Ariana Grande: ‘Sweetener’ Album Review

Hello,

It’s been a while since I posted an album review and I’m beside myself with excitement to be returning with a hugely anticipated record, Sweetener, by pop princess, Ariana Grande.

Released on 17th August 2018, Sweetener, Ariana’s fourth studio album has been long awaited since her last record, Dangerous Woman, which dropped in 2016 and gained mass global success.

Tracks from Sweetener that we have already been blessed with include No Tears Left To Cry, God is a Woman and duet with Nicki Minaj, The Light is Coming which have all done fantastically in the UK and US charts.

As always, a disclaimer before I begin. I am no music expert nor do I know anything about the technicality of it. I am simply a music listener and lover and all of what you’re about to read is completely my own personal opinion.

The album has 15 tracks, including collaborations with Pharrell, Missy Elliott and of course, Nicki Minaj. The record collectively adds up to 48 minutes.

THE REVIEW:

Track 1 – ‘raindrops (an angel cried)’:

Ariana starts the record with an acoustic intro. It’s very ‘Over the Rainbow’-esque, which I know Ariana is a huge fan of. However, she wastes no time in showing off her angelic vocal range. The perfect way to open an album.

Track 2 – ‘blazed’ ft. Pharrell Williams:

Instantly, Ariana brings out the vocal layering she’s became so well known for! No one harmonises with Ariana Grande as good as…well, Ariana Grande. I think this tracks is quite influenced by soul and Motown, picking up from the melody and the vocal choices. From the first beat of the song, you can already tell Pharrell has had his clever little fingertips all over this track and in true Pharrell nature, produces a very catch track and chorus.

Track 3 – ‘the light is coming’ ft. Nicki Minaj: 

I’m not going to talk too much about this track as I’m guessing the majority of people have heard it already. When I first heard the song, I wasn’t keen at all. I loved Nicki’s addition to the track and thought her vocals really added something to what otherwise was quite a meh song for me. However, the more I’ve listened to it the more I’ve began to like it. I just wish Nicki had maybe another short verse to break up the song a bit more.

Track 4 – ‘R.E.M’:

If I didn’t already know that R.E.M was a reworked Beyonce track, I would have picked up on it within seconds of listening. It’s nice to see Ariana exploring more of an RnB sound on her album as her voice is compatible with the melodies typically used in rhythm and blues music. For Ariana, this track lets her play about with similar styles of vocal arrangement that her musical inspirations, Beyonce, Whitney, Mariah etc are familiar with. It would be amazing if, for a special release, Beyonce could do a short feature of the song.

Track 5 – ‘God is a woman’:

Nothing but scalding hot tea from the queen that is Ariana Grande. We’ve been blessed, God is truly a WOMAN. I’m obsessed with this song, from the high head voice to the RnB beat, it’s a masterpiece. I can’t not mention the music video too, a work of art and the quote from Madonna snatched wigssss.

Track 6 – ‘sweetener’:

It’s time for the title track. If I had to pick out a track on the album that was most similar to her debut album, Yours Truly. However, as expected out of a woman who has grown up and found her musical identity, the lyrics are more mature. Sticking with the typical Ariana piano led melody we all know and love, a synth flair gives it that 80s/90s flair that brings in just a flavour of Mariah. I love this track and the positivity of the lyrics. A perfect fit for a title track.

Track 7 – ‘successful’:

If you ever needed a song to be motivated by, it’s this one. Ariana talks about how successful she is and rightly so, she’s a star that’s had to battle the menaces of fame to come out the other end. It’s great to hear a woman singing about her successfulness rather than having it shoved in our face by male artists and their nine layers of gold chains for once! Once again, Ariana’s vocals sound outstanding playing alongside an angelic lulling piano with a soul/funk beat, a sound that’s became so staple to her vocal identity.

Track 8 – ‘everytime’:

For me, everytime, is the most typical current style for pop music right now. The heavy beat is used alot by the likes of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift and that’s simply because, it works. Its gives some dimension to a song, being able to build up the rhythm. This track is super easy listening. Just one thing, I would love maybe a rap feature on this, perhaps Chance or Quavo?

Track 9 – ‘breathin”:

This track completely sums up to me, who Ariana is as an artist right now. One of my favourites on the album on the first listen with sweet lyrics, a catchy pop beat and insane vocals. ‘breathin’ lets us have a little insight into Ariana’s struggles and her lows, which carries nicely onto the next track where she picks herself up again.

Track 10 – ‘no tears left to cry’:

When Ariana first released this song, I was fully expecting a sad song that maybe gave insight into how Grande was coping with the dreadful Manchester attacks in 2017. Instead, we got a BOP. I’m not joking when I say I played this song for at least one entire week without listening to a single other song. The dancey pop had me dancing about and attempting the high notes at every turn. I really think it’s such a brave move to release such an upbeat song after attacks but it’s done exactly what Grande wanted and brought positivity and optimism.

Track 11 – ‘borderline’ ft. Missy Elliott:

Yeeeeees, come through Fergalicious vibes! This track reminds me of old style Fergie, who I love and miss, come back girl! You can really hear the RnB direction Ariana seems to be steering in clearly on this mellow dance track. Missy feature is nice, short but sweet, which is the premise of the album itself.

Track 12 – ‘better off’:

I love how on this album, Ariana stays completely true to who shes is. You can hear the tracks that could fit into her previous releases and how she’s grown in ability since. I think better off sounds like it’s been plucked straight off of My Everything, which perhaps is comparing her feelings to the person who influenced the second album, to how she sees them now. It’s a easy listening break up song, where Ariana talks about wanting to feel free and wild once again.

Track 13 – ‘goodnight n go’:

This track, played straight after better off, to me shows a sequence of Ariana trying to think about herself and her goals but being unable to ignore her feelings for someone. Comparing to the lyrics in better off, Ariana seems to have found someone who let’s her be young, free and does not dim her shine. Yas, gal! This track is such a sweet love song, which brings us onto the next song.

Track 14 – ‘pete davidson’:

When I first heard Ariana was dedicating a song on her album to her fiance, Pete Davidson, I was concerned. Such a big decision. However, after hearing the track and Ariana referring to Pete as her ‘soulmate’, I thought why the hell not! Why shouldn’t she be singing about her love for her man. The track, which includes a beautiful violin led outro, is again short and sweet but fitting to the structure of the album.

Track 15 – ‘get well soon’:

Ariana bringing back in the broadway/jazz influences with heavy piano, my favourite. I love the way she sounds on this track, it’s really fresh in the current musical climate, although using classic styles. Her harmonies and ad-libs are just incredible as per usual. She’s ending her album on a bang, definitely not a fizzle.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Without a doubt, Sweetener is set to top charts. Ariana has outdone herself once again, keeping true to her musical identity but trying new little flairs to keep her fans hot on their toes. The album has a lot of shorter tracks, which fits in with the purpose of the record, shedding light and positivity, especially after the horrific events of 2017. This is an album both, Ariana, herself and the fans really needed.

The record bursts with happiness and it’s great to see that Ariana is content in her life and it really shows through her music. I can’t wait for tour, I’ll definitely be buying tickets!

 

To view my previous post, click here.

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

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Arctic Monkeys: ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’ Album Review

Happy Friday!

It’s here, finally after what seems like a century of waiting, the Arctic Monkeys have released their 6th studio album, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’.

I’m a big fan of the Arctic Monkeys, especially like most of us, the AM album released in 2013. I really can’t find any faults with that album, it definitely is musical perfection, sonically and lyrically and it’s one of my favourites of all time. I’m also a fan of their earlier stuff too, when the band were more interested in the goings on of South Yorkshire and the booming indie-rock scene.

I was headache-inducing excited for the release of this album and discussed every song with a good friend who is also a Monkeys fan. We’d bought tickets to the tour so had high hopes for what we were about to listen to.

Quick disclaimer as usual, I am no music expert nor do I know anything about the technicality of it. I am simply a music listener and lover and all of what you’re about to read is completely my own personal opinion.

The album presents 11-tracks with a collective time of 40 minutes, which is standard for an Arctic Monkeys album as they’ve all been a very similar length.

THE REVIEW:

Track One – ‘Star Treatment’:

My instant thoughts within the space of the first thirty seconds of the song was that it was insanely Bowie-influenced, very ‘Space Oddity’, which is definitely not a bad thing and brings a whole new sound for the band. Of course, Alex Turner delivers on the lyrical front as always and his falsetto sounds great. I’ve definitely missed his voice over the last few years they’ve been MIA.

Track Two – ‘One Point Perspective’

This is going to make people mad, but when I first heard the piano at the start I thought it was ‘Hard Knock Life’ from the Annie soundtrack…

Getting past that, the piano continues across the track and mingles with smooth guitar to create an almost old sort of arcade type sound. I also caught the lyric, ‘they come out of the cracks, thirsty for blood’ which makes me think of the reference to vampires in the band’s first album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not with the track, ‘Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But’. It could be a nod to their first record or I could just be reading into it more than I should.

I especially liked the guitar solo on this track, we don’t get that much from the guitar on this record but it was very welcome in One Point Perspective.

Track Three – ‘American Sports’

Firstly, if you haven’t listened to the album chronologically then I highly recommend you do so. The transitions between the tracks are seamless.

Continuing the space theme, which Turner said was ‘sci-fi’ inspired in his BBC Radio 1 interview, American Sports carries on with the 70’s sounding piano effects. However, without the lack of heavy electric guitar and booming drums it makes me question whether die-hard Arctic Monkeys fans will enjoy or appreciate this new sound or whether it’s maybe just a bit too different.

Track Four- ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’

By the fourth and title track, I was expecting a high energy, jump around typical Monkeys song but instead they’re firmly sticking to the smooth, synthy sound. I feel like this track could fit easily into a slick-crime movie soundtrack. Alex’s falsetto sounds perfect once again, he’s got such a lovely tone to his voice that fits in with the tranquil vibe of the album.

Although, if I’m being completely honest, for a title track this song disappointed me.

Track Five – ‘Golden Trunks’

Upon the first few notes of the song I was once again hoping for an upbeat song, which by this point my expectations of getting any form of the ‘Arctic Monkey indie rock’ they’re so well known for was quickly dying.

Golden Trunks to me is quite an eerie track with the use of the synth. It’s almost Pink Floyd  ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ influenced. I enjoyed the backing vocals on this track they complemented the music nicely.

Track Six – ‘Four Out of Five’

On first listen of the album, this track was my favourite. I feel like this is the track where Alex’s vocals are the most clear and you can appreciate his lyrics the most. Once again, this album to me is extremely 70’s inspired. From the musical style to the references within the song, for example I caught that Alex mentioned ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ which was a music based TV show popular in the 1970s.

I like the play on the ‘four stars out of five’ with the album surrounding a hotel theme. This track to me, if you removed the synth and pushed the bass more is the most similar to the style of music on AM.

Track Seven – ‘The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip’

…is it even an Arctic Monkeys album if there’s not at least one song with a long title?

When Alex said he was inspired by the piano for this album, it’s blatantly obvious. Actually, this song isn’t awful, it has it’s redeeming points, the lyrics are great (as per) and the vocals from both Turner and the other band mates sound lovely but it’s just…similar to Golden Trunks to me. I had more hope for a song with a title as fun as this one.

Track Eight – ‘Science Fiction’

Upon first listen of the album, I didn’t really care much at all for Science Fiction but on a second listen it’s actually a lot more interesting than I initially thought.

This track has a handful of musical influences from different genres. Straight away I pick up on 70s funk and soul with the use of the bass guitar which is accompanied with synth as the song progresses which reminds me a lot of the Ska/Reggae genre (think Ghost Town by The Specials). I think this is a track I’ll find myself listening to quite a lot.

Track Nine – ‘She Looks Like Fun’ 

This song is also interesting, the way the vocals slip from higher notes to a deeper spoken voice during the chorus gives it a darker flair. The best part of this track once again for me is the lyrics. Otherwise, this song is probably a skip for me.

Track Ten – ‘Batphone’

I absolutely adore the lyrics on this track, god bless Alex Turner. This track is one of my favourites on the album, sonically it flows beautifully and breaks into a short guitar solo. If this song was on an earlier album, I think it would have definitely been a stand out track. It makes me a little sad that because the album is all quite similar sounding, this track might get lost in the comparison the rest of the record.

Track Eleven – ‘The Ultracheese’

The final track, ‘The Ultracheese’, is the gem of this record. The slow, melodic track has no synth which has pretty much wrapped its fingers around the rest of the songs on the album and it’s great to just hear Alex singing beautiful lyrics, honestly and with emotion. I can imagine this track will be a favourite for a lot of people who maybe aren’t completely sold on the rest of the space themed album.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

After waiting with baited breath for five years for Arctic Monkeys to release new material, I’m a tad disappointed by Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.

I completely understand that bands evolve and try out new genres, especially Arctic Monkeys but with this album I feel like they’ve lost the indie-rock influences they’re so insanely popular for. Don’t get me wrong some of the tracks on the album are beautiful and Alex’s vocals and lyrics are top notch as always. I just feel like the songs could be more varied in their sound as I think they’re all pretty similar.

I worry that the fans won’t be too impressed with the album so I’ll be interested to see the feedback on Twitter from those that have listened to the record and bought tickets to the shows.

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

 

 

Month in Music: April 2018

It’s May!

Not that you’d be able to tell by the current state of the weather in the UK, but I have high hopes that summer heat is just around the corner to compliment all the upbeat anthems that are being released!

April was very good to us, music-wise. We had the unbelievably, spectacular Beychella at the start of the month, the release of Arctic Monkey UK tour dates (absolute chaos but I managed to snatch some!) and to end the month off we had Kanye West being Kanye on his Twitter rants, which I can’t tell if it is his genuine thoughts or all just a huge marketing publicity stunt. Who knows? It’s Kanye.

Anyway, here are my top 5 songs of the month and the link to my playlist:

  • Calvin Harris (With Dua Lipa) – One Kiss

I bloody love Calvin Harris! Always have done, probably always will. One Kiss is yet another summer anthem. When How Deep Is Your Love came out in 2015, I literally listened to it none stop for a good month and I’ve done the exact same with One Kiss. I really don’t believe Calvin has the ability to make a bad song? and Dua sounds top notch as usual. Fingers crossed for more from these two!

  • Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry

She’s back and coming for ALL of our wigs! No Tears Left To Cry is so long in the making, I feel like I’ve been waiting for more Grande music for a lifetime and I’m super glad she’s storming the charts with this little banger. Alongside the majority of other fans, I expected a slower, ballad track when I heard the song title and when the beat dropped I was fully shook. I’m waiting with baited breath and a tight grip on my hairline for Sweetner.

  • Harry Styles – Woman

Ok so, I went to see Harry on his world tour on the 9th of April and ever since I’ve had Medicine stuck in my head. It’s a solid bop and I need a studio release right this instance please. Since there’s no version of the song I can add to my Spotify playlist, I picked the other song I came away singing. Woman is a fantastic song, I pick up a lot of Pink Floyd influences from this track with its slightly psychedelic melody and ‘you flower, you feast’ is one of my favourite lyrics that Harry has written so far.

  • Avicii – Lay Me Down

I was on the way out for drinks with my friends when the news that Avicii had passed away broke and I couldn’t believe it. It’s devastating that such a young, talented person struggled with their mental illness to the point where they felt there was only one option. It highlights just how important it is to talk about your mental health. Lay Me Down is a track I feel like not many people really know about. I found it through being a huge fan of Adam Lambert, the vocalist featured, and it became my no.1 song from Avicii.

  • Anne-Marie – Then

Last friday, Anne-Marie released her debut album ‘Speak Your Mind’ and I reviewed it on my blog (which you can read here if you’re interested).  The stand out track for me was ‘Then’ and ever since I’ve had it played on top volume. The song is pretty upbeat, like much of the album, but the lyrics and the tone of Anne-Marie’s vocals bring an element of vulnerability and heartbreak. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for tour dates.

If you want to listen to the Spotify playlist you can find it here.

I also have a January, February and March picks you can read about/listen to.

Cheers for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

Anne-Marie: ‘Speak Your Mind’ Debut Album Review

Hello Friday!

It may only be a few hours into Friday but the new Anne-Marie album is out and so the weekend starts right now!

Once again, a disclaimer before I begin. I am no music expert nor do I know anything about the technicality of it. I am simply a music listener and lover and all of what you’re about to read is completely my own personal opinion.

Anne-Marie, British singer/songwriter first began gaining popularity in 2016 with the release of her single, ‘Alarm’, which received huge radioplay across the country only spurred on more by her collaboration with Clean Bandit and Sean Paul on ‘Rockabye’.  After the success of her first single, Anne-Marie continued to release ‘Ciao Adios’, ‘Heavy’ and most recently ‘2002’. ‘FRIENDS’ collaboration with Marshmallow also gained the singer her first top 5 hit featuring as main vocals.

With her raging success over the past year and a half, Anne-Marie’s debut album ‘Speak Your Mind’ has been highly anticipated until its final release date on 27th April 2018!

The standard album features 11 racks and the deluxe album has 17 tracks, taking the album to one hour long:

THE REVIEW:

Track One – ‘Cry’:

The first thing that struck me with this track is the interesting choice of instruments heard straight from the second the song starts. I can only describe it as a sort of ‘carousel’ fairground sound and when I’d seen that Jennifer Decilveo had produced and co-written the track, who also worked on ‘Cry Baby’ with Melanie Martinez then I instantly understood the carousel feels I was picking up. I really think this is a great track to open up the album with. It’s perfect pop and Anne-Marie already shows her vocal flexs.

Track Two – ‘Ciao Adios’

I won’t talk too much about the tracks which have already been released as singles but Ciao Adios has been my favourite so far from Anne-Marie. I think I speak for most of the British public when I say I’ve sang along aggressively with ‘Ciao Adios, I’m done!’ eventhough directed at nobody!

Track Three – ‘Alarm’

Anne-Marie’s first single which I remember hearing and loving the electric, almost static sound to the verses. I think Anne-Marie sounds great in this song and it’s no surprise it was such a hit for her. A Banger!

Track Four – ‘Trigger’

The first thing I wrote down in my notepad about this track was ‘Tropicano’. I can definitely hear the tropical influence on this song from the get go. The build up to the drop is so pleasant amongst the mellow house influence and there’s a good chance this could be a future single, especially for summer. This song in particular reminded me alot of the kind of sound Camila Cabello has gone for since leaving Fifth Harmony and it’s more than working for her!

Track Five – ‘Then’

Ok, on first impressions this track is my favourite on the entire album. Anne-Marie shows a softer vocal yet still keeps a tropical vibe. The lyrics are a bit on the sad side but it’s not a complete ballad eventhough it easily could have been. I feel like this song is super easy to listen to and the slight slow down of tempo is needed after the first five tracks. This track to me is the highlight of the album.

Track Six – ‘Perfect’

If this track isn’t the fan favourite, I’ll eat my own shoes!

The message on this song is the defining factor of the track. The track is not musically outstanding but as it is lyrically strong, I can image the fans screaming the words back to Anne-Marie at her live shows. Especially the nod to LGBTQ+ with the lyric ‘I’ll love who I want to love, ’cause this love is gender free’. This song is probably close to Anne-Marie’s heart and so it should be. A great song with an even better message!

Track Seven – ‘FRIENDS’ ft. Marshmellow

Another single from the album and her most popular in the charts so far. This track fits Anne-Marie’s vocals to a T and I’m not shocked at all it’s done so well and will probably continue to do so. Catchy and dancy.

Track Eight – ‘Bad Girlfriend’

Don’t laugh….but when I first heard this song the only thing I could think of was The Sugar Plum Fairy. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not but if it is then it’s absolutely genius juxtaposition of the lyrics and the sweetness of the beat. I think the broken vocals on the chorus are an interesting choice which I maybe wouldn’t have chosen for this particular song but I’m not a music producer so I can’t really comment. To be totally honest, when I saw that Nick Monson had worked on this track I thought I’d be obsessed because I’m a huge fan of his work with Gaga, but this time I’m not totally sold.

Track Nine – ‘Heavy’

Anne-Marie’s 3rd single from the album I believe (If I’m wrong please correct me). Although still using a tropicano beat which is extremely popular right now, Anne-Marie uses softer vocals and I the distinctive tones to her voice.

Track Ten – ‘2002’

The most recent single release from the album, 2002 is another easy listen to pop song which Anne-Marie is flawless at producing. Before I’d even gotten halfway through this track I could tell Ed Sheeran had written on it, it’s very Sheeran-esque. That man is a gold mine for pop smash hits. Can’t be forgetting Julia Michaels who also co-wrote the song and I think you can hear her backing vocals along with Sheeran in the chorus.

Track Eleven – ‘Can I Get You Number?’

The Reggae influence on this track hits you straight in the face as soon as the beat starts and it certifies the album as a summer must have! This song honestly makes me feel like I’m in Hawaii dancing with a pina colada in one hand and wearing a grass skirt. It also could easily be a Little Mix song but Anne-Marie does just as good a job!

Track Twelve – ‘Machine’

Another one of my favourite tracks on the album on first listen! More mellow house beats, this song brings interesting storytelling and talks about issues in society (‘If I was a machine, I wouldn’t be affected by violence on the television screen’). Anne-Marie’s vocals sound as sweet as a nut on this track and the robotic vocal touches at the end of the chorus tie in nicely to the title of the song.

Track Thirteen – ‘Breathing Fire’

Carrying on the mellow dancey vibe of the album onto the deluxe tracks, Breathing Fire is another one of my favourites and it makes me just a little bit upset that it missed out on making it to the standard album tracklist. The soft house influence on this track mixes so super nicely with Anne-Marie’s breathy vocals on the chorus which matches the title of the song. If any DJs get a hold of this track, which I’m sure they will, the remixes will be absolute FIRE!

Track Fourteen- ‘Some People’

By the fourteenth track, I’m desperate for a piano ballad. This isn’t it but it is the start of the softening of tempo on the album. The lyrics of this track really strike me as massively intimate and personal, like I almost shouldn’t be listening as if it’s a diary entry by Anne-Marie.

Track Fifteen – ‘Used to Love You’

Now we’ve hit the slower songs on the album, the lyrics are a lot more personal and Used to Love You presents the record as a tale of growing from heartbreak and learning self love once again and I’m all here for it. This is without a doubt a girl power anthem. But, who hurt you Anne-Marie, gal?

Track Sixteen – ‘Peak’

Stop the press! We have ourselves a piano ballad! Finally and it’s everything I hoped and wished for. Anne-Marie’s vocals are absolutely stunning, this girl has pipes! The lyrics on this song are heartbreaking, ‘I was in love, I thought you were too’, are stand out for me. I bet the fans will go crazy for this track and I once again wish it was in the standard album to show people exactly how emotionally raw Anne-Marie can get! Love, love, LOVE!

Track Seventeen – ‘Rockabye’ Clean Bandit (feat. Sean Paul + Anne-Marie)

Ok so do I need to even talk about this track because everyone and their mothers have heard this one. An absolute bop and pretty much all I listened to in 2016!

Final Thoughts:

For such a highly anticipated debut album…this is really as good as it gets. Anne-Marie and her co-writers and producers smashed it out the park with this record and it was 100% worth the wait. From production to lyrics, this is another solid debut from a female artist from the UK!

Anne-Marie is going to have huge success from this album and all of her other projects with DJs and producers for a long time I’m sure. This album is perfect for summer and I’m super impressed with how much involvement Anne-Marie has had in every album of the production of this record, I bet she’s insanely proud!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

Legally Blonde The Musical UK Review

Hello!

The sun was absolutely glorious in the UK this weekend and we got all of three days to enjoy it before the clouds have made their return. Typical.

This weekend I went to see Legally Blonde The Musical at Sunderland Empire on their UK Tour. I’ve been a fan of the musical for going on six years now and was massively excited when my friend bought me tickets for my birthday.

First of all, I’m a big fan of theatre. Musicals especially, so my expectations for this show were a little higher than it probably should have been after years of watching the poor quality video on Youtube and screeching along to the soundtrack.

One thing I must say about this show is that, for a travelling musical, the stage set up and quality of the performance was top notch. I’ve been to a few touring musicals and the show never has the same magic as a proper West End production but Legally Blonde blew me away!

Lucie Jones, who I saw many moons ago on the X Factor tour, played Elle Woods and she did an absolutely fantastic job! As well as insanely great vocals, Jones quirky approach to Elle’s character played out perfectly alongside the ups and downs of Little Miss Woods, Elle’s time at Harvard. Although, Laura Bell Bundy, the original Broadway Elle is a firm favourite, Lucie really lived up to the role and made the show very special.

My favourite character in the musical is Paulette, the beautician with dreams of finding the perfect Irish man. Played by Eastenders actress, Rita Simons, Paulette’s husky tones and loud personality were definitely recognised on stage, especially during the performance of Ireland which was one of my highlights of the entire show!

Of course, all of the cast were amazing and you can really tell they have a close bond not only as colleagues but as friends which comes across in making the performance the best they possibly can.

My highlight of the production, which I’m sure is loved by all audiences, has to be ‘There! Right There! which is both hilarious and wildly impressive. I also still can’t get over the Whipped into Shape routine, how on Earth Helen Petrovna skipped like that and still carried top vocals is beyond me!

Overall, if you’re going to see Legally Blonde in the next few months then you are in for a treat! I’d definitely go and see it for a second time!

If you’re interested in buying tickets then the link for the tour is here

My last blog post can be found here

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Chanel

x

Month in Music: March

Happy Wednesday!

Only two more days until the weekend, hurray!

Although, we’re 11 days into April I want to go back a few weeks and talk about all of the great music I’ve been listening to throughout March. I’ve reduced the size of the playlist from 20 songs to 10, just to make it a little easier to narrow down my favourites.

March brought a lot of musical goodness! I went to see both Niall Horan and Sam Smith on their world tours and they were fantastic. I reviewed Sam’s tour on one of my latest blog posts which you can find here if you’re interested!

My picks this month are very male orientated and I’m desperately waiting for the females to snatch back the charts crown (Ariana, Rihanna, I’m look at you gals). Without further ado, here is my top five from March:

My top 5 songs of March are:

  • John Newman – Fire in Me

I’m a huge John Newman fan, his first album ‘Tribute’ was played to death in my house when it was released, so you can imagine my excitement when I seen he had a new single. Fire in Me does not disappoint! It’s a proper feel good song that you can shout out loud and has so much power behind the lyrics, especially following Newman’s hiatus to focus on his health. I’m very excited John is back and I can’t wait to hear more from him!

  • James Bay- Pink Lemonade

Although James Bay has changed his style of music slightly to a more edgy, indie rock influenced sound, I still am a huge fan, if not more than ever. Pink Lemonade is so easy to listen to and enjoy, I’ve been playing it constantly and the bridge really adds an extra element of drama to the song. It works so well and I’m obsessed.

  • Sam Smith – HIM

Since seeing Sam at the end of March, all I can do is listen to HIM. I liked it before tour but hearing it live and the crowd singing along had me immediately playing it the second I got home. The choir in the background of the track add a gospel feel to the song which mirrors the play on word with HIM in relation to both God and a homosexual relationship. It’s such a fantastic song and it might have made it to my favourite track on the album. Oh and of course Sam sounds insanely good as always.

  • Years & Years – Sanctify

THEY’RE FINALLY BACK! I’ve been waiting for new music from Years & Years since the release of Meteorite for Bridget Jones’ Baby and as soon as they dropped Sanctify, I picked up my phone and gave it a listen. I’m glad they’ve stuck to their electronic style music as I think it really suits Olly’s vocals. Waiting on more, boys!

  • Todrick Hall & Jade Novah – Play

Todrick’s last release ‘Straight Outta Oz’ blew me away. It was absolutely incredible, from the cinematography to the genius references to Oz in the lyrics, I couldn’t praise it highly enough. When I seen he was releasing another visual album, Forbidden, I was eagerly waiting for the upload. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend you go and watch it here right away. It’s spectacular, Todrick and his crew are insanely talented. It was hard to whittle down my favourite from the album but Play features both Todrick and Jade and they sound great together.

If you want to listen, I’ve made up a playlist on my spotify which you can listen to here.

I also have a January and February music picks which you can view by clicking on the links.

Until next month, happy listening!

Chanel

x

 

 

Sam Smith: The Thrill of It All 2018 World Tour Review

Happy Friday!

On Wednesday night, my Mam got to cash in her Mother’s Day present of tickets to see Sam Smith on his latest world tour ‘The Thrill of It All’ (suitably named after his chart topping 2017 album) and of course I went along with her. We are both huge fans of Sam and were super excited that he had chosen to grace the North- East with his talent for one night only.

Unfortunately, due to traffic we missed the support act Bruno Major but I’ve read nothing but positive feedback on Twitter about his performance.

I originally missed the standard ticket sale and was absolutely gutted when I seen the event was sold out as I knew how special it would be for my Mam to see him sing live, but thanks to Twickets we managed to get fantastic seats at face value. A service I would highly recommend if you’re looking to purchase tickets and don’t want to get ripped off!

Firstly, I want to just take a minute to talk about how gorgeous Sam’s staging is. The triangular catwalk protrudes into the seated crowd which makes the concert seem more intimate and personal. Joined with a triangular shaped structure which moves and adapts to suit the mood of the music, the stage is simple but really captivating. Definitely a nod to ‘less is more’ and allows Sam’s talent to shine without any whimsical distractions. One more thing, I love how Sam has his band and backing singers with him on the forefront of the stage and doesn’t just shove them to the back with poor lighting.

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(including the very excited women in front)

Sam really allowed his personality to show during his time on stage, sharing snippets of personal stories about songwriting, talking about his family and all of the times he had spent in Newcastle (big up Powerhouse!) Me and my Mam both came to the conclusion that he’s a lovely lad who shows genuine passion for his art and who we want to have a glass of prosecco with!

As for Smiths’ vocal ability…it’s on another level. This man can SAAAANG. As Sam said himself, his music can be a little bit depressing but he definitely used the upbeat tracks to his advantage with the whole crowd on their feet dancing to Disclosure feature ‘Omen’ and In The Lonely Hour bop ‘Restart’.

When Sam chose to slow the pace down a bit with the dramatic ‘Writing on The Wall’, ‘Lay Me Down’ and the very heartfelt ‘Scars’, the audience respectfully sat and listened, singing along during the chorus’ or when prompted.

During the encore, Sam sang ‘Palace’, one of my favourite tracks from the album and was joined by his backing vocalist Lucy, turning the song into more of a beautiful duet which was without a doubt a highlight of the show for me.

Sam looked amazing and owned the stage creating a relaxed atmosphere which all ages enjoyed. If you’re going to the show you have so much to look forward to and also to help you out I’ve added stage times and the set list to the bottom of this post.

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

If you’re going to the show here are the stage times (what we experienced) and set list (found on Setlist.FM)

Doors: 6pm (may change depending on venue so check on their website/ Twitter)

Bruno Major: 7:45pm

Sam Smith: 8:45pm

Show Ends: 10:30-45pm

Baring in mind these are all subject to change depending on the venue/the artist.

Setlist (may also change):

  1. Burning
  2. One Last Song
  3. I’m Not the Only One
  4. Lay Me Down
  5. The Best Things In Life Are Free (Cover)
  6. Omen
  7. Nirvana
  8. I’ve Told You Now
  9. Writing’s On The Wall
  10. Latch
  11. Money on My Mind
  12. Like I Can
  13. Restart
  14. Baby, You Make Me Crazy
  15. Say It First
  16. Scars
  17. Midnight Train
  18.  HIM
  19. Too Good at Goodbyes

Encore

  1. Palace
  2. Stay With Me
  3. Pray

 

 

 

 

Month in Music: February

Hello March, Goodbye February!

As we wave goodbye to all the joys of February (pancake day) for another year and pray that the weather gets just that little bit better, I’m back with all the music I’ve been overplaying this month. Just as expected there’s a mix of all sorts from soundtrack, pop, indie, 80s etc.

So without further ado, here are my top 20 songs that I’ve listened to in February:

  • Telepathy – Christina Aguilera, Nile Rodgers (The Get Down Soundtrack)

Christina Aguilera has been one of my favourite singers for years now and I can recognise her voice ANYWHERE. So when I was watching The Get Down on Netflix, (which is fantastic by the way I highly recommend) this song was featured in a scene and I became OBSESSED. It’s the perfect pop/disco mix and you can definitely hear Nile Rodgers influence on the track.

  • A Change of Heart – The 1975

The 1975 are a band I’ve followed and enjoyed since their first album and A Change of Heart was always a song I skipped over on the ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ album but for some reason I decided to watch the music video on Youtube and I’m so angry I’ve slept on this song for so long. The lyrics are so sad and I love all the little references to the songs off the first album. This is definitely The 1975 at their best.

  • On the Loose – Niall Horan

Niall has massively impressed me ever since the band went on hiatus (they’re on a break ok!) and his album is great! My two friends and I are off to see him on the 16th March and On The Loose will 100% be the song I anticipate the most. It’s very laid-back Fleetwood Mac/The Eagles inspired and it works a treat with Niall’s approach to his solo sound.

  • Want You Back – 5 Seconds of Summer

I’ve always been indecisive about 5SOS. When they first came on the scene I really enjoyed their sound and Try Hard was my bop for a good few months but by the time their second album came around I wasn’t as charmed. When I heard they were releasing new material I decided to give it a listen and I love it. They’ve gone for a more indie sound comparing to their pop punky style which they’re known for. I’m excited to hear more!

  • Never Tear Us Apart – Bishop Briggs

I went to see the newest Fifty Shades film a few weeks ago and usually I’m a huge fan of the soundtrack but this time I was only drawn in by a handful of songs. This INXS cover is insanely dreamy! The vocalist has the perfect raspiness to add the right amount of sexiness to the track and it compliments the film excellently. Already a lover of the original, this cover does it justice.

You can listen to the playlist on Spotify right here

Happy listening!

Thanks,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

Month in Music: January

Heeello!

If you know me, or know of me then you’ll know how much I listen/talk about music! If I’m not listening to some good songs then my motivation is rock bottom and I need a little boogie to keep me going.

I’ve decided each month to make a playlist of the top 20 songs that I’ve listened to on repeat (usually until I’m sick of them) and spread all the musical goodness. There will, without a doubt, be a strange mix of genres and sounds on the playlists as quite frankly my music preferences are all over the shop, but it gives great variety!

My top 5 songs of January are:

  •  Sigrid – Strangers

Sigrid is a new and upcoming star from Norway who has recently won the BBC Music Sound of 2018. I first heard her on a breakfast show here in the UK and I instantly loved her sound and style, super laid back and chill with a pop edge. I think we’ll see huge things from her within the year and Strangers is a BOP!

  • Troye Sivan – My, My, My!

He’s back! Troye’s music is so easy to listen to, I still haven’t stopped playing Wild and that came out what, 2015? My, My, My! has that really cool electronic beat that is almost impossible to dance to and I’ve been listening on a loop!

  • Lady Gaga – Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Going) – Piano Version

If Gaga has released music within the month then I can guarantee it’ll be featured on the playlist. Joanne has been one of my favourite albums of the last few years and I’m still angry that it picked up nothing at the Grammys, a travesty! The piano version of Joanne is so beautiful and is the perfect way to round off the era. I’m excited to see what she does next.

  • Natalie Cole – This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)

An oldie but a goldie! This song is what has put me in a fantastic mood in the mornings recently and I challenge anyone to try and not to toe tap or head bop to this number! A perfect pick up.

  • Bruno Mars [feat. Cardi B] – Finesse (Remix)

I think everyone and their mothers have heard this song. It’s been another top 5 hit for Bruno Mars and it’s clear by this point that he’s a hit machine. Finesse has that retro funk R&B sound that Mars has taken in his stride and it’s so unbelievably catchy. The Cardi B feature compliments the track fantastically!

If you want to listen to the rest of the playlist you can find it on Spotify here.

Happy listening,

Chanel

x

 

‘Camila’ Camila Cabello Debut Album Review

Before I start this review I want to disclaim that I am not a music expert and the comments you are about to read are all based on what I enjoy personally.

Camila Cabello, formerly of US girlband Fifth Harmony, which she announced her departure from in December 2016, has just released her highly-anticipated debut album, ‘Camila’. Since venturing on a solo career, Camila has had outstanding success with her singles, ‘Crying in the Club’ and ‘Havana’, gaining her first number one in the UK and making the 20-year old singer, a global superstar.

I haven’t really had much interest in Fifth Harmony in the past but all of Camila’s solo released material has had eagerly waiting to see what bop she releases next. I listened to the 11-track album and here are my thoughts…

  • Track One: “Never Be The Same”:

This track is definitely the right way to start off the album. A well produced drum-heavy bassline with reggae influences all complimented by Cabello’s crisp falsetto which sound fantastic in the pre-chorus. I actually could see this track fitting nicely in with Taylor Swift’s 1989 album and we all know how popular that project became. The perfect introduction to set up the listener for the rest of the album.

  • Track Two: “All These Years”:

I loved this song on the very first listen. It’s incredibly easy to listen to, definitely what I would describe as a ‘car song’, perfect for driving and nodding along. The stand out section of the track would have to be the vocal flexes during the bridge, Camila’s vocals sound so interesting and it really makes the song. Short and sweet but not disappointing.

  • Track Three: “She Loves Control”:

YAAAAAAAS GAWD! This track has to be a single! The tropical beat sets this number up for a dance hit, a definite stamp from Skrillex who wrote and produced on the song. The touches of Spanish guitar gives the track as Latino flair which Camila is becoming an expert on incorporating into her songs. The lyrics, ‘She doesn’t cry anymore, no, she doesn’t go to the bar’ could also be a nod to her single ‘Crying in the Club’ which doesn’t feature on the album.

  • Track Four: “Havana”:

There’s not much to say on this song because if you haven’t heard it on a radio or TV over the last few months then you must be living in a different world. I love this song, I’ve played this song on repeat, it’s a banger. As a single, ‘Havana’ definitely showed the public what kind of music would be on the album with the dance and Latino influences.

  • Track Five: “Inside Out”:

Inside Out is the first track on the album that I’m not overly keen on. I tired quite quickly of the repetitive chorus and felt as though it was used as a filler track to slow the pace of the album down a tad. However, I’ll continue to listen and who knows it might be a grower?

  • Track Six: “Consequences”:

This is a pretty song, the lyrics are sweet and well-written which could be the hand of Amy Wadge who writes frequently with Ed Sheeran (please listen to ‘Fire Alarms’ it’s a fantastic song). I like that Camila has toned it down here with a piano based song and you can really hear her emotional connection to the track.

  • Track Seven: “Real Friends”:

Apparently this song had been released before a promotional single in December but I had never heard it before? Saying that, on the first listen I knew straight away it would be one of my favourites on the album. Acoustic guitar based with samples of Tropical and Latino flares makes for a very catchy beat. Not to delve too deeply into the meaning of the lyrics but I think Camila could be hinting about her relationship with her ex-bandmates and their loyalty to her. This track is great, I actually think that Camila sounds great on it but I would love to hear a Justin Bieber remix as I think his vocals would really suit the melody.

  • Track Eight: “Something’s Gotta Give”:

The best way to describe this track is – ‘Cinematic’. Put it into a break-up scene on the big screen and it’ll fit the mood to a T. The piano ballad is very lyrically pleasing and Cabello sounds vulnerable whilst showing of her vocals. I have a feeling she could sing the absolute hell out of this live.

  • Track Nine: “In The Dark”:

When this song first began I thought I wouldn’t like it, the beat was interesting but I couldn’t be sure if I was enjoying it. However, the lyrics of this track really pulled me in, telling a story of wanting to be with a person when they’re alone because that’s the one time they’re open about their feelings. It’s definitely the song on the album that made me concentrate the most and because of that has made it one of my favourites.

  • Track Ten: “Into It”:

Seeing Ryan Tedder’s name on any writing credits is always exciting for me. That man can write a bop! Into It has a really catchy baseline and makes for really pleasing, easy- listening. I enjoyed the ‘Oh Na Na’s’ which were possibly a nod to Havana earlier on in the album. This song could be beautiful live with the right staging and I’m sure this is the track that Camila Cabello fans will have a soft spot for.

  • Track Eleven: “Never Be The Same (Radio Edit)”:

Sigh! Camila why?!

I was really hoping this song would be more of a reprise than a radio edit and it majorly disappointed me that this repeated track was what closed the album. I really feel the penultimate track, “Into It” should have been used instead.

Final Thoughts:

This album is fantastically produced for a debut, props to Frank Dukes who produced and co-wrote most of the tracks. Camila’s song writing and vocals have also pleasantly surprised me and I think she’ll gain huge of respect and credit from her peers in the industry.

Using Latino and Tropical sounds within her music makes this a very strong first album and fits perfectly with the current chart toppers. Camila holds her own vocally and continues to impress. This is a project to be proud of and I’m sure she’ll have a successful career ahead.

Thanks for reading,

Chanel x