Saturday Flashback: The Feeling – A Hundred Sinners

How about something joyful from a couple of months back?

Tom: How about something joyful from a couple of months back?

Tim: My first thought comes directly from the nerdy part of me that’s into typography: I feel a bit sorry for Anna, lumbered with a monospaced font while the others all get fancy writing.

Tom: Blimey, I’m a typography geek and I didn’t even spot that. Anyway: The Feeling. Purveyors of jaunty bubblegum tunes that wouldn’t even count as ‘indie’ if they were a more well-known band. And what a jaunty tune this is.

Tim: Jaunty is an excellent and sadly underused word. And appropriate for describing this song.

Tom: “We threw a party. It was a lot of fun. We should do it again.”

Tim: Ah, see that’s wrong. It’s sad, it really is, but one of the immutable laws of the universe is that any attempt to emulate a previously good night will never ever be as good.

Tom: Regression toward the mean. An important concept.

Tim: Ooh, Education. Children, I want you all to go and study that, as you may be tested on it later.

Done? Good. Relating it to this situation – the original party is already being built to be better than it was (amazing though it may well have been), and it just won’t live up to the promises – at least some of the best people won’t be there, the atmosphere won’t be quite the same, and worst of all, the highlights won’t be spontaneous, and therefore not as fun. Sorry.

Tom: Ah, but the chorus is “should’ve been there, should’ve been there”. Which is odd, because the rest of the song is in… huh. Actually, I’m not sure what tense it’s in. It’s all over the place. Can we stop over-analysing this, please? It’s too lovely for that.

There’s nothing deep to this track, and I don’t mind that one bit. In fact, it’s a pop song that isn’t about love or relationships – and that’s a rare thing indeed.

Tim: Yes. And despite my views on the song’s philosophy, it’s still good fun to listen to.

Agnes – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

“Not sure about the verses, but that chorus isn’t half bad.”

Tim: She’s back with a fourth album soon, and much as I’m sure you’d like it to be, no, this first single is not a cover.

Tom: You know me too well. Although it’s an odd decision to use the same name as an Elton classic, surely?

Tim: This is good. Much better, I would go so far as to propose, than Release Me, although I never really got that – always seemed a bit too slow and non-eventful, and I much preferred On and On, which was sadly somewhat overlooked in the UK.

Tom: It takes time to kick in, but it’s worth it in the end. Not sure about the verses, but that chorus isn’t half bad.

Tim: Back to the matter in hand, though, I find the chorus somewhat disturbing: for some reason, probably the, I don’t know, whatever it is, I find myself actually wanting to break her heart. It’s sort of that the pumping-ness of it makes me want to do something, and she’s there singing at me, all about breaking her heart. So what if she doesn’t want me to do it? I want to do something, and she’s given me an idea.

Tom: I’m got an idea for a song. It’s called “Don’t Poke Yourself In The Eye”, and it’s got a banging chorus. What do you think?

Tim: Um… actually, you know what? Go ahead and record it – I’m sure I’ll enjoy hearing it more than enough to compensate. We can even review it on here.

I’m not really sure about this introduction – the dubstep style of it isn’t remotely related to the rest of the song, and it almost seems as if it’s been put there just to lure people in. It seems a bit of a cheap trick, though if it works I reckon it’ll have been worth it.

I really have that Elton John track in my head now.

Tom: So do I.

Sugababes – Freedom

It does take a bit too long to get going.

Tom: Is this a comeback attempt, or have they just slipped off my radar lately?

Tom: The first part of this seems to go nowhere until that synth line kicks in, and then… well, it’s like an old Sugababes album took a few downers and decided to take a rest for a while. And then – just to kick it while it’s down – a dubstep middle eight arrives in an attempt to break up any dancability.

Tim: I don’t mind the dubstep bit, but you’re right that it does take a bit too long to get going.

Tom: Timothy Jeffries! You “don’t mind” the dubstep bit? What happened to your railing against all things dubstep? I remember you calling me out when I said I didn’t mind a dubstep track a while ago.

Tim: Well, as the somewhat disappointing early breakfast fill-in DJ on Radio 1 said when I was half-asleep this morning whilst defending her record of the week (the execrable Nero reworking of The Jets’ Crush on You), “it works it way in, and that’s what dubstep does.” (She did, however, then go on to play What Makes You Beautiful, so she’s somewhat forgiven.)

Tom: It’s got the same vibe as ‘About You Now’, only much slower.

Tim: Much slower, to the extent that it’s, unfortunately, not remotely in the same league.

Tom: Can you imagine a dancefloor bouncing to this? The last chorus almost recovers to ‘enthusiastic’, but it’s not quite there.

LMFAO – Sexy And I Know It

“Oh God, that’s awful.”

Tom: Despite my best efforts, ‘Party Rock Anthem’ got stuck in my head earlier this year. Here’s the new single: is it anywhere near as catchy?

Tom: No it’s not.

Tim: Oh God, that’s awful. Just, blurgh.

Tom: Which is a pity, because that build really promises great things that the rest of the track doesn’t deliver. The question that remains: will the British public take to this far-too-late summer track, or will they only manage to be one-hit wonders?

Tim: One hit wonders. Plese, let it be one hit wonders.

Tom: And just to be clear: ‘wiggle wiggle’ wasn’t all that good even when the Outhere Brothers did it.

Aqua – Like A Robot

“Oh my. Well, that’s very… 2010s.”

Tom: Right, let’s have a look at the other half of the double A-side then. This is the out-of-character one, right?

Tom: Oh my. Well, that’s very… 2010s.

Tim: Yeah – less of the universal love thing, more of a, well, Taio Cruz, In The Club, let’s get drunk and have sex thing. Disappointing – I could cope with the style, but Aqua always used to be happy and family-friendly, with a fair helping of cheeky innuendo; here, that’s all gone out of the window and it’s a bit of a shame.

Tom: Wait, hang on! Did she just swear? I didn’t see that coming.

Tim: Exactly. Similar in one very noticeable way to another song we recently covered – this may just be coincidence, or it may be that unexpected obscenity is the new trend in Scandinavia. As a musical style it’s somewhat fun, but in an Aqua track it just seems so wrong.

Tom: I was in France recently, and found that some of their radio stations play English-language tracks entirely uncensored, including some properly obscene rap lyrics. It was a surprising journey, that one.

Tim: In my sister’s car, with my granddad, with a compilation CD she’d made on in the background. Moment of silence in the conversation, out comes a Cee Lo Green track. Yes, that Cee Lo Green track.

Aqua – Playmate to Jesus

“I do hope they tour, because I will be there.”

Tim: Released last Monday, a double A-side single, preceding their new album due out in Denmark two weeks today. One – Playmate to Jesus – is close to know-and-love-them Aqua, the other – Like A Robot – is less so, but still interesting. Let’s start with the first one.

Tom: A third album! The legendary third Aqua album. I don’t mind saying I’m rather looking forward to it, even after the disappointment of their last single.

Tim: It’s not quite Barbie Girl territory, but this will certainly please older fans, I reckon. Calmer melody, family-friendly stuff.

Tom: Well, it’s pleased me. Apollo-mission beeps as part of the intro melody, and a proper full-on chorus. I do hope they tour, because I will be there.

Tim: It seems that Réné’s definitely decided to become a proper singer, though, and I’m not sure if that spoils it a bit. If I have one criticism, I reckon this song could be made about 20% faster and it would sound (a) more Aqua-y, (b) better and (c) less almost-five-minutes-long.

Tom: Not sure about the actual “Playmate to Jesus” lyric, though. Seems a bit needlessly, well, Jesus-y. He wasn’t really one for space exploration, was he?

Tim: No, but he did preach the whole universal love thing (and is perhaps the most notable person to have done so, if you don’t count Cliff Richard), and that’s what the song really comes down in the end. A nice, happy song.

Saturday Flashback: Velvet – Déjà Vu

“Somewhat distracted by her outfit.”

Tim: On Tuesday, you said of Velvet: “She’s quite good, isn’t she?” Well, yes. I present a Melodifestivalen 2008 entry.

Tom: Full disclosure: during this review, I was somewhat distracted by her outfit.

Tim: I would expect nothing less. Formula-watchers will be somewhat horrified by the fact that the chorus proper doesn’t start until almost a minute in, leaving – SHOCK HORROR – no room for a proper middle eight once we’ve got the second verse/chorus out of the way as well.

Tom: That build to the first chorus makes up for it, though!

Tim: It does, but I can’t help wondering: was the lack of middle eight, and its associated crazy and original dance moves, the reason for the somewhat disappointing fifth place in the semi-final? Well, who knows.

Tom: Fifth in the semis, even with that key change? Blimey, that must have been a good Melodifestivalen.

Tim: All I’ll say right now is that the final winner was Hero, by Charlotte Perrelli. Enough said. Back to this song, what I do know is that, middle eight or not, it’s a cracking piece of work.

Dappy – No Regrets

Amazing track. Terrible lyrics.

Tom: Hang on. Is he actually singing on this? There’s no “featuring” on those opening ‘woah’s.

Tim: I’m a bit disappointed he’s dropped his trademark ‘na-na-nai’. Not because it was good or anything – it was awful – but it did serve to warn you what you were getting into.

Tom: Amazing track. Terrible lyrics. You’re not Kurt Cobain, Dappy. And did you just sympathise with Chris Brown? And name-drop Marty McFly? And quote “if I die before I wake”? And claim to be Richard Branson? And quote the Italian Job? And Oasis?

Tim: Two things: firstly, the line is “Call me Gallagher, ’cause I’m so shameless”, so I don’t think he’s referencing Oasis.

Tom: Oh, he is, because there’s a snip of an Oasis track being sampled just before it. That’s… that’s actually clever. Okay, I’ll let that one slip.

Tim: And secondly, if just those got you worked up, it’s probably a good thing you seem not to have noticed the remarkably dodgy Prince William line: “I’m a prince, yes I will get the crown/Kate stays in my dungeon when her sister’s round.”

Tom: Simply put: I want an instrumental of this, because his entirely unjustified references are really, really angering me. Which is a pity – because I like the music.

Tim: Well, that’s not stopped you liking a track before. And also, I was going to defend this by saying it fit with the idea of song and what it was all about, just because seeing you worked up like this is quite fun, but I’ve looked at the lyrics and I have no idea what he’s really on about.

Tom: That piano middle eight is lovely, the choruses are brilliant – particularly that final one with the unexpected key change! Dappy, on the other hand… well, what a shame.

Tim: That key change, combined with that Prince William line, leaves me with one final thought: I LOVE THIS TRACK.

Tom: Really?

Tim: No.

Tom: Thought so.

Lady Gaga – Yoü And I

Old school rock and roll? Country? I’m not sure, but it’s brilliant.

Tom: Brace yourself, Tim; she’s back to a typical Gaga video. It’s 47 seconds before the music starts. Although she does appear to be appearing almost as herself, with barely a ridiculous costume – well, barely anything – at least once in here.

Tim: Is there a point to Lady Gaga’s videos other than to get people to say, “What the hell was that all about?” Because I don’t have a clue.

Tom: But what a wonderful bit of music. It’s… well, what genre is it? Old school rock and roll? Country? I’m not sure, but it’s brilliant.

Tim: It is. Not quite Alejandro or Bad Romance brilliant, mind, and certainly not Edge of Glory, but on a par with Born This Way and Judas. Good work.

Tom: It’s not going to be lighting up the clubs without a remix, but can you imagine how good this will sound live? The woman can sing, Tim, she really can.

Tim: I think that right now you’d have to go a long way to find someone who’d disagree with you there.

Velvet – Love Struck

A solid middle-of-DJ-set track.

Tom: It takes more than a minute for the beat to drop on this, but when it does, it’s worth it.

Tom: It’s not spectacular, but I reckon it’s a solid middle-of-DJ-set track that won’t make anyone leave the dancefloor. It’s by-the-numbers, but they’re very good numbers.

Tim: They are, aren’t they. Just straight-down-the-middle, this-is-what-you-dance-to stuff.

Tom: That clock-tick bridge out of the middle eight? With full speakers and lighting on a dancefloor, and a good crowd, I might even go so far as to justify ‘epic’.

Tim: Ooh, high praise indeed. I’m surprised we haven’t yet featured Velvet, despite her releasing many excellent tracks over the years, including an interesting cover of Eddy Grant’s Electric Avenue.

Tom: I’m surprised I haven’t heard of her before. She’s quite good, isn’t she?