Cascada – San Francisco

Remind you of anything?

Tim: San Francisco…that’s in California, right? Bearing that in mind, let’s have a listen to this.

Tim: Remind you of anything?

Tom: That’s… well, it’s fair to say it’s very much “in the style of” Katy Perry. It’s also about 12 months late.

Tim: Now let’s be honest, Cascada’s glory days are well and truly behind them. Which is a shame, because Everytime We Touch was a great album, and Perfect Day wasn’t bad either. This…well, this is pretty much textbook ripping off, and it’s disappointing.

Tom: It’s worth taking a moment to notice that this is another case of the YouTube Video Editing Phenomenon: where the official video of the song will have a break of a few measures in the middle that isn’t in the actual track, in order to get the people who use YouTube as a jukebox to actually pay for the track.

Tim: New album’s out soon, by the way – according to the description of this video, it’s called Original Me. Really, it is.

Tom: As opposed to all those copies of her that are running about.

Saturday Flashback: Jenni Vartiainen – En haluu kuolla tänä yönä

There’s a solid amount of life there.

Tom: An anonymous reader wrote in to suggest this track, which hit Number One in Finland back in February 2010. The title, translated, means “I Don’t Wanna Die Tonight”, and the singer is a former winner of the Finnish version of Popstars.

Tom: It’s certainly a belter, which makes it all the more odd that I don’t like it. Despite all the energy, the promise of the build in those first few seconds, the full-on vocals, all the instrumentation and production… somehow the word that drops into my head is “plodding”.

Tim: Hmm…not sure about plodding. I think there’s a solid amount of life there, and I don’t dislike this at all.

Tom: It doesn’t necessarily need a key change, it just needs… damn it, I don’t know. Perhaps it needs to break out of the one octave she’s singing in? A chord progression that seems to come from a completely different song, like the Killers do so often*?

*”Will your system be all right / if you dream of home tonight” in ‘Human’, and “–if you don’t shine” in ‘Read My Mind’.

Tim: Afraid I can’t really help you there, as I don’t actually think it needs anything. Certainly not a key change, although if I did have to change anything I’d trim the bridge a bit, and perhaps the intro as well – compared with the strong beat of the rest, the quieter parts don’t seem to fit so well.

Tom: To use a dodgy metaphor: it feels like a soaring eagle that’s been clamped down by ten-kilo weights. It needs to soar, and all it can do is limp along.

Tim: Really? I seriously think this is good – the return after the bridge, for example, may not be hugely triumphant like a great song can be, but it’s still full of energy, and gets me at least nodding my head along to it, and perhaps even swaying my shoulders as well.

Danny & Freja – It’s Only You

Paddy McGuinness has been replaced by a scantily-clad dominatrix.

Tim: Danny, off E.M.D. and In Your Eyes, is getting released in the UK in July, with an old track of his but with some re-recorded female vocals. Oh, and don’t watch this if your grandparents are hanging around.

Tom: Well, that is a bit post-watershed, isn’t it? I’d like to think it’s some dystopian future version of Take Me Out in which Paddy McGuinness has been replaced by a scantily-clad dominatrix.

Tim: The music’s nothing special, I suppose, but it’s nothing bad.

Tom: Now I disagree there: I think this is a really good track. It’s not really got a late-night full-club drunken singalong, but as an early-on floor-filler I think it does really quite well.

Tim: They could probably have chosen a better one for a first UK release if they’re going to raid his back catalogue, but it’ll do, although part of me thinks it’s somewhat forgettable.

Tom: In that case, I look forward to hearing about his other tracks: they must be tremendous.

Tim: Well, try Tokyo or Play It For The Girls – both off the same album as this, and largely chirpier and happier. Anyway, since we’ve got this song, the question is: Will it be successful over here? I would say that with a song like this it depends absolutely entirely on radio airplay, so let’s hope it gets picked up,

Saturday Flashback: Carola – Invincible

The greatest Eurovision performance of recent times.

Tim: So, tonight’s the night – the biggest night of the year as far as we’re concerned, in fact, and so it’s only right that now we should take a look back at what is, in my view, the greatest Eurovision performance of recent times, five years ago.

Tim: Even if we were ignoring the song, this is good. The dress, oh, the dress. The wind – the ENDLESS WIND. The constant look of joy on her face.

Tom: Let’s not forget just how hard it is to keep your eyes open in the face of a wind machine, let alone to keep singing and to keep a look of joy on your face.

Tim: But of course we can’t ignore the song, because it’s just so fantastic. The energy throughout, the key change and the effort therein, it’s just brilliant.

Tom: This is, frankly, the perfect example of a schlager track. It’s absolutely textbook. And so’s the singer – she’s been competing in Melodifestivalens for, ooh, how long now?

Tim: Well, trivia: she’s performed solo three times – 1983, 1991 and 2006 – and has won every time (although she duetted with Andreas Johnson in 2008 less successfully), and during Melodifestivalen this year, this song was actually performed as the original Swedish version; I do not know why they changed it.

Tom: I can’t really believe it was five years ago, but it was: 2006 was a bonanza year for Eurovision. Not only did we have Carola, but Lordi won it for Finland with monster masks and their own pyrotechnicians (thanks to one of the first major Facebook campaigns). And let’s not forget Lithuania getting booed for their frankly genius entry that simply declared themselves the winners.

Let’s hope we get some more of that tonight.

Tim: Not forgetting, of course, the performance by the UK’s number four MC.

Tom: Who could ever forget him?

Le Kid – America

A bit mellower than other tracks of theirs we’ve reviewed.

Tim: We were prodded to review this by regular reader Roger; let’s do so.

Tom: Ooh, new Le Kid. This should be good.

Tim: A bit mellower than other tracks of theirs we’ve reviewed.

Tom: It is, isn’t it? Good luck to them with the video for this.

Tim: I can’t really imagine soapy sailors or giant liquorice allsorts going too well with this, but it’s but no means a bad, or even mediocre, track. Nice, gentle, poppy, mainstream – it’s not hands-down fantastic, though, and I can’t get excited about it like I did the rest, unfortunately.

Tom: It’s let down by that chorus hook; “in America, America”? It’s not singable like their other tracks.

I think it’s also because, after so much bubblegum, even something as bouncy as this still seems a bit downbeat.

Tim: Well, if you’re missing some of the over-exuberance of previous tracks, have a more dancey remix of Oh My God: here.

Vincent – The Moment I Met You

If you don’t at least sort of like this song after a minute or so, basically you’re wrong.

Tim: The starting a cappella chorus either gets the song off to a good start or a bad start, depending on what you like.

Tom: I’d call that a very good start. It’s confident, and it sounds great.

Tim: On the other hand, the music making its way in to back up the first verse should persuade any detractors, and then the energy in the choruses will, I think, sort out any difficulties.

Tom: Somehow that manages to be both energetic and understated at the same time. I felt like I wanted to clap along.

Tim: It’s good, isn’t it? If you don’t at least sort of like this song after a minute or so, basically you’re wrong.

Tom: It’s rare for me to agree with such a bold statement from you, but agree with you I do. That chorus is just beautiful.

Tim: And maybe it’s the general uptemponess of it, but it really doesn’t feel like it’s three and a half minutes long – the first time I heard it I thought why isn’t it longer?

Tom: I don’t think I ever expected to hear that from you.

Tim: No – me neither. I will go back to form now, though, and say that the stupidly long fade out at the end sucks.

Tom: You don’t hear fade outs much these days, do you? It does seem a bit retro. Let’s hope for a remix.

Daníel Óliver – Superficial

An uncomfortable reminder of INJU5TICE.

Tom: That sounds like…

Tim: A fairly generic Taio Cruz style track? Well, yes.

Tom: Exactly. Even down to the ‘ehh-ehh’s, which are an uncomfortable reminder of INJU5TICE. (No, Ian Levine, we haven’t forgotten yet.)

Tim: But are the verses different enough to make the song stand out on its own? Well, still not really, though probably a judgment call. Is there anything to note about this song at all? Actually, I think so – the BWO sounding bits in the choruses I really like, and the extra variation they bring to the song makes it different enough from most other stuff. It’s not quite so generic, and if I’m honest I actually quite like some Taio Cruz stuff.

Tom: Even Taio Cruz doesn’t sound like Taio Cruz now. He’s moved on. The rest of the world should probably do the same.

Tim: This is good and different enough that I can give this a thumbs up, I think.

Tom: I’m not sure that I can even remember what it sounds like, even straight after listening.

Tim: Actually, you might have a point there. I do remember enjoying it while it was playing, though. And I remember the swearing towards the end, which there was really no need for.

Danish Week: Christopher Brandt – Emma

Definitely one to play your grandparents

Tim: Here’s one that for some reason doesn’t have a performance on YouTube, and it’s definitely one to play your grandparents, making sure they pay attention at the seventeen second mark.

Tom: Wait, is he actually swearing in English there, or is it just a Danish word that sounds amusingly similar?

Tim: Well, while most of the song is in Danish, that bit actually isn’t – he broke into English just so he could be a bit offensive. As for the other lyrics, I’m not really sure what they mean – the only lyrics I could find for it were on YouTube, and Google didn’t like them. From what I can tell it’s basically ‘I’m a shit boyfriend but I do love you, honest’, with the chorus going about about forgetting to cooking her brunch on Sunday.

Tom: Top work by the lyricist there. It’s nice to know that even in other languages, sometimes our old Anglo-Saxon profanities are still necessary.

Tim: Musically there’s not really a lot going on (as with the performance, which just had him standing on stage in a suit if my memory serves me correctly) – the instrumentation’s fairly low key throughout, although there’s a slight beat that comes in for the choruses. I don’t mind that, though – the guy’s voice seems strong enough to hold it on its own, and I think this was a very worthy contender.

Danish Week: Lee Hutton – Hollywood Girl

Tom’s required to take an irrational dislike to him.

Tim: ‘Lee Hutton? Doesn’t sound very Danish to me.’ No; he is in fact from Chesterfield.

Tom: I believe that, as I’m originally from Chesterfield’s traditional rival town Mansfield, I’m required to take an irrational dislike to him.

Tim: He does appreciate Danish beer and women, however, so he reckons he’s qualified to represent them; the Danes disagreed.

Tom: Good. He’s a — excuse me while I Google the appropriate insult — “Spireite traitor”.

Tim: This is one I really like, even though it’s actually a bit crap and something that The Wanted could probably put out without much effort. There’s a lot of energy, with the lights all over the place, it’s a decent tune.

Tom: It’s terrible and uninspiring, the energy seems forced, and he should — er, let me check — “go back to his crooked bloody church”.

Tim: The girls with the anti-gravity skirts seem a bit odd, though – the way they’re trying incredibly hard to keep them pushed them down gives me the impression that either the fan below them was far far stronger than anyone intended, or they just didn’t know it was going to be there at all and it was a nice surprise for everyone except them on the evening.

Tom: Now I’ve got nothing against those girls, nor those skirts. I believe they’re trying to emulate the Marilyn Monroe subway-grate skirt-scene from “The Seven Year Itch”, but the reference does seem to have been lost somewhere or other…

Danish Week: Sine – You’ll Get Me Through

Obviously we can’t have every Eurovision song being like this.

Tim: At the risk of repeating a discussion we had a few months back with Yohanna, I present something calming.

Tim: Obviously we can’t have every Eurovision song being like this, but decent ballads here and there are nice, and this could have provided a bit of relaxation after the excitement of something like Popular, perhaps. It’s a good tune, it’s a great singer, the lyrics are lovely and uplifting; add in the wonderfully executed key change, and it’s great.

Tom: Is it really a Eurovision song, though? It’s a lovely track, and ballads have won the contest before: but even Alexander Rybak had energy and jumping about the stage.

Tim: As for the performance here: I love it. It does seem a bit odd when the bloke first appears and just stands there, like he might be some creepy stalker, but when you realise what’s going on though, and that he’s the bloke she’s singing to, there’s a sort of ‘awww’ feeling that appears. Innit nice?

Tom: Are you kidding me? That reveal shot is like something from a horror movie – and the camera angles that make him seem to appear and disappear just make it worse. He’s like Patrick Swayze in Ghost. Only much creepier.