Saturday Flashback: Jedward – Hologram

“It’s not bad! The bar is set low but they cleared it!”

Tim: Have I mentioned on here I went to a Jedward gig a few weeks back? I don’t think so, but us featuring Samir & Viktor here on Monday reminded me of it, and I have NEWS: there’s a new album out soon! Basically, since being binned off by the label in 2014, most of the stuff’s been self-written, and here’s one from a couple of years back.

Tom: I actually tried to look up the songwriting credits in the music industry’s database, but this song’s not in there and the copyright is just listed as “℗ 2016 Jedward”. So, while I don’t know how much help they’ve got, I guess this counts as self-written. That… sounds like it’s a bad idea?

Tim: Well…

Tim: It’s actually alright!

Tom: It is! It’s not bad! The bar is set low but they cleared it!

Tim: Admittedly, some of the stuff isn’t quite as good – the last one of theirs we looked at was evidence of that – but here’s a decent, if somewhat middle-of-the-compilation-playlist, dance track. It was also a good decade too late for its sound, even then, but I’ve no problem with it because hell, it’s a damn good sound, made into an actually fairly good tune. I like this. Genuinely, unashamedly, like it.

Tom: That’s an entirely fair response.

Tim: Other stuff from the gig, in case you’re interested: it was surprisingly great, despite being a “yeah, that’s just within my ‘might be shit but good for a laugh’ budget” decision; they somehow kept going from over two and a half hours, doing new stuff, old stuff and covers; and, biggest of all, they’ve actually become able to sing!

Tom: No kidding.

Tim: None at all: they did half an hour or so of acoustic stuff with John playing a guitar and them both singing, and it actually sounded good. Guess ten years in the business can get you quite a bit of vocal coaching, who knew?

Jedward – Make Your Own Luck

“Utter garbage.”

Tim: I’ll say it straight up: new Jedward is utter garbage.

Tom: Yes, but they have apparently been cast in Sharknado 3.

Tim: First thought: “what?” Immediate second thought: “nope, wait, of course they have.”

Tim: You see? Garbage.

Tom: Now I’ve said before: I might not like everything they do, but I’ve got a sneaking respect for anyone with that sort of seemingly-boundless enthusiasm. But you’re right: this is terrible.

Let’s tackle one thing first: I didn’t think you could mess up the pronunciation of “luck”, but they are basically saying “make your own, look” here every single time.

Tim: Oh, God, somehow that had passed me by. How…just, yeah, how?

Tom: There isn’t really a melody. The vocals are compressed almost to the point of inaudibility. It runs out of steam after about half a minute and yet it just keeps on going.

Tim: It seems like they might be going for a just-out-of-*NSync Justin Timberlake vibe. It really, really, really doesn’t work, though.

Tom: And the video is: well, I guess they’re trying to be artsy. It doesn’t work. None of this works. It’s not even failing in an endearing fashion. It’s just… bad.

Tim: Not even a Perez Hilton cameo can save it. My main thought about it, though: how can one of them do weights and yet still have NO MUSCLES AT ALL?

Saturday Flashback: Jedward – What’s Your Number

“They make decent pop.”

Tim: If I remember rightly, you were amazed last year when you heard Waterline and realised that it was good. So was I, a bit. But last weekend, for no particular reason other than curiosity, I listened to Jedward’s album from last year, and found that it’s actually quite good all round. Take this, for example.

Tom: For all the fuss about Jedward being irritating, I can’t deny that they’re good. We’ve discussed this before: put them in a studio, give them decent producers, and then just let them be themselves at the fans… well, they ain’t my kind of thing, but they make decent pop.

Tim: First off, I’m aware the lyrics aren’t the best – “Do you have a boyfriend, you look like you need one” may be the worst line ever imagined – but that aside this is actually great, and I love it.

Tom: I ain’t going that far, because once you parse the lyrics of this song as being sung loudly and drunkenly at someone who really just wants the singer to go the hell away it starts being a bit unpleasant.

Tim: That…that’s actually not a bad point. Erm. Dammit, yes. But still, if you don’t imagine the singee’s viewpoint to be that then it’s fine.

Tom: Plus, frankly, anything that includes DTMF dialling tones in the background seems just a bit too kitsch, and that seems to bleed into the rest of the track in a kind of mid-2000s Busted-but-worse way. But you’re right, it’s not bad.

Tim: It’s very good pop rock, written by people who know what they’re doing (that key change is sterling work) and, credit where it’s due, performed by people who have somehow got the right mix of popstar-ness and bellendry to make it work. WELL DONE TO THEM.

Jedward – Luminous

Tim: This is not remotely like Waterline, which was brilliant. It is, however, almost as good.

Tom: And an interesting technical note: it’s “(c) Planet Jedward, under license to Universal Music”. Whoever Jedward’s agent is, they’re good.

Tim: One thing I like about Jedward is that they don’t seem to be too concerned with wanting to be credible musicians or writing their own stuff. They understand the basic fact that singing and writing are very different talents, and it’s entirely allowable for them to be done by different people.

Tom: OBVIOUS JOKE ALERT: Mind you, Jedward tracks would be improved if both the singing and writing were done by different people.

Tim: Perhaps, but they wouldn’t sell as well.

Here, we have a song by the same group of people that wrote Danny Saucedo’s recent single, All In My Head; Waterline was written by other Swedish people and everybody loved it. I’m rambling a bit, but my point is: everyone may say “Oh, Jedward, they’re annoying, I hate them”, but the thing that’s important is that their management know how to pick good songs.

Tom: On the other hand, Ireland can’t win Eurovision if they keep letting Jedward run for it. The juries’ votes placed them at the bottom of the table – no fan support can raise them to pole position from there. And if they’re in the running, they will get voted into the contest, no matter how good the song is.

Tim: That is true, and some day their reign over Irish pop will no doubt end. Until then, I’ve got no issues as long as they’re given tracks like this. Lovely backing, pretty video, decent enough lyrics and good use of autotune, all by people who know what they’re doing.

Tom: Well, with two notable exceptions.

Jedward – Waterline

It’s the most anticipated one of the bunch; justly so?

Tim: Well, it’s the most anticipated one of the bunch; justly so? (And apologies for the weird video, but it’s one of the few where YouTube hasn’t knackered the sound quality.)

Tom: All right, I’ll brace myself. They’re annoying; their fans are annoying; the track is…

Tom: …good?! Sorry, I don’t think I typed that in a surprised enough manner. GOOD?!

Tim: Yes. This is basically a Busted reunion, isn’t it, and for that reason alone it is the greatest song in human history.

Tom: Let’s not go quite that far.

Tim: I suppose not – when I hear it, I have to remind myself that it isn’t actually Busted and I’m brought way back down to Earth. Still, it’s bloody good, and vastly better than Lipstick was. And who’d have thought it – Jedward can actually sing properly, it seems, which is something many had only previously suspected.

Tom: The question is: can they sing it live on the night? If they can (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), then I reckon they can win Eurovision with it.

Tim: A bold statement. It could certainly be a hit over here, and on both sides of the Irish Sea, because this is – I’m going to use the comparison again, because it’s nearly impossible not to – genuinely like Busted on top form, and those sort of music tastes really haven’t changed in the past ten years.

Tom: But this isn’t cheesy Europop like yesterday’s – it’s like a modern pop boy band. Which, I suppose, they are. Again: I can’t believe I’m saying that.

Tim: As for your guess of a Eurovision winner? Quite possible – I still think yesterday’s would stand a slightly better chance based on music alone, but this has the name to go with the song, and that counts for a lot.

Right – we’ve been through all five, so I think it’s time we acted as one of the regional juries to complement the Irish televote tonight. We have point allocations of 12, 10, 6, 8 and 4, and mine are thus:

Mariah McCool – 8
Donna MacCaul – 6
Andrew Mann – 4
Una Gibney & David Shannon – 12
Jedward – 10

Yours, please?

Tom: 12 for Jedward, amazingly. 10 for Andrew Mann. 8 for Donna, 6 for Mariah, and 4 for the warblers. It seems that the celebrity haircuts get our vote. How very, very strange.

Tim: Only 4? And they don’t even get names? You’ve changed, man. You’ve changed.

Tom: It’s not a bad track. It just won’t win Eurovision.

Jedward – All The Small Things

He’s used “J to the E to the D”, he doesn’t get a second chance.

Tom: Now I’ve got two problems with this.

Tim:Only two?

Tom: Yeah, and strangely, Jedward himself is not one of them.

First of all: it’s the banter. I know they’re a novelty act, but songs should not have banter in the middle of them. It didn’t work for Gareth Gates and the Kumars, it won’t work now.

Tim: True. Is that in the actual song as well, or just the video?

Tom: I’m not going to buy it to find out. He’s used “J to the E to the D”, he doesn’t get a second chance.

Second problem: I can’t tell the difference between this and the Blink 182 version. Or, rather, between this and a cheap rip-off version from a £2 supermarket “compilation” CD. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, new here at all.

Tim: That does, on the other hand, mean that if they stop doing covers they might, at some point in the distant future, pass as something more than a novelty.

Tom: Fortunately, I’ve got an alternative. I defy you to listen to this without starting to sway when the slow bit that builds up to the chorus kicks in.

Tim: You waited until the chorus?