EBM Logo

EBM v1.0 has been superseded. EBM v2.0 can be found here.

Friday, November 19, 2004

The last Around the World in 80kbps for 2004. And I thought because it's delightful and either you've never heard of them before, or you heard Voto Latino and nothing else, I should put up Amateur by Molotov. I like it a whole big lot, really. It's something a bit different, and man can not live by Europop alone. (Well, actually, I can, but a bit of variety is nice).

This may be my last post for a while. I am moving (again) and will not have my computer for some time - I'll be taking my hard drive so I'll still have all my Mp3s obviously! But for the next two weeks, you will be reading and hearing stuff chosen by my guests.

The first of these is Diego Valladolid, Spanish pop fanatic, who writes in two blogs in Spanish - his own Millions Now Smoking Will Never Die and the group blog Bizarre Love Triangle. And you'd also know him as DV from the Chart Challenge Remix.

Also a chart-challenger is Andries from Belgium. He doesn't have a page but he really should think about doing one. I reckon if I dropped off the planet, Andries could fill in for me and you would barely notice.

Lastly, but not leastly, the lovely Mind Taker will continue my endless quest to evangelise you into loving Croatian pop. Basically, you'd be well advised to visit his page Ruralna Gorila and then use your preferred file-sharing application to download any song where the artist doesn't look like they have enough vowels in the title.

Yes, there will be MP3s from my guests, but other than that I have no idea what they've got in store for you. I do hope to put up the Swedish edition of the Cross-Europe challenge sometime next week, though. But other than that, don't listen to too much indie while I'm gone, peeps.
# 6:31 AM []

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Chart Challenge Remix: CROATIA
Yes! Except no. I wuv Croatia to death, except this is a total bodge job, as I was sending these out, I realised that my MP3 of #7 was in fact a load of silence. Too late to abort the round, I decided to just go along with it and get a score for #7 at a later date. Then I got busy with this other unrelated web-page I'm working on and anyway, due to the large number of unfamiliar songs this round was a lot of work. But it's here now, aren't you happy.

Andries' pun for this week: Nothing to "Croat" about. No, not as good as last week's, but the chart is a lot better to me anyway.... the ever-wonderful Mind Taker translated the titles for him, but where was his ballot? Please send one if you're reading!

1. VESNA PISAROVIC - Tako Mi Nedostaješ (I Miss You So Much)
EO: 10, PT: 10, SS: 6, SN: 9, AP: 7. Adjusted score: 10

Finally, a chart with something that deserves to be at number one.
AP:: I remember waxing rather lyrical about her previous single, or was that just due to Edward describing her a Slavonic Sophie Ellis-Bextor?
SN: There's a certain melancholy about this, I think, not heard in such an uptempo fashion since The Winner Takes It All. Compound that with the ever-so-mournful-and-beautiful chorus, the slightly unhinged disco strings between chorus and verse, and you have a song that is something quite special.
EO: Less a song, more of a collision of lots of stupidly great bits culled from other songs. The charging 80s soundtrack guitar, the folky flourishes of the chorus, the surprising strings that end it, hooks to spare, people.
SS: Ok, this is starting up pretty promising, the first verse sounds like something that wouldn't put Ms Lena Philipsson into shame, but then comes the chorus and ruins the song, from a top Eurovision sounding song, into a cheap production-wise one, and then it's not really the same for the rest of the song. It's also becomes a bit samey for me. And then at the end when it all goes quite you think that something really strong is going to explode on to you next, but nothing, it's the same old boring chorus from before.
AP: The verses of this are quite funky in places, but the chorus veers straight into “midi mediocrity” territory. Let’s consider this as Vesna’s I Won’t Change You then, and await her to come back in full force with the next one.
PT: Reminds me of all the neo-tokyo songs on every racing game ever. Dance music from the super shiny future, pulsating and morphing like a Winamp plug-in. Blinded by the lights? Too bloody right I am.
EO: To think this wonderful woman has been putting out pop for years - even parading herself in front of me singing Everything I Want in Eurovision 2002 but I was oblivious. I love you Vesna! This may be better than Ti Si Kriv.
PT: If you don't like this you are officially dead inside.

2. KARMA - Oci Zelene (Green Eyes)
EO: 4, PT: 5, SS: 9, SN: 1, AP: 5. Adjusted score: 5

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if Sash! bred with Scooter and then shipped the bastard child off to Croatia to pursue a recording career? Well, wonder no more, for here is that exact hybrid beast!
AP: Take a run-of-the-mill 2 Unlimited-era cheesy synth line, a tag line in a dodgy English accent, an O-Zone-esque talkey bit to the beat of Seven Days and One Week and a full-on Eurovision chorus, and you might just get this. It is of course subject to interpretation whether that is necessarily a BAD thing.
SS: The thing I like about the music scene in Eastern Europe these days, is that they seemed to have kept, and even developed their own kind of Euro-Pop/Dance production, and most of the time it's turns out quite fantastic, the most obvious example to what I mean is O-Zone who managed to make it to the west this year, and many Russian acts who keep this style as well. As I understand the person behind this tune is Colonia, which I never heard anything from till this days, but I know the name for a long time now as he's very praised in the Eurodance circles across the mainland, so what do we have here, back to 96-97 for the synths it seems, not the old old Euro, but the one that has progressed a bit, and quite honestly it sounds rather fantastic, the vocalist actually kinda disapeard to me inside the music, but she's quite alright as well, and the melody is honestly great.
EO: I actually appreciate this in a dated-trance kind of way (VERY DATED) but I can't love it. The feint bits of English.. "Unbelievable, it's incredible" are also really stupid.
SN:Abrasive cheesy synths and some other faceless nobody warbling about I don't know what...losing my coherence...I need a lie down.
PT: I like and hate this in equal parts. Handclaps, good. Techno siren, bad. Actually, it's all a bit too much. The thump dominates and ultimately negates anything good about it.

3. NATALIE DIZDAR - Ne Daj (Don't Give Me Up)
EO: 5, PT: 7, SS: 7, SN: 8, AP: 6. Adjusted score: 8

Sounds very unfinished and slightly cheap in places, but the singing style used combined with the artifical noises is interesting. Reminds me of quite a bit of Cibo Matto stuff but without the quirkiness. Unfortunately it hasn't wormed its way into any particular cavity yet put the possibility is there.
EO: Agreeably swift and squelchy, but rather bereft of substance.
AP:Good grief, she sounds bored, does she not? Are the lyrics about her remembering last minute to pick up a microwave dinner, sixpack of Croatia’s finest and some tampons on a Friday evening right before the shops close, by any chance?
SS: Ok the first few seconds I though it's going to be a bit Lisa Scott-Lee-esque, but then she started singing and the music kicked in and I was relived to find it's not, and it actually started pretty good, like a good pop tune, but then came that 'la la la lem' part and i felt like it's the soundtrack to some sci-fi movie :s anyway it keeps going rather alright , but when she sings the chours especially all those sound effects sound very amateurish, even if it is a bit original I guess, it's not really for my liking, still it's pretty fine pop song if you ignore those effects.
AP: The song doesn’t really go anywhere, but then that’s slightly better than going crooked, I suppose. I do appreciate the bleepy sounds all throughout, mind, which lifts it slightly above averageness. (It’s a sad affair when THAT is something to celebrate, I know, but there you have it.)
SN: Okay, I'm imagining the videoclip. Natalie is, as they say, an "Independent Woman." She is strolling, nay, sauntering, past an array of attractive but stupid men vying for her attention. She is tough and in control, at least until all those strange sounds hidden in the depths of the Casio keyboard's "Effects" menu kick in during the chorus. After that she goes a bit wobbly and falls over. Despite all that, this song is almost as sexy as Bootylicious and I'm going to love it forever because of that.

4. IVANA KINDL & JACQUES - Kao Kazna Božja (Like the Punishment of God)
EO: 3, PT: 0, SS: 5, SN: 2, AP: 1. Adjusted score: 1

Look at the English translation. It's accurate in more than one way.
PT: No.
AP: After sitting through 4 ? minutes of this dirge, I get the sense there is some genuine chemistry between Duncan & Keevie (or whatever her name was).
SN: Oh God. Heartfelt "Ooooooooooh"s in the introduction, MORE synthesisers...I always wondered if Celine Dion ballads would sound better if someone who wasn't Celine Dion sang them. Guess this song answers that question. They don't.
EO: Jacques gives hopes that even the extremely ugly can be pop stars. What a guy. Terrible song though.
AP: But yes, at least Jacques’ outward appearance is an inspiration to us all that a popstar career in Croatia beckons. Now, I just need someone to translate Natalia’s I’ve Only Begun to Fight into Croatian for me.
EO: Ivana Kindl is no Ivana Brkic, that's for sure. Soppy ballads are usually unacceptable, this is no exception. It might sound like a half-remembered Mariah Carey album track.
SS: Did they steal Mariah Carey's vouce at that first note? I could have SWORN they did. So they start to sing, and it's very your typical Mariah Carey & other male singer duet from the mid-90s (One Sweet Day especially) I didn't think songs like these still exist these days, and really the more I listen the more I think it's Mariah Carey gone Croation. That Jacques sounds typically dull, I bet they added Maraja Karri there just to help sell, cos without her most people will be snoozing before the first course, so anyway it's dull but gets a few points for the blatant Carey rip off.

5. SEVERINA - Hrvatica (Croatian girl)
EO: 7, PT: 9, SS: 7, SN: 10, AP: 3. Adjusted score: 8

SN: Yes!
It's the Croatian novelty smash of the winter! I'm trying to think of something short and snappy to sum this little gem up with, but "drunken dancehall" is the best I can do.
SS: Ha ha ha ha Stayin' Alive , stayin' alive! that's what the first vocals remind me of. Anyway I love this silly type accordian style, they're funny, I usually enjoy most of the ones that comes on our Russian music channels,
PT: Special mention to the introduction that sounds like drunk muttering to oneself. The accordian sound automatically mean twisted fairground rides to me. Id normally pin this as coming only from Japan, but obviously the Croats do it as well. Poppy rappy signifies the breakdown, the vocals then start to dominate as the song goes on and the original darkness makes way to bouncy pop.
EO: I also think it sounds Japanese. I bet some of Severina's blue pictures would be popular in Japan. Lovely, nimble bit of pop, though could do with a bit more bounce.
AP: Judging from the “full tit and minge” rumours I’ve heard, she’d be the Croatian equivalent to our own Xandee then, I take it? This is one mess of a song however, which 1 Life was decidedly not, so the comparison ends there.
SS: Also usually the artists that sings these kind of songs are old, so I can imagine her being about 44 looking like atranny, if this is the case, I want to upgrade my score to this to a 10. Then comes this uselss rap, which doesn't really add anything, but again if it's a 30+ old man doing it I see the appeal , I really hope they treat this as NOVELTY rather then serious, cos that's what it is.
SN: A little bizarre, a little awkward and more than a little off-kilter, with piano accordions, strange percussion and yes, even a Croatian rap...if only all music was this insane and wonderful. Again, please!
AP: How on earth DO you pronounce “hrv” anyway?

6. EDO MAAJKA - Pržiii (an exaltation, a call-out for people to get intense, rockin', just lose it, etc.)
EO: 10, PT: 10, SS: 3, SN: 9, AP: 0. Adjusted score: 8

Well, I’m not even going to attempt pronouncing “prž”. And the tune (or lack thereof) is not much cop either.
SS: Ooooo Croatian Hip-Hop! This should be INTERESTING to say the least. God, and I though Israeli hip-hop sounded funny! This is HILARIOUS.
AP: In the unlikely scenario that I should pass this poor man’s 50 Cent (with a bit of Khaled thrown in for not-very-good measure) busking in the street, I might toss him one eurocent but certainly not more.
PT: Sounds like its taken its starting point as gangsta rap and taken a number of wrong turnings to reach something that sounds a bit Bangra-House Hip Hop. Future Sound of London taking a trip to Roll Deep or something. I mean, its bloody amazing.
EO: Indecipherable. Bonkers. Possibly a health hazard to dance to. Irresistible.
SN: I LOVE this chart! Timbaland would be proud to call these shuffling beats his own. In the end, I don't know whether Edo is a particularly good rapper, but in a lot of ways it doesn't really matter.
SS: He must be singing out of the tune on purpose, I can't believe anyone with a record deal would sing like that and not be
taking the piss. Oh god as much as i'm trying to find it funny, the chorus just sounds worse with every listen, sorry Edo you've FAILED, but then comes this hilarious tradional music-esque ending....
EO: Bonkers = great, obviously. If only I could work out how to pronounce it, I would certainly yell it out... it does make want to get rockin' and just lose it.

8. COLONIA - Obican Dan (An Ordinary Day)
EO: 7, PT: 8, SS: 9, SN: 8, AP: 2. Adjusted score: 8

I must admit, after the general insanity of the last handful of songs, I was a bit disappointed by this one. Then I put it away for a few days and upon the next listen decided it was brilliant. Call this one a "grower," folks. Once again, there's this all-pervasive sadness about it...maybe it's just the remix, or is it something in the Croatian water?
EO: I tend to like my Colonia a bit more bangin' than this, but the deep throb and pulse of the bass - when it comes in - in this is pretty irresistable.
PT: Perfect penultimate track for a mix CD. I generally listen to this chart in order and this just kind of consolidates everything I've heard so far. Meandering through the soundspace, nothing really remarkable to note, but isn't it lovely?
SS: I imagine the video to this (that is if they even make videos there) to be on this beach on an Island with the singer on lying on the beach and sitting in some exotic backgrounds, this is a summer tune, this one i'm certinaly keeping on my playlist and going to explore more Colonia.
AP: I hope this is a band, cause “Colonia” is a pretty dreadful name for a woman, whichever way you turn it. I wouldn’t say it’s as bad as “Pržii”, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s primarily famous in Croatia for reasons other than her musical skills.
EO: For the unitiated, Boris from Colonia is the Croatian version of Brian Higgins. That said, Luda Za Tobom and especially Plamen od ljubavi are miles better, as are some of Colonia's outside productions.

9. T.B.F. - Nostalgicna (Nostalgic)
EO: 0, PT: 3, SS: 0, SN: 4, AP: 0. Adjusted score: 0

AP: The laidback intro should suggest that it is one of the better songs in the Top 10, but pretty much all the other elements in the song go on to prove the opposite.
SS: Well the music started alright (if very dated), but then came that cringeworthy spoken words things, which is literally shit, and he just keeps going and going, where's the fucking chorus. Oh there it is, it's that (now) DREADFUL music that you're already tired of listening through the whole song.
SN: Like Serge Gainsbourg without any of the suaveness or naughtiness. Plenty of creepiness though, like that uncle you only see at Christmas.
AP: If you played it at double speed, would you end up with a Jamiroquai record, I wonder?

10. MAJA ŠUPUT - Lagana (Light, not like something that shines, perhaps Easy)
EO: 3, PT: 0, SS: 2, SN: 6, AP: 1. Adjusted score: 1

PT: If you havn't noticed by now - I hate all ballads. This is because I have no heart-strings for them to tug on.
SS: Another dull ballad, this time Eurovision-esque.
AP: The likes of Malta would have been reluctant to send this to the Song Contest around 1992, so that should give you an idea.
EO: 3 points for the jazzy bit at the end, because at least that's more palatable than crap balladry.
SS:God I hope these kind of songs don't get much radio support, otherwise poor Croatia. And what's that thing towards the end when it tried to be upbeat all of the sudden, it's just totally out of place and just makes the song more messy.
SN: For a brief moment, I thought this song was called "Lasagna." Which probably would have been a lot more interesting than this worthy-but-pretty-dull string-soaked ballad. It gets nicer every time I hear it though, so in the future this might get a higher mark.
AP: One point because the title reminds me of “lasagna”
EO: See, that's two people who've independently made lasagna jokes. That proves this song is dull, doesn't it?
AP: Not even the “surprise” cheap cocktail bar-stylee outro can salvage it from utter mundaneness.

That's 49, but only 9 songs. That said, a lot more really good, interesting stuff on offer. The low score probably reflects Andries and Shahaf hating fun the crap at the end. Also, this will be revisited later, explain more later.

But we have a ten, so please enjoy this fine Vesna Pisarovic MP3: Tako Mi Nedostaješ.
# 2:22 AM []
 This page is powered by 

Blogger. Isn't yours?     Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com