Matters of musical importance: Pet Shop Boys – Its Alright

This is one of my most personal songs. Its an absolutely beautiful cover of a song originally by Sterling Void. Its not the most cryptic song they’ve ever done, but the simplitcity just adds to it I think. I fell in love with this song whilst going through some pretty tough times. I wasn’t depressed or anything, but it was just one of those phases were I felt a bit under the weather and generally a bit stressed. I tend to think of the chorus of this song the aural equivalent of a hug and it always cheered me up no end. I guess the part of the song that I really love is the part were Neil sings “Its alright, I think its gonna be alright” and then Chris affirms “its gonna be alright”. It borders on the affirmative for me, and I do think affirming things can really help lift someones mood. It kind of conjures up an image of someone who feels down, but then as the song crescends they come to the realisation that things will one day look up (I know the song is about world issues, but thats the feeling this song gives me also). I’m not saying this song saved my life or anything because it didn’t, but for a 17 year old teenager who forgets (regrettably too much sometimes) that in reality I’ve got more than enough to be thankful for, this song does give me a better perspective of the world and that little bit of encouragement. For that reason it means a lot.


New CD!

 My newest arrival came today, this is Pet Shop Boys – Release.  I only ordered it yesterday so cannot believe it took 12 hours to get here! Its my last Pet Shop Boy studio album that I needed (Thank goodness) But still need to get 4 other PSB CD’s that are as follows
  • Ultimate (Deluxe)
  • Christmas
  • Battleship Potemkin
  • The Most Incredible Thing
I’ll probably get their Back to Mine CD too and I got to replace my copy of Fundamentalism too but they’ll be last probably. I’m hoping to have them all by the release of Format hopefully. One parcel here, three to go!

My favourite finds of the year: Songs

Electronic ft Neil Tennant – Disappointed
I guess for anyone who knows me personally this will hardly be a suprise. I fell in love with this sorely overlooked track over the summer and its been a regular play on the ipod since. This was Electronics highest charting single over here in the UK, and strangely enough is sung entirely by Neil Tennant who wasn’t actually a member of the group. Not going to lie, thats probably why I like it so much! By and large seems forgotten about now. I can’t understand why, this is a brilliant song with a totally infectious chorus. I also really love Neil’s voice here and his lyrics. This just makes me wish he had done more work with Electronic!

Prince – I Would Die 4 U
One of many musical backtracks (your going to see that phrase a lot) was with the Purple One. I fell in love with Sign Of The Times overall as an album but for best song it may just have to be this little gem of the Purple Rain soundtrack. This is one of those ridiculously infectious songs that no matter how cheesed off I may be, when it comes on the ipod I will be garantueed to start strutting around like a right royal plonker. The live version from the Purple Rain tour was also awesome. Absolutely brilliant song from someone who is fast climbing my list of favourite artists!

Talking Heads – Slippery People
This was one band that surprised me, big time! I’d never listened to them before, although when I heard Once In A Lifetime I had one of those “Oh I always liked that song!” moments. Having said that my favourite Talking Heads song is Slippery People. The studio version from Speaking in Tongues is great, but on Stop Making Sense (the first version of the song I had heard) was just too good. Those backing vocals just absolutely make it, and despite his quirky vocal delivery David Byrne is quite a genius!

Favourite lyricist: Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys)

The more I listened to Pet Shop Boys initially, the more I started to pay more attention to the lyrics of their songs and became convinced that Neil Tennant must be one of the most criminally overlooked lyricists of recent times. I adore their music in general of course, but its Neil’s brilliant lyrics that just is the icing on the cake. He has a brilliant ability of being able to write lyrics about a range of feelings that you can connect with and an even better ability to do lyrics based on possibly cliched or overdone themes and do them in his own unique way. Sometimes he can be positively chilling too. I challenge anyone to listen to Only The Wind, which is about domestic violence but seen through the eyes of the person committing the abuse and then tell me he isn’t incredibly overlooked. Some may say its odd that I seem to love the lyrics so much written by a man who is 40 years older than me with a different sexuality. I can’t explain it really, but a lot of the experiences he writes about in songs are rather similar to that of my own. A perfect example is the whole theme of rejecting school and not wanting to conform with peers are doing that is the basis for a number of songs. Personally I think its a sign of how good his lyrics are, I mean if someone like me: a 17 year old hetrosexual female can identify with lyrics he wrote before I was even born (In some cases its a decade beforehand) then he must have a certain degree of timelessness in his lyrics then. I’m not saying he is the best lyricist ever because lyrics like music in general is highly subjective, and we all respond and connect with different things in different ways because we’re all unique. Having said that, using this same personal connection as criteria, then I think its safe to say I don’t connect with other lyricists as much I connect with Neil Tennant. Trying to post my favorite lines would be too hard but I think the whole Behaviour album just sums up why I love his lyrics (and the man himself) so much and why he remains one of my biggest inspirations.

20 years on….

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s untimely passing. He’s one of my absolute favourite men in music, I just adore his flamboyancy and that mesmerising voice he had. Obviously, I never seen him live as he died 3 years before I was born, but my father had the privilege to do so (which I’ll be posting  about later hopefully) and said he was absolutely beyond brilliant and would have gladly gone to see him again had the chance arrived. This was coming from someone who wasn’t even a Queen fan until he seen them! He may be gone but he will never be forgotten.

Rest in peace sir, you are sorely missed ❤ xxx 

Currently unavailable….. *sigh*

Finally got round to some album testing these past few days. An album (well EP) that I fell in love with was 808 State – Quadrastate. Ever had one of those musical moments were you fall in love and its something along the lines of “I need to buy this CD as soon as humanly possible?”, well for me it was one of those CD’s. So I go onto the usually excellent Amazon UK website, knowing that 808 State had released some remastered albums in the last few years as well as a greatest hits this year. Of course, one album came up as “Currently Unavailable” and it was, you guessed it, Quadrastate! I don’t even think a high portion of the tracks were on their recent greatest hits CD so I’ve got absolutely no clue how to track that down. Damn!

First listen Impressions: Michael Jackson – Immortal

Listening to some samples of the new Immortal soundtrack for the Michael Jackson Cirque de Soeli show. Its not a full review, just some initial bullet point esque opinions. As it it just a soundtrack you could say its something of a cash in but on the whole, its not too shabby at all!

  • One of the best things about it is its tracklisting: it has about 12 or so songs on it that wouldn’t be familiar to people only familiar with his work with Quincy Jones. I say fair dues for not including just the big hits that everyone would know, so it may encourage people to investigate his 90’s (which I thought was criminally overlooked) material more. 
  • There’s also a good number of mash-ups here, whilst they’re all pretty good (and some are really good) my only greivance with that is that too often one song just kind of goes into another. The songs aren’t really mixed together as such or played off each other. The Immortal Megamix sounds really good but Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough just sort of goes into Billie Jean with no real build up which is a shame as a proper mixing of the two would sound phenomenal I think.
  • The tracks aren’t vastly different to the studio versions a lot of the time which is good, so I never heard a song and thought “What the hell have they done to this?”. They’ve just tweaked the arrangements more or less. However, sometimes it doesn’t really work. Human Nature has some new bits that don’t really go with the original and it does spoil it slightly. Having said that, I’m hard to please with remixes of that song to be honest as I love the original so much. Also, you’ve got to give the people behind this some credit, remixing a body of work as iconic as Michael Jackson’s would be hard and as the originals are so well known any tweaks are going to come as a bit of a shock
  • It doesn’t rip off any live arrangments from tours either which is nice. Listening to it, it feels like they’ve tried to make an individual soundtrack and a lot of the songs here had never been performed live.
  • There is 27 tracks on the CD which is a lot. As such, basically all of the songs and mixes are much shorter than the originals or any live arrangment Michael would have used. Some of the songs loose mommentum for that I think, Wanna Be Starting Something is only half the length it originally would have been which sort of kills the build up to the “Mama se mama sa mama coo sa” chant. Its like they’
  • The short lengths are a hindrance on the mash-up tracks too. A lot of them tend to be more focused on one track than the other. For instance, Speechless and Human Nature are paired up which I thought would be brilliant. In reality, 20 seconds in it goes straight into Human Nature and there is no more elements of Speechless used. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds good but I do think some mash-ups would benefit from a mash up of tracks more
Overall its perfectly decent, even if it is a bit of a cash in. I hope his studio albums being remastered becomes a priority now, Off The Wall is begging for a deluxe edition treatment! Having said that, with Bad 25 next year it doesn’t look likely for a while.

Favourite group (Part two) Pet Shop Boys

I know I bent the rules slightly, but I couldn’t choose between The Killers or the Pet Shop Boys. I’ve only been a Pet Shop Boys fan for little over a year (On 26th June 2010 after watching their Glastonbury performance) but they’ve inspired me so much (and their music has got me through some rough times) so to ignore them would be criminal I feel. Whilst watching Glastonbury 2010 I was immediatlely fascinated with their style, they were unlike anything I had ever seen before. I loved their PopArt greatest hits CD (Still probably the most consistently good hits compilation I have heard) and particularly loved Can You Forgive Her, Heart and What Have I Done To Deserve This. In terms of albums my favourites would be Very and Behaviour (I do have a particular love for the Behaviour era if I’m honest). His voice may be an aquired taste, but you can’t argue that Neil Tennant has an unmistakably distinctive tone, which I personally love. Although I do think his talent lies with lyrics moreso, the man is a lyrical genius. I have to echo Brandon Flowers sentiments and agree that Chris Lowe is some sort of synth wizard behind that silent exterior. I’ve never seen them live (do own a tour programme though of Performance), but I’ve promised myself that their next tour I am so going to be heading down to Dublin for it. I am thinking of going VIP possibly, but I think meeting them, whilst it would be an absolute dream come true, the shock and obligatory excitement may result in a heart attack. Nevertheless, roll on Feburary 2012 for Format and next autumn for the new album!

Honourable Mentions:

  • U2
  • Erasure
  • The Jacksons
  • Happy Mondays
  • Stone Roses
  • Joy Division 
  • New Order
  • Electronic

Favourite group (Part 1): The Killers

 I can’t pick just one for my favourite groups. So here is the first one. The Killers were my first real musical love if I’m honest, since the age of 10 years old. At the time, I was wholeheartedly convinced that Brandon Flowers was the most adorable human being on the planet (7 years later and I still have a massive crush on him). I remember being osbessed with their Hot Fuss era singles when they were first released. I borrowed Hot Fuss off my brother who said it was a brilliant album, and when I listened to it I loved it so much I kept it until earlier this year! Whoops! Anyhow. Their second album Sam’s Town was a drastic shock in sound (and in style, I wasn’t a lover of Brandon’s mustache in that era). The album still grew on me however and still has some of their absolute best ever songs. Once again, I loved their 3rd album Day and Age and needless to say I have been missing them dearly on their hiatus. Although Brandon did release a very solid solo album called Flamingo that is well worth checking out. I’ve actually managed to see them both times they’ve played in my home city of Belfast, in 2007 then in 2009 and they were absolutely phenomenal! The second time was probably my favourite, although the first time they did play On Top, which is my favorite Killers song and one I am unlikely to see live ever again. I can’t wait for their comeback in early 2012 and I’m hoping they come back to Belfast!

Disgrace to Journalism: Martin Bashir

Here we have Martin Bashir, the so called journalist responsible for framing Michael Jackson in the now infamous Living with Michael Jackson documentary. The footage was edited in a completely disgusting and unprofessional manner, where Bashir edited out vital explanations Michael gave. In the near future I will post more in depth about just how corrupt that interview was. I’ll also do a post that will discredit this theory that Michael was a paedophile because believe me, if you have an open mind and do the research there is enough evidence. Bashir even complimented MJ in the interview: for instance he called Neverland “Stupendous” amongst various other positive adjectives. This footage can be found by typing in Michael Jackson – The Footage You Were Never Meant to See into youtube. Yet in the footage in the final documentary his comments have mutated into calling it a dangerous place for vunerable kids. Call me a die hard MJ fan if you wish but it could just be that I’m an aspiring journalist with enough human decency to research into things and to know that the media is incredibly corrupt. After all, what decent journalist openly admits to being, well, a liar? There are a lot of decent journalists out there but Bashir isn’t on that list!