Saturday Reject: Sara Lumholdt – Enemy

She is ripping off Cheryl Cole a bit, isn’t she?

Tom: Another one that didn’t make it through Melodifestivalen.

Tim: Annoyingly, the uploader stopped this video just short of my favourite part of this performance: a collection of signs some of her fans brought along to hold up.

Tom: SNEMY! Ah, I love Snemy. Wait, that’s not her name. Well, at least we know she’s singing live.

Tim: Ooh, harsh. But yes.

Tom: She is ripping off Cheryl Cole a bit, isn’t she? Red military jacket, marching choreography, holes cut into her clothing. All in all, I’m rather glad this one didn’t make it through, because that ‘enemy, enemy, enemy’ really starts to get old quickly. It sounds like it wants to be a big club singalong track, but the melody isn’t one you’d want to belt out: it’s just repetitive.

Tim: See, I actually really like this. You’re right about the ‘enemy’ being repetitive, and it’s not far off a generic Cheryl Cole track, but I’m not sure that either of those are necessarily bad things. I also think the rest of the chorus is great, especially the backing singers.

Tom: And despite all the hallmarks of leading into a key change, there isn’t one. We need a name for this kind of thing, Tim, something that’s better than my suggestion of “Key Change Blue Balls”.

Tim: Yes. Something much better, I think.

Erik Hassle – Are You Leaving

Bloody hell, this is a long song.

Tim: Two minutes into this, I got bored. I looked at the time, and thought ‘bloody hell, this is a long song’. But I left it going, because it wasn’t exactly offensive, and then the second time it came round, the chorus suddenly really got me. Yes, it’s pretty much just one lyric repeated a lot, but there’s something about the way it’s sung that really brings out the desperation that’s meant to be there.

Tom: Hell of a chorus – and if he’s really made that video himself, about the town he grew up in, then excellent. I do wish he wasn’t constantly intercutting between two scenes though: it actually started to hurt my eyes after a while.

Tim: Still, four and a half minutes is a very long song.

Tom: While I’m happier than you to entertain songs longer than three and a bit minutes, I agree – it does go on a bit, particularly since the chorus contains uses the words ‘are you leaving’ approximately one million times. Pep it up a bit, Erik.

Tim: Any problems I have with long songs aren’t due to the length – they’re allowed to be long, provided they stay interesting throughout the time they take up.

Teddybears feat. Robyn – Cardiac Arrest

Isn’t it fun?

Tim: Set this to HD, put it full screen. Watch and listen.

Tim: Isn’t it fun?

Tom: What a waste of pixels. There’s no point putting something in 1080p HD if you’re going to put an 80s fuzz filter over the whole thing. And for a lyric video as well! It’s large text, people, you do not need high definition video for that.

Also, they misspelled ‘exorcist’.

Tim: You bastard, I’d not noticed that, and now you’ve ruined it for me. Anyway, tracks like this are why I love doing this site. It’s a song I would probably never have chosen to listen to – ‘who the hell are the Teddybears? Oh, it’s Robyn, it’s probably not great, I’ll give it a miss.’ – and yet I’ve listened to it and I’ve really enjoyed it. The strange blend of electropop in the verses and sort of rockishness in the chorus just seems to work so well.

Tom: I was all ready to write you a rebuttal, and then you went and wrote it for me —

Tim: I must admit I’m not so keen on the verses – the single lines repeated over and over gets old very quickly, and when it came back after the first round of ‘shake your bone maker’ I almost switched it off – but then the chorus seems brilliant, even if that isn’t much more inventive. It’s when they all merge together at the end, though, that it all just becomes brilliant. I love it.

Tom: Right. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I love it, but it’s a good track: it’s like reading a book where you have three entirely separate plot threads that only come together in the last few chapters – but when they do come together, everything fits together wonderfully. That last verse is worth it.

Axwell – Heart Is King

What we have here is a trailer for his new song

Tim: Interesting concept: what we have here is a trailer for his new song. It’s a full three minutes long, though, so let’s review it. When I first watched this video, I was utterly enthralled by it.

Tom: How very strange. I was all ready to be sarcastic about it, but that is bloody amazing.

Tim: Well, quite. It is, I think, utterly incredible. I don’t know how long it will be before the full thing’s available. It reminds me of a lot of Tiësto’s stuff, like Forever Today and Elements of Life – very much a dance tune but with a properly written piece of music behind it, and sounding so much better for it.

I’ll be honest – I don’t really know what else to say about this. I love it, and I want to hear more of it, because it finishes too soon. That’s it, really.

Tom: I couldn’t agree more.

Ambulans – Wiem Że

A man in a wetsuit standing in a warehouse miming playing a keyboard.

Tom: Europlop reader Dan sent this in, mainly for the video. I reckon it might also be the first Polish song we’ve ever written about.

Tim: Ooh, that’s a fun video.

Tom: As you watch this, Tim, think about just how stupid the band must have felt standing on the greenscreen for this video. Actually, you don’t have to: here is footage of a man in a wetsuit standing in a warehouse miming playing a keyboard.

Tim: See, why did you show me that? I was quite happy believing they were in a spaceship that comprised two performance rooms, a passageway between them and NOTHING ELSE.

Tom: “Wiem Że” translates to “I Know That…”, but sadly beyond that I’m at a loss for the song’s meaning.

Tim: Google’s not very good either; something to do with showing the girls new worlds and stuff and the repeated line ‘I show my feminine charm and sex’ – basically, I haven’t a clue. Also, you know how sometimes you look up the lyrics to help you sing along a bit? Well, have a go at the chorus:

(Wiem że) Twoich oczu blask
(Wiem że) Chce zobaczyć dzisiaj znów
Chce być znów przy Tobie
(Wiem że) Powiedz że to ja
Wiesz dobrze każdy dzień
Bez Ciebie traci sens dla mnie znów

Tom: I doubt the melody would encourage a filled dancefloor to start singing along – but despite that it’s catchy enough, and I can see it getting some decent airplay here if they decided, Basshunter-style, to translate it for the UK market.

Tim: You’re right there – but then you’d lose all the weird consonants, which would spoil it somewhat for me.

Katy B – Broken Record

Has she changed?

Tom: We got very annoyed at Katy B last time for an incredibly dull song. Has she changed?

Tom: Ooh. Well, apparently yes. Once you get used to the drum and bass backing, this track seems to work rather well.

Tim: Hmm. ‘Broken Record’ seems a tad appropriate, though, as it never really goes anywhere. Jumping from moment to moment on the YouTube slider thingy, I really can’t tell when any particular part of the song should be.

Tom: This isn’t a melody-driven track, despite the fact that she can actually sing – this is a good bit of accessible drum and bass with a decent vocal over the top of it. It’s designed to get remixed, to get played in clubs, and to fill the dancefloor when paired with a heavier beat. I think it’ll do very well at that.

Tim: Yes – on that I can agree.

Tom: I’ve got to be honest, though: putting the stress on the wrong syllable in the final part, so it sounds like she’s talking about a broken record button, does really wind me up.

Tim: Also agree.

Saturday Reject: Father McKenzie – Good Enough

A bit like an 80s power ballad.

Tim: Another from Finland, this time reaching the final and eventually coming third.

Tom: And named after an obscure character from a Beatles song. This seems promising.

Tim: I really like this.

Tom: So do I. That chorus is somehow both lighters-in-the-air and fist-pumping at the same time, which is something that doesn’t happen much since 80s power ballads. Actually, this is a bit like an 80s power ballad, isn’t it?

Tim: It is, especially with that keyboard synth. We start off with a quiet one instrument and vocal intro, already with a decent energy level, and then all of a sudden everything else jumps in, and he jumps up and around a bit. Actually, put like that it’s like Love Shine A Light. Hmm. Anyway, this song peaks fairly early, but never really comes down, and it is, overall, very Eurovision worthy.

Tom: Top key change, as well – in the middle of the song. Shame this one got rejected, really; I think it’d have stood a good chance.

Tim: Two weird things, though: firstly, potentially awkward costume choice, and secondly why does he keep running back to the piano? There’s plenty of piano being played when he’s not there, so he’s clearly not necessary.

Tom: It’s like a security blanket. Only more difficult to cuddle up to.

The Human League – Never Let Me Go

Fans of eldritch horrors from beyond time and space may enjoy the video.

Tom: Fans of eldritch horrors from beyond time and space may enjoy the video. The rest of us will find it deeply unsettling.

Tim: Deeply, deeply unsettling.

Tom: The Human League have been going for nearly 35 years now. Despite their ten albums, they’re mainly known as “that group who did Don’t You Want Me”, and maybe – if they’re lucky – “didn’t they do Tell Me When as well”. This song shows no sign of changing that.

It’s the first song I’ve heard in a long time where the repeat-until-fadeout seems wrong, entirely wrong. And I don’t know why: it’s the natural point in the song for it, but most pop songs don’t use it any more – they end on a long vocal while the instrumentation reaches a natural end.

Tim: That’s pretty much what I thought – it seemed to be far too long. When it ended after I first heard it, I was struggling to remember anything other than the chorus, as if it was one long repeat to fade. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if there was a bit more to it; as it is, it’s only a few seconds long, so it goes round dozens of times,

Tom: It just seems so out of place in a song that, otherwise, is a modern electronic track. Albeit a rather dull modern electronic track.

Tim: And very, very electronic – the auto tune seems even worse than yesterday’s track. I know it’s fashionable, but can’t you just sing?

I wonder when the music industry will start thinking, ‘Do you remember autotune? Man, what the he’ll were we thinking.’ Hopefully not too long.

Mike Posner – Please Don’t Go

OH GOD THE AUTOTUNE IT’S HORRENDOUS.

Tom: Last time we heard Mike Posner, we dismissed him with the simple phrase ‘what a dick’. Has he changed since?

Tom: Nope.

Tim: OH GOD THE AUTOTUNE IT’S HORRENDOUS.

Tom: This song’s been around for a while, but it’s now getting a proper UK single release. What an incredible video, by the way – the first time I’ve seen someone use video codec artifacts as a deliberate effect.

Tim: Perhaps an incredible video, but somehow that facial hair manages to appear actually offensive to me.

Tom: Musically, it’s really quite good, even if Chinstrap McPoser does seem to automatically generate a frisson of hatred somewhere deep in my soul. He’s probably quite a nice person, but the character he plays in these videos appears to be a spanner of enormous proportions.

It’s very listenable, although it does seem rather to have gone in one ear and out the other, leaving just a vague sense of ‘that was pleasant enough’ behind it.

Tim: Really, though? For me, the voice is really, really annoying. If I had my way, this song would be one of the type of songs that I normally hate – ones like Eminem & Rihanna or Diddy Dirty Money that have a fantastic chorus totally wasted on a largely crap song. The lengthy ‘go’ and ‘don’t’ at the beginning of the choruses indicate a lot of potential, but it’s just wasted.

Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough

Well, it’s got to be better than ‘Dirty Bit’.

Tom: Well, it’s got to be better than ‘Dirty Bit’.

Tom: And indeed it is. Unlike before, when ‘Dirty Bit’ seems completely incongruous with the rest of the song, all this seems to fit together nicely – even the ‘switch up’ bit at the end really works for me.

Tim: Not me – as far as I’m concerned if a phrase like ‘switch up’ appears in anything related to music, it should indicate one thing: key change. And not one that fits in nicely with the tune: one that is entirely gratuitous and would be slammed by every sensible music critic.

Tom: It’s mostly-meaningless, catchy club music, and as long as it’s not pretending to be something greater I’ve got no problem with that.

Tim: Fair point, I suppose, although I must say this is possibly a song that would make me leave the dance floor (and as you know that’s actually fairly heavy criticism from me).

Tom: That video’s also proven something: the rolling shutter problems I complained about months ago have now made it into proper, full-budget videos. Once you see it, you can’t un-see it, and it’s really bugging me that professional producers allow it to hit their videos.

Speaking of which: did they film it in Japan just because they shoehorned the phrases “love you long time” and “Mr Roboto” into the lyrics? I’m not sure what to think of that.

Tim: And speaking of lyrics: ‘vexed-o’? Really?