Monday, 28 September 2009

Silly Lily

So...I felt proud of my Lily Allen for fuelling the file-sharing issue. And then I felt embarrased and disappointed in her when I got to know that her very interesting blog that had a few good points I agreed with turned out to be a copy and paste from another blog.
That kind of pissed me off. What also pissed me off that since then her main stance seems to be just strong straight file-sharing is bad. period. - which it didn't seem to be quite that simple in that original blog (or original...).
Either it's that Lily's always seen it this simple (well, the blog and the points in it were't really from her head, were they) OR she's been forced into this attitude by all the file-sharing fans/file-shares who disagree with her.

Whichever the case...I still like my Lily. Bitching about everything. Hell I love Elton John - even though sometimes I'd like to kick his butt and slap his mouth for the things he says.
Both Lily "Fuck You Elton" Allen and Elton "I could still snort you under the table" John are talented artists, smart people with mouths sometimes quicker than brains and who have a habit of behaving like children - tantrums in Elton's case and feeling all wronged etc on Lily's side. Yet I still respect them for their art and can't help but admire the bitchy part of themselves a little as well. At least when you talk bullshit, do it in style.

But I liked that blog entry, it was at least something. I liked her setting up the It's Not Alright blog where the other quite succesfull musicians could share their simple music industry views with the readers. But after it became public knowledge Lily in fact didn't come up with the original arguments, how on Earth is she surprised people (me) don't really feel like discussing any more. How can I take your crusade against illegal downloading seriously when you, Lily, copy someone without quoting them? Would it fucking hurt you?

Sorry, I'm just a pissed off college student who, btw studies information science, and have to accordingly quote every source I ever use when I write a paper. The same should apply for a blog if you use a text you haven't written.
You can get kicked out from college for copying someone else's work, Lily. But how could you know, right.

To sum it up I still respect Lily as an artist and entertainer, I buy her records and tickets to see her shows. I won't start burning her CD's. But even tho I know she's a smart lady, just like me ;o) from now on I just can't take her opinions seriously...because if you preach about thieving and then do almost the same thing, sorry, but you are just plain stupid however high your IQ is.

I guess I dunno...if there are not money involved stealing doesn't count?

One day, I might finally write that blog about file-sharing. So far from all the celebs who spoke out on the issue I agree with Stephen Fry the most. Because he uses his own smart fucking brain and doesn't see everything in black and white.
Listen to his iTunes Live Festival speech here

FV

P.S. Looking forward to seeing Lily in Prague next month. The venue is overpriced and has bad acoustics - from what I've read. Maybe choosing a less luxurious venue could be a better move next time. Many of Lily's Czech fans say they can't afford the tickets. x

P.P.S. The best open letter ever: Dan Bull - Dear Lily

P.P.P.S. Good luck with your acting career, Lily. xxx

Thursday, 24 September 2009

MIKA - The Boy Who Knew Too Much **Review**


Well well... Long long time ago - and can still remeber I wrote a review of Life In Cartoon Motion for one website...and I gave it a 3/5 star treatment. Basically saying MIKA did have potential but wasn't quite there yet...he reminded me of too many artists and wasn't original enough. For me.

Two years on I know better. First of all, I gave the songs on Life In Cartoon Motion a proper listen and managed to almost forget the ubiquity of Relax (Take It Easy) on Czech radios or the fact that our X Factor finalist Ondrej Ruml sang Grace Kelly live way better than MIKA seemed to be capable of at that time. Or the fact that when you're not in the right mood Lollipop andLove Today are pretty annoying songs.
I realized that more than a pop singer, MIKA really is a creative mad singer-songwriter/visual artist creating his own world who really has more in common with Amanda Palmer and Tim Burton than with Will Young.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much is supposed to be a teenage followup to the first record. And yes, it is. Sonically it doesn't retract from its predecessor...yet it feels slightly more mature and less naive. There's still a lot of joy but the energy feels more revolting. MIKA is good at combining pretty dark lyrics and imagery with upbeat music. But when the music's sad, MIKA's falling to pieces right in your speakers.

Let me take The Boy Who Knew Too Much song by song:

We Are Golden. A no-nonsense pop dance-y record that literally makes you (me) dancing around the room (only with more clothing than MIKA sports in the video for it). It sets the theme of the album perfectly. Upbeat music combined with lyrics about horny teenagers feeling glamorous also have their dark moments: "Now I’m sitting alone/I’m finally looking around/Left here on my own/I’m gonna hurt myself/Maybe losing my mind/I’m still wondering why/Had to let the world let it bleed me dry."
It pretty much shows this song is more a lonely teenager, living inside of his glam dream afraid of facing the real world than a bunch of young and fabulous people dancing in a club.

Blame It On The Girls. Another strong pop hit, catchy memorable chorus, hand claps and all. You don't even realize you sing along to lyrics featuring dead fathers. And yeah, the lead character of this song is apparently a flink who should get a life instead of blaming his dissatisfaction with life on everyone else. Or something.

Rain. This song started out as a beautiful ballad about more love being given than recieved...and on record it ended up being a dance track about more love being given than recieved. Very Pet Shop Boys.
I still prefer the slower piano version but this song is so good, it survived even this dance pop treatment.

Dr John. And finally we get to a point where I won't use as many superlatives. This song just feels to me like Billy Brown without the great chorus...this chorus just feels incomplete. Top lyrics, tho.

I See You. Part of this song's circulated the internet as "I'm Falling" - which is the verses part of the song. Then it continues as a moving ballad MIKA proved to be good at right on the first album (Any Other World, *gulp*, Happy Ending *snort*)...yet I don't quite feel the impact of this song as of yet. It'll probably take some more time. At first I nicknamed Happy Ending That Take That Song...

Blue Eyes. Firts of the two songs that were originally featured on MIKA's Songs For Sorrow EP which was released in June. One of the wonderful artwork that accompanied this song on the EP was a picture of crying eyes, some of which had been apparenty cut off in places. That sums this song up pretty well. It's a good song, catchy, yet...in the three months I've been listening to it I haven't yet managed to get fed up by it.

Good Gone Girl. An OK song about old slappers and slightly younger slappers looking for a rich man in this crazy world. Or something to that extent.

Touches You yesterday got the award for The Catchiest Song of the Week. Enough said. Upbeat, catchy but not in a Lollipop kind of way. Dance-y and clappy. Yay. My mind's been too busy dancing and failed yet to figure out what the heck this song is about. "I wanna be your brother, wanna be your father too/Never make you run for cover even if they want us to/I wanna be your sister, wanna be your mother too/I wanna be wanna be/Whatever else that touches you."
Hmmm.

By The Time. This song's been in my head ever since I gained consciousness this morning. "Don't wake up, won't wake up, can't wake up/No, don't wake me up." You can tell why... A beautiful, tender piece of a song. The vocal style kinda reminds me of Glee - especially the backing vocals. The chorus on the other hand...it sounds slightly familiar. But I don't care, this song just feels like a couple of beautiful wild flowers covered by dew that bask in the morning light of July.

One Foot Boy. Ahh, sorry...good, OK song but it doesn't really stand out. Kind of mediocre by MIKA's standard. Though the lyrics are all about craziness, shooting someone, wanting to be left alone and yeah...a one foot boy - all good then.

Toy Boy. For me one of THE songs of 2009, been obsessed by it ever since the Songs For Sorrow EP came out. If you're not a fan of dark/punk cabaret or Kurt Weill, you probably won't appreciate it as much BUT read the lyrics. Really, do yourselves a favour and read them.
"But your mama thought there was somethin’ wrong/Didn’t want you sleeping with a boy too long/It’s a serious thing in a grown-up world/Maybe you’d be better with a Barbie girl" should be enough to give them a chance.

Pick Up Off The Floor. Starts off as a ballad and ends up being a full-on bluesy wonderfullness you can imagine yourself singing along to at 6 am when you're the last person at the bar. Kind of.

And that is where the regular album ends.

BUT I ain't gonna buy just a regular version of the album, am I.

So for me the last song on the album is improved Lover Boy. Improved from the demo state that's been on the web, that is. Now I understand why MIKA isn't very happy about fans hearing what they shouldn't hear. The finished Lover Boy is indeed so much better than the demo and complements Pick Up Off The Floor very well.

Summary? The Boy Who Knew Too Much does have its weak parts but not weak enough to be intolerable. Basically, if you liked MIKA before you're gonna love this; if you hated him, this album probably won't change your mind, yet it's been cured from some of the illnesses the first album suffered. Treat this as a recommendation, then.
Even if you think you don't like MIKA, give him and his colourful world with many dark undertones a chance.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Muse - The Resistance ** Review **





So I got the album yesterday. I listened to the whole album once. And pultiple times to some of its songs. Now I'm listening to it for the second time - and as I'm listening I'm gonna comment on each of the tracks separately.

Before I start; First impression from The Resistance: More opera than rock...too much Queen, edges not sharp enough but overall I forgive a lot because the piano is beautiful and it's still Muse, it still sounds like them and it's good. :o)

Uprising - a grower. When I first heard it, it reminded me of Franz Ferdinand's "Shopping for Blood" (the verses at least). Now I'm not quite sure where I heard the similarity (the bass?) but it sure as hell ain't Supermassive Black Hole Part 2 as one Czech reviewer stated. Grow a pair....of ears, man!
Uprising is hot, sexy and makes you dance and sing along even tho the lyrics are kinda pre-apocalyptic rebellion kind of thing(again...Matt could find a new theme one of these days) - namely Orwell's 1984. I love this song but Bowie's "We Are The Dead" or "Big Brother" still tower over it as songs inspired by 1984 (not that they can be compared musically).

Resistance - Love at first listen. Even tho the intro/intermezzo (piano to a dance-y beat) reminds me of that kind of annoying dance music I never listen to. :o) The "could be wrong" bit sounded an inch too catchy and OTT when I listened to the pre-views on iTunes but it works well with the whole song. My favourite bit is the chorus - especially the second time. Beautiful tune (there's this nagging in my head I've heard it before in some form but whatever...).

Undisclosed Desires - an example of less rock more electronica song. Not really my cup of tea. But when the "reconcile" bit and backing vocals come on, I start to get used to this song and even like it. Plus the tune is good - again.

United States of Eurasia/Collateral Damage - and the Queen strikes again... to make it clear, no, I don't like Queen/Freddie. Years ago I did have a period I listened to some best-of thing of theirs and you can see me clapping and singing along to "We Will Rock You" or "We Are The Champions" from time to time but mostly I'm just allergic to Freddie's voice and May's guitar. So this song sounding SOOO fucking much like Queen = not a good thing. the "sia - sia - sia" bit is so over-the-top and Queen-y I can't help but laugh listening to it (all the while thinking about murdering someone).
On the other hand the oriental-inspired strings/paino "riff" is great. (Yeah, so far Aida is my favourite opera.).
Collateral Damage is a good nap song... (I love the sound of piano, I do.)
P.S. The opening piano chords are VERY similar to the opening chords of Coldplay's "Amsterdam". Just sayin'.

Guiding Light starts off very 80's. But it's got a great tune (again) and overall, it's an OK song. I predict it'll grow on me and it'll become one of my Muse favourites.

Unnatural Selection fucking ORGAN? One Coldplay mention surely should be enough in a review of a MUSE album. Thankfully the song then takes off. Think I'm gonna have to listen to it a few more times to make up my mind: if the song's just OK or pretty good. So far it sounds the most Muse-y on the album - like it could be in any other Muse album, basically.

MK Ultra is an OK song but when you listen closely...there are a few great details that pull it above (Muse) average.

I Belong to You/Mon Cœur S'Ouvre a Ta Voix is a song that MIKA might have written - at least partly. Now I hear you all the rockers scream in pain. Sorry.
Another of my faves on the album. And the Samson and Delilah part was quite well stolen, Matt!

And now we get to the bit I was scared of the most.A rock symphony? Fuck off!

BUT

Exogenesis became the nicest surprise of the whole album. If only for this three tracks the album is worth a purchase.
The Overture does remind me of so far my fave Muse song "Ruled By Secrecy" in some parts but I don't mind a bit. Not a bit.
Cross-Pollination does nothing to spoil the wonderfulness of the Overture but the best comes with Redemtion. When I listened to the album yesterday for the first time it completely caught my attention and kept me captivated till the very last note. Fucking beautiful. Thank you, guys. And no, I don't mind the instrumental part sounds a bit like somethinng Phillip Glass might have written. It's beautiful and that's all that counts. x

Summary? In the context of Muse albums I still like Absolution the best but though not the most original thing in the world, this album still rates better than most of today's musical production. So there ya go.

FV

P.S. It is a conceptual kind of album (see interviews & articles to the release of The Resistance)...it's so obvious I failed to mention it......

P.P.S. The artwork is outstanding. Especially the covers of the two vinils...an opportunity to view this lovely retro artwork in all its glory.
If you have the 60 pounds, the limited edition is strongly recommended anyway. x

Thursday, 17 September 2009

District 9 **Review**




My two cents:

District 9 is unquestionably an original and interesting film. It's sad and raw but it's also good. Wouldn't say, tho, that it's completely my cup of tea...there could have been less action for my taste - on the other hand it's true that all the action made sense.
What I liked about it the best is that it looked real. Which is usually my problem with some expensive Hollywood sci-fi productions: you don't really see the money invested in all the computer trickery/or it looks too expensive (if you know what I mean...?)
Yeah, the sense that you really are there, it's happening now...it's not some far dreamed up future, it's just a slightly different parallel universe - that really is a strenght of this film. (It kinda reminds me of the feeling I had watching Children of Men.)
The pseudo-documentary narrative frame and the fact the whole thing was set in Johannesburg (its slums) - and never really left it, that again make you forget you're not watching a film...at times at least.
There was nothing too-much, even the action was more or less justified. All components introduced were carried through and some of the illogical behaviour of the characters wasn't as much bad writing as actuall a pretty good writing: showing people (or even aliens) don't always know what to do and how to do it when something unexpected is happening to them and they're under a lot of stress.

All in all...and exeptional and good film that, even tho sci-fi, feels real but not exactly something that's melted my heart much. (if I don't cry while watching a film...that really means something! lol)

FV