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Member since: 27.08.2005

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    • X&y - Coldplay / Music Album / 30 Readings / 28 Ratings
      More +
      02.03.2006 00:09



      Great album, lovely lyrics and perfect music!

      Ok… before I start, I have a slight confession, I didn't used to be a huge Coldplay fan, and to be honest I don't know an awful lot about them except for the legendary songs like "clocks", which quite frankly if you haven't heard of… well yeh…

      Anyway... X&Y.

      NME call it "their best yet", and although I technically have no grounds to agree or disagree with this statement, I can fairly easily see way. All existing Coldplay fans MUST get this album as I'm sure you will agree with me in what I say about it.

      I knew I had to get this album after having heard 'speed of sound' and not being able to stop listening to it! So for all you new Coldplay fans out there, like me, go buy this album and give them the appreciation which they deserve.

      I'm afraid the case now is that I listen to the album over and over, in a similar manner which I did speed of sound. The result is that a lot of my other quality albums get somewhat neglected.

      The best song on the album for me I think is "square one", and I hope you will buy this album and see why. It is a very good opening song, very firm beat and gets you in the mood straight away. I love the leads voice in this song especially. This provides a very fast intro to the album which is slowed down by the next tune: "what if."

      Other highlights on the album for me are "white shadows" and "swallowed in the sea." The rhythm in the latter is amazing, and you feel almost as if you are being taken on a journey throughout the song.

      Other points to include are that the album contains no lyrics in the inlay, though this is not a great flaw as they are widely available on the internet, plus most of the songs have very easily recognisable lyrics anyway.

      Go out and buy this album! You WON'T be disappointed!


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      • More +
        24.09.2005 18:44
        Very helpful



        A must buy for anyone who remotely liked any of the singles. An album to go down in history.

        * Introduction *

        I must admit that I'm the kind of person who tends to buy a CD, almost on impulse, often having only heard one of the songs from the album, and sometimes not even fully sure if I like it. Well, U2's "how to dismantle an atomic bomb" is possibly the best example of this currently in my CD collection.

        I purchased this album a while ago, based on my liking on the immensely popular hit single "Vertigo," only to find that a while after, I was utterly sick of its tendency to be over played on the radio, to the point where I no longer found any enjoyment in listening to it. Luckily for me, the rest of the album was to be nothing like the first single, and every track, much slower, and more enjoyable to listen to. So, despite the manner in which this album was originally purchased, it remains one of the favourite albums in my collection, with the second single "Sometimes you can't make it on your own," with a firm place in my pile of all time favourites, with many other tracks on the album, also coming very close.

        So then, U2's latest album probably produced more hype in the general public, than most of the other album releases in that year put together, so naturally I was expecting rather a lot when I purchased it, and this is probably another factor as to why I bought it after having heard only one single. Well, anyway, the album in general is very well presented, a nice looking disc, which is easily identifiable in your collection, along with an attractive inlay, with full lyrical notation. One slight criticism I do have, is the way in which the song listings are presented on the back. I'm not sure why they have decided to list the songs in an almost paragraph format, as it simply makes it harder to view. But hey, not the end of the world…

        * Track by track analysis *

        The album opens fairly strongly with the hit single "Vertigo" which as I have already mentioned, is not one of my favourites on the album to say the least. I am sure many people love this track, and I do feel however that choosing to open the album with "Vertigo" almost provides a false sense of what the album is all about, as all the other tracks follow a totally different style of music. I have to admit that I was a little surprised, and at first disappointed to notice this distinct difference, but after I began to appreciate the slower and more lyrical music a great deal more.

        "Vertigo" however, despite my disliking, is a very well constructed and catchy song, which was perfect for securing public interest for their upcoming album. The opening is unmistakeable, with quick drumstick taps, getting stronger, before entering into the well-known countdown, "Unos, dos, tres, catorce…" which a lot of people would automatically associate with his song. The song then progresses into the sequence of verse, chorus, which is very effective in maintaining a strong and rhythmic structure throughout the song. My rating on this song is going to be on the overall, genuine quality of the song combined with my own opinions, as just the latter would perhaps not give it all the credit which it probably deserves.


        Next up, is "Miracle Drug," perhaps the genuine start of the album, providing us with a more realistic idea of what's to come. The song starts very softly, with light drumming and quiet guitar sounds to accompany it. Bono's voice is used to a much softer effect, which in my opinion is the road U2 ought to continue with, as they do it so much better, and the music is generally much more enjoyable. Again, a very well structured song, and a pleasure to listen to.


        The second single to be released from this album is to follow. "Sometimes you can't make it on your own" has to be one of the lyrically perfect songs I have ever heard, and one which can really make you make you feel warm with someone you love, or equally rather depressed without them. I'm sure the name indicated this without the need for an explanation into the meaning of this song, but it is all about being there and caring for someone, "let me take some of the punches for you tonight." The song is truly lovely, and a thoroughly deserved…


        "Love and peace or else" comes next, and it is possibly one of my personal favourites, at least in terms of good baseline beats on the album, unarguably the best. I just think they could have done a bit more with it. The song does take a while to get into, but when it does, I often can't help tapping my foot the amazing beat, and perfectly aligned lyrics to accompany. Despite this, it does get slightly repetitive in its style, and I do tend to prefer a bit of variation throughout a song, unless it's REALLY good… which this… isn't. As far as meaning goes, the lyrics express a concern for the need of love and peace in the world, "where is the love…" "We need love and peace." This does sound slightly familiar to a Black Eyed Peas' song I seem to recall. Maybe they should take lessons on how to make a good song on the same topic. Go U2.


        The third single to come from this album, was "City of blinding lights," and is simply fantastic. It is absolutely full of life, but not so full of life that it's in your face and annoying (which is what I found tended to happen with "Vertigo" after its release.) Bono makes great use of his amazing voice in this song, not just with words. We also hear in this song "ooooooo, oooooooo, ooooooo" as an intro to the main chorus. Bono does this perfectly, and although my strings of o's don't look overly attractive in this review, the effect is truly outstanding within this song. One other thing I love about this song is its simplistic structure, but amazing impact. Just great.


        "All because of you" is to follow, and is yet again, more classic U2. The drums and guitars are consistently outstanding, and Bono's fantastic lyrics once again, compliment this perfectly. One thing I will mention is that if you've got your volume up loud, it could give you a bit of a shock as the song opens ;) Not the best song on the album, but nothing to be sniffed at. Yet another great song, maintaining the high quality song that we have learned to expect from these boys.


        "A man and a woman" is possibly, the most melodic song on the album, and the one with the most clear-cut meaning. I find that a lot of the time, the meaning of a song is there, but doesn't always completely make sense. The meaning here is clear, not to leave the one you love for the one you like. "I could never take a chance, of losing love to find romance" You really feel that this song has come from the heart, and there is real emotion in the vocals. Fantastic.


        "Crumbs from your table" is to follow, and is to be honest, not one of my favourite songs on the album. I don't think the structure is as strong or defined as some of the other songs on the album, and it just doesn't have that edge which makes so many of U2's work so enjoyable. Not a bad song all in all, Bono's lyrics are consistently great, but if there was to be a weak link on the album, then this would be it.


        "One step closer" is another song, which I would not normally put down as a song I would typically enjoy. The song opens in a very gentle fashion, with soft guitar sounds, before the addition of some of the most meaningful vocals on the album. This is another song as like "a man and a woman" you can really imagine coming from the Bono's heart. "A heart that hurts, is a heart that beats" A truly moving piece of music.


        "Original of the species" is a perfectly placed track. This song is right up there with the best, allowing U2 to keep themselves at their best, all through the album. I find with some albums, that the quality can tend to deteriorate at certain points, but this makes sure that, that certainly will not happen. The lyrics are thought-provoking and emotive. They go from fairly soft and gentle, to much more vibrant in the chorus. This is really a song to give you goose pimples and is rightfully right up there in my favourites pile for this album.


        "Yahweh" on first listen sounds like a song that is going to be enjoyable, but I'm afraid as the song progresses, this assumption is hastily taken away. The chorus lacks strength and definition, and although the lyrics are lovely, the overall quality of this song is far from that of this album in general.


        To album finishes with "Fast cars," which incorporates a slightly different, almost Latino style into the album. The beat is fast all the way through, which is something we don't see much on this album, but is equally effective and is right up there in quality terms with everything else. A great way to end the album with something that little bit different. Great stuff.


        * Summary *

        This is overall a fantastically crafted album, showing U2 are genuinely back at their best. For any existing U2 fans, if you haven't yet purchased this, I strongly recommend you do so, and for those wondering whether or not to check this out based on any of the singles, my recommendation remains. You won't be disappointed.

        A few extra notes…

        Record Label: Island Records
        © Copyright owned by: Universal International Music BV

        Price and Availability:

        Online: £9.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
        High Street Stores: Around £10


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        • Antics - Interpol / Music Album / 22 Readings / 20 Ratings
          More +
          22.09.2005 18:10
          Very helpful



          Existing Interpol fans - a definate buy, for others - give it a try...

          Very Very good album! I was long awaiting this album after having purchased the first Interpol album, and therefore there a certain amount of expectation as the first one was so brilliant! But it turned out to be even better than I first thought! One thing I will say, is that the lead singer does have a fairly unusual voice, which on first hearing does take a bit of getting into, but is also highly effective in accompanying the great music which Interpol make.

          The album opens with "next exit" which is in itself a great song, but also a lot slower than most of the other songs, and after having listened to the album before, I find it hard to avoid skipping this as all the other songs are so amazing! But no way is this a bad song.

          As far as the other songs go, the favourites for me are the very powerful and melodic "evil" There is something about the way the leads voice and the music mix together to form such an amazing sound in all their songs. This is the song which really sold this second album for Interpol.

          "Narc" is also a great tune. I love the way it opens with the strong guitar riffs, and then slowly moving faster towards the powerful, emotive chorus, with the of she most moving Interpol lyrics on the album "She found a lonely sound, she keep on waiting for time..." For some reason, I also especially love the end to this song. It is so original and just goes so well, you'll see what I mean.

          "Take You On A Cruise" is another great song, like the opener, slightly more slow and melodic, but speeds up into a great chorus.

          "Slow hands" is another of my favourites on the album. It is probably the fastest track on the album, and really has the power to make you tap your foot. Classic Interpol, you'll be singing it in your head for hours after listening to it.

          "Public Pervert" is not one of my favourites on the album but still good. It has fairly fast beats, and a moving chorus, with the once again purely harmonious and perfectly crafted lyrical attributes.

          "C'mere" released as the second single. I was personally hoping to see something else released, but this is still a great tune, to back up what the band set up for themselves with the previous release of "evil" Again, great beats and skilful lyrics.

          "Length Of Love" has a great opening in my opinion. One of those songs you can tell you're going to like from the first 20 seconds. It continues in the same manner, with similar sounding beats all through the song, and very clever, almost romantic lyrics.

          The final track on the album "A Time To Be So Small" is not one of my favourites, but like all the others, still a good song, and classic Interpol. It's fairly slow and melodic, and takes a while to get into. This is probably one of the weaker songs on the album, with a less defined chorus, but still all the essential Interpol features which make this album their best yet.

          So, Interpol - "Antics" in a nut shell. Great album, fantastically crafted lyrics, the best you will see from any band, and fantastic melodic sounds.

          For existing Interpol fans, I would not hesitate in buying this album, and for those out there experiencing Interpol for the first time, I really recommend you give this a try, if you don't like it at first, keep listening and I'm sure you will.

          So… go buy!!


          And then... go buy their first album!!

          Highly recommended


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          • Demon Days - Gorillaz / Music Album / 24 Readings / 21 Ratings
            More +
            19.09.2005 00:11
            Very helpful



            Fantastic follow-up album. Go buy!

            This album was the long awaited return of Gorillaz, and when the world heard the sheer originality of "Feel Good Inc" I think the common expectation was that of something amazing.

            In my opinion I'm afraid, most of the tracks on the album don't quite live up to the bands first single from this second album But don't get me wrong, there is still a lot of quality music on this album, which I'm sure all gorillaz fans out there will enjoy immensely, but me as a fairly new fan, mainly having been introduced to these guys by "feel good inc", i was just expecting something a bit different.

            One huge plus with this album is that there are a good, healthy number of tracks, 15. Many albums these days only average around 10 or so, but gorillaz provide us with enough material to keep us listening for months.

            The disk starts with an "intro" which does its job perfectly in setting up the tone for the rest of the album.

            "Last Living Souls" is a great tune, with great rhythm and beat, upholding the typical gorrilaz hip hop style which everyone's used to. The lyrics in this song are pretty basic and we don't hear much more than "are we the last living souls" throughout the whole track, but nevertheless a great song.

            "Kids With Guns" is also a good song, but again not very lyrically advanced. This does however improve as the song progresses into the chorus, which is very effective.

            (I think that these first two tracks provide a really solid opening to the album, and go really well together. This is one of the highlights of the album for me.)

            "O Green World" is next, and this is a much more down beat, melodic song, but still manages to get your foot tapping. For me however, this is not one of the highlights of the album, as i prefer more of the upbeat gorillaz tracks

            "Dirty Harry" is perhaps one of the best songs on the album, It has a very strong opening beat, really setting up the song for the listener, allowing them to listen on and certainly not be disappointed. The use of soft vocals is very effective against the harsh beats in the background.

            And now we move onto the amazing "feel good inc." Which (regardless of the fact it was released as the first single) i believe to be undoubtedly the best song on the album. It is so original, one of the most original songs I have heard this year, and everything in the song just works. The structure is simple, yet highly effective. It opens with a rapping sequence, goes into a more vocal chorus and then repeats. Amazing song.

            "El Mañana" was perhaps the stand out track on my first listen, but in reality this is probably because I found myself listening 2 "feel good inc" a lot and this is the track after. But anyway, it has a slower beat than many of the other songs, and the lyrics really flow with the musical beats. A very effective song.

            "Every planet we reach is dead" - As with a lot of gorillaz music, this song starts off as it means to carry on, a very firm opening. Another thing with this song, is the tone and general sound of the opening is really suited to the name of the song. As we are introduced to the lyrics, we find that they perfectly compliment the tune, more classic gorillaz. Loving it.

            "November has come" starts off fairly slowly, and then incorporates vocals in the form of rapping. Personally I'm not overly keen on this songs opening, but it does get better, with the typical gorillaz soft vocal sounds coming through in the chorus.

            "All Alone" Similar sounds to previous tracks on the album. Also it starts off with the lyrics "All alone, all alone...." This is something we have seen a lot on the album, with the name of the song being repeated at the beginning of the song. This is one of the reasons i had my reservations about this album, as I thought all the songs were going to sound the same, but it turned out that they were all perfectly original and individual, each with their own merits. As for this song, great beat, and I love the way it is structured.

            "White light" is another perfectly original track, allowing the typical gorillaz style of music writing to shine through in all its glory. There is a very fast beat, guaranteed to keep your head nodding for some time. The music then slows down into a sort of interlude, which is another feature we often see in gorillaz songs. Great tune.

            "Dare" - and now we come onto the second main standout track of the album, alongside "feel good inc" Being released as the next single, "dare" is perfect in backing up the gorillaz high set standards put forward by the first single. There is perfect rhythm, and perfectly crafted lyrics from Damon Albarn.

            "Fire Coming Out Of The Monkeys Head" begins like a story, with a narrator setting the scene alongside a melodic beat. The song then becomes more lyrical, and turns into a great song. A highly effective structure for a highly effective song.


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            • hotmail.com / Internet Site / 36 Readings / 29 Ratings
              More +
              09.09.2005 19:24
              Very helpful



              A great service, highly recommended!

              MSN HOTMAIL

              Having already written a review on MSN Messenger, I thought I may as well go ahead and review MSN Hotmail, which is the free email service which runs in accordance with the instant messaging service.

              As I have just mentioned Hotmail is totally free service to anyone who signs up and makes an email account. Once this has been done, the user can send and receive mail to/from other Hotmail users and also users of different email providers, all over the world. Hotmail is undoubtedly the most well known free email service in world, and I'm sure most of you will know what I am talking about already, whether you are a user of this service or not. There are currently over 50 million active users of the service and, 25% of all web traffic is to msn.com, and 75% of all msn.com traffic is to Hotmail.msn.com, meaning that about 19% of all web traffic is to Hotmail. Quite impressive.

              Getting Started:

              Some of the information may well be repeated here from my MSN review, as the sign up process is the same for both of the services. But I will take you through the process of signing up, how to do it, and what it generally involves. First of all, when you arrive on the www.hotmail.com home page, on the left hand side you will see a heading entitled "new to MSN Hotmail?" If you look down a bit further you will find a "sign up" button, which you need to click on in order to get started.

              The first page you will come to allows you to select which particular Hotmail service you are interested in using. The three options are 'MSN Hotmail,' 'MSN Hotmail Plus' and 'Microsoft Office Outlook Live' Following this choice box is a lot of information concerning the features of the different software packages, to help you to decide which one to go for. I will not go into a great deal of detail on this, as I would simply be repeating what is on the website already and you can go and have a look for yourselves. When you have chosen, you can click on the "get it…" button to proceed with sign up process. For the purpose of this part of the review, I will assume you have chosen the free version of Hotmail, although the sign up process is similar for each, just with the added payment details for those concerned.

              The next stage is to enter in your account details and personal information. Firstly you must enter in your country of residence, and then choose upon a suitable email address. This is possibly one of the most difficult parts of the whole sign up process, due to the fact that as Hotmail has been around for a long time, a lot of the more common email addresses have already been taken. Thankfully however, for your help and convenience, there is a "check availability" button which allows you to see whether you will be able to have your chosen address before you proceed any further with the sign-up. The email address you choose can be any combination of letters, numbers, hyphens and underscores. Please note that other than this, no other characters are accepted. (* £ & %) Sign-in names must also be fewer than 64 characters.

              Next, you are required to create a password for use with your account, and it is suggested that you use a combination of letters and numbers in order to make it more difficult for unauthorised access to your account to take place. After this, you will need to sort your options for password reset. This involves creating a secret question which nobody else knows the answer too. If you by any chance forget your original password, you can enter the answer to your question, allowing you to choose a new password. As you may be able to gather, it is therefore vitally important that nobody else is able to know the answer to your question. From my personal experience, I have had a lot of friends, who when signed up, did not understand the usage or important of this feature and subsequently entered questions such as "what is my middle name?" or "what is my fathers name?" thus gaining undesired individuals access to their account. One further note on password selection… there is a rather useful feature that Hotmail have provided, whereby there is a strength indicator which shows you how strong your chosen password is on the scale "weak, medium and strong"

              Next, is more general information, where you are required to enter your first and last name, gender, date of birth, country, postal code and also timezone. The final thing before signing up to the terms and conditions is something you may have seen before. You are required to type out a series of letters which are decoratively arranged in a picture. This may seem pointless, but is actually a sensible measure to ensure that only actual people, not automated programmes, are signing up to their service.

              Finally, you must "read" the sign-up agreement and terms and conditions, enter your email address and confirm that you accept. The reason I have put read in inverted commas is because I don't think it is entirely necessary to read through everything there is there, as it is often very long, and have never had any problems with any service I am a part of, as a cause of the fact I have breached the terms under which I signed up, But whether or not you choose to read them is entirely up to you. I suppose from the amount I have written about the sign up process, it may seem like a rather long-winded affair, but I can assure you that it will take you 3 minutes at the most.

              Once this main stage has been completed and approved (i.e. you have not missed out any information on your sign-in form, your passwords match and all of your other information is valid) you will be directed onto a page where you can sing up for special interests. Signing up for any of these basically entitles you to lots of junk mail, which in a few weeks I can assure you, you will no longer be interested in. So, if you take my advice, you will scroll to the bottom of the page and click continue… Having done this, your new email account will be ready for use immediately, and you will be directed onto your personal email interface.

              Using Hotmail after sign up:

              Like I have just said, after having singed up to MSN Hotmail, your account will be immediately available for use, and you will find yourself on the appropriate page. When you want to use Hotmail on a different occasion, you will need to sign in with your email address and password on the Hotmail home page (which is www.hHotmail.com) A further note on this is that if you close the Hotmail window, you will automatically be signed out, and it is not actually essential to use the "sign out" button on every occasion.

              On the Hotmail homepage, the sign in section is on the right hand side, next to the new account sign up area. Besides from the two boxes for your email address and password, you will also find a few other things. Underneath directly, is the "forgot your password?" button. This is where you can reset your password with use of your secret question and answer, as I have mentioned earlier. You can also adjust options here for whether or not Hotmail will save your email address and password, or just your email address, for increased convenience in the future. It is also possible, if for example you are on a shared computer, that neither your email address or password is saved.

              After Sign In:

              After you have signed in, you will be at your account homepage, which is the page you first saw when you signed up. This is the place where you can begin to access all the exciting (free, depending on which account you signed up for) features. There is a short summary, which allows you to view any new mail in any of your folders (wanted email and junk email) Above this there is also a status bar indicating how much of your allocated mail storage (250MB) you are currently using. On that note, I think it is really amazing how much storage we are actually given, totally free of charge. I don't think I will ever find myself exceeding the limits, and currently I am on something like 4%.

              Besides from this, on the homepage there are various tabs at the top, allowing you to easily navigate to the most important and key areas of your account, 'Today' (which is the introductory page which you are currently on) 'Mail' (which is where you can access all your email and view different folders) 'Calendar' and 'Contacts' (but more information on how to use both of them, later on in the review.) All of these links to different folders will display in brackets next to them the number of new (unread) emails currently in the folder.

              Your Inbox:

              When you arrive at your inbox by clicking 'Mail' on the introductory page, you will automatically be directed towards your list of wanted mail. Any new mail in your inbox will be indicated to you by being a darker colour shade against the rest of the mail and with a closed envelope symbol next to it. Once the email has been read, this will disappear and the mail will appear exactly the same as all the others. There are also headings at the top of the list of emails giving information about the subject of the email, who it is from, the size of the email, and the date which it was sent.

              Also on the screen is a separate menu down the left hand side. This is perhaps for me, the key area on the Hotmail interface, as I use it principally for email, and don't use many of the other features very often. This menu provides access to your Inbox (which you are already in), your Junkmail, Drafts, Sent Messages, and Trashcan. In addition to all of these, any additional folders which you have created will display here, but more information on all of those later on.


              The junkmail folder is where all the mail which is not from someone on your contact list, or when the sender is unknown, ends up. I tend to get quite a lot of junk mail, and am very grateful for this folder, as a lot of the stuff I get would get in the way a lot, and generally make sorting out useful mail from inbox much more difficult. In relation to this, in the settings (which I will talk about later on in the review) there are options for the level of junk mail security. This basically means how little or how much of your mail will end up in there. Regardless of what setting you choose to have active, I suggest you check your junkmail folder as regularly as you do your inbox, as it is always possible that something you would have wanted to receive, ends up in there by mistake, and all messages in the junk email will also be deleted after 5 days of receipt. Another thing, which may or may not apply to you, but it does to me, is that if you subscribe to a lot of websites, you may find that the confirmation emails end up in the junk email folder, as you will need to add them to your "safe list" before they will be delivered to your inbox. Also, a lot of companies have complex mailing systems that distribute emails to you, from a variety of differing addresses. Therefore you may find that some of their mail ends up in the inbox, but some don't. For this reason also, I suggest you make it a habit of regularly checking your junk email.


              This is a very useful feature, and basically does as you may expect it too. If you begin to write an email but for some reason have to leave it incomplete, you can save it to this folder, return at a later date, and then send it at your convenience. In order to save a message as a draft, you will need to click on "save draft" whilst writing the message.

              Sent Messages:

              The sent message folder is a folder where you can optionally choose to store messages which you have sent to people. It took me a while to realise when I first got Hotmail, that this was not done automatically, and that if you want a message to be saved here, then you have to tick a box at the bottom of the message when you are about to send it. But this is not a great hassle.

              Trash Can:

              This is another folder I find very useful. Every message that gets deleted, either on purpose or by accident, will end up in this folder. I think the main purpose of this is to provide some sort of back-up if a message of some importance is accidentally deleted. This folder is emptied every day to prevent a large build up of messages, so it is possible to retrieve an accidentally deleted message, supposing that is that you notice straight away. The folder can also me manually emptied by user choice, when necessary.

              'Manage Folders:'

              This is an option given at the bottom of the list of folders, and is where you can view stats about your existing folders and also add/remove other folders. If you are someone who will be a heavy user of this service, it can be very useful to see stats in this level of detail, so that you can choose what to delete and when, if there are any problems with a shortage of memory.

              Writing a Message:

              Writing an email to someone is a very simple process, and I will now take you through it in as much detail as I can. If we go back to the home page, you will be able to locate a button entitled "New Message." If you click on this, you will arrive on the compose email screen.

              As you will see, there are boxes where email addresses can be put in, and underneath a larger box where you can add your message. The message can be as long as you want, and there are various different formatting options to make your message that little bit more interesting. The font colour and style can be changed, as well as the font size. You can also make any of your texts formatted with bold, italics or underline, as well as aligning your text on the page in the way that best suits your purpose. The colour of the background is also fully changeable. All of these features are flexible, and can be applied to the whole document, or very small, individual sections of your email.

              There are a few other features, like bullet points or a numbered list, for added convenience. The last thing on this, is that you can choose from a small range of MSN Messenger Emoticons, to liven up your email, but however please note that this is by no means the full range that you would find on the latest version of MSN Messenger.

              Once you are satisfied with your email, you can enter in who you want it sent too, in either to "To" "CC" or "BCC" boxes. The email can be sent to as many people as you like. Before you click send, you can add an optional subject line, to let people know what your email is about before they open it. For further convenience with who the email is sent too, a list of contacts is shown on the left hand side, where the email addresses can be simply clicked on in order to add them too the "To" list. This proves a lot quicker than typing them all out yourself.

              Finally, next to the "send" tab there a few other options to do with the email. Firstly, there is a built in dictionary, thesaurus and spell check. (which to be honest, before researching Hotmail for this review, I didn't actually know myself) There is also a feature which allows you to attach files, pictures, or contact information to your email, up to a limit of 10MB. The process is easy, you just browse for the file you are looking for, and then either click "OK" or "OK and attach another" depending on how many files you need to attach. All files attached, and downloaded are scanned automatically with virus scanning software used by Hotmail, to prevent the inadvertent distribution of unwanted viruses.

              Contact List:

              The contact list, is not personally something that I have used very much in my time as a Hotmail.com user, as I don't generally send many messages to large amounts of people at once, and can simply remember the address of the individual I am sending a message to. Having said that, the contact list is perhaps one of the most sophisticated aspects of the overall Hotmail package. You can view all your present contacts in A to Z, skipping by letter to easily retrieve a contact you are interested in. If you are a user of MSN Messenger, and contact you have already on there, or add on a later date, will automatically be put onto your Hotmail list, to save you doing it twice. In the same light, any contact groups you set up on your MSN, will automatically be replicated on your Hotmail contact list.

              Adding a new contact to your list is relatively simple, and just involves you entering in their information. A "quickname" and email address are required, but other information such as actual name and phone number can be added at the users preference. Any contact on the list can also be removed or deleted in an equally easy manner.

              As I mentioned earlier, when talking about writing a new email, a list of your "favourite" contacts can be set up, and these will be the ones which appear first of all on the list when writing an email. This can be done with the menu at the left hand side entitled "edit favourites."


              The calendar is a feature on Hotmail which I have never had any use for, so as far as personal experience goes, there is not going to be a great deal included in this section… Basically, the calendar allows you to set notes and reminders so that you don't forget anything of importance. It also obviously allows you to see what day and date it is, but if you really need to resort to Hotmail to find that out… then… well…

              General Options:

              Hotmail also has an options centre, where many different things in relation to your account, can be changed or altered. On this screen, there is a left hand menu, which splits the different options into categories; Personal, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Upgrade. I won't go through all of the different options available, just some of the most important ones. For example, this is where you will be able to change your password, if that is ever necessary, and also update your personal information. Another thing is the settings for Junk Email Protection and levels of general security. In general though, if you are looking to change something, then this is the best place to go looking.


              Phew, well I have tried to cover everything I can think of where Hotmail is concerned, and I hope this review will prove helpful for all those who read it, whether you are totally new to the service, or are an existing member, looking for an answer to an unanswered question. Well that just leaves me to say, I hope you enjoyed reading, and I hope also that you take advantage of the most popular and worthwhile email system out there.

              © Chris Wynne 2005


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              • Sure Shot AF-7 / Archive Electronic / 38 Readings / 32 Ratings
                More +
                05.09.2005 02:43
                Very helpful



                Great looking, basic camera, which does that little bit extra. Well worth the money.


                As a 16 year old, with primary interests in rock music and online gaming, photography is not an area I have a great deal of expertise in. In fact, until the beginning of summer last year, my experience of using cameras extended about as far one-use, disposable cameras which can be bought in boots for about £5. Anyway, last summer I decided that it was about time I purchased a camera which would produce higher quality pictures and generally prove to be a lot more useful for retaining memories of happy summer holidays.

                Well, there's a little bit of background for you, and I am sure you can all realise by now, that the camera I purchased, is indeed the camera I am about to review. So, what was I looking for exactly? Well, something not overly expensive, but on the other hand something which would allow me some basic options for taking different types of pictures. After much deliberation and advice from my Dad, (who is actually a rather keen photographer, and was all for me spending a lot more money on something a lot better…) I settled for the Canon SureShot AF-7.

                Design / Appearance

                The camera is very compact, and not too heavy to carry around with you. It is a very smart and attractive design, with a dark, black, metallic finish. One thing I have found with this camera however, is that it is very prone to scratches and minor markings on the outer case due to the material it is made from. Having said that, it's really not a great problem so long as the damage does not extend as far as to disrupt the functionality of the camera itself.

                Ease of Use

                Over the past year, I have found this camera increasingly easy to use. The buttons are clear and easy to understand, and it really didn't take me very long to be able to use with confidence all the different features which the camera has to offer. The on/off switch is very large for increased ease of use.

                The changing of films and batteries is also very simple, and the mechanisms are indeed very effective. The film loading is fully automatic for both advance and rewind, and also mid-roll rewind. With reference to batteries, I will add at this point that this camera requires two standard AA-type batteries, which from my experience power the camera for a good amount of time before running out and needing replacing. Two batteries are supplied with the camera at purchase.

                One further thing relating to ease of use, is that I have found the viewfinder of this camera is very large, considerably bigger than any disposable camera which I have used in the past. It is extremely clear and bright and also offers "long eye relief" making the camera easier to use for people needing to wear glasses. In the viewfinder also, there are LED indications alerting the user when the flash or auto-focus systems are ready.

                Extra Features


                The flash on this camera is very efficient and can be set to one of three different settings. There is obviously flash on and flash off, but also an extra setting which automatically initiates the flash feature if there is not sufficient light to make a good photo. This third setting also prevents under-exposed photographs and adjusts automatically the "red-eye" effect which can often occur. The flash is very powerful, allowing photos to be taking in conditions with limited light, up to 10 metres away.


                The camera is equipped with a self-timer function, allowing the shutter button to be pressed, but the picture taken a set amount of time after. I have personally found this very convenient, especially if there is no-one around to take a picture for you and you want everyone with you to be included.

                Extras: Case and Strap

                Included with this camera is a carrying case and strap, which I have made great use out of, especially the strap, since I am always worrying that I might drop the camera whilst taking a picture.

                Technical Information

                • Camera Type: Point & Shoot camera
                • Dimensions (WxDxH): 12.5 cm x 4.6 cm x 7.4 cm
                • Weight: 210 g
                • Camera Format: 35mm
                • Focus Adjustment: Automatic
                • Focal Length: 35 mm
                • Exposure Range: 1/160 sec - 1/45 sec
                • Viewfinder: Real-image
                • Camera Flash: Built-in flash
                • Red Eye Reduction: Built-in

                Lens System:
                • Focal Length: 35 mm
                • Focus Adjustment: Automatic
                • Lens Aperture: F/3.8
                • Min' Focus Range: 80 cm
                • Type: Lens

                • Magnification: 0.68x
                • Viewfinder Frames: Autofocus frame


                As far as pricing, when I bought my camera last year, I seem to remember paying around £40 for it, but I have had a quick look on the internet and the lowest price I can seem to find is from Argos at £31.99.

                Overall, if you are looking for a fairly basic camera, at a cheap price, but still with a good amount of extras to make enjoyable usage, then this camera is for you. If you are a more serious photographer (like my dad…) then maybe you would want to look for something a bit more advanced.


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                • More +
                  01.09.2005 23:43
                  Very helpful


                  • Reliability


                  Totally free service, great fun, a must for all!!

                  MSN MESSENGER 7


                  Before I begin my review aimed specifically at the new MSN Messenger Version 7, I will first of all provide a short introduction as to what MSN Messenger is in general, and the service which it offers, for those of you who are experiencing MSN Messenger for the first time.

                  Well… MSN Messenger is probably the most well known instant messaging service in the world, used on all the continents and by millions of people. It is a piece of free software which allows instant communication over the internet with whoever one chooses. This communication can be in the form of written text, an audio conversation or video messaging using a webcam. MSN Messenger provides a user friendly interface, immaculately set out, allowing the user to carry out all of the above mentioned functions.

                  Other features include the ability to share files between different users, however only 3 can be sent at any one time, and in order for more to be sent, one of the original 3 must have finished transferring. I find that sharing files in this way is very useful and efficient, although sometimes, depending on the speed of internet connection and size of file, it can take rather a while, and sharing files through email can prove to be somewhat quicker.


                  Before you can begin to use MSN Messenger, you must of course download it. The download is widely available across the internet, from a variety of different sources which can be found simply by typing "MSN Messenger Download" into the Google search engine. However, I recommend that you download MSN Messenger from www.messenger.msn.com, as this is the official Microsoft download location, and will always guarantee that you download the latest and most up to date version of MSN Messenger.

                  As far as file sizes and download times are concerned, I believe the file is around 7MB, so not very large, and most of you should be able to install it in no time at all, but it does all depend on the speed of your internet connection. As a rough guide to download times:

                  56K: 20 minutes
                  64K: 15 minutes
                  128K: 8 minutes
                  768K: 1 minute

                  Getting started:

                  Right, so now you're fully downloaded and ready to begin your revolutionary MSN experience. If you have not already, you will need to create a hotmail account and .net passport, as these are requirements for use of the service. This can be easily done by visiting www.hotmail.com and hitting 'sign up.' A quick note on this also, the hotmail email service is directly linked to MSN, and you can check email via your MSN each time you sign in, and there are even alerts telling you if you receive a new message whilst you are signed in.

                  After you have done this, you will be able to log into MSN Messenger, by clicking sign in and entering your hotmail email address and password. To chat with your friends and family, you must add them as a contact on your list. This can be done by clicking "Add a Contact" in the bottom left hand corner of the interface, and then adding the contact through the appropriate way out of the options given. Having just started out, I think the chances are that you will need to select "create a new contact from an email address" as you will not have any existing contacts in your hotmail address book. After having done this, the address you have entered will either be confirmed as correct or declined due to the address you have entered not having a valid .net passport (i.e. the address you have entered does not exist) Supposing you entered the correct address, it will then appear in your list, and the person concerned will receive an invitation, which they can either accept or decline. Contacts can be blocked (disabling the individuals ability to interact with you) or deleted completely at any time. Similarly, contacts can be re-added or unblocked at any time also.

                  When you build up your contact list further, you can start to organise your contacts into groups for further convenience and ease of use. The options for performing this action can be found by right-clicking the group title.

                  If a contact is currently online, thus enabling you to interact with him/her via an instant message, there will be a green symbol next to their name, or, if the contact signs in while you are currently online, you will be notified by a popup in the bottom right hand side of your screen. In order to start a conversation with an online contact, you must double click their name to open up the window. Here, you can type messages in a range of different fonts, colours and formatting effects. You can also send a range of standard emoticons (small pictures to add to the mood of your writing)

                  There is also a function enabling you to change your online status to a variety of different things, from "busy" to "out to lunch" to "away" This is useful for alerting your contacts to your whereabouts without actually having to sign out from MSN.

                  One final note on basic functionality of msn messenger is that you can change your screen name to what you want. This is what others will see whenever you type a message. Alternatively, if you enter nothing, your email address will be shown instead.

                  Range of Additional Features:

                  If you are using MSN Messenger for the first time, you are likely not to be aware of this, but MSN 7, is a big step away from the first ever versions that were released. A great deal of work has gone into making the MSN experience as enjoyable and entertaining as possible, and I have really enjoyed watching all the new and exciting features being explored as MSN just keeps on getting better. So what latest and exciting features are we equipped with at the moment then…


                  The emoticon system on MSN 7 is the most advanced yet. We have all the standard elements, plus a few others, but the main leap that has been taken is the addition of larger emoticons, and video capability within the conversation. There are currently many custom emoticons in circulation, and me, myself have not found it difficult to build up my collection. I believe also that you can buy emoticon packs from MSN, but I discourage anyone who is planning on doing this, as I'm sure you can find what you want, either in existing circulation (these can be added by right clicking the image and clicking "add" or from other websites free of charge.


                  This was the immediate standout feature when I first installed the new version of MSN. Winks are large video cartoons, which when sent will take up the entire contact box. This can get rather annoying as it does slightly interfere with the conversation. This is especially the case when someone has only just downloaded it, and is looking for someone to try out all the new features!
                  The type of cartoons include a big kiss, a dancer, and a light bulb.

                  The "Nudge"…

                  This is perhaps one of the most annoying added features to the new MSN. There is an icon in the conversation window which when clicked will shake the conversation window and that of the recipient. This intention being to draw attention to the conversation if it appears one person has forgotten about it. The reason I particularly find it annoying, is because if you are in a different conversation and someone initiates a nudge, then you will automatically be redirected into this conversation, often meaning you lose track of where you were in your intended conversation.


                  MSN 7 carries forward the feature from MSN 6, and still allows you to customise conversations with individual backgrounds. After you have assigned a specific design for a specific contact, this will remain on their window for a set amount of time. You can choose from a range of set images, or make your own.


                  The handwriting tool is located at the bottom of the area where text is entered, and allows you to send a handwritten message to your friends. There are options for the thickness of writing, the colour and also whether you want to be writing on a blank background or on various different sized grids. Everything is also fully erasable, with different thickness of erasers and also the option to clear the whole screen.


                  MSN Messenger Version 7 comes with all the standard MSN games which we are all used to; Minesweeper Flags, Bejewled, Solitaire Showdown, Checkers and Tic Tac Toe. There are also an additional two games, Chess Club and Bankshot Billiards Club. I do however regret to inform you that these games do require subscription.


                  There are also a number of very practical facilities which enable the user to perform various different tasks. There is file sharing, and Photo Swop. I have tried both of these and they are indeed very efficient. There is also a calendar which allowed you to record appointments. "Whiteboard" is also a very fun activity. It is basically like opening a paint application except the other person is able to contribute also. Finally, there is an activity called Remote Assistance, which allows a friend to help you out with something on your PC. I Do urge users to be careful when using this facility, especially with people you don't know, as it does provide them with access to your PC and files.

                  "Sign In As"…

                  This is possibly, for me, the most valuable feature on this new version of MSN. It allows you to sign in with your status pre-set to whatever you want. I find myself a lot of the time signing in as appeared offline, as it enables me to see who's online before I alert everyone else to my presence. Therefore if there is someone you are looking to avoid it can be done.

                  "What I am Listening To"…

                  This is another great addition in my opinion. It is compatible with Windows Media Player, and when you enable this function, it displays next to your name what song you are currently listening to. This feature was a part of MSN 6, but with MSN 7 we have seen another new addition. The song title and artist is actually a link which when clicked sends you to MSN Music, and displays extra information about the song and artist. When this feature is disabled, the current personal message will automatically be displayed in its place. (see below)

                  Personal Message…

                  This feature runs along side "What I am listening to" in a way. Both appear in the same place, but I am afraid you have to decide which one you want as both cannot appear at once. A personal message is an extra piece of writing besides from your screen name, which will appear on the contact list of others next to your name.

                  Below are the minimum system requirements needed to MSN Messenger 7.0 (Source: www.microsoft.com)

                  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows 98; Windows 98 Second Edition; Windows ME; Windows XP; Windows XP 64-bit; Windows XP Embedded; Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 1; Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2 ; Windows XP Home Edition ; Windows XP Media Center Edition; Windows XP Professional Edition ; Windows XP Service Pack 1; Windows XP Service Pack 2; Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
                  • Pentium PC with 233MHz processor or faster (500MHz recommended)
                  • Microsoft Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Millenium, or Windows XP operating system
                  • Minimum 64MB of RAM (128MB recommended)
                  • Up to 50MB of hard disk space needed to install - after install, up to 15MB may be needed
                  • 256-color VGA or higher resolution graphics card (SVGA recommended)
                  • Minimum 800x600 screen resolution
                  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer version 6.0 or later must be installed on your computer, though it does not need to be your default browser

                  I have tried to give a good overview of MSN Messenger Version 7, but I sure there are things I have missed as MSN is such a complicated piece of software.

                  But overall, I really recommend you give this a go, its FREE, fun and the best instant messaging service you will find.


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                  • More +
                    28.08.2005 15:07
                    Very helpful



                    Great album, raw talent, a great buy.

                    The Kaiser Chiefs are probably one of, if not the largest upcoming figures in the British rock industry, Straight from Leeds, these guys have got raw talent, originality and amazing song writing technique.

                    The Kaiser Chiefs special edition box set and DVD is the word "originality" personified.

                    Let's start with what this special edition has to offer. Well, it comes in a nice handy box, obviously the inlay that you would find with the normal version of this album, plus the 12 song disk. In addition we are given another CD, containing one extra song, plus live versions of a few of the Kaiser Chiefs songs ("Hard Times Send Me", "Modern Way," "I Predict A Riot", "Time Honoured Tradition" and "Na Na Na Na Naa") The two disks go hand in hand, each as enjoyable to listen to as the other. Both of the disks are contained in originally designed and practical cardboard sleeves, and also included is a board game layout, plus "bank of kaiser" bank notes, all adding to the themed approach and sheer originality which these guys sought to achieve, and did with triumph.

                    As for the songs themselves, the first single released from this album was "I predict a riot," which in all honesty when I first heard didn't think a great deal of, and I think the general opinion in this country is the same. It was only the second single "Oh My God" which really cast these guys into the limelight, and spelled the beginning of their domination in the British music industry.

                    Both of these songs are for me, truly original, and can have me singing them in my head for a long time after having heard them.

                    With this in mind, I'm sure you can imagine my expectations for the rest of the album, but luckily for me, it wasn't going to disappoint. Every song on the album is amazing in its own way, and in my opinion, ones to particularly look/listen out for are "Modern Way" and "Saturday Night"

                    Overall, a magnificent debut album for these guys, and I hope you decide to give them the appreciation they deserve and go out and buy either this, or the original CD version. However I do recommend you buy the special edition version, as if you look around you'll find it's not a great deal more expensive. In most music shops I have seen it retail at around the £18 range, but I'm sure, as with most CD's, it will be available for a much reduced price online!

                    I hope this proves helpful! Happy Listening!


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                    • Iriver iFP-795 512 MB / MP3 Player / 28 Readings / 22 Ratings
                      More +
                      27.08.2005 22:26
                      Very helpful


                      • Reliability


                      A great buy, top of the range mp3 player.

                      Buying an mp3 player can be a very long and drawn-out process, so many different models, memory sizes and manufacturers to choose from. However, no matter what the functions, no matter what the memory of the particular mp3 player, i would like to point out that i river is one of the most quality and value for money manufactures you will find on the market. Therefore, firstly i would like to recommend that no matter what type of portable music device you are looking for, you check out the range of products which i river have to offer before you make any final decisions, and spend money which could have been better spent on a much more quality product.

                      As for the IFP-795, i couldn't compliment it enough; it is everything i would have ever wanted from an mp3 player. Appearance wise, it is very compact, weighing in at only 37 grams. The design in very stylish and the mp3 player can be purchased in a variety of colours to suit the preference of the individual buying it.

                      As for more general features, like most mp3 players it will support all the major audio formats, MP3, WMA and OGG Vorbis
                      However, what i believe really makes this model stand out from the crowd, is the array of extra enhancements which it includes. There is a built in radio, with great signal and also the ability to store preset stations! I say the comment about signal, because as with my previous mp3 player, which was a Panasonic model, i found that often the signal from the radio was very poor, making the quality of the sound not very good, but with all i-river models, this is never a problem.

                      Adding to the quality of this product further, there is a built in clock, so that you always know what time it is, and also detailed sound and audio settings, allowing you to make fine adjustments to bass and treble values etc. One of the best features for me, in relation to the radio is the ability to record straight from the radio onto the mp3 player, and even the ability to set a timer to record from a particular time, if there was something you especially wanted to listen 2.

                      Other benefits include a much larger playback time than many other mp3 players, although i will warn you that the mp3 is run off a single AA battery, whereas most use AAA batteries. The reverse of the mp3 player is fairly chunky as a result of this, which is not something which the photos reveal, so be wary of this. Having said that, it really is not a major issue for me and this is still an amazing mp3 player. The controls are simple, yet sophisticated, giving you a real feeling of control over the mp3 player, which is not something i have seen in many others, where the controls seem to stick, especially when scrolling through tracks in the library. It can seem to take forever! The display on this mp3 is outstanding, crystal clear with a backlight. There are even settings which allow you to change the contrast and brightness of the backlight, and also how long it remains on for after you have put the mp3 player away.

                      Obviously, the mp3 is available in all the usual memory capacities, 128, 256, 512, 1024 MB, so whichever suits you best.

                      One final thing, is that all i -river model mp3 players, come with i river music software to help upload music onto the mp3. This is very high quality software, and although i use windows media player for mine, many other people may find extremely useful.

                      I have tried to cover all the major aspects of this mp3 player and i hope this will prove helpful to all those who are considering an i-river mp3 player.

                      Finally, you may find that i-river mp3 players are priced a little bit higher than its competition, but i urge you not to be put off by this, and pay a little bit more for that extra added quality, you really wont regret it. As for prices... the lowest i have seen is around £85, so when looking try not to pay anymore than that, but do look around to see if u can find anything lower, good luck :)


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                      • More +
                        27.08.2005 22:04
                        Very helpful



                        Great range of songs, can get boring if over-listened to... Well worth buying.

                        The Rasmus are:

                        Lauri Ylonen (vocals)
                        Pauli Rantasalmi (Guitars)
                        Eero Heinomen (Bass)
                        Aki Hakala (Drums)

                        (Now I want you to be able 2 recite those back to yourself at the end of this review, with correct spellings… what? Oh come on, they're not THAT hard!?)

                        Anyway, this album - "Dead Letters" marked the beginning of the Rasmus' influence on the British music industry, although unaware to many (I know it was to me before I had liked this band enough to research them further), the Rasmus truly began their music career, way back in 1996, when they released their first album ever "Peep" in Finland. This was to be the first of a string of five albums, in quick succession up until 2001 where they took a break to begin work on their worldwide debut album - "Dead Letters" The Finnish boys became stars all over Finland instantly, as they jumped at their chance to fill the high expectation of new generation rock music. More albums were to come, and the Rasmus just became even more famous, to the point where they received their first Finnish Grammy award in the category of best new act.

                        Anyway, back to this review… so why did I just tell you all of that? To be honest I think that in this country these boys are not given the true appreciation which they deserve, and did indeed receive back in their homeland. Now, I am writing this review a good two years after this album was first released in the UK, and when indeed I first purchased it, a good two years ago. Back then, as many of my friends know, I was rather a fan, to say the least, ok I was completely obsessed. The fact which after having published this review, I'm sure will be reinforced by many.

                        If I am completely honest, at this precise time, I am not a great fan of the Rasmus, but this does not mean to say that they are not very talented individuals, capable of creating highly innovative and original pieces of music. I have therefore decided to write this review, because I think it is the case that after the Rasmus introduction to the UK, they have been clouded by false judgement, based on them and not their music, and the common feeling that "if you like the Rasmus you have bad taste in music." (Maybe it was Lauri's hair…)
                        The exact opinion by which I would like to uphold strong arguments against. So, I mentioned I wasn't a great fan anymore, but if their music is so good, why not? Well… for a long time I was a good fan and appreciated their music no end, but now two years on, I'm afraid there is just too much other raw talent emerging for me truly appreciate them like I used to. Another reason could be that I probably listened to it back then more than the rest of my music collection put together, thus making it somewhat less appealing.

                        With that said, I would like to write this review based on my feelings of this band two years ago, so that anyone at the moment who is experiencing the Rasmus for the first time, or is considering buying this album based on their views on either of the singles "In the Shadows" or "Guilty," will be able to see an accurate description of their music, with complete justice done to the talent that these boys do indeed possess.

                        Before I go on to discuss all of the tracks in detail and identifying their individual merits, I would like to point out some general points about the album itself which did appeal to me. The inlay is immaculately set out, with full lyrics for each of the songs for those of you who like to have a sing a long… I think it would also be beneficial to provide some background history to the album "Dead Letters" itself. In the words of the lead singer himself, "Each song is a letter to somebody. It could be an apology, confession or cry out for help" On the back of the album inlay, we are also given the quote "A dead letter is a letter that has never been delivered because the person to whom it was written cannot be found, and it also cannot be returned to the person who wrote it." When I first noticed this, it made me think a lot, and kind of gave the album a dark, mysterious feeling to it. Some other people who I know however, have argued that it is a bit cheesy, and slightly out of place in the album. But that is up to you to decide.

                        The album has a very dark tone to it, each song showing this in a slightly different way. Eero who plays the bass guitar has said "The album is darker, moodier and dreamier than anything we have done before."

                        The tracks then… the standard version of this album has 10 great songs on it, and if you pay the little bit extra for the UK Bonus Version, there are an extra 3.

                        "First Day Of My Life" is a truly great opener to the album, allowing Lauri's vocals to really shine through. The chorus is very catchy, with hard guitar riffs and a catchy beat.

                        "In The Shadows" is next, with its unmistakable intro and instant appeal. I don't think I need to say much more about this song, if you havn't heard it already, I really urge you to, its one of those songs that goes down in history

                        "Still Standing" is classic rock from the Rasmus, it starts very slowly, with smooth and calming lyrics. It really gives you a warm feeling inside, especially as the song enters into the chorus. One of my personal favourites.

                        "In My Life" is easily the most powerful song on the album, one with the power to make your hairs stand on end as you are taken on a rocky journey through the fast beats of the chorus. The meaning and lyrics of the song also contribute to the effect it has, the feelings of power and control grip the listener. Absolutely great stuff.

                        "Time to Burn" is one of the slower tracks on the album, but still got some strong guitar riffs, providing the Rasmus sounding music which we love. The chorus, is again very moving.

                        "Guilty" was released as the second single, and for me is a great song, with perfectly balanced sounds and very striking beats and rhythm. A real classic.

                        "Not like the other girls" is another one of the slower tracks on this album, but still got the power, with Lauri's strong vocal sounds, to make you fall in love with it. Give it a chance to get going though is my advice

                        "The One I Love" is just fantastic. I think the best crafted chorus and song sequence I have seen on the album. I Just love it.

                        "Back In The Picture" is a true rock classic, and I just love the beginning, its absolutely fantastic, setting you up for what's to come immediately. It's one of those songs which really get you moving, and at times makes you want to get up and dance!

                        "Funeral Song" is the last song on the album if you have not purchased the bonus track version of the album. For me, although it is very slow and does not have much of what I would usually look for in a Rasmus song, it is still great. It brings out the sensitive side of these boys, and shows us that they are not all just heavy rock, and loud noise. "I died in my dreams, reaching out for your hand" (Aww)

                        "F-f-f-falling" is G-g-g-great! A fantastic rock melody, which was previously released in Finland as a single on one of their previous albums. It was a real success over there, and for me, is a great success on this album

                        "If You Ever" is not in my opinion one of the highlights of the album, and is infact one of the weaker links, nevertheless it is still good, just not as good as some of the other material we have on this album.

                        "What ever" is the final track, and is a really great one to finish with. Very fast chorus, and as usual great guitar riffs!

                        Having analysed all the tracks individually I would just like too add a bit about some of the Rasmus' other works. Back in 2003 when I was a real fan of this band, I had totally exhausted all potential the album ever had to lighten my mood, or even make me tap my foot. I was hungry for more, and with the latest album having only just been released it would be a long time before I would be equipped with any new material. So, I purchased one of their previous albums. "Into" the last album released in Finland is really great, but as this isn't a review on that album, I wont go into much detail on it, only to say that if you are bored of Dead Letters, and are hungry for more like I was, do check this out, it has the originality and flare of Dead Letters, just slightly less dark and gothic.

                        Anyway, back to the present, two years on, and we are finally within reaching distance of some new Rasmus material, and based on my past experiences, I might just be tempted to check it out. The new single "no fear" will be released on August 29th of this year as the first single of the forthcoming album "Hide From The Sun" which is Scheduled for a worldwide release on September 12.

                        A quick price guide for you:

                        The Rasmus - Dead Letters (Album) is available from many online stores for around £10 and slightly more in the shops. (Although having said that, as it is a fairly old album, in some record shops you may find it reduced...)


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