Ina Wroldsen – Pale Horses

“BBC One’s current Sunday night drama is a fairly good adaptation of the Agatha Christie book The Pale Horse; this song has absolutely nothing to do with it.”

Tim: BBC One’s current Sunday night drama is a fairly good adaptation of the Agatha Christie book The Pale Horse; this song has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Tom: That’s the best intro you’ve written in a long time.

Tim: Because who amongst us hasn’t compared a bit of relationship drama to the actual horsemen of the apocalypse, hmm? That’s my favourite thing about this song, I think.

Tom: Really? There’s a lot to like here. The melody in that pre-chorus is really lovely, and the production does somehow manage to balance a lot of very aggressive elements. (Are those orchestra hit stabs in the chorus? That’s a retro sample that hasn’t come back in a while.)

Tim: Oh, absolutely – I’m not slamming the rest in any way. Like you said, the melody and production are great, and she’s got a strong vocal to add to that.

Tom: I’m not convinced about the middle eight, and I don’t think it’s going to bother the charts, but… it’s not bad.

Tim: Definitely not. And, back to my main point: what’s a good angsty breakup song if it doesn’t have ridiculously overblown biblical references? Nothing, I say, NOTHING.

Ina Wroldsen – Haloes

“That’s a plural that really doesn’t look right.”

Tim: That’s a plural that really doesn’t look right, even though it technically is. The song more or less makes up for it, though.

Tim: True, Monday is not the typical day to bring along a strong ‘dance end of the dance-pop scale’ track, but you work for yourself and I do shift work, so who really cares? I’ve no idea what the video’s about, beyond ‘gosh, drugs are fun, aren’t they?’.

Tom: And the Nordic coast is beautiful.

Tim: But hey, it’s the music we’re here for, and it’s the music that I’m a big fan of. Yes, it is indeed strongly towards the dance end of the dance-pop scale, and that, as I think we all know, is a genre I’m entirely happy with, and this track here is a great example of why.

Tom: Dance-pop like this has a tendency to feel a bit “middle of a Spotify playlist” to me: it’s difficult to distinguish one from another. I’ll admit, though, that I could remember the chorus of this one afterwards, which is practically a ringing endorsement.

Tim: There’s a good energy, a lovely vocal, tight production, decent melody, heck, basically everything we need really. I’ve no problems with it – you?

Tom: I think “no problem with it” is about right.

Ina Wroldsen – Body Parts

“This is one of the best tracks we’ve covered in a while, I reckon.”

Tim: Here, a song about ‘the pressure young people are exposed to on a daily basis through everyday life as well as social media’.

Tom: Not about Dr Frankenstein, then.

Tim: Basically: sod your appearance, look how you want.

Tom: Someone threw Scars To Your Beautiful and Fight Song into a blender and this is the result. I don’t mean it sounds like either of those: it’s just very much in the same genre.

Tim: And oh, boy, did that chorus take me by surprise.

Tom: You’re not wrong. “Body parts” are really strange words to sing in such an uplifting tone but somehow it works.

Tim: Up until then, fairly standard track, albeit with the peculiar addition of a Greenwich Time Signal.

Tom: I think that might be intended as a heartbeat on a monitor? But yes, it’s an odd one. Fortunately it doesn’t stick around, and that’s down to the excellent production: the track steadily evolves over time, but it all works as a cohesive whole.

Tim: And sure, the pre-chorus comes along lifting things up a bit, but then ‘salvation’ arrives, and the first ‘body parts’, and suddenly there’s a lot of power there turning a good track into a great track, with a sing-along chorus to rival any of Rachel Platten’s and some of Demi Lovato’s.

Tom: Also good: the middle eight, the vocoder work, the final chorus, and the coda at the end. This is one of the best tracks we’ve covered in a while, I reckon.

Tim: High company and high praise, but well deserved.

Ina Wroldsen x Alok – Favela

“I’ve been struggling to work out exactly what it is about this song I like.”

Tim: A Swedish singer and writer and a Brazilian producer coming together to make a song where Ina can “shout about the incredible women of Brazil”, and it’s time to get TROPICAL. For context, ‘favela’ roughly translates as ‘slum’.

Tom: I am not convinced this is tropical, Tim.

Tim: Well, okay, let’s go with just summery. Thing is, ever since I first heard this a few days ago, I’ve been struggling to work out exactly what it is about this song I like beyond the fact that it’s just a good pop song. And then it struck me: it’s just that is really is a great pop song, in the most literal definition of it.

Tom: Wait, really? I’ll grant you the middle eight and chorus are decent, but…

Tim: Fair, your taste may vary with the sound, but structurally it’s pure textbook. A first verse with room to grow, check. A strong chorus to give us an idea of where everything’s going, tick. Post-chorus with a lovely melody, yep. Second verse with extra percussion underneath, present. Middle eight that gives us enough (but not too much) variety, there. Final chorus with a whole bit of extra everything, and I’ve run out of synonyms, but that doesn’t matter because all that’s left is a closing vocal all on its own to make it nice and meaningful. The song doesn’t put a single foot out of line anywhere, and in my view it’s excellent for it.

Tom: It’s just a pity that — lyrically, if not quite stylistically — it’s basically Clean Bandit’s Rockabye.

Tim: Oh. Oh yes, there is that.