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The Sony D-EJ615 is fantastic value for money. It is a CD Walkman that comes with 'Jog-proof' protection and I have had it since I was 14. I purchased it from Argos for about £80/90, and although this may seem a lot to fork out when you can get CD players for as cheap as £15 in certain stores, it has lasted me for about 4 years, and is still fully functional. The general design is what attracted me to this particular item; it is black with silver buttons, and since Sony made it I thought it would be a safe investment. I was right. When I first got it, the contents were as follows:
-A set of 2 rechargeable batteries with a case.
-Remote control to skip tracks/change volume
-CD player charger
Functionally, the CD player itself is easy to use. On the left you have fast forward/skip forward and reverse/backtrack buttons, on the right you have play/pause and stop, and 3 buttons in between that carry out various functions. Encircled by these is the display screen which shows the battery life, the track number and the time, and depending on the settings, whether or not the song is on repeat, the levels of bass and so on. To alter volume there are buttons on the side of the product, or alternatively you can use the remote pad. There's a hold option that disables buttons to avoid songs skipping if buttons are pressed, and a socket for the charger the slot in at the top. The manual is very helpful as it tells you how to programme your own play list in 'pgm' mode and any other bits of information you may need to know.
1- The mini-remote is one of the features I love about this product; you can place it in your bag and can easily skip tracks as you have a tiny control device in your hands, which was always convenient. Sadly I no longer have the remote option, as it broke and I have been unable to find a replacement part, but still my CD player is reliable and fully functional. One problem I have is headphones never seem to last with me, as I have replaced them about 6 times since my original purchase, but this is probably a personal issue.
2- The sound quality is superb. As a fan of everything from heavy metal to soft melodies, I am fully aware that it can go incredibly loud. The sound is very clear and crisp, and the original headphones were perhaps a part of this, as I have in the past purchased some low-priced, awful quality headphones, though these were only slightly tinny with this D-EJ615 CD player; with my brothers cheap Alba, the sound quality was atrocious.
3- The batteries that came with the CD player have lasted. They were rechargeable Sony Walkman batteries, so I assume they were purpose build to be as durable as they have been. The battery life on average seems to be about 8 hours, and I also use these batteries in my camera, as they are so long lasting.
I have been incredibly satisfied with this product and I would highly recommend it to a potential buyer, as it is good quality and good value for money. Although there are cheaper models on the market, they are probably not as durable, as if you pay £20 for a CD player and it lasts a year, it is a better idea to purchase one for more money if it can withstand the test of time. I have dropped, bumped and banged this CD player many a time and it has endured these incidents without any damage.
The only fault I can find with this is that it is a CD player. Nowadays people are able to have portable music in smaller sizes; i-pods and mini-disc players are much more compact and convenient, as I cant clip my CD player to my belt or put it in my pocket. However, for people who have a lot of CDs, it's easier to use a CD player as it saves the hassle of changing music format. Judging this product against others of its own kind, it is superb. It was my first CD player, and I haven't had to replace it yet. It fits neatly in my bag, it's useful to put on if I'm restless and trying to sleep, and basically, it has become a necessity in my life.
Placebo's debut album has some great songs; they can produce some catchy, memorable tunes which are definitely worth hearing, as can be seen here. I do like this band, but I feel that their material is often hit or miss. 'Come Home' is a sweet opener, with lyrics such as 'Every sky is blue, but not for me and you', and is a hum-along ditty. 'Teenage Angst' is an upbeat, bouncy track, and is one of my all-time favourite Placebo songs, and '36 Degrees' is a fantastic explosion of musical excellence, condensed into a minute time space; also a firm personal favourite. These two songs are the key tracks, but after this, the music is pretty standard. Not to say that it's bad, but it's not outstanding; it makes you want to discover more of the band as this record doesn't leave you fully satisfied. Nancy Boy is probably the best known song off this album, and it is perhaps the best known song from this band, hailed as an anthem, possibly because of the catchy, clever lyrics.
This is a mixed record of great, good and average, and if you are a placebo fan, you'll like it. If you are exploring this band for the first time, it would be a fair starting point. My main criticism would have to be the hit-or-miss mixture, but I find this is the case with all this bands records. The lyrics aren't bad, for example 'I know you love the song, but not the singer' but tracks such as 'Bionic' tend to be a chore to hear after 2-3 listens.
There are some good, standout tracks, but sadly the remaining content seems to be wishy-washy, bland background music. Overall, it is short and sweet, and is worth a listen if you have the time.
The Cure are a band who have had a great influence on the music scene. They have evolved with time, and I am fond of them because they skillfully experiment with styles, which I suppose is to be expected of a group whose career spans over a 20-something period. They have written some incredibly uplifting pop songs, although they are generally stamped with the 'goth' tag, which the band themselves dislike; understandably so, considering the fact they are the masters of the pop-song. Musically, they are a spectrum; they can be as light or as dark, as happy or as sad as they want. They are experimental and unexpected, yet the songs they make always feel so familiar, and easy to relate to. Listening to songs such as Just Like Heaven sends you on an emotional high, and others, such as Boys Don't Cry, with its matter-of-fact recollection of mistakes, blunders, and preservation-of-pride lyrics, are very easy to relate to.
The Cure definitely know how to produce good quality pop records, and how they do it is by tapping into the raw emotions of the human spirit. I just want to scream along with glorious enthusiasm to most of this record; The Walk, Just Like Heaven and In Between Days are just SO fantastic that they make me smile and grin no matter how glum my day has been. This record here is a collection of well known songs by the band, and displays a broad range of what they have produced over the years. It opens with Boys Don't Cry, a Cure classic, and then wanders through their earlier phases. A Forrest and Lets Go To Bed are mellow, relaxed examples of early Cure, and I like how the song 'A Forrest' meanders musically, as it actually sounds like an exploration 'Into the trees'. It's a good record, and if you've never heard of them, start here, as it provides a good overview of their style, and the cluster of undisputable hits mid-way into this record is bound to catch you hook, line and sinker. Love Cats, Inbetween Days, Close To Me, Why Can't I Be You?, Just Like Heaven: you'd be a heartless fool if you couldn't appreciate or adore these classics.
This release is a sparkling example of the band's upbeat side, though there are some examples of their deeper, darker moments, such as A Forrest and Lullaby. One of my favourites here, Lovesong, is a musical classic, insofar as it captures Love as an emotion- the lyrics tell a tale of love in its purest, happy form; 'whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel like I am young again', yet the music echoes the lonliness and heartbreak that often comes with relationships. This song has been covered many times, notably by A Perfect Circle, who decided to play up the lonliness of the song, and also by Jack Off Jill and Snake River Conspiracy, though the latter wasn't a particulary credible effort. However, this is testament to the influence of the band, and when you look at their entire back-catalogue, it is easy to see how inspiration can be drawn from the raw energy that shines through the songs, and is possesed by The Cure.
On the other hand, there is much more to The Cure than what is presented here. Whilst what IS here is good, there is so much missing, as they have produced some stunning tracks of soaring majesty, though I suppose if you wanted to look at that, you would purchase the original albums. Greatest Hits provides a relatively good choice of songs to get a person acquainted with the band, but if you are already aware of them, you may see this selection as a disappointment, as the longer, 'definitive' tracks are left out. For example, there is no Fascination Street, no Pictures of You (which I would have expected to be on here, in all honesty! I adore this song), no Killing an Arab, and on top of this, The Cure have already released complilations. These were Staring at the Sea and Galore, which traced their singles through two different time periods; though here is another area of dispute: though they obviously have some fantastic hits under their belts, some of their best songs were not actually singles. Perhaps the main problem with Greatest Hits is that it sways heavily towards The Cure's most commercially acceptable offerings, whereas the other two compilations showed a greater scope of material and weren't afraid to play up the darker side of the band and entwine it with the prettier peices. However, returning to my initial point and judging the CD on what IS there, it is a well selected, cleverly compiled range that makes for easy listening.
In summary, it lives up to its title- it is a collection of greatest hits, and these display the more comercial-friendly side of The Cure. Yes, a lot of the songs featured here are on other compilations, which on top of these hits provided a more diverse range of The Cure's work, but still, this is a collection worth hearing. I would advise people who have heard of The Cure and want to know more to give this collection a try, as here we see the softer, smiley side of the band, and I feel it would give a good general idea of their material, though by no means is this the full picture. As a whole this is a very inviting selection, though it doesn't offer up much in terms of the darker, more introspective side of The Cure.
The first song by Interpol that I was exposed to was 'Evil'. I saw the video on MTV2 and was enchanted by the voice, and possibly the jiggling dancing of the puppet, and swiftly acquired the two albums put out by this band, only to be immensley satisfied. Paul Banks has an outstanding voice, and the songs on this album are just glowing. The opener, Next Exit, has a church like feel, and plods along, taking us into the aforementioned song, Evil, with it's gentle opening and electrical, fantastic choruses. I think this song displays all the good qualities Interpol possess; they understand the loud-quiet dynamics that make a song interesting, Banks can vary his tone without screaming, and the lyrics are intelligent, an example being 'It's the smiling on the package, it's the faces in the sand' . The words can be haunting, 'you are weightless, you are exotic' and I feel that the song Evil is rich, lyrics-wise, though there are too many examples from this song alone to list.
Narc is a beautiful song. Banks' vocals are melodic here, and the lyrics, and the way they are sung, are gorgeous. 'Control me, console me, 'cuz that's just how it should be done'. The music twangs and rolls along, then shines beautifully, and I listen to this song and feel like I could close my eyes and float away on the sheer power of the music, as it feels almost literally uplifting. The line 'You should be in my life' seems apt, as I think everybody should give this band a listen, as they produce such good quality material, and I would be surprised if a person found absolutely nothing in this band to appreciate.
Take you on a Cruise is mellow and chilled, as is Public Pervert. I enjoy Interpol, because their music can both relax and excite me. Once again, I must mention the lyrics; they are outstanding. Take you on a Cruise features the line 'The anatomy of kisses and the future of lies' which just rolls off the tongue, and I adore the way the band explore the thought processes behind everyday actions and love.
Slow Hands is outstanding. The band display their talents once more, declaring in a calm and measured tone 'Can't you see what you've done to my heart and soul? It is a wasteland now'. The chorous is catchy, and the lyrical quality is once again, superb. 'You make me wanna pick up my guitar, and celebrate the myriad ways that I love you' is sincerely romantic, and the line 'I submit my incentive is romance; I watch the pole dance of the stars' just strikes me as a slice of genius.
Not even jail is very edgy and rocky, with a pounding beat that leads us to Bank's soft vocals. The tone of this song is reflective, and it is one of my favourites. Again, I love the lyrics here, 'I'm subtle like a lion's cage, such a cautious display' as they're so interesting, almost complex. Another song I completely adore is 'C'mere', as it is very sweet and lovely; it captures the almost childlike, innocent side of the band, with lyrics such as 'Oh, how I love you, In the evenings, when we are sleeping'. This song is tender, and comments on love, and unrequited love; 'It's way too late, to be this locked inside ourselves.The trouble is that you're in love with someone else; it should be me'. Musically, it is a slow song without being slow, and this works to good effect, as it is an upbeat song, yet the lyrics seem a litle forlorn.
If you can fall in love with music, then I'm marrying this album. I strongly recommend this as I feel it is the lyrical and musical progression from 'Bright lights', Interpol's fantastic debut, which I would also recommend. Antics is a delicious cocktail of vast guitars, harmonious vocals, and mind swirling lyrics, and I think it is quite accessible, as it seems more crisp and clear than their debut
Last Christmas, I decided that a digital camera would be a sound investment, but looking around, prices were pretty high. Being in my last year at 6th form, I decided it would be a good idea to purchase a digital camera, so that I would not have to nag my friends for copies of their photos from various events and nights out. Having never owned one before, I based my purchasing decision on the basis of the models owned by my friends, as they had found their cameras durable, long lasting, and of good quality in terms of pictures. I bought my camera in the January sales for half price, having decided on the Fujifilm model A201. I went in thinking I knew exactly what I wanted, but under the advise of sales advisors, I was pointed towards a larger memory card, and ended up paying double the amount I had planned on, since said memory card cost as much as the camera! Despite this, I was happy with my purchase, and I think it was a good choice.
In terms of what I got for my money, my camera came with a 16MB card, a CD to install the camera software, two Panasonic batteries, a hand strap, a USB cable, a detailed manual, and of course the camera itself. The card held very few pictures, and so it was advised that I purchased another xD-Picture card; I chose the largest, 256MB, and have never maxed out the amount of photos; one night out I took at least 120, which wasnt the maximum storage limit.
Problems I have with this camera are firstly the battery-life; upon purchasing my camera I was keen to try it out, and using the provided batteries, after 3 shots, they died on me. I found this frustrating, as the batteries are so easily worn out, so I use the rechargeable ones from my CD player; if I charge them before I go out, I tend to have an hour or so of picture-taking time. The picture quality is good overall, though the colours come out a little strange; for example my blonde friends and myself seem to look carrot-haired on my camera (and on my friends, who has the same model) whereas we look a little less bright-haired on other cameras. Deleting photos is relatively quick, even with 120 or so it took a minute, and it gives you a polite notice informing you that the process could take time, which I think is a good idea, as with new technology people sometimes need reassurance.
This was a good first digital camera, as it is very easy to use. To turn on and off there is a slide switch, though I once discovered if you leave it in a cluttered bag it can slide itself on, wasting your battery life. To take photographs you press the circular button on the top right of the on/off switch, and to change from flash to daytime, there is a switch on the face of the camera, with a flower for daytime use and a jagged shape for flash. The instructions manual is extremely thorough, and it i ideal for family use as it is so user friendly. At the back of the camera is a screen that allows you to view your photographs, and perhaps delete some of the ones that you arent impressed with in order to make extra room. Another feature of this camera is that it allows you to take mini-movies. The downside of this is that the movies are soundless, and there is no option to make the scene brighter. For example, when my friends uptight boyfriend was dancing around a club at night, thinking he was MC Hammer, we could not record this interesting scene, as it was too dark. However, it would probably make a nice extra for a family making short, daytime clips.
As a whole I have found this product to be good value for money, very user-friendly, and good quality. I have only had it for four months, but I have as of yet to encounter a problem with it. My friend, who has the exact same model, has had hers for about 3 years, and she still uses it often and without problem. However, I would recommend the purchase of rechargeable batteries and a larger storage media card alongside this product, as the flash takes a lot of energy out of the batteries, and if you are taking the camera on holiday or to a special event, you will want capacity to store a lot of images.