Cascada – Like The Way I Do

“This did manage to exceed my expectations.”

Tom: New Cascada!

Tim: Hooray!

Tom: It probably won’t be nearly as good as their famous tracks!

Tim: True!

Tom: That is… a lot of autotune on the verses. I’m not sure if it’s a stylistic choice or just an overapplied fix. But at least the choruses sound a bit cleaner.

Tim: Hmm, see, I’m not normally that great at hearing autotune, unless it’s cranked up to 2011, but, yeah, it does seem a bit excessive.

Tom: Still, this did manage to exceed my expectations. It’s a solid track: it’s never going to define an entire generation’s clubbing lifestyle, but then very few tracks do. This is a solid dance track from people who know how to make them.

Tim: True, can’t deny any of that. It was never going to be amazing as the earlier work – hell, it could never be – but it’s good enough.

Lise Cabble – Tjekker Ind Og Ud

“Stick with it because it gets there.”

Tim: Lise’s Danish. and is quite the prolific songwriter, with multiple Danish Eurovision entries under her belt, and more than a few national finalists over the past couple of decades. Finally, though, she’s chosen to take centre stage with some actual singing! I’m fairly sure it’ll start off in your ‘why can’t this dance tune have a proper beat to it’ zone, but stick with it because it gets there.

Tim: Nice one?

Tom: I’m really, really, not convinced it does. Honestly, my attention wandered while trying to listen to it, and when I realised that I started it again. Only to — sorry, while writing that sentence I drifted off to look at some paint dry.

Tim: Seriously, though?

Tom: I exaggerate, but not overwhelmingly.

Tim: For me it’s in a kind of Alan Walker album track type zone – that starts off based on those few seconds after 0:20 into the chorus, which is very much like one of his tracks that I can’t place right now but then when we get our first proper instrumental breakdown it’s fully on board, and you might not believe this, but actually I quite like that.

Tom: I mean, I believe it, but only because we have disagreed about much more interesting bits of music than this.

Tim: It’s perhaps not a song I’ll listen to a whole lot – but I’ll like it when it comes on, and I’m fairly sure that’s good enough. Maybe don’t quit the writing. though.

Cedric Gervais & Chris Willis – Turn Your Love Around

“It’s exactly the sort of middle-of-the-road not-quite-funky-house track that I quite like.”

Tom: I’ll be honest, I mostly clicked on this because I was intrigued by the name “Cedric Gervais”.

Tim: Yep, entirely fair.

Tom: Turns out he’s a Miami-based French DJ, and this sounds like someone’s combined late Motown and early Daft Punk with the song structure from a track on an early-2000s dance compilation.

Tim: That is…yeah, specific but exactly right. A good sound, I’d say.

Tom: It’s exactly the sort of middle-of-the-road not-quite-funky-house track that I quite like, and that will probably be utterly ignored because that’s just not a genre the world’s interested in right now. Which feels like a shame, really.

Tim: Also true. Mind you, earlier today I was listening to a playlist of Ultrabeat, DJ Sammy, Kelly Llorenna, September and the like, and this fits perfectly.

Saturday Flashback: NineOneOne – Can’t Stop Now

“It’s designed to impart a certain emotion and then get out of the way.”

Tim: So, I know basically nothing about this act at all – can’t find any social media, no individuals, no proper albums, nothing. Having said that, the name does crop up quite a bit with two specific composers of TV music, so my best guess is that they exist solely to provide library music that TV shows can use without paying much money for.

Tom: Given that it’s on an album called “indie synthpop 2”, yes, this is definitely Stock Music. However, a lot of respectable composers are now finding that’s a lucrative way of making music: just make it in bulk, send it out, and if you’re lucky, get it used in television or as filler on generic Spotify playlists.

Tim: Right, and conclusive evidence: I found this on an extended trail for a new TV show and, well, I like it.

Tim: Alright, that, isn’t it? It starts out with the bass line very similar to (perhaps even identical to, which is a bit odd) Bright Light Bright Light’s Disco Moment, but beyond that it grows and progresses until we end up with a lovely chorus, very much the MVP here.

Tom: I mean, it’s stock music. It’s designed to impart a certain emotion and then get out of the way.

Tim: Catchy, pleasant, and most importantly, perfectly sufficient for affordable TV music.

Arvingarna – I morgon

“DANSBAND.”

Tom: Yesterday, you promised loud, exciting, carefree stuff. GO ON THEN.

Tim: DANSBAND.

Tom: YES.

Tim: And it’s time for us as English speakers to giggle childishly at the pronunciation of the Swedish for ‘tomorrow’.

Tom: I mean, I did smile.

Tim: Yep, figures. I can’t find the lyrics for this online, which is a shame as I’m fairly sure they mention Netflix in there quite a bit and I’d love to know the context. If I had to guess it from words I do recognise, I’m thinking it’s along the lines of “sod this, can’t be bothered right now, I’ll do it tomorrow”. And oh, boy, can we all identify with that.

Tom: What I like about dansband is how it somehow balances a line between cheesy schlager music and the sort of Status-Quo dad-rock that’s still respectable and getting radio play on radio from time to time. Listen to that ridiculous outro!

Tim: And when we combine that with the standard fun and enjoyment that typically comes with the best of the genre, what’s not to like?

NOTD, Shy Martin – Keep You Mine

“Certainly better than Alan’s new trash.”

Tim: Alan Walker has a new one out with A$AP Rocky right now, and sadly it’s utter garbage.

Tom: Which is an achievement, given you’ve previously said “as long as Alan had full control of everything there’s only so much that could really go wrong”.

Tim: Well, that one’s equal billing, I still stand by it. In any case, this is quite Walker-y.

Tom: That verse is a bit Ellie Goulding, isn’t it? Not massively, but just enough in vocal quality, production and style of synths.

Tim: We’ve featured NOTD previously, though not Shy Martin; she’s also Swedish, and previously has mainly kept herself busy with writing. Together they provide a nice melody, good vocals, top production, and a total and expected lack of middle eight.

Tom: Not sure about the Alan comparison though: guitar wasn’t exactly a common thing for him to include.

Tim: True, but it certainly shares a lot of the same synth sounds and patterns. It’ll do nicely, either way – certainly better than Alan’s new trash.

TEEO – For You & I

“Brimming over with positivity, all in all being nice and happy to listen to.”

Tim: TEEO is a Swedish guy called Teo Rösarne, and this is his debut track; much like yesterday, it sounds straight out of the 80s, but much unlike yesterday, it is not in the least bit mopey or slow.

Tom: At least, not once the chorus kicks in.

Tim: That, in fact, is what I’d really have liked to have heard from yesterday’s track, being exciting and fast moving, with lots happening. It is, according to TEEO, “a song that’s been written to lift others up, and to say YES to love, and NO to hate”, which is a bloody marvellous reason to write a song if you ask me.

Tom: It is, although — and this is where I am, as ever, the killjoy — it’s just a pity that it’s only an okay song. I do understand what he’s aiming for, I just don’t think he’s hit the bullseye.

Tim: I disagree there – I think it comes across in the music and lyrics, brimming over with positivity, all in all being nice and happy to listen to. Lovely.

ROOM8 feat. The Sound of Arrows – Only You

“This is so bland that it doesn’t even really leave any impression at all.”

Tim: Couple of years ago these two acts teamed up to bring us the fairly good Just You & I, and now we’ve this, with what I think is a first, from The Sound of Arrows at least: a ballad. And it’s…

Tom: …24fps horizontal movie shots letterboxed into a stuttering 50fps vertical video. That absolutely makes sense. Whoever did the editing on this is a prat.

Tim: Yeah, it’s a horrible video. Slightly alright concept, appalling execution.

Tom: Sorry, you were probably talking about the music, weren’t you?

Tim: Mainly, yes, and it’s very, very 1980s for starters. Yes, we’ve the genre and sound in general, but we’ve also the aforementioned music video with various ’80s high school movies, and the real clincher of the fade out ending. I’ll be honest: I’m not particularly keen on it, which I think is another first for a Sound of Arrows track.

Tom: I do remember you like the Sound of Arrows a lot, which, uh, feels like the only reason we’re talking about this. This is so bland that it doesn’t even really leave any impression at all.

Tim: Well, your hunch is right: it is only here because it’s a Sound of Arrows track, and normally they’re great. I don’t feel too bad about saying this is rubbish, though, what with them being just a feat. rather than being the main artist, but it still feels weird to say. It’s too slow, too mopey, too…yeah, just, not for me really. Shame.

Tegan & Sara – I’ll Be Back Someday

“Normally repeating one note annoys me, but it doesn’t here”

Tom: Whenever we talk about a Tegan & Sara track, we tend to conclude in roughly the same way: it’s good synthpop, it’s quite enjoyable, and then we can’t remember any of it afterwards.

Tim: Harsh, and I’m not entirely sure that’s as true for me as it might be for you, but okay. The new one, then?

Tom: And I guess it’s business as usual.

Tim: Well, maybe, yeah.

Tom: It’s a really good song with a chorus that seems to have been crushed into oblivion by overcompression. As for the chorus itself — well, while it was playing, I wrote “normally repeating one note annoys me, but it doesn’t here”. But I had to go back and listen again before I knew what that one note was.

Tim: Oh, you’re too cruel. Or just saddled with a poor memory – I like the melody, the notes (and yes, there’s more than one), the rhythm. It’s good, and it’s memorable.

Alan x Walkers – Unity

“It’s been literally designed by committee!”

Tim: Yep, he’s gone and made a track with his fans, which I guess is both a nice thing to do and a way of getting a load of stuff done for free. Hooray!

Tom: Genuinely disappointed he didn’t go with “Alan and the Walkers”. And, to be fair, co-ordinating this sort of project is at least as big a challenge as trying to make something yourself from scratch.

Tom: It’s been literally designed by committee! That never goes wrong. Or, more correctly, it rarely produces anything exceptional.

Tim: True. Mind you, aside for the fact that the instrumental line directly before the third and fourth “we are unity”s in each chorus is the exact same melody that can be found in Faded (or maybe that’s the point), this sounds like a perfectly decent Alan Walker track.

Tom: It sounds like this was more a way to galvanise the fans than it was to create a big proper release. So while it’s nothing special, I suspect that’s exactly the point.

Tim: Could have been a recipe for disaster, though I guess as long as Alan had full control of everything there’s only so much that could really go wrong. It’s a good track. Hey, at its base it’s an Alan Walker track – of course it’s a good track.