Deejay Jay vs. Dilba – I’m Sorry

Ah, Ibiza. The sun, the sea, the sand, the sexually transmitted infections.

Tim: Bored of winter? In that case, close your eyes, lie back, listen to this and be whisked off to a beach on Ibiza.

Tom: Ah, Ibiza. The sun, the sea, the sand, the sexually transmitted infections.

Tim: A 1996 track, redone to sound like the summer of 2003 and released in the winter of 2010, it does go on a bit without really doing anything.

Tom: It’s pleasant enough, I suppose, but it’s very much “early night in a nearly-empty club”. Floor-filler it ain’t.

Tim: Well, for that we have the source material to blame – but I like it. It’s very peaceful, it’s very relaxing, and even if you don’t like that there’s a slightly (very slightly) heavier remix for you instead (which entirely fails to kick in at 1:33).

Tom: That 1:33 moment might be the worst stall I’ve ever heard. Mind you, it’s very difficult to count as ‘heavy’ at that plodding BPM.

Tim: But I think that’s all it’s meant for – it’s never going to get anyone raving, but it will fit nicely on a few chill out compilations.

Tom: I’ve never really liked or understood ‘chillout’ dance. That’s what other genres of music are for, surely?

Christmas Saturday Flashback: Basshunter – Jingle Bass

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Tom: It’s Christmas Day, and it’s a Saturday – which one of the many options do we choose for our Saturday Flashback? Well, really, there’s only one choice.

Tom: When he released this one back in 2006, it didn’t have the fancy video. That was added much later. He wasn’t a big international star then; he was a Swedish dance music producer who’d just released a slightly-novelty record about the internet. The only folks paying attention in Britain were people who lived on the internet. People like me.

Tim: How times change – fast forward two years and he’s got three top twenty singles under his belt and Scott Mills championing his track to be Christmas number one. (Needless to say, it didn’t quite take off Rage Against the Machine style, although a chart peak of 35 is perfectly respectable.)

Tom: So, here’s a little known fact for you: I was the first British person ever to interview Basshunter. November 2006 on University Radio York. There were no listeners, and I wasn’t a competent interviewer. (Drinking game: take a shot every time I unnecessarily say ‘mm-hm’.)

In this clip, he apologises for his music.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Tim: Thank you for that, Tom, and for the game (which I must admit currently has me mildly intoxicated), and so a very Merry Christmas to you too.

Barbarellas – Body Rock

Do you ever get lonely playing with your toys?

Tim: Now then Thomas, let me ask you – do you ever get lonely playing with your toys?

Tom: No, but some people say I look like me dad.

Tim: Ooh, you do a bit. But anyway, at least you got where I was coming from before revealing any unfortunate hobbies. Sadly, though, B*Witched haven’t got back together, but half of them have joined up and formed a slightly smaller girl group.

Tim: So, if their debut single is anything to go by, they’ve ditched the cheeky innuendo and have made it their mission to put out songs with good choruses and slightly tiresome verses.

Tom: But… cheeky innuendo is all they had.

Tim: Is it a fairly decent single, aiming to be liked by the people who liked Bad Romance and suchlike? Yes, and yes. Will they last? Almost certainly not, because there is next to nothing unique about them.

Tom: I know this is a slightly cruel thing to say, and I apologise, but from a distance the one in the black wig looks like Noel Fielding in drag. You know, him out of the Mighty Boosh.

Tim: Ouch. You’d better not say that too loud, mind – if you’re not careful she’ll huff, she’ll puff, she’ll huff and puff and blow you away.

Saturday Flashback: Mike Posner – Cooler Than Me

What a dick.

Tim: This one’s been suggested by Vanessa, who writes:

“I like the bass line and the vocals, but after a few repetitions it becomes rather trite.”

Well, that basically sums up most of the things we review here, so let’s have a look.

Tom: I think I can sum the video up as ‘what a dick’.

Tim: Now now, don’t be nasty – just because he likes to wear a lot of glasses and write songs reassuring women that he is in fact cooler than them, he’s not… actually, no, you’re right. He is.

Tom: Vanessa’s right, though. The vocals are competent, with a slight breathy quality that seems to work despite the fact that half the time they don’t actually seem to be hitting any note. The bassline’s catchy, too – and the brief mid-song pause with ‘shh’ works really well.

Tim: It’s alright – for me it just seemed to go in one ear and out of the other. Nothing really wrong with it, but nothing to really make me want to hear it again.

Tom: It’s a pity that, as I mentioned, he appears to be a dick. On the plus side, the 3D bit of the video really is filmed in 3D – the concept’s excellent.

Katy B feat. Ms Dynamite – Lights On

I’m sorry, is it the 90s all of a sudden?

Tom: I’m sorry, is it the 90s all of a sudden?

Tom: We need a name for something, Tim, and that something is “the feeling you get two minutes into a song when you realise no, it’s not over yet, and you haven’t even heard the bridge yet”. I got that feeling so strongly with this track.

Tim: Me too, and so much so that I can’t really think anything other than ‘why hasn’t this finished yet?’ It’s just seems so pointless.

Tom: Yes, we get it Katy, you’re drunk and you don’t want to stop dancing. Now stop embarrassing yourself and head to the cloakroom, the bouncers are starting to look at you funny. No, the floor isn’t tilting. Just… walk with me, okay, just over here. Okay, great.

As for Ms Dynamite: when did mid-90s half-singing half-rapping come back into fashion? It was a bit embarrassing back then, and it definitely is now.

Tim: I believe we can attribute that to Alesha Dixon’s The Boy Does Nothing, which wouldn’t really have happened without Strictly Come Dancing; as such, I blame Bruce Forsyth.

Tom: Yes, but you blame everything on Bruce Forsyth.

Tim: Look, I don’t care what you say about my tripping over that bucket – if it wasn’t for him and that bloody catchphrase we’d never have come anywhere near to getting caught and you know it. I might still have most of my hair as well.

Saturday Flashback: Basshunter – Boten Anna (Instrumental)

Just a bit calming, really.

Tim: What? What on Earth is the point of me suggesting this? Which sensible person doesn’t know of the excellent Basshunter and his signature tune Boten Anna? Well, indeed. However, this version came on my generic nano-sized music player a while back and 50 seconds in I suddenly had absolutely no idea what was going on in the world. I kid you not, there was a part of me thought I had somehow taken some sort of drug without realising it.

Tom: The dancey bits are doing that thing that Basshunter usually does – where the loud part of the synth line happens on the off-beat. I swear that’s designed to make less-musical clubbers lose their timing and look like idiots.

Tim: Tiësto‘s quite good at that as well. The guitar part in this took me a while to get used to it, but I think I actually prefer it, outside of a clubby/dancey environment. It’s unusual, it’s not as aggressive as the other instrumental version I’ve got, and it’s just a bit calming, really.

Tom: I wouldn’t go so far as ‘calming’, but the acoustic guitar and choral synth patch bit in the middle is almost like the soundtrack of a cheesy sci-fi movie. If any readers have skipped over listening to this because they ‘know what it sounds like’ – they’re wrong.

Not sure about the trio of vaguely-threatening Basshunters in the bottom right of the video clip, though.

Tim: To me it looks a little bit like the scrawny drug-dealer in the middle being protected by two hardcore goons on the outside. Or the nerdy kid who gets protected by the big guys because he does their homework for them.

Robyn – Indestructible & Call Your Girlfriend

Do they suffer the same problems?

Tom: We’ve harped on about Robyn’s songs for a while, and our complaint is always the same: they start at a moderate level of enthusiasm, the end at the same level, and they go nowhere in between. There’s no rise and fall, just a constant electronic beat and her singing.

Tim: Although it should perhaps be said that in some songs, such as Hang With Me, the moderate level is enough to enjoy the track if it’s on in the background.

Tom: Indestructible has been out as an acoustic version for a while, but the full synth-backed version is being released as a single soon. The question is, of course, is it the same as all the rest?

Tom: Yes, yes it is.

So, rather than say anything further, I suggest we use the rest of this post to discuss what the hell the bridge bit sounds like. Something from Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, perhaps? The opening theme to Treasure Hunt? I can’t quite place it.

Tim: Haha, it is a bit like Treasure Hunt, isn’t it? However, I feel that instead of moving on we should provide properly constructive criticism, rather than just ‘make it louder’. For this song, I have two recommendations:

  • The ‘let the bad ones in and the good ones go’ before the chorus is nice and sway-y, but that is spoiled by the ‘but. PAUSE.’ that happens next. I suggest losing those and instead having a ‘good ones go-o-oh’ leading gently into ‘I’m gonna…’
  • The parts of each verse that first occur with ‘not alone’ and then ‘don’t let go’ should have at least an echo, if not proper backing singers. Although this is optional for the first verse, there is no way the second verse and later should not have it.

Tom: Sorry, what was that? I was busy watching Anneka Rice.

Tim: Well, actually, stop that and pay attention. Because this just in, from fan of the site Gerald: a track from the new album (a culmination of 2010’s Body Talk trilogy) entitled Call Your Girlfriend. Now sit down and brace yourself: it’s actually really good. (In his words: “12 times in one day good”.)

Tim: If we’re being honest, and looking back at what we’ve said above, we’ve always been a little bit harsher on Robyn than she deserves – we’ve said that the songs, when heard just as songs, have not been great, for one reason or another. While all that is true, and I stand by it, we’ve not really mentioned that the music itself is quite good – it’s danceable, especially when mixed into other tracks, and if you hear it in the background of a shop of something you will likely think ‘Ooh, I like this’.

Tom: Believe it or not, that happened to me yesterday when a remix of ‘Hang With Me’ got played at an event I was at. And I liked it. Rewatching it now, even the video seems charming.

Tim: But, there have always been problems. And yet here, no. From when the synth first hits after the initial ‘Call your’, the melody is strong and the verses vibrant. The chorus is energetic with a healthy beat, and I like the way it flows straight back into the verse afterwards. The first part of the bridge is a bit bonkers, in a very good way. The second part of it is proper emotional singing, which is unexpected but great. The ‘caaaalll…’ even comes perilously close to a previously unimaginable Robyn post-bridge climax. Yes, it’s possibly a chorus too long at the end, and the two lines following each of the early choruses are a bit weak, but other than that I just can’t fault it.

Tom: I was all ready to disagree with you and say it was another boring track, but then the chorus kicked in and I decided that you’re exactly right. “The only way her heart will mend” did the musical equivalent of hitting me in the face… in a good way.

September – Resuscitate Me

I think it’s slightly excellent

Tim: Now, this was never going to be as good as the UK radio edit of Can’t Get Over, so I set my sights deliberately low, but overall I don’t think that was needed – it’s easily on a par with Cry For You, for a start.

Tom: She’s now got a recognisable voice and style – something that I’d recognise as ‘September’ even if it just turned up on the radio. I think it’s the similar synth lines – it’s an interesting way to build a musical brand, but it works.

Tim: But what is it as a song on its own? I think it’s slightly excellent – the ‘don’t you let my heart die boy’ lead into the chorus works very well as a ‘get ready to dance’ warning, and there’s plenty of energy lying around all over the please.

Tom: Except in the bridge. That bridge goes on far too long.

Tim: Hmm, maybe – I think think it works. I do have a couple of issues (the high pitched vocals being almost impossible to decipher, the idea of ‘love CPR’ which is just as ridiculous here as it was when JLS invented it a while back*), but overall this is a stonkingly good effort.

* And that’s actually the title of her new album. Why. Just, why.

Tom: Stonkingly?

Tim: Yes, I said stonkingly. Live with it.

Tom: You are an 80s commercial radio DJ and I claim my five pounds.

Gorillaz feat. Daley – Doncamatic (All Played Out)

Generally un-notable electronica.

Tom: Ah, Gorillaz. Damon Albarn’s cartoon project is still going, and still producing generally un-notable electronica. Whatever the singles from ‘Plastic Beach’ were, I can’t remember them; and the only reason ‘Dare’ actually lodged itself in my head was because of Shaun Ryder’s vocals. So I shouldn’t have been disappointed by this, but nevertheless I was.

Tim: How on Earth has it managed to go on for longer than Blur did? Unjust universe, I tell you.

Tom: I hoped for another ’19-2000′ (and the Soulchild remix of it, at that). I set my sights too high. The instrumental bridge, with its two-instrument synth and percussion line, actually made me cringe as my ears tried to work out what was going on.

Tim: Yes. The first time I heard it, the first ‘Doncamatic’ made me think ‘Ooh, it’s Barbra Streisand’ all over again, albeit a not-as-good alternative. On the other hand, the chorus is quite nice, and a song made from the last minute or so might work quite well. It’s just a shame that the rest of it’s a bit pointless.

Tom: I’m going to go and listen to ‘Feel Good Inc’ again to try and get this out of my head. Wait… no need. It’s gone.

Disco Rapido – We Play The Pipe

THAT’S RIGHT! It’s new Daz Sampson.

Tim: It was mentioned last Saturday that Daz Sampson crops up in all sorts of unlikely places. Since then, he’s got in touch* with another one, because THAT’S RIGHT! It’s new Daz Sampson.

* For any readers who may still be interested, he also informed us that Ben O’Brien was his manager who dreamed of being able to get taxis everywhere – Daz’s shout-out was a way of promising him that the money would soon flood in, and that he would be able to do just that.

Tom: And now, we’ve recorded the Ben O’Brien reference for posterity. Excellent. Right – what’s the new one? I’m bracing myself.

Tim: Well, this time, there’s a twist – he’s decided that enough is enough, and that with this one it’s all or nothing: if this doesn’t make the Top 10 he’s calling it a day. (And he’s also said that unlike Lisa Scott-Lee, he actually means it.)

Tim: So, basically, he’s calling it a day.

Tom: Now, don’t be quite so cynical. It doesn’t take much to get to the top 10 these da—hahaha, okay, I just heard it, he’s calling it a day.

Tim: Now, sorry Daz, but why couldn’t you have had a decent last stand? I have no idea, but the Facebook page says that acts they* like include Yolanda Be Cool and Riva Starr, which suggests to me that what they’ve really done is look for weird stuff that’s done well recently and tried to copy it.

* There’s another bloke involved – no idea who.

Tom: I don’t want to be too harsh, because the guy’s actually emailed us and seems like a decent bloke. That said, it’s blatant style-copying. A retro sample, a beat over the top, an occasional vocal sample, and a stupid cut-price video. Although, fair credit to them, the Blackpool Illuminations bit at the end did actually make me smile a bit.

Tim: Only problem is: the song’s more than a little bit crap. But, to be brutally honest, so were the others, really. They only succeeded because they were novelties, it was the right time of year for unusual dance tracks and people got caught up in the mood. Now, however, it’s the middle of November and it’s cold and wet outside; if people want to dance to unusual music they’ll wait until Slade or Wizzard comes on the radio, rather than listen to what Pete Tong’s got lined up for them on a Friday night.

Tom: There’s the inevitable slew of crap novelty Christmas cash-in records coming, isn’t there? Damn it, ever since downloads started counting for the chart the race for Christmas Number One has been a horrid race-to-the-bottom bunfight. Well, apart from last year’s Rage Against The Machine bit, of course.

Tim: Farewell Daz – it was good while it lasted. Well, slightly good. Ish.

Tom: He is the UK’s number 4 MC. Never forget that.

Tim: Hang on – I’ve just reread his e-mail, and he’s actually said the reverse, albeit slightly confusingly what with the Lisa Scott-Lee comparisons. If this is a hit, he’ll walk away. I guess we’ve got another fifteen years of Daz to come.

Tom: How has he not done a soap powder sponsorship yet? I mean, the link is obvious.

Tim: BANG! And Daz is gone.

Oh, if only it were that simple.