Samir & Viktor & TIX – Karantän

“A fun track, to be commended for its dedication to cybersecurity.”

Tim: A couple of months back, TIX (Norwegian, previously most notable for co-writing Sweet But Psycho) recorded Karantene; you can probably guess what it’s about. It went big in Norway, and it seems he fancied having some success in Sweden as well, so he got on the blower to Samir & Vikor, as you would.

Tom: Who are basically the slightly-more-polished teenage-appeal version of yesterday’s Two Friends.

Tim: Indeed. There’s a bit of a rude word in the first line, though it’s hardly as if there’s any work for it not to be safe for, so press play!

Tim: Obviously there isn’t actually any lockdown happening in Sweden, so it’s a little jarring to see them jumping around the recording studio singing a chorus that starts with line about sitting at home with no pay, but never mind that, it’s a catchy tune.

Tom: I was going to say: it’s an interesting choice of song to translate. A quick-and-dirty machine translation reveals that they’re singing downbeat lyrics to an upbeat tune, which is always a brave choice. Particularly when the lyrics are quite so, uh, of-the-moment.

Tim: It’s weird – brands in the lyrics left right and centre like this normally irritate the hell out of me, but all I’m mainly left wondering here is why FaceTime and Skype are getting all the action when most people are using Zoom.

Tom: Because Zoom is terrible and it’s going nowhere near my laptop. Anyway.

Tim: Hmm, good point. So all in all, it’s a fun track, to be commended for its dedication to cybersecurity; something enjoyable to come out of a bad situation, with a lovely key change as the cherry on top. What’s to complain about?

Samir & Viktor – Kemi

“It is a great chorus, I’ll grant that.”

Tim: So, I don’t know why, but I seem to be predisposed to like anything by these guys – objectively awful as they may be, they have enough of a Jedward quality about them to be, well, endearing is the wrong word, but something like that.

Tom: Also, and it’s just a guess, but I suspect the fact they get their shirts off regularly might have something to do with it.

Tim: Anyway, here’s the new one, and you might be able to see where I’m going with that intro.

Tom: It’s like Jedward with less shouting.

Tim: See, from a different artist, there are a number of things I’d dislike here – the excessive autotune, with no attempt to hide it as though it’s still 2011; the lack of a melody throughout a large part of it; in some areas, it just verges into a genre I’m not keen on. And yet, that chorus is so good and happy and uplifting, combined with their textbook enthusiasm, that I can’t dislike it.

Tom: It is a great chorus, I’ll grant that. I’m just not sure it makes up for the rest of the song?

Tim: I’d clarify that a bit: if they hadn’t opened with that chorus, I might have switched off after twenty seconds, so putting that first was a great move. All in all, it’s a song I can’t really bring myself to dislike.

Samir & Viktor – Odödlig

“Bring out the BRASS”

Tim: Bring out the BRASS, because Samir & Viktor have gone ‘Immortal’.

Tom: In the comments, there are quite a few people accusing them of ripping off Daniel Adams-Ray’s Dum av Dig, a song I’ve not heard of. My brain immediately tried to place that three-note chorus as well, and ended up on Phil Collins’ One More Night, although I’m fairly sure I’ve heard a brass version of it somewhere.

None of those are even particularly close: it’s just that when you’ve got a three-word chorus, that’s a natural rhythm to use.

Tim: Summer’s here, last summer was great, and now we’re feeling bloody brilliant and ready to do it all over again, is the basic message of this, and. well, why not really? Energetic, as we’d expect. Triumphant, as we’d expect. A mostly shouty chorus, as we’d expect, though there is a pleasing amount of melody in there.

Tom: I’m always glad when you send me the studio track from these two. Like Jedward, the enthusiasm’s there when they’re performing live, but the vocals might not always be. Shouty choruses fit this pair.

Tim: All in all, a fun track, heralding the arrival of summer. JOYFUL, he writes, as he stares out of his window at a largely grey sky. Ehh, can’t have everything.

Samir & Viktor – Shuffla

“I have to admire Samir and Viktor’s tenacity. They keep coming back, and they keep not quite making it.”

Tim: On Saturday night Sweden chose, for the second year running, to send a not-quite-as-good-as-Justin-Timberlake Justin Timberlake song, which we needn’t bother with, and so for the second year running will probably end up easily in the top 10 but not actually win. Doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at some of the other finalists, though. Shall we?

Tom: All right: let’s kick off the Week of Swedish Rejects! And I have to admire Samir and Viktor’s tenacity. They keep coming back, and they keep not quite making it.

Tom: That is exactly as shuffle-dancey as I thought it was going to be. And about as well sung.

Tim: It’s not the best song – it’s not even the best Samir & Victor song, and it certainly wasn’t the best song last night. It was, however, the song that the UK jury chose to award its full twelve points to, and I’m absolutely baffled.

Tom: It’s very much in the Mr Saxobeat style, isn’t it? I don’t think that’s a compliment.

Tim: This may be harsher than it needs to be, but I honestly can’t see any attraction to this, beyond it being a fairly good advert for fake tan? It kind of feels like they’re going for a Gangnam Style-esque number, in a ‘here is a dance thing, and this is how you dance to it’ sort of way, except that was kind of a fluke and this doesn’t really have any charm to it at all.

Tom: Or ‘Party Rock Anthem’, with the whole shuffling thing. It’s just, well, it’s not that good.

Tim: Hmm. In hindsight, probably not the best song to start the week off with. There’s better stuff coming, I promise.

Samir & Viktor – Vi gör det ändå

“They know what they’re doing, and they don’t mind.”

Tom: They’re still going! And this is going to be studio singing as well, so it might be half-decent.

Tim: “We’ll Do It Anyway”, reckon the duo, as they celebrate 100 million streams in the video for their new one. Didn’t know that was a thing, but I suppose it makes sense, really, with streaming having vastly overtaken purchases (at least in Sweden – as far back as 2014, streaming made up 80% of all music revenue there).

Tom: Fair play to them for reading out negative comments in the first bit of the video. They know what they’re doing, and they don’t mind.

Tim: Full marks for laziness in the video, which seems to consist purely of unused shots from previous videos, which I think is even lazier than using tour footage – at least with that effort gets put in to film it. Here: nah, let’s let’s rummage through the trashed clips.

Tom: Hey, they could have just used stock footage that wasn’t of them. At least someone bothered to root through the files.

Tim: Hmm, I guess that’s true. Songwise, though: well, it’s what you think of when you imagine a typical Samir & Viktor track, really. Loud, brash, just musical enough to count as a song (with a lovely surprise key change in there).

Tom: Harsh. “Just musical enough” is pretty close to “not musical enough”, and this is at least a traditional pop song, and one that at least made me smile on the key change. For a song to get any emotional reaction out of me is rare, so I’ll give this one at least some points.

Tim: Oh, I’m not saying it’s bad, just similar – sure, there’s some difference in the styling, as we had between Fick Feeling and (the considerably superior) Kung, but overall, it’s like they say in the lyrics: “they said I couldn’t dance, I couldn’t sing, but I wanted to show them”. But it works. Just about.

Samir & Viktor – Kung

“Exactly what we’d expect from them.”

Tim: Viktor off these two had a solo song out recently; it was a bit rubbish to be honest, all gentle guitary and ballady and basically bollocks. HOWEVER, they’re back as a duo, sounding GREAT, and also a bit offensive: an English/Swedish f-bomb right from the get go, and a couple of Swedish ones in each chorus. And some spelt out in the video. Basically, if you’re a prude, come back tomorrow.

Tom: Okay, let’s got one thing out of the way: that’s a really irritating introduction, with what sounds like a tin-whistle and a rewind. But the mood’s pretty clear.

Tim: Indeed – PARTY PARTY PARTY because that track has got me enthused enough to clap my hands above my head, not a frequent occurrence. As with most of their songs. as long as the vocals have been tweaked for a studio recording it sounds really good. Well, good enough for what they want it to be, anyway.

Tom: I’m not sure any of the individual parts match together: the verse, pre-chorus, chorus and middle eight all sound like they’ve been brought in from different songs.

Tim: Hmm – there’s certainly different styles between them, you’re right. But regardless, it’s exactly what we’d expect from them – enthusiastic, getting everybody involved (particularly with De Vet Du joining them in the video for no apparent reason) and a fair amount of people getting their kit off.

Tom: I know very little about De Vet Du, but between Road Trip and this I seem to have taken an instinctive liking to them. They know they’re being ridiculous, whereas Samir and Viktor just seem to be trying a bit too hard.

Tim: When it gets results like this, though, I don’t mind extra effort. I’m very glad they’re back together and PLEASE don’t take a break again.

Samir & Viktor – Fick Feeling

“We’re back, Sweden’s wondering why”

Tim: The follow-up to their Melodifestivalen entry, the lyrics begin “We’re back, Sweden’s wondering why,” so at least they’ve got some self-awareness. The answer to that question, though: they’ve Got The Feeling.

Tim: In fact, in the words of that chorus, “I’ve got the feeling, you’ve got the feeling, we’ve got the feeling, nothing can stop us.” And as a soundtrack to a summer party night, this is pretty good stuff.

Tom: All the way through this, I was thinking “it’s basically the same song as their last one” — but then I listened back, and I was wrong. It is completely different. So why does my brain think I’ve heard it all before? Aside from the fact that it’s basically just shouting about partying.

Tim: It doesn’t matter that it’s closer to shouting than singing, because it should be shouting. Shouting about lying on the beach, bass pounding from the phone; about skipping work and going to a festival instead; about how the sun shines and you don’t feel guilty; and most importantly, about how “everything is better with a saxophone”, because yes, that actually is the lyric and it actually is the case.

Tom: They’ve made that case before, too, and with a bit more swearing. I think this feels familiar to me because, quite simply, it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from them.

Tim: The instrumental part gives me a similar feeling to the one in Bada Nakna – not enjoyable on its own, but perfectly well suited. What we have here is a PARTY TRACK that knows it and is advertising itself as exactly that. And it gets the job done very well indeed.

Samir & Viktor – Bada Nakna

“Swedish Jedward.”

Tim: I didn’t realise until I looked it up just now, but the song title translates to “Skinny Dipping”, which suddenly brings a whole lot more sense to the performance.

Tim: That’s the performance from the final, there, which differs from the first heat and from Andra Chansen in that here they pull their trousers off as well as their tops, getting even more in the mood.

Tom: My assessment of them as Swedish Jedward holds true.

Tim: Another thing non-Swedes might not get: the first line of the chorus talks about getting your kit off in Sergels torg, a location that’s basically Stockholm’s version of Trafalgar Square. So now we know what sort of song it is, we’re in a better place to judge it.

And you know what? Despite their decidedly off point vocals, it’s a pretty good song, as we’d expect from the writers: one of them had a hand in Undo and another brought us Guld och Gröna Skogar, so we shouldn’t really be going wrong.

Tom: Yep, you’re right. But this got zero points from the juries. It shouldn’t be going wrong…

Tim: …and yet, it is. The problem, of course, is that it’s being sung by two guys who, while admittedly being very good looking and energetic, manage to hit approximately a quarter of all the notes.

Tom: Which is such a shame! I looked up the studio version of this and — when they’re not doing the vocals live — it’s actually a really good track, in the same way that Jedward’s “Waterline”, with its similar staging, was a really good track. If they could sing, this would have been among my favourites.

Tim: We’ve pretty much got a song that only one act could pull off, and yet they can’t sing particularly well. You’re right – Jedward all over again. Oh, well, into the dustbin of musical history you go.

Samir & Viktor – Groupie

“Is that deliberate? It… it must be deliberate. Surely?”

Tim: This isn’t necessarily one of the best songs we saw at the final, but I’d like to write about it, primarily because I want to see your reaction when I tell you that this duo consists of a reality TV star and a fashion blogger, and the performance involves liberal use of selfie sticks.

Tom: I’ll allow it if they live-stream video from the cameras on the end of the selfie sticks.

Tom: Oh, they did! Well done.

Tim: BUT, you’ll be pleased to know that despite the mentions, the song is not about the virtues of taking a selfie; more about the importance of discarding those in favour of ‘groupies’, so that’s alright then.

Tom: Groupies“? Really? Is that deliberate? It… it must be deliberate. Surely?

Tim: I would imagine so, yes – presumably intended as some sort of hilarious pun, as indicated with the repeated chorus at the end: “stand up, take out your cameras, stand up, we’ll be taking a groupie tonight”.

Tom: Good luck with that, you’ll need it. But despite their poor choice of wording: I feel like this song is already dated. I feel like this song could have come out last year, and it’d still sound dated. It’s like this horrible song about AOL Instant Messenger.

Tim: I started listening, then quickly thought it couldn’t get worse than all that giggling ten seconds in. Boy, was I wrong.

This, though: yes, it may get dated quicker than a pint of milk left in a sauna, but it’s basically about having a lot of fun with your mates, and with all the bright lights and colourful blocks it was a brilliant opening to the final.

Tom: Yes: as a way to get a crowd, and an audience at home, excited — I can see it working. But I’m glad that’s as far as it went.

Tim: I suppose it’s a bit like John Barrowman’s opening of Tonight’s The Night, really, except actually listenable.

Tom: That’s the second terrible Barrowman Comparison you’ve done on this site.

Tim: Hahaha, somehow I’d forgotten about that. LOVELY.