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The copy of 'The Fame' i'll be reviewing is the standard UK edition, with 16 tracks, there's a couple of different versions out there, but in all honesty, we have the best pick.
Lady Gaga is all about the image. and a note to Beyonce on how to do a fierce alter ego. Her image screams early madonna / Gwen Stefani, the giant glasses, loads of leather, and quite recently, she's been parading a lot of 'creative' hats around the field (on Ellen, she wore what could only be described as a kid's mobile toy round her head). No doubt in my mind that the look is being copied all over the world by little girls (and prob a few guys too - it's ok, no-one's watching...)
'The Fame' is all about the flashy celeb life, living it up under the lights of the paparazzi, loads of sparkly things and also loads of sex and debauchery. What Gaga does here, is find her niche, and do it well. something a LOT of artists need to grasp in my opinion.
Album opener is 'Just Dance' - pretty sure everyone on planet earth has heard this now, its a great opener, the electro beats in the intro set the entire tone for the album, and Gaga's synthed vocal jumps over the parading bassline very well. The rap could be cut though. 'LoveGame' is up next, continuing the beat, but adding the line 'i wanna take a ride on your disco stick' - priceless. It's this kind of risk-taking that really pays off, although the lyrics can be a little hard to stomach this time, they do nothing but complement the amazing music to go with them. LoveGame was unfortunately dropped as a single in the UK, which is gutting because its one of the strongest songs on the album, with a hot promo video.
'Paparazzi', the next confirmed UK single will undoubtedly be another number 1 for her. this track screams gwen stefani all over, the bridge chant sounding not unlike 'wind it up' and the backing almost the same rhythm as 'hollaback girl'. Lyrics : 'Leather & jeans, garage glamourous' pretty much sum up the tone of this one. Next track is 'Poker Face', and to be honest, I'm getting rather exhausted at this point. the energy never lets up at all for the first half of the album, with every track having single potential. Poker face is no exception, with an intro that reminds me of 'Rhythm is a Dancer' by Snap about 15 years ago if not more. I love the lyrics, colluding love to a card game, Gaga has said the lyrics are about being with a guy, but really wanting to be with a girl, therefore showing him your poker face... The beat is nothing short of anthemic and doesn't let up 'til the very last 'MAMAMAMAHHH' at the end, with heavily auto-tuned vocals used to the point of exhaustion. Definite album highlight.
'I Like it rough' is the first song which i didn't instantly like, it's very eighties-esque, her vocals even sound different to the last few songs. the saving grace is the pure filth content of the lyrics 'you're probably wondering why, I like it rough i, like it rough, i like it rough'. I like the synthed vocals on the chant of the chorus. 'Eh Eh, (Nothing else I can say) takes the wheel of the album and pulls a U-turn into the 90's, my mum would have loved this. Her voice sounds like it has some sort of vulnerability to it, and to be frank, is a welcome break from the rest of the album. Demonstrating Gaga's not just a one trick pony, and makes you wonder what's gonna be coming on her sophomore album.
'Star-Struck' is back to the electro beats, and in my opinion, the weakest track yet. It wouldn't sound out of place if Jennifer Lopez had a crack at it. Something doesn't work about it, it may be the tacked-on rap, or the mish mash of the backing on gaga's vocals, its not easy listening. 'Beautiful, Dirty, Rich) is again one that sounds different from the rest of her work to this point. content wise its all about blowing you hard earned cash, but its ok, because ya pretty. Gaga's, er, 'artistic' side definitely shows here, and she sounds like she's letting off steam more than once in this track.
Title track 'The Fame' is up next, and as far as title tracks go, its instantly forgettable. If I'm being honest, i normally jump back to the beginning of the album post 'eh, eh', but i've been trying to digest the later parts recently too. the beat sounds like a song by Deep Dish a few years ago, and the lyrics aren't anything new. 'Money Honey' once again has that synth bassline, this time borrowed from 'Push it' by Salt 'n' Pepa (i don't joke, the similarities are very clear) and is slightly better than latter track 'the fame'. It screams girl-from-girl-group-breaking-out-into-solo-career but not actually doing well.
'Boys Boys Boys' is straight back to the eighties, the keyboard synthed intro, and clapping/chanting elements that sound like they were lifted from 'hey mickey'. i like it for the pure cheese factor.
'Paper Gangsta' starts off with a piano intro, which is repeated all the way thru. turning everything on it's head once again. the vocals have been vocoded waaaay to much for my liking, and this is as close as Gaga is going to get to rapping. the chanting at the end is a bit obsolete, but nothing really surprises you at this point. actually she could probably start singing the main steps of open heart surgery whilst the italian national anthem horns in the background and i wouldn't be surprised. 'Brown Eyes' really changes the tempo, slowing right down. I love the drama in her voice, it sounds a little freddie mercury inspired, starting very slowly, and building into a mini gaga-opera.
'Summerboy' does nothing to catch my attention, its a clear gwen stefani clone and should have been left off the cd. If you download the album, I'd get 'Now that you got it' by Gwen, its basically the same but better. 'Disco Heaven' is OK, its nothing groundbreaking. i much prefer the earlier uptempo nembers to this one.
'Again Again' is the album closer, its a piano led ballad, and one of the best songs on the album in my opinion. If you have heard any of the tracks off the Stefani Germanotta EP then its great to see how Lady Gaga has developed her ballad writing abilities. Its a song about wanting to be with someone else whilst just putting up with what you already have, and also shows off gaga's ability to give a stonking vocal.
All in all , 'The Fame' is a great debut, it has a clear direction, a bit of something for everyone, and amazing beats. the ratio of good songs to naff songs is about one 3rd album filler.
However, the singles (Just Dance, LoveGame, Paparazzi, Poker Face, Eh Eh and Beautiful Dirty Rich) are epic in there own right, and will no doubt put Gaga at the forefront of pop music at the moment.
My minor criticism is that Gaga may become a victim of her own fame - with so many single releases, she might become oversaturated very quickly. i'd suggest getting this album, and doing it quickly, before every chav this side of the country has gaga on their mobile phones ruining a masterpiece in the making.
Gaga has all the elements of greatness, and I'm excited for her next album. recommended for fans of Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Britney, etc....
Poker Face / Paparazzi
The Fame, Starstruck
GET YA OWN COPY FROM: (correct at review)
amazon.co.uk : £8.52
iTunes store : £7.99
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGrxuby_WuE - poker face live on ellen
www.ladygaga.com - official site.
Please note that this is a review of the Deluxe Edition of I Am... Sasha Fierce. There's been loads of different editions of this, mine has 18 tracks. (Cheers iTunes!)
Beyonce has somewhat annoyed me in the past, as she thought it would be absolutely HI-larious to release the killer track off each album then bombard us with absolute drivel (i take 2003's Crazy in Love for example, smoothly followed up by Baby Boy, how a song feat Sean Paul is supposed to NOT make your ears bleed is beyond me...), so I had to sit down, slightly in shock when i realized, this wasn't actually bad.
I Am... Sasha Fierce is (solo) album number 3 by Mrs Knowles-Carter, and once again the gimmick squad is out in full force. the album comes on two cds if bought physically (so if the environment goes to hell, blame beyonce and her eco-friendly ways) when truthfully, she could have picked the decent songs and made one excellent CD(what is worrying is Beyonce's once again touting she recorded over 50+ songs for this album, yet some of these are the best? I almost want to hear the train wrecks she must have been splurring out....). Each CD representing a different persona supposedly, Sasha being the, well, Fierce alter ego of Beyonce, and the other disc being 100% Bey. Although, what is really occuring is all the upbeat numbers are on one disc, performed by Sash, ballads and sickly downbeat love/songs on the other - my first may-ja qualm of this release. A much better approach would have been to have Beyonce record some of the ballads as her Sasha fierce persona, i'd have loved to hear 'Satellites' a la balls on. Also, I'm no Record exec or business bigwig (Yet!!) but it strikes me as odd when artists do double releases, why not just release two albums at different times? And separate the persona some more? Maybe some-ones worried that all this splittling of Beyonce will lead to some sort of mental disorder. Promotion-wise, Sasha is differentiated by donning her weird shiny claw, not unlike the arch nemesis of 'Inspector Gadget' may I add...
To promote the album, not one but 2 singles are being released at a time, the first being 'If I were a Boy'/'Single Ladies', the second wave 'Halo'/'Diva', and next will be 'Broken Hearted Girl /'Ego'. You may want to hold off buying this until June 16th, when the rerelease comes out, also it's been confirmed she will be repeating the B'Day concept and recording a video anthology to be released later this year. Probably to the tune of another 10,000 singles from this album, again cheers beyonce. =(
Disc one, I am.... was the disc i found more easy on the ears to begin with, probably because it covers absolutely NOTHING Beyonce hasn't done before. guitar-led first track 'If i Were a Boy' (snigger =P) feels like 'irreplaceable' musically, and lyrically, it's nothing new.
'Halo' produced by Ryan 'yes-i-made-bleeding-love' Tedder is a definite highlight, although i would have loved to have heard a Leona Lewis version of this. Great songwriting and killer chorus. 'Disappear' slows it right down, to the point of heart failure. It fits the I Am... concept the best, although i find myself going for the skip button mid song as it's too slow and never picks up the pace.
'Broken Hearted girl' sounds an awful lot like 'You're Not Sorry' by Taylor Swift, both decent enough affairs. I'm imagining a big'ol video where beyonce's writhing around in the rain for some unknown reason. After this is all starts to get rather samey... 'Ave Mary A', just bores me and 'satellites' doesn't really wake me up neither. Maybe, its all part of the plan to make the Intro of Sasha all the more spectacular...
The rest of the songs on 'I Am...' are the bonus songs, and to be honest, they sound like last minute add ons too - 'Smash Into You' (yet another song poached by B, to go with 'Halo' and IIWAB) is OK, and 'that's why your beautiful' is pure bile, never releasing the clutch pedal. I would not be at all surprised if Beyonce donned a guitar to promote 'I Am's' tracks. Overall this album starts strong and whimpers across the finish line.
'Save the Hero' has possibly the worst lyrics i've ever heard.
'Who's there to save the hero
Who's there to save the girl
After she saves the world'
Sasha Fierce (disc 2) on the other hand is a completely different bag of tricks. 'Single Ladies (put a ring on it)' absolutely grated my nerves to begin with, but surprisingly is now the most listened to song on this album for me. a great beat that sounds oh so quirky is smashed into the ground by the dirty electro chorus that screams filth. Not 100% if the lyrics are supposed to be sexual connotations, like i've heard, but i wouldn't put it past the woman.
'Radio' is a great addition to the album - easily the best on the Sasha Fierce front. I love the non-sense lyrics and electric beats, i can imagine Girls Aloud covering this, its pure pop class (although Beyonce would never admit it...). 'Diva' on the other hand is an absolute atrocity. the annoying repetition of 'imma imma diva hey' is bad enough, but some one forgot to add the rest of the backing. Maybe its a little to urban for me, and i quote, 'a diva is a female version of a hustler' - A definite Sean Garrett production, although he seems to turn up the hardcore factor too much since Beyonce's past collaborations (see: most of B'Day...).
'Sweet Dream' is ok, although the demo version which leaked like, a year before was 10x better, once again highlighting the problem with overproducing a song to the point of ridiculousness. by the time you get to videophone, you feel like you've heard it all before, its like if 'radio' was watered down. i have a soft spot for 'Hello', yes, she oversings it oh-so-slightly, and I'm pretty sure it's pronounced hello, not 'HELL-OWWW' but i love the solid piano riff throughout, its the most exciting thing off sasha-fierce after 'Radio' and would sound great acoustically. Ego's ok, but once again, we're in bonus track territory and its like she couldn't be bothered. 'Scared of Lonely' and 'Why Don't you Love Me' feel like they belong on a Brandy album or something, just inoffensive RnB lite once again.
There's no denying Beyonce's got one fantastic voice, and here, she's got some great tracks to showcase this. Unfortunately, she's intent on making middle of the road tripe too. Roll on the re-release where hopefully she'll cut most of it. the alter-ego concept works great to some extent, but I do feel they've missed loads of opportunity, and as a result, i haven't enjoyed this album as much as i should have. Maybe next time we could be treated to a little Sasha Fierce minus Borinonce???
anything with the words 'bonus track' in
GET YASELF A COPY AT: (right at time of writing)
itunes (deluxe edition) currently £6.99 with 2 videos and digital booklet!
amazon.co.uk : £8.98
http://www.beyonceonline.com - official website for all things beyonce
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYVYJk8NjE4 - beyonce falling over! (mega lol)
'We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things' is only the 3rd studio album by Mr Mraz, even though he's being touring / releasing EP's since early '98.
What's immediately apparent is that this guy doesn't stick to just the one genre, his vocals are pure soul, with the melodies of jack johnson, a small portion folk and a bit of jazz for good measure.
i've been a fan of his music for a start, although to be honest, this is a bit of a new direction he's taken. It's seems that Mraz has traded in a portion of his cool to create a better commercial backing. However i do feel this album is a bit more structured than his previous efforts, and to this extent , won't alienate his current fanbase, merely extend it.
TRACK BY TRACK
1. Make it Mine (3:08)
The opening track does just that, its typical Mraz, and lets you know the general tone for the album. i love the trumpet in the background and the quirky electronic beat. as a sidenote the video is great too. 8/10
"How can you sleep at a time like this
Unless the dreamer is the real you"
2. I'm Yours (4:03)
THE song which has made Mraz and probably the reason this is his biggest selling album to date. He started touring this song as a demo in 2005, before releasing this album in 2008. very simple backing, just a guitar for most of the start and his soothing mellow vocals. brightens up my day every time i hear it! i love the simplicity of it, and the absolute cheese content of the lyrics. the only minor flaw with it is again, the crazy scattin mid-song. 10/10
"Our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours..."
3. Lucky (feat. Colbie Caillat) (3.10)
I'll be honest. Colbie Caillat annoys the crap out of me. her music puts me to sleep and i'd rather listen to a cd of elevator music than 4 minutes of her. HOWEVER, when paired with Mraz, her voice is a great accompaniment, floating softly over mellow guitars, with some great harmonizing. Again another song to put you in the mood for summer. 7/10
"Across the water across the deep blue ocean oh my,
Under the open sky, oh my, baby I'm trying..."
4. Butterfly (5:00)
The Jazz influence is apparent as soon as this song kicks in, great sax/trumpet section, more mad scatting, and downright filthy (bordering on creepy) lyrics. A Song about being danced upon my a stripper. 'nuff said. (8/10)
"Taking a moment just imagining that i'm dancing with you
I'm your pole and all you're wearing is your shoes"
5. Live High (4:12)
For me, one of the low-points of the album. again a simple accompanying backing, some great lyrics, but for some reason, never takes off. its sorta somewhere in between ballad and uptempo number. I like the choir backing at the end, it's this songs saving point. I always skip this one. (4/10)
"Are we all here standing naked
Taking guesses at the actual date and time"
6. Love for a Child (4:06)
A great downbeat ballad, about coming a lost childhood & innocence. Mraz's voice suits the melody perfectly, never overpowering his vocals. a litle bit of a tear jerker. love it. (8/10)
"and they never check to see my grades
What a fool I'd be to start complaining now"
7. Details in the Fabric (feat James Morrison) (5.46)
Another favourite and by far the strongest ballad. Very acoustic and a very strong lyric. Mraz's voice sounds a lot like Damien Rice at points. I don't really like Morrison much, but it's ok, he doesn't appear much! the only thing i'd change is the phone call conversation intro/outro, it'd work loads better without it. stop trying to be quirky! (9/10)
"If it's a broken part, replace it
But, if it's a broken arm embrace it
If it's a broken heart then face it"
8. Coyotes (3:38)
One of the more uptempo songs on the album. some elements work well, others again, jut seem like a quirk. There's a distinctive bassline from the beginning, and also a steady spanish guitar melody good, but i'm personally not convinced about the child-choir? There's a bit of opera in the bridge, which combines with the bassline perfectly. One of the strongest vocal performances from Mraz, he could easily compete with the Timberlake's anyday. makes my hair stands on end. Typical Mraz lyrics - I find a different meaning in them every time I listen to it. (9/10)
"And when the coyotes they sing in the park
That's when the city life starts falling for the sea"
9. Only Human (4:03)
another slow burner once again showcasing Mraz's amazing vocal range. a more jazzy feel to this one, i love the lyric, and its illustrated by the very simple bass, keyboard and guitar excellently. (9/10)
"I'm just a man, is that all I am
Are my manners misinterpreted words or only human?
10. The Dynamo of Volition (3:37)
I'm slightly biased over this one, i absolutely loved this song when i saw him live. The quirkiest lyric, but delivered superbly over a funky pop beat. once again documenting her versatility as a great performer. (10/10)
"Kid Icarus on the transistor
Nintendo givin' me the blister
I bend over take it in the kisser"
11. If It Kills Me (4:34)
a piano led upbeat ballad, again another really strong song, the chorus sticks in your head afterwards. the lyrics are typical bittersweet ballad, loads of cliché's, but do the job. Again it opens up with a phone call , this time from the medical centre. i don't really get the intros, i prefer an album to be all song, no filler. a lovely strings filled bridge build the song up and finishes it superbly. (8/10)
"We get along much better
Than you and your boyfriend"
12. A Beautiful Mess (5.38)
A great way to end the album, overall, the songs have been picked in a great order, and this is the icing on the cake. once again, its very acoustic, Mraz's vocals are delivered with impeccable time over the guitar and minimal strings/percussion. Mraz has a voice that sounds like he could break any second and it works so well on these songs. (10/10)
"And what a beautiful mess this is
Well it's like picking up trash in dresses"
This is the soundtrack to my summer, i may have picked it up in january but it gets played regularly. This year's Jack Johnson, only with more vocal power and some great lyrics. I'd recommend to anyone who loves the male soloist, i.e.: Jack Johnson, John Mayer, James Morrison, oh wait, or anyone else beginning with a 'J'.
To be honest, this is going to be like marmite. You're either going to love it or spend hours puking up the sicky taste in your mouth. I'd prefer the Mraz to marmite though.
If you like this be sure to try out his earlier releases, 'Mr A-Z' and 'Waiting for My Rocket to Come'. and he doesn't half transfer these songs to the Live stage well.
I'm Yours / Details in the Fabric
GET YA OWN COPY FROM : (at time of review)
hmv.com : 7.99
amazon.co.uk : 4.98 with free delivery - BARGAIN!!!
http://www.jasonmraz.com - official site
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYhYYHE-iVI 'lucky' live performance
I'll admit, i didn't pick this one up straight away, the disappointment of 'Try This' and as a comeback, 'Stupid Girls' didn't really bring nothing new to the table.
Ok, so, how to follow up your least commercially and critically successful album to date? Make an album with killer lyrics, great hooks and a voice to bring down the biggest arena's.
What I liked about this CD is the genuine surprise - after Try This, i didn't have high hopes, but after 3 tracks i found myslef wanting to listen all the way through to the end. What's quite evident here to is P!nk's ability to start creating a decent lyric, or at least working with the right producers to cowrite with, and recreate her now signature sound.
For those of you new to P!nk's work, she started her career recording R&B, before challenging her LaFace labels exec LA Reid to go back to her rock roots (trivia time - P!nk AKA Alicia Beth Moore was first noticed singing a cover of 4 non blondes 'What's Up'). Her voice is versatile enough to sing bluesy type numbers (Funhouse - One Foot In) to great pop/rock anthems (M!ssundaztood - Just Like a Pill) and full on rock mammoths (Try This - Waiting for Love).
So back to the CD, the general tone of this is a pop/rock album with some decent ballads and great uptempo numbers. there is a couple of stinkers, which is why the 4 stars.
-Track by Track-
STUPID GIRLS -
A good opening number, but by no means her best work, once again the tongue in cheek lyrics about hypersexual girls who give it all up for not very much. a solo guitar plays it in and remains throughout, with a few synth noises thrown in for good measure. ***
WHO KNEW -
love the lyrics to this song, i don't know anyone who can;t relate to the words. P!nk mentioned that the lyrics were about friends who were there one day and gone the next, through drugs. A slow start builds up to a great ending chorus showcasing P!nk's vocal ability to show emotion through her stronger vocal range. The Max Martin influence is very clear here too.*****
LONG WAY TO HAPPY -
a personal favourite. complex delivery of lyrics jumping over a single piano chord in repetition, building into a presnet day power ballad. Sounds very similar in concept to 'Behind These Hazel Eyes' by Kelly Clarkson.*****
First ballad, piano led again, builds up really nicely into a great finish. ***
DEAR MR PRESIDENT -
P!nk's open letter to to USA President in 2006 , thought provoking lyrics, it's brutally honest and i love the delivery. it's kept very quiet and the Indigo Girls provide excellent back up/guitars (the crowd absolutely went wild when she sung the line ''And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?'' =D) ****
I'M NOT DEAD-
A standard rock song from p!nk, pompous guitars, dark undertones, loud drums, and i love the chanting at the end. The change inbetween tempo of the verses and the choruses makes this a real grower. ****
CUZ I CAN-
This was the first song which leaked from this album, its a dirty pop song, with trademark tongue in cheek pink lyrics ("I could fit your whole house in my swimming pool'') and great catchy chant ''ice cream ice cream we all want ice cream''. I personally think this would have made a better first single than Stupid Girls, but hey. great for anyone whose like P!nk's previous singles. ****
LEAVE ME ALONE (I'M LONELY)
Arguably one of the best on the album. Lyrics about wanting to be left alone to truly love who your with, a la p!nk brutal honesty. amazing guitar riff to open on and repeated through the album.*****
''I love you so
Much more when you're not here
Watchin all the bad shows
Drinking all of my beer''
U & UR HAND-
The best song on this album. great percussion intro, with p!nk's ''uh uh uh ooh'' jumping right over the top. P!nk said the lyrics came from when a man made a move on her, she denied, and he said it looks like it's just him and his hand tonight - the uptempo song is definitley a welcome break from the more serious, personal songs, and gets everyone rocking along when performed live. better at high volume *****
back to another personal song, remeniscent of 'Family Portrait' a couple of albums ago - the teen angst provides great raw emotion, and showcases p!nks rock vocals great (the voices stuck inside my head tell me to run before i'm dead) ****
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY-
i wish one did just that, its the worst song on the album by far - just guitars and a bit of a country backing with a terrible lyric. *
'' I said what kind of man makes cappuccino
We laughed, We laughed, We laughed''
I GOT MONEY NOW - this one sounds a lot closer to the R&B she was doing when she started - the lyrics are a bit hypocritcal and pointless IMO and the only thing i really like about it is the end vocal which she does well. **
CONVERSATIONS WITH MY 13 YEAR OLD SELF -
the last ballad of the album, again reflecting on her childhood ( a running theme now for Ms Moore) its a completely stripped down song with a great orchestral bridge. ****
i love it, its filth. p!nk once again singing about masturbation (again another running theme for her) the thumping electro beats at the beginning suit the overall tone of the song, and to be honest, you feel exhausted listening to her by the end. ****
theres a couple of bonus songs, if u have an international edition. 'i have seen the rain' is a hidden track she performs with her once estranged father about being in 'nam , i don't particularly like it, but i like the history behind it. Centrefold is the over bonus, and its a bit of generic pop rock song, one which kelly clarkson or avril would also prob sing if p!nk hadnt.
Overall, i'd recommend this album for anyone whose a fan of p!nk's other albums, especially her FUNHOUSE one. this is a huge step up from Try This, and there's some brilliant craftmanship lyricwise. I'm Not Dead is a welcome addition to anyones CD collection, and as you can buy it for a fiver in HMV there's no reason to not give it a try.
U & Ur Hand
One that got away
I absolutely love this chocolate bar and it by far my favourite!
If your a fan of peanut butter or any other kit kats (or any product with peanuts in for that matter) i would definitely recommend this a treat every now and then.
its exactly the same as a regular kit kat chunky - a big thick strip of wafer on the the inside with a thick layer of nestle chocolate coating the outside. the only difference is the layer of peanut butter that sits nicely on top of the wafer.
I don't know what it is, but the Peanut butter complements what usually is just a standard chocolate bar really well. the aftertaste is a really pleasant sweet one as well, not leaving you feeling too sickly.
i'd reccomend eating at room temperature as the peanut butter doesnt taste half as good cold, it sort of freezes the taste too. i'd also recomend not looking at the nutritional info too ( that's why i said its a treat for every now and then, especially at 15.8g of fat per bar!)
the packaging is decent enough, based on the standard kit kat chunky design but in a distinctive yellow, being the only kit kat product this colour makes it easy to spot out on the newsagents stands.
the only negative thing to comment on would be the fact its pure filth for your body - i wouldn't eat more than one or two of these a week. And if you have strong willpower avoid the duo bars....
great for any commute!
I bought this album on the strength of the incredibly catchy, Max Martin produced ''I kissed a girl'' (who happened to have produced/co-wrote kelly clarkson's ''my life would suck...'' and also ''So What'' by P!nk) and was expecting an album full of similar infectious tracks.
i was wrong.
this is a prime example of record exec's catching 'Let's release the strongest song off the album first so the public don't know the rest is full of absolute dross' syndrome.
well thanks Virgin for cheating me out of my hard earned £10.
the problem doesn't lie solely of Perry's shoulders, her voice is substantial enough on CD (live however, she leaves ALOT to be desired, relying on cheeky outfits and banter other than her ability to sing/perform). The song's feel like they are Lindsay Lohan cast-off's they're that bad.
luckily, her following singles have been her strongest songs (with the exception of 'waking up in Vegas' - a mediocre pop/rock song about being hungover, but just sounding like a loud bore)
obviously a lot of people will disagree with me - i'm ready for the fallout - as she's sold buckets of this both sides of the atlantic.
best tracks, are obviously 'I Kissed a girl (and i Liked it) with its infectious synth beats which complement Perry's lower tones perfectly, and i'm also quite partial to a couple of her slower songs such as 'Lost' and 'I'm Still Breathing' which again suit her voice to a T as they don't require much range, and the lyric is surprisingly strong.
I absolutely hate 'Thinking of You' and 'Self Inflicted' - these are merely standard rock songs which wouldn't be out of place on a Jonas Bro's CD or the wretched Miley....
Tracks like 'Hot 'n' Cold' and 'One of the Boys' sound like they were written by a 9 year old:
"you're in then you're out / you're up then you're down''. =S
I do think the lyrics of official first single Ur So Gay are quite clever and one of this albums saving grace, so props to Perry and Greg Wells for that.
For some one who has been cleverly marketed to cause a bit of mild controversy, its disappointing to see the rest of her debut album is, well, boring. i do feel this is a definite missed opportunity on Virgin's part, and after the success of her first singles waivers, it's hard to see where they can keep the Perry train going to.
Track by Track
One of the Boys - uptempo rock song, wouldn't sound out of place at the end of the 90's
I Kissed a Girl - Great hook, smooth purring vocals, perfect pop song
Waking up in Vegas - Mediocre loud mess
Thinking of You - Mediocre quiet mess
Mannequinn - forgettable album filler. poss worst track
UR So Gay - guitar lead song, some great pop culture lyrics
Hot n Cold - cringeworthy, but also rather catchy.
if you can afford me - another album filler
lost - a ballad, suited to Perry's limited range perfectly
Self inflicted - again another filler - sounds like it should be on the beverly hills soundtrack or something.
Im Still breathing - Similar to 'Lost' - great vocal delivery and decent lyric
Fingerprints - an ok rock song to end the album on.
If your reading this seeking advice on buying the album, DON'T - save your money and purchase either 'All I Ever Wanted' by Kelly Clarkson, or 'Funhouse' by P!nk.
In future i'd like to see Perry either deliver an album of stonkers like 'IKAG' or follow a more acoustic route and develop her song writing, as there's definite potential.
I'm off to sing along to a Lindsay Lohan CD. hahahahaha.
oh and a musical treat, heres an example of Perry's recent live performance on american idol, make your own judgement!
As I'm currently watching this program from start to finish, Im going to give an in depth review each time i finish a season =D
Charmed is the story of 3 sisters, Prue, Piper and Phoebe, all bought together through their family secret, being the 'charmed ones' Halliwells, who prophecies say will be the strongest ever witches who will stop all evil. Season 1 acts as a conduit, introducing each sister, and some other key players, and how each sister comes to terms with being different from the norm (i'd liken this to the first season of Heroes, before it went all too big for it's own boots). It also sticks to the 'one story per episode' scenario, instead of having one big story-line which ties the whole series together. i believe this works rather well, if your not a religious watcher, you can miss an episode or two and be none worse off. Charmed borrows a lot from pop culture, which is revealed sometimes in the names of the individual episodes.
Where Charmed season one does excel, is obviously focusing on the Supernatural elements, but also incorporating the importance of family, starting of with Prue / Piper's sibling rivalry at the beginning, and diminishing by the end of the 1st episode. Love is another sub-theme here, with relationships between Piper / Leo laid down and also Prue / Andy. What does let down the first series is the lack of a story-arc to tie the whole series - wether creator Constance M Burge did this on purpose as they didn't know if they'd be coming back after the pilot season is unsure. also I think the chemistry between the 3 sister's is excellently portrayed by Doherty/Combs/Milano, i'd believe they actually were real sisters in real life - the same can't be said for the supporting cast. the two detectives, Trudo & Morris are the perfect example, the whole sceptic / believer scenario has been done already and could have been left out.
My favourite episodes this season are ''From Fear to Eternity'' - setting up regular Barbas the warlock, had a great confrontation with the charmed trio. I'm particularly fond of ''Wicca Envy'' too, which puts to bed the Rex/Hannah storyline, and one the better stories of the season. My least favourite episode was 'Feats of Clay' based around the activities of Phoebe's ex, before she moves back into the Halliwell home. It's a slow episode, and doesn't really break the mould anywhere in terms of plot revelations.
The slower episodes at the beginning for me take a little too long to take off, i feel like the pace should have been moving a lot quicker than it actually was, but this is stereotypical of a lot of supernatural dramas.
on the plus side, its superbly well acted, excellently cast, and sets up the rest of the charmed story very well. In its day this was the program to rival the ever-so-slightly-more-superior Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it comes really close
on the negative, the special effects do look incredibly dated now, and the supporting cast could have done with some better plots/direction
This is some truly great TV, and if you can find a copy of it £20 or less, it'll be worth every penny.
from the opening credits, which is basically running sackboy (the main character) past all the guys who went into making the game, you know this is going to be a special adventure.
little big planet is a side scrolling platformer, and one which hasnt been done so well since the days of mario/sonic
graphics wise, it pushes all the buttons, luscious and realistic textures contrasting well with the comic styled backgrounds, but there is something eerily realistic about the whole thing.
narrated perfectly by stephen fry, i feel like a kid having his fave bedtime story read to him playing this.
the level design feature is the biggest innovation - i'm connesuir of this but i have great fun playing other guys levels - and how they've been used to great effect. i noticed a boy has made his GCSE science revision into a level to help remember element of the periodic table - revision was never that fun for me!
the story mode alone is a great game - and uses the PS3 trophy feature superbly adding plenty of replay value, however to truly experience this game , you do need to be online. it'd be like trying to enjoy youtube without the videos =S
my only qualm would be as a pick up and play game, the level designer could be slightly more intuitive, but other than that, this is definitely a recommendation to any fan of the platforming genre, and sackboy is definietly the PS3 mascot of the future.
This album just summed up my college days.
every track on it was one you could sing along too, and after kelly's debut offering, was slightly unexpected.
throughout the album is great vocals, catchy riffs and memorable choruses.
track by track:
breakaway - the first official single from this album - great chorus, bit cheesey but good to sing along to. ***
since u been gone - THAT song, possibly one of the greatest pop songs of recent times. perfect electro rock beats, great angst driven lyric, perfect sing a long chorus. *****
behind these hazel eyes - my album favourite. admittedly better live than on the recording, a modern day power ballad. *****
because of you - love the lyric, the heart breaking delivery of the words, perfect ballad. never gets old *****
gone - an upbeat rock song, its good , but not the same calibre as the last three. ***
addicted - slight evanescence feel to this one, a bit darker, a great pop rock song with some dark lyrics and a powerhouse vocal ****
where is your heart - a slower one, a bit of an acoustic feel. corny lyrics ***
walk away - a great single choice, very american sounding though. upbeat rock song ***
you found me - my least favourite on the album, a bit mediocre in comparison to the rest on offer. **
i hate myself for losing you - a guitar driven rock song, sort of a sign of things to come from my december.... ***
hear me - again another filler, its by no means bad, but would have suited someone else better. **
beautiful disaster live - kellys strength lies in her live vocals, an excellent take on a rubbish song from her debut. *****
just before i start, i'll be quite biased as i'm part of a management team for a levi strauss and co UK store =P
levi's is quite far the best overall denim retailer around at the moment. not relying on the gimmicks of g-star and studded frilly bits and such, but providing a quality product, designed to last, at a competitive price.
if you can't find a pair of levi's to fit you, the staff member who helped you was crap, as i believe we have a fit for everyone.
my personal favourite is a 504, its like a skinny jean, but for people with meat on their legs.
they are a standard fit on the top coming into a tapered fit at the bottom, deigned not to hang over your trainers/shoes
oh we also do free alterations on any levi's jeans in the UK stores =D
this is sounding a little bit too much like an advert now so i'll stop.
anyways, levi's is a brand that has consistently provided quality for the past 150 years almost, and im sure it'll be round for another 150.
if you want any help at all, send me a message!
Dear Sir / Madam
Re: McDonald's, Manchester Arndale, Manchester, UK
I understand its busy, and everyone needs to be served in turn, however there is absolutely no need to be waiting 7 mins for two cheeseburgers, especially when i can clearly see them in the little warmer thing.
however i do feel there is a need to teach the staff basic etiquette, i'm no gentleman, but my mother always taught me to say please and thankyou, after all, my money im handing over does pay your wages! maybe less of the tutting when asking for a bag to take away in too? and whoever the blonde service manager is needs to be seriously questioned on her ability to talk to staff, as im pretty sure she thinks she is in a pet shop and addressing animals.
if it werent for the fact that i do have a slght milkshake addiction i'd probably never return again. and i think my ongoing diet is just lookin for a reason to say no.
please pick your game up as i know im not the only one who thinks your idea of service is terrible!
please be aware, im addressing an issue at MANCHESTER ARNDALE only, other stores im sure have a much more higher calibre of staff. *snigger*
i wonder when i play this is hideo kojima ever thought his series would end up like this.
MGS4 : Guns of the Patriots is a masterpiece, and by far the best story ever told on gaming platforms.
starting back as metal gear solid on the original playstation in the late 90's, we were introduced to a new style of stealth gaming, not only playing brilliantly then but setting the groundwork for an epic story.
the game ended on a cliffhanger, setting it up for the sequel - and making it the best game on PS which ever existed n the system - subject to record sales and many critics raving about the innovation.
3 chapters on and snake is back... frail and a shadow of his former self. it becomes quite clear from the beginning, this will be snakes last outing (in hindsight, a sequel is being discussed! NOOOOO!!!!). from snakes first words ...'War, has changed' your sucked in.
gameplay wise, its a completely different system to games past, relying on a choice between stealth for seasoned experts, or all guns ablazing for those with less experience. it is also possible to complete the entire game in first person mode if your feeling adventurous. to be honest, i was a little disheartened by being thrown straight into the combat, but the controls are intuitive, and a few continue screens later, you're zipping around as if you were really in the battlefield.
graphics wise, its like nothing seen on PS3 before. its the first game i've seen which really shows what the PS3 will be capable of... and its exciting. formt he textures of a war town town to the **SPOILER ALERT** alaskan snow covered fields , you feel like you in the game.
i think the only downfall is, if your new to the series, theres a lot to grasp storywise. this is for people who have played the others. however, if i was a first timer, id definitley pick the old ones up on the cheap if it meant i could get the most out of this.
there is also a cheeky online mode, i must admit it doesnt compare to COD4, and feels like more of an add-on which wasnt necessary.
i ended this game with a tear in my eye. everything was wrapped up to the very last detail. i commend Kojima for this absolute masterpiece, and will be going back to the for years to come.
Metal gear fans, if you do not own a next gen console, credit crunch aside, i'd budget for one to play this. and also book a week of work too. you'll need it.
Graphics - 10/10
This is the best debut from any of the american idol alumni IMO
Jordin may not have the strongest voice, but she does have charisma, and bucketloads of it on this album.
if the craftmanship of this album isn't the best, it merely serves as a signal of what's yet to come from ms Sparks.
track by track
tattoo : cheesey lyrics, great delivery. ***
one step at a time : love the intro, again, not the best lyrics, but a def. grower. ****
no air : slightly biased about chris brown and his personal life, but as a song this works really well - over the top, pompous vocals, soaring over a simple melody in the background, all building up to the amazing last deleivery of the chorus. sounds great louder! *****
freeze : some great vocals on this upbeat dance number ***
shy boy : one of the less greats on the album. def. skip track , doesn't really showcase Sparks' voice at all. **
now you tell me : country tinged ballad. great vocals, corny lyrics ****
next to you : a slower ballad, a little bit boring in my opinion. **
just for the record : love the 2 - part chorus, sounds like the last song, but with knobs on ****
permanent monday : my favourite on this album. another slow burner, building up to an amazing crescendo *****
young and in love : another dancey number, doesnt really work well. *
see my side : a ballad with a very limited range showcasing Sparks abilty to do subtle as well as powerhouse vocals. ****
god loves ugly : worst song on the album by far. *
this is my now : the American idol winners song, one of the better ones! ***
worth the wait : if you can watch her do an acapella of this on youtube you should, its a great vocal. ****
a great start to ms Sparks possibly very long career.
Ok, i know i'm going to come under fire for this, but i don't understand the lily hype...
i was a fan of 'smile' back in 2006, and 'LDN' too, i thought it summed up the summer and was a decent pop tune
now its 2009 and she's back with a new album and lead single 'the fear'
only problem is, a lot of the album sounds exactly like 'the fear' , lily's come down with Jamiroquai-itis
single choices 'the fear' and current 'not fair' are strong tracks, however 'F*ck you' just leaves me cold and wanting to throw my ipod at the wall.
in all fairness, i think lily's success lies in her lyrics, theres no doubt she knows how to write a cracking lyric for her songs.
my personal taste lies in the voice though, and lily's is weak. not katy perry bad, but not that strong.
Back to the Start
How do you top the amazingness that was resident evil 4?
that's right, release it again with knobs on.
this is essentially more of a revolution of part 4, instead of the evolution we were all expecting.
the main difference is the addition of a second character, a 'buddy' sort of borrowing from the team management elements of some of the outbreak spin offs.
however, the way 'Sheva' handles, can be a bit hit or miss, either she eats all your ammo, or completely covers your back with first aid items.
graphics wise, its definitely one of the smarter choices on PS3 right now. and the voice acting is definitely an improvement on some of the past efforts.
the story-line is typical resi, infected village, take out the propagator, a few twists along the way.
the best thing about this game is anyone can pick it up, newbies and resi vet's
the online option is a nice feature, but the game works best solo mode.
fans may be a little disappointed about the gameplay, personally i would have preferred the resi 4 style, but it's rather intuitive, and you can pick it up in no time. persistence is definitely key. especially if you want to see how the story plays out.