Darin – Identitetslös

“Are we listening to the same chorus?”

Tim: New one off Darin, who seems to be struggling with a crisis of confidence – who is he, where does he belong? He is, in fact, a man without identity, or at least that’s what these lyrics would have us believe.

Tim: And oh my good LORD that’s a great chorus. We’ve not featured Darin much recently because his tracks have all been a bit damp or guitary or non-notable.

Tom: Yeah, to be fair, in that first paragraph I wasn’t sure whether you were talking about the song or about Darin himself.

Tim: Hmm, either could have worked I suppose, and really I was a tad worried with the opening verse that this would be much of the same. That chorus, though, comes straight off his Lovekiller album from way back when we started this site – in fact, stylistically it reminds me somewhat of Melodifestivalen 2010 finalist You’re Out Of My Life (and there’s a stunner of key change in there, btw).

Tom: Are we listening to the same chorus? This is just a bit dull. What on earth do you like about it?

Tim: The vocal sits nicely with the message in the lyrics, with the melancholy coming across nicely in the pre-chorus, and then we’ve got a nice loud chorus with drums and synth patches, strings rolling throughout and extra vocals howling along in the background. Sure, it’s bit slow, but that fits with the tone and basically, Darin is back to producing Great Pop Choruses. I am very much all in for that.

Tom: Nope. Not with you. It’s sitting in a horrible middle ground: it’s not fun, it’s not deep and emotional, it’s just… you know, I genuinely think it’s dull enough that I can’t think of a decent adjective to end that sentence with.

Tim: Oh. Well, I couldn’t disagree more, so I’ll end this with FABULOUS.

Darin – Ja Må Du Leva

“Guitar strummy”

Tom: He’s still going!

Tim: Oh, very much so. He’s had a rocky journey, as far as we’re concerned – his song Lovekiller was brilliant, still one of my favourite tracks ever, and in fact the inspiration for this site; since then he’s had a few good tracks, but also a few dull albeit pleasant Ed Sheeran-style ballads. This one? Well.

Tim: It’s halfway between the two really, isn’t it? Guitar strummy in the verses, and yes I suppose in the choruses as well, but blimey if it doesn’t pick it up a bit in those.

Tom: It fails the “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” test, by boring me half way through the first verse — but after that, everything’s pretty much great. Cheery, friendly, and a beautiful pre-chorus. I’ll even forgive the Olly Murs-esque hat.

Tim: The title, repeated many times each chorus, for a total of twenty occurrences, translates to “Yes, you must live!” (with the lyric adding a ‘today’ on the end), and oh, that songs conveys that nicely, as does the video. I hear it, and I am happy, I am energised, I am excited. And that’ll do me nicely on a grey Thursday, I think.

Darin – Lagom

“A lovely number to start your week.”

Tim: Latest track to come from his Swedish album Fjärilar i Magen, and it’s a lovely number to start your week.

Tim: You see? Lovely, and we have another track where, once again, I must face up to the fact that I’m basically useless at getting anything that requires effort done if it isn’t absolutely necessary, as I still haven’t got anywhere learning Swedish and I’d love to know what this is all about.

Tom: To be fair, I think “learning an entire new language” is a pretty high bar to clear. to make it worse, my brain is convinced that pre-chorus is actually just English played backwards: there’s something weird about the cadence that reminds me of backmasking. It’s probably just autotune.

Tim: Really? It’s sounds fine to me, but in any case Google Translate isn’t particularly legible, and even the title seems off – apparently Lagom means Moderate, but that’s a really weird name for a song. However, so what if we can’t judge the lyrics – everything else is there to be heard, and bloody marvellous it really is.

Tom: Hmm, I wouldn’t agree. I thought “ah, that’s the final chorus” at about two minutes in, and then was surprised when I realised we hadn’t even hit the middle eight yet. It just seems to drag — which is strange for something that’s so upbeat. What works for you?

Tim: Well, we’ve got on point vocals, top strumming action that’s busy and accompanied enough to not be annoying, with some great strings coming along in the back – all in all, top tune.

Darin – Ta Mig Tillbaka

“A decent amount of general yearning.”

Tim: Alternatively, Take Me Back, so you’ll no doubt be expecting a fairly calm ballad from this, with a decent amount of general yearning.

Tom: That’s a shipping forecast right there.

Tim: And what do you know, that’s exactly what you’ve got. Pleasant track, this, though I’ve no idea what the video’s about, aside from possibly just trying to show that everything was better in Paris and forests and the days of yore, which may or may not be true, depending on what your view of plague and bloody revolution is.

Tom: And that’s just when they ran out of croissants last week.

Tim: Hardly a soundtrack to bloody revolution, though, so I might be interpreting that a bit wrong. In any case, very listenable ballad, and one which becomes very much more listenable when it comes back for the final couple of choruses.

Tom: I’m less convinced: only those last couple of choruses stand out for me. There’s enough going on in them. Otherwise, I just seemed to tune out a bit. Why not start with that, then turn it up a touch more for the final choruses?*

* Chorii?

Tim: Yes, it could perhaps have done with that extra substance throughout, but I’ll take it.

Darin feat. Prophet of 7Lions – Mamma Mia

“It feels a bit like a dodgy summer track from ten years ago.”

Tim: There are a lot of football songs doing the rounds at the moment (apparently there’s some competition or thing happening soon); this isn’t one of them, but it does sound like it could be one.

Tom: “7Lions?” Huh. Three ought to be enough for anyone.

Tim: Not bad that, is it?

Tom: It’s not bad, but it’s not good.

Tim: Oh.

Tom: Why’s it a football song?

Tim: Well, it just seems to have a fairly summery, active, sporty vibe to it. Kicks off (ha) fairly early, calms down for some not particularly inspiring verses, but then comes back with a nice pairing of pre-chorus and proper chorus, carrying a decent hook and all in all being a fairly decent track.

Tom: It’s good enough, I suppose, but it feels a bit like a dodgy summer track from ten years ago — even down to the dodgy rap bridge.

Tim: It’s not a Nobody Knows or (obviously) a Lovekiller, but it’s very enjoyable, nice and summery and would be a pretty great soundtrack to some sort of sporting activity. I think.

Eagle-Eye Cherry & Darin – Dream Away

“Start simple, end big.”

Tom: Now that’s an interesting combination of names.

Tim: Not a collaboration that most people would instinctively jump to, but let’s have a charity single. (Oh, and fact that turned up during research: ‘Eagle-Eye Cherry’ is his actual name.)

Tim: So, it starts off all Save Tonight-ish, graduates into a Lovekiller/Save Tonight blend and then goes full on Lovekiller for the chorus. And if you’ve had the idea of merging the two styles together, that’s a cracking way of doing it.

Tom: Agreed: start simple, end big.

Tim: And, having heard this, the resulting question is why wouldn’t you have the idea? Well, actually because they sound completely different and don’t really play all that nicely, as indicated by the necessary pauses before each chorus.

Tom: True: I don’t think you could blend them easily without doing that, but it’s not like the song goes completely silent.

Tim: Darin’s vocal carries over them nicely so they don’t jar, though, and what we’re left with in the end is, against all the odds, an absolute triumph. A TRIUMPH, you hear me?

Tom: It is, but I think there’s a better Eagle-Eye Cherry mashup out there.

Tim: Huh. Fun.

Darin – So Yours

This is a different new single.

Tim: You’ll remember (I hope) that yesterday we featured Darin’s new single, Playing With Fire. This, though, is a different new single, targeted squarely away from Scandinavia, by which I mean it’s being released in Germany, and isn’t even on his new album for any Scandinavian people. Weird, yes, but there you go.

Tom: Advance warning: this isn’t the best quality single, and it cuts off a bit too early – but it’s all we’ve got right now.

Tim: So, as far as northern Europe is concerned, Darin has moved to being a bit darker and drum’n’bassier. For everyone else, though, he’s staying firmly put in the pop bracket. And I’ll be honest: I prefer this a lot.

Tom: Damn right. The dark drum-and-bass didn’t fit him well – this is some damn good pop. What’s your reasoning?

Tim: Mainly because it sounds like a textbook good One Direction single, which we all know I’m not remotely averse to – the opening is in fact remarkably similar to Live While We’re Young, but that’s by no means a bad thing (especially since it means it’s got guitars).

Tom: Let the guitars go, Tim.

Tim: Oh, fine. Quite why we’ve got this strange genre-split is beyond me—if you’re branching out, why go with a sound that isn’t you?—but I’d rather have one track I really liked and one track I’m half and half with than just the latter, so let’s hope this does well. Although if we could have a decent version online at some point rather than a horribly compressed fan upload, that’d be nice, and also get rid of the fade-out ending. THANK YOU.

Tom: It’ll get a lyric video sooner or later.

Darin – Playing With Fire

“A year between singles. He’s no Rihanna, that’s for sure.”

Tim: It’s been a long time coming, especially as the two EPs that were promised last year never actually materialised, but Darin’s sixth album is finally out at the end of the month; here’s the second single, after last February’s Nobody Knows.

Tom: A year between singles. He’s no Rihanna, that’s for sure.

Tom: Hmm. Well, that’s…. OK? I guess? I mean, I know it’s a bit rich to call out pop music for being repetitive, but this does seem to go on a bit.

Tim: Synth stuff, dance bit, great. Vocals and lyrics as good as necessary for a dance track like think. But the main “You keep playing with fire”? Actually, not so keen, or at least not at the start – the second batch in each chorus works alright, and it gets more listenable throughout the track and with further listens, but the initial rounds with next to nothing underneath aside from the one heavy beat does quite put me off this.

Tom: Agreed.

Tim: Which is a shame, because the rest is all great.

Darin – Nobody Knows

It’s good. It’s very good.

Tim: Every Darin track we (or certainly I) review will inevitably be compared to Lovekiller – it was big, it was exciting, it was fantastic, and it was actually pretty much the track that inspired the creation of this blog. So how does the lead single off his new album compare?

Tim: Hmm. It’s good. It’s very good. It’s more ravey than previously material, and it has a very similar ‘crank it up to seventeen right from the start’ vibe to it.

Tom: It cranks it up just late enough for it to count as some kind of ‘drop’ – but what a brilliant drop it is. I wish there was a bit more low-frequency bass oomph in there, but perhaps that’s just YouTube compression.

Tim: That first chorus is a closing section all in itself. But – and this is a fairly big but – this gets bored. It does a standard ‘drop down to very little’ in the middle eight, and comes back as it was.

Tom: See, I think you’re being too harsh on it. It’s not on maximum all the way through – you’ve missed at least the first verse, which is even quieter than the middle eight. It is, in short, bloody marvellous.

Tim: You’re right – I’m being unreasonably negative.

Tom: Yes you are.

Tim: If I knew nothing about Darin, or it was a different artist, I’d think: this is brilliant. The second half is as normal, with a quiet middle eight and big close, but the first half is amazingly better that it’s expected to be. And that is what this review should be, because this is a great song. It’s just – I can’t help but compare the two, and that annoys me.

Tom: This track makes me want to dance like an idiot. That’s about the highest praise I can give it.

Saturday Flashback: Darin – You’re Out Of My Life

I don’t think I could fault this, even if I wanted to.

Tim: A few weeks ago, we mentionedthat various countries were starting to look for their Eurovision entries. Well tonight, it’s the big one, as Melodifestivalen, the second most important music competition of the year, gets going in Sweden; as such, it’s only appropriate that we look back at a previous entry. Darin entered with this last year, and I reckon we’ve gone too long without mentioning him.

Tom: I reckon I’d put Lovekiller as one of the best songs of last year. It’s so overblown and yet brilliant.

Tim: I’ll be honest – I don’t think I could fault this, even if I wanted to.

Tom: This is how you make a slow, emotional schlager song without it seeming slow and plodding. Basic chord changes, emotional vocals, soaring choruses.

Tim: Admittedly it’s not as good as Lovekiller or his other recent and brilliant single Microphone, but it’s still great. Music: top notch. Lyrics/emotion relation: perfect.

Tom: And the key change?

Tim: Key change: absolutely superb.

Tom: Superb enough that my jaw genuinely dropped.

Tim: All round: flipping marvellous.

Tom: Oh yes.