Saturday Flashback: Same Difference – All I Want For Christmas Is You

“That’s remarkable.”

Tim: Not a single release, but an X Factor performance, a full ten years ago. The performance that opened the show. What a beauty.

Tim: What a beauty.

Tom: That is… well, that’s remarkable. It feels like it comes from the early 90s, but I just looked it up and it turns out that was 2007.

Tim: Oh, yes indeed. I won’t argue, there are some misguided moments here – Sean’s groin thrusting isn’t really something many people wanted to see having their tea on a Saturday night (though I’m not complaining), what those elves are doing 40 seconds in is anyone’s guess, and there’s a reason we’ve skipped the first thirteen seconds – but otherwise, oh, it’s just pure festive pop joy.

Flying up into the air to switch on the lights; throwing glitter, camp as you like; being lifted onto the shoulders of elves to mark the key change; the winner’s confetti coming down several hours early; oh, it’s all just lovely.

Tom: Special shoutout for both of them managing to throw their glitter late, and thus making the camera operator miss the pyrotechnics — thus making it look like there’s been a minor electrical explosion on the stage, rather than any sort of Christmas magic.

Tim: Oh, but we all know deep down that it is true Christmas magic. They don’t make X Factor like this any more, and damn it’s a shame.

Same Difference feat. Alcazar – Karma Karma

A bit late to the Slumdog Millionaire bandwagon.

Tim: Same Difference: an X Factor 2008 finalist group whose track we previously covered reached the dizzying heights of number 100 in the UK charts. Alcazar: a fairly well-known Swedish pop group, whose biggest success internationally was 2003’s Crying at the Discotheque and whose most recent activity was a rather good 2010 Melodifestivalen entry, Headlines. For some reason – can’t quite see any particular logic – they’ve decided to team up.

Tom: Sounds like they’re a bit late to the Slumdog Millionaire bandwagon.

Tim: It is repetitive, and it is catchy, and it is pretty much what you’d get if you looked ‘pop music’ up in a dictionary, if you owned some weird dictionary that had videos in it instead of words.

Tom: It’s bloody not. I haven’t properly cringed listening to a pop song in a long time, but I did at this. It’s retro in all the worst ways: it reminds me of a dozen songs I hated when I was younger, and seems to jam in some Asian references and chord progressions that seem incredibly out of place.

Tim: Seriously? Because overall, I have to say: I think it’s brilliant.

Tom: I’m sorry to use this as a baseline, Tim, but I would honestly rather listen to the Black Eyed Peas’ “The Time (Dirty Bit)” than Karma Karma. Hell, I think I’d rather listen to dubstep. Now that’s saying something.

Tim: NO! I will NOT let that stand. You are WRONG. Just plain WRONG.

Extra points should be awarded for chaining together about five million ‘woah’s, and the bass line for some reasons makes me think of Super Mario Land. The only thing I’m not hugely keen on is the bridge exit, which is… odd, and I don’t really know whether I dislike it or not.

Tom: I almost thought the key change might redeem the song, but it doesn’t. It’s just as dire, only a couple of semi-tones higher.

Tim: Actually, scratch that – I’ve heard it several times now and it’s great. Like the rest of it.

Tom: I tried listening a second time, and it got worse. Probably because I knew what was coming.

Tim: And I now see the logic of the collaboration: together, they can make Proper Pop. And that is Good.

Tom: They can’t, and it isn’t.


Same Difference – Shine On Forever (Photo Frame)


Tim: I always get these guys confused with Peter Kay’s 2 Up 2 Down. A full three years since they were on the X Factor, they’re having another go at releasing stuff.

Tom: Who?

Tim: After they failed the first time when they targeted the kiddy market*, they’ve come up with this more grown-up track. Normally you’d only use a brackety bit in the song’s name if the main title wasn’t in the lyrics; here I get the impression that each of them wanted a different title so they had to compromise.

* As in, the market of children buying music, not a market where people can buy… yeah, anyway.

Tom: No, seriously, who?

Tim: It’s not a bad tune, and the vocal bit of the chorus especially is nice; it could be so much better, though, with a decent instrumental bit behind it, and not some dull GarageBand loop**, which is what it sounds like. The chorus could be proper wave-your-hands-in-the-air, instead of yeah-this-is-okay-lets-keep-going.

** Not that stock loops are necessarily any indication of quality one way or the other: compare and contrast the sublime Symphonies with the dire Umbrella.

Tom: Hmm.

Shine on forever
The picture is so clear
I’ve had the greatest moment…

…of your career? About three years ago?