“Well, that’s… hmm. I mean, it’s certainly a song. I’m not sure I can say more than that.”
Tim: Full disclosure: I’m not much a fan of this song. However, I was out on Saturday night with a fellow gay and All The Lovers came on, and it emerged he had never heard of Kylie Minogue, and he is American and stuff but REALLY that’s just not on.
Tom: Well, that’s… hmm. I mean, it’s certainly a song. I’m not sure I can say more than that.
Tim: See, the most annoying thing about this is the fact that both artists have produced tracks that are so, so much better, and we go into this expecting that: combining the talents, we should get something that’s as good as Timebomb and Can’t Get You Out Of My Head combined.
Tom: Ah, see, there’s a chance that’ll happen, if you’re really lucky: but chances are that you’ll end up with a weird mix of creative styles and opinions, and a mediocre track.
To be fair, by the end of it, I think I sort-of understand what they were aiming for. I just don’t think they hit it.
Tim: Why have we got this, with its unpleasant backing, tedious melody, and somewhat rubbish video? It’s just upsetting.
“Bringing out emotions in all the right ways, and using exactly the right type of music to do so.
Tim: Tove here singing about a summer experiment that didn’t go so great, with ALMA along as a token lesbian (genuinely – Tove says that “since I’m singing about a girl, I wanted another female artist on it who also likes girls; so I hit up ALMA”). Sweet, no?
Tim: And that right there is a really good pop song. It isn’t, of course, our usual preference of loud, exciting carefree stuff (for that, see tomorrow’s post), but it is a lovely melancholy number, bringing out emotions in all the right ways, and using exactly the right type of music to do so.
Tom: I had to reset my expectations, because I thought the chorus was a pre-chorus: given it’s Tove Lo, I was expecting something a bit louder. Once I’d figured out what the song was aiming for… sure. It’s not bad.
Tim: The verses are downbeat, the chorus melody and lyrics explain that and everything melds together nicely, telling a narrative really rather beautifully. Fair?
Tom: Fair, but I can’t help thinking that the last few seconds of vertical video, where it’s being sung as a proper ballad, might actually have been the seeds for a better track.
Tom: From Tove Lo, that’s not incredibly surprising.
Tim: You might want headphones.
Tim: To be honest, those lyrics were almost enough to put me off the first I heard them – specifically, the ‘did you let him leave a necklace’ line, which gave me quite the ‘eww, really?’ feeling. I’m very glad I didn’t switch it off, though, because the sound that turned up a bit later, the ‘no tears for that sucker’ section, sounds absolutely lovely.
Tom: And “I’m glad you finally dumped that terrible boyfriend” is a pretty good — and unusual — theme for a song. Yes, the lyrics are pretty dreadful throughout, but it’s catchy as hell.
Tim: In fact, most parts of this sound pretty lovely, in one way or another – I’ve even got to like that high pitched part that opens the song. Just, need to not pay too much attention to certain lyrics, because they’re still icky.
Tim: For a strong video, though I won’t lie – it is fairly disturbing, and not just because of the rude words. Please, whatever you do, don’t use it as a driving instruction video.
Tim: Quite the video, isn’t it? Strikes me as more of an art project than anything else that a normal professional video producer might up with, but there you go.
Tom: It’s possible to pull off a weird art-video, sure, but this just seems dull. It’s a single joke stretched out to minutes long. Which… actually, that kind of sums up the song, too.
Tim: Right, that’s the thing: it does distract quite nicely from the fact that the song itself isn’t really up to much, what with it being mostly comprised of a fairly short and not particularly inspiring hook repeated a lot.
Tom: Yeah, beyond the attempt at shock value, there really isn’t anything here. WE GET IT, IT’S ABOUT SEX.
Tim: Having said that, though: it is strangely enjoyable regardless. Though that might be because of the video, which, however disturbing, I do quite like. Good old puppets getting some action at last.
Tom: Speak for yourself. I’m not watching that again.
“One of the strongest pre-choruses we’ve had for a while.”
Tim: I’d warn about naughty words coming up, but given the sentiment I don’t think she’d really want me to.
Tim: Well, let’s start with docking a considerable number of points for “I can’t hide my feels”, but then quickly add points back again for pretty much all the rest of it.
Tom: Really? On what grounds?
Tim: We’ve got one of the strongest pre-choruses we’ve had for a while, and that chorus melody is repetitive enough, but not unpleasant enough, to get stuck right in and be enjoyable.
Tom: Ah, it just doesn’t work for me: a bit too repetitive, a bit too monotone. Mind you, I’m mostly just giggling at the album being called “Lady Wood”, so you know, my opinion’s not worth all that much right now.
Tim: Oh, right. Well, it’s my favourite Tove track for a while, and I’m very happy she’s back on top.
Tim: Boy, you really do just keep coming with those today, don’t you?
“BOOM suddenly Tom Hiddleston gets his bum out and no-one knows where to look.”
Tim: Only a few weeks since she last graced these pages, but Tove is once again back as a feat., and once again getting somewhat physical with the lead.
Tom: Remember when the Jonas Brothers wore purity rings?
Tim: Ha, yeah – who’d have thought that was just a phase, and basically just a publicity stunt? As emphasised here, really. I mean, flipping heck, we have basically a Night Manager style video, where you’re at home with your family, watching a nice spy drama and BOOM suddenly Tom Hiddleston gets his bum out and no-one knows where to look.
Tom: That sounds like it’s a personal experience there.
Tim: Yeah, I’d rather not talk about it. All quite disgraceful, really, or at least it would be if it wasn’t quite as entrancing as it is – combined with the music it almost becomes a can’t-quite-take-your-eyes-away moment. Because yes, that music – it’s gentle and there’s not a lot to get excited about, banging wise, but it’s wonderfully put together, and pleasant to listen to on top.
Tom: You say that, but I’m really not sure about that… is it a distorted steel drum patch they’re using for the main synth line there? It’s not something I’ve heard before, which is usually a good thing, but it takes some getting used to.
Tim: See, I quite like that – has the impact of a standard percussion hit but still being quite soft. So yes, I will take this, just as long as my mum’s not around.
“Here, kneel in this gymasium while a load of people fondle you.”
Tim: Desire, the first track they had that was fairly successful, and the last one they had before ‘getting big’; now, they’re revisiting it for a bit of extra cash and getting Tove on board to do some of the vocal work.
Tim: And I think that video conclusively answers the “is it desire or is it love” question posed by the lyrics, because basically everybody wants to get off with everybody else, which is fine by me as long as they don’t immediately kidnap just anybody who happens to be lying in an empty car park.
Tom: “Here, kneel in this gymasium while a load of people fondle you.” And why is he lying in an empty car park, by the way?
Tim: He was looking at his phone and has just realised what a terrible haircut he’s just had, maybe? Musically, is a re-release justified, and does Tove’s presence make redoing this one acceptable instead of getting on and writing new stuff? Hmm, maaaaybe. It’s an enjoyable track, but then so was the first one.
Tom: As ever, I can’t remember the first one, so seeing it just on its merits: this is a pretty good song. Little bit of tropical-house in there, of course, because it’s 2016 and everyone’s doing that, but yes: this is good. And Tove’s presence is justified entirely by that middle eight.
Tim: On the other hand, you do have to keep people interested in between albums (LOOKING AT YOU SOUND OF ARROWS), and I suppose it’s better than just a plain reissue. I am, ooh, about 60% in favour of this, because yes, that is what it deserves.
Tim: This, the new track to go with the deluxe reissue of Tove’s last album, and we’ve got a slightly adult-rated lyric video here, so you might want to make sure you’ve not got any impressionable kids wandering past.
Tim: And, well, that’s at least got an air of honesty about it, making a change from any fairly desperate “I’m brilliant I’ll love you forever I’m dedicated to you and will be forever” that we may more typically see.
Tom: “I can’t be the perfect one / but I’ll make you come” is a wonderfully understated lyric, too.
Tim: That it very much is. It’s funny – I was first thinking that the end of the chorus might just be there for shock value, but then I tried switching it for another word or rearranging it, but I couldn’t make anything work anywhere near as well. Obviously I’m not a songwriter, but that does kind of imply that sometimes, you’ve just got to be a bit rude, and when you are it’s highly effective (especially if you’re claiming to be incredibly charming).
Tom: Absolutely agreed: there are times when absolutely nothing else will work, and I suspect this is one of them. I believe various broadcast guidelines describe it as “editorially justified”.
Tim: Music: eh, decent, but taking a back seat, really. Weird how one single chorus line can overpower a whole song, but there it is.
Tim: Do you fancy rhythm in your verses? If you do, you’re out of luck with this. On the other hand…
Tim: …everything else about the track is bloody wonderful, and even the verse thing is overlookable once you’re expecting it.
Tom: It’s an interesting approach, certainly: it’s been tried before a few times before, and I’m not sure it completely works here — but at least it provides a contrast into that absolutely gorgeous chorus.
Tim: It does, and as for the rest of it: a lovely piano line underneath everything, a nice speedy drumbeat on top of that, and once the pre-chorus comes along, and then gives way to the full-on chorus, that instrumentation is just incredible.
Tom: Yep: the production is fantastic.
Tim: I especially like those noises that sound like a cartoon laser gun being fired, just because I don’t think I’ve heard them in any other song.
Tim: Sort of, but they don’t really have the same “pew! pew!” effect that gives the impression of just moving very very quickly, desperate to move on, that’s demonstrated in so many other parts of the song – the rushed verse, the quick drums, the timebomb in the lyrics.
Even at three and a half minutes, that makes the song seems as though it’s way too short, and I don’t really want it to stop, because dammit we COULD be the best thing ever, so let’s do everything quickly before we explode and do it all as much as possible. ONE TRACK REPEAT PLEASE.
Tim: New track here off Swedish dance producer Alesso; play it please.
Tom: Well, that’s a near-perfect dance track.
Tim: It is, though I’ve one caveat: I’m sure it’s entirely coincidental, but that backing line is very, very similar to Music to Make The Boys Cry.
Tom: And “we could be heroes” is sort of David Bowie’s shtick.
Tim: And while that’s a great track, this similarity is a tad annoying, because I don’t really want to think about crying when I’m dancing. On the other hand, it really wouldn’t stop me dancing much, and everything else about this track is great, so actually I’m not all that bothered.
Tom: Maybe it’s just my headphones or the YouTube compression, but I could use a bit more bass: there’s a whole load of low frequencies that seem to be mostly ignored. But when the rest of it sounds this good, I can’t complain.