Saturday Flashback: Tom Boxer feat. Antonia – Morena

It is a bit raunchy, isn’t it?

Tim: In the past twelve months Romania has already provided us with Stereo Love and Inna, and now at Europlop’s doors from Radikal Records* arrives this Romanian bloke, whose track Morena was released last September.

* They’re not just radical, they’re Radikal!

Tom: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with a YouTube commenter. Thank you to ‘vgasparis’, who simply says “This porn has nice background music.”

Tim: It is a bit raunchy, isn’t it? And the music is nice – repetitive but decent hook, good tune throughout the rest of it, consistent strong beat and added piano here and there. I like this.

Tom: Repetitive: yes. Decent: no. The verses don’t have a bad tune, I’ll give you that, but the rest really could use… well, anything.

Tim: Hence the lesbian storyline in the video, presumably, which is a surefire way to get most blokes on board, as the dribbling masses displayed in the club demonstrate. It’s all decent enough.

Tom: It’s really not.

Basic Element – Turn Me On

Not one of those tracks that takes a while to get going.

Tim: Basic Element, a Swedish dance group. This, a tune I present to you with one instruction: PUT YOUR HANDS UP.

Not in a bank robber way, mind. Like, in a dancey way. You know.

Tom: Blimey, that kicks off fast and strong, doesn’t it?

Tim: Yes – it really isn’t one of those tracks that takes a while to get going, which partly seems to be out of necessity. We all know I’m not one for a long track, but here, there’s just not enough time for everything to happen without getting crowded. It seems like a TV show where the producers want to make a episode that’s absolutely insane, with the viewers going OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD THAT’S HUGE, but they forget that they’ve only got so much time to do it in and it all comes out all a bit confused and there’s no time for anything to have any impact.*

* Steven Moffat, I’m glaring at you.

Tom: My Eurobeat-loving roots mean that I should be absolutely OK with a dodgy Euro-rap bit in the middle of the track, but it just seems out of place here. You’re right about the track insanity, though: it’s not really genre-shifting at all, it’s just rather quick. That’s perhaps for the best – if they’d made it longer, I think it’d have gotten dull rather fast.

Tim: Here, obviously there shouldn’t be any time constraints, but it seems like a similar problem – they’ve tried to squeeze a five-minute track into 170 seconds, and it’s really just a mess.

Tom: An energetic mess, though.

My Chemical Romance – Bulletproof Heart

Just get the damn album, it’s brilliant.

Tom: My Chemical Romance are one of the best bands performing in the world today. Who else does seriously good concept albums to enormous critical and popular appeal?

They’re still bringing out singles from the fantastic Danger Days, and with good justification. YouTube compression doesn’t do justice to the track, but nevertheless:

Tom: Listen to that, damn it. For a band that started as ’emo’ – even if they denied it themselves – they’ve basically become a modern glam rock band. And they’re good. How is that even possible? Just get the damn album, it’s brilliant and it’s only about a fiver now.

Tim: You know, there’s not much for me to add there.

Eric Saade feat. J-Son – Hearts in the Air

We seem to have left Manboy far behind.

Tim: Don’t give up on this too soon.

Tim: Intro: dire. Verse: somewhat crap.

Tom: I rather liked the intro, but I’ll agree with you that the verse is terrible.

Tim: Chorus: good when it starts, heading for GREAT from the ‘why should I care what they say’ bit. But that’s all the positiveness I can really give this – it’s just nothing special. Unfortunately we seem to have left Manboy far behind, and that’s a big shame.

Tom: It’s just not got that sense of excitement about it – a lovely chorus like that shouldn’t sound like it’s being sung by rote.

Tim: Actually, scratch what I said about it not being special, because there’s the bridge. This s special, because it lures you in like an evil temptress, with a reworked second (a.k.a. best) half of the chorus, and then right as you’re gearing up for a great key change at 2:39 that will make this song alright, perhaps even downright good, it comes back. With a bloody awful rap bit. I had never heard of him before today, but right now I hate this J-Son bloke, for ruining our Eric.

Although I also hate him because it took me a good twenty minutes to realise his name is a play on Jason. Or at least I think it is, but then Jason isn’t actually his name – basically, it seems he chose a name that may or may not be a bad rewriting of something that isn’t his name but that took me too long to figure out even if it wasn’t there to figure out in the first place. I am entirely confused now, and hatred is all I have left.

Tom: Hey, it took me years to work out that “Flo Rida” was a pun on “Florida”.

Tim: True. Still can’t believe that.

Example – Changed The Way You Kiss Me

Not quite a Eurobeat track, but it’s close.

Tom: All right, Example, you’ve done good before. Let’s see what your laid-back half-rapping half-singing brings us this time.

Tom: You know, that’s not quite a Eurobeat track, but it’s close – certainly the closest I’ve heard in mainstream music for a while, I think. I can see this, with minor differences – maybe a female vocalist – coming out of Germany a decade ago. I say that as a compliment – there’s a reason those styles still persist today.

Tim: A good time in music, was that. And speaking of which, I caught a bloke at work who’s normally all ‘hip-hop’s the one true way’ listening to Alice Deejay on his headphones the other day. Now I have leverage.

Tom: Interesting bridge, though; done entirely in the backing, with the pause and rising effect. Not sure it works, other than breaking up the song a bit; the ending does seem to just peter out after that.

Tim: I actually really like it – it’s more a variation on a theme than a standard bridge switch-out, and I think it works well.

Tom: It’d do well in the middle of a DJ set, this would.

Nicole Scherzinger feat. 50 Cent – Right There

“It’s Hoff time.”

Tom: Can you forgive her for kicking Our Cheryl off the US X Factor, Tim?

Tim: Yes, bec—

Tom: Don’t worry, I don’t actually care about the answer.

Tom: Before we talk about the song, let’s handle that video. That’s 50 Cent, wearing outdoor clothing in front of a bad bluescreen. Know what that reminds me off?

Tim: I’m worried that I might.

Tom: That’s right: it’s Hoff time.

Tim: And, there it is.

Tom: And frankly, I think the Hoff’s track is a damn sight better than this. She’s got INJU5TICE syndrome with all the eh-eh-ehs, and the endless “me like” is just as irritating. Is there a melody in there anywhere? I’m not sure. And okay, Fiddy’s good at what he does and his opening rap isn’t bad – but then it’s straight back to ‘hurr this is how good I am in bed’.

Tim: Forget the music, I’m slightly in awe of the video, or at least the start of it – it is, without question, the worst opening 90 seconds of a music video for a song by two big artists for the past long long time. The cheap blue screen, the incredibly dodgy sliding pavement, the weird synchronised-chicken dancing.

Tom: There’s an actual repeat-until-fade though. How often do we see that any more?

Tim: Normally, that happens if they can’t think of a good ending for a song. I suppose here, their acknowledging that means they can sort of avoid the bigger truth that they couldn’t think of a good beginning or middle either.

Tom: Bring back the Hoff, that’s what I say.

Saturday Flashback: Malena Ernman – Min plats på jorden

The follow-up to her 2009 Eurovision hit.

Tim: Browsing through my iTunes library the other day, I discovered I have Ms Ernman’s La Voix du Nord album; contained within it is this, released as the follow-up to her 2009 Eurovision hit.

Tom: Ah, that explains why I haven’t heard it.

Tim: I like it a lot. It’s obviously not our traditional pop stuff, but it’s nice to have a change. It has a graceful intro, livened up by the drumbeat after a while. The first key change comes as an ‘ooh, that was pleasant’ surprise, and while the second is more predicatable it’s no less satisfying.

Tom: I’ll support pretty much any song with two key changes.

Tim: The title translates to ‘My Place on Earth’, and the lyrics seem to be all about finding peace and happiness and all that malarkey.

Tom: I found myself tuning out at first, and then starting to sit up straighter in my chair, and breathe a little deeper: it sounds almost like a patriotic song or a national anthem. I felt like saluting at that second key change.

Tim: Overall, this seems to have been a good second mainstream release – bridging the gap somewhat between her Eurovision act and her more usual style for anyone who wants to get to know her better.

Tom: I’ll add here that the version of ‘La Voix’ that she did with rock supergroup Casablanca in the 2010 Melodifestivalen interval may just be the best thing she’s done since Eurovision itself.*

*Although that may just be because of the redhead drummer.

Jennifer Lopez feat. Lil Wayne – I’m Into You

Occasional puking noises.

Tom: Talented singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, collaborating with… well, with Lil Wayne. This is an example of a song that really didn’t need the collaboration.

Tom: A catchy-enough hook and reasonable verses, over which Lil Wayne makes occasional puking noises and repeats the last few words. He’s not bad when he actually gets into flow, but he just isn’t necessary on the rest of it.

Tim: Hmm. Her last track was entirely ruined by the addition of Pitbull; Lil Wayne’s not so bad, but you’re right – he really wouldn’t be missed.

Tom: And what on earth is with that bridge? It’s as if someone suddenly spliced in an entirely different song for a little while. Everything changes, with no connection between the two. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like that before – I’m almost convinced it was put in just to screw up the folks who watch it on YouTube, but it’s too melodic for that.

Tim: Interesting, certainly – I have no problem with it though, as it does liven up an otherwise somewhat dull song.

Tom: If there’s a version without the interruptions from bridge and Wayne, then I could support it. As it is – not so much.

Amanda Mair – House

“Musical blueballs”.

Tom: It’s a slow start, Tim. This had better be good.

Tim: When first heard this, I felt utterly betrayed after 45 seconds when the build-up grew and grew and grew and stopped, and I almost switched the track off in disgust. Glad I didn’t, though, because when it next builds up it doesn’t die down, and it’s a fairly good number.

Tom: I think what you have there is a case of “musical blueballs”. That’s a technical term, y’know. I didn’t just make it up.

Tim: If that is what you say, I believe you. But regardless of whether or not I am suffering, there’s lots going on, tuneful and melodic and all that, and while it does settle into rinse and repeat territory a good couple of minutes before the end (20 second bridge excepted), it’s quite good stuff that’s being repeated, so I don’t mind. Thumbs up.

Tom: Agreed.

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.