Tuesday Chats: Do I Have The Right To Talk About Music?

Hello everyone, and welcome to a new segment I’ve created called ‘Tuesday Chats’.

‘Tuesday Chats’ is going to be an ongoing series with more of an informal vibe, as I’ve noticed that while my content is becoming more formal and professional, I don’t have many posts whereby I just chat to you and let more of my personality come through.

Because of this, I wanted to incorporate a regular thread where I just talk to you about things that are on my mind. This also breaks things up amongst the reviews and articles which, by nature, have to be very thought out and structured. So, what better way to kick off this series than with something music related (as not all of these posts will be) that has been on my mind for a while, and that is: do I have the right to talk about music?

A few months back, while I was travelling somewhere, I got talking to someone on the journey who turned out to be a musician. He asked me what I did, so I told him that I was between jobs but I run this blog and I’m a qualified music journalist. He then proceeded to ask: ‘so who are you then, to give your opinion?’ His statement, coupled with the tone of his voice, translated into: ‘who is going to care about your opinion, what gives you the right to talk about music?’ and for a minute, I didn’t really know what to say.

I was unsure about writing a blog post about this subject as I didn’t want it to come across as though I was ‘blowing my own trumpet’, but then recently, I saw a video on YouTube that re-inspired me.

Let me just take a second here to introduce you to tattoo YouTuber Treacle Tatts, or Lauren, if you prefer. Describing herself as “your verbally unfiltered friend”, Lauren makes videos, mainly, about tattoos. Nothing more than a tattoo enthusiast – with no official training or notable experience other than being tattooed – Lauren uses her channel to share her love of the art, in the form of sharing her opinions and experiences. At the tail-end of last year, Lauren uploaded a video entitled ‘Do I Have The Right To Talk About Tattoos?’ in which, she shared her reasons for making videos about tattoos and some of the backlash she has received because of it.

Around the 10 minute mark, Lauren asks: ‘Do I have the right to talk about tattoos and tell people what a tattoo should look like?’ to which she answers no and explains her reasoning. That, as well as the title of the video in general, really struck a chord with me as my immediate answer to the question was: yes, why wouldn’t you have the right to talk about it? Especially if it’s something you’re passionate about.

This brings me back to my original point: who am I, an unknown non-musician and self-confessed music obsessive, to critique and give my opinion on anyone’s music? Honestly, it played on my mind for a while, but after thinking about it, there are a few reasons why I have just as much right to talk about music as anyone else.

The first of which being, that I have a BA (hons) degree in Music Journalism. Now, I know how pretentious that may sound, like ‘I’ve been to uni and now I know all’. No, that’s not what I’m going for. All I mean to say is that I chose to go to uni and study Music Journalism for three years, learning how to write good reviews and articles, how to conduct interviews, and really honing my skills as a writer.

Also, you may know if you’ve followed me for a while, I actually set up this blog during my degree as a requirement for one of our assignments. So, outside of classes I was putting into practice what I was learning. I decided to use the platform to create a body of work that I could show to prospective employers when I graduated, so instead of just saying I’m motivated and able to act on my own initiative, they’d see it. Because I enjoyed it so much I would also seek out contribution opportunities, and enquire about artist interviews, in my spare time. As a result I had my first two pieces published in BBM Magazine, as well as had the opportunity to interview some of my favourite artists including, The Summer Set’s Brian Dales, Elissa Franceschi, and Set It Off’s Cody Carson.

It was important to me to have work experience as well as my degree because, fun fact, I was once told that a journalism degree is almost worthless. I went to a university fare during my A-Levels and asked one of the reps about Journalism degrees, to which he replied: “why are you doing a journalism degree if you want to be a journalist? most places want experience, a degree isn’t going to get you a job.” I was stunned. I agree that there’s nothing worse than an arrogant graduate fresh out of university thinking they’re now entitled to a job purely because of that fact, but I still chose to do a degree because I thought if I could have both a degree and experience, it may work in my favour.

In terms of being able to talk technically about music, obviously I learned some terminology over the course of my degree, but something you may not know about me is that I sing. It’s not something I publicise but I enjoy singing and had vocal lessons on and off for three years. Through this, I learned a lot about different techniques and how to use them in your performance to get the best out of your voice. Now when I listen to music, I’m able to identify if someone is straining to hit notes outside of their range, or simple things like not singing with your mouth open enough (which sounds silly, but can actually make a big difference to how you sound.)

Lastly, I feel that I’m ‘qualified’ to talk about music, simply because I have a genuine love and passion for music and the people who make it. I think that if you genuinely enjoy something, you will inevitably find yourself learning more about the subject naturally – therefore becoming even more informed. As I’ve said multiple times before, I’m not a full-time blogger and I don’t get paid for anything you see on here, but music is a huge part of my life and it’s what I’m passionate about. I enjoy talking to people about – and sharing – the music that I love in the hopes of reaching someone who will like it just as much and, at its core, that’s what this blog is about.

I never want to be seen as a know-it-all or unapproachable, I simply hope that my love for music is reflected in my writing and is an accurate representation of myself. Because of this I very seldom give bad reviews. I think there’s enough negativity that exists on the internet – in the form of trolling and things like that – and I don’t see the need to add to it. One of my favourite quotes is: “Be an advocate for what you love instead of bashing what you hate”, and that is exactly the approach I take to blogging. I don’t see the need to write a review that highlights everything I don’t like about a piece of music, I’d rather spend my time talking about the things I do like and being known for spreading love and positivity.

So, do I have the right to talk about music? Yes. Anyone with half a brain will understand that art is subjective, meaning whether or not you like something is based on personal opinion and how it affects you. No one else, you. That is all I try to convey in my blogs; you may not like the music that I like but then again, you might. So, Instead of just saying ‘hey, I like this’, I give an informed opinion telling you my reasons for liking, or disliking, something. My only hope is to reach like-minded music lovers and to encourage people to give things a chance – I’ve been surprised many a time by music that I didn’t think I’d necessarily like.

But honestly, I think that if you have a genuine, deep-rooted love and passion for a subject, and you make it your business to continuously learn and grow your knowledge of it, then you have just as much right to talk about it and offer an opinion as anyone else.

 

As always thank you for reading. What are your thoughts on the subject? Would you rather listen to someone who has all the qualifications in the world but no passion, or someone who is admittedly learning all the time and just loves what they’re talking about?

 

I upload a new blog every week, if you’d like to keep up to date with my upcoming posts feel free to come join me on:

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*Just in case anyone picks up on this, I’d like to address that Lauren (Treacle Tatts) does have two videos on her channel about Tattoo Fixers that are far from favourable, and if you follow my blog you’ll know that as a viewer, I enjoy the show and I’ve actually been tattooed by one of the featured artists. However, I don’t see this difference of opinion as a problem; I’d hope people can accept that not everyone is going to feel the same about certain things – it’s what makes life interesting. I’m always curious to hear other people’s opinions (which is why I watched her videos on the show in the first place,) it doesn’t stop me enjoying her content and I’m a fan of her candid, down-to-earth personality – she comes across as a great person to hang out and talk tattoos with. A big thank you to her for being cool about me posting this and agreeing to be a reference within the discussion – Thank you Lauren!

Tracks of the Month: January/February

Hello everyone,

It’s that time again… yes, it’s nearing the end of the month so as is tradition around here, I’m going to take you through the songs that have dominated my stereo/ITunes/headphones over these last few weeks. If you follow my blog regularly then you may’ve noticed that I didn’t do one of these last month, so this is going to be a culmination of my January and February favourites. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

 

Crutch – Set It Off

Taken from Set It Off’s latest studio album ‘Upside Down’, ‘Crutch’ is a pop-driven track with a gracefully explosive rock chorus. The song opens with a motif that sounds like it came straight out of a video game, with Cody Carson’s smoothly distinctive vocals not far behind, adding a soulful, almost, r’n’b tinge.

This is a definite example of the band’s sound taking on more of a lighter, pop vibe than their previous releases, however, it still retains that signature Set It Off sound. Personally, I love it. If there’s one thing I’m not too crazy on it would be the staccato video-gamey introduction, but I can look past that because the rest of the song is catchy as hell.

I’ve also been listening to some other tracks from ‘Upside Down’ including Jazzy, pop trackDiamond Girl’– which brings back a flavour of the orchestral sound from debut release ‘Cinematics’, with brass accents throughout and explosive, rock songWant’, which has more of a brooding, darker feel.

To see my review of the band’s previous album ‘Duality’, click here.

 

Lianne Kaye – Last Thing

This is getting to be quite a tradition around here isn’t it? Singer-songwriter, and YouTuber, Lianne Kaye was featured in my last ‘Tracks of the Month’ as well – and she’s back for very good reason. Kaye kicked off the year with a re-upload of her original song ‘Last Thing’, stating at the beginning of the video that the audio quality wasn’t the best in the previous one.

This new version of ‘Last Thing’ sees the ballad become very raw, consisting of just Kaye’s vocals accompanied by an electric guitar. The song opens with a beautifully delicate melody that flows into the verses. The chorus then amps up the power, both vocally and in the instrumental, with a chord pattern that lends itself to a very slight country/pop vibe. It’s an enchanting song about the to-and-fro of a turbulent break-up, of lost love and moving on – which I think everyone can relate to.
Vocally it doesn’t disappoint either, Kaye’s rich, strong tone sounding effortless and bold throughout. If you’ve read my other reviews you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Kaye’s music and, personally, I can’t wait to hear some more originals from her.

To see my review of the Kaye’s previous original song ‘You’, click here. And, to see my review of her officially released single ‘Clear’, click here.

 

You Me At Six – Take On The World

Now, I know I posted a review of You Me At Six’s newest album ‘Night People’ at the beginning of the month, but I had to include this song here because I’m absolutely in love with it. ‘Take On The World’ is a poignant ballad about being there for someone through the worst of times, letting them know that together you can take on the world.

From the first time I heard this song – and every time since – it never fails to give me goosebumps. As someone who has struggled with anxiety in the past, the lyrics and the overall message of the song really resonates with me and I know that if I ever find myself in that situation again, this is a song that I’ll put on and just imagine someone singing it to me.

I’m actually going to see You Me At Six on their upcoming April tour and, if you follow me on Twitter, you may’ve seen me say that if they play this song live there’s a massive chance I’ll be in tears. It just really hits home for me and it’s a beautiful song overall.

To see my recent review of You Me At Six’s newest studio album ‘Night People’, click here.

 

La La Land – City Of Stars

If you’ve not heard of the recently released movie ‘La La Land’, to you I ask, where have you been? The musical romantic-comedy drama – starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone – was up for a record-breaking 14 nominations at this year’s Oscars, and it seems to be all anyone can talk about.

From my Twitter feed to Facebook, I kept seeing people sharing positive reviews of the film and its music – a couple of people I follow even posted covers of this very song. So, I decided to go and see what all the fuss was about – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Fair warning, if you’re not into musicals or anything overly lovey-dovey, then you’re probably not going to like this film. But, I really enjoyed it, and this song in particular has stuck with me since I watched it. ‘City Of Stars’ has that, kind of, classic vibe of old Hollywood movies but incorporates elements that work to bring it into the modern day. That charm, coupled with a catchy rhythm and heart-warming lyrics, will see you singing it for days afterwards – trust me.

 

Ruelle – Invincible

Ruelle is an electronic/pop artist from Nashville, that I discovered whilst binge-watching the Netflix original series ‘Shadowhunters’ – based on Cassandra Clare’s popular book series ‘The Mortal Instruments’. Ruelle lends quite a few of her songs to the show, including ‘Invincible’.

The electronic track is delicately menacing, with its ‘you want a war? You don’t know what you’re asking for’ bridge, and beat-driven instrumental – like waiting for a storm to hit. However, this is lifted by Ruelle’s light, ethereal vocals, and addictively charmingly melodies which ensure the songs leave an impression  making you want to hear more. With its dramatic vibe, dark undercurrents and epic-sounding chorus, it’s not surprising that her work has been featured in multiple television shows and films, as it lends its self really well to cinematics. Currently working on her first full-length album, Ruelle is undoubtedly one to watch.

Honestly, I had such a hard time choosing which song to feature in this post; I also love the dreamy, romantic sound of ‘Storm’, the eerie but upbeat, danceable ‘Monsters’, and the swelling, epic-sounding theme to the Shadowhunters series: ‘This Is The Hunt’. (Click on each title to listen to them.)

 

Pvris – Eyelids

I’ve been meaning to check out American three-piece Pvris – or, Paris to you and me – for a while now, but this is actually another song that I discovered thanks to the ‘Shadowhunters’ Netflix series. Taken from the band’s debut album ‘White Noise’, ‘Eyelids’ is a beautifully haunting track.

Combining their electronic, pop/rock sound with a crashing, beat-heavy chorus, it works to create something dark and eerie, with Lynn Gunn’s delicately airy vocals lifting everything – also giving it a pretty and romantic vibe.

 

Another two songs I’ve been listening to a lot since their release in January, are ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’ by Ed Sheeran, marking the end of his musical hiatus, as well as his recent Live Lounge cover of Little Mix’s ‘Touch’. Click here to see my dual review of both ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’.

 

What songs have you been loving recently? I’m always on the hunt for new things to listen to so please feel free to let me know in a comment, and as always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, be sure to come and join me on:

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Nikita KC – Enthusiastic (Single Review)

Emerging singer-songwriter unveils dreamy new single ‘Enthusiastic’ online.

nkc-crop-black-and-white

We all know that I like to keep my finger on the pulse when it comes to upcoming talent, and today I’d like to introduce you to Nikita KC. The singer-songwriter, hailing from North London, unveiled her brand new single ‘Enthusiastic’ online in November last year. The follow-up to previous offering ‘About A Boy’ – a track from “years ago” – Nikita has said that this new release better represents her current style of artistry.

‘Enthusiastic’ is a song about the realisation that a partner has become disengaged with the relationship, and the longing to get things back to the way they were before “time and tribulations” took their toll. Nikita having written it as she was reminiscing over “precious” memories of a relationship that, she describes, were “perfect” and that “created the happiest of times.”

 

 

From very early on it’s clear that the track has an overarching r’n’b/pop sound, which, combined with Nikita’s smooth and, almost, silky vocals lends to a very dreamy feel. The chorus then drops in with a bolder vibe, heightening the drama of the song, as she asserts that the person in question is not enthusiastic about the relationship anymore, her higher register gliding over the lyrics. Even though there is a slightly sombre feel running through it, ‘Enthusiastic’ is striking and dynamic, with a catchy chorus that will no doubt get stuck in your head after a few listens.

Currently, Nikita is hard at work on recording and producing her next single, a ballad which she says will have a different feel to ‘Enthusiastic’. No release date has been set as of yet but, she has also said the production “needs some care”, and that it has to be “right” before she unveils it. Nikita is also keen to collaborate with some other producers and writers in the coming months, after teaming up with Eman Antwi & Jai Amore AKA ‘The Tribe’, for ‘Enthusiastic’. Some live performances may be on the cards too, with the aspiring talent saying that she is “dying to get on stage and perform” – whatever’s coming next, we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

 

Favourite lyrics:

‘When I thought I couldn’t see you, my heart ached / now, if we couldn’t be together would your heart break?’

 

‘Enthusiastic’ is available to stream now on Soundcloud, as is previous track ‘About A Boy’. Also, if like to keep up to date with everything Nikita KC is up to, including new releases and upcoming events, you can do so on:

Twitter   /   Facebook

 

 

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, be sure to come and join me on:

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Happy ‘Single Awareness Day’: Empowerment Anthems for Anyone Who’s Not In a Relationship This Valentine’s Day

Bonjour readers,

In case you couldn’t tell by the title, or if you’ve not been past any shops recently, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Everywhere you go there seems to be an explosion of hearts and some kind of promotion for the most romantic day of the year. So, whether you’re sickeningly loved up, or you’re a person who points and rolls your eyes at those who are sickeningly loved up, I hope you have a great day.

However, Valentine’s Day does have a habit of making us singletons even more aware of the fact that we’re single – hence the nickname ‘Single Awareness Day.’ Although, that needn’t be a bad thing. We may be single, but we’re also strong, independent and we don’t have to answer to anyone. With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you my Top 5 most empowering anthems for those of you who are slaying the single life this year, or if you just need a little pick me up, these songs are sure to do the trick. But, don’t take my word for it, have a listen for yourself…

 

#1. Hailee Steinfeld – Love Myself

The first single from the 18 year old actress’ debut EP ‘Haiz’, is an empowering dance/pop track. Being honest, when I first heard this I wasn’t too sure about it – I thought the lyrics were a bit questionable in places – but there’s no denying that it has a great sound, it’s fun and it makes you want to get up and dance. The chorus is an absolute banger overflowing with positive vibes, and Seinfeld’s R’n’B-tinged vocals are strong and bold throughout. Overall it’s a song about self-love (whichever way you interpret that) and empowerment – love yourself, you don’t need anybody else.

Taken from my ‘Tracks of the Month: November 2015’ click here to see the full post.

 

 

#2. Demi Lovato – Confident

If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you’ll know that I love Demi Lovato. ‘Confident’ is the second single from her fifth studio album of the same name, and it really sees her come into her own. Gone are the days of self-doubt and struggle, this is sassy and sexy, with bucket loads of attitude. As always Lovato’s vocals are stunningly bold, full of defiance and, well, confidence. It’s without doubt an empowering track, after all, “What’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being confident?”

Taken from my ‘Tracks of the Month: November 2015’ click here to see the full post.

 

 

#3. Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex


Formidable pop foursome Little Mix premiered their new single ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ on week two of the X Factor 2016’s live shows – and they certainly aren’t pulling any punches. The lead track from their newest album ‘Glory Days’, is a bold break-up anthem full of attitude. ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ is ridiculously catchy, with a powerful driving beat and an explosive, anthemic chorus that you can’t help but sing along to.

The lyrics, although scathing, do have an edge of humour to them – almost as if the girls are poking fun at everyone who did them wrong now that they’re ‘over it,’ giving it a very uplifting quality. Each member shines in their respective part of the song, and the harmonies interspersed throughout show that their vocals complement each other brilliantly. It’s fun, sassy, sexy and a massive middle finger to that ex – I’m sure we’ve all got one :).

 Taken from my ‘Tracks of the Month: October 2016’ click here to see the full post.

 

 

#4. Orchard Hill (formerly Disclosure) – What a Waste of Time

Following some issues with their original name – which lead to confusion with a popular electronic dance act – this Oxfordshire based quintet came back with a new moniker but, rest assured, they’re still a pop-rock powerhouse. From the outset this track is a playful burst of colour, with a hook that promises to have audiences bouncing along like crazed jack-in-a-boxes. Singer, Tiff’s deep and throaty vocals are great also, sounding strong and hitting the notes on every trill with ease. It’s assertive and definitely appropriate for when you’re ready to acknowledge ‘what a waste of time that boy can be’, because let’s face it, we’ve all felt like that right?

Taken from my ‘Tracks I’m Loving: April/May 2013’ click here to see the full post.

 

 

#5. Cassadee Pope – Wasting All These Tears

This was Cassadee Pope’s first solo single after winning The Voice USA in 2013, during which time audiences saw her transition from singing, mostly, pop/rock to country. This track sees her successfully mix the two, incorporating elements of country with her signature pop/rock vocals. Pope’s vocals carry the ability to inject bags of emotion into the song, giving it the right amount of bite to tell the story in a way that you can really believe. The lyrics have a really cathartic quality and, personally, I can really relate to them – and I’m sure a lot of other people can too.

Taken from my ‘Tracks I’m Loving: October 2013’ click here to see the full post.

 

 

Now, get out there and show them whose boss. 🙂

If you liked these and want to check out my ‘Top 10 Anti-Love Songs’ from last Valentine’s Day, click here. Or, if you’re in a romantic mood and want to check out my ‘Top 8 Love Songs’, click here.

 

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, be sure to come and join me on:

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Book Club: Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Get swept off your feet by this gloriously heart-warming story about friendship, fame and falling in love.

BillyAndMeBookCover_Review

Sophie May is the typical girl-next-door. Not particularly glamorous she works in her local tea room, frequented by sweet older ladies, and lives with her mum. That is, until she meets Billy Buskin, a teen heart-throb who breezes into her quaint little English town as a result of his current acting job. Despite an awkward first meeting – and her initial disinterest in some ‘teeny bopper’ who isn’t Jude Law – pretty soon Sophie finds herself thrust into the whirlwind of showbiz that is Billy’s life, and under the microscope from every angle. The question is: can she handle it?

Written by media personality Giovanna Fletcher, ‘Billy and Me’ is a dreamy, charming and overall romantic read. However, if you’re sitting at your computer rolling your eyes thinking that it’s ‘just another’ YA romance novel, all I can say is don’t be so quick to judge. While it’s undeniable that the romance theme runs throughout the core of the story, there are also a lot of subplots, twists, and turns at play, that pique your interest and make you want to keep reading to find out what happens.

While the book’s theme may seem light-hearted at first glance, when you delve a little deeper you find that it’s anything but airy-fairy as, alongside the dreamy idealism of the romance, there are also elements which remind you that life isn’t perfect. For example, it highlights the dark underbelly of show-business and the difficulty that comes with being in the limelight, as well as incorporating strained family dynamics, secrets, lies and even death into the mix. However, the serious nature of these story-lines is extremely well balanced by the charmingly whimsical main focus – Sophie and Billy’s relationship. This ensures that, while there are some shocking and heart-breaking moments interspersed throughout, the book never gets bogged down.

Another thing that makes ‘Billy and Me’ such an easy read is Fletcher’s writing style; it’s really colloquial, making it effortlessly digestible as well as relatable. As a result it’s even easier to become fully immersed in the story, as – despite its movie-star-heart-throb-falls-for-plain-Jane narrative – it’s not too far removed from reality. The characters are fleshed out, three-dimensional and well written, and because of this you really can’t help but fall in love with them.

Overall, I really enjoyed ‘Billy and Me’ and, in truth, it wasn’t long into the book that I was completely captivated. By the time I’d finished reading, I found that I’d become really invested in the story and the characters – you can’t help but root for them and want them to succeed.

It’s a great, gorgeous read about life and love. About finding your feet and figuring out what you want. About overcoming limitations and breaking free from things that hold you back. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes cute, charming, romantic stories that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel ‘Always With Love’, to see what hurdles Sophie and Billy have to navigate next, and if their love can withstand the pressures of their different lifestyles, distance and life in general.

 

As well as being a writer of women’s fiction, Giovanna Fletcher is also a full-time mum to her two sons and wife to McFly’s Tom Fletcher. To keep up to date with everything she is up to, be sure to follow her on:

Twitter  /  Facebook  /  Instagram  / Giovanna’s World (website)

 

 

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

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You Me At Six – Night People (Album Review)

You Me At Six are back and look set to reclaim their place at the forefront of British rock music with brand new album Night People.

you-me-at-six-night-people

Three years after the release of their previous full-length offering ‘Cavalier Youth’, rock quintet You Me At Six started 2017 off on the best possible note – unveiling their hotly anticipated, brand new album ‘Night People’ in early January. Unlike the signature pop-punk vibe of the band’s earlier releases, ‘Night People’ carries on the maturity and musicality that we heard on 2014’s ‘Cavalier Youth’, but embraces a darker, heavier tone with a more straight-up rock sound. However, die-hard fans need not fear, as it’s still packed with addictive choruses and powerful songs that pack a punch.

Album opener, and title track, ‘Night People’ sets the tone for the record with its quietly brooding verses and erupting chorus, immediately demonstrating the band’s stylistic change. Similarly, ‘Swear’ and ‘Can’t Hold Back’ are also striking, with a heavier, self-assured vibe – and a little bit of sass thrown in there too. And the boys definitely haven’t lost their flair for writing an insanely addictive hook that – in a live situation – will no doubt whip crowds into a frenzy; songs like ‘Plus One’ and ‘Heavy Soul’ incorporating a flavour of their old style into the mix.

There are also some softer moments amidst the ballsy, fiery tracks, including ‘Take On The World’. An emotional ballad about being there for someone through the darkest of times, its heart and poignancy making it, arguably, one of the most stand-out moments on the record. Album closer ‘Give’ also incorporates this softer sound throughout the verses, but marries it with an explosive chorus, rounding-up the album perfectly. Overall the record is fast paced, as well as being extremely tight and cohesive. It tells a story and takes you on a journey thematically, with each song being a fragment of the bigger picture.

‘Night People’ is another example of You Me At Six’s growth over the years, as people and as artists, and that is reflected in the progression of their sound. It’s certainly grittier than anything we’ve ever heard from them before, and the whole thing sounds incredibly self-assured – like the band are standing up and saying ‘this is who we are.’

Welcome back boys, we’ve missed you.

 

Final verdict:

You Me At Six have been one of my favourite bands since I was seventeen and ‘Night People’ is a firm reminder of why that is. Over the years I’ve seen them grow with their music and, now in my mid-twenties, I have grown up with it. They have yet to make an album that I dislike, and some of my favourite lyrics are embedded in songs on this record. I would encourage everyone to listen to it – start to finish to get the full effect, of course!

 

Favourite tracks:

Plus One
Heavy Soul
Take On The World
Give
(But, honestly, there isn’t one song on this album that I dislike!)

 

As always, thank you for reading. If you’d like to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

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Artists I’d Like to See Live In 2017

Greetings readers,

It’s nearly the end of January; we’re a month into 2017 already! I hope you’ve all had a great start to the year and that you’re keeping up your new year’s resolutions (if you made any!)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you may remember that I did a post like this in 2015 as part of my ‘Journaling In January’ series, where I listed the artists I’d like to see that year, followed by a separate list compiling the artists I’d like to see again. I thought it’d be nice to make it an annual thing to see how my choices evolve, if any become staple and crop up more than once, and who I do actually manage to see live over the next 12 months.

I felt it unnecessary to split the list into two parts this time but, some of these artists I have seen before, so I’ll include links to any previous live reviews where applicable. So, before I ramble on too much, here are the artists I’d like to see live in 2017 – not in any particular order because trying to pick would take me far too long.

 

The Summer Set

The Summer Set at the Electric Ballroom

The Summer Set at the Electric Ballroom

I included The Summer Set in last year’s ‘Band’s I’d Like to See’ post, and my reasons for featuring them haven’t changed much. I feel as though my previous explanation perfectly sums up why I want to continue to see them live when they visit the UK and why I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen them live to do the same. As I said in my previous review:

If you’ve read my blog before then this Arizona based quintet don’t really need any introduction, as you’ll know that I’ve seen them a fair few times already. And there is one very simple reason for that: They put on an awesome show. Every single time I’ve seen The Summer Set live it’s been an insanely fun pop/punk party that nobody wants to end. Their energy is infectious and their set electrifying; with plenty of opportunities to jump around like a loon, as well as poignant moments that you can’t help but get caught up in. One thing’s for sure, they put everything they have into that moment and it always makes for a killer performance.

I’ve previously seen The Summer Set live a number of times, whenever they do a UK tour I try to get tickets as their live show is always insane.

Click here to see my most recent live review of the band at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms, on the UK leg of their ‘Stories For Monday’ tour.
Click here to see my review of their newest album ‘Stories For Monday’.
Click here to see my live review of The Summer Set from back in 2014, with support from Paradise Fears & William Beckett.

 

Set It Off

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With Set It Off’s Cody Carson after their show at London’s Electric Ballroom

The last, and only, time I saw Set It Off was in 2013 when I got invited to interview them after their London show at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, supporting Aussie quintet Tonight Alive. Admittedly I hadn’t listened to their music before that night, so I was going in totally blind, and I wasn’t disappointed. After immediately buying their debut album ‘Cinematics’ from the merch table that night, Set It Off quickly became a firm favourite of mine.

Since then they’ve released follow-up record ‘Duality’, and their newest offering ‘Upside Down’ dropped in October this year. After following the progression of their albums over the years, it’s clear that their dark, orchestral pop-rock sound has evolved into something lighter and increasingly more pop-driven. Personally, I would like to see how that translates into their live set-up – as I know their performances to be quite chaotic and very befitting of a typical rock show – so it’d be interesting to see how this shift in genre correlates.

I’ve also included Set It Off in quite a few posts over the last year so, if you’re interested in those, please check them out if you’d like to:

Click here to see why I included the four-piece in my ‘Band’s I’d Like to See Again in 2015’.
Click here to see my review of the band’s sophomore album Duality.
Click here to see my Q&A with Set It Off’s Cody Carson at Camden’s Electric Ballroom.
Click here to see my review of the band’s debut album Cinematics.

 

Against The Current

I only got into Against The Current’s music in mid-2016, but I became a huge fan pretty quickly. I’d seen some of their cover videos on YouTube – often featuring other unsigned artists such as Alex Goot and Max – but I didn’t get around to listening to their original music until more recently. However, I’m so glad I did because I absolutely love it. I reviewed their debut studio album ‘In Our Bones’ as part of my ‘Jammin’ In July’ series, and as I said: ‘the band are quickly making a name for themselves and…look set to take the music world by storm’.

I’ve since seen a lot of live footage of the band (thanks to YouTube) and it looks as though they put on a great show full of energy and fun. Chrissy Costanza’s vocals also sound just as amazing live as they do on record, as evidenced by their unofficial video for ‘Young and Relentless’ – which sees them play their way through the busy streets of London – as well as the above video from A-Sides on YouTube. After missing them on their last visit to the UK in September 2016, I’m crossing my fingers that I can get tickets for their upcoming tour in March.

Click here to see my review of ATC’s debut album ‘In Our Bones’.
Click here to see my review of the band’s cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘I Really Really Like You’ featuring pop solo artist, Max.

 

You Me At Six

You Me At Six have been one of my favourite bands since I was 17 and, now in my mid 20’s, the amount of times I’ve seen them live is well into double figures – and for good reason. With headline shows at The 02 and Wembley Arena under their belts, as well as a whole host of others, the Brit rockers have come long way since their beginning in 2005.

Now they find themselves at the forefront of British rock music, gaining recognition from the mainstream, receiving airplay from the likes of Radio One and reaching number one in the mid-week charts. They never disappoint with their live show, it’s always a whirlwind of energy and fun, and I have nothing but fond memories of seeing them. The last time I saw them was in 2012 and I think that seriously needs to be rectified.

Click here to see my live review of the YMAS at London’s Brixton Academy, on the ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ tour in 2012.
Click here to see my review of the band’s most recent album ‘Cavalier Youth’.

 

Ed Sheeran

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, I’m guessing you know who Ed Sheeran is. Named the biggest selling artist of 2014 – scooping numerous awards and playing multiple sell-out shows at Wembley Arena – Sheeran took some time away from the limelight in 2016, using the year to work on new material and to re-charge.

After catching his stunning live performances at The BBC Music Awards and The Brits, to name a few, and having watched his live DVD ‘Jumpers For Goalposts’, I’d love to experience his live show. He’s one of the few mainstream artists I’d pay good money to go and see.

Click here to see my dual review of Sheeran’s newest singles ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’.
Click here to see my album review of his previous offering ‘X’.
Click here to find out why I also included Sheeran in my ‘Artist’s I’d Like to See in 2015’.

 

Stevie P & Sketch

A video still from Stevie P & Sketch’s debut offering ‘Everything (Pt 2)’

Again, if you’re familiar with my little corner of the internet, then this rap/rock duo should need absolutely no introduction as I feel like I’ve been banging on about them over the course of this year. Stevie P and Sketch (the latter of whom you may also recognise from E4’s Tattoo Fixers) have dropped some great tracks this year including, beaut rap ballad ‘Street Lights’ and abruptly raw number ‘Nightmares’.

I have absolutely no idea if the guys are planning on – or even able to – fit any live performances into their busy schedules but I’d love to see it happen, mainly for the fact that they never cease to surprise me. Each time they unveil a new track they seem to add in new elements that leave you wondering what else they’re going to work into their sound, almost drip feeding it to us. As a result it definitely makes you want to hear more to see where they’re going to take it next.

As well as wanting to hear more of their stuff, I’d also like to see their on-stage personas for myself and how that correlates with the music (if you’ve seen any of their music videos you’ll know what I mean.) I just think it’d be interesting, in the best possible sense, and you’d get to hear some great music – bonus.

As I said before, I’ve featured the guys in a few previous blog posts so, if you’re interested in those, please see the list below and have a read if you’d like to.

Click here for my review of Sketch and Stevie P’s debut track ‘Everything Part 2’.
click here to see my review of their follow-up single ‘Street Lights’.
click here to find out why the duo are #3 on my ‘Top 10 Interviews Wish List’.
click here to read my original article on ‘Tattoo Fixers’.
click here for my follow-up article on spin-off show, ‘Tattoo Fixers On Holiday’.
And, if you’re interested, click here to check out my blog about getting tattooed by Sketch at his studio in November last year.

 

Talia Mar

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© Skins Elliott Photography

I became aware of singer-songwriter – and beauty/lifestyle vlogger – Talia Mar’s music when I saw her perform at a showcase event I went to back in November, known as ‘Musique LDN’. Because of the sheer volume of names on the bill each act only played 2-3 songs each, so it was a bit difficult to get a proper feel for the artists, however, I was immediately struck by Talia’s performance and really enjoyed her set on the day.

Since then I’ve checked out (and totally fell in love with) her debut release ‘Stolen’, which is entirely self-produced. I also did a review of the song in early December, and gave it an honourable mention in my ‘Tracks of the Month’. I’d love to see Talia Mar live because she has a great voice, to hear more of her material, and to just get more of a feel for who she is as an artist.

Click here to see my review of the ‘Musique’ event where I saw Talia Mar perform.
Click here to see my review of her debut offering, ‘Stolen’.

 

And that’s about it. Are there any bands/artists that you’d love to see this year? Who are your absolute staples that you know are sure to put on an amazing show every time? Feel free to let me know in a comment 🙂 .

 

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