Monthly Archives: June 2015

REVIEW: Selena Gomez – Good For You ft. A$AP Rocky

Selena Gomez has never really shaken off the “good-girl” vibe that comes from making a start on the Disney channel, although mostly because she hasn’t ever really tried to make that transition from girl into woman. With “Good For You” featuring A$AP Rocky there is absolutely no doubt that Selena has finally made that transition with her public persona, however the timing of this makes me feel very uncomfortable. Back in February Selena Gomez appeared on the cover of V Magazine looking like an inappropriately sexed up child. This obviously brought up many issues about the sexualisation of young females in the entertainment industry. If Selena’s transition had been gradual then things might have seemed less creepy, but because in a matter of months she has gone from sexed up magazine poster-child to singing a song with lyrics such as “You say I give it to you hard” there’s a juxtaposition of images that feels very uneasy. Continue reading

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Bitch I’m Madonna: An over promise and an under delivery.

Imagine Madonna’s Bitch I’m Madonna video without any of the hype or the promise of celebrity cameos and without Taylor Swift’s blockbuster video “Bad Blood” preceding it. Is it starting to look like a much better video to you now? Without all of the above I might be sitting here typing this post and raving about how much I love Madonna’s latest video. “Omg I was not expecting Beyonce to be in it!”, “Did you see Miley Cyrus’ appearance?!”, “Madonna’s still got it!” These are things I could have been discussing with my friends. Instead what I had to do was express my disappointment at the video that could have been. This wasn’t an event music video like “Bad Blood” was, this was (as much as I hate to say it) a B-grade sequel. Continue reading

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REVIEW: Rita Ora – Poison

I’ve never particularly cared about Rita Ora. I’ve heard her songs but not heard anything in them that I couldn’t get anywhere else. I vaguely knew that there was some sort of media shit storm that went down because of her relationship with Calvin Harris but other than that I know absolutely nothing about her personally. She hasn’t interested me and to be honest I got sucked into believing people when they called her the B-grade version of Rihanna. After listening to her brand new single “Poison”, however, I am more than willing to change my mind.

The chorus of Poison captured every single part of my attention that all of her previous music failed to do. It’s shouty but in the best kind of way. It’s anthemic and immediately makes you want to pick up the nearest hairbrush and sing as fervently into it as possible, contorting your face into all sorts of passionate expressions while you do so. Amidst the powerful shouting you’re also being quietly serenaded by the oooh’s of the second half of each chorus, barely aware that they’re there until they’ve firmly taken root in your mind where they will refuse to leave for days. Then there’s the thudding pre-chorus which invites all the hand clapping and foot stomping that the best songs always have. After this the music is pulled right back, putting the prettiness of Rita’s voice front and centre; Tension is built and suspense is held before Rita dives head first and full power into her last renditions of Poison’s epic chorus, leaving anyone singing along gasping for breath and red in the face trying to keep up with her powerful lungs.

If Rita wanted to make a statement as an artist with Poison then she has definitely done that, it is a very hard song to ignore simply because it so effortlessly and powerfully pulls listeners in whether they like it or not. What makes the song even better? It’s music video. I could go into the meaning of the video as representing Rita’s complicated relationship with the music industry – it’s all her hopes and dreams, everything she could ever want, until things start going wrong and she wants to go back to her old life but by that time her old life is either gone or has been enveloped and tainted by her fame – but why bother with all that stuff when what really matters is that the video is absolutely visually stunning. Rita looks absolutely gorgeous in various different beautiful outfits and looks, the whole thing feels high class and sexy with just that hint of darkness and grime that makes anything ten times better. With the visuals for Poison, Rita has created a very clear and distinct character and brought her to life in a striking way that, much like the song itself, is hard to ignore.

I really fucking hope that this song does well, like it deserves to, because if it does badly and Rita’s management make her record stupid, generic, Jessie-J-trying-to-stay-relevant type shit in a desperate attempt to get her a hit song, instead of recording more stand-out material like this, I will be PISSED.



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REVIEW: Adam Lambert – The Original High.

Adam Lambert said in an interview that with “The Original High” he wanted to be more restrained than on his previous two albums and unfortunately, for him and his listeners, he succeeded.

The best thing about “For Your Entertainment” was how brazen and bold the whole thing was from the visuals, to the songs to the performances. Adam went there in every single aspect and showed absolutely zero fear. Yeah, it was a little bit all over the place, but this was his first album post-Idol and he was still figuring out who he was as an artist and as a person. Trespassing was much more cohesive. I wouldn’t say restrained, just refined. It aimed for a particular pop-funk sound and it felt very much like a good place for Adam to sit in his artistry. Adam executive-produced Trespassing and it showed, it felt authentically him and he took listeners along for the ride on his progression as an artist. There was still the in-your-face flamboyancy of “For Your Entertainment” but alongside more serious, settled elements.

When Adam said that “The Original High” was more restrained than his previous efforts I didn’t really know what that meant, it flew over my head. Listening to the album however I figured out exactly what it meant – that there was much less Adam Lambert and much more puppetry going on.

Max Martin and Shellback executive-produced this album and honestly the overall impression I get is that they essentially used Adam’s album as a playground to dabble in the 90s house style of music that Adam expressed interest in and that the album is infused with.

Listening to the album as a whole it’s hard to pick out any high moments because they all kind of blend into each other. There’s no songs that stand out as being exceptionally exciting, which honestly most songs on his first two efforts do. It is telling that of the few exciting moments on the album one of them is “Rumours” which features Tove Lo – it took someone else to spice things up a bit.

That’s not to say that the album isn’t good and that there aren’t good songs. Obviously Ghost Town is great, but once put in context with all of these other songs it loses it’s punch because everything becomes very same-same. Evil in the Night is probably the highlight of the album for me, mostly because the lyrics of the song are immediately impactful, “Razor blade lips and daggers up in your eyes” “bombs over broadway, fire in the sky” but interestingly enough Adam isn’t actually credited as a writer on the song so I can’t even credit him for that.

What Adam has done by restraining himself is taken himself out of the equation of his own music. On his previous albums if the music and production weren’t great his endless personality more than made up for it. It feels like less of himself has been injected into this album and with other producers arguably doing the 90s house revival better than Max Martin and Shellback there is little left to be excited about. He might as well have done the 80s covers album RCA wanted him to do because at least then he would have been singing songs that have already proven themselves to have a point of exciting difference.

Adam can and has done so much better, what he’s failed to do with “The Original High” is dig out a niche for himself in pop music. Instead he blindly followed current trends, allowed Max Martin and shellback to whitewash the album instead of having the variety of producers and writers he had on Trespassing, and didn’t allow his own personality – his greatest asset alongside his voice – to infect every song of the album. It’s only disappointing because Adam has so much more potential, if a new artist that I knew nothing about had recorded “The Original High” I would probably be raving about how great they and the album are, but I’ve set my standards for Mr. Lambert far higher and he has not reached them with this album.



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Review: Adam Lambert – Ghost Town.

“The Original High”, Adam Lambert’s most recent album which was released today (13th of June 2015), has a black and white theme, from the album artwork to the music video for first single “Ghost Town”. However, “Ghost Town” itself is anything but black and white, with several layers of meaning running through the song as well as all of the other songs on the album.

First of all, if you don’t analyse the lyrics closely you could easily come to the conclusion that it’s simply a song about Adam’s love life – his heart is a Ghost Town, it’s empty, he has no one to love. However Adam himself has a different perspective on the song. In an interview with Shazam he describes the meaning of the song as being about life’s disappointments, having certain expectations for the way your life is going to turn out then finding out that, “hey, it’s not that” and, “wow, my beliefs are being challenged” and, “I need to re-evaluate kind of everything”. He says the song was given an uplifting beat hoping that people could listen to it, realise that being lost in life is ok, “let’s dance about it” he said.

While that is a great message for the song, it is far and away from my initial interpretation of it, an interpretation I personally believe Adam may have had in mind while writing it but considering his comments to Billboard about approaching the album with “more restraint” and leaving the song meanings “open to interpretation”, he may purposefully have left the specific meaning of this song for people to figure out on their own.

The lyrics of “Ghost Town” go much deeper and explore one particular disappointment in life – that of our world’s still largely homophobic attitude, with specific reference to the entertainment industry. As he mentioned in this Billboard podcast interview, he spent some time in Stockholm, Sweden and commented on how “liberal” the country is, how as a country they are very accepting of pretty much everything, and this may have influenced the direction the lyrics of “Ghost Town” headed in.

I tried to believe in God and James Dean, but Hollywood sold out

Adam is very open about the fact that he’s gay, but in a world where this isn’t universally accepted Adam has faced backlash, from people simply questioning whether America was ready for an openly gay American Idol (and considering he came in second maybe they weren’t), to his infamous gay kiss at the American Music Awards in 2009 which caused an uproar in the media. James Dean is speculated to have been bisexual/gay so mention of him in the song, along with Elvis Presley who has also had gay speculation thrown his way, makes the “Hollywood sold out” lyric more poignant. Adam raises the idea of the entertainment industry, if not explicitly not allowing entertainers to be openly gay, creating or not pushing back against an environment that won’t allow it.

Saw all of the saints lock up the gates / I could not enter / Walked into the flames

These lyrics put forward very specific religious imagery of heaven and hell, with Adam being denied entry into the prestigious gates of heaven and having to walk into the flames of hell. The reason he was not allowed in? Well, I’m sure you can figure it out.

And all of my friends have been disaffected

Ok, now I had to look “disaffected” up because I wasn’t sure what it meant and I found out it means, according to a quick google search, “dissatisfied, especially with people in authority or a system of control” which further cemented the meaning of this song for me. By friends it seems Adam may be referring to the gay community who have been disaffected by the system of control in the entertainment industry that, although things are getting much better as exemplified by Sam Smith’s sweeping of the Grammys despite being openly gay, makes it a hard decision for people to decide to be open about their sexualities in fear that their careers might suffer. Perhaps Adam’s heart is a Ghost Town because of the limited pool of people in his industry that are out as gay.

Now I’m searching for trust / In a city of rust / A city of vampires

Is Adam searching for someone to trust him with their sexuality? Someone who, despite living in a rusty city full of the vampiric media who thirst for those kind of juicy stories, can trust him with their secrets and let him into their life?

And love is a satire

In a world where the gay community isn’t always free to get married but straight couples are getting divorced and cheating on each other left, right and centre love really is a satire, it’s hard to take anyone seriously when they try and tell you that allowing gay people to marry will ruin the sanctity of marriage.

There’s no one left in the world / I’m gunslinin’ / Don’t give a fuck if I go down, down down

Adam has put himself out there, he is openly gay, became the first openly gay person to reach number 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, he has nothing left to lose. He will continue being unapologetically himself and doesn’t give a fuck if doing so might cause backlash. There’s no one left in the world who will stop him from doing as he pleases.

Despite what Adam Lambert would like you to believe I think this song goes deep and explores things probably not delved into by any other mainstream pop artist before him. Hidden behind 90s house music and a captivating whistle, there is a lot of depth to Ghost Town and it serves as a fantastic intro to what is a very solid and cohesive album.



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