An artist you should check out: Grace Mitchell

 gracem1212

So earlier today Buzzfeed published this article about new artists you need to listen to, I knew about a few of them (Ella Henderson, Jess Glynne and Kwabs,) but I hadn’t heard of a lot of them so I decided to check out the rest of them starting, as common sense dictates at the first one, this happened to be someone called Grace Mitchell. and. Um. Well if I’m honest, I haven’t listened to any of the rest of the people on that list.

There is one issue that I have which is that living in the UK means I can’t buy any of her stuff on iTunes so I had to listen to it on SoundCloud, which is fine it just means I don’t know if there is more that I can’t access; I had the same problem with Lorde a couple of years ago, so I’m going to talk about the three tracks I have listened to.

The track “Runaway” is quite  Grimes- esque with it’s rising synth line and yelping background vocals, the lyrics are full of a quiet longing to runaway with someone and just be with them, not having to deal with the drama that you experience in a relationship. At least that’s how I interpret it, a particular lyric that stuck out to me was ” Let me be your Mary Jane/ Kiss upside down in the pouring rain,”

“Your Design” is an interesting track in the way that it builds, it starts out with just a very minimal XX style synth line which then has some drum machine added, the chorus has quite a nice triumphant feel but it’s the way it builds to a fantastic “Sky full of stars” style bouncy instrumental right at the end that makes the song for me, Lyrically its fine, the chorus is cool it seems to be about being alone with someone and wanting to know them deeper.

“Broken Over You” is the best song here it’s about unrequited love, something I can  sympathise with, being so desperate for someone that when they talk to you, you don’t even care what they’re saying only that they are chatting to you, and wishing that they would say they loved you back, so much it makes you a bit crazy. I’ve certainly  been there and I think most people have.

I think she as an artist shows an incredible amount of potential and for her age of 17 the song writing is really very good I can’t wait to see where she goes from here and I also can’t wait to be able to actually buy some music of hers when I’m able to.

Her Soundcloud

Her Twitter

Oh also check out this super cool video for Childish Gambino’s new single “Sober

Also you can follow me on Twitter should you wish, I don’t really post anything but still.

Edit: I mistakingly wrote that she was 16, she is in fact 17 sorry about that.

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New website!

So soon this site is going to disappear, but fear not as it (and some of the older content,) will all be moving to my new website http://musicaetcibum.com/ so please check that out, thanks.

Daniel

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You’re The One That I Want review

So after yesterdays long and sad post; normal service will resume with  a review of Giovanna Fletcher’s rather brilliant new book.

YTOTIW

You’re The One That I Want

Giovanna Fletcher

So way back in September I reviewed Giovanna’s first book “Billy and Me” and I  loved it, I thought it was an interesting take on the whole normal person falling in love with a massively famous person a la “Notting Hill.” This was because it had a lot more depth than a novel with that premise would usually have. It was very character driven with people dealing with there own hangups and fears, this made it feel very real and relatable. So when she released her new book I was hyped, did it live up to my expectations? In a word, yes.

Blurb

“Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that’s the problem.

Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?”

“You’re The One That I Want” is about three childhood friends: Ben Maddy and Robert; Ben and Robert have been friends pretty much their whole life, they meet Maddy when they are nine and immediately become firm friends. The book details their relationship and how it changes as they get older. At its heart it is a story of unrequited love, and the complexity of human emotions.

This is a beautiful book, I identified with the characters a lot, especially Ben as I know what it feels like to be the quiet one, the one too shy to say how he feels, as he’s worried what effect it will have on the group of friends. That isn’t to say I didn’t like Robert, if anything I identified with him just as much as Ben, he has a big heart and is a great supportive friend to Ben and an excellent boyfriend to Maddy throughout their lives.

I don’t usually like love triangle type plots, as most of the time they aren’t desperately interesting and I just end up wanting to give the characters a good slap towards the middle. But this gets round a lot of this by having it be written by two people, Ben and Maddy. This is interesting as it shows how two people can be in the the same situation and see it completely differently, which leads me on to another thing this book gets right, she writes men very well.

In a lot of books written by women men can be over simplified and not feel very complex, (the same is also true for the way a lot of men write women,) but here almost all of the characters are very three dimensional regardless of gender, they all feel like real people going through real issues in their lives, the parts set when they are in high school and uni are particularly excellent in regards to the emotions these characters feel, while going through times of adversity.

This book is more complex than Billy and Me, especially emotionally, at times it is truly heartbreaking, at others it’s funny and touching, as it deals with three people who have known each other for most of there lives, and how your attitudes to both life and relationships change as you get older, (there are also couple of references to Billy and Me which are a nice nod to the people who have read it.)

I think this book is truly excellent- Giovanna is quickly becoming one of my favourite writers and I can’t wait to see what she does next. Much like Billy and Me it’s not something that I would normally read, however her characters and the unpredictability of her plots grab hold of you and refuse to let go, this is a book that keeps you guessing right up until the last 20 pages. It is marvellous and you should definitely read it if you haven’t already. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll want to read it again as soon as you finish.

Rating 5/5 Go read it, like right now.

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2nd year anniversary. Plus a mini think piece on Lana Del Rey’s new album

WARNING:This contains talk of domestic abuse, please do not read if you do not want to read about it!

First off I’m sorry I haven’t been around, I just haven’t been feeling like I can write anything that I want to put out recently.

Ok second year of this blog being up.  Last year I recommended some music I was listening to, this year I want to do something a little different. I’m not sure if I will post this yet, but I’d like to think that I will.

So Lana Del Rey just released a new album, and I would like to say that I never really got Lana, I liked the idea, but in reality it never really did anything for me, I felt her songs were sometimes  unnecessarily sad and sometimes pretty dull, plus I didn’t think the production was interesting enough to take your focus away from its flaws. But then I heard “Brooklyn Baby” off her new album “Ultraviolence” and I really liked the concept and vibe of it so I checked out the rest of the album and…

I don’t know, I am unsure of what I think of this album, on the one hand it’s brilliantly produced and often extremely well written; on the other hand it is remarkably sad and deals a lot with abusive relationships and the feelings that the women in them go through. On the title track she says “He used to call me poison/ like I was poison ivy/ I could have died right there/ because he was right beside me.”

This is pretty complex stuff, as it details the duality that some people feel while in an abusive relationship, because she is terrified of this awful man but also enamoured with him. But this is also my issue with this album, now please don’t get me wrong I do not for a second think that she glorifies it. Like at all. It just seems a little too real to be “Just a story” and when I listen to this album it is often too much for me as I can’t help but feel that she may have gone through things like this in the past.

To me that is a sad thought, as no one should go through anything like this, but they do. In the thousands, women and men are terrified to go home as they are scared of what their partner will do to them, but not being able to leave as they fear for their own lives.

it is also why I think the album isn’t for me; because while it is well written and everything I can only listen to it and be reminded that this is people’s’ every day lives and I know there is nothing I can do to stop it and that saddens me. If this album creates a dialogue about the nature of abuse, great, but I don’t think it will.

Disclaimer: I am sorry that this is such a heavy post; however there is no way I can talk about this album and not talk about it’s themes, which upsettingly contain domestic abuse. If you are a victim I am sorry if I have offended you, it is not my intention I just felt this was something I had to get off my chest.

Thank you for sticking with this website.

Daniel McKeon

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Billy and Me review.

billy and me

Billy and Me

Giovanna Fletcher

“Billy and Me” is the story of “Sophie May” a normal girl from the sleepy village of Rosefont Hill, who one day while at work in the local tea shop meets the brilliant “Billy Buskin” a young actor who wants to make it to the top, they fall in love and she soon learns about the brutality of both the film industry and the tabloids, while dealing with her own pressures of trying to have a relationship with someone very famous and her own personal baggage.

I have to say I didn’t expect to like this book, at all as I am completely the wrong audience for it, but I really liked it, I found the characters both believable and relatable, I rooted for them throughout, the romance is really genuine, plus I thought it was a very accurate representation of what it would be like to date someone very famous in the digital age. It also dealt with the conflicts extremely well without them being clichéd, plus it made me feel happy while I read it.

It is escapist fiction unpretentious and simple, but that isn’t to take anything away from it at all, if anything it’s something to be praised, it’s a novel that knows what it wants to do and does it, it doesn’t scream “Look at how impressive and arty I am!” Yes it name checks a lot of great novels and has a main character who loves books, but so what? A lot of people love books and the novels it mentions are regarded as classics for a reason, they’re really rather good.

But that isn’t to say there is no depth, far from it Sophie’s main relationships Particularly the one between her and her mum, are written about in brilliant detail, I think it’s at first glance simplicity is deceptive, because as the novel unfolds and you learn more about the characters, it becomes apparent that it is a bit more than what you originally thought it was.

I’d recommend this book to anyone it was genuinely romantic and resonated with me emotionally, yes it’s unlikely that I’m going to meet a gorgeous actress who’s going to whisk me away, from my normal everyday life, but surely realism (in that department at least) isn’t the point of reading something like this is it? If the point of a novel like this or a good romantic comedy is to make you happy then it definitely succeeds.

Rating: 4.5/ 5.  A very romantic book extremely well written, I hope that she writes more, as she has an interesting style that I would love to see more of.

See you Later

Daniel McKeon

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I’m back, let’s talk about books.

So I’m back from yet another unexpected hiatus, this time though the circumstances are far better. I love books and while I’ve been away I’ve been reading a lot of books, so here’s a quick list of what I would recommend.

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1. Nigel Slater: Tender volumes 1 and 2. These are the quintessential books for any gardener and Nigel Slater fan, telling the story of how he dug up his garden and planted his own fruit and vegetables, it is like all of his books, deeply interesting and a must buy for keen cooks.

Rating 4.5/5

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

2. John Green: The Fault in Our Stars. Simply breathtaking, I read this book in two days, as I couldn’t put it down, the story of a girl with terminal cancer Called Hazel who, at a cancer support meeting meets the brilliant “Augustus Waters” a cancer survivor, it made me laugh and at the end weep uncontrollably, it’s John’s best book but you should definitely read his others as they are all excellent, and I’m very much looking forward to the film.

Rating: 5/5

capital

3. John Lanchester: Capital. A mystery novel at its core but is really more about character, it is very interesting and on the whole pretty satisfying, the only real problem is that it often feels rushed, as there are so many characters, that there is no way that you could possibly give closure to all of them unless it was about 300 pages longer, which in some ways I would have preferred, very good, if a little over ambitious.

Rating: 3.5/5

the girl

4. Steig Larson: The Gil With The Dragon Tattoo (trilogy). My favourite trilogy of books and the first book is tied with The Fault in Our Stars as my favourite book of all time,, these are so good I love the characters the slight sleaziness and the fact that all three are so different from one another, also they all spend such a long time developing the characters that you feel as if you have known them for a long time, they are truly gripping and they made a great transition to film, they’re pretty dark though so I would say an age rating of about 17+.

Rating: 5/5

so that’s what I’ve been reading, I’m currently reading “Billy and Me” by Giovanna Fletcher which is lovely, and “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis, which I am also enjoying, I will review these when I have finished them.

See you Later

Daniel McKeon.

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Kanye West-athon: Late Registration review

kanye

Late Registration

Roc-A-Fella

At this point in his career, Kanye had become, I think it would be fair to say, rather famous, his first album sold over four million copies worldwide, and he was receiving critical acclaim from pretty much every music critic at the time. Which meant that the hype was huge for his follow up, did he deliver?

Yes, definitely, this album is, in my opinion as much a sequel to “The College Dropout” as anything else and it manages to do what many sequels fail to do, be better than the original, sure we get 4 more skits and an intro, but unlike the previous album, I do find them genuinely funny.

This album is packed full of interesting tracks, from “Touch The Sky” featuring Lupe Fiasco, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” featuring Jay- Z and an amazingly bizarre sample of Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are forever”, all the way through to “Gold Digger” featuring Jamie Foxx doing his Ray Charles impression, side by side with samples of the man himself, and the best thing is that, it all works, amazingly well.

I think my favourite thing about the album is, (and this is something that covers almost all of Kanye’s albums,) he actively distances himself from where hip hop was at that point it time, it was all about “being gangster yo”, but Kanye was/ is never like that, his range of topics is quite broad, it is of course laced with a lovely amount of humour, to offset the heavier tracks, for example “Crack Music” deals with the very real problem of drugs in the black community,  “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” also acknowledges how horrific the process of diamond mining is. But there’s usually a skit or a song with some levity to be found quite close by.

Thais album is fantastic, better than his debut, it may be a little too long and sometimes his “hard rhyming” thing that he does can be a little annoying, but all in all it is genuinely  brilliant, you have to check this one out.

Rating: 4.5/ 5 essencial listening for any rap/ Kanye fan.

I’m sorry there was such a large gap since the last review was posted, I’ve been busy working and in the UK we are currently experiencing a massive heatwave, so I have been busy enjoying some rare sun.

Daniel McKeon

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