Isis Gee – How About That

A song I have trouble paying attention to.

Tim: Information: I spent twenty minutes trying to think what the first three notes of this chorus reminded me of, then gave up and started writing this post, which was to begin with the words ‘HELP ME.’ Just as I’d finished, I realised what it was, so now we can just start listening properly.

Tom: Oh, what the hell is that? I know it!

Tim: Twenty minutes. You think I’m going to give you the answer just like that?

Tom: You son of a bitch.

Tim: And boy, can this lady hold a note.

To be honest, though, this is a song I have trouble paying attention to. It has a decent beat, and a good enough melody, but that’s just it – it’s good enough. The chorus is catchy for a brief moment, until it finishes, and the verses are nothing special, or at least not for me.

Overall thought: why can’t the video focus a bit more on the motorbikes than the music? They’d be more interesting.

Tom: Got it! Those notes. I know what it is now. Right, what do you think of the song?

Alex Saidac – We Shine

There is a moment in this song at which you will raise your eyebrows and think ‘huh’.

Tim: There is a moment in this song at which you will raise your eyebrows and think ‘huh’.

Tim: Now, this is very, very odd. Verses that, for me, are almost unlistenable, and chorus that, for me, is almost ‘repeat until death’. I don’t really know what market is being aimed at, here – she’s a professional DJ, so I suppose she must know her audience, but there are people I know who will like the verse, and there are people I know who will like the chorus. Those groups do not intersect – they barely mingle, in fact.

Tom: A bit of techie geekery here: in the waveform that shows up in Soundcloud’s player, you can actually see the difference between verses and chorus. That doesn’t normally happen on modern dance records: they’re all normally compressed into one glutinous mass.

I’m in the chorus-liking group, by the way – and you’re right, I did raise my eyebrows.

Tim: Overall, I have to give it a thumbs-down – much as I love the chorus, the verses cancel that out, and there’s no real big hands in the air moment to get excited about.

Tom: It’s a shame, because it is a lovely chorus, at least to begin with. Shame about the rest of it.

Three – Lucky Number

A faceful of autotune

Tim: Teenage triplets, and identical ones at that.

Tom: I was going to make a “be still my beating heart”, but I’m getting a more “Children of the Corn” vibe off them. They’re really rather creepy.

Tim: As a girlband they’ve been a while in the making, but here’s their first single, so get ready for a faceful of autotune, although rest assured that it does calm down after a bit.

Tom: That is, indeed, a faceful of autotuning.

Tim: Now, I think this is what they call ‘catchy’. It’s happy, it’s chirpy, and it’s rather nice.

Tom: It’s almost too much sugar, and that’s saying something from someone who used to listen to rather too much J-Pop.

Tim: I do like the ending, which is abrupt, but not in such a way that it feels like someone’s just turned the microphones off by accident, what with the final revelation of the (not remotely surprising) lucky number.

Tom: They actually appear to have used DTMF tones – or something very close to them – as an actual melody line. Top works to whoever wrote that.

Tim: It also has the benefit of being educational – now, children, you can greet people wherever you are in the world!

Tom: I just generally SPEAK LOUDLY and SLOWLY. It seems to work.

The Benefits – Crash and Burn

I don’t have a problem with this.

Tim: You, reader, may be hoping for a cover of an Australian duo. If you are, get off this site.

Tom: Hey, Savage Garden weren’t that bad. I mean, admittedly “Affirmation” makes me want to punch the lead singer every time I hear it, and “The Animal Song” was bloody awful, but there was always “Truly Madly Deeply”. Although the cover Cascada* did was better.

Actually, you’re right, Savage Garden were quite bad.

* Would.

Tim: Unfortunately, the first few notes of the chorus remind me of Nickelback and/or Shayne Ward’s Gotta Be Somebody.

Tom: I’ve got Joe McWhatshisface’s version of “Ambition” through most of the chorus – there’s similar notes and that same falsetto break.

Tim: That aside, I don’t have a problem with this. I like: the buildup to the chorus, the chorus itself, the lengthy and varied bridge.

Tom: And I’m always a fan of string instrumentation in tracks like this.

Tim: It’s a slight shame the closing part isn’t a bit louder, though, because then we could say it comes crashing out of the bridge, and have a quiet chuckle at how humorous we are. As it is, we’ll just have to dream.

Arash – Broken Angel

A textbook Eurovision entry. (With bonus disturbing mental image!)

Tim: Arash Labaf, born in Iran and moved to Sweden at the age of ten, sings in Iranian. Helena Josefsson, Swedish through and through, sings in English. Got that? Good.

Tom: Tim, this is a textbook Eurovision entry right here. I don’t think it’d win – I think it’d be one of the plodding mid-level ones that sits somewhere in the middle of the board – but it’s a Eurovision song if I ever heard one.

Tim: Now, I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what’s going on in the video, mainly because I don’t understand his singing, so let’s ignore that.

Tom: Fun fact for you though: if you ever do the “collapse in the shower, hugging your knees” thing that she does in the video? It is impossible to get back up with any dignity at all. Can’t be done. You have to sort of shift over onto sort-of-all-fours and then try to stand up without falling over – while you’re naked and being soaked by the shower. That’s something you never see in these music videos, is it?

Tim: That, sir, is an image I absolutely and definitely never ever wanted in my head. I hate you.

However, in the interests of professionalism (ha) I shall put that aside, and talk about the music, which for the first 25 seconds is a middle of the road summer Eurodance tune and is nice; this is the case for all the parts where she is singing. When he starts singing, it is rather different, and the combination almost results in it seeming like two songs spliced together.

I don’t mind this at all – in fact, I think it works very well, with the consistent backing beat coming in to link them up. Sure, it won’t be to everybody’s taste – that would be ridiculous – but it seems a rather uplifting tune. (Given what the video looks like, this is almost certainly not the case – remind me never to learn Iranian.)

Tom: There is a lot of crying in that video.

Saturday Flashback: Sasha – Goodbye

Oh, that’s fantastic.

Tom: Almost all ‘goodbye’ songs are somehow maudlin or melancholy. This is neither.

Tom: This isn’t an “oh, I’m so sad, I have to leave you” song – this is an “I’ve accomplished all I can do here, and now it’s time to move on”. It’s a little bit triumphant without being over the top; a little bit sad without being depressing. I played it quite a lot just before I left York – and while that won’t mean a lot to most of our readers, there’s a few out there that’ll understand it.

Tim: Oh, that’s fantastic. A proper sway your head from side to side chorus, and for a sad-ish song, albeit with a ‘you’ll be okay’ subtext, it sounds ridiculously cheerful. Though for leaving university, I have to admit I went with something a bit classier.

Tom: I’m not sure quite what the bridge does, musically speaking, but I can say that personally it makes me break out into a grin every time – as does the textbook key change at the end of it.

Tim: Exactly – it does what all good bridges do by providing a moment of calm in an otherwise energetic song, and a sense of anticipation for a good exit and final part. And it absolutely does not disappoint – a proper big smile on my face, there.

Tom: As for Sasha himself: well, he’s got quite a long and varied musical history – perhaps the strangest pat being when he performed as his alter ego “Dick Brave” for a couple of years. But right now I couldn’t care about that; I’m too busy wearing a contented smile and looking forward to whatever’s happening next.

Lady Gaga – Born This Way

An emergency late-night post: It’s amazing. And brilliant. And fantastic.

Tom: An emergency late-night post from the Europlop team now, as we’ve just had our first listen to this. We’re not waiting until Monday.

Tim: It’s amazing. And brilliant. And fantastic. And amazing. Even though I said that already.

Tom: That spoken-word introduction made me wary, but then bloody hell that is amazing. We’re talking one-man first-listen desk-rave rave here.

Tim: Is a lot of it just hype? Possibly.

Tom: A one-man first-listen desk-rave, Tim. That never happens. Although I did calm down a bit after and realise it’s probably just Very Good rather than The Greatest Thing Ever. But it’s still very good.

Tim: It broke a record, going to number one in iTunes within three hours of being released, and that certainly wouldn’t have happened if the same record had been released by some unknown person.

On the other hand, that’s a stupid thing to say because it hasn’t been released by some unknown person, it’s been released by the most notable person in music right now. And that shines right through in the music, which is brilliant. Did I say that already?

Tom: Don’t know. Too busy dancing.

Tim: You may be one of those people that hates songs with Messages, and this is undoubtably one of those. But I don’t care, even if I normally would, because it’s fun, it’s energetic, it’s happy, it’s jumping around like a kid who’s just been given a pogo stick. There is just so much here, there’s just, well, everything. Basically, anybody who doesn’t like it is a moron.

Rebound – Psycho

Mentally deranged lyricist. Ah. (With bonus INJU5TICE catch-up!)

Tim: Apologies on their behalf for the weirdness of this video.

Tom: Blimey, “director of photography” and “effects” credits in the opening? This should be good. Full marks for having an entire freak-out break in the middle of it, which means the song can’t be ripped (or even repetitively watched) on YouTube. I’m surprised more record companies aren’t pulling stunts like that.

Tim: Okay, let’s run through what this song has:

  • Declarations of love. Good.
  • Not bad chorus. Good.
  • Singers that aren’t overly autotuned. Good.
  • Mentally deranged lyricist. Ah.

Feel free to disagree with me, but a chorus that begins with the line ‘I love you like a psycho’ really is more likely to end up with a restraining order than a wedding ceremony. That’s a shame, because I actually really like this song. The music’s catchy, and there’s a chorus you could sing along to, if you were weird. Come to think of it, it wouldn’t sound remotely out of place on a JLS album.

Tom: Those are pretty much my thoughts exactly, although that “ey-oh, ey-oh” bit does remind me uncomfortably of everyone’s favourite unintentional comedy band INJU5TICE.

Tim: Ooh! Speaking of INJU5TICE, I found out something fantastic recently. Apparently, they once got a train from Northampton to London (two hour round trip) for one reason and one reason only: to take a photo with Beefy, a cat belonging to Heat magazine. (Source.)

Tom: Second INJU5TICE fun fact – they were backed by producer Ian Levine, who – despite his best efforts – is possibly best known for what he later described to the Guardian as “absolute balls-up fiasco … pathetic and bad and stupid”. If you value your sanity, you should not view the Bring Back Doctor Who charity single ‘Doctor In Distress‘, nor should you read the horrible backstory (scroll down).

Tim: “It almost ruined me.” Shame about the almost, really.

But anyway, back to the psychopaths we were originally discussing: if it weren’t for the ‘let me’ in the last line of the chorus, the song would seem more like a warning to his, let’s face it, victim, especially with the line ‘Lock me in a room and throw away the key.’ Yes. Yes, I think I will, if you don’t mind.

Basto! – Gregory’s Theme

It’s the Jimmy Hart Version of Bromance.

Tim: Belgium isn’t generally known for dance music. Chocolates, yes. Finished diamonds as well, apparently.

Tom: And waffles.

Tim: But dance music, not so much. However, we should change this. Recently we discovered Ian van Dahl were from there, and now here’s another of the country’s exports.

Tom: I went to Belgium once. It wasn’t the most exciting place I’ve visited. This song will have to do a lot to overcome my inherent indifference towards the country.

Tim: Now, once you’ve got past the ‘this is brilliant’ and ‘who’s Gregory?’ phases, your next thought may well be ‘hmm, it’s a bit familiar.’ And yes, it is. It’s almost certainly inspired (perhaps even based on) Tim Berg’s Bromance, which we featured a while back and enjoyed intensely.

Tom: I’d go with “ripped off from”. It’s the Jimmy Hart Version of Bromance – close enough that you’re not going to get sued, but blatantly the same track.

Tim: Well then, question: does it matter? Because this is unquestionably a Good Tune, and quite likely floor-filler. Is it different enough for it not to be the same tune? Yes, of course it is. It is close enough that when I hum it to myself I occasionally end up slipping into Bromance? Well, also yes.

I’m now in a slightly awkward situation. By and large, I highly dislike it when people say ‘oh, it sounds like this, it’s not original, they must have copied it, therefore this is crap,’ as I generally prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. But here, I just can’t do that. However, because it is so good, regardless of its history I shall give it a big thumbs up. Although part of that decision is because I thought Bromance was great.

Tom: I don’t think it’s as good, and here’s why: Bromance didn’t need vocals. Its melody didn’t get boring half way through, whereas this one does – it’s missing something, and that something is a Love U Seek-style mashup.

I suspect it won’t be long until one arrives.

Tim: Do you know, I think you might be right there.

Lucky Twice – Love Song

It’s a very dance-y dullness, isn’t it?

Tim: A song that was recorded about eighteen months ago, from a group that split up almost a year ago, and whose video is finally seeing the light of day now. And it’s a video straight from the 1980s.

Tom: Ooh. Now that has a beat to it. It’s like an 80s director suddenly got a copy of After Effects from the future.

Tim: I have a few problems with this, aside from the general dullness of the track.

Tom: It’s a very dance-y dullness, though, isn’t it? This is something I’d expect to run into in the middle of a Eurodance megamix – catchy, generic, but good enough to keep you moving and smiling.

Tim: It is, I must agree, but the first issue I have is related: that underlying beat is practically identical to another track. I’m not sure which one (and that’s another problem, because I spent the whole time trying to think what it was), and I thought it was Can You Feel It, but it isn’t, quite. But anyway, it’s a fairly dominant beat, and it’s there throughout the whole track. Even though it’s not a direct lift, it’s just too annoying.

Tom: I think you’re remembering the Steps version of ‘Tragedy’, which has the same ‘one-TWO, three’ beat.

Tim: YES! Thank you.

Tom: But it’s not close enough – I think it’s more that just they’re all generic pop beats with a standard chord progression. And there’s nothing wrong with that, Tim, because this particular variation on those generic pop beats is really very danceable indeed.

Tim: True, I suppose. But anyway, that is not the main problem. Not by a long way. Because the question I found myself asking after I heard it is: what were they thinking? Seriously. At 2:25, why? I mean, that’s not just a missed opportunity, that’s an actual crime against music. There SHOULD BE a key change there, regardless of whether you think they’re good or not.

Tom: You’re absolutely right! Can’t believe they didn’t do it.

Tim: What with that and the beat, it’s as though the producer hadn’t actually heard music before making this. It’s no wonder they split up.

Tom: Can’t hear you. I’m too busy dancing in my seat and hitting ‘play’ again.