EBM v1.0 was Edward O's blog about music, as written by a demented pop fan who should know better but is glad he doesn't.
It hosted the odd MP3 here and there, too. It has since been superseded by EBM v2.0.
EBM v1.0 has been superseded. EBM v2.0 can be found here.
Friday, July 30, 2004
JACQUES HOUDEK - Neka Bude Zauvijek
I actually raved a bit about Sve Bih Dao Da Sam Njen previously, but after a discussion with Riv@nvx, whose name I have spelled correctly this time, I have decided that this song is vastly superior. What this strikes me as being is the successful collision of clubby dance and souldufl R&B that Daniel Bedingfield has been striving for, particularly on the abysmal Friday.
There are elements of trance in here, but trance has never been this urgent and panicked. Jacques is delivering a club anthem seemingly on the verge of a nervous breakdown here, and he's having it over a multiplicity of himself harmonising high notes. The frenzy reaches a peak in the chorus where a long note - bereft of treatment, rushes headlong into the heavily harmonised and processed chorus. There's something about the vocal performance that sounds flown in from a completely different song... a completely different genre, which I think makes this sound unique. You'd assume this was a dancefloor-ready remix, but it's the original version. My burgeoning love affair with Croatian pop is perhaps best understood in the context of creative, enjoyable records like this one. [MP3]
# 8:30 PM 
THE CROSS EUROPE CHART CHALLENGE... of Death! HUNGARY
This feels like it's been YEARS in the making. I've been waiting to get all of them, and by the time I'd gotten one, it was out of the 10, so slow was I and so unhelpful were p2p networks. Repeats: The Corrs (6), Anastacia (10).
1. HOOLIGANS - Játszom. And top of the pops for this season's finale... a boring folk song with a nice changing movement into the chorus which has a nice descending riff/string combo. And nothing else of interest. 3
2. MILK & SUGAR - Let The Sunshine In. And this utterly inconsequential version of a song you know all too well has been in the Hungarian charts forever. I can't really think why. It's no more than adequate. 3
3. TNT/Szekeres Adrien - Híd a folyót. If this were in English, it would sit well on a cheesy love songs tape. Next to Careless Whisper. In other words, it's a good lovey ballad. I think, it sounds like one, for all I know it could be scathing political commentary. A lovely duet with a delightfully swaying melody in the chorus. Not as good as previous single Egyetlen Szo though. 8
4. CLUB 94 - Mégegyszer. The song that has held this entry up for weeks! Excitement was high when I first listened to it... and.... it's a dance single. Built around a piano that sounds like the opening theme to a bad sitcom, adding in a brief flicker of great disco strings, then some guitar, another flutter of sighing strings, and it's sounding really great. And then it doesn't have much of a chorus to deliver the killer blow. Oh this should have been brilliant, really.. 6
5. SHANIA TWAIN - Up! The worst single off Shania's album that wasn't a ballad. That's still good enough for me. I love Shania because she writes infectious choruses like no other and she releases singles in different orders in different parts of the world just to be confusing, hence this, which came out in some places in 2002, is still around in Europe. I like Mutt Lange's matter-of-fact backing vocals on this. 7
8. RONAN KEATING & LEANN RIMES - Last Thing On My Mind. The twin antichrists of pop, together at last. 0
9. V-TECH - Homokba írt szerelem. Slick Latin-flavoured number, instrumentally very strong, with nice pulsing bass that's a bit too low in the mix, some lightly trickling electronic noodlings and a truly annoying singer. A quirky, likeable melody in the chorus saves it. 5
10. NOX - Százszor ölelj még. I don't think I can comment impartially on this song, because it has the most hilarious video I have seen this year (2.5Mb download, it's the top-right one) in which a bunch of really weird looking people lipsynch to the song over a tacky yellow gradated background - with a crap dance to boot! - great stuff. The song itself. It does have a jaunty violin break and what may be some kind of bagpipes-like instrument - which in the video appears to be fluffy. It's not unlistenable, but I wouldn't say it was catchy. 3
And it's 51. 156 is the total, the average being 51.33.
STANDINGS AT THE END OF ROUND 4:
1. Sweden 61.25
2. The Netherlands 59.50
3. Belgium 59.25
4. Finland 58.5
5. Norway 58.0
6. Croatia 56.0
7. Denmark 54.25
8. Spain 54
8. Italy 54
10. United Kingdom 51.75
The next round will happen in late September/early October. I'm sort of kind of thinking of having some guest writers in on this, though that may be a rubbish idea. But if you're from one of the countries whose charts I dissect and wouldn't mind participating, use the comments box or email me.
Hopefully [the] next Indian crossover hit will be this: a startling, exciting single, indebted as much to rap and dancehall as European chart pop, with an incredibly poppy chorus, deep synth bass and infectious R&B verses. "Mundian To Bach Ke" is hardly a useful reference point, think "Romeo", but not solely in English. Not that this alters the fact that it's catchy and fluidly melodic enough to sing along even if you don't understand what it's going on about. Oh. And the requisite touch of Sweden is in the backing and the changed last chorus.
Hmm. The operative word here, I think, has to be "hopefully". I think the inherent dark craziness of a Mundian To Bach Ke makes it more (not less, as you'd think) palatable to a mass pop audience in a Western country. There's a sense of it being weird and different in sound while still conforming to a lot of the expectations that similar Western music has. There's nothing like that here. This is your classic melange. When I say it tips its hat to dancehall, what I really mean is that it sounds like No Doubt's Hey Baby. It doesn't speak too well of my love of foreign pop when I enthuse about things that are familiar to me, but I never claimed to be anything more than a tourist. I love this song for all its cheesy familiarity, for its happy incorporation of what this kind of thing is supposed to sound like, for its convention, for its vague flavour of ethnicity, but mostly because it makes me feel happy and comfortable. I'm not sorry about it. [MP3]
# 5:24 PM 
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
THE CROSS-EUROPE CHART CHALLENGE... of Death! DENMARK
Woo, it's the penultimate one in the round (and if ANYONE from Hungary is reading and has an MP3 of the Club 54 song in your top 10, PLEASE email me), and it's surprisingly less dull than last time.
Repeats: O-Zone and Haiducii (9+5) and Britney (9).
1. Drengene fra Angora - Team Easy On. I've written about this before, but a quick summary may be in order: Bad Euro rapping over what sounds like the theme tune to an even worse 80s cartoon series makes for a deliriously happy Edward. 9
2. The Loft - City Of Dreams. I like the backing, very subtle for a Euro-hop song, and the woozy synths over the chorus is fabulous, but I do not like the stale rhymes (handle us/Scandalous is so played, guys), and the latter tends to dominate the former too much. 5
4. Outlandish - Man Binder Os Pa Mun. A curiously affecting piano-led hip-hop ballad. Weighty words (my lack of knowledge of their meaning helping), while not the equal of last year's Aicha, there's something in the combination of the steady beat and the tinkling that is very pretty indeed, and the final chorus with the dramatic strings is really very nice. 8
5. Mario Winans - I Don't Wanna Know. I may have already done this one this round - I've forgotten. Not that I'm likely to forget what score it deserves - 0.
6. "Diverse" - Hvor Vi Fra. I think by "Diverse", they mean "Various Artists", and I think this is another Euro 2004 album. It has wanky percussion and a vaguely interesting bit in the middle where it goes all Walk This Way. Still rotten. 2
8. Danzel - Pump It Up. Wa-hey! My favourite dorky Belgian dance number from earlier in the year is charting somewhere else! Excellent. 9
9. Bombay Rockers - Rock Tha Party. Doing absolutely nothing interesting beyond its sample, this is as close to the definition of "generic pop number urging you to go and party". Instead of doing it with massive, intricate beats, irresistable hooks and fat bass-lines, this just plugs along in a most uninspiring manner before a lick of guitar elevates the chorus ever so slightly. 4
A decent showing, and adding 60 on to 157 makes for a decent increase in the average, now 56.25.
# 7:01 PM 
Sunday, July 25, 2004
HAR MAR SUPERSTAR - Body Request
I, and possibly you, were quite excited to hear that Har Mar Superstar had done two songs with the profoundly untalented but inexplicably good Holly Valance. The reality is either less exciting or mercifully relieving depending on where you stand on Holly, because she's pretty much in back-up singing mode on this track - though she gets more lines on Back That Camel Up but this is the stronger song. It's a blatantly LOVING pastiche of, and tribute to 70s soul and disco songs. Mostly disco, but there's an organ in it too, so that's all the bases covered.
And as pastiches go, it's a good one, licks of guitar, subdued bits of strings, ascending whooshing noises and a quickly-sung pre-chorus bit with Holly doing some aimless backing vocal noodlings, and, best of all, there's a breakdown bit not AFTER the second chorus, but BEFORE it. And it's great as well. Basically, this is a great mindless disco romp, performed with a great deal of affection for its source material. [MP3]
(You can thank Zia for this MP3, specifically by visiting her blog and giving her lots and lots of hits.)
# 3:14 PM