Mylène Farmer – Lonely Lisa

“If you liked Oui Mais Non, it’s very much in the same vein.”

Tom: This one’s sent in by Europlop reader Alex, who writes: “Basically if you liked Oui Mais Non, it’s very much in the same vein.” Now, we did like that track, although we did complain that it went on a bit.

Tom: Well, the new one is an improvement, I reckon. It doesn’t go on too long, although I reckon it could still do with a couple of adjustments: first of all, lose the odd talky bridge; second, add a bit more… er… ‘oomph’ on that last chorus.

Tim: I like it a lot, and it seemed to get even better on successive listens. But yeah, a bit of oomph wouldn’t have hurt.

Tom: As for the video: I don’t think there’s much I can say other than it’s ‘arty’. CGI jewel-encrusted camels are something even 50 Cent hasn’t thought of, though.

Tim: And a mysterious bloke who looks a little bit like Ewan McGregor did as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Do Jedi ride camels regularly?

Tom: Only when they’re forced to. Forced! Like, the Force in… oh, suit yourself.

Beyoncé – Best Thing I Never Had

I was really enthusiastic about this – and I can’t explain why.

Tom: Let this one run for a minute or so before you start to judge it. It’s a slow burner.

Tim: Ooh, that chorus is good. Like, actually good.

Tom: By the time it got to the bridge, I was really enthusiastic about this – and I can’t explain why. It’s not close to anything we normally review, but it’s got this steady, inexorable build to it that means that the final chorus is a proper lighters-in-the-air moment.

Tim: Part of it, for me, is that it’s not typical Beyoncé. That’s also one of the reasons I really liked Rihanna’s most recent one – woke up to it on the radio, thought ‘ooh, this song’s good’, then Dev stuck his general rubbishness in and said it was Rihanna and I sat up with a ‘WHAT’.

Tom: Pity about the “sucks to be you right now” lyric, which rather spoils the moment for me, but I can live with it.

Tim: Meh, I’m not bothered. I do sort of wish the verses could be as energetic as the chorus, but, as you said, I can live with it. Very much, in fact.

Tom: I’ve just figured out how to save the verses: sing the verses of ‘I Want It That Way’ by the Backstreet Boys over the top of them. Seriously, try it.

Movetron – Lanteisiin

A bit of Ace of Base about it

Tim: Movetron is a rather pleasant-sounding Finnish group have been going, on and off, for quite some time (as in started in 1994), but things have been a bit quiet recently. Now, fortunately, they’ve resurfaced with this.

Tim: Fortunate, yes?

Tom: That’s got a bit of Ace of Base about it, and that’s a good thing.

Tim: I have absolutely no idea what any of the words mean, nor even the title, as the entire internet seems to draw a blank, but that just means there’s more room to enjoy the music.

Tom: As a regular “track to listen to”, it probably wouldn’t get me playing it often – but by the time the post-bridge chorus came along, I was rather enjoying it and I reckon it’d fit rather well on a dance floor.

Tim: This is happy, dancy, energetic music that I could jump up and down in a club to for a considerable amount of time if this was left on repeat, and I probably wouldn’t even notice.

THAT, I’ve just decided, is what a good club track should be about – getting you dancing, and keeping you dancing, and by that definition this is a good club track. I demand more of this sort of thing, and so I say to you, Movetron people: please don’t go away for another two years again.

Hera Björk feat. Haffi Haff – Feel The Love Tonight

Well, this has got to be good.

Tim: Eleven months ago we reviewed the 2010 Iceland Pride track and somewhat liked it; a little under ten months ago we reviewed a Hera Björk track and loved it more than anything else in the world. Now, we combine the two, with this year’s Iceland Pride track, sung by the delightful Ms Björk.

Tom: Well, this has got to be good.

Tim: You’d think, wouldn’t you?

Tom: Oh.

Tim: Let’s not mince words: it’s disappointing. Right from the start with the autotune on her voice, it’s very disappointing indeed.

Tom: Who’s this Haffi Haff bloke? Because he appears to have dragged Hera down to his level.

Tim: No one particularly special – had a few tunes out that aren’t really worth linking to – but yeah. I wasn’t expecting another Because You Can, of course I wasn’t, and I accept it has to have a proper clubby sound to it, but it’s just so generic.

Tom: Not even an operatic bridge? Really? This could be anyone singing.

Tim: It’s a shame – she has such a fantastic and capable voice, and it’s wasted on this Rihanna/Britney/Beyoncé/J-Lo/anyone soundalike.

Avril Lavigne – Smile

Avril Lavigne has made some good songs. This is not one of them.

Tom: Avril Lavigne has made some good songs. This is not one of them.

Tom: “Last night I blacked out I think / what did you, what did you put in my drink”. A classy date-rape reference there.

Tim: Ah, rohypnol. Every man’s choice when they want their reluctant girlfriend to, um, get a tattoo. Riiight.

Tom: I think the very last frames of the video sum it up for me. She’s smiling at the camera, showing the heart – don’t ask me how that metaphor works – bouncing along after doing all the rolling-on-the-floor shenanigans. She backs away – and the video director doesn’t quite cut away soon enough, as the smile disappears from her face in an instant and the spell’s broken.

I know that’s how all music videos work. I know it’s acting. I know you can’t possibly be that genuinely happy all the time, particularly when you’ve heard your own song for the fortieth time that day and don’t have the energy left. But that’s what this feels like to me – by the numbers pop-punk. Dare I say it – it’s got a bit of the Nickelback about it.

Tim: Re: the metaphor, I sort of get it, but IT’S THE WRONG SONG. What we have in the video – and the whole heart-collecting thing would actually be quite a good video – is a girl who’s had her heart broken and is gradually getting better. By the end of the song, she’s fine, she’s over him, let’s have a one night stand with a randomer thank you very much. This song? Not remotely like that, and it’s STUPID. It could even just work if they changed the word ‘stole’ to ‘broke’. But no. STUPID AAARGH.

Saturday Flashback: Loona – Vamos A La Playa

“Let’s go to the beach and have a party.”

Tim: The third and final Flashback for the time being coming from French radio, this cover of a 1999 track by pretty-much-one hit wonder Miranda came out last September.

Tom: I’d completely forgotten this song! This was on the radio when I was about 15, I think. I liked it back then.

Tim: In case you didn’t get it from the video, the general message here is: let’s go to the beach and have a party.

Tom: “La Playa”. Got it.

Tim: It has an infectious hook, a pleasant summer feel to it and gentle product placement in the video.

Tom: As well as the typical “let’s see how close can we get to showing nudity before the TV channels won’t show us any more”.

Tim: Well, naturally. It is, basically, entirely generic. In a good way, though, because this sort of tune is nice: it’s happy, upbeat, and if you complain about it you can sod off and be miserable elsewhere, thank you very much.

Tom: The bits that aren’t the chorus are really terrible, and that rising-siren sample in the background really annoys me. Right, I’ll sod off elsewhere.

Tim: Good, because you’re wrong. Though, if you want to hear the original again, it’s here, with a fairly heated multilingual argument about whose version is better in the comments and with some vastly less attractive models in the video, so you probably wouldn’t like it.

Tom: Can’t hear you. I’ve sodded off elsewhere.

Rebecca & Fiona – Hard

“My word, that takes a long time to get going.”

Tim: This is one side of the new double A-side from these two, the other being the somewhat uninspiring If She Was Away; this one’s a bit better.

Tom: My word, that takes a long time to get going.

Tim: Perhaps – it sort of strikes me as like the six-minute full version you get of most dance tracks which have filler at each end for the DJ to play with, though that normally gets cut down for the radio edit, or whatever this is.

Not much in the way of lyrics, so the main focus is clearly meant to be on the music. This is not an issue for me, since the music’s good. A tad reminiscent of other tracks occasionally, but again I have no problems.

To be honest, it’s probably what would be the B-side it it wasn’t a double A-side, what with the other one having the video and lots of words and stuff, but I prefer it.

Tom: It’s begging to get mixed in to another few tracks – to be used as a backdrop by the DJ. On its own, it does drag – even at three minutes long – but any competent DJ could make it a lot more exciting.

Tim: It’s middle of the set club night tuneage, and it would fit in well at any decent club, I believe.

Tom: Damn right.

Johan Agebjörn – Watch The World Go By

“Pretty damn good.”

Tim: A similar style of music to last Thursday’s rather wonderful Magic, and indeed a not all that different video, although instead to having two kids having fun all on their own, it’s two grown-ups.

Tim: It’s not quite as fantastic, obviously, but it sure as heck is pretty damn good.

Tom: Is there a name for this genre of music? Still has a beat to it, but nots of pink-noise sand-falling transitions, overexposed hippie-esque videos, and so on? It’s all rather lovely, and I feel like I can’t easily categorise it.*

*As we all know, categorising things is serious business.

Tim: I don’t know – this sort of thing generally gets described as a mix of synth-pop and indie electronica, though that’s a bit of a mouthful.

Regardless of what we define it as, though, it’s enchanting, the video’s full of pretty colours, and it’s got the same honey quality you used to describe the first Sound of Arrows track we reviewed – it captures you and then you just drift along nicely, and you think ‘ahh, this is nice. What was I doing? Oh yeah, I’ve just broken my arm. Man, this hurts. Ooh, but this music’s good. Ahh, this is nice.’

Tom: I did start singing the ‘na na na’s from Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head over the top of the quiet bits, though.

Tim: And here’s something we’ve not done before: have a Spotify link to the released-a-couple-of-months-ago album: WHOOSH.

Dionne Broomfield feat. Lil Twist – Foolin’

A cracking track with a completely unnecessary rap bridge.

Tom: This is a cracking neo-Motown track with a completely unnecessary rap bridge added to it.

Tom: Now, I love this style. Sounds like it came straight out of the seventies, only the lyrics have been updated and the sound mix is a bit more modern and compressed. And that voice! That’s a proper soul singer voice is ever there was one.

Tim: I don’t like it. She’s TOO YOUNG, DAMMIT. FIFTEEN. THAT’S FIF. TEEN.

Tom: What. What? You’re kidding me. That voice is incredible – without the photo, she could be any age at all. The rap part isn’t bad – it actually fits the track very well, and in another track I’d say it was good – but it just seems an unnecessary way to add spark to a track that’s doing really very well on its own, thank you very much.

Tim: See also Flo Rida interfering with The Saturdays, and Alexandra Burke, Pit Bull interfering with Jennifer Lopez, and many, many others. Yes it sucks, but we just have to try and cope. And that is what album versions are there for.

Whigfield – C’est Cool

With bonus Whigfield single-buying reminiscences!

Tim: ‘Saturday Night’ was the first single I ever bought.

Tom: It was very nearly the first single I bought, before I decided that actually I’d rather spend the money on something else instead. (The actual first single? The Children in Need version of ‘Perfect Day’. No regrets.)

Tim: I needed it for a school dance competition, you see (which I totally won), and the single came with six remixes attached to it, of which the Extended Nite Mix was by far and away the best. It prompted my granddad to express amazement at how much you get on CDs these [those] days.

Tom: The “cassingle” had the same remixes. I remember it well. I also remember being somewhat confused by the concept of including the same song six times on one cassette. I was new to this whole ‘pop music’ thing.

Tim: I have no idea why I remember that, from seventeen years ago, in such detail.

Tom: And the strange thing is, I remember my nearly-buying-it in detail too. Formative years, and all that.

Tim: Um, where were we? Oh, right, her new song.

Tim: Well, first things first* – ‘ba ba-ba ba’ is no ‘dee-dee da-na na’.

* Why do people say that? What else would be first?

Tom: Well, no.

Tim: But anyway, it’s repetitive, lyrically brain-numbing, not particularly exciting – basically, everything that makes up a shit track.

Tom: After this many years, you think she’d come out with something better.

Tim: But, it’s not shit, though.

Tom: What? I don’t trust your judgement. You’re still on the codeine.

Tim: Nah, finished that a while back. But anyway, when did you ever trust my judgement?