Tim: So I was out last night seeing Ace Wilder perform, and tbh it was a bit disappointing – despite having a fairly extensive back catalogue of great songs, she only sung Wild Child, Dansa i Neon and Busy Doin’ Nothing, and then for an encore did Busy Doin’ Nothing a second time. On the other hand, the rest of the music played was absolutely cracking, such as this, which I was OUTRAGED to discover we’d never covered. So here it is.
Tim: Finished a close second in its heat in Melodifestivalen 2006, bang in the middle of what could justifiably be described as schlager’s golden age, or maybe its renaissance, and would later come 7th in the final. WHAT A BANGER.
“A song by The Wanted written by Example. And boy, does it show.”
Tim: So here’s something I didn’t realise existed until a few days ago: a song by The Wanted written by Example. And boy, does it show.
Tim: Isn’t that just very, very Example? Almost enough that, to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were credited as ‘Example feat. The Wanted’.
Tom: Yep: there’s a clear distinction between songwriter and producer here. And speaking of production: this is the first pop song I’ve heard in a long, long while where there’s a clear difference in loudness between verse and chorus. It’s not just my imagination: I actually pulled it into a waveform editor to check. That chorus is genuinely louder, just like the Old Days.
Tim: It’s nice – combination of good boyband and a good DJ. Nothing much to say about it, really – I was just quite intrigued to discover that it existed.
“A song that would get me right down on the dance floor, not even slightly caring what people think of me.”
Tim: So, for some reason I thought this had been very successful internationally, but then I checked the figures and apparently no – BWO have only had two charting hits over here, both of which peaked, rather nicely, at 69.
Tim: This track wasn’t one of them, but it came a close second to Carola’s fabulous Evighet in Melodifestivalen 2006, and it is what the kids today call a PROPER BANGER.
Tom: I was going to say “tell me it’s a bit stronger than the Enyaesque track last week”, but it’s BWO, so it will be.
Tim: Right from the off we are heavy in on the dance beats, with a good vocal, colourful lights all over the place, dancing around everywhere, all reinforcing the idea that this is a song to be danced to, very physically. Hell, the title alone sounds really quite rude, and although I’m normally all in for that sort of thing this is meant to be a family show.
Tom: This is exactly what I expected, including the fact that it peaks far too early.
Tim: Right – thing is, it could easily have finished at the 2:37 mark. We’ve already had a middle eight and a final chorus, and if all you’re following it with is an instrumental second middle eight and another final chorus, is it necessary? Perhaps not musically, but performance-wise, given that we haven’t yet lit the flares by the walkway he uses at the end of it, yes, it is entirely necessary. This is, all in, a song that would get me right down on the dance floor, not even slightly caring what people think of me, and that’s really all I look for in a dance tune.
Tom: I mean, yes, I would dance to this, although it’s not something I’d put on a playlist.
Tim: Incidentally, on keyboards you may notice a certain Alexander Bard, perhaps better known as a member of the band Army of Lovers, but who has more recently ditched music and gone from synths to syntheism, a movement about how atheists can still feel as good as proper religious people do, or something. I dunno, he’s written a book about it.
Tom: If it doesn’t have a walkway with flares on it, I’m not interested.
Tim: Eurovision, 1996. Ireland won, because it was the mid-nineties; Norway came second with a somewhat dull ballad; Sweden came third with its very own Enya.
Tom: Why on earth did you pick this, Tim? After last week’s firefighter-schlager* I was expecting… well, not this.
* I’m fairly sure there’s a single compound word for that in German.
Tim: That’s fair enough. Now, we’ve never featured Nanne Grönwall here, but you may recognise the name as she’s fairly prolific both as a singer (solo and as part of this technically still ongoing group) and as a songwriter; this is her only performance at Eurovision, though, along with husband Peter (son of ABBA’s Benny, incidentally) and fellow lead singer Maria Rådsten. It’s a nice gentle number, it’s calm, it’s…well, it’s basically an Enya track.
Tom: You’re right, complete with the string stabs in the background.
Tim: If you like Enya, you’ll like this, and if you like this you’ll like Enya.
Tom: I don’t like it!
Tim: And that’s absolutely fine, but it does what it sets out to do perfectly. I certainly wouldn’t peg it as a Eurovision top 3 nowadays, but twenty years back, sure, why not?
“That’s the first time I’ve seen someone singing while wearing oxygen tasks.”
Tim: Good news Tom! While I was building my BRILLIANT new Lego Hogwarts, I spent some of the 21 hours listening through the rest of my five hour Melodifestivalen compilation album, which means we’ve got a good few fabulous songs coming up.
Tom: That is the most on-brand sentence I have ever heard you say. Right. What are your picks, then?
Tim: Let’s start with this one.
Tom: They went all-out with the costumes. That’s the first time I’ve seen someone singing while wearing oxygen tanks.
Tim: Now, I was attracted to this based on the music alone, because that’s quite a chorus, but then I watched the performance. And…huh. You may be wondering why they’re dressed up as firefighters, and the answer to that is fairly simple: they are firemen in real life, with the band being something of a side project. It’s been going twenty-odd years (Facebook page is still active), and they always perform in uniform (not sure about the drummer, though).
Tom: That is… well, I was going to say it’s a fantastic gimmick, but it’s not even a gimmick. It’s just endearing. Although it looks like they got one extra singer in the back for Melodifestivalen, just to give them a bit more vocal power.
Tim: The song went straight through to the final from its televote-only heat, where it proceeded to get no points at all from the juries but came third with the punters, probably because it’s just five guys on stage having a laugh.
Tom: It is! It really is, and it shows. For the folks at home, this is the sort of dream-come-true “if me and my mates put a band together” story that lots of folks can relate to. And they’re really not bad.
Tim: I like it when that happens – particularly those high fives, which I’m fairly sure I’d keep missing. Well done everyone.
“Did you hear about the Spotify “fake artists” controversy?”
Tom: Did you hear about the Spotify “fake artists” controversy? If not, here’s a good article about it, and you’ll need it, because today we’re talking about one of those fake artists.
Tim: Okay, got that read. Let’s start.
Tom: I heard this playing over a café’s sound system, thought “huh, that’s not bad”, and then found that it wasn’t on Shazam or Spotify. Nor were the lyrics searchable. I got a lucky search on the title, found it, and yep: it’s one of the stock-music Epidemic Sound tracks that have been quietly creeping onto Spotify playlists, and which a Guardian reviewer described as “the most bizarrely nondescript music I’ve ever heard”.
Tom: And the word that comes to mind is: competent. There’s not anything here that’s wrong. The lyrics have a positive sentiment to them, but say basically nothing. The instrumentation does exactly what you’d expect it to at every point. The chorus is catchy. The middle eight is interesting.
Tim: It also sounds entirely ‘bargain basement CHVRCHES’, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Tom: Oh good heavens, you’re right. It is very much Discount CHVRCHES. I hadn’t made that connection. Anyway, the question is: if this wasn’t “stock music”, would I think any better of it?
Tim: See, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with stock music at all – in fact, ten years after watching it I can still bring to mind a brilliant song used in a Skins episode, which after endless searching I have concluded was recorded purely for the episode and, sadly, chucked away. What a waste.
“All that’s really missing is Pitbull yelling nonsensical syllables over the top.”
Tim: After the not particularly inspiring Latin schlager track we featured on Wednesday, our reader Laith got in touch with us about this, a more interesting example you might enjoy – particularly if the highlight on Wednesday was the corset.
Tom: He’s not wearing a cor– oh, never mind, we’re good. But yes, that’s an interesting mix of German and Spanish, isn’t it?
Tim: And all that’s really missing is Pitbull yelling nonsensical syllables over the top – bring in Mr Worldwide and I think I’d really like it.
Tom: Wait, you’re saying Pitbull would improve something? Times have changed.
Tim: Oh, he can always be relied upon to spice up a track a bit. It has a good chorus, and while I obviously wouldn’t turn down a key change at the 3:06 mark, it works well enough without one. You’ve also got all the standard tropes from 2012 in there, the vocoded intro (albeit with a disappointing lack him of singing his own name), and in terms of Latin schlager I think this is probably as good as we’re going to get. Whether or not it’s worth pursuing is of course up to you; for me it’s an interesting novelty. Let’s not get too involved.
Tim: Remember a few days ago, when I said that it was sad that John De Sohn didn’t give us a dance version of this song? Well, guess what I’ve found! I said when we covered the One Direction version that it sounded exactly like you’d expect a One Direction cover of it to sound like; Interactive were a German dance group active in the mid-nineties.
Tom: And, you’ll probably not be surprised to learn, I know this track well.
Tom: …or, apparently, I don’t, because apparently I’ve always heard a remix of this that added a Proper Thumping Techno Bass. That was confusing.
Tim: Confusing perhaps, but also FABULOUS. It has everything you need in there, and nothing you don’t need. Sure, it’s a bit disappointing that at the start you get just a few syllables before cutting off to a seemingly unrelated dance tune, but aside from that I love this.
Tom: Full marks for the music video just being whatever dancers they could get in front of a green-screen, though. Are any of them actually the vocalist? No idea, don’t care.
Tim: Doesn’t matter in the slightest. And since you mention them, I am ALL HERE for the Greg James look-a-like in the red shirt, because I’m fairly sure even I dance better than that. As I write this, I have a bajillion and one things I need to do, and I was feeling a bit lazy, but this has got me RIGHT GOING. Put me in a club, get this on the speakers, and I’ll be ON THAT FLOOR, because with this track in mind, we can be whatever we want to be. We can, basically, absolutely be forever young.
“The white guys are magicians or something, showing how mystical things can happen, and presumably improve lives by making everything look fancy, with the power of Alan’s logo?”
Tim: OKAY THEN so let’s have a look at this, following up from Wednesday’s post. I thought we’d covered all of Alan’s tracks, so it surprised me when I discovered this existed; it made me happy, partly because it’s a good song and partly because it goes some way towards explaining exactly what’s happening in the other videos.
Tim: At least, a tiny bit of the way. We’ve what is definitely a scientifically plausible extinction level event happening, and also a building’s exploded, and there are a lot of people working underground to survive, or at least preserve whatever’s in those boxes, and she seems to have changed sides at point or another because is there another group of people also trying to survive? To be honest I kind of wish the pair of them had just stayed in bed together while it all happened and accepted it, because then I could make a brilliant joke about at least one of them going out on top HERE ALL WEEK, TRY THE VEAL.
Next we’re up to All Falls Down, the official first part, and let’s watch the video because we didn’t actually mention it when we reviewed the track.
Tim: Society is on the way up again, and I think they’re digging up one of those boxes, and opening it up with a circular saw even though there doesn’t seem to be any electricity anywhere else on the planet, but never mind that, because we’ve got some nice merchandise and cult material in there, but then people get bored because there’s nothing to actually do with them, until is that now the other group coming along to educate them? Anyway, now at least we know why they were trying to save what was in those boxes, slightly, because they do look proper fancy.
Part two, now, and let’s put the video here again for simplicity’s sake.
Tim: And…and no. I give up, I really have no idea. The white guys are magicians or something, showing how mystical things can happen, and presumably improve lives by making everything look fancy, with the power of Alan’s logo? God, I hope part three explains stuff.
Tom: Reader, I’m going to be honest with you: I got about two minutes into the first video and just gave up, so I handed this post over to Tim.
Tim: No one blames you. Starting to wish I’d never got involved, to be frank.