Ola – This Could Be Paradise

Tim: Remember Ola, seemingly annually of these pages? I’ll forgive you if you don’t, but here’s a new single from the Swede that’s initially released in, erm, Russia. I don’t know either, but here you go.

Tim: So what do we think of that then?

Tom: Well, that’s a blindingly good intro. Unusual synth, great melody.

Tim: It’s certainly got a cracker of a chorus, there’s no doubt about that, and to make things even better there are some pretty good verses in there as well – we’re only halfway through the first one before things pick up and get going properly. It’s all nicely based on a strong dance beat melody that, despite being only fifteen seconds long, loops throughout the song without getting annoying, though it does become hard not to hear once you notice it (you’re welcome).

Tom: Oh, damn it, Tim. You’re right: it’s just that good intro, looping through the whole song. Still, at least there’s enough over the top that it clearly works.

Tim: I particularly like the sort-of-backing-vocals that come in at the start and after each chorus, as they get the song off to a great PAY ATTENTION start, maintain interest after the first chorus and bring everything together nicely at the end. I’ve not even begun to mention the hefty instrumentation beneath each chorus, and indeed everything except the introductory first half-verse; basically, this is a great dance pop track, and I’d have trouble trying to criticise it, even if I wanted to.

Tom: I can only agree: this is brilliant.

Ola – Maybe

A builder, but well worth it.

Tim: A builder, but well worth it.

Tim: I put that warning at the top because occasionally if I’m feeling rushed I’ll just give a song a minute or so before giving up with it; I’m very glad I didn’t here, though, because that chorus is great.

Tom: Given the brief appearance of those MGMT-like synths, I was happy to wait.

Tim: Well, that’s good. Melodically there’s not a whole lot there, but this is quite literally a BANGER. And from the first chorus on it never really puts a foot wrong – the vocal is more energised and considerably less suicidal (how can you make ‘today was as perfect as they come’ sound like a line you’d jump off a bridge to?)

Tom: Well, Lou Reed managed it. But yes, given that the chorus doesn’t stray too much from one single note, it’s surprising just how well it held my attention.

Tim: And there’s a constant drum beat to remind you that the chorus will soon be back doing everything it does so wonderfully even if you’re not happy with what’s going on in the meantime. This comes on in a club, any decent patron will be on the floor as soon as that one minute twenty hits. It’s just a shame about that first minute, really.

Tom: Don’t knock it: I think it’d be a much worse song without that introduction.

Ola – I’m In Love

Stunningly mediocre.

Tim: At the risk of influencing your view, I’m going to come straight out and say that I find this stunningly mediocre. But let’s discuss it anyway.

Tom: That introduction is nicely, and then… then he starts singing.

Tim: It’s not the greatest, is it? But you see, if we split it up, we have the opening bits, being boring, dull and autotuned to the point of musical extinction. We move to the chorus, which starts to improve, and then as the chorus reaches its peak it could be described as pretty good.

Tom: The whuy-uy-uy bits don’t work for me, but I’ll admit that the main bit of the (long) chorus isn’t bad.

Tim: Catchy, perhaps (though it’s worth noting that a lot of truly horrific songs are quite catchy too).

Tom: The verses really start to grate for me after a while. The backing is a bit too monotonous, the melody a bit dirge-like – even the good bit of the chorus can’t push it above average.

Tim: True – overall, it sort of averages out, to, well, average, but while it alters a bit over time, getting gradually better and more lifelike, it never really manages to do anything special.

So now that’s done, let’s move on to the next one.

Ola – Riot

I don’t understand why I quite like this.

Tim: Help me, Tom.

Tom: Oh dear. Have you got a girl in trouble?

Tim: Not any time recently, no. But I have an issue, related to this.

Tim: You see, if will.i.am or some such act came out with this song, and for some reason we reviewed it, my half of the page would probably consist of no small torrent of abuse directed at the artist, most likely containing language that would be unsuitable for younger readers. So why do I quite like this?

Tom: You fancy Ola? Just a hunch.

Tim: Oh, please, with that hair?* Here, I don’t mind the appalling auto-tune, the club-referencing, the mindless lyrics or the general shoutiness. The vaguely decent tune that’s behind seems to be enough for me, when it really wouldn’t normally be. Is it just that he’s Swedish? And if it is, does that make me racist in a strange and incredibly specific way? I just don’t know.

* I’m really not shallow.

Tom: It just seems such a dull song for its subject matter. “I want a riot / in this club”? Really? Because it takes a bit more energy and passion than that – particularly the lackadaisical final… poem or whatever it is – if you want to start a riot.

Ola – Overdrive

Just get on with it, numbnuts.

Tim: What we have here is a young bloke called Ola* whose appearance is rather spoiled by a peculiar reverse mullet. He got to the finals of Idol 2005 and (perhaps surprisingly) has been very successful, in Sweden at least, ever since, with all nine solo singles in the Top 5, and six of those going to number 1. Anyway, this song is off his third album, released today.

*To give him his full name, Ola Svensson, really, definitely not to be confused with the palindromically-named, slightly scary and entirely different singer Ola Salo.

Tim: I rather like it – it’s jumpy around, has a summery sort of ‘get up and go’ feel to it, which is nice if you’re feeling a bit lethargic. This is enhanced if you watch the video, in which he demonstrates how amazingly energetic he is by running a lot. And then being hit by a car, and carrying on running. And then smashing through a wall, and realising that that was a bit too much.

Tom: That’s a pleasant enough song, isn’t it? I’m glad it kicked in for the chorus, although – ironically given the video – it never really seemed to go anywhere after that. I have a feeling it’s one of those records that’s got to number one based on ‘existing fanbase’ rather than ‘wow that’s a great song’.

Tim: Its success might also be helped by the B-sides – it’s more of an EP than a single and the three tracks are varied enough for most people to have at least one that they like. One‘s an unusually enjoyable R&B style number, and the other‘s a fairly vigorous dance tune, although after a while it unfortunately succumbs to Robynness. What is it with that at the moment?

Tom: If I’m honest, I’m really hoping that – like Takeshi’s Castle – one of the tech crew substituted a wall that didn’t break away for an earlier take of that final shot.

Tim: Annoying: the multiple times they cut away just before he hits the wall, in a ‘will he stop in time?’ attempt to make it vaguely exciting. Of course he won’t. In this video, there is no way he can not go crashing through that wall. Just get on with it, numbnuts.

Tom: Also, I’m not sure I’d describe Ola Salo as ‘slightly scary’ after his rather fabulous performance at Eurovision 2007.

Tim: Hmm. That’ll teach me to judge by Wikipedia pictures alone. Mind you, I still wouldn’t want him as a babysitter.

Tom: To be fair, “full CRB check” isn’t generally a requirement for being a pop star. Although maybe they include that on boy band auditions now, just to be safe.