Category Archives: Opinion

You Me At Six

I’ve always been a huge fan of You Me At Six and recently Josh Franceschi (lead singer) has been tweeting saying he’s writing new material for their new album. This makes me very excited. On top of this, I get to see them again when they support Blink 182 later this year.

So in aid of all the You Me At Six-ness that is happening in 2011 I’ve been listening to their old albums a lot.

When they first released Hold Me Down I liked it but it was quite obviously different from their debut Take Off Your Colours. I couldn’t decide which I liked more but now I know it’s definitely the second album.

There are a few reasons for this. In Take Off Your Colours Josh’s vocals are great, his lyrics good and the music also good. But you can tell that they were young. All the songs are fantastic but there’s that element of teenage music to it.

However with Hold Me Down, everything about it is mature. The lyrics are perfect. Each song I can relate to somehow. Josh’s vocals are stronger than before and he does small things that leave you wanting more. Musically, the band upped their game.

There are a couple of tracks that really stand out on Hold Me Down, these are: Stay With Me and Liquid Confidence. Both of them are just great classic songs. Josh’s vocals are at his best and there’s passion from the band in these songs.

If you’re interested in hearing more, here are some links to my favourites:
Underdog (Acoustic)
Save It For The Bedroom

Enjoy!

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Imelda May – Mayhem

I went on a CD binge today and spent my Christmas monies. I purchased three rather depressing yet great albums by Elliott Smith so I thought to balance it out I’d buy Imelda May’s newest album Mayhem.

Imela May

Album cover for Imelda May's Mayhem

This is one of the greatest albums I’ve heard in a long long time. Her voice is amazing and so original, there’s definitely no-one like her in the market at the moment. Her music will instantly uplift you and make you happy.

After finding out about her at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival last year, I’d never quite got round to sussing her out. But after seeing her perform the remixed version of Inside Out on the Graham Norton show last week, I fell in love with the song straight away. She’s classy and cool. She’s like a 1940s jazz star and it’s great!

It’s great to have someone like her producing daring, unconventional music not typically seen in the charts. Mayhem is a classic. It has a strong blues influence while also combining tokens of country and western on some of the tracks. Her vocals are breath taking. She’s a female Elvis without a doubt. If you’re looking for 1950s diner music, look no further.

The main point of this post is to persuade you all to go buy yourselves a copy. You won’t regret it.

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The Year of Rihanna

RihannaI swear Rihanna gets more popular by the minute. Her music seems to be enjoyed by most people without complaint so she must be doing something right.

Yesterday NME posted an article on their website detailing Rihanna’s success in recent years. With her single What’s My Name going to number one last night she’s equaled Elvis Presley’s chart record after achieving a number one hit every year since 2007, giving her five in total. On top of this she’s the first ever female solo artist to achieve this stature.

Now to me this spells out that she’s loved by us. All her singles are catchy pop songs that are permanently played on the radio. And as much as I want to dislike them sometimes I just can’t.

When she first entered our charts back in 2005 with Pon de Replay I never thought she would be as successful as she’s become. Looks like I was wrong.

To be on par with Elvis is a pretty amazing achievement for someone who’s only 22 and I think 2011 will have us seeing even more of the Barbados born star.

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Matt Wins the X Factor

It’s over. It’s finally over. We have a winner, Matt Cardle.

It comes as no surprise really. The bookies have been claiming for ages that he’d take the crown and he has. But what a song to choose for an X Factor release! Biffy Clyro. That’s not the usual ballad rubbish that comes from the show.

Matt has a strong voice and he sings with such passion. I remember seeing him singing The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face) at bootcamp and being blown away. He’s wanted this for such a long time and I’m glad he finally has what he’s always wanted.

Although the winner usually disappears from the face of the earth within a few months, I hope it’s different this time. This time there’s true talent and someone that really deserves success. Let’s hope that with When We Collide being released as his debut, Matt Cardle goes a long way.

Just incase you missed it, here’s the moment when they announced his name and he performed When We Collide for the second time.

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X Factor Final – Cher Lloyd

OK so it’s the X Factor final and Cher has just performed her first song of the night.

I didn’t like her at the start and still don’t particularly like her now but that was good. She’s a true performer. At seventeen years old she has so much confidence oosing from every pour in her body.

The only problem is that she comes across as cocky. Her performances are great. Her attitude and on-stage persona are exactly what they need to be. But what is she like when she’s off stage?

With someone like Cher their confidence can sometimes be taken the wrong way. She knows she’s good and that people like her. But this assurance in herself as a performer seems to seep into her off-stage personality.

If she wins, will the fame go to her head? Is she prone to develop a massive ego that will gradually grate on people?
For the first time, this week X Factor have dug deep to show Cher as a normal teenager. They’ve shown numerous clips of her in her family home and clips of how she dealt with people fighting to catch a glimpse of her. Here she seemed completely normal and down to earth, maybe even overwhelmed. It allowed people to see her in a different light.

But is it a bad thing that she might be too full of herself? I don’t think so. I mean it does get on my nerves but I think it makes her the performer she is. Without that ‘I don’t give a…’ attitude she wouldn’t be the Cher Lloyd everyone has become so fascinated with and she most certainly wouldn’t be in the final tonight. I say good on her.

 

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The Rhythm of Love

I flicked on Radio 1 to hear a lovely summery song playing. I ignored the rain hitting the window and allowed myself to absorb the summer tune.

It ends. Jo Whiley tells me that it’s the Plain White T’s – Rhythm of Love. I’m surprised. The voice is different, the music more relaxed. The singer’s changed, on this track it’s Tim Lopez (lead guitarist).

I’ve never been a huge fan of this band. Hey there Deliah was great, a real sweet song. But the rest of that album (Every Second Counts) is a bit plain. There was nothing different from the usual generic sounds of an American pop/rock group.

However, Rhythm of Love, due to be released on their fifth album Wonders of the Younger, is different. It’s a bit Noah and the Whale-esque, a bit Jack Johnson like. It’s great! You won’t realise at first that you’re listening to them.

From the first note, I thought “Is this Jason Mraz?” I found myself humming along, feeling good, feeling like it was still hot weather outside and the smell of BBQs were filling the air.

If you need to get away from this cold weather and the hype surrounding Christmas, this song will let you do just that. Put it on and you’ll be whisked away to a beach in Hawaii.

When some bands change their structure and have other people singing, it doesn’t work. For the Plain White T’s it’s done them wonders. Let’s hope the rest of their album, due for release on December 7, is just as uplifting.

 

 

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Music Blogs – Are They the Curse of Music Journalism?

Recently I’ve been doing some research into music journalism and I’ve found out some interesting things.

Whilst surfing the net I came across this really good blog, called The Pop Cop which basically covers Scotland’s music scene. However, I stumbled upon a different kind of blog entry – it was discussing the effects that blogs have had on traditional music journalism.

The piece argued that blogs were just as official as music journalism, the only difference being that one got paid and the other didn’t. However, The Pop Cop also believes music blogging to be “a passion or a hobby” (click here to see the article), whereas professional music journalism is said to be the best for quality of research and writing.

But who would you turn to for information about a new band or CD? Would it be the music magazines or a blog you found online? Which has more credibility?

As a music blogger myself, this argument leaves me feeling a bit trapped. My blog is for my leisure and if anyone reads it and takes information from it then great! But I don’t think blogs naturally hold as much credibility as that of the professional writer.

I’m torn even more so because I’m studying to become a professional writer. Music journalism would be my first choice but it’s a popular career path and to break into it takes a lot of time and effort. You have to be prepared to work for free. So if that’s the case, then why not set up a free blog and start from there? The internet allows people to say what they think, after all.

But is it old fashioned to believe that the professional is more trustworthy and informative than the average blogger? I think so, but I can’t help but feel slightly more secure in reading information in a magazine rather than on the internet.

The Pop Cop stresses that music journalism may be a dying art but he’ll be sad to see it go, and so will I.

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