I finished writing my fourth Around The World In 80kbps for Stylus
but it's not up yet (my bad) and I was going to post two MP3s from it when it went up. But since I'm off to Melbourne this weekend, I won't be around when this happens.
So here are the MP3s in question:
K-Maro - Femme Like U
The Preluders - Hotter Than You Know
The former is a cruisy French pop cum rap song and the latter is a German girl group (who have been rather unimpressive up until this single) who have made an enjoyable En Vogue-esque belter.
THE CROSS-EUROPE CHART CHALLENGE... of Death! FINLAND (4)
Having given a few months to air out the old songs, what new goodness is awaiting?
1. UNIKLUBI - Rakkautta Ja Piikkilankaa. It's really, really fast, dense and thick and heavy and bizarrely not particularly interesting. Great bassline though, a comment I say a lot about these Finnish rock songs because it's true and I usually have nothing else to comment on. On this occasion, I shall go somewhat further by saying I like the slowed-down prechorus and it's probably quite good fun to dance to. 6
2. EPPU NORMAALI - Suolaista Sadetta. Ooh, sort of a Finnish country-ish kind of sound with this one, a bit rollicking and driving down the highway. A promising opening, but it doesn't build or do anything to get interest, it just bops along agreeably and exuding some kind of charm that doesn't translate. 4
3. JONNA TERVOMAA - Myöhemmin. This reminds me, back in 1995, when I was a musical snob and a wannabe indie kid, I said that acoustic guitars were not music and should be banned because nothing good ever comes from them. Not hateable, but just kind of there, vaguely reminiscent of the verses (i.e. boring bit) of a Heart song, though memory may be rapidly faltering with this comparison. 3
4. NIGHTWISH - Nemo. Either the best or worst record in the top 10 by a long way. At the moment I'm still leaning toward the former, but to be on the safe side, 9.
5. ANTTI TUISKU - En Halua Tietää. What on earth is this? Now I can understand why people said Red Blooded Woman
ripped off Cry Me A River
because it took me a bit of thought to work out which of those this song has the same backing as - it's the latter. It does have a completely different song on top of it, though. It's all a bit uninteresting to be honest, and without the novelty of hearing the backing for the first time it doesn't really work. Lacks drama. 4
6. TIKTAK - Heilutaan. Pleasing opening riff... Argh! It's Ska! But not as we know it.. is this really the same group who were at the top of the charts in Round 2
? Anyway, this is quite good fun as far as these things go, and the slow section in the middle is rather effective. 6
7. ANASTACIA - Left Outside Alone. Still great, haters go away. She'll never do anyhing half as good again, though. 10
8. NEGATIVE - Frozen To Lose It All. Quite good, this. Straight-ahead, dumb riff is given some colour and shade by lovely piano riff (think Clocks
only not rubbish). Brief albeit thrashing lead into the chorus deceives as it's very fluid and poppy melodically, and generally pleasingly tuneful throughout. It'd be nice if the piano were louder, but this is still good. 9 [MP3
9. NU VIRGOS - Stop! Stop! Stop! Disappointingly restrained lite-pop number, sort of like a bad Sade song given a desultory mid-90s dance-pop makeover. Deep bass is good, as is the flashes of guitar in the verses - much underused but an absolute dullard of a chorus and despite a trio of exclamation points, there's no exclamation in there. 4
10.USHER - Yeah! Despite everyone loving him, I remain unconvinced because he will always be "Raymond" out of Bold & The Beautiful to me, i.e. crap. 2
58 points for Finland, average for four rounds now 58.5.
THE POLYPHONIC SPREE - Hold Me Now
Yes! Vocally sounding again like the person who fronted interesting no-hopes Tripping Daisy (yes, I know it IS the same person, but on the first TPS album he didn't really), instead of the dirge-ish but intricate tones of the past - or the technicoloured hyperactivity of the radio mix of Soldier Girl
, this is a perfect midpoint.
It actually sounds rather like a big sweeping number from a musical - and not too far away from the Spree's version of Hedwig show-stopper Wig In A Box
- at the start of the verses, and uses every trick in the book - a gradual lift in intensity, the music cutting out for just one line and then going back to the start again. And the chorus is not so much lighter-waving but hand-holding and melting with love as the tempo slows down and the skittering drums drop down to a march by comparison.
You can get an MP3 of this from TTIKTDA
, but as this is (apparently) the first single (UK: July 5), you really should go and buy it.
THE CARDIGANS - For The Boys
I'm not entirely sure what's more unfair - that my favourite Swedish band put out an exclusive new track on the recently-released Stateside version of their slow-burning opus Long Gone Before Daylight (my initial thoughts about it - boring, only four good songs - are the wrongest I've ever been about an album ever), or the fact that it's brilliant.
It's still country, but not in the traditional sense, and not even in the traditional alt-country sense, more in the way that Weeping Willows' first album was. Rather than wailing her heart out - could she? - Nina Persson conveys her frailty by forcing things a bit in the chorus and sounding frail but assured over a jangly guitar progression - and if someone can tell me what song the main riff kind of rips of PLEASE DO SO NOW. Over a downmixed high organ note, she sings "You can sing like you're trying to break my heart" and when she hits that last word and goes down (both in pitch and volume) as she stops the note, it's an absolutely perfect, gorgeous climactic moment, everything else just an afterthought of muted reprisal. [MP3
MANIA - Looking For A Place To Go
Actually a little underwhelmed by this to be honest - the pictures of them and the involvement of the mighty Xenomania made me think I was going to get a grown up version of Daphne & Celeste. The sound is fairly slick and R&B influenced, but the chorus reminds me too much of something else that wasn't very good, and the fact that it gets whistled before its second instance just emphasises this. Sonically it's great though, a hint of a guitar underneath the second verse to give it a bit of kick and politely skittering beats. One suspects it's a grower, that breed of song that irks because flat-out dismissals come back to bite hataz on the arse later on, hence the fence sitting. Good, not fantastic.