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Archive

Monthly Archives: May 2012

TITLE: When She Was Mine
BAND: Lawson
LABEL: Polydor
RELEASED: May 28th 2012

A new boyband are in town and their debut single is a sure-fire indie hit. They’ve supported The Wanted, Avril Lavigne and Will Young but they’re now busting out on their own. With a slot at this year’s T In The Park, 2012 is looking to be their year.

The London-based foursome, who take their name from the doctor who operated on singer Andy Brown’s brain tumour, are a lot more edgy than The Wanted and I think they actually bear more resemblance to The Script. With guitars and an air of charm, Lawson could well attract the same fanbase as the Irish indie rockers.

When She Was Mine is their debut single and it’s a typical love song about a broken relationship. It’s got a simple pop rhythm and Andy has a pretty distinctive voice. There aren’t many artists who have the same tone as him, which gives Lawson an originality. The guitar solo also separates them from other boybands and the fact that they are actually playing their own instruments and not simply dancing around with no tops on is always a bonus!

It’s a really sweet song about being in love with an ex, which the majority of people will relate to. There aren’t too many lyrics in it -there is a lot of repetition of the song’s title and variations of it, meaning there isn’t so much a story, just a general emotion which a lot of pop songs tend to do. Let’s hope on the album that they do have some tracks that contain a bit more of a narrative and that they develop their indie sound because they really could be big.

With girlband exes and former X Factor links, (Andy has dated Mollie King from The Saturdays and was part of the band Avenue, who were banned from the 2006 series of The X Factor for already having a record deal), they seem to have all the ingredients of a modern day boyband, so this could well be the age of Lawson.

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TITLE: Need Your Love
BAND: The Temper Trap
LABEL: Liberation Music
RELEASED: May 7th 2012

Ok, so it’s been weeks since this song was released but judging from my Facebook news feed, it’s still a song that a lot of people are listening to. It’s the first single from their self-titled new album, which is released on June 5th. Need Your Love is one of those tracks that will constantly be played throughout the year and although, it’s failed to chart in the UK yet, I have no doubt that it will, the more that people hear it.

The Aussie indie band had a massive smash in 2008 with their debut single Sweet Disposition and although, they’ve kept somewhat quiet since, they are back with a vengeance. While Sweet Disposition was more atmospheric, Need Your Love is a lot more guitar-based and it’s got lots more punch, while still retaining the epic quality that their previous material had.

The synths and pounding drums give it a soundtrack feel and you can just see it being used in adverts and as backing music to some fierce action scenes of the future. The Temper Trap are good are creating this kind of sound with Sweet Disposition appearing as backing for several adverts and films. It’s a great indie/pop tune, which is very festival-ready.

Its lyrical content is simple and relatable- “I need your love, I need your love, I need you” is sung a total of eight times and although it might leave some listeners wanting more substance, I think its simplicity is actually pretty effective and demonstrates the simple fact that love is what he needs and indeed what we all need. No rhyme or reason, just straight to the point.

TITLE: Sunday Drive
ARTIST: Ladyhawke
LABEL: Modular
RELEASED: May 28th 2012

Here’s a weird little song that appeared this week. Ladyhawke’s album Anxiety is also out this week and although she hasn’t had huge success in the UK, she has done elsewhere, including her home land of New Zealand.

Ladyhawke, real name Phillipa Brown, has been singing in bands since the early noughties and had hits with My Delirium and Paris Is Burning. Anxiety is her second solo album and is an electropop fest, just like its lead single. Scissor Sisters have recently remixed Sunday Drive, which should help it up the charts. She’s never had a top ten single or album over here but I actually think Sunday Drive is one of those tracks that certainly should be up there.

It’s laden with synth and a steady drum, making it a very current-sounding song. The vocals have that popular breathy quality that so many female singers are emulating right now and the resonating guitar solo in the middle is straight out of a sci-fi film. Considering the successes of La Roux and Niki & the Dove, there’s no reason why their fans shouldn’t embrace this song.

The lyrics are simple and tell the story of loving someone you can’t help loving. “I can’t pretend to hate you cause I will always love you” is certainly a thought that has crossed all of our minds at some point. It suggests a turbulent relationship that she just wants to calm down, so that can go out on a relaxing drive. I love the metaphor “Waiting for the rain to behave” in reference to wanting the arguement or misery in the relationship to stop. She has some really clever lyrics in this song and I feel that she doesn’t seem to get enough credit for her work.

It’s a perfect summer track and you’ll be bopping around your barbecues to it, no doubt. I hope it’s her breakthrough track because Ladyhawke does seem to have a lot of talent that is currently going unnoticed.

TITLE: Hit Or Miss
ARTIST: Tom Jones
LABEL: Island Records
RELEASED: May 21st 2012

The Welsh crooner has been gracing our screens every Saturday and Sunday night as a coach on The Voice and it seems to have resurrected his career. He’s got a new album out called Spirit In The Room and this brand new single, Hit Or Miss.

The 72-year-old singer, who regularly talks about his friendships with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin on the BBC1 talent show, has become a national treasure, selling 100 million records over a career spanning over 50 years and it would seem that he’s just not going to stop!

Hit Or Miss is a classic country track, which isn’t a regular genre for Tom, who has previously sung pop, gospel and rock. Its happy guitar riff and American theme welcomes Tom back into the music world and is wonderfully laid back. Ok, so he hasn’t come out with something completely fresh and current but would that really be appropriate from a legend like Sir Tom? He’s not trying to recruit new young fans, he’s simply sticking to what has caused his success and come up with Hit Or Miss. A great summer anthem to drive down to the beach to or sink into the grass after a lazy picnic.

It’s Tom’s second single from the new album after Evil, a collaboration with Jack White, was released in March, which as you might expect is somewhat different to Hit Or Miss. It just goes to show that Tom is still capable of tackling multiple genres and to be honest, there aren’t many current artists who can do that.

So, last night the annual madness of Eurovision ensued. I was actually having a barbecue in the early summer weather on the beach with my flatmates but I caught up with it, when it appeared on iPlayer.

We were in Baku, Azerbaijan this year and a Eurasian opening performance kicked things off. With both Greece and Spain experiencing severe financial meltdowns, neither of them wanted to pay money out that they didn’t have, in order to host next year’s contest. I think we were all secretly hoping one of them would win, just for the laughs involved but needless to say, neither of them did win. Although as usual, they did better than the UK. Most countries normally do.

Sweden were the victors this year with Loreen singing Euphoria. Loreen is similar to Kate Bush in style and image, only she’s nowhere near as talented and she performed what Graham Norton described as a David Guetta-esque dance track. There was certainly an essence to David Guetta about the backing and it has apparently already topped the charts in six European countries, making it the natural favourite to win.

Englebert Humperdinck performed first out of 26 countries, which the less cynical of us could claim was the reason the UK ended up second from bottom (we beat Norway) with a meagre 12 points. Love Can Set You Free is a pretty ballad with a sweet message but it was certainly swallowed up by what some of the countries had to offer. There just wasn’t enough wow factor involved. Literally, he was simply standing on the stage with a couple of contemporary dancers behind him. At the final chorus, the lights came up and the crescendo was celebrated, when catherine wheels appeared behind him. I’m no stage director, of course but I think I’d have added a little more to it. Take a look for yourself and see if you don’t agree with me!

Jedward for Ireland gained a lot more points than Englebert, which to be honest, we all predicted. Those irritating Grimes twins are incredibly Eurovision-friendly, due to the amount of cheese and camp in their music. Last year, they represented Ireland with Lipstick, which was close to their version of Ice Ice Baby in the annoyance levels. To be fair though, I think Waterline is a really good, solid pop song. Shame, Jedward had to be the ones to sing it. Although I’m still not convinced it was them singing.

Although, there obviously were a few crazies (see below), the oddness was mostly kept at bay this year. It did cause the contest to become a little dull though and it wasn’t as hilarious a show as it sometimes can be. Here’s both Russia and Moldova’s entries, which were without a doubt the weirdest!

TITLE: Squeeze
BAND: Man Like Me
LABEL: The Beats
RELEASED: May 28th 2012

You might recognise these guys from a certain IKEA advert but they’ve got a new single out next week! The rather odd sounding indie/pop London duo may always be found in the kitchen at parties but they’re stepping out into the big wide world with this one and an album is also on its way.

Squeeze is smothered in electronic beats and other bizarre backing sounds. It’s incredibly energetic and singer Johnny Langer’s vocals provide the very-present camp quality. In the same vein as their cover of Jona Lewie’s Kitchen At Parties in terms of its youthful current sound but Squeeze is much more upbeat and sexy.

The comical lyric style is guaranteed to make you smile, especially as the gaps filled by weird sounds, make it easy to decipher the nature of the track. With the use of electronic beeps and squeaks, Scissor Sisters do come to mind but I’m sure you’ll agree just by listening to it that Man Like Me are a million miles from the flamboyant New Yorkers. There’s a definite Brit twist and hint of cheekiness that the duo have and it’s really quite endearing.

They’re signed to the label of Mike Skinner, of Streets fame, which hasn’t produced much success from any of its signings but the rapper is said to have a lot of faith in these guys. Well, they definitely seem very likeable, due to their music having the ability to make even the most miserable person smile (it MUST make you smile, no matter how you’re feeling!) and they could just be the ones to break the curse of their record label.

TITLE: Lisey’s Story
AUTHOR: Stephen King
EDITION: Hodder
PUBLISHED: October 2006

Wow, it’s been so long since I did a book review, mainly due to all the uni work I’ve had but I did finish Lisey’s Story over the weekend. It’s been sitting on my shelf for literally YEARS and I only just got round to reading it.

The story is written in third person but we stay with Lisey throughout the book. Her husband, famous author Scott Landon has died two years before. Of what exactly, we don’t find out until quite near the end. There are two main threads in the book- the present, which sees Lisey deal with a crazed Scott Landon fan, who stalks and mutilates her and Lisey and her sisters dealing with her seemingly insane sister Amanda. The second thread is Lisey’s memories of her marriage to Scott.

Through Lisey’s memories, we get Scott’s entire life story, which is actually a really clever device used by King. Scott is not physically in the story, although he is spiritually as a sort of psychic energy inside Lisey’s head. The true horror of what Scott was haunted by and the causes for it are unravelled as he sends Lisey on a “bool hunt” or scavenger hunt to his horrific truth and a story he has left just for her, which describes how he killed his father to save him from the insanity he was beginning to suffer from. The source of Scott’s brilliance is also revealed, when Lisey discovers that he was able to transport himself into a fantasy world full of both fears and hopes, in which his best literary work no doubt came from.

It’s not the easiest book in the world to follow and there’s a lot of language that King seems to have made up but the true message and passion behind the story is really quite touching. To see how much Lisey misses and loves Scott is apparent on every page and by following his trail, it’s almost like she’s finding him again for the very last time. It is, in essence, Lisey’s grieving journey.

Unlike other Stephen King books I’ve read (that’s quite a lot!), Lisey’s Story did take me a little while to sink into. I’m not quite sure why but I do feel the opening sections do tend to drag on a little and the switching of time frames get a little disorientating. Published in 2006, this is obviously a later King work, which are commonly thought of as “not as good” as his earlier novels but I would say that it’s certainly worth sticking with. It was ranked in the top ten of all 62 of King’s books, in two separate recent online lists, so it is certainly a popular one!

As you get into the real meat of the story, it’s actually a very interestingly written and clever book. Lisey and Scott are real people feeling real love, living real lives- they are us. With this in mind, the book actually brings the light and dark in all of us to the surface.