Eric Saade feat. J-Son – Hearts in the Air

We seem to have left Manboy far behind.

Tim: Don’t give up on this too soon.

Tim: Intro: dire. Verse: somewhat crap.

Tom: I rather liked the intro, but I’ll agree with you that the verse is terrible.

Tim: Chorus: good when it starts, heading for GREAT from the ‘why should I care what they say’ bit. But that’s all the positiveness I can really give this – it’s just nothing special. Unfortunately we seem to have left Manboy far behind, and that’s a big shame.

Tom: It’s just not got that sense of excitement about it – a lovely chorus like that shouldn’t sound like it’s being sung by rote.

Tim: Actually, scratch what I said about it not being special, because there’s the bridge. This s special, because it lures you in like an evil temptress, with a reworked second (a.k.a. best) half of the chorus, and then right as you’re gearing up for a great key change at 2:39 that will make this song alright, perhaps even downright good, it comes back. With a bloody awful rap bit. I had never heard of him before today, but right now I hate this J-Son bloke, for ruining our Eric.

Although I also hate him because it took me a good twenty minutes to realise his name is a play on Jason. Or at least I think it is, but then Jason isn’t actually his name – basically, it seems he chose a name that may or may not be a bad rewriting of something that isn’t his name but that took me too long to figure out even if it wasn’t there to figure out in the first place. I am entirely confused now, and hatred is all I have left.

Tom: Hey, it took me years to work out that “Flo Rida” was a pun on “Florida”.

Tim: True. Still can’t believe that.

Example – Changed The Way You Kiss Me

Not quite a Eurobeat track, but it’s close.

Tom: All right, Example, you’ve done good before. Let’s see what your laid-back half-rapping half-singing brings us this time.

Tom: You know, that’s not quite a Eurobeat track, but it’s close – certainly the closest I’ve heard in mainstream music for a while, I think. I can see this, with minor differences – maybe a female vocalist – coming out of Germany a decade ago. I say that as a compliment – there’s a reason those styles still persist today.

Tim: A good time in music, was that. And speaking of which, I caught a bloke at work who’s normally all ‘hip-hop’s the one true way’ listening to Alice Deejay on his headphones the other day. Now I have leverage.

Tom: Interesting bridge, though; done entirely in the backing, with the pause and rising effect. Not sure it works, other than breaking up the song a bit; the ending does seem to just peter out after that.

Tim: I actually really like it – it’s more a variation on a theme than a standard bridge switch-out, and I think it works well.

Tom: It’d do well in the middle of a DJ set, this would.

Nicole Scherzinger feat. 50 Cent – Right There

“It’s Hoff time.”

Tom: Can you forgive her for kicking Our Cheryl off the US X Factor, Tim?

Tim: Yes, bec—

Tom: Don’t worry, I don’t actually care about the answer.

Tom: Before we talk about the song, let’s handle that video. That’s 50 Cent, wearing outdoor clothing in front of a bad bluescreen. Know what that reminds me off?

Tim: I’m worried that I might.

Tom: That’s right: it’s Hoff time.

Tim: And, there it is.

Tom: And frankly, I think the Hoff’s track is a damn sight better than this. She’s got INJU5TICE syndrome with all the eh-eh-ehs, and the endless “me like” is just as irritating. Is there a melody in there anywhere? I’m not sure. And okay, Fiddy’s good at what he does and his opening rap isn’t bad – but then it’s straight back to ‘hurr this is how good I am in bed’.

Tim: Forget the music, I’m slightly in awe of the video, or at least the start of it – it is, without question, the worst opening 90 seconds of a music video for a song by two big artists for the past long long time. The cheap blue screen, the incredibly dodgy sliding pavement, the weird synchronised-chicken dancing.

Tom: There’s an actual repeat-until-fade though. How often do we see that any more?

Tim: Normally, that happens if they can’t think of a good ending for a song. I suppose here, their acknowledging that means they can sort of avoid the bigger truth that they couldn’t think of a good beginning or middle either.

Tom: Bring back the Hoff, that’s what I say.

Saturday Flashback: Malena Ernman – Min plats på jorden

The follow-up to her 2009 Eurovision hit.

Tim: Browsing through my iTunes library the other day, I discovered I have Ms Ernman’s La Voix du Nord album; contained within it is this, released as the follow-up to her 2009 Eurovision hit.

Tom: Ah, that explains why I haven’t heard it.

Tim: I like it a lot. It’s obviously not our traditional pop stuff, but it’s nice to have a change. It has a graceful intro, livened up by the drumbeat after a while. The first key change comes as an ‘ooh, that was pleasant’ surprise, and while the second is more predicatable it’s no less satisfying.

Tom: I’ll support pretty much any song with two key changes.

Tim: The title translates to ‘My Place on Earth’, and the lyrics seem to be all about finding peace and happiness and all that malarkey.

Tom: I found myself tuning out at first, and then starting to sit up straighter in my chair, and breathe a little deeper: it sounds almost like a patriotic song or a national anthem. I felt like saluting at that second key change.

Tim: Overall, this seems to have been a good second mainstream release – bridging the gap somewhat between her Eurovision act and her more usual style for anyone who wants to get to know her better.

Tom: I’ll add here that the version of ‘La Voix’ that she did with rock supergroup Casablanca in the 2010 Melodifestivalen interval may just be the best thing she’s done since Eurovision itself.*

*Although that may just be because of the redhead drummer.

Jennifer Lopez feat. Lil Wayne – I’m Into You

Occasional puking noises.

Tom: Talented singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, collaborating with… well, with Lil Wayne. This is an example of a song that really didn’t need the collaboration.

Tom: A catchy-enough hook and reasonable verses, over which Lil Wayne makes occasional puking noises and repeats the last few words. He’s not bad when he actually gets into flow, but he just isn’t necessary on the rest of it.

Tim: Hmm. Her last track was entirely ruined by the addition of Pitbull; Lil Wayne’s not so bad, but you’re right – he really wouldn’t be missed.

Tom: And what on earth is with that bridge? It’s as if someone suddenly spliced in an entirely different song for a little while. Everything changes, with no connection between the two. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like that before – I’m almost convinced it was put in just to screw up the folks who watch it on YouTube, but it’s too melodic for that.

Tim: Interesting, certainly – I have no problem with it though, as it does liven up an otherwise somewhat dull song.

Tom: If there’s a version without the interruptions from bridge and Wayne, then I could support it. As it is – not so much.

Amanda Mair – House

“Musical blueballs”.

Tom: It’s a slow start, Tim. This had better be good.

Tim: When first heard this, I felt utterly betrayed after 45 seconds when the build-up grew and grew and grew and stopped, and I almost switched the track off in disgust. Glad I didn’t, though, because when it next builds up it doesn’t die down, and it’s a fairly good number.

Tom: I think what you have there is a case of “musical blueballs”. That’s a technical term, y’know. I didn’t just make it up.

Tim: If that is what you say, I believe you. But regardless of whether or not I am suffering, there’s lots going on, tuneful and melodic and all that, and while it does settle into rinse and repeat territory a good couple of minutes before the end (20 second bridge excepted), it’s quite good stuff that’s being repeated, so I don’t mind. Thumbs up.

Tom: Agreed.

The Saturdays – Notorious

“Oh, this upsets me. The Saturdays used to be good.”

Tom: It’s hard to believe, but this is even more highly processed and stylised than a regular Saturdays track.

Tim: Oh, this upsets me. The Saturdays used to be good. Oh…

Tom: Is there a single lyric in there that actually sounds like it was originally sung? They might as well have just synthesised all the audio and got Weta Digital to generate some CGI women to sing it.

Tim: Yeah – I am actually genuinely gutted by this. They were never the most ground-breaking of groups, but the music wasn’t this tedious or dull before.

Tom: And the video’s even more stylised: they’re walking in step like some kind of bizarre stiletto-based army. I’m not sure what’s less believable: product placement for lip gloss, or their track being on actual vinyl.

Tim: There are, however, a lot of blokes who would give a lot to be trapped in that lift with all of them.

Tom: Well, granted. The trouble is, of course, that the song’s is catchy – just like it’s calculated to be. After a couple of listens, this has all the requirements to be a floorfiller, even if it’s rather difficult to sing along to.

Tim: Is it catchy, though? Maybe I’m having an off day, but I’ve listened to it twice now and I still can’t really pick out a chorus.

Tom: Sorry, what? I was still distracted by that lift.

Timoteij – Het

A ‘hip-hop people are tossers’ message.

Tim: These ladies haven’t really been heard from since their decent performance at last year’s Melodifestivalen; this is an excellent return to the scene.

Tim: Now for me, this gets going right from the first ten seconds, with the ‘hip-hop people are tossers’ message they’re not so subtly sending out.

Tom: If – like me – you enjoy that kind of thing, you may also enjoy the Lonely Island’s latest track.

Tim: LOVE IT. But back to the item in hand, once we’ve dissed all the crap music, the pop kicks in, and it’s fantastic. There’s an accordion (an ACCORDION!), and of course a cracking key change.

Tom: It’s a textbook key change, isn’t it? I’m trying to keep myself concentrating on the music, rather than the attractive women in the video – even accounting for that bias, I reckon it’s a pretty solid track.

Tim: This reminds me of S Club 7 music – not entirely sure why them in particular, other than that I’ve had S Club Party in my head all day – in the pure pop sense. Most of it, I think, is the lead-in to the chorus, working as a ‘right, we’re done with the dull bits, let’s have us a PARTY’, even though the dull bits aren’t particularly dull.

Tom: As Michael Bolton says: “now back to the good part!”

Tim: I’d love to know what the lines in the verses beginning at 0:40 and 0:50 remind me of, though. Female vocalist, might be Billie Piper. (If I try to sing it, it just morphs into In The Shadows, which it sort of is but isn’t what I’m thinking it is.)

Tom: Readers, any ideas?

Swedish House Mafia – Save The World

Sort-of heart-warming and totally bonkers.

Tim: We’re a little bit late to the party with this one, which was released a couple of weeks back now, but I don’t care because (a) the tune’s pretty good and (b) the video’s a nice mix of sort-of heart-warming and totally bonkers.

Tim: If you’re anything like me, you probably just watched the video the first time, without paying much attention to the lyrics aside from ‘Who’s gonna save the world?’ and thinking ‘Oooh, is it the dogs? I hope it’s the dogs. That’ll be AMAZING. Oh, yay, it’s the dogs! I was right. Wicked.’

Tom: See, I’m not really an animal person, so I’ll concentrate on the music. It’s not bad at all – for some reason it sounds like a remix of a Take That track, and I mean that as a compliment.

You still rambling about the video?

Tim: Certainly am. My two favourite parts are at about 2:30 when the bulldog’s going in for a munch on the bloke’s knackers in slow-mo, and then at 3:09 when the retriever looks down at the bloke at the bus stop with a look that quite clearly states Doggy Justice.

Not entirely sure what he’d done wrong – maybe he was just more of a cat person.

Tom: I think he’s the mugger from earlier in the video. I hope so, because frankly if “not being a dog person” justifies being pushed through glass by a rabid hound—

Tim: Correct.

Tom: —then I’m pretty much doomed.

Tim: Ah, shame. Anyway, nice beat, decent tune and uplifting-ish words, and all those positive things are multiplied by about a million because the track is MADE BY A PACK OF HEROIC STRAY DOGS. I LOVE IT.

Saturday Flashback: E-Type – Back 2 Life

Imagine a dance music video.

Tim: We missed this when it came out in January, and then they released a video for it and we sort of missed that too. Now, though, the dance season’s about to get going, so let’s have a listen. And a watch. But first, remember a month or so back when I asked you to imagine a Swedish Eurovision entry? Well, now imagine a dance music video.

Tim: Ooh, attractive girls! And looking bored, just waiting to party! So where do we go? I know! Let’s head for the beach, and play around in the sea. Now let’s go home and put on provocative clothing! And now let’s go to the club! Yes! We can dance and grind away all night, because that’s what we girls do.

Tom: Huh? Sorry, I was distracted by the video there. What was that?

Tim: And, the video does its job. Musically, the verses are nothing special, and the voice, really not.

But the chorus? Flipping great. What I want here is some sort of mashup. Chuck out these vocals, and put something decent on top. Then, I will give this a proper thumbs up.

Tom: I approve of the whole thing – including the voice – but you’re right, adding something more exciting over the top of those verses would go down well. I’ll keep an eye out on for DJ mixes that include it: that should perk it up a bit.