“Not because it’s good. Just because it’s memorable.“
Tom: I know that we’re ostensibly doing music reviews here, as opposed to just keeping in touch by sending music to each other. But sometimes I don’t want to do that: I just want to say “Tim, listen to this.”
Tim: Fine by me. What have you got?
Tom: Please enjoy this ridiculous, terrible, awful, happy hardcore track, off the Ravers Choice label. Not because it’s good. Just because it’s memorable.
Tim: That…that is certainly a track that exists, and turns one of the most terrible songs ever into something, well, differently terrible. Thank you Tom.
“It’s not bad! The bar is set low but they cleared it!”
Tim: Have I mentioned on here I went to a Jedward gig a few weeks back? I don’t think so, but us featuring Samir & Viktor here on Monday reminded me of it, and I have NEWS: there’s a new album out soon! Basically, since being binned off by the label in 2014, most of the stuff’s been self-written, and here’s one from a couple of years back.
Tom: I actually tried to look up the songwriting credits in the music industry’s database, but this song’s not in there and the copyright is just listed as “℗ 2016 Jedward”. So, while I don’t know how much help they’ve got, I guess this counts as self-written. That… sounds like it’s a bad idea?
Tim: It’s actually alright!
Tom: It is! It’s not bad! The bar is set low but they cleared it!
Tim: Admittedly, some of the stuff isn’t quite as good – the last one of theirs we looked at was evidence of that – but here’s a decent, if somewhat middle-of-the-compilation-playlist, dance track. It was also a good decade too late for its sound, even then, but I’ve no problem with it because hell, it’s a damn good sound, made into an actually fairly good tune. I like this. Genuinely, unashamedly, like it.
Tom: That’s an entirely fair response.
Tim: Other stuff from the gig, in case you’re interested: it was surprisingly great, despite being a “yeah, that’s just within my ‘might be shit but good for a laugh’ budget” decision; they somehow kept going from over two and a half hours, doing new stuff, old stuff and covers; and, biggest of all, they’ve actually become able to sing!
Tom: No kidding.
Tim: None at all: they did half an hour or so of acoustic stuff with John playing a guitar and them both singing, and it actually sounded good. Guess ten years in the business can get you quite a bit of vocal coaching, who knew?
“Remind me: what, exactly, was the point of A*Teens?”
Tim: I do love love a good anniversary, so let’s have this: A*Teens’s debut, twenty years old this month. WARNING: excessive use of hair gel coming up.
Tim: Remind me: what, exactly, was the point of A*Teens? Was it just bringing the music of ABBA to a new generation of kids, who didn’t have Spotify or even Napster yet? Redoing it in a mildly unpleasant format to hear by adding on a load of autotune?
Tom: Money. It was money.
Tim: It’s not exactly bad, really, but it does just seem, looking back, really and entirely unnecessary. Particularly that blonde guy’s hair, and arguably the yo-yo as well.
Tom: Well, A1’s cover of Take On Me was unnecessary too, as was that video, but they still got to number 1 in the UK and A-Ha didn’t.
“Right old country banger that even Shania would be proud of, and then a key change thrown in just for fun.“
Tim: I described Jill as ‘the queen of country schlager’ yesterday, but didn’t actually provide any justification; here’s her entry for Melodifestivalen 2003, where it went straight through to the final and placed fourth.
Tom: Not a Beyoncé cover?
Tom: Definitely not a Beyoncé cover.
Tim: No, and not least because it came out several months previously. It is, however and somewhat presciently, a PROPER TUNE. Right old country banger that even Shania would be proud of, and then a key change thrown in just for fun.
Tom: And, like a lot of good schlager, it sounds like bits of a dozen other fun songs glommed together into one. Not a complaint, just an observation, made while tapping my foot.
Tim: Nothing much on stage, except for four singers and dancers (who really do reinforce my recent realisation about early ’00s haircuts), with their perfect timing at 1:28. Turns out that with a good enough song, you don’t need the rest of it to do very well. You might need it to win, but not to come a pretty good fourth. Nice one Jill.
Tim: Not even slightly. We all remember these ladies with their Party For Everybody oven on stage at Eurovision 2012, and how they ended up in a remarkably strong second place.
Tom: Second place! How on earth did they get second place?
Tim: A standard combination of novelty factor (oven, biscuits and dancing octogenarians) and an unexpected and surprisingly banging chorus.
But not as many (if indeed any at all) of us remember their attempt to compete for Russia two years previously, with this track. Since you’re wondering, the title translates to “Very long birch bark and how to turn it into moonshine”.
Tom: I was about to say, “let’s be honest, it just isn’t a very good pop song”, and then that chorus came along. They have, at least, got an interesting chorus. I don’t want to listen to it, but it is interesting.
Tim: An entirely fair judgment, and one I’m roughly on the same level as.
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.
Tom: I was driving through Sweden last week, Tim, and somehow I found this on the radio. Wizex have been going since 1973; this 1999 number translates as “Thousand And One Nights”, and it’s your typical dansband track with lyrics about love and devotion. It sounded familiar, but I couldn’t work out why until much, much later. See if you can place it.
Tim: Ah, see this is where me being more of a Melodifestivalen nut than you harms the narrative. I’ll play along for our reader, though,
Tim: Ooh, Tom, I don’t know. Tell me, do.
Tom: Oh, don’t patronise me. Anyway, the next stage along was this version, turned into almost-Christmassy schlager-pop with a near-aggressive key change and credited just to the singer, from Melodifestivalen 1999. And from there: well, you tell the story
Tim: Words are rewritten in English, as per Sweden’s tradition for a non-English victor, and then we’ve (SPOILER for 1999) a beautiful Eurovision champion. Let’s have a watch, shall we?
Tim: Fun education in return for your efforts, though: Charlotte’s the aunt of Sebastian Ingrosso, of Swedish House Mafia and Axwell Λ Ingrosso fame.
“Still a largely dull track, but there are significant improvements”
Tom: I’m assuming you know the original Too Good At Goodbyes, Tim.
Tim: Correct. As with much of Sam Smith’s output, it is dull, tedious, insipid garbage, albeit slightly redeemed by the backing choir in the chorus and middle eight.
Tom: In which case, you should get ready for the biggest case of pop mood-whiplash you’ve had in a while. Because Sam Smith’s sad, slow, soppy song is about to become a BANGER complete with a euphoric build that sounds like a washing machine spinning up.
Tim: That…that is an unusual yet entirely correct description of that euphoric build.
Tim: It’s still a largely dull track, but there are significant improvements – not least, chopping over a minute off the runtime.
Tom: Here’s the thing: I have no idea how, but I’d managed to miss the original Too Good At Goodbyes entirely. I just, somehow, never heard it. So when I heard this on the radio somewhere, I remembered the name of the track, searched for it later, and found the original instead of this. It was one of the most disappointing listens I’ve ever had.
Tim: Whereas this is…well, still one of the most disappointing Galantis listens I’ve ever had, but it’s still better than the original.
Tim: Dance cover of a classic song; despite the title, I can guarantee you it won’t be anything like what you expect.
Tom: You are right, I did not expect that. I should have done, given we’ve talked about U96 before. That is prototypical 90s Eurodance right there.
Tim: I’d ask why anybody would think to do this, but to be honest I just don’t care, because basically WHAT A BANGER. ABSOLUTE TUNE. You’ve got fifteen seconds of ‘this sounds familiar, where’s it from?’, before your first ‘OH LET’S GO’, then thirty seconds later you’ve stopped going crazy and can think a bit and you’re ‘huh, it’s…it’s…it’s…OH, it’s that, this is odd’ but before you can finish that thought it GOES OFF again, and after that it calms down briefly and you wonder why they’ve completely ripped it off but then RAVE ON MOTHERFLIPPERS and it JUST DOESN’T STOP so right now WHO THE HELL CARES.
Tom: Which, let’s be honest, is the standard I hold most 90s Eurodance to: is it a BANGER? This just about qualifies.
Tim: The next morning, on the mother of all come downs, you look it up on your phone, because obviously you’ve Shazzamed it, and you discover that Cyndi Lauper’s got a writing credit on it so everything’s beautiful. Like in heaven, really.
“Anyone who describes it as even slightly awful really needs to go and get their ears cleaned out.”
Tim: It emerged this week that Helene Fischer is, in cash terms, the eighth most successful female artist in the world, and so quite naturally someone in the Guardian wrote about her, and schlager in general, and described the music as ‘frankly awful’. Fortunately, we’re here to say: bollocks to that.
Tom: That is… okay, it’s not ‘frankly awful’, but I’m not going to rate it above ‘okay’. Is that a new one?
Tim: That’s Helene’s most successful song, from 2013, and anyone who describes it as even slightly awful really needs to go and get their ears cleaned out. The title translates as Breathless Through The Night, and it’s about having the most amazing night out with someone, staying right up through till sunrise, being inseparable and immortal and just having one hell of a good time.
Tom: I’ll grant you that, by the last chorus, I was on board with it (well done to whoever added that whoop at 2:24). It’s good! It’s above average, even! But I’m baffled as to why it’s the most popular song of the eighth-most-moneyed female artist.
Tim: And if this was playing on my night out? I would be absolutely right there with Helene. Let’s be honest, anyone who doesn’t appreciate that deserves to be pitied more than anything else. Because it’s FABULOUS.