Tom: Advance warning: this is a video somewhere between ’emotional’ and ‘heartbreaking’. I recommend listening to the song on its own first, because I don’t think you’ll be able to consider it properly otherwise.
Tim: Hmm. Short but sweet.
Tom: So, without that video — well, it’s an Avicii track, isn’t it? There’s not much going on there we haven’t heard before, although that doesn’t mean it’s actually bad. He may have retired from touring, but he’s still happy to chuck out perfectly reasonable farm-house tracks like this.
Tim: “Perfectly reasonable” is a very good way to describe this – nothing new or particularly inventive, but it’ll do. Now, give me a moment to watch that video.
Oh. Oh, well that’s a hell of an emotional rollercoaster, blimey.
Tom: How on earth a video like this got suggested and approved, I’ve no idea, but I’m glad it was.
Tim: Yeah. Yeah, it’s…well, not sure really, but yeah.
“Did you ever have any of those Disney singalong videos back when you were a kid?”
Tim: Did you ever have any of those Disney singalong videos back when you were a kid? With the lyrics of the songs on screen and Mickey Mouse’s head bouncing along the top to give you the timing?
Tom: I didn’t, but I have a distinct memory of them all the same, which tells you just how much reach Disney have.
Tim: Well, that’s what this lyric video reminds me of.
Tom: And they haven’t learned what Disney, and every other decent karaoke-maker, has learned: that the bouncing ball should anticipate the lyrics slightly, and the next line should always appear a couple of beats early. If it appears right on the beat, no-one’s going to be able to read it in time. Grumble.
Tim: Grumble grumble grumble. I do wonder sometimes about the point of lyric videos – sure, they’re nicer and more fun than just a flat image of the song’s artwork, and I’ll never turn down a well produced one, but often they’re a bit shit, so why not just do the video before you release the track? I have no idea whatsoever about production costs, but I can’t help feeling that there are better uses for record label cash – hell, take off the lyrics and this’d work fine as a standard video.
Tom: If they don’t do it, someone else will. Two videos is better than one, apparently.
Tim: OH WELL NEVER MIND, let’s do the song. It’s another one off his comeback EP, and JOY OF JOYS we’re back to vaguely approaching the standard pop song structure, with a varied final chorus in there – admittedly we’re still lacking a middle eight, but at this point I’ll take anything I can get.
Tom: Bit generic, though, isn’t it? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it doesn’t seem to possess anything above the generic sort of middle-of-the-road it’ll-do-stuff that Spotify might chuck out in the middle of a playlist.
Tim: Tad generic, perhaps, and I guess we can say what we said last week: he makes good dance music, that I’m happy pressing play on a bunch of times. Rita’s bringing the good stuff with the vocals, and it all just works. Lovely.
Tim: Avicii’s back! Here’s the first one after his hiatus, the lead off a six track EP, with Sandro from Sweden on vocals. Fun fact: listed as one of the co-writers is one Dhani Lennevald, previously best known as a member of ABBA tribute group A*Teens. Who’d have thought it?
Tom: …I don’t think anyone would have thought it, Tim.
Tim: Is it just me, or is there quite a lot of All About Tonight in there? Weird thing is, comparing them it’s not actually the same, but it really struck me when I first pressed play, and now I really want to sing “and it’s all about tonight” when the pause comes after every chorus line. You get anything?
Tom: I got “The Nights” off the intro, although — again — it’s really not the same track. I think we may well have stumbled across one of the reasons that Avicii’s so popular: we all recognised something good in here, and in my case, even recognised something else of his own.
He makes good, memorable dance music.
Tim: In any case, it’s a decent track to come out with – a disappointing step further along the path towards ‘no middle eight in dance tunes’ becoming a Proper Thing, but otherwise perfectly good. Well, I say perfectly, I wouldn’t mind a remix to change the chorus from being quite so stop-start all the time. Other than those two issues, though: fine.
Tim: Oof, blimey. But secondly, and mostly, it makes the music seem like a soundtrack. But so what? Most people just hear the track? NO. YouTube’s a VERY big player in the streaming industry and the way a lot of people consume music, and watching this feels a bit like watching Steamboat Willie or some such.
Tom: You say that, but I reckon they have it on in a background tab, or gaze at the comments instead unless there’s a spectacular video. And what’s wrong with Steamboat Willie, anyway?
Tim: Oh, nothing at all – I’d just be surprised if anyone had watched it purely for the music. This, though, pretty much is a spectacular video.
Sure, the music’s there and is good, but that big dance section at the end, that’s not a dance section – that’s an accompaniment to a happy ending. I’d dance to it, sure, but I wouldn’t buy it, or possibly even listen to it on Spotify, because it’s now all about that video.
Tom: Huh. Okay, I see your logic there.
Tim: To be honest, this is a problem that’s pretty much caused itself – if YouTube’s a main way of listening to music, music has to look good in the video – so I’m not sure what the way to solve it would be. On the other hand, I’m really just hear to criticise from the sidelines rather than provide solutions, so SORT IT OUT PLEASE GUYS.
Tom: Well, that is certainly a farmhouse track. In fact, I think I might go so far to say as being a bit of a lazy farmhouse track. I know his fans slated him for moving from more traditional EDM to this, but… well, I can’t help feeling that it might be time to move on a bit further.
Tim: Yeah, though the genre splurge has just about started to work for me now, so let’s not get too radical. In the video here, we see young Tim being thoroughly irresponsible and enjoying himself.
Tom: Yes. Despite my feeling a bit bored by the formula, clearly it’s a formula that works for him.
Tim: It does, and my main thought watching this is: what a smug bastard, with his good looks and lovely hair and all that money and talent and now just enjoying himself, making excellent dance music and rubbing his success in our faces. Ugh. Sickening, really, isn’t it?
Tom: It’s a heck of a bragging video, isn’t it? All the highlights of what you can get with enormous amounts of cash. Yes. Well done there.
Tim: I get to watch that and go and get on the tube back to my job after being on holiday and YAY how great that’ll be… Again, what a smug bastard.
Tom: Without looking up anything about this song, or looking at the comments, can you tell me: who’s singing this?
Tim: And that is…Robbie Williams?
Tom: And he’s not even credited! I mean, officially he is, but not on the YouTube video or in most of the track listings. I wonder what financial arrangement made that possible?
Tim: I’m guessing something like ALL OF THE MONIES.
Tom: Indeed, this is such a lovely Robbie 90s jangly-pop song during the first parts, that I sort of forgot this was Avicii. There’s a heck of a difference between that first verse and the final, instrumental outro.
Tim: I think there’s that, and also that Avicii has in recent tracks been getting gradually less Aviicii-like, cutting back of the heavy dance beats.
Tom: But you know what? It still works. He’s still got it. And I still expect this to reach the charts.
Tim: It does work, and I hope you’re right. Also, I think one of my favourite lyric videos: creative, fun, no typos, everything it needs.
“How on earth Audra Mae doesn’t get joint credit on that song, I don’t know.”
Tim: More of the farmhouse music, you’re probably expecting; take a listen.
Tom: Ha. “Farm-house”. Well done.
Tom: Oh my stars that’s amazing. That’s just wonderful. How on earth Audra Mae doesn’t get joint credit on that song, I don’t know, because that’s just her song. I’ve thought beforethat it’s unfair that producers get very little credit compared to singers, but surely this is too far in the other direction.
Tim: Regarding the singer, I agree with you fully. Because, well, it’s a big yes to the farm, but weirdly, pretty much no house at all. I say weirdly because, well, Avicii’s pretty much the biggest dance producer out there right now and this has none of his trademarks – there’s no big dance post-chorus like there should be in, well, not just his music but in any dance track.
Tom: Don’t care. It’s wonderful. This style is something I didn’t realise I was looking for. Save the full-on dance versions for the clubs: this is just great to listen to.
Tim: See, I disagree – to be honest (and admittedly probably because it so contrasted with my expectations, as I do quite like that remix), I find it kind of just dull – just somewhat bland country-infused pop. Also a bit odd with the bit at the start where the singer sounds like she’s going in to Skyfall. Shame.
Tom: Get out. She pretty much does Skyfall, and it’s exactly what the song needs.
Tim: This is pretty much the least Avicii-sounding song he’s ever put out since he adopted that mantle. And it’s brilliant for it.
Tom: You say that, but this now sounds rather like what an Aviici track should be to me — or at least, what I’ve now come to associate with him. It’s been quite the successful change.
Tim: Right – Wake Me Up went someway to ditching the piano dance that he’d become almost synonymous with, and here it’s completely out of the window with not a keyboard in sight. It’s not entirely unrecognisable – the brass has filled in the gap, but otherwise a similar formula – but this will certainly go a long way to quietening the crowd that unimaginatively describe him as a one-trick pony. And that’s a very good thing.
Tom: Agreed. This is just a brilliant track, and while it’ll probably need a remix before it hits the Clubland ‘best of’, that’s not a complaint: I like this new Avicii.
Tim: Blimey, Danny Saucedo’s come a long way since then. But I think we’ve got a bit distracted. What was I going to say? Ah, yes. You’ll need a fairly substantial remix before this’ll get played out in any big clubs, I’d imagine, because for the most part this is, well, country music?
Tom: The presence of an acoustic guitar doesn’t make it country music.
Tim: True, but merge that with the vocal stylings and you’re not far off.
Tom: And admittedly I did expect a much bigger bass drop after that build* — this isn’t a club floorfiller, but it is something I very much want to add to my playlist. This is music for radio play, for listening to, for putting on the inevitable ‘chilled dance’ compilation at the end of the year — and there’ll be a big banging remix for the clubs.
Tim: The chorus is fine, and the vocal could work well on top of a dance beat, but let be honest you’d have a difficult time dancing feet off the ground, hands in the air to that guitar business.
Tom: Speak for yourself: this gets filed under ‘euphoric’ for me, and it’ll work very nicely indeed with a remix.
Tim: Oh, a remix, absolutely. Guitar on its own, as it is – not so much.
Tom: I very, very much like this.
Tim: Oh, it’s certainly not a bad track – it just doesn’t really blend at all so I’m not sure what to make of it. Could be a huge hit, but then it could also flop disastrously. Hope it’s not the latter.
Tim: By quite some way his best work since Bromance.
Tom: Really? I have to disagree: that synth melody seems to be the opposite of catchy. It seems almost like a kid playing random notes on a keyboard. I can still hum “Bromance”. This one? Not so much.
Tim: Well, I think you’re wrong. It’s not as good as Bromance, sure, but it’s still good, dancey, and it’s got a good vocal, which some of his have missed.
I do have one issue, though: that break in the middle. Yes, it stops people ripping it off YouTube, but bloody hell, is that really the best way they could fit something like that in?
Tom: The more disturbing it is, the better, as far as the labels are concerned. Admittedly it just means people will search for “aviicy siluetts mp3” and find it anyway, but still.
Tim: True. The only benefit is that if this gets into the top 10, it’ll sound lovely coming out of Radio 1 who, since they’ve started playing the videos on the website during the chart show, have to broadcast the video edits over the radio so it all syncs up properly. Somehow, every single person involved forgot about videos like this. Numpties.
Tom: First of all – that’s a silly idea. And second of all – surely they’ll have an edited version just for that?
Tim: No, or at least they didn’t when they did it with the whole top 100 singles since 2000 or whatever it was a few weeks back – I remember quite vividly Scott Mills deciding to talk over bits like that and inform the listener what was going on, so they wouldn’t miss out. But anyway, bloody good track.