Lisa Ajax – Känn En Doft Av Kärleken

“It’s really, really jarring, and it upsets me.”

Tim: RIGHT THEN so you’ll recall back in June we got Dolly Style doing a cover of How Far I’ll Go as part of a new We Love Disney album, except then for months we had nothing at all, despite me hunting for stuff at least once a week.

HOWEVER, last week the whole album arrived, yippee! We’ve a variety of styles: some straight up covers, some simple translations (Aladdin’s En Helt Ny Värld), English covers that have really played with the genre (Circle of Life), and some that might as well be brand new songs, because I’m willing to bet you’d forgotten the existence of Brother Bear altogether.

And then…and then there’s this.

Tim: So, I have no problem at all with about 90% of that. The early part of it takes the same genre we’re used to, and a translation’s always fun (though, weirdly, they’ve used different lyrics from the translation they used in the film). The bit where the chorus has a big hefty backing underneath it, very very much so.

Tom: Agreed: there are, as far as I’m concerned, two canonical versions of this: the film version, and Elton John’s version. This doesn’t hold a candle to either of them, of course, but I’ve got to admit that the voice works, and the production for most of it is good too. It’s a solid Disney Cover. I think you’ve got the same problem with it that I have, though.

Tim: Most likely. Because that dance breakdown – where on earth did that come from? I don’t mind it particularly, and certainly if it was in a whole other song I’d have no problems with it at all. Except it isn’t in a whole other song, it’s in the middle of one of the most memorable film songs ever, and it completely and totally doesn’t belong. It’s really, really jarring, and it upsets me.

Tom: And it’s a real shame! Because the rest of it is good. Not spectacular, but good.

Tim: I’ll finish on a positive, though: we’ve got something similar with Kamferdrops’s version of Let It Go. And this time, it works for me.

Tim: I’ve no idea why it works, as logically I should have the same problem – still a great song, still a largely unrelated breakdown. But I don’t.

Tom: I think I know why: Let It Go is meant to be a big, showstopper, belt-it-out number — but here it’s being sung relatively quietly and calmly. That chorus sounds wrong, it’s underwhelming — but it means that your brain’s more prepared for the dance bit.

Tim: Hmm, yeah, could be.

Tom: What we’ve learned here is that nothing’s going to break Andrew WK covering the Mickey Mouse March.

Tim: Erm…well, okay, whatever works for you. I’ll stick with Dolly Style, if you don’t mind.

Lisa Ajax – Terribly Good Xmas

“Please, anybody, just come and keep me company”

Tom: Is this another track where I have to ignore the title? Because I feel like I have to ignore the title on this.

Tim: You do. Because I mentioned on Friday how Christmas songs are full of clichés, and songs fitting into various categories: love songs, heartbreak songs, celebratory songs, miserable songs – your basic ones. We don’t get that many songs that are just “please, anybody, just come and keep me company”, though.

Tim: I say that, it’s not actually the first time Lisa’s done a song like this, though her one two years ago was slightly more specific. Here, she’s just hoping for anyone. An unusual look, sure, but I guess it takes a strong person to come right out and be this desperate, so fair play to her for that.

Tom: And you know what? This is actually not a bad song. Even the “terribly good” bit from the title, which I thought was going to be a nightmare, seems to work in context. This is fun! It’s not going on my Christmas playlist any time soon — if I had a Christmas playlist — but it’s not hateful. By my standards, that’s practically a ringing endorsement.

Tim: Lyrics aside (as I’ll accept they do get a bit annoying with the whole “I deserve this” attitude) I reckon it’s a nice song – I like the style, I like the melody, and sure the verses are a bit too quiet for my liking, the chorus hits the right level. So yeah – overall, I’ll take this.

SO, by my count, we now have 7 out of 12 Christmas songs that you’ve said positive things about! So unless I spoil it all tomorrow with a song you absolutely hate, I think we can call this year a success.

Lisa Ajax – I Don’t Give A

“This TRIUMPH of a song came LAST”

Tim: Now I know we normally do rejects on a Saturday, but we’re having this today because (a) Sweden’s special and (b) this so does not deserve to be classed as a reject and (c) WHAT A BLOODY SHAMBLES. Oh, and it’s got rude words.

Tom: Well, that’s certainly bold.

Tim: Now we’ll get to the lyrics in a minute, but I’ve just finished watching the Melodifestivalen final, and this TRIUMPH of a song came LAST in the public vote, getting SIX PER CENT. WHAT THE ACTUAL. HOW. Honestly, I lost enough respect for the British people when they voted for our entry, but I’m almost tempted to give up on Sweden as well.

Tom: Mm. A bit of an overreaction there, perhaps; there are plenty of reasons why they might have abandoned it.

Tim: Alright, then, some rational thoughts: first, maybe it wasn’t the best call to have, as the sole staging element, a massive shot of her face. And maybe it wasn’t the best call to have the least family-friendly lyrics that Melodifestivalen has ever seen – I’m sure you’re aware that Eurovision rule 1.2.2(h) states that lyrics may not bring Eurovision ‘into disrepute’, but you know what? I DON’T GIVE A.

Tom: That staging is… well, it comes across as narcissistic even if it was someone else’s idea.

Tim: Sweden’s winner, the above average I Can’t Go On, contains the line “when you look this freaking beautiful”, and when it was performed in the first heat that word was not “freaking”. Words can be rewritten.

Tom: But to what? The song lyrics wouldn’t work any other way, that’s true, but there’s no way it’d actually be allowed at Eurovision. Replacing it with a gasp is the best alternative I can think of, and that’s still not right.

Tim: Fair, though actually apparently a version was done that was played to the international juries – the main line was “I don’t give a damn”, though I’m not sure what the other could have been.

And aside from those two things: I don’t get it. The melody is great. She has a fantastic voice, demonstrated throughout. Most importantly: it’s fun. It’s a fantastic piece of pure unadulterated pop music, rather than some slightly generic three minute dance-pop track.

Tom: I don’t hear it: yes, it’s pure pop music, but other than the shock value of the lyrics it comes across as pretty generic to me.

Tim: RUDE. This is genuinely one of my favourite tracks of the year, and it got fewer votes than the old guy with the harmonica. Shameful. And incidentally, “gilipollas” in the tweet at the top? Twitter translates it as “idiots”; Google instead goes for “douchebags”, vastly more appropriate.)

Lisa Ajax – Santa Bring My Baby To Me

Tim: Lisa, former Swedish Idol winner and Melodifestivalen finalist, brings us a festive number, presumably after having no luck on nights out and getting bored of Tinder.

Tom: Oh! Tim… I think this is the first really good Christmas track you’ve sent this year. You’ve saved the best for last. Well done. Heck of a voice, decent melody. As for the lyrics…

Tim: She dumped him a while ago, realises that actually she was being silly, and now wants him back, and has therefore turned to Santa to force him back rather than just, you know, asking him, like a normal person would. Still, who cares for free will and his feelings and stuff like that at this most wonderful time of the year?

Tom: It’s probably best not to analyse songs too much, particularly not at Christmas. I don’t think this is actually making me feel Christmassy, but… well, I don’t mind this right now, and that’s a pretty good start.

Tim: What we really care about is the song and the music, which is all pretty good – heck of a chorus in there, for starters, with an entirely decent voice and a proper mixture of tinkling and banging all mixed up together.

Tom: Shame about the middle eight, but it comes back with a brilliant final chorus and lovely whistle-register notes over the top, so I’ll forgive it.

Tim: So since Christmas lyrics are frequently nonsense anyway, I’m all in for this. SORTED.

Lisa Ajax – Love Me Wicked

“I’m starting to regret suggesting that Fridays be Tropical Fridays”

Tim: Friday’s here, so grab yourself a pineapple for today’s TROPICAL TUNE.

Tim: Hmm. To be honest I’m starting to regret suggesting that Fridays be Tropical Fridays, because let’s face it there is basically nothing notable about this and there are better tracks we can feature. However, four weeks ago Tom said it’d only last a month and I am entirely determined to prove him wrong, so let’s do our best with what we’ve got. And it’s, okay, I guess?

Adam: I’d say you’ve timed it perfectly because the weather’s been pretty tropical lately.

Tim: Oh that’s certainly true – it’s just the one a week thing might have been pushing it, as there’s really not a lot to say here. The melody’s decent enough, the tropicalness is all there as it should be, and she’s got a decent singing voice.

Adam: Another jittery chorus here to haunt you Tim! I’m not a big fan of it this time round. I think the fade effect on Lisa’s vocal does a bit of a disservice to her voice. The beat has enough of a bounce without artificially introducing more. One time is fine but it’s a bit overkill to do it over and over again.

Tim: I suppose it’ll fit fine on a “flight to Hawaii” playlist, but in future can we have less of a “this’ll do” attitude please.

Adam: It does a good job of transporting me to another place. That place is a dark club with sticky floors, sweaty dancers, and Malibu & pineapple juice/Sambuca shots.

Tim: Eurgh. Given they were probably going for summery beach resort, that’s probably not a compliment.

Adam: I guess it could be in Hawaii. Maybe it’s the song or maybe it’s just this heat!

Lisa Ajax – Unbelievable

“I… I have an issue with that chorus.”

Tim: We’ve already looked at the lovely X Factor victor this weekend provided us with; the previous weekend, though, gave us a Swedish Idol victor. This one, to be precise, with this winner’s song.

Tim: And what an excellent winner’s song that is, although the probably superfluous phone sound that appears just before each chorus got me very confused the first couple of times I heard it.

Tom: I… I have an issue with that chorus. “-lievable, -lievable, -lievable” makes me cringe in a way that most broken words in songs don’t. I can’t explain why: perhaps it feels like that should be done with an echo effect rather than actually having her sing it? Mind you, that’d probably sound worse.

Tim: Really? Because I have no issue at all with that, I think it sounds fine. This is a powerful song, a celebration of being brilliant, and everything is wonderful, with that triumphant key change just an extra bit on top. As for the runner up, Mollie Lindéns – unlike Fleur, her performance of this was, well, basically identical to the winner, aside from getting a bit screamy after the key change, so you’re not missing much.

Tom: Crikey, you’d think they’d arrange them two different ways at least.

Tim: Basically, it’s a great song, worthy of any winner. Congratulations Lisa.