Saturday Flashback: Nova Miller – My Perfect Christmas

“I’ve not had a song properly wind me up like this in a long while.“

Tim: We might not be featuring current Christmas tracks every day, but BOY are there a lot of goodies from the past. We’ve featured Nova a few times before – she’s off Sweden – but missed this when it came out a few years back. Which is a shame, because it holds up very well as a Christmas song and as a pop song.

Tom: It’s rare that I actually dislike a track so much I have to stop listening, Tim, but at the first chorus — specifically the line “that’s my perfect Christmas”, I had to. And then I realised this isn’t the first time I’ve done that: somehow I heard this on the radio while driving through the US recently. (Heaven knows why, they usually just play the same ten tracks on repeat.)

Tim: WOW, that is fantastic. And sure, the lyrics are a bit damp and melty in places, and I’m never all that keen on “all I want is peace” because I’m fairly sure in a high number of cases that’s somewhat bullshit, especially for a teenager, as she was.

Tom: Damp and melty? If I didn’t know this was a proper release, I’d assume the lyrics were either written by a four-year-old or written by an adult trying to parody the horrible overly-saccharine Christmas ballads. I’ve not had a song properly wind me up like this in a long while.

Tim: Oh, you are SO WELCOME. That “ring out the love, our hearts are uniting” is a fantastic line musically, no-one can dispute the inherent festivity–

Tom: YES I CAN

Tim: –FINE, but also the message at the end of the middle eight does come across as genuinely heartfelt and lovely.

Tom: I wouldn’t know, I didn’t get that far.

Tim: All in all, I really do like this track. Although, yeah, I slightly understand if you don’t.

Nova Miller – Turn Up The Fire

“It just strikes me as a Good Pop Song.”

Tim: So here’s a song I’ve had open in a background tab for a good few days now, which I really like but haven’t got round to sending because I don’t really know what to write about it; have a listen anyway.

Tom: That’s not the greatest sales pitch you’ve ever sent me, but sure, let’s try it.

Tim: Thing is, I’m not sure exactly why I like it, other than that it just strikes me as a Good Pop Song.

Tom: It has all the hallmarks of that, yes, but I’m not convinced that there’s any part of it that stands out especially. It sounds… maybe a bit like stock music? Really good stock music, don’t get me wrong, but stock music.

Tim: It’s loud and hefty, a sound that very much fits in with a lot of stuff on the radio right now, but there’s no real part of it where I can say “YES, this is what I like about it”.

Tom: Then I think the problem’s with the composition: there’s just not enough in there to make it memorable.

Tim: Well that’s true enough – even after several listens, I’m not sure I could really sing along to much of it. I think, in the end, it’s just modern pop that sounds like it’s made really, really well. And I guess that’s all I need to like a track.

Nova Miller – Add A Little Fire

“And oh BOY, does the chorus stand up here.”

Tim: Here’s a nice little number for you, written for a TV programme but stuck online anyway.

Tim: The verses are a bit tedious, but like we said yesterday some songs can manage that as long as the chorus stands up. And oh BOY, does the chorus stand up here.

Tom: Really? It sort of washed over me. I think it’s that insistent, repetitive drum pattern that gets me: it feels way too loud in the mix. Sure, the chorus stands up…

Tim: It stands up, presents itself for inspection in newly ironed clothes, and announces its appearance with a slightly ludicrous but much appreciated key change; just in case we hadn’t got the message the first time, it then provides a very ludicrous but hugely appreciated key change the second time round.

Tom: Mm. The first word that came to mind about that key change was “unnecessary”.

Tim: I don’t know, I’d say it’s just a whole lot of fun. Shame about the verses, and even more of a shame that it ends before what would surely have been a wonderful middle eight and a glorious final chorus or two, but I’ll take what we’ve got.

Tom: Yep. It’s missing something. There’s a beginning, lots of middle, and

Nova Miller – So Good

“A great fun chorus with clapability and singalongability”

Tim: Do you fancy three and a bit minutes of compliments?

Tom: There’s a joke about my love life somewhere there.

Tim: Well then we should probably leave it there. Have a listen to this instead.

Tim: First thing to note: someone needs to tell Nova that since The Weeknd came along with their anti-autocorrect protest of a name, “listening to the weekend” is no longer a lyric that can be used.

Tom: Yep, if it wasn’t for the lyric video, I’d have assumed that’s who she was talking about. That said, not the most accurate lyric video ever.

Tim: Yes, which brings us to the second thing to note: is there a job that just involves spotting typos in lyric videos? I feel I’d be quite good at it. HOWEVER, niggles aside, that’s a great fun chorus with clapability and singalongability all built right in there.

Tom: I’m sure I’ve heard that chorus instrumental somewhere before. A DJ Fresh track? Emeli Sande’s Heaven? It’s an amalgamation of many things, but I like it.

Tim: Would I listen to it regularly? Nope. But it is a good track to listen to as you’re getting ready to go out for a Saturday evening? Yeah, I’d say so. Good work everyone.

Tom: Sometimes, that’s all you need from a pop song. That, and that fantastic whistle-register high note in the last chorus.

Nova Miller – Singin in the Rain

“Musically great, but lyrically awful.”

Tim: As I write this, I’ve just got home from work and it’s been one of those days when all you want to do is drink. Let’s see if this’ll help me, and if I can get over my irritation at the missing ‘g’ in the title.

Tom: Never mind that: why on earth would you take a title from one of the most well-known songs of all time? Did they not Google it? Even that original has the missing G, although at least got an apostrophe. Does that help? Or failing that, does the song at least soothe it?

Tim: I think it works, on all counts – it somewhat does help me cheer up, and it works very well as a good followup to her debut, June’s Supernova.

Tom: Really? Because this is musically great, but lyrically awful.

Tim: I still have my misgivings about incessant chirpy whistling, and a lyric video really isn’t the best way for me to ignore spelling idiocies; on the other hand, “don’t need an umbrella, I’ll make it through the weather” is one of my favourite chorus intros in a while–

Tom: What. No, no, no. It’s terrible.

Tim: Oh, come on – it’s FUN!

Tom: I actually swore under my breath when I heard it. It’s mainly the intonation, I think, but it needs to leave and it needs to leave immediately.

Tim: — and while I suspect the vast number of repetitions of “singin singin singin in the rain” has enormous potential to irritate, I flipping love it right now.

Tom: And the thing is, I can see why. It’s a good track, apart from those lyrics — and the fact that she’s pronouncing “smiling” as “smelling”, which puts a whole different spin on it. And that the whistling sounds a bit like they’re about to go into a Coldplay riff.

Tim: Pah, niggles. I’m going to be honest: writing that intro, I was feeling massively cynical and figured I may end up wanting to chuck my iMac out of the window. As it is: nope, and I’m on my fourth play now with a massive grin on my face.

Nova Miller – Supernova

“SHINE, Thomas, SHINE like a freakin’ SUPERNOVA.”

Tim: In a transparent attempt to have you yelling “get off my lawn”, I’m going to open by telling you that Nova is 13, and, if we take the title with no context, has quite a high opinion of herself.

Tim: On the other hand, listening with the rest of the lyrics, then…well, actually it could be either – the standard interpretation, or a “shine like me because I’m awesome.”

Tom: I’m not going to “get off my lawn” here, but I am going to astronomy-pedant: a supernova’s the last explosion of a dying star, a suicidal blast that destroys the star itself and takes out anything around it. If you’re going to analogise astronomy, make sure you haven’t got unfortunate implications in there.

Tim: Oh, do shut up. Whatever interpretations or problems we may have with the lyrics, it’s a cracking tune – let’s face it, this is uplifting and power-gifting enough to be a Kelly Clarkson song turned the other way round, and it would be up there with her best.

Tom: Yep, to be fair, I wasn’t convinced until that high note at the end of “supernova”. Didn’t expect it, it works well.

Tim: Even better, everyone involved has resisted the inevitable temptation to turn this into a romantic song – in the chorus, it would have been so easy to rhyme “you see” with a “to me” at the end, but nope. Instead, it’s addressed to EVERYBODY, so SHINE, Thomas, SHINE like a freakin’ SUPERNOVA, dammit!

Tom: Be careful what you wish for, Tim.

Tim: Oh, I know exactly what I’m wishing for, Tom.