Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Agnes – Release Me

Sweden’s former Idol unexpectedly explodes onto the international scene…


Dave Moore: [Insert obligatory “Viva La Vida” reference. Note that this is somehow the most interesting thing about this song. Ask someone who Agnes is. Retire gimmick.]

Ian Mathers: So it turns out if you air-drop “Viva La Vida” style strings into the chorus of your aching, soaring R’n’B (via Sweden) ballad, I’m a sucker for that. The beats are pretty standard mid-90s dance pop, but they play off of those strings perfectly, and Agnes gives a really nicely judged vocal performance, big but not overly flashy. We need more ‘let me go’ songs of heartbreak and yearning with lines as giant sized as “I could sleep by myself / IT WOULD BURN ME ALIVE.”

Alex Macpherson: Agnes oversings every line in exactly the same way, so ultimately all her straining and soaring and aching and yearning amounts to nothing. Meanwhile, the unimaginative thud and cheesy disco strings which constitute the backbeat could literally have been lifted from any random lowest-common-denominator Eurobosh track of the past decade. Entirely pointless.

Chuck Eddy: Dime-a-dozen house-piano Euro-diva-dance stuff. Or maybe this is what people just call “house” these days? I lost track of that definition around 1990. Either way, could use some of Lady Gaga’s obnoxiousness, to give it a personality.

Martin Skidmore: Pumping poppy dance from Sweden, always a goodish bet. She can really sing, with a forceful voice that carries passion and life and brightness even when singing in an obviously second language. She sounds good at the swoony high bits, the strong verses and the odd growly moment. I think she has the quality to be a big star, given material at least this lively (I don’t really think the song or production are exceptional) – or she could do punchy R&B just as well.

Jessica Popper: I love how Agnes’ new songs combine the warbly r’n’b vocals she was originally known for with fantastic dance-pop sounds, making a common genre sound fresh and original. Agnes has sung some terribly rubbish songs in her time (“Right Here, Right Now” must be one of the most grating Idol winner songs ever) but she’s really stepped up on the new album. I’m extremely excited to see her UK success, particularly as it’s the biggest hit so far for amazing Swedish songwriter Anders Hansson, the man behind the music of BWO and Alcazar.

Martin Kavka: This was the standout track from Dance Love Pop when it was released in Sweden last winter, so I’m glad that it’s getting an international release now. Is it any better than other dancepop songs? The chorus is more than a bit exhilarating, yes, and the strings are interestingly eerie for such a straightforward pop song. Still, the celebration of codependence in the lyric is a bit skeevy, and the overall impression is of a song that is closer to Lasgo than to Robyn.

Michaelangelo Matos: This kind of flat-sounding bass is huge right now, it seems–not as in woody, but uncurvaceous. It’s clearly meant to brighten and/or fill out on a proper bass stack, rather than as an MP3 over headphones. I noticed it about the bassline house I investigated in late ’07, too: it was blocky rather than layered or sub-surface, ready to go chest-to-chest rather than swoop from below. So I’m glad to hear the track because it tells me about the ways certain tones are reproducing in “mainstream” house as well. The track isn’t bad, the song isn’t good, and it’ll have to be the right DJ at the right time who’ll convince me to care otherwise.

Additional Scores

Hillary Brown: [3]
Edward Okulicz: [8]

3 Responses to “Agnes – Release Me”

  1. Lincoln/Kennedy and/or LLCJ/LLCJ conspiracy theorists, this track has EXACTLY THE SAME Controversy Score as the David Guetta track that references “Clocks.” Cue Regina Spektor.

  2. There are no atheists in The Singles Jukebox??

  3. Well not when something like this happens. It’s a COINCIDENCEBOMB.