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.