Galantis feat. OneRepublic – Bones

“It’s good! Like, really really good!”

Tim: It’s almost sad when a new release from your previous favourite brings a sense of trepidation rather than excitement; this got released last Friday.

Tom: I remember when you used to send every Galantis track with enthusiasm. Don’t get me wrong, I think Satisfied is a great track — it grew on me despite those initial reservations — but yeah, they’ve been suffering from regression to the mean recently.

Tim: It’s good! Like, really really good!

Tom: That’s because that millennial-whoop chorus is straight from Owl City’s Good Time!

Tim: Oh, yes, so it is. That maybe plays a part in it, then.

Tom: As ever, I don’t think it’s deliberate, but it’s all I can think about while I’m listening.

Tim: I’m guessing it’s just Ryan from OneRepublic and the rest is all Galantis, and those drumbeats and massive brass melody all work together so well, along with all the twiddling samples in the backing.

Tom: It goes on for one chorus too long, but, sure, it’ll… it’ll do, I guess.

Tim: I don’t know if it’s just relief, but I’m fairly sure this is their best work since Love On Me, and I’m so happy about that, I really am.

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.

Ludvigsson & Jorm – Different Tomorrow

“No-one should have to debug their light bulb.”

Tim: I’m writing this late at night, after spending far too many hours trying and failing to sort an entirely irritating technical issue with various smart things in my home.

Tom: If you combine a computer and a light bulb, you get a computer. No-one should have to debug their light bulb.

Sorry, you were probably hoping for sympathy there.

Tim: Not really. I am tired, I have no energy, and I want to go to bed. Except, I’ve just pressed play on this, and now I’ve got a fair old grin on my face.

Tom: The same thing happened to me, and for the life of me I couldn’t tell you why. I shouldn’t like this, but that build into the first chorus just made me smile. And as for “it will be different tomorrow”, well, yes, that’s an often-true message

Tim: And it’s not just the lyrics there that are so upbeat: there just seems to be so much infectious joy contained within that song, and even the artwork manages to pull off a sense of optimism. It culminates in the third minute: that last build, starting at about two minutes? It’s lovely – and what comes after it sounds just right. Nothing new or exciting compared to what we’ve already heard, but exactly what it should be.

Tom: Yep. And I can’t explain it. This is the opposite of those tracks where I say “it’s competently produced but I don’t like it”. This has nothing spectacular about it, but it’s just really well composed.

Tim: There’s no middle eight, but I’m not complaining this time: it’s a short track, and it does everything it wants and needs to do. For what it is, a dance tune with lyrics promising a good future, it’s perfect.

Tom: I could hum the chorus after one listen, and I wanted to hear it again. Full marks from me, for once.

Junior J feat. John Gibbons & Therese – Save A Little Love

“That’s meant as a compliment.”

Tim: As I write this, Finland have just announced that Darude willl be representing them at Eurovision, so shall we have a bit of dance music?

Tom: The more I hear about the Eurovision music this year, the more I like it. Anyway: this is not Eurovision, I guess? But I’m definitely up for some dance music.

Tom: Well, if that’s Therese on main vocals, then all I can say is she’d be an excellent Kylie impersonator. That’s meant as a compliment: that’s a good vocal quality to have.

Tim: Junior is Irish, John is Irish, Therese is Swedish, and as I see it, between them they’ve put together a better Galantis track than Galantis have managed in a good couple of years.

Tom: You’re not wrong: it’s very two-summers-ago, but again, that’s meant as a compliment.

Tim: It’s upbeat, it’s cheerful, it’s energetic, and it makes me feel good. And that’s what a dance tune should do. This works, very nicely.

VAX feat. Elise – What I Want

“DJ Sammy’s there to ease me into it.”

Tim: All Swedes here, with what is very, very much not my preferred type of music, and yet I found myself liking it the moment I pressed play. And then I realised it sounded a bit familiar.

Tim: So, that chorus: tell me I’m wrong.

Tom: I mean, it’s close. Not legally-actionable close, I’ll bet, and I’d be willing to put it down to just having a couple of composers, 35 years apart, playing with scales and coming up with something similar.

Tim: You’re right – probably just enough variation there not to get sued, but it actually gives enough of a positive spin on it that I actually quite enjoy the rest of the song. If it didn’t have that chorus, well, hard to know: the production, vocal skills and original bits of melody are all pretty good, so it’s case of whether the genre is okay, or whether DJ Sammy’s just there to ease me into it.

Tom: You know what helps? Pop music is getting shorter. There’s not enough material for even three minutes in here, and given the longer I listen the more I really want to hear the chorus of Heaven resolve, that’s probably for the best.

Tim: Either way, I like it.

Wincent Weiss – Hier mit dir

“I’d imagined it being a bit better.”

Tim: Off Germany, and it’s a couple of months old but it’s only just appeared on Apple Music’s German Pop playlist, so here it is. Title means ‘Here with you’, which is apparently the best place to be. Isn’t that nice?

Tom: There is no point in my life where I’ve ever wanted to see photos and videos of some stranger when they were a baby. Or just footage of them eating, which is what I saw when I briefly flicked back to the video. That is a terrible video.

Tim: Won’t disagree with you there.

Tom: Normally at this point I’d add “and it’s made me despise the track”, but honestly I’m having trouble mustering any feelings about this track whatsoever.

Tim: Okay here’s the thing. I first heard this in the shower, so only got the bare bones of it, and it sounded really, really good. The melody, the structure, it was all there. Then I played it again afterwards, and, well. Still pretty good, but I’d imagined it being a bit better. So, the way I see it: chop off that Lighthouse Family intro, add a bigger drumbeat after the first chorus and maybe throw in a key change at 2:54, and you’ve got yourself a strong mid-90s Eurovision contender there.

Tom: That’s harsh but not entirely unfair.

Tim: Obviously that’s not what they were going for, but it’s certainly something I’d like to hear in a remix.

Saturday Flashback: Eleni Foureira – Fuego

“I don’t get it.”

Tim: Cyprus, Eurovision last year, and I’ve a question.

Tom: What’s the question?

Tim: So here’s the thing: this song has since then become basically an Anthem amongst the standard europop crowd. I was out the other night and the club went insane the moment the intro hit, and it jumped straight to number 2 by a massive margin in the 2018 #esc250 countdown (a beautiful NYE staple – and since you’re wondering, since 2012, number one has been, and will remain forever more, Euphoria).

But: I don’t get it.

Tom: And neither do I! The chorus is based around an irritating sample, and that pre-chorus anti-drop is just disappointing every time.

Tim: It’s okay, there’s a decent tune, but it’s sure as hell no What About My Dreams, which outrageously didn’t make the chart at all. Just me?

Tom: Not just you.

Weezer – Stand By Me

“It’s possible to do covers in an interesting way!”

Tom: I know, I know, we’re meant to talk about europop here. This isn’t European, and it’s not really pop. But I want to talk about Weezer’s Teal Album, because it might be the laziest cover album I’ve ever heard.

Tim: Having heard a couple of songs from that, I’m not minded to disagree.

Tom: I can absolutely see why Weezer released a covers album. Their version of Africa has been getting a ridiculous amount of airplay (despite, in my opinion, not even being the best Africa cover of 2018), and their actual tracks… well, they haven’t. They’ve still got a fanbase that’ll buy it, and the press will cover it: why not do a cover album?

Tim: Fair.

Tom: But take a listen to the tracks. They sound like an imitation of the originals, like a tribute band. Mr Blue Sky even has the same spoken introduction. You might as well listen to the originals, because there’s nothing new here.

Tim: So…

Tom: The exception is this.

Tom: Because Stand By Me is a standard. It’s one of the most covered songs in the world. And because the original is so simply produced, it doesn’t take much for a band to put their own stamp on it: even if it’s just replacing the strings with a distorted electric guitar and maybe going to the harmony line a couple of times.

Tim: True. Still doesn’t make this a particularly interesting cover, though.

Tom: It’s possible to do covers well! It’s possible to do covers in an interesting way! The Teal Album is, sadly, neither of those. I’ll bet it’ll sell, though.

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.