Cascada – San Francisco

Remind you of anything?

Tim: San Francisco…that’s in California, right? Bearing that in mind, let’s have a listen to this.

Tim: Remind you of anything?

Tom: That’s… well, it’s fair to say it’s very much “in the style of” Katy Perry. It’s also about 12 months late.

Tim: Now let’s be honest, Cascada’s glory days are well and truly behind them. Which is a shame, because Everytime We Touch was a great album, and Perfect Day wasn’t bad either. This…well, this is pretty much textbook ripping off, and it’s disappointing.

Tom: It’s worth taking a moment to notice that this is another case of the YouTube Video Editing Phenomenon: where the official video of the song will have a break of a few measures in the middle that isn’t in the actual track, in order to get the people who use YouTube as a jukebox to actually pay for the track.

Tim: New album’s out soon, by the way – according to the description of this video, it’s called Original Me. Really, it is.

Tom: As opposed to all those copies of her that are running about.

Olly Murs – Busy

He looks like an idiot.

Tom: I think the only reason I make sure we review his singles is so that I can revisit the phrase “swaggering leprechaun cockery”, which remains one of my favourite things I’ve ever written for this site.

Tim: Well, if we’re picking favourites, I think I’d have to go with that “shot out of John Barrowman” comment.

Tim: He looks like an idiot. This is not something I shall use to judge the music, though. Also, I will happily bet anybody five hundred million quid that he did not make that papier-mache thing that he’s pretending to put the finishing touches to.

Tom: Got to be honest: “scrambled eggs” and “bacon” are not generally things you hear in the opening lines of a love song. It’s catchy and jingly enough, and I found myself quite enjoying it once I stopped paying attention to the lyrics.

Tim: You know what? After a minute, I’ve formed my opinion of the music: it’s alright. And that’s all you’re getting, because there’s so much more to say about the video. Let’s start with the fact that at 1:07 he is combing his forehead, and that given the size of the mark on his cheek relative to her mouth, he must logically have drawn that on himself.

Tom: As for creepy papier-mâché love-doll Gepetto… I’ll leave that to you to mock.

Tim: Well, many men throughout the ages have got comfort from one form of doll or another; I won’t insult all of them by lumping them in with him. It is, however, nice that he has several friends that will happily pretend she is actually a person just so he can think he has a date on his birthday.

Blondie – Mother

What a chorus!

Tom: Yep, they’re still going. New album, as well.

Tom: And oddly enough, this still sounds like Blondie. I reckon that even if you hadn’t told me who it was, I’d still know it from Debbie Harry’s voice.

What a chorus! Proper chord progression, proper vocals, proper rock guitar. The start of the verses let it down a bit – but on the whole this is pretty damn good.

Tim: There’s actually not a lot I’ve got to add to that – it had me right from the intro and never let up. Good stuff.

Tom: Just to remind you: Debbie Harry is 65 years old. She can still belt this out. That’s pretty damn good. Go on, Rihanna, let’s see you still singing about whips and chains in forty years’ time. Actually, let’s not.

Saturday Flashback: Jenni Vartiainen – En haluu kuolla tänä yönä

There’s a solid amount of life there.

Tom: An anonymous reader wrote in to suggest this track, which hit Number One in Finland back in February 2010. The title, translated, means “I Don’t Wanna Die Tonight”, and the singer is a former winner of the Finnish version of Popstars.

Tom: It’s certainly a belter, which makes it all the more odd that I don’t like it. Despite all the energy, the promise of the build in those first few seconds, the full-on vocals, all the instrumentation and production… somehow the word that drops into my head is “plodding”.

Tim: Hmm…not sure about plodding. I think there’s a solid amount of life there, and I don’t dislike this at all.

Tom: It doesn’t necessarily need a key change, it just needs… damn it, I don’t know. Perhaps it needs to break out of the one octave she’s singing in? A chord progression that seems to come from a completely different song, like the Killers do so often*?

*”Will your system be all right / if you dream of home tonight” in ‘Human’, and “–if you don’t shine” in ‘Read My Mind’.

Tim: Afraid I can’t really help you there, as I don’t actually think it needs anything. Certainly not a key change, although if I did have to change anything I’d trim the bridge a bit, and perhaps the intro as well – compared with the strong beat of the rest, the quieter parts don’t seem to fit so well.

Tom: To use a dodgy metaphor: it feels like a soaring eagle that’s been clamped down by ten-kilo weights. It needs to soar, and all it can do is limp along.

Tim: Really? I seriously think this is good – the return after the bridge, for example, may not be hugely triumphant like a great song can be, but it’s still full of energy, and gets me at least nodding my head along to it, and perhaps even swaying my shoulders as well.

Danny & Freja – It’s Only You

Paddy McGuinness has been replaced by a scantily-clad dominatrix.

Tim: Danny, off E.M.D. and In Your Eyes, is getting released in the UK in July, with an old track of his but with some re-recorded female vocals. Oh, and don’t watch this if your grandparents are hanging around.

Tom: Well, that is a bit post-watershed, isn’t it? I’d like to think it’s some dystopian future version of Take Me Out in which Paddy McGuinness has been replaced by a scantily-clad dominatrix.

Tim: The music’s nothing special, I suppose, but it’s nothing bad.

Tom: Now I disagree there: I think this is a really good track. It’s not really got a late-night full-club drunken singalong, but as an early-on floor-filler I think it does really quite well.

Tim: They could probably have chosen a better one for a first UK release if they’re going to raid his back catalogue, but it’ll do, although part of me thinks it’s somewhat forgettable.

Tom: In that case, I look forward to hearing about his other tracks: they must be tremendous.

Tim: Well, try Tokyo or Play It For The Girls – both off the same album as this, and largely chirpier and happier. Anyway, since we’ve got this song, the question is: Will it be successful over here? I would say that with a song like this it depends absolutely entirely on radio airplay, so let’s hope it gets picked up,

Caramella Girls – Boogie Bam Dance

Oh no. No, no, no.

Tim: This is real. Seriously, it is.

Tom: Oh no. No, no, no. I recognise that name. Their previous, incredibly bouncy single has been stuck in my head for ages thanks to several members of London Hackspace. For a brief, horrible while it was set as my entrance music: every time I touched my Oyster card to the door to unlock it, that damned song would blast out. I’m not listening to this.

Tim: Spoilsport.

Tim: I LOVE it. But only as a whole – the music is admittedly fairly awful (unless I’ve got a lot of WKD in me), and the video’s slightly appalling as well. Together, though? OUTSTANDING. And horribly catchy, so the music will be in my head for the rest of the day and the video won’t be and it’ll be a nightmare. OH GOD.

Tom: Welcome to my world, Tim. I can’t even review it properly: hearing it just causes this intense, burning desire to stop listening.

Tim: One thing in particular I’m a big fan of, though: the animated massive sweeping Eurovision-style crane shots they’ve got going on. They really convey the size and magnificence of the huge stadium they’ve, um, drawn.

Tom: I checked the video on mute. You’re right.

Tim: Fans of this may wish to check out their previous work – as you say, and disturbing as it may seem, this is not a novelty one-off. Have a 24-video YouTube Mix.

Tom: Don’t do it, folks. Save yourself while you can.

Kobojsarna – Timeless

CHOON.

Tim: This, I like. It’s BANGING, as they say.

Tom: It certainly does qualify as a CHOON.

Tim: The chorus bits have a great tune to them, and even though the verses are somewhat dull in comparison, they’ve got that very fast beat underlying them which just keeps it going unrelentingly. It’s not far off some of Basshunter’s or even Scooter’s best work, and it’s very good indeed.

Tom: A bold claim, but I’ll let it pass because yes, I can imagine HP Baxxter shouting most of these lyrics. The trouble is, Kobojsarna’s not HP Baxxter. HP Baxxter could just about pull off the absolutely appalling “epic winning for the win” and make it sound tolerable. As it is – it just grates terribly, and on its own it’s enough to make me consign this track to the bin.

Tim: Shame. One thing, though: in the third/sixth lines of the chorus-ish bits (where he sings “legends in our own time” or “we’ve got nothing but time”) I want to sing “I’ll follow you wherever you go”; is that from another song that sounds similar?

Tom: No idea: perhaps our readers know? And if so, can they also tell me what the damn bouncy-loop sample they’re using in the first twenty seconds is taken from?

Tim: Ah, well, that one I was also wondering about. At first I thought it reminded me of He’s A Pirate. But then I checked and it wasn’t that. Hmm. Although I have realised what the first one was – the song we reviewed only last week, Vincent’s The Moment I Met You.

Rikke Lie – Better Off

I haven’t really got a clue what’s meant to be happening here.

Tim: I laughed very hard at one point in this video; I will not spoil it for you yet.

Tom: Hmm, okay. Let’s see. What?… okay. What?

Tim: Indeed – I haven’t really got a clue what’s meant to be happening here either.

Tom: Gorgeous voice, though, and a lovely major-key ballad, so I don’t really mind. Is that autotune I hear at about 2:20 though, on that sliding note? And again, on the ‘awa-a-y’ at 3:07? It’s a shame, because it doesn’t sound like she really needs it.

Tim: Isn’t that just a wavering voice?

Tom: It sounds just a bit too digital for that. I could be wrong, though.

Tim: Anyway, it’s the video I’m wondering about – she’s clearly got an ‘I’m happy you’ve pissed off’ vibe going on throughout the lyrics, yet we also have a sad tale of two lovers (we’ll ignore the fact that they’re anthropomorphised fridge magnets for now) who desperately want to be with each other but can’t be. Is her song meant to be some sort of reassurance to them that it’s actually for the best? I have no idea.

Tom: You know, I don’t remember my high school physics all that well, but surely couldn’t the A just, er, turn over? Then they’d fit together perfectly.

Tim: What, so they’d be spooning in perpetuity? Perhaps that’s just not what they want from a relationship. Jumping sideways a bit, though: one thing I do know is that you should never jump from a very dark mood to a very light mood that swiftly without a key change. Naughty.

Tom: Well, there is a significant dress change, if nothing else.

Morten Hampenberg & Alexander Brown feat. Stine Bramsen – I Want You (To Want Me Back)

Lacklustre.

Tom: Blimey, talk about “don’t bore us, get to the chorus”. Not just the first line, but the very first millisecond of the song. Pity that it’s a bit lacklustre as hooks go, although once the beat kicks in it gets a bit better.

Tim: Well, I think it’s great. The underlying piano melody isn’t particularly complex, but is varied enough so as not to get boring, and actually reminds me somewhat of Still Alive.

It is, of course, the sort of music that was popular eight years ago – Ian van Dahl, Lasgo, that lot – and that I never stopped enjoying.

Tom: “I… want… you… to want me back.” Really? Then sound excited about it!

Tim: But part of me really likes that, well, not lack of effort, but understatedness of it. We also have elements of the good parts of Robyn in there, which is nice.

Tom: I’ll leave my smutty innuendo aside, shall I?

Tim: Please do. Robyn does, after all, make good music despite the occasional flaws we point out.

Tom: It could use a few more of her parts, I reckon. Her enthusiasm, for one.

Saturday Flashback: Carola – Invincible

The greatest Eurovision performance of recent times.

Tim: So, tonight’s the night – the biggest night of the year as far as we’re concerned, in fact, and so it’s only right that now we should take a look back at what is, in my view, the greatest Eurovision performance of recent times, five years ago.

Tim: Even if we were ignoring the song, this is good. The dress, oh, the dress. The wind – the ENDLESS WIND. The constant look of joy on her face.

Tom: Let’s not forget just how hard it is to keep your eyes open in the face of a wind machine, let alone to keep singing and to keep a look of joy on your face.

Tim: But of course we can’t ignore the song, because it’s just so fantastic. The energy throughout, the key change and the effort therein, it’s just brilliant.

Tom: This is, frankly, the perfect example of a schlager track. It’s absolutely textbook. And so’s the singer – she’s been competing in Melodifestivalens for, ooh, how long now?

Tim: Well, trivia: she’s performed solo three times – 1983, 1991 and 2006 – and has won every time (although she duetted with Andreas Johnson in 2008 less successfully), and during Melodifestivalen this year, this song was actually performed as the original Swedish version; I do not know why they changed it.

Tom: I can’t really believe it was five years ago, but it was: 2006 was a bonanza year for Eurovision. Not only did we have Carola, but Lordi won it for Finland with monster masks and their own pyrotechnicians (thanks to one of the first major Facebook campaigns). And let’s not forget Lithuania getting booed for their frankly genius entry that simply declared themselves the winners.

Let’s hope we get some more of that tonight.

Tim: Not forgetting, of course, the performance by the UK’s number four MC.

Tom: Who could ever forget him?