december favourites: here’s the tea

Image result for the originals Image result for dodie

it’s the end of the year bitches! thank god.

december is usually my fav month by far; but this december has been filled with so much stress, assignments, projects and mainly college work – you name it, i did it…

but you know i’m that bitch.

i kept up my tv, i kept up my music, i kept up skincare (w0w), i even kept up my reading… kinda

so i’m glad i can put together this quick and concise list of all facets of entertainment and lifestyle that i’ve been living for! if you’re looking for a new tv show, a new artist or book, here ya go.

december favourites:

songs:

thank u, next – ariana grande

gravity – sara bareillies

surburbia – troye sivan

if i’m being honest – dodie

me gusta – mikolas josef

Image result for thank u next

tv programmes:

the originals –

a spin-off of the teen vampire show ‘the vampire diaries’. this show has me absolutely hooked. i finished it two weeks ago and i’m already rewatching the first season again. love klaus mikaelson so much omg. it’s better than the vampire diaries – there i said it. i’ve even started the originals spin-off called ‘legacies’ which i am not very fond of yet. i’ll keep y’all updated.

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dancing queen –

the dancing grand dame diva of texas, justin johnson (aka alyssa edwards) takes us into his dance studio, ‘beyond belief dance studios’ in mesquite, texas. the dramatic and camp show follows the journey of justin’s young dance students and the competitiveness of professional dance. i love this show so much – my roommates are obsessed too. it’s short and sweet, deffo worth a watch.

Image result for dancing queen netflix

the chilling adventures of sabrina –

sabrina is really that bitch. this show is unexpectedly dark, but it works. to be honest, i started this in november but it was too good not to include. it follows a half-witch half-human girl who has to decide which life she wants (not that you didn’t know that already). ten hour-long episodes with an xmas special. it’s a good week of spooky ooky kooky entertainment huns!

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rupaul’s drag race all-stars –

season 4 of all-stars has began airing and it’s dramatic, catty, fashionable and filled with tea-spilling. the ten returning queens are not holding back and gia gunn in particular – the first openly trans drag queen on the show – stirs the pot. the runways are fierce, and the competition is even fiercer. my money is on valentina to win… but my fingers are crossed for naomi smalls or monique heart.

Image result for manila luzon all stars gown

book(s) – 

guRU – rupaul charles

genuine fraud – e. lockhart

all the vogue magazines haha

 

wellbeing – 

boots cucumber face wash

zoella quench me body sorbet

everything la roche posay to be quite honest

online shopping (yes, this counts as wellbeing)

 

clothing – 

longsleeve jumper/sweatshirts (i got a fab one from zara men)

denim jackets

all clothes from pull and bear (wow they snapped!)

 

and that’s all i can think of for now, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished panel of judges, family, friends and folk.

next year, i really hope to continue posting somewhat regularly, even if they’re short lists, or just photos. i have to chuck out essays and readings every week in college so i may not have time but it’s worth saying that i might try anyway

thanks for reading…

-B

 

 

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album review: ‘Bloom’ by Troye Sivan

Image result for troye sivan bloom Image result for troye sivan bloom

“even the sweetest plum has only got so long…”

so sings Troye Sivan, during the chorus of his anthemic bop ‘plum’.

for those who don’t know who Troye is… he is one of the best things to happen to pop music in years. the young queer australian artist kicked off his career on youtube but has blossomed into one of the most underrated artists of the past couple of years.

a couple years back (which is only 5 or 6 posts back haha) is my review of Troye’s debut album ‘Blue Neighbourhood’ – my favourite album of all time (that’s a big statement, i know). it shifted the type of music i listened to. it reinvented how i viewed pop music; explicitly telling me that pop music can be unique and not sounding like the common DJs on the radio. so as you can imagine, i could NOT anticipate his new album ‘Bloom’ anymore than i did.

blue neighbourhood‘ looked at love from a desperate and hopeless point of view: it was dark, dreary and i certainly related to it. but a clear evolution and development in those two years passed can be seen in ‘bloom’. it’s more mature. troye has ventured into relationships, seen a light that perhaps was not there before. and its quite beautiful.

of course, there is a twinge of darkness and honesty thrown into the album here and there, as we were expecting – but overall, bloom is more bright and positive!

so i’ll briefly break down each song, telling you my favourites and my least favourites!

the songs:

Seventeen – 

the album opens with ‘seventeen’, a song that makes such a statement. Troye sings about his vulnerability when he was very young, looking for what he thought love was. he met a much older man, and may have been slightly misled – he didn’t know any better.

the song, although smooth and positive-sounding, actually hits on quite creepy and uncomfortable notes: Troye details about how he was told that “age is just a number… we can do whatever you want.” the vulnerability of a young Troye is starkly portrayed here. and i can’t help but to feel exposed too.

the music is good. it’s very poppy and catchy, quite the contrast to the odd theme of the song: being led into the unknown of love by a much older man. from the first chorus, the song is led by a strong percussion and electronic guitars. overall, the song is smooth. the vocal melodies are quite versatile, they soar quite high and swoop low; it creates an ethereal sound.

i really do love this song, i am not getting tired of it – one month later. it’s a strong opening.

memorable lyric: “i’ve got something here to lose that i know you want to take.”

My My My! – 

next up is the lead single from the album released early January, ‘my my my!’

one of the top 3 songs of the album.

i absolutely love this song. it is literally pop perfection. i can see why it was chosen as the lead single, it’s easily the most mainstream song of an eclectic pop album. and its performance in the charts around the world proved that. it has done well.

we go from an unsettling view of love in ‘seventeen’ to a reassured and confident Troye in this song. Troye sings about his beloved, how he dies every night with him, the thrill of it all is too much. his love is too much. he “lives for his every move.”

the lyrics are sensual, and they sit right. Troye almost gives me the sense that he is impatient when it comes to his lover, “coz passion is passion, you know it just as well as me.” in essence, what’s the point in waiting? let’s do this.

the music is minimalist in the verses, with a focus on electronic percussion and beats. we can hear glorious layered vocals, which only expand when we hear the belter “oh my my my!” at the start of each chorus and throughout. it’s once again anthemic and infectious. and the visuals for the video are iconic.

memorable lyric: “spark up, buzzcut, i’ve got my tongue between your teeth…”

Image result for troye sivan my my my

The Good Side –

i’ll be quick on this one: it’s my least favourite on the album.

it’s a sweet guitar ballad about the fragility of love. and the instrumentation becomes quite sparse and electronic as the song progresses.

but it’s awfully boring for a Troye Sivan song.  he can do ballads better (which you will see v soon). but ‘the good side’ doesn’t excite me. there are nice moments of course, like the quick and pacey synthesized piano notes that flutter at the beginning and throughout. but that’s it really.

not his best!

memorable lyric: *none really stick out at all, unfortunately*

Bloom – 

THE TITLE TRACK… maybe the most important track???

i won’t go too in detail with the lyrics… there are a plethora of sexual connotations. OK! the song is about taking it up the ass. so sorry. enough said.

‘bloom’ is quintessential 90’s boy-band pop. it is typically catchy – what Troye does well. this song utilizes vocal distortion a lot, especially in the bridge. there is a lot of repetition in the vocal melody thus making it memorable. and the song is driven by a constant thumping bass and rhythm.

i really like it. and the video is one of the best videos i’ve ever seen. it’s gender-bending and reinvents masculinity in such a delicate way. the video truly deserves a grammy. is there a grammy award for best video??

memorable lyric: “take a trip into my garden, i’ve got so much to show you, the fountains and the waters are begging just to know you” *kinky*

Postcard ft. Gordi – 

this is by far the best ballad of the album. i’ve cried multiple times listening to it.

all it needs is that gorgeous piano accompaniment, Troye’s soft vocals and Gordi’s husky voice. it is so stunning. the melody is something that i don’t think i’ve heard before. the chord progression is not like a typical ballad. the song is just unique.

i wasn’t expecting this song to grip me in the way it did. i can’t stop listening.

the lyrics are filled with fear but oddly filled with the smallest glimpse of hope. it details the dying relationship which Troye recognises, but he desperately tries to salvage what carnage remains. he doesn’t want to let this love go. it’s mature. it’s effortlessly tasteful. but the more i listen, the more i recognise the pain in troye’s voice.

please listen to it and close your eyes.

memorable lyric: “but you’re still picking me up, don’t put me back down like it’s nothing to ya…”

Dance To This ft. Ariana Grande –

I CAN’T BELIEVE ARIANA AND TROYE COLLABORATED!

this is literally my dream collab. my two musical idols. i lost my mind when Troye announced that Ari would feature on the album. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. this is probably highlight of the album.

it’s not a song that will grab you first time round. you will need to listen again, but you will get it and love.

the lyrics are so typically Troye and quirky. the song is about not wanting to leave the house and go party, but instead wanting to get freaky with your partner all night (did i just say ‘get freaky’?) the song is a quiet bop, it’s understated, it’s a slow belter. but it’s genuinely incredible. what is notable is that the entire focus of the single is on the percussion, rhythm, the synth drums. so much so that there isn’t much instrumentation. but it’s everything!! and invigorating. the vocals are deep and sensual, like the song. in essence, it’s smooth and intoxicating.

Ariana’s verse is notable. the blend of their voices are unexpected but they blend well. and the most iconic part of the song is the bridge. that spoken word riff is absolutely genius, shocking and creative.

top of the album!

memorable lyric: “dear beloved, bring those 501’s a bit closer, closer.”

Plum – 

plum is one of the most memorable songs on the album.

it’s a bop. it’s energetic, vivacious.

the song starts pretty generic, with staggered synths and instrumentation in the background and some finger-like clicking. but very soon we are introduced to one of my favourite pop choruses ever. there are layered and echoing vocals which set off the chorus.

the melody is filled with energy, incredible vocal gymnastics, and more soaring high notes. Troye is really learning how to expand his vocal range. and the post-chorus riff is genuinely brilliant. it features an edited electric guitar melody which reverberates throughout the song.

the lyrics are so striking. probably the most striking of the album. this dynamic song has a sparkling facade, but it is actually twinged with a lot of sadness and honesty when it comes to love.

Troye recognises that the relationship is dying, and tries to justify his pain by singing “even the sweetest plum has only got so long.” nothing lasts forever. “i was summer, you were spring. you can’t change what the seasons bring.” overall, this is a brilliant example of a unique and in-your-face pop song which stands out at you, but is probably a kind of pop song you may have not heard before.

memorable lyric: “there’s a chill in the air and a sinking feeling coming over me… like bitter tangerine.”

 

Image result for troye sivan plum

What a Heavenly Way to Die – 

this song is most comparable to ‘cool’ by Troye which features on his first album.

it is laid-back; it has a gorgeous flow to it – quite slow.

i really do enjoy this song, it is definitely more understated than the other powerful pop songs on the album. all of the rhythmic and percussion elements which Troye is currently exploring are featured on this album: it is a microcosm of the album, it is a good representation of Troye’s current sound.

the simplicity of love and the joys that come with it are the themes that are at the heart of this song. Troye describes the pure happiness he could have by dying with his loved one in bed – he feels that fulfilled. he’s “taking in it all.”

it’s a pretty-sounding track, it’s pretty cool.

memorable lyric: “what a heavenly way to die, what a time to be alive, because forever is in your eyes…”

Lucky Strike – 

a nice song, but pretty bland. certainly one of the weakest songs of the album.

once this song comes on,  it almost melts into the sounds of the two songs that run before it. it fails to stand out, yet it is an accomplished track in it’s own right.

what i do like about this song, though, it that Troye uses the cigarette brand ‘lucky strikes’ to personify his love for his lover. “coz you taste like lucky strikes, you drag, i light, boy.” 

it’s once again laid-back, and i guess it’s killed by the track listing, especially coming after the similar sounding ‘what a heavenly way to die’.

nothing new to report here.

memorable lyric: “oh, i wan’t to know just how to love you, the jewel of California.”

Animal – 

as one of Troye’s personal favourites from the album, ‘animal’ exemplifies all that Troye has ever wanted in a song, and the sound he has always wanted to create.

it is a beautiful song which grows with each listen – it is an apt end of a successful album.

the sounds of the song are experimental and avant-garde. it confuses you into thinking it’s a piano ballad, but then come the grand and expansive electronic sounds and instrumentation. there are eccentric elements added in; the sounds of record-player buttons being pressed, and sampling the laugh of Troye’s boyfriend.

the final 40 seconds of the song are incredibly emotional and one of the best moments of the album by far. it reminds you of the musical journey you went on when listening to the record. it is impressive but perhaps not the best song of the album.

the fundamental message of the song is about the energy, spirit and fire that one gets when someone falls in love, “i am an animal with you.”

it is the perfect coda to the album.

memorable lyric: “no angels could beckon me back, and it’s hotter than hell where i’m at.”

Image result for troye sivan animal

an evaluation of the album:

i adore this masterpiece. it is such a polished album. it’s also a mature development in from ‘blue neighbourhood’. i really appreciate how all of these songs are personal, they are a documentation of Troye’s love life. the majority of these songs are brilliant; there is such a consistency throughout the record. most albums i listen to have various low-points or dips, but there aren’t any significant dips or poor sections of ‘bloom’.

i wish the album was longer! i waited 2 fucking long years to hear more Troye music, and a 10 track listing just wasn’t enough for me really. i know that it is cohesive, and well-made, but it would bring me more pleasure to see an album that wasn’t just twice the length of your standard EP.

here is my ranking of the songs:

  1. Dance To This ft. Ariana Grande
  2. My My My!
  3. Plum
  4. Postcard
  5. Seventeen
  6. What a Heavenly Way to Die
  7. Bloom
  8. Animal
  9. Lucky Strike
  10. The Good Side

 

91/100

Image result for troye sivan animal

my lisbon adventure

i recently ventured off to Lisbon, Portugal – an understated urban city filled with vivacity and verve. i spent 3 days in the city centre; i tip-toed through the side-streets and turned at every corner.

i drank coke at every stop, staring at buildings and graffiti in content. the city basked in its own uniqueness and individuality – there was something so characteristically artistic about the city.

i took pictures with my brother – documenting my travels through photography. so, here are just a few memories encapsulated forever.

i left my heart in Lisbon.

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– B

My Top 7 Songs of 2017

ariana lorde

Every year – for the past 6 or 7 years – I have jotted down my favourite songs of the year, just for my own personal sake. I like to keep track of songs I repeatedly listened to, and to reminisce in the music of my past childhood.

This year, I won’t jot down the best songs of my 2017, I’ll blog it instead!

So here it is…

My soundtrack of 2017:

7. Hard Times | Paramore

Paramore executed one of the best musical comebacks of 2017 in style. On a hiatus for a while, Paramore returned with Hard Times – a significantly more pop-ish record than the beloved rock Paramore of 2008. They have been moving towards a mainstream style in recent years, but the groovy and retro sound of Hard Times binds Retro and Electro-pop effortlessly and in such a cool way. I LOVE the bass, the electric guitar, the percussion, and – most importantly – the bleak lyrics of a mind at the end of its tether. It’s a stark contrast to the fun and upbeat sound. It’s too pop to be rock, but it’s too rock to be pop!

paramore

6. Anywhere | Rita Ora

Rita Ora doesn’t write any of her songs – which frustrates me, but most pop artists don’t (should I really be mad?). I get frustrated because she has some extremely catchy songs, with cheeky lyrics and addictive hooks – it would be so impressive if she wrote them herself. Anywhere is my favourite of Rita’s in a long long time. I first heard it when she performed it live on The X Factor, and thought it was decent. But the second listen had me hooked. The melody has its high and low moments; it takes me on a journey. I feel invigorated by the iconic electronic riff – it transports me to a sweaty nightclub full of rebellious teens (I’m not complaining).

P.S the staging of this song live (at the EMAs and others) is absolute perfection.

rita

5. Number One | Tove Styrke

Originally released in March 2015, Number One shot back into people’s Spotify playlists at the end of 2016, thanks to the teen mystery drama Riverdale. Swedish artist – Tove – makes a statement in this single – it is quintessentially bubble-gum pop. It’s fun, energetic and sassy. But it can’t be said that everybody would enjoy this song as much as I do. It’s for the people who need classic 00’s candy floss pop, a sound which isn’t as prominent today. The lyrics are adorable; the vocals are bouncy and lively (although slightly muted); the production is grand. I adore this cheesy pop song, so very much! It’s fierce.

tove

4. Ariana Grande | Be Alright

Whether you like her or not, Ariana has gained respect from millions and millions of music fans because of the Manchester attacks in May. But she deserves this respect more than anyone. Be Alright is an absolute anthem! It’s funky and smooth. The jazzy chord progression combined with Ariana’s crystal-clear and perfect vocals created a masterpiece. The form of the single is notable: intro… verse and chorus (x4). It’s avant garde and effervescent, thoroughly a memorable song for me. Also, seeing this performed live is an experience-and-a-half. That choreo though.

ariana

3. New Rules | Dua Lipa

Undoubtedly, Dua Lipa is one of the best new artists of the year. The accolades speak for itself, and the amount of number ones she earned with this single is insane. There are so many elements to New Rules which makes it such a fantastic pop song: the off-beat percussion in the verse, the dramatic rise of the melody in the pre-chorus, and the beat-drop coming in on the second beat rather than the first. It’s genius. And the stand out single of her self-titled album (which says a lot). Gold.

dua lipa

2. City Lights | Blanche

She took Eurovision 2017 by storm with this experimental and eclectic electronic record. This is so avant-garde that my mind can’t comprehend. And I’m living for it. City Lights was Belgium’s entry for this year’s Eurovision, placing 4th. Blanche has a characteristically deep voice for a 17 year old girl, it’s absolutely captivating. The synth sound to this song is dark yet hopeful – it draws me in. The chorus is such an atypical chorus – I consider it even an anti-chorus, because it is not expected and not climatic, but in the best way possible. This rocketed in the European Spotify Charts in May, and deservingly so. Go listen, I dare you!

blanche

1. Green Light | Lorde

Green Light is pop perfection. It may be the best pop song that I have heard. I know that is a dramatic statement, but I genuinely see it as a crafted and perfected masterpiece. It remind me of a strictly pop Bohemian Rhapsody; where BR combines a range of musical genres side by side, Green Light juxtaposes so many sounds of pop music together, which collaborate to create a ‘bop’. This song is anthemic. It makes me want to dance wrecklessly and not give a fuck. That is how much I love it. Queen Lorde has stolen the crown, ladies and gentlemen. All hail!

lorde

So what do you make of my top 7 songs of 2017? Do you agree with me? What songs complete the tracklist to the soundtrack of your 2017? Let me know in the comment section below!

-B

Singles Saturdays: Skott, Superfruit, Kesha

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Hanging in my kitchen are all the albums from my childhood – I must admit, 7 year old Bill had a thirst for hard rock and R&B. Needless to say, that’s changed drastically since. Lincoln Park, Guns and Roses and Tatu; I hold them dearly close to my heart. But 11 years on, my taste in music has softened and lightened up (just ever so slightly). It’s Saturday again, so time to review more singles that are ready to mingle.

Skott – Mermaid

Skott-Porcelain

Skott is a Norwegian dark-pop artist who found her grounding in the music industry through Spotify, where she gains millions of monthly listens. Her recent releases include Lack of Emotion and Wolf (my fav song of 2016), which were mystical and dark, and Mermaid is no different. Mermaid features a mystical piano which repeats throughout and grows on me with each listen. Skott has a husky and enchanting voice which bellows an ethereal melody in the verse, but her versatility shines through as she uses her falsetto (high voice) during the chorus. This song has power; creating vibes of Lana del Ray, which I’m not angry about. You must listen to this: there is too much going on for me to nail this song simply, in one paragraph – Mermaid utterly enchanting.

“Isn’t it silly now that you know? someone this slippery can’t let you go.”

95/100

Superfruit – Bad 4 Us

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Superfruit are a duo, consisting of Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi, that also sing as part of Grammy Award-winning acapella group, Pentatonix. They released Part 1 of their first EP, Future Friends. Bad 4 Us is the second single from Part 1, and it’s funky. They present a fresh view on pop music to us – they are selling it, and I’m buying it. The song begins with muted guitar chords and synthetic voices lurking in the background, which all evolves into a very slick example of percussion and intriguing sounds. The chorus is simple and catchy which flows well with the rest of the song. Mitch’s extremely high-pitched voice contrasts against Scott’s deeper voice, however the highlight of this song is certainly the quirky and antiphonal voice which speaks in the background once or twice in the verse; you’d know what I mean if you listen to it (I can’t explain it lol). Overall, the pop funk does kinda bore me after 90 seconds but it is well mastered.

You’re my knight and shining armour.”

79/100

Kesha – Praying

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Released early last week, Praying is Kesha’s first single for 4 years; due to a legal battle she is involved in with her producer at Sony. In light of the extremely tough conditions which Kesha fought through, she returns with a poised, selfless and soulful single, Praying. The ballad begins with a piano and Kesha’s raw vocals; thus highlighting the lyrics. Basic piano chords; narrow vocal range, then the chorus enters with the repetition of the lyrics – it’s an earworm. Unfortunately, it takes about 90 seconds for the song to really kick off, we hear real emotion in Kesha’s powerhouse vocals, and the music becomes more active. A real, definite, marching beat can be recognised. The highlight is undoubtedly her whistle-tone (similar to a screech) which is the climax of the song – in my opinion it is so impressive: whistle-tones aren’t taught; their naturally gifted to a singer. Overall, Kesha has managed to say ‘f*ck you’ in a beautiful way. Praying is a soulful song with a powerful message, emotionally executed by Kesha.

“I hope you’ll find your peace, falling on your knees, praying.”

80/100

What do you think of this week’s singles? Who do you want me to review next? Please let me know in the comment section below. Until next time 🙂

-B

 

 

 

 

 

Singles Saturdays: Lorde, dodie, Selena

Music weaves through my every day life; I obsess with it in a sense (like most do…) however, I often feel an urge to expose my Spotify playlist to new sounds and artists. In light of that, I am launching ‘Singles Saturdays’, where I review new hit singles from new and/or established artists around the globe – for my own personal musical interests and for yours. My taste in music is unashamedly narrow: good pop; dark pop; alt pop etc… But anything that is new, I will review.

Let’s begin!

Lorde – Homemade Dynamite

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Lorde is a 19 year old sensation from New Zealand; rocketed into fame in 2013 with her Grammy-winning ‘Royals’, and after a 4 year hiatus, Lorde returns; reinvented. Homemade Dynamite is the third single off of her new record ‘Melodrama’ and I’m obsessed. The song starts off edgy and typical of Lorde’s electronic-synth sound with big percussion. Lorde sings about the narrative of a party infused with alcohol; becoming entoxicated and doing destructive things. But where the song really takes off for me is the eclectic and intriguing chorus which is intensely tense, and unexpected. There is syncopation (off-beat) throughout the chorus which works well with the high pitched vocals. However, the highlight of the song is undoubtedly the coda of the second chorus: Lorde sings “Now you know it’s really gonna blow,” *makes an boom/explosion sound*, which is utterly spine tingling. Lorde is one of the only modern pop artists who continues to explore and expand, musically. Homemade Dynamite is infectious and memorable.

90/100

dodie – Sick of Losing Soulmates

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For those unaware, dodie is British singer/songwriter who posts videos, songs and skits onto her widely popular YouTube channel. Her subtle and understated personality is reflected in her music: it’s quirky. This song begins with a guitar, and to be honest, it doesn’t progress much further than that in terms of instruments. An odd cymbal crash here and there adds to the song; maybe a bew bell chimes too. But the song’s main feature is the quiet and enchanting atmosphere which is achieved by dodie’s soft voice, and the antiphonal voices which join in the pre-chorus. Something which I find interesting about Sick of Losing Soulmates is the lyrics: dodie writes them in a speech-like way, rhyming isn’t her main priority, and is often jarring. But Sick of Losing Soulmates is shattering and heart-breaking – a song for the melancholic.

79/100

Fetish – Selena Gomez ft. Gucci Mane

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SelGo follows her hit Bad Liar single with Fetish; a sensuous and sexual single. Selena is staying true to her recent electronic sound with this song. What strikes me firstly, is how uncomfortable I feel listening to the verse and chorus. It’s slightly strange, although it is catchy in a way. The lyrics are not PG – yet they intrigue. The verses feature nothing special. The focus is simply on the chorus and Selena’s soft (and weak) vocals, along with an electronic and synthesised sound which bellows in the background. Also, Fetish features a rap section by a rapper I’ve never heard of before – Gucci Mane – his rapping isn’t as luxurious as the name suggests. Overall, I’m not angry, just uncomfortable at what the song suggests – it is saved by the chorus, which is saying something.

66/100

What do you make of these songs? Do you agree with me or do our opinions clash? Who do you want me to review next? Let me know in the comments section below.

-B

Book Review: We Were Liars

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In a recent post of mine, I said I’d review ‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart – as soon as I had read it – and I’m keeping to my promise. Over the Christmas holidays, I read this book and I must admit, I am in love with it. It took me longer to read than expected (even though it’s very short) but I’m slow – both reading-wise and mentally.

The plot is rather difficult to summarise in a few sentences but: A rich American family called the Sinclairs have their own summer island called Beechwood Island, Massachusetts. When Cadence and her cousins – the Liars – and their friend Gat head to Beechwood one summer, Cadence has an accident which she can’t remember. Everyone else is aware of what happened, but nobody is supposed to tell her – she has to overcome her selective amnesia. All Cadence can remember is tiny, insignificant details from that summer, which aren’t so insignificant after, all as soon as she uncovers the dark history of the Sinclair family tree and the gaudy, ostentatious mannerisms of the elders. As she begins to uncover these secrets and lies, two summers later, her somewhat ghostly cousins, Johnny, Mirren and their friend Gat, help her see what truly happened that damned and forgotten summer.

It is a strange book for many reasons; the style in which Lockhart writes, the incohesiveness of the narrative (which is purposefully done), the way in which we are thrown into the deep end of a setting with a ton of new characters, and the kind-of-reportage speech. However, this new-style of writing is hard to get accustomed to, yet it is so intriguing. I knew that from the opening page, every detail in which the narrator Cadence described would be so significant – it’s a mystery for us trying to see which facts were lies and which were the truth.

I do love this book overall. The strength of the novel is no doubt the shocking and harrowing ending which nobody will predict. Even if the book isn’t your cup of tea, reading until the end is so worth it. Everything about ‘that summer’ is revealed, and it is jarring. Lockhart also uses fairytale stories which mimic the action on Beechwood Island which I adore.

The main weakness of the novel, however, is the overload of information in the writing style. It is almost like the book was cut down 100 pages short and facts and info were squeezed into small chapters. Also, the ending – all fantastic and unexpected – is given and told to us in very obvious way – this is instead of letting the reader put the pieces of the mystery together themselves.

On the whole, ‘We Were Liars’ is a great little book for someone who wants the pleasure of reading and finishing a novel within a short space of time. It is a nice way to introduce somebody into the world of YA Fiction.

85/100

-B

New Year’s Resolutions

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I swear, the same people every year come out with the same monotonous statements:

“Pinch me. It’s the new year already?”

“I cannot believe the year has gone by so quickly!”

“OMG! IT’S 2017! How crazy is that?”

Yeah well, guess what? I’m one of those idiots. Aren’t we all? Besides, we all try to set of New Year’s Resolutions; we all fail after 2 days; we forget they exist for 11 and 3/4 months; we reset the same resolutions… It’s a vicious, continuous and hopeless circle – yet we still set these goals again and again. It’s nice to think that we can have a fresh beginning every once in a while.

So as I attempt every year, here is my shabby New Year’s Resolution List! A day late, because I’m a classy bitch:

1. Read Read Read

Like I have stated in a recent post, I have a busy year ahead, and it will be tough to find time to read. But I’ll set an ambitious goal to finish a book within a certain time period. Will it work out? –  fingers crossed.

2. Drink more water

Honestly, I fail to comprehend how I still function: I rarely drink straight-up water. It’s forlorn – I will never enjoy water. Yet last year, I had –  accidentally – stumbled into a pattern of drinking tons of water in school, which I hope to restart soon (or now).

3. Take more pictures

I got a polaroid camera for x-mas this year – I’m obsessed. However, the price of the films which you insert into the camera is immense. So I’m going to preserve those – no doubt. But I want to use my Canon as much as possible –  I will appreciate it in years to come.

4. Learn to say ‘no’

I tend to be a bit of a pushover when it comes to socialising, work assignments, group work etc. etc. Saying ‘no’ unapologetically, is essentially doing what you want to do, and not letting others walk over you – it happens to me quite often.

5. Stay tidy and organised

This, I am actually quite successful at. But I want to stay on top of study; create plans and sticking to them; clean room; clean mind. But not let it take over my life – have fun.

6. Not giving a single fuck

As of 2017, I no longer care what others think.

Short and sweet, just how I like it. Maybe you got an idea or two out of this. It is mainly a post that I can revisit soon, and just to check up on – let’s call it a friendly reminder. Thanks for reading. I wish you a Happy New Year! And most of all, I hope that your resolutions last longer than two days – I’m sure they will 🙂

-B

My 2017 Must Read Book List

2017 will be my busiest year so far. State Exams being the prime reason. But that only goes as far as June. As soon as June 22nd comes, I’ll be free. In September, I’ll be (hopefully) starting college – BA Psychology. Since I have a busy year ahead, I need some kind of outlet – reading.

I’ve been told that it really isn’t the most ideal time to read, I kinda agree, but I kinda don’t care. I’m gonna do it anyway. And, I’ve been stockpiling a bunch of books that I want to read. So here they are. All 7 must-read books in their glory.

 

1. We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

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O.K. I guess this is cheating but I have already started this book. And it’s great. It has raving reviews from teens and adults alike, and to no surprise, has won numerous awards; Goodreads Choice Award for YA Fiction being the most notorious.

It is about a girl called Cadence, and her ostentatious, extremely wealthy and snobby family (all parents, aunties, uncles, cousins) whom own their own little holiday island called Beachwood Island in Massachusetts. Cadence, however is slightly different to the rest of the ‘perfect family’. She has a so-called ‘brain injury’ from an accident that occured during Summer Fifteen (I believe – not sure) which she can’t remember. The only details she knows of the accident are from her mother, who Cady believes is lying in some sort. Cadence strives to find what really happened to her that Summer, behind all the lies told by herself, her group of cousins called The Liars, her mother and so on, whilst trying to cope with falling in love with Gat, a guy seems to love her, then doesn’t seem to. It’s confusing, but all comes together.

So far, this is intriguing. As the title says, a lot of what Cady (the narrator) says isn’t true. I love the mystery element of this novel. A blog review definitely insues.

2. Holding Up The Universe – Jennifer Niven

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The first of two novels by Niven on this list is ‘Holding Up The Universe’. It apparently follows a girl called Libby Strout who (kinda clichéd) is about to meet Jack Masselin,who is ‘sexy, aloof and too cool for school’. The novel follows a uniquely Niven-style narration, where one character narrates a chapter, the other protagonist narrates the next and vice versa – it’s very captivating.

Everyone thinks they know Libby, but nobody looks past her weight to see who she really is. Jack’s cool swagger is hiding secrets. Once they meet each other, “the whole universe comes into focus.”

I cannot wait to read this.

3. All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

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I have heard amazing words about this novel. It sounds incredible – also incredibly sad. Last September, I read the first 5 chapters but couldn’t continue. But I’m ready to tackle it again.

With the same narration style as ‘Holding Up…”, this novel follows the path of two characters, Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, both of whom are suffering from severe depression. The novel starts at the top of a school bell tower (harrowing, I know) with one Violet ready to jump, but she is saved by Theodore. As Violet’s world opens up, Theodore’s begins to close. They must help each other battle through their darkest moments.

Enough said.

4. Binge – Tyler Oakley

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Tyler Oakley, a king of YouTube (or ‘Queen’ of YouTube as referred to by some) is an LGBTQ+ activist, has over 8 million subscribers, a featured celebrity interview segment on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ and a New York Times Bestselling Book. Last year, I read a significant proportion of this book, but school took over and I went through a lull phase.

Binge follows the story of Tyler, his struggles and successes when growing up, his stories, and his YouTube life. Not an author by profession, however Oakley has a distinct writing voice. This is the only book I’ve ever laughed out loud while reading. It is absolutely hilarious. Each chapter deals with a different topic, either pop culture , an anecdote, a personal (and strong) opinion, or an interest. And they are wacky but priceless. Examples: ‘Beyoncé for the Day’, ‘The Gay Chapter’, and my personal fave ‘Fecal Matters’. It’s one of few excellently written and well received YouTube books.

I can’t wait to finish this.

5. The Sky Is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson

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Lennie Walker is supposed to be grieving that her sister has died, but instead she is falling in love. She is seventeen, a clarinet player, and a hopeless romantic who scatters poems all over town. This character created by Jandy is common in Young Adult Fiction, the young girl, something tragic has happened, there’s a ‘hot’ guy involved, she’s an outsider etc etc. But there is something about Lennie that I cannot wait to find out about. The narration seems so sweet and simple. But I know the novel isn’t all sweet and sugary.

Regardless, I’m excited.

6. Book 1 of Pretty Little Liars – Sara Shepard

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The T.V series of Pretty Little Liars is arguably one of the most raved about and popular teen shows IN HISTORY. I’ve watched the show – it’s absolutely incredible. I mean it.

The books are what started the show, so I’m excited to start the first book of the endless series. It follows 4 girls who live in a nasty town called Rosewood. The boss of their clique, Alison DiLaurentis has ‘gone missing’ and soon after, her body is supposedly found outside her house. She was buried alive. After a years break, the 4 girls, Hanna, Aria, Spencer and Emily get back together as soon as a mysterious unknown identity called ‘A’, sends threats to the girls, threatening to spoil their dark secrets and ruin their lives. ‘A’ continously exploits the girls, as they figure out what happened to Alison that night she disappeared while trying to figure out who this nasty ‘A’is.

SPOILER ALERT: After Season 2 of the show, it is revealed that there is more than one ‘A’, and a huge game surrounding Alison’s disappearance and a bunch of evil people wanting revenge begins.

It’s the best T.V show I’ve ever watched. I hope the books are at least somewhat good.

7. In Real Life – Joey Graceffa

 

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Surprise! A second YouTuber makes the list. You wouldn’t know from this list that I’m actually not that big of a fan of YouTubers writing books. But dyslexic YouTuber, Joey Graceffa is giving a thorough and unique outlook on growing up and what he believes to be “real life”. Known for his eccentric personality and boisterous humour much like Tyler Oakley, Joey offers a perspective on life that I’m eager to read.

 

So this is the end of the list. It’s a long one – I know. But if a book doesn’t take your fancy, just skip. But I become energetic when I think about reading these books. Hopefully my year doesn’t get outta grip to the point where I can’t read em. If any of these books seem intriguing to you, they are all really accessible in any book store or online. I recommend bookdepository.com if you are on a budget. I hope you got some ideas from this list, incase you were looking 🙂

So that’s it. Happy Reading.

-B

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Movie Review: Paper Towns

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Adapted from the book written by John Green, Paper Towns is a film released late in 2015 starring Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff.

I know that I should probably be doing a book review on Paper Towns rather than a movie but… My close friend who has delved into both the book and film says that the book is just fantastic, but I had received the DVD just at Christmas and thought I’d give it a go. I sat down last night with my auntie Ann, a glass of coke and a carrot cake and completely relaxed.

Plot:

Margo Roth Spiegelman (Delevingne) is a mysterious girl who likes to go on adventures without warning anyone. After a nasty, awkward relationship break-up, Margo seeks revenge on her ex-boyfriend, best friend and others who betrayed her. But she asks for the help of ex-childhood friend Quentin (Wolff) to drive her around at midnight on that school night as her little helper. Quentin has madly been in love with Margo, even since the day their friendship ceased and Margo hit the cool kid club. After their preponderance of revenge pranks, the bond is restored.

One day, approaching the end of their high school days, Margo goes missing. Again. And Quentin and Lacey (her best friend) start to panic, even more than Margo’s parents and little sister. Quentin and his two best friends, Ben and Marcus set out of a venture to recover Margo’s steps. Lacey and Marcus’ girlfriend also join the hunt in order to find a lost girl, who isn’t ready to be found.

The movie is a meditation on the bonds between friends, and how easily they can be distorted. The crew on the search for Margo plan to return in time for Prom, an unlikely event, but Quentin encourages his friends to help him recover his long-lost love. Will Quentin be successful and solve the clues Margo left him? Will he ever see Margo again?

Opinions:

Firstly, while watching Paper Towns I felt warm inside. ALL THE TIME. It’s just so sweet. I can see the similar characteristics between it and The Fault In Our Stars also by John Green. The relationships are well portrayed, and I felt a strong connection with the characters. I adore the idea of Margo trying to get Quentin out of his comfort zone, it lead really well for a decent character development. It is funny, heart-warming, and a candy floss-like story, where you can’t get enough of. The plot of a friendship evolving into a loving relationship isn’t the most unique, however the mystery in the film is captivating. I love what the characters stand for, Margo is boisterous, out-going and has no fears, and Quentin is shy, enclosed and has big aspirations in later life. But Margo is not a fan of this side of Quentin. My favourite thing about the film, is that there are so many memorable quotes. Funny and Sad ones.

“She loved mysteries so much that she became one.”

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than just a person.”

“The town was paper, but the memories were not.”

“I’m a big believer in random capitalisation.”(inside quote)

But the film did have its faults. At times there are moments known as ‘Ah Here’ moments (thanks English teacher), where you think to yourself, did that really just happen? The whole plot is kind of unrealistic, but you can look past it. I hope. A bunch of 18 year olds suddenly decide to travel from Florida to New York within 23 hours to find a girl who ran away from home again. No Biggie! Hope to find their friend in a paper town (fake town for copyright purposes), then leave *someone* and return home for Prom (Vague Spoiler Alert) all without their parents asking a single question. Also, when they are getting revenge on their friends for cheating on them, all of the windows of the houses happen to be open. OH NO! It’s unrealistic in the first place, but blame John Green for that. The film ends very abruptly, and there really isn’t a resolution. But the actors are pretty believable though.

It is sugar sweet and you may become attached to the characters as much as Ann and I did.  It is for teenagers above 12 y/o. There may be a half nude scene. Shhhhhh! Overall, I really enjoyed it, and I overlooked a few things for the sake of my saturday night. But you will enjoy the emotional train-wreck.

83/100

“Get Lost, Get Found.”

-B