Saturday, October 18, 2008

What about saying that we'll never give up?

I'm in a particularly good mood today since I finally found a Finnish digital music store that I can buy from (well, and ZShare is letting me upload songs, though I think that's because I'm somewhere besides where I usually am). I've been eager to hear today's song in full since February or March, but was reluctant to buy the whole album when it came out because, beyond that song and maybe one other, it didn't sound very good.

So, what's the song in question?


Yes, it's in Finnish, and I know that will be a turnoff for some people (there are languages I'm still accustoming myself to listening to), but if you think there's even a remote chance you'd love a boy band power ballad in another language, give this one a listen.

"Boy band" might be a bit of a deceptive term, in the same way that it is for Take That, New Kids on the Block, or Boyzone. XL5 were a Finnish boy band from the '90's who broke up when the boy band wave peaked, reunited recently, and released "Tuulee" as their comeback single this year, and it's really far better than it has any right to be. I mean, how is it possible that the members of the band wrote a song this great? Given that I've heard absolutely nothing else from them of this quality? Lightning in a bottle, I guess.

Actually, Take That or the Backstreet Boys would be a more accurate comparison than a group like the New Kids. "Tuulee" mines a similar guitar-and-piano-using power ballad comeback single territory as the one Take That used for "Patience" and the Boys went for with "Incomplete," complete with a chorus that feels perfect for those big clenched fist hand gestures. If anything, though, I think the chorus is even more dramatic than that of "Incomplete"; the vocal melody itself is bigger in sound (it doesn't have the strings punctuating it and adding extra drama, though). If I'd managed to hear the whole song in the first half of the year, I think I'd have said it was the best actual boy band ballad of the year so far and, do you know, it just might--might--still be. It's the sort of song that makes paying attention to all those non-English language charts worth it.

To buy XL5's comeback album X, go here (digital).

While we're on the topic of Take That and strong boy band (or boy band-like) ballads, I'm sort of madly in love with the Gary Barlow-penned "What About Us," the lead single from John Barrowman's upcoming album Music Music Music (see also: PopJustice's and Paul's posts about it).

Did I mention I love this song? Head-over-heels in love? The chorus is unfightably lodged in my head.

Next up: possibly sweet boy pop from Sweden, pop-rock from the Netherlands, or dance-pop from Japan.

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