Monday, 29 April 2013

New Lana Del Rey Videos - Chelsea Hotel #2, Summer Wine and The Great Gatsby's Young and Beautiful


Lana Del Rey has been a busy girl. After enjoying huge success with her debut album 'Born To Die' and follow up 'Paradise', Lana has released a couple of buzz promos online as well as a brand new song to keep the fans going while she works on her third album. I'm kind of obsessed with Lana so this was good news all round. 

 First up is Lana's cover of Leonard Cohen's 'Chelsea Hotel #2' from 1974. This song was the perfect choice for Lana after the retro Americana feel of 'Ride'. I absolutely love the chilled out vibe of the video and the track feels like it was written especially for Lana, despite being recorded twelve years before she was born. 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Psy's Gentleman - Youtube Faceoff


Live Lounge is great and all but what I love most is trawling through Youtube to find the best cover versions of my favourite songs by unsigned or small-time artists. If you put the time in, you'll find so many different and innovative interpretations of the biggest hits right now... but who has the time for that I hear you say? Have no fear for that's what our Youtube Faceoff is all about. Previous posts have looked at artists as diverse as Kesha, One Direction and Bastille. Today it's Psy's turn!

Following the unexpected global success of 'Gangnam Style', Psy had the daunting task of proving himself to be more than just a one hit wonder. Sure South Korea already loved him but how would the rest of the world feel about his follow-up single? Fortunately, 'Gentleman' has become a huge smash for the k-pop star, breaking youtube records left, right and centre with its hilarious video and addictively simple chorus. 


Sure it's not to everyone's taste but I love 'Gentleman' and it appears that many singers on Youtube do as well. But how do you cover a Korean rap song and make it your own? I won't lie; there was a lot of crap to sift through but after endless minutes of searching, I wanted to share some of my favourite covers of 'Gentleman' with you. Click below to decide which one is best.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Whatever Happened To RnB? - Ciara's Official Video For Body Party


Remember when City High had a promising career and The Black Eyed Peas were just a little-known hip-hop act? In this weekly feature, I take a look back at some of the best RnB artists of yesteryear, sharing their signature videos and underrated hits, as well as looking at what's happening in RnB today. Previous posts have focussed on Jay-Z's Top 5 guest raps, as well as the Honeyz comeback, a retrospective on Lumidee's career and Frank Ocean's new video for 'Lost'. Today the spotlight is back on one of my favourite RnB artists of the past decade, Ciara.

After a year of pushed back release dates and failed single launches, Ciara will finally release her fifth studio album this summer, simply titled 'Ciara'. Previous buzz songs such as 'Sweat', 'Sorry' and 'Got Me Good' have apparently not made the final cut, which I think is just ridiculous, but luckily, new single 'Body Party' is a great track to kick start the album's release.

The Best TV Opening Sequences of The Past Ten Years


How do you sum up the appeal of a show in under one minute? An opening montage of the stars with their names underneath just doesn't cut it anymore.  Whether it be artistic imagery, quirky visuals or just a catchy song, TV needs to hook audiences in with an impressive opening sequence to compete against the other fifty thousand TV channels readily available at our fingertips. Over the past decade, the most exciting and cutting edge programmes that have survived beyond their pilot have become more and more creative with their opening titles in a bid to win fans over. Don't believe me? Check out these awesome credit sequences that perfectly capture the tone and energy of the shows that they're from.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Five Reasons Why You Should Love The New Normal


Created by Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler, 'The New Normal' follows the lives of Bryan and David, a gay couple who want to start their own family. Upon meeting single mother Goldie, the pair realise that she is the surrogate of their dreams but by choosing her, the rest of Goldie's family become involved too. Daughter Shania couldn't be happier but Republican grandmother Jane is less than pleased with Goldie's choice...

I'm obsessed with 'The New Normal'. It's easily one of my favourite programmes and there's nothing else quite like it on TV right now. 'The New Normal' has hilarious moments and some extreme personalities like any great sitcom, but the show also touches upon serious dramatic issues that viewers can relate to on a personal level. The subject matter has inevitably drawn some controversy in the States and of course the bigots out there will never bother to actually watch the programme but if they did, then they might actually end up enjoying themselves. For anyone else who is on the fence regarding Ryan Murphy's latest show, I say read on to discover five reasons why you should love 'The New Normal'!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill


I'm pretty sure most people out there have heard of Susan Hill. If not, then you would have definitely heard of her most famous work, The Woman in Black. The hugely popular ghost story featuring a foreboding figure that haunts a small village and its inhabitants has been adapted into a smash west end play and a successful film. It was my love of this book that led me to find more of Hills' work and that is how I came across The Mist in the Mirror, her second ghost story. I had high hopes as I settled down to read it but did it hold up to her previous work?


Monday, 15 April 2013

Tomb Raider 2013 Review


If like me, you are a child from the 90s and were a fan of gaming, then you must have loved Tomb Raider. Back in 1996, a young na├»ve teenage boy was brought a PlayStation for Christmas and with it came a game that would open his eyes to a world of ancient mystery, puzzle solving and a cold heart bitch, who would become one of the most notorious serial killers of all time. Yes I am of course talking about the pop culture icon that is Lara Croft. This year sees the most famous woman in gaming get a brand new reboot, but how does it compare to the original? And how does it measure up to the best games of today?


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Whatever Happened To RnB? - Frank Ocean's 'Lost' - New Video


Remember when Debelah Morgan tried to whistle like Mariah and Aleesha Dixon starred in N.E.R.D.s music video? In this weekly feature, I take a look back at some of the best RnB artists of yesteryear, sharing their signature videos and underrated hits, as well as looking at what's happening in RnB today. Previous posts have focussed on the top 5 RnB covers by Youtube sensation VanJess and Jay-Z's Top 5 guest raps, as well as the Honeyz comeback as part of the 'Big Reunion' and a retrospective on Lumidee's career.

I haven't written an RnB post in a while but I've been really inspired recently listening to Frank Ocean's debut album 'Channel Orange', which is a musical tour de force in experimental production and songwriting, with fascinating lyrics that captivate and surprise in equal measure. Much has already been said about this incredible collection of songs, which features standout tracks including 'Pink Matter', 'Thinking Bout You' and 'Bad Religion', but my personal favourite Frank Ocean song has to be 'Lost'. 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Psy - 'Gentleman'. The Video Is Here But Is It Any Good?


 
Today is make or break for Psy's international career. We've all heard the Korean rappers follow up single 'Gentleman' already, which you can read more about here, but whether you love or hate the song, we always knew its success would hinge on the official video and whatever crazy new dance moves Psy could come up with. After just watching the new promo for the first time, I can tell you now that it's fricking awesome. The video for 'Gentleman' is similar to ''Gangnam Style' in some ways and while it doesn't have the surprise factor of Psy's breakout hit, it's just as funny in its own way. I also love the simplicity of the new dance, which I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of in the coming months. But enough talk from me. Read on to check out Psy's official new 'Gentleman' promo for yourself. Enjoy!

Where Are They Now? The Girls of Drop Dead Gorgeous.

                             

The other day I was looking through my DVD collection when I came across Drop Dead Gorgeous. The late 90's black comedy may have received mixed reviews at the time but over the years, Drop Dead Gorgeous has developed somewhat of a cult following, and it's easy to see why. This underrated mockumentary boast an amazing cast of talented women who have gone on to do some great and some not so great work. So let's take a look at the girls of Drop Dead Gorgeous and see where they are now but before we do, let's take a walk down memory lane and have a gander at the trailer.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

New Psy Track 'Gentleman' Is Finally Here!


People all around the world have been checking the news on Korea this week, hoping for an end to the tension and finally it's here. After months of waiting, Psy has released his follow up to the monster smash of 2012, 'Gangnam Style'. It turns out that many of the rumours floating around the internet last year regarding Psy's comeback were only speculation; the new single hasn't been recorded in English and thankfully, there's no sign of Justin Bieber in sight!

Instead, new track 'Gentleman' is more of the same from Psy in the sense that it doesn't veer wildly away from everything that made 'Gangnam Style' such a huge hit in the West last year. 'Gentleman' is just as bonkers crazy and instantly likeable as the Korean rappers breakout hit and while it may not end up becoming as iconic as 'Gangnam Style', I think Psy has definitely proved that he is more than just a one-hit wonder. I can pretty much guarantee that for the next few months, every club in the world will start chanting "I'm a mother-father gentleman" in their best Korean accent! Click on the link below to hear the song in its entirety.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Dark Skies Review - Is It As Bad As The Critics Say?


I initially approached 'Dark Skies' with some trepidation. I'd already seen 'Legion', which was also directed by Scott Stewart, and I thought that was horrendous so what hope did his new film have? Promotion for 'Dark Skies' emphasised that it was produced by the same company responsible for 'Sinister' and 'Insidious', so my expectations increased somewhat but I was still shocked to realise that 'Dark Skies' is actually a great little horror film which I feel has been completely overlooked by critics. I rarely get scared so I was surprised to find myself feeling pretty damn tense throughout the majority of this sci-fi horror.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Five Books To Change Your Mind About Sci-Fi


Science fiction. Two words that send a chill down the spine for millions of readers out there. But what is it about sci-fi that puts some people off? Is it the dense scientific terminology? Is it the detached cold tone of the genre? Or is it the lack of relatable, flawed characters? If you think that this is what science fiction is all about, then you'd be extremely wrong my friends. Yes, there are some sci-fi novels out there which embody these cliches but there are literally thousands that reject this narrow view, offering a fascinating insight into the human condition. I believe that there is a sci-fi book out there for everyone, even if you hate the genre, as it is so diverse in the range of stories it tells. Today I have chosen five extremely accessible novels which I hope will convince you to reconsider science fiction as something more than just a geeky pastime. Enjoy!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

London Grammar - Metal & Dust EP Review


Up and coming trio London Grammar are destined for big things if their debut EP 'Metal & Dust' is anything to go by. I first came across the group in Brighton, performing as the support act for Tom Odell at The Haunt and I was instantly blown away by their sound, which is kind of a mix between the vocals of Lana Del Rey and the production of the Xx. Support acts are of course hit and miss but London Grammar's raw talent shone through, despite it only being their second live performance to date. As soon as I got home, I immediately downloaded their EP 'Metal & Dust' and now I can't wait for a full album from the London based trio. In the meantime, check out my review of their four-track debut and make up your own mind.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Beyonce's New Pepsi Commercial 'Mirrors' Is Here...But How Does It Compare To Other Classic Pepsi Ads?


It's been a while since we've heard from Mrs Carter but she's back with a brand new Pepsi Commercial and it's pretty amazing! Beyonce has never looked better as she dances in front of a set of mirrors, revisiting some of her most iconic looks from promos including 'Bootylicious', 'Crazy In Love' and 'Single Ladies'. I love how the ad pays homage to Beyonce's career up to this point yet still looks forward with a brand new Timbaland produced song called 'Grown Woman' included as a teaser. The song sounds great, taking Beyonce's music into a new direction and it's a perfect preview for the singers upcoming album. See what you think below.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Big Reunion Series 2 - Who Should Be In It?


I'm not ashamed to admit it. I bloody loved 'The Big Reunion'. Sure Steps did it first last year, but the idea of seeing all those old bands reunite for one last gig made for seriously addictive television. I had grown up with each of the bands selected so even if I didn't like them, I was still entertained to get a glimpse behind the scenes at how the groups had broken down in the first place. There was also a warm fuzzy nostalgia hearing some classic pop songs from yesteryear. Half of them were crap of course but it was surprising to see how many hits from bands like Liberty X, Honeyz and Blue actually stood the test of time. Even bands that I didn't like the first time round, like Five and 911, were actually better than I had remembered. 

The show was a massive success and that one-off gig exploded into an entire sell-out tour, so I bet the producers at ITV2 are keen to replicate their success with a follow-up season. But who would make it onto the roster? Read on for some of my dream picks!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Five Albums To Change Your Mind About Hip-Hop


Hip-hop is one of musics most misunderstood genres, despite it being one of the most commercially successful. For years, critics have maligned hip-hop for a whole host of different reasons, claiming that it incites gun crime or that there is no skill in rapping, but the truth is that hip-hop is an art form and just like any art form, the quality varies from genius to just plain awful. Of course, some of the accusations of misogyny, homophobia and racism are valid and I am by no means condoning that kind of lyrical content but it is wrong to assume that all hip-hop is like this. Just check out Macklemore's song 'Same Love' for its inspirational message about gay rights if you don't believe me. 

So you're not a fan of gangsta rap and its obsession with pimped out cars and bitches. Where do you go from there? For me, great hip-hop is poetry that reflects the time and society in which it is created. Check out the five albums listed below to explore a range of issues including feminism, religion and the US judicial system just to name a few. And even if these albums don't make you an instant hip-hop fan, I hope that they will at least help you see that there's more to the genre than just money and pointless swearing.   

Monday, 1 April 2013

The Paperboy - A Flawed Masterpiece?


'The Paperboy' is just one of those films. Straddling the middle ground between crowd pleasing thriller and pretentious arthouse fare, Lee Daniel's latest may alienate most audiences but that just means they're missing out on what may be one of the most original and exciting films to hit cinemas in a long time. Many panned it upon its initial release but 'The Paperboy' has since picked up many positive reviews by critics who argue that the film deserves to be re-evaluated as a homage to the exploitation genre, rather than just a trashy 70s style film with no real substance. 'The Paperboy' is not perfect by any means yet I'm sure it's destined to become a cult classic in years to come. It's also a fantastic excuse to see Zac Efron in his pants, just so you know.