September feat. Birgitta Haukdal – Aðeins Nær Þér

“Here’s something pointlessly confusing for you.”

Tim: Here’s something pointlessly confusing for you: a Scandivinavian dance pop act called September that is entirely not the September who did Can’t Get Over and Cry For You and that lot.

Tom: That is a very, very odd choice of name. Did they not Google it?

Tim: This lot are Icelandic rather than Swedish, though, as you can probably guess from the song title, which in English means Only Near You.

Tim: Don’t know much about the context of that title, but hey – it’s primarily a tropical-sounding dance tune with occasional pop nods, so its probably not all that important.

Tom: And some decent string-section synths in there, too. But you’re right: standard tropical dance.

Tim: At least, it should be that. Because this would be so, so much improved if that Galantis-style post-chorus were allowed to take the lead more often. There’d be less of the slightly uninteresting verses, and many more dance beats that everyone can properly enjoy. Because damn, they’re good, and I’d love a whole song of that, although I’d allow the odd vocal here and there to keep the variety.

Tom: For most tracks that come through here, I’d agree with you: but here, I don’t, I think they’ve got the balance about right.

Tim: Basically, I want more of the good stuff and less of the boring stuff. Is that really too much to ask?

September – Give Me A Smile

“Just so damn chirpy.”

Tim: We’ve wondered occasionally if we’re running out of music, and decided probably not; we are, on the other hand, definitely running out of artist names, as this is entirely not the September we know.

Tom: That does baffle me: sure, it’s also a month of the year, it’s not the least obvious name you could pick… but would you not Google it?

Tim: Apparently not. They’re a duo from Iceland, this is their second single, and I can’t find a proper video online, but here’s a radio interview with it, starts at 3:57.

Tim: Quick disclaimer: I can find absolutely nothing online about this except for that interview, which is dated over two years ago; on the other hand, Apple Music says it was released a few weeks ago so we’ll have it and assume it got a re-release or something. JOURNALISM.

Tom: And I listened to this via streaming, so heard it in significantly better quality than that radio interview — although not massively better, because it turns out the track’s not mixed spectacularly well. The vocals seem to be hidden behind the instruments; it’s less Wall of Sound and more Incoherent Pile of Bricks of Sound.

Tim: That’s slightly true. But there’s one main reason I’m keen to feature it: it’s lovely.

Tom: You’re not wrong there. A week or two ago, I described something as “a bit Lighthouse Family”. And sure, that’s a backhanded compliment, but this would fit in neatly on the Radio 2 playlist. Actually, I guess that’s a backhanded compliment too.

Tim: My only issue is that at four minutes long it definitely goes on a bit – that backing chorus coming in should really be an indicator of a final chorus, or at most a penultimate one – but the rest of it is lovely. Just so damn chirpy, and while that might not work for everyone, it sure as hell works for me. Just, maybe cut down on the instrumental bits, yeah? Good.

September – Hands Up

Still not up there with the tracks from her first album.

Tim: So this is the new one from September, last seen with the distinctly disappointing Me & My Microphone. Is this track, also from the Love CPR album, any better?

Tim: Well, sort of. Still not up there with the tracks from her first album, unfortunately, because there’s still not a lot going on in the chorus. Compare the chorus here with this one, and there’s just no contest at all. I wouldn’t mind the gentle chorus if it was actually building to something, but here there’s nothing, really, before we go back to the verses, which are weirdly the most interesting part of the song. The towards the end it picks up, admittedly, but then it finishes on that annoying repetitive bit that really doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t know – I want to like it, but I just don’t feel enthused by it.

Tom: Like a lot of the tracks coming from the ‘old guard’ – there’s an odd name for acts that are less than ten years from their first album – it’s just not all that special. And we’re expecting something special.

Tim: We are, and this just isn’t it. One particular reason I want to enjoy it is that this may be the last we heard from her, at least in this form.

Tom: Interesting. Unlike some Eurodance “projects”, September refers to the singer herself, rather than a collective of musicians co-ordinated by a record company – so it really will be the end for it.

Tim: Well, not entirely – according to PR stuff that’s been sent out, back in Sweden she’s now recording under her actual name, with a new sound that’s apparently a mixture of Coldplay, Florence & The Machine and Depeche Mode. Though I suppose that does sound more interesting than either this or her last one.

Tom: Agreed: at first, I thought “ah, it’s a shame it’s over” – but I’m remembering the cracking early tracks. Perhaps something new is a better idea.

September – Party In My Head

Track one was pretty good and track two was pretty awful; track three?

Tim: This was announced a couple of weeks back as the third single off Love CPR (still hate that title), yet we’ve still not featured it. UNTIL NOW. Track one was pretty good and track two was pretty awful; track three?

Tim: I think: very good.

Tom: Whereas I think: oh.

Tim: Really? Much as with Me & My Microphone, it’s not the September we used to know when she first appeared; at times this could easily be a Ke$ha or Britney track, and yet it would be a very good Ke$ha or Britney track.

Tom: And I think it loses a lot for that. September’s tracks used to be melodic, anthemic, rousing stuff (remember “Cry For You”?) – this just doesn’t have the same kind of oomph. I can’t see All Around The World doing a dozen remixes of this.

Tim: Perhaps not, but it has a decent melody, autotune that, while unnecessary, isn’t totally offensive, and generally just – it sounds right. Not sure why – undoubtedly entirely subjective – but I like this a lot.

Tom: For once, I’m going to have to disagree. I don’t dislike it, it’s just… well, I reckon it should have stayed as an album track.

Tim: ‘For once’? Really?

September – Me & My Microphone

Were they planning to add a tune in there at any point?

Tim: Interesting story, this one – the original Swedish Mikrofonkåt was destined to be an album track, until it got performed on a TV show last October and people went wild for it, and it spent a good couple of months at number one. It got an English translation back in December, and it’s now being released over here to coincide with her album, the abominably titled Love CPR (which also features as a lyric).

Tom: Were they planning to add a tune in there at any point?

Tim: …is pretty much exactly what I wondered.

Tom: She’s sing-talking, like Kesha, and there’s some chords in there somewhere, but mostly all I can hear is BZTHWUMP BZTHWUMP BZTHUMP. It ain’t dubstep, but it’s close.

Tim: Right – this track is almost entirely devoid of any decent melody, substituting for a fairly heavy beat instead, but for me the tune is what makes September good.

Tom: Damn right. I’m all in favour of unemotional songs, electronic songs, songs without melody – they have a place. But that place doesn’t seem to be here: it just seems like a bit of a dirge.

Tim: I get that too, and I prefer the UK edit of Can’t Get Over to the original for a reason – there’s more to it, more to get involved with that wasn’t there to start with.

Tom: I think I understood that.

Tim: Leave me alone, I’m tired. Anyway, I’m finding the same here – maybe it is great for everyone else, but I want something else.

Tom: I’m just going to listen to “Can’t Get Over” again.

September – Resuscitate Me

I think it’s slightly excellent

Tim: Now, this was never going to be as good as the UK radio edit of Can’t Get Over, so I set my sights deliberately low, but overall I don’t think that was needed – it’s easily on a par with Cry For You, for a start.

Tom: She’s now got a recognisable voice and style – something that I’d recognise as ‘September’ even if it just turned up on the radio. I think it’s the similar synth lines – it’s an interesting way to build a musical brand, but it works.

Tim: But what is it as a song on its own? I think it’s slightly excellent – the ‘don’t you let my heart die boy’ lead into the chorus works very well as a ‘get ready to dance’ warning, and there’s plenty of energy lying around all over the please.

Tom: Except in the bridge. That bridge goes on far too long.

Tim: Hmm, maybe – I think think it works. I do have a couple of issues (the high pitched vocals being almost impossible to decipher, the idea of ‘love CPR’ which is just as ridiculous here as it was when JLS invented it a while back*), but overall this is a stonkingly good effort.

* And that’s actually the title of her new album. Why. Just, why.

Tom: Stonkingly?

Tim: Yes, I said stonkingly. Live with it.

Tom: You are an 80s commercial radio DJ and I claim my five pounds.