“Well, that’s… hmm. I mean, it’s certainly a song. I’m not sure I can say more than that.”
Tim: Full disclosure: I’m not much a fan of this song. However, I was out on Saturday night with a fellow gay and All The Lovers came on, and it emerged he had never heard of Kylie Minogue, and he is American and stuff but REALLY that’s just not on.
Tom: Well, that’s… hmm. I mean, it’s certainly a song. I’m not sure I can say more than that.
Tim: See, the most annoying thing about this is the fact that both artists have produced tracks that are so, so much better, and we go into this expecting that: combining the talents, we should get something that’s as good as Timebomb and Can’t Get You Out Of My Head combined.
Tom: Ah, see, there’s a chance that’ll happen, if you’re really lucky: but chances are that you’ll end up with a weird mix of creative styles and opinions, and a mediocre track.
To be fair, by the end of it, I think I sort-of understand what they were aiming for. I just don’t think they hit it.
Tim: Why have we got this, with its unpleasant backing, tedious melody, and somewhat rubbish video? It’s just upsetting.
“You’ve got Kylie, you want to give her the best track you will ever make in your life.”
Tim: Sigala’s debut album was also released last Friday; given the number of singles he’s already released, it contained a grand total of four new tracks. This was one of them.
Tom: And the Kylie collaboration’s an album track? Blimey. Talk about setting expectations high.
Tim: It’s fair to say Sigala’s established himself as one of the top names in summery tropical dance music, and with his first name being Bruce it was only a matter of time until he landed a prolific Australian.
Tom: I didn’t quite facepalm at that line, Tim, but I did scrunch up one side of my face and lower my eyebrows in a kind of a “huh?” gesture.
Tim: You what?
Tom: I didn’t need to write that sentence out, but I’m hoping that anyone reading it would try and imitate that face. Anyway, yeah, this is… well, actually it’s really generic, isn’t it?
Tim: It does, though, seem a bit of a waste. You’ve got Kylie, you want to give her the best track you will ever make in your life – not this, which as Sigala tracks go is entirely average. It’s not bad by any means – but it certainly doesn’t deserve Kylie.
Tom: Well, apparently not. Which is a shame, because this feels like it could have easily ended up in that territory.
Tim: What? What are you talking about, man. Sure, it’s not at Dancing levels, but this is damn good.
Tom: Okay, so my problem. First up: I can’t hear “caution, caution, amber lights” without replacing it with “engine engine number nine” off… well, the long series of samples that ended up with Fatman Scoop. My overactively-referencing brain aside, though, this track seems to sit in an awkward position.
Tim: Why? It’s in a fantastic position as far as I’m concerned – great tune, energy, voice as ever.
Tom: It’s not a slow ballad — that “yoou-oo-oou” has too much of a build into it for it to possibly be the Big Emotional Number — but it’s not a big pop track either. And it doesn’t help that, several times during it, I found myself absent-mindedly hearing ‘Dancing’ over the top of it in my head. They’re too similar for the first two singles.
Tim: Hmm, see I didn’t re-listen to Dancing, and I didn’t leap to that conclusion. In any case, this isn’t quite going for full on dance tune BANGER like Dancing was – it’s going for a big pop number, and it succeeds as far as I’m concerned.
Tom: Still, for someone whose career has run for all this time, getting one Proper Track off an album’s an achievement.
Tim: And two Proper Tracks, out of two, is a very good achievement.
Tom: Oh, crikey, let’s move on from that. We’re looking for a BANGER, based on past form, and — despite your enthusiasm for that Christmas single — I don’t think it’s quite matched up. This time…
Tom: …MODERATE BANGER. Which I know is a contradiction in terms, but I still stand by it.
Tim: I’d say MODERATE TO STRONG, based on those fast-paced verses, heavy choruses and the whole “screw you, I’m here, plastered and DANCING” look on her face in the middle eight.
Tom: There’s a lot to like here. It sounds like old Kylie, filtered through a lens of Kygo. I’d portmanteau those together, but I’d get “Kylo”, and then it’d be all Star Wars.
Tim: Yes, and if you and I started discussing that we’d be here all day, so best not.
Tom: Full marks for actually including line dancing in the video like it’s the late nineties, though. This is catchy, and at under three minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome either. This might be the best Kylie track since… 2 Hearts, perhaps?
Tim: Hmm…perhaps – though that Christmas album does take a lot to beat it.
Tim: Yes indeed, another new Christmas original from Kylie. PREVIOUSLY: Only You, a well-meaning and enjoyable but ultimately unnecessary cover; 100 Degrees, a lyrically misjudged disco anthem thirty years too late; and Every Day’s Like Christmas, a festive dance track that you reckoned was missing a special something. Finally, though: the Christmas ballad.
Tom: Oh. Huh. That’s… actually really good. I wasn’t expecting the fourth single to be any good.
Tim: Yeah – I’ve no idea who came up with the release order, or what they were thinking, because this, actually, is the first one of them that I can imagine ending up on Christmas compilation CDs in years hence (or, more likely, curated playlists on your local music streaming service).
Tom: I can’t work out which bits are chorus, pre-chorus and middle eight, but you know what? I don’t care. That key change makes up for any flaws: this is the very first Christmas track you’ve sent me this year that I’ve actually played more than once.
Tim: Oh, you have MADE MY DAY. FINALLY, WE’VE MADE IT THROUGH – I almost want to plan a street party in Kylie’s honour. But, this for the future: it has a sense of timelessness that the others didn’t really get, it’ll sit pleasingly alongside All I Want For Christmas Is You and One More Sleep with that same “Christmas is best with loved ones” message, and, most of all, it’s got ALL THE JINGLINESS. And that is very important for a Christmas compilation.
Tom: You know what? I won’t say it’s a full-on, armour-piercing dose of Christmas spirit, but you know what? I think it’s the closest we’re going to get this year.
Tim: Oh, I’m so happy you’ve reached at least that level of qualified approval. Because given all though pleasing qualities it’s one I’ll happily listen to again, this year, and the next, and the next, and so on.
Tim: RIGHT, so here’s a third one off Kylie’s album that’s getting a push, or at least this remix is, and here’s why.
Tom: Crikey, they’re pushing these out, aren’t they?
Tim: On occasion, with good reason:
Tom: Well, that is EXACTLY what I expected it to be.
Tim: Exactly as brilliant, I trust you mean. I really don’t think it would be going too far to call Mike, Matt and Pete the true three wise men of this Christmas at least, with what they’ve done to the Chris Martin-penned original being this good.
Tom: I don’t want to think about what that makes Kylie.
Tim: Ew. Um, no. That original is a perfectly decent Christmas song on its own, but this takes that, festive trumpets and bells and all, sticks a fantastic final chorus on the end and basically turns it right up to poppers o’clock.
Tim: Good good. We’ve also a lovely huggy message in the lyrics, Christmassy instruments and as brilliant a production as you could possibly expect. Oh, it’s good.
Tom: It is, but I’m going to qualify this somewhat: it’s good, but even in the Three Wise Men’s glory years, I think this would have been a B-side. There’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s nothing to make it massively stand out.
Tim: Oh, I could not disagree more. I can understand, slightly, why they went for 100 Degrees as the main release, but damn, they should have gone with this – this track here is Kylie’s One More Sleep, and long may it hang around.
“Could you get away with this at the height of disco fever? Sure. Would we still be playing it now? Well.”
Tim: CHRISTMAS TIME!!! Every Christmas album needs to come with a new track, like Kelly’s Wrapped in Red or Leona’s One More Sleep.
Tom: And occasionally they’re even good! But statistically…
Tim: Actually, both of those truly were very good, whatever you’re cruelly trying to imply. And now Kylie brings us this, the sisters’ first collaboration in almost a decade. Who said families always argue at Christmas?
Tom: Bongos. Of course there are bongos at Christmas.
Tim: Yes, you see here’s the thing – this here is a track that wants to be a disco Christmas anthem even after climate change has well and truly taken its toll on the festive season – after all, it’s hardly like Merry Christmas Everyone is particularly accurate any more.
Tom: So the big question: Celsius or Fahrenheit? Because 100C ain’t enough to roast a turkey, but 100F is even a bit low for Australian Christmas.
Tim: Either way, it’s a bit too hot for comfort, and it’s certainly not what anyone wants to imagine. As far as this hanging around to actually make it as an anthem, though, there’s one big question: is disco really the right genre for a festive track? To be honest: I really don’t think so. Yes, there’s a gap in the market (and this may have been written to fill it), but it’s there for a reason.
Tom: Agreed. Could you get away with this in the 1980s, at the height of disco fever? Sure. Would we still be playing it now? Well.
Tim: Sure, people have parties at Christmas, and they want to dance, but they want to dance to tunes they know, and if new tunes are going to be played, they need to blend in. This really, really doesn’t. Sorry, Kylie: much as I might like this as a regular track, it’s just not right for Christmas.
Tim: Huh, I did not know that. The generally accepted story behind this seems to be that it was going to be a jokey bonus track stuck on the end, but it turned out so well that it suddenly became the actual lead single. And, on hearing it, I’ve got to say: why not? Because that’s a perfectly decent cover. True, we probably don’t need another version of it, but on hearing it I was genuinely pleasantly surprised.
Tom: And it’s the right time of year, with Corden providing a boost to the right audience. At only three minutes, it’s not even too long for a song like this.
Tim: Full album’s out on Friday, and while it doesn’t feature any other comedians, it does feature her first collaboration with sister Dannii since 2008, so WOW to that, and here’s to Christmas six weeks early!
Tom: Good grief, Shaggy’s actually having a full, proper comeback. Did anyone see that coming? Did even Shaggy see that coming? Because I’m guessing “providing the middle eight for a Kylie single” probably wasn’t in his diary a couple of years ago.
Tom: But what the hell was that? I really hope that high-frequency hiss through those choruses is YouTube compression rather than the actual single, because that’s almost painful to listen to.
Tim: Sorry to disappoint you, Tom, but nope – studio version as well. I don’t find it quite so difficult as you, but you’re right, it’s still a bit jarring.
Tom: Actually, never mind that: the rest of the track, while it’s clearly Kylie’s sound, is an album track at best.
Tim: Yes – the verses are too…suddenly the word ‘damp’ springs to mind, and I suppose that’ll do. It just about picks up for the chorus, but loses it right after. And Shaggy’s bit? Nuh-uh.
Tom: And it’s all paired with a weird, low-budget video where the director’s inexplicably sometimes forgotten to add the dust-and-grain effects, making the whole thing look like it’s been cobbled together in a copy of Windows Movie Maker. What were they thinking?
Tim: Oh, I don’t know. Let’s just pretend it’s not happened.
Tim: You may or may not remember Perfect Day, the Lou Reed cover that the BBC put together back in 1997 that had just about every artist in the world in it.
Tom: Remember it? I think it was the first single I bought. Charity and all.
Tim: Well, they’ve gone and done something similar with this Beach Boys track seventeen years later. This got broadcast on every channel and station last night (except Radio 3, who were busy playing Brahms) both to promote the new BBC Music thing and to raise money for Comic Relief. Shall we?
Tom: “Hmm” is right.
Tim: Well, I think the first question we should all be asking is what on Earth is going on with Louis and Niall’s hair –
Tom: I was going to mention that.
Tim: – but musically I’m going to say…ehhh. It’s a track, certainly, and it’s musical, for the most part it’s very enjoyable.
Tom: But it’s not Perfect Day. Am I looking back with rose-tinted spectacles? Possibly, but I can remember being absolutely blown away by Perfect Day when it first appeared on TV — here, they seem to be dazzling with ridiculous CGI rather than just good music.
Tim: The only criticism I have is that I’m really not sure the orchestral/chorus break sounds right. I get that they want to indicate that it’s about all types of music, but I think if you want to do that, make it longer.
Tom: Right! Yes! Perfect Day is busy, but it never approaches anywhere near “cacophony”. There’s not room enough to breathe in here. The instrumental break of Perfect Day was one very good solo: here, we’ve got loads of instruments and vocalists, and each one gets a pause to itself. And Brian May crowbars his trademark guitar sound in. It doesn’t work.
Tim: I’m usually the first to complain that a track’s too long, but you’re barely pushing two and a half minutes there, and I don’t think anyone’d begrudge you an extra minute to fit it together better.
Tom: Also, let’s be clear about that video: Brian Wilson has the haunted look of someone who has no idea what’s going on.
Tim: Still, gets the point across, and it’s good enough to listen to. Makes the right point about how important music is to them, and at a time when people are having a go at the BBC right, right and further right, it’s nice to have them showing off what they can do. And beg for our support, which I suppose is a more cynical and probably unfair way of looking at the lyrics. So I’ll close by saying: great idea, not quite so great execution, but good enough for me.