Sigrid Bernson – Skulle Dö För Dig

“Dö För Dig” sounds very much like someone pretending to be Swedish and pronouncing “DVD”.

Tim: Sigrid, according to the title of this, Would Die For You, and isn’t that just lovely?

Tim: And that there is a song I almost entirely enjoy. It’s peculiar – it’s not the whole twangy guitar bits I don’t like, because they’re not so bad once I’m hearing them. It’s the sudden cuts to them that annoy me, because they’re taking us out of what’s a really good song and into something that’s not quite as good.

Tom: I agree that they sound a bit out-of-place — but I do rather like them.

Tim: It’s kind of made up for each time, though, because when everything else is brought back in, everything’s happy and lovely again – the production’s fabulous, that ‘dö för dig’ repeating bit is lovely…

Tom: It is, until I realised that “Dö För Dig” sounds very much like someone pretending to be Swedish and pronouncing “DVD”. Sorry.

Tim: I’ll ignore that and conclude my final favourite bit: the background chanting, which is just wonderful. I just, still get that small sense of resentment, every time it goes.

Dolly Style – How Far I’ll Go

“So far out of the blue that you’re ending up with a musical concussion.”

Tom: A bit of context for you here: We Love Disney is a series of cover albums. I thought it was dead, but apparently not — although I can’t find any context for this. Anyway: this seems like the right people to cover a song like this.

Tim: The original of this song has a decent key change. It’s pleasant, standard, and adds a bit to the song. In addition, it’s telegraphed a good few seconds in advance, and so you’ve got time to prepare for it.

Tim: Dolly Style, on the other hand, bring it so far out of the blue that you’re ending up with a musical concussion, and HOT DAMN it’s wonderful. Aside from that there’s not much new here, although it’s a bit heavier on the dance bits and lighter on the marimbas; for me, though, that key change makes the whole recording worthwhile.

Tom: I can see why you’d say that: but there’s a different and more subtle change that means the whole song doesn’t work for me. The original chorus of How Far I’ll Go has a really nice bit of musicianship in it that sells the whole thing.

From the sheet music, “see the line / where the sky / meets the sea” sounds like the syllables should land on the 1, 2 and 3, with the emphasis on the 3. That’s what Dolly Style is doing here, and it’s common for this genre, but it sounds staccato and metronomic when compared. That’s because in the original, the timing is softened and subtly changed so the words aren’t exactly on the beat, and as a result it sounds emotional.

Tim: Hmm, yeah, I can hear that, I guess.

Tom: Yes, that’s music-nerdy. But honestly, it makes all the difference.

Tim: But then, so does that key change.

Mika – Ice Cream

“There’s some lovely catchy bits in here.”

Tom: I had to check whether this was a “he’s back” or “he’s still going”. It’s the latter: it’s just that he’s settled into the respectable “has enough fans to make a living” mould, rather than troubling the charts.

Tom: And with tracks like that, I reckon that’s fair enough. There’s some lovely catchy bits in here (that pre-chorus, in particular), and his voice and production are both still wonderful.

But despite all that, somehow, I don’t actually like this song.

Tim: Yeah, me too, although I’m, if anything, perhaps a bit more negative. I mean, yes, there’s good bits in here – but the first verse did nothing really for me, and it was only when it started sounding Mika-y that I really got interested. And, well, that didn’t last very long.

Tom: Maybe it’s a grower — I suspect that final chorus is the sort of earworm that sticks around after enough radio play. But it sounds like a Prince album track: competent, catchy, but not quite enough for a lead single off a new album.

Saturday Flashback: Harris & Ford – Drop Me Amadeus

“I never knew I needed a rave tribute to a prolific 18th century composer with an added Lonely Island style explanatory rap.”

Tim: I’ve been intrigued by this act since we featured them with Scooter the other day, not least because of their truly brilliant name.

Tom: They’re on Kontor records, same as Scooter, which does make some sort of sense.

Tim: Checking out their back catalogue, a large amount of it is somewhat unlistenable for me, being way too hardcore rave for my liking. This almost fell into that grouping, but then I kept listening.

Tim: Up until now, I never knew I needed a rave tribute to a prolific 18th century composer with an added Lonely Island style explanatory rap, but who’d have thought it?

Tom: Lonely Island-style is about right. I’m genuinely not sure whether this is tongue-in-cheek or not: there’s precedent for this sort of thing being serious but I can’t be sure. It, er, it certainly leaves an impression.

Tim: Turns out, that’s exactly what I need. It’s ridiculous, it got me giggling a bit, and it got me raving. Top stuff.

Avicii – Heaven

“It’s officially seen the light of day, which is nice.”

Tim: The album TIM is out today, with a number of interesting featured signers on there. Also interesting, to music nerds like us at least, is the crediting – almost all of them are ‘Avicii feat.’, though there are two exceptions. One’s credited to Avicii & Imagine Dragons equally, a fairly bizarre track that I really don’t think works at all; another, as in this one, has no credited vocalist at all. Even though the vocalist is Chris Martin.

Tom: And it’s Chris Martin going full Chris Martin, too. Interesting choice of title and lyric for a posthumous release, too.

Tim: It was recorded back in 2014 when they worked together on A Sky Full Of Stars (which in turn didn’t have Avicii as an official featured artist, maybe it was a reciprocal arrangement), and has been played in various live sets since, but now it’s officially seen the light of day, which is nice.

Tom: It sounds like an Avicii song from a few years ago, even down to the build in the middle — and the length, which is much more than you’d expect from a track in the streaming era.

Tim: It’s the most typical Avicii song of any of the pre-released tracks, and it’s nice. That repeating melody, the opening twinkly bit, the lovely sentiment of the lyrics, and the general feeling throughout it – just really, really nice, and particularly with those lyrics it may be my favourite of the recent releases.

Tom: Agreed. Although somehow it seems a little hollow: this is very much a posthumous release finished by others.

Tim: I miss him, you know. I know we’ve had a lot of new stuff from his hard drive recently, but it’s not quite the same, really. Not the same at all.

Kerstin Ott – Alles so wie immer

“Here we go.”

Tim: Hard to translate the title of this one snappily, but it’s basically “everything as it always is” – basically, every Friday night she’s annoyed that her girlfriend gets leered over because no-one believes they’re together. Well, that or guys just want to have a go anyway.

Tim: So, this is a bit weird, because (and I’m probably going too deep into this but THAT’S WHAT I DO), the video tells a slightly different story than the lyrics do.

Tom: Here we go.

Tim: According to the lyrics, Kerstin’s annoyed because her girlfriend gets a lot of attention, even though the girlfriend specifically does nothing to encourage it – the second verse is basically “I know you only want me, but they don’t, and it doesn’t matter how many times you tell them”. But the video is different: the girlfriend’s flirtatious, having fun leading the various guys on a bit. The underlying meaning gets twisted from “you’re brilliant, I love everything about you but there’s this one annoying side effect” to “please stop being such a flirt”, and I think that’s a real shame. I don’t know who signed off on it, or why, but I can’t help feeling it could have been used to make a point somehow, whereas instead we’ve just got flirty dancing.

Tom: See, I think the flirty dancing is so over-the-top that they’re actually casting some sort of hypnotic spell over the crowd. Presumably Kerstin goes round and nicks their wallets while they’re entranced. I mean, either that, or the video director didn’t really get it.

Tim: HAVING SAID THAT, though: since most of the time the music will be heard without the video, and given that I barely know any German in any case, all that is largely academic. So let’s talk about this song, and that lovely chorus melody that’s there right from the off, hooking us in with its chirpy and playful nature.

Tom: Schlager continues to self-optimise as a genre: “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” taken to the extent of just singing the first line of the chorus in the introduction, just to lock down exactly which song you’re listening to.

Tim: Comes back every thirty seconds or so, as is the wont of any chorus melody, and keeps us listening, because oh, it’s just so lovely. Utterly lovely, and infecting the rest of the song as well, as we’re just stuck there waiting for it to come back.

Tom: There’s not really else in the track, but then again, it’s schlager.

Tim: And when the song comes to an end, we press play all over again to hear it another time. Well, I do anyway.

Galantis x Passion Pit – I Found U

“This is just fabulous.”

Tim: Galantis, I have decided, are firmly back in my good books, and I’m fairly sure I can count on them as reliable. So, how will they perform here, with perhaps not the most obvious of bedfellows?

Tim: Easy answer: brilliantly, because this is just fabulous.

Tom: That’s a really good introduction, isn’t it? I wouldn’t have thought that sort of organ-synth would work in this century, but it does.

Tim: It does, pleasingly, manage to sound just like a Passion Pit track and also just like a Galantis track, though it’s not just the straightforward verse/chorus split we might have been treated to with lesser people in charge. There’s a bit of everybody everywhere, and as such the track flows in and out seamlessly from one part to another, unlike a lot of collaborations.

Tom: Often with collaborations, you feel like one side or the other hasn’t brought their A-game — that they’ve decided to keep the good stuff for themselves. But this really does seem like a joint track: it deserves “×” rather than “feat”.

Tim: And, on top of all that, it sounds good! Great melody, great beat, great production, great…everything. ALL GREAT.

Scooter & Harris & Ford – God Save The Rave

“I AM THE CAPTAIN. MY NAME IS DAVE.”

Tom: Alas, they haven’t finally remixed the British national anthem. But this may be the most Scooter-y Scooter track in a long while.

Tim: I look forward to hearing it, but first: ‘Harris & Ford’ is a fantastic act name.

Tim: Oh, boy is that good.

Tom: Sure, they’re not pitching-up samples of famous songs any more. (Presumably they prefer getting all the money for songwriting.)

Tim: Fine by me – the pattern’s still the same, after all, and the melody for this one is just fantastic.

Tom: This is the closest we’re going to get, and you know what? I can’t reasonably mock anyone with the self-confidence to shout, apparently seriously, the lyric “I AM THE CAPTAIN. MY NAME IS DAVE.”

Tim: Strong lyric, and indeed a strong rave. I love this, it’s great.

Tove Lo – Glad He’s Gone

“You might want headphones.”

Tim: Coming up: some very, very blunt lyrics.

Tom: From Tove Lo, that’s not incredibly surprising.

Tim: You might want headphones.

Tim: To be honest, those lyrics were almost enough to put me off the first I heard them – specifically, the ‘did you let him leave a necklace’ line, which gave me quite the ‘eww, really?’ feeling. I’m very glad I didn’t switch it off, though, because the sound that turned up a bit later, the ‘no tears for that sucker’ section, sounds absolutely lovely.

Tom: And “I’m glad you finally dumped that terrible boyfriend” is a pretty good — and unusual — theme for a song. Yes, the lyrics are pretty dreadful throughout, but it’s catchy as hell.

Tim: In fact, most parts of this sound pretty lovely, in one way or another – I’ve even got to like that high pitched part that opens the song. Just, need to not pay too much attention to certain lyrics, because they’re still icky.

Saturday Flashback: Jedward – Hologram

“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: Well…

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?