Saturday Flashback: Jill Johnson – Crazy In Love

“Right old country banger that even Shania would be proud of, and then a key change thrown in just for fun.“

Tim: I described Jill as ‘the queen of country schlager’ yesterday, but didn’t actually provide any justification; here’s her entry for Melodifestivalen 2003, where it went straight through to the final and placed fourth.

Tom: Not a Beyoncé cover?

Tom: Definitely not a Beyoncé cover.

Tim: No, and not least because it came out several months previously. It is, however and somewhat presciently, a PROPER TUNE. Right old country banger that even Shania would be proud of, and then a key change thrown in just for fun.

Tom: And, like a lot of good schlager, it sounds like bits of a dozen other fun songs glommed together into one. Not a complaint, just an observation, made while tapping my foot.

Tim: Nothing much on stage, except for four singers and dancers (who really do reinforce my recent realisation about early ’00s haircuts), with their perfect timing at 1:28. Turns out that with a good enough song, you don’t need the rest of it to do very well. You might need it to win, but not to come a pretty good fourth. Nice one Jill.

Jill Johnson – Is It Hard Being A Man

“A strong “look, dickhead, appreciate what you’ve got and quit moaning” message.“

Tim: Starting in 1996, the queen of country schlager…

Tom: Wait, I remember saying that modern pop-country was just schlager with a mandolin! And now you’re telling me there’s actually a mixed genre of them?

Tim: Pretty much, yeah – and Jill is the absolute master. She used to release albums on a roughly annual basis, but nothing’s been seen since the end of 2016. Well, until now.

Tim: Pretty good return, no? Nice crash in for the chorus, with a strong “look, dickhead, appreciate what you’ve got and quit moaning” message.

Tom: It is, with the caveat that the part immediately before that crash-in gives me a brief, frustrating flash of either Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, or the Hollies’ ‘Air That I Breathe’. I know that’s a really specific complaint to have, but it’s some odd combination of the melody and vocal style, the particular chord progression those songs share, and the percussion. Listen to the “no” at 0:48, the “choose” at 1:35.

Tim: Hmm…

Tom: Anyway, yes, once I got over that and we got back to the chorus: it’s not bad! And schlager, even down-tempo schlager like this, is always fun.

Tim: Favourite part for me: those twiddly counter melody guitar bits right at the end, which just about stops it getting boring by repeating too much. It’s in danger of it, as I don’t think anyone would really complain if it stopped just before they came in, but it’s saved. And it stays a decent track. It’s good.

Jill Johnson & Helena Paparizou – Enough

“It’s like the 90s returned, and Shania Twain’s still at the top.”

Tom: “Jill Johnson and Papa Lazarou”?

Tim: Close, but no creepy-voiced cigar I’m afraid. Jill Johnson, if you don’t know, is a Swedish singer who’s been going for nigh on two decades, and who in true Rihanna style has released an album pretty much every autumn for the past ten years, as has invariably landed in the top 5. This time it’s all about duets, and the lead single is with Helena, who I’m sure you’ll remember from her 2005 Greek Eurovision entry we wrote about a couple of years back.

Tim: That’s a good ballad, isn’t it?

Tom: It’s like the 90s returned, and Shania Twain’s still at the top of the charts.

Tim: Great overtones of it, yes. Now I think about it, it’s been a good year for duets, or at least the ones we’ve had have all hit the mark – Cardle & C, Fältzkog & Barlow (and that’s a department store chain in waiting) and now this.

Tom: Complete with cracking key change and electric guitar outro. It really is about fifteen years too late.

Tim: It could easily be sung as a solo track, and it would still be impressive, but the two working together really work up the drama of what a twat this guy they’re both dating must be – I don’t know if it is the same guy, but it would certainly explain why he’s always ‘working late’.

Tom: Ha. That’s a brilliant idea.

Tim: Actually, playing with that idea as I am wont to do, I know exactly how I’d like the video for this to be – two of them walking separately along two streets, cutting between them as they sing with occasional shots of him waiting outside a restaurant for a date, and then, come the key change, they both arrive from opposite directions, we have the three of them in the same shot and IT ALL KICKS OFF. That’d be marvellous.

Tom: Ideally, with the music coming to a grinding stop, and the man trying to stumble through some sort of explanation.

Tim: Exactly. Can we do that, please?