Monday, September 14th, 2009

Miss Li – Dancing The Whole Way Home

It’s a Swedish girl. She has some friends. They have brass instruments. What happens next?…


Jessica Popper: The Swedish acts who are most popular in Sweden are not necessarily the same ones who attract acclaim from outside, and Miss Li is one of several Swedish stars who has gone pretty much unnoticed by foreigners. Despite this, she is one of the country’s most talented live performers with an amazingly consistent back catalogue. I can see that some may find her style of singing annoying, but if Regina Spektor can be so popular then I don’t see why a similar act with far more good songs doesn’t deserve a bit of attention.

Iain Mew: Sounds very much like her compatriot Maia Hirasawa, from the excellent strings to the vocals that suggest she would be troubled by a small breeze. If anything she’s even more twee, but this is so unstoppably, believably joyous and sweet that it’s never in a grating way.

Alex Macpherson: The infestation of quirky girls who don’t seem to realise that they look and sound exactly like all their peers continues. Contrived vocal affectations? Check. A gratingly twee lyrical premise? Check. Nails-on-blackboard impression of a young child? Check. The more I realise that a disproportionate number of these women hail from Sweden, the more I understand why Karin Dreijer’s music is as bleak as it is.

Michaelangelo Matos: I get that Europe is different from my neck of the woods, and I appreciate it, really; hell, I even have a taste for twee as an oppositional strategy, but this is so marching-band grating it has to be a joke. Dead giveaway, before the auditioning-for-Annie: The Musical vocal even comes in: the piano, even-Steven quarter note to set the rhythm, like the bouncing ball waiting for the words to show up onscreen so we can all learn the joys of eating our farina from Dingy the Turtle and Miss Picklemeyer and their merry band of woodland denizens.

Martin Kavka: One may be pleasantly haunted by her resemblance to Jena Malone, her Swedishness, and the glam-rock-ish arrangement — all of which separate her from the tohu-bohu of current female pop. But at the end of the day, no matter how much worse this could have been, it’s still cute overload.

Doug Robertson: Some people just can’t be quietly happy, they can’t just sit there silently, contemplating their own blissful self satisfaction. No, instead they have to share it with the world, rubbing the rest of the world’s miserable faces in the overflowing river of their own good fortune and general contentedness. Hating this would be like hating Christmas, but, like Christmas, there’s just too much going on, and everything has been thrown into the mix in a bid to convince the listener that a good time is being had.

Martin Skidmore: There is a force and urgency in her voice that I kind of like, and I like the strings and the bouncy chorus. I wish her vocals on the verses were less mannered; it feels kind of like a classic girl group number but with a singer who wants you to sense a touch or knowingness about it, even irony. When I can ignore that I like it a lot.

Tom Ewing: I don’t buy it, fundamentally: I don’t know if it’s the fussy strings, or the cute squeak in her voice, or what, but not only don’t I think she fell in love last night and danced the whole way home, I don’t even think she wanted to. The record’s not about Miss Li, it’s a present and a promise to a certain proportion of her listeners: at the kind of clubs they go to, it might even be a prophecy. “Sexy Bitch” for indiepoppers, then? Why not?

Chuck Eddy: I can’t decide whether this is more or less quirky than it pretends to be. Or maybe I mean that quirky individual elements (her voice, the arrangement) add up to a rather straightforward song. Actually, it could afford to be quirkier.

Alex Ostroff: Miss Li goes out dancing with her friends and apparently Meets the Beatles. How timely of her. Lyrics are subpar fascimiles of Beatles ’63: “She fell in love last night” when she “saw him standing there.” The arrangements are ’67: sharp and smooth cello lines and big horn bursts and layered vocal harmonies. It could actually be a pretty awesome 60s music hall pastiche, but her voice is somehow cutesy and shrill and overenunciated all at once.

Matt Cibula: At the risk of sounding overheated, I love every single damn thing about this song. It’s loopy and goofy and romantic, it’s Madness and Dexy’s and the Ronettes and The Soundtrack Of Our Lives and the Archies and Abba, it’s hippie-flavored steampunk, it’s [SEVERAL SIMILAR SPITTLE-FLECKED PHRASES WERE HERE REDACTED]. Not sure why this isn’t a 10 though.

Anthony Easton: What a waste of a good horn section.

Alfred Soto: Miss Li sings this as if she thought she was the cutest thing she’d ever seen, and you can sense the disappointment that Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn’t dance to this in (500) Days of Summer instead of Hall & Oates.

Ian Mathers: Man, is she ever going to be disappointed when he doesn’t call the next day. Because, you know, on the basis of this, I wouldn’t say she overreacts to things or anything.

2 Responses to “Miss Li – Dancing The Whole Way Home”

  1. I’m pleased to see some of you loving Miss Li, even if there is plenty of the expected negativity. I recommend her songs Oh Boy and BaBaBa for those of you in favour of bouncy happiness.

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