• 6:58, are you sure where my spark is?

    Out 28 2009, 15h34

    1. What's your favorite song by 15?
    (Janet Jackson) Definitely Go Deep, it is in my opinion one of the best R&B tracks of all time.

    2. How did you get into 20?
    (Michael Jackson) My mother was really into his music, and obviously the excessive plays from my childhood have made a lasting impression.

    3. Who is your favorite member in 1?
    (Fleetwood Mac) Stevie Nicks. I know it's cliché, but anyone who can write songs that beautiful and have such a prominent stage presence and keep the audience entranced with just the slightest gaze deserves to be a favourite.

    4. What’s your favorite lyric bit by 29?
    'Bring me a day full of honest work,
    And a roof that never leaks
    I'll be satisfied.'

    In context of the song, these lyrics are magical.

    5. Have you ever seen 22 live?
    (Dave Matthews Band) That would be a no.

    6. What's your favorite album from 10?.
    (Madonna) This is like asking me to pick a favourite child! I'm going to say Erotica, for the sheer fact I used to play it all the time when I was younger.

    7. Do you own any merchandise from 3?
    (Stevie Nicks) Just CDs.

    8. What is a good memory you have of 7?
    (Bat for Lashes) Walking along the beach near where I live listening to Two Suns just after it was released. The album fit the landscape so perfectly.

    9. Is there a member of the same age as you in 2?
    (Tori Amos) She was thirty years ago!

    10. When did you first get into 8?
    (Peter Gabriel) When I was going through my Kate Bush phase last year, I discovered she'd sang on a few tracks with him. I downloaded them, loved his voice and then checked out 3. I was hooked, and here we are today.

    11. Who likes 4 along with you?
    (Kate Bush) Quite a few of my friends like her, actually. Between me forcing them to endure her and loads of artists proclaiming her to be their main influence, she's became much more popular again than she was even a year and a half ago.

    12. Which song did you first hear from 16?
    (Suede) Saturday Night, because I found out Keeley Hawes was in the video. Love her, love the song.

    13. What song made you fall in love with 5?
    (Lindsey Buckingham) Go Insane.

    14. Which song do you not like by 18?
    (Cocteau Twins) There's none that I know of that I dislike. Perhaps I don't know enough of their work?

    15. Why do you like 14's songs?
    (Bryan Ferry) His voice is perfection, and they remind me of my childhood.

    16. Where did you first hear 6?
    (Roxy Music) Probably on some Sunday when I was tiny. My mother loves them, and they were the soundtrack to ironing days. (On another note, creepy coincidence with the above question, huh?)

    17. How long was 19 a singer before you liked them?
    (David Bowie) Only thirty-five years or so, not that long, ha.

    18. Does 13 have a song that gives you a bad memory?
    (Vanessa Carlton) Her songs are too pretty to give me bad memories.

    19. When did you get into 17?
    (Heart) I don't know, last summer?

    20. How long have you been into 9?
    (The Cure) About three and a half years.

    21. If 11 had a concert 300 miles away, would you drive there to see them?
    (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers) Due to the fact I worry that Tom Petty might die soon, I'd say a definite yes.

    22. How many CDs do you own of 12?
    (Buckingham Nicks) They've never released a CD, only a LP. Unless the album gets released on CD which I highly doubt, it'll probably always be none.

    23. Does 21 have a song that makes you cry?
    (Siouxsie and the Banshees) Yes! The Last Beat Of My Heart never fails to get me emotional.

    24. Does 27 have a song that makes you happy?
    (Sarah McLachlan) Into the Fire brings a smile to my face, most definitely.

    25. Does 23 have a song that makes you smile?
    (Paramore) Misery Business for pure nostalgia.

    26. What's the last song you've listened to from 28?
    (Björk) Venus as a Boy, and I do love that song.

    27. Is there a song by 32 that you've listened to more than 30 times?
    (Kings of Leon) As my iTunes has only been going since August on this laptop, it doesn't say but I remember I definitely played Knocked Up over thirty times.

    28. What is a song from 50 that you've only listened to once?
    (New Order) There's a few.

    29. Is there a song you are sick of hearing by 24?
    (Don Henley) Not really, because he isn't played often unless I deliberately listen to "Oldie" radio stations.

    30. What song got you into 40?
    (Pink Floyd) I've no idea, I'm wanting to say Comfortably Numb but I can't be entirely sure.

    31. What is your favorite single by 25?
    (Tegan and Sara) I have no idea what's been released as singles and what hasn't.

    32. If 49 hated you, what would you do?
    (Destiny's Child) I'd be slightly upset, because that would mean Beyoncé hates me, and as I love her, I'd feel like a right cock.

    33. What would you say if 42 or one of the members from 42 asked you out?
    (Whitney Houston) Even though I'd be creeped out, particularly as I'm straight and she's about the same age as my mother, I'd definitely say yes. It's Whitney fucking Houston!

    34. Would you care if 41 had a boyfriend/girlfriend?
    (Eagles) Not really. They're all old enough to be my grandparents, although Don Henley was a handsome man.

    35. Who has the best voice in 46?
    (Prince) As it's just Prince, he is the voice of the music. And I love it.

    36. Do you think 26 is/are good looking?
    (Fiona Apple) She is beautiful, in a porcelain-doll way. My only qualm is that sometimes she looks too thin. That's not really my problem anyway though, is it?

    37. How many times have you listened to your favorite song by 36?
    (Journey) This is easy - Wheel in the Sky.

    38. How many CDs do you own of 30?
    (The Smiths) Just the one, which is Strangeways, Here We Come.

    39. Is there a song from 38 that makes you mad?
    (Lily Allen) Not really.

    40. Which member from 31 do you want to see go solo? If 31 is only one artist, what would you do if they joined a group?
    (Demi Lovato) I don't really want her to join a group, I like her voice on its own.

    41. What does your favorite song from 48 remind you of?
    (Patrick Wolf) The Childcatcher reminds me of my old Spanish lessons, discussing with my friend how creepy yet good this song was.

    42. Did you hate 43 at first?
    (Joni Mitchell) No, she's a legend! It took me a little while to "get" her, though.

    43. Does your best friend also listen to 33?
    (Beyoncé) Yes, who doesn't listen to her?

    44. Do you think your parents would like 37?
    (Amy Winehouse) They both like her, my mother especially.

    45. Does 47 have a song that makes you want to dance?
    (Blondie) Well, come on. Who hasn't danced to Heart of Glass at some point in their lives?

    46. Have you ever seen 34 in person?
    (The Beach Boys) Of course not.

    47. Do you like 44's name?
    (Hole) It has rude connotations and is pretty simple, but definitely sums up the group.

    48. Is there someone in 45 that you want to go out with?
    (Ladyhawke) I wouldn't go out with Pip, but I'd like her to give me her hair.

    49. Do you know anyone that hates 39?
    (Christine McVie) No, because not many people disassociate her from Fleetwood Mac. If they hate Fleetwood Mac (i.e., my stepdad) then they probably would.

    50. Have you ever danced to a song from 35?
    (PJ Harvey) Her songs aren't danceable, really. Unless you count grunge style mosh-pits. So, no.
  • SOSxx reviews: My favourite albums ever

    Jan 25 2009, 20h38

    This journal is pretty much me discussing my favourite albums, and my favourite tracks from each. I think I have a pretty eclectic taste - although my plays for certain artists would beg to differ - and so I hope there's a wide variety here. I also wouldn't mind some recommendations, and I'd like to think that someone out there will enjoy these albums as much as I do.

    Fleetwood Mac - Tango in the Night (1987)

    I've already done a track-by-track review of this album, but as it's one of my favourite ever ever albums, I felt I must include it.

    This was the last album Lindsey Buckingham did with Fleetwood Mac until 2003's Say You Will, and he certainly went out with a bang. It's one of the few albums I can listen to wholly, and love absolutely every track. One of the few albums of the eighties to use synthesisers effectively - and I love synths - and so different to anything Fleetwood Mac have done before or since, it's absolutely amazing. It also strongly reminds me of being a small child and my mam playing this to death.

    Best Cuts
    Big Love
    Seven Wonders
    Little Lies
    Tango in the Night
    Isn't It Midnight

    Fleetwood Mac - Tusk (1979)

    Aah, Tusk. After the soaring success of Rumours (to the extent where even my generation know most of the songs off that album), where else could Fleetwood Mac go? I know, let's put the group's resident eccentric Lindsey Buckingham in charge of production, let him have nine songs and let him create cocaine fuelled, fragmented brilliance. However, despite his craftmanship on this album, it's really the one which Stevie Nicks rules. Her contributions could pretty much fill the best cuts I'm doing for each of this albums, as they're flawless. However, I'll limit to three songs by her.

    Two warnings, however -
    1) To get the full magnificence of this album, I recommend listening to it the whole way through.
    2) It's not something for everyone. Sure, it has it's moments where the songs can transcend all taste - Sara in particular - but it is something you will either love or loathe.

    Best Cuts
    Sara - probably one of the most beautiful songs ever.
    Beautiful Child
    Sisters of the Moon
    Brown Eyes

    Kate Bush - The Dreaming (1982)

    To me, this is Kate Bush's Tusk. She had the success of Never for Ever to follow, and instead she went for something completely different. The structure of the songs, the obsessive production and the sometimes manic vocals remind me of the former. This led me to the conclusion she was heavily influenced by it. That's not to say it's a replica, because Kate Bush can never be compared to anyone.

    Once again, it's not something that will be liked by everyone. But if you do like it, you will love it. The atmosphere is dark, and it's great for night time playing. But this is Kate Bush at her most creative and most weird. Plus, her voice sounds great.

    Best Cuts
    Night of the Swallow
    Get Out of My House
    Leave It Open
    Sat in Your Lap
    Pull Out the Pin

    Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (1985)

    Most people would consider this Kate Bush's definitive album, and it is sheer perfection. The first half is more 'commercial' (if you could ever call a Kate Bush album such a thing) whilst the second is a concept piece, about someone's night in the water and their life flashing before them. It's the second half that makes me love this album though, despite it having my favourite Kate Bush song ever on the first half: Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God).

    For anyone just starting off listening to Kate Bush, this is the album to begin with. It sounds so modern now, and the intricacy of the songs makes them the more beautiful. I've also tried not to take apart the second half of the album, because it's better to listen to it from start to finish.

    Best Cuts
    Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
    Hounds of Love
    Watching You Without Me
    Waking the Witch

    Stevie Nicks - The Wild Heart (1983)

    This is the second album Stevie Nicks released as a solo artist, two years after her debut Bella Donna. In all truthfulness, it doesn't break loads of new ground for her in comparison to the former album, except perhaps in the inclusion of synthesisers. However, this is an incredibly strong album. Her voice sounds amazing throughout, the harmonies she creates with Lori Nicks (at the time Perry) and Sharon Celani are gorgeous and it includes my all-time favourite solo Stevie song, Beauty and the Beast. It's a great rock album, with some of Stevie's strongest tracks to date on it.

    Best Cuts
    Beauty and the Beast
    Nothing Ever Changes
    Stand Back
    If Anyone Falls

    Roxy Music - Avalon (1982)

    By the eighties, Roxy Music had moved on to a more smooth, "sophisticated" sound in comparison to their earlier albums. Think sunsets, romantic walks on the beach, dinner dates... you get the picture. Bryan Ferry used this style later in his solo work, but throughout this album are ambient landscapes and lush sounds. However, Bryan performs brilliantly through this album with his vocals and song-writing. It is probably the most cohesive album in the entire Roxy Music catologue, and the most accessible. It's a truly magnificent album that deserves to be the only Roxy Music album to go platinum in the US.

    Best Cuts
    To Turn You On
    True to Life
    While My Heart Is Still Beating
    More Than This

    Peter Gabriel - So (1986)

    Like whom I consider to be his ultimate peer, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel released what is considered by many critics to be his masterpiece with "So". His highest selling album to date, I feel this is Peter's most accessible album. Of course, this does not detract from the extremely high quality of the songs or the creative energy within it.

    The album incorporates lots of different areas of music, from jazz to African, but manages to still sound cohesive. The lyrics are well-written and thoughtful, reflecting on many different subject areas. And of course, Kate Bush is featured in a heart-wrenching duet about suffering through hardships in life and work.

    Best Cuts
    Red Rain
    Don't Give Up
    Mercy Street
    In Your Eyes

    Tori Amos - From the Choirgirl Hotel (1998)

    This album, to me, marked Tori Amos taking a different direction with her music. She no longer relied so heavily on the piano carrying the songs, but she began to carry them herself and allow other instruments to intigrate with it. I think in some respects this is probably her most difficult album, particularly considering the subject matter and time-frame.

    Tori Amos as an artist focuses heavily on women's roles in society, and turning them on their head. This album is no exception, but it is so melancholy particularly as she had just suffered miscarriages. Spark focuses on this in particular, and the suffering is so poignant some could consider it difficult to listen to. I love this album though, because I feel it is Tori's most fully realised, the concept is there and its cohesive, with a narrative running throughout.

    Best Cuts
    Black-Dove (January)
    Raspberry Swirl
    Jackie's Strength
    i i e e e

    Bat for Lashes - Two Suns (2009)

    I consider Two Suns to be the album of 2009, and one of the most original pieces of work ever made. Natasha Khan focuses heavily on visual elements and by translating these very well into music, she creates landscapes that the listener feels a part of. This album seems to be a tribal world, almost an alternate universe which her alter-ego, Pearl, travels through until death - The Big Sleep.

    This may all seem very new-age and kitsch, but Natasha manages to throw away the clichés and with the slick production, her job is completed very well. I was watching an interview where she said that she used random objects and parts of her body for percussion, which in my opinion brings the album down-to-earth slightly, so it doesn't go completely over the top of the listener's head.

    Best Cuts
    Siren Song
    Two Planets
    Travelling Woman

    Garbage - Version 2.0 (1998)

    This album encapsulates Garbage's greatest strength as a musical outlet: they don't sound like anyone else. They've created a sonic experience that is unique. It's a sublime mixture of pop, rock, alternative, electronica, dance and even at times hip-hop and R&B. They're not afraid to use dense production or catchy hooks but don't compromise themselves with mediocre lyrics either. When I was little I remember watching "Top of the Pops" and seeing Shirley Manson's face week on week, or so it seemed. If you've ever listened to this album, you'll know why. If you haven't, you need to.

    Shirley Manson's voice has never sounded more harrowing or silky. She has the rare ability to portray thousands of different emotions in just one word, as well as the talent of expressing emotions for the "misfits" and self-doubting so eloquently. For what began as essentially an "experiment" became a musical movement. In 1998, Garbage were everywhere. This album earned them that right.

    Best Cuts
    Push It
    I Think I'm Paranoid
    You Look So Fine
    When I Grow Up
  • Lyric Game (Round Two)

    Jan 18 2009, 14h44

    The concept of this game is for you to use the first line of each of these songs to guess what it is. No cheating! - this means using search engines to find out the song, or anything like that. Once the song has been guessed, the artist and title will be put up and the lyrics will be bolded.

    The artists I've used are right at the bottom of the page to help you.

    1) Smashing Pumpkins - Today
    'Today is the greatest day I've ever known, can't live for tomorrow, tomorrow's much too long.'

    2) Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
    'Why don't you ask him if he's gonna stay? Why don't you ask him if he's going away?'

    3) Vanessa Carlton - The One
    'Holiday and I come home, I hope to see this boy I know, I can't wait for us to be alone.'

    4) Tori Amos - Crucify
    'Every finger in the room is pointing at me, I wanna spit in their faces.'

    5) John Stewart - Midnight Wind
    'Come on down Miranda, your window's open wide, take a chance on a midnight dance so I can see it in your eyes.'

    6) Fiona Apple - Shadowboxer
    'Once my lover now my friend, what a cruel thing to pretend, what a cunning way to condescend once my lover now my friend.'

    7) Supertramp - Take the Long Way Home
    'So you think you're a Romeo, playing a part in a picture show.'

    8) Heart - Crazy on You
    'If we still have time we might still get by, every time I think about it I only wanna cry.'

    9) Kate Bush - Breathing
    'Outside gets inside through her skin, I've been out before but this time it's much safer in.'

    10) Suede - Trash
    'Maybe, maybe it's the clothes we wear, the tasteless bracelets and the dye in our hair.'

    11) Bryan Ferry - Slave to Love
    'Tell her I'll be waiting, in the usual place, with the tired and weary, there's no escape.'

    12) Buckingham Nicks - Frozen Love
    'You may not be as strong as me and I may not care to teach you, it may be hard to keep up with me but I'll always be able to reach you.'

    13) Kings of Leon - Knocked Up
    'I don't care what nobody says, we're gonna have a baby, taking off in a Coup De Ville she's buckled up on Navy.'

    14) Eric Clapton - Bad Love
    'Oh what a feeling I get when I'm with you, you take my heart into everything you do.'

    15) Eagles - Witchy Woman
    'Raven hair and ruby lips, sparks fly from her finger tips.'

    16) Prince - When Doves Cry
    'Dig if you will the picture of you and I engaged in a kiss, the sweat of your body covers me, can you my darling, can you picture this?'

    17) Céline Dion - Think Twice
    'Don't think I can't feel that there's something wrong, you've been the sweetest part of my life for so long.'

    18) The Cure - Charlotte Sometimes
    'All the faces, all the voices blur, change to one face, change to one voice.'

    19) Siouxsie & The Banshees - The Killing Jar
    'Down where this ugly man seeks his sustenance, down in the blue midnight flare.'

    20) Take That - Never Forget
    'We've come so far and we've reached so high, and we've looked each day and night in the eye.'
  • SOSxx reviews: "Tango in the Night" by Fleetwood Mac

    Out 21 2008, 22h33

    This is a overview of one of my favourite ever albums, Tango in the Night by Fleetwood Mac.

    Tango in the Night is completely contrasting to any other album made by Fleetwood Mac before or since, in the sense that it's got heavy use of synthesisers, and shows the band following pop trends that were around in the 1980's but combined with Lindsey Buckingham's obsessive production and the experimental nature of his work, the album is so sleek that it's stood the test of time far better than other albums of that period.

    Big Love
    One of my favourites off this album. Lindsey Buckingham's guitar playing and vocals are shown off to beautiful effect, and the percussion is spot on. A really moody, sexy track, and we cannot forget the 'uhh, ahh's' throughout the song. (A nice fact, ha - Lindsey used a pitch changer to give the illusion of a woman doing one half off the groans, when really it was just him.)

    Seven Wonders
    Another favourite, if not the absolute favourite. This time, a Stevie Nicks number, although allegedly the only line she wrote was 'You touched my hand all the way down to Emmiline', which was a mishearing anyway. An upbeat track, with gorgeous synths inbetween each verse. Stevie's voice sounds so passionate on here, and the huskiness has increased from say, Mirage which adds a lovely dark quality to her vocals.

    This is one of the two 'biggie' tracks, (along with the other Christine McVie track, but this one was a 'biggie' in the sense that it was ridiculously successful - #1 on US Adult Contemporary Chart and #5 on UK charts). It's a great track, not a favourite off the album, but that's probably due to it being overplayed. However, Christine has created a beautiful love song as she always does, the twinkly synthesisers and soft drums creating a romantic atmosphere.

    Another moody yet sexy Buckingham track, which is basically what he does best on this album. The verses are full of tension to lead to a chorus that is hypnotic and full of impact, especially when Lindsey cries out 'Caro-li-hineee'. A fantastic song, may be a grower for some though, as it is quite different to the style of many other Fleetwood Mac tracks. Once it grows on you if it needs to, however, you'll appreciate it's a wonderful song.

    Tango in the Night
    Bloody amazing song! It's very simplistic, but packed full of power. The whole song is like a bomb waiting to explode, just building up the tension and creating this atmosphere of Lindsey Buckingham remembering this sunlit ocean or whatever. And that wail in the chorus - 'Tang-ooooooo!' And of course the guitar solo, which is up there as one of his best.

    In this album, Christine McVie is right on top of her game, creating beautiful love songs like she does best. This is a heartfelt ballad, with lovely backing vocals and a really sweet melody. Lindsey's voice blends really well with Christine's and gives a real ethereal quality to the song. The subtle percussion and emphasis placed on the keyboards give the song a very 'lullaby' feel which conveys the emotion of the lyrics really well.

    Little Lies
    Another huge, huge song from Christine McVie. This is probably one of the songs Fleetwood Mac is most known for and it's easy to see why. This is one of the first tracks I can remember, that's how huge this song was and still is! The synthesised intro is so recognisable, as are the 'tell me lies' from Stevie and Lindsey, who as usual harmonise so well with Christine. As commercial as this song is, it's easily one of the standouts from this album, as it's basically flawless.

    Family Man
    This is one of the more experimental tracks from Lindsey Buckingham. It also differs from the vast majority of his work in that the guitar isn't as dominant in the music as it usually is, which isn't to say that it's not there - because it is. But the keyboards are more obvious. Also, Lindsey once again uses a pitch-shifter (a bit off the point, but his and Stevie's voice's sound very similar when he uses that thing!) The lyrics are very sparse, but create such an atmosphere. 'Mother, father, brother...'

    Welcome to the Room... Sara
    I love this song! This is a Stevie Nicks track, about her time in the Betty Ford clinic, during the beginning of the recording of Tango in the Night. This explains her very little contribution. But the lyrics are amazing, which is always Stevie's forté. Especially the part - 'Ooh downstairs where the big old house is mine...' Lindsey's production allows Stevie's voice to dominate the song with only slight backing from him and Christine. The melody is very hopeful, as though Stevie's seen the light. (Not taking later events into account).

    Isn't It Midnight
    A really rock track from Christine McVie, with an amazing chorus, and a slight eeriness to it. Christine's vocals sound great, as does Lindsey's guitar playing. It also is quite different in style to what we're used to from Christine, as the lyrics aren't as romantic, and are far more intense - which is lovely to hear, in my opinion. Okay, I have a slight obsession with synthesisers and keyboards, but in the chorus they do add a lovely buffer from the guitar.

    When I See You Again
    In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful songs Stevie Nicks has ever wrote, with a very acoustic feel and her haunting vocals taking reign, with gorgeous backing from Christine and Lindsey. Their voices harmonise beautifully as usual. There is such a melancholy feel to this song, it makes me cry actually (why am I admitting this? Ha.) But the wails that are interspersed in the song really do add so much emotion, it's hard not to cry.

    You and I, Part II
    A lovely closer to the album from Lindsey Buckingham. It's probably one of Lindsey's best lyrical works, and he really does use some great production techiniques in this song - pitch shifter reappears! The melody is really sweet, and nice and upbeat. It's a lovely counter between Stevie's pretty intense songs and Christine's more romantic songs. Plus, Lindsey's voice sounds great on this song. He really is at the top of his game vocally on this album and this song is no exception.