Saturday, October 27, 2007

So when I smile I am crying

While American Idol finalists are off filming car commercials, Norwegian Idol's finalists have, for the past two years, recorded an original song. 2005's was the cute poppy "Dreaming," but the show's managers must have decided they wanted something a little less cheesy and a little more credible (here, read that as "with more guitars and not quite as shamelessly happy," though still far from cool) for the following year, the year which Aleksander With ended up winning. Normally that would be worrying, but 2006's song actually turned out to be truly great--which might have had something to do with the fact that (I think) Espen Lind was involved with writing it. They also filmed a music video for it which, in addition to being quite endearing and looking, as one YouTube commenter said, like it's "a commercial for Gap or Old Navy," made me realize something else about Norwegian Idol: its contestants are, in general, a lot better looking than ours. Pretty young, too.

This Is Life--kind of teen pop-ish, but a little more serious than you'd expect for something with that description. It's sort of an odd combination really, even stealing some elements from rock balladry. Before that reference turns everyone off, it really is a catchy pop song, just catchy in a different sort of way--the hooks here feel...heavier, maybe, to go along with the song's theme--which, despite what the video and the song's background would make you expect, is sort of depressing. I mean, lyrically those verses are pretty bleak, aren't they? I don't know, maybe the reason they're all smiling is that saying that this is what life is is supposed to be some sort of existentialist affirmation or something, but shouldn't these kids all be celebrating? They've made it to the finals! Anyhow, tossed together with some guitar hooks that feel very...solid, some "woah-oh-oh"s, and the appealing young-sounding voices of the singers, they add up to a great pop song, one of the sort that feels confessional without really confessing that much, probably to allow people to fill in the gaps with their own experiences...and I don't know, I know that's not unique to teen pop, but the song feels very tailored for the teen experience, though its audience and appeal certainly shouldn't be seen as limited to teens.

You can buy the Idol 2006 album, which has this song on it, here (physical).

Next up: maybe another Norwegian song that I was planning to post today. Or Alejandro Fuentes's latest single, the one I wrote about a few days ago.


Paul said...

yeah i miss the days when idols were forced into the studio to knock out songs that sometimes inevitably ended up being better than the actual songs after the show - remember Pop Idol 2 doing a Christmas album? Sigh. that was fun. This song is bloody lovely. It's bleeding love in fact, whatever that means :)

Rob said...

I'd agree that it's not as good as "Dreaming", which was a little pop gem and still never fails to put a smile on my face!

It's a grower, perhaps, but not a song that hits you instantly. How young do all those Norwegian Idols look?! They make me feel so old!!!

I have to say it's great to see you back doing your thing, Poster Girl, and I appreciate all the hard work that goes into your blog.

Your blog brings a little bit of sunshine into my life and introduces me to music that I might not otherwise hear!

Keep up the good work!

All the best,

Michaell said...

I really like 1st edition of polish idol all-contestants song :

Poster Girl said...

I don't, Paul! But it's good? And do you know, now that you've paired "bloody lovely" and "bleeding love" together, I'm not going to be able to look at the former expression the same way anymore ;)

I know! I had to go look up their ages because they all look really young! That's so kind of you to say--thank you so much! The sort of feedback that encourages me to keep going :)

That is good! And I had no idea Polish Idol did these group songs too. Can we force all Idols groups to turn out one of these songs? They seem to turn out well, usually better than the winner's song, at any rate...

Michaell said...

heh unfortunately they did only one group song as far as I remeber all editions

Carlo said...

Haha I was the one who posted on YouTube that it looked like a Gap/Old Navy commercial.

Can't believe it popped up here :)

Poster Girl said...

Ha ha ha--that was you? The moment I read that, I thought"that is exactly what this looks like!" Good call ;)