“Normally repeating one note annoys me, but it doesn’t here”
Tom: Whenever we talk about a Tegan & Sara track, we tend to conclude in roughly the same way: it’s good synthpop, it’s quite enjoyable, and then we can’t remember any of it afterwards.
Tim: Harsh, and I’m not entirely sure that’s as true for me as it might be for you, but okay. The new one, then?
Tom: And I guess it’s business as usual.
Tim: Well, maybe, yeah.
Tom: It’s a really good song with a chorus that seems to have been crushed into oblivion by overcompression. As for the chorus itself — well, while it was playing, I wrote “normally repeating one note annoys me, but it doesn’t here”. But I had to go back and listen again before I knew what that one note was.
Tim: Oh, you’re too cruel. Or just saddled with a poor memory – I like the melody, the notes (and yes, there’s more than one), the rhythm. It’s good, and it’s memorable.
Tim: I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I do love how our readers know what to send us – just when I’m a bit worried we might be running out of music, someone anonymous sends this in, reporting that “All Time Low have gotten distrinctly less rocky and more synth-poppy this time round.” And yes, yes they have.
Tom: I still can’t hear “All Time Low” without thinking of Bond theme “All Time High“. And yes, that’s the Pulp cover version of it, it’s brilliant. ANYWAY.
Tom: Well, that’s a good album cover right there.
Tim: It’s very pretty isn’t it? I’ve always had a lot of time for All Time Low, and while this completely ditches their standard style that in favour of a vastly more Tegan & Sara vibe, they’ve still got it, producing a really enjoyable song.
Tom: You know how, for yesterday’s song, I let out an audible “urrrgh” at the chorus? Well, this time I said “oh!”. This is good.
Tim: Good, yes, but one thing is strange – I originally wrote there “one of my favourite tracks in a while”, except once the track had finished I wanted to change it. Not because I thought any less of it, it’s still very good, but because I couldn’t really remember it, just a few seconds after it finished.
Tom: Ouch. That’s one of my standard checks for whether something’s a good pop song. And you’re right: I can’t remember it either. I just remember it being good. (Apart from those weird wobbly-synths on the right channel in the verse. One poor decision.)
Tim: I play it again, and it’s great – I honestly don’t think I could fault that chorus even if I wanted to, which I really don’t – so why can’t I remember it afterwards? That’s annoying. It actually really does annoy me, because I want to love this track, and I do – but only when I’m listening to it.
Tim: This has been suggested to us twice, both times anonymously (not sure what to make of that), with one describing it as “Miami Vice with Puppets”. Intrigued?
Tim: And it’s an interesting video, certainly, and not a bad song to boot.
Tom: That cyan and hot pink 80s style is really in vogue right now, and I’m not sure it ever was during the actual 80s.
Tim: Well musically it’s certainly different from back then. The beginning of it almost put me off, and I’m still not keen on the instrumentation underneath the verses, but I’m glad I stuck with it because that chorus is really very enjoyable indeed.
Tom: I agree with you, apart from the bit where you say how enjoyable the chorus is. Which, when I look back on it, means I don’t really like the song at all. Ah.
Tom: One of the troubles with this format we’ve got, Tim, is that “growers” don’t get a fair shot. This might be a grower: but I’m not going to hit replay to find out.
Tim: Bit of a shame, because I really do like that chorus. I don’t really know what they’re going for with the video, to be honest, or how it fits in with anything else about the song at all, but why complain? Songs are mostly for listening to, and I’m mostly happy doing that.
Tom: Our reader, Alan, sends this in, saying it’s “one of the best tracks off their recent album”.
Tom: Now, that’s not a message you hear from a song very often, and it’s a good one.
Tim: Yeah, I can see why people might go for that – and your right, it’s not very common, though I’d say it’s more likely just that it’s not a widely-held enough view to be worth singing about.
Tom: The chorus is catchy, and manages to get an appropriate amount of happiness and wistfulness to match the lyrics. I can’t remember the verse, but then if you can remember the verse after one listen, then you’ve basically got a number one hit on your hands.
Tim: Against all the odds, from the trailers and suchlike it seems like The Lego Movie is actually going to be quite good; nowhere is this more apparent than in this song here, a slightly unlikely collaboration given Tegan and Sara’s previous work, but damn fine nonetheless.
Tom: What… what the hell is that?
Tim: Duhh, AWESOME. Some songwriters, you see, spend time ensuring they stick to some sort of structure or genre, with well-timed verses and choruses, a consistent beat, time signature and the like. Others, including soundtrack composer Mark Mothersbaugh, just seem more focussed on thinking of things that are awesome, such as job losses, mud on your shoes, string, trees, clocks and figs; in fact EVERYTHING.
Tom: I have absolutely no idea what’s going on here. There’s no intro. It changes up everything, repeatedly. There’s a dubstep breakdown with a Lonely Island cameo, which is quite an odd choice for a kids’ movie given their normal style. I… I mean, it gets the message across, I guess?
Tim: I think so – I’m not sure, but I’ve got a hunch that the message they want us to take from this is that EVERYTHING is awesome. And that’s a GREAT message, so I’m happy with that. I’m happy with a lot of things right now, so this just BRILLIANT. Or, in fact, AWESOME.
Tim: The second single off the upcoming album Heartthrob, this is a tad quieter than Closer, but, I think you’ll agree, none the worse for it.
Tom: Years and years ago, the local radio breakfast show where I lived had a jingle they’d play sometimes: “And now, a song with a long twinkly piano intro!” I’m not sure why that came back to me. Perhaps it’s because this intro is particularly twinkly.
Tim: It is, and right from there you know you’re in for a gentle ride, and for the verses at least that’s true. The chorus dials things up a notch, though, and has a great rhythm and vibe to it that’s really quite something.
Tom: It didn’t come together for me until the middle eight, but when it did – yes. This’ll do nicely.
Tim: Not keen on the ending – while the chorus line is lovely at the start, repeated over and over to fade doesn’t quite work so well for me.
Tom: Yep, I’d agree with that. Repeat to fade seems to be making a comeback recently, usually with an extra bit of instrumentation shoved in there; I wish it’d go away again.
Tim: Still, it’s a lovely number, and one that’s got me looking forward to the album, as has another track they stuck on the internet last week.
Tom: Our resident Radio Insider, Matt, sent this the other day. He said we’d like it. I think he’s right.
Tim: Ah – a lyric video made with effort. And, apparently, by a designer who’s recently been given access to an unlimited supply of stock images. “Ooh, an airplane interior, that’ll be fun. And that fox looks nice – I’ll put him as well. Oh, and I do like those escalators – they’ll go so well after the empty classroom.”
Tom: It is weird, isn’t it? But that doesn’t change the fact that this is genuinely lovely synthpop – a bit poppier than the Sound of Arrows stuff you like, but nevertheless lovely synthpop. Which, considering Tegan and Sara are known for indie rock, is no small achievement.
Tim: No – it really sounds like a track by an experienced act. It’s got an air of a slightly withdrawn Icona Pop about it, and I like it a lot.
Tom: Maybe it’s just the glorious sunset that I can see out my window as I write this, but this is putting me in a really lovely mood. I played it again straight after it ended – which is pretty much the highest accolade I can give a song.
Tim: Ah, well I do that with a lot of tracks, but here it’s not so I can find something to be snarky about (well, except those pictures).
Tom: The track’s been out since September, but the album’s not released until next month – and if this is any sign of what’s to come, then I think it’s going to be a blinder.