SYML x Sam Feldt – Where’s My Love (Sam Feldt Edit)

“What’s the point of chilled house?”

Tim: Last year American singer SYML released Where’s My Love – decent enough with some nice piano and aaaahhhh-ing in the background, but nothing particularly worthy of comment (unless you count the horribly depressing video). Now, though, Dutch DJ Sam Feldt has had a go at it, and…well, it has a happier video, for starters.

Tom: About a minute into this, I actually said the word “BORED” out loud. I did perk up at that “Did you run away / did you run away” lyric — it actually did something interesting with the chord progression! — but blimey, that didn’t last long. Why do you reckon this is better than the original, then?

Tim: Because it’s BANGING, or at least it certainly is compared to the original. I found it when I was setting up my amazing new wall lights, and it was a bit late so I wanted music with a decent beat but not too loud so I looked up a Chilled House playlist, and this came right on. I know there are a lot of people (in fact, Tom, I think you’ve mentioned here before) that don’t get the point of relaxing dance music – after all, the point of dance music is hat you’re able to, well, dance to it, with big, heavy, thumping beats.

Tom: Right! What’s the point of chilled house? It just ends up sounding like someone’s trying to have a party next to a funeral.

Tim: I’d argue, though, that this very much has its place – lying on a sofa reading a book, or relaxing out in the sun, and you want music to listen to and you like the genre but don’t want Pendulum rammed through your brain. For those scenarios, it’s great. And so’s this track.

Galantis feat. MAX – Satisfied

“I think this is where Galantis really shine“

Tim: Track 2, and I’m not really sure who MAX is or why he deserves the capital letters – he had a track out last year featuring a guy with no capital letters, though, so maybe that explains it.

Tim: It starts out different, more of a funky style…and I’m not sure where I stand. Compared to yesterday, it is both better and worse. Yesterday was, like I said then, very much a trademark Galantis track. There wasn’t much new or entirely interesting there, but it would happily sit on a Galantis Essentials playlist and not sound even slightly out of place.

Tom: Oh, this is so much better than yesterday’s track. I think this is where Galantis really shine — as producers and collaborators, able to elevate someone else’s track and, in turn, to be elevated.

Tim: Well, you’re not wrong in that that chorus elevates it, because I really couldn’t take a song just like the verses. This one takes a few risks, in the sense that it’s different, but also the same – the chorus is your standard stuff, the weird vocal and the decent beats. But as for that verse, hmm.

Tom: It’s great! As is the pre-chorus, but the verse really shined for me. You know why? I was already so far into it by the end of the first verse that I instinctively did a double-clap — at exactly the point where the song puts a double-clap sample in. I was sold. This, to sort-of-quote the KLF, has a Groove.

Tim: Maaaaybe, but now that a large part of the world has moved on from Uptown Funk, the songs that most come to mind for me are Sweden’s dire Eurovision entries of the past couple of years, and this year only three countries came below them in the televote. With it also heading toward the current trend of no middle eight or final chorus to cut away from those…I’m really not all that keen.

Tom: To be fair, you’re right there. For the first time in a very long while, I actually think the track should be longer. It needs a middle eight, it needs a Big Final Chorus. And, despite my initial enthusiasm, I can’t remember the chorus after one listen. That’s not a great sign.

Tim: It’s a disappointing song, and I’m sad about that.

Tom: It’s only disappointing at the end for me. Give me a remix with a Big Chorus and I will be 100% behind this.

Saturday Flashback: Lady Gaga – The Edge of Glory (Cahill Remix)

“Ten years since the release of Just Dance”

Tim: I realised the other day that April marked ten years since the release of Just Dance, the debut single that catapulted Ms Gaga right to the top of music and everything, which seems worth celebrating and I’m surprised there wasn’t more of a thing about it tbh. Coincidentally, I also heard this remix.

Tim: And oh my days, it’s good.

Tom: It is: but let’s not forget that’s partly because it’s building on the original track and, despite adding instrumentation, it’s still letting those spectacular vocals shine through.

Tim: For all we talk about her frequently re-inventing herself, as far as I’m concerned she never really bettered what she began with the re-issue of The Fame, as The Fame Monster, which added tracks like Bad Romance and Alejandro, and was then followed up by Born This Way, one of the finest albums of the century. On it were fabulous tracks like Born This Way, Judas, Marry The Night, and, of course, this. One of her best tracks, and easily the best remix of a Gaga track. LOVE. THIS.

Tom: The Manhattan Clique remix of Boys would like a word.

Muse – Something Human

“They’ve finally gone FULL POP.”

Tom: It’s been years coming, Tim, but they’ve finally gone FULL POP.

Tim: Ooh, well this could be fun then.

Tom: And I can respect that. The old-school, loud-guitar-anthems-only crowd are going to turn away from them, but that’s fine by me.

Tim: Yeah, it’s interesting – reminiscent of when The Killers teamed up with M83. I’ll be interested to discover how they’ll fit it into a live gig session, but yeah. Perhaps not surprisingly, it seems to be the heavier parts of it that shine through — much as I like the genre, the most engaging parts of it are definitely those like at the beginning of the middle eight.

Tom: This is still recognisably Muse — not least in the ridiculous lyrics and conspiracy-theory sci-fi video — but it’s some melding of synthpop and rock that ends up in a really fun place.

Tim: Hmm. I think that sums it up nicely.

Saturday Flashback: Spray – Anthem (For The Modern Artist)

“What does the name ‘Ricardo Autobahn’ mean to you?”

Tom: Tim, what does the name ‘Ricardo Autobahn’ mean to you?

Tim: Oooh, rings a bell, but I can’t place the reason. Elaborate, please do.

Tom: A quick recap through through his CV for our reader: part of The Cuban Boys. Rikki and Daz. A Eurovision entry. The Golden Age of Video. And, most recently, that spectacularly good Pet Shop Boys parody that does TV theme tunes.

Tim: HOW ON EARTH had I not seen that? Blimey, thank you for the intro.

Tom: Lesser known for reasons that I don’t understand: he’s also one half of synthpop band Spray, who I only just discovered. This is from 2013, recently rereleased, and it’s the first track in a long while where I was singing along with the chorus before the end of my first listen.

Tim: Bloody hell, that’s good. Admittedly I was unable to stop myself chanting ‘David Bowie LPs‘ a lot during the pre-chorus, but aside from that: hell yes I enjoyed that.

Tom: Yep, a music researcher could probably trace the DNA of this track back to a dozen ancestors, but I feel like that’d be taking the fun out of it. As for their newer stuff: how this has under 400 YouTube views baffles me.

CHVRCHES – Miracle

“Talk about saving the best for last.”

Tim: I know the album Love Is Dead has been out a couple of months now, but we’ve yet to cover this, the final single released from it, and I just can’t let that stand. Because boy, talk about saving the best for last.

Tim: I’ll be honest, with no hyperbole: there isn’t a single note in here that I would change. It helps that it’s a genre I love, obviously, but this song is just outstanding. The progression from verse, to pre-chorus, to chorus, to post-chorus is absolutely spot on, and oh my days what a post-chorus that is. The middle eight is exactly what it should be, and the closing section, with it’s combination of sung chorus and phenomenal post-chorus, is absolutely perfect.

Tom: So I’m going to take a different tack here, and talk about the video. Because, after you’ve watched it, go back and set it to double speed — and watch it in real-time. The footage was slowed down about 50% for that, and I have no idea how on earth the singer kept her composure, and her timing, with everything going on around her.

Tim: Huh. Oh, that really is quite a thing, with her presumably singing at double speed while it was being filmed.

Tom: This was filmed in a few long takes, and it’s directorial genius.

Tim: Directorial, and indeed musical. So, then, some advice for you – no, actually, an instruction: if you’ve not listened to Love Is Dead, do it now. Bin off whatever you’re doing, take 49 minutes (though tbh more likely 98), and enjoy the best album released so far this year. It is quite simply stunning, and you’ll thank me afterwards.

Cheat Codes, Little Mix – Only You

Interesting tradition we have here, isn’t it?

Tom: I’ve become quite disconnected from the charts lately: I know there has to be some measure of which tracks are Most Popular Right Now, but since the music industry isn’t about sales any more it all seems a bit arbitrary.

Tim: Perhaps, although as a measure of which of tracks are Most Popular Right Now, it’s better than it’s ever been – right now, it goes by what people are actually listening to. Sure, it turns it slightly into a self-fulfilling prophecy if playlists get based on it, but other than that it’s hard to argue against it.

Tom: Recently the official UK chart started counting not only Spotify streams, but YouTube views. Which means a brand new music video appearing really can act as a ‘single launch’ these days. So, up this week eleven places to 29, it’s…

Tom: …a song that, for once, I heard on the radio and thought “that’s really good, what is it?”

Kygo’s influence — or at least, the influence of the style that he codified — is pretty clear here. But it’s well-composed and well-produced too, with vocals just as good as you’d expect.

Tim: Yep – can’t deny any of that. This is a pretty good Little Mix tropical pop song.

Tom: Also, note how well the pre-chorus flows into the chorus: well enough that I’d say it’s difficult to separate them.

Tim: Hmm – interesting you say that, because while you’re right, I do find a sudden jump between the verse and the pre-chorus, which I really wouldn’t normally expect.

Tom: Unfortunately, as soon as you hear that vocal sample in the instrumental chorus as saying “t-it-ty”, the whole thing falls apart. But until then, it’s a great track.

Tim: Interesting tradition we have here, isn’t it? Actively bringing up ways which might spoil the song for each other. But yes, until you said that, it’s a great track.

Jonas Blue feat. Jack & Jack – Rise

“I have one minor but niggling issue with this.”

Tim: Jonas was, arguably, responsible for 2016’s trend of covering old songs in tropical fashion with his release of Fast Car; those days are long behind him, though.

Tom: Oh, finally.

Tim: Well, unless you count the pan pipe synths in the intro. And verses. And other tropical tropes all over the place, and actually you know what? Ignore what I said.

Tom: Aaaagh those horn-stabby-synths in the post-chorus are almost painful to listen to.

Tim: Oh, really? I actually quite like that. In fact, by and large I really like this track: good chorus, uplifting-ish message, general nice fun party track for a sing-along if necessary.

Tom: You’re right that there are some lovely parts in here, but there are also parts that sound like a kid stabbing away at their first synthesiser. I just can’t get behind this.

Tim: Oh, shame. But I do have one minor but niggling issue with this, and it’s the same as I did with Little Mix’s Wings with its “if they give you shhhh” line: writers, why are you deliberately leaving a gap in your lyrics? I get the idea – you want to be a family friendly pop act, and you certainly don’t want the F-word floating around for little brother to hear when big sister’s playing the album version – but something about it just sticks out a bit. And it’s the only thing spoiling the song for me.

Klergy – Awaken

“Like music that’s designed to go over the dramatic ending of a television episode.”

Tim: Annoyingly, I can find out absolutely nothing about this group (or perhaps even just singer); nonetheless, I’m very keen on this.

Tom: …why?

Tim: Well, it starts out quiet, grows into what can be described as a ‘haunting melody’, before culminating in what is a very powerful chorus. It reminds me quite a bit of The Cardigans’s Erase/Rewind, melodically and, now the comparison’s drawn, somewhat stylistically as well, but then that’s a great song to be taking cues from, and there’s more than enough originality here to stop me thinking “now hang on a minute…”.

Tom: This seems more like music that’s designed to go over the dramatic ending of a television episode. I mean, sure, it’s a song, but I’m not even sure it qualifies as pop music.

Tim: Hmm, maybe. It’s not, admittedly, a song I’d listen to over and over again like I would yesterday’s track, but it’s still a lovely piece of of music, which is just what I need sometimes.

Zayn – Can’t Help Falling In Love

“Zayn can, quite frankly, do one.”

Tom: This is one of the most covered songs in history. It is a Standard. Elvis codified it. UB40 made it reggae-pop. A-Teens made it teen-pop, but perhaps that’s better forgotten. Ravers Choice rewrote the lyrics and turned it into a happy hardcore classic.

Tim: You know, I had a listen to the A-Teens cover so I could try to comedically defend it. But no, I really can’t. I will happily take that Ravers Choice version, though.

Tom: And Zayn…

Tom: Zayn can, quite frankly, do one.

Tim: Yeah – and I’m suddenly thinking quite favourably about A-Teens.