Saturday Reject: Le Kid – Oh My God

Dancing and singing liquorice allsorts, ejaculating cupcakes

Tim: You may be expecting a Saturday Flashback round about now, but no! Since there are now less than three months to go until Eurovision 2011, changes are afoot: most countries have begun their selection process, and some have already chosen. There is of course only room for one song per country (which is kind of the point, I suppose) and so some otherwise excellent tracks will fall by the wayside, destined for album track obscurity (and some terrible tracks will go forward, but that’s a whinge for another time). Anyway, we feel that many of those deserve more attention, and we start with a song that got kicked out of the first heat of Melodifestivalen in fifth place* a couple of weeks back.

* Melodifestivalen workings, for any who don’t know: four heats of eight; the top two go straight to the final, third and fourth go through to the second chance round (‘Andra Chansen’), from which another two go through to the final.

Tim: OMG indeed. A disappointing exit, as right from the get go it was by far and away the most enthusiastic performance there was that night.

Tom: Enthusiastic, to be sure, but I can’t help but start singing ‘Spaceman’ by the Killers every time they start on the ‘oh, oh, oh’ bit of the chorus. Or the ‘don’t stop, push it now’ from The Sounds’ ‘Tony The Beat’ over… well, all of it.

Tim: Hmm, maybe, but what with the colours, the outfits, the dancing and singing liquorice allsorts and the ejaculating cupcakes, it’s basically everything we know and like about Le Kid.

Tom: It is that. I can’t help but like it – although that is, as I’ve mentioned before, partly due to the attractive women in low-cut outfits. But despite all that, I think Sweden made the right decision here. It’s happy, it’s bouncy, but it ain’t a Eurovision winner.

Tim: Maybe it was just too much – who knows.

Tom: Where was the key change, Tim? There should have been a key change.

Isis Gee – How About That

A song I have trouble paying attention to.

Tim: Information: I spent twenty minutes trying to think what the first three notes of this chorus reminded me of, then gave up and started writing this post, which was to begin with the words ‘HELP ME.’ Just as I’d finished, I realised what it was, so now we can just start listening properly.

Tom: Oh, what the hell is that? I know it!

Tim: Twenty minutes. You think I’m going to give you the answer just like that?

Tom: You son of a bitch.

Tim: And boy, can this lady hold a note.

To be honest, though, this is a song I have trouble paying attention to. It has a decent beat, and a good enough melody, but that’s just it – it’s good enough. The chorus is catchy for a brief moment, until it finishes, and the verses are nothing special, or at least not for me.

Overall thought: why can’t the video focus a bit more on the motorbikes than the music? They’d be more interesting.

Tom: Got it! Those notes. I know what it is now. Right, what do you think of the song?

Alex Saidac – We Shine

There is a moment in this song at which you will raise your eyebrows and think ‘huh’.

Tim: There is a moment in this song at which you will raise your eyebrows and think ‘huh’.

Tim: Now, this is very, very odd. Verses that, for me, are almost unlistenable, and chorus that, for me, is almost ‘repeat until death’. I don’t really know what market is being aimed at, here – she’s a professional DJ, so I suppose she must know her audience, but there are people I know who will like the verse, and there are people I know who will like the chorus. Those groups do not intersect – they barely mingle, in fact.

Tom: A bit of techie geekery here: in the waveform that shows up in Soundcloud’s player, you can actually see the difference between verses and chorus. That doesn’t normally happen on modern dance records: they’re all normally compressed into one glutinous mass.

I’m in the chorus-liking group, by the way – and you’re right, I did raise my eyebrows.

Tim: Overall, I have to give it a thumbs-down – much as I love the chorus, the verses cancel that out, and there’s no real big hands in the air moment to get excited about.

Tom: It’s a shame, because it is a lovely chorus, at least to begin with. Shame about the rest of it.

Three – Lucky Number

A faceful of autotune

Tim: Teenage triplets, and identical ones at that.

Tom: I was going to make a “be still my beating heart”, but I’m getting a more “Children of the Corn” vibe off them. They’re really rather creepy.

Tim: As a girlband they’ve been a while in the making, but here’s their first single, so get ready for a faceful of autotune, although rest assured that it does calm down after a bit.

Tom: That is, indeed, a faceful of autotuning.

Tim: Now, I think this is what they call ‘catchy’. It’s happy, it’s chirpy, and it’s rather nice.

Tom: It’s almost too much sugar, and that’s saying something from someone who used to listen to rather too much J-Pop.

Tim: I do like the ending, which is abrupt, but not in such a way that it feels like someone’s just turned the microphones off by accident, what with the final revelation of the (not remotely surprising) lucky number.

Tom: They actually appear to have used DTMF tones – or something very close to them – as an actual melody line. Top works to whoever wrote that.

Tim: It also has the benefit of being educational – now, children, you can greet people wherever you are in the world!

Tom: I just generally SPEAK LOUDLY and SLOWLY. It seems to work.

Saturday Flashback: Darin – You’re Out Of My Life

I don’t think I could fault this, even if I wanted to.

Tim: A few weeks ago, we mentionedthat various countries were starting to look for their Eurovision entries. Well tonight, it’s the big one, as Melodifestivalen, the second most important music competition of the year, gets going in Sweden; as such, it’s only appropriate that we look back at a previous entry. Darin entered with this last year, and I reckon we’ve gone too long without mentioning him.

Tom: I reckon I’d put Lovekiller as one of the best songs of last year. It’s so overblown and yet brilliant.

Tim: I’ll be honest – I don’t think I could fault this, even if I wanted to.

Tom: This is how you make a slow, emotional schlager song without it seeming slow and plodding. Basic chord changes, emotional vocals, soaring choruses.

Tim: Admittedly it’s not as good as Lovekiller or his other recent and brilliant single Microphone, but it’s still great. Music: top notch. Lyrics/emotion relation: perfect.

Tom: And the key change?

Tim: Key change: absolutely superb.

Tom: Superb enough that my jaw genuinely dropped.

Tim: All round: flipping marvellous.

Tom: Oh yes.

Tone Damli – No Way Out

Fairly simple, really: nice tinkly piano intro, soft female vocals.

Tim: So, let’s see what we’ve got here. Fairly simple, really: nice tinkly piano intro, soft female vocals (as, really, we’d expect from a female), gentle drums and an early-Avril-Lavigne style chorus.

Tom: I was distracted and bored through the verse, until that Avril-style chorus kicked in – at which point I let out a quick “ooh!” of surprise. The chorus is brilliant, but you do have to plod through the rest of the song to get there.

Tim: True, but then with it building up a bit towards the end (admittedly passing through a very, VERY disappointing bridge exit), it’s basically a fun, fairly excited and happy piece of pop music, and anybody who doesn’t like it must have a heart of stone. Of STONE!

Tom: I do like it. I just wish there was a bit more energy in it – particularly that bridge exit, which winds up to a key change that never happens. If ever there was a track for Almighty Records to remix…

Blue and all that Eurovision business.

People have thrown a strop. They’re wrong.

Tim: As I’m sure we’ve all heard, British boyband Blue have been chosen by the BBC to represent Britain at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf, and unsurprisingly lots of people have got all mardy and thrown a strop about it. They’re wrong.

Tom: Yes they are.

Tim: They’re wrong, at least for the time being, and we shall now demonstrate why, through means of a systematic deconstruction of their arguments:

1. We didn’t get to decide. True, but are you honestly telling me that you would happily have chosen one of the six that were in Your Country Needs You last year? They weren’t your first choice, and never would have been. Until the BBC gets the money to splash out on a massive competition that about four thousand people will enter, with internet voting and tickets that sell out in half an hour, it’s never going to be a proper public choice.

Tom: A British Melodifestivalen will only happen when British folks take Eurovision seriously, which is approximately never. And if we actually had a Melodifestivalen, a comedy act would win, and we all know how that worked out for Dustin the Turkey.

Tim: 2. Blue are a crap boyband. Why can’t we have something good? You, person who says this, would make this argument whatever happened and whoever eventually got chosen unless it was Eliza Doolittle or Tinie Tempah. Shut up. They’ve actually been successful, and not just in this country but across a large part of Europe. Your personal music taste doesn’t count.

Tom: They’re perfect for Eurovision, too – inoffensive, well-tested, and popular. Don’t forget that Lena

Tim: Erm, Tom? Nope, he’s wandered off. But yes, Lena, who won it last year, was popular across Europe.

3. They haven’t done anything for over five years. Well, at least they’ve done something in the past, and aren’t a complete non-entity. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have an act that was successful a while back than an act that’s never been successful. We know they can sing properly, and to large crowds as well, so there shouldn’t be any worries there. Also, Katrina and the Waves hadn’t had a new single for over seven years before they won it back in 1997.

4. It will ruin their careers. And that’s our problem how, exactly? It may well be true, especially if they don’t do very well – their former manager certainly believes it to be the case – but so what? It’s not really like they have much of a future career to ruin, to be frank.

5. It makes us look desperate to win. Really, though? Even if that were the case – and personally if anything I think it makes us look keen, a good thing – it’s better than making us look like we can’t be arsed, which is certainly what anybody who saw last year’s car crash of a selection program would have thought. I can’t really remember the highlight, although I think it might have been Graham Norton forgetting how to read an autocue, or perhaps Pete Waterman & Mike Stock being furious that the act they’d clearly written the song for got voted off because she forgot the words.

So, to everybody who’s already started whining: hush. If you’re going to complain, at least wait a couple of months (really, BBC? that long?) until you’ve heard the song. Then we’ll let you bitch about it, and in fact may well join you.

Enrique Iglesias feat. Ludacris – Tonight (I’m Fuckin’ You)

This is an incredibly creepy song.

Tom: There are some songs that hide their meanings in cryptic metaphor; there are some that take a direct approach. This is one of the latter.

Tim: It is a bit, isn’t it?

Tom: I admire quite how direct he is, but let’s be honest: if he wasn’t Enrique Iglesias, this would be an incredibly creepy song.

Tim: That sentence should be reworded: ‘let’s be honest: this is an incredibly creepy song.’

Tom: The trouble is that, while it’s fairly listenable to start with, even a rap bridge from Ludacris can’t really justify its four-minute length. Once the shock value wears off, that synth backing really starts to grate – and there’s no build either. The first chorus is just as energetic as the last, and it ends on a whimper rather than (hurr) a bang.

Tim: It’s not that listenable, though – it’s the autotune, and it really turns me off, I mean, why? We all know he can sing the right notes, he doesn’t need autotuning – is there a point to it other than to make him sound like a robot?

Tom: That’s the style these days. Doesn’t matter if you can sing or not: you’ve got to sound a bit like Cher. The radio edit is of course a bit toned town – to “Lovin’ You” – and without that bit of swearing the whole song seems to fade into nothing. Pity.

Tim: Hmm. I remember when Enrique was a nice person, singing nicely about being a hero, and kissing away the pain. Now’s he’s been sucked in by hip-hop and turned into a dick.

Saturday Flashback: AnnaGrace – You Make Me Feel

It doesn’t make me want to play laser tag.

Tim: Do you remember Castles in the Sky? Of course you do – it was the early 2000s, as far as I’m concerned a Golden Age of music in Britain, with Eurodance colonising the charts every summer, and that song epitomised it.

Tom: Oh, that takes me back. Specifically, it takes me back to the upper floor of the Nottingham laser tag centre, defending the red base from anyone who tried to make it up the stairs.

Tim: Fast forward a few years, though, and utter tripe has largely taken over.

Tom: I quite like Disturbia, thank you very much.

Tim: Seriously? Huh. Anyway, regardless of the popularity shift, Ian van Dahl are still going, albeit with a different name, and they bring out this, get no airplay because it’s not cool any more, and fail to chart anywhere except their native Belgium.

Tom: Ah, Hard2Beat Records. They know their target market, and they aren’t afraid to pitch to them.

Tim: That failure to chart is a great shame, really, because this is good.

Tom: Now that’s where you’re wrong. It’s competent. It’s not good.

Tim: Well, I’ll accept that it is fairly generic, and does very little to challenge the ‘all dance music sounds the same’ bull that my parents like to put out there every now and again, although it does at least stay away from the snare drum buildup cliche* (by replacing it with a synth buildup instead).

* Related fact: Ayla’s album Nirwana is quite possibly my favourite dance album of ever, vying for the top spot along with Dario G’s Sunmachine, Rank 1’s Symsonic and Darude’s Before the Storm. Three years ago I spent almost six months on eBay, Amazon and the like trying to track down a (reasonably priced) copy before becoming very, very grateful to kevayreski72 for wanting to get rid of his.

Tom: That synth buildup may be the only original thing in the song.

Tim: You know what? I don’t care about originality – I like it, and it reminds me of a better time. Although it isn’t as good as Castles in the Sky.

Tom: Well, of course it isn’t. For a start, it doesn’t make me want to play laser tag.

Eric Saade – Still Loving It

A surprisingly decent mix of several genres.

Tim: Last seen getting soaking wet and with a notable absence of raccoons, he’s fixed one of those problems…

Tom: …please say it’s the raccoons.

Tim: …by drying himself off – sorry Tom – and putting the first single off his next album up on YouTube.

Tim: Unfortunately, but not too surprisingly, it isn’t as good as Manboy.

Tom: He’s gone all plodding and emotional, hasn’t he? So much for having enough enthusiasm that you have to shower on stage.

Tim: If we’re honest, it could probably do with losing about thirty seconds somewhere along the line, and the first few seconds sound a bit like Day & Night. On a more positive note, if you don’t do some sort of involuntary dance-type movement after the bridge there may be something wrong with you, which makes it a winner in my view.

Tom: I was all ready to disagree with you there, and then I went and subconsciously nodded my head along after the beat. That technically counts.

Tim: Musically it’s a surprisingly decent mix of several genres; lyrically it seems slightly weird and almost pointless – you’re annoying me but keep doing it – but never mind that, because I still like the chorus and the closing bit very much indeed.

Tom: It’s a proper lighters-in-the-air moment at the end, isn’t it? It’s no Manboy, but it’ll do.