Tim: Follow-up to her Melodifestivalen almost-winner, a song that puts me very much in mind of Sia.
Tim: I’m not sure there’s any one track in particular this reminds me of (or at least nothing popped out when I skimmed through a list of Sia’s singles) but stylistically this is very much a track I can imagine her putting out, and last time I checked that’s a fair old compliment.
Tom: It is! And it’s not just that the vocal quality’s very similar: the produciton is in the same style, too. I’m not massively convinced that it’s a chart-topper: this feels more like a Sia album track, but as you said, that’s still quite an endorsement.
Tim: A very strong voice, great production values, and all in all surely not that long before she’s noticed outside of Sweden, perhaps? If there’s any justice.
” I can’t believe I’ve never seen what is basically ‘human disco ball’ as a trick before.”
Tim: And finally in our trek through the Melodifestivalen final, the song that was runaway favourite heading into to the final, but ended up coming second by just one single point, which has got to be a killer.
Tim: Heck of a song, though.
Tom: Heck of a dress. Actually, the whole staging is brilliant: I can’t believe I’ve never seen what is basically “human disco ball” as a trick before. Even that single beam of light projected into her palm could have been cheesy — so I have absolutely no idea how the production team pulled off the full epilepsy-inducing trick without it seeming completely ridiculous.
Tim: It does look good, doesn’t it? Of course, it’s interesting in this situation to figure what it was that could cause just a few thousand people to vote another way, or if changed could have brought her victory. Is it that bits of the verse are a tad reminiscent of Imagine Dragons’s Thunder? Is it that they saw her start by lying down and thought “yeah, Victor’s already done that, let’s have something new”? Is it even just that not so many people had the phones lit up at 1:25 as they did in, say, a comparable yet almost breathtaking shot from the song just a few previously?
Tom: Or a slightly off note somewhere, or lighting that reflected in a way that seemed distracting rather than cool. Or maybe the audience just got bored of the trick itself. There’s not much wrong with the actual song — I don’t think it’d have won, but there’s not much wrong with it.
Tim: No – these are all tiny, tiny things, that would never normally be criticisms, but might just have made the difference. Who knows. Whatever happened, though, she more than acquitted herself, and hopefully she’ll come back next year.
Tim: It’s only been eight months since we last heard from Dotter, but it’s been a full two and a half years since we last heard new music from Måns, so the question we should be asking is quite simply:
Tom: “Wait, I can’t remember Dotter, who are they?” Sorry, that’s probably not the question you were on about. What was your question?
Tim: IS IT ANY GOOD?
Tim: Yes, yes it is, and quite a lot of good at that. Intro that says “hello, I am a piece of modern pop music”, first verse that continues in that vein and also brings in Måns’s lovely vocal, and then we straight into the great chorus.
Tom: This snuck up on me: through the first half of it, I was ready to dismiss it as just another mediocre track, but somehow by the end it had won me over.
Tim: When Dotter comes along we do get the slightly curious situation of two people singing “yes I’m a bit rubbish but please stay with me” directly at each other, instead of just wrapping up after Dotter’s first line with a quick “oh, great, let’s go then”, though I guess that wouldn’t have made for much of a song so I guess I can manage.
Tom: Maybe they’re both singing it at different people simultaneously. Although that’d make it even more confusing. Anyway, the song does suffer from The Best Bit’s The Middle Eight Syndrome, doesn’t it?
Tim: Well, slightly, although the truly lovely part for me is after the sort of fake ending after the middle eight, when we come back with a chorus that is bigger and better than everything prior to it, for a wonderful close. All in all, great stuff.
‘Every part of it is just, “yes, this is what I want to hear in a song”.’
Tim: Follow-up to the Melodifestivalen entry Cry, with no small number of similarities.
Tim: So I really like this song – pretty much every part of it. Thing is, I don’t really have much to say about why I like it, though not in the sense that it’s generic, because it isn’t at all. It’s simply that every part of it is just, “yes, this is what I want to hear in a song”.
“A huge, dark expanse on screen. Perfectly fits the song, but won’t endear it to anyone.”
Tim: Tom, I don’t know if it’s been a great year for national competitions, or if I’ve just been watching more of them than previously, but there have been a hell of a lot of good songs rejected. Sorry to do this to you, but we’ve only got one more week, so we’re going to have to cram a load in. Let’s return to Sweden, with a somewhat melancholy song knocked out in 6th (SIXTH) place.
Tim: So it’s no real surprise, let’s face it – it’s way too dark, there’s very little sign of any audience cheering and not a huge amount to bring forth excitement.
Tom: Some very interesting directing choices there, too: Dotter’s isolated on stage, with no background, and frequently with unsettling camera angles: slightly out of the frame, or facing away from a huge, dark expanse on screen. Perfectly fits the song, but won’t endear it to anyone.
Tim: It brings to mind, a lot, Sanna Nielsen’s Undo from 2014, which of course went on to win; it’s led by a strong female vocal (WHAT a vocal), with precious little instrumentation behind. In terms of her movements, there’s a lot of inspiration from Loreen with nothing in the background, just her swinging around all over the place. Except, both of those cases had things to make up for them: Sanna had fun with the lighting, and Loreen had amazing upbeat music. This…this doesn’t have either of those.
Tom: Right! This feels almost like watching a rehearsal.
Tim: It’s a great song, but staged like this it sure as hell isn’t a competition winner.
“It just carries itself, and me as a listener, forwards.”
Tim: Just me for today, and if you recall we first met Dotter about eighteen months ago and Tom and I were both mildly impressed; here, I found the intro fairly promising, and then when the beat dropped and the vocal hit I let out an audible “oh, yes.”
Tim: Now, as I write this, it’s half eleven at night and I’ve just got home from a long shift at work where I haven’t sat down once, and this is just such a lovely, lovely track to lie back to, relax, close my eyes and just enjoy. Coincidentally, this morning I was listening to one of my favourite soundtrack tunes ever, and I like this track for the same reason: it just carries itself, and me as a listener, forwards, almost floating along. I don’t have to focus on it, worry about anything – just relax to it. It might just be the mindset I’m in at the moment, but this is just lovely.
Tim: Bit of Motown-y track for you today, from a new Swedish singer. Up for it?
Tom: Swedish neo-soul. This should be fun.
Tom: Oh, that intro’s very good, isn’t it?
Tim: It is, and I’d say that there are a number of good bits in there: from the nice stringy intro and outro, the chorus with its enthusiastic and unashamed desperation, the chanting that follows that, and her general singing voice, a perfect fit with the music here.
Tom: Yep, it’s all very good. I have an odd complaint, though. During that chorus, there’s far too much going on in the high frequencies: the strings, the tambourines, her voice, even most of the percussion. There’s almost nothing in the low frequencies. If they’d drop the strings by an octave or so, it’d all sound so much clearer and fuller. But yes: it’s a song full of good bits, particularly that middle eight.
Tim: In fact, there’s very little that couldn’t be described as a good bit – it’s a very enjoyable track, and I look forward to hearing more from her.