Jessie J – One More Try

“You say ridiculous, I say IT’S AMAZING and HOW HAS THIS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.”

Tom: “& Juliet” is a Max Martin jukebox musical. Yes, that’s ridiculous, but that’s apparently the point that the West End has reached now.

Tim: Hmm, you say ridiculous, I say IT’S AMAZING and HOW HAS THIS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.

Tom: It is essentially the Max Martin Greatest Hits, and as with any greatest hits album, they’ve added one brand new song onto it that no-one asked for.

Tom: But of course, it’s Max Martin, so that one new song is actually pretty good.

Tim: Was there ever any doubt?

Tom: I don’t think it’s a classic, and I don’t think it’s going to be troubling the charts too much, but as a perfect demonstrate of The Genre, it’s not bad.

Tim: True. It’s definitely a show number, though – the build through the verses and choruses would be much more accelerated if it were to be released as a regular pop song. Perfectly good track for a musical, though.

Tom: Every trick’s there: the emotional piano, the harmonies in the final chorus. It’s almost a self-parody. Almost.

Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj – Bang Bang

“Basically a Little Mix album track.”

Tom: There’s not a “feat.” to be seen in that artist credit: it’s all three of them working together. Surely this can’t be anything but brilliant?

Tim: Well, certainly not if you’re a fan of at least two of them.

Tom: Ah, damn. That’s basically a Little Mix album track, isn’t it?

Tim: Hmm. I always really want to like Ariana Grande tracks, though that’s mostly just because she has a name that sounds like a font. Music-wise, I’ve never found a song that fits with me.

Tom: Don’t get me wrong: the voices can’t be faulted. They’re all brilliant performers at the top of their game. And while all the ingredients are there: big-band instruments, vocal harmonies, a middle eight from one of the few rappers who can pull off a decent middle eight… it’s just a fairly dull song.

Tim: Possibly – not sure, this is really not a genre I’m a fan of. It’s certainly true that technically I can’t fault it, but also that there’s nothing there to get me going.

Tom: The production’s great. The vocals are great. But the actual song itself just ain’t up to it.

Jessie J – It’s My Party

“There really is a dearth of good singles about lately, isn’t there?”

Tom: There really is a dearth of good singles about lately, isn’t there? Or at least, singles that have anything notable for us to talk about.

Tim: Around and about Britain, certainly. Anything notable about this one?

Tim: Hmm.

Tom: See what I mean? It’s very much a by-the-numbers track, designed to sit happily in the background of pop radio and not really bother anyone.

Tim: Which is exactly what it’ll do. A soundtrack to the slow drift from summer into autumn

Tom: The spoken interjections do bother me a bit, incidentally, but I find it… well, I find it difficult to care. Yep, chorus. Yep, middle eight. Yep, dodgy bit designed to stop people ripping it off YouTube. Maybe this is how some people feel about all pop music, not just… well, not just this.

Tim: It’s also possibly one of the least inventive videos of all time – even the product placement is just “yep, I’m holding a speaker. Nice, isn’t it?” Oh, I’m sure things’ll pick up. Elisa’s, for example, have recently announced there’s a full Christmas album in the works to complement this triumph, and so has Hera Bj√∂rk, so there’s those to look forward to.

Jessie J feat. David Guetta – Laserlight

It kicks in a lot later than you might think, but when it does… BOOM.

Tom: Like a lot of David Guetta tracks, it kicks in a lot later than you might think, but when it does… BOOM.

Tom: I’m having to resort to nitpicking to find things to criticisms about this track. Is that autotune I hear at 1:38, or just overcompression? I’m not sure. And that stylophone-like synth line in the builds sticks out like a sore thumb.

Tim: I quite that that bit. And as for the 1:38 bit, I think it’s just, well, singing.

Tom: Frankly, in a track this polished it’s difficult to complain about things like that. Even the twinkly piano outro works for me – it’ll be gone in the remixes, of course.

Tim: True. But if we’re nitpicking, I’m saying this: I find this hairstyle terrifying. With her usual fringe she looks friendly and nice, and the wavy thing she’s had for The Voice is also good. But all stretched back like this for some reason just scares me. I think it’s the eyebrows more than anything.

Tom: Oh, now you’ve pointed them out I can’t see anything else. Thanks for that. Anyway, if all this year’s summer anthems are of the quality we’ve seen in this last couple of weeks, Tim, it’s going to be a good year to be a clubber.

Saturday Flashback: Jessie J feat. B.o.B – Price Tag

Bugger me, that’s a big teddy bear.

Tom: 150 million views on YouTube, still in rotation on the radio. Why am I talking about this? Because it’s exceptional.

Tim: Bugger me, that’s a big teddy bear.

Tom: Now there’s a sentence that’s not been said before. Anyway – twice now, while listening to the radio, I’ve wondered ‘ooh, what’s this song?’ and put it through Shazam. That’s rare for me – I’ve only used Shazam a dozen or so times in the last year.*

* I was almost disappointed, when it came up a second time, that Shazam didn’t say “you’ve already tagged this, you idiot, and then promptly forgotten it”.

Tim: Ah, well if you want to have fun with AI, you want to get yourself Siri.

Tom: Okay, we get it, you work at an Apple store.

Clearly something in the song really works for me; while I might like other songs on the radio, I don’t like them enough to find out what they are – twice – so I can download them later. It’s a textbook pop song, really; happy, entertaining, and a proper singalong hook.

Tim: Part of it is the unexpectedness of it – you’re sort of thinking it’ll be along the lines of Do It Like A Dude, or whatever that other crap one was, but it’s actually good. (Think I might have made this point before – I remember saying California King Bed was a fantastic prime example.)

Tom: And here’s the bit that really gets me: a rap bit that works. B.o.B is damn good at what he does, and he’s mellow enough to fit with the rest of the song. Put Flo Rida in here, and it’d be bloody awful.

Tim: I have a new-found annoyance about rap bits in songs: ever since Tulisa became an X Factor judge, it has seemingly become compulsory to rewrite the words if you’re performing it yourself (or even add new ones to originally good songs). I find this HORRIFICALLY irritating.

Tom: My word. That’s the first I’ve seen of this year’s X Factor. It’s… it’s terrible.