Pink – Walk Me Home

“Twenty years? Twenty years. I don’t think I’m OK with that.”

Tim: Twenty years to the day from the release of her debut, it’s a new Pink track! Spoiler alert: it’s bloody good.

Tom: Twenty years? Twenty years. I don’t think I’m OK with that.

Tom: And you’re right: this is great.

Tim: Isn’t it just? It’s very rare that my single criticism of a song is that it’s too short, but it just seems to be over before it’s started. I want more of that incredible chorus, so much more.

Tom: I was sure I’d heard parts of this before, and I was racking my brains for which particular anthem it was cribbing from — but no, I’ve got nothing. It’s absolutely in her familiar style, but it’s all new.

Tim: I was going to say “it’s my favourite Pink song since…”, but then I realised she really does have form for just great tracks, and that her last album’s lead track, What About Us, was also great. Having said that, I do think this is the first one that’s clicked with me immediately in a while, possibly since Raise Your Glass, which as a comparison isn’t so surprising because they’re similar styles. However you look at it, though, this is flipping brilliant. Entirely, entirely great.

Rob Thomas – One Less Day (Dying Young)

“This sounds like a less electronic Avicii.”

Tom: I know, I know, not Europop. But I think this is worth talking about.

Tim: Oh yes?

Tom: Here’s why: this sounds like a less electronic Avicii. You know how that farm-house style took more traditional music and then added synths and samples? This sounds like the reverse has happened: someone’s taken an Avicii track, singalong inspiration chorus and all, and tried to backsolve it so that it sounds more traditional.

Tim: Hmmmmmm…maaaaybe, I guess. I mean, sounds to me like standard percussion heavy upbeat and inspirational pop, but I guess your description works.

Tom: I mean, sure, here “traditional” sounds like a bit like Status Quo chugga-chugga pub-rock, but I’m old enough that I’m okay with that.

Tim: Kind of sounds to me (and I promise this is a good thing) as if someone took an inspirational Eurovision track, maybe along the lines of ours this year, and put it through a ‘proper music’ machine. And yeah, it sounds good.

Tom: And it works as a track! I genuinely think it works. I could sing the chorus after one listen, and I wanted to hear it again.

Tim: Me too. That’s nice.

SuRie – Black Dove January

“Aadvance warning: the club banger style has been entirely discarded.”

Tim: SuRie, off Eurovision and getting stage invaded last year, has brought us an album, Dozen, which was released a couple of days ago. Interesting concept: twelve tracks, each related to a month.

Tom: Huh. I mean, I’ve heard much worse ideas for concept albums. Let’s be honest, my expectations are pretty low: ‘Eurovision contestant’s follow-up album’ isn’t an easy sell.

Tim: Here’s the first one, and (advance warning) the club banger style has been entirely discarded.

Tom: She’s got a beautiful voice, and she knows how to use it well. Pity that the song sounds like it’s playing during the bleak interlude in the middle of a made-for-TV Christmas movie.

Tim: When she was on Eurovision: You Decide she sung a John Lewis version of Storm, and it almost seemed like that was how she’d rather have performed it all along, and this kind of reinforces that.

I don’t mind that too much, though, because it sounds nice enough and now at least she can do what she wants.

Tom: What a bizarre set of lyrics, though. It’s like someone wrote a prog-rock song and then decided to score it for strings and piano.

Tim: Sure, it may drag along a bit, and sure, if you’re not in the mood for a piano ballad this won’t do much for you; on the other hand, though, when the time comes for her to raise her voice and get enthusiastic, she’s more than capable of that. So fair play to her – unlike most of our unsuccessful Eurovision entries, she’s done something. And, indeed, something worth listening to.

Tom: This isn’t aiming for the pop charts, and that’s absolutely fine. I do hope there’s an audience for this: I’m not part of it, but I hope there’s an audience out there.

Tim: As for the rest of the album, I’ve not yet had a chance to check it all out, but I can tell you that (a) as implied above, it’s all in this style, (b) the Green Day cover is pretty nice, and (c) the December entry is upsettingly non-Christmassy.

Rat City feat. Isak Heim – Kind Of Love

“Fun, dancey, excitable, brassy, with a very weird video thrown in on the side.”

Tim: We’ve featured Rat City a couple of times before, but the last time was well over eighteen months ago so I’ll refresh your memory: it’s basically a rebranded Donkeyboy.

Tom: And the name’s just as bad!

Tim: Different sound, same people.

Tom: I actually said “huh, that’s good” out loud at the first chorus, which means I wasn’t expecting it to be good.

Tim: Nice, isn’t it? Fun, dancey, excitable, brassy, with a very weird video thrown in on the side.

Tom: I’m not entirely sure that reducing the female character to a large pair of lips on a lingerie-clad body is something that generally flies in the late 2010s. But given the whole thing looks like a fever dream anyway, perhaps it’s best to talk about the music.

Tim: Vocal that sounds right and good, and I particularly love what’s going on with that in the chorus – the call and repeat with the backing is the complete reverse of what you’d expect, yet it works brilliantly.

Tom: I was singing the chorus after one listen, and I didn’t mind. This isn’t bad at all.

Tim: All in, really quite special. Lovely.

Michael Rice – Bigger Than Us

“That’s right: for the first time in a decade, we’re sending a key change.”

Previously, on Tim & Tom’s Twitter DMs:

Tim: In case you’ve not been paying attention to the UK’s contestants, we have three decent, one below average and two garbage.
Tom: and no potential winners?
Tim: Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…… There’s one with a good chance of ending up left side of the scoreboard, and another that’ll either be top five or bottom five.

Tim: Now then, Tom, prepare to hear that last one, which the Great British Public, given only the tiniest of tiny pushes by the stage designers, decided upon.

Tom: You know my test for British Eurovision entries, Tim. Is it as good as Love Shine A Light? Will the entire nation be singing it? Two decades from now, will one of us be visibly going berserk in the crowd, as the original singer belts it out a manner that’s reminiscent of a tent revival? (0:32 in, right hand side of the frame, incidentally, and several more times in wide shots.)

Tim: One of my finest moments, that – I think I look particularly strong at 1:01.

Tim: That’s right: for the first time in a decade, we’re sending a key change.

Tom: And a lot of innuendo. And at least an homage to the opening bit of See You Again, surely?

Tim: Hmm, vaguely, but nowhere as much of an homage that one of the other tracks had to Johann Pachelbel, that one was an embarrassment.

Tom: That said: it’s not a bad track. It’s not Love Shine A Light, it’s a bit generic, but it’s definitely not a bad track.

Tim: If you think it sounds familiar, it’s because three of its four writers also wrote the masterpiece that was John Lundvik’s My Turn last year – you know, the one where they made him look like the messiah. Now, to be honest, I’ve mixed feelings about this result: yes, it was my favourite of the night by a long way, I’m looking forward to seeing it on an enormous stage in Tel Aviv, and I like that I’ll be able to listen to it in the Music app on my phone. On the other hand: this isn’t a Eurovision 2010s song. Hell, it’s barely a ’00s song. It has a key change, for crying out loud.

Tom: At least he can sing live. And it’s a key change into a triumphant middle eight, which at least sounds a bit fresher than just doing the chorus one more time.

Tim: I suppose, if he tours all the national finals and gets it heard around Europe, and if it gets some amazing staging, and if any of the other big ballads aren’t as good, then it might do well – but those are some big ifs.

Saara Aalto – Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

“Two options for you here: the regular version, which is a fairly nice piano ballad, or the UK Radio Edit, which is much more BANGING.”

Tim: Two options for you here: the regular version, which is a fairly nice piano ballad, or the UK Radio Edit, which is much more BANGING. Which would you prefer?

Tom: I feel like I’m being given a choice so obvious that it’s going to backfire, but: BANGING. OF COURSE.

Tim: That is the CORRECT answer.

Tim: So, presumably hoping to cash in on her continued success on Dancing On Ice, this has been released to UK stations, where it’s had, erm, well, not much success, but never mind, because this really is a track and a half.

Tom: Are you sure? I mean, it is certainly a track, I’m just wondering where you’re getting the other half from.

Tim: It’s very much in the ‘be true to yourself’ vein (so much so that the video for the original version was made in conjunction with the trans support charity Mermaids) and it’s nice that it works on two levels – the ‘shout the chorus line’ level which gives it a standard ‘let’s have a hell of a good night’ vibe, and the deeper lyrics in the verses where the more personal stuff comes out.

Tom: I think you may have raised my expectations too high by describing this as BANGING, Tim.

Tim: Well, technically I described it as ‘more banging’, but yes, fair enough.

Tom: There’s nothing actually wrong with it, and the message is laudable, but it’s very much a standard ballad without much else to say for it.

Tim: Incorrect, it is a BEEFED UP version of a standard ballad, and so musically, I also love it: the standard banging ballad formula of a quiet first verse, crash in with the chorus, slightly less quiet second verse, and so on, and she’s got a voice that suits that formula brilliantly. All in: this is great. Properly great.

Pet Shop Boys – Give Stupidity A Chance

“It would have been PERFECT for Eurovision, can you IMAGINE.”

Tim: SATIRE.

Tom: I mean, satire traditionally has some subtext or subtlety to it. This feels more like a rant.

Tim: Perhaps, but a fun rant nonetheless, and also just under three minutes long which means it would have been PERFECT for Eurovision, can you IMAGINE.

Tom: Ha! Oh, if only. It’d never get past the BBC or the Eurovision rules, and it’d almost certainly die on the scoreboard, but I would have loved to see it.

Tim: Oh, well, never mind. Start out with Brexit, move through to Trump, it’s basically 2016 summed up in a pretty piece of music, because the melody of that one single line is just great.

Tom: It’s a bit of fluff, all simple and insipid melodies that… oh. Huh. I guess that’s the point. Clever.

Tim: It’s a shame, really – the lyrics mean this song will seem dated fairly quickly (hopefully, at least), but the tune, of the chorus and indeed throughout, is absolutely brilliant, and deserves to hang around a lot longer. OH WELL. There’ll be a few more tracks coming out over the next few days, with an EP of them all on Friday, and hopefully they’ll all be as fun (except for today’s, where Neil gets all old Man Yells At Cloud about social media). Super!

Tom: No, “Super” was the last album.

Tim: CORRECT.

Saturday Flashback: Busted – Reunion

“I love Busted.”

Tim: Yesterday was, I discovered as I woke up, New Busted Album Day, and I subsequently discovered that they’ve had three singles out in the past three months that have completely passed me by.

Tom: That’s… not a great sign. I had no idea either.

Tim: We’ll deal with the most interesting track on the album in due course, as I’m hoping it’ll get a proper video, but in the meantime this is from December.

Tim: So here we have it, finally a sequel to What I Go To School For, and what is almost certainly the first ever song sung by someone who’s gutted he’s in a relationship because otherwise he could cop off with his old school teacher. And you know what? I love that.

Tom: I mean, if you look at the lyrics, this isn’t technically a sequel. And after all, it’s been more than 16 years since What I Go To School For, not just ten.

Tim: See, I thought that as well, and so on only hearing the song I thought it’d just be a fun theory – but James’s exercise book near the start of that video specifically mentions Miss Mackensie. We know he’s singing to someone he had a crush on at school, we know that it’s the same school that Miss Mackensie taught at, we know that the sort of teacher who bends down to show him more isn’t going to miss an opportunity like a reunion, so what other possibility is there?

Tom: That the video producer thought “ha, that’ll be a fun reference, no-one’ll overthink it”. But, yes, sure, I’m willing to play along with that if you are.

Tim: Good. Because I love Busted, and I am so glad they’ve gone back to their old style rather than the serious electro funk style they experimented with on their last album.

Tom: Are they approaching their seventh yet? Just wondering.

Tim: Not yet, but they’ve still got time. They know what people want, and they’re happy to provide it.

Tom: Yep: this is nostalgia, plain and simple, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Tim: So join us next time, when we’ll be discussing the song that is the Avengers: Endgame of the Busted Musical Universe.

Isak Danielson – Power

“I’m not entirely convinced that a crossover of Jackass and ‘power-and-sex-charged music video’ is a good idea.”

Tim: Some say the art of lyric writing is crafting mysterious or ambiguous ones, so that different people can add their own interpretations, and maybe use a music video to do even more with the various possibilities. Others, such as Isak, prefer a more prescriptive approach to these things, bringing all the subtlety of a two ton wrecking ball.

Tom: That is an wonderfully-choreographed, impeccably-shot, frankly beautiful video that has been ruined by appalling video compression. What a shame: if that was graded and handled a little better, you’d be able to see more than dancing black squares during the dark parts.

Tim: I’ll be honest, part of me is disappointed that she didn’t end up literally going at him with a Taser, or at the very least a cattle prod.

Tom: I’m not entirely convinced that a crossover of Jackass and ‘power-and-sex-charged music video’ is a good idea, but if that’s what you’re into, then I’m not going to judge.

Tim: Fair’s fair, though, as what it lacks in interpretative possibilities it more than makes up for in sheer volume and emotion, almost begging for Take Me To Church comparisons on multiple levels. The vocal style, the cut back instrumentation, the backing vocals echoing the main chorus – this is basically a textbook emo male power ballad, and it sounds good for it.

Tom: I think the video helps sell it to a large extent: without it, yes, it’s very clearly aiming for Hozier and not quite getting there. But that’s an almost-impossible target to hit: getting this far is an achievement in itself.

Bob Sinclar feat. Robbie Williams – Electrico Romantico

“Fingers crossed.”

Tom: You know that thing when you see that two artists are collaborating, and you think “this is either going to be really good or really bad”?

Tim: Frequently.

Tom: Well, look: this is either a track that combines “Let Me Entertain You” and “Love Generation”, or it’s a track that combines “Rudebox” with literally any song Bob Sinclar has made since Love Generation.

Tim: Fingers crossed.

Tom: Unlucky.

Tim: Nice first few seconds, though.