Axwell – Heart Is King

What we have here is a trailer for his new song

Tim: Interesting concept: what we have here is a trailer for his new song. It’s a full three minutes long, though, so let’s review it. When I first watched this video, I was utterly enthralled by it.

Tom: How very strange. I was all ready to be sarcastic about it, but that is bloody amazing.

Tim: Well, quite. It is, I think, utterly incredible. I don’t know how long it will be before the full thing’s available. It reminds me of a lot of Tiësto’s stuff, like Forever Today and Elements of Life – very much a dance tune but with a properly written piece of music behind it, and sounding so much better for it.

I’ll be honest – I don’t really know what else to say about this. I love it, and I want to hear more of it, because it finishes too soon. That’s it, really.

Tom: I couldn’t agree more.

Ambulans – Wiem Że

A man in a wetsuit standing in a warehouse miming playing a keyboard.

Tom: Europlop reader Dan sent this in, mainly for the video. I reckon it might also be the first Polish song we’ve ever written about.

Tim: Ooh, that’s a fun video.

Tom: As you watch this, Tim, think about just how stupid the band must have felt standing on the greenscreen for this video. Actually, you don’t have to: here is footage of a man in a wetsuit standing in a warehouse miming playing a keyboard.

Tim: See, why did you show me that? I was quite happy believing they were in a spaceship that comprised two performance rooms, a passageway between them and NOTHING ELSE.

Tom: “Wiem Że” translates to “I Know That…”, but sadly beyond that I’m at a loss for the song’s meaning.

Tim: Google’s not very good either; something to do with showing the girls new worlds and stuff and the repeated line ‘I show my feminine charm and sex’ – basically, I haven’t a clue. Also, you know how sometimes you look up the lyrics to help you sing along a bit? Well, have a go at the chorus:

(Wiem że) Twoich oczu blask
(Wiem że) Chce zobaczyć dzisiaj znów
Chce być znów przy Tobie
(Wiem że) Powiedz że to ja
Wiesz dobrze każdy dzień
Bez Ciebie traci sens dla mnie znów

Tom: I doubt the melody would encourage a filled dancefloor to start singing along – but despite that it’s catchy enough, and I can see it getting some decent airplay here if they decided, Basshunter-style, to translate it for the UK market.

Tim: You’re right there – but then you’d lose all the weird consonants, which would spoil it somewhat for me.

Katy B – Broken Record

Has she changed?

Tom: We got very annoyed at Katy B last time for an incredibly dull song. Has she changed?

Tom: Ooh. Well, apparently yes. Once you get used to the drum and bass backing, this track seems to work rather well.

Tim: Hmm. ‘Broken Record’ seems a tad appropriate, though, as it never really goes anywhere. Jumping from moment to moment on the YouTube slider thingy, I really can’t tell when any particular part of the song should be.

Tom: This isn’t a melody-driven track, despite the fact that she can actually sing – this is a good bit of accessible drum and bass with a decent vocal over the top of it. It’s designed to get remixed, to get played in clubs, and to fill the dancefloor when paired with a heavier beat. I think it’ll do very well at that.

Tim: Yes – on that I can agree.

Tom: I’ve got to be honest, though: putting the stress on the wrong syllable in the final part, so it sounds like she’s talking about a broken record button, does really wind me up.

Tim: Also agree.

Saturday Reject: Father McKenzie – Good Enough

A bit like an 80s power ballad.

Tim: Another from Finland, this time reaching the final and eventually coming third.

Tom: And named after an obscure character from a Beatles song. This seems promising.

Tim: I really like this.

Tom: So do I. That chorus is somehow both lighters-in-the-air and fist-pumping at the same time, which is something that doesn’t happen much since 80s power ballads. Actually, this is a bit like an 80s power ballad, isn’t it?

Tim: It is, especially with that keyboard synth. We start off with a quiet one instrument and vocal intro, already with a decent energy level, and then all of a sudden everything else jumps in, and he jumps up and around a bit. Actually, put like that it’s like Love Shine A Light. Hmm. Anyway, this song peaks fairly early, but never really comes down, and it is, overall, very Eurovision worthy.

Tom: Top key change, as well – in the middle of the song. Shame this one got rejected, really; I think it’d have stood a good chance.

Tim: Two weird things, though: firstly, potentially awkward costume choice, and secondly why does he keep running back to the piano? There’s plenty of piano being played when he’s not there, so he’s clearly not necessary.

Tom: It’s like a security blanket. Only more difficult to cuddle up to.

The Human League – Never Let Me Go

Fans of eldritch horrors from beyond time and space may enjoy the video.

Tom: Fans of eldritch horrors from beyond time and space may enjoy the video. The rest of us will find it deeply unsettling.

Tim: Deeply, deeply unsettling.

Tom: The Human League have been going for nearly 35 years now. Despite their ten albums, they’re mainly known as “that group who did Don’t You Want Me”, and maybe – if they’re lucky – “didn’t they do Tell Me When as well”. This song shows no sign of changing that.

It’s the first song I’ve heard in a long time where the repeat-until-fadeout seems wrong, entirely wrong. And I don’t know why: it’s the natural point in the song for it, but most pop songs don’t use it any more – they end on a long vocal while the instrumentation reaches a natural end.

Tim: That’s pretty much what I thought – it seemed to be far too long. When it ended after I first heard it, I was struggling to remember anything other than the chorus, as if it was one long repeat to fade. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if there was a bit more to it; as it is, it’s only a few seconds long, so it goes round dozens of times,

Tom: It just seems so out of place in a song that, otherwise, is a modern electronic track. Albeit a rather dull modern electronic track.

Tim: And very, very electronic – the auto tune seems even worse than yesterday’s track. I know it’s fashionable, but can’t you just sing?

I wonder when the music industry will start thinking, ‘Do you remember autotune? Man, what the he’ll were we thinking.’ Hopefully not too long.

Mike Posner – Please Don’t Go

OH GOD THE AUTOTUNE IT’S HORRENDOUS.

Tom: Last time we heard Mike Posner, we dismissed him with the simple phrase ‘what a dick’. Has he changed since?

Tom: Nope.

Tim: OH GOD THE AUTOTUNE IT’S HORRENDOUS.

Tom: This song’s been around for a while, but it’s now getting a proper UK single release. What an incredible video, by the way – the first time I’ve seen someone use video codec artifacts as a deliberate effect.

Tim: Perhaps an incredible video, but somehow that facial hair manages to appear actually offensive to me.

Tom: Musically, it’s really quite good, even if Chinstrap McPoser does seem to automatically generate a frisson of hatred somewhere deep in my soul. He’s probably quite a nice person, but the character he plays in these videos appears to be a spanner of enormous proportions.

It’s very listenable, although it does seem rather to have gone in one ear and out the other, leaving just a vague sense of ‘that was pleasant enough’ behind it.

Tim: Really, though? For me, the voice is really, really annoying. If I had my way, this song would be one of the type of songs that I normally hate – ones like Eminem & Rihanna or Diddy Dirty Money that have a fantastic chorus totally wasted on a largely crap song. The lengthy ‘go’ and ‘don’t’ at the beginning of the choruses indicate a lot of potential, but it’s just wasted.

Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough

Well, it’s got to be better than ‘Dirty Bit’.

Tom: Well, it’s got to be better than ‘Dirty Bit’.

Tom: And indeed it is. Unlike before, when ‘Dirty Bit’ seems completely incongruous with the rest of the song, all this seems to fit together nicely – even the ‘switch up’ bit at the end really works for me.

Tim: Not me – as far as I’m concerned if a phrase like ‘switch up’ appears in anything related to music, it should indicate one thing: key change. And not one that fits in nicely with the tune: one that is entirely gratuitous and would be slammed by every sensible music critic.

Tom: It’s mostly-meaningless, catchy club music, and as long as it’s not pretending to be something greater I’ve got no problem with that.

Tim: Fair point, I suppose, although I must say this is possibly a song that would make me leave the dance floor (and as you know that’s actually fairly heavy criticism from me).

Tom: That video’s also proven something: the rolling shutter problems I complained about months ago have now made it into proper, full-budget videos. Once you see it, you can’t un-see it, and it’s really bugging me that professional producers allow it to hit their videos.

Speaking of which: did they film it in Japan just because they shoehorned the phrases “love you long time” and “Mr Roboto” into the lyrics? I’m not sure what to think of that.

Tim: And speaking of lyrics: ‘vexed-o’? Really?

Eric Saade – Popular

It’s big, it’s incredibly energetic.

Tim: Following last years slight cock-up where the people chose someone who didn’t qualify for the final, this year Sweden has a good Eurovision entry, who got almost 24% of the people’s vote (for comparison, the second placed song got 14%).

Tom: Interestingly, this has divided YouTube as well – there are a lot of dislikes on that video.

Tim: Last time we met him, you complained he’d gone ‘all plodding and melodic’. Well, no. No he hasn’t.

Tom: That’s true: this isn’t plodding, but sadly it’s not all that melodic either. “I can say / you will one day” “Be someone / before you’re gone”? It sounds like a nursery rhyme.

Tim: I don’t really want to point this out, but I’m a little surprised you missed the very first rhyme: “Stop don’t say that it’s impossible / ‘Cause I know it’s possible.”

This was, however, one of my favourites right from the start – it’s big, it’s incredibly energetic, there’s a decent tune there.

Tom: Whoa, hold up. There’s no decent tune there. It’s better than Kesha, I’ll grant you, and the the middle bit of the chorus with the synth arpeggio is decent – but the rest is a bit… well, energetically dull.

Tim: NO. I won’t let that stand. Although a lot of the times I’ve heard it it’s been alongside its main rival in the competition, Danny’s the entirely boring In The Club, so maybe it’s just a comparative thing.

Anyway, whatever you may think of the music, you can’t deny that it’s all backed up by a fantastic performance. Last year it was rain, this year he’s smashing glass – even if you don’t like the song, you’ve got to give him credit for being inventive with his staging.

Tom: I don’t like the song, but I cannot fault that staging at all: incredibly energetic with top-notch choreography. I can’t help but like him.

Tim: I hope this’ll do well, I really do. It certainly deserves to, and I, along with a vast number of other people, would be incredibly gutted if this didn’t at least make it through to the final.

Tom: I’m not holding my hopes up.

Lena Philipsson feat. Dead by April – Dancing in the Neon Light

A bit different.

Tim: Older Melodifestivalen fans than us may be able to cast their minds back to 1987 and Lena Philipsson’s performance of a rather good Swedish song entitled ‘Dansa i Neon‘.

Tom: That’s some proper eighties hair, that is. And it’s a proper eighties song. It’s got chord progressions and melody lines that have been used a thousand times since and will no doubt be used a thousand times more.

Tim: Now jump forward twenty four years to a reworked and translated performance in the interval that got such a good reception it’s being released as a single.

Tim: A bit different, yes?

Tom: If it wasn’t for those two lines at the start of the chorus, I’m not sure I’d even realise it was the same song.

Tim: I actually quite like this, despite (or possibly because of) the weird genre splicing; similarly it’s nice hearing the key change, partly because it really doesn’t belong in a song like this.

Tom: It’s got something of Evanescence about it: the combination between traditional female vocals and proper black-metal screaming. I’m not sure the screaming actually fits in, but it’s a fantastic cover version and – in my view – better than the original.

Tim: Admittedly I don’t see it being an iPod mainstay, but for the novelty factor alone it gets a thumbs up from me.

Tom: And from me.

Saturday Reject: Linda Sundblad – Lucky You

The whole song is a bit 80s Kylie

Tom: Sadly not a cover of the Lightning Seeds classic. Europlop reader Roger writes in to suggest this reject, which he reckons is better than Le Kid’s performance.

First of all, Tim, I will buy you a drink if you can tell me what that opening guitar riff is lifted from.

Tim: Do you know, that got me when I saw this on the night, and I still haven’t worked it out. I have a feeling it is Red Hot Chili Peppers; which song it is, though, I do not know.

Tom: Full marks for choreography, although the fact that none of them are actually playing annoys me more than it reasonably should.

I saw the ‘LUCKY’ spelled out in sequins on the back of her jacket, and thought “that’s a bit 80s Kylie, isn’t it?” Then I realised that really, the whole song is a bit 80s Kylie. Triumphant bridge exit and key change, with a proper breakdown before it – this could be a lost Minogue track.

Tim: I’m not so sure about the bridge exit – I’d have preferred a rerun of ‘lucky lucky you’ rather than an ‘o-oh o-oh’. Having said that, if we’re going for things I want we should also chuck in an extra key change at 2:33. And it’s not so much any more, but the first time I saw it I wanted one halfway through the second chorus (1:50), because I felt the song was dragging a bit. Would three key changes be too many?

Tom: On this song? No it wouldn’t.