NOTD feat. Tove Styrke – Been There Done That

“There seems to be a massive dearth of listenable new music, so let’s have it.”

Tim: Now, this is a track I’ve had waiting for a few days, and I like it, except I have basically nothing to say about it. However, there seems to be a massive dearth of listenable new music, so let’s have it.

Tim: In case you’ve lost track, this is the Tove who gave us the delightfully romantic Brains Out – a song that is, seven years on, still one of my favourites featured here, both video and song. This one – well, it’s very much of the it’ll do variety.

Tom: You might even say ‘been there, done that’.

Tim: It’s a decent track, entirely listenable and danceable – but I’ve really nothing to say about it. Sorry everyone.

Tom: And neither have I. Right. Tomorrow, I’ve sending you something CONTROVERSIAL.

Tove Styrke – Sway

“There was nothing that actually put me off in there; by my standards that counts as a victory.”

Tim: It is entirely possible that many people will have no time for this at all; nonetheless. there are a number of moments in here where I thought “ooh, I’m excited”, and by and large, they held up, so have a listen.

Tom: Playing ‘spot the London location’ in the video was fun, if nothing else. Full marks to the director for… well, basically everything there. So what were you excited by?

Tim: The first moment I really liked about that came at the 40 second mark, where it began as much of a build as is possible with a track that’s (at that point) instrumentally largely silent with the occasional drumbeat, and the first instance of that chorus sounded pretty good. Immediately flowing into the second verse kept me going, and then when everything comes back after the thirty second cut out in the video with a whole load of new instruments then as far as I’m concerned, it’s all quite lovely.

Tom: And for once, I’m in agreement, although I think again that might be more down to the director of photography than the producer of music. Still, there was nothing that actually put me off in there; by my standards that counts as a victory.

Tim: When it went quiet in the video I thought “blimey, do we really need another minute and a half?”, and it turns out that actually, what with where it was going, yes we do. And I’d happily have plenty more as well, so thanks Tove!

Tove Styrke – Mistakes

“Until I get used to this I’m just going to get grumpy at it.”

Tim: Just as you reported yesterday there wasn’t much around from Europe, YouTube threw this up in my recommendeds, and you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you take the pre-chorus as the chorus and the chorus as the post-chorus, at least for the first half of the song.

Tom: I actually swore out loud at that chorus.

Tim: As well you might, because just like yesterday, that’s a great pre-chorus section with a sudden dip.

Tom: Right. I know that pop’s going more experimental at the moment, and I guess that’s to be commended, but until I get used to this I’m just going to get grumpy at it.

Tim: That’s fair, although the second part, with the title in the lyrics, is still pretty good, as we’d hope for with it being the official chorus. It’s more than capable of holding up the song on its own in the closing section, with the built-up instrumentation underneath it.

Tom: Nope. Don’t like the simplistic synths — they’re like chiptune, but bad — and I don’t like the style. It’s just… not enjoyable.

Tim: MI don’t know, I can just about take it. But much like Kygo & Selena Gomez, though, for me it’s the pre-chorus that wins it, and wins it well.

Tove Styrke – Number One

“Slightly desperate sounding”

Tim: Here’s a lovely bit of pop for you:

Tim: Gentle to start, slight dip in enjoyability for the pre-chorus, but the chorus is great, with its (admittedly slightly desperate sounding) insistence that everybody love a number one.

Tom: It took me a long while to work out which bits were chorus, pre-chorus and verse: there’s multiple hooks in there, and they’re all pretty good. That introduction’s so gentle that it sounds out of place. And you’re right about that lyric sounding insistent.

Tim: It’s also not quite true, of course – of the seven UK number ones there have been this year, there are at least two that I have very much distinctly not loved – but it’s still a nice idea, and it certainly doesn’t stop the following na, na, nah etc bits being any less very very enjoyable.

Tom: And the vocals back it up, too. I don’t see it being a Massive Summer Hit, but I think that’s down to the style rather than any particular flaw in itself.

Tim: I like this variant of Tove Styrke a lot, so good work, to all involved in bringing it back.

Tove Styrke – Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You

“I’m in two minds about it.”

Tim: Tom, I’d like to apologise in advance, because I’ve a feeling you won’t be keen on this (though I’m happy to be corrected), but I’m in two minds about it so I think a discussion is worthy.

Tom: “Hey Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey.” Repeat.

Tim: Hmm. Good point. Collection of other thoughts in no particular order, though: it’s loud. It’s shouty, almost to the extent of being a bit of a racket. It’s like Icona Pop but with even less melody. It has aggression and ATTITUDE and a clear message, much as previous Tove track Brains Out did.

Tom: So here’s the strange thing? I do actually like this. Because it’s not tuneless-loud; it proves that you can do this type of song without just screaming. It’s got a really, really brilliant hook and instrumentation. It is, for want of a better word, incredibly catchy. And I like that.

Tim: Good, because so do I. Other thoughts: he video is a bit ‘out there’, with big bright graphics and slightly racket-y dancing. That middle eight, or certainly the second half of it, is very good indeed. I find it to be a grower, because I’m liking it a lot more now than I was when I first heard it, though I think if I didn’t like it I’d just dislike it more and more with every listen.

Tom: I suspect it may be the opposite for me: as it goes on, I’ll find it grating. But on first listen, I reckon this is one of the strongest tracks we’ve had in a while.

Tim: And finally, I know it’s just the record label’s name, but I like the way the video ends with the word ‘epic’. Nice confident statement, for a very confident song.

Tove Styrke – Call My Name

The mud woman in the video scared me a bit.

Tim: I can’t remember why we didn’t feature this – I think it might have been because the mud woman in the video scared me a bit. Anyway, it has since become clear that it is in fact one of this year’s better songs, so let’s put that aside and have a listen.

Tim: First off, about that video: I haven’t a clue what’s going on, so I’ll leave it, although I will say that on occasion they seem to be doing that weird transition where they change the background but keep her face by sort of moving it around a bit; here, they’ve failed, but for a display of it looking excellent, check out C’est La Vie.

Tom: “Right, we’ve got enough budget for about two special effects shots. After that, it’s just going to be you on a bike.”

Tim: As for this song, well, like I said, one of this year’s better songs. The middle eight in particular, I do love, as I do the very last chorus with that same type of singing. On an energetic level, the verses aren’t really anywhere near the choruses, but they still don’t seem like filler, which I reckon would have been a challenge. And as for that chorus, well, it’s great, isn’t it?

Tom: It really is. Although ever since Aviici’s Levels came out, I keep wanting to hear “sometimes, I get a good feeling” after each chorus “whoa”.

Tim: It sounds like Robyn would be when she’s at her very best, and we’re left with a track you can dance to or listen to sitting down, and get an equal amount of pleasure doing either.

Tom: Which is pretty much exactly what we try to find.

Caotico & Tove Styrke – Brains Out

What a brilliant track.

Tim: Hello children! In today’s music lesson, we’re going to learn a song that I want you all to sing to mummy and daddy when you go home tonight.

Tom: That starts out so happy, and… well, I guess it continues happy, doesn’t it? What a brilliant track.

Tim: What’s most interesting about this is the way that until the chorus hits, the lyrics just sort of washed over me, even when I tried to listen to them to get what the song was about. Come the chorus, there they are, bang, unmissable. (And leaving very little doubt as to what the song was about.)

Tom: The thing is, it’s actually a good song as well. Okay, so “Shut Up And Sleep With Me” has been almost this direct before, but that’s not nearly as well-rounded a tune as this. It’s genuinely well-written and well-produced, and the video is classy to boot.

Tim: Yes, the music really is good – tune, vocals, energy, it’s all there and great (although with that chorus you’d have to do a lot to calm it down), so I like this a lot. And not just because I can shock my grandparents with it next time they visit.

Tove Styrke – White Light Moment

Interesting, this one.

Tim: Interesting, this one. First up: I think it’s brilliant. The chorus has a perfect amount of energy, and the pauses that serve as lead-in and lead-out only help that. I love the chanting type thing in the bridge, and while I’m not entirely keen on the underlying verse beat, I think the vocals go with it in such a way that I don’t mind it.

Having said all that, it’s not something I’d want to listen to over and over again, like I would, say, Et Cetera; I have no idea why, though. It’s not that it grows repetitive – it’s rather that, after a couple of listens, I think, ‘Right, what’s next?’

Tom: I got the exact same thing: half way through listening to this, my brain wandered and I idly started up another browser tab. Until the end-of-chorus pause hit in, I wasn’t listening. I propose that’s the reason those pauses are there: to jolt people out of the soporific stupor that the song’s put them into. Which is strange, because it’s a high-energy song and on paper I should be bouncing along to it. But I’m not.

Right, what’s next?