Eric Saade – Still Loving It

A surprisingly decent mix of several genres.

Tim: Last seen getting soaking wet and with a notable absence of raccoons, he’s fixed one of those problems…

Tom: …please say it’s the raccoons.

Tim: …by drying himself off – sorry Tom – and putting the first single off his next album up on YouTube.

Tim: Unfortunately, but not too surprisingly, it isn’t as good as Manboy.

Tom: He’s gone all plodding and emotional, hasn’t he? So much for having enough enthusiasm that you have to shower on stage.

Tim: If we’re honest, it could probably do with losing about thirty seconds somewhere along the line, and the first few seconds sound a bit like Day & Night. On a more positive note, if you don’t do some sort of involuntary dance-type movement after the bridge there may be something wrong with you, which makes it a winner in my view.

Tom: I was all ready to disagree with you there, and then I went and subconsciously nodded my head along after the beat. That technically counts.

Tim: Musically it’s a surprisingly decent mix of several genres; lyrically it seems slightly weird and almost pointless – you’re annoying me but keep doing it – but never mind that, because I still like the chorus and the closing bit very much indeed.

Tom: It’s a proper lighters-in-the-air moment at the end, isn’t it? It’s no Manboy, but it’ll do.

Elin Lanto – Funeral

This lady has issues. Like, planet-sized issues.

Tim: Now, this lady has issues. Like, planet-sized issues.

Tim: Dancing at a funeral would be bad enough. But ON a funeral – that implies she’s there by the graveside while the vicar’s reciting the whole ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ stuff, not caring remotely what the heartbroken mourners think, but just incredibly happy that you’ve finally popped it. What with that and the scratchy, stabby name on the CD cover, part of the thinks she might be a serial killer hiding behind her music.

But we don’t care about such frivolities as murder here – we care about the music. And right now, it’s not remotely bad.

Tom: Starts with a lovely intro that wouldn’t be out of place on a Clubland CD somewhere; steadily builds like a good dance track should; and then it kicks in. And oh yes.

Tim: A chorus you can really get into (however unpleasant it might be) and a good beat to the music that keeps it interesting throughout.

Tom: There’s something about the chorus melody that I really enjoy, and I lack the musical theory to put it into words. Each time I start to drift away into distraction during the verse, that chorus comes back and makes me pay attention again.

Tim: And also the lyrics: however psychopathic they may be, there’s still some weird depth – the two verses end with ‘makes me love to hate you so’ and then ‘man I hate to love you so’. Issues, seriously.

Tom: She’s dealing with them better than the Saturdays did, that’s for sure. There’s even an apt organ outro. Well done, Elin.

NEO – Underground

I watched it all the way through almost without blinking.

Tim: No, don’t worry – it’s not Ne-Yo, it’s NEO, an all-round better musician, although sadly not very lucky when it comes to exiting nightclubs.

Tom: I really hope this video explains that joke.

Tom: I have no idea what that video was about, but I watched it all the way through almost without blinking. That was brilliant.

Tim: Wasn’t it just? The music as well is very good, and in my view better than the sort of stuff that was on his first album – darker (much), but somehow better, even though I’d normally prefer the Mika-esque style. There’s a level of emotion and feeling to it that just didn’t seem to exist before, and the music’s very much better for it. The high-pitched voice isn’t used as a novelty this time round, but more as something that just belongs and doesn’t seem out of place.

Tom: Through the first minute, I was waiting for the chorus. I was thinking “this is a hell of a build, this had better be a blinder of a chorus.” And it was. By the final repeat, it’s almost an Andreas Johnson blinder of a chorus. And you’re right, the falsetto doesn’t seem out of place.

Tim: All round, it just seems a lot more mature than his last album – as though he’s now decided what he wants to do with his music, as opposed to thinking along the lines of ‘this is what Swedish musicians do, I’d better do that.’ I think he’s made the right decision – he certainly looks the part, as part of me was expecting him to grow fangs at 2:57. Very glad he didn’t, though.

Tom: That’s a director’s error, sadly – it’s shot like a transformation sequence, where it’s actually some kind of timeline switch. The background needs to be in focus and twitching, not him. Never mind – as I said before, it’s still blindingly good.

Tim: And lastly, what with him being NEO and all if you didn’t think ‘He is The One’ at 2:43, there’s something wrong with you.

The Ark – Breaking Up With God

They’re pretty much asking for a lightning bolt to strike them down.

Tim: Here, we have a former Eurovision act splitting up and pretty much asking for a lightning bolt to strike them down.

Tom: I do like The Ark (mainly for that one performance) and I’m a bit disappointed they’re splitting. All good things, though. What’s the track like?

Tim: This, Mr Collins, is what a goodbye song should be like – fun, exciting, a great aa-ooooh hook before we’ve even got started and with all sorts of strange lyrics.

Tom: That ‘aa-ooooh’ got me going straight away. No idea why, but it fits very well with this track. And that ramping return from the bridge is brilliant.

Tim: And those lyrics are remarkably odd – or at least the ones that are vaguely intelligible. We have Sword of Damocles references, which then turns into the shape of a cross, we have dancing the night away as a means to reach another life, we have a black and white world haunted by God, and then at the end he finds his own heaven in life.

Tom: It is a bit odd, isn’t it? This track – and other songs like Religious by Gravitonas – would never get major label airplay in the US; ClearChannel and the other media conglomerates would be too afraid of offending the Bible Belt.

Tim: Well, it’s not just the Bible Belt they’ll be offending – don’t forget the main man Himself. To be honest I do wonder about the wisdom of releasing this right before they split up to move in different directions, because surely sticking two fingers up at the Lord is not the best way to begin a new career.