Jessica Andersson – På dejt med mig

“I’m not sure doubling that key change would be legal, Tim.”

Tim: The first half second of this is reminiscent of her entry (as part of Fame) into Eurovision 2003, and it doesn’t disappoint after that.

Tom: Well, that’s straight out of the 80s, isn’t it?

Tim: LOVE a good bit of disco schlager – I mean. which normal person doesn’t? – and it’s nice to know that all the skills are still there.

Tom: Full marks for actually including a proper double-clap, and for — I’m fairly sure — ripping off a James Bond chord progression in the verse.

Tim: It’s not flawless – I’d happily lose twenty seconds of the rinse and repeat leading up to the middle eight, because it does get a tad tedious, and I’d at least double the level of that key change.

Tom: I’m not sure doubling that key change would be legal, Tim. It’s already audacious.

Tim: THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR MORE. But the genre is fabulous, they ramp up to said key change is excellent, and all in it’s a lovely listen.

Tom: I’m not sure I’d actually want this on a playlist, but I’m glad it exists.

Tim: Very glad indeed.

Dilba – Running Up That Hill

“You come at Kate Bush, you’d better not miss…”

Tim: You come at Kate Bush, you’d better not miss…

Tim: …and I don’t think she really does.

Tom: Okay, so I realise this is a big hole in my musical knowledge, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard the original of this. So to me, this sounds like a slightly-odd chilled-out dance track, and, well, we both know how I feel about that genre.

Tim: True. For those that have heard the original, though, the nice thing is that Dilba (Swedish, btw, been going 20-odd years now) has a fairly similar voice anyway, so if you weren’t really paying attention you could almost dismiss it as a remix. But it’d be a good remix, because it’s sounding all modern and everything, and a fair bit dancey but still the same gentle laid back loopiness of all the best Kate Bush songs.

Tom: Despite my dislike of the genre, there is a lot to like here. The synths that appear over the final chorus are great, in a sort of video-game-soundtrack kind of way. Yes, it is a good chorus. I went back and listened to the original, and, frankly, I prefer the modern version — but that’s because those weird keyboard sounds haven’t dated well.

Tim: Just a shame there’s no video, really, because oh boy, did Kate Bush do good videos.

Saturday Reject: Ann-Louise Hanson – Kärleken finns kvar

“You don’t see enough living rooms with the Eye of Sauron in the background.”

Tim: Here, I present for you my favourite Eurovision staging since Teenage Life.

Tom: There’s a lot to unpack in that statement. Let’s move on.

Tom: Oh, you’re right though, they’ve done a good job with that staging. You don’t see enough living rooms with the Eye of Sauron in the background. I wonder if you can get that from Ikea?

Tim: Not at my local one, no – I checked to see, but no, sorry. As is traditional for “person who hasn’t really done anything for a good few decades”, it came fifth. The song itself is irrelevant, of course – does well in the first round because “oh, it’s nice to see them again” but then crashes out in the second because “oh, jeez, no this can’t go through”. Bit of fun for all the family, though, so why not?

Joakim Molitor feat. Moa Lisa – Number One

“Not that FRIDAY WHEEEEY means much to you or me, given our chosen professions, but let’s have a Friday dance tune nonetheless.”

Tim: Not that FRIDAY WHEEEEY means much to you or me, given our chosen professions, but let’s have a Friday dance tune nonetheless.

Tom: Well, for me it’s more like FRIDAY PLANE TO A DIFFERENT TIME ZONE, but okay.

Tim: Oh, and you’ll want to put the lyric video in a background tab, far too many mistakes to take (and one appalling lyric).

Tom: And terrible choices of line break positioning, too. Amateur hour.

Tim: “You’re lightning up my heart”, you see, is just awful – it’s in that horrible place where you don’t know if they’ve accidentally put the wrong word, or if they’ve chosen it deliberately to be a bit weird or something, and I’m not sure if either is forgivable. That aside, though – the rest of it’s all decent.

Tom: Decent, sure, but it’s hardly a floor-filler, is it? I know that’s not always the point, but still.

Tim: Production’s good, and while there’s the occasional “wait, there’s no drop yet?” moment, eventually it provides what’s necessary: a pleasant summery beat. The season’s on its way, folks – let’s have some fun.

SINNAH – Running Wild

“I remain completely unmoved by it!”

Tim: Here is a song where, in a break with tradition, I will be talking exclusively about the song.

Tom: Finally. This does, however, almost guarantee that I won’t like the music.

Tim: Because that chorus is just wonderful, and that’s mainly what caught my ear, with the beating drums and everything.

Tom: I remain completely unmoved by it! It’s OK, sure, but… you remember this obscure track, Lionheart, that we talked about years ago? They feel similar to me — but that was entirely pop, whereas this might be trying to be something more, and it’s not quite making it.

Tim: Hmm, ish, and I guess this could be trying for a bit of a dancier vibe, but that’s certainly no bad thing. That is still a top track, though.

Tom: I’ll grant you that, by the final chorus, I didn’t think this was bad. It just wasn’t spectacular either.

Tim: Thing is, after being attracted by that chorus, I’m listening to it again properly and the rest of it just strikes me as lovely as well. Particularly her vocals in that pre-chorus, gentle and melodic, and beautifully in contrast with what’s about to unfold. And that middle eight as well, all quiet and mild, and calm, and suddenly BANG in come the drums for the close. It’s fabulous, all of it.

Christopher – My Heart

“Warning: this is an exceptionally frustrating video.”

Tom: Bold choice to choose one of the most common first names in the world as your mononym, but sure.

Tim: Warning: this is an exceptionally frustrating video.

Tpm: I’m not sure it’s frustrating, just more ill-thought-out.

Tim: “Okay,” went my thought process, “we’ve got a reverse video, always a fun thing, particularly when they try to lip sync it, and we know he ends up dead, so what’s going to happen?” Except then it turns out that since you can’t exactly die from rolling down a sand dune it must have been just a metaphorical death, but hey, is that a wedding we’ve got coming up? That’ll be a decent climax. Except, no. He’s just waiting at the alter, gets given back the engagement ring and then think “welp, guess she’s ditched me, okay, bye everyone”. Like, what? Narratively that’s awful, because at least call her to find out what’s going on, mate, don’t just run away and metaphorically kill yourself. And for our sake as viewers, where’s the fun? Where’s the “hang on, I know that look in your eye, wait, you’re sleeping my the best man?!” moment? That’d be a showdown worth waiting for, not this nonsense.

In other news, that’s now three out of three tracks this week where I’ve not actually mentioned the music at all. Hmm.

Tom: Yeah, I was going to mention that. And for once, I think that’s a shame: it’s got a really nice chorus, the piano’s doing interesting things in the background, and he’s got a voice that’s more than capable of singing it.

Tim: All of that is true – it’s nice. It’s decent. Just, not as good as the video is annoying, I guess.

Donkeyboy – Think You Should

“New one off Norway’s finest purveyors of electropop.”

Tim: New one off Norway’s finest purveyors of electropop; have a listen, etc.

Tom: Well, that’s a great and promising verse hampered by an unmemorable chorus.

Tim: Now, I like a good lyric video as much as the next guy, but sometimes I’m worried I read too much into them.

Tom: Oh no. Not again.

Tim: For example, this here is entirely standard – words coming and going as they should do, no typos or anything, all should be fine. Except. Except. What’s happening with the silhouettes, please. Because there are four people who make up Donkeyboy – Cato (vocals and guitar), Kent (vocals & synth), Peter (guitar, acting vocals) and Thomas (drums) – and here we’ve also one non-credited vocalist, Linnea, who also featured on their biggest hit, Ambitions, and is presumably the full colour one who shows up briefly.

SO WHAT DOES THE FADING MEAN? We have at most four silhouettes there at any one time, and why do they come and go? What is happening? Who do they represent? What does it signify? What does it mean? WHAT DOES ANYTHING MEAN?

Tom: It means the animator played about with the ‘opacity’ tool a bit, Tim.

Tim: Decent track, though.

Busted – Shipwrecked in Atlantis

“You’re about to go into an overly-serious explanation of some pretty terrible lyrics, aren’t you?”

Tim: Ideally, we’d wait until a video had been put out for this track before featuring it, but sadly it’s been long enough since the album release that it seems there may not be one. And that’s upsetting, because it is (a) by far and away the best song on their new album and (b) an actual, genuinely billed as, sequel to the classic Air Hostess.

Tim: Now, you’re not sure if I’m being serious with the whole sequel thing. Is it really, or is it just any old song that can be vaguely related?

Tom: You’re about to go into an overly-serious explanation of some pretty terrible lyrics, aren’t you?

Tim: Absolutely not! These lyrics are excellent. if we’re honest then for at least the first minute or so, they could be just some sort of metaphor – weird perhaps, but not the worst we’ve heard. Relationship’s over, so shipwrecked, but still slightly okay, so landing in Atlantis, so maybe…except, yeah, that works with the “half dead, half alive” and “miracle we both survived”. And sure, we can kind of keep it going with “keeps getting better” and “almost like we planned it” because, you know, relationships and stuff, but then we’re talking about dining with salt bae every night, and complaining about the food prices, and actually no it’s not any sort of metaphor, it’s just a plane crash, with someone who is, let’s face it, quite probably the aforementioned Air Hostess and an extension of that story.

Tom: Sure. So anyway, the musi–

Tim: In fact, following it through with the whole Atlantis thing, it’s basically a prequel to the events described in Year 3000 – living underwater, and the amount of inbreeding that would surely come from this scenario would lead easily into triple-breasted women. Wouldn’t it?

Tom: I appreciate your efforts to create a Busted Cinematic Universe.

Tim: This is, really, the song that brings all of Busted together. We never knew we needed it, but lyrically it’s here. And it’s also damn good musically as well, because I’ve heard this a couple of dozen times now and I still love it.

Tom: Pity about those lyrics. Although I have to admit, I was humming that chorus after one listen: it’s catchy, and I don’t really mind.

Saturday Reject: Pagan Fury – Stormbringer

“I’m already sad it got rejected.”

Tim: From the title and act name alone, you’ve probably got an idea of what’s to come; you’ll not be far off.

Tom: I’m already sad it got rejected.

Tim: Bottom of its heat, which isn’t all that surprising, but what I do love, any time a heavy metal band gets into Melodifestivalen, is how although large parts of the songs are inevitably loud, shouty and often a bit upsetting, they instantly switch into nice and melodic pop rock for the chorus.

Tom: Let’s be honest, this is a discount Nightwish track, with an odd shoutout to Credence Clearwater Revival. It’s schlager with slightly heavier guitars. Although fair play to the vocalist, while the song’s not too spectacular, she’s doing a heck of a job with it.

Tim: She is indeed, which is nice, because this is a really good example that fits nicely with the formula. Verses are alright, pre-chorus is painful, but that’s a really good chorus which with different backing could make a perfectly decent pop number. Fun.

Tom: Fun, but just not popular.

Tim: Yeah. Shame, that.

Nano – Chasing Rivers

“Swedish Hozier! I mean that as a compliment. Although it is Swedish Hozier Slurring His Words A Bit.”

Tim: Last one from the final, and it did well with the juries but not very well with the punters, and I think I know why (and no, it’s not the weird mini-Nano).

Tom: Swedish Hozier! I mean that as a compliment. Although it is Swedish Hozier Slurring His Words A Bit.

Tim: See, it’s a good track. Powerful strong ballad, sung well, nice backing chorus, got everything it needs. As a song, it’s good.

Tom: Sure, it’ll do — but it’s in a very tough field.

Tim: It’s not twelve-points-from-every-jury good, but it’d be a decent enough Eurovision entry, so it’s doing alright with the jury. Except, Nano was at Melodifestivalen two years ago, with the very memorable Hold On. It had his same style – same voice, backing choir, passionate message, and we even made that exact same Hozoer comparison – but crucially, a whole lot more on top. A massive amount more, with blazing lights, horns and everything, and in comparison, this just doesn’t cut it.

Tom: You’re not wrong: that final chorus is great, but it doesn’t compare to the past.

Tim: That one was in first place with the televote, with the voters being tragically overruled by the jurors. This one? Nowhere near.