Ea Kaya – Cruel To Be Kind

“He’s really not all that.”

Tim: More music for you today of a mid-2010s female power pop variety, with this Swedish lady telling a guy that actually, he’s really not all that.

Tom: I wonder if the director thinks they’re saying something with all the mishmash of video filters from different eras, or if they just think it looks pretty? (It is, to be fair, a brilliantly shot and graded video.) Anyway, yes: female power pop.

Tim: And it’s similar in a lot of ways to yesterday’s track; the main way is that it’s really really good. Similarly 1989 style, similarly high quality, similarly aggressive vibe to it, and just a similarly great listen.

Tom: I could hum the chorus after one listen, and it wasn’t grating on me. It is rather like the video: it’s all very pretty, I’m just not sure there’s anything more there. Not that there has to be — it just feels like the sort of song where, somehow, there should be something more.

Tim: Again, there are a few familiar bits here and there, but again, they’re all put together so well that it’s just a sign of great composition more than anything else. It’s a great track.

Mika – Ice Cream

“There’s some lovely catchy bits in here.”

Tom: I had to check whether this was a “he’s back” or “he’s still going”. It’s the latter: it’s just that he’s settled into the respectable “has enough fans to make a living” mould, rather than troubling the charts.

Tom: And with tracks like that, I reckon that’s fair enough. There’s some lovely catchy bits in here (that pre-chorus, in particular), and his voice and production are both still wonderful.

But despite all that, somehow, I don’t actually like this song.

Tim: Yeah, me too, although I’m, if anything, perhaps a bit more negative. I mean, yes, there’s good bits in here – but the first verse did nothing really for me, and it was only when it started sounding Mika-y that I really got interested. And, well, that didn’t last very long.

Tom: Maybe it’s a grower — I suspect that final chorus is the sort of earworm that sticks around after enough radio play. But it sounds like a Prince album track: competent, catchy, but not quite enough for a lead single off a new album.

Saturday Flashback: Harris & Ford – Drop Me Amadeus

“I never knew I needed a rave tribute to a prolific 18th century composer with an added Lonely Island style explanatory rap.”

Tim: I’ve been intrigued by this act since we featured them with Scooter the other day, not least because of their truly brilliant name.

Tom: They’re on Kontor records, same as Scooter, which does make some sort of sense.

Tim: Checking out their back catalogue, a large amount of it is somewhat unlistenable for me, being way too hardcore rave for my liking. This almost fell into that grouping, but then I kept listening.

Tim: Up until now, I never knew I needed a rave tribute to a prolific 18th century composer with an added Lonely Island style explanatory rap, but who’d have thought it?

Tom: Lonely Island-style is about right. I’m genuinely not sure whether this is tongue-in-cheek or not: there’s precedent for this sort of thing being serious but I can’t be sure. It, er, it certainly leaves an impression.

Tim: Turns out, that’s exactly what I need. It’s ridiculous, it got me giggling a bit, and it got me raving. Top stuff.

Avicii – Heaven

“It’s officially seen the light of day, which is nice.”

Tim: The album TIM is out today, with a number of interesting featured signers on there. Also interesting, to music nerds like us at least, is the crediting – almost all of them are ‘Avicii feat.’, though there are two exceptions. One’s credited to Avicii & Imagine Dragons equally, a fairly bizarre track that I really don’t think works at all; another, as in this one, has no credited vocalist at all. Even though the vocalist is Chris Martin.

Tom: And it’s Chris Martin going full Chris Martin, too. Interesting choice of title and lyric for a posthumous release, too.

Tim: It was recorded back in 2014 when they worked together on A Sky Full Of Stars (which in turn didn’t have Avicii as an official featured artist, maybe it was a reciprocal arrangement), and has been played in various live sets since, but now it’s officially seen the light of day, which is nice.

Tom: It sounds like an Avicii song from a few years ago, even down to the build in the middle — and the length, which is much more than you’d expect from a track in the streaming era.

Tim: It’s the most typical Avicii song of any of the pre-released tracks, and it’s nice. That repeating melody, the opening twinkly bit, the lovely sentiment of the lyrics, and the general feeling throughout it – just really, really nice, and particularly with those lyrics it may be my favourite of the recent releases.

Tom: Agreed. Although somehow it seems a little hollow: this is very much a posthumous release finished by others.

Tim: I miss him, you know. I know we’ve had a lot of new stuff from his hard drive recently, but it’s not quite the same, really. Not the same at all.

Kerstin Ott – Alles so wie immer

“Here we go.”

Tim: Hard to translate the title of this one snappily, but it’s basically “everything as it always is” – basically, every Friday night she’s annoyed that her girlfriend gets leered over because no-one believes they’re together. Well, that or guys just want to have a go anyway.

Tim: So, this is a bit weird, because (and I’m probably going too deep into this but THAT’S WHAT I DO), the video tells a slightly different story than the lyrics do.

Tom: Here we go.

Tim: According to the lyrics, Kerstin’s annoyed because her girlfriend gets a lot of attention, even though the girlfriend specifically does nothing to encourage it – the second verse is basically “I know you only want me, but they don’t, and it doesn’t matter how many times you tell them”. But the video is different: the girlfriend’s flirtatious, having fun leading the various guys on a bit. The underlying meaning gets twisted from “you’re brilliant, I love everything about you but there’s this one annoying side effect” to “please stop being such a flirt”, and I think that’s a real shame. I don’t know who signed off on it, or why, but I can’t help feeling it could have been used to make a point somehow, whereas instead we’ve just got flirty dancing.

Tom: See, I think the flirty dancing is so over-the-top that they’re actually casting some sort of hypnotic spell over the crowd. Presumably Kerstin goes round and nicks their wallets while they’re entranced. I mean, either that, or the video director didn’t really get it.

Tim: HAVING SAID THAT, though: since most of the time the music will be heard without the video, and given that I barely know any German in any case, all that is largely academic. So let’s talk about this song, and that lovely chorus melody that’s there right from the off, hooking us in with its chirpy and playful nature.

Tom: Schlager continues to self-optimise as a genre: “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” taken to the extent of just singing the first line of the chorus in the introduction, just to lock down exactly which song you’re listening to.

Tim: Comes back every thirty seconds or so, as is the wont of any chorus melody, and keeps us listening, because oh, it’s just so lovely. Utterly lovely, and infecting the rest of the song as well, as we’re just stuck there waiting for it to come back.

Tom: There’s not really else in the track, but then again, it’s schlager.

Tim: And when the song comes to an end, we press play all over again to hear it another time. Well, I do anyway.

Galantis x Passion Pit – I Found U

“This is just fabulous.”

Tim: Galantis, I have decided, are firmly back in my good books, and I’m fairly sure I can count on them as reliable. So, how will they perform here, with perhaps not the most obvious of bedfellows?

Tim: Easy answer: brilliantly, because this is just fabulous.

Tom: That’s a really good introduction, isn’t it? I wouldn’t have thought that sort of organ-synth would work in this century, but it does.

Tim: It does, pleasingly, manage to sound just like a Passion Pit track and also just like a Galantis track, though it’s not just the straightforward verse/chorus split we might have been treated to with lesser people in charge. There’s a bit of everybody everywhere, and as such the track flows in and out seamlessly from one part to another, unlike a lot of collaborations.

Tom: Often with collaborations, you feel like one side or the other hasn’t brought their A-game — that they’ve decided to keep the good stuff for themselves. But this really does seem like a joint track: it deserves “×” rather than “feat”.

Tim: And, on top of all that, it sounds good! Great melody, great beat, great production, great…everything. ALL GREAT.

Tove Lo – Glad He’s Gone

“You might want headphones.”

Tim: Coming up: some very, very blunt lyrics.

Tom: From Tove Lo, that’s not incredibly surprising.

Tim: You might want headphones.

Tim: To be honest, those lyrics were almost enough to put me off the first I heard them – specifically, the ‘did you let him leave a necklace’ line, which gave me quite the ‘eww, really?’ feeling. I’m very glad I didn’t switch it off, though, because the sound that turned up a bit later, the ‘no tears for that sucker’ section, sounds absolutely lovely.

Tom: And “I’m glad you finally dumped that terrible boyfriend” is a pretty good — and unusual — theme for a song. Yes, the lyrics are pretty dreadful throughout, but it’s catchy as hell.

Tim: In fact, most parts of this sound pretty lovely, in one way or another – I’ve even got to like that high pitched part that opens the song. Just, need to not pay too much attention to certain lyrics, because they’re still icky.

Sigala, Becky Hill – Wish You Well

“BREAK OUT THE PINEAPPLES.”

Tim: Remember 2016’s theme of Tropical Fridays? Well, it’s obviously too early to suggest they might be making a comeback, but for now, let’s BREAK OUT THE PINEAPPLES.

Tim: It’d be a good start, no?

Tom: It’s not bad! That “loyalities, insecurities and priorities” line stands out as being a really well crafted lyric: I don’t know the rhythm terms to explain what’s going on there, but it’s certainly catchy. As is most of the song, unexpectedly.

Tim: Admittedly I’ll always have a slightly rose-tinted view of Sigala, partly because he’s from Norwich, much like me, and also because his name is Bruce, which is an astounding name for a 27 year old Brit to have. Even so, I think this is a very good track to come out with.

Tom: You’re not wrong there. I am properly surprised by this: I expected this to be another regression-to-the-mean standard dance track, but there’s something in there that really stands out.

Tim: It’s his first new track since he put out his album last year, and that post-chorus breakdown, whilst being entirely devoid of coconuts, is astonishingly good. It is, in fact, entirely reminiscent of early ’00s dance tracks, and I absolutely love that.

Perhaps it’s a little lazy to immediately assign a ‘yes please’ to a track just because it brings back good feelings of times gone past, but I don’t care. Those are memories of music I loved, and never stopped loving, and it’s fantastic to hear it all over again. Especially when it sounds this damn good.

Wiktoria – OMG

“Try to sing along to the chorus, it’s fun!T

Tim: To allay your inevitable initial fear: she doesn’t actually sing OMG as letters in the song, so I’m not entirely sure why it’s like that in the title. Anyway, try to sing along to the chorus, it’s fun!

Tom: I would try to sing along, but I was too busy constantly wondering if Taio Cruz got royalties.

Tim: Wait, I don’t hear that at…oh, yes there it is. Dammit, Tom.

Tom: Apologies for ruining the song for you. Anyway, yes, it’s certainly a tricky chorus for karaoke.

Tim: That chorus annoyed me the first time I heard it, because this is the sort of song I like to be able to sing along to, and this really does present a challenge. But, turns out it’s a fun challenge and once I’m done with that and actually singing along, ish, it’s a pretty good piece of pop. Production, vocal, melody, all good, like we’ve come to expect from Wiktoria, really. All I can really say is, isn’t it time she came over here?

Samir & Viktor – Odödlig

“Bring out the BRASS”

Tim: Bring out the BRASS, because Samir & Victor have gone ‘Immortal’.

Tom: In the comments, there are quite a few people accusing them of ripping off Daniel Adams-Ray’s Dum av Dig, a song I’ve not heard of. My brain immediately tried to place that three-note chorus as well, and ended up on Phil Collins’ One More Night, although I’m fairly sure I’ve heard a brass version of it somewhere.

None of those are even particularly close: it’s just that when you’ve got a three-word chorus, that’s a natural rhythm to use.

Tim: Summer’s here, last summer was great, and now we’re feeling bloody brilliant and ready to do it all over again, is the basic message of this, and. well, why not really? Energetic, as we’d expect. Triumphant, as we’d expect. A mostly shouty chorus, as we’d expect, though there is a pleasing amount of melody in there.

Tom: I’m always glad when you send me the studio track from these two. Like Jedward, the enthusiasm’s there when they’re performing live, but the vocals might not always be. Shouty choruses fit this pair.

Tim: All in all, a fun track, heralding the arrival of summer. JOYFUL, he writes, as he stares out of his window at a largely grey sky. Ehh, can’t have everything.