Tom: We never talked about it here, but I do remember us both being grumpy that they’d just gone a crap version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Not just the chord progression, but the melody and everything.
Tim: I was further annoyed because, although the studio version was complete and total garbage, the staging around it made it not quite so bad.
Tom: And then I was even more annoyed, because the bloody song got stuck in my head, because of course it did, it’s Canon in D.
Tom: No, really, that’s all I’ve got, I just stumbled across it and it’s been stuck in my head for a couple of days now.
Tim: Nothing wrong with that, it’s a pretty good track. And incidentally, I’ve just looked at their Wikipedia page, and found the most outstanding sentence: “In June 2011, one of the Karlstad transit buses was named after the group.” And what greater an honour can there be than that?
“I think this song’s actually got to the point where you either need to do something spectacularly good, or spectacularly different.”
Tim: Forever Young has been done many, many times – there’s the original, the Jay-Z monstrosity, the dodgy Australian rock version, the German rap version, the 90s Eurodance version, and then of course the truly definitive one. But am I going to turn down another version, this time by a Swedish duo from the earlier this year? No, of course of I’m not.
Tim: I’ve got nothing really to say about it – as with most covers of this song, it’s exactly as you’d expect, except for doing a couple of odd and therefore mildly disconcerting things with the melody.
Tom: Yep, it’s a standard, middle-of-the-road cover version. I think this song’s actually got to the point where you either need to do something spectacularly good, or spectacularly different. This… is neither. Imagine a Joe Cocker-style over-the-top gospel version!
Tim: Or, as Rolling Stone recently had him, Joe ****er. Yeah, that’d be fun. But it wouldn’t have this one’sThere’s also the finger clicks, and I’m not sure which is more annoying: the fact that they happen on basically every other beat, or that for a few bars they stop happening and you think “oh thank god” but then they come back and you want to die.
Tom: In a departure for our usual style, Tim, I hadn’t noticed the clicks. And now I have. And now I hate this.
Tim: Oh, you’re SO WELCOME. I won’t end on a negative, though, so: nice song, nice genre, nice sound. Nice.
Tim: Most news right now is distinctly downbeat. Up until about 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon, in fact, I couldn’t really remember the last piece of news that made me absolutely, entirely, 100% unequivocally happy. And then the Spider-Man news happened, and I felt joy like I’d not felt in quite some time. So let’s listen to this great song, and watch the brilliant video, and be happy.
Tim: This track was on Shortlist’s Top 50 Tracks of 2018; this video was posted in March; their PR sent us it a couple of days ago. Well done everyone. This Norwegian gent goes by the name of Ole Gunnar Gundersen, who previously fronted a ’00s band called Lorraine, and now he’s out with this, which “embraces his love of 80’s era synthesizers and his unique pop sensibilities”.
Tom: Well now, that’s a good chorus, isn’t it? The word that comes to mind is ‘soft’, but I mean that as a compliment. It’s just genuinely quite nice.
Tim: First forty seconds or so, I was enjoying it, but not particularly enthused – sure, it sounded okay, production was decent, vocal fine and all that, but there was nothing that special. Come the chorus though, or to be more precise, come that guitar, and oh, suddenly that missing component is right in there – which makes it entirely mystifying why they pretty much remove it for the second verse. Sure, it’s common to drop the level after the first chorus back to the original level for the second verse, but when you’ve added that little bit extra, the new 10% that makes the song just click, why remove it?
Tom: That’s fair, although I’m liking the melody of that chorus enough that I can stand it without. This is a really lovely track, and while I’m not going to race to put it on any playlists, I’m not going to object in the slightest if it turns up on one.
As for why they removed the guitar: no idea.
Tim: Admittedly the song isn’t bothered with usual structure – we pretty much go straight to a middle eight after the second verse, and I can’t remember the last time I heard a good old fashioned instrumental fade out – but still seems a very odd decision.
Tim: Just having a rummage around my ‘songs we never had time to talk about when they were relevant’ pile, and here’s a reject from Denmark’s 2013 Eurovision selection. Next time I see you, Tom, I’ll give you one whole penny for every second you’re actually able to focus on the singer here; I’m fairly sure I’ll be at most 50p down.
Tom: I mean, it’s a strong outfit she’s wearing, but yes: what on earth’s going on with the staging?
Tim: So initially we’ve got the most intense stare I’ve seen outside of The Demon Headmaster–
Tim: –they they go away and start waving around and even when they’re out of focus I’m wondering what they’re up to and why on Earth he’s picked her up, and then he’s briefly doing some sort of breakdance thing for no reason just for a few seconds, because sure. Then we’re constructing a weird fabric prison for them all, which turns out at the end to be more of a protective layer to save her from her backing singers, lunging forward to grab a hold of her. What’s happening? And why? And does the set designer just not want us to listen to the song or something?
Tom: It’s not a bad song: she can clearly belt out the notes, although given that she was beaten by Only Teardrops, it’s fair to say that Denmark made the right choice.
Any other problems with the staging?
Tim: Well, could the guy not have had a quick shave before going on?
Tim: Tom, help me: was this song, from the beginning of this year, big anywhere?
Tom: Not as far as I know. I don’t recognise it.
Tim: It’s just, it’s so familiar (and not in the sense of ‘this sounds like that’, but in the actual ‘I have definitely heard this song before’), but it’s not charted anywhere, she’s barely been played on the radio recently (5 times in that past month), and it doesn’t seem to have been in any TV shows or films. But damn, I know I’ve heard it before, maybe even a lot.
Tom: I mean, that verse melody is coincidentally similar to Bo Burnham’s Country Song, but I doubt it. Are you sure you’ve heard this, specifically?
Tim: And I absolutely know that, because it’s really, really good. The strings and piano right from the off give us a fantastic start, her vocal is perfect and oh, that chorus is just divine. The sheer power there, it’s truly glorious.
Tom: I was all ready to disagree with you, and then I realised that a few minutes later, I could still hum the chorus.
Tim: Why didn’t it do better, Tom? Why?
Tom: It did get a million views. That’s a lot better than many.
Tim: I have no idea where I found this, but I was finally getting round to clearing up my 40+ Safari tabs when I re-found it, and I think it stands up.
Tom: This is the first time in a while that I’ve thought “wow, that’s a voice”. Those first lines, almost isolated, really show off her vocal quality.
Tim: It is, really, a textbook example of a builder. Middle eight aside, there isn’t a single component that isn’t a slightly increased version of what came before – hell, sometimes it increases midway through the verses.
Tom: It almost feels like the producers and engineers were having some fun with this one. I checked the waveform in an audio editor, and it literally increases in volume like someone’s steadily turning up a dial.
Tim: And when we come back from that middle eight, OH, I was absolutely not expecting it, but in hindsight it’s a perfect closing chorus. It’s a lovely song – nothing big or huge, but just really, really nice to listen to. And I like that in a song.
“It’s designed to impart a certain emotion and then get out of the way.”
Tim: So, I know basically nothing about this act at all – can’t find any social media, no individuals, no proper albums, nothing. Having said that, the name does crop up quite a bit with two specific composers of TV music, so my best guess is that they exist solely to provide library music that TV shows can use without paying much money for.
Tom: Given that it’s on an album called “indie synthpop 2”, yes, this is definitely Stock Music. However, a lot of respectable composers are now finding that’s a lucrative way of making music: just make it in bulk, send it out, and if you’re lucky, get it used in television or as filler on generic Spotify playlists.
Tim: Right, and conclusive evidence: I found this on an extended trail for a new TV show and, well, I like it.
Tim: Alright, that, isn’t it? It starts out with the bass line very similar to (perhaps even identical to, which is a bit odd) Bright Light Bright Light’s Disco Moment, but beyond that it grows and progresses until we end up with a lovely chorus, very much the MVP here.
Tom: I mean, it’s stock music. It’s designed to impart a certain emotion and then get out of the way.
Tim: Catchy, pleasant, and most importantly, perfectly sufficient for affordable TV music.