Thursday, 30 October 2014

Song of the week #5


I really love Ron Pope's voice. He's got such a gorgeous tone, sort of similar, in a sense, to that of Gavin DeGraw. One of my favourite songs by Pope is Shoot Out the Lights, and I happen to have been listening to it rather a lot this past week. It's such a mellow ballad; really, really easy on the ears.

The song was released in 2008 on the album, Daylight, the same album as one of his best known songs, A Drop in the Ocean. I've been listening to Ron's music for a couple of years now and it never fails to make me feel something, which is the thing I think most songwriters seem to struggle with the most all in all.

In a sense the song depicts an idealistically simple world, where you can turn things off when you need some space. In this sense Pope has chosen the lyrics 'shoot out the lights,' creating the idea that if the lights were all gone things might be simpler, and maybe it would be easier to 'see the stars in black and white.' 'I'm screaming for an answer but the darkness blinds me now,' creates a sense of feeling completely alone, and 'I pray to god most every night' adds the idea of lost faith.

I read somewhere that Pope actually wrote the song for his Grandmother when she was very ill, and it was his way of telling her that she wasn't alone. I think this links in with the idea of praying, as he's seemingly letting her know that he's there for her, even if something spiritual isn't. 'Shoot out the lights' could represent no longer looking up and hoping, but actually just being and living instead.

The piano part is probably my favourite instrumentally, but I really like how the drums push things on in the chorus and add a more obvious rhythm. But I think the piano is the key instrument overall, and I'd be interested to hear how the song would sound without it, because I don't think it would work as well as it does now.

Let me know if you're a fan of this song, or Ron Pope in general, and what your favourite song by him is, as I always like to know what other people think.

I'm off to a gig now, so I hope everyone has/had a good day :)

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Tumblr: abbielour
Bloglovin: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Change of location


I live in a different place ahhhhh help.

Just over a month ago now, I packed up my stuff and moved about an hour and a half north to the city of Birmingham. And it is so very different to where I live at home.


My home town is rather small and surrounded by lots of countryside, whereas Birmingham is so much bigger and busier. I moved due to starting at university, and I live in a halls of residents, which is only about a five minute walk onto campus, something very useful, especially through the cold winter months.


I think leaving was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, as I've never lived away from home before, and the longest I've been away from home at any given time is about a week. I think that was what made it most daunting: the fact it was something I've never done before. I read John Green's 'Paper Towns' in August, which I mentioned in my August Favourites post, and the quote that's really stuck with me is: 'It is so hard to leave- until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.' And it's honestly so true. Because once you're gone, you're gone. Obviously you can go back, but it just becomes easiest once it's happened, and while you don't forget about what you've left behind, you think about it less when you're not there.


Birmingham is a really great city, with so much going on, there's always something to do if you want to. Live music is my favourite thing ever, and Birms is such a good place for it. I've already had two of my friends come up to stay with me to go to concerts, which you can read about here and here, and I found it really comforting having had them here. Like home's still lingering even though I'm not there. It's a nice feeling.



I've been lucky in that all three of my flatmates are nice enough, although at times it's a bit loud when I want to be sleeping. I think that was probably one of the things I was most concerned about though, because essentially I am living with people who were complete strangers not much over a month ago, which is an odd thought, but the other people I've met who live in our halls all seem okay too.

I enjoy the independence of living, essentially, on my own, more than I initially thought I would, with the only downside being I have to do all of my cooking and cleaning haha (and the cooking really isn't great). I've found that Friday/Saturday nights are a good time to do washing though, so that's handy as almost all the machines are usually free. The cooking thing, I just, it's never going to go well. I don't like cooking, so anything that takes longer than twenty minutes to make isn't worth it haha. Baking's always worth the effort though.


One of the best things about moving has been meeting international students, which was something I hadn't thought about at all before actually meeting them. I find other cultures so interesting, and so I've loved finding out about them and where they're from. I've met people from Canada, China, and even Australia, which is literally the opposite side of the world. It's quite surreal, but I'm so glad that I braved through the moving stress and everything's fallen together in an okay way.


There are of course downsides to moving to a place where you don't know anyone, and the not knowing anyone part has definitely been the hardest. I am really not very good at making new friends, and I find talking to new people quite daunting and generally just uncomfortable. That's been the ultimate hurdle overall. And having such great friends at home makes it more difficult to find new friends, basically because it seems nobody else is going to be as good.

But anyway, happier things.


Probably my favourite building that I've seen so far in Birmingham is the library. It is sooooo beautiful, both in the architecture and design. And my favourite place is Cannon Hill Park, where I actually went to a gig a couple of years ago with my two best friends (who are the ones who have already visited). I really do love it there. It's lovely to just walk around, or sit by the pond and read a book (something I do at home all the time, so I'm glad I've found somewhere I can do it here). It's about a twenty-five minute walk from where I live, but I love walking, so it's really, really pleasant, and mostly nice and quiet.


Some of the days seem really long and I literally end up thinking the stuff that happened in the morning actually occurred the previous day, whereas other days seem to slip by so quickly. A few Sundays ago, I went to the library in the morning/early afternoon, came home, went through emails, had lunch, planned an essay and sorted out all of my folders; and it didn't feel like it was going all that fast, but then I looked at the time and it was 5pm. Productivity does sometimes pay of it seems haha. But I still felt like there were so many more things I'd wanted to do in the day. Weird. I kind of like it though, because if I were at home I know I'd end up getting distracted, probably by my dog, let's be honest, or my mum would ask me to go out and do something with her. So in that sense, being somewhere I don't know many people is actually kind of useful.


I'm happier than I thought I would be here, to be quite honest. Initially I was terrified I would completely hate it and want to go home straight away, but it's not been that bad, thankfully. There are times when I crave the comfort of home, and mainly my dog, but other than that, I think it could be going worse. My classes are fairly interesting, some more than others, given, but yeah.

It's okay.

I'm such a convincing person hahah.

Have you moved away from home recently or started at university? Or are you going through the ucas process at the moment and considering where you might like to go? What do you want to study; which cities look most appealing? Let me know, and who knows, maybe I'll be seeing you around in the not too distant future.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Tumblr: abbielour
Bloglovin: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Ed Sheeran x tour


Guess whose friends have been to stay again? I'm so happy we booked gigs for shortly after I moved, because it's given me something to really look forward to, rather than just constantly missing my two best friends.


Chloe and Charlie came up for Ed Sheeran on Sunday and it was SO GOOD. Ugh. I love Ed, so, so much and have been wanting to see him live for ages, so when he announced this tour we were on it straight away and bought tickets as soon as they came out. We've been excited for months. And I wrote a review of his latest album here a few months ago, if you're at all interested in checking that out.

I'd actually only seen Chloe two weeks before for The Vamps, and Charlie just over a week before for a lovely lunch date, but it still felt absolutely wonderful to be reunited with the two of them once again. A wonderful Chablo reunion. Only another two weeks until I'll be heading home and seeing them again.


Saint Raymond supported, and him and his band were really good and I think I'll be youtubing them very soon. They had a nice sound to them, with an alternative but current vibe.

Ed Sheeran though.

Wow.

I knew it would be good but he just blew me away.


He came on stage quite early at eight-thirty, so whilst everyone around us was getting excited I thought it would just be another support act haha, but there he was, and oh my he was wonderful. He opened with I'm A Mess, which is one of my favourites on x, and everyone got really into it but not in a frantic way like a lot of gigs I've been to.


Mostly, everyone just seemed really calm throughout, and generally just really happy to be there in that moment, which was such a lovely thing to be a part of. You could tell that everyone around just really wanted to hear him play, and it doesn't always feel like that at concerts. There were people of all ages, all enjoying this one man and his guitar, and all the amazing sounds he can make.


I was so, so happy that he played Photograph because it's my favourite song on x, and maybe my favourite of all his songs; he said at that part of the set he usually just left it blank and played whatever he felt like, so Chloe and I in particular were really pleased, as she loves it too.

Give Me Love felt really special to be a part of too, and everyone was singing along. You just feel this weird but wonderful sense of togetherness with all these strangers, and that's not something you get to feel that often.


Overall, the whole night was wonderful and if you haven't seen Ed live then I really recommend you do. The things he can do with his voice, guitar and loop pedal blow my mind, and you can't help but completely admire him for it.


I'll leave a link to him on iTunes here if you haven't heard any of his music before but would like to have a listen.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Tumblr: abbielour
Bloglovin: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 13 October 2014

Song of the week #4


Ahh, Green Day. I'm sure there's at least one song that everyone loves by them; whether it's the classic, American Idiot, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, or something else more or less heard of, most people tend to have some sort of perhaps somewhat bazaar allegiance to Green Day. And rightly so, for the band have some really great songs, with really deep meanings.

This week I've been listening to 21 Guns sooo much. It actually spurred from finding a really great piano cover of the song on youtube, and thus I was reminded of how much I liked the song. I really recommend listening to it, and some of his other covers as well, as they're all rather exceptional (and learnt by ear?????). 21 Guns was released as the band's second single from the album 21st Century Breakdown, in 2009, and has sold over 2 million copies.

The song in general seems to have an ongoing theme of the military, with the 21 gun salute being the highest honour an army member can receive upon burial. There's a sense that the effects of war never really leave a person, and they're stuck with some horrible memories and things they don't want to remember: 'your thoughts have taken their toll' and 'nothing's ever built to last' reiterate this idea well, with the destruction of war having a real effect on an individual.

The third verse seems to show further the destruction of war, but in this sense, not the ruin of the individual, but the ruin caused by them. 'Burned down the house and home' could represent the destruction of people's lives who are living within the warzone, furthermore, resulting the soldier to be 'a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone,' which could potentially refer to a headstone of a person who is no longer alive to forgive them.

I think the song has a very respectful tone to it, thus reinforcing the idea of the military burial. There are no particularly disjunct sounds and each part blends nicely into the next. The instrumentation is limited mostly to an acoustic guitar and at times drums and piano, during the verses and I think this is very emotive and allows the lyrics to sink in. The guitar pattern in the chorus gives a rather grand, ceremonial feel, which could relate to the context of the 21 gun salute in a way.

I love this song, and I think everybody can take numerous different personal meanings from it, as well as perhaps the seemingly literal meaning. Let me know what you think of it, as I'd be very interested to hear.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Bloglovin: abbielour
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Tumblr: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Autumn


I love autumn.

From the colours of the leaves, to the rain as I fall asleep, to hot chocolate being an appropriate thing to drink.

I love it all.


And it only really hits me how much I've missed autumn when it comes around again. I don't hate any season, but I can safely say I'm not the biggest fan of summer; sure the sun's nice every now and again but I don't really like too much of it. Whereas I can take numerous cold days if it means I get to come home at the end of the day and huddle under my duvet with hot chocolate and a book. It's too hot for that in summer, and in England summer's usually really muggy and humid and horrible. Eh.

Autumn may well be my favourite season.


I went on a walk to one of my favourite parks yesterday and only then did it really hit me that autumn had seemingly happened. There were orange leaves discarded everywhere, and the wind whipped my hair like I don't know what. It also rained half the time, which is something I find really calming; just what I needed at the time.


I've seen a lot of people doing the autumn tag, and so I thought I'd answer some of the questions here :)


Favourite thing about autumn?

It might actually be the clothing. You can wrap up in loads of layers and still not end up feeling too hot. I like that. And hot chocolate of course, although I do drink it all the time anyway.

Favourite scent/candle?

I like the smell of wood burning, at a campfire or a bonfire. I don't know, it just feels autumnal and like there's a clash between the warm and cold.

Best lipstick

I'm scared of wearing bright lip colours so I pretty much avoid all the colours that most people would go to in autumn with the reds and plum shades haha. But I do like Revlon's Lip Butter in Pink Truffle, which is quite a deep red/pink colour. How daring hahah.

Go to moisturiser?

No7's Beautiful Skin Day Cream.

Go to colour for the eyes?

After pretty much not adding any colour to my eyes over spring/summer, I'm back into the browns/greys/black.

Favourite music to listen to?

I don't know why, but I get really into Mayday Parade and Ron Pope in autumn/winter (well, even more so than usual). And loads of different songs by various artists. I don't know. I like music all the time.

Favourite outfit?

Dark skinny jeans, a jumper, ankle boots and a scarf (plus a warm coat if it's really chilly).

Autumn treat?

It sounds so weird but soup. Like, it doesn't sound like a treat but I tend to forget about any kind of warm food during the summer, so then autumn comes around and I get out the vegetable soup, and it tastes better than ever. Yeah. And roast dinners, although I'm not capable of making those myself, so I'll have to wait until I go home. Those, and mini marshmallows for hot chocolate, woop.

Favourite place to be?

Either at a park, in a cosy cafe or in bed. Also maybe the shower.


What are your favourite thing about autumn? Is it your favourite season too? Answer these questions too and let me know :)

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Tumblr: abbielour
Bloglovin: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Meet The Vamps tour


On Sunday evening, Chloe and I went to see The Vamps at the NIA in Birmingham for their debut headlining tour, aptly named the 'Meet The Vamps' tour. After about a six month wait after getting the tickets, it finally came around, and Chloe came up to stay with me so we could go.

In all honesty my main excitement for the event was seeing her, rather than seeing them, but I did have a really great time at the gig, thanks to both Chloe and The Vamps.

We arrived quite late, after attempting to find our way there walking, but in the end we got in a taxi and letting the driver do the work; luckily our late arrival meant no queuing to get in; it was so quiet outside we literally didn't know which entrance was the right one hahah. However once we got inside we found a few thousand teenage girls (and some of their parents), wandering/sitting on the edge of their seats excitedly, eagerly awaiting the band.

We didn't know who was supporting, or how many acts there would be so at first we thought we might have missed one or two of them. And after some googling on Monday night, it seems that we might of missed one, but the two we saw were fun, and both surprisingly similar in their format.


First was Luke Friend, who, I believe, may have been an x factor contestant at some point (??? (I don't watch it so I'm none the wiser)). He seemed full of energy when he skipped onto the stage with his guitar. The second song he performed sounded super sweet, so I'll have to look it up on youtube at some point.


And then the lovely Nina Nesbitt graced the stage, and I was very pleasantly surprised to see her. I've heard a couple of Nina's songs and I've quite liked listening to them. However the only song I actually know the words to, she didn't perform of course haha. But she seemed really lovely and her voice is just beautiful.

Whilst waiting for The Vamps to come on, Chloe and I realised how much older we seemed than most of the girls there, who were closer to 10-15, and also became aware of how tired we were in comparison to the energy they all seemed to have. And we're not even much older! But it was nice to see all of their excitement, and reminded us of ourselves a few years ago at various other concerts.


Before we knew it the lights dimmed and there they were, cute/handsome as ever.

They started with Wildheart, a strong favourite of mine and oh they were wonderful. Their energy was very similar to that of the girls around us, and it was nice to see that sense of equal passion and interest. There was the exact same feel as they played Somebody To You a little later on too, and that's another of my favourites of theirs' as well. It was just so lovely to be apart of.


They did a sort of mash-up cover of All Time Low's, Dear Maria, Count Me In and Fall Out Boy's, Sugar We're Going Down, which I LOVED. I'm a big fan of both bands, so it was refreshing to see a different version of the two merged together. As well as this, they covered My Chemical Romance's, Teenagers, which I know, although not too well, but I really liked that too, and it's made me want to go away and remind myself of the song. Their other cover, which they played near the beginning I think, was a mash-up of numerous youtube covers they've done previously, which was such a nice thing, as they seemed to be bringing back the music fans first really heard from them,


I think my favourite songs on the night were probably Risk It All, which they played as an encore, and Shout About It, where Brad played the acoustic guitar, centre stage, all on his own; it was stunning.

We had a wonderful time at the show, and didn't even get lost on our walk back to the train station (who'd have thought). We did, however, take a detour to get food, well, I say food, I had a smoothie, but Chloe was super keen on the apple pie so she munched away happily as we walked back.


I don't know if there are any tickets left to later dates on the tour, as I have a feeling they all sold out, but if you can get down to a show, be sure to, because they sound just as good live as on their recordings, which you can't say for too many artists these days. They've also announced an arena tour for next year, so maybe head along to that instead if you can :)

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Tumblr: abbielour
Bloglovin: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Friday, 3 October 2014

Confessions of a Blogger Tag


Hellooooo.

I did a tag one time ages ago (I think it was a facts about me tag) and it was an okay experience, so I thought it was time I tried doing another one.

I don't remember where I first saw this tag, because I saved the questions a while ago but stupidly didn't note down the account where I found them. Gaaaaa.

Anyhow, here it is:


1. When did you start your blog?

I started my blog in August (I think) 2013, so it's been a while now.


2. Have you had any past online presence before (other blog/youtube)?

I actually hadn't had another blog or anything as such before this one, but it was something I'd always thought about doing, but just never did. I mean, I've had twitter and the likes for years, but not anything that I could type out multiple sentences in one post.


3. Why did you start your blog?

It was summer, and I had had plans to fill the time but due to various circumstances they ended up not going ahead (thankfully, as I think it would've made me more miserable). So I had a lot of time to kill, and got a lot more into reading blogs than I had previously. And I thought, why not just start my own? So I did. And I didn't really post much to start with, but eventually I sort of found my way with it, and it ended up being something I enjoyed way more than I imagined I would and it made me really happy, and it still does :)


4. When did you become serious about starting a blog?

I don't think I've ever taken it all that seriously, but the more I enjoyed it, the more time I put into it, definitely. I think it was a good six or so months before I really got into it, in all honesty. I don't know, to start with I wasn't all that sure what I wanted to write about, but eventually I found my feet and made it something I did regularly.


5. What was your first post?

I think it was some sort of introduction post, and I don't even remember what it said. It's probably better that I don't remember, but it's still on here.


6. What has been your biggest challenge about blogging?

Initially it was definitely working out what I wanted to do with my blog, like what kind of stuff I was interested in enough to write about, and, in a sense, it was like an identity thing I guess. Like, I was me in real life, and then I had to find a way to portray a bit of that online within my blog. I just wanted to come across on here as I am in person, I think, and that, combined with working out what all my interests really were, was the most challenging thing.


7. Where do you see your blog in a year's time?

Hopefully still in existence, and still making me happy and allowing me to enjoy this whole thing. I don't know, in all honesty. Just, still around, I hope.


8. What is the most rewarding thing to you about blogging?

In a way, blogging is a kind of reward to me in itself. Like, I'll go through a busy day, doing loads of stuff, and then I'll come home and I'll blog. And it's kind of a release in a way, and I find it something quite relieving. I can forget about anything that maybe didn't go all that well throughout the day, and I can push aside anything I'd had to do that I didn't enjoy, and I can indulge in all the things I love. The best reward is the feeling of contentment.


9. What is the most discouraging thing that happens to you?

Probably just myself. I quite often talk myself down a bit, and think about how certain things could go better, and how a lot of stuff that's important to me is out of my control. Nothing anyone else has said is seemingly discouraging, it's just my own mindset at times.


10. What's your lasting inspiration or motivation?

A lot of my friends and family members say some really nice things both to and about me, and I think that's probably what motivates me the most; I want to see all the great things that they seem see in me. Because I honestly don't understand why they all have so much faith in me or why they even like me at all haha. It's always motivating, when people believe in you; sometimes their belief is enough.


If anyone else blogs, would you do this tag please? I'd love to read a bit about you and your blog, so if you do, be sure to send me a link :)


Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Tumblr: abbielour
Bloglovin: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Long Road Home: Charlie Simpson - review


Charlie Simpson's new album, Long Road Home, is stunning.

It came out a couple of months ago, in July, and I have completely fallen for the beautifully put together, acoustically driven sound. This album has actually made me feel kind of relieved that Busted ever split up (the horror!!!), just because I doubt they would have ever taken their sound in this direction.

It's really not what you might expect from Simpson after hearing the music of Busted and Fightstar. I feel like he's really explored music very well, and moved through the genres until finding, essentially, what's best for him. He's gone for the pop sort of sound with Busted, then something more rock driven, and now a more singer/songwriter alternative, minorly folk kind of vibe. And I think this is the best one for him, and it suits him really well.

Charlie's first album, Young Pilgrim, had a fairly similar sound to this album. I would liken him somewhat to the likes of Bon Iver, Newton Faulkner, and maybe even strike some similarities with Lewis Watson. It's definitely one of my favourite styles of music.

Long Road Home is a really nice, upbeat start to the album. I really like the acoustic instrumentation that really shows off Simpson's musical ability, in a way that I think wasn't evident so much in Busted. The vocal harmonies remind me of Bon Iver so much, but the song as a whole has a lot more drive than most Bon Iver songs. I really like the lyrics as well; it's sort of a reminder of how far you've come, to the point that it's further home than you might go on in the future. Listen here

Winter Hymns is a very nostalgic song, with some very sad and somewhat regretful lyrics. 'I promise I won't make a sound, 'cause I figure you no longer want me around.' It's so sad and as a listener you're reminded of how unwanted and hopeless you might have felt at times, which kind of hurts, but the blend of instruments makes everything feel lighter and not as painful as the lyrics really are. The acoustic guitar throughout the first verse and chorus starts things off really softly and I just love the simplicity of it. The instruments added further in give more texture and render quite an uplifting feel. Listen here

I think Emily was the first song on the album I actually listened to and I was just amazed by how similar the sound is to that of Bon Iver, who I really do love. The pretty harmonies and very simplistic instrumentation are a real winner for me, so if you like that kind of music, then this album is definitely for you. I like the idea of just having to close your eyes to be with someone; it's a very sweet lyric, and I find it quite reassuring, as sad as it really is. Listen here

One of my favourite songs on the album is Ten More Days, which I found quite surprising. There's a bigger texture to the instrumentation but the lyrics are really well suited to it, with the most driven overall sound. 'Keep your head up' gives a really positive message, acting as a reminder that things get better if you let them. I love the drums in this, the beat's really strong but not too much. Listen here

Still Young is my favourite on the album, I think. It's a ballad with a bit of drive behind it, and with the guitar really dominating. The lyrics are so lovely: 'the night wraps its arms around me,' is the prettiest lyric, and I really get it. Somehow to me the night always feels more comfortable than the day. This song is oddly inspiring, and kind of a reminder that there's still time for you to achieve all the things you ever hoped for. The nicest message. Listen here

I think Would You Love Me Any Less is one of the most beautiful ballads. The lyrics remind me a lot of Lewis Watson, like, so much. They're quite anecdotal in a sense. like a story, but with more depth in the chorus. I think this is one that you just have to listen to, so I highly recommend you do. Listen here

This album is so much more than I expected. I don't know why I wasn't expecting much, but I really like it. Having not had any new music from Bon Iver in a few years, it's almost like a refreshing recreation of his sound, but with more added to it, and Simpson's own individuality blended in very nicely.

Let me know what you think of the album, or if you know of any other similar artists, because I'd love to check them out.


Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Bloglovin: abbielour
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Tumblr: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com