Bella & Filippa – Ring Them Bells

“It’s a cut above most of the dreck you send over at Christmas.”

Tim: Until now, this pairing were only known for the 2017 Melodifestivalen entry, the quick moving, guitar strumming Crucified. With a debut album apparently on the way for next year, though, when better to get back into the game than the official Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

Tom: Literally any other time, Tim. It’s like going to the shops on Christmas Eve: everyone else is dashing there too. Also, it should be “Ring Those Bells”, if I’m going to be grumpy about it.

Tim: Oh no.

Tim: So I’m going for an unusual strategy today, because I’ll go right ahead and say it: this is not a great Christmas track. Or even a particularly good one.

Tom: And I’m also going for an unusual response: this… isn’t… bad?

Tim: What?

Tom: I mean, it’s a cut above most of the dreck you send over at Christmas. Why don’t you like it?

Tim: It’s too slow; there’s a long time before anything interesting happens; overall it just drags a bit. But dammit, there’s potential here – that “house at the end of the road” melody is lovely; the chorus, while repetitive isn’t of itself bad; and the ‘look out for the lonely people’ message is lovely.

Tom: It’s blurring the line between schlager and country, as often happens. But, yes, I’ll grant you that it’s slow — at two minutes in I was assuming we were going for the final chorus, but no, we weren’t even half way through.

Tim: Now, let’s improve it. We can’t bin off everything before forty seconds in (which would lower the general dullness score), because it’d ruin the narrative, but we can use it as a springboard, much like Mariah does with here “iiii-ii-i-isss yooo-ooo-oo-ooou” moment. Obviously don’t bring it up as enormously as that does, but if you’re not having a chorus there you’ve got to do something. Bring the next verse, and subsequent ones, up to the level of the chorus. Dial the choruses up even further, to where the existing end ones are like (though you can leave the upper vocals for the end). Finally, speed it up – played at 1.25x through YouTube, it’s a bit better.

Tom: I’m not convinced that the speed change improves it, but you’re right: it does need something else. Or, perhaps, one verse less.

Tim: Then, and only then, might you have a good song. As it is, it’s not going to end up on my Christmas playlist – and hell, I’ve got 50 Grand For Christmas on there.

Bella & Filippa – I Think Of Yesterday

“Lovely”, although I’m not sure I’m using that as a compliment.

Tim: You may remember this pair from Melodifestivalen this year with their jaunty guitar strumming Crucified; here’s a follow up.

Tim: And similar to yesterday, it’s a slightly negative track but with almost nauseatingly chirpy music.

Tom: “Lovely”. That’s the word that came to mind. Although I’m not sure I’m using it as a compliment.

Tim: To be honest, I think if I wasn’t writing this while in bright sunlight, in a good mood after a pleasant weekend spent with a bouncy castle—

Tom: I don’t want to know what you get up to you in your private life.

Tim: IT WAS A PARTY—I might be throwing stuff at the screen while yelling “he’s dumped you, get over it”, and now I’m on my third time of hearing it I’m close to doing that even now.

Tom: Mm. There’s a really good two-part middle eight here, but not much of a verse or chorus — certainly nothing I can remember afterwards. There’s nothing objectively wrong with it, but yes, I can see why it’d annoy you after a while.

Tim: I’ll keep this short, then, before it goes round again, and just say: I like it, but only as long as I’m in the right mood for it. Otherwise it can properly do one.

Saturday Reject: Bella & Filippa – Crucified

“Competing against an old man with a mouth organ.”

Tim: Back to the unembeddable heats now, and Tom, since you’ve never watched a Melodifestivalen heat, let me tell you how the results work: start with seven, and after the first round of voting, two get knocked out, and voting then recommences. After that, one finalist is announced, then the two going though Andra Chansen, and lastly the second finalist, with the remaining one thus being in fifth place. Often, that last result is obvious, and I figured that was true more than ever in heat 3, because this was competing against an old man with a mouth organ.

Tom: Heh. Mouth organ.

Tim: Yes, very good, well done. Here’s the song.

Tim: Now, much like Etzia and her roller skates, I’m not arguing this should have been a winner, or even necessarily gone straight to the final – it was a very, very strong heat.

Tom: And this, while it’s not a bad song, is only a so-so Eurovision entrant. It’s uncomfortably close to Texas Lightning.

Tim: Except, the only dodgy song – the weakest, weirdest, most novelty song – came in the top two. And this came in fifth. It’s MADNESS.

Tom: Never underestimate the power of the novelty vote, Tim.

Tim: True, but straight to the final? Damn, that’s not right.