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Saturday, February 28, 2004

Public service announcement: If you ever read Troubled Diva and were upset over it stopping, go there now! If enough people answer enough questions, it will come back. Do it now, as Mike's Eurovision rundowns are amazing, and with the big event coming up, time is of the essence.
# 11:10 AM []

Friday, February 27, 2004

"Lost love will stay with you always and forever more" - the idea that the loss of love is in itself a seperate feeling that lingers is a cute lyrical barb. Weeping Willows are from Sweden, and the off-kilter but clever language is a dead giveaway. Is there something about the way English is learnt in northern Europe that creates these songwriters with such a way with words?

"You cannot run away because fate has got a sense of irony". It says quite a bit but it doesn't mean anything. But you should know by now that it doesn't need to. Sonically, this is great. Low strings bring the required mood of sadness, and the female backing vocals come in just when needed - they could have been put all over it and ruined the effect, but instead they act as a bridging device, and the angular melody freezes to heartbreak at their very sound.

"In these hands, in these times". Everything perfect gets ruined in the end, except possibly this. The creeping drums, a bell-sound, and ominous string flashes all beg for the use of the repeat button. It needs to be a single. Their album, Presence, is worth checking out for this song alone.

(EDIT: Actually, I've realised it reminds me quite a bit of Sophie Ellis Bextor's underrated but brilliant Move This Mountain.)
# 10:13 PM []
NATURAL - Let Me Just Fly
No no no no no! They've gone and turned their back on impeccably slushy ballads just as I realised I liked the damn things. And Natural's Put Your Arms Around Me is one of the best slushy ballads ever, so they should have been a valuable commodity. Worse, they've brought their guitars with them this time. So obviously this sounds like Busted if they had been around before 90s power-pop-punk crossover bands made it big.

Oh, they want to fly. Prerequisite number one for this is a chorus that goes somewhere. Repeating the same line three times - but shock! - actually going up a few notes the third time is not synonymous with taking flight. Speaking is not willing is not doing. Did we learn nothing from LMC? Well, yes, we did learn nothing, but obviously nobody else has either. And busy backing vocals over the last chorus with (yawn) impassioned nanananas is a waste of time. If you're going to go rock, do it properly. Bigger riffs and bigger hooks, please. Don't try again.
# 8:38 PM []

Thursday, February 26, 2004

For those missing their fix of the Cross-Europe Chart Challenge of Death, here's something I whipped up earlier for the good folks at Stylus.
# 4:57 PM []

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

TEARS FOR FEARS - Secret World
Right then, with stock in their songwriting at an all-time high thanks to all those Mad World covers, all they really need to do is come out with some cheesy synth pop or some heartfelt singer-songwriterisms to cash in in fine style. Except they haven't really done this, in the sense of how guitary the album is, they could almost be... I dunno.. Elbow. But their comeback album, Everybody Loves A Happy Ending does at least have this wonderful song tucked away in the second half, making it a track that even those who hear the album probably won't hear. And no, despite being about a world, it sounds nothing like Mad World.

It skirts oh so close to oblivion too. Tinkly piano opening, polite guitar drama with slashing, descending swings cast an ominous shadow but any fears that we're going to deal with depth are quickly dispelled: "You and I have a secret/And we can keep it". Marching drums, brass and a massive chorus save it from the fate of being all proper with rubbish lyrics, because it swoons massively, each instance of the chorus lusher and ornater than the last, and oh yes, a cheery guitar solo taking it to High-Sung Pop Anthem Heaven stuck right in there because absolutely nothing else would have been good enough.

Piano noodlings, dying blasts of brass and strings make it sound like an album-closer, all stops have been pulled out, but unfortunately there are three more after it. And it's the only good song on the album, so that's a bit of a downer.
# 10:41 PM []

Monday, February 23, 2004

It's got piano on it, so we're sort of in ballad territory here, which could be hazardous, but since I'm With You is Avril's best single by a huge distance (it's the cello that does it), Avril's on pretty safe ground, and the chorus builds in intensity much like Complicated. What's mildly worrying is that those horrible bluesy inflections she was sporting in her charity cover of Knockin' On Heaven's Door seem to be creeping into the verses here, but she abandons them in the chorus mercifully, her Canadian vowels sounding quite lovely at the end of each line. The middle eight is very good, and it leads into an obvious but nonetheless effectively dramatic moment where the music cuts out, then comes back quickly under the chorus. Her lyrics seem to be a bit sharper than they used to as well.

It actually reminds me of proto-Avril Amy Studt's Under The Thumb - coming full circle, you know. Could have used a cello, though.

(UPDATE: The MP3 is on one of the links on the sidebar - hint, it starts with S and is not listed under MP3s. I still maintain that for such dicey, lame subject matter, Ms Lavigne has made a decent fist of it, lyrically. She sounds her age and her experience. Also,her voice reminds me of Caroline Kennedy out of Deadstar on it. If you never heard Deadstar, you missed out on something really good.)
# 7:58 PM []
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