The Sound of Arrows – Magic

It’s AMAZING. And you would be wrong to disagree.

Tim: Released as an EP a couple of years back, this song has been fiddled around with and as of yesterday has a video and, according to their Twitter babblings, a re-release date of August. And, well, it’s AMAZING. And you would be wrong to disagree. But I have a feeling you will, somewhat strongly.

Tom: All right, I’ll brace myself.

Tim: So before you listen, please do two things for me:

  1. Remember that we like The Sound of Arrows a lot, because their music is very good.
  2. Be in a Common People frame of mind, rather than an In A Country Churchyard one.

Oh, and turn on HD and put it full screen.

Tom: Right. I will do this.

Tim: OH MY GOD I LOVE IT SO MUCH. The adults are gone, the kids are a bit nervous but then they’re in a world where they can do what they want, and play nicely, and vandalise a car or two. It’s everything we wanted to do when we were kids but weren’t allowed. It’s PROPER.

Tom: And all it took was six billion people to be exterminated. Well, that might not be true: they might have been snatched away from their families and sent to some kind of duplicate Earth filled with inexplicable monsters, but either way that’s a pretty bleak thought.

Tim: EVERYTHING WE WANTED TO DO. They ‘seize a chance, follow a dream’. Because ‘there are wonders we haven’t seen yet.’ This whole video, it’s, well if I was in a cynical mood, I’d probably be all—no, you know what? This would pull me right out of that mood. Example? I translated the note she was writing to her parents, and I actually went ‘ahhhh’. Here.

Tom: And you’ll keep doing that right until one of them gets a cut and dies of gangrene.

Tim: Well, aren’t we the optimist today? Also, and this will come as no shock to you whatsoever, I want Pom-Pom in my life. Now. Main question, I suppose, is would I like it if I hadn’t sen the video? And, well, I don’t care, because I have seen the video, and I have SUCH A HUGE GRIN on my face right now, and whatever you think, just remember: The W.O.R.L.D. is full of M.A.G.I.C.

Tom: Here’s the thing: I went back and listened to the track again, on its own, without the video, without the kids’ voices. And then I got it. Then I got the huge grin. It doesn’t need the video. It’s an amazing, almost OMD-like bit of music – and from me, that’s a very high compliment – and I love it.

Tim: MAGIC.

Tom: When I’m not being distracted by the possible extermination of six billion people and the inevitable death of the children, I think it’s lovely.

J-Mi & Midi-D feat. Hanna Stockzell – All Night Long

“Oh, that will do nicely.”

Tim: Yes, the same Hanna Stockzell we featured yesterday.

Tom: Wait a minute. Hanna Stockzell! Otherwise known as one half of Smile.dk, which I know from my DDR-playing childhood.

Tim: Yeah – did I not mention that? Oh well, you’ve figured it out on your own. Good work.

Tom: No wonder her tracks sound familiar to me!

Tom: Oh, that will do nicely. I may have to try and find the album. When I was at university, I used music like this as a way to make me work: the low-attention-span part of my brain was busy going “ooh, shiny”, so the rest of my brain could get in flow and actually make things. To this day, listening to this gives me a vague feeling that I should be productive. A weird association, I’ll grant you, but it works.

Tim: I must say I somewhat dislike the massive autotune, though after a while I actually get used to it when it sounds like Still Alive.

Tom: I’m so used to it as an effect that I didn’t even notice – it just sounded normal to me.

Tim: Well, I do however love the rest. The energy, the sheer and unashamed pop-ness of it, the instrumental bits that follow the choruses. Hell, it really is like a modern-day Alice Deejay. BRILLIANT.

Tom: You keep using that analogy—

Tim: I do, don’t I? Hmm.

Tom: I’m not sure it holds; Alice Deejay was about dance music – upbeat, European dance, sure, but not bubblegum pop like this. It’s not really a major quibble, though; I still bloody love the song.

Tim: The key change is a bit good as well. But you don’t need to be told that. One final notes: J-Mi & Midi-D’s single from last August is worth checking out.

Tom: I’ll do just that.

Hanna Stockzell – Bubblegum Dancer

“WHY WASN’T THIS IN THIS YEAR’S EUROVISION?”

Tim: Well, once you’ve seen the song title you don’t really need to hear the song to know what it’s like. Nevertheless, you need to hear this. Your life will not be complete until you have done so.

Tom: It’s as if J-Pop made it over to Sweden. It sounds like the bubblegum Europop groups early in the 2000s – Joga and all that lot. This needs a cutesy dance routine, and some Dance Dance Revolution steps set to it.

Tim: Yes, it does. And a wind machine or twenty. Basically: WHY WASN’T THIS IN THIS YEAR’S EUROVISION SONG CONTEST? IT’S MILES BETTER THAN THAT (previously great but now) CRAPPY ‘POPULAR’ BOLLOCKS.

Tom: Yep, agreed. More like this, please.

Tim: She’s like this decade’s Alice Deejay, but EVEN BETTER. Right from the start it’s just fantastic, and amazing, and wonderful, and there really aren’t enough superlatives in the world to describe this.

Tom: Whoa, hang on. Better than Will I Ever? I mean, she’s good, and that key change is bloody excellent, but do you th—

Tim: ‘I love bubblegum. I love to dance.’ YES. YOU AND ME ARE SOULMATES, HANNA.

Tom: “I love emotions / I love to move / Do you want my love / I want it with you”?

Tim: Still on the codeine, by the way.

Tom: That explains it.

Tinchy Stryder feat. Dappy – Spaceship

“This is going to be hilarious.”

Tim: What.

Tom: First thought when I saw the title and artist? “This is going to be hilarious.”

Tom: One man whose name sounds like a reject from War of the Worlds. One man who wears a ridiculous hat. And their music video is like ‘I’m On A Boat‘, only serious. Guys: the Lonely Island are making fun of you. It’s not something to emulate.

Tim: But…but…where’s the na-na-nai? There are a few na-nas, sure but THIS ISN’T A DAPPY SONG WITHOUT IT.

Tom: I should probably be a bit less sarcastic, because there is genuine talent here. It’s well produced, the backing’s good, and both of them can rap. But when the entire song is “look how rich we are, come worship us”… well, it does tend to make you see them is a less favourable light.

Tim: I’ve got a fair amount of codeine in me as I’m writing this, which may affect my judgement, but: I actually quite like the chorus. There I’ve said it. Now mock me.

Saturday Flashback: Grégoire – Soleil

Inoffensive, chirpy and largely relaxing.

Tim: Brought to Europlop’s attention by a French radio station as I was visiting my sister, this came out in January of this year.

Tom: Today’s “applying logic to a music video” moment – how is he touching those incandescent light bulbs without hurting his hand?

Tim: Oh, stop being finicky. And is he touching them? Looked more like cupping to me, and just long enough for it to almost but not quite hurt. The lyrics, meanwhile, go on about how despite how we all have different flags and countries and parents and tastes and all that, we all live under the same sun so we should all be nice to each other. Sounds like a load of hippy crap to me, but the French people apparently liked it so I guess that sort of proves his point.

Tom: At least it’s not a generic love song. I was about to complain about it being musically generic, but it seems happy and friendly enough that I don’t really mind.

Tim: Yeah – I quite enjoy the music, or at least I’m fairly sure I do – it’s inoffensive, chirpy and largely relaxing.

Tom: It’s absolutely designed to hit all the typical emotional happy-pop notes.

Tim: And indeed it does. Good.

Jason Derulo – Don’t Wanna Go Home

This is so much less than the sum of its parts.

Tom: This is so much less than the sum of its parts.

Tim: Oh, God, I’ve heard this on the radio, and it’s awful – why are you trying to make me listen to this?

Tim: I hadn’t seen the video. It doesn’t really improve anything. The only good thing about it is Jason’s facial hair, which NEVER FAILS to impress me.

Tom: It’s a shame, really. Sampling ‘Day-O’ as your chorus – and then twisting it to be the opposite of the original – is actually a pretty good gimmick. And “Show Me Love” is a pretty good track – I can imagine any number of decent songs coming from reimaginings of that.

Tim: Yeah. And I can imagine any number of bad ones as well. This is somewhere near the top of that list.

Tom: In those first few seconds – the a cappella intro and the start of the backing – I thought “this is going to be brilliant”. And then he sang his own name, and it went so, so wrong.

Tim: As ever.

Tim: Helps a bit. Cheers.

Teddybears feat. Cee-Lo Green & The B-52s – Cho Cha

Genres splashing together all over the place.

Tim: The next logical step from a Robyn collaboration? A Cee-Lo Green collaboration, apparently.

Tom: And the B-52s. Yes, they’re still going. It was a surprise to me, too.

Teddybears – Cho Cha feat. CeeLo Green & The B-52’s by Big Beat Records

Tim: First off, something that may alienate a few readers: I don’t like cats. Not at all. Really not. So I’m immediately predisposed to not like this song all that much.

Tom: Now, I don’t mind cats, but it’s previously been established that I don’t like talky-songs. Cee-Lo’s got an incredible singing voice; why’s he not using it here?

Tim: Having said that, with it being standard Teddybears fare right from the outset, with genres splashing together all over the place, musically I don’t mind it. Verses aren’t particularly exciting, but I do like the chorus melody, which after a while becomes at the very least something you can bounce your head to.

Tom: Once I got used to exactly what was going on, I found myself… well, ‘liking it’ is probably a bit strong. Let’s go with ‘tolerating it’. It took my brain a good while to get around the fact that this isn’t really a Cee-Lo track, or a B-52s track, or… well, anything like I’d expect.

Anniela – Sin Of My Own

Unexpected in-bridge swearing.

Tim: We last saw her being kicked out of Melodifestivalen after singing Elektrisk, and now she’s turned up with a cover of of September album track.

Tom: That’s not the most promising introduction you’ve ever written.

Tim: This is somewhat different from the September version, and weirdly sounds more like September than that one did.

Tom: Add a few more people singing harmony, and I reckon this could sound a bit like Steps.

Tim: Whoever it sounds like, I think it’s alright – it does still sound a bit album trackish, though.

Tom: Especially the unexpected in-bridge swearing. It did wake me up, though.

Tim: Fairly vibrant, building slightly throughout, but never really enough to get properly going. Not something I’d turn off, but equally not something I’d go wild for in a club.

Tom: Half marks?

Tim: Half marks.

Calvin Harris feat. Kelis – Bounce

All right, you Scottish DJ genius. What’re you up to?

Tom: All right, you Scottish DJ genius. What’re you up to now? Teaming up with Kelis bodes well. Let’s have a listen.

Tom: Is that a chiptune backing I hear? Not when it kicks in, of course, but that intro is pretty close to 8-bit to my ears, even if he’s not using genuine old-school soundfonts. I’m quite glad that’s going properly mainstream.

Tim: Erm, because it reminds you of the good old days when music was produced on a SNES?

Tom: Ah, now that’s not strictly true. It’s a genre in itself these days, notable enough for Timbaland to rip it off.

Pity the rest of it’s a bit boring. I know that’s kind of Calvin Harris’s shtick – somehow making dance tracks sound laid-back – but it seems to come out as just being… well, a bit dull. It tries well to amp up in the bridge, and admittedly the final chorus has something to it. But it’s just not enough.

Tim: Perhaps. On the other hand, if we look at this as a Kelis track, it knocks spots off Milkshake and all the other crap that she’s put out over the years, so I’m happy with it.

Tom: Plus, “bounce to this track”? It’s a song about itself, Tim, and you know how I hate those.

Tim: Oh, stop whining.

Tom: Shan’t.

Galaxies – I Don’t Want This Love

Ground-breaking and original? Not really.

Tim: A new two-piece from Iceland. Based on this, I’m hoping they’ll hang around.

Tim: Ground-breaking and original? Not particularly, although the flute and violin they play during the bridge do take it somewhere unexpected, and nice.

Tom: When they finally kicked in, I was thinking “it’s about bloody time”. Does it change at all during the first two and a half minutes? I’m not sure it does.

Tim: Not really, and it’s not particularly catchy either, or memorable, but what it is is happy, and cheerful, and it’s very much put-down-your-drinks-and-make-your-way-to-the-dancefloor. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a couple of recent Eurovision dance tracks – more stylistically than melodically, but it still puts me in mind of This Is My Life, and definitely not in a bad way.