Tim: There’s probably some sort of logic in getting rid of two letters from each of the first two words so you need to add to to the third one, but let’s not focus on it. Look! Happy flowers!
Tim: So, here’s the thing: if this came from, I don’t know, Niall Horan, I’d be entirely “huh, yeah” and then move on swiftly.
Tom: Which is actually what I did a few days ago — I thought about sending you this, but I really couldn’t find much to talk about. It’s… no, see, that’s the problem, I literally don’t know how to continue that sentence.
Tim: It’s nice guitar stuff, sure, but there are also a number of things to dislike about it, not least the vocoding on the ‘you and I’ (sorry, ‘u n eye’) in the chorus being the main one. And yet because it’s Boy In Space, I like it.
Tom: Huh. I wonder if that’s because you’re used to his music, or because it’s just a genre that works for you? That vocoding irritates me, and the rest just leaves me cold. But that’s just personal taste: and we know well that ours differ.
Tim: I don’t know if I’m subliminally predisposed to liking his music somehow, or just that I mostly like his style and therefore always give him the benefit of the doubt, but either way: I like this. There are flaws, I’m aware of them, but I like it.
“They’re switching places, with an appropriately different sound.”
Tim: Previously, him featuring her, which we both gave a fair old thumbs up to. Now they’re switching places, with an appropriately different sound.
Tom: That was a really interesting video from a produciton perspective, and — while it’s not relevant to the music — I want to talk about it for a moment. The aesthetic is very 90s, because it looks like a cheap disposable camera. 4:3, wide but limited focus, a harsh flash next to the camera and a very short shutter speed. Except there are thousands of shots in there, all taken very quickly, which would’ve been very difficult with actual film: so this is clearly a modern digital camera, presumably with the light constantly on.
It’s a very very interesting style to go for: the past, but not quite.
Anyway, the music! It’s nice enough, isn’t it?
Tim: So, this is tricky, because I like both of these folks as artists, and I liked their last collaboration, and there’s a lot in here that I do like – the melody, the voices, and the sound when it gets going is absolutely lovely.
Tom: Yes. I sense an “except” approaching at speed, though.
Tim: Except, well, there isn’t much time when it really is going. The first chorus has something to it, the second verse a little bit, second chorus a bit more, but it’s not until the closing chorus until it becomes really good and enjoyable – and that happens less than forty seconds from the end. Dammit, I really want to like this, and I do! Just…not very much of it.
‘YOU HAVE LITERALLY KILLED ME WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME YOU EVIL HARPY’
Tim: Boy In Space is is the rather silly stage name of Robin Lundbäck, the R of short-lived boyband JTR who’s become a solo singer after spending a few years mostly writing. This song, meanwhile, is one of the best heartbreak songs I’ve heard in ages.
Tom: Hmm. Why’s that?
Tim: First verse: quiet and composed tonally, measured, not too much melodrama, though obviously we need overblown lyrics about ripping the heart. First chorus: up the stakes a bit, show her actually ‘hun, I’m not in a good place right now, you’ve really hurt me’. Second verse: down a bit again, still measured and composed, but again with the somewhat over the top piercing skin vibe. Second chorus: properly up the emotion, bring up the backing, ‘HANG ON LADY I AM IN PAIN HERE’. Middle eight, wait, take a bit of a breath, before coming back for an explosive final chorus when we are shouting ‘YOU HAVE LITERALLY KILLED ME WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME YOU EVIL HARPY’.
That’s exactly I want from a heartbreak song, I think.
Tom: Hmm. Whereas it just leaves me a bit cold: yes, I agree that most of the component parts are good, or at least competent, he’s followed that recipe you’ve laid down perfectly. But on the whole it just leaves me a bit cold. Maybe I’m just not the right target for a song like this?
When my main thoughts, after the track finishes, are “why did they leave so much background hiss on this” and “why I can hear the piano keys being pressed so damn loudly”… I guess it’s not for me.