Saturday Flashback: Loona – Vamos A La Playa

“Let’s go to the beach and have a party.”

Tim: The third and final Flashback for the time being coming from French radio, this cover of a 1999 track by pretty-much-one hit wonder Miranda came out last September.

Tom: I’d completely forgotten this song! This was on the radio when I was about 15, I think. I liked it back then.

Tim: In case you didn’t get it from the video, the general message here is: let’s go to the beach and have a party.

Tom: “La Playa”. Got it.

Tim: It has an infectious hook, a pleasant summer feel to it and gentle product placement in the video.

Tom: As well as the typical “let’s see how close can we get to showing nudity before the TV channels won’t show us any more”.

Tim: Well, naturally. It is, basically, entirely generic. In a good way, though, because this sort of tune is nice: it’s happy, upbeat, and if you complain about it you can sod off and be miserable elsewhere, thank you very much.

Tom: The bits that aren’t the chorus are really terrible, and that rising-siren sample in the background really annoys me. Right, I’ll sod off elsewhere.

Tim: Good, because you’re wrong. Though, if you want to hear the original again, it’s here, with a fairly heated multilingual argument about whose version is better in the comments and with some vastly less attractive models in the video, so you probably wouldn’t like it.

Tom: Can’t hear you. I’ve sodded off elsewhere.

Rebecca & Fiona – Hard

“My word, that takes a long time to get going.”

Tim: This is one side of the new double A-side from these two, the other being the somewhat uninspiring If She Was Away; this one’s a bit better.

Tom: My word, that takes a long time to get going.

Tim: Perhaps – it sort of strikes me as like the six-minute full version you get of most dance tracks which have filler at each end for the DJ to play with, though that normally gets cut down for the radio edit, or whatever this is.

Not much in the way of lyrics, so the main focus is clearly meant to be on the music. This is not an issue for me, since the music’s good. A tad reminiscent of other tracks occasionally, but again I have no problems.

To be honest, it’s probably what would be the B-side it it wasn’t a double A-side, what with the other one having the video and lots of words and stuff, but I prefer it.

Tom: It’s begging to get mixed in to another few tracks – to be used as a backdrop by the DJ. On its own, it does drag – even at three minutes long – but any competent DJ could make it a lot more exciting.

Tim: It’s middle of the set club night tuneage, and it would fit in well at any decent club, I believe.

Tom: Damn right.

Johan Agebjörn – Watch The World Go By

“Pretty damn good.”

Tim: A similar style of music to last Thursday’s rather wonderful Magic, and indeed a not all that different video, although instead to having two kids having fun all on their own, it’s two grown-ups.

Tim: It’s not quite as fantastic, obviously, but it sure as heck is pretty damn good.

Tom: Is there a name for this genre of music? Still has a beat to it, but nots of pink-noise sand-falling transitions, overexposed hippie-esque videos, and so on? It’s all rather lovely, and I feel like I can’t easily categorise it.*

*As we all know, categorising things is serious business.

Tim: I don’t know – this sort of thing generally gets described as a mix of synth-pop and indie electronica, though that’s a bit of a mouthful.

Regardless of what we define it as, though, it’s enchanting, the video’s full of pretty colours, and it’s got the same honey quality you used to describe the first Sound of Arrows track we reviewed – it captures you and then you just drift along nicely, and you think ‘ahh, this is nice. What was I doing? Oh yeah, I’ve just broken my arm. Man, this hurts. Ooh, but this music’s good. Ahh, this is nice.’

Tom: I did start singing the ‘na na na’s from Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head over the top of the quiet bits, though.

Tim: And here’s something we’ve not done before: have a Spotify link to the released-a-couple-of-months-ago album: WHOOSH.

Dionne Broomfield feat. Lil Twist – Foolin’

A cracking track with a completely unnecessary rap bridge.

Tom: This is a cracking neo-Motown track with a completely unnecessary rap bridge added to it.

Tom: Now, I love this style. Sounds like it came straight out of the seventies, only the lyrics have been updated and the sound mix is a bit more modern and compressed. And that voice! That’s a proper soul singer voice is ever there was one.

Tim: I don’t like it. She’s TOO YOUNG, DAMMIT. FIFTEEN. THAT’S FIF. TEEN.

Tom: What. What? You’re kidding me. That voice is incredible – without the photo, she could be any age at all. The rap part isn’t bad – it actually fits the track very well, and in another track I’d say it was good – but it just seems an unnecessary way to add spark to a track that’s doing really very well on its own, thank you very much.

Tim: See also Flo Rida interfering with The Saturdays, and Alexandra Burke, Pit Bull interfering with Jennifer Lopez, and many, many others. Yes it sucks, but we just have to try and cope. And that is what album versions are there for.

Whigfield – C’est Cool

With bonus Whigfield single-buying reminiscences!

Tim: ‘Saturday Night’ was the first single I ever bought.

Tom: It was very nearly the first single I bought, before I decided that actually I’d rather spend the money on something else instead. (The actual first single? The Children in Need version of ‘Perfect Day’. No regrets.)

Tim: I needed it for a school dance competition, you see (which I totally won), and the single came with six remixes attached to it, of which the Extended Nite Mix was by far and away the best. It prompted my granddad to express amazement at how much you get on CDs these [those] days.

Tom: The “cassingle” had the same remixes. I remember it well. I also remember being somewhat confused by the concept of including the same song six times on one cassette. I was new to this whole ‘pop music’ thing.

Tim: I have no idea why I remember that, from seventeen years ago, in such detail.

Tom: And the strange thing is, I remember my nearly-buying-it in detail too. Formative years, and all that.

Tim: Um, where were we? Oh, right, her new song.

Tim: Well, first things first* – ‘ba ba-ba ba’ is no ‘dee-dee da-na na’.

* Why do people say that? What else would be first?

Tom: Well, no.

Tim: But anyway, it’s repetitive, lyrically brain-numbing, not particularly exciting – basically, everything that makes up a shit track.

Tom: After this many years, you think she’d come out with something better.

Tim: But, it’s not shit, though.

Tom: What? I don’t trust your judgement. You’re still on the codeine.

Tim: Nah, finished that a while back. But anyway, when did you ever trust my judgement?

Ricky Martin – Más

Ooh, like it a LOT.

Tom: My opening sentence was originally going to be: “I expect to see an English version of this out in a couple of months, probably with a harder beat behind it.”

Tim: Ooh, like it a LOT.

Tom: Turns out that Ricky Martin’s management are way ahead of me, and “Freak of Nature” will be out pretty damn soon.

Tim: Still good, but to be honest I wasn’t really listening to the words – just the general sound of it. Probably because I was still in a ‘this is foreign’ frame of mind.

Tom: I still prefer the original, though. It’s got a great shoutalong chorus (“más” means “more”), whereas the English chorus of ‘fun fun fun’ is a bit too Beach Boys-esque to really work in this track. It’s bloody good, quite frankly.

Tim: It is, it really is, although after about three and half minutes I was ready for an ending. And not in my usual ‘I’m bored’ way, but in a ‘this is dragging a bit’ way.

Tom: Somehow, it manages to still sound like Ricky Martin while still being a modern pop song: for someone who most of the world still associates with Livin’ La Vida Loca, that’s not a bad feat.

I have to ask, though – what’s going on with the lopsided half-shaven hairstyle?

Tim: Well, I saw that and immediately thought prison. It’s probably not that, though.

Saturday Flashback: Jasper Forks – Alone

I can’t believe that’s the same guy that remixed Das Boot.

Tim: Much like our previous Saturday Flashback, this was heard whilst in France and released back in January. You’ll know of the artist’s work, although probably not by this name – born Alex Christensen, he released the dance version of Das Boot we reviewed a cover of ages ago as U96, and more recently he entered Eurovision for Germany in 2009 as Alex Swings Oscar Sings! Anyway, this sounds like nothing of either of those.

Tom: That really does sound utterly different, doesn’t it? I can’t believe that’s the same guy that remixed Das Boot.

Tim: I’ll go out on a limb: I’m not sure it’s really possible to dislike this.

Tom: Clearly you try not to read YouTube comments.

Tim: No – that way madness lies. Some people may wish it to be a bit heavier than it starts off with, and I’ll admit I was getting that way after two minutes, but when it starts to build up and then more or less becomes an entirely different song for a time it all seems great.

Tom: It does keep genre-switching, doesn’t it? It’s not like the quiet bit in Guru Josh Project’s Infinity: you can’t raise your arms up high to it in a club – it’s too long for that.

Tim: I don’t really know why it works – shifting genres, you certainly couldn’t stick a verse from a Lady Gaga tune into the middle of a Céline Dion song, say – and yet I think it really does. Love it.

Tom: I’m not sure it works. I’ll tolerate it.

Gina G – Next 2 U

Yes, really. (With bonus DJ Otzi reminiscences!)

Tom: Really?!

Tim: Yes. Really.

Tim: Quiet for five years, and then a few weeks ago this came along. It’s only just here because I wanted to see how well it would do first, and, well, I’ll just say it hasn’t charted YET. Anywhere.

Tom: That’s… not all that shocking.

Tim: Yep. Disappointing, yes, but surprising, really not. It lacks a catchy chorus, and really anything hugely memorable. And while there’s a sort of energy there, it’s really nothing out of the ordinary – just seems to be going through the motions a bit. (Feel free to insert a ‘that’s what she said’ here, by the way.)

Tom: Everything just seems to run together. There’s no… well, for want of a better term, there’s no “ooh-aah” moment in there – either a Gina G one or a DJ Otzi one.

Tim: DJ Otzi workplace anecdote: someone put the original version of ‘Hey Baby’ on, and I commented that the DJ Otzi version is so much better (obviously). She didn’t believe me, so put it on my iPod and took it in the next day to play it. She still didn’t believe me. And I was sad.

Back to what we’re meant to be doing, though, and on a second listen I think the chorus is actually OK. Can’t remember the verses, but the chorus will do for me.

Tom: …I can’t remember it at all. DJ Otzi is now filling my head. It’s like I’m 16 again and back at the funfair that visited Nottingham – where every other stall and ride seemed to be blasting this out of their speakers. It’s a bit better than Gina G.

The Sound of Arrows – Magic

It’s AMAZING. And you would be wrong to disagree.

Tim: Released as an EP a couple of years back, this song has been fiddled around with and as of yesterday has a video and, according to their Twitter babblings, a re-release date of August. And, well, it’s AMAZING. And you would be wrong to disagree. But I have a feeling you will, somewhat strongly.

Tom: All right, I’ll brace myself.

Tim: So before you listen, please do two things for me:

  1. Remember that we like The Sound of Arrows a lot, because their music is very good.
  2. Be in a Common People frame of mind, rather than an In A Country Churchyard one.

Oh, and turn on HD and put it full screen.

Tom: Right. I will do this.

Tim: OH MY GOD I LOVE IT SO MUCH. The adults are gone, the kids are a bit nervous but then they’re in a world where they can do what they want, and play nicely, and vandalise a car or two. It’s everything we wanted to do when we were kids but weren’t allowed. It’s PROPER.

Tom: And all it took was six billion people to be exterminated. Well, that might not be true: they might have been snatched away from their families and sent to some kind of duplicate Earth filled with inexplicable monsters, but either way that’s a pretty bleak thought.

Tim: EVERYTHING WE WANTED TO DO. They ‘seize a chance, follow a dream’. Because ‘there are wonders we haven’t seen yet.’ This whole video, it’s, well if I was in a cynical mood, I’d probably be all—no, you know what? This would pull me right out of that mood. Example? I translated the note she was writing to her parents, and I actually went ‘ahhhh’. Here.

Tom: And you’ll keep doing that right until one of them gets a cut and dies of gangrene.

Tim: Well, aren’t we the optimist today? Also, and this will come as no shock to you whatsoever, I want Pom-Pom in my life. Now. Main question, I suppose, is would I like it if I hadn’t sen the video? And, well, I don’t care, because I have seen the video, and I have SUCH A HUGE GRIN on my face right now, and whatever you think, just remember: The W.O.R.L.D. is full of M.A.G.I.C.

Tom: Here’s the thing: I went back and listened to the track again, on its own, without the video, without the kids’ voices. And then I got it. Then I got the huge grin. It doesn’t need the video. It’s an amazing, almost OMD-like bit of music – and from me, that’s a very high compliment – and I love it.


Tom: When I’m not being distracted by the possible extermination of six billion people and the inevitable death of the children, I think it’s lovely.

J-Mi & Midi-D feat. Hanna Stockzell – All Night Long

“Oh, that will do nicely.”

Tim: Yes, the same Hanna Stockzell we featured yesterday.

Tom: Wait a minute. Hanna Stockzell! Otherwise known as one half of, which I know from my DDR-playing childhood.

Tim: Yeah – did I not mention that? Oh well, you’ve figured it out on your own. Good work.

Tom: No wonder her tracks sound familiar to me!

Tom: Oh, that will do nicely. I may have to try and find the album. When I was at university, I used music like this as a way to make me work: the low-attention-span part of my brain was busy going “ooh, shiny”, so the rest of my brain could get in flow and actually make things. To this day, listening to this gives me a vague feeling that I should be productive. A weird association, I’ll grant you, but it works.

Tim: I must say I somewhat dislike the massive autotune, though after a while I actually get used to it when it sounds like Still Alive.

Tom: I’m so used to it as an effect that I didn’t even notice – it just sounded normal to me.

Tim: Well, I do however love the rest. The energy, the sheer and unashamed pop-ness of it, the instrumental bits that follow the choruses. Hell, it really is like a modern-day Alice Deejay. BRILLIANT.

Tom: You keep using that analogy—

Tim: I do, don’t I? Hmm.

Tom: I’m not sure it holds; Alice Deejay was about dance music – upbeat, European dance, sure, but not bubblegum pop like this. It’s not really a major quibble, though; I still bloody love the song.

Tim: The key change is a bit good as well. But you don’t need to be told that. One final notes: J-Mi & Midi-D’s single from last August is worth checking out.

Tom: I’ll do just that.