Oscar Zia feat. Leslie Tay – Kyss Mig i Slo-mo

“That’s… actually pretty original as song concepts go.“

Tim: Last seen around here being my favourite finalist of Melodifestivalen 2016, but now Oscar’s back from the hairdresser’s and all singing in Swedish.

Tom: I love titles that I can translate by just reading them out loud.

Tim: You can probably guess the title yourself, though the rest of song’s slightly in reverse – kind of a “what are we waiting for, it’s been ages, just kiss me, but slowly so it’s nice and sensual and all that.”

Tom: That’s… actually pretty original as song concepts go.

Tim: A fair mix of pressure and romance, which sums up the song as well really, as we’ve a gentle and somewhat soulful verse combined with a heftier almost dance-y chorus, which I’d say works well enough – he certainly has the vocal skills to pull it off.

Tom: I’m less sure about what appears to be a synth imitating a motorbike in the background, and I reckon that middle eight changes the style in an odd way that doesn’t really fit in. But yes, there’s nothing actually wrong here.

Tim: The production and melody are all good as well, so it’s all pretty great, really. Nice one.

Seeb x Dagny – Drink About

“Those are two names that promise a lot.”

Tom: Those are two names that promise a lot.

Tim: Question: if you’re dropping f-bombs fairly prominently in the chorus, and making no attempt to hide them, is there actually any point whatsoever in censoring them in the lyric video? Seeb has chosen to find out.

Tim: Sure, you could argue that it means you don’t have to slightly redo it if you ever wanted to put out a version with edited audio, but why not just do that to start with?

Tom: I’d say ‘money’, but honestly, it doesn’t really doesn’t take much effort by a motion graphics designer to change out one word. Although, they would be changing it in a lot of places.

Tim: It’s a pity, really, because that line could work perfectly with a ‘hell’ or a ‘damn’ or even just using a longer ‘I’ sound, but oh well, it’s done now. Nice dance track, mind, despite that, with a memorable hook and, I suppose, lyrics. Good production, good vocals – all well done, really.

Tom: Yep, it’s a competent middle-of-the-playlist dance track that does exactly what it’s supposed to. Not spectacular, but not terrible either.

Tim: Just a shame about the rudeness.

Lichtblick – Tausend und eine Nacht

“Those synths in the pre-chorus are right out of the early 2000s.”

Tim: Finishing up the week, we’re still female, still electro (technically), but I think you’ll have a bit more time for this, A Thousand and One Nights…

Tim: Better?

Tom: Ahahaha. That is not electropop. I mean, yes, it is pop, and it is made with electronics, but you’re right to finish the week off on this one, I’m much happier.

Tim: Oh, I’m very glad to hear that. It’s the debut single from the four of them, who are (according to the YouTube description, at least) the first schlager girl group in Germany. I’m having trouble believing that’s true, but if this is what we’re getting then I’m all for it – their name, after all, does translate as Ray of Hope.

Tom: See, this is still a bit forgettable. If I was blind to music genres, I’d rate this the same as the previous few days’ attempts — but blimey, those synths in the pre-chorus are right out of the early 2000s, and they hit every nostalgia button. I can’t not like it.

Tim: Would I have liked a key change? Yes, of course I would, because that build up into the final chorus was pleading for one. Otherwise: VERY PROMISING.

Post Precious – Lose Myself

“I’m starting to think it’s time they turned it into a front project.”

Tim: Third track of this pairing, and I’ve realised I’ve never really actually explained it: basically the producer off the American electro duo MS MR, Max Hershenow, has teamed up with a singer called Alex Winston to form this as a ‘side project’; going by this, and their previous two, I’m starting to think it’s time they turned it into a front project.

Tom: We’ve certainly been talking a lot about female-fronted electropop lately.

Tim: Because it’s quite good, isn’t it? It is, like yesterday, an example of this genre done very well indeed – great vocals, excellent production.

Tom: Mm. I’m just not so sure about the composition: there’s really nothing that stands out there for me. We’ve heard a lot of tracks like this before, and they’re all starting to blur together for me. What stands out for you?

Tim: Notably brilliant: the fifth eighth of the chorus – the “who was I to think…” line, which has a melody that is absolutely lovely. That’s not to say the rest of the chorus is bad, because I don’t think any part of this is bad – in fact, it’s all rather lovely and wonderful. Sure, it’s slightly annoying that every time the “I lose” comes along I want to segue into “my eyes…“, but I can get past that (and even if I can’t that’s a good song to slide into).

Tom: I guess I’m looking for something a bit more. This isn’t a bad song by any means, it’s just unmemorable for me.

Tim: We’re three tracks in, with three successes, so I call that at least very promising, right?

Olivera – No More

“It’s a genre I love, and it’s nicely done.”

Tim: New one off Olivera, who is from Finland and has been going a couple of years now; have a listen, because I’ve a question.

Tom: I’ll be honest, I can’t remember much of it after listening, which isn’t a good sign.

Tim: So, that is a lovely track, for me – it’s a genre I love, and it’s nicely done. The only problem is: I’d swear I’ve heard it before, to the extent that I had to check we’d not previously featured it. Have I heard it? Or is it just that it’s such textbook example of the CHVRCHES/Foxes style that it sounds familiar because it uses all the, well, standard tropes?

Tom: It sounds like a CHVRCHES album track, but, like, not a specific one. I’ve never heard it before, certainly.

Tim: I don’t know, and that annoys me. Is it just standard good, or something really good that I’ve already heard many times?

Sandro Cavazzo – High With Somebody

“A video that’s really quite delightful.”

Tim: Last heard of providing vocals for Avicii, Sandro’s brought up a new solo song and with it a video that’s really quite delightful.

Tim: Every time a three minute (ish) song comes along, particularly at this time of year, I find myself wondering if it’d make a good Eurovision track. Here, of course: no. Well, unless they could get the guy in the rabbit suit up on stage doing stuff that would, let’s face it, probably bring the EBU into disrepute, so best not try.

Instead, let’s just enjoy the song, and even more enjoy the video – I’n fairly sure, after all, that that’s what we’re meant to do.

Tom: And I do enjoy it: but without it, I’m really not sure I’d think the song was any good. You’re right when you say it’s a delightful video; it’s just for a song that would be irritatingly chirpy otherwise.

Tim: Yep, that’s pretty much my feeling as well: fairly sure I wouldn’t enjoy the song anywhere near as much as I do if the video wasn’t there – I may well dismiss is as some twee waste of three decent minutes – but since the video is there, and I saw that before just hearing the song on its own, I’m all happy. And irritatingly chirpy.

Alan Walker, Keala Settle – This Is Me (Alan Walker Relift)

“Does Alan Walker remixing it make it better, worse, or just different?”

Tom: I described the original version of this track as “so polished that you could slip on it and crack your head”, although you were a lot more enthusiastic. The question is: does Alan Walker remixing it make it better, worse, or just different?

Tim: Hmm, see I’d been avoiding this one, largely because it was described to me as ‘not ideal’. But go on then, because it is, I suppose, a question I do want to know the answer to.

Tim: Huh – that is nowhere near as bad as I was worried it would be.

Tom: I’m going for “different” and “worse”. Which is a shame: but the original already had percussion and energy, it knew exactly what it was aiming for, this just confuses matters. Unlike a remix that takes an emotional slow number and makes it INCREDIBLE, or that turns a good key change into a ludicrous key change, this… just adds some beats where there didn’t need to be any.

Tim: Ah, you see this is where having listened to that original 20+ times on repeat gives me more info: there’s more than that. In particular, there’s a whole new lovely countermelody under it (which is what you can hear on the obligatory ‘click to subscribe’ bit at the end).

It’s most notable during the chorus, where previously there was nothing – just the vocal – and it actually does add something to it, in a positive way for me. Sure, there was power to come from having the vocal unencumbered by anything else, but I don’t think this detracts from it at all.

Tom: It’s a shame, because there is, no doubt, a good remix to be had here: it just needs to either be much more transformative, or of a different track from the musical.

Tim: Speaking of which, The Greatest Show recently got added to the playlist at work, and my job satisfaction has subsequently increased by at least 150%.

Bon Jovi – When We Were Us

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a band known for their big hits decades ago will never reach those heights again.”

Tom: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a band known for their big hits decades ago will never reach those heights again. They can’t: the songs we remember, the songs that have survived until this decade in the public consciousness: they were the very, very best of their time, drummed into everyone’s heads through familiarity and repetition. We grew up listening to Bon Jovi’s old tracks, Tim. They can never beat them.

Tom: But, as it turns out, they can get pretty close.

Tim: Yes – though apparently not without recycling some of those old songs.

Tom: This actually came out on an album a couple of years ago, but they’re going on tour, and this is the new single. Now, admittedly, there are several echoes of their old stuff in here. I’m fairly certain that you could sing at least part of the chorus of “It’s My Life” to this chorus.

Tim: And no small amount of Busted, actually.

Tom: But you know what? This is a good track. It sounds like Bon Jovi, and it sounds modern. That’s quite an achievement.

Tim: Yep – can’t deny them any of that. Just a tad too familiar for me to get behind it, sadly.

Martin Almgren – A Bitter Lullaby

“A fake southern US accent. No idea.”

Tim: The staple of any Eurovision: the song that states how the world isn’t all but can soon be so much better. Here, we dial up the country tones, and with it bring along a fake southern US accent. No idea.

Tim: The final was the first time I heard this song, as I missed the heat, and I really liked it – yes, it’s cheesy, and sure, this type of song can be annoying, but it’s packaged nicely with a good chorus melody, pleasant backing vocal, and he certainly brings the energy.

Tom: That’s true, although I’ve heard that chorus melody before.

Tim: Huh – I was all set to wonder how I missed that, what with it being literally my third, or maybe second, or fourth, but definitely top five, favourite Christmas song ever – but then I guess there’s such a massive genre shift it passed me by.

Tom: Probably accidental, though. You’re right, though: there’s a certain, preacher-like energy to him: it sounds like something you’d hear on a Christian rock radio station in the US.

Tim: In theory, I guess one listen’s exactly what you’d need for a Eurovision song. Now that I’ve heard it a few more, though, the cracks become apparent – we don’t need all that shouting, and that voice really is a bit weird. But first time, it did me alright, and to be honest I could see this, depending on the mood of the room, not doing too badly in Lisbon. Not winning, hell no, but not bad.

Jessica Andersson – Party Voice

“And to think they worried schlager was dead…”

Tim: Following yesterday’s mess, allow me to reassure you with this. It’s been fifteen years since she represented Sweden at Eurovision, as part of the duo Fame with the still outstanding Give Me Your Love; let’s have another go, presumably went the logic. And to think they worried schlager was dead…

Tim: And THAT right there is what a 2018 schlager diva looks like. Modern enough that it gets the votes (going direct to the final from its heat), which sadly leaves us without a key change, but still bringing enough of the tropes that every single one of her early ’00s fans will love it.

Because really, what is there not to love? For starters, it’s ALL ABOUT PARTYING and GOING NUTS, like so many of the best songs. There’s pink, there’s an enormous pretend mirrorball at the back, and there are backing dancers throwing their hands around in the full and certain knowledge that they are FABULOUS.

Tom: They are, but whoever did the live mixing for this had some problems. The vocals are buried in the mix, and that combined with her vocal quality means that she sounds a bit strained. She’s probably not — but that doesn’t matter when you’ve got one chance to impress everyone. Plus, good luck with getting those vocal samples past the Eurovision rules.

Tim: You say that, but with currently musical trends that’s a rule in dire need of revision, as a trip to Norway’s post chorus last year will demonstrate.

I will say that the ‘dance like a mother’ line does stand out a bit – I’m guessing they were going for being a bit cheeky, but without that immediate thought it just sounds really weird. Like, what does it even mean?

Tom: Yep, I was going to point that out. I think I know what they were aiming for, but… well, they missed.

Tim: Other than that: GLORIOUS.

Tom: IT’S OKAY I GUESS.