Hogland feat. Philip Strand – Cross My Heart

“Wow, this is Kygo in his heyday.”

Tim: You may remember Hogland: we featured him a couple of times in June and, in an an unusual turn of events, we both really liked his tracks.

Tim: See, I hear this track, and I think ‘wow, this is Kygo in his heyday’. It’s very much your regular tropical dance track: immediate vocal with a light backing that shortly builds up, strong pre-chorus with a big vocal, full on dance breakdown for the standard chorus, repeat as necessary.

Tom: There’s even a washing-machine-spinning-up euphoric build in there.

Tim: And, well, I say ‘regular tropical dance track’: structurally yes, but the melody, the production, the everything holds together really, really well, and lifts it well above regular. We’ve a great tune in general, and one I can hear multiple times and still think ‘yep, this is really good’.

Tom: I can’t disagree with that — it’s certainly above a lot of the generic tropical-dance stuff that comes out — but I’m not convinced that it’s got what it takes to be the sound of… well, I was going to say “sound of the summer”, but I guess “sound of the autumn”. Nothing wrong with it, sure, but I’m not convinced it’s that much of a banger.

Tim: I also remembered that at the beginning of last year we were reviewing a track by Sigrid and I said that “part of me is starting to wonder when she’ll be noticed over here”, and then a few months later she entirely was and she got a load of Radio 1 play and a few top 20 singles. Now, I’m not saying we have a massive amount of influence or anything, but well, maybe someone could take a look this way?

Saturday Flashback: Hogland & Vinil feat. AVA – We Don’t Care

“Everyone, I’ve good news!”

Tim: Everyone, I’ve good news! Turns out, the rest of Hogland’s output is at a similar level to that of Letting Go, that brilliant track we featured last week! Here’s one from a couple of years back to demonstrate that.

Tim: You see? As previously, great production, great featured vocals, an absolutely fantastic post-chorus breakdown, and even a good middle eight!

Tom: The introduction and first verse remind me of OneRepublic, and I mean that as a compliment. Of course, it very quickly goes in a different direction. I’m really not sure about those steel-drum-like synths that just repeat one phrase over and over again, though.

Tim: My only question, to be honest, is: why haven’t I heard this guy before? I really don’t know, but I’m very very glad I’ve heard him now.

Hogland feat. KIDDO – Letting Go

“Sod it, we’ve got no idea what to do, let’s just DANCE and GET SMASHED and DEAL WITH IT TOMORROW. DANCE DANCE DANCE.”

Tim: Hogland is, according to the first link that comes up with a search, “a Swedish music producer and DJ whose melodic songs have captured the ears of several million listeners”. Isn’t that nice?

Tom: Unless you’re one of the millions who want their ears back, sure.

Tim: Yep, fair. I must confess I’m not of of those several million listeners, as I’d never heard of him until this came up on a playlist last night, but see what you think.

Tim: For me, you see, my ear is well and truly captured, because that’s flipping brilliant.

Tom: You’re not wrong.

Tim: Right from that start, that guitar line promises a lot, but even with the piano tinkling, the occasional booming drums and the silence that comes along in the build up, you never really get an idea of the enormity of what’s to come until it hits, and you’re left being whacked round the head with a fantastic breakdown, the likes of which you’ve not heard in a long, long time. It’s just brilliant.

Tom: It seems to takes a very, very long time to get there: objectively, it doesn’t, but I expected the drop to hit much earlier. That’s not really a complaint: it’s decent, and the anticipation’s mostly worth it.

Tim: I’ve not been so excited on hearing an artist for the first time since Alan Walker did Faded, and I am hugely looking forward to checking out the rest of his work. I don’t even mind that the lyrics offer no resolution at all – just a “we can try, but, you know…” – because that’s followed immediately by that enormous dance breakdown.

Tom: Hmm. I’m not quite as convinced as you. There’s some really good stuff in here — but when it gets to the actual breakdown and instrumental chorus, it feels a bit generic and a-few-years-ago to me. There is, I’ll grant you, a huge amount of potential in here: if they can make a song that builds this well and also that sticks the landing, I think it’ll be spectacular. Until then, well, yes, I can see why you’re excited.

Tim: Right? So as the lyrics effectively end up being: sod it, we’ve got no idea what to do, let’s just DANCE and GET SMASHED and DEAL WITH IT TOMORROW. DANCE DANCE DANCE.