Avicii feat. Agnes & Vargas & Lagola – Tough Love

“Ah, a Eurovision entrant.”

Tim: Second single from the upcoming album (which, I’ve since found out, is getting the profits donated to a mental health organisation, so it’s not icky after all).

Tom: They didn’t really get off to a flying start with the first single, so I’ve not got high hopes.

Tim: Piano dance is so ten years ago, country guitar so five years ago, so right now we’ve got, well, this.

Tom: Ah, a Eurovision entrant. Specifically, the type that uses some traditional instrument and scale for one bit while otherwise adhering to European pop norms.

Tim: It is a bit odd, isn’t it? Well, to most Western European ears at least. Took me a few listens to enjoy this, for that and also the same reason Wake Me Up took a bit of getting used to: it’s just so different, and so initially janky from one style to the next, that it seems almost irritating. After a couple of times, though, it kind of works a bit, in the way that I at least appreciate both bits individually, and am more or less okay with them being mixed up, I guess?

Tom: There are some really inspired parts in here. Okay, there’s one really inspired part in here, and it’s one chord progression in the middle eight. Maybe I would learn to love it, but I just don’t think I’m going to give it that chance.

Tim: Reading that back it comes across quite harsh, but I do enjoy it. Kind of.

Avicii feat. Vargas & Lagola – Friend Of Mine

“Well that’s a hell of an emotional rollercoaster.”

Tim: Ooh, them off Melodifestivalen last year! What are they doing with Avicii?

Tom: Advance warning: this is a video somewhere between ’emotional’ and ‘heartbreaking’. I recommend listening to the song on its own first, because I don’t think you’ll be able to consider it properly otherwise.

Tim: Hmm. Short but sweet.

Tom: So, without that video — well, it’s an Avicii track, isn’t it? There’s not much going on there we haven’t heard before, although that doesn’t mean it’s actually bad. He may have retired from touring, but he’s still happy to chuck out perfectly reasonable farm-house tracks like this.

Tim: “Perfectly reasonable” is a very good way to describe this – nothing new or particularly inventive, but it’ll do. Now, give me a moment to watch that video.

Oh. Oh, well that’s a hell of an emotional rollercoaster, blimey.

Tom: How on earth a video like this got suggested and approved, I’ve no idea, but I’m glad it was.

Tim: Yeah. Yeah, it’s…well, not sure really, but yeah.

Vargas & Lagola – As Long As I Have To

“Hard to know how to judge this, really.“

Tim: A couple of Swedes, Salem Al Fakir (previously of Avicii vocals and co-writing, and a second place in Melodifestivalen) and Vincent Pontare (previously of these pages, and also co-writing with Avicii and Axwell Λ Ingrosso), out together with a new brand and a new track. And here’s fun: once you see the butterfly in the video as spinning back and forth rather than flapping its wings, you’ll not be able to see it any other way.

Tom: I don’t see the butterfly spinni… ah, never mind, there it is.

Tim: Now, I reckon it’s hard to know how to judge this, really.

Tom: It’s a bit… retro, isn’t it? It’s like they’ve taken bits from all sorts of genres and lumped them all together. Not mashed: lumped.

Tim: Maybe, but the thing is that as a dance track, which I was expecting given their pedigree, it’s not great – there’s no big drop, and any massive instrumental post-chorus you’d expect is binned off and replaced by a repetition of the vocal chorus.

Tom: And I know I’ve heard that drum loop — that repetitive drum loop — a hundred times before.

Tim: The structure also lends itself to dance music – the lack of a middle eight or final chorus is something we’ve seen before, only ever with dance tracks. A pop song can’t really work like that, it makes it too short, which is like it is here; it’s also almost a bit too unexciting and steady to be a decent pop tune.

Tom: I’m sure this is part of a genre that we don’t know much about, Tim. I’m just not sure if I want to know much about it.

Tim: Oh, I think you’re doing yourself a massive disservice there, pop and dance is basically what we do. This is a weird confluence, though. It’s as though they wanted to do a dance tune, but also wanted to keep it as mainstream as possible. Trying to compromise, they ended up with a bit of a damp squib. Given their previous hits, I’ll wait for a follow up before giving up on the act completely, but this is really quite disappointing. Shame.