Music

Oh Stacey…

Looking back to when The Zutons were one of my favourite bands and I bought their CD from Woolworths. They were responsible for Valerie, not Amy!

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Entertainment, Music, Television

Is The X Factor really THAT bad?

“I can say I haven’t watched a single episode of that crap this year!”

“If we all buy Star Wars music we can stop their awful single making Christmas number one again!”

“The X Factor is ruining music!”

Alright, I’ve never been a die-hard fan of The X Factor, but I’m getting quite tired of hearing about how ‘crap’ it is in and around social media.

I’ve been watching it on and off this year, more than I have any other year and I became quite invested in some of the singers from start to finish. Louisa Johnson, 17 years of age and the current nation’s sweetheart won over Wembley last night with her rendition of Forever Young (Winner’s Song) and became the latest star born from The X Factor.

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A winner’s tears

How far she goes within the music industry is irrelevant and a lot of people seem to have taken the show as a personal insult to their music taste. With attacks on The X Factor flying left, right and centre, it’s enough for a fan of the show to sink to their knees in despair.

In defence of the show (which I have quite enjoyed over these last few months) there are some things that seem to go straight over people’s heads when they impose their rants upon the world.

It’s just crap, trashy TV

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The Tapper Family, from Channel 4’s Gogglebox

It might not be as classy as your Strictly Come Dancings or your Great British Bake Offs and it might not hold as much weight as the likes of University Challenge or Newsnight, but it’s good, easy entertainment. Watching it allows you to relax, sit around with friends or family and discuss what’s happening. After a week of working solidly, some people want to switch off and watch something fun, rather than continue to actively engage with media.

It ruins the true Christmas Number One Chart

We live in a day and age where Christmas songs are already deeply engrained into our minds; they’ve got a deep-rooted sense of nostalgia that resonates with us and for some reason, we can’t let go. We find it difficult to welcome new Christmas songs into our etched-in-stone digital playlists because they just don’t feel…well, Christmassy. The X Factor winners have had 7 Christmas number ones in the last 10 years, the other three including one defiant selection in 2009 called Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine, which I’m sure we all remember. It’s interesting to think that maybe The X Factor have successfully pushed their winners to the top because they are popular with a lot of the British public, unless it is all fixed as some rebels claim.

It’s just about Simon Cowell making money

The music industry itself is worth £4.1 billion in the UK as of 2014 and
Simon Cowell holds a net worth total of £325 million, which is a 7.2% contribution to the industry (if that’s where all his money went or came from). These big numbers account for the fact that Simon Cowell is a big, big name in music and has simon_cowell-426617been responsible for the greats that have come out of The X Factor. So, if he is making a lot of money but at the same time creating popular and legendary artists, then let him do his job.

It’s destroying the integrity of music

There is a reason that Beethoven isn’t in the charts today. Popular music changes with time, society and technology. It reflects who we are as people and goes with the flow of what has been popular before, transforming and changing in a way that nobody could explain. I accept that as the show reaches its 11th year running, it feels as though they are just looking for the best cover artist or karaoke singer. However, as they use and revamp current music, it’s unlikely that The X Factor will ever die.

Ultimately, The X Factor is harmless and does more positive than negative. Think of all the budding filmmakers / media workers who want to get a foot in the door and work on the show. Then there are the people that the show is made for: the singers. It gives them the opportunity to become the star they always wanted to be; whether they are successful or not is up to them in the end. It makes people happy who watch it and are involved in it and it brings music artists together. Last night we saw One Direction, Adele and Leona Lewis singing to the Wembley masses and it was stunning.

Just think of the artists that have been squeezed out of the millions who applied for the auditions – Olly Murs, One Direction, Little Mix, JLS, Ben Haenow etc etc… Some of them vanish into the depths of nowhere, but enough have made their way in the industry for it to be credible.

We are not ‘dumbing down’ as a nation, and we are not losing our integrity in regards to the music industry. The X Factor as I see it is a viable solution to escaping some of the hardships of life and allows us to enjoy music together, while at the same time creating new artists. Whether they are any good or not and whether they succeed is again down to the public – we are encouraged to believe.

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Entertainment, Misc., Music

Proud Big Sister

There are two different types of pride: in what you do and what others do. Tonight, I saw the last show of the amateur production Oliver Twist in which my very own little sister played Nancy. And proud doesn’t describe it. I cried – that’s not something I do at film, TV or theatre, but there I was, tears trickling down my cheeks as Molly sang her last song of the show ‘As long as he loves me, reprise’. I’ve seen her perform before, at school music concerts and in a pantomime, but this was something else. Playing the leading lady in a world famous musical is a prestigious honour, and Molly, you rocked it. I’ve never really given much interest to this musical, never really came across it, never thought about watching it, but I’ve loved every second of it. I fell in love with the story and the characters and the music. Just everything. 

Molly, just want to say that I’ve never felt prouder. I’ve never felt uncontrollable crying and emotion at a piece of fiction, but your voice and your performance are beautiful. I’m proud to be your big sister, your best friend and everything else in between. I knew you had it in you since you were little when we were making those really lame videos together; you always outshone me when we sung to the massive old camcorder in your bedroom. I am 100% sure that you’re going to go far and become a massive star on the stage (or screen, whatever fits you!) and I’ll be there every step of the way. Through your highs, your lows and all the bits in the middle, I’ll be there whether you like it or not. I’ll be really sad when you go off to uni and won’t be at home every time I go back, but you’ll get the most out of it you can ever imagine and I want you to live it to the fullest. Just remember, I’ll be in York or home waiting.

Proud, soppy and emotional, this is one 22 year old who has a star for a sister.

Entertainment, Music

Stick to your guns…but keep an open mind

I have Spotify, only got it recently but it really has developed my love for music. Before, never bothered. I only really like Owl City and Taylor Swift, maybe a bit of Take That, pretty random, right? But since getting Spotify I have discovered a world of music, covers and different variations. I have found music that I had no idea existed and just today I was sitting on the train listening to various songs that I don’t know but love.

I had always stuck by that, ‘oh I’m not really into music so don’t ask me about my music taste, you wouldn’t understand’. But the truth is now that I’ll listen to virtually anything that isn’t scary sounding or too dubsteppy (yep, that’s the official word, so I hear).

But the one thing that Spotify hasn’t done is take me away from my roots of Taylor Swift. A lot of people scoff at her music and her style, but there was always something in her songs that spoke to me when I was a weeny teen (original, I know, ‘omg it’s like she can read my mind!’). But I really like her. Especially her new album. And I think that’s important. Even though I’ve always stuck by what I like to listen to, no matter what people say about it, I have opened my mind to things that I didn’t think I would enjoy listening to, but do. I’m trying to be like that, I think it’s my New Years resolution, to be more open minded about things. I’ll think on that and update you later what I’m planning to change in my life.. Hm.

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Music, World

Oh My Lord

As I’ve been wrapping Christmas presents and writing Christmas cards to be ready for three days’ time, I’ve been watching Noddy Holder’s top 50 Christmas songs. For those of you who are unaware of who Noddy Holder is, he’s the guy behind IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAAAASSS! Still nothing? Okay. Who even are you. Anyhow, I’ve decided that one of my favourite Christmas videos is this one:

That’s right, Mary’s Boy Child by good old Boney M. I mean, just look at it! Look how happy they are! I love how joyful this look singing this song, especially the guy, he’s just bopping away like there’s no tomorrow! And it’s one of those old classics that you just don’t get anymore. If this was made today, artists would just be laughed at or it would be considered some kind of postmodern bull. Yeah. None of this is to say, however, that this is my favourite Christmas song; in fact, it’s quite a way down the list beaten by Wham’s Last Christmas, Cliff Richard’s Mistletoe and Wine and Elton John’s Step Into Christmas. It’s such a happy time of year! I’m sitting here, procrastinating when I should be writing a 5,000 word essay, repping the flashing Christmas jumper as happy as balls. Ha, balls.

Oh gosh, this isn’t great blog material is it? I’ll get off now, and if I don’t speak to you again, have a wonderful Christmas!!

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Entertainment, Film, World

On this Journey…

…to the Past

You must have seen Anastasia. If not, then shame on you! It’s gotta be said that it’s one of my favourite films ever and ranks highest in my favourite childhood films and then in animated films. I just love it. And I recently downloaded the songs onto my iPod, so whenever they come on I get this warm little feeling inside that takes me right back to when I was about ten, sitting with my Anastasia and Dimitri dolls, singing along to the songs with my sister. It gets me right in the heart, tugging at the strings and every now and then making me well up slightly.

A good kids film has got to have amazing songs. And Anastasia is just one of many that I love singing along to. Thumbelina is also one of these, made by the same person actually. It’s just beautiful! In both films, the animation is amazing and the music is so lovely. Let me be your wiiiiings. I mean, how sweet is that?! Sing that to me and I’m yours, quite frankly.

But it’s not just these relatively girly films, oh no! You’ve heard of The Road to El Dorado, right? Please? It’s about these two con-men who end up on a ship to El Dorado, the city made of gold. So, as you can imagine, they want to take it all for themselves. It is hilarious, beautifully animated by Dreamworks and the music is just awesome, by the one and only Elton John.

And you may have noticed that none of these are Disney films. You’d be right, because as much as I love Disney films with all the nice princesses and everything, I just think there’s something special-er about these kinds of films. Obviously there are others, such as another Dreamworks production, The Prince of Egypt, but these just hold a special place in my heart. I suppose I also ought to mention The Swan Princess, which is a sweet film, full of love, songs and love songs. Perhaps one of the most famous and heart-wrenching lines: “What else is there?” It’s like nooooo, Derek! You silly handsome fool! Princess Odette certainly is a modern woman.

Finally, not to forget the ones that not many people have actually heard of. The Princess and the Pea; this one I found on Sky Movies and I loved it for its sheer cheese! For one thing, the prince is called Rollo which as a name makes me smile because it’s so lovely and for another thing, Rollo manages to crash through a solid iron fence with no injuries, a scene that makes me laugh so much beyond belief. And then there’s a version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. This was a video cassette that my Nana had at her house and I used to watch it all the time, mainly because I loved the dress that Snow White wore and how it was animated. Oh the simple pleasures of children, ey?

It took me an absolute age to find both these films, I thought they’d disappeared into a great vacuum of filmic history!