THE SQUARE TABLE 6/ The Shapeshifters – “Lola’s Theme”

Pop Factor: 673 Controversy Score: 260

My appreciation for Lola’s Theme considered as the image of a dance track:

A. THE BUILD: it seems like it’s always been around, a Summer constant even though I only heard it for the first time – hmm, when did I hear it first? – I’ve forgotten, its slow fade-in to my attention forgotten in the shine of its unvarying presence.

B: THE PLATEAU: “Oh what’s this?” “I know it, it’s that different person song, oh what’s it called?” “Who’s it by?” “Damn, I can’t remember” “Is it a current song?” “I don’t think it’s out yet”

C: THE BREAKDOWN: One too many plays, one too many repeats, one good song dulled by the endlessly looping radio playlists. It becomes an unwelcome earworm, a tired pleasure at best, an irritant at worst, ignored at most.

D: THE PEAK: And suddenly in an office or on headphones it comes to life, its familiarity turning sweet, pleasing me for the twentieth time, surprising me for the first.

E: REPEAT. 7 (Tom)

Some things just work beautifully, don’t they? 10 (William B Swygart)

I’m a different person. But if I were a bus, I’d need a guide too. 10 (George Kelly)

Radio Edit? What the hell? 3:30 isn’t enough – this needs to be a 20-minute megamix full of come downs and come ups and fade-ins and beat drops and every other glorious disco cliche. Don’t leave me this way, baby – my dumps are full of love & desire & Coca Cola for you. Shake me like a glowstick, big boi. Sign of strength – first verse sticks like teflon, and that chorus is beat into the ground by the ‘Shifters like John Henry did railroad spikes. Also, on a related note, I finally get Daft Punk – it was a long, arduous test (damn my hate for vocoders) (blame Cher), but I finally passed. In comparison, this track (&, I hope, future nu-disco goodness) feels like the bonus points one gets for putting a John Hancock on the paper. Study hard, y’all. 9 (David Raposa)

Salsoul to go. Transistor disco for the coffee bar set. I’m generally pretty quick to show “my life was empty without you” songs the door, but “Lola’s Theme” is gonna be hanging around for awhile. I love the synthetic string/horn section. Sure, it’s no “Crazy In Love”, but it’s still pretty damn insistent. I could see Dimitri From Paris dropping this on a handbag-house revival night. The weird vocal effects buried in the mix add to the French house feel. Not major, but fun. 8 (Henry Scollard)

A bit of filtered house and some strong soulful vocals always gets my vote, and this handles its elements very well. Do I know the song, or does it just sound like something else? Some old Chaka Khan song? Anyway, pretty irresistible. 8 (Martin Skidmore)

I was really looking forward to hear this track, and with such great expectations I was a little disappointed at first. It didn’t sound like a dance track distinctive enough to be topping the charts in a way that Space Cowboy can only dream to do some day. But that’s probably its greatness: a compelling, if maybe a little too adequate, disco anthem with lush strings splashing onto Mediterranean shores. Plus enough filtered charms to reignite the sale of Sherman Filterbanks as if it’s 1999. A Valencia to Rachel Stevens’ Real Madrid, maybe? 8 (Diego Valladolid)

I asked my sister about this. I don’t know what to say myself, I thought if I checked out the ringtone maybe it would sound even better, because it’s like it needs something else. Don’t ask me, I don’t know what. Anyway, my sister started singing that ‘I’m a different person’ bit in a really high-pitched squeal, which made me laugh. I suppose it’s all cheery, happy and whatever. That’s not bad, is it? I won’t be keeping the ringtone though. 7 (Bushra)

How much you like this depends entirely on how much you like the faded in intro, and how often you can listen to it over and over again. I like it a lot. It burrowed into my brain a while ago and I won’t really think about it until suddenly this comes on at a Club FT and I will grin and dance. It does exactly what it sets out to do.

That said after this anything Lola does would probably be a let down. 7 (Pete)

Hearing it, and hearing the voiceover describe it as a “summer anthem” on an advert for a shitty summer compilation, made me hate its plastic, made to order perkiness. But a proper listen did a lot to change my mind- a fairly sumptuous build and release disco number. The kind of thing they weren’t supposed to make anymore, and a soaring melody that I still just about can summon up enough naivety to dig. 7 (Derek Walmsley)

Alas, Simon might try to convince his wife – for whom he’s written the song – that he’s a different person, but Lola’s Theme never really ventures out of your typical disco-glittery universe. I love the bubbly intro, the female vocals, the euphoria trumpets and even the Roger Sanchez synths. Like any good club slash pop song it works on both the dance floor and the radio. Yet there’s never any real punktum partially because of the extremely trite lyrics and partially because I can’t seem to remember what 70s disco tune it rips off. Grrrr. 6.5 (Stevie Nixed)

And they say the new Prodigy album is dated! Still I guess you can never hold this kind of thing down – in reality it’s a bit ordinary but there is that moment, a moment that could sum up every disco-tinged track of the last 30 years, the predictable inevitable muffled quiet-down-abruptly-then-build-up-slowly crescendo giving way to a strong Balearic sunshower of disco strings casting light on a plateau of vibrant carnivalesque euphoria (sorry about this). Nice appropriation of vocal steal as well. So maybe not so much dated as just ‘right now’, which is fine, I guess. 6 (Steve M)

I like that there horn riff. 5 (Daniel Reifferscheid)

The first time this gets turned on I think “Hmmm. Not really feeling that hook. Maybe it’ll develop.”

Twelve spins later, I’m still not feeling that hook and it never has developed. Sonic treadmill. This IS a contemporary song, right? And it’s on the British charts RIGHT NOW? Really? Whew. So familiar that I thought I must’ve already heard this on Christopher Street and just about a half step below mediocrity. Let’s call it a full step. In the name of love. 4 (Forksclovetofu)

Disappointingly, this bears no relation to ‘Tony’s Theme’ by The Pixies. For whatever reason, this fails to move me in any way whatsoever. 3 (alext)

It leaves me utterly cold.

Those submerged strings are recognisably classic, a deft nod to the disco canon; were I writing a press release, I’d call the horns uplifting. But it doesn’t make me feel anything, not love nor hate, not a mild liking nor a distant disdain. It’s just… there.

And what the fuck is the point of that? 0 (cis)