Avicii feat. Agnes & Vargas & Lagola – Tough Love

“Ah, a Eurovision entrant.”

Tim: Second single from the upcoming album (which, I’ve since found out, is getting the profits donated to a mental health organisation, so it’s not icky after all).

Tom: They didn’t really get off to a flying start with the first single, so I’ve not got high hopes.

Tim: Piano dance is so ten years ago, country guitar so five years ago, so right now we’ve got, well, this.

Tom: Ah, a Eurovision entrant. Specifically, the type that uses some traditional instrument and scale for one bit while otherwise adhering to European pop norms.

Tim: It is a bit odd, isn’t it? Well, to most Western European ears at least. Took me a few listens to enjoy this, for that and also the same reason Wake Me Up took a bit of getting used to: it’s just so different, and so initially janky from one style to the next, that it seems almost irritating. After a couple of times, though, it kind of works a bit, in the way that I at least appreciate both bits individually, and am more or less okay with them being mixed up, I guess?

Tom: There are some really inspired parts in here. Okay, there’s one really inspired part in here, and it’s one chord progression in the middle eight. Maybe I would learn to love it, but I just don’t think I’m going to give it that chance.

Tim: Reading that back it comes across quite harsh, but I do enjoy it. Kind of.

John Dahlbäck feat. Agnes – Life (Diamonds In The Dark)

“Well, that’s a lot better than the original.”

Tim: About a year ago, Swedish DJ John Dahlbäck brought out Life, a dance track that didn’t take the world by storm but was still fairly good. Twelve months later, there’s Agnes doing some vocal work and a video to wrap it all up nicely.

Tom: Well, that’s a lot better than the original.

Tim: Indeed – it’s safe to say the original somewhat pales in comparison, and it kind of underlines the fact that while there are lots of good instrumental dance track out there, many could be made a lot better by sticking a vocalist on.

Tom: As Avicii proved so well with ‘Seek Bromance‘.

Tim: We still have the decent dance tune below it, but now also some good singing on the top. Most of the time you can appreciate the pleasant melodies, the decent crafting and melding of the two, and the picturesque shots in the video. And when you’re drunk, you can sing along with the howling and wailing bits. Something for everyone.

Tom: It’s not a floor-filler as far as I can tell, but it’s not a floor-killer either.

Tim: Oh, and that annoying bit at the end is a throwback to the original with the two minutes of intro and outro for mixing. Less annoying if you think about it, though, as it’s now the bit that a radio DJ will talk over and not ruin a chorus.

Tom: “You’re listening to DANCE FM. How’s YOUR Saturday going? Text and let us know, we want to hear from YOU. PLEASE. We’re DESPERATE.”

Tim: Reminds me of a DJ who filled in for Dev on the Radio 1 early breakfast show for one week a while back; text-in theme was, on Monday, the ever-inventive game of hairdresser puns. You know, A Cut Above, Curl Up and Dye, etc. Because that was so brilliant, Tuesday was fish and chip places, Wednesday was kebab shops, and by Friday we’d sunk to tanning salons. “We’re going to start you off with Tanerife, but what have you got?” Answer, going by what was read out over the next hour and the increasing anguish in his voice: absolutely nothing. He wasn’t invited back.

Agnes – All Want Is You

“There doesn’t seem to be that much to it.”

Tim: It’s another lyrics video! And this time, they’ve worked so hard that you can’t actually see some of it. Yay.

Tom: Let it go, Tim.

Tim: Oh, fine.

Tim: Tune, though, is good, though to be honest I’m not sure what there is to say about it, because there doesn’t seem to be that much to it. I like the you-oo-oo-oo-ou bits, and can imagine waving my hands around to them, and those occasional big beats that come in serve to give the tune some proper life, whenever it occasionally feels like it’s drying up.

Tom: There is a bit too much “drying up” in there for me, which is strange given how much I enjoyed Leona Lewis’ track yesterday. They’re very similar in tone, and yet this one doesn’t seem to work as well. This just seems less raw, less emotional, less… honest. It’s a generic dance-y track.

Tim: It is. And it’s a lot dancier than the first track off her album was; I’d normally put that as a good thing for me, I’m not so sure here, because it’s not got the same emotional pull. Admittedly, it’s not meant to have, what with it being a completely different type of tune with a different message entirely, but that last one was so definite in wanted it wanted to be (as a song) that this almost seems a bit half-baked.

Tom: Agreed. It’s stuck in some kind of odd between-genres dead-space, and I’m not sure it’s a good spot for it to be.

Tim: I almost feel there’s potential here that just isn’t reached – it should be (and probably can be) a much stronger track. It’s not even giving me enough energy to write a decent review about it, and that’s a proper shame.

Agnes – One Last Time

Whoa. That is emotional.

Tim: Remember Agnes, off of four years ago?

Tom: Nope.

Tim: Yes you do, you know, her.

Tom: Oh, her.

Tom: Whoa. That is emotional.

Tim: Bit different, isn’t it? Previously was CLUB BANGER, but now we have beat-heavy ballad, and I like it. Partly because it’s been a while since I heard a song where the emotion of the lyrics is mirrored so perfectly in both the delivery of them and the music behind them.

Tom: Sinéad O’Connor’s version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” comes to mind. Not because this song’s equal to it – it’s a good track, but it’s not that good – but becaues it has that perfect match between vocals and instrumentation.

Tim: Right. Normally something seems a tad off – maybe it’s a bit too fast, or the voice is too excited – but here it just seems to work. She’s not too over-the-top screamy desperate, and the music’s got just the right amount of, well, whatever it is that it needs to be right. (That made sense in my head, I promise.)

Tom: Once I parsed that sentence, I can only agree.

Tim: It’s even there in the video – the quiet longing, not overplayed but just enough to really get you if you’re feeling a bit emotional. Basically, here everything goes together perfectly, and because of that, full marks.

Tom: It’s a proper break-up song. If you’re in the mood for that, well, it will do the job nicely.

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.