Tag Archives: Pop

Fifth Harmony Set To Save The Music, Now There’s An Oxymoron

Girl group Fifth Harmony are a band with a huge social following and are well supported on the live circuit. As any fan of Fifth Harmony will know Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane, Camila Cabello, and Lauren Jauregui were signed by Simon Cowell’s SyCo after placing third on the 2012 season of X-Factor’s short-lived foray into the U.S. market. Buoyed by the success of One Direction and to a lesser extent Little Mix Simon Cowell tried to repeat the same formula and manufactured Fifth Harmony from a group of young women who had entered the competition as solo artists.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/3259782/fifth-harmony-set-to-save-the-music-now-theres-an-oxymoron/#FSWw0LDLh106rYh6.99

Bring Me The Horizon

Bring Me The Horizon Want To Collaborate With One Direction!!

One Direction have seemingly found some new admirers. One Direction are known for melodic pop music, good looks, and their clean cut image. In recent months, there have been lots of stories about artists who would like to collaborate with One Direction. Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, Wiz Khalifa, and Meghan Trainor are just a few of the major names from the world of pop music who have said they would love to collaborate with One Direction. It is not difficult to imagine a collaboration between any of those artists and One Direction.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/2432410/bring-me-the-horizon-want-to-collaborate-with-one-direction/#k8J06u9874FYTRAk.99

ED sheeran Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher Disses Ed Sheeran

Terminal gob-shite Noel Gallagher is shooting his mouth off again and this time Ed Sheeran is in the firing line.  NME report that Gallagher has expressed his dismay at the fact Ed Sheeran will play three gigs at Wembley Stadium later this year.

However, Gallagher is not happy this is happening.  He told NME that “I don’t think I can live in a world where that’s even possible. When you hear that kind of polished pop and then there’s a ginger guy with a fucking guitar it seems subversive, but it’s fucking not.”

Gallagher continues by giving a pretty bleak appraisal of the current music scene.  He said,

“It’s a strange time, and it seems like the whole thing is embedded for good now, for fucking forever. It’s not all over, but it’ll go back to the way it was in the early ‘80s where indie bands are the alternative thing, the lower level. In the early ‘80s everyone at indie labels, even major labels, were trying to push this music to the fore because everything else was shit, and maybe it’ll happen again, but I don’t see it for the next decade.”

Of course Sheeran might justifiably fire back “What does a washed up has been know about the current music scene.”  After all Sheeran’s Album “X” is the best selling album of the year and in addition it has been streamed over 430 million times.  Figures Gallagher can only dream about.

Sheeran took to twitter in response to Gallagher’s comment that he can’t live in such a world simply saying “I can live in it, its really enjoyable”

Sheeran has sold out three 80,000 shows at Wembley, he will play at at this year’s 57th Grammy Awards and is nominated for three awards at this year’s ceremony.

Gallagher on the other hand has done none of these things.

Gallery 2

Hi, check out some of my recent concert shots.  If you are interested in a Hi-Res copyright free version then please use the form below to make contact.  These are just a few samples of my work, I have many more of all of these artists.

75 Essential Albums – Day #15 – U2 – War

Here goes with day 15 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

U2 – War

In the days before Bono turned into a self obsessed, egotistical prick U2 were a band who made high energy political and relevant rock music.  They were four young men with something to say and they wanted to say it loudly, with feeling, with anger and boy did they mean it.

War was their third album in as many years and was by a distance their most political.  The previous albums ‘Boy’ & ‘October’ had begun to break the band outside of their native Ireland ‘War’ was about to catapult their name into the conscious minds of music fans across the globe.

The album opens with one of its strongest and most political songs.  The thumping aggressive drum beat and squealing guitar leads into Bono shouting, “I can’t believe the news today -I can’t close my eyes and make it go away” despite Bono’s repeated denials the song, with it’s anti-war message, is thought by many to be a reflection on the ‘Bloody Sunday’ killings in Londonderry when 14 civil rights protesters were killed by the British Army.  The controversy around the song and its deeper meaning did much to propel the album into the limelight.  The Anti-war theme continues on ‘seconds’ with its warning about nuclear holocaust, something that was very controversial and political in the UK at the time as there were increasing protests about the stationing of US Nuclear weapons at the airbase at Greenham Common in Berkshire.  It is easy to underestimate the political significance of these issues at a time when the UK was recovering from the Falklands war.

The political theme is very much what holds the album together, it gives a sense of what many young people were thinking at the time.  ‘New years day’ offers commentary on the battles the polish miners were having in their desire to break away from the Soviet Union.  This at a time when the Iron Curtain was still firmly in place and the cold war was still very real.  Who would have thought that only 5 years later the soviet block would begin to crumble.  The song holds out just this promise, a hope for a new beginning, an emergence from the darkness.  Despite the anger in some of the songs ‘War’ does offer something of a rallying call.  There are statements of love, faith and dreams, a promise that if everyone stood together they could make the world a better place.

On Drowning Man, a song about a man weathering the storms of life we get glimpses of how important Edges guitar was to become to representing U2’s sound.  On ‘Two Hearts’ we get funky basslines and a danceable rhythm and in 40 we return to promises of faith and renewal.  What War did was send a message that political music could be a force for good, that it could give voice to a generation and that people did not have to simply accept things as they were.  It also marked a change of direction for the band, it gave them the pace and direction that was later to see them become, for a time at least the biggest band on the planet.  The album is an important milestone in rock history.

75 Essential Albums – Day #11 Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding

Here goes with day 10 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding 

It is well documented that John Wesley harding was pulled together when Dylan had hit the big time and responded by withdrawing the public eye. He claimed he was recovering from a motorcycle accident but many claimed that this was just an excuse for Dylan to spend some time out of the limelight.  Whatever the truth the period he spent out of the public eye was an extremely creative period with a huge number of songs being written.  In late 1967 he went to Nashville and recorded John Wesley Harding an album with more than a tinge of a Country music feel about it.  

The snarling growl from Blonde on Blonde gave way to a much more laid back, tuned down and relaxed album.   This was the second of Dylans reinventions of himself.  The critics loved it, the fans were as confused as they had been after he went electric at Newport in 1965.  ‘John Wesley Harding’ was in my view a work of genius it feels casual and relaxed but the clever lyrics, the allegory, the shuffle guitar and the biting blues harp interludes showcase an artist at the top of his game.

The title track, I dreamed I saw St Augustine and the Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest all sparkle with energy, they all throw the battle between good and evil into stark relief and in the latter Dylan produces what in my opinion is one of his greatest ever pieces of work.

‘All Along the Watchtower’ and ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’ perhaps sound a little more like the Dylan of previous albums  but this was Dylans move back to exploring the roots of american music.  The music is a brilliant adaption of traditional blues and country and western music.

“Dear Landlord” is a veiled pop at capitalism whilst “I Am A Lonesome Hobo” recalls Rimbaud’s travels through Europe evoking perhaps a passing nod to one of his hero’s Woody Guthrie.   This really was a ground breaking album, if you don’t know it I urge you to give it a listen.  It is well worth the effort and is in my view one of Dylan’s most under-rated masterpieces.

75 Essential Albums – Day #10 Bruce Springsteen – The Rising

Here goes with day 10 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Bruce Springsteen – The Rising

The Rising was the Boss’s first studio album for 7 years and his first collaboration with the wonderful E-Street Band for 18 years.  The album holds a special place in my heart because I managed to see four european shows on the Rising tour.  As I am sure everyone knows the album was Springsteen’s response to the 9/11 bombing (although some of the songs precede that awful event).  In my view it was an incredibly brave decision to release the album so soon after the horror of that incredibly sad day.  It would have been easy for Springsteen to have been accused of ‘cashing in’ on the deaths of so many.  Of course anyone with even a passing knowledge of Springsteen and his music know that the man has a massive social conscience and he approached the event with care and sensitivity.

One might have expected songs full of anger and a thirst for revenge but Springsteen took a totally different approach.  The songs are full of grace, care and tribute to those who died.  They reflect sadness, loss and the bravery of those who gave their lives trying to save others.  It is something of a memorial but it is delivered in powerful fashion lifted by hard, bright guitar licks delivered by Nils Lofgren, Steve Van Zandt and Springsteen himself.  The thumping beats, two sets of keyboards, three guitars and of course Clarence Clemons Saxophone set the album apart from anything else released at the time.

Whilst the album is a reflection of hurt and loss there is an under story of hope.  For example in ‘Into the Fire’ there is praise for the bravery of emergency service personnel who lost their lives but in the chorus it becomes an anthem of hope:

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love

Simple, beautiful and powerful, a message of love in the face of hate.  In ’empty sky’ Springsteen gives voice to those new Yorkers who woke to lament the loss of Manhattans towering landmarks, it reflects the emptiness, incomprehension and inability to understand the actions of the terrorists on that day.  ‘Nothing Man’, a haunting ballad, tries to explain how the rescuers who survived the day must have felt after being thrust into the limelight of media coverage as a result of their brave actions on that day.

“Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” with its big, meaty riff and strutting lyrics and “Let’s Be Friends”, with its bouncy beat wouldn’t seem at first listen to fit in but they are songs of hope, a promise that things will get better.  The Rising is far from a call to arms, it is a call to rise above the injury, to rise above hatred and hurt.

Bruce Springsteen has gathered many a superlative over the years. The Rising is an album unlike any other, it is a truly soul wrenching experience.  A remarkable piece of work.

75 Essential Albums – Day #8 – ZZ Top – Eliminator

Here goes with day 8 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

ZZ Top – Eliminator

It blows my mind that Eliminator was ZZ Top’s eighth album release. Eliminator was my real introduction to their music.  My excuse is that their music is somewhat removed from the Punk scene I was into at the time and this was their first real commercial success. What a success it was selling over 10 Million copies worldwide.  I must confess that the track ‘Legs’ with the line “She’s got legs and she knows how to use them” had a special meaning for me. My girlfriend at the time had great legs and overtime we went into our local pub the DJ would play that track 🙂

Whilst ZZ Top remained true to their Texas Blues Rock, Eliminator introduced the electronic and new Wave feel that was popular at the time into their music and doubtless this was in many ways responsible for the success of the album.  This is a truly excellent album it does not contain one filler song, as each individual track works well as a stand-alone song. In fact, one can claim that the whole is much less than the sum of this album’s parts.

Frank Beard’s simple rock drum beat sets the pace for the riff-driven “Gimme All Your Lovin’” which also sets the pace for the album.   “Sharp Dressed Man” is the most catchy of the hit songs and utilises a more traditional rock arrangement with some strange vocal effects being the only really synthesised parts.  The song reached the Top Ten on the mainstream rock charts and has remained one of the band’s most famous songs.  “I Need You Tonight” is led by Gibbons’s really soulful and bluesy guitar with an effect-laden edge and a dark feel.

The early part of the album’s second side is the best demonstration of the “synthesizer meets soul” sound which the group was aiming for on Eliminator. On “Legs” the synths are most prominent along with a consistent beat and very few chord changes. It has a great melody, clear hook, and some bluesy lead guitar licks. “Thug” is an eighties-style, synth-heavy song and “Dirty Dog” feels like a pure dance song.  The closing track “Bad Girl” is sung by Hill who uses a Little Richard-type, frantic voice in this old time rocker.

So Eliminator works really well as an exciting, hook laden feel good fusion of Blues-rock and synthesiser pop.  It remains a fun filled fresh album and is still hugely enjoyable.

75 Essential Albums – Day #7 Kate Bush – The Kick inside

Here goes with day 7 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Kate Bush – The Kick Inside

Kate Bush burst onto the British Music scene in 1978 aged just 19 when her debut single ‘Wuthering Heights’ took the world by storm and topped the UK charts for 4 weeks.  It is perhaps hard to imagine now but she was the first ever British female artist to top the charts with a self penned song. It is also hard to imagine just how original, innovative and darn right idiosyncratic Bush was when she arrived on the scene.

The single ‘Wuthering Heights’ was one of 5 tracks released as singles and was the most successful of those releases.  Amazingly some of the tracks on the album where written when Bush was just 13 years old.  Surprising when the album explores issues of sexuality, near death experiences and draws on literary references.  Bush’s idiosyncrasy is immediately apparent when the album opens with 20 seconds of whale songs before segueing into moving, a song inspired by her dance teacher. She is nothing if not original and experimental.

Beyond that though Bush is a hugely powerful vocalist.  The richness of her vocal and her changes in pitch and dynamics combine to deliver a flawless vocal performance across the piece.  The power in her voice belied her waif like, wide eyed innocent look.  Her tone and range are astounding and the quality of the musicianship is astounding and remarkable given that the recording uses session musicians.

In this listeners view the Kick inside is one of those albums that sounds so much better on Vinyl than it ever did on CD.  It has that rich aural tone that has audiophiles returning to vinyl in 2014.

The album is intricate and evenly paced, many of the tracks are slow burning ballads that reward the listener who is prepared to sit back eyes closed and give themselves over to the music.  The more uptempo songs like ‘James and the Cold Gun’ or ‘Them heavy People’ are rarely above mid tempo.  The rewards lie in Bush’s changes in pitch and timbre rather than in changes in musical pace.

For me ‘The Kick Inside’ is the album that defines Kate Bush.  It is the album in her catalogue that I return to most frequently.  Wuthering Heights was arguably the song that inspired numerous female solo artists to plough their own furrow.  This is where female-driven pop music started to gain momentum and where it began to define itself.

With its lyrical sophistication, aural dynamics and flawless production, Kate Bush’s mark on the pop world would’ve been amazing if this was her only release, however this was just the start of something special.  In my view one of the greatest albums by a female artist ever released.

75 Essential Albums – Day #6 Tom Waits – Mule Variations

Here goes with day 6 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Ok lets be frank here, Tom Waits isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  There I said it.  His gruff throaty voice, his laconic and often maudlin lyrics turn many people off but (and its a huge but) very few people will ever write a song as good as Tom Waits’ very worst song. The songs on this album are far from Wait’s worst work in fact several tracks are right up there with his very best.

In my opinion Mule Variations is worth buying if the only good thing on the album was “Hold on”, one of my favourite tracks by anyone.  Who doesn’t love lyrics like “They put a sign up in our town, if you live it up you’ll never live it down” or “So he bought her a dime store watch and a ring made from a spoon”, classic Waits, clever insightful, cutting and witty.

The great tracks on this album are the slower ones “Pony,” “House Where Nobody Lives” and “Picture In a Frame” are all, in my opinion, up there amongst the great Waits tracks.  The album as a piece has that ‘one take recording’ feel of many of Waits best albums.  The production is sparse, no gimmicks and Waits is relaxed and confident, he is in good place.  Of course this is Tom Waits so the rattling percussion, the darkness, the aggression and the menace are all present.  It is perhaps this element that lead to ‘Hold on’ being used on the TV show ‘The Walking Dead’ recently something that has given the album a new lease of life.  More upbeat tracks like “Big in Japan,” “Filipino Box Spring Hog” and “Eyeball Kid” showcase Waits crazy and manic side.

Admittedly this may not be Waits greatest ever album but it is very very good and well worth the investment in time that will be required if the listener is to unearth the full reward from a top album.