Vendela – Punk Rock Song


Tim: Speaking of loud brash pop music, as we were yesterday —

Tom: Ooh! A bit of punk!

Tim: — here’s an entirely misnomered track.

Tom: Oh.

Tom: This is like releasing a track that’s called “I Am Singing Live”. And what kind of a metaphor is “I love you like a punk rock song”? With lots of energy and shouting, but you’re done in about two minutes?

Tim: It’s not perfect, I suppose, but it is a song that knows exactly what it is: it’s an introduction to the artist, it’s a ‘yes, I had a song last year that kind of flopped, but LOOK AT ME I’M OVER HERE’ track that will get attention, get people talking and get her lots of attention. More importantly, though: it’s a track that’s bloody brilliant.

Tom: If I can get over my lack-of-punk disappointment, then yes – it’s not bad – but the lyrics do keep getting in the way. “It’s 1977”? “I’m full of sexual expression”? They sound like they’ve been run through Google Translate a few times.

Tim: She’s got a similar history to that of Eric Saade and that Hilda what we wrote about at the end of last year (whose new single Come The Weekend is due to appear imminently): straight out of the Disney Channel Sweden, she’s fairly young (though apparently that isn’t stopping her being full of sexual expression, or knowing who Patti Smith is) and will probably either be dropped immediately or, more likely given the attention this has got, be around for quite some time. Get used to her.

Tom: I’ll do my best.

Sheelah – The Last Time

We’re about to break up, so let’s have bloody fantastic farewell sex.

Tim: The essence of this song is ‘we’re about to break up, so let’s have bloody fantastic farewell sex.’ Classy, no?

Tom: I’m all in favour of pop songs that aren’t about traditional syrupy monogamy.

Tim: Released back in January but with a video only released a few weeks back, this is very standard middle of the road pop music, and it’s a bloody excellent example of it, as evidenced by the fact that the chorus lead-in in the same as that of My Life Would Suck Without You.

Tom: It is a bit similar, isn’t it? And it is middle-of-the road – but it is a very good road to be in the middle of.

Tim: Well, quite. It is loud, it is brash, it is excitable. Any negative points? Not really. It could be sung perfectly well by one person (say, Kelly Clarkson) and no-one would be able to tell the difference, but I don’t really have any problem with that. A key change might have worked nicely, but the song doesn’t seem to be missing anything. I’m happy with it as it is.

Tom: You know, it took me two listens to realise that there wasn’t a key change. My brain just assumed there was, automatically. Even now I’m not quite sure.

Tim: Is it just me, though, or at 2:10 does it look like she’s singing ‘be-before we say goodbye’

Tom: It’s just you.

Tim: Oh.

Freda Sundemo – I Was Surrounded

Something a little bit mellower.

Tim: Let’s take a breather from the energetic dance music of the past couple of days, with something a little bit mellower.

Tim: Considerably mellower, in fact, as there’s not really much here at all.

Tom: Oh, bloody hell. Who does she sound like? There’s a quality to her voice, like a more pleasant Gwen Stefani, that just reminds me of… someone. Kelly Clarkson trying to be mellow, perhaps? I can’t place it.

Tim: What there is is a soothing and relaxing tune, a gentle and pleasant voice and overall, a song that won’t stop you drifting off to sleep.

Tom: It is rather lovely, isn’t it? After the last few days, this is a welcome change. I was hoping for rather good things from the remix, but sadly it appears to be much the same track, only made a bit longer and with a Casio synthesiser looped over the top of it.

Tim: Still, if ‘mellow’ is what you’re looking for in a song right now, this will treat you very well indeed. If not, well, try this instead.

Saturday Reject: Linda Bengtzing – E Det Fel På Mig

Imagine a typical Swedish Eurovision entry. This is pretty much it.

Tim: Imagine a typical Swedish Eurovision entry. This is pretty much it.

Tom: Blimey, that is textbook, isn’t it? That could be any regular Scandinavian Eurovision entry in the last decade or two.

Tim: Interesting result for this one: despite doing fairly well with the international juries, it got barely 3% of the telephone vote in the final of Melodifestivalen, which is a shame, especially since it came top of its heat.

Tom: I can see that happening: it’s one that could get picked as the best of its kind, only to seem a bit generic when it hits the final.

Tim: With the quick fake ending and then the key change, this is a brilliant piece of schlager, and I love it. Throw in the bright clothing, the wind machine and the upside-down camera, this is a performance that I reckon was robbed of a decent placing.

Tom: I was wondering where the wind machine was when the song started. I wasn’t disappointed.

Saturday Reject: Sara Lumholdt – Enemy

She is ripping off Cheryl Cole a bit, isn’t she?

Tom: Another one that didn’t make it through Melodifestivalen.

Tim: Annoyingly, the uploader stopped this video just short of my favourite part of this performance: a collection of signs some of her fans brought along to hold up.

Tom: SNEMY! Ah, I love Snemy. Wait, that’s not her name. Well, at least we know she’s singing live.

Tim: Ooh, harsh. But yes.

Tom: She is ripping off Cheryl Cole a bit, isn’t she? Red military jacket, marching choreography, holes cut into her clothing. All in all, I’m rather glad this one didn’t make it through, because that ‘enemy, enemy, enemy’ really starts to get old quickly. It sounds like it wants to be a big club singalong track, but the melody isn’t one you’d want to belt out: it’s just repetitive.

Tim: See, I actually really like this. You’re right about the ‘enemy’ being repetitive, and it’s not far off a generic Cheryl Cole track, but I’m not sure that either of those are necessarily bad things. I also think the rest of the chorus is great, especially the backing singers.

Tom: And despite all the hallmarks of leading into a key change, there isn’t one. We need a name for this kind of thing, Tim, something that’s better than my suggestion of “Key Change Blue Balls”.

Tim: Yes. Something much better, I think.

Erik Hassle – Are You Leaving

Bloody hell, this is a long song.

Tim: Two minutes into this, I got bored. I looked at the time, and thought ‘bloody hell, this is a long song’. But I left it going, because it wasn’t exactly offensive, and then the second time it came round, the chorus suddenly really got me. Yes, it’s pretty much just one lyric repeated a lot, but there’s something about the way it’s sung that really brings out the desperation that’s meant to be there.

Tom: Hell of a chorus – and if he’s really made that video himself, about the town he grew up in, then excellent. I do wish he wasn’t constantly intercutting between two scenes though: it actually started to hurt my eyes after a while.

Tim: Still, four and a half minutes is a very long song.

Tom: While I’m happier than you to entertain songs longer than three and a bit minutes, I agree – it does go on a bit, particularly since the chorus contains uses the words ‘are you leaving’ approximately one million times. Pep it up a bit, Erik.

Tim: Any problems I have with long songs aren’t due to the length – they’re allowed to be long, provided they stay interesting throughout the time they take up.

Teddybears feat. Robyn – Cardiac Arrest

Isn’t it fun?

Tim: Set this to HD, put it full screen. Watch and listen.

Tim: Isn’t it fun?

Tom: What a waste of pixels. There’s no point putting something in 1080p HD if you’re going to put an 80s fuzz filter over the whole thing. And for a lyric video as well! It’s large text, people, you do not need high definition video for that.

Also, they misspelled ‘exorcist’.

Tim: You bastard, I’d not noticed that, and now you’ve ruined it for me. Anyway, tracks like this are why I love doing this site. It’s a song I would probably never have chosen to listen to – ‘who the hell are the Teddybears? Oh, it’s Robyn, it’s probably not great, I’ll give it a miss.’ – and yet I’ve listened to it and I’ve really enjoyed it. The strange blend of electropop in the verses and sort of rockishness in the chorus just seems to work so well.

Tom: I was all ready to write you a rebuttal, and then you went and wrote it for me —

Tim: I must admit I’m not so keen on the verses – the single lines repeated over and over gets old very quickly, and when it came back after the first round of ‘shake your bone maker’ I almost switched it off – but then the chorus seems brilliant, even if that isn’t much more inventive. It’s when they all merge together at the end, though, that it all just becomes brilliant. I love it.

Tom: Right. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I love it, but it’s a good track: it’s like reading a book where you have three entirely separate plot threads that only come together in the last few chapters – but when they do come together, everything fits together wonderfully. That last verse is worth it.

Ambulans – Wiem Że

A man in a wetsuit standing in a warehouse miming playing a keyboard.

Tom: Europlop reader Dan sent this in, mainly for the video. I reckon it might also be the first Polish song we’ve ever written about.

Tim: Ooh, that’s a fun video.

Tom: As you watch this, Tim, think about just how stupid the band must have felt standing on the greenscreen for this video. Actually, you don’t have to: here is footage of a man in a wetsuit standing in a warehouse miming playing a keyboard.

Tim: See, why did you show me that? I was quite happy believing they were in a spaceship that comprised two performance rooms, a passageway between them and NOTHING ELSE.

Tom: “Wiem Że” translates to “I Know That…”, but sadly beyond that I’m at a loss for the song’s meaning.

Tim: Google’s not very good either; something to do with showing the girls new worlds and stuff and the repeated line ‘I show my feminine charm and sex’ – basically, I haven’t a clue. Also, you know how sometimes you look up the lyrics to help you sing along a bit? Well, have a go at the chorus:

(Wiem że) Twoich oczu blask
(Wiem że) Chce zobaczyć dzisiaj znów
Chce być znów przy Tobie
(Wiem że) Powiedz że to ja
Wiesz dobrze każdy dzień
Bez Ciebie traci sens dla mnie znów

Tom: I doubt the melody would encourage a filled dancefloor to start singing along – but despite that it’s catchy enough, and I can see it getting some decent airplay here if they decided, Basshunter-style, to translate it for the UK market.

Tim: You’re right there – but then you’d lose all the weird consonants, which would spoil it somewhat for me.

Eric Saade – Popular

It’s big, it’s incredibly energetic.

Tim: Following last years slight cock-up where the people chose someone who didn’t qualify for the final, this year Sweden has a good Eurovision entry, who got almost 24% of the people’s vote (for comparison, the second placed song got 14%).

Tom: Interestingly, this has divided YouTube as well – there are a lot of dislikes on that video.

Tim: Last time we met him, you complained he’d gone ‘all plodding and melodic’. Well, no. No he hasn’t.

Tom: That’s true: this isn’t plodding, but sadly it’s not all that melodic either. “I can say / you will one day” “Be someone / before you’re gone”? It sounds like a nursery rhyme.

Tim: I don’t really want to point this out, but I’m a little surprised you missed the very first rhyme: “Stop don’t say that it’s impossible / ‘Cause I know it’s possible.”

This was, however, one of my favourites right from the start – it’s big, it’s incredibly energetic, there’s a decent tune there.

Tom: Whoa, hold up. There’s no decent tune there. It’s better than Kesha, I’ll grant you, and the the middle bit of the chorus with the synth arpeggio is decent – but the rest is a bit… well, energetically dull.

Tim: NO. I won’t let that stand. Although a lot of the times I’ve heard it it’s been alongside its main rival in the competition, Danny’s the entirely boring In The Club, so maybe it’s just a comparative thing.

Anyway, whatever you may think of the music, you can’t deny that it’s all backed up by a fantastic performance. Last year it was rain, this year he’s smashing glass – even if you don’t like the song, you’ve got to give him credit for being inventive with his staging.

Tom: I don’t like the song, but I cannot fault that staging at all: incredibly energetic with top-notch choreography. I can’t help but like him.

Tim: I hope this’ll do well, I really do. It certainly deserves to, and I, along with a vast number of other people, would be incredibly gutted if this didn’t at least make it through to the final.

Tom: I’m not holding my hopes up.

Lena Philipsson feat. Dead by April – Dancing in the Neon Light

A bit different.

Tim: Older Melodifestivalen fans than us may be able to cast their minds back to 1987 and Lena Philipsson’s performance of a rather good Swedish song entitled ‘Dansa i Neon‘.

Tom: That’s some proper eighties hair, that is. And it’s a proper eighties song. It’s got chord progressions and melody lines that have been used a thousand times since and will no doubt be used a thousand times more.

Tim: Now jump forward twenty four years to a reworked and translated performance in the interval that got such a good reception it’s being released as a single.

Tim: A bit different, yes?

Tom: If it wasn’t for those two lines at the start of the chorus, I’m not sure I’d even realise it was the same song.

Tim: I actually quite like this, despite (or possibly because of) the weird genre splicing; similarly it’s nice hearing the key change, partly because it really doesn’t belong in a song like this.

Tom: It’s got something of Evanescence about it: the combination between traditional female vocals and proper black-metal screaming. I’m not sure the screaming actually fits in, but it’s a fantastic cover version and – in my view – better than the original.

Tim: Admittedly I don’t see it being an iPod mainstay, but for the novelty factor alone it gets a thumbs up from me.

Tom: And from me.