Tom: It’s one of those songs where the lyrics make less and less sense the more you think about them. Ideally, it’d be exciting enough that you don’t really think about the lyrics, but…
Tim: Sure, it’s not a dance floor classic like Easy Love or We Came Here For Love (I’m spotting a theme with the names here), but it’ll absolutely do just fine for an up and about tune in a largely dull November.
Tom: Low expectations: MET. Although to be fair, I did really start to enjoy that last chorus.
Tim: I’d hang around on the dance floor for it, and I doubt I’d be the only one.
Tom: A massive European smash with their Kanye-less Kanye remix “Nobody To Love”; a follow-up number one — and then a bit of a misfire, although even that got to Number 12. How’s their next one going to do?
Tom: YES. MORE LIKE THIS PLEASE.
Tim: Ooh, yes, that’ll do nicely.
Tom: I’ve said before that I’m a sucker for string sections, and this one’s got a brilliant one. Match that with a great synth line, a drum and bass percussion track straight from the textbook, and an astonishingly good vocal. If this doesn’t crack the Top 10, I’ll be very surprised.
Tim: Likewise – a fantastic dance track with everything you could ask for.
Tom: Bit of a weak ending is my only real criticism: that seems to be in vogue these days, though.
Tim: Also in vogue would be my disagreeing with you each time that’s brought up – more a coda than a standard STOP, and I like it.
Tom: It still baffles me, mind: this has been on YouTube for a couple of weeks, it’s getting airplay already — and yet, the public can’t buy it until the end of July. Lots of people will have pre-ordered it, sure; and yes, that may push it to the top of the charts that week. But it hardly seems right: does nobody pirate tracks like this in the intervening two months?!
Tim: Apparently not it would seem, but it’s hardly unusual – the lyric video for that amazing Rachel Platten track we reviewed got put up almost a year ago, but it’s not out here until 17th July. No idea what’s going on.
Tom: Our Brazilian reader, CB, sends in this one, and adds: “She set the bar high with her debut, but this is good as hell!”
Tim: Well let’s hear it then.
Tom: And I’ll warn you: through the intro and first verse, I was waiting for a Drop. Because it desperately needed one. It was a full-on build, percussion steadily rising, synths steadily increasing, voice building and building…
Tom: …and I find myself going “mm, not quite enough”.
Tim: Really? Because I’m not sure it could be much bigger – it’s got hefty drumbeats in there, guitars, a heavy vocal – what more do you want?
Tom: I mean, it’s not a bad chorus, it’s just a bit unsatisfying after a build-up like that. Her voice is strong, the production’s great — and I’m always a fan of whatever that pulsing synth is called, hidden in the mix at the back of the chorus — but there’s still something lacking, and I think it’s in the songwriting rather than anything else.
Tim: Oh, I see – hmm, maybe. Might just be that the chorus is slightly unusually structured – almost in three parts, with the leading “glow oh-oh-oh-etc” being mirrored at the end, which possibly gives a sense of anti-climax?
Tom: It just needs something slightly bigger and more bombastic. That last chorus should be astonishing, and it’s just okay.
Tim: Well, there I must absolutely disagree – I think it’s a fantastic final thirty seconds, with the extra vocal on top. I’d normally ask for more of it, but I think here the late middle-eight actually works very well. I have absolutely no problems with this song, and based on this and Ghost, very much looking forward to her album, out next month.
‘It says quite clearly “listen to what I can do”.’
Tim: What would you say if I offered you one of the best tracks to come out a X Factor finalist in recent years?
Tom: I’d say it was probably “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction. Why, what’ve you got?
Tim: I’ve got this.
Tim: This is a great debut, in that it says quite clearly “listen to what I can do”. It demonstrates a nice variety of singing styles – a deep, rich and almost soulful voice in the verses, slightly more lightweight and haunting in the middle eight, and a gentle, more ‘standard’, if that’s the right way to describe it, voice throughout the chorus.
Tom: It’s no small feat, being able to convincingly pull off those styles. You’re right: it shows off a heck of a range.
Tim: Not only that, but the backing instrumentation also changes in style quite significantly between the verse and chorus to match those voices, which goes well, as long as you don’t find it slightly jarring which a tiny part of me does.
Tom: Yep. I didn’t expect that to have quite as much… funk.
Tim: Mainly in the “listen to what I can do”, though, is that chorus. Because what a chorus it is – one I really could listen to over and over again. And, in fact, did, on the bus home from work the other night – who’d have thought looping a YouTube video would drain a phone battery?