Nova Miller – Supernova

Tim: In a transparent attempt to have you yelling “get off my lawn”, I’m going to open by telling you that Nova is 13, and, if we take the title with no context, has quite a high opinion of herself.

Tim: On the other hand, listening with the rest of the lyrics, then…well, actually it could be either – the standard interpretation, or a “shine like me because I’m awesome.”

Tom: I’m not going to “get off my lawn” here, but I am going to astronomy-pedant: a supernova’s the last explosion of a dying star, a suicidal blast that destroys the star itself and takes out anything around it. If you’re going to analogise astronomy, make sure you haven’t got unfortunate implications in there.

Tim: Oh, do shut up. Whatever interpretations or problems we may have with the lyrics, it’s a cracking tune – let’s face it, this is uplifting and power-gifting enough to be a Kelly Clarkson song turned the other way round, and it would be up there with her best.

Tom: Yep, to be fair, I wasn’t convinced until that high note at the end of “supernova”. Didn’t expect it, it works well.

Tim: Even better, everyone involved has resisted the inevitable temptation to turn this into a romantic song – in the chorus, it would have been so easy to rhyme “you see” with a “to me” at the end, but nope. Instead, it’s addressed to EVERYBODY, so SHINE, Thomas, SHINE like a freakin’ SUPERNOVA, dammit!

Tom: Be careful what you wish for, Tim.

Tim: Oh, I know exactly what I’m wishing for, Tom.

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Kelly Clarkson – Invincible

Tim: Next up from the Piece by Piece album, this, and with tracks like Heartbeat Song, Stronger and now this I can’t help feeling Kelly’s got a bit of an “I AM AWESOME” vibe going on.

Tom: And it’s the second single from the album? Well, that still might be the case: but it’s got a lot to live up to.

Tim: Let’s have a listen to see if we’re convinced.

Tim: Well, bloody hell, yes I am, because flipping heck, that track really is quite something.

Tom: I had to readjust my expectations, because I had Heartbeat Song still in my head — and this isn’t that kind of fast-paced pop. It’s not quite to my tastes, and if it wasn’t for that quiet string line in the background I suspect I’d have gotten a bit bored half way through.

Tim: Oh, please. I mean, how LOUD does a pop track need to be? Answer: exactly this loud, with those drums and the strings and the quite frankly utterly ridiculous top vocal line in the final chorus when there seems to be about five of her.

Tom: There is that: what it’s lost in engagement it’s made up for in sheer… size? Is that a word?

Tim: Yes…yes, I’m fairly sure ‘size’ is a word, Tom. Do you need a lie down? Anyway, I’d put this closer to enormity, because with music like this, Kelly, you really do seem to be invincible, and damn, I’m glad that that’s the case.

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Saturday Flashback: Fall Out Boy – Immortals

Tim: From last October, this by Fall Out Boy, which is entirely not ‘us’, but I’ve just seen Big Hero 6 and it’s BRILLIANT.

Tom: Isn’t it, though?

Tim: I mean to be honest I don’t have much to say about the song itself – it’s got a very very good chorus line, even if the lyrics don’t really make much sense, but the rest is a bit of a racket, and not really up there with Fall Out Boy’s best.

Tom: Whoa, really? Because this (along with Save Rock and Roll) is one of their stand-out tracks for me.

Tim: I don’t know – it’s certainly very good, but as far as rock tracks go I generally prefer something with a bit more melody; in Fall Out Boy’s case I’d have Sugar We’re Going Down, or maybe Dance, Dance – though that might be just remembering them from university when I would have put up with that. I will restate, though, that the chorus here is utterly brilliant.

HOWEVER, regardless of Fall Out Boy’s back catalogue, Big Hero 6 is absolutely wonderful, and everybody should see it, and it’s on Netflix and all the usual places so watch it because it’s very funny and lovely as well. Done.

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Dragonette – Let The Night Fall

Tim: I don’t know why, but I always thought these guys were French; they’re not, they’re from Canada (and not the French bit), but anyway, they’ve just put this new track out.

Tom: There aren’t many pop vocalists who sound distinctive at the moment: Dragonette’s got a great, and individual, voice that means that all the band’s tracks “sound like them”. It’s more obvious in the verses, but that’s because there isn’t ALL THE INSTRUMENTS from the chorus.

Tim: And what a wonder of an ALL THE INSTRUMENTS chorus that is. “We’ll step it up when the sun goes down, let the light fall/No matter what, we’re not stopping now, let the night fall.” This is, without question, a PARTY TRACK, and it is utterly fantastic at being that, right from the instrumentation to the vocals to the smiley face on the artwork.

Tom: Oh, that’s what that is! I genuinely didn’t work it out.

Tim: My one criticism is that middle eight, because, well, in complete contrast to what the chorus states, it pretty much does stop now, and doesn’t really start again properly for another forty seconds or so. On the other hand, everything else is brilliant, and it’s a fantastic return after a couple of years away. Welcome back, guys.

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Evelina Olsén – Dö För Mig

Tim: Or, to translate it from the Swedish, “Die for me”, with that being preceded in the chorus by a “Would you.”

Tom: I’m going to answer that question right away: no.

Tom: So, that’s a lovely poppy thing, isn’t it? Yes, yes it is.

Tim: Once it kicked in: it’s… it’s not bad. It is lovely, and it’s poppy, and it’s certainly a thing, but I don’t feel all those words can quite go together, if that makes sense.

Tom: I’ve listened to it a good number of times now, and I think the highest compliment I can pay it is that it basically ticks all the necessary boxes to get everybody on their feet at a big pop night in a club – drum beat, strong female singer, very big chorus with vocals that, with a translation if necessary, could be very easily shouted along to.

Tim: Are we listening to the same song? It’s pleasant enough, I suppose, but far too low-key for something like that: it just doesn’t hold my interest.

Tom: Were I a DJ, this would easily be on my standard setlist, so basically LET’S HAVE MORE.

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Emilie Esther – Inescapable

Tim: Danish X Factor winner; second single; a two-part chorus I’m hopeful you’ll enjoy.

Tom: That introduction — the slight hints of what’s to come — really does set the mood well. It’s got promise. And as for that chorus: yes.

Tim: Oh yes. First part: lovely, edging towards the euphoric end of of the musical scale; second part: big and banging and entirely different but equally brilliant.

Tom: And linking them, a noise-gated drum introduction that sounds like they got Phil Collins’ engineer in. Even the verses seem to fit in well here.

Tim: The middle eight somehow manages to put both of those together and sound wonderful; towards the end, back for the final chorus, her vocals are fantastic and perfectly on point.

Tom: My one complaint is that the small samples from the introduction never really return to take their place in the final song — but that’s a minor thing. Everything, down to the traditional slight vocal changes on the final chorus, is good. I think I could have even gone for one more, bigger, bolder chorus; that ending was a bit too abrupt.

Tim: Perhaps, and I’d certainly not say no to a bit more of it either: it’s just a fantastic track.

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Axwell Λ Ingrosso – Sun Is Shining

Tim: Tom, you are going to have the exact same complaint here that you had with Something New – namely, that despite being four and a half minutes, it’s only part of a song.

Tom: GET OFF THE TRAIN TRACKS. THERE IS A TRAIN COMING, YOU DICK. Anyway. Sorry. Oddly, I don’t actually have that complaint on this one — it sounds like a complete track to me, and not a bad one.

Tim: Huh, fair enough. I think for me mostly it’s the repeat to fade, because who the hell ever heard of that in a dance track?

Tom: No-one since about the mid-90s. Which, actually, is a bit what this sounds like to me.

Tim: With the exception of the post-chorus (which I would happily ditch entirely as I find it frankly quite unpleasant), it’s a great tune, though.

Tom: Once it finally kicks in, yes; that long first verse has sudden sparks of inspiration in it that keep me going, but it still felt like a long wait.

Tim: I’d love to hear a properly finished version of it, because now THE SUN IS SHINING, and, whoever ‘you’ is, I’m fairly sure that they are as well. WE’RE ALL SHINING, in fact, because that’d be nice wouldn’t it?

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Only The Young – I Do

Tim: ONLY THE YOUNG, as anyone who watched the tense parts of last year’s X Factor will know them, were one of the most promising groups of recent times.

Tom: Ha! I’m very glad I clicked that link.

Tim: Yeah, I kind of want to be friends with that guy. Despite his best efforts, though, they got booted off in week seven, quite a shame. On the other hand, if they’d won they’d still be in a recording studio somewhere and we wouldn’t have their first release for at least another couple of months, so here we are.

Tom: Interesting choice to rhyme “kiss ya” with “picture”, though. Their accents mean they can pull it off, but it’s a risky one.

Tim: They are Charlie (male with the stupid hair), Mikey (male with the sensible hair), Patsy (female with the brown hair) and Betsy Blue (female with the blonde hair), and my first thought was that it’s genuinely nice to have a mixed-gender group, because off the top of my head I can’t think of a successful one in the past several years (except for Electro Velvet, obviously).

Tom: All I could think of were much older groups: Ace of Base, Abba, and Aqua. All of which start with A for some reason.

Tim: Yes – aside from those, only Steps and S Club 7 sprang to mind immediately. One other thing that was nice was that they actually seemed to be having a lot of fun, and this seems to have made its way into this. It’s turned a song about a fairly creepy situation (turning up to the wedding of someone who’s never met him, hoping that the marriage won’t last long) into one that’s upbeat and all clap-alongy and everything with all you need for a summer hit.

Tom: I know! Imagine this performed in a more creepy-stalker voice and it suddenly seems a lot, lot worse. But then, a lot of songs do that.

Tim: Well, this is true. Particularly of note: that return from the middle eight, which is exactly what it should be – ever so slight hint of melancholy just detectable in there, but otherwise full-on rousing. Good work, let’s have an album please.

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Saturday Flashback: Maggie Reilly – Everytime We Touch

Tim: THIS IS WEIRD.

Tom: Wow. You’re not kidding, either. That’s weird.

Tim: So, I think we can file Cascada’s track away with Torn as a song no-one realised was a cover* – I had no idea about this 1992 track until last week when I was writing about Ariana’s track, and I had to check Wikipedia to see if Everytime was one or two words.

* Verses are different, yes, but it’s apparently close enough for the writing credits to be the same.

Tom: Fair point. And it’s two words, but no-one seems to mind.

Tim: Maggie’s a Scottish singer, though this didn’t bother the charts over here at all; did get to number 1 in Norway, though, and charted in most of Europe.

Tom: Those differing verses really do make a difference. By the way, “I feel the static” is a terrible line. Have you ever got a static shock from kissing someone? It’s not pleasant.

Tim: Eurgh – no, I can’t imagine it would be, now I think about it. In all, though, I can’t pretend I enjoy this version remotely as much – aside from the genre, the video doesn’t feature librarians getting their rave on – but it was an interesting find nonetheless and I thought I’d share it with you. I’m JUST THAT NICE.

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Page Four – Sommer

Tim: Because there currently aren’t enough boybands, here’s a new one from Denmark.

Tim: And it’s alright, but…well, there’s a reason “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” is a thing, and this is exactly it.

Tom: Yep. It’s a shame, because that introduction was incredibly promising — but the first verse just kills that dead.

Tim: And annoyingly it’s not just the verse – the pre-chorus is exactly twice as long as it should be, and even when the chorus does finally hit, there’s still a sense of “wait for it, wait for it…” You end up screaming OH JUST GET ON WITH IT, and wondering if you might find it better if it was in English because then you’d at least know what was going on.

Tom: Well, those of us who don’t speak Danish do, anyway.

Tim: Yes, that’s true. But I don’t think it would improve matters anyway, because there’s still way too much hanging around. Basically, no boyband debut track should be anywhere near four minutes long – hell, three thirty’s pushing it, because you want people to REPLAY REPLAY REPLAY, and who’s going to do that if they’re bored?

Tom: And let’s be honest: that “summ-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-h” chorus isn’t all that much to shout about. Yes, it’s competently sung, yes, it’s catchy as all hell, and given a few radio plays it’ll most likely be in everyone’s heads. But it’s hardly a One Direction chorus, is it?

Tim: Decidedly not, but then on the other hand, 150,000 views in less than two weeks can’t be argued with, and nor can a week in the iTunes top five, so what do we know? (Don’t answer that.)

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    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.

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    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.

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