Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Musical Taste And The Eternal Search For Popularity

[I mean absolutely no offence to Cool Kids or Popular Kids, two of my best friends are stereotypical Cool Kids, and 99% of the time, I wish I was one of them. Bro, I don’t care if you listen to Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake or Justin Bieber, I’m simply wondering why liking Coldplay makes me uncool.]

Be it consciously or unconsciously, we all crave popularity. No matter how old you are, don’t even try to pretend that you don’t wish you were the person that everyone else wanted to be. The cheerleader, the footballer- the Cool Kid. Like it or not, taste in music plays a part in popularity.

I’m not a cool kid, I never have been, and I’m under no illusions that I ever will be. I’m a concert kid, a music kid, basically, I’m a fangirl, and that’s not cool at all. Whilst normal people my age listen to the likes of Usher, Enrique and Lady Gaga, I’m perfectly happy to exist on a diet of indie rock, alternative rock, and normal rock- that is, of course, until I crack out my collection of oldies and country, but we won’t talk about that…

It probably all started when I was about nine. I don’t even know what Cool Kids my age listened to in the late 90’s, but I’m willing to bet that it was Britney, The Spice Girls and TLC, as opposed to my favourites, which included Savage Garden. I mean really now, what kind of nine-year-old is into rock bands?

But back to Cool Kids. Cool Kids simply adore dance music, but why? Why is it that liking Pitbull is cool, but liking Muse is odd? What is it that separates the two? My own humble opinion is that I’ve already answered my own question: it’s because Pitbull makes dance music. Cool Kids are always at clubs- dancing- and their lives could basically be summed up by any number of popular dance songs on the radio. They can associate with lyrics such as “hey baby, you look so good on the dance floor, baby, you’re amazing, on the dance floor baby, let’s dance baby, take your clothes off baby”, because that is what a Cool Guy says to a Cool Girl! Ha! I’ve figured it out! And the reason that un-cool people don’t like dance music is because we can’t relate to the lyrics…no guy has ever asked me to take my clothes off on the dance floor, baby!

There are exceptions, however, and I can think of one in particular. I met a girl, about four years ago, who is undoubtedly a Cool Kid. So much so, that on first impressions, I thought she’d never be friends with me. However, she has impeccable music taste: she loves Death Cab For Cutie and 1940’s jazz music, no one judges her for her it!

I am almost certain that I exist in a constant state of being judged. People ask what kind of music I listen to, and as soon as I tell them that my favourite bands are Coldplay and The Killers, I can almost feel them deciding that I’m not cool. Perhaps before answering, I should make a judgment call as to the popularity of the person asking, and if the person is a Cool Kid, I should answer “David Guetta, bro, he’s legit”. The day before I saw Coldplay live, I bounced into my lecture, squealing with excitement. My classmates’ reactions ranged from ‘I hate Coldplay’ to ‘Coldplay are terrible’ to ‘they make me feel like killing myself’. I’m not going to lie, my feelings were slightly hurt. If I had been a Cool Kid, excitemed about seeing Deadmau5, for example, they would have most likely jumped up and down squealing with me.

Whilst considering my favourite bands, I must acknowledge that even some Cool Kids were jealous that I went to see Kings of Leon live. Upon a quick Facebook creep, I find out that over 70 of my Facebook friends ‘like’ Kings of Leon…and some of these 70 are Cool Kids! However, I am soon able to deduce that Cool Kids don’t actually like Kings of Leon- Cool Kids like Sex On Fire. Sigh, there go my last hopes of ever being cool…

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fangirl Favourites of 2011

With the year drawing to a close, I thought I’d share my most played tracks, artists and albums of the year, as well as my favourite newly discovered artists. Bear in mind that very few of these albums/songs actually came out this year…I have weird taste, alright? These stats all come from my account, and some of them even managed to surprise me! They were, however, slightly skewed by the fact that I listened to Kings Of Leon almost incessantly for several weeks before seeing them live, in an attempt to learn every single word of every single song that they would play (and I was successful).

Top Played Artists of 2011:

1)      Coldplay
2)      Kings Of Leon
3)      The Killers
4)      The Gaslight anthem
5)      The Script
6)      Taylor Swift
7)      Hey Monday
8)      The  Vaccines
9)       Paramore
10)    Brandon Flowers

Oh goodness me, I only discovered The Gaslight Anthem in August! Imagine if I’d been listening to them all year, they’d definitely have been number one!

Top Played Songs of 2011:

1)      The ‘59 Sound- The Gaslight Anthem
2)      Paradise- Coldplay
3)      Even Cowgirls Get The Blues- The Gaslight Anthem
4)      Fans- Kings Of Leon
5)      Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall- Coldplay
6)      Back Down South- Kings Of Leon
7)      Pyro- Kings Of Leon
8)      Charmer- Kings Of Leon
9)      Film Noir­­- The Gaslight Anthem
10)   Meet Me By The River’s Edge­- The Gaslight Anthem

Wow! This kind of makes it look like I have no variety in music taste and simply listen to a few favourite bands. I assure you, I’m really very diverse! I do, however, have a couple of obsessions.

Top Played Albums of 2011:

1)      The ’59 Sound­- The Gaslight Anthem
2)      Come Around Sundown- Kings Of Leon
3)      Mylo Xyloto- Coldplay
4)      Only By The Night­- Kings Of Leon
5)      Because of the Times­- Kings Of Leon
6)      Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends­- Coldplay
7)      Science  & Faith- The Script
8)      What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?- The Vaccines
9)      Flamingo- Brandon Flowers
10)   Hold On Tight- Hey Monday

I think I’ve re-enforced my borderline-OCD Kings Of Leon obsession…

Favourite New Bands of 2011 (in no particular order):

I don’t care if they didn’t form in 2011, these are bands that I discovered this year. I’ve left out The Gaslight Anthem, I’m pretty sure that by now you realize that I love them a lot.

·         The Vaccines
·         Foster The People
·         Mumford & Sons
·         Hey Monday
·         Most Thieves

Favourite Live Performances of 2011:

1)      Coldplay at FNB Stadium- Without a doubt, the best live band I have ever seen. Explosive, stunning, perfect.
2)      Kings of Leon at FNB Stadium- I’d have preferred to have been pressed up against the barrier, but who really cares? It’s Kings Of Leon, for goodness sake, they’re rock gods!
3)      The Script at the Grand Arena, Grandwest- A beautiful performance, for which I had possibly the best barrier spot that I’ve ever had at a concert.
4)      The Parlotones at FNB Stadium (with Coldplay)- I’ve seen these guys live three times, and they just keep on getting better!
5)      Freshly Ground at East Coast Radio Durban Day- This band was definitely the highlight of my day! Extremely entertaining and beautifully executed performance.

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? I feel like my music taste has definitely changed this year, and become a lot more alternative. Last year’s top albums included Taylor Swift, Mika, and Owl City, all of whom I still appreciate, but no longer listen to quite as often. In addition to all of the artists mentioned, my love of country music has strengthened by a great amount, but that will be the subject of a whole other blog post…

Album Review: Daughtry- 'Break The Spell'

I became a fan of Daughtry in early 2007, the first time I heard ‘It’s Not Over’ on the radio. Their style is slightly heavier than my usual taste, yet they remain one of my favourite bands, and so needless to say, I was eager to give their latest album, ‘Break The Spell’, a listen.

Although I’ve only listened to the entire album about three times so far, my first impressions are very positive. This is a Daughtry album, through and through, there’s no mistaking the music and Chris Daughtry’s extremely distinctive vocals. I’m proud of the band for staying true to themselves; in a world where rock is a dying genre of music, they feel no need to go mainstream or to engage in things like duets with commercial artists in an attempt to sell more albums. And why should they? Daughtry clearly have a winning formula, as proven by their delivery of a third spectacular album.

My personal favourite tracks so far are ‘Louder Than Ever’, ‘Spaceship’, the extremely catchy single ‘Crawling Back To You’ and title track ‘Break The Spell’. Fans will not be disappointed in this album, I’d recommend buying it immediately, and seeing a live Daughtry show as soon as possible, I was lucky enough to attend their concert in Cape Town last year (a show which the band later referred to as their best show ever), and they put on a fantastic performance. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Indie Rock 'n' Roll's Best Bassist Goes Solo

At the beginning of 2010, The Killers went on a hiatus, after recording and being on tour for almost six years straight. A few months into said hiatus, however, frontman Brandon Flowers announced that he was to release a solo album, entitled 'Flamingo'. Earlier this year, drummer Ronnie Vannucci released his own solo album, 'Big Talk', and now it's bassist Mark Stoermer's turn to do the same. 

Mark's album is called 'Another Life'- a title which interested me immediately- and is available as a free download on his website, for a limited time only.  

Of course I downloaded it at the first chance I got, I mean come on, he's a member of my favourite band in the world, I support him by default! But the album really is good, and I'm not just saying that. Some of the songs, for example 'There is No Is' and 'Shadow In A Dream' are great background music-type songs, they're very calm and chilled out. They don't make you want to jump around and scream like The Killers' songs do, but that's fine, this is Mark's album, not the band's. 'The Way We Were Before' is extremely catchy, and I've found myself tapping my foot and humming along to it. I also know almost all the words to 'The Haunts' by now as I've had it on repeat so many times this morning. Another outstanding song is the title track 'Another Life', but my very favourite song on the album has to be 'No Time'. I think a squeal may actually have escaped my lips the first time I listened to this song: it's a country song. I'm sure we all know how fond I am of country music, and my favourite bass player singing a country song simply made my day. 

In short, I'd definitely recommend the album, even to people who are not fans of The Killers: I promise you won't find any 'Mr Brightside' sound-alikes on here. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What Are Big Concerts Plotting Now?

And so it begins again, another mysterious post on Big Concerts' Facebook page, stating that there is another Big Announcement on its way. Just one month short of a year ago, we went through this when Kings Of Leon were announced. There was some hype on 5fm, and pleas to stay tuned at 5pm to hear which huge rock band were on their way to SA. I had no signal for 5fm at the time, and was reduced to creeping their twitter feed on a not-very-internet-friendly cellphone in order to see who it was. Cue some squealing when KOL were announced. Next came the announcement of The Script, back in February of this year, I had convinced myself that it was going to be Bon Jovi, and whilst I do like them, I was much more excited when I heard it was The Script, whom I adore. I managed to get golden circle tickets for this with no problem. And then...then came May, and The Coldplay Announcement. Highveld Stereo declared that it was a British rock band composed of four men, one of whom was married to a famous blonde. I did not allow myself to believe that it was Coldplay until the very words were tweeted by Ryan O'Connor of Kfm in Cape Town. 

Now, we have another BIG announcement coming tomorrow. All we know so far is that there will be arena shows in Cape Town and Durban (yes, Durban) and a stadium show in Gauteng. Personally, if I had to place bets, I'd go with either the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or Foo Fighters, and this seems to be in line with the general consensus. But then again, who on Earth would be able to sell out a stadium, and yet come to Durban? And why is there no stadium show in Cape Town? The Grandwest holds, well, a grand total of about 8000 people...10% of the capacity of FNB Stadium in Joburg, so what is going on here? I am completely intrigued! But patience is a virtue, and so I will wait patiently for the announcement, at 9am tomorrow. But do I need to prepare myself? Do I need to draw money in case I need to run down to Computicket immediately as for The Script? Or will I have a few days to prepare myself as with Coldplay? What if tickets go on sale at 9am on Thursday (as for Coldplay) when I will be on a  plane? Oh dear. Anyway, who would I even want tickets for? Well now, I could go on for days here... Paramore, My Chemical Romance, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Adele, Owl City, 30 Seconds To Mars, Muse, Panic! At The Disco, Lady Antebellum, Train, Mika...(and if it was The Killers, which it's not, I'd be booking flights to all three cities). But I do realise that I have been extremely lucky this year, managing to see three of my favourite international bands live. So whoever gets announced tomorrow, whether it be Justin Bieber, Madonna or Marilyn Manson, I'll be happy that the fans of that artist will get to see them live.

Edit: I know exactly who it is, but I'll let my readers wait for the real announcement, it's much more fun. But I will say that I was way off-track with my guesses. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kings Of Leon- Live in Johannesburg

Sigh, the life of a fangirl: another Friday, another cross-country flight to see a band. This time it was Tennessee’s Kings Of Leon that Lauren and I were off to Johannesburg to see. Our flight was due to leave just after 2pm, but the issues began at 10am, when we were informed via sms that our flight had been delayed. This in itself was not a huge problem in my life, the huge problem came in the form of the five or so highly inefficient people I had to deal with to make sure that the flight really was delayed, as well as the four phone numbers which were unanswered. Anyway, the flight really had been delayed, and we eventually departed around 3.45pm. The flight itself was pleasant enough until about half an hour before landing, when we experienced a fair amount of not-so-fun turbulence, now I’m not scared of flying or anything, but I’ve seen Lost…I know how turbulence can end! Needless to say we were more than happy to touch down onto some solid ground.

Saturday morning dawned, and once again we were off to the shops, this time to experience Sandton City, which is absolutely huge and beautifully decorated! Oh I could get lost in some of those shops for hours upon hours, but I’m sure I’m losing my train of thought…. Ahhh, shoes….

As we had seated tickets, we had no need to queue at the stadium a zillion hours before the gates opened, and so we caught the 4pm park ‘n’ ride from Gold Reef City and arrived at the stadium just after the gates opened. This was a completely new experience for me; the last time I’d had seated concert tickets, I’d been 14, but we had still queued for two hours before the gates opened! This is almost refreshing, no need to run or panic about getting a barrier spot, we simply made out way calmly to our seats, then killed some time wandering around looking for food and merchandise. The seats around us began to fill up very slowly, but I had a great view of the general standing area, and the people here fascinated me. They seemed to be acting as though they were at some kind of social event as opposed to a concert. They milled around, greeted friends, left the standing area and came back numerous times…there was no fighting for barrier positions, and to be honest, they didn’t seem too excited, but I’ll get back to that.

Three support bands preceded Kings Of Leon, and might I say that the main support band, Die Heuwels Fantasties, impressed me. I’d seen them almost a year ago, but they had improved a million fold, and even though they are an Afrikaans band, and I only caught snatches of their lyrics, they were very entertaining.

And then…the lights go down, the screens go on, and the Followill boys troop onto the stage to the intro of ‘Radioactive’. My seat is quickly forgotten, and I jump up and down and scream to my heart’s content. Kings Of Leon give an absolutely flawless performance, Caleb’s voice is exactly the same as it sounds on the CD; clearly very little in the way of studio adjustments goes on here. Caleb is so into his performance, it is amazing. One can see the emotion on his face as he utters those perfect vocals, song after song. And when he talks in that southern accent, my heart just melts. The other band members amaze me as well; Matt never stops smiling, Jared is clearly having the time of his life, and Nathan…Nathan is just the very definition of the word ‘cool’. Banging away at his drums with tattooed arms, his long, dark hair blowing in the evening wind, this man is a true rockstar (am I making it blatantly obvious who my favourite is yet?).

The setlist is almost perfect – unfortunately the boys don’t seem to hear me screaming “Chaaaaaaaaaarmerrrrrrrrrrr” though, sigh- and the stage setup is amazing. The lights never stop going crazy, and the screens allow even the furthest people to get a perfect view of the Followill boys’ pretty faces. I do not sit down at all during the 22-song setlist, and I literally spend most of the time jumping up and down, squealing, and taking very blurry photos. I go positively crazy when I hear the first few beats of ‘Fans’! “Eeeeeeeee! Is it ‘Fans’ ? Omg omg omg ‘Fans’ I’m gonna die, eeeeeeeeee”. Then I manage to sing along to the first line of ‘Revelry’ without realizing what song it was, cue a belated freak out session…I do love ‘Revelry’ indeed. By the time ‘Knocked Up’ comes around, I’ve screamed my throat almost to breaking point, and I’m unable to do the ‘whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh’s, but I continue jumping, nonetheless. I feel like I am on the receiving end of some quite serious judgment from the people behind me, as I know almost every word to every single song. I’m the girl who is screaming and jumping and singing to even the less well-known songs such as ‘The Bucket’ and ‘On Call’. Most of the people seated in my block only seem to know the chorus of ‘My Party’, and let’s face it, those lyrics aren’t that difficult. I feel that I am seated with people who just came for a night out, and because they wanted to sing along to that song they’d heard on the radio, what was it called again? Oh yes…‘Sex On Fire’. At least this song gets a great reaction, though Jon Savage’s idea of a surprise flashmob fails miserably. When this song ends, the stage lights go down, and the boys are gone, but I’m not moving a muscle. Surely no one would be thick enough to think that they’d leave without playing ‘Use Somebody’. Well, maybe not… half of the general admissions people are leaving already, flowing out of the area in streams, leaving the back completely empty. But I’m right, and the band returns for an encore of four songs including, of course, ‘Use Somebody’. It seems almost poetic that the rain begins just as the band start to play the third-last song, ‘Manhattan’, it’s almost as if the weather had decided to be nice and allow the concert to proceed, instead of ruining it with the previously predicted thunderstorm. The last song is ‘Black Thumbnail, and it’s quite bad that I know that after this song, the show is really over, that’s how well I’d creeped previous setlists. The show ends with a display of, well, pyro that makes Coldplay’s firework display look like a cute first attempt.

Before I know it, we’re on the park ‘n’ ride bus, then back at our car. The traffic plan, like the rest of the organization is absolutely perfect tonight. Everything from the sound, to the food, to the merchandise stalls cannot be criticized, and Big Concerts deserves a huge congratulations on this.  The thing that saddens me is the lack of vibe on the way back. Instead of bursting out into ‘whoa-oh-oh-oh’s or signing ‘Sex On Fire’, the crowd on the bus back is discussing everything but the concert: the U2 traffic plan, and the finances of the McDonalds drive-thru are hot topics tonight.

Anyway, none of that matters, does it? All that matters is that Kings Of Leon put on an excellent show, and for two hours, I had the absolute time of my life singing along to everything from the radio-friendly ‘Sex On Fire’, to the beautiful ‘Back Down South’ and the explosive ‘Molly’s Chambers’. Well done, KOL, you’re welcome back in our creepy, thunderstorm-filled country any time. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Getting Excited About KOL

I've had tickets for Kings of Leon since March this year, and trust me, that was a long time ago. This concert always seemed like something in the very, very distant future, not least because my university career would be almost over by the time it arrived. However, the time had finally come, and I can now officially say that I am seeing Kings of Leon this very Saturday night. 

I must give Lauren credit for convincing me to get tickets for this concert, though it really was not a very difficult task. She simply sent me a message saying 'KOL tickets. Now' and I responded 'OK'. Before we knew it, we were in the line to acquire some seated tickets for the show. Seated tickets! Oh the horror! Seats are not the way we usually roll, as we're the type of girls who queue for hours and then creep out way to the barrier of golden circle, meaning that Saturday night is likely to be a whole new experience for us. But we took what we could get, and the fact that we won't be able to reach out and touch Caleb has done little to diminish our excitement! 

For anyone attending these concerts, I highly recommend watching the band's documentary 'Talihina Sky'. I watched it a couple of weeks ago, and was completely entranced. I feel much more connected to the band, and the back story is extremely, well, enlightening is probably the appropriate word here.  

As for the setlist, I've done my fair share of creeping, and I'm pretty certain we'll get the old favourites such as 'Molly's Chambers', 'Taper Jean Girl', 'Sex On Fire', and 'Use Somebody', as well as my personal favourites 'Fans' and 'Back Down South'. I may squeal uncontrollably when I hear the country-style first chords of the latter.

Not the most dedicated to academics at the best of times, the fact that the band are now officially in the country means that my productivity will be low to zero for the rest of the day, and thus I have spent the past hour or so creating the photo's which follow. Sigh, I guess I am just a fangirl through and through! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Pursuit of Normalcy: Going Cold-Turkey on Coldplay and Killing My Love For The Killers

I am not the most normal person you will ever meet, not by a long shot. My life and my world revolves around my favourite bands; I live and breathe music and everything to do with it. When normal girls of my age are talking about men, clothes, shopping, and Real Life, I’ll be the girl who says “Have you seen the new Coldplay video? Those elephant suits are elephantastic!” cue odd stares all around, and not-so-well-concealed giggles from anyone in the vicinity. Thankfully, the topic will usually quickly turn back to whatever was being discussed before my little outburst. I’m also the girl who will fall dead silent, mid-sentence, and start grinning like an idiot because my favourite song has just come on. For a while now, I’ve wondered what it must be like to be like one of my friends: normal, socially accepted and able to carry out a decent conversation with anyone without fear of being judged. I’m not saying that no one likes me, I simply mean that I am slightly odd, and this does not go unnoticed. Perhaps it’s even an endearing quality, or maybe people find me entertaining, I don’t know, I’ve never asked. Anyway, there is a point here, and I’m getting to it.

Late last night, I decided that the only way I would gain social acceptance, and stop being a bit of a joke was to shake off, well, my oddness. I planned to do this by cutting out anything that was abnormal, in other words, anything my friends didn’t do. Translated, this meant that I had to cut everything music-related from my life. I figured that if I could do this for a week, maybe I’d achieve normalcy. It seemed like it could also be a rather interesting social experiment. The first thing I had to do was change my profile pictures and backgrounds: profile pictures were all me now, no concert pictures, and my desktop background changed to a kitten, instead of the rather lovely photo of Chris Martin which had come before it. Next, I banned myself from sites such as Twitter and, as well as fan communities such as the Victims, and Alright then, Facebook was up next. I decided that I was still allowed to use Facebook, as long as it was for interacting with friends only. No statuses involving song lyrics, no links to music videos or live performances, and no creeping of bands or events companies. No, just no. No keeping tabs on Big Concerts’ plans for next week’s Kings Of Leon concert, and indeed, no creeping band members to find out where they were. I was also not allowed to read any music-related news articles or reviews of albums. The biggest part, however, was that I was not allowed to make any music, song or band references to anyone. I was especially not allowed to bring up any favourite bands (cough, Coldplay, cough) or anything related to them in conversation. I did, perhaps, end up slightly quieter than usual, but almost certainly a lot less annoying. Another banned item was concert talk, unless someone else mentioned it first. Thus questions such as ‘Are you going to Kings Of Leon next weekend?’ were to be met with a curt ‘yes’ before the topic was swiftly changed.

And so it began: the One Week Challenge, as I began to call it, was in progress. At first it went very well, I managed to avoid anything music-related for about an hour and a half after waking up. Then came the walk to lectures, during which I allowed myself to listen to Kings Of Leon on my iPod. Music itself wasn’t banned, after all. During class, I restrained myself from writing ‘8 days to KOL’ on the top of my notes, this was the first time I’d broken the countdown since last term.

Later in the day, I impressed a friend by not protesting the fact that she had had the new David Guetta song on repeat for at least an hour. In fact, I did not request any of my music to be played once, that was against the rules of the plan. The difficult part came later, when I saw Lauren. “Isn’t the ‘Paradise’ video just the cutest thing ever?”. It is. I could have gone on about it for days, but instead I just smiled and said that I couldn’t say much as it was against the rules of the plan. My friends obviously wanted to know more about the plan, and dare I say they if I were them, I’d probably have begun to judge myself even more after I told them about it! They asked why I’d do something like this to myself: why was I depriving myself of everything that made me happy? Because I crave acceptance, that was the real answer. And if this is what it takes to make me normal, and to make people accept me, then so be it. But this is when my plan began to fall apart. We were listening to a song by a band that I like a lot, and soon I was emphatically throwing out words like “overproduced”, and before I knew it, I was analyzing the ‘Paradise’ music video in great detail. An hour later, a friend happened to use the phrase ‘I never’ three times in quick succession, and I was back in a mode that would probably make me end up on Irrational Killers Fans, when I grinned and said ‘You can stop singing Mr Brightside now’.

So the One Week Challenge failed miserably after only one day. I still crave acceptance, but I’m less willing to change to gain it. I’ll stop bringing my music obsessions up in conversations all the time, but never again will I go cold-turkey as I did today. What I do in my own free time is my own problem, and no one else’s. If all the normal people spend their free time eating, sleeping, drawing, cooking, reading, exercising or planning their futures, why shouldn’t I get to spend mine doing what I love most?  

Monday, October 17, 2011

First Impressions of Mylo Xyloto

I'm not a fan of leaks, and usually I'd never have listened to the newly leaked 'Mylo Xyloto', by Coldplay, but seeing I will definitely still buy it as soon as it's in the shops, I let my self control wane, and listened to the album. 

Only a few hours ago, I found myself highly unimpressed with the usually-infallible Chris Martin upon first hearing the much-awaited Rihanna duet; 'Princess of China'. Mine is a very unpopular opinion, but I simply do not like the song. To me it sounds like a Rihanna song with a few Chris Martin vocals thrown in for fun. Now, I have nothing against Rihanna, but I do feel as though this song will become a sensation and do amazingly on the charts thanks to the fact that she features on it. Now that's all fine and well, but it saddens me because I feel that Coldplay simply do not get enough attention and credit for their own work. Anyway, that's my own opinion, and if you like the song, then I am sincerely happy for you. 

Now, onto the rest of the album. 'Hurts Like Heaven' was already my favourite on the album after hearing it live, but after hearing the studio version, I can safely say that this song is nothing short of brilliant. The studio versions of 'Charlie Brown' and 'Major Minus' also sound great (personally, I live for concerts, but find studio versions easier to get into upon first hearing a song). 

The instrumental interludes, 'Mylo Xyloto', 'M.M.I.X' and 'A Hopeful Transmission' fit perfectly in their positions in the album, and add interest and something different to the album. It really feels as if it flows, instead of simply being a collection of tracks, as so many albums are. This is clearly why the term 'concept album' can be used to describe Mylo Xyloto. 

I began to smile when I reached 'U.F.O'. It is so Coldplay! That is the only way I can describe this slower song, and Coldplay fans will understand why. The band proves that although all the sensationalism of some of the other tracks sounds great, all they really need is their instruments and Chris's vocals to produce a superb song. The same hold true for 'Up In Flames', which is soft, sweet, and utter perfection.

'Don't Let It Break Your Heart' is nothing short of an epic track, I cannot begin to imagine how purely magical this song will sound live. It reminds me a tiny bit of 'Lovers in Japan', leading, once again, to my conclusion that Coldplay's style has not changed entirely. 'Up With The Birds' is another pure Coldplay song which would not have been out of place on their previous album,Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.

Singles 'Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall' and 'Paradise' are on the album too, I've always loved these two songs, and my opinion has not changed. They fit perfectly with the rest of the album, the entirety of which is an eclectic mix of slow, almost acoustic songs, radio-friendly pop-ish hits, and stadium-style rock songs. In my opinion, Coldplay have produced yet another masterpiece, and they can look forward so much continued success. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Coldplay Concert In Johannesburg, South Africa

On Friday the 7th of October, I found myself sitting through a lecture that I could barely endure. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I hate university, it's simply that as soon as said lecture was over, I was off to the airport to board a flight to Johannesburg to see Coldplay. Now, I have been an obsessive Coldplay fan for about four years, and I'd been counting down the days to the concert ever since I'd gotten tickets, almost six months ago. Needless to say, I was rather excited. 

Lauren and I leave for the airport at around 10.30am, our flight is only at 2pm, but we have about a 90 minute drive ahead of us, and I am, of course, completely para-para-paranoid about missing out flight. We get to the airport at 12pm, and after face-planting into some food at the nearest restaurant, we make out way to the departures lounge, where I sit bouncing up and down for about an hour, and squealing "Chris" at frequent intervals, which quite possibly makes me sound like a mental patient. 

I am an impatient person by nature, and there is just so much waiting involved in this day! We board our flight, wait to take off, wait to arrive in Johannesburg, wait around the airport for assorted members of my family to join us, wait for the rental car, and finally wait until my mother figures out how to get to where we're sleeping, in Bryanston. All the way, I am sure that if I blink, I will open my eyes in a reality where I am back home, working on academics, and not seeing Coldplay in less than 24 hours. This is about the time when I stop blinking...

Eventually, Saturday morning dawns. I've been awake since about 5.30am, but only rise at 7am. I am trying to conserve energy. We head off to the shops to cram some Joburg shopping into our very short weekend, and then make our way to Gold Reef City, where we board the first park 'n' ride bus to FNB Stadium. My excitement has surpassed expression, so I am very cool, calm, and collected. After a short walk, we arrive at the golden circle queue, which already consists of about 50 or 60 people, but considering the fact that 62 000 tickets were sold, we are in the first 0.001% of people. 

We sit down and prepare for a long afternoon, as it is now about 1.20pm, and gates are set to open at 5pm. I also manage to buy a Coldplay t-shirt, as there are vendors walking around selling them, as well as having merchandise stands. Thus, queues are avoided. The fact that I am really going to see Coldplay becomes more and more real with every passing second. Around 3pm, we move forwards, and around 4pm, the security start handing out armbands. The golden circle armbands are bright pink, winning. Just before 5pm, a security man with a megaphone announces that they are about to open the gates, but that we are not to pass through the next checkpoint, the turnstiles that control entrance to the actual stadium. This is when the first disaster begins: it seems that the turnstiles had not been locked, and thus an appreciable number of people manage to slip into the stadium before security can stop them. But security is on top of things, and those who had entered prematurely are escorted back to the queue.  

My nerves are shot by now, I've been wanting barrier at the concert for six months, and will be positively heartbroken if I don't get it. Eventually, the turnstiles open, we make our way through and... encounter disaster number two: the lack of signposts. We do a run around the entire stadium, unable to find the entrance to golden circle, before a kind security guard points us in the correct direction, by which time the barrier has started to fill up. Anyway, we do manage to find a barrier slot near the end of the ramp which projects from the main stage. It's fine, Chris and company will still walk right past our faces when they head to the end of the ramp to perform. 

The stadium itself is absolutely spectacular, and the sight of 62 000  people beginning to filter in is nothing short of epic. Now the waiting begins again. It's about 5.30pm, and the opening act, SA's own Parlotones are scheduled to start at 7.45pm. I sit down on a very hard piece of metal attached to the barrier, but it's not very comfortable, and soon I stand up again. My legs and back are already sore from all the standing, and the brilliant sunshine has left me at least a few shades darker, but that's the last thing on my mind. 

Finally, the lights dim, the announcer introduces The Parlotones, and South Africa's biggest rock band burst onto the stage with "We Call This Dancing". I'm a huge fan of these guys, and have seen them live several times before, thus I know the words to almost every one of the ten songs which they perform. The Parlotones are brilliant live, but someone in the audience takes up a chant of "We want Coldplay! We want Coldplay!", and I'm very disappointed, no one is asking them to like the music, but at least have a little respect for the artists. 

And now we wait again. Luckily, we didn't have long to go. The road crew made some adjustments, and after about half an hour, the lights went down again, and we began to hear music from the stage. Then there were brightly coloured lights visible, and we watched Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin arrive on stage. I attempt to video the beginning, but I'm shaking so much that my camera won't stay still, so I give up and just decide to scream, jump up and down and go crazy. The opening sound is 'Hurts Like Heaven', and before we know it, there are fireworks exploding from the top of the stadium, giving the term "explosive opener" a whole new meaning. Chris's vocals are perfect, and even though this is a new song, the crowd goes wild for it. Coldplay then launch straight into 'Yellow', during which the light the stage up with yellow lights. Once again, we go crazy. 

As if I wasn't on enough of a high, the opening bars of 'In My Place' are practically enough to send me over the edge. This is when Chris walks down the ramp, about 2 meters from me, and sings on the end of the platform, joined by Jonny. This is also around the time when dozens of beach balls miraculously make their way into the audience,  we hit them and watch them fly over our heads, in wonder. Oh. My. Word. Three songs in, and my mind has already been blown. Lauren and I exchange a glance that clearly says "is this real?" is it really possible that this band and this concert is so perfect in every single way? 

Just when I think it can't get any better, Chris sits down at the brightly-coloured piano, and I hear the opening bars of 'The Scientist'. I was expecting this one during the encore, so it takes me completely by surprise. I manage not to cry or faint, only because I'm on such an adrenaline high. This song is utter perfection. The audience sings along in perfect unison, and Chris seems delighted. "You all sound beautiful", he says, "let's do it one more time then... nobody said it was easy...". "no one every said it would be so hard....". I cannot imagine what it must feel like to hear 62 000 people sing a song that you wrote. I was one of those 62 000, and was completely moved. It was extremely beautiful to watch. 

The amazing songs just kept on coming, 'Lost!', 'Shiver', 'Violet Hill' (cue scream of note, and four minutes of jumping), a handful of new songs such as 'Major Minus' and 'Charlie Brown', and one of my favourite new songs, 'Paradise'. Chris tells us that after seeing how lovely and sunny South Africa is, Will had suggested that they film a video here, and thus they'd set off into the desert to start filming the video for 'Paradise'. "And we wondered", says Chris, "if you wanted to be in the last minute of our new video? Unless you don't want to, of course, then just hide your face." He also says that they'll be parading around in ridiculous outfits, however he neglected to mention just how ridiculous said outfits were. If I was expecting flowing robes adorned with 'MX' and bright colours, I was wrong. Chris and the boys left the stage for a split second and returned wearing huge elephant heads. Yes, as in large furry elephant heads. Because that is completely normal. "When you're not as good-looking as Beyonce, you have to do what you can for videos", says Chris. His self-depreciation breaks my heart a bit, doesn't he know how amazing he is? Between giggles, I managed to get a photo of this oddity, and sing along to, in my humble opinion, one of Coldplay's best lyrics: "so lying underneath those stormy skies, she said 'oh, I know the sun must set to rise', this could be para-para-paradise". Wow. Again, wow. 

The acoustic version of 'The Hardest Part' was beautiful, Chris was just meters away from us, seated at another piano, and then he was joined by Jonny, Will and Guy for 'Til Kingdom Come', which was breathtaking. Clearly not wanting to quieten things down too much, they then ran back to the main stage and launched into 'Politik', which sounded absolutely amazing live. Beyond amazing. 

Next up was 'Viva La Vida', which threw the crowd into an absolute frenzy. The viva chant was sung by the entire audience, before, during, and after the band sang the song. Mind-blowing. A few more songs and then the band left the stage, thanking us for being there, and promising to see us again soon. Wait, what? Where was 'Fix You' and that Amy Winehouse tribute I'd heard so much about? But I'm no novice when it comes to concerts, and didn't move from my spot, instead joining int he rest of the crowd, as we took up the Viva chant once again. 

The intro of 'Clocks' got the crowd going once again. I started jumping and squealing again. 'Clocks', like all of Coldplay's songs is 100 times better live, and I was blown away! After this came a short version of Amy's 'Rehab', which fed directly into 'Fix You', which was also sung by 62 000 voices. Amazing. Have I said that before? I'll say it again: Amazing. The final song was 'Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall', which ended the night on a hugely high note. The band took a bow, and left the stage for the last time. 

The concert may have ended before 11pm, but for the 62 000 fans, the show lives on. The Viva chant continued all the way down the road, onto the park 'n' ride bus, in my sleep, and in the airport. I had never been to a concert like that in my entire life, it was perfect in every way. Setlist, vocals and instruments, audience interaction, the video shoot, the fireworks, the effects on the big screens, the lights, the confetti, the huge balloons that came down during 'Lost!', all combined to produce an absolutely fantastic show that I will never in my life forget. I cannot describe how amazing Coldplay are live, and how energetic the performance was. To anyone who believes Coldplay to be a calm band, or thinks of their music as depressing, think again! Chris, Jonny, Will and Guy are true showmen, they are on stage because they love it, and they are brilliant at what they do. I am not exaggerating when I say that this may have been the best concert that this country has ever seen. 

I have to say well done to organisers Big Concerts, personally I had no real troubles before, during, or after the show, and traffic was barely a problem when leaving. To Coldplay, I say thank you for an unforgetable experience, and please do visit us again soon, South Africa loves you. A lot. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Sam's Town!

Five years ago today, one of the best albums of the past 20 years was released. Well at least, that's what The Killers' frontman, Mr Brandon Flowers, considers their sophomore effort "Sam's Town" to be, and I must say that I do agree. Hey, it's a cruel world, there's no room for modesty. 

"Sam's Town", named after a Las Vegas casino of the same name, is a sweeping, epic album that combines the band's proudly American roots, with their anglophillic indie rock, and the only word I can use to describe the result is... WINNING. 

"Sam's Town" is my personal favourite album ever, I just find it truly speaks to me in ways that other albums cannot. Although "Day & Age" may have more plays on my itunes, it is "Sam's Town" that always manages to put a smile on my face when I'm feeling down. I purchased this album in September of 2009, and I was immediately hooked on 'Uncle Jonny'. Although no longer one of my favourite tracks, I had this song on repeat for days on end. 

My favourite tracks on the album are 'Read My Mind', which is pure and utter perfection, and 'This River Is Wild', which I consider to be one of the best songs ever written. Now, I am a little bit strange, and don't always relate well to other people, and that is why the line "should I just get along with myself, I never did get along with everybody else, I've been trying hard to do what's right, but you know I could stay here all night, and watch the clouds fall from the sky" has found itself as my Facebook status so many times...

The acoustic version of title track 'Sam's Town' is also a stunner, the band did not perform it when I saw them live, but for some reason the melody always reminds me of the concert that I consider a defining moment in my life. Then there's 'Bones', the video of which always makes me giggle. I mean seriously, Mark Stoermer as a skeleton? Don't tell me you can still be having a bad day after watching that. Oh, and I also enjoy 'Bling', feeling the need to start singing "Higher and higher, we're gonna take it down to the wire" every time I enter a casino. No, I do not know why. 'For Reasons Unknown', 'When You Were Young', 'Exitlude'...sigh, I just love them all.

Today, the Victims united on Twitter to try and achieve a trending topic of #Happy5thBirthdaySamsTown, if you are reading this, spare a few seconds and help us, you would be contributing to what is undoubtedly the best fandom in the entire world. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Song Of The Day: This Charming Man

I've had 'This Charming Man' by The Smiths on repeat all afternoon. I usually have an aversion to 80's music, but this band is different, they're indie rockers, not exactly the kind of 80's music one hears when the local radio station decides to have "Back to the Fab 80's " weekend. Anyway, 'This Charming Man' is a true classic, it makes me feel like getting up and dancing around my house whilst trying- unsuccessfully- to imitate Morrissey's distinctive vocals. 

Death Cab For Cutie have an awesome cover of this song, though I'm pretty sure they're saying "on two bicycles on the hillside" as opposed to the original "puncture bicycle on the hillside". Or maybe there's just something wrong with my hearing... 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How I Became A Fangirl, Part Three: Pure Love

Over the past year and a half, I’ve become completely embedded in The Killers’ fan community: The Victims. I’ve gotten to know amazing people that share my interests. I’ve sat up late at night, or woken up early in the morning to live stream a performance, I’ve listened to most UK radio stations through my computer to hear live sessions or interviews, I’ve posted on forums, I’ve experience the Countdown, I’ve been part of the spasm that takes place every time they tweet. It’s extremely heartwarming to think that four people that most Victims have never met can unite us just through their music. Just the thought that they are together somewhere in the world making music, is enough to make our days happy. When the fact that they’re playing anywhere in the world makes you happy, even if you can’t go, when just the smallest mention of them can bring a smile to an otherwise troubled face.  Being a true fan is not something you can achieve by buying a band’s CD, going to a concert, or reading their Wikipedia page. Being a true fan is a constant devotion to the band you love, it involves, time, effort and an undying interest and commitment. Being a fan of The Killers doesn’t mean you know the names of the band members, or the titles of the band’s albums! To me, being a true fan is knowing that “BF”, “BFlow” and “Beef” all refer to the same person, knowing why 621 is significant, knowing why Mark At The Airport jokes are funny, knowing that Ronnie is Unstoppable or knowing what Godfrey is. If you’re a fan, you know who Handsome Rob is, and you’ve checked out his new band. You know that Ray is the new Ted, you know who Jeremy Bates is, and you’d recognize Tommy Marth a mile away. All that aside, being a fan is about loving the band: people may ask how you can love people you don’t know…I can’t explain it, but I can say with 100% certainty that what the Victims feel for Brandon, Mark, Dave and Ronnie is nothing if not love. If I ever got to meet them and could only say one thing, I wouldn’t tell them that I love their music, that they’re beautiful, or that they’re my inspiration. I’d tell them to never stop doing what they’re doing, because by doing it, they’ve brought happiness to the lives of so many people that may otherwise not have had it. To people who may have been sad, they’ve brought a smile; to those who were lost, they’ve brought direction; to those who were too shy, they’ve given a voice; and to those who were too scared to be themselves, they’ve given courage. When you consider that all of this is possible simply through music, it is impossible to deny its power.  So, when you need a release from your troublesome mind, when you need to believe that everything will be alright, when you feel as though you’re losing touch, for reasons unknown, and when you close my eyes and see the place where you used to live, join me in smiling like you mean it, because, my dear Favourite Band In The World, I don’t shine if you don’t shine. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Post Break-Up Sex, Anyone?

Before you get any ideas, I’m referring to a song, as usual. Indie Rockers, The Vaccines, have been making a name for themselves with their extremely catchy single ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ which did very well on the UK charts, especially considering the fact that they aren’t a mainstream act that sings about taking one’s clothes off on the dancefloor. I’ve had The Vaccines’ album ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ for a couple of weeks now, but only gave it a thorough listen today, when I decided that I hate almost everything else on my computer. I love the album, and it is definitely being crowned as my latest Pick Of The Week, I have listened to nothing but this album the entire day. Several of the songs are quite upbeat, none of them want to slit your wrists, and by listening to these guys, you get to at least listen to something that’s made it onto the radio whilst still maintaining your mentality of Too Indie To Live. Bi-winning, I’d say.

My favourite tracks are the vibrant ‘Nørgaard’, slower ‘Wetsuit’ and ‘All In White’ which contains the fascinating line “I was always wrong, and you all in white”. Love love love. I just wouldn’t suggest putting up a Facebook status saying “I love post break-up sex!”. It could get awkward. Just saying. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Progressing, Stagnating, Or Selling Out: What Did Coldplay DO?

Disclaimer: I’m a HUGE Coldplay fan, I still love Maroon 5, and although it doesn’t sound like it, I actually adore Owl City.

Forget the critics, forget the general public, forget reviewers from publications such as NME, who like nothing better than to take everyone but a select few down a few notches…it seems that sometimes the most scathing of words can come from a band’s very own, hopelessly devoted fans. Some fans seem to think that they have some kind of control over bands, that their opinions are the only valid ones, and that bands should never change styles.

Chart-toppers, Coldplay recently released the second single from their upcoming album ‘Mylo Xyloto’, and the song seems to have had what can only be described as a polarizing effect on fans: you either love it or hate it, there’s no in between. The song, ‘Paradise’ is apparently the first sign of the band selling out, in other words starting to make music that may produce great sales, but isn’t that of the Coldplay that their fans know and love. But surely no one was expecting the band to release something along the lines of ‘The Scientist: Part ii’ ? It is perfectly normal for a band to move forward and to experiment with new and different sounds for each of their albums. If they don’t they risk becoming boring, stagnant, and thus their album sales are sure to plummet, they will fade into obscurity, and in a few years time, nobody will even remember that they existed. Imagine if this happened to Coldplay. Surely this idea is more horrifying than anything else? I offer Owl City as an example of an artist not progressing. Adam Young’s project’s latest album ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ is packed with catchy tunes, and cute songs that are fun to sing along to, but they’re almost indistinguishable from previous album ‘Ocean Eyes’ and indeed from songs on Owl City’s first two albums, ‘Of June’ and ‘Maybe I’m Dreaming’. I mean, how much longer can Adam continue to write songs about the sea, plants, beaches, and dreaming, without it becoming boring? Especially if he doesn’t even change up his beats a bit.

There is, however, a fine line between progressing and in fact selling out. Maroon 5 were one of my favourite bands for about six years, but in my own humble opinion, they have sold out and gone commercial, and I’m not impressed. In the case of Coldplay, even though they are developing, their new songs are still identifiable as ‘Coldplay songs’. The end of ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’ could practically be the beginning of ‘In My Place’, and there’s no denying that only Coldplay would come up with some of the lyrics found in ‘Paradise’, such as “the wheel breaks the butterfly”. Add that to the fact that they’re still into the “oooo-ooooo-ooooo” ‘s, and one realizes that fans have absolutely nothing to worry about at all. Maroon 5, on the other hand, have left all semblances of those jazzy vibes I loved so much behind, and replaced them with dance tunes. Sigh, there I go, being one of those controlling fans that I dislike so much. You just can’t win, can you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

East Coast Radio Durban Day 2011

Sunday the 11th of September dawned bright and sunny in beautiful KZN, and I was off to East Coast Radio’s Durban Day, for the first time ever. Somehow I’d always missed this mini-festival before due to it being during term, but not this time.  So off we went to the stunning Moses Mabhida Stadium to watch acts such as Watershed, Elvis Blue and Freshlyground.

The first performer was Capetonian Farryl Perkis, the only act that I was not really familiar with, but I was impressed by his very chilled, calm performance, and the crowd clearly enjoyed him. The Arrows were up next, but first I undertook a little creeping mission for my first round of celeb photo’s of the day. I had a photo with hip-hop star HHP, and then with Farryl himself, whom I informed that I was moving to Cape Town next year. He said he’d see me there. Ah, he probably just says that to everyone…

The Arrows got the audience on their feet with their upbeat, dancey vibes, and songs which were clearly familiar to Durbanites- their home crowd. Having seen this band before, I was expecting their usual repertoire which includes a drumming/dance-off between drummer Christie and lead vocalist Pam. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the set thoroughly. As soon as the girls left the stage, I went creeping for a photo. I managed one with Pam, and told her that I’d seen them open for The Script in June.

Aaaaand next up was Mr. Elvis Blue. Cue just a tiny fangirl scream when he walked on stage. Of course, the guy was brilliant on Idols, but the fact is that he is even better in real life. He is an absolute rocker, the stage is where the man belongs. His voice sounded perfect, even though we later found out that he was actually so sick that he’d been in hospital the night before, but had still managed to perform the show, when many people would have pulled out. Elvis’ cover of “Hallelujah” had me positively squealing with delight, I hadn’t expected it at all, and he pulled off a real rock version of the classic song. What disappointed me was that so few people knew the words. So here’s my advice to you: before you see Elvis Blue live, learn the words to “Hallelujah”! Not even all 7248392753489 verses that Leonard Cohen wrote, just two will do! When Elvis left the stage, I was off to accomplish my main objective: get a photo with him. Of course, this would have been a lot easier if I had not been surrounded by about a million ten-year-olds who wanted exactly the same thing. Sigh. Someone put an age restriction of concerts, please! (Let’s just forget, for now, that I went to my first concert when I was nine…) Anyway, I did manage to get a photo with Mr. Blue, real name Jan Hoogendyk, and he even signed my arm in permanent marker. Winning.

Next up was Lloyd Cele, the runner up on the Elvis’ season of Idols SA. Form Idols, I knew that he was talented, but Lloyd’s cover of One Republic’s hit ‘Apologize’ left me in shocked silence: this man really knows how to rock! After Lloyd came HHP, who had the crowd going absolutely crazy and singing along happily, as “make the circle bigger, make the circle bigger, make the circle bigger” resounded throughout the park.

After HHP, I decided that I needed a barrier slot for the last two acts: Watershed and Freshlyground. Attaining the barrier was almost too easy. Durban people are clearly not used to concerts, and by this time it was late afternoon, and they were fading fast. I simply made my way forward, and stole people’s places as they ducked out for a sit down before Watershed started. Watershed were brilliant of course, I had last seen them almost three years ago, and I’d always wanted to see them again, but the opportunity had never presented itself until now. I gave an absolute squeal of delight when frontman Craig Hinds declared that they were going to play ‘Southern Cross’, which, although a cover, is my favourite Watershed song by far. And it was beautiful. The band also performed my second favourite ‘Close My Eyes’, and of course, their biggest hit, ‘Indigo Girl’. As soon as Craig sat down at his keyboard, I shouted “INDIGO GIRL!”. I’m getting rather good at predicting setlists.

The closing act was Freshlyground, whom I had never seen live before, and they absolutely blew me away, they were without a doubt the highlight of the day. They just have the vibe of a band that has been playing together for so long that everything is perfectly natural on stage. All I can say is “wow”. The way they dance, the rhythm, the way they connect with their audience, and the fact that they clearly love what they do made for an unforgettable performance. There was not a single person in that audience who was not dancing and singing along to song such as “Doo Be Doo” and “I’d Like”. The final song they performed was ‘Waka Waka’- the recorded version of which is sung with Shakira- and I’ve decided that Shakira’s version of the song should be outlawed; Freshlyground’s version is the only one that should be allowed to exist. It mattered very little whether or not anyone knew what “tsaminaminaehehwakawakaeheh” meant, or even what language was, everyone from the two-year-old baby in his mother’s arms, to the 50-year-old white man, the 16-year-old Indian girl, and the 47-year-old white woman was clapping in time to the music. What an epic ending to an epic day.

South African talent is overlooked so quickly and easily, but Durban Day really demonstrated the amount of talent possessed by our local artists. Every single one of these acts are good enough to go international if they so choose, the chorus of ‘Waka Waka’ rang true yesterday, this really is time for Africa. The power of music never fails to astound me; I witnessed an older lady make her way through the crowd of youngsters to ask HHP if she could hug him, because she is such a fan of his music. In the words of my mother, as we left the venue “if politicians turned to music, they could unite the country”. Truer words were never spoken. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Time Travelling Back to 2000

Last night I was at a friend's house, and sometime during the night I heard an extremely familiar song: "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips. I started to smile uncontrollably as I thought back to the days when I heard that song every single day for weeks and weeks on end. In early 2000, a friend and I performed this song in our elementary school talent show, and even 11 years later, every single time I hear the song, it take me back to practicing it in her living room, whilst our mothers watched and assisted us. Why we chose this specific song, I will never know, but some of the lyrics really are quite inspirational: "don't you know, things can change, things will go your way if you hold on for one more day". Whatever challenges we face in life, we can overcome by standing up for ourselves and just breaking free from the chains that hold us back. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another Pick Of The Week

Now, I know that this may seem like a completely random song selection, but I've just been listening to a certain song, and I'm horrified that I've never blogged about it before. Even better, this band is local, and we all know how important it is to support our fantastic local talent.

Lonehill Estate- Gangstar. Yes, this song isn't exactly new, in fact I heard it for the first time over a year ago, but it is definitely still a winner. Last year, I was on my way to a lecture, listening to 5fm, when I heard a song with the most intriguing lyrics: "She will have a beer, and I think I'll have a milkshake..." Really? The male speaker in the song was volunteering to have a milkshake? Needless to say, I was gripped. Whomever it was that was DJ-ing at the time, said that this song was "Gangstar" by Lonehill Estate. Hold on a second, I knew that name! It was Nathan Ro-who-used-to-be-Jonathan-Ross-who-was-Tim-on-Isidindo's band! Anway, "Gangstar" became a firm favourite amongst my friends and I, and we never cease to squeal a little if we get a reply from the band on Twitter 

Another discovery from 5fm was "Techno Band", an upbeat track, which could be just as at home on the dancefloor as anywhere else. 

Only a few weeks ago, I a friend played me a song called "Skyward", which I recognised, and was humming along to happily for several minutes, before I realised that it was in fact an older Lonehill Estate song, which I clearly recognised from the amount of airplay it had gotten on the radio quite a few years ago. "Skyward" is an absolutely fantastic song, I must say that I am completely addicted! 

Lonehill Estate's music video for their latest single, 'Daans' should be out shortly, and it's bound to be a hit! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Album I'm Overplaying This Week

I'm a music snob. My general attitude is that my taste in music is better than yours, and you should just accept that fact and move on. I am also one of those people that will clap my hands over my ears in horror at the first sign of dance music. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. 

My main issue with dance music is the lyrics: "baby, oh baby, dance with me on the dancefloor baby, and let's take off our clothes baby, on the dancefloor baby baby baby". I mean seriously, some of this stuff makes Rebecca Black seem like she should win a Nobel Prize in literature. I have nothing against music with a good, danceable beat, and I've demonstrated this by really enjoying music by artists such as Locnville, Goldfish and Example (all of whom I've been lucky enough to see live, go me!). 

Anyway, back to the issue at hand; what I am listening to this week. Foster The People. Yes, they are considered a dance/pop band, but they are definitely different to any other dance groups I've ever heard, producing not only a unique sound, but unique lyrics, many of which are slightly dark and edgy. "Pumped Up Kicks", is one such example. As I've said, I am usually one for lyrics, I always know what a song is about, and usually just shake my head when others do not. However, when I first heard this song, I listened to it happily for several weeks, only singing along to the chorus, before I began to wonder what on earth a 'pumped up kick' was, and thus decided to read the lyrics of the song. Oh. It's about guns and shooting, how cheerful. Now I find it absolutely hilarious that people belt out these lyrics without any idea of what they are actually singing! That aside, the song is great, as is the rest of the band's album, 'Torches'. Other favourites from the album include "Warrant", "Waste" and "Don't Stop (Color On The Walls)" This album will definitely be on repeat all week! Oh, and also, I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I think that these guys were absolutely robbed of the MTV VMA for Best New Artist.

Opinions on the VMA's

The end of the year is rapidly approaching, and I guess that means we're about to witness a stream of awards shows, each claiming to decide on the best of the best in world of music over the past year. I'm not a huge fan of awards shows, many of them seem to choose winners based on who the most influential performers are, rather than based on the merits of the actual song in question. (Please understand that these are my personal opinions and that I have nothing against Lady Gaga at all).

I present last night's MTV VMA's as an example of this syndrome. Lady Gaga (dressed as a man, might I add) took home the award for 'best video with a message' for 'Born This Way'. Now, whilst I understand that the message in the song is great and everything, the video depicts Gaga giving birth to a new race, of, well, Gaga's, and I for one find this mildly disturbing at the very least. In my own humble opinion, Pink's 'F***ing Perfect' should have received this award, or even Katy Perry's 'Firework'. 

I am also shocked to the core that the immensely talented Foster The People did not win the award for 'best new artist', which went to someone called Tyler The Creator, whose twitter username is "@fucktyler". Really? 

On a happier note, I must say that I am absolutely thrilled for Beyonce and Jay-Z, who announced that they are expecting a baby! The child is sure to be extremely talented, and may just outdo even the likes of Suri Cruise for Celebville's most adored tot. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Let's Play A Guessing - Or Wishing- Game

Alright, so Big Concerts announced this morning that Julio Iglesias would be performing a couple of shows in SA  in November. This brings that month's number of international acts up to two: Josh Groban, and good old Julio. Thank Heavens that it's not his son was all that went through my mind when I heard the announcement. 

So basically, my hopes for December concerts have just gone through the roof: after all, December was the month that I saw The Killers. This year, I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for bands such as Paramore, My Chemical Romance and my guilty pleasure, Miss Taylor Swift. I also wouldn't say no to Muse, Owl City, Jason Mraz and about a million others, sigh, the life of a fangirl! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What I'm Listening To This Week

So, a new week has begun, and with it, tonnes of academic-type stuff to get through, so of course I need something to help me procrastinate. has this really cool feature which helps you find artists who are similar to those in your library, and I was creeping around yesterday, when I stumbled upon a band called Hey Monday. They were supposed to be similar to Paramore, so I decided to listen to the first song of their's that I could find, which was called "Candles". A few seconds into said song, my amazing mental Glee-radar started going crazy, and I realized that this was a song which had been performed by Kurt, Blaine and The Warblers. Anyway, it's a really good song, and Hey Monday's album "Hold On Tight" contains some really catchy tunes, such as "Arizona" and 'Homecoming". It has been on repeat since last night, and I've quite a good time jamming around my house to the upbeat vibes of this album. 

My unhealthy obsession with The Gaslight Anthem is still in full force, and seems to be getting worse every single day. After listening to "The '59 Sound" album solidly for a week, I can now say that my favourite tracks are "The '59 Sound", "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" and "High Lonesome". I haven't been so addicted to a newly discovered band since I first heard "Wonderful Life" by Hurts, almost a year ago.