Lucenzo & Qwote feat. Pitbull – Danza Kuduro (Throw Your Hands Up)

Mid-90s, I reckon.

Tom: Well now, this would fit very nicely into the mid-90s, I reckon.

Tim: Hmm.

Tom: How does Pitbull do it? He seems to be a slightly creepy middle-aged man in a suit at first glance, and yet somehow he’s powered through that and become “Mister International Himself”. I suspect it’s because he’s very, very good at what he does.

As for this track, though; I can see this being a lost Peter Andre track. That’s not a bad thing – he did ‘Mysterious Girl’ after all – and while the slightly-dated sound might sound better a few years ago, as a winter club hit I can still see this working.

That said, it’s not going on my playlist – but I can see it going on plenty of other people’s.


Saturday Flashback: Westlife – My Love

For some reason I’m holding a lighter in the air.

Tim: Last week, sad news hit much of the music world: after twelve years of making music, Westlife are to disband. If we wanted to (and I won’t deny there’s a teeny tiny part of me that wouldn’t mind) we could probably do a fortnight-long retrospective of their work; for everybody’s sanity, though, it’s probably best just to keep it to one track, and we’ll go with this one, which starts with them making a somewhat curious travel decision.

Tim: Quite why they’d bother walking (or even flying) when then can just magically change their surroundings at will is beyond me, but anyway.

Tom: It’s such a bizarre line – for a brief moment, my brain accepted it as a perfectly reasonable option. Of course you’d walk.

Tim: This was their six release and sixth UK number one, and their first (and only) Swedish number one, and it’s my personal favourite of theirs. Why?

Tom: I don’t know, but for some reason I’m holding a lighter in the air. I don’t even own a lighter.

Tim: Because it’s by the book, brilliantly done, boyband stuff. There’s the slow and understated first verse. Then comes the emotional chorus, leading in to a more substantial second verse with a beat behind it. The chorus comes back again, perhaps seeming a little bigger this time from the context. The middle eight, split in two with the calm bit at the end leading into the soaring vocals of the stunning final section. We get fanfares (actual fanfares!) in the background just to signify what a brilliant song this is.

And there’s the video as well. There’s the inevitable hammy acting, which can sensibly be ignored.

Tom: A couple of them do the same thing I do – they forget how to walk properly when there’s a camera pointed at them.

Tim: Then at the end it too tries to get the message across, with the flying cameras and impressive peninsula, that this is a Song That Will Be Appreciated. And personally, I can’t help but appreciate it.

Toploader – She Said

‘Well, it’s no Dancing in the Moonlight.’

Tim: Yep, they’re still going, and yes, they’ve done more than ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’.

Tom: And yes, he does look a bit like Carrot Top and Mick Hucknall combined.

I think most people will sum this up as ‘well, it’s no Dancing in the Moonlight’.

Tim: True. BECAUSE – Dancing in the Moonlight was unusual, it didn’t sound like any other band, the glockenspiely stuff gave it a very ‘I’m Toploader, and this is how you recognise me’ feel. This doesn’t have anything like that. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I reckon it’ll leave people disappointed.

Tom: It’s not bad, of course, and there are some really very striking parts in the verses and chorus – I think it’s really very listenable indeed. By the third time through the chorus, I felt I was actually getting a bit of an emotional lift from it. A proper unexpected middle eight too, but it’s no Dancing in the Moonlight.

Tim: You see? It’s good, but you’re disappointed.

Bruno Mars – It Will Rain

Bruno Mars can just make a song like this soar.

Tom: “From the Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part 1”. Oh dear.

Tom: Now, you’ll remember that I like My Chemical Romance.

Tim: A bit.

Tom: The last track on their Danger Days album is a Ballroom Blitz-y number called ‘Vampire Money‘ – and it’s inspired by them turning down the offer to do a song for the Twilight soundtrack. I liked that decision at the time – and I like it even more now, because even though I’m instinctively tuned to hate everything to do with Twilight, Bruno Mars’ effort is actually a rather good song.

Tim: I’ll agree, it’s alright. Not exactly lighters in the air stuff, but it’ll get the job done. Also, chorus is a bit like Chasing Pavements, though I don’t quite know if I have a point there.

Tom: “There’ll be no sunlight / if I lose you baby”. Generic vampire-type reference, generic chord progressions… I shouldn’t like this, but somehow Bruno Mars can just make a song like this soar.

Tim: It’s the chord progressions – get them right, and the listener’s your prisoner. We discovered something similar at the end of last year, if you’ll recall – two very different songs, but the identical chorus lines in There’s A Place For Us and Call Your Girlfriend made them both enjoyable.

Tom: Take the vampire money, Bruno. It’s worth it.

The Sound of Arrows – Wonders

Just as spaced out and trancey as ever.

Tim: Barely a fortnight now until Voyage is released, and here’s a new single to accompany it.

Tom: I remember, the last time we discussed The Sound of Arrows, that I had trouble putting them into a genre. Well, no more: this is trance, surely?

Tim: It’s just as spaced out and trancey as ever, and I love it. You push play, you lie back, and you drift away. All it needs is a video along the lines of Nova and it’ll be perfect. You hear me? PERFECT.

Tom: Perfect?

Tim: Well, maybe not perfect, because it’s actually not as good as Nova or M.A.G.I.C. were, but still. Very good nonetheless.

Tom: Despite the dodgy sci-fi laser-beam sound effects, I’ve got to agree.

The Wanted – Lightning


Tom: Okay, the song’s called ‘Lightning’. Guess what they put in their music video?

Tim: Puppies!

Tom: Lens flares and bar lighting, actually.

Tim: Close enough.


Tom: Yet again, you’ve got the “We are The Wanted, and We Are Men” vibe to the video, because that means heterosexual men can watch it without worrying about their erections.

Tim: There’s still that one of them – think it’s Nathan – who looks about twelve, though, and has Glee walk-on part written all over him.

Tom: Good track, though – and I can’t explain why, because it’s generic Wanted fare.

Tim: Think you’ve explained why just there – generic, yes, but generic boyband stuff and boyband managers/songwriters know how to make god tunes. Not musical masterpieces, but good catchy by the book number, with lyrics, melodies and synth hooks that just work. This is one of them.

Tom: Was I distracted by scantily clad women? Possibly. But even without the video, I found myself really liking it.

Nexx & Matt Hewie – Put Your Hands

You know the bit I mean. Yeah, that one. I like it.

Tim: Nexx, a band best known for 2008 hit Synchronize Lips.

Tom: Or in other words, “a band not really known”.

Tim: Matt Hewie, a bloke who has replaced the female what was in that group.

Tom: But not well enough to just be assimilated into the credits with the main group, it seems.

Tim: Put Your Hands, their new song.

Tim: Music here is good – not sure how to describe it, but it’s the sort of back and forth hook bit that comes after the chorus. You know the bit I mean. Yeah, that one. I like it.

Tom: It sounds a bit Aqua-ish, actually; similar tone to the voice and, yes, that back-and-forth bit.

Tim: Lyrics are also fun – I’m loving the juxtaposition of ‘I want you to fall in love with me’ and ‘I want to do you baby night and day’. That last bit reminds me of a whiteboard we’ve got a work; it’s supposed to be some sort of inspirational thing and it says ‘I did something amazing today’. Every time I walk past it I wish I had the guts to get out a marker and change ‘something’ to ‘someone’, just FOR THE LOLZ.

Tom: Do it. Or, better yet, carefully alter a copy of it in Photoshop, reprint it, and see how long it takes for anyone to notice.

Saturday Flashback: Jessie J feat. B.o.B – Price Tag

Bugger me, that’s a big teddy bear.

Tom: 150 million views on YouTube, still in rotation on the radio. Why am I talking about this? Because it’s exceptional.

Tim: Bugger me, that’s a big teddy bear.

Tom: Now there’s a sentence that’s not been said before. Anyway – twice now, while listening to the radio, I’ve wondered ‘ooh, what’s this song?’ and put it through Shazam. That’s rare for me – I’ve only used Shazam a dozen or so times in the last year.*

* I was almost disappointed, when it came up a second time, that Shazam didn’t say “you’ve already tagged this, you idiot, and then promptly forgotten it”.

Tim: Ah, well if you want to have fun with AI, you want to get yourself Siri.

Tom: Okay, we get it, you work at an Apple store.

Clearly something in the song really works for me; while I might like other songs on the radio, I don’t like them enough to find out what they are – twice – so I can download them later. It’s a textbook pop song, really; happy, entertaining, and a proper singalong hook.

Tim: Part of it is the unexpectedness of it – you’re sort of thinking it’ll be along the lines of Do It Like A Dude, or whatever that other crap one was, but it’s actually good. (Think I might have made this point before – I remember saying California King Bed was a fantastic prime example.)

Tom: And here’s the bit that really gets me: a rap bit that works. B.o.B is damn good at what he does, and he’s mellow enough to fit with the rest of the song. Put Flo Rida in here, and it’d be bloody awful.

Tim: I have a new-found annoyance about rap bits in songs: ever since Tulisa became an X Factor judge, it has seemingly become compulsory to rewrite the words if you’re performing it yourself (or even add new ones to originally good songs). I find this HORRIFICALLY irritating.

Tom: My word. That’s the first I’ve seen of this year’s X Factor. It’s… it’s terrible.

William Shatner – Bohemian Rhapsody

I think this is what it sounds like when a man has a breakdown.

Tom: After the trailblazing success of ‘Common People’, what could the legendary, er, “singer” come up with next?

Tom: I… I think this is what it sounds like when a man has a breakdown.

Tim: Oh my…

Tom: It’s off his new album – entirely space-themed covers – and, well, it’s more bonkers than his last one, that’s for sure. Last one had some half-decent tracks on it – and Common People, with its enthusiastic kids choir, was almost better than the original – whereas this, it seems, it back to the classic Shatner lunacy.

Tim: Yes. Um, it’s sort of… well, just… it… um… a bit… oh, never mind.

Tom: But what lunacy it is.

Kevin Borg – Unstoppable

This song seems really familiar.


Tom: Gah! What?

Tim: Pink trousers, you see.

Tom: Charity single. Got it.

Tim: This is nice – uplifting, the inspirational kind of charity single rather than the doom and gloom one.

Tom: There are two very different approaches to charity singles: the sad ballad or the uplifting, enthusiastic one. Or, of course, you could put zombies in your music video, but then that’s just McFly.

Tim: The thing is – this song seems really familiar. It’s not that it reminds me of a different song – I just have this feeling I’ve heard it before.

Tom: Yep. It’s as if someone mashed a dozen vaguely uplifting records together.

Tim: Given that it’s an original song, there’s one conclusion – this is entirely generic. Which, let’s be honest, it is, but it’s not a great thing, really, is it?