ISA – I.S.A.

“If this isn’t a song about tax-free savings, I’m going to be disappointed.”

Tim: You may remember Isa from two and a half years back when she did Hairspray at Melodifestivalen, or any number of other tracks we’ve featured of hers; back catalogue notwithstanding, though, she’s chosen to do an introductory track.

Tom: If this isn’t a song about tax-free savings, I’m going to be disappointed.

Tim: I skimmed past it the first time I heard it, but then it got sent in anonymously describing it as “once again further evidence of Sweden doing Pop better than anyone else”, with a hands in the air emoji, no less. So here it is, for your judgment.

Tom: I actually startled a little on that opening line.

Tim: And, well, I’m still not entirely sold on it. The biggest problem is that after hearing it a couple of times the biggest thing I can remember from it (and so much that it pushes pretty much everything else) is that single chorus line “Isa is my name”, which is (a) a bloody stupid lyric and (b) almost entirely lacking of melody.

Tom: I know I’ve said this before, but: if you’re going to have a repetitive chorus line, it had better be a work of absolute genius. This… is not.

Tim: Sure, there’s a bit of fun sax in there, and I’m sure there’s some other stuff as well – but I can’t for the life of me remember it.

Saturday Reject: Isa – I Will Wait

Tim: Last year, Isa reached the Melodifestivalen final with Hairspray-variant Don’t Stop; this year, she bowed out at Andra Chansen, with this, a beautiful waltz of a ballad.

Tom: Strong lighting design there. Admittedly the dodgy curtain behind her does make it look a bit like she’s singing in someone’s living room, but still, strong lighting design, and strong dance to go with it.

Tim: It is indeed. As for the music – I don’t know why this is, but the way it seems to work with me is that if a song is in ¾ time it has to do a lot, lot wrong for me not to like it.

Tom: Interesting. And this time?

Tim: It does absolutely nothing wrong, and so it joins Queen Of My Heart and Can I Have This Dance as one of my all time Top Tracks.

Tom: For a moment, I thought you meant Top Tracks Ever, but that’s only because I never realised Queen Of My Heart was a waltz.

Tim: And one of the very best. But last year, Isa was all very much about the action, with little time spent to appreciate the vocal. Here, though, with such minimalist (though still lovely) staging, the voice is all we have, and my word it’s superb. Big range, big volume, big track, and quite possibly a top 10 Eurovision placer. The curse of Andra Chansen, though, is that when you’re up against even a slightly better or more popular track, you’re OUT. And so she was, so maybe next year?

Isa – Drum & Bass

“Doing its very best to be loud and drummy and bassy”

Tim: You remember Isa, she’s the one who performed Hairspray at Melodifestivalen. She’s come straight from that to tell us all how she’s moved on from jungle and is now all drum & bass is. Enjoy!

Tom: Moved on from the jungle? Really? With a “wim-o-weh” in there?

Tim: Well, yes, that does stick out a little bit, and it’s also hard to argue that it’s remotely drum & bass – basically, just falls into our preferred category of ‘standard pop’.

Tom: Right! On the other hand, that’s the title of the song, not a description, so I can live with it.

Tim: Good answer, especially because it’s pop that’s doing its very best to be loud and drummy and bassy, and for that I can only applaud it because it’s done a very good job of it, quite literally with all the drums in that middle eight there.

Tom: Maybe I’m just in a charitable mood as I write this, but I agree. Brave putting that long a middle eight in though, and earlier than half way through the song too.

Tim: Maybe, but with lyrics like “I let you break my heart just to feel the ache” followed up by “maximise the gain just to feel the earth quake” I think we should basically just let her do whatever she wants to do; she is, after all, doing it rather well.

Isa – Don’t Stop

“If it’s taking its cues from one of the greatest closing numbers in Broadway history… well, it could do a lot worse.”

Tim: Right then – the Melodifestivalen final review continues, and here’s one of the two songs the UK jury thought was better than Heroes but overall placed just seventh:

Tim: Oh, hang on – wrong video, sorry. Here you go:

Tim: So, with the obligatory, unavoidable and entirely fair comparison out of the way, how does this stand up on its own? Still pretty brilliantly, I think.

Tom: It does, although now you’ve pointed the comparison out I do hear it more than I should. But if it’s taking its cues from one of the greatest closing numbers in Broadway history… well, it could do a lot worse.

Tim: Energetic is the key word, I’d say – a big beat reinforced by the massive speakers on stage, more spark gun usage than in the rest of the competition combined, backing dancers who look like they’re doing aerobics and, of course, the instruction not to stop coming at us a full 64 times.

Tom: Either you actually counted that, which is impressive, or you’re trusting that I won’t bother to double-check, which is… well, it’s correct.

Tim: Bit of both, really, as I think I may have lost count towards the end. However many it is, though, it certainly gets the message across, and I really do like it a lot.

Tom: Yes, but I’m stunned the UK jury voted it above Heroes. It’s good, it may well have deserved to be in the final — but what were they thinking?

Tim: No idea, but, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to shake and shimmy it the best that I can.