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This Is The Life - Amy Macdonald

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Genre: Rock / Artist: Amy Macdonald / Audio CD released 2007-07-30 at Mercury Records Ltd (London)

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      15.08.2009 21:44
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      A great album for someone so young

      dooyoo have described it as Rock but it would put it more as pop/folk. I think if it wasn't for "This Is The Life", I would never have developed my deep appreciation for folk music.

      Amy MacDonald definitely has the "folky" voice, with her Scottish tone. Also, the lyrics all tell a story. In some ways she is reminiscent of Sandy Denny; in others, June Tabor.

      The song on the album that stands out is "Mr. Rock and Roll". It was the first song to be released, it reached No. 1 in the UK charts and it was that track which propelled Miss MacDonald to stardom. It is a magnificent pop record, a perfect mix of folk and pop. I love how it starts off really quietly and then all of a sudden it's booming in your ears!

      Next to be released was the title track "This Is The Life". It's very catchy with its punchy lyrics and simple melody.

      After that came "Poison Prince", rumoured to be penned by Amy MacDonald with reference to Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty. She sings "Some kind of poison prince with your eyes in a daze/Some kind of poison prince/Your life is like a maze. The tragic lyrics combined with the upbeat tempo make for a very interesting song.

      The songs after that all seem to blend into eachother. "Run" does have a distinct beauty to it but apart from that they all seem to sound the same. And I'm not sure what to make of the flamenco-style guitar work.

      Nevertheless, the album is an amazing achievement for someone who was barely out of secondary school when they recorded it. I can't wait to see what she does next.

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      06.08.2009 13:03
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      A great record for a road trip, for dancing at the festivals or just for chilling out to.

      I was watching a band in a pub that did an amazing cover of "This Is The Life", the title track from the album. Once I'd gotten hold of Amy MacDonald's debut album, I was hooked.

      The album has 11 songs on it:

      Mr Rock & Roll
      This Is The Life
      Poison Prince
      Youth of Today
      Run
      Let's Start a Band
      Barrowland Ballroom
      L.A.
      A Wish for Something More
      Footballer's Wife
      The Road to Home / Caledonia

      The overriding theme of the album, or how it speaks to me at least, is one of yearning. Yearning for love, for home, for something more, for somewhere else. It has a restlessness and soul which is delivered with passion by Amy MacDonald's stunning voice. Eerily reminiscent of Kirsty McColl, her alluring accent and range draw the listener in and are the perfect accompaniment to the jangly acoustic guitars. Some of the songs are sweeping, country-esque numbers, while others have a pure pop charm which will have you tapping your feet or dancing in the car. It is the perfect soundtrack to a sunny day.

      I had a number of favourite songs from it. "Mr Rock & Roll" is a great opener - jaunty, with an anthemic chorus which seems to hook on the lyric 'I wish I was something more', which breaks my heart every time. "This Is The Life" has become one of my favourite songs of all time, the sort of song that makes perfect sense, as though you can imagine everyone in the studio looking round at each other, smiling and thinking "we're onto something here". This is followed by "Poison Prince" which is Amy's ode to Pete Doherty and how baffled she is by his wasted talent.

      If I had one criticism of the album it would be the middle section, though high quality, doesn't quite match the instantaneously catchy quality of the opening songs. This is with the exception of "Run" which puts me in mind of a Cranberries ballad. The chorus soars, with a desperately sad lyric "I will run until my feet no longer run no more". In addition to the guitars being infectious and having rhythms which constantly have you dancing unawares, this album is lyrically magnificent at times. Though sometimes seeming more gloomy than anything else, for some reason they generally have an uplifting effect.

      Towards the end of the album, there is a song called "Footballer's Wife". Despite opening like a James Bond theme tune, it wends its way into gentle guitars and a soft vocal. An observation on celebrity, the lyrics tell a story of disillusion with fame. It seems almost fair to say the lyrics speak of disillusion with reality, but finding no solace in 'reality stars'.

      I recommend this album to everyone. Apart from a bit of a lull in the middle section, it's a great record.

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      12.02.2009 14:12

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      magical

      I got into Amy's music off the back of her first single 'Mr Rock and Roll'. I would not say I am really a massive folk music fan, but her music manages to combine pop and folk to great effect and this is a very rewarding little album.

      Who is she:

      Scottish singer Amy sprung to fame in 2007 and was soon receiving lots of airplay for her music. This album was one of the biggest selling albums of 2008.

      On this album:

      'Mr Rock and Roll' is a pretty good start, as it plods along and almost trips over itself when it arrives at the fruity rousing chorus. Amy's warm tones shine well on this track and you can hear her accent coming through really well. Better still is 'This Is The Life' which has an amazing guitar hook in it, it is one of the riffs you swear you have heard before, yet it underpins the song and carries it superbly. The track is catchy and has a slightly haunting quality about it.

      Other Highlights:

      'Poison Prince' sounds very old fashioned with the melody, you could imagine it being sung back in medieval times, yet she pulls it off well, another catchy number. One of the best songs is the stirring 'Run' which will make the hairs on the neck stand on end. Amy really tests her vocals here, it is a moving and intense song, not so much a ballad, but a plea or a cry for help.

      Overall:

      A good mix of slower and upbeat tracks makes this an accessible and pleasing album. Amy's vocals are already mature for her young age and her songwriting shows wisdom beyond her years. Very good

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      10.01.2009 18:16

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      A fantastic acoustic singer/songwriter

      I bought this album on the strength of hearing one song on TV - Mr rock and roll. It was so refreshing to hear a female singer songwriter that didnt sound like she was trying to rap like Kate Nash and Lilly Allen. I wasnt disappointed with the songs on the album. she has a fantastic voice, and this a perfect chillout album. She talks about serious modern issues and things that matter to her - the song Footballers Wife talks about how annoyed she is that the wives of footballers today seem to be famous just because they are married to a footballer. the lyrics "the footballers wife tells of trouble and strife, you think you're some kind of star, yes you know who you are - I dont think so". The song "Youth of Today" was written when she was 14 and gives the view of the young having ways and rules forced on them by their elders. It also gives the view that just because they are older it doesnt mean that they know best... For such a young lass she's an amazing musician. Shes great live as well - I saw her at Norwich and even live you can tell she has a unique voice. The songs have been written at stages throughout her life and the words are totally heartfelt and really moving. theres both upbeat and slower tracks on this album, and they are all fantastic. If you like one song of hers you are going to like them all. Best tracks if i had to pick - Footballers Wife (very applicable in this day and age!) and Run. A feel good album. In fact, I think i'm going to listen to it now.

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      11.12.2008 12:14
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      Can she keep it going?

      **Introduction**

      The Then 20 year old Amy Macdonald became a suprise hit around this time last year when her debut album This is Life was one of the biggest sellers. The Scottish born Macdonald has had some people thinking she was Irish for due to her singing voice having a distinct Irish tone. Here is a little bit about her rise to stardom. She started writing and performing songs at the age of 15 around Glasgow and sent a demo cd away after an NME advert. She was then signed to the production company 'Melodramatic'. She is now with Mercury Records.

      **This is the life**

      Released on 30 July 2007 This is the Life is one of those rare albums that took nearly six months to rise to the top of the album charts. The single that caused the huge rise in album sales was undoubtedly This is the life which was the single when the album finally went to number one. It has now sold over 1,600,000 copies worldwide

      1.) Mr Rock & Roll

      This opens with some gentle guitar and then the drums kick in, This is a very irish sounding track which is lead by the Irish style vocal from Amy. This flowing ditty is a very pleasant track which starts the album well.

      2.) This is the life

      Another catchy intro to this track and her voice has an Irish tinge again. This is a great track with a superb flow and it's easy to see why this single was such a catalyst to the success of the album over last christmas as the single was released on 10th December.

      3.) Poison Prince

      This track is her tribute to the troubled life of Libertines Pete Doherty. This has a very catchy flow and is one of the quickest songs on the album, I am certainly not a fan of Pete Doherty but this track is a decent track all the same.

      4.) Youth of Today

      This opens with a gentle acoustic guitar piece and then her vocals come in, She shows a really emotive vocal delivery on this track and it is one of the best on the album, This track hints at the kind of career she could have.

      5.) Run

      Another gentle acoustic guitar intro is joined by soft piano and a catchy drum beat. This track is another laid back track which shows her best side. She sounds best when she doesnt have any accent in her voice. This song progresses into a mid tempo indie/folk track.

      6.) Let's start A Band

      This has a very Irish feel to it which is a shame as the Irish Folk side of this track makes it less listenable. To me this kind of direction takes away from the actual emotion of the song. A shame as this one could be very good.

      7.) Barrowland Ballroom

      This has a very interesting a unexpected drum sequence which is the main part throught the track. The guitars and vocals are another good touch but this pace is a little too quick for the real emotion of the song to come through.

      8.) L.A

      This is a slightly bluesy folk track which has a nice bass hook and a very musical flow. Her vocals are up there with the best on the album here. This is a very nice flowing track which has got to be one of the best on the album.

      9.) A Wish For Something More

      This is a catchy indie folk track which sounds like something KT Tunstall would do now she is actually doing the right music. I like the electric guitar tone which sounds throught this track. A very decent track which again has a nice flow.

      10.) Footballer's Wife

      This track is a real triumph, The orchestra at the start adds a dramatic touch and then the gentle piano, guitar and strings keep the intimacy. This is about her relationship with Steve Lovell who plays for Falkirk. They became engaged but are not yet married.

      11.) The Road To Home

      This is a nice gentle bonus track which has the same intimacy of the album's best tracks. A very stripped down ballad which is what she should do more of on her second album.

      **Overall**

      I bought this album for my mother last christmas and even though there are some very good songs on here I just don't like it enough to buy my own copy so I recorded my mum's copy to my computer. Amy Macdonald is a talented singer/songwriter but If she dropped the Irish folk voice that she goes into too much then she could have a chance at making a long career for herself. Her second album which tell us whether she really has it or not.

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        16.11.2008 02:12
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        A great album, I can't believe I'd never heard of Amy MacDonald!

        I was watching G.O.L.D this morning and an advert came on the TV. The tune playing in the background grabbed my attention and I was amazed at the lyrical genius and Celtic sounding voice, luckily my partner knew who it was and saved me from spending the rest of the day looking. Amy MacDonald was her name and her album was waiting to be purchased so down the shop I went to see if I could get it. I was very lucky and it was in a sale as well. Amy MacDonald is a Scottish singer and her voice is so powerful it blew me away; it was well worth my £6. I had never heard of Amy before now but upon listening to the 11 tracks on the CD I was surprised that she was not as well known.

        The tracks on the album are:

        1. Mr Rock & Roll
        2. This Is The Life
        3. Poison Prince
        4. Youth Of Today
        5. Run
        6. Let's Start A Band
        7. Barrowland Ballroom
        8. L.A.
        9. A Wish For Something More
        10. Footballer's Wife
        11. The Road To Home

        It's clear that there is a noticeable Celtic influence throughout the album. The album is a great debut for Amy and it seems to create toe-tapping moments. I must say however my favourite song is the song that brought Amy to my attention - This is the life. Amy who has written, performed and sung the songs herself is highly talented and as a 19 year old it's amazing what she has accomplished.

        I have however taken a liking to other tracks on the album.

        'Wish for Something more', the lyrics are brilliant and the song is so upbeat I felt myself tapping a beat to it. The strong Celtic influence within her voice is so appealing. The guitar intro on the track "youth of today" had me interested from the start and the lyrics were thought-provoking. The song wasn't as upbeat as some of the others but still had me captivated with the voice, lyrical ability and guitar tune throughout. The beginning of 'Footballers Wife' sounded dramatic and really stood out, I was a little disappointed at the rest of the track as I had expected a little, more saying that it was a great song and reminded me a lot of the Cranberries. The song Mr Rock and Roll was instantly recognisable and I can remember hearing the song on the radio. I had not enjoyed the song before ion its own but blended into the other songs on the album the song stood out a lot more for me and I really enjoyed it.

        The CD is easy to listen to and I have had it on in the background today whilst marking students work. I have found myself tapping the pen on the desk and my feet on the floor. I love the sort of song that can brighten a mood, cause you tap feet and pens without realising, true genius!

        I had expected a little more from the album but then again my favourite song is "This is the Life" and I think it would be hard to beat that. I can't see the whole of the album making it to my MP3 player although some of the song will be strong contenders against some of my other tracks. I really enjoyed listening to the track today and on a cold, dark, gloomy weekend the album is warming. I quite enjoyed winding down to it today.

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          13.09.2008 17:47
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          The start of good things to come

          I purchased this debut album by Amy Macdonald after being impressed with her live performance earlier this year at V2008. Amy is a 19-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter with an amazingly powerful voice which evokes distant memories of The Cranberries for me!

          The album itself contains the following tracks:

          1. Mr Rock & Roll
          2. This Is The Life
          3. Poison Prince
          4. Youth Of Today
          5. Run
          6. Let's Start A Band
          7. Barrowland Ballroom
          8. L.A.
          9. A Wish For Something More
          10. Footballer's Wife
          11. The Road To Home

          On the whole I think that this album is a great debut, showcasing lyrics which you would expect to be written by someone far beyond Amy's years.

          Stand out tracks for me would be Youth of Today, Mr Rock & Roll and the title track This Is The Life. Most of the tracks feature the winning formula of Amy's voice, her excellent guitar-playing ability & a good piano score, a real mixture of up-tempo & slower 'folk-pop' music (if that isn't a musical genre I've just made up!).

          I'd heard odd snippets of Macdonald's work previously to seeing her live, but hadn't really had any real intention of seeing her at V, but now I have I certainly would make sure I saw her again live, and this album really gives me the impression that the best is yet to come from her - I'm really looking forward to see what her next album has to offer.

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            02.08.2008 15:13

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            Easy to listen to, but doesn't take my breath away

            Amy MacDonald is a young Scottish starlet who's gained fame for her powerful voice and touching lyrics. With this in mind I purchased her album earlier this year.

            In contrary to her powerful singles, most of the album is distinctly lacking. The songs lack the lyrical and literal power of their predecessors, and are incredibly disappointing. Whilst songs such as "Mr Rock and Roll" are fun to listen to and emphasise the beauty of her vocal talents, songs such as L.A diminish them.

            Track List
            1 Mr Rock & Roll <=
            2 This Is The Life <=
            3 Poison Prince
            4 Youth Of Today
            5 Run <=
            6 Let's Start A Band
            7 Barrowland Ballroom <=
            8 L.A.
            9 A Wish For Something More
            10 Footballer's Wife <=
            11 The Road To Home

            I have put arrows to the ones that, in my personal opinion, are worth listening to. To be honest, it is a 50:50 split, half the album shines where the rest of it is diminished.

            This in mind, I would have suggested buying the singles. However, I have found a copy of the album listed for £5, and, considering the singles are £3-4, I think you'd actually get your money's worth with the CD - there's about 5 good songs, so thats £1 a song? Not too bad.

            If you are a fan of people like Cat Power, Amy Studt, Katie Melua and Bat for Lashes, then it's worth giving her a try. Amy MacDonald will not appeal to everyone, but if you can get the album for £5, there's not too much to lose.

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            20.02.2008 22:51
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            Not as strong overall as the Irish sounding singer's voice.

            After I saw the half price banners on sale at my local Woolies I just had to have a look in store to see what CD and DVD's I could buy for use at school as well as my own personal enjoyment. To say the least I've had a quiet Christmas and New Year this year. But my surprise was taken watching the festivities on the TV channels watching Amy MacDonald play out a song from her album that had me mystified in the speed of the lyrics she poured out into the microphone whilst jiggling along on her guitar. Maybe it was the power of her eyes, or her voice or a combination of the two that got me fixed to my seat. Following the success of her first song, "Mr Rock and Roll," which is still being played on commercial radio, and after seeing her on TV before the New Year, I decided that her debut album was a must buy.

            £5.17 later (Woolworths) and I'm walking down the road past the sea and heading out to my old workplace with my Walkman in time for a steaming cup of coffee and a personal invite to listen to this album because for this unbelievable price, this album could be a diamond in the rough. The wind is howling up from the beach, it's a cloudy day and against the dry, greyness of the typical Scottish weather, my face turns to smiles as I listen to the beauty of this voice...

            As much as I would like to know about Amy MacDonald (she has My Space; I don't.) she is a Glaswegian born singer much unlike any other Scottish singer you're likely to hear, because her deep rich alto voice shrouds a siren Irish accent deeply routed with sprigs of Irish folk music intertwined with hard rock guitars and a jingly feeling that she may have dressed herself along the lines of KT Tunstall. She has the same long brown hair and piercing eyes whilst her voice is unmistakably Irish if not Celtic universally despite her Scottish roots.

            The album starts off with a good bang, and a memorable one returning to her hit single which is a song which will either make you tap your feet, dream of cosy Irish bars with old time musicians playing by a fireside, or a song that will bring a smile to your sullen face. Luckily it does without the Corrs like fiddle playing or an accordion which is a welcome change to any Celtic music, and its not long that it makes me realise this girl has quite a loud voice which could easily drown out two of these close Celtic instruments not just in part to the fact that her voice is reedy like, gorgeously warm with a tint of flowery vibrato and unashamedly Alto like in her depths.


            ** Track listings **

            1. Mr. Rock 'n' Roll
            2. This Is The Life
            3. Poison Prince
            4. Youth Of Today
            5. Run
            6. Let's Start A Band
            7. Barrowland Ballroom
            8. LA
            9. Wish For Something More
            10. Footballer's Wife
            11. Road To Home


            Eleven songs make up this album and for want of trying the album begins steady enough with three hit songs that have already or likely to make a good impact on the current scene. The first of which has shades of Dido and the new wave sound that with electro synths fading into a song which blends into a more acoustic feeling; strumming guitars and a first beat on every bar bass line which is strong and defiant. Some piano here and there is also added but the overall effect works very well even if the slightest of echoes in MacDonald's voice gives the slightest technological advancement unlike the first part of the song. Then there is the warm sound of a string orchestra accompanying with tremolo and vibrato strings; all very Celtic and traditional like then.

            The second song of the album is the one I saw and heard on TV, titled "This is the Life," and jangles with familiarity from "Mr Rock and Roll," even if the song is loaded with glinting strumming guitars, the actual song is ordinary and doesn't change over its basic duo chord changes in the choruses and has a nod to the early 1970's with hippie lifestyles and a swinging pendulum of the yin and yang of life as the chorus and verses mix into one line constantly up and down against the bass line. For all that this song isn't terribly exciting in its structure, the vocals are slightly more aspiring, listening to the speed and delivery of the words MacDonald sings, it's a wonder that she comes up for air at any time! The song however has a good foot tapping feeling to it, not just from its Dolly Parton like country style heard at the start with a similar speed to the song, "Jolene."

            "Poison Prince," follows another air of familiarity even if the first two songs are fast and upbeat. Sounding like a song similar to the style of Scottish band, Texas, "Poison Prince," also has a Beautiful South element to it with polka dot echoing keyboards against its fast march drumbeat. It does however have the same, strong defiance like the first two songs, also knocking on the door of KT Tunstall.

            "Youth of Today," is perhaps paying homage literally to the young people of today. But it poses a relief to the past three songs, upbeat, and rhythmic. I can't but feel that this song is very similar to slow ballads by Dido even though it does have similar déjà vu to the song before. What is more remarkable is that it uses the same elements as the song, "Put Your Arms Around Me," by Texas released around 1998/1999 and again mimics a similar style. Not quite unique here, Amy!

            And its with reflection on the other songs of this album that I begin to realise its no more than songs which have been heard before by Scottish or Irish bands, which is no bad thing even though this is MacDonald's debut album. "This is the Life," begs for a video of a girl running into the arms of her lover, or certainly someone running as it has that familiarity about it in terms of what the song is about. But if there is something a bit more important to these examples of memorable songs, either plagiarised or otherwise, it's the more overbearing fact that "Youth of Today," "Run" and "Let's Start A Band," sound very similar to the first three songs. Is this a bad thing for all that the singer holds a particular young gloss that most listeners are prepared to forgive? It would work if the singer didn't repeat words over verses that by default should be different. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But it does become annoying through most of these songs that elements of structure have been heard before and that becomes apparent from the first listening.

            Honky Tonk piano and that quick march style come bounding back in "Barrowland Ballroom," glinting with shades of The Smiths whilst "L.A," has a completely different style knocking on the door of Paolo Nuttini, no bad thing since both hail from the same areas in Scotland.

            "A Wish for Something More," and "Footballer's Wife," are two songs which don't work particularly well; the first sparkling into a life like a fusion of Mexican like pop music and ends up back into the swinging folk song styles that MacDonald has already straddled. "Footballer's Wife," starts off sounding very R'n'B with a dose of impending rapping replaced by more acoustic strumming and a falling sequence which conjures up the beginning of a sad song and its one with such rhythmic accuracy that the only impelling aspect worth listening to is the accompaniment rather than the storyline which doesn't really have an ending.

            "The Road To Home," however is quite an astounding song because it doesn't have MacDonald singing down low. It is refreshing yet sad in its storyline whilst the lyrics are plain and simple. More strumming guitars and a sad flute played in the distance gives its simplistic addition to this farewell track and more enterprising than most songs on this album, it is void of the strings, the heavy bass line and repeated drum style which has already played its part through the entire album. One other shocker is that MacDonald does sound good in the middle range of her voice, and this is the song that nails it, however simple it is.

            Personal insights and traditional folk tales are painted lyrically but and it's the most annoying aspect of this album, despite the magic of this young singer photographed like a Muse on a backdrop of tea stained paper one can't help but wonder if the title track to the album points towards the expensive marketing against the school age lined paper the CD inlay booklet consists of. It's all very drab for all that the album itself is sparkling and flowery musically. The CD case itself is unlike most CD cases on the market too, imparting a higher detail such as the corners with empty spaces and the fact that the CD book can be picked out like a photograph rather than slid in normally. Lyrics are nicely produced and there are a couple of black and white pictures to add to that arty, timeless feel.

            Which of course the album isn't in the way the songs repeat themselves despite avid changes to the storylines painted. As such "This is the Life," by Amy MacDonald is a good first album but it could have been so much better, positioning itself thanks to its repeated ideas and same again instruments into a market so very few bands these days want to find themselves in; as a consumer you either download the tracks from an official legal website or consider your local library before making the final purchase. Harsh as that may seem, "This Is the Life," is for someone who isn't afraid of taking time to produce albums and the desire to hear more from this artist will have you panting for MacDonald well before the album has finished. Perhaps for most people this is a compelling aspect to go along with. But for me, its rather unimpressive; you have to line the path with silver before you spend it! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2008

            www.amymacdonald.co.uk

            Melodramatic Records (2007)

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            • More +
              13.02.2008 18:01
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              Great album

              A good easy listening album perfect listening for a lazy afternoon. Amy Macdonald is a Scottish 19 year old with an amazing talent for singing and song writing.

              This is her first album and includes the songs Mr rock and roll and This is the life which are the two most recognisable songs on the album but also includes the titles Poison prince, Youth of today, Run, Lets start a band, Barrowland ballroom, L.A, A wish for something more, footballers wife and The road to home.

              Her lyrics are very meaningful, each with a clear message that make you think. The youth of today is a song that I think many young people would relate to. Her voice reminds me a little of KT Tunstal but that might just have something to do with them both being Scottish.

              My boyfriend even bought this album and he hardly ever buys cds so she must have had an impression on him. Highly recommended.

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            • Product Details

              Disc #1 Tracklisting
              1 Mr Rock & Roll
              2 This Is The Life
              3 Poison Prince
              4 Youth Of Today
              5 Run
              6 Let's Start A Band
              7 Barrowland Ballroom
              8 L.A.
              9 A Wish For Something More
              10 Footballer's Wife
              11 The Road To Home