Music is Love: One Love Manchester

Benefit concert ‘One Love Manchester’ proves that music brings people together in the wake of recent terror attacks in the UK.

Hey everyone,

I’ve been a little bit quiet lately, but if you follow me on my social media then you’ll know that I, like many others, tuned into BBC One’s coverage of the ‘One Love Manchester’ benefit concert on Sunday June 4th. Held at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, thousands of fans gathered at the charity event organised by pop singer Ariana Grande, to honour and raise funds for victims of the recent terror attack which took place after one of her shows in the city, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds more.

Being a music lover, I find solace and comfort in my favourite songs and will never be able to describe the feeling that can only come from truly connecting with a track, and being able to relate to someone else’s words on such a deep level. By extension, going to gigs is a way of celebrating and experiencing the joy and atmosphere that only a live show can bring. As I sat watching ‘One Love Manchester’ the poignancy of the whole event really hit me, even through my TV screen – and you’d only have to glance at Twitter to see that I wasn’t the only one.

I see concerts as a place of magic, of community, of belonging. There’s always the sense that, whatever you’re going through is left at the door and for those few hours, nothing else matters. Nothing but the music and the atmosphere that surrounds you. Coming together with total strangers but being united in the fact that you all believe in something, you all believe in this. ‘One Love Manchester’ really embodied that spirit, and showed that hate and fear will never overpower it.

Katy Perry’s words at One Love Manchester

There was a sense of strength and resilience at the core of the whole show; the artists playing tracks with powerful, inspirational vibes. From Robbie Williams’ moving renditions of ‘Strong’ and classic track ‘Angels’, to Katy Perry’s sassy performance of ‘Part of Me’, the message was clear: we will not be beaten. We will not be afraid.

Headliner Ariana Grande shared the stage with many of the other acts involved, including coming together with Miley Cyrus for a duet of Crowded House track ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’, as well as joining forces with Coldplay to wow the audience with a heartfelt cover of popular Oasis number, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger.’

The 23 year old starlet also joined The Black Eyed Peas onstage for a performance of their 2003 number one single ‘Where Is The Love’. Upon its release the song topped the charts in 13 countries – including the UK where it occupied the number one spot for seven weeks – and is the epitome of the reason for the entire event. Lyrically, it addresses mindless acts of terrorism and asks, where is the love and compassion we should have for each other as human beings; making it as relevant now as it was back then.

Throughout every single act – including the likes of Little Mix, Niall Horan, Pharrell Williams, and Liam Gallagher – the 50,000 strong crowd sang, danced, and cried along to every single word. Many of the artists gave heartfelt speeches and were also overcome with emotion during their sets, none more so than Grande herself. As the night drew to a close, the young talent welcomed all the artists to the stage and thanked them for being involved, before launching into a heart-wrenching performance of her track ‘One Last Time’ – giving a goosebumps-inducing meaning to the song.

I have a huge amount of respect for Ariana Grande for organising the event and to all the artists who took part in some way, the entire concert overflowed with emotion and the love hung thick in the air – whether you were there or watching at home. Grande ended the night with a powerful version of ‘Over The Rainbow’, a beautiful moment that saw her become tearful. As she thanked and told the audience she loved them, it was evident that she herself is still deeply affected by what happened two weeks ago, but her spirit in organising the show and carrying on in spite of that is undisputedly endearing.

There is absolutely no denying the poignancy of the show as a whole, and of live music in general. To be so wrapped up in a song, to be able to scream the words at the top of your lungs because it means so much to you; and then to hear hundreds of other people doing the exact same thing, for the same reason is an amazingly moving feeling. The beautifully haunting sound of all the voices blending into one is truly something to be experienced and, in this particular incidence, knowing the reasons behind One Love Manchester: paying tribute to those who were lost or injured in the attack, you couldn’t not be moved by it.

Did you catch ‘One Love Manchester’ on BBC One last Sunday? What did you think of the show? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 🙂

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Track of the Month: January (+ Re-Designing the Blog)

Greetings readers,

If you’ve ever visited my blog before then you may be frowning at your screen thinking ‘things look a bit different around here.’ Well my friend, you’d be right, the blog has had a total re-design. However, if this is the first time you’ve stumbled across my little corner of the internet then chances are that statement doesn’t really mean anything to you, so if that’s the case then never mind, continue as you were.

This year will be the sixth year that I’ve been blogging and throughout that time I’ve had the same layout. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I don’t like change (if something isn’t broke don’t fix it, right?)
  2. I started blogging back in 2010 and at the time layout options were, shall we say, limited.
  3. I feel that a blog theme is somewhat a reflection of your personality. It’s how you choose to present yourself online and how people form an opinion of you (not knowing you in real life.)… and that kind of deep stuff requires some serious thought.

However, it’s been becoming increasingly apparent that my blog theme was showing its age, and was in desperate need of a facelift. It looked like it was the blog of a teenager and, now in my mid-twenties, my taste and mind-set have both changed and I wanted something to reflect that. Something professional, uncluttered and sleek, whilst still having a sense of quirkiness and personality – which I think it does.

It was time for a change; new year, new look.

Anyway, enough about the blogs long-overdue facelift… January is almost over. I know right, where has the time gone? So, as is tradition around here, I’m going to share my ‘Track of the Month’ with you (and it’s one that surprised even me.)

 

Love Yourself – Justin Bieber

This may seem like a much unexpected pick from me but, I can’t lie, I love this song. I stumbled across it while flicking through music channels and the chorus really drew me in. I was super surprised to find that it was by Justin Bieber, as it’s quite unlike anything we’ve ever heard from him before (that I’m aware of at least.)

The third single from Bieber’s fourth studio album Purpose, Love Yourself, has a very mellow vibe to it. The accompaniment is relatively stripped back; injecting a little bit of up-tempo flair with some brass accents during the middle eight. The beautifully delicate melodies at play really allow the vocals to take centre stage, and the harmonies throughout the chorus are nothing short of stunning.

On the whole ‘Love Yourself’ sounds like it wouldn’t be out of place in Ed Sheeran’s back catalogue. It should come as no surprise then that the track was actually co-written with Sheeran and Benny Blanco; no wonder the anti-love song peaked at number one in the UK singles chart. I for one, will still be listening to this for a while yet.

 

What do you think of Justin Bieber’s new material? Do you like ‘Love Yourself’? Have you ever surprised yourself by liking a song from an artist that you’ve not liked previously?

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