Sunday, 30 April 2017

Mood for Music // 5 New Releases

Hello again!

Since it has been a month since the last music post, I believed now was better time than any to review the charts and some of the newest releases, which I have summarised into my top 5 right now! So without rambling on, let’s get into it...

1. Anton Powers ft. Pixie Lott – Baby
Powers a British DJ primarily known for collaborative work with Philip George which hit the number 1 spot in the UK charts. Lott shot to fame in 2009 aged just 18 with her infamous Mama Do which mixed her husky and soulful tones with an upbeat and jazzy backing track, since then she had released three albums all comfortably familiar with chart fame. Baby was released on March 31 and first performed on The Voice. Having been familiar with much of her work in the past, I was excited to see her return with new music and I instantly loved this song as herself and Powers performed it on Mrs Browns Boys (BBC), it has a fun beat to it and I believe it will be widely played throughout the summer of 2017!

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2. Harry Styles – Sign of the Times
Sitting in at number 2 of today’s post is the now solo Harry Styles, with his debut single Sign of the Times which comes from his upcoming self-titled album released May 12. 2016 saw Styles sign a three album contract with Columbia Records which holds a promising future for him following the reaction to his debut single. Whilst many One Direction fans have criticised the style of his music, I for one was a very big fan recognising his clear inspirations from Prince, Bowie and The Rolling Stones. Whilst the lyrics and message of the song are that of quite a sensitive topic (complicated childbirth and death) the musical characteristics of it highlight a strong sense of individualism and not just any other pop song in the charts, it is clear that Styles knows what style of music he wants to produce and is not going to follow the mainstream crowd overflowing the charts, I for one and excited to see what he brings up in his upcoming album!

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3. Tine Tempah ft. Jake Bugg – Find Me
I had to include this combination of artists as a very big Bugg fan because I was really shocked to see these two artists work together, based upon the significantly different music they both produce. 2010 saw Tinie release Pass Out, the widely-known RnB dance tune that never gets old. Having worked with many chart artists such as Swedish House Mafia and Ellie Goulding, he then adds to the list with indie folk artist Jake Bugg. Coming into the limelight a little later than Tinie Tempah, Bugg released his debut album in 2012 which introduced his indie yet country vibe to the world. The collaborative track by these two male artists called Find Me sees Bugg’s dulcet tones contrast with Tinie’s upbeat RnB rapping and the juxtaposition of their two genres is quite refreshing and very different to what is in the charts currently, even if it does take some time to grow on you!

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4. Lady GaGa - The Cure
Back again with her new song The Cure which came out of nowhere right? I have to GaGa’s last album was not one of my favourites and was quite disappointing having loved the other 4 albums as well as the overpromotion of A Million Reasons, but she is back and with a bang as she performed it at the Coachella festival in LA. Since 2009 Lady Gaga has made quite the name for herself with risqué outfits, charitable nature and support of the LGBT community as well as her adventurous and powerful music. The Cure is essentially a poppy song of love and the message being that love is the cure for anything, Gaga said to her fans during the debut performance that everything she has been through, her fans have cured her with their love. It is definitely an improvement from her last releases, however is very mainstream pop from what she usually produces, nevertheless I love it!

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5. The Weekend ft Lana - Lust for Life
Now then, The Weekend is an artist I can listen to now and again when I am in the mood, I never really got the massive hype about him but was interested to see him and Miss Del Rey working together as they are both quite chilled and mellow artists in what they make. With me first listen I had a mixed reaction and then I listened to it whilst doing some research into the meaning behind it and I believe it to be quite a beautiful song. Contrasting Del Rey’s first few songs such as Born to Die to this being Lust for Life it is nice to see a positive uplift in the music she produces. Alongside The Weekend’s subtle voice and harmonic tones this song brings a dramatic and emotional mix up to the charts!

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Hope you enjoyed this blog post of today’s refresh of the charts, and could relate to some of the songs I am loving at the moment! Have a great bank holiday tomorrow and I will be back with another post in no time!

Until then,
Shannon xx

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

13 Reasons Why // The Most Important Message of Today.

Hello again. 
For this blogpost, it would be suited to play this link as you go along with it, I feel it fits well. The Night We Met - Lord Huron

Today’s post comes in the form of both a review and an expression of choice. 10 minutes ago I finished the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why; a show based around the suicide of a teenage girl and the cooperating reasons behind her tragedy. You do not have to relate to the show in order to feel the effects it aims to give you, but it became important to me to raise awareness of the issues showed and the heartbreak which particularly touched my heart.

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Based upon the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2007) who had written the book in relation to a family member experiencing the same psychological dilemmas themselves, however the further story lines of the show are fictionalized and sprout from the struggles many high school students can find themselves with. Without giving away much of the story, it follows a teenage girl who has left 13 tapes explaining what brought her to her suicide, each reason being someone who affected her life whilst at high school and the release of these tapes bring their own consequences.

The topics covered in this show include depression, bullying, loneliness, and the signs of mental illnesses as whole. One thing I found was prominent in the show was how the parent’s behaviour was portrayed throughout the time Hannah was battling with herself. When someone is shutting down with their own battles it is so easy for parents to put it down to you being a ‘hormonal teenager’ due to your age and raging hormones, it can be hard to spot the hazard lights even when they are right in front of you.

Now as I previously said, you do not need to be personally relative to the issues in the show to be affected but from my point of view this enhanced the nature of the show and in a sense brought an impact of pride for the production of the show as there is not enough recognition of these topics in today’s society, although it is growing. The high school setting of this show is primary in the story as this is a time of mixed emotions and can be a struggle for many teenagers, whether it be personal issues, external such as bullying and assault or private matters such as home troubles; all highlighted in the show.

More than a quarter of students (27%) report having a mental health problem of one type or another.
As mentioned before on here, I myself suffer with anxiety and although it may be more controlled now, it was at its peak in high school and effected my experience there in the final two years extremely as I did not know how to cope with my feelings. The feelings Hannah exhibits in the final few episodes when she opens up about feeling lost and not caring anymore were largely relatable but she was unable to voice the help she needed, seeing the series end the way it did. Shows like this really echo the fact that there is no shame in asking for help when it is needed and that it is important to figure out for yourself what you need in order to better your life and move forward, which for me was talking through things with a specialist at my school and learning what was happening how to help myself, hence becoming bigger than the problem and in this case it was becoming in control of my anxiety and not vice versa.

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On a slightly different note, Harry Style’s new song has a slight element of what my point is as he talks about opening up and not locking yourself away when you need to express your feelings, which can end in misery as seen in 13 Reasons Why. As well as this Prince William, has just this week announced that he will be insistent upon his children to be open with their feelings and that he wants to rid the stigma of mental illnesses being a hidden away subject. This really enhanced the message that if you have a platform such as being in the media then you need to use it for good and to spread awareness of topics that NEED to be discussed. Speaking out is one of the most important things to do as well as it gives insight to those who need it that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and more importantly, you are not alone, even when you think you are.

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Now as much as I believe the production of this show was greatly important to give the message which it did, there were some flaws I found in this show for example to poor representation of some of the issues and the careless portrayal of Hannah's death. In episode 13 you very visibly see Hannah do the deed and as real and hard as it is to watch, this scene has caused uproars all over social media due to the triggering nature of it, I believe there were many other ways to depict her death in a subtle and caring way rather that the black and white, in your face ending we were given. Whilst much of the acting was up to scratch, I do not feel as though the screenplay or scripting was. Much of the dialogue in many of the episodes felt quite robotic and forced, takng away the emotion and empathy the audience should initially feel, although this does slowly improve around the last fourish episodes. This post is not made to focus of the errors of making but more the message, so that is all I will say for now, but I do believe that this show was not perfect in the making.

I hope you enjoyed today's slightly deeper post and take away the message I found from 13 Reasons Why, which is to speak out and increase awareness of what is unfortunately a taboo topic. As my first university year comes to an end, I will be coming back to frequent blogs so stay tuned, and once again thank you for reading! 

Until next time,
Shannon xx