Sandi Thom – Earthquake

“Precisely ‘standard’.”

Tom: My perceptions of this were already coloured by the context I found it in — so, without knowing about it, Tim, what do you think?

Tim: I will rate that as precisely “standard”. Easy to listen to, probably not something I’d choose to put on.

Tom: See, I think “that’s okay but a bit dated”. It’s got a great chorus, but then any momentum from it gets completely spoiled by the weird transition back to the verse.

Tim: A valid observation.

Tom: And that lyric video is… well, is “done on the cheap” a bit too harsh?

Tim: Absolutely not, as it does look pretty awful. The actual video, though, is a pretty neat idea, with tilting and dragging and stuff – it’s just a shame they didn’t do anything massively inventive with it.

Tom: Right, so here’s the context, and that article is well worth reading in its entirety, because it’s a brilliant primer on radio playlisting, fame, and how radio stations — I quote — “rarely touch an artist in the grip of an acute terminal decline”. Ouch.

Tim: Yeah, it doesn’t make for pretty reading, and I’ll admit, I had heard of the whole Facebook breakdown before hearing it, though wasn’t aware of all the details. Might she have a point? Eh…well, I can imagine Radio 2 playing it, but like that article points out, there are only thirty tracks on the list out of however many hundred are around at the moment, and just because you’ve had a hit previously, you’re not entitled to automatic inclusion.

Tom: Could this be a great track with a bit more production? Sure. If — to pick a name almost at random — Leona Lewis sang this, would it seem about right? Yep. But I think she’s just guaranteed that she won’t be getting much other than sympathy streaming any time soon.

SHY & DRS feat. Sandi Thom – The Love Is Gone

This is, to say the least, a bit weird.

Tom: This is, to say the least, a bit weird.

I was reading through the upcoming singles list, and did a bit of a double-take when I noticed “Sandi Thom”. Really? Once described as “the Musical Antichrist” by Charlie Brooker, and best known for a song that I loved at first and then grew to loathe the more I heard it.

All that’s beside the point, because she’s an acoustic guitar singer/songwriter. And now she’s featured on a track by – and I’m not making this up – a Scottish “hip-pop-rock” duo. That’s right: it’s Scottish rap time.

Tim: Well, this should be something then.

Tom: “Just say what’s on your mind / like a kid with Tourettes”. Oh boy.

Tim: Yep. Definitely something.

Tom: This sounds like a song that plays over the credits of an early-90s movie.

Tim: That’s…an interesting comparison.

Tom: It’s… it’s cheesy. Power guitar, female vocals, and a rap that just doesn’t sound right somehow, although that might be because Scottish rap isn’t exactly something that’s broken into the mainstream.

Tim: Perhaps you’re right, but is that a bad thing? I don’t really know what to say here, because it’s not something I’d choose to listen to and the artist isn’t well-known enough for me to compare it to anything. Though I will point out that you’re saying ‘Scottish rap” as though it’s a new genre in itself – much as I’d love that to be the case, I’m not entirely sure one regional accent can do enough to create it.

Tom: Oh, if there’s any Glaswegians reading this, Tim, be glad they’re not near you.

Tim: Fair enough, although I will point out that Wikipedia has a well-referenced five thousand word essay on something as minor as toilet paper orientation; I’m having a slight issue taking a single unsourced article there as proof of a genre, whatever danger it may put me in..

Tom: Anyway, I think it’s the quiet one-liner bits between the chorus and verses that really put it into the ‘closing credits’ genre. It’s competent, it really is, it’s just… weird.