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.

Idol Allstars 2010 – All I Need Is You

You will, I am sure, be familiar with the idea of the reality TV charity single.

Tim: You will, I am sure, be familiar with the idea of the reality TV charity single – two years ago Simon Cowell gave us a version of Hero (marvellous) –

Tom: No it wasn’t.

Tim: – and last year we had a cover of…actually, I cannot for the life of me remember, largely because I do remember it being terrible. I think it had ‘Everybody’ in the title. And this Sunday we shall be treated to this year’s offering, apparently a cover of Heroes.

Tom: The only good thing is that it has to include Wagner. Bonus.

Tim: Hmm. Well, perhaps. Needless to say, Britain’s not the only country that does it; here we have what appears to be an original song – All I Need Is You, being sung live on Sweden’s Idol a couple of weeks ago:

Tim: Now this, JLS and Children in Need people, is a good charity single. It’s got a nice hook to nod along to right from the get go, the song has a blindingly obvious happy message, and best of all – they’re smiling! Can you imagine! Having fun while making music.

Tom: But it’s not a cover! You can’t have a big group charity single that’s not a cover these days. Even Band Aid 20 was a cover. It’s like film sequels – they want a song that’s bankable because they can’t count on the performances to carry it.

Tim: I don’t know, I think they can. Admittedly, at times it looks like they’ve forgotten about the existence of choreography, and it would be nice if someone gave the bearded blond guy some heroin and put him out of his misery, but musically it’s spot on. And the best thing? There’s absolutely no Wagner.

Tom: As someone who doesn’t watch the X Factor, I am still amused by Wagner every time he appears on Harry Hill’s TV Burp. He’s brilliant. Well done British public.

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.

Erik Hassle – Standing Where You Left Me

There are many things right with this song.

Standing Where You Left Me by erikhassle

Tim: There are many things right with this song – the intensity of it going perfectly with the emotion, the high-pitched electric violiny type thing just before the bridge, the instrumental pauses beneath the first line of the chorus and the ‘oh my God’, to name just a few.

Tom: The drum fills in the middle of the verse, too – and the synth backing line.

Tim: However, I do have one complaint, and that is his treatment of the word ‘me’ at the end of the first line of each chorus. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s very good, but I think he missed a trick there: if he’d lowered it a couple of notes, he’d have then be able to jump up an octave for after the bridge (à la Backstreet Boys), which would have been brilliant.

Tom: Hold on. So you think that…

Tim: He should go down on ‘me’? Yes. Yes I do.

Tom: Get out.

Tim: Now, you may be wondering, ‘Did Tim really come up with a point and go on about it for a whole paragraph, complete with YouTube references, solely to make a fairly lame joke? Well, yes. Problem?

Actually, I do think it’s a slightly valid point, but that aside, however, I think the song’s great. Although don’t go on YouTube looking for a live version – you’ll spend the whole time trying to work out why he’s got a large hamster living on his head.

Carpark North – Burn It

I feel we may have to disagree here.

Tim: Carpark North are a Danish electro rock band that intended to call themselves Graveyard North but got the translation wrong (seriously), and this is the single release that accompanies their soon-to-be-released greatest hits album.

Tim: I’m not sure why, but I don’t seem to be able to write a normal sentence sentence new paragraph sentence and so on type review for this, so here are my thoughts:

  • There is a lot happening here.
  • The hook is one that you hear, and think ‘Oh, God, that’ll be in my head all day now,’ and, well, it pretty much is. If it isn’t immediately, as it wasn’t when I first heard it, it’ll appear out of nowhere four or five hours from now. Just wait.
  • I’m fairly sure that the intro/backing beat exists purely to screw with anybody trying to work out where the beat lies in this.
  • The dance backing that jumps in for the third minute is unexpected and thus rather pleasant.
  • The final thirty seconds provide possibly the most excited ending to a song I have ever heard.
  • There are almost certainly plenty of good remixes in here, if this gets the attention it deserves.

All in all, I think this is more than a little bit excellent.

Tom: You’re wrong.

Tim: I see.

Tom: Yes, there’s quite a lot happening, but it’s hardly overproduced – and having too much going on isn’t necessarily a good thing.

As for the song itself… it’s an unmemorable dirge. The hook just puts Axel F, the theme from Beverly Hills Cop, in my head. And an excited ending? Have you forgotten ‘Lovekiller’, if nothing else? It’s got some heavy drums, but that’s about it.

Tim: Fair point about Lovekiller – and you’re right, there are others – so maybe I should replace ‘possibly’ with ‘one of’, but I stand by my original sentiment – I think it’s a great energetic ending. As for your unmemorable, I guess we just remember different things.

Tom: I don’t reckon this’ll sit on many playlists – and I’d be surprised if anyone gets a decent remix out of it either.

It’s not bad. A lot of people will like it, most probably; it’s competent at least, and it’s no INJU5TICE. But it’s nothing special.

Tim: In that case, I feel we shall have to disagree here.

Tom: Okay. But you’re still wrong.

Broken Door – Angel

There are a lot of ways you can tell someone you love them.

Tim: There are a lot of ways you can tell someone you love them. You can write them a poem. You can take some flowers to their door. You can stare into their eyes and whisper some soft sweet words.

Tom: Lasers. You could use lasers.

Tim: You could indeed. Or, if you’re a Swedish band, you may wish to espouse all those options and write a great big loud song.

Tim: And yes, it is big and loud. The music doesn’t really go with the gentle mood of the lyrics – for that, you’d want Enriqué Iglesias, or Celine Dion or someone. But it’s good loud – you know exactly what the guy’s saying, and why he’s saying it, and from a song like this that seems to be all that matters. It’s a good tune, and it doesn’t get old with repeated listens.

Tom: Really? ‘Cos it got old within the first listen for me. Two minutes in I thought ‘is this all it’s got?’ and skipped forward. It is, indeed, all it’s got, even with the screaming choir at the end.

Tim: Well, whatever you think, it’s definitely one you can sing out loud to when you’re cycling on your way to work early in the morning, should you ever find yourself in such a situation.

Tom: And I’m sure you have been doing.

Tim: Absolutely. I’m quite sure the neighbours hate me for it, but I don’t care. Mind you, nothing will ever quite beat yelling out RELEASE YOUR INNER GLOW.

Jimi Constantine – Dirty Cinderella

Seriously, put a t-shirt on, mate.

Tim: Some Finnish pop punk for you, by a bloke who wants to be their entry to Eurovision (although not with this song).

Tom: Amazing how much the definition of ‘punk’ has changed over the years, hasn’t it? Even pop-punk used to have a bit of attitude – Sum 41 may not have been anything near the Sex Pistols, but at least they at least pretended to have the spit-in-your-face attitude. This is more pop than punk.

Tim: The voice reminds me of a couple of Weird Al songs, I think, and the music underneath has a proper tune to it.

Tom: Good grief, now you mention it he does sound like Weird Al. Something about the slightly-nasal tone, I think.

Tim: The autotune’s laid on a bit heavy, but it doesn’t grate too much (except the ‘ella’ on the last proper line of each chorus).

Tom: True, but the chorus itself starts to grate a bit for me. It’s a nice tune, but the lyrics could use a bit of work. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I can’t help muttering “oh, get over yourself”. Also, he says “could care less” when he means “couldn’t care less” and damn it, that annoys me.

Tim: You bastard, I hadn’t noticed that. Still, overall, I think it’s quite enjoyable, even though, like you say, the lyrics won’t win him any awards, and it’ll be good to see what he comes out with in January.

Tom: Get him a decent lyricist, and I’m looking forward to it.

Tim: As for the video…

Tom: It’s very much a “how close can we get to porn before the music video channels won’t show us” effort, isn’t it?

Tim: Pretty much, yeah. Seriously, put a t-shirt on, mate.

Tom: Right there is a man who shaves his armpits. And, one would presume, everywhere else. Now I’m all for a bit of manscaping, but he does look a bit like a Ken doll.

Tim: It’s not the middle of summer, and right now it just looks a bit silly. In fact, my favourite part is when he gets a football kicked at his head for no reason whatsoever.

Tom: The impact’s right on the single drum hit in the middle of the silent bit, though. Top work, editor.

Saturday Flashback: Fame – Give Me Your Love

It is a little predictable, I’ll admit.

Tim: No, not that Fame. Instead, a Swedish musical pair who stormed their way through Melodifestivalen 2003 with one of the highest scores ever. And boy, was it deserved.

Tim: It is a little predictable, I’ll admit, but when what you’re predicting is great then that’s no bad thing, and it still contains a few surprises here and there, like the final chorus.

Tom: I think “stunningly formulaic” best sums this up. I started singing along with the backing singers half way through – on the first listen. Even the key change at 2:28 is utterly expected. It’s… nice, but I’m not sure it deserved to win, even if it does finally come alive in the final chorus.

Tim: It also says something about the song that they didn’t need much of a dance routine to complement it, although the camerawork did make me feel a bit dizzy at times. But yes – fantastic tune, happy lyrics, great key change – everything.

Mmadcatz – Puppets

I’m not sure if this song’s brilliant or if it’s just utter tripe.

Tim: Now let’s have something that properly encapsulates the spirit of Europlop as a genre. These two Belarusian ladies really do call themselves Mmadcatz, and I’m actually not sure if this song’s brilliant or if it’s just utter tripe.

Tom: I’m going to go with “stunningly mediocre”.

Tim: Hmm – not quite the reaction I was hoping for. With the pause after the first word I occasionally think that it’s a really, really odd cover of Right Said Fred, but after that I start properly enjoying it.

Tom: There’s no such thing as a Right Said Fred cover that isn’t odd. See?

Tim: Oh, I love those guys – their versions of Lady Marmalade and Blue (Da Ba Dee) will always have a special place in my heart. Here, the synth and the actual instruments work well together, I think, and the (probably) Russian rap over the bridge adds so much more than you might think. In fact, with a description of ‘two east European birds singing and rapping’, this is pretty much the definition of Better Than It Sounds.

Tom: It is, but only because that description makes it sound terrible. It’s not terrible. It’s just plodding synth-pop. Put some energy into it, dears.

Tim: As for the video we have here, what I love most is the dancing – I’m not sure if it’s proper choreography, or just randomly chosen synchronised arm movements. Either way, it’s remarkably entertaining.

Tom: Huh. Turns out “guy with laptop” is the new drummer: parked at the back of the stage, rarely seen, and with no attention on him during the video. At least he’ll remain anonymous.

Tim: Well, I reckon he was shunned for not being able to do the dance properly. Or he just refused to go near it, just to maintain some vague sense of dignity.

Saturday Flashback: Waldo’s People – Lose Control

It doesn’t worry about sticking to any formula but still turns out brilliantly.

Tim: This is one of my favourite Eurovision tunes of all time, largely because it doesn’t worry about sticking to any formula but still turns out brilliantly.

Tom: That’s a bold claim. Lordi! Verka Seduchka! Katrina and the Waves! This is going to have to be damn good, Tim. Let’s have a listen.

Tom: …well, it’s not bad. It’s a bit aside from the Eurovision norm, but I’m really not sure that Finnish rap is really something that the Contest would look kindly on. How’d they do? Right, second from last.

Tim: Second from last, incidentally, is also where one of my favourites from this year came – Belarus’s ‘Butterflies‘, which is notable for two things: what happens in the video at the key change, and the fact that their Belarussian accent on the word ‘Imagine’ gets less and less over the course of the song.

And it’s partly because it’s quite a bit aside – I know I love all the normal stuff, but this was a nice break, and in a good way. It still has the big moments, the backing singers and all that, but in a completely different setting.

They also put on one hell of a performance (and that stage set is even huger than I remember it being – 2009 was a good year for Eurovision).

There’s one thing that niggles at me a bit though…

Tom: The concept of Finnish rap? I’m having trouble getting over that myself.

Tim: …which is one of the lines in the second verse where he compares himself to Peter Piper and taking control. I’m almost certain he’s not talking about the one who picked peppers, so I’m fairly sure he means the Pied Piper. Either that or he got confused with Peter Parker (which is actually what I thought I heard the first time), which would be fairly awesome.

Tom: I’ve mentioned Spiderman on Broadway before, right? Because that’s a real thing.

Tim: As for the video – I have no idea whatsoever.

Tom: I don’t think anyone does, Tim.