The Saturdays – Notorious

“Oh, this upsets me. The Saturdays used to be good.”

Tom: It’s hard to believe, but this is even more highly processed and stylised than a regular Saturdays track.

Tim: Oh, this upsets me. The Saturdays used to be good. Oh…

Tom: Is there a single lyric in there that actually sounds like it was originally sung? They might as well have just synthesised all the audio and got Weta Digital to generate some CGI women to sing it.

Tim: Yeah – I am actually genuinely gutted by this. They were never the most ground-breaking of groups, but the music wasn’t this tedious or dull before.

Tom: And the video’s even more stylised: they’re walking in step like some kind of bizarre stiletto-based army. I’m not sure what’s less believable: product placement for lip gloss, or their track being on actual vinyl.

Tim: There are, however, a lot of blokes who would give a lot to be trapped in that lift with all of them.

Tom: Well, granted. The trouble is, of course, that the song’s is catchy – just like it’s calculated to be. After a couple of listens, this has all the requirements to be a floorfiller, even if it’s rather difficult to sing along to.

Tim: Is it catchy, though? Maybe I’m having an off day, but I’ve listened to it twice now and I still can’t really pick out a chorus.

Tom: Sorry, what? I was still distracted by that lift.

Timoteij – Het

A ‘hip-hop people are tossers’ message.

Tim: These ladies haven’t really been heard from since their decent performance at last year’s Melodifestivalen; this is an excellent return to the scene.

Tim: Now for me, this gets going right from the first ten seconds, with the ‘hip-hop people are tossers’ message they’re not so subtly sending out.

Tom: If – like me – you enjoy that kind of thing, you may also enjoy the Lonely Island’s latest track.

Tim: LOVE IT. But back to the item in hand, once we’ve dissed all the crap music, the pop kicks in, and it’s fantastic. There’s an accordion (an ACCORDION!), and of course a cracking key change.

Tom: It’s a textbook key change, isn’t it? I’m trying to keep myself concentrating on the music, rather than the attractive women in the video – even accounting for that bias, I reckon it’s a pretty solid track.

Tim: This reminds me of S Club 7 music – not entirely sure why them in particular, other than that I’ve had S Club Party in my head all day – in the pure pop sense. Most of it, I think, is the lead-in to the chorus, working as a ‘right, we’re done with the dull bits, let’s have us a PARTY’, even though the dull bits aren’t particularly dull.

Tom: As Michael Bolton says: “now back to the good part!”

Tim: I’d love to know what the lines in the verses beginning at 0:40 and 0:50 remind me of, though. Female vocalist, might be Billie Piper. (If I try to sing it, it just morphs into In The Shadows, which it sort of is but isn’t what I’m thinking it is.)

Tom: Readers, any ideas?

Swedish House Mafia – Save The World

Sort-of heart-warming and totally bonkers.

Tim: We’re a little bit late to the party with this one, which was released a couple of weeks back now, but I don’t care because (a) the tune’s pretty good and (b) the video’s a nice mix of sort-of heart-warming and totally bonkers.

Tim: If you’re anything like me, you probably just watched the video the first time, without paying much attention to the lyrics aside from ‘Who’s gonna save the world?’ and thinking ‘Oooh, is it the dogs? I hope it’s the dogs. That’ll be AMAZING. Oh, yay, it’s the dogs! I was right. Wicked.’

Tom: See, I’m not really an animal person, so I’ll concentrate on the music. It’s not bad at all – for some reason it sounds like a remix of a Take That track, and I mean that as a compliment.

You still rambling about the video?

Tim: Certainly am. My two favourite parts are at about 2:30 when the bulldog’s going in for a munch on the bloke’s knackers in slow-mo, and then at 3:09 when the retriever looks down at the bloke at the bus stop with a look that quite clearly states Doggy Justice.

Not entirely sure what he’d done wrong – maybe he was just more of a cat person.

Tom: I think he’s the mugger from earlier in the video. I hope so, because frankly if “not being a dog person” justifies being pushed through glass by a rabid hound—

Tim: Correct.

Tom: —then I’m pretty much doomed.

Tim: Ah, shame. Anyway, nice beat, decent tune and uplifting-ish words, and all those positive things are multiplied by about a million because the track is MADE BY A PACK OF HEROIC STRAY DOGS. I LOVE IT.

Saturday Flashback: E-Type – Back 2 Life

Imagine a dance music video.

Tim: We missed this when it came out in January, and then they released a video for it and we sort of missed that too. Now, though, the dance season’s about to get going, so let’s have a listen. And a watch. But first, remember a month or so back when I asked you to imagine a Swedish Eurovision entry? Well, now imagine a dance music video.

Tim: Ooh, attractive girls! And looking bored, just waiting to party! So where do we go? I know! Let’s head for the beach, and play around in the sea. Now let’s go home and put on provocative clothing! And now let’s go to the club! Yes! We can dance and grind away all night, because that’s what we girls do.

Tom: Huh? Sorry, I was distracted by the video there. What was that?

Tim: And, the video does its job. Musically, the verses are nothing special, and the voice, really not.

But the chorus? Flipping great. What I want here is some sort of mashup. Chuck out these vocals, and put something decent on top. Then, I will give this a proper thumbs up.

Tom: I approve of the whole thing – including the voice – but you’re right, adding something more exciting over the top of those verses would go down well. I’ll keep an eye out on for DJ mixes that include it: that should perk it up a bit.

Yasmin – Finish Line

Harmless.

Tom: This is an odd one, Tim. You’ll remember that our regular Radio Insider said that if Yasmin’s previous track wasn’t big, he’d “buy a hat so [he] can eat it”. Well… it hit 39 in the charts, but he’s gone double-or-nothing on this one, which has already reached the heady heights of number 13.

Tom: I have no idea how this got to number 13 at all.

Tim: Were I limited to one word, I would describe this as ‘harmless’.

Tom: It’s a curious mix of Virtual Insanity (“Future’s…”), Year 3000 (“Sepa- / ration- / you and- / me and-“), and Mortal Kombat (“FINISH LINE”). But it’s somehow less than the sum of its parts. It’s listenable enough, I suppose, once you get over the low-fi ‘finish line’ sample and the urge to break into Busted.

Tim: Yeah – there’s nothing particularly wrong with it, although the yeah-eh-i-yeah-blah-blah bit is just annoying and repetitive enough to get stuck, and I would turn it off. Wouldn’t ring up a request show for it, though.

Tom: I’m not sure why her bed eats her at the end of the video.

Tim: I’m just intrigued as to why two people who are clearly aware they they can’t touch each other still went through the processes of getting half-naked and ending up in bed together.

Tom: Sounds like most marriages, doesn’t it?*

*That joke brought to you by the 1970s.

Baby Alice – Heaven is a Dancefloor

Really quite staggeringly bad.

Tom: Am I being too cynical, Tim? Because when an anonymous reader sends us a track that I’ve never heard of, and says it’s a “decent comeback” by the “Pina Colada Boy team”, I tend to be a bit suspicious and think that it might actually have been sent in by the “Pina Colada Boy Team” themselves.

Tim: Well, I don’t mind – if it’s anything like the actually-brilliant-but-for-all-the-wrong-reasons Piña Colada Boy, with its hook lifted directly from Eiffel 65’s (excellent) remix of The Bad Touch, and initial line strangely reminiscent of Matt Cardle’s When We Collide (not to mention the fact that it’s a song dedicated to the third best cocktail ever), I’m just glad that Tim, Andreas & Sandra have got new stuff at all.

Tom: Well, since the song is really quite staggeringly bad, the suspicions I have don’t really bother me.

Tim: Oh.

Tom: Let’s do that thing where we list off things we don’t like about the song. I’ll start: the appalling rapping.

Tim: By a white bloke who really really wants to be black.

Tom: Well, really really wants to be will.i.am, anyway. Moving on: the massive amount of autotune.

Tim: The way it gets your hopes up about it finishing at about 2:12 before coming right back in.

Tom: The overuse of the “lost power” vocal effect to end a line. In fact, all the overuse of vocal effects.

Tim: The way it gets your hopes up about it finishing for a second time about three minutes in before returning for a whole other forty seconds, and then you hate yourself for believing it.

Tom: The Peter Andre Mysterious Girl drums.

Tim: The fact that, due to some of their previous stuff being firmly in Guilty Pleasure territory, I really really want to like this, but the rapping’s just far far too irritating.

Tom: Now, there is one saving grace: the first part of the chorus, that “please just do what I say” before the INJU5TICE Syndome kicks in? It’s amazing. It’s brilliant.

Tim: It is excellent.

Tom: It constantly set me up with that lovely bit, only to knock me down with the Teletubby impression. Which is a shame, really: if it was all like that good part, I think I could really get into this track.

Tim: REMIX.

Cascada – San Francisco

Remind you of anything?

Tim: San Francisco…that’s in California, right? Bearing that in mind, let’s have a listen to this.

Tim: Remind you of anything?

Tom: That’s… well, it’s fair to say it’s very much “in the style of” Katy Perry. It’s also about 12 months late.

Tim: Now let’s be honest, Cascada’s glory days are well and truly behind them. Which is a shame, because Everytime We Touch was a great album, and Perfect Day wasn’t bad either. This…well, this is pretty much textbook ripping off, and it’s disappointing.

Tom: It’s worth taking a moment to notice that this is another case of the YouTube Video Editing Phenomenon: where the official video of the song will have a break of a few measures in the middle that isn’t in the actual track, in order to get the people who use YouTube as a jukebox to actually pay for the track.

Tim: New album’s out soon, by the way – according to the description of this video, it’s called Original Me. Really, it is.

Tom: As opposed to all those copies of her that are running about.

Olly Murs – Busy

He looks like an idiot.

Tom: I think the only reason I make sure we review his singles is so that I can revisit the phrase “swaggering leprechaun cockery”, which remains one of my favourite things I’ve ever written for this site.

Tim: Well, if we’re picking favourites, I think I’d have to go with that “shot out of John Barrowman” comment.

Tim: He looks like an idiot. This is not something I shall use to judge the music, though. Also, I will happily bet anybody five hundred million quid that he did not make that papier-mache thing that he’s pretending to put the finishing touches to.

Tom: Got to be honest: “scrambled eggs” and “bacon” are not generally things you hear in the opening lines of a love song. It’s catchy and jingly enough, and I found myself quite enjoying it once I stopped paying attention to the lyrics.

Tim: You know what? After a minute, I’ve formed my opinion of the music: it’s alright. And that’s all you’re getting, because there’s so much more to say about the video. Let’s start with the fact that at 1:07 he is combing his forehead, and that given the size of the mark on his cheek relative to her mouth, he must logically have drawn that on himself.

Tom: As for creepy papier-mâché love-doll Gepetto… I’ll leave that to you to mock.

Tim: Well, many men throughout the ages have got comfort from one form of doll or another; I won’t insult all of them by lumping them in with him. It is, however, nice that he has several friends that will happily pretend she is actually a person just so he can think he has a date on his birthday.

Blondie – Mother

What a chorus!

Tom: Yep, they’re still going. New album, as well.

Tom: And oddly enough, this still sounds like Blondie. I reckon that even if you hadn’t told me who it was, I’d still know it from Debbie Harry’s voice.

What a chorus! Proper chord progression, proper vocals, proper rock guitar. The start of the verses let it down a bit – but on the whole this is pretty damn good.

Tim: There’s actually not a lot I’ve got to add to that – it had me right from the intro and never let up. Good stuff.

Tom: Just to remind you: Debbie Harry is 65 years old. She can still belt this out. That’s pretty damn good. Go on, Rihanna, let’s see you still singing about whips and chains in forty years’ time. Actually, let’s not.

Saturday Flashback: Jenni Vartiainen – En haluu kuolla tänä yönä

There’s a solid amount of life there.

Tom: An anonymous reader wrote in to suggest this track, which hit Number One in Finland back in February 2010. The title, translated, means “I Don’t Wanna Die Tonight”, and the singer is a former winner of the Finnish version of Popstars.

Tom: It’s certainly a belter, which makes it all the more odd that I don’t like it. Despite all the energy, the promise of the build in those first few seconds, the full-on vocals, all the instrumentation and production… somehow the word that drops into my head is “plodding”.

Tim: Hmm…not sure about plodding. I think there’s a solid amount of life there, and I don’t dislike this at all.

Tom: It doesn’t necessarily need a key change, it just needs… damn it, I don’t know. Perhaps it needs to break out of the one octave she’s singing in? A chord progression that seems to come from a completely different song, like the Killers do so often*?

*”Will your system be all right / if you dream of home tonight” in ‘Human’, and “–if you don’t shine” in ‘Read My Mind’.

Tim: Afraid I can’t really help you there, as I don’t actually think it needs anything. Certainly not a key change, although if I did have to change anything I’d trim the bridge a bit, and perhaps the intro as well – compared with the strong beat of the rest, the quieter parts don’t seem to fit so well.

Tom: To use a dodgy metaphor: it feels like a soaring eagle that’s been clamped down by ten-kilo weights. It needs to soar, and all it can do is limp along.

Tim: Really? I seriously think this is good – the return after the bridge, for example, may not be hugely triumphant like a great song can be, but it’s still full of energy, and gets me at least nodding my head along to it, and perhaps even swaying my shoulders as well.