Magnus Carlsson – Slow Motion

“It just doesn’t seem right, you know?”

Tim: It’s a new one off Magnus Carlsson!

Tom: Brilliant!

Tim: And it’s in English.

Tom: That’s a pleasant surprise!

Tim: And really really doesn’t sound like his usual stuff…

Tom: Oh.

Tim: He’s got all modern, although it’s possibly a 2015 version of modern, but not to worry, because it is still sounding great. Fast (somewhat ironically, given the title), synthy, upbeat, energetic and…and dammit it upsets me there isn’t a key change there.

Tom: The song is a bit… well, Generic Modern Pop, isn’t it? There’s nothing actually wrong there, but that was a nice little niche he had carved out for himself. There’s a bit too much novelty here, and a bit more familiarity would come in handy.

Tim: Right? Take a key change, for example. It would sound lovely, and much as I do enjoy the track, and appreciate what Magnus is doing, I still feel that, in these turbulent times, we should have one constant in our lives to look to, and that one constant should be Magnus Carlsson putting out incredible schlager tracks. Sure, we’ve got old German men doing it, but Magnus…Magnus is the king of it.

Tom: Instead, we have a track that could have pretty much any vocalist and sound much the same.

Tim: Don’t get me wrong – if this was any other artist here, I may well love this. But from Magnus, it just doesn’t seem right, you know?

Saturday Flashback: Magnus Carlsson – Live Forever

“I thought the original performance was bad enough.”

Tom: Do you remember David Hasselhoff’s astonishing Hooked on a Feeling, and its nonsensical, astonishing (in the bad way) greenscreen from 1997?

Tim: I’d not seen that before; all I can say now is bloody hell. But what’s that got to do with this sublime Melodifestivalen 2007 track?

Tom: Well, I reckon Magnus Carlsson’s team saw that ten years later, and thought: technology’s moved on. We can do better.

Tom: Only with a key change.

Tim: Blimey, and I thought the original performance was bad enough, with the leather trousers, legs spread out at right angles and the almost offensive crotch grabbing.

Tom: And the “ha-aa-ooh” wail that, in hindsight, sounds suspiciously like it’s been borrowed from “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”.

Tim: Magnus: you will certainly live forever in my heart.

Saturday Flashback: Magnus Carlsson & Jessica Andersson – En stilla väntan

“I’m a sucker for a good male/female duet”

Tim: So this is one I really wanted to feature last year, but held off doing in case a proper video ever appeared; twelve months on, that’s seeming unlikely, so here’s a live version.

Tim: Upsettingly, I’ve no idea at all what the song’s about – can’t find any lyrics online, and I can’t even find a decent title translation that makes sense. On the other hand, it sounds bloody lovely, as I’m a sucker for a good male/female duet, and with those gorgeous strings rolling around in the background it’s giving me nice memories of Tor & Bettan, a Reject that’s still up in my top ten as a frequent listen.

Tom: Huh. For me, it’s just… well, it’s background music, really. Apart from that instrumental bit coming out of the chorus that sounds a bit like the theme tune to The Champions. Why do you like it so much?

Tim: This is a beautiful song, particularly with the rhythm in that wonderfully strong chorus, topped off with that lovely middle eight, and I really do love it.

Magnus Carlsson – Meet Me Downtown Tonight

“Hijack a train?”

Tom: Not even a spectacular sign language interpretation could save Magnus Carlsson’s old-school schlager number at Melodifestivalen. But that’s not stopping him: here’s an English version of Möt mig i Gamla Stan.

Tom: Now literally, this should be translated as “Meet Me In Gamla Stan”, which is Stockholm’s Old Town. And I can see why they’ve not made it a literal translation — but “downtown tonight” doesn’t scan nearly as well — and it’s not nearly as punchy. GAM-la STAN has two perfectly stressed syllables: down-TOWN to-NIGHT changes the pattern and weakens the whole chorus.

Tim: Hmm, I see where you’re coming from, though I don’t feel it as badly as you seem to – still four syllables, and the worst he’s doing is lessening the stress on ‘down’. ANYWAY, this is getting dull.

Tom: Also, “hijack a train”? That may be the least practical suggestion for travel. A car? Maybe. But a train? Good luck with that. Entertainingly, that’s actually a direct translation from the original Swedish.

Tim: Hmm. You say that, and then I wondered if it might have been based on something that actually happened; probably not directly, but I did discover that in 2013 a cleaner accidentaly stole a subway train and drove into a house.

Tom: But despite all this: can we agree that, regardless of which language this is in, it’s a brilliant bit of retro pop? Yes, it’s a bit too cheesy, but it’s got enough charm and enthusiasm to it that I can’t help but smile.

Tim: No-one can, Tom, no-one can. It’s why the subtitling guy ended up dancing like that, and it’s exactly why, having completed in nine different Melodifestivalens, he’s made the final a full nine times. That man knows what he’s doing, and he does it very well.

Magnus Carlsson – Tillsammans

“A truly dedicated soul who’s still at it.”

Tim: I know we don’t normally do live performances of proper songs, because often they’re a bit iffy with the levels and stuff, but there’s no studio version on the internet and it’s the new one from Magnus Carlsson and dammit we need to do it.

Tim: I’m not sure I can think of any other man who’s done more for the noble act of schlager than Magnus.

Tom: That’s a heck of a phrase. I just want everyone reading this to wait a moment, and consider that phrase. Okay, moving on.

Tim: A truly dedicated soul who’s still at it, over half a decade since it stopped being fashionable, with key changes, major chords, thumping but not too thumping beats, and just such much happiness to everything, especially here with the song whose title translates as ‘Together’.

Tom: Yep, there’s not much you can say about this other than, yes, he’s ticked all the boxes, and the result is a pretty damn good schlager song.

Tim: I do hope he never stops. Though I do sort of hope he shows at least some sort of aging at some point, because a forty year old really shouldn’t look that good and I’m starting to get suspicious.

Magnus Carlsson – Glorious

We get whacked sharply on the head by that almighty chorus.

Tim: One of the most notable names in Swedish pop over the past couple of decades, Magnus is back with a new track. And, well, no prizes for guessing the word I’m considering using to describe it.

Tom: That’s a heck of a lead-in. This had better be… well, you know.

Tom: And it is! Well, that’s a nice surprise, although given his history I suppose I’d have been more startled if it was anything but.

Tim: It is brilliant, isn’t it? What a joyous track it is. The way there’s no real verse to speak of – just a couple of can’t-really-be-bothered lines before we head into the nice build-up of the pre-chorus, and get whacked sharply on the head by that almighty chorus.

Tom: And that almighty — pun intended — key change.

Tim: If you can’t quite work out where you’ve heard the ‘GLORIOUS’ melody before, it’s in Never Ending Story – he claims this is a mix of that and his previous Live Forever, “in a steamy affair with Carola’s Evighet and with Pet Shop Boys choirs and an overtone of my own Kom Hem.”

Tom: Well, at least he acknowledges it, although I do still want to do the descending “la la la” bit from Never Ending Story over the end.

Tim: We all do, Tom, and it seems even Magnus can’t help himself a couple of times. It’s quite an ambitious mixture he describes, but what a mixture it turns out to be. It’s wonderful, and it’s properly perked up my Friday. I love it.

Tom: I can only agree. Top work, Magnus.

Saturday Flashback: Magnus Carlsson – Wrap Myself In Paper

Where the hell was the key change?

Tim: We’ll finish the Christmas week with this 2006 track. According to the lyrics, we should do this on the 17th, but this year that’s a Monday; needless to say I’m incredibly annoyed I forgot to do this as a Saturday Flashback last year.

Tim: Let’s get the disappointment out of the way first: that was so clearly building up to a key change, so where the hell was it?

Tom: Musical blueballs, Tim. And I’m not sure, but I think the 90s just came back to haunt me. Talk about ghosts of Christmas past. That’s not a bad thing – I just reckon it was about a decade too late.

Tim: Mr Carlsson has recorded a number of Christmas covers (notably of Mariah Carey and John Lennon), but this is his first original track, and it comes with such a disturbing idea that I’m really rather glad he didn’t do another.

Tom: Oh good, I’m glad it wasn’t just me that picked that out.

Tim: Good lord, no. Dedication to your loved one is all well and good, but he’s going to be wrapped up under the tree for eight days. No food, no water. And to be honest, however much he may want to provide her with a perfect present what with all his love and all that, his rotting carcass is probably not what she’s going to expect, or really appreciate.

Tom: The worst part is that “It’s Christmas in a week and a day” could easily be replaced by “just one day”, or even “Christmas is just hours away” or something like that. I know songs don’t have to make sense, but this is more noticeable than most.

Tim: “Did you get what you were hoping for?” “Sort of – my boyfriend promised his everlasting love, which was nice and all that, but now I’ve got his corpse to keep forever, and it’s starting to smell a bit, so am I allowed to throw it out?”

Saturday Flashback: Magnus Carlsson & Alcazar – Happy, Happy Year For Us All

Like Peter Andre with sleigh bells.

Tim: Last of the festive ones and ten years old now, here’s to 2012!

Tom: Dodgy grammar in the title, and a tune that sounds like Peter Andre with sleigh bells. This doesn’t bode well.

Tim: Oh come on. It’s a lot more in the vein of tradition pop than previous weeks have been, but this still has a sizeable number of fanfares and jingly things to convey the festive spirit, as if the lyrics weren’t enough.

Tom: Despite my initial skepticism, the chorus did win me over a bit. It’s by the numbers, of course, but it’s not going to get me off the dancefloor at an office Christmas party. If I worked at an office.

Tim: Alcazar are, as we should all know, also noted for their considerable success with a cover of Last Christmas, but this has the benefit of being both original and, unusually, more about the new year than Christmas itself. It’s a very upbeat message, and who could really dislike it? Well, except for that idiot at my work who insists that if it’s not from the 80s it’s rubbish.

Tom: And a happy new year to you too, Tim.

Magnus Carlsson – Feel You

His head moves in the manner of a curious owl inspecting a vole.

Tim: If yesterday wasn’t enough for you, also in pop-dance-cheese at the moment we have a Swede who wants to Feel You.

Tim: It’s safe to say he certainly gets his message across – I don’t think there’s any doubt whatsoever about what he wants, and so in that sense it’s a good song. Does it matter why he wants to feel me? Not really. I’d rather he didn’t, I suppose, but with that much enthusiasm I probably wouldn’t be able to say no after a while.

Tom: Oh please, like he’d need anywhere near that much enthusiasm to convince you. The track’s not bad, I suppose, although after a while I’d just like there to be something, anything different added to the formula.

Tim: Part of me keeps wanting to sing ‘cause in the heat of the night…‘ occasionally, but I don’t mind that at all and overall I like this a lot.

Tom: Really? I got ‘waiting for a star to fall…‘ several times.

Tim: That as well, actually, and I think it’s the same reason – that pause followed by the glockenspiely synth. The video is notable for doing exactly two things, which is all it tries to do: rivalling Russia’s Eurovision Song Contest in terms of stupid numbers of lights*, and knocking seven shades of shit out of Eric Saade when it come to rainfall.

* Today’s fun fact: 13% of the world’s LED displays were in Moscow’s Olympic Indoor Arena that night. Every day’s a school day.

Tom: When he dances, his head moves in the manner of a curious owl inspecting a vole. His gaze never leaves the camera, and his head seems to move strangely on top of his body, almost as if it’s superimposed. I propose that he is, in fact, the first bird of prey to release a dance single.