Bella & Filippa – Ring Them Bells

“It’s a cut above most of the dreck you send over at Christmas.”

Tim: Until now, this pairing were only known for the 2017 Melodifestivalen entry, the quick moving, guitar strumming Crucified. With a debut album apparently on the way for next year, though, when better to get back into the game than the official Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

Tom: Literally any other time, Tim. It’s like going to the shops on Christmas Eve: everyone else is dashing there too. Also, it should be “Ring Those Bells”, if I’m going to be grumpy about it.

Tim: Oh no.

Tim: So I’m going for an unusual strategy today, because I’ll go right ahead and say it: this is not a great Christmas track. Or even a particularly good one.

Tom: And I’m also going for an unusual response: this… isn’t… bad?

Tim: What?

Tom: I mean, it’s a cut above most of the dreck you send over at Christmas. Why don’t you like it?

Tim: It’s too slow; there’s a long time before anything interesting happens; overall it just drags a bit. But dammit, there’s potential here – that “house at the end of the road” melody is lovely; the chorus, while repetitive isn’t of itself bad; and the ‘look out for the lonely people’ message is lovely.

Tom: It’s blurring the line between schlager and country, as often happens. But, yes, I’ll grant you that it’s slow — at two minutes in I was assuming we were going for the final chorus, but no, we weren’t even half way through.

Tim: Now, let’s improve it. We can’t bin off everything before forty seconds in (which would lower the general dullness score), because it’d ruin the narrative, but we can use it as a springboard, much like Mariah does with here “iiii-ii-i-isss yooo-ooo-oo-ooou” moment. Obviously don’t bring it up as enormously as that does, but if you’re not having a chorus there you’ve got to do something. Bring the next verse, and subsequent ones, up to the level of the chorus. Dial the choruses up even further, to where the existing end ones are like (though you can leave the upper vocals for the end). Finally, speed it up – played at 1.25x through YouTube, it’s a bit better.

Tom: I’m not convinced that the speed change improves it, but you’re right: it does need something else. Or, perhaps, one verse less.

Tim: Then, and only then, might you have a good song. As it is, it’s not going to end up on my Christmas playlist – and hell, I’ve got 50 Grand For Christmas on there.

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