, that instrumentation is just incredible.

Tom: Yep: the production is fantastic.

Tim: I especially like those noises that sound like a cartoon laser gun being fired, just because I don’t think I’ve heard them in any other song.

Tom: Gnarls Barkley’s Smiley Faces?

Tim: Sort of, but they don’t really have the same “pew! pew!” effect that gives the impression of just moving very very quickly, desperate to move on, that’s demonstrated in so many other parts of the song – the rushed verse, the quick drums, the timebomb in the lyrics.

Even at three and a half minutes, that makes the song seems as though it’s way too short, and I don’t really want it to stop, because dammit we COULD be the best thing ever, so let’s do everything quickly before we explode and do it all as much as possible. ONE TRACK REPEAT PLEASE.

Posted in Europop | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Main Level – Go Go With You

Tim: Remember the glory days of One Direction, with tracks like Live While We’re Young and What Makes You Beautiful?

Tom: Crikey. Three years ago, that was.

Tim: Yep, and this Norwegian boyband do as well, and they’d also like to demonstrate all the geography they learnt at school.

Tim: That’s really what you get when a boyband doesn’t care about whether or not they’re a boyband, but instead care about MAKING GREAT MUSIC. And music videos with silly ‘plots’ involving a security guard that’s confused by a keypad, but never mind that.

Tom: Oh good grief, they look like a parody of a boy band, like some comedians are trying to do a boyband parody sketch. The cheesy cutaways, the by-the-numbers videography, the constant hands on each other’s shoulders.

Tim: Clap your hands right from the get go, please, because this is a song that knows what it’s doing – lyrics are “yes, you (YOU) are my girlfriend so let’s do stuff together”, music too has no sense of ever sitting down or staying still.

Tom: I just don’t get it: the music sounds like a parody — specifically, a bit like Key and Peele’s LMFAO parody. Those aren’t lyrics: you’re just naming a load of places.

Tim: I have one complaint: those “oh, o-oh”s coming out of the middle eight would be a perfect, a PERFECT, place for a key change. Opportunity considerably missed there, but never mind, because the rest is just great. Very very great.

Tom: Most of the tracks we cover are forgettable–

Tim: Well that’s going on the potential slogan list.

Tom: A few, I want to hear again, and I download them. And a few, I never want to hear again because for some irrational reason they annoy me so much. This is one of the latter.

Tim: Oh, how disappointing.

Posted in Europop | Tagged | 1 Response

Merely – Forever

Tim: Interesting artist name, I know, but no worse than at least one other act around at the moment. And this song is…well, hard to describe succinctly, so have a listen.

Tom: What a very odd track.

Tim: In parts ghostly, soulful, beat-heavy, gentle, swooshy and towards the end just plain BANGING, the PR stuff describes it (somewhat accurately for once) as a mixture of “banging euro techno from your adolescence and the angel choirs from your funeral.”

Tom: Hmm. I can see where they’re coming from, but I’m not sure that the two match entirely. It sounds like a mashup, even though it isn’t — those vocals don’t quite fit with the backing.

Tim: I think this is a lovely track, if only because it showcases all the possibilities that dance music like this can bring right now. It’s varied, it’s almost exciting, it’s just great to sit back, listen to and appreciate. There’s not much of a structure to it, but there doesn’t need to be – just hear it and enjoy it.

Tom: Yes, I can agree with that. It’s a bit like the difference between high fashion and regular fashion: you’re not supposed to wear what’s on the catwalk, but it’s supposed to show just what you can do with clothing. This, to me, isn’t massively listenable: but it does show off what you can do with music.

Tim: Going back to the PR, though now we’re back to the usual over-inflated guff, it’s “like a therapy session with the higher powers, that ends when the phone dies.” Though you know what? I kind of know where it’s coming from.

Posted in Dance | Tagged | Leave a comment

Saturday Flashback: Martin Stenmarck – Tonight’s The Night

Tim: I realised after I wrote it that Wednesday’s post may have given the impression that Melodifestivalen 2014 was Martin’s first outing; hell no, in fact he’s been going a couple of decades. Here’s a particular highlight, from 2011.

Tim: That’s a heck of a first few notes, I think you’ll agree, which is a good start for what’s a very good track.

Tom: I’m DANCING IN MY CHAIR to the first verse, Tim. Maybe it’s late and I’m tired as I write this, maybe I’m just in a suggestible mood, but since when did the first verse do that?

Tim: You think? Because my thought was that the verse wasn’t really the greatest, but then that chorus is very definitely loud and vigorous and enticing.

Tom: Oh! Oh you’re so wrong. The chorus was a bit of a let-down, because it’s a little bit slow and suddenly goes into a minor key at the end. I’m all about the insistent percussion and the synth backing in the verses, and that’s really weird for me.

I’m guessing you’re about the choruses, though?

Tim: Oh yes – the last chorus in particular, back after that shouty then briefly quiet middle eight, could safely be described as enormous. Multiple vocal lines, massive production with big beats behind it…basically everything you need for a terrific dance track. Martin Stenmarck: excellent artist.

Tom: Agreed.

Posted in Europop | Tagged | Leave a comment

Jenni Vartiainen – Eden

Tim: Remember Jenni Vartiainen? Feel free to remind yourself if not, but basically: good pop with big instrumental backing.

Tim: And, conveniently, not much has changed. True, it’s not as big as some we’ve heard before, but this is still a great track.

Tom: Hmm. My attention kept slipping from it: I’ve tried to listen three times now: each time after about a minute I realised I wasn’t listening any more.

Tim: Curious – I have no such problem. I particularly like (as I suspect I’m meant to) the sense in the chorus that there’s something coming, and yes, I’ll find out if I just wait a bit, but I’d rather not; when it does coming along, though, much like an Apple Watch, the outcome is positive enough that all is forgiven.

Tom: See, I think it’s a bit like an Apple Watch too: vaguely specified, a bit confusing and disappointing, and no-one’s actually going to buy it.

Tim: Ah. The middle eight has all the ‘wait, wait, wait’ going on as well, although to be honest it almost takes it a bit far, giving a slight sense of ‘oh, hurry up’, but then the closing section comes along and, yeah, it’s all still worth it. Aye-aye-aye etc.

Tom: I’ve tried to listen two more times, and it’s just slipped away again. I’m not convinced.

Tim: Well, I am. It’s lovely.

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged | Leave a comment

John de Sohn – You Only Love Me

Tim: We featured John about eighteen months ago; I couldn’t remember that, or the song, but then after watching this I noticed one of the related videos, which, and I can’t possibly think why, has stuck with me. Still couldn’t remember the song, though, but here’s his new one.

Tim: Now, I’m fairly sure I’ve heard that first verse before; in fact I spent the entirety of it running through Olly Murs songs in my head, never a pleasant task.

Tom: Bruno Mars for me. I reckon you’re thinking of the “to give me all your love / is all I ever asked” bit from Grenade.

Tim: Oh yes, that’s it. But when the instrumental hits, who the hell cares about the verses if you’ve got that going on?

Tom: Yes, yes, yes. I couldn’t agree more. Everything from that subtle arpeggiated build onwards: it absolutely works.

Tim: Is it brass, or is it just synths? Probably the latter, but damn it sounds good. Sure, vocals are good as well, but really it’s all about that post-chorus. It’s over-and-over-again stuff, and I LOVE it.

Tom: I know that every BANGING CHOON needs to have calm bits in it too, but I can’t help feeling that the verses let this down just a little bit. It is really all about the chorus.

Posted in Dance | Tagged | Leave a comment

Martin Stenmarck – Glas, Betong Och Cement

Tim: Six months on, I’m fairly sure that “När änglarna går hem” was one of the more memorable chorus lines from Melodifestivalen of this year; on the other hand, we both decided his next one was something we’d like to forget. This one?

Tim: Well that’s a whole lot closer to the first, and I’d actually say better than it, what with there being no dull first verse to get bored during. Instead, there are just big honest vocals conveying the general mood of the song.

Tom: You know how sometimes it’s all about the chorus? This time, it was all about the middle eight for me. That urgent percussion, the staccato vocals: that’s the part that stuck out to me.

Tim: You can probably guess what Glas and Cement translate to, and Betong is concrete – the main chorus line is roughly along the lines of “I’ll keep dancing as if nothing has happened, another broken heart amongst glass, concrete and cement.”

Tom: Ooh. Ooh, I like that a lot, and suddenly the chorus stands out for me as well. That’s an absolutely brilliant lyric. Maybe I’m just a bit tired, but I can’t quite get over that lyric.

Tim: Yes, but I kind of want to say ‘come on now, you’re getting just a bit melodramatic there aren’t you'; having said that, it reminds me of a good number nights out at university when I may have had a few too many, and quite frankly I think it’s great, especially the yelling during the middle eight. LET IT OUT, MARTIN. LET IT ALL OUT.

Posted in Europop | Tagged | Leave a comment

One Direction – Fireproof

Tim: Not content with just putting out a new trailer for their second film and launching their new perfume —

Tom: I’m still proud of what I helped do to their first perfume commercial.

Tim: Ha, as well you should be — the boys decided yesterday to round off the beginning of September with plonking a new track online, in full Beyoncé style, with no warning whatsoever, for anyone and everyone to download.

Tim: And I think we can all be entirely relieved that they’ve basically forgotten about that whole ‘rock’ thing – seemingly, their musical journey has done the rebellious teenager bit and is now ready to go back to sensible stuff. Or perhaps they just noticed that Midnight Memories was considerably less successful than either of their previous two offerings – too cynical?

Tom: Perhaps they’ve just got the same Third Album Syndrome as Lady Gaga?

Tim: Could well be, yes. To be honest, I don’t know what I think about this – sure, it’s decent enough, and there are a number of good things to say about it, maybe, I think? I don’t know, really. It doesn’t seem like a lead single.

Tom: Well, I’m going to be a bit more forthright: if this wasn’t a One Direction track, it’d sink without a trace.

Tim: I don’t want to describe it as standard, even though it basically is, because I’ve listened to it nine times now and I’m showing no signs of getting bored of it, so it must be doing something right.

Tom: Really? I can’t see why. It’s nice enough, I suppose, but it’s so middle-of-the-road that it basically belongs on Radio 2’s playlist. And not even their A playlist, either. Maybe their C playlist at best.

Tim: I am at least now more interested than I previously was in their next album (imaginatively titled ‘Four’), so I suppose that’s good. OH, IT’S FINE – not amazing, but certainly not terrible, and definitely very listenable.

Posted in Mainstream | Tagged | Leave a comment
  • This is Europlop, where Tim and Tom argue about music that isn't worth arguing about.

    Suggest a track

    What's the track?

    Where can we find it? Give us a YouTube link if you can.

    What do you think of it?

    What should we call you?

    If you want a reply, include your email address:

    To prove you're a human, what's 7 minus 4? 

    Tim Jeffries was born in the UK a good few years ago now, and regularly dreams of a Busted reunion.

    Along with good music, things he appreciates include the use of correct grammar, well-made banana daiquiris and shampoo for men that smells nice (which he still hasn't found). His favourite colour is what Dulux call 25YY 49/757, and his favourite member of the Felidae family is the snow leopard.

    Follow Tim on Twitter

    Tom Scott is a techie with extremely questionable taste in music. In his spare time, he has too many plans and a worrying tendency to make them happen.

    His greatest achievement was getting five gold runs on Blockbusters, which he still harps on about to this day.

    Tom's web site

    Follow Tom on Twitter