Cher Lloyd feat. Mike Posner – With Ur Love

Sounds a bit like M.I.A.

Tom: Last time, as you’ll recall, she produced the most irritating record since the Fast Food Rockers. This time, she…

Tom: …sounds a bit like M.I.A.?

Tim: Her hairstyle makes it look like she’s had a close encounter with a lightsaber.

Tom: I mean, I’m stunned. It sounds good. It’s not irritating. It’s like she’s grown up and produced a decent second album, all in the space of a couple of months.

Tim: It is strange, because you’re right, this is quite listenable. Still not great, and if she wants to sound like M.I.A. she does still need the requisite weird sound effects replacing random words.

Tom: Mike Posner, as ever, appears to be a smug dick – but at least his contribution is brief. Does he have a sweater tucked into his trousers? Is he, in fact, Gyles Brandreth in disguise?

Tim: I don’t know, but I’d quite like to see him in Dictionary Corner. Don’t know why, though – just a weird image in my mind, really.

Tom: So here’s my question: is this actually good, or was the bar set so low that anything even half-decent, or quarter-decent, would impress me?

Tim: Both, I reckon. Although the da-da-da-da-dum-dum thing is a really crap ending.

Joe Jonas – Just In Love

Gone straight from “pure and honest” to “creepy and stubbly”

Tom: For anyone who was wondering how long the Jonas Brothers ‘purity ring’ image would last: it’s now officially gone.

Tom: Unfortunately, he appears to have gone straight from “pure and honest” to “creepy and stubbly”.

Tim: Well, he’s not actually broken it – I mean, so far they’re just getting a bit snuggly, and, oh, actually, no they’re fumbling in the club bathroom now, but still it’s not necessarily– oh, yeah now they’re, now they’re in bed. Okay, you win.

Tom: The video’s all unexpectedly arty. You’ll notice the requisite ‘stop people ripping the track from YouTube’ sound-effect break in there, as well. I assume his fans won’t give a damn about either, but for the uninitiated he does look a bit like a wannabe Enrique Iglesias.

As for the music: well, it seems to be entirely forgettable. No doubt the fans will buy it, and it’ll get enough airplay, but I don’t see anyone singing the hook from this into their hairbrush.

Tim: Given the general meh-ness of your writings, and given that you suggested this, I wish to put forth a theory that you only wanted to feature this so you could point out that that oh-we’re-such-good-boys image had failed.

Tom: Well, if Disney hadn’t put so much effort into it…

Tim: Oh, don’t worry, it’s fine.

Melanie Wehbe – Irrestible

I could see this becoming a club regular #timjeffriesisaprat

Tim: We’re very used to X Factor, etc. contestants not winning but releasing tracks, for better (One Direction, Anna Abreu, Danny Saucedo) or very much worse (Cher Lloyd, Jedward, Olly Murs), and while they might not win, they do generally get to at least the closing stages – top five, or whatever. This one, on the other hand, got kicked out of the Swedish version only a couple of weeks back without even reaching the top 20.

Tom: That hairdryer in the opening scenes? Blatantly not actually running, or even needed. There’s a bit of pedantry for you.

Tim: Now, quite how this got put together in under a week – from getting kicked out to properly produced YouTube video – is beyond me, especially since the cynical ‘this must have been pre-plotted’ part of my brain is less inclined to get involved when Simon Cowell’s not around.

Tom: It used to be that all chart-eligible singles had to be cleared through the charts company at least four weeks in advance, although I’m not sure if that’s the case any more.

Tim: Really? Huh. Anyway, this song’s here, and it’s not all bad, is it?

Tom: Surprisingly, it’s not all bad. I could see this becoming a club regular, given enough airplay.

Tim: If I heard this on the radio, I would think ooh, it’s a somewhat average track by Katy Perry*, and for me it’s pretty much that – average. Not bad, although I have an issue with the “post a tweet” line for some reason – just really sticks out a bit, and seems to be there just to say LOOK AT ME, I KNOW WHAT’S COOL.

* Who, pop fact fans, is currently hoping to beat Michael Jackson’s record of five number one singles off the same album, with her recent release The One That Got Away.

Tom: I have a feeling it’s going to date a lot more quickly than, say, Return to Sender.

Tim: A bit like (here’s me going off on one) the massively irritating thing TV shows have started doing by putting a hashtag in the corner of the screen just so we know we’re meant to talk about it. For example, do Fox actually think we need to be told that we should use #fringe to discuss Fringe, or #terranova for Terra Nova? Seriously? BLOODY HELL. Way to patronise your viewers, guys.

Tom: Incidentally, readers, you should use the hashtag #timjeffriesisaprat to discuss this particular post.

Tim: What, where did that come from? Bit harsh, isn’t it?

Tom: Well, #timjeffriesgoesoffonone didn’t seem pithy enough.

Tim: Oh, fine. Anyway, er, what was I saying before I got distracted/abused? Oh, yeah, the song – it’s alright, I suppose, but nothing special. Next please.

Saturday Flashback: Casablanca feat. Malena Ernman – La Voix

The excellent Melodifestivalen tradition of previous-winner-genre-mindfucks

Tom: You remember La Voix, right? It was Sweden’s entry to Eurovision in 2009, and finished in an unjustifiably low 21st place. It’s one of those fantastic crossover opera tracks that make it in occasionally.

Well, at Melodifestivalen the year after, this happened:

Tim: Ah, the excellent Melodifestivalen tradition of previous-winner-genre-mindfucks. Sometimes it fails miserably

Tom: I’ll assume that’s the reason that Casablanca – and the performances since – appear to have mimed.

Tim: …but when it works it can be terrific.

Tom: The trouble is, since the Swedish entry is generally always schlager, the new version is generally rock. I’d like to hear a schlager cover of Lordi’s ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’, say.

Anyway! Casablanca are a supergroup, comprised of members of other Swedish bands – and in my opinion, they knocked it out of the park with this one. Not to everyone’s tastes I admit – all rock vocals and guitar solos – but that ending, with Malena Ernman singing opera and Casablanca’s singer doing harmony lines that weren’t in the original? Makes it all worth it.

Tim: Yeah. Yeah it does.

Linda Sundblad – Trasig

“That kicks in with a vengeance, doesn’t it?”

Tim: Means ‘Broken’, this does, and it’s rather good.

Tom: That kicks in with a vengeance, doesn’t it?

Tim: Sound of Arrows instrumentation (ALBUM ALERT), gentle soothing vocals that match it faultlessly, with the extra effort being applied in all the right places.

Tom: If I wanted to be uncharitable, then I’d say it was Owl City instrumentation, but the song’s too lovely for that.

Tim: The middle eight is an excellent lead-in to the closing section, and lengthwise it strikes me as exactly right.

Tom: That’s what she said.

Tim: Quite probably, yes. After all, if she thought it was too long she’d have chopped bits out. Wait, no. No, please don’t say it.

What this song is perfect for, in fact, is a sunny day, when you’re lounging around in a quiet park, perhaps doing something vaguely relaxing and enjoyable. Coincidentally, right now it’s a sunny day and I’m lounging around in a quiet park doing something vaguely relaxing and enjoyable. What do you know.

Tom: A note for readers: Tim wrote this last weekend in London. I’m betting that the heavens have opened as usual since then.

Nicki Minaj feat. Rihanna – Fly

Nicki Minaj in “Not Completely Annoying” shocker.

Tom: The headline from this one: Nicki Minaj in “Not Completely Annoying” shocker.

Tim: And, the MTV Award for ‘Most Hairstyles in a Single Video’ goes to…

Tom: For the uninitiated: Nicki Minaj is the high-pitched voice behind that damned ‘Super Bass’ track that plagued the summer. This new one’s a lot different though – and it’s a hell of a lot calmer. But the star here is Rihanna, clearly – I’m not sure there’s been a track she’s featured on before that’s shown off her voice quite so well.

Tim: Are you kidding me? What, you never heard California King Bed (an absolutely stunning track, by the way)? Though I suppose if you’re limiting it to ‘feat. Rihanna’ tracks, you may have a point, but you’ve still got Love the Way You Lie, where she’s doing a hell of a lot more than here, where she’s only really been given the fly-yy-yy-yy-yyy.

Tom: Yep, just ‘featured’ ones – and I know she generally knocks it out the park every time, but there’s something her vocals on this particular track that just floored me. It’s a bit of a shame about the rap part, though.

Tim: Almost a given, really.

Tom: “I represent an entire generation”? No you don’t, Nicki.

Linda Pritchard – Wicked Game

In the words of Louis Walsh, she’s really made this her own.

Tim: A cover of a fairly well-known track off the 1980s, but it’s safe to say that, in the words of many a TV reality show judge, she’s really made this her own.

Tim: Chris Isaak’s was a soulful, crooning, almost depressing number.

Tom: This starts the same way – brilliant, mournful guitar work at the start – and then it just kicks in and keeps going.

Tim: A sharp contrast, yes – very much get on the floor with your hands in the air. By and large it’s standard compilation dance mix CD stuff, but there is a big question: whether such negative lyrics match work with the upbeat vibe; this is most definitely a case of Your Mileage May Vary. Personally, I think they do, if only because, with a CHOON like this (I’m sorry, it has to be written like that for this reasoning to work), people don’t really care about lyrics.

Tom: You put a chorus drop like that in a song, and no-one will mind what you’re singing about.

Tim: Indeed – and let’s be honest, if they did mind, Scooter would have been dead before they started.

Tom: SIBERIA! THE PLACE TO BE!

The Saturdays – My Heart Takes Over

Says in no uncertain terms, “this is a ballad”.

Tim: It’s less than a month since we last featured them, but the new single is worth discussing as soon as possible. Why? You’ll see.

Tim: Answer: because it’s good. We have, let’s be honest, been very disappointed by The Saturdays recently. In June, we had Notorious, and last month was All Fired Up. Both fairly clubby, beat-heavy, and closer to dance music than decent pop music like what we like here. But this is good. More like the early stuff that was on Chasing Lights, such as Issues. I’ll pause now so you can make some sort of misheard lyrics/tissues joke here.

Tom: “Me and my arse, we need tissues” is generally what I sing at that point.

Tim: Right, now that’s done I’m going to list reasons why this is good, starting with: the calm singing at the beginning that says in no uncertain terms “this is a ballad”.

Tom: To interrupt you there – I found that opening a bit weird. I’m so used to their heavy, club-type tracks that it took me a minute to fix my expectations. Once my brain figured out that it was a ballad, though, I did really start enjoying that song.

Tim: The pause and quiet few words before the chorus beat hits.

Tom: Technically called ‘the drop’.

Tim: The by-and-large lack of autotune.

Tom: Or at least, the lack of obvious stylistic autotune.

Tim: The screamy beginning to the closing section.

Tom: Emotion!

Tim: The lack of Flo Rida (still bitter about that).

Tom: Oh please, you just wanted to bitch about it.

Tim: Yes, and I always will. Until the end of time. Final musing: it’s off the upcoming album On Your Radar, much as All Fired Up and Notorious were. I’m intrigued as to what the general state of that album will be.

Tom: Three singles released before the album? That’s how you cash in nowadays with downloads, I suppose – get as many people as possible to double-dip, particularly if they’re likely to get the album bought for them at Christmas.

Tim: UPDATE of 15th October now there’s a proper video rather than the previous audio only. It is worth pointing out that it is set OUTDOORS in the COUNTRYSIDE, and there are HORSES to prove it. That is all.

Evanescence – What You Want

Screw you, society! I’m not part of your system!

Tom: Wait, they’re still going?

Tom: Apparently back after a “hiatus”, still with the same lead singer, and still with that early-2000s shouty feeling to them.

Tim: To me, it sort of seems ‘same old, same old’, but that’s absolutely not a bad thing. I liked them back then. Therefore, I like this.

Tom: I feel a bit like I’m 16 again, listening to this and… well, actually I didn’t have much of a rebellious phase, but I feel like I should start to have one now. Screw you, society! I’m not part of your system!

Tim: Oh please don’t – you’re only embarrassing yourself, you know.

Tom: Can you have a mid-life crisis in your twenties? Anyway – after the track finished, I found that I couldn’t remember the lyrics, and I couldn’t remember the tune – but I do remember the feeling that goes with it, and I rather like it.

Tim: Likewise. Good stuff.

Saturday Flashback: Secret Service – Ten O’Clock Postman

I can only describe that beat as righteous.

Tim: I saw this shared on Twitter recently; until then I had never heard of them, but I think this is most definitely worth a mention, because it’s fun.

Tom: Some old school disco! I’ve not heard it before, but I can only describe that beat as righteous.

Tim: First, the song: I think it’s lovely that this bad wrote a song dedicated to a postman.

Tom: The Carpenters did the same thing, but with significantly less funk.

Tim: Second, the band: well, according to their biography on Spotify, these guys (from Sweden in the early 1980s, incidentally) have quite a distinguished background – they wrote a few Melodifestivalen entries, though nothing that won, then decided to go into the singing business. Multiple Europe-wide hits, including their first release, 1979’s Oh Susie, this one from 1980, and their biggest hit, 1982’s Flash in the Night.

They split in 1987 and the lead singer, Ola Håkansson, became part of a song writing team known as Norell Oson Bard, who then wrote all sorts of songs. (‘Bard’, by the way, is the same Alexander Bard who would later be in BWO and Gravitonas.)

Tom: And so it all becomes interconnected. If you have that urge to write music, then a band breaking up won’t stop you – you’ll just form a new one.

Tim: Absolutely. And that, children, is this weekend’s musical education and message. Wasn’t it fun?