Lydia – Slow Clap

“If you’re trying to get publicity, I guess it’s one way to do it.”

Tim: “Hey mate, it’s Lydia, we met the other night and you said you were a copyright lawyer? Yeah, just out of interest, if I wanted to rip off a bassline but not to pay for it, I’m good to change just one out of every ten notes, right? Cool, cheers.”

Tom: Hey, if the KLF said it was okay, go for it.

Tim: I mean really, this isn’t a case of ‘hope people don’t notice’, it’s a case of ‘we’ve checked, and we think we’re staying the right side of the line’.

Tom: And if you pull down the description to see the credits, you’ll see that none of the Macarena composers are credited.

Tim: This is Scooter copying Otto Knows all over again, and part of me actually admires it, as it takes a special kind of audacity to do it on your debut single.

Tom: Not only are you going to be compared to a song everyone knows, but you’re going to be compared to a novelty hit that a lot of people hate. It’s a bold choice, but if you’re trying to get publicity, I guess it’s one way to do it. Pity it’s not that good a track, though.

Tim: Yes, yes there is that. Still fair play to her – well not fair play, in fact, distinctly unfair play – and let’s see what happens. I’m guessing we’ll either never hear from her again, or three months from now we’ll be discussing a song that is 99% Saturday Night.

Saturday Reject: Ingrid Berg Mehus – Feel

“Who takes a fairly strong dance tune and thinks ‘right, what this really needs is her taking time out to play the violin’?”

Tim: “Hmm, it’s not bad, I guess, but it still needs a bit more. Any idea?” “Ooh, Alexander Rybak did well when he played his violin that first time, we could try that again?” “Eh, give it a go, could work. Ooh have lasers. LOTS OF LASERS.”

Tim: It annoys me that NRK don’t release the voting numbers for Melodi Grand Prix, because I’d love to know what happened with this. Out of ten it didn’t make the top four, but I’m wondering if it managed to get, well, any votes at all. Because it’s just weird.

Tom: It is an odd one, isn’t it? At least they’ve managed to contain her in some kind of laser-powered summoning grid. But it’s a strange combination of things that don’t quite work together.

Tim: Admittedly, that doesn’t necessarily make for a bad Eurovision track – Netta was proof enough of that – but seriously, who takes a fairly strong dance tune, with a strong club vibe happening on the stage, and thinks “right, what this really needs is her taking time out to play the violin”? I mean.

Tom: Also: who co-ordinates all those camera moves and then sticks a big bulky mic pack on the dress? I know women’s clothing is a nightmare for microphone staging, but there had to be a better solution than that. Not technically a complaint about the song, but still. Sorry, you were talking about the music.

Tim: No, it’s Eurovision, everything’s up for discussion. But yes, the music, and I guess the violin’s one way of removing the standard EDM failing at Eurovision, where for the instrumental chorus the singer stands around doing nothing, but even so, still weird. Nice lasers, though.

Isle of You – Hold Tight

“I don’t know why on earth they’d want to risk putting off a load of people by describing it as a waffly ‘timeline of emotions’.”

Tim: So, at the risk of alienating you, I’ll quote directly from them PR guff, which says this is “more like a timeline of emotions than a pop song. Instead of writing a ‘verse, pre-chorus, chorus’ song which has already been done about eleven million times, we wanted to create something that sounds like what falling in love really feels like, when all of your worst fears get mixed up with all you ever really wanted.”

Sounds garbage, right?

Tom: Sounds like someone couldn’t make the structure work and decided to go “that’s a feature, not a bug”.

Tim: Certainly not what you want to hear from a group who’ve previously out some great electropop. Except…

Tim: …it absolutely is a standard “verse, pre-chorus, chorus” song, and I think it’s pretty damn great, so I don’t know why on earth they’d want to risk putting off a load of people by describing it as a waffly ‘timeline of emotions’.

Tom: I’m not convinced it “sounds like what falling in love really feels like” either.

Tim: Well, I don’t know about that – for starters, even if the first couple of verses and choruses weren’t enough (which they absolutely are), that middle eight and beyond is one of the best minutes of music I’ve heard this year.

Tom: I wouldn’t go that far, but I’ll agree with you that it certainly kicks in at the middle eight: before that, despite the structure (or lack of), it did feel like a bit of a mess.

Tim: The song is absolutely marvellous, and I’m very upset that there is still no sign of any album on the horizon, because God knows we’ve had enough decent tracks from them. I WANT MORE DAMMIT.

Aura Dione – Shania Twain

“Inspired by the power that Shania sung about in her songs.”

Tim: Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth gave us one of the greatest tunes of 2015 with their ode to Marvin Gaye.

Tom: I… no, you know what, I’m not going to start arguing before we even get to the song. I will agree, though, that there was definitely a song in 2015 called “Marvin Gaye”.

Tim: And it was a RIGHT BANGER. Anyway, Danish singer Aura is going for a similar vibe, inspired by the power that Shania sung about in her songs.

Tim: And that there is a song that I absolutely and entirely love.

Tom: I know you’re generally more enthusiastic about, well, basically everything, but: why?

Tim: The mix of heavy country and great dance is done so well, and when the two combine for that second chorus and beyond it just becomes absolutely joyous, and the first song in a while that I want to properly shout along to, with those backing vocals. Even the little things, like the ‘Twain, Twain, Twain’ vocal effects, sound great.

Tom: Ah, I just don’t get that. There’s something in the tone of it that just grates on me; and that ‘Shania Twain’ lyric just lands with a clunk in my head. I’ll admit that I can sing the chorus after one listen, though.

Tim: My only problem, of course, is that it’s just too short. So, all together, ALL OF MY LOVERS, ALL OF MY LOVERS, ALL OF MY LOVERS LET IT POUR ON ME, ALL OF MY LOVERS, ALL OF MY LOVER LOVERS etc.

Saturday Reject: Adrian Jørgensen – The Bubble

“Specifically, I thought ‘this is Æd Sheerån’.”

Tim: I’d slightly have liked this to win for a couple of reasons: partly because it’s a fairly decent track, and partly because it’d give an answer to the tedious ‘we should just send Ed Sheeran or someone and we’d win’.

Tom: I listened to the first bit of this before reading that introduction, Tim, and I’m happy to say I had the exact same thought. I mean, specifically, I thought “this is Æd Sheerån”.

Tim: That’s a song that’d fit comfortably on ÷, and might even do fairly well on it. We’ve seen previously that artist familiarity doesn’t translate to success – Cascada coming bottom five in 2013 put paid to that. As for how it’d do at Eurovision, well that’s anyone’s guess really, but probably not do spectacularly well, and then in the hypothetical situation following a Sheeran appearance we’d be on to “oh well see this just proves everyone hates us, why do we even bother”, and God knows we’ve had enough of that.

Tom: Odd choice here to add a second vocalist most of the way through the track.

Tim: Yeah, I though that as well – weirdest of all is that she’s very front and centre, but not even slightly credited.

Tom: I can’t deny it works. Still, Norway decided that Discount Sheeran wasn’t a good choice, and I think I agree with them.

Tim: Likewise. And as it is, we can enjoy it as a fairly decent guitar pop track, safe in the knowledge that it won’t affect anything at all.

Michela – Chameleon

“Unexpected” would be the best description.

Tim: I work with a Maltese person at work, and every year she tries to tell me that the Maltese entry is absolutely brilliant, and every year I disagree with her completely. Except this year.

Tom: Do you only disagree with her slightly?

Tim: Correct.

Tom: Because while that pre-chorus is really great, the rest is… well, “unexpected” would be the best description of that odd breakdown.

Tim: Probably about right, yes – certainly got me the first time I heard it, and it’s not ‘absolutely brilliant’ at all, not least because having lyrics of ‘chama-chameleon’ is never going to be a great move. It is, though, as with yesterday, a proper example of Modern Pop. I’m not such a fan of it – that breakdown really doesn’t do it for me – but I can’t deny that as a pop song, this is properly good, and I genuinely hope it does well.

Tom: Really?

Tim: Wel, not win, of course, as if our song doesn’t win it’ll be a robbery so big we’ll need to call Interpol in, but top ten at least. That’d be deserved, and almost lend some respectability to this contest of ours. Or is that a lost cause by now?

Katerine Duska – Better Love

“I actually said “oh!” out loud at that chorus.”

Tim: I think it’s about time we have a song from this year’s Eurovision that actually sounds like a modern pop song. Shall we visit Greece?

Tim: Admittedly the video’s very distracting, and for the first forty-five seconds or so you’re wondering what the hell’s going on and is this just awful Eurovision garbage. Then the chorus hits, though, and you put the video in a background because you’ve seen enough and it’s just weird, and you realise that actually it’s a really good song.

Tom: I actually said “oh!” out loud at that chorus.

Tim: The nice thing is that it works both as a standard pop track, which you’d be happy to hear multiple times, and as a Eurovision track, with a really strong hook which, even if it gets buried in the standard twenty-odd tracks in a row, stands out bright and loud in the multiple recaps.

Tom: You’re not wrong, although I don’t think the Hellenic Florence Welch sound is going to win over enough of the audience.

Tim: I don’t know, I really think this could do well. And, indeed, I hope it does.

Miki – La Venda

“It’s ridiculous, it’s nonsensical, it’s atrocious, and it’s brilliant.”

Tim: Tom, I’m not linking here to the official Eurovision channel, because I don’t want to tell you immediately what country this is. Instead, I want you to tell me roughly how many seconds passed before you guessed.

Tom: It actually took me until the vocals kicked in; I briefly thought it’d be Ireland from that intro instrumentation. And then, yes, it went very Spanish.

Tim: Very, very Spanish. So, I have multiple Eurovision history books, because of course I do, I’m me, and I can tell you that the idea for a Europe-wide contest came from a Swiss TV exec, Marcel Bezençon, who had two ideas. The first, a generic ‘talent show’ was rejected, which is probably a good thing as it would likely have ended up with ABBA sawing each other in half and Brotherhood of Man bringing us dancing dogs. The second was not rejected, as you can probably guess, and its original brief was ‘to promote high-quality original songwriting in the field of popular music’. 64 years later, we have this: Spain being as absolutely bloody Spanish as they possibly can, with a song that is entirely reminiscent of the fabulous piss-take that a Norwegian guy did a few years back, but played straight.

Tom: Those handclaps in the middle eight! I fully expected, just before the final chorus kicked in, someone to yell “¡Ay, caramba!” in the background.

Tim: And I love it. It’s ridiculous, it’s nonsensical, it’s atrocious, and it’s brilliant.

Tom: And it’s not going to win, but everyone involved will have a fantastic time.

Serhat – Say Na Na Na

“He’s probably a lovely person, but good grief.”

Tim: Right then, Tom – you sadly weren’t able to join in the annual Eurovision Preview Session; nevertheless, it’s only right that you hear some of what might fairly be described as the highlights of this year’s contest, so let’s have a Eurovision Preview Week. We’ve already featured my favourite entry; here’s my second, from San Marino.

Tom: San Marino?!

Tim: San Marino.

Tom: Good heavens, they’ve gone Full Stereotypical Euro Sleazeball with that vocalist! I mean, he’s probably a lovely person, but good grief.

Tim: Some would say it’s an unusual move to make a music video that could quite feasibly be a (very extended) intro for a generic TV reality talent show if you put multiple faces on the big screens (and in fact, thirty seconds of searching later, turns out it basically is), but others (hello!) would say HELL WHY NOT.

Tom: Nice of him to actually turn up in person for the final shots of the video, too.

Tim: Yeah, nice that he can meet the fans. Or, in fact, MEET THE FANS, to the tune of NA NA NA, because I have, quite genuinely, started singing a lot of three syllable phrases to myself: it’s TIME TO GO, the BUS IS LATE, and also I NEED A DRINK, because I think living on my own might finally be starting to get to me.

Tom: I could hum the chorus after one listen, and… hmm. I’m on the fence as to whether I mind that or not. Still, a cautious thumbs up here, although there’s no way it’ll win. I hope it punches above its weight, but the cheese factor just isn’t what a modern audience isn’t looking for. I could see this being top of the table in the 90s, though.

Tim: The one thing I don’t get is why they haven’t got an immediate NA NA NA call back in the backing vocals, because let’s face it the audience will want to do that.

Tom: They sort of do in the final chorus, but perhaps that would be the thing that tips it over from “cheesy but genuinely entertaining” to “just cheesy”

Tim: Hmm, maybe. So as it is: it’s BLOODY GREAT.

Saturday Reject: Chris Medina – We Try

“It makes no sense. Absolutely no sense at all.”

Tim: Norway has a flipping brilliant final this year, with a lot of highlights, but sadly we’ve only got time for a few. Let’s start with a hypothetical, though: if you’ve got a song with a piano intro that you’re ‘playing’ and then a big drop, at what point do you, the performer, get up from the piano and start moving around? I ask because, well, I’m fairly surely the answer is ‘much, much sooner than Chris does’.

Tim: Let’s note that even at the start of the pre-chorus he has mostly revealed, with his fist pump, that he’s not actually playing, and that at the beginning of the chorus he almost stands up, giving the game away completely.

Tom: It’s not even a decent piano synth! If it was meant to sound like a grand piano, then maybe all this would make sense: but it just doesn’t. It’s as bad as if he were just noodling aimlessly on a guitar. But he just keeps going!

Tim: So if he’s hanging around still past then, the logical thing would be to stay there until either a big break – middle eight, say, or final chorus – or for the whole song. Not – entirely not – for the barely notable jump into the second pre-chorus. And why, why oh why oh why, would you then return to the piano for the outro? It makes no sense. Absolutely no sense at all.

Tom: I mean, none of this does. The dancers don’t make sense either. And neither does that slightly-wavy falsetto.

Tim: Spoils a somewhat decent Eurovision dance song, really. Eh, well.