Saturday Reject: Andreas Johnson – Army of Lovers

“It’s got the elements, sure, but they don’t quite add up right.”

Tim: Tom, you’ll be delighted to have it pointed out to you that is is now verging on twenty years since Glorious became the international smash hit he became famous for.

Tom: It is still a great song. And “Sing For Me”, eighteen years old, is also still brilliant. The fact he’s still going is actually a bit heartwarming.

Tim: Put it like that, I guess it is actually. This one got through to Andra Chansen at this year’s Melodifestivalen.

Tom: That really wants to be a Big Emotional Song, doesn’t it? And it doesn’t quite make it.

Tim: Entirely correct. Nineteen seconds into that I thought “this is basically a U2 song, isn’t it”, and then two and a half minutes later I thought “that was basically a U2 song, wasn’t it”. To be precise, it’d be from roughly their early ’00s phase, with songs like Beautiful Day and Elevation, and to be honest that a period of theirs I very much enjoyed. This song, though, doesn’t quite do it for me – it’s got the elements, sure, but they don’t quite add up right, they don’t provide the big moment when everything really kicks off.

Tom: I wonder why not? He’s got the voice, the track’s got all the elements, it just… doesn’t work somehow. It’s down the composition, I guess: some things resonate and some don’t.

Tim: And so I guess it’s done for. Shame, really, as there was a small bit of potential.

Andreas Johnson – One Man Army

Energetic instrumentation, choruses and YouTube compression.

Tom: Ooh, Andreas Johnson. This bodes well.

Tom: Those opening notes have so much promise. It’s just waiting to burst out into a massive chorus!

Tim: Now, this isn’t as big or as loud as Solace was, but we still have the traditionally energetic instrumentation, choruses and YouTube compression that we expect from Herr Johnson, and I like this considerably. It’s basically your typical ‘I’ll do anything for you’ love song but ramped up to way beyond the usual.

Tom: And somehow it doesn’t seem melodramatic: I don’t know if it’s refuge in audacity or just very good production, but this sounds lovely. And how can an electric guitar part be ‘the quiet bit’? That’s amazing.

Tim: One of the best things about it is how just as you think it might be settling into repeat until fade territory, it comes back and blasts you with a bridge full of reasons why this person’s so great, why he loves her so much, and then a final declaration of devotion once again. If you’re paying attention to the lyrics, it’s beautiful.

Tom: Maybe when I go back and press ‘play’ again, I’ll do just that.

Tim: On the other hand, if you’re just paying attention to the lyrics, you’re missing out on a whole lot of fantastic music, so don’t do that.

Andreas Johnson – Solace

It kicks in like a mule.

Tim: Andreas Johnson (known primarily for his aptly-titled 1999 hit, Glorious), has got a new song out. The chorus received its debut over the summer as the theme tune to Sweden’s version of The Biggest Loser*; the full song was released a week or two ago, and it’s called Solace.

* A reality TV show which is not, as I had hoped, a sort of X Factor for uber-geeks – instead it’s a ‘let’s all watch the fatties try to lose weight’ show.

Tom: What a fantastic song – and what a shame that YouTube has knackered the sound quality on it. There’s almost Polyphonic Spree levels of instrumentation there, all cranked up to 11, and it’s been destroyed by compression. If you have Spotify, listen to it there; it’s still overcompressed, but it’s not quite as bad.

Tim: Overall, and after a few listens, I think I quite like this. The chorus is good – lyrics are a bit generic, but they’re very singable, with a good tune – and the instrumentation is excited and energetic. And I’m not quite sure why exactly, but I really really like the bridge before the final chorus.

Tom: This is the first time in a long while I’ve heard the opening bars of a song and just said “oh, yes”. I always liked Glorious for its over-the-top production, and nearly ten years later it’s good to see that not too much has changed.

Tim: That final chorus, though, is one of a few things I’m not so keen on (another is that the verses can sound a bit whiny) – I know the lone voice fits perfectly with the ‘there’s a place where all the madness disappears’ and stuff, and so technically it’s a good ending for the song, but personally I would much prefer it if, say, the instrumentals had kicked in for one last bit, maybe the second half of the last chorus: ‘…I’ll be falling too. NOISE When you’re stuck…’ That’s just me, though.

Tom: You’re absolutely right. It kicks in like a mule, but just dies out like a simile you can’t think of an ending for. It needs to end on a bang, not a whimper. And a key change.

Tim: I disagree – I know I said I’d prefer it if the song finished with a bang, and I would, but as the song it is, it can’t. The song is about leaving this world behind and moving on to a place where Andreas and the listener can be free to relax and feel calm.

Tom: The Peak District?

Tim: Quiet, you. I’m trying to have a serious moment here. A loud ending would destroy all that. If the words were completely different, then yes, definitely finish it loud. Right now, though, the ending is exactly what it should be.