Hera Björk – Because You Can

I WILL LEARN HOW TO FLY. AND MY GLOW WILL BE RELEASED.

Tim: THIS. IS. BRILLIANT. It’s the new single from the lady who did the also, but not quite as, excellent Je Ne Sais Quoi for Iceland at Eurovision this year. Stylistically, it’s not far removed from Malena Ernman with a mix of dance and opera (or that Charlotte Church track, come to think of it).

Tom: And it’s a style I very much like. When it finally kicks in properly, a minute in? That’s glorious.

Tim: The first few seconds remind me a bit of My Heart Will Go On. (Still love that song, don’t care what you say.)

Tom: Yes, well, we all have our crosses to bear.

Tim: The verses are great, and the final few notes in them as they build to the chorus are utterly fantastic. The bridge is entirely wonderful, the vocal and the instrumentation going unexpectedly yet perfectly together, and demonstrating one hell of a vocal range.

Tom: Couldn’t agree more.

Tim: And then there’s the chorus. And oh. Oh, boy. What a chorus it is. What a chorus.

“Take the chance you’ll never know”

YES. YES, HERA, I WILL. EVEN THOUGH I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS I WILL DO IT. BECAUSE YOU ARE USING THIS SONG TO TELL ME TO DO IT.

“Fly, release your inner glow”

I WILL LEARN HOW TO FLY. JUST FOR YOU, I WILL LEARN. AND MY GLOW WILL BE RELEASED.

Tom:

Tim:

“There is no-one in your way, trust that you will be okay”

I WILL BE OKAY. YOU HAVE ASSURED ME, HERA, AND RIGHT NOW I TRUST YOU MORE THAN I TRUST ANYONE.

“Take a chance, take your future by the hand”

FUTURE! COME HERE! HERA HAS ORDERED IT AND SHE MUST BE OBEYED.

“Because you can.”

YES! YES I CAN! DAMMIT, I CAN DO ANYTHING! I LOVE YOU HERA. I REALLY REALLY LOVE YOU. THERE, I’VE SAID IT.

Tom: I’ll leave you two alone. Tim Jeffries there, ladies and gentlemen.

Europlop’s Sunday Mashups: Vol. 1

These past few weeks have been very good for mashups.

Tom: These past few weeks have been very good for mashups, so here are a few genius ones for you, starting with proof, if proof were needed, of just how good Lady Gaga is: her songs can be mashed up with nearly anything and still sound fantastic:

Monster Never Can Say Goodbye by marcjohnce-1

Tom: This is by Marc Johnce, and it combines moderately-good album track “Monster” with the Communards’ lesser hit “Never Can Say Goodbye” to create something amazing. Her modern, solo vocals over the top of eighties guitars and drums make something more than the sum of their parts.

Tim: First off, definitely no proof needed, and how can you even entertain the possibility that it might be? As for the track, it’s nice. One of the highest compliments I can pay is that I didn’t mind that it was quite long, and wasn’t hurrying it on to finish, because that’s ever so unusual on any track longer than four minutes.

Tom: Secondly, I know that this involves listening to the military-grade tactical nuclear earworm that is Katy Perry, but it’s worth it. This starts as a simple “take the lyrics from one song, add the backing from another” formulaic, and THEN Van Halen arrive. And THEN the beat kicks in.

Tom: This is one of those mashups that you can listen to for more than novelty value. And I know it’d never happen, but I’d love to see this played live.

Tim: This is Good, and something I can absolutely imagine Glen off of Tru pretending he made*. Yes, it takes a while to get going, but when it gets going it’s worth the wait. It pleases me.

* I am entirely aware that this will mean absolutely nothing to all but about twenty people in the whole world, but I feel it is a valid point and so I shall make it.

Tom: Finally, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is tired and overplayed; everyone knows it, and there’s not even any mystery left in trying to work out the words that Kurt Cobain’s mumbling. But as hundreds of mashups have proved, it can fit with pretty much anything. Including the Jackson 5.

Tom: Yes, it’s a novelty track, but I’m not complaining.

Tim: Made me smile, and overall is pleasant. The only annoying thing is those sudden pauses – I know they were in the Jackson 5 song, but they irritated me a bit. That said, I’m still feeling a little irritable after reviewing Ke$ha yesterday, and that may well have something to do with it.

Ke$ha – Take It Off

A textbook case of ‘Nice Video, Shame About the Song’.

Tom: This track out on Monday, and it’s been suggested by Gray, who writes:

My opinion of the song probably shouldn’t be brought up in polite conversation. I’m sure that’s somewhat self-explanatory. Though apparently she once vomited in Paris Hilton’s shoe closet, so there’s at least some redeeming value to her.

This is a textbook case of Nice Video, Shame About the Song. Full marks for the director here, if only for pointing out – in a fairly subtle form – that she’s blatantly ripping off the Sand Dance (or ‘that Egyptian standard snippet‘).

Tim: Certainly is quite a video, although I have at least one definite issue with it – given that most of it’s all metaphorical and probably arty and stuff, why is there a bloke throwing a bin when she sings about throwing bins around? The literalness just seems way out of place.

Actually, two – there’s nothing in the music to signify any reason at all why it should suddenly change from a standard walk/dance around video with normal people to one where everybody’s in a nightclub and made of paint. No change of key, rhythm, tone, lyrical mood, anything. So why does it? It’s as though they filmed half of it, then had a sudden realisation of ‘actually, this song really is shite, isn’t it? Hmm. Maybe we could try to make the rest of the video really awesome, and that’ll make up for it.’

Tom: To be fair, they’re not in a nightclub – they’re in a drained motel swimming pool. I’m not sure whether that reflects artistic choice, low budget, or a subtle dig at Kesha.

Tim: And a tiny third one – the first shot you see of her pulling whatever it is out of the car looks she’s suddenly grabbed an owl by the scruff of its neck, which is just plain nasty.

Tom: Clearly it’s hungover.

Tim: As for the music, well, as you say, it really is a shame. The verses are dire, with all twelve* lines in them going together to give the grand message: ‘let’s go get pissed.’ But of course, Ke$ha is special and well hip and famous and blingy, so she can’t do anything without a gold Trans-Am or, um, a water bottle she’s filled up with whiskey. Classy. Their only benefit is making the chorus seem almost hummable, although once you’ve heard it seven or eight times you don’t really have much of a choice.

Also, what’s with the fifteen seconds of Can You Feel It at 2:26?

*Twelve! I know! Crazy, how long these songs are!

Tom: Well, the rest of it’s ripped from the Sand Dance, she may as well take some other inspirations while she’s at it.

Tim: A final note: this song has inspired me to write a Definitive List of Music People I Hate. So far it contains Ke$ha, Flo Rida and Kanye West. I won’t deny that part of me wants to put Robyn on there as well, but I don’t think I can inflict that sort of company on her, no matter how inept she is at finishing a tune.

Album Review: Darin – Lovekiller

Tom’s unleashed Tim to tell you everything about it, vaguely quickly.

Tim:Tom’s let me loose on this fine Sunday to tell you all about this album, because we love Darin here. His only condition was that it be vaguely quick, so here’s a crap gimmick to show how modern we are here: every track review is less than one tweet long. Let’s see how it goes.

Darin - Lovekiller

1 – Microphone: Excellent and vibrant start. Could work as a good career launching track, which vaguely makes sense given the change of direction he’s made. 9/10
2 – You’re Out of My Life: Less extravagant but very enjoyable. Comes with a key change that, if sung on the X Factor, would trigger spark fountains. 8/10
3 – Lovekiller: In case enough hasn’t been said already, this is sodding awesome, and is what all future pop songs should be judged against. 12/10
4 – Only You Can Save Me: Continuing the energetic theme, with an unsettlingly sudden bridge. Part of me is now hoping the album will calm down at some point. 8/10
5 – Drowning: Well, it’s not going to happen any time soon. It’s beginning to sound a bit formulaic. Good formulaic, but still a bit tiring. 7/10
6 – Viva la Vida: The first thing that’s stood out as different. Very dancable with a great chorus, although it goes on quite a bit longer than it needs to. 7/10
7 – Endless Summer: Ooh, this is proper different; a bit like Westlife’s musical evolution compressed into three minutes. Still plenty of Darin, though. 6/10.
8 – OK (Dangerous Game): Is to the first few tracks what new Mcfly is to old McFly. Odd use of stereo; ‘Ooh, this is fun’ quickly becomes ‘Oh God please stop it’. 8/10
9 – Can’t Stop Love: Written for a recent Swedish royal wedding, but quickly leaves ballad territory and becomes, well, pretty much like the first five tracks. 7/10
10 – I’ll Be Alright: If each track’s a runner in a race for best tune, here’s the quadriplegic the producer took pity on and allowed to enter. AWFUL FINAL TRACK. 2/10
11 – Lovekiller (Acoustic, iTunes bonus): They chucked out the backing singers, but forgot that after the bridge they’re the only singers, so he’s howling all alone. Doesn’t work. 3/10

tl;dr: Largely formulaic, but in a very good way. 8/10 – would have been a 9 if they’d lost the last two songs.

If this has tempted you, you can get it on iTunes if you’ve got a Swedish bank account or 7digital if you live in Sweden (or can find a Swedish proxy).