Olly Murs feat. Snoop Dogg – Moves

“Ugh, WHY.”

Tom: Okay, we’re talking about this. I know it’s been months since it came out over here, I know we said we’re not going to talk about this, but we’re talking about this.

Tim: Ugh, WHY.

Tom: Because I drove through Sweden and Denmark the other day, Tim, and this is in heavy rotation on many radio stations. I heard it four times, including once on the shuttle bus back from the airport that was apparently tuned to an easy-listening station. It’s not even in the charts there. The radio just loves it.

Tim: Hmm…ermm…sorry, just trying to think of a time when we’ve ever even slightly bothered about before. Struggling, I’ll be honest.

Tom: And not only that: it turns out there’s a new trend in music videos, which is a separate vertical video. WELCOME TO THE LATE 2010S TIM.

Tim: 🎉🎉🎉

Tom: Okay, let’s get it out of the way: hearing Snoop Dogg shout out Olly Murs is really, really strange.

Tim: Although less strange than Flo Rida doing a school register call out of the Saturdays.

Tom: Does this track sound a lot like Feels? Yes. Does it have the unmistakable smell of Sheeran all over it? Also yes. Are the lyrics bloody awful in places? Also also yes.

Tim: Yes yes yes.

Tom: But here’s the thing: I didn’t turn it off, at least not the first time I stumbled across it while radio-scanning. It is a very competent track. I’m not going to say it’s necessarily good, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t catchy, excellently produced, and absolutely made for radio airplay. And that’s still a valid way to make a track work: you don’t need to convince the public, just the people in charge of radio playlists.

Tim: It’s short. I’ll give it that.

Olly Murs – Years & Years


Tim: In which Olly does a piano ballad, which you might think would be a recipe for disaster.

Tom: That first verse is tense. That’s the only word I can think of. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that from a pop song before.

Tim: That’s actually a good word – somehow it isn’t a disaster, even slightly. Even before the drums kick in, it’s very good indeed. It strikes exactly the right balance between emotion and mopiness, displaying all the authentic feels (is that still a word?) —

Tom: No.

Tim: Good. — with plenty of heft in the notes to balance that out. And when the drums kick in – well that’s all the more true, and this turns out to be a much, much better track than on paper it has any right to be.

Tom: You’re absolutely right. On those opening piano notes, I was thinking “this needs to be a banger”, because otherwise it was going to go on far too long. It gets close to that — but each time, the drums crash in and rescue it at exactly the right moment. Damn that’s a good track.

Tim: Top work, to everyone involved.

Olly Murs – You Don’t Know Love

“I mean what a track.”

Tim: I’d like to put forth a hypothesis: the quality of Olly’s music is indirectly proportional to the amount of hats he is seen wearing. Earlier tracks, where headwear was in full swing, on occasion left a lot to be desired. Here, on the other hand, there’s a not a trilby in sight and, well.

Tim: I mean what a track.

Tom: That percussion at the start really confused me, and I’ve no idea why: is it slightly offbeat? Overly syncopated? I’ve no idea, but once I got used to it, I quite liked it.

Tim: Making him present X Factor was just cruel to more or less the whole world – he recently said he didn’t enjoy doing it, and the reaction to that from most people was “yeah, but at least you didn’t have to watch it”. This song, though, is so much better for everyone involved, with great melody, passionate vocals, great chorus and a decent dance-pop mix.

Tom: It’s almost a bit Radio 2, isn’t it? It’s certainly on that borderline where your mum might say “Oh, I quite like that when it was on the radio”. It’s certainly aiming more for “playing on every commercial radio station” rather than “played in the clubs”, and if you judge it on that then I guess it’s pretty successful.

Tim: I wouldn’t go that for – I certainly think Radio 2 would have an issue with that distorted vocal thing going on in the intro and background that, six months on, I’ve only just managed to get onboard with. Basically, Olly, please in the future don’t make any more catastrophic errors of judgement.

Tom: I think that’s generally life advice for everyone, Tim.

Olly Murs feat. Demi Lovato – Up

“What’s not to like?”

Tim: So I don’t really know how Olly Murs end up being the main artist here and Demi Lovato being the featured one, but never mind, it’s happened now and we’l just have to live with the implication of that forever.

Tom: For a UK audience? That’s probably about right.

Tim: I suppose so. Doesn’t seem ‘right’ right, though.

Tim: Starts out as a typical Olly Murs song – not great, not terrible, possibly a bit annoying after a while. But then SHE arrives, playing the other half of the slightly rocky relationship and the singer of that lovely chorus, and it all turns magical. Well, not properly magical, but very good nonetheless, not least because it passes my duet requirement of having a happy ending – “that’s up”.

Tom: Yep, Olly Murs definitely has the rough end of this deal. He gets all the downbeat verses, which admittedly aren’t too bad, but…

Tim: But in comparison, not so great. Along with the nice ending, we’ve got her aforementioned lovely chorus, which has a nice simple join-in-withable lead into it, and that good “hold on to what you’re feeling” chanting bit.

Tom: Right. I mean, I still don’t think we’ve got a world-changing record here — it’s a nice chorus, not a spectacular one, but it’s pretty good.

Tim: But don’t forget we also have those myriad “yeah”s in the middle eight – basically it’s a song that we can all take part in and have a lot of fun. And smash stuff up to, often enjoyable. What’s not to like?

Olly Murs – Army of Two

“A bit unconventional.”

Tom: I’ve taken to just shouting “MUUUUUURS” in the manner of an aggressive cow every time I see he’s got a new single out.

Tim: I’m sure that brings you joy.

Tom: But hold on. This one is a bit unconventional by both Murs’ standards and the pop charts. It’s all… orchestral.

Tim: I LIKE that lyric video. And the song, I suppose.

Tom: It might well stick around for one chorus too much, but I can’t say I really mind with that gorgeous backing.

Tim: I don’t think it sticks around too long at all, actually – it’s a good track, and I’ve got no problems with it.

Tom: The only downside is that they’re probably filming a video for it right now, and it’s going to involve Olly Murs swaggering around in a military hat.

Tim: Well, look on the bright side – that’ll give you an opportunity to bring out your leprechaun line again.

Olly Murs feat. Flo Rida – Troublemaker

The music is astonishingly good.

Tom: Two irritating musicians team up and make an absolutely brilliant track.

Tim: I will judge this by the cover and say that right from the off I don’t have good feelings about this.

Tom: Do yourself a favour, though, and just listen – don’t watch the video yet.

Tom: The music is astonishingly good: pitch-perfect pop. Flo Rida doesn’t say anyone’s name. The rap bridge isn’t annoying. The chorus is amazing.

Tim: You’re wrong, on at least one and two-halves out of four counts. Specifically, 3, because it really is, and I’d say amazing and astonishingly good would be pushing it slightly.

Tom: Perhaps my tolerance for rap bridges is getting higher, then. Or perhaps I’m prepared to tolerate them on summer tracks – because this is a summer track, albeit one released in the depths of winter.

Tim: Well, that may be true, but for anybody who’s in a similar boat to me, I recommend this rapper-free version, which really raises the question: what the hell is the point of Flo Rida? Nothing is improved by his presence, and at least two tracks (this and, if you’ll cast your mind back two years, The Saturdays’ Higher) are improved by his withdrawal.

Tom: But oh, my word, the video. Irritating, leprechaun-smug boy meets obnoxious, socially-oblivious girl, interrupted by a swaggering, show-off git. Could they have made anyone, anyone at all in the video sympathetic?

Tim: I don’t know – the bloke trying to get her attention in the record shop isn’t too annoying. Does that count?

Tom: Not nearly enough.

Olly Murs – Oh My Goodness

Tim: Anything you want to say before we start this?

Tom: I’ll get my favourite Murs-describing phrase out of the way at the start of this particular post: “swaggering leprechaun cockery”.

Tim: And there it is.

Tom: In fact, I’d advise you not to watch the video. Because as with pretty much all of his singles, it’s a good song. Catchy, danceable, sticky enough to get into your head but not enough to become irritating. It’s really a lovely bit of pop music.

Tim: Agreed – I think it’s great.

Tom: The lyrics don’t actually make sense, do they? “You’ve got me dreaming of a life that anybody else would die for.” That’s the key line from the chorus. And it means… what?

Tim: Erm – maybe that while it’s a life most people really really really want, he only really really wants it and isn’t quite prepared to go to such extremes. That covers it, I think? But you’re right, it doesn’t make all that much sense, especially when he’s talking about how much he wants someone.

Tom: And then there’s the video, in which he makes a prat of himself in a public place and seems to look smug about it. Par for the course.

Tim: I don’t know – here I’m going to be a Murs apologist and say that I think you’re being too harsh.

Tom: That’s a change of direction for you. What’s brought this on?

Tim: After all, making a prat of yourself in a public place is (a) what I did recently, also involving an escalator

Tom: Heh. It was the way it gracefully delivered you to its exit point after you fell over that made me laugh.

Tim: … (b) par for the course with any song about how someone makes the singer crazy, not just Olly, and (c) it fits perfectly with the lyric “I’m going too fast, heart first, my head just can’t slow me down”. I like the video, especially his apparent look of amazement 26 seconds in at the fact that something as big as this shopping centre actually exists.

Tom: Have you been to that new one out near the Olympic Park? Seriously, it’s massive.

Tim: It is. Better not take Olly there, or his eyes might pop out.

Olly Murs feat. Rizzle Kicks – Heart Skips A Beat

“Swaggering leprechaun cockery.”

Tom: I only send Olly Murs’ singles to you so I can reuse the phrase “swaggering leprechaun cockery”. And let me tell you: it is in full force in this video.

Tim: What a total bell-end. I mean, come on, really.

Tom: Unfortunately, there’s nothing to back it up on this one; you’ll remember I found myself really quite enthused by some of his earlier tracks, despite not liking his hat and his dancing. This just doesn’t have the joy – manufactured or otherwise – that, say “Thinking of Me” had.

Tim: Still can’t believe you liked that atrocity. The lyrics came from SATAN HIMSELF, DAMN IT.

Tom: But it was fun! Anyway – Rizzle Kicks’ contribution to this one mercifully short – short enough that it’s questionable whether it should really be there in the first place. It’s as if some producer went “actually, this is really bad – how much can we remove before we break our contract with them?”

Tim: Not enough, it would seem.

Tom: Funny thing, though; between you sending that, and me reading it, I heard this on Radio 1 – quietly, in the background in a shop. And I found I quite liked it, as long as I didn’t actually listen. I have no idea how that works.

Olly Murs – Busy

He looks like an idiot.

Tom: I think the only reason I make sure we review his singles is so that I can revisit the phrase “swaggering leprechaun cockery”, which remains one of my favourite things I’ve ever written for this site.

Tim: Well, if we’re picking favourites, I think I’d have to go with that “shot out of John Barrowman” comment.

Tim: He looks like an idiot. This is not something I shall use to judge the music, though. Also, I will happily bet anybody five hundred million quid that he did not make that papier-mache thing that he’s pretending to put the finishing touches to.

Tom: Got to be honest: “scrambled eggs” and “bacon” are not generally things you hear in the opening lines of a love song. It’s catchy and jingly enough, and I found myself quite enjoying it once I stopped paying attention to the lyrics.

Tim: You know what? After a minute, I’ve formed my opinion of the music: it’s alright. And that’s all you’re getting, because there’s so much more to say about the video. Let’s start with the fact that at 1:07 he is combing his forehead, and that given the size of the mark on his cheek relative to her mouth, he must logically have drawn that on himself.

Tom: As for creepy papier-mâché love-doll Gepetto… I’ll leave that to you to mock.

Tim: Well, many men throughout the ages have got comfort from one form of doll or another; I won’t insult all of them by lumping them in with him. It is, however, nice that he has several friends that will happily pretend she is actually a person just so he can think he has a date on his birthday.

Olly Murs – Heart On My Sleeve

Everyone’s favourite purveyor of leprechaun-like swaggering cockery is back.

Tom: Everyone’s favourite purveyor of leprechaun-like swaggering cockery is back. This time, though, he’s swapped the hat for a sweater from Steve Jobs, an apartment from IKEA and an attempt at emotion.

Tom: Oh, and he’s ripped off most of his verse melody from Radiohead’s “High and Dry”. Did you think we wouldn’t notice, Murs? Because I’m noticing. Every bloody verse, I’m noticing.

Tim: I have not heard that song; I do not intend to hear it because even with an Olly Murs track I’m not looking for reasons to dislike it.

Tom: Okay. Let’s try and get over our inbuilt anti-Murs prejudice and evaluate the song. It’s actually not that bad, once you get over the Radiohead thing. He can sing, that’s for sure; and as a heartfelt ballad it’s actually pretty good.

It features what I can only describe as a Proper Bridge: a complete change in chord progression, then into a quiet bit, and then into a suitably emotional final chorus.

Tim: Annoyingly, I have to say: I like this. The bending over in the video at about 2:17 annoys me, but that’s when any singers do it – I know it’s meant to help get the notes out better, but to me it kind of looks like they’re vomiting up the music. That aside, though, I have to admit I think it’s alright.

Tom: Is it enough to redeem Murs? For me, not quite. But that’s because I like “High and Dry”.