Not content to kick off with arguably the most threadbare opening line in popular music
history (“I woke up in the morning...”), this production also distinguishes itself as
one of the clunkiest marriages between lyric and melody that I’ve encountered for
months. The chief crime here is the way the robotic melody clumsily over-emphasises
certain syllables by virtue of putting them on strong beats: for example, the third
syllable of “felt so far away” at 0:17 and the first syllable of “subtract the
distance” at 0:30, amongst others that even Abba would probably have baulked at.
Perhaps the song might have weathered a few moments of awkward phrasing, given
enough panache in the vocal delivery but, unfortunately, any expression that might
initially have been in the performances has been well and truly mashed out of them by a
ham-fisted comping and pitch/time-mangling job. Before you write me off as overly harsh on
this point, check out “I wish I could speed up time / To that moment you are mine” at
0:22 — it’s like the audio equivalent of one of those ransom notes pasted together
from snippets of a newspaper, sounding almost as if it’s composed of single notes from
different singers spliced together. The upshot is that I find it impossible to care about
anything they’re singing about at all, whatever earnest faces they may pull on video.
Surely even a plastic girl group deserves better than this? On second thoughts, don’t
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