Category Archives: Media

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Spotify: 30 months later

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It’s been two-and-a-half years since my post about Spotify when it had just rolled out in The Netherlands. At the time I was cautiously enthusiastic with quite a list of complaints too. In the meantime Spotify has replaced iTunes for me and I have become somewhat of a Spotify evangelist as it has fundamentally changed the way I listen to and discover new music.
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Lady Gaga frustrations

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Lady Gaga just released her new album Born This Way and although I really want to like her music, I simply can’t. It’s repetitive and lacks the catchy pop melodies and pioneering production that her great aunt Madonna has always been so good at.

This surprises me as Gaga is apparently quite musically gifted; an accomplished pianist and composer of hit songs for other artists. That’s something that Madonna can’t claim (although Madonna compensates by surrounding herself by highly talented producers and musicians).

Both women are obviously very smart and savvy at developing their flamboyant and often shocking image into a brand of its own and I greatly admire Lady Gaga for how she’s managed to do that in such a short space of time. Her flamboyant and humorous music videos are the only thing that enable me to listen to an entire song of hers.

Why is this frustrating me? I want to like her music because I admire her. The two interviews she did with Jonathon Ross convinced me that her extravagant appearance is a great camouflage concealing an extremely intelligent woman.

Oh well, I suppose I’ll just have to watch her videos on YouTube and resign myself to admiring an artist without liking her ‘core business’. Some may argue that music is not her core business, in which case – there’s no problem 🙂

Spotify

Spotify logoA couple of months ago streaming music service Spotify finally rolled out here in The Netherlands. After a few days of using it, I signed up for the €10/month Premium service so I didn’t have to listen to the adverts after every ten tracks or so (they really annoy me, which is the main reason I never listen to commercial radio stations). A few months into using the service, I shall share some of my thoughts on it.
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Two Novels That Can Change A Teenager's Life…

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atlas_shrugged_coverThis is my first attempt at a new blog post in aaagggeeesss. A new year – a new decade, in fact – seems like the right time to start writing somewhat regularly again. So I’ll start small with a quote I found today on Ralloblog which is SPOT ON 🙂

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

— John Rogers, on the blog Kung Fu Monkey

Category: Media

Lily's Second

I quite like Lily Allen’s new album It’s Not Me It’s You. It’s not as good as her debut Alright, Still, but she’s managed to write some catchy new tunes, some of which are the kind that echo in your head for days, like F*ck You.

The album is a mishmash of styles: balkan, country and burlesque-type tunes. Her lyrics and London accent are still her unique selling point, although I feel she’s had a harder time coming up with the lyrical goods this time than the first.

Lily is currently touring. I had the (dis)pleasure of seeing her live at the Paradiso here in Amsterdam a couple of years ago. That was a bit of a let-down as she performed rather lethargically in a track suit, smoking throughout the entire concert yet complaining that her voice was letting her down. She seemed to be plodding through the setlist, eager to leave the venue a.s.a.p. Not someone who ‘takes the stage’.

The video below shows her performing at the Bowery in New York. At least she dressed up for this gig and seems a little more motivated, but now her stamina (or nerves?) seem to be letting her down as she’s not reaching those notes and her stage presence is not particularly strong either.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like Lily Allen, but I think her music is best enjoyed as a high volume singalong in the car rather than as a live act.

Everyone's At It – Live @ Bowery Ballroom / MySpace Secret S

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Lily Allen Returns

Lily Allen has been working on her second album and recently completed this video to the single “The Fear”. I like the verses – very Lily Allen-ish, but the chorus is just too Stock Aitken Waterman “poppy” for me. The video itself doesn’t do much for me either as it lacks the humour I am used to from her first album’s videos and despite what she writes on her blog, I don’t get the impression she was really having fun making this.

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Love for All – but not in Holland

Björn Borg made this ad which is shown in Sweden and elsewhere of two priests getting married. The Netherlands used to be a free, progressive country too, but apparently the Dutch Björn Borg CEO decided not to air this commercial as it’s too controversial and might offend someone. Yes, people, our Christian-led government, aided and abetted by the right-wing-in-disguise-flip-flop Labour party (PvdA) has successfully thrown The Netherlands back into the moral corset of the 1950’s.

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Engrish… kind of…

Through my friend Blobby Bobby I discovered this rather humourous subtitling event on YouTube.

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Sia – Buttons (on Later with Jools Holland)

Last week I saw Sia perform on Later with Jools Holland and she made much more of an impression on me than Coldplay opening with their latest single, Viva La Vida. There’s something about her voice and the catchy melody of Buttons that kept me glued to the screen. The fluorescent costumes were a great eye-catcher too.

I’d never heard of Sia, but she’s an Australian vocalist who enjoyed success in the 90’s as part of an acid jazz formation, before disappearing for a while. 2007 and 2008 are clearly her comeback years, her album Some People Have Real Problems being released at the start of 2008. Unfortunately it’s not available in the Dutch iTunes Store, but you can get it from Amazon.

You may recognize her track Breathe Me as it was used for the grand finale of Six Feet Under.

But meanwhile, here’s her performance of Buttons on Later. The costume comes off at 02:25 by the way…:

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