“Gravelly German vocals! Unnecessarily emotional video! And what sounds like an entire football stadium singing along!”
Tim: DJ Ötzi’s coming up on 20 years in the industry; to celebrate that, he’s releasing a THUMPING remix of his most successful track (which we covered a while back) with a brand new video.
Tom: I am already preparing to yell the words “HAVE IT”.
Tom: HAVE IT.
Tim: Oh, ain’t it brilliant? You start out thinking ‘hang on, are we jumping way out of the usual here and doing it as a piano ballad?’, but then soon enough you realise that no, of course we’re not, we’re sticking true to the sound he’s had for the whole two decades he’s been around, and it’s still sounding great.
Tom: Ötzi! Gravelly German vocals! Unnecessarily emotional video! And what sounds like an entire football stadium singing along! Not a choir — they’re all singing the same note. Or, at least, the synth that’s simulating them is only playing one note.
Tim: Fabulous, all of it. In fact, it’s sounding BIGGER and BETTER than before, with more bass, more banging, more build to what has now become a PHENOMENAL key change, and just all round BLOODY MARVELLOUS.
Tom: And Nik P’s big note at the end! I’ll say it again, Tim: HAVE IT.
Tim: We’ve featured Nik P. a few times before, more often than not when he’s collaborated with DJ Ötzi.
Tom: Two days of German dancepop! You spoil me.
Tim: What can I say, I’m feeling generous. Here’s his new one, and I have thoughts.
Tom: I’m not entirely convinced by this, because — although it’s buried in the mix — all I can hear in the chorus is the constant “buhh buhh buhh buhh” one-note synth in the background. Unlike yesterday’s glorious track, which accepted the inherent cheesiness (of both itself, and its genre), this isn’t quite respectable, and it isn’t quite schlager. It lands in a kind of dancepop uncanny valley, where “it’s a grooving crowd” just doesn’t sound right.
Tim: You know, ‘buried in the mix’ kind of leads me to my issue. See, I will never turn down a track like this – I love the genre, and even if it’s only a 5/10 I’ll stick it in a playlist and listen to it happily. Except – and this is going to sound horrible – I’m not sure the voice works here. It’s – and again, I hate saying this – too old. Too croaky, it’s seen too much through the years. By all means, Nik P., please do keep making the music; just maybe get a featured singer instead?
Tom: Nope, I’d say completely the other way round. I have no problem with this voice: I just think the production could use being… well, either less modern or more modern. Pick one.
Tim: Courtesy of Apple Music’s German Pop division, I discovered a DJ Ötzi Essentials playlist, and I was DELIGHTED. Here, as his most successful one in his native Austria, is “A Star (That Bears Your Name)”.
Tom: Hahahahaha that’s amazing from start to finish. Never mind the music, there’s the video: the dodgy CGI, the individual dancers, the acknowledgement that they’ve not got quite enough to make a full video there so they cut to the behind-the-scenes and stock photos.
Tim: Isn’t it just beautiful? Anyway, this here stayed at number one in Germany for 13 weeks, and for 14 weeks in Austria, in early 2007, and I don’t really know what to make of that fact. I mean, it’s good – love the melody, love the electric guitar/dance beat combo, obviously love the key change – but THREE MONTHS?
Tom: Mate, Saturday Night lasted 15 we– sorry, I just got to the key change and BLOODY HELL. This is INCREDIBLE.
Tim: Apparently many pop music radio stations refused to play it, with it not quite fitting into the musical zeitgeist of the time – that could, arguably, have helped it, with fans buying it either in protest or just so they could play it. But even so – three months?
“It’s like a warm mug of cocoa. Predictable and comforting.”
Tim: We first met the Austrian Nik P. a couple of weeks ago when we looked at DJ Ötzi’s rework of a 2014 track of his; here’s his current track.
Tom: Is that schlager? That feels like schlager. If it were Scandinavian, I’d file it under schlager.
Tim: Well, given that schlager is originally a German word for pop music, it very much counts, and I think in both senses. And I love it. It subscribes to a formula that I will never, ever tire of – light major key synth work, gentle vocals which (probably) aren’t remotely deep or meaningful, with “Da Oben” translating to “Up There”, a decent beat to dance to, and then that key change is just a beautiful bow on top of the present.
Tom: Right! I had a massive grin on my face. It’s… it’s like a warm mug of cocoa. Predictable and comforting. I’m not sure that analogy works, but you know what I mean.
Tim: Yeah, that holds up. It’s not going to win any awards any time soon – let’s face it, there’d be something wrong with the award system if it did – but damn, it hits every single button of mine, and I just want it on repeat many, many times over.
Tim: Yes, DJ Ötzi – despite being just a two (or possibly three) hit wonder in most places, he’s had dozens of hits in Germany and Austria, and here’s his first track after a few years off. I say ‘his’, its actually a beefed-up reworking of Nik P.’s 2014 hit, but it’s a good beefed-up.
Tim: Oh, it’s lovely.
Tom: Take some else’s track! Add a beat and some extra vocals! Shift it up a key! Make sure there’s a bit the crowd can sing along to! It’s a good recipe and it bloody works.
Tim: It’s very, very cheesy, mind – the title translates to ‘Born To Love You’ and the lyrics are in exactly the vein you’d imagine given the title and that video. But I don’t care. Sometimes I’m in the mood for cheesy songs, and this delivers it in spades. The original has considerably less instrumentation underneath, and lacks the amount of energy that this brings, which for me lessens the impact somewhat.
Tom: Mm. I’m not sure about that “considerably”: this isn’t the kind of reworking we’ve seen on Sweet Caroline, for example: this was already a fairly high-energy (and let’s be honest, fairly cheesy) track.
Tim: It is slightly let down (and I’m surprised to be saying this in 2016) by the lack of a key change, because my view is that if you’re going for a song like this you really should go all in, or at least provide a decent soaring vocal, and it sure as hell sounds like they’re building to one.
Tom: That would have kicked it into prime Ötzi territory. Maybe he’s calming down a bit.
Tim: That aside, though – this is the most ‘awwwww’ song I’ve heard in ages, and I love it for that.