Monthly Archives: November 2012

Single: Alicia Keys – “Girl on fire” (2012)

Do you know what I mean when I say ‘earworm’? I don’t mean an unpleasant parasite (though that depends on the artist I suppose). No, an earworm is a song that seems quite ordinary at first listen, but eventually worms its way into your brain. Then when you wake up at 6.30am and are brushing your teeth sleepily… it’s THERE. It stalks your waking hours, popping into your mind throughout the day, until eventually you concede you must like it a bit.

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/57/AK_Girl_on_Fire.jpgThis is the situation I find myself in with the title track from Alicia’s fifth studio album, “Girl on fire”. At first it just sounded like a new song, it was a bit basic, I wondered if it was a buzz single or something, but no it’s the real thing. Repetition’s the big thing at the moment, in the absence of catchy hooks. I mean just listen to Coldplay’s Paraaa-paraaaaaa-paradise, how long did that chorus take to whip up? (Sidenote: I’m totally getting “Paradise” finally, after that Life of Pi trailer).

I’ve always been a casual fan of Alicia since her debut ‘Fallin’ 11 years ago (!), though I’ve never really gotten into more than a couple of singles per campaign. I just expected a certain level of impenetrable artistic vision to go along with it (maybe that’s what normally puts me off).

But no, “Girl on fire” is a pretty repetitive track, with Alicia bellowing about a girl who’s possibly on ACTUAL FIRE. She seems to labour the metaphor a bit too much. I suspect she’s just hot stuff, but Alicia’s certainly very pleased about it. She likes singing “Fiyaaaaaah” at every opportunity over the simple melody and big drum beat. It just feels a bit lightweight, and so I wonder if I’ve missed something.

But that chorus really does get stuck in your head. The video is pretty odd too, Alicia’s just in a room doing various skits: Mary Poppins, preparing beans (?), feeling the flock wallpaper. What is the narrative here?! It’s colourful but strange. What’s with that surprise gunshot at the end?!

I’m just glad she’s having fun, or being empowered, or just a bit mental after having her first kid (she called it Egypt, so Christ knows). It’s no “Try sleeping with a broken heart”, but it’ll do for now. FIYAAAHHHHHHH!

 

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The big three-oh-oh-oh-oh

Sorry guys, another lazy ‘been at work all day and I just don’t have the energy’ blog posts with just inane drivel.

But it’s landmark drivel! A few hours ago Verbal Diarrhoea crossed the magical 30,000 views mark. All things considered I don’t think that’s too bad for about 14 months!

I hope it goes onwards and upwards. Brace yourself for a lot of Eurovision-affiliated stuff in 2013, as that seems to be the massive driving force behind the majority of the hits. Particularly it seems if there’s something about Eurovision contestants’ penises. So rest assured that if there is much to say on the topic, I will be first to troll the Google rankings with the scoop.

High brow entertainment aside, I want to do my usual “OMG I LOVE YOU GUYZ” guff because I really do mean it. I don’t know if you all got here by accident and quickly went somewhere else, but it’s always good to hear comments from you lot.

That’s a hint really, I don’t seem to get comments any more *huff*. Well not apart from hateful ones because I’ve slagged off Bake-off contestants. But I’ll try to avoid that.

If you have any requests for reviews or anything really, just hit me up. I just like the attention. Coming up in the next few weeks I’m writing up album reviews for the latest offerings by Pink, Rihanna, Tori Amos, Leona Lewis and – provided I don’t die of boredom – Taylor Swift. Just so you know.

Anyway as usual that’s all I really have so I’ll post a video at the end to make this worthwhile. It’s a creepy girl freaking out some Brazilians. Laterz xoxo

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Filed under Talking rubbish again

Sweater cows

OK you got me, this blog post has nothing to do with boobs, I just felt I had to share this euphemism for female breasteses that I heard today as it made me laugh.

BBC News’s website do it ALL the time, just give it a preposterous headline and people will click even the most mundane story. Just looking now, in their top 10 stories is a not particularly good example but I felt compelled to see what “Covert police sex ‘inevitable'” was about. I didn’t pick a good day to bring this up, but “Pacific island ‘does not exist'” and anything talking about “Tit pox” (described in its opening sentence as “A virus that can kill great tits” is just DYING for attention.

Sometimes I will humour them and click, often just to see what tenuous explanation there is for trying to trick me into reading it. I know I’m just encouraging it but I’m only human. What’s with their fixation with inverted commas too? I can understand that certain things need to be alleged rather than stated as fact, but they really go crazy. I mean, why are “Gangnam Style ‘most viewed video'” or “Meow Meow ‘is posted to users'” written that way, when the articles state plainly that there is no uncertainty about it.

Sure, you can call me a pedant. I just want to understand WHY. You don’t accidentally do these things, like missing apostrophes or stuff like that. AND they keep running things that look like news stories but are just teasers for BBC shows on that night. Oh I don’t know, I’ve just had a lot of sugar today and I’m overtired.

BBC news headline bear with jar on head

What a boring thing to talk about. I’ve been working all day though so I’m too tired to write a big review of anything. I seem to be misleading plenty of people to the site today anyway (people searching for ‘win eurovision tickets’) based on last night’s post. In fact I’m probably making it worse by just putting that line in. Ho hum!

Anything else I’ve got to say? Ooh I found out I can play “Portal” without throwing up, which is quite mindboggling considering I can barely play any modern games if it’s either 1st person or the camera rotates a lot. Haven’t done enough to review it yet but it’s PROGRESS.

I’m going to bed. Sorry if you were looking for stuff about boobs, you can watch this video instead. It’s social commentary I tell you! GO BOOBS!

 

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Eurovision 2013: You win some, you lose some

Eurovision 2013 Malmö logo bannerTickets for Malmö’s week of Eurovision events went on sale this morning, rather annoyingly all at the same time. I remember Oslo and Dusseldorf staggered their releases but whatever.

Annoyingly it was impossible for me to join the melee for tickets online this morning, so I delegated the power to my sister while my Eurovision-going friend tried to get the others. Frustratingly he was stuck in traffic when the ticket lines opened but I suspect it wouldn’t have made much difference as the Grand Final tickets sold out in an insane 22 minutes, leaving lots of furious gays.

Fortunately I know when I’m onto a loser, and diverted my sister to the final dress rehearsal earlier on the Saturday, and we got top-tier tickets for that. My friend did well too, securing me a top-tier Semi 1 ticket (he’s not arriving until later) and two second-tier Semi 2 tickets. So we missed the final again – we’ve never managed to get into one yet – but at the previous contests we’ve spent the big night in town. In 2010 we watched on a big video screen in Sandvika town square, sharing the fun and national pride the Norwegians brought to the party. We watched the 2011 contest in a packed-out biergarten in Cologne, chatting to a group of Germans and Turks.

With all indications that Malmö will be transformed into a big celebration during the contest, I’m sure we’re going to have some great fun in town. Just hope the UK finally pulls its finger out of its ass and TRIES this year, hope springs eternal…

Oh, by the way I couldn’t find any trace of this elsewhere on Google Images, but this is the seating plan they put on Ticnet. Christ knows where the seats are specifically (probably something to do with the door numbers), but maybe you can make sense of it.

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Filed under Eurovision, Malmö 2013, Talking rubbish again

Album: Kylie Minogue – “The Abbey Road Sessions” (2012)

Well now this was a surprise. It looked for a time that Kylie’s much-trumpeted K25 anniversary celebrations would be a largely wasted opportunity. At the start of the year we got the serviceable but ultimately forgotten “Timebomb” single, oddly not aligned with the unwanted Greatest Hits collection that came out around the same time with no new material, two albums after “Ultimate Kylie” did incredibly well with a comprehensive and well-thought out campaign and tracklist.

So where next? We had acoustic performances of Kylie’s vast back catalogue released during the year, but it was a bit of a scatter-gun approach, where was it leading? Fortunately, however Kylie’s 25th anniversary celebrations have been handled so far, our patience has been rewarded with a whole album of orchestral versions of her best-loved hits, recorded at celebrated studio Abbey Road.

A nice idea, but it could easily dribble into tedious ‘real music’ re-workings of one of straight-up pop’s leading lights. Indeed the album cover has an eyebrow-raising amount of Adele-ification. Fortunately none of these worries came to pass, and “The Abbey Road Sessions” is a real joy.

Sure it’s easy to criticise on the basis of which tracks weren’t picked, but I don’t think any of the selections need much justification. It’s a sensible balance of her biggest hits and lesser-known singles, covering the breadth of her career. There isn’t room for everything – two “X” singles relegated to iTunes bonus tracks, and no “Impossible Princess” songs, although Indie Kylie is represented by Nick Cave duet “Where the wild roses grow”.

It would be tempting to hope for a second disc at some point in the future, but you can’t please everyone and we should just be happy that we’ve got this.

The styles of the songs vary a lot. Many are gentle acoustic efforts with beautifully angelic harmonies from the backing choir. We get glimpses of lite-country (“Hand on your heart”, “Where the wild roses grow”), gentle piano-led ballads (“Never too late”, “Come into my world”, “I believe in you”), and lush string sections (“All the lovers”, “Confide in me”, “Finer feelings”).

At no point do the re-workings feel like a parade of generic acoustic performances. I find it hard to listen to some of the older PWL tracks in retrospect, the embodiment of generic production. So it’s really a bit of a revelation to hear some of her oldest songs – written off a bit by their dated production as a bit of a gay-only interest affair – as really wonderful songs in their own right, and pitched perfectly as alternative interpretations rather than simple covers.

OK it’s not all amazing. The smoky bar tracks like “On a night like this” and “Slow” are fine but it’s a kiss of death for these albums if you just think you’d rather listen to the original than this. Luckily several other tracks are preferable to the originals for me, including the surprisingly palatable post-Winehouse version of “Locomotion” and the utterly gorgeous “Never too late”.

We are also blessed with a new song, “Flower”. For those not familiar with Kylie’s private life, she’s never quite settled down for the happy ending the public have long imagined for her. That’s none of our business really, but she has spoken openly about her worries that chemotherapy has left her infertile. Hence “Flower” is a surprisingly heartbreaking song (that she co-wrote) about her unborn child. The lyrics are a little naff in places, but I keep getting shivers when I hear it, even a little misty-eyed.

It’s a gorgeously produced ballad, sung with such hopeful optimism that makes it even more heartbreaking. The video is a classy black-and-white affair, and she’s never looked more beautiful.

I think people will look back on this album’s era with great fondness, and makes me wonder about what her future will bring musically. She’s making sounds like she wants to continue dance-pop, but hopefully we can have a bit of both. If anyone’s going to manage it with dignity, it will be Kylie. (Please do an acoustic album, Madonna)

Keepers for the iPod: All the lovers, I believe in you, Hand on your heart, Finer feelings, Confide in me, Come into my world, Better the devil you know, Where the wild roses grow, Never too late, I should be so lucky, Flower, Can’t get you out of my head, Wow, In my arms

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