Sick Individuals feat. MPH – We Got It All

“This sounds familiar. So, so familiar. But can I place it? Can I hell.”

Tim: This sounds familiar. So, so familiar. But can I place it? Can I hell.

Tom: It’s Zedd and Elley Duhé’s “Happy Now”. I mean, it’s distinct enough, but that’s what you’re thinking of.

Tim: It’s good track, mind, very good, and every little bit stands out. The first part starting out very strong, sounding like a chorus from some unidentifiable other song, then that instrumental dance breakdown, and then the final singy-shouty bit, also a bit familiar but not quite as much.

Tom: You’re not wrong! That’s some of the most promising first seconds I’ve heard in a while. And, once you get over the fact that it isn’t Happy Now, then yep — there’s a lot of good work in here.

Tim: All sounds good, then we go round and do it again for another 83 seconds. And then we’re done, rhythm still in our head.

Tom: And humming the melody to “Happy Now”.

Scooter & Xillions – Rave Teacher (Somebody Like Me)

“If this had been on the first album, would we be looking back on it with nostalgia?”

Tom: You have my attention.

Tim: Good. Because Xillions, a British/American production duo, put out Somebody Like Me a couple of years back, and Scooter have now done, well, what they do best.

Tom: Well, that’s more like their old stuff, isn’t it? That could happily sit on one of their earlier albums. And Scooter have always been inspired by the KLF; it’s nice that they’re still referencing that in their videos.

Tim: It is a lot more like the old stuff, isn’t it? Take another track and stick a load of RAVE on it, and it’s all the better for it.

Tom: That “sixth chapter” reference is pointing out that there’s been another change of lineup: you’ll be glad to hear that Wikipedia has a handy diagram.

Tim: As ever. So, every now and again I forget that the actual title of Scooter’s biggest hit was actually Ramp! (The Logical Song), and now with this title that makes a lot of sense – make a load of rave stuff and give it a name, and then plonk it on top of a track that roughly fits. Wouldn’t work for everything, of course – I can’t exactly imagine Back In The U.K. (The Miss Marple Theme) gaining much traction – but it does work. As for whether this track works: yeah. Yeah, I think it does.

Tom: It’s never going to be a classic, but maybe that’s more a sign of the times: if this had been on the first album, would we be looking back on it with nostalgia?

Tim: You know, I think that’s quite possible. It’s a decent enough track to start from, Scooter’s gonna Scoot, and together they work nicely. It’s good.

Seeb, Highasakite – Free To Go

“I like his style, therefore I like the track.”

Tim: We’ve not featured Highasakite before; they’re a Norwegian indie pop band with dancey undertones, and their lead singer, Ingrid, is featured here, with very dancey overtones.

Tim: Decent dance track, that. Standard Seeb style, and…well, there’s not much else to be said about it, is there?

Tom: I mean, you can sing the hook from Sigma’s “Nobody To Love” over that instrumental chorus, sure, it’s basically just a standard dance track.

Tim: We can note that it does have a middle eight, though, and part of me is tempted to keep track of to how rare that’s becoming; the entirety of the rest of me, mind, is screaming that that’s an entirely pointless and tedious thing to do. But yes, it’s a Seeb track, through and through. I like his style, therefore I like the track. Others may disagree, but I guess that’s subjectivity for you, no?

Broiler – Do It

“Blimey, that’s an early ’00s dance trance if ever there was one, isn’t it?”

Tim: Pair of Norwegians here for you, and, well, remember Dave Pearce doing Dance Anthems on a Sunday night on Radio 1 fifteen years ago? This might evoke some feels.

Tim: Because blimey, that’s an early ’00s dance trance if ever there was one, isn’t it?

Tom: Pitched-up vocals and a full-on washing-machine-spinning-up euphoric build and drum fill into the chorus. Yep. The rave revival continues.

Tim: And in a pretty good way as well, which is always nice.

Tom: I doubt it’s going to be on a Clubland compilation in ten years’ time, but it’s nice to hear this sound back. Apart from the fact that one synth patch sounds almost exactly like a raspy kazoo.

Tim: Yeah, there is that. But the big thing to note is just what is the ‘it’ that is being done by the target, and that our protagonist now wants to do? Well, some might leave it ambiguous, or more likely just blindingly obvious from the subtext, but here we go all out with “I just want your sex”, which is entirely fair enough. After all, if it’s early in the morning and you’ve just made eyes at someone on the dance floor, you’ve not really got time for subtlety. You just want their sex, and you’re going to shrug off your friends because they’ll understand, a hookup’s a hookup and it’s what we’re all out for.

Tom: I’ll be honest, Tim, that tells me a little bit more about your life than I wanted to know.

Tim: Oh, come on, we went to university together, don’t pretend you’ve forgotten. Mind you, that’s not all we’re out for – there’s hearing big outright bangers like this as well.

Avicii feat. Aloe Blacc – SOS

“Wouldn’t you want the first one out to be absolutely brilliant?”

Tim: So, slightly odd situation here. Apparently when Avicii died last year, he had about an album’s worth of material on his computer ready to go, and now it seems his family reckons enough time has passed for it to be released without it seeming too ethically dubious.

Tom: Actually ready to go, or works-in-progress that have been picked up by other people? Because if they’re not spectacular, it’s going to seem like an ethically dubious cash-in no matter what. A whole album, then?

Tim: That’s out at the end of June, here’s the lead track.

Tim: And that is, I guess, a perfectly decent Avicii track.

Tom: Apart from the middle eight where it suddenly becomes a mashup of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and TLC’s “No Scrubs”. And ‘perfectly’ decent? It’s… well, it’s okay.

Tim: Well, not perfectly decent – for starters, the D on the end of ‘pound of weed’ really should be pronounced more forcefully than it is.

Tom: Oh dear. Yes, it should.

Tim: And that’s kind of my issue. See, if you were part of his friends and family, and you were sitting on a load of good stuff that could have the potential to backfire, wouldn’t you want the first one out to be absolutely brilliant? A ten out of ten, everyone drop what you’re doing, can’t stop dancing type number? And this…well, it’s good. But it’s not that.

Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman – Look Away

“I like to think he’s just texting and necking a beer.”

Tom: Darude! I’m still surprised they got Darude!

Tim: Me too, kind of. As previously mentioned on these pages, Finland did this year with Darude what they did last year with Saara Aalto – namely, he provided three tracks, the Finns chose between them, and here’s the winner.

Tim: Why is Darude in a box, pretending to play a keyboard that is not even pretending to be wired up to anything? No idea. Does it matter? Probably not, if they’re going for star power and all that, because otherwise there’d be no point whatsoever in even having him on stage.

Tom: And that’s before we even start to mention the dancer on top of the box. I wonder what Darude’s doing while he’s not in shot? I like to think he’s just texting and necking a beer.

Tim: Either that or quickly…actually, no, I won’t go there. Musically, it strikes me a being very similar to Russia’s 2016 entry, perhaps best remembered for its incredible staging. That came third, in the year when the winner was the Ukrainian anti-Russia protest song; with no political baggage this year it might do alright, as long as they improve the staging a bit.

Tom: Middle of the table, I reckon. It’s not bad by any means, it’s just a bit forgettable.

Tim: Yeah. So let Darude out of his box, see what he can do.

Europa with Madison Beer – All Day And Night

“Mesdames, Messieurs, le disc-jockey Sash! est de retour.”

Tim: Europa, a new project comprising Jax Jones and Martin Solveig, and I think this is the first time we’ve ever had a ‘with’ for a featured artist. How exciting!

Tom: “Mesdames, Messieurs, le disc-jockey Sash! est de retour.” Not quite, of course, but those synth patches are at least an homage.

Tim: Absolutely. It doesn’t sound anything like a standard Martin Solveig track, doesn’t sound anything like a regular Jax Jones track either, which I guess is the point of creating a whole new brand. We’ve a bit more of a RAVE vibe to it, and it’s been a good fifteen years or so since that’s been a thing and I’m pretty happy to see it back to be honest.

Tom: Nostalgia tends to run on a thirty-year cycle, which means it’s about time for it to ramp up into our own childhoods, Tim. Updated versions of 90s rave culture is going to be the sound of the next few years, and this is part of the vanguard. I’d say “expect Clubland Classix to put out another compilation” but they’ve never really stopped.

Tim: True, I suppose. Whether we do indeed have a full revival coming remains to be seen – maybe we will have a new Sash! and a new Faithless. In the meantime, let’s enjoy this, and start hoping.

Mike Perry, Sonic Avenue & Hot Shade feat. Mikayla – Closer

“It deserves more than being cut short after less two and half minutes.”

Tim: You ever wondered what might happen if Alan Walker got his hands on a ballad? I’m guessing something like this.

Tim: And oh, damn, do I want more of that.

Tom: That’s such a good introduction and first verse — and you’re absolutely right, that chorus sounds a lot like Alan Walker’s style. Or, rather, Alan Walker’s style back when it was new and exciting. (Harsh, I know, but I really didn’t get that track you sent over a few days ago.)

Tim: Fair enough, as I’m not sure even I’d describe it as new and exciting – it’s just, there. Or, indeed, here.

Tom: You said you want more, though?

Tim: Correct. I’ve moaned more than enough previously about middle eights going away, but those very last seconds made me think we going in for a lovely new stringy melody for twenty seconds or so, perhaps repeating for another twenty with a good beat on top of it, before coming back for one final triumphant chorus. As it is…nope. Damn you, Mike, Sonic and Hot. Damn you all, because that’s a great track and it deserves more than being cut short after less two and half minutes.

Tim: True, and I guess a song that never properly resolves is that much more likely to be repeated. It’s a great vocal, a nice melody and a bloody fantastic dance section. I WANT MORE.

Alan Walker, Sabrina Carpenter & Farruko – On My Way

“I do kind of think someone needs to take him aside and give him a quick ‘mate, just take a step back’.”

Tim: New Alan! Already moved on from the album he released three months back, and according to the video description this marks “the start of a whole new journey that I can’t wait to share with you all.” Not entirely sure about that, though, with the video anyway…

Tim: Now, far be it from me to malign Alan here, but I do kind of think someone needs to take him aside and give him a quick “mate, just take a step back”. Because, man does he have a thing about that logo.

Tom: Exactly what I was thinking. I’ve seen some self-aggrandising music videos before, but honestly making your own brand the centre of a vast conspiracy through time might beat them all.

Tim: Let’s not forget that in his previous trilogy, we saw rock versions of it flying around to defeat one side of a cult war, but now apparently ancient civilisations used to worship it, though evidence is only observable via a weird time portal which, yep, is also in the shape of him. I guess it’s nice to have a theme and everything, but it does seem to suggest a somewhat extreme level of self-importance. Having said all that, if he’s making music this listenable, I’m happy to let him carry on.

Tom: Huh – I had a very different reaction, which was, in short: even a video as well-produced as this can’t make the song interesting. I could hum the chorus after it finished, which is usually a good sign — but in this case, I just didn’t want to.

Tim: Oh, shame – I love that pre-chorus melody, and the dance melody itself I also find great. Sure, I could do with Farruko, but aside from him I’m all in with this. Just, yeah, maybe calm down a bit, mate.

Joakim Molitor feat. Moa Lisa – Number One

“Not that FRIDAY WHEEEEY means much to you or me, given our chosen professions, but let’s have a Friday dance tune nonetheless.”

Tim: Not that FRIDAY WHEEEEY means much to you or me, given our chosen professions, but let’s have a Friday dance tune nonetheless.

Tom: Well, for me it’s more like FRIDAY PLANE TO A DIFFERENT TIME ZONE, but okay.

Tim: Oh, and you’ll want to put the lyric video in a background tab, far too many mistakes to take (and one appalling lyric).

Tom: And terrible choices of line break positioning, too. Amateur hour.

Tim: “You’re lightning up my heart”, you see, is just awful – it’s in that horrible place where you don’t know if they’ve accidentally put the wrong word, or if they’ve chosen it deliberately to be a bit weird or something, and I’m not sure if either is forgivable. That aside, though – the rest of it’s all decent.

Tom: Decent, sure, but it’s hardly a floor-filler, is it? I know that’s not always the point, but still.

Tim: Production’s good, and while there’s the occasional “wait, there’s no drop yet?” moment, eventually it provides what’s necessary: a pleasant summery beat. The season’s on its way, folks – let’s have some fun.