Slushii feat. Marshmello – There x2

“Maybe this whole thing is a nonsense after all, particularly when his twin brother comes along at the end.”

Tim: Okay then. Here’s a song whose chorus line is incredibly specific and not really relatable; fortunately, it sounds brilliant so we can at least all enjoy it.

Tom: “Slushii” and “Marshmello”. Okay. Let’s get through this…

Tom: …damn it, I like it, and I dislike the fact that I like it.

Tim: Obviously, no self-respecting pop singer would release a song that makes no sense, so I think what we need to assume is that he’s just broken up with someone who has an identical twin, and now wants both of them, rather than just the one. Was that what prompted the breakup in the first place? Well, we’ll probably never know, but if it was he’s really not helping his case here. Also not helping his case: the sheer number of times he sings “I still miss you” – Mr Slushii, 39 times is TOO MANY.

Tom: And this should really, really irritate me! To be honest, it does! But all the ridiculous bubblegum synths and euphoric-build-noises around it somehow make it okay in my head.

Tim: And also, “if I’m here, will you be there” – is he, what, seeking knowledge that as long as he doesn’t move, she won’t go anywhere, even though she’s somewhere completely different? Oh, I don’t know, maybe this whole thing is a nonsense after all, particularly when his twin brother comes along at the end.

HOWEVER, now that we’ve entirely failed to get that sorted, let’s move on to the music, which I’m fairly sure is entirely brilliant, yes?

Tom: Aaaaagh, yes it is, although I increasingly want a version of this that doesn’t have as many ‘STILL MISS YOU’s in it.

Tim: Sensible introductory beat and then melody to let everyone know that yes, this is indeed a song to be danced to. And then when that dance beat comes along, the heavy synths that indicate “really, you should be dancing to this”, then that really is just a great CHOON. Is that still a word? I don’t know, but if it is then this is one. And if it isn’t, well this still is anyway. GREAT STUFF, though I really could do with an instrumental.

Henry Land feat. Vilde J – Wildfire

“Oh boy, are we going to disagree on this one.”

Tim: Unlike yesterday, here’s a track that got me right from the very first note, so please, help yourself to a play button.

Tom: Oh boy, are we going to disagree on this one. What do you like about it?

Tim: Well, right from the off there’s the lovely euphoric-style underline, a gentle but fast-flowing piano line, a good vocal – so far, so top notch early 00s.

Tom: As with yesterday: I just don’t hear it. Maybe I’m burned out on music like this, but — apart from the promise of that build into the chorus — it just left me cold.

Tim: But then, a minute in, come those vocal twiddles that put me in mind of Galantis being good, and that elevates it even further.

Tom: Whereas that just irritated me! Galantis somehow manage to make it sound joyful, whereas (to me at least) this just sounds like someone noodling about on a synth with no particular direction. And then there’s the weird brass bit for some reason.

Tim: Oh, that brass cameos? Well, that’s just a great bonus, for me. There’s a lot to like here, and nothing I can find to dislike. Wonderful.

ROTBLOND – Küssen

“YES. Or, rather, JA.”

Tim: Let’s have a weekend! More specifically, let’s have a weekend soundtracked by German dancepop!

Tom: YES. Or, rather, JA.

Tim: Küssen, if you can’t guess, translates as Kiss, and while I can’t find any of the lyrics online it’s probably a safe bet that it’s about getting off with each other. (Any German speakers reading this, please pass on any info about this, it’s been 15 years since my last German lesson.)

Tom: I’m pretty sure it’s actually about someone (presumably, the listener) getting off with them, rather than each other, but I’m sure you can interpret it how you want.

Tim: It’s a fairly decent dance track, really – yes, it could be brightened up by a key change (one at 2:41 would sound absolutely cheap and also absolutely fabulous) – but it’s got a beat, vocal skills, a decent melody and nothing hugely wrong with it. Not exactly the highest of compliments, but it’ll do for now.

Tom: “Nothing hugely wrong with it” basically sums up my thoughts too. It’s a decent mid-cheesy-playlist track, and that’s fine.

Tim: Oh, and speaking of key changes, while I know I said I wouldn’t harp on about the film, Hugh Jackman’s one in From Now On is truly excellent. Nope, I still haven’t stopped listening to that soundtrack.

Post Precious – Sign of the Times

“This isn’t a full-on IN YOUR FACE remix.”

Tim: So, remember when Callum Scott took one of the best tunes of recent times and turned it into an unlistenable piece of guitar tedium?

Tom: I try not to.

Tim: Well, dialling in the extremes a bit, Post Precious have gone and done the opposite.

Tim: Like I said, we’re dialling in the extremes: Sign of the Times was actually quite enjoyable, unlike the garbage that Dancing On My Own turned into, but it’s still nice to see that there’s always someone on hand to improve it further, because this is an improvement.

Tom: Huh. I’m not so sure about that, because I really liked Sign of the Times. This isn’t a full-on IN YOUR FACE remix of the sort that, say, Almighty Records would provide, and I think it loses something from that. It needs to be BIG, to provide the same sort of kick that Harry Styles’ spectacular vocals did on the original, and it isn’t big enough.

Tim: There’s still good vocal work there, particularly towards the end of track (as in the original), but the potentially less enjoyable guitar work of the original has instead become a really rather good dance beat. Working within the limits of the original: this is a good dance track.

Tom: It just needs to go up one or two more notches.

Tim: Though I wouldn’t mind turning down that insanely repetitive single beat that starts 30 seconds in and never, ever lets up.

Tom: Oh now I’ve noticed it, and the track is ruined. Never mind.

Martin Garrick feat. Usher – Don’t Look Down

“He decides to weirdly harass a girl he finds attractive.”

Tim: Another victim of the Safari tab cull (it was fun when it reached 69, but then it was just silly), and I’m fairly sure I had this one up mostly for the video, which was created for the “happened a couple of times then they realised no-one was really interested” YouTube Music Awards.

Tom: Hey, don’t knock them — they gave us the spectacular video for Kygo’s Stole the Show.

Tim: So Martin’s a bit upset, with no-one really appreciating anything he does, and probably also being paid sod all, so he decides to weirdly harass a girl he finds attractive. As you do.

Tom: Except, even more weirdly, that is not Martin. That’s an actor called Aj Knight. But yes, either way, that’s still not a great plot.

Tim: Kind of like she’s Shania Twain, and he’s trying to show that he can impress her very very much indeed, but she’s all “mate, didn’t you listen to the song?” In the end, obviously there has to be a happy ending, which in this case is another girl finding him attractive even though he has no interest in her.

Not sure how happy that is, really, though I suppose it’s a good hook for a Basshunter-style sequel if nothing else, with “No Really, You Shouldn’t Look Down” telling the exact same tale but just gender-swapped, and with an unusual twist at the end that no-one sees coming.

Tom: Sure, we can do that:

Tim: Cracking track, mind.

SJUR feat. Liza Owen – Lovesick

“That’s a bit of alright, isn’t it?”

Tim: SJUR is off Norway; we’ve not featured him before but he’s got a couple of decent tracks under his belt, and here’s his new one.

Tim: That’s a bit of alright, isn’t it?

Tom: I didn’t understand why you’d said that — until I got to that pre-chorus. I realise it’s almost certainly sequenced on a computer, but I just got this image in my head of a live keyboard player bashing out those chords. It just sounds really fun: it’s the first time in 2018 that I’ve thought “huh, that sounds like a Big Summer Song”. It’s not, don’t get me wrong, but it could’ve been if that sense of fun had stuck throughout. Instead…

Tim: It’s probably for the best that it’s quite short, though, because even by two and half minutes I’m finding that one single vocal line in the chorus a bit repetitive; on the other hand, the rest of it is pretty good. Well, good in the sense of ‘this is a good example of whatever genre this is called’; the genre itself may well be getting a bit repetitive, but that’s by the by as far as the song’s concerned. The rest of the music, I like. The verses, the instrumental part of the chorus where the vocal has some melody, that’s all fine. So it’ll do.

Axwell Λ Ingrosso feat. Trevor Guthrie – Dreamer

“Let’s not focus on that.”

Tim: New one off the pairing, who released their first proper album last month.

Tom: They should have just called themselves “Two Thirds of Swedish House Mafia”.

Tim: Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, though.

Tim: I like that. It’s got strong lyrics, with a couple of people who have big aspersions, and ideally the means to make them happen. If they don’t, of course, then I guess they’ll be eternally disappointed, but let’s not focus on that.

Tom: It also sounds a bit like they’ve got the string section from Coldplay’s Viva La Vida popping up a couple of times, but let’s not focus on that either.

Tim: The good dance beat and production we’d expect from these guys, and the vocals – well, is it just me, or do basically all male dance vocalists sound the same? Admittedly I’m fairly sure I could recognise Aloe Blacc, who was the one off Wake Me Up, but Trevor here styles himself as a solo artist, has appeared on only one other track that we’ve featured here and yet I think I’d struggle to pick this voice out of an aural line up made of any number of other ‘feat.’ vocals.

Tom: That’s true of a lot of vocalists, male and female. Not just for music, either: it’s the same reason that every YouTube video essay sounds the same.

Tim: Fair point, I guess, and maybe that’s the idea – keep the vocalists generic to focus on the dance music – but it still seems a bit weird. Anyway, good tune here.

Tom: It’s not bad. But, as ever, it’s no “Don’t You Worry Child”. Maybe they should have kept the other third.

Avicii feat. Vargas & Lagola – Friend Of Mine

“Well that’s a hell of an emotional rollercoaster.”

Tim: Ooh, them off Melodifestivalen last year! What are they doing with Avicii?

Tom: Advance warning: this is a video somewhere between ’emotional’ and ‘heartbreaking’. I recommend listening to the song on its own first, because I don’t think you’ll be able to consider it properly otherwise.

Tim: Hmm. Short but sweet.

Tom: So, without that video — well, it’s an Avicii track, isn’t it? There’s not much going on there we haven’t heard before, although that doesn’t mean it’s actually bad. He may have retired from touring, but he’s still happy to chuck out perfectly reasonable farm-house tracks like this.

Tim: “Perfectly reasonable” is a very good way to describe this – nothing new or particularly inventive, but it’ll do. Now, give me a moment to watch that video.

Oh. Oh, well that’s a hell of an emotional rollercoaster, blimey.

Tom: How on earth a video like this got suggested and approved, I’ve no idea, but I’m glad it was.

Tim: Yeah. Yeah, it’s…well, not sure really, but yeah.

Hot Shade feat. Cal – Don’t Give Up On Me

“That’s not a random session singer, that’s someone who – hopefully – is going places.”

Tim: Hot Shade is American, Cal is Norwegian, and while I don’t want to set false expectations, I think this is one of the best dance tracks I’ve heard in quite some time.

Tim: There is, after all, a lot of good stuff on there. Vocal is perfectly decent, that light piano under the verse sounds absolutely lovely, before descending into fuller piano dance under the sung chorus.

Tom: Where do I know that voice from? That sounds like a combination of Sia and Rihanna, and I know that’s high praise, but seriously, that is a brilliant voice that I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere before. That’s not a random session singer, that’s someone who — hopefully — is going places.

Tim: After that, well, that instrumental bit is really good indeed, and I don’t know if it is different or just seems different, but the second time round it’s even better. No crashing drum beats or anything too bombastic, but just a really good melody, really well produced. And that’s all I need.

Tom: I think you definitely set expectations too high calling it “one of the best dance tracks”, because — while I’m at least convinced that it’s a good track — I’m a lot less sure that it’s a good dance track. But that’s a minor quibble: this is good.

Tim: There’s one thing I do want, though: a middle eight. Of course I do, I always do, but I guessed I missed the e-mail that outlawed them. OH WELL.

Galantis & Throttle – Tell Me You Love Me

“GLORY BE”

Tim: Every time I press play on a new Galantis track, I pray to all the gods I don’t believe in that Galantis will produce another Love On Me, and that my faith in them will be restored…

Tim: And GLORY BE it’s like an early Christmas present, because this is so much more enjoyable for me than any of their other recent tracks.

Tom: That’s a guarded compliment — I agree, but I’d love to hear why you phrased it quite like that.

Tim: It’s not as good as Love On Me, obviously – I’d rather a less disjointed instrumental chorus, and I’m still not satisfied with any track that skimps on a middle eight and a closing chorus – but it’s close enough to make me happy, very happy.

Tom: The chorus parts where it goes to complete silence are a bit unpleasant to listen to, but yes: this sounds like Galantis are back on form.

Tim: To be honest, parts of it are so close to Love On Me that I kind of suspect a copy and paste job, but never mind – like I said, I’m happy, and reassured.