Axwell Λ Ingrosso feat. Trevor Guthrie – Dreamer

“Let’s not focus on that.”

Tim: New one off the pairing, who released their first proper album last month.

Tom: They should have just called themselves “Two Thirds of Swedish House Mafia”.

Tim: Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, though.

Tim: I like that. It’s got strong lyrics, with a couple of people who have big aspersions, and ideally the means to make them happen. If they don’t, of course, then I guess they’ll be eternally disappointed, but let’s not focus on that.

Tom: It also sounds a bit like they’ve got the string section from Coldplay’s Viva La Vida popping up a couple of times, but let’s not focus on that either.

Tim: The good dance beat and production we’d expect from these guys, and the vocals – well, is it just me, or do basically all male dance vocalists sound the same? Admittedly I’m fairly sure I could recognise Aloe Blacc, who was the one off Wake Me Up, but Trevor here styles himself as a solo artist, has appeared on only one other track that we’ve featured here and yet I think I’d struggle to pick this voice out of an aural line up made of any number of other ‘feat.’ vocals.

Tom: That’s true of a lot of vocalists, male and female. Not just for music, either: it’s the same reason that every YouTube video essay sounds the same.

Tim: Fair point, I guess, and maybe that’s the idea – keep the vocalists generic to focus on the dance music – but it still seems a bit weird. Anyway, good tune here.

Tom: It’s not bad. But, as ever, it’s no “Don’t You Worry Child”. Maybe they should have kept the other third.

Axwell Λ Ingrosso – More Than You Know

“You know what you’re going to hear.”

Tim: Their new one, and I’l be honest: you know what you’re going to hear.

Tim: A standard vocal on top of a sturdy dance beat, an almost a capella pre-chorus, quick vocal chorus and then we’re ALL IN for the dance heavy part.

Tom: And it is very standard. None of it stands out for me; it’s a middle-of-the-night track. I can’t see many people shouting “yes, this is my song”.

Although, to be fair, I haven’t heard the transition from lyrics to synth happening in the middle of a line before. That’s at least a bit interesting.

Tim: It seems that two verses and two choruses, give or take a bit, is just the way dance tunes seem to be coming these days, which is a damn shame, because I do love a good middle eight, but there you go, guess we’ll have to cope.

Tom: There is technically a pre-chorus in there that could sort-of be a middle eight, I guess, but you’re right: traditional pop song structure is being abandoned here in favour of ‘whatever sounds good’.

Tim: And I know I started this off by setting the expectations as standard, but that’s only because standard Axwell Λ Ingrosso is very good stuff. I’d like a bit more of it, but I’ll take it as it is.

Tom: Although why you’d take an early-1990s video camera to a 2017 dance concert, I’ve no idea. This “slap a 90s filter on everything” is getting old.

Axwell Λ Ingrosso – Sun Is Shining

“Once it finally kicks in, yes.”

Tim: Tom, you are going to have the exact same complaint here that you had with Something New – namely, that despite being four and a half minutes, it’s only part of a song.

Tom: GET OFF THE TRAIN TRACKS. THERE IS A TRAIN COMING, YOU DICK. Anyway. Sorry. Oddly, I don’t actually have that complaint on this one — it sounds like a complete track to me, and not a bad one.

Tim: Huh, fair enough. I think for me mostly it’s the repeat to fade, because who the hell ever heard of that in a dance track?

Tom: No-one since about the mid-90s. Which, actually, is a bit what this sounds like to me.

Tim: With the exception of the post-chorus (which I would happily ditch entirely as I find it frankly quite unpleasant), it’s a great tune, though.

Tom: Once it finally kicks in, yes; that long first verse has sudden sparks of inspiration in it that keep me going, but it still felt like a long wait.

Tim: I’d love to hear a properly finished version of it, because now THE SUN IS SHINING, and, whoever ‘you’ is, I’m fairly sure that they are as well. WE’RE ALL SHINING, in fact, because that’d be nice wouldn’t it?

Axwell Λ Ingrosso – Something New

“One of the meanings of lambda is binding constructions in lambda calculus”

Tom: That is an uppercase Greek letter lambda in the credit, something that every music site seems to be copying and pasting without comment. Normally I’d replace it with “feat.” or “and”, but given that one of the meanings of lambda is binding constructions in lambda calculus, I’ll allow it.

Tim: I canot BELIEVE more music sites aren’t commenting on that.

Tom: ANYWAY. Two-thirds of Swedish House Mafia here…

Tom: …which is fitting, because this is a brilliant first two-thirds of a song.

Tim: What?

Tom: It’s clearly building: at the end of that “we belong to something new” I was expecting a big drop, and after the second instrumental build I was frankly expecting something ASTONISHING.

Instead we got a few bars of a first-chorus-quality drop, and then… it was pretty much it. Either it was back to the verse, or it was the end of the song.

Tim: Huh. Not entirely sure I agree with you there. Yes, if this was a stock song structure there’d be a middle eight and closing section after that, but I think it also works as an outro. Would I say no to some more? Absolutely not. But I don’t think it qualifies as particularly lacking – that’s a perfectly good dance section, and shouldn’t be dismissed as just a build.

Tom: I can only assume that the other one from Swedish House Mafia was generally responsible for providing some sense of LOUD BANGING CHOON CLOSURE and the other two didn’t know what to do without him.

Tim: Except write lyrics at 2:40 talking about Pret a Manger.

Tom: What do you… oh, for crying out loud. I can’t hear that any other way now.

Tim: Sir, your are very, very welcome.

Axwell – Center of the Universe

“That’s not really as euphoric and spectacular, is it?”

Tom: So after the excellent Heart is King, what’s he up to next?

Tim: Now that’s a man who takes care when he’s crossing the road. And it’s an unusual off-licence that has a massive iMac purely for CCTV purposes, but never mind. The music.

Tom: Oh. Well, that’s not really as euphoric and spectacular, is it? In my head, it scarcely holds together as a track: it’s a piano loop, some vocals, and barely enough production to make it danceable.

Tim: I don’t know – you’re right, but, from the video, it seems that it’s not trying to be all that. If we’re talking about a guy who can be inspired to go out clubbing after hearing a few piano notes, it’s seems that a fairly quiet beat would suffice.

Tom: All the parts are there, but for me it just doesn’t hang together. Where other tracks have elicited all sorts of emotional reactions from me, this one just left me cold. That final chorus isn’t bad, I suppose, but I’d be waiting for the next track if this played on the dancefloor.

Tim: Yeah – artistically it may be justified, but it’s not hugely likely to do it for the masses unless you’re just relying on the name thing. Nice enough to listen to, though, for me anyway.

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.

Tim Berg – Seek Bromance

Here’s a nice Swedish dance choon for you.

Tim: Here’s a nice Swedish dance tune for you, by a new bloke called Tim Berg. Well, mostly. He did the backing music, which – as an instrumental track called Bromance – has been all over Scandinavian clubs and dance radio the past few months. It is rather good indeed on its own.

It’s also been up on YouTube for people to play around with. One such person is Axwell (off Swedish House Mafia and Axwell & Bob Sinclar’s What a Wonderful World), who took it and bunged the vocals of the otherwise largely unremarkable Love U Seek on top of it. That bootleg got very popular, and so, with a bit of rights fiddling and re-recording, has been chosen as the proper UK release, now called Seek Bromance (clever, isn’t it?).

Tom: Bromance is a lovely track, but I can’t help but feel it’s rather close to plagiarising the lead melody from the absolutely gorgeous Still Alive, from Mirror’s Edge – the second best piece of video game music ever (after the coincidentally-named Still Alive from Portal). Hell, even the synth patch used in Bromance sounds similar.

It’s still a great bit of music though. I think it’s better without the vocals, but I understand that you pretty much need them for a commercial UK release. I can see myself listening to the original of Bromance quite a lot.

Tim: Do you know, I agree with absolutely everything you just wrote, and I enjoyed the slight campness of the music descriptions. I hadn’t heard Still Alive, so thank you for introducing me to it. I’ve a feeling most people will think the same about the vocal (especially DJs), so what’ll likely happen is that Seek Bromance will only really be heard on the radio and before old-school CD-buying people skip to track 2, while the original will keep being played in the clubs. A good thing, I believe.