Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015


With every year that commences, the time seems to go even faster. This year has been a relatively busy one, and I suppose I've had a pretty good time all things considered. I have been so happy with the amount of live shows I've been to, and I think I've embraced my love of music more this year than ever before; I'm so glad that I found the time and money to go and enjoy myself for an evening every now and again.

As far as highlights go, I would have to say seeing Taylor Swift was definitely one of the best experiences. I would go again in a heartbeat and I hope I get the opportunity to see her perform again, because she is sensational. Ed Sheeran was also phenomenal, and it was so lovely to see Lawson playing live again, as well as all the other bands and artists I've seen over the year.

In terms of personal achievements, I passed my first year of university with good marks and have been working hard to make further progress for second year. I'm really looking forward to semester two, as I think I'll enjoy the texts so much more than those I've studied (and struggled with) so far in second year; I find older texts very difficult to read, so luckily I'm moving into the more recent texts in the new year.

I've already got some plans for the coming year, with several gigs lined up, and most of those being bands I haven't seen before, so I'm very excited about that. As I said, I'm looking forward to the modules I'm going to be studying for the next few months, as the texts have interested me greatly. And I'm just looking forward to moving onward with my life, embracing what's to come with open arms, and hoping it will be better.

Here's to the new year.

Until next time.


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Saturday, 19 December 2015

Seasonal update


Helloooooo. I've been quite busy in the past week and haven't had time to blog about what I've been up to, so I thought I'd put it all together in an update post.

I finished uni for Christmas just over a week ago, last Thursday, but stayed in Birmingham until Friday (yesterday) as I had work to do and also a couple of shows to go to.


Last Friday Charlie and I went to see a group she really likes, called The Overtones, at Symphony Hall. And they were so great. It was essentially a Christmas concert so it was very festive and got us into the spirit. The vocals were amaaaazing.



The following evening we went to The Institute to see Lower Than Atlantis, whose music I love. I felt rather faint when we got there so we stood and watched from the side, but they were brilliant, and I would happily see them again, as with The Overtones, despite the band and group being entirely contrasting.



I spent the next few days reading and doing some research for the essays I need to write over Christmas, to give myself a bit of a head start on the work. And on Thursday Charlie and I went to see one of our favourite musicals, Hairspray, at the New Alexandra Theatre, and it was amazing. It was almost six years to the day since we'd seen the show in London, so it was a bit nostalgic and just brilliant.


On Friday we both travelled home for the holidays, and since then I've spent pretty much all my time with my dog. The way it should be.



In terms of music, other than those already mentioned, I've been listening to Coldplay's new album, A Head Full of Dreams, rather a lot; it's so good, I can't wait to hear some of the songs live in June. And I've been listening to all the Christmas classics, as music is definitely the best part of the season for me (apart from the food of course).

I hope everyone is enjoying the start of the holidays and you all have nice plans for the Christmas period.

Until next time.


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Monday, 14 December 2015

Song of the week #46


Christmas Lights - Coldplay / Yellowcard

Originally released in December 2010, Coldplay's Christmas Lights is a perfect Christmas song, despite its more sombre tone. The piano at the beginning sounds particularly seasonal, with Chris Martin's vocals adding a very chilling effect. I love the build up throughout; the crescendo lifts the song up and it sounds more and more like a Christmas song the more it progresses.

As much as I love the original track, I also think that Yellowcard's cover is brilliant. A flair of punk is added and the song is taken down a rock-ier path. The latter version sounds brighter overall, and I like the substituting of the electric guitar for the previous piano in the intro. It's a wonderfully distinctive interpretation.

Until next time.


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Thursday, 10 December 2015

A quote for thought #2


Passion and enthusiasm are two very important things. We all have certain things that we're really passionate about. Whether it's a hobby like cooking, a video game, a genre of film, a person, or a job; we all have something that fuels the fervor within us. So even though there may be parts of our lives that feel more inert, the things that we love are those that keep us going. And it's ever so important to embrace those things with your entire being.

When you're having a bad day, and thinking about all the things that seem wrong, focus on the things that feel right. If you feel strongly about something, become more involved, make more time for it.

Often people aren't completely supportive of the things other's are enthusiastic about, and it makes me so sad to see someone become disheartened and lose interest in something they love, because someone else thinks it's silly. It's not silly, and the opinions of those people don't matter (and there lives probably aren't all that fun).

'Lukewarm is no good.'

Lukewarm sounds like a very unadventurous life. And one I'd like to steer clear of.

Until next time.


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Monday, 7 December 2015

Song of the week #45



Maybe the ultimate feel good song. This week has been made so much happier due to the existence of I Won't by Little Mix. It makes me want to sing and dance and go out and live my life to the full. It's quite subtly sassy and I love that so much because same.

I think as a group, Little Mix are quite well known for their feel good songs, and this is undoubtedly one of them. The chorus is so good and I want to chant it from the rooftop. It's all about living your life the way you want to and not letting anyone tell you what to do. Own it.

Would recommend listening to this song so much, it's pretty much guaranteed to brighten your day.

Until next time.


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Monday, 30 November 2015

Song of the week #44


One of the most beautiful, serene, inspiring songs I can name is The Garden by Take That. The song opened the group's 2008 album The Circus, which my mum had playing in her car for probably two solid years. So it's safe to say I know it pretty well.

It's such a subtle song, but one of such wonder, and the whole arrangement works perfectly; it's just stunning. Essentially it's all about realising that this is the life you have and you need to start believing in yourself and opening your heart and mind up to new possibilities.

I love how it all comes back to 'but you and me, we just lay down in the garden'. Because for me, a garden or a park, or somewhere surrounded by nature, is the kind of place that inspires me the most, and it's somewhere that I go to imagine all the things that could come, and all the things that I could ever hope for. It's a song that really speaks to me, and makes me wonder.

What songs inspire you?

Until next time.


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Monday, 23 November 2015

Song of the week #43



I love this sooooong. Bieber's new album Purpose, is so good, and Love Yourself is a strong favourite of mine. 'My mama don't like you and she likes everyone' is such a catchy line and it's also a very subtle but very big insult. If my mum doesn't like you, you're probably a pretty awful person, so I can strongly relate.

The way the guitar and lyrics work together create a really calm, serene sound; it's a very laid back track and I think that makes the lyrics more effective. And it's kind of presenting the subject matter in a pleasant way: saying that you don't like someone but making it more about them and their own self worth, saying that just because you don't like/love them, doesn't mean they shouldn't.

Great song, would recommend; The Feeling is another song on the album that I really like. You can have a listen to both of them here.

Until next time.


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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Made In The A.M. - One Direction - album review


One Direction's fifth studio album, Made In The A.M. was released on Friday, and it's brilliant. With every album, the group lift the bar even higher. I can hear so many different, and new, influences on this album. And I really like it.

Hey Angel is such a great starter. The allusions to The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony are so clear, and yet reworked into something that creates a similar, but equally very different, atmosphere and effect. The vocals in the intro, in particular, are really effective. It sets the album off with the perfect tone. It feels like something great is about to happen.

Perfect and Infinity are two especially catchy songs, both of which I really like. I think the tone to Perfect is, actually, perfect. It's a song that could have been more declarative and, well, harsher in tone. I like how it's put into a somewhat lighthearted form, whilst admittedly still being heartfelt. I'm glad that it doesn't sound bitter, because I'm sure it could have. And Infinity is just so pretty. Who doesn't love a ballad like this? It's very uplifting despite the main themes of the song, which is expressed especially in the chorus. I think it's a very hopeful song, and the trusting tone is persistent throughout.

The clapping of the beat is an element of End of the Day that I love; I think it adds so much to the overall, lively but laid-back, feel of the song. This contrasts really nicely with A.M., which has a much more somber, conclusive tone to it. At the end of the day here it's well into the early hours of the morning and nothing makes sense but everything makes sense. It's a much less concise song and that's what I like most about it. A strong sense of closure; very fitting for the final track on the album.

What a Feeling is very atmospheric; it makes me think of 4am on a summer night, walking home with a friend, reflecting on everything that has and hasn't happened. I like the laid back tone and the way this is brought out through the instrumentation. With a very different emphasis, Temporary Fix is a much more upbeat track. It's probably catchier as a result of it's conventions, but I'd rank it highly alongside with What a Feeling. Two decisively different songs, both well worth listening to.

The delicate ballad that is I Want to Write You a Song. How pretty. It reminds me of a song I used to listen to in my childhood that I can't quite recall, and thus to me it feels very nostalgic. The song seems particularly smooth and innocent, with a very calming tone to compliment the lyrics. Similarly, Walking in the Wind has a comparable serene feel to it. It's got a more apparent beat to it, but it's still very soft. It feels quite conclusive, as A.M. does, but in a very different way. This song sounds as though there's only good things to come, whereas the other presents more of an uncertainty. It sounds like the sort of song you listen to when you finish a chapter of your life and you're excited for what's to be written next.

Love You Goodbye is a gracefully charming song. There are some wonderful ballads on this album, but this is a strong favourite of mine. The tone is devastatingly beautiful and works so well with the lyrics. It's the concluding of a love you never wanted to end.

As much as I think Love You Goodbye is so beautiful and emotional, nothing can compare to the way If I Could Fly makes me feel. It is the most stunning song, and I feel every single word. The piano and strings create this whole atmosphere that just adds even more to the lyrics. The vocals in the second chorus make the words come across so much stronger; they really hit hard. I think I've been quite upset about a lot of things lately, and this song has had some sort of effect that's made me really address that. I feel sad, but I feel better.

Would recommend this album 100%. There's so many different sounds offered, with something for every mood and emotion.


Until next time.


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Monday, 16 November 2015

Song of the week #42



Coldplay are back and their new single is as catchy as ever. It has such a feel-good vibe to it and it's really uplifting. It reminds me a little of Princess of China, with that somewhat futuristic sound to it.

I like how the band's sound is constantly progressing and they're always up for trying out new things. I think that's really important in music.

The way that the backing vocals act as a bass is really innovative and it sounds so good. There's nothing I don't like about this song.

Until next time.


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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Lawson Winter tour '15


On Monday night I went to see one of my favourite bands and it was wonderful.

After just over two years since I saw them on their last full UK tour, Lawson were back in Birmingham, playing O2 academy 2. It felt so lovely to be there and see them again playing new songs, as well as some of the classics that first made me fall in love with their music.


I really liked Fullshore, a local band who played a little acoustic set to start the evening off. They had a really nice sound and I've checked out some of their stuff of youtube since, and I'm really into it.

Lawson were great, of course. I loved hearing the new songs from their most recent EP, especially We Are Kings, as I think everyone really got involved. I also thought Mountains sounded incredible.

Andy and Joel's acoustic of Taking Over Me was stunning, it's one of my favourite songs of their's and I probably listen to the acoustic audio more than the original anyway, so hearing it live and stripped back was lovely. Also, Andy playing Everywhere You Go was such a beautiful moment, another song I adore.


I loved their cover of Jess Glynne's Hold My Hand; it felt wonderful and sounded so special, and I wish I could experience that again and again. The best cover I've heard of that song, and it really brought everyone together.

When She Was Mine sounded as on point as ever and brought everyone right back to the start, as it was the band's first ever single. Hearing Make It Happen live again was brilliant, as it always feels so motivational. Also, I have to mention that Joel is honestly the best guitarist I've ever heard; any song is made ten times better with a guitar solo, even if it's only a couple of bars long.


And of course, they ended things off with Standing in the Dark, a song that I will never stop wanting to hear live. It feels so special and being in a room filled with people all singing the lyrics to that song is something really quite magical. I can't wait to experience it again soon.

I would highly recommend grabbing a ticket to one of the shows on Lawson's winter tour if they haven't yet played a venue near you.

Still one of the best live bands I've ever heard.

Until next time.


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Monday, 9 November 2015

Song of the week #41



The Icarus Account are one of my favourite bands ever. The twin brothers are known for their beautiful acoustic tracks and I'm always listening to them. This week in particular, I've been listening to Proud a lot. It's the most stunning song, with the perfect guitar line and the loveliest vocals. The song is ultimately about wanting to make someone close to you proud, something we tend to feel often.

I just can't fault it in the slightest. It's about saying goodbye to everything you're used to, and moving on and working hard to achieve your goals, whilst still looking back and missing certain things about the past and about home. And I suppose that idea coincides with being at uni, at least that's how I relate to it.

'I'll spread these wings and try to fly, and if I fail at least you know I tried' has such a lovely tone to it and it really captures the whole song for me. And the concluding lines just make me think of my mum: 'life can change so suddenly, so thanks for taking care of me, I hope that I make you proud'.

Until next time.


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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Why I love live music


I generally go to a gig or two each month, and in the gaps between I really miss being at a show. It's actually been a couple of months since my last gig (which is sad), but I'm back at it this month, with two shows (it was meant to be three but unfortunately Nickelback had to cancel), and so I thought I'd share the main reasons why I love live music.

1. It feels great and it usually sounds great too - I love hearing songs I've listened to for a long time live, because it just feels so much more raw and real. You can hear even more expression in a singers voice, the bass is clearer than ever, and you just feel everything.


2. It kind of tests how good the band/artist you're seeing actually is - sometimes this can be a disappointing thing, but far more often than not they sound even better live than on studio recordings. You can see a band interacting with each other, bouncing off each others' energy, and know that they're all enjoying what they're playing, and the less serious they are, usually the better it sounds overall.


3. Everyone is involved and there are so many different people all coming together with a common interest - it's so nice to see how diverse a crowd can be at a show. Given, there are certain gigs I've been too that have been very teenage girl heavy, or full of (somewhat creepy) older men. But especially at shows like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, as well as many others, you see people of all ages, from all walks of nice. And it's nice to know you share something in common with all of them.


4. It's fun, especially if you're going with friends (although it's still fun on your own) - the whole point of going to a gig is to have a good time. For me it's also usually a social thing; I'll go with a friend or a group of friends, we'll hang out before and get dinner, and we'll go to the show. It's a nice way to catch up with people and to connect with them.


5. You can just live in the moment and forget about everything else you've got going on for an evening and just feel the music and nothing else - the ultimate reason. I love going into a huge room, filled with people with all kinds of things going on outside, but when they're in the room they're just feeling the music, and although maybe the problems on the outside are still in your mind as you sing the lyrics back, they feel like a weight off your chest, especially knowing how many other people are singing along beside you.


One of my favourite quotes is from Dave Grohl:
'That's one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they'll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.'

Until next time.


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Monday, 2 November 2015

Song of the week #40



I have been loving Someone New by Hozier this past week. His voice is so smooth and it sounds perfect for this track. I really like the strings at the beginning and how they're still the underlying motif throughout the whole song. It creates a very soft sound from the very start, which really compliments the lyrics.

Hozier's voice sounds very theatrical to me, like he can really dramatise a situation and a song; there's a real strong, deep tone and it just works beautifully. The song has a very uplifting feel to it. Falling in love with someone or something new everyday is a nice idea; like you can always find something to adore, regardless of the situation you're in. It's a really nice idea. It makes me want to look more closely at the things and the people around me.

Until next time.


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Saturday, 31 October 2015

October photo diary '15

I think I'm going to start trying to do photo diaries every month/every other month because I actually really enjoy putting them together and reminding myself what I've been doing throughout the month.

October has been filled with uni work (so much, help), food, and trees, because autumn (and because I love trees in general).

Here's my month in photos:




First day of the month I had a 9am library session (why do I do this to myself), followed by coming home and eating cereal before a lecture and seminar.


(My favourite snapchat filter thingamajig evaaaaa).


Booked tickets to see one of my favourite bands next month.


Charlie came over and we made Tom and Jerry cupcakes from a box mix and they tasted great (used to make these with my Grandma when I was little).


Attempts to avoid illness throughout autumn/winter.


Two of the albums I've been listening to most this month.





One of many autumnal walks to Cannon Hill.


Much reading.


Also booked tickets to see 5sos next year.


Many vegetables and catching up on sunbeamsjess' vlogtober (would definitely recommend (her videos are my favourite)).





I went to a 'Book to the Future' event with my friend Becky, where we heard the incredible Laura Bates speak about the Everyday Sexism Project (Book to the Future is my university's literary festival).


I've also been listening to That's The Spirit all month.


Quick and simple dinner: sweet potato, sweetcorn, cucumber, tomatoes, cheese and mayo (for those who like good food but hate cooking (me)).


(All I do is read right now).



My friend Ruth came up for an open day and we had the nicest cakes ever. This is a cheesecake blueberry muffin and ughhhhhhhhh. You need this.





I booked a spontaneous trip home the night before Ruth's open day, so we got the train home together, where I was reunited with the dogs (and my mum of course). I was there for 24hrs and spent most of that time with a dog at my feet (I miss them all the time).


Mug cakes might not look like the most appetising things but they are greaaaaaat. My flatmate Hayley has a recipe book full of them and we're making our way through them. This is a blueberry muffin. It was good.


When you haven't done washing in a while and you need to wash your bed sheets too and end up needing three washing machines oops. Adult responsibilities are boring.


Milkshake catch up with my best pal. Charlie had Daim, I had KitKat.


When you're on page 502 of the worst book you've ever read and it's still not over for another 80 odd pages (English at uni seems like a good idea until you're stuck with a book you learn to loath).


Tori Kelly's album finally came out in the UK and I loooooove it.


The morning after green tea in an attempt to feel alive again ft. fairy lights reflection.








Ruth came to stay for the weekend and we made cookies and went to the new Pets at Home store that's opened where I live and we concluded that we need more animals in our lives (how cute is the chinchilla though). We also went out for strawberry milkshakes and watched films because we were too tired to do anything else.


Our pub quiz team at home could definitely use some help from this book.



Campus in autumn is beeeeautiful.


Hayley and I cooked korma and it wasn't bad wooooooo (tasted amazing).



This is how the majority of all my days are spent. Reading, annotating, critical reading. Repeat.


Started reading Dracula a few days before Halloween (how appropriate).


Really loving 5sos' new album; this song is beautiful.




Pizza Express made our dough balls into pumpkins for Halloween (how cool?!).



Chloe came down to Birmingham on Friday to celebrate Halloween with Charlie and I; the makeup she did on me was sooooo gooooood.


Until next time.


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