Tim: Time for another Christmas number, which will score precisely 0 on your ‘likely to join the British Christmas music collection’, but I doubt you’ll have a problem with that, as it’s CHRISTMAS DANSBAND!
Tim: Nice amount of fun, that, isn’t it?
Tom: That’s certainly the most Christmassy introduction that I’ve heard in a while.
Tim: For once, I’m very glad it’s in foreign, because the title translates to ‘Let’s Give Hope’ and it’s in the ‘yes Christmas is great but let’s not forget about the people who aren’t so happy’, and yes I know we need to think about them and I know they deserve charity but sometimes I just want to listen to happy fun Christmas music without being reminded of that, and the music for this doesn’t even slightly fit with that message.
Tom: …are you sure? This sounds very Charity Single to me. I can see imagine a montage of Swedish celebrities belting this out one line at a time. I mean, I can’t imagine it, I don’t think I know any Swedish celebrities, but you know what I mean.
Tim: Tom, I’ve been playing a lot of Red Dead Redemption 2 recently, and I’m fairly invested, and I’ll be honest: things aren’t going well. Things are, in fact, going about as badly as they possibly could be going, though I won’t say anything else here in case our reader doesn’t want spoilers.
Tom: Are you about to send me a sad cowboy-themed track?
Tim: Long story short, I want cheering up, and where better to go for that than my favourite German pop YouTube channel?
Tom: It’s like Hermes House Band if they somehow made it even less serious and more blokey. I tried to translate the lyrics, and the only sensible takeaway I could get was “I’m not a man for one night”. You’re right: they really do just seem to be having fun.
Tim: And that’s just what they do, and it’s infectious, and from just a few seconds in with this song I had a massive “what the f…” smile on my face. As I’m typing this, the fake ending’s just happened and now I’m in fits of giggles.
Tom: I was expecting a massive “HEY!” at the end and I got one. No complaints. This might not be the best track we’ve talked about for a while, but it’s certainly the most enjoyable.
Tim: This song is absolutely ridiculous and glorious and I absolutely love it.
Tom: Dansband Friday! Seriously, it may not be cutting-edge pop, but when you send over something like this, it’s generally going to make me smile.
Tim: For a good week or so after it was released, this Swedish band’s song didn’t appear on YouTube; I gave it one last search yesterday and now it’s turned up! I put an exclamation mark there because, despite it starting out with a twanging banjo, it’s something to celebrate!
Tom: I’m glad you warned me about the banjo. That managed my expectations nicely, so I was pleasantly surprised when the guitars kicked in. Sometimes uncomplicated, by-the-numbers music like this can just be… nice, y’know?
Tim: I’m not sure which way round it is, singer or recipient – tediously, the lyrics don’t seem to be online anywhere – but it’s talking about one of them falling for the other, which funnily enough is exactly what Wes said to Laura on Love Isla–
Tim: Ugh, fine, but just know that Cupid hates you. Whatever the case, it’s sounding very, very good: I hardly need to tell you what my favourite part is (and oh, it works so so well), but even without that it’s top stuff. The verse is consistently above average, the pre-chorus ends with a perfect lead in to an even better chorus, with a fabulous hook and all backed up by great instrumentation (particular incredibly specific highlight: the descending electric guitar bit at 1:44).
Tom: It is absolutely unchallenging, it’s pleasant to listen to, and sometimes that’s all I need.
Tim: I loved this the first time I heard it; I still love it now six weeks on.
Tim: 2 Blyga Läppar are a band that specialise in party-esque tracks; Drängarna are a rock dansband. Right now, they’re singing about ice cold beer and a certain brand of rum. Prediction: you’ll smile.
Tim: And oh, the number of times I’ve pressed play on that since I first heard it.
Tom: I did smile. During that introduction, and during the chorus, and during that soaring guitar solo middle eight. How long has it been since we’ve heard a guitar solo middle eight? And what’s it about? Other than alcohol.
Tim: Well, they’re bored of the system, you see, cycling to work and back every day (like they do in Vietnam), but, as we get to the chorus, it’s the weekend, so come over, party, relax in the sun, drink the aforementioned drinks. We’re offering free spirits and sticks of dynamite, just as long as you’re happy. And boy, am I happy.
Tom: The string section taking the main melody is ridiculous, but brilliant. It’s worth nothing, too, that the modern pop song structure of the last few years — that you have two choruses, one vocal and one instrumental — has now gone back into dansband numbers like this.
Tim: This is, I think the most ludicrous song we’ve featured in a while, just for the beautiful combination of guitar rock, those string like you said, and the utter silly joy that emanates from every single second of it. And I love it. Get me a two song playlist with this and last week’s Drifters track, and I’ll be happy for a good few days.
“Dansband! Oh, it’s been ages. I’m looking forward to this.”
Tim: Drifters, a Swedish dansband who I thought we’d featured more than just the once we actually have; anyway, here’s their latest. No video, alas, but here’s a live performance.
Tom: Dansband! Oh, it’s been ages. I’m looking forward to this.
Tim: Tom, before I get started I’ll tell you and our reader that I’ve just watched the Line of Duty finale and so am properly pumped full of adrenaline; that may or may not have quite a lot to do with the fact that I shouted “OH, YES” when that chorus came along, and almost destroyed my brand new Lego Snowspeeder throwing my arms around.
Tom: That’s possibly the most Tim sentence I’ve heard in a while. For reference, I wrote this while a bit tired.
Tim: We don’t hear schlager like this very often any more, but oh doesn’t it just sound wonderful?
Tom: The opening verse confused me – it actually sounded like a modern song. And then the chorus kicked in, and I actually laughed.
Tim: The thing that gets me about songs like this, the one massive thing, is that they’re just so happy. I can’t find the lyrics online anywhere, but the title means “If You Saw Me Go” – that doesn’t imply a particularly upbeat song, but I can’t stop myself smiling.
Tom: They know exactly what their audience want, and they deliver it. This particular studio audience also sounds like they’re clapping on the 1 and the 3, but I’ll let that slide.
Tim: Particularly, of course, at the key change. The GLORIOUS key change. God, I miss this so much. So, so much.
“You ever wanted a button you can push that will immediately bring a smile to your face?”
Tim: You ever wanted a button you can push that will immediately bring a smile to your face, Tom? Well, it’s the play button that you’ll find just here.
Tom: What… what? That’s… that’s almost like a cliché of every dansband-y, schlager-y, pop song ever. I mean, I can’t deny it’s put a smile on my face, but what’s with that album art?
Tim: Jordskott is a Swedish murder mystery programme from earlier this year, and this song showed up in our inbox; I don’t know to what extent this is actually “from” it, but dammit I sure as hell want to watch it now.
Tom: This is going to be used in some ironic “finding the body under really happy music”, isn’t it? The radio that’s playing it will get turned off by a grim-faced detective, and the sudden silence will make it clear just how Bleak This All Is.
Tim: I can’t quite imagine how it does fit in there, though admittedly I can’t find a translation of the lyrics so they might be horrifically upsetting for all I know; I’d be amazed though, partly because, well, the title, and also because the music is JUST SO HAPPY. Like I said earlier, you push play and you smile. You’ve got your trumpets right in there, all fanfare-y and proud and, well basically that’s it, but that really is enough. It’s just LOVELY.
“I got exactly what I expected, and I was grinning for it as well.”
Tim: Barbados, a dansband group that have been going for a couple of decades now, and are here with a new schlager-infested tune, their first since 2011.
Tom: “Schlager-infested”. Nice choice of words there.
Tom: Oh crikey, they’re entirely the right words there.
Tim: Aren’t they just? It’s a whole lot of fun, that is. Admittedly, basically straight out of ten years ago, but then dansband has never really been about sounding modern, and let’s face it, it’s often all the better for it.
Tom: Agreed. I knew what was going to happen, I got exactly what I expected, and I was grinning for it as well.
Tim: We have a key change —
Tom: — technically several, I think, since I think there’s a modulation between each verse and chorus —
Tim: Fair point, and we have RIGID song structure. Textbook stuff, and exactly as enjoyable as said textbookness it guaranteed to make it. Not incredible, but not remotely disappointing. Put it on, jump around stupidly, have fun, until you forget that that sudden ending’s coming and you fall over in shock.
Tom: Damn right. It’s by-the-numbers, but what wonderful numbers.
Tom: Unexpectedly, there’s a lot of dans and not a lot of band there. I like that, but are you sure this qualifies as dansband?
Tim: Yes – definable instruments in there, and that’s what they call it so it’s good enough for me, as is the track. Well, pretty much – the music’s good, and the lyrics are good if you (a) don’t listen to them at all or (b) listen to them carefully. If you just listen to the chorus, all you’ll hear is ‘yes it hurts’, ‘it will hurt’ and ‘it will hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt’, which let’s be honest isn’t all that fun. But, pay more attention and you’ll find it’s all about how things will finally come together despite occasional missteps, so it’s all fine.
Tom: And I’m all in favour of that as a message.
Tim: Good. The backing track, as with a whole lot of dansband stuff, is jolly, danceable and just generally fun (and I’ve now used the word ‘fun’ three times; not sure if that says more about the song or my vocabulary).
Tom: Probably your vocabulary. You’re right, though.
Tim: All in all, a solid, enjoyable track. Sod it, one more time: fun.
Hmm. You know how you use one word a load of times and it starts being weird?
Tim: Instrumentally, this is dansband. In every other respect possible, though, this is as schlager is it comes.
Tom: I’m probably going to like this, then.
Tim: I mean just listen to it – it’s ridiculous. From the time it goes quiet in preparation for the closing bit, you’re just waiting for the key change, because you know without a shadow of a doubt that it’ll be there.
Tom: It’s wonderful. That second key change actually made me wince. Give it an electronic drum kit and up the tempo a bit, and you’ve got yourself a Swedish Eurovision entry – but I think that’d take away from it.
Tim: To be honest, it’d probably be easy to criticise this song—clichés all over the place, repetitive and familiar chord structures, and I’d be willing to bet that the lyrics don’t comprise a philosophical masterpiece—but dammit, I just can’t. Because, for all those reasons, it’s great.
Tim: Quick little number for you now from Zekes, a Swedish dansband.
Tom: Ooh, I’m going to enjoy this. For the uninitiated, Wikipedia has an excellent summary of dansband: yes, it wouldn’t work in Britain, and I doubt I could listen to an whole album of it, but it still cheers me up no end.
Tim: I’m not normally a fan of the whole dansband thing, but this I like a lot. It’s cheery, energetic, happy, fun – I could go on, but I’d rather just bounce up and down in my chair, really.
Tom: That’s what it’s all about, though! I want these guys to play at a wedding, and I want to be a guest at that wedding. Additionally, I’d like that wedding to have several attractive and single bridesmaids, but that’s just me.
Tim: I like that it doesn’t really bother with setting the scene with much of an introduction or warm-up – it’s just right in there from the get-go: let’s have a good time. Nice key change, as well.
Tom: I started clicking my fingers along at that point. Apparently I’d actually be playing the part of the drunken uncle at that wedding. Never mind then.