Måns Zelmerlöw – Glorious

“Thankfully he’s back to the big dance pop.”

Tim: Somehow, it’s now over eighteen months since Måns won Eurovision, no idea where that time went. Anyway, here’s his new one, and thankfully he’s back to the big dance pop.

Tom: Blimey, it didn’t take music video directors long to, er, “take inspiration” from this drone lighting video. Looks good though. And the song’s not bad either.

Tim: BIG fan of that, I am. Starts out quite similar to Heroes, with the almost spoken vocal over a mild instrumental, then soon kicks up things up a notch leading into the chorus, and it’s a pretty good chorus.

Tom: It is: the percussion switch confused me the first couple of times, but once I understood what was going on I found it worked really, really well.

Tim: I always doubt the wisdom of calling a track something like Glorious, because you’re kind of saying “yes, it is”. Sometimes, that pays off, like when Magnus Carlsson or Andreas Johnson or Danny Saucedo. Other times, like with Matt Cardle does it…eh, not so much. This…yeah, I think this stands up. Not, alas, with those previously mentioned three, but it’s still very enjoyable, and contains everything I want from a decent pop track.

Tom: Including a great middle eight, almost better – as ever – than the regular track.

Tim: Good facial work in the video too, so WELCOME BACK MÅNS.

Saturday Flashback: Tomas Heredia feat. Victoria Bernardi – Nothing to Lose

“Damn, when it’s good it really is good.”

Tim: This came out early this summer, by two artists from Buenos Aires, and has just been sent to us; it really is quite the BANGER once it gets going, so have a listen.

Tom: Not just once it gets going! That’s a great introduction, too, with a proper build. It feels like I haven’t heard something like that in a while.

Tim: You may be might. You see, this track, in combination with yesterday’s, made me realise how much I’ve missed good piano dance music. Yes, it was far too pervasive while it was around, and by the end of 2013 it was no wonder there was a vacuum for farmhouse music to fit into, but damn, when it’s good it really is good to jump around and go nuts to. And this fits that bill very, very nicely.

Tom: Yes, you’re exactly right. It’s by-the-numbers for back then — even down to that one-beat ‘reset’ at 1:50, shortly after the inexplicable shot of someone holding their WhatsApp conversation up in the sky for everyone to see — but those are good numbers.

Tim: When that build started 80 seconds in, I got excited, and then when the drop hit I was very keen indeed. All I’m really left wondering now is whether I’ll be feeling nostalgic for pineapples in 2020.

Sigma feat. Birdy – Find Me

“It’s solid Sigma.”

Tim: The anonymous person who sent this is said the chorus sounded like a news theme tune…

Tim: …and weirdly it does have elements of the current BBC one – the rolling strings, the important but not overpowering drum beat, and even the melody itself isn’t far out.

Tom: As someone who normally notices things like that: I don’t hear the similarity. It reminds me more of Emeli Sande’s Heaven.

Tim: Hmm, yes, that’s not far off either. As for the rest of it: it’s solid Sigma – good dance beat, good featured vocalist, good lack of tropical vibes.

Tom: And a great video: playing with framerates and timelapse like that is always a good trick, and finding someone who can emote for that length of time in close up isn’t easy.

Tim: All in all, pretty good.

Invader Girl – Danger Zone

“I’m not sure there’s as much going on there as I’d like.”

Tom: Danger Zoooooone! …no?

Tim: No. We’ve not featured Invader Girl before; she’s from Denmark but has chosen to film her video in London. And it’s quite the video…

Tom: Blimey. That reminds me of a student TV production. Get a cheap costume and film someone around town with whatever camera you’ve got. That is quite the video.

Tim: So much of a video, in fact, that the first time I pressed play I didn’t really pay attention to the music – how on Earth is she wearing her costume while using the toilet, for a start.

Tom: Depends if the costume includes tights or not.

Tim: Fair point, also she’s sitting on the skirt/cape combo so I’m really not sure; I am fairly sure I’ve eaten in that McDonald’s, though. Anyway, then I thought “hang on, technically this is a music site so I’d better listen to the music” and then pressed play again, and was again distracted by that toilet scene before I got particularly far.

Tom: That’s a sentence, right there. Which does say something about the music: I’m not sure there’s as much going on there as I’d like.

Tim: Well indeed – background tab it was, and I’ve mixed feelings – decent backing from the get go, but then I got bored a bit, so I started doing other stuff, but then a couple of minutes later realised I was actually really enjoying it. Conclusion? To be honest, still wondering about that toilet scene.

Manfred – Tease

Tim: This is Manfred, and like several previous acts (and no doubt many future ones) he’s come direct from YouTube; apparently he’s been working on this for over six months.

Tom: A 4K music video! That might be the first one we’ve ever seen.

Tim: Hmm. I guess the good thing about having a sizeable pre-built fan base (in his case, a couple of hundred thousand) is that you don’t necessarily need a massive song to make your mark – that is of course also the bad thing, because if you rely on that you might come out with a track that’s about okay, slightly catchy but can best be described as “this’ll do”.

Tom: Or could otherwise be described as “the verses from George Michael’s Faith with a much worse chorus”.

Tim: Let’s honest: that’s basically what’s happened here, and quite how six months was spent on this I’ve no idea. That should, in theory, make it about 13,000 times as good as Writing’s On The Wall; while that was a truly awful track (I still stand by every syllable of my 500 word tirade), this isn’t that massive amount better.

Tom: It’s pleasant enough, I guess, but it’s not singable, and not all that interesting.

Tim: Sure, there’s a bit of catchiness, but if six months gets us this, I’m really wondering how he’ll fill the album he’s got coming out soon.

2 Blyger Låppar – Otur

“You can’t have a song with “hamster” and “mankini” in the lyrics and claim it’s serious.”

Tim: Swedish band here, with a song called “Bad Luck”; if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend the spend fifteen seconds being a tad intrigued, and then you’ll be “oh, YES”.

Tom: Actually, I’ll spend the first 15 seconds singing “Forever Young”, but yes, after that you’re about right.

Tim: So it’s all about a guy who has considerably bad luck; if you’re wondering why there’s a ‘hamster’ in the lyrics, it’s because he had a girlfriend but then she burnt his house down, and took his hamster on the way out. As is normal.

Tom: You can’t have a song with “hamster” and “mankini” in the lyrics and claim it’s serious. You just can’t. Not even in Sweden.

Tim: Yes, I’m not entirely sure how seriously it’s meant to be taken. Nonetheless, the story continues: towards the end, though, it gets nicer – middle eight’s about, with his whole life ahead of him, and then he takes a trip off to Thailand.

Tom: I get the feeling that the singer has some very specific issues still to work out with an ex. And that middle eight seems… unfinished, somehow.

Tim: I kind of know what you mean – personally, I’d quite like a key change there, in the form of Taylor’s Swift’s Love Story: it’s not just for fun but actually to reflect the narrative of the lyrics. Still, I guess it wasn’t to be, and the song is perfectly enjoyable without it, so I’ll take it nonetheless. Good stuff.

Hakuna – California

“In November?”

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.

Tom: Just don’t bring me the lyricist.

Saturday Flashback: Alan Walker – Faded (Tiësto’s Northern Lights Remix)

“Suddenly seems a lot more exciting”

Tim: Last Saturday you pointed out that Roger was a rather mundane name for a singer of a great song, which in turn reminded me that one of the biggest dance tracks of the year was by an act with a name better suited to a middle aged accountant than to a superstar DJ; I then discovered that there are TWO remix EPs of said track, and this here’s a good one.

Tim: You see, I love the way that plays with the speed there.

Tom: That’s a rare technique: I’d expect my brain to reject it for being different, but no, somehow it works.

Tim: I cut to forty seconds in because for some reason the YouTube version gets going at the high speed, which kind of spoils it – when I first heard it it took me quite by surprise, and I was tied between “oh, this is weird” and “oh, this is brilliant”, and I very soon came down on the side of the latter. I don’t know if it’s the novelty of it – I certainly never felt the original was too slow – but it suddenly seems a whole lot more exciting, and I love that.

Tom: Admittedly the synth pads sound a bit like they’re from 90s eurodance, but you know what? I like 90s eurodance. I like this.

Amy Deasismont – This Is How We Party

“As far as I see it, drinking to be happy is exactly the right thing to do.”

Tim: Remember Amy Diamond, who we haven’t featured for several years?

Tom: No!

Tim: Fair enough. She’s now singing under her actual name, and her newest track is this; it’s FRIDAY, so let’s PARTY. Sort of, you’ll see.

Tim: Well, she loses points immediately for taking the lazy route with the video; those points are soon gained back, though, by the unexpected sax and confession to basically solving all her problems by going out and drinking.

Tom: What a massively dull sax riff, though. What on earth’s going on there? Five maudlin notes isn’t exactly enough to hang a chorus on. I realise it fits the mood of the song, though…

Tim: As far as I see it, being a retail worker, drinking to be happy is exactly the right thing to do, and I say well done to Amy for seeing things from the everyman’s view.

Tom: Mm. I suspect that’s not what it means.

Tim: That’s fair – you could look at it in a slightly darker mood, of course, and view that as a very unhealthy lifestyle and possibly verging on alcoholism, particularly with the minor key and lack of any triumphant moments, but LET’S NOT. Instead let’s PARTY and DRINK.

Tom: Are… are you OK, Tim?

Tim: Oh, fine. Absolutely fine…

DRINK DRINK DRINK

Green Day – Still Breathing

“It’s interesting, really…”

Tim: Someone wrote in last week suggesting we cover American Idiot, in honour of a certain someone; I didn’t go with it because I don’t particularly want to get nuked any time soon. It did prompt me to wonder what Green Day were up to, though; turns out they’re on their twelfth album, and the second single from it was released last week.

Tom: You start a video with ocean wave samples, I’m going to immediately think it’s the Pet Shop Boys’ version of “Go West”.

Tim: I’m afraid not. What we do have, though, can be basically be summed up as: standard Green Day. It’s interesting, really, when so many current acts decide to change their sound every couple of albums, that other bands are happy to put out the same sort of stuff, in Green Day’s case for thirty years now (yeah, me too).

Tom: And the thing is, this is still a really good track. Yesterday, I said that the Kings of Leon track was great for their fans, but maybe not for the wider world. To me, this is both: is that because Green Day go for more mainstream songs and styles? Or because I’m more used to how they sound?

Tim: Bit of both, I’d say, and it’s no bad thing – you know exactly what you’ll get if you ask Siri to play some Green Day, and any Greatest Hits albums with flow nicely. On the other hand, I’m not much less of a fan of new Busted than I was of old Busted, and part of me can’t help wondering what we might get if Green Day did venture out of their comfort zone. Either way, though: decent track.