Saturday Flashback: Tone Damli – Hurts Sometimes

“Full marks to the staging team, they absolutely nailed that.”

Tim: I said on Thursday we hadn’t featured Tone for ages; that’s largely because she’s been fairly quiet recently. Having said that, though, she did have this one for Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix this year, which somehow I didn’t see. Take a listen, I’ll think you’ll like it.

Tim: And isn’t that just a wonderful reveal? For the first few seconds I’m thinking “that staging’s weird, but okay I guess” but then I forgot about it and paid attention to the song, and then the chorus starts and oh, that’s a cheap way of doing it but right there you’ve got two for the price of one on shivers moments.

Tom: I was half-expecting them to have built the circular window to split in two, so the steadicam shot could continue ‘through’ it — but that shouldn’t take away from it, full marks to the staging team, they absolutely nailed that.

Tim: Didn’t they just? And then there’s something similar later on, so STOP NOW if you’re reading ahead, you’ll see it when it comes.

And there it is! A key change which I entirely didn’t see coming (and if you’ve read this far before it’s happened and have thus had it spoiled you’ve only yourself to blame), and some sparks flying out as well. Again, hardly a novel concept, but still lovely to watch and hear. As for why it didn’t win…hard to say.

Tom: I think it’s that the verses are, frankly, a bit dull. Now, you might argue that they have to be in order for that build and chorus to work — but I think you’d have lost everyone on that second verse.

Tim: I don’t know, you say that, but the eventual winner was in a similar style, though with even more of a contrast in volume between verses and chorus. Arguably this isn’t a Eurovision winner in any case – but it’s a lovely track all the same.

Tone Damli – If I Can’t Have You

“Just the sort of stuff Tone does quite well, really.”

Tim: We haven’t featured Tone Damli in yeeeears, so let’s correct that. This is, some readers may be relieved to know in advance, absolutely and entirely unlike yesterday’s track.

Tim: Just the sort of stuff Tone does quite well, really – light pop with a nice tinge of country on the side.

Tom: Yep: although that bass-drum heavy percussion is not what I’d expect from a song like this. It almost seems overpowering: this is the sort of song where, if I notice the percussion, the rest of the song isn’t really doing its job.

Tim: To be honest, I’ve not a lot to say about it, beyond “aww, bit of something nice, isn’t it?”, and I’ve mainly thrown it over as a way of calming us all down after yesterday’s track. I think it works for that, no?

Tone Damli – Heartkill

Tim: We’ve featured Tone Damli quite a bit up until now, and generally been impressed. BUT CAN SHE KEEP IT UP?

Tim: Pretty much, yes. Good things in particular include the lead in to the chorus from the verses, the instrumental melody underneath the chorus and the “just another hea-a-a-a-artkill” at the end of the chorus.

Tom: I agree with everything apart from that digital stuttering: it was so incongruous that it completely took me out of the song. Maybe it’d get better over time, but I’m not convinced.

Tim: Huh. Fair enough, see where you’re coming from. Those two bits aside for me, it’s, well, actually just about above average, but I really do like the end of the chorus bit. So well done for that.

Tone Damli – Perfect World

This a is track with a BIG CHORUS.

Tim: This a is track with a BIG CHORUS.

Tim: You see? This is actually the kind of track I’d hoped Katy Perry would be doing when she said she was done with the bubblegum-flavoured pop, rather than actually just doing more bubblegum-flavoured pop. Loud, brash and wonderful.

Tom: Agreed. I know you liked ‘Roar’ better than I did, but even so – I’m glad you agree this would have been a better direction. Mind you, just comparing her to Perry isn’t fair — she’s clearly not, she’s clearly going her own way, and it’s a damn good way to go.

Tim: To be honest, it almost seems like there’s too much in there – not that they should lose anything, but perhaps just turn down one or two bits? I don’t know, I’m probably just being picky, but it’s a bit odd that she’s shouting her head off and it’s still a bit difficult to make her out.

Tom: That’s probably down to YouTube compression – the song’s been mastered for high-bitrate MP3s and proper speakers, and it’s not doing well being crushed down. Either that, or they’ve just turned everything up too loud.

Tim: In terms of pure pop noise, though, it’s great.

Tone Damli – Smash

A good example of what pop music should be.

Tim: Let’s bring in 2013 with a good example of what pop music should be.

Tom: A bold claim. What are you bringing to the table?

Tim: Decent chorus, catchy ‘vibe’ (people still say that, right?)

Tom: Nope.

Tim: Oh.

Tom: You’re right, though – I can’t say the melody grabs me, but it’s certainly happy. Although “I won’t let you smash it again” does sound a bit dodgy out of context.

Tim: It’s an upbeat sound despite the negative message, and…well, it’s good. Honestly, there’s not a lot more that I can think to say about this, though that’s not a bad thing – there’s certainly nothing wrong with it. Given all this, and the extra bit of effort she puts in for the closing section, I will give it something like 69%.

Tom: Is that an innuendo?

Tim: Maybe 70%.

Tom: Better.

Tone Damli feat. Eric Saade – Imagine

A good amount of flesh, lots of heavy petting and a church bell that’s three hours early.

Tim: I present a video with a good amount of flesh, lots of heavy petting and a church bell that’s three hours early.

Tom: I approve of precisely TWO of those things.

Tom: From the first vocals, I thought “this is going to be good”. And I was right.

Tim: Indeed you were. I like this a lot (and not just because of the flesh and heavy petting, though I won’t deny that does add a bit). One thing I really like is that it’s very much not generic, for a duet at least – when you get two people singing to each other about how lovey-dovey they are, more often than not you end up with some piano/strings ballad rather than a beat-heavy dance number like this.

Tom: Although it’s more “I’d rather be with you”, which is an odd lyric indeed when they’re actually singing it at each other. Have they considered actually getting together? They’re putting music ahead of pragmatism, really.

Tim: Yes, but when the music’s like this can you blame them? Besides, she’s theoretically still engaged, even if it does look like she’s gone on her honeymoon with this new chap, so it would be naughty if they did anything. They never even kiss.

Tom: Neither did Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

Tim: Erm, well I suppose that’s true. Um. Any particular point you wish to make with that?

Tom: Nope, just making a cheap joke.

Tim: Fair enough. Speaking of music type, as I was quite some time ago now, it’s struck me that while technically it’s her track and he’s just featuring on it, it feels more like an Eric Saade track than a Tone Damli one. I actually quite like that, though, so there’s no complaints from me. This is GREAT.

Tom: It is. Although I was a bit surprised when it came back after the middle eight; I’d actually assumed the track was ending rather than coming back from an encore. Not that I really minded one more chorus, really.

Tone Damli – Look Back

A very good, country-influenced pop song.

Tim: I don’t really have any introduction for this.

Tom: Fortunately, neither does she.

Tim: This is standard, really. And there’s not a whole lot to say about it. But I like it, so we’re featuring it.

Tom: It’s a very good, country-influenced pop song. (There’s a cry break or two in there.) We’ve said on several occasions that there’s nothing wrong with being formulaic, provided both the formula and the execution are decent – and in this case, they really are.

Tim: True. Some artistic people might spout some crap about how it’s all rubbish if you don’t express your true creativity, to which I say: bollocks. We’ve got a decent enough tune, a good voice (came second in Norwegian Idol 2005), some nice instruments and a triumphant energetic closing bit. All good, really.

Tone Damli – No Way Out

Fairly simple, really: nice tinkly piano intro, soft female vocals.

Tim: So, let’s see what we’ve got here. Fairly simple, really: nice tinkly piano intro, soft female vocals (as, really, we’d expect from a female), gentle drums and an early-Avril-Lavigne style chorus.

Tom: I was distracted and bored through the verse, until that Avril-style chorus kicked in – at which point I let out a quick “ooh!” of surprise. The chorus is brilliant, but you do have to plod through the rest of the song to get there.

Tim: True, but then with it building up a bit towards the end (admittedly passing through a very, VERY disappointing bridge exit), it’s basically a fun, fairly excited and happy piece of pop music, and anybody who doesn’t like it must have a heart of stone. Of STONE!

Tom: I do like it. I just wish there was a bit more energy in it – particularly that bridge exit, which winds up to a key change that never happens. If ever there was a track for Almighty Records to remix…