Used to be in BWO, hasn’t gone in a remotely different direction.
Tim: This bloke used to be in BWO before they split, and unlike other former member Alexander Bard he hasn’t gone in a remotely different direction.
Tom: Ooh, then this promises to be very good indeed.
Tim: This pretty much has everything – trancey type intro indicating a, well, not quite summer floorfiller, but at least something to keep people on the floor late on a Friday night through to the early hours of Saturday morning, decent beat topping that up throughout the verses, and a good memorable chorus that we can all sing along to after only hearing it once.
Tom: I’m not getting the memorable singalong vibe from it, but otherwise I agree: it’s not a blockbuster hit, but it’d fit perfectly in the middle of a DJ set.
Tim: So why don’t I think it’s great? I mean, I like it, I’d have it on in the background, and it would keep me on the floor as described, but it doesn’t get me going like, say, Swedish House Mafia did.
Tom: Now, I think it’s because the chorus – despite your earlier comment – is just sort of meh. It’s more like an extra verse, really; it doesn’t have the hands-in-the-air moment you want from something like this.
Tim: Hmm, perhaps, but as a first solo single, it’s still not bad. Though actually, what the hell does ‘blame it on a decent matter’ actually mean?
Tim: Will Young? He makes music for my grandparents, doesn’t he? No, and this has a lovely Sound of Arrows feel to it – gentle music but with a fair beat behind it – and for that reason I like this considerably.
Tom: “And it feeeels… like Jersey.” I know that’s not what he’s singing, but it’s all I can hear.
Tim: Eh, a little bit, I guess. Anyway, some may think “Oh, this isn’t the lovely Evergreen Will Young we started off with, I like his granny-pleasing stuff;” this is true, but music changes and this is an example of good change.
Tom: Agreed, with that and with the Sound of Arrows comparison. I suspect this will eventually get a genre name, in the same way that electroswing existed for years before it coalesced into an actual genre.
Tim: Others may say that it’s still just boring old Will Young and we want something HEAVY.
Tom: To a certain extent, they’re right: he gets going a bit during the last chorus, but it never really reaches any kind of apex.
Tim: Following a run of a few tracks that weren’t remotely successful over here, he’s gone all French on us for the first song from his next album; if my French serves me correctly, the title translates roughly as ‘She Tells Me’.
Tom: I remember his last album giving me musical diabetes – there was just too much sugar. Is this any different?
Tom: Ooh. It’s still sugary, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
Tim: Yeah, and I really like it – something along the lines of ‘her’, whoever she may be, telling him to dance, and as a piece of music it fits well with that.
Tom: He’s still got the falsetto in there as well, but it’s backed up by more this time.
Tim: And about the fact that it’s in French? Controversial, perhaps, but so what. It won’t sell as well over here, I suppose, but ooh, UNLESS! Maybe he could follow in Avril Lavigne’s footsteps, because what she did with Girlfriend was absolutely wonderful.
Tom: I reckon an English translation could be a proper singalong hit – as I suspect this will be in France.
Tom: “No other song,” says our reader ‘Bunnyunplugged’, “has made me laugh as hard as the lyrics to this little gem.”
Tim: I actually remember really liking this one when it was on, so be careful what you’re about to say, please.
Tom: Really? Well, it takes all sorts. They are pretty terrible lyrics – “You will be the sun into my raining season” particularly – but I reckon this song is better noted for its choreography. Bit of traditional Greek dance? Sure. Boy-band manoeuvres? Okay, throw ’em in. Making all the backup dancers lie down in the shape of a number 1? Why not.
Tim: Hahah, yeah, okay, that is pretty ridiculous.
Tom: If you want a Eurovision song to laugh with, you can do no better than Lithuania, 2006; Ukraine, 2007 or even Germany, 1998. But if you want a Eurovision song to laugh at… well, any better suggestions?
Tim: Eurovision I’m not sure about, but for unintentional humour you’d have to go a long way to beat R Kelly’s 22-act ‘hip-hopera’ Trapped in the Closet. Believe me, it’s worth the time.
Tom: Oh dear. That was once screened in its entirety at a cinema in London. I’m told it was… an experience.
There’s no way that was meant to be good, was it? Really?
Tom: What’s the deal with music videos having director credits in them now?
Tim: I have absolutely no idea what that video was all about.
Tom: Also, Britney – you’re not Lady Gaga. Forty seconds of intro for a fairly lame gag really isn’t worth it.
Terribly blue-screened car ride. Slightly creepy driver pouring milk over self. What?
Tim: Yes, but there’s no way that was meant to be good, was it? Really? Hell, my fifteen year old cousin could do better than that on the iMac he just bought.
Tom: Let’s talk about the music. Britney’s increasingly sounding like an impressionist doing a poor version of her: I’m not even sure how it’s possible to achieve that vocal tone without major computer edi– er, never mind.
Tim: Well, it’s a decent enough track – just a fairly standard post-album release single, and more a ‘hello! would you please mind skipping to track four on the album now? and then buying it again please?’ than an actual new song.
Tom: It’s a perfectly serviceable pop song, but I can’t help feeling that if anyone except Britney Spears released it there’d be no great fuss about it. Good to know she’s bounced back into being a regular pop star, though.
Tim: She stopped? But… but Britney is queen of pop. Everyone knows that. Don’t they?
Tim: The story so far, for those that don’t know: Scott Mills unveiled Leona Lewis’s new track a couple of weeks ago on Radio 1, everybody realised that the backing was roughly identical to Avicii’s Penguin even though he got no credit or anything, Ministry of Sound (his label) got all shouty, andsodidhe, and made it all public, and Leona’s people tried to deny it all but no-one really believed them.
Tom: Now, to be fair, I can see this being a genuine cock-up: as Avicii says in his posts, the background is all properly licensed, and the idea of using a modern-classical track as the backing for something else isn’t really a new or original thought.
Tim: So what happens now? The vocal version of Penguin gets decided on and given a speedy release.
Tim: You said it needed a bit more – how was that?
Tom: It’s a hell of a lot better than Leona’s, that’s for sure
Tim: Well, duh…
Tom: I was worried about how long it took to kick in, but then I realised I said the same thing about the original mix: with that in mind, I don’t really have a bad work to say about it.
Tim: I reckon it works well – vocal sounds appropriate, and while it’s unlike to stop Leona Lewis’s being successful, hopefully it’ll do more than well enough, especially given this extra publicity that it’s got. Though of course there is the possibility of total morons getting all over YouTube and going “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU STOLE LEONAS TRACK U R SO GAY!!!!”
Tom: Point ’em towards the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
Tom: Now, that name bodes well. You’ll recognise Chicane from – among others – ‘Saltwater‘ in 1999. So, play this, and let’s see if your reaction is the same as mine: the track builds, you start moving about, the pre-drop ‘whoosh’ starts, you raise a hand in anticipation, and…
Tom: …oh bloody hell who’s the idiot rapping?
Tim: Yeah. Not the best, really, although I think the main track’s still god enough without the rapping (especially the energetic bits where he isn’t rapping) that I can like this and not worry about it.
Tom: Chicane: you do not need this. You needed a synth melody kicking in there, or even a sung vocal – something like the one that kicks in a minute or so later. By that point, sadly, it’s a minute too late, and the magic’s gone.
Tim: I don’t know about that. Yes, it would be better without it – certainly without the big chunk of it near the start – but I can cope just fine with the simple ‘I’m going deep’ line that comes in a few times later. I don’t have a problem, once the first 80 seconds or so are out of the way.
Tom: You know what, you’re right. I guess I was hoping for another Saltwater, and was a bit let down. It’s still a good track, don’t get me wrong. But the remixes will be better.
Tom: An excellent track, far better than this. I’m calling it, right here: in a couple of weeks, Simon Cowell is going to hold a press conference where he reveals this was all just a joke, and he was trying to see just how far he could push the public.
Tom: A wonderful track that I’d forgotten about. As for ‘Swagger’ – I’m telling you, Tim: someone, maybe the lyricist, maybe the composer, maybe the producer, but someone is chuckling to themselves ‘I can’t believe I’m getting away with this’.
Tom: Now that’s a terrible track – but it’s still better than this. But here’s the worst part: I’ve listened to this song once, only once, and the chorus is stuck in my head. It’s rare for me to actively hate a bit of music, but I hate this.
Tim: I think this really works, and according to iTunes Sweden agrees, but what do YOU think?
Tom: I can’t categorise it, but I definitely like it. Well, most of it; it switches itself up so much! I’m embarrassed to say that I think I rather like the dubstep-y bit.
Tim: HA! Knew we’d get you accepting it eventually.
This really does move about everywhere. Ooh, a piano based dance track? Nope. Standard electro-house stuff? Sort of. Bit of dubstep in there? Sure, why not. It sort of reminds me of a DJ at a club I went to recently who seamlessly(ish) mixed Nero into the Spice Girls followed that with LMFAO, then went with Gina G, chucked in some Tinie Tempah and then moved on to Whigfield.
Tom: DJs who can actually pull that off are in pretty short supply. I reckon whoever produced this track might be one of them.
The best piano-and-strings ballad I’ve heard in a long while.
Tom: Another one from America that didn’t make it over here. Do yourself a favour: just listen to the video in a background tab to start off with. I’ll tell you why later.
Now, just to set your expectations: this isn’t bouncy pop music. It’s a slow piano-and-strings, steadily building, ballad.
Tom: …and it might just be the best piano-and-strings ballad I’ve heard in a long while.
Tim: It is nice, isn’t it? Calming and all that.
Tom: There’s quite a tale behind it as well, if the official story‘s to be believed; it went platinum despite Christina Perri being an unsigned artist.
Tim: A tale to inspire us all.
Tom: Bloody stupid video, though. Which is a shame, because the song doesn’t need that adornment: “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily … is wasteful and ridiculous excess.” Put her in front of a piano, film it well, and you have exactly the kind of video that the song needs.
Tim: You just quoted Shakespeare. I have absolutely no idea how to follow that.