“They even have synchronised dance moves and an “oh-woah-oh-oh” going into the final chorus.”
Tim: Neon are two German gents, Andi and Tom, and this is their new song. And if you can tell me you don’t have a grin on your face by the end of the first line of the chorus, Tom, I’ll refuse to believe you.
Tom: What baffles me is how, a good decade or two into the 21st century, artists can still release tracks like that with an apparently-straight face. That’s not meant as a slight, I’m genuinely happy that it’s still a thing. It’s just so out-of-touch with modern sensibilities, so unfathomably positive and unchallenging, that I find it almost hard to believe.
Tim: This is what I love about this YouTube channel – even if I can’t find any ‘respectable’ music that gets me enough to write about it, this can reliably provide a track or two that’ll get me going. And here, OH, what a perfect example of German schlager. An intro that indicates something special might be coming along, a first verse that tides you over nicely, and then a chorus that is dance pop, camp as you come.
Tom: They even have synchronised dance moves and an “oh-woah-oh-oh” going into the final chorus.
Tim: Joyous, isn’t it? And really, who doesn’t love camp dance pop? Well, a lot of people, I guess, but none of them are sensible. We know what’s what, Tom.
Tim: I said on Wednesday that his new one, Hola, came somewhat of the blue; a little more digging revealed that’s not quite true, actually, as he also brought this out back last September.
Tim: It is, if anything, even more textbook Dario G than Hola was, with the whispering and those operatic vocals, and you know what? I ABSOLUTELY ADORE IT. Yes, it’s 99% plain and simple nostalgia, but damn it’s a good sound.
Tom: I mean, it’s not Sunchyme, and I’d argue that it’s not even quite as good as Hola. But when it gets half way through and you start hearing what’s basically the same extended long-build that was used twenty years ago? Sure, it’ll do.
Tim: It’s nice and pleasant and summery and relaxing and joyful and beachy and wonderful and, well, all the positives, really. Given all that, you may be asking if there’s an album on the way.
Tom: I wasn’t, but sure, for the purposes of this I will.
Tim: Good, because I got in touch and asked him: apparently he’s “toying with the idea”, so that’s nice. In the meantime, you’ve also got Savour The Miracle Of Life from February to enjoy as well.
“A brief trip to 1990s Belgium, because that’s as good a time and place as any to revisit.”
Tim: You remember Frans, who was exceptionally boring at Eurovision for Sweden three years ago, and then did a bit more boring stuff? Well, he came back earlier this year with a new track, which we didn’t feature because, duh, it was really boring. But NOW…it’s different!
Tom: …no, it’s not?
Tim: What? Of course it is – it’s summery, and there’s excitement in the air, along with a brief trip to 1990s Belgium, because that’s as good a time and place as any to revisit, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Tom: Blimey, that’s an obscure reference I’d never have spotted. What an odd choice.
Tim: Unusual, isn’t it, but it does work, brining a lot of life into it. You disagree?
Tom: I can’t understand why you think this is so much more interesting, though: it still feels like the rest of Frans’s songs to me, albeit with a slightly better sample in the background. It’s a poor song when I think the middle eight’s the best bit.
Tim: Perhaps, but then there is that sample in the background, which elevates the song significantly. I won’t get my hopes up about the new and interesting sound, mind, as there’s every chance it’s a one off and a few months from now we may well being falling asleep by the second verse again, but it’s nice that we’ve got this to appreciate until then. Hell, I’ll even accept his featured artist, who laudably has taken efficiency over creativity by just using his Twitter handle as his stage name. Why not?
“Very typical Sigrid: a bit shouty, still a good melody, somewhat memorable after the song’s stoped playing.
Tim: This song’s been around as this video a few months now, but the main video came out more recently and that was what got my attention – largely because it’s complete and total garbage, with an irritating narrative about shoots going wrong, planes being delayed, the director pretending to be her, and most annoyingly of all, more interruptions that we’d see even in the dark days of the late noughties.
Tim: Pretty nice chorus, that, by which I mean it’s very typical Sigrid: a bit shouty, still a good melody, somewhat memorable after the song’s stoped playing. The verses are a little less exciting, but worth sticking with because that chorus will come around after not too long.
Tom: And a chorus backing that sounds like it could have been a jingle that BBC Sport used in the 90s. Yes, that’s an obscure and useless reference, but go on, tune your ears to the backing of that chorus and tell me that it doesn’t sound like you’re about to watch a special live broadcast of international athletics.
Tim: Hmmm…maybe? I don’t know, I think it sounds more like a damn good piece of pop personally.
Tom: You’re right, though, it’s a good chorus.
Tim: Actually: having said that about weak verses, I’ve made that excuse a lot of times in the past, so I’m not entirely sure it should be an automatic pass; here it’ll do, though. It’ll do nicely.
“IT’S DARIO G AND IT SOUNDS LIKE DARIO G YES I’M GOING TO START BOUNCING AT MY DESK NOW.”
Tim: Yep, Dario G – did Sunmachine, Carnaval de Paris, Dream To Me and maybe a few others way back when we were youngsters.
Tom: Not to mention a really good track on the Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds remix album. Yes, that’s a thing.
Tim: Huh, never knew. Also, now there’s this, somewhat out of the blue, because why not?
Tom: Well, I like that. I like that a lot. Why do I like that so much?
Tim: I mean, potentially because it sounds like it could be straight off an album from the then-trio twenty years ago. Some people might argue, mind, that if you’re coming back after a couple of decades you could maybe update your sound a bit.
Tom: That’s fair. This hits a lot of nostalgic parts of my brain. When I stop to think about it, I’m really not sure about basically the entire middle third of it: that chopping-and-stuttering effect doesn’t work for me. But if I don’t stop to think about it: it’s DARIO G AND IT SOUNDS LIKE DARIO G YES I’M GOING TO START BOUNCING AT MY DESK NOW.
Tim: That absolutely makes sense. After all, Busted updated their sound for the third album and it was garbage, then went back to the normal stuff for the fourth and it was excellent, so what do some people know? This is nice. It is, basically, a tune that could have been released by Dario G twenty years, and we’d all have been very happy with. Good shout, then – why mix with a winning formula?
“Late ’90s trance synths with a gentle amount of late ’10s tropical hints here and there”
Tim: A Swedish dance act that we haven’t covered anywhere near as much as we should have done, as I think you’ll agree after hearing this.
Tom: I couldn’t tell you what decade that’s from. You’re right, though, it’s a good track.
Tim: Well there it is: we’ve late ’90s trance synths with a gentle amount of late ’10s tropical hints here and there so it doesn’t sound dated. And I for one absolutely love it. A lot of one great genre, a small amount of a fairly good genre, and a lovely vocal on top of it.
Tom: I can’t remember it after listening, but it’s the sort of thing that’d sit happily in the middle of a dance playlist. There’s nothing wrong with it, and by my standards that’s an endorsement.
Tim: I’ve no complaints at all, even at four and a half minutes long. It’s lovely.
“I genuinely thought, ha, someone’s doing a really good Lana Del Rey impression and is using it on a completely inappropriate track.”
Tom: Have you ever had a moment, Tim, when you look at the world’s reaction to a track and think that something is terribly wrong?
Tim: Tom, we run a site largely dedicated to Europop, and are frequently fans of songs that end up at the bottom of the Eurovision table. Believe it or not, I have had many such moments.
Tom: Well, anyway. You know the old Gershwin classic “Summertime”? Jazz standard, probably the canonical version’s by Ella Fitzgerald, you know, the one that goes “summertime, and the living is easy”? It’d be a logical choice for Lana Del Rey to cover. It fits her style perfectly.
Tim: That…is a lot better than I was worried it’d be, given how you sold it.
Tom: The world loves it. I’m driving through the US, it’s on the radio, the DJ’s describing it as the song of the summer. Positive review after positive review is cited in the Wikipedia article for it, and while some of that may be selective quoting due to the label’s PR team, those reviews were still written.
Tim: I wouldn’t disagree with so many of them – I think it’s alright. Doesn’t hugely push my buttons, but it’s a nice tropical vibe, which fits a current day summer style.
Tom: I thought it was a parody. I genuinely thought, ha, someone’s doing a really good Lana Del Rey impression and is using it on a completely inappropriate track. Even now, I’m not entirely convinced that this isn’t just someone’s idea of a joke that got out of hand.
Tom: I know that “Utah-based indie band that sounds like early Britpop, doing a song that personifies Los Angeles and describes how the singer wants to choke the city to death” is well outside our wheelhouse, but given yesterday’s track, it seemed like a good time to talk about someone else who’s insisting on all caps.
Tim: Certainly is a heck of band name.
Tim: Oh. Oh, mate, why?
Tom: Mainly because — despite that introduction that places it outside our wheelhouse — that’s basically a schlager chorus, isn’t it?
Tim: Hmmm…yeah, actually, the chorus isn’t too bad, I’ll give you that.
“Emil is apparently a big fan of shouty capital letters.”
Tim: Formerly a member of the short-lived A*Base, Emil is apparently a big fan of shouty capital letters.
Tom: I dislike him immediately.
Tim: Which is peculiar because the rest of the song is really entirely lovely and not shouty at all.
Tom: Oh. You’re right, that’s really nice. It got me from the introduction, which is rare.
Tim: And that’s a nice piece of promo for the Lion King remake that’s out in a couple of weeks, isn’t it?
Tim: It’s a little unfortunate that the underlying opening bits of each verse reminds me of I Just Can’t Wait To Be King, I suppose, but other than that (and perhaps because of that, to an extent), this sounds absolutely lovely for a nice sunny weekend.
Tom: I genuinely can’t hear that, which is weird because normally my brain works in overdrive to find those sorts of connections.
Tim: It’s the second song in three days with a nonsensical title, and this time I can’t find anything already in existence; I’m reliably informed that the lyrics imply it’s just a sort of nice snuggly feeling he gets when he gets up close and personal, how sweet.
Tom: I’m not generally on board with just inventing a nonsense word and writing a song about it, but… well, like you said, the result is entirely lovely.
“Curious message, but hey ho, we’ve got a decent song about it.”
Tim: Says Medina, in her native Danish, “Don’t Say It”.
Tom: Video editors haven’t got bored of the VHS filter yet, then. Anyway, sorry, yes. “Don’t Say It”.
Tim: More specifically, the message is ‘don’t tell anyone you think I’m amazing, particularly not your current girlfriend’. Curious message, but hey ho, we’ve got a decent song about it so I’m not complaining.
Tom: Well, we got a decent chorus, at least. The rest… well, it certainly is a song.
Tim: That is, after all, an absolutely lovely chorus, and while it may not have the big energy of a truly amazing pop song, it does have a delightful melody, sounding brilliant coming in after that pre-chorus gap (which I’ve checked, and it isn’t just there for the video). Three and a half minutes of delight, here, only slightly spoiled by thirty seconds of garbage on the front of the video.
Tom: And about five seconds in the middle, just to make sure you’ll play it through Spotify instead.
Tim: Well, obviously. And why wouldn’t you? The music’s fabulous.