Sigala feat. Kylie Minogue – What You Waiting For

“You’ve got Kylie, you want to give her the best track you will ever make in your life.”

Tim: Sigala’s debut album was also released last Friday; given the number of singles he’s already released, it contained a grand total of four new tracks. This was one of them.

Tom: And the Kylie collaboration’s an album track? Blimey. Talk about setting expectations high.

Tim: It’s fair to say Sigala’s established himself as one of the top names in summery tropical dance music, and with his first name being Bruce it was only a matter of time until he landed a prolific Australian.

Tom: I didn’t quite facepalm at that line, Tim, but I did scrunch up one side of my face and lower my eyebrows in a kind of a “huh?” gesture.

Tim: You what?

Tom: I didn’t need to write that sentence out, but I’m hoping that anyone reading it would try and imitate that face. Anyway, yeah, this is… well, actually it’s really generic, isn’t it?

Tim: It does, though, seem a bit of a waste. You’ve got Kylie, you want to give her the best track you will ever make in your life – not this, which as Sigala tracks go is entirely average. It’s not bad by any means – but it certainly doesn’t deserve Kylie.

Tom: Album track.

Alan Walker feat. Sophia Somajo – Diamond Heart

“It’s safe to say the man now has one of the most recognisable styles there is.”

Tim: Whole lot of good new stuff came out last Friday (not least Cher’s ABBA covers album); there was also a collaboration between Olly Murs and Snoop Dogg, but we’ll put that to one side. Let’s start with this, and the video’s a conclusion to that World of Walker trilogy that made basically no sense. Does this video resolve any of it?

Tim: No, of course it doesn’t – though I’m going to see him in a couple of months, and if he doesn’t have any of the flying things on the merch stand I’ll be thoroughly disappointed. But the music – so, it’s good.

Tom: There’s a point, half way through that first verse, where that certain Alan Walker rhythm appears. I don’t possess the musical skill to say what it is, but it’s safe to say the man now has one of the most recognisable styles there is. The question is, I suppose, whether that’s sustainable into future albums, or whether people like the sound and not the artist.

Tim: Bit of both, probably, and I’d put money on it being either updated for the second album or fully changed for the third. But right now, Alan’s one of my favourite DJs around, and as far as I can remember he’s yet to put out a duff track. And yet…I’m not quite so satisfied with this. There’s nothing bad about it per se, but it’s not quite as great – compare it to there massive sounds of Darkside, The Spectre or Faded, and it doesn’t have the sense of majesty those did. Though I can tell you why, immediately: it’s the vocal.

Tom: What, the not-quite-Sia effect?

Tim: No – I’ve no problems with the quality or anything of it. It’s the fact that it stays there, and we never get a full instrumental breakdown. If we did, I’d realise immediately that the music behind this really is absolutely brilliant. Having said that, I don’t want to get rid of the vocal, because it too is fantastic.

Tom: That’s fair. I think the lack of majesty, as you put it, is also a bit due to the composition. Let’s be honest, the melody’s repetitive enough that it could be a playground rhyme.

Tim: Ooh, bit harsh. Basically, my problem is that there’s too much brilliant stuff here. And let’s face it, there are worse problems I could have – could be writing about that Olly Murs track, for starters.

Hedband & Thorisson – One Night

Tim: An Icelandic duo and an Icelandic soloist, teaming for a rather lovely dancey track.

Tom: Well, that was a promising introduction, pointing the way to a good chorus with… well, with a saxophone. I’m not sure about that saxophone.

Tim: And there I think lovely is the right word – it sounds good, it’s got a great melody and vocals, fun message we can all relate to, and the saxophone coming occasionally adds a somewhat novelty part.

Tom: Novelty! That’s the right term. I’m not sure that’s a compliment for a… hm. Dance track, I guess, technically?

Tim: Except: it doesn’t really make me want to dance – in fact, it’s not even really got my head going side to side. And that’s a real shame, because with it being so nice and pleasant, I really want to like it. And I kind of do, but it’s basically entirely failing to do what it should do. So I mostly don’t. Hmm.

Saturday Flashback: BWO – Temple of Love

“A song that would get me right down on the dance floor, not even slightly caring what people think of me.”

Tim: So, for some reason I thought this had been very successful internationally, but then I checked the figures and apparently no – BWO have only had two charting hits over here, both of which peaked, rather nicely, at 69.

Tom: Nice.

Tim: This track wasn’t one of them, but it came a close second to Carola’s fabulous Evighet in Melodifestivalen 2006, and it is what the kids today call a PROPER BANGER.

Tom: I was going to say “tell me it’s a bit stronger than the Enyaesque track last week”, but it’s BWO, so it will be.

Tim: Right from the off we are heavy in on the dance beats, with a good vocal, colourful lights all over the place, dancing around everywhere, all reinforcing the idea that this is a song to be danced to, very physically. Hell, the title alone sounds really quite rude, and although I’m normally all in for that sort of thing this is meant to be a family show.

Tom: This is exactly what I expected, including the fact that it peaks far too early.

Tim: Right – thing is, it could easily have finished at the 2:37 mark. We’ve already had a middle eight and a final chorus, and if all you’re following it with is an instrumental second middle eight and another final chorus, is it necessary? Perhaps not musically, but performance-wise, given that we haven’t yet lit the flares by the walkway he uses at the end of it, yes, it is entirely necessary. This is, all in, a song that would get me right down on the dance floor, not even slightly caring what people think of me, and that’s really all I look for in a dance tune.

Tom: I mean, yes, I would dance to this, although it’s not something I’d put on a playlist.

Tim: Incidentally, on keyboards you may notice a certain Alexander Bard, perhaps better known as a member of the band Army of Lovers, but who has more recently ditched music and gone from synths to syntheism, a movement about how atheists can still feel as good as proper religious people do, or something. I dunno, he’s written a book about it.

Tom: If it doesn’t have a walkway with flares on it, I’m not interested.

August, Kuur, Paperwings, Wolfhowl – One Last Time

“Hold it…hold it…hold it…THERE”

Tim: Whole lot of nonsensical act names there, but August is the main one – he’s a dance guy off Norway with a fairly decent track record, even though we’ve never actually featured him before. Let’s change that, so here’s his latest.

Tom: Well, that’s an intro that sounds like Snow Patrol. Fortunately, it didn’t stick that way.

Tim: Not sure why, but I seem to always like the effect that’s there with the group chanting with not much instrumentation.

Tom: It took me a while to work out what you mean — I think the term is “stacked vocals”.

Tim: Yeah, sounds about right. The first time I remember thinking YES with it was when Selena Gomez did it on It Ain’t Me, but it typically indicates a ‘hold it…hold it…hold it…THERE’ section, replacing your standard build to the chorus, and here I really think it works well.

Tom: And it’s a long build into that chorus, too; it pays off.

Tim: It has the added benefit of being followed up by what is indeed a pretty good instrumental chorus, and all in all I’d say these go nicely to make a pretty good tune. Right?

Tom: Right.

Steve Aoki feat. AJR & Lil Yachty – Pretender

“I’m a fan of about 80% of it. You’ll work out why.”

Tim: Dance track for you; I’m a fan of about 80% of it. You’ll work out why.

Tim: Seem about right?

Tom: Oh, yes! That’s lovely. I understand why there’s a 20% you don’t like, but — for once — it does still work for me.

Tim: Hmm, fair enough. You can probably guess most of what I’m going to say, though: the music’s good, the lyrics speak to many many people, and the second verse is…well, not for me. Though that bit’s unusual, really – normally, with a feat. like this, you’d put it in for just the middle eight, but instead he’s got a whole verse.

Obviously you can’t go for a middle eight placing if you haven’t got one (insert standard moan here), but it still seems weird that he’s been given almost the same same amount of prominence as the other guys.

Not a bad thing, of course – it was presumably done to increase the potential audience – but it still seems a bit weird. Just me?

Tom: Just you, I think. Because for me, the whole thing works, start to finish — and with a video that’s just beautifully filmed, designed and edited. This is the best track we’ve had here in a few weeks, I reckon.

Kolidescopes – All My Love

“I’m not even sure Daft Punk could get away with that.“

Tim: Last time we had a chilled house track you said you yelled out BORED after just a minute or so, and I’ll be honest with you, I’m not entirely certain this won’t provoke a similar reaction; on the other hand, I love it.

Tom: That sounds very much like someone listened to Sigala, went “I want to sound like them”, and then only put in about half of the effort required.

Tim: Hmm…not entirely unfair, I guess. Because yes, the lyrics are basically non-existent. And yes, there is perhaps twenty to thirty seconds of music in there, spread out over a full three and a half minutes.

Tom: Which the lyric video rubs in. With the exception of that one verse, it’s literally just the same words for three minutes. I’m not even sure Daft Punk could get away with that.

Tim: Thing is, though: for all that, I really, really like this. I’ve heard it several times, and each time I’ve made a mental note to check it out later. Is it the melody? Is it the vocal sounds? Is it the instrumentation? I don’t know.

Tom: It’s because it sounds like Sigala.

Tim: It just sounds great, however many times I hear it.

Griffin, Elley Duhé – Tie Me Down

“I love what they’re doing with the instrumentation.”

Tim: Elley is currently primarily for her collaboration with Zedd, but here’s her most recent one; we found the former slightly anti-climactic, but how will this compare?

Tim: Oh, it’s much better.

Tom: And much more generic! But you’re right, it’s not a huge disappointment.

…as ever, that sounded less harsh in my head.

Tim: Partly because it doesn’t drop out at all, but also because (and this isn’t something I say often about dance music) I love what they’re doing with the instrumentation. I first noticed it at the end of the first chorus, but the layered melodies in the background are just lovely, as are the synths they’re played on.

Tom: Whereas I’m finding the mix confusing and a bit difficult to listen to. Yes, the instrumentation’s good, but the track just sounds a bit muddy and overcompressed. But hey, at least I can remember the chorus.

Tim: So sure, this has got a beat, a melody, and standard lyrics, and that’s all you really need for a dance track – but it’s also got a lot more, which I love.

JRL – No Way

“Started calm, and then got…very, very good, almost without me realising it.”

Tim: New trio of Swedish producers, and you might think from the name they’ve chosen that it’d be their initials, to which I say: mostly. We have Jonathan, Lemar and, erm, Carl. Go figure.

Tim: Started calm, and then got…very, very good, almost without me realising it.

Tom: You’re right: that is a really, really good chorus.

Tim: It started as would any generic slightly tropical dance track, the first chorus was pretty good, and then I got interested in the video so slightly tuned out but then it came towards the end and I realised ‘hang on, this is great’. I don’t even really mind that it’s got the whole ‘two verses, two choruses, that’s all we need’ thing going on, because there’s enough different sections in this two halves that actually it’s not boring.

Tom: I mean, you say that, the verse isn’t up to much. I’d expect this to sit in the middle of a generic Spotify playlist. That, as ever, sounds harsher than I intended it: this does a lot right, but it’s not the BANGER that it seems to be aiming for.

Tim: Well, there’s variety, and so I’m happy and dancing throughout. Nice one.

Zedd, Elley Duhé – Happy Now

“Plinky xylophone not-quite-tropical synths.”

Tom: This song’s been around for ages, but they’ve just released a new video, so that’s good enough for me to feature it here. Yesterday we talked about a song that didn’t reach its full potential, and I think this is the same — but I’m worried that, both here and yesterday, “full potential” just means “not enough bass”.

Tom: Because that vocal chorus is so incredibly good, even down the 80s-style synth vocoder. And then just as you’re preparing for a big chorus, you get… plinky xylophone not-quite-tropical synths. It’s like a kid’s toybox suddenly got a “half-arsed remix” button.

Tim: I know exactly what you mean, and you’re not wrong – that did seem like a sudden anti-climax. On the other hand, it’s there as a style, and people like it a lot.

Tom: I know, this is what Zedd does sometimes, and I know, this song is astonishingly popular. But you know what? I think it needs to be more like Hourglass, which is still my favourite track off Clarity.

Tim: ‘Needs’ is a strong word there, even though I agree with the sentiment. It’s fine as it is – though I too would like more.

Tom: Maybe it didn’t reach its full potential. Or maybe I just like different things.

Tim: Crazy, this subjectivity thing, isn’t it?