Top 20 Albums I Love (11-20)

Standard

Continuing on from my post yesterday, here are the rest of the albums I consider to be in my top twenty favourites.

Almost Here by The Academy Is…

220px-The_Academy_Is_Almost_Here.jpg

This marks the first album of band The Academy Is… who were one of the many Fueled by Ramen bands that dominated the alternative rock scene. At just over thirty minutes long, this bite sized album stepped apart from other alt-bands in the rise of the “scene phase” that gained popularity in 2005. William Beckett’s smooth vocals and powerful lyrics gave the band a steady foundation to build another two albums on. It might be far back in the music archives, but it’s one well worth listening to.

Songs to Love: All of them. There are only 10.

From Under the Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy

220px-Fall_Out_Boy_-_From_Under_the_Cork_Tree_-_CD_album_cover

The album that bought alternative rock to the mainstream chart. Fall Out Boy fell into the deep hole between Pop and Rock and built up an empire from the ashes. Although this wasn’t their first album, it was their first to make them household names and help them revolutionise guitars-and-drums musicianship.

Songs to Love: “Our Lawyers Made Us Change the Name of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued”, “Of All the Gin Joints in All the World”, “Dance Dance”, “Sugar, We’re Goin Down”, “Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year”, “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”, “XO”.

A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out by Panic! At the Disco

PanicAtTheDisco-FeverCover.jpg

Signed to Pete Wentz’s label, Decaydance, his prodigies went one step further than Fall Out Boy with the critically-acclaimed album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. This record defies genre or definition, at times feels like a concept album, and breaks the mould musically and lyrically. I don’t believe there has been another album quite like it, before or since. Another Fueled By Ramen alumni, along with Fall Out Boy and The Academy Is, Panic! (as their name is often shortened to) were standout musicians with this breakthrough record.

Songs to Love: The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage, London Beckoned Songs About Money Written by Machines, Camisado, Time to Dance, Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off, I Write Sins Not Tragedies, Build God Then We’ll Talk.

Like Vines by The Hush Sound

220px-Like_Vines

Hands up anyone who has heard of The Hush Sound? No one… well, that’s not really surprising. The Hush Sound were another of Fall Out Boy’s proteges, groomed in the same way Panic! At the Disco were, to make unique, and sometimes slightly odd, sounding music. They too were signed to Decaydance records and spawned three albums over their short lived time as a band. Like Vines was produced by Patrick Stump, who clearly gave it a little touch of magic, as it was by far their most popular.

Songs to Love: We Intertwined, Sweet Tangerine, Don’t Wake Me Up, Where We Went Wrong, Magnolia, Wine Red, Out Through the Curtain.

American Idiot by Green Day

220px-Green_Day_-_American_Idiot_cover

In a similar vein, Green Day’s American Idiot is unlike anything before or since. The social commentary concept album surrounding post-9/11 America and war ideologies went on to create the ground-breaking musical of the same name. Although at times the music is schizophrenic (see: Jesus of Suburbia), this album is really musical story telling at it’s finest, and on paper is simply poetry.

Songs to Love: Jesus of Suburbia, Holiday, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Are We the Waiting, Wake Me Up When September Ends.

Hopes and Fears by Keane

220px-Hpoes_and_Fears

Keane are my homeboys, from Battle, East Sussex, not far from where I live. These guys put East Sussex on the map and wrote and recorded their album in the area. They’re out claim to fame, and we’re so proud to see them win awards and sell records doing what they love. Their first album, Hopes and Fears, not only put them on the map but was considered among the best British albums of all time.

Songs to Love: Somewhere Only We Know, Bend and Break, We Might as Well be Strangers, Everybody’s Changing, This Is the Last Time, Bedshaped.

+ by Ed Sheeran

Ed_Sheeran_+_cover.png

Ed Sheeran was an underground star before he ever released his first album, but the commercial success of + put him on the map. All Sheeran uses is a guitar and loop pedal when playing live and everything else is down to him. He’s a true musician and this album is proof that whatever he touches turns to gold. (Or ginger.)

Songs to Love: Drunk, Wake Me Up, Small Bump, This, The City, Lego House, Kiss Me, Give Me Love / The Parting Glass.

21 by Adele

Adele_-_21

Who does not have a copy of this album? Who does not love Adele? I defy you to find a person guilty of both. Adele’s second album is a masterclass in how to write a breakup record and do it with grace, dignity and honesty. Need I say anymore? The album speaks for itself when I say it has sold over thirty two million copies world wide.

Songs to Love: Rolling in the Deep, Rumour Has It, Turning Tables, Set Fire to the Rain, Take It All, Someone Like You.

Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson

220px-Kelly_Clarkson_Breakaway_special_edition_cover

From one strong female to another, Kelly Clarkson’s album Breakaway was probably the soundtrack to every female adolescent. It spawned hit after hit and remains Clarkson’s bestselling album to date.

Songs to Love: Breakaway, Since U Been Gone, Behind These Hazel Eyes, Because of You, Gone, Where Is Your Heart, Walk Away, You Found Me, Beautiful Disaster.

4 by Beyonce

220px-Beyoncé_-_4.png

And from two strong ladies to another, it was difficult picking just one Beyonce album to feature, (not because they’re not all amazing, but because I’ve come to the end of my list), especially after she dropped her self-titled album as a complete surprise, fully formed with accompanying music videos. But 4 has my heart, as it’s the perfect blend of pop, r’n’b, soul, and a tonne of hits.

Songs to Love: 1 + 1, Best Thing I Never Had, Party, Start Over, Love on Top, Countdown, End of Time, I Was Here, Run the World (Girls).

That’s it, this concludes my list of top twenty albums I love. Let me know down in the comments if you agree or think I should have added a few more. Which one from this list is your favourite? Happy listening.

Advertisements

25 Facts About Me

Standard

Want to get to know me better? Want to know the facts behind the display picture? Here are twenty five facts about me.

y1G8cCRK

  1. In 2015, I read roughly 80 books.
  2. I’m left-handed.
  3. I can fold my tongue in half width ways. 1458657629148
  4. I am a Virgo, as are my mother and grandmother. (But I have a Cancer ascendant and a Pisces Midhaven.)
  5. I’m the opposite to Harry Potter. I look exactly like my mother but I have my father’s eyes.
  6. I have double jointed arms. 1458657247989.jpg
  7. My favourite authors are John Green, JK Rowling, Dorothy Koomson, Laurie Halse Anderson and E Lockhart.
  8. I have a record player, and I love to listen to my parent’s old LPs.
  9. My favourite era of history is the Tudor dynasty.
  10. I love scented candles, some of my favourites are cinnamon and caramel.
  11. I queued up at midnight to get my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  12. I am an avid fan of musicals. Favourites include, Billy Elliot, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, RENT, Sweeney Todd, and more.
  13. I am a published poet, and have been published in print and online.
  14. I love a band called The Maine and I am a huge fan of Paramore and Fleetwood Mac.
  15. I have a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Winchester.
  16. I wear glasses full time.
  17. I have written a novel titled The Last Four Years.
  18. I have two tattoos.
  19. I have visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, FL and the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford.
  20. I love journaling and scrapbooking.
  21. I have three piercings. My nose, my ear lobes and my labret.
  22. I am a Hufflepuff and a Ravenclaw. A Huffleclaw.
  23. I am a stationary fiend!
  24. I can play the drums and the piano to a basic level.
  25. I love to highlight, write in, deface and dog-ear my books. I say they’re well loved.

Hope you enjoyed these facts about me and let me know down in the comments if you want to see more.

My Top 10 Movie Musicals

Standard

The “movie musical” is a genre that has become increasingly popular over the years. With West End shows more popular than ever, it seems every director is jumping on the all-singing, all-dancing bandwagon. Recently, classics such as Les Miserables and Into the Woods have taken the leap from Stage to Screen starring big names like Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep. I’ve watched a fair few myself, taking pride of place in my illustrious DVD collection, so I’ll be ranking my favourites from ten to one. As always, I’ll only include films I’ve seen and can vouch for, and I’ll only include titles that have appeared on both the stage and the screen.

10

Sweeney Todd

MV5BMTg3NjUxMzM5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzQ1NjQzMw@@._V1_SX214_AL_

The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, AKA Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical. – from IMDb

The Burton/Depp/Bonham-Carter conglomerate has been a bit hit and miss (let’s not talking about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), but Burton definitely got a hit with his re-imagining of the Tale of Sweeney Todd. The cinematography is sufficiently creepy, with fantastic performances from Sacha Baron Cohen as Pirelli, Jamie Campell Bower as Anthony, Ed Saunders as Toby, and Alan Rickman (RIP) as Judge Turpin.

9

Les Miserables

MV5BMTQ4NDI3NDg4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjY5OTI1OA@@._V1_SX214_AL_

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker’s daughter. The decision changes their lives for ever. – from IMDb

One of the more recent movie-musicals to hit the screen, and one of the most incredible all-star casts since Love Actually. The only reason this film doesn’t chart higher on the list is because it’s so long! The stage musical itself is generous in length, but I often don’t watch the DVD because I don’t have time to watch it in it’s entirety. Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks give standout performances, and it’s interesting to observe these stars singing live, which has never been done in a movie-musical before.

8

The Sound of Music

MV5BMzQwODgzMTc5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjUzMjE2MQ@@._V1_SY317_CR8,0,214,317_AL_

A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower. – from IMDb

On paper, this film shouldn’t work. Singing nuns, seven children, clothes made out of curtains, yodeling, goats and Nazis! But there’s something familiar and warm about the Sound of Music, and Julie Andrew’s portrayal of the naive and feisty Maria. In my house, it’s practically tradition to watch this ever Christmas.

7

Love Never Dies

MV5BMTU4NTY2NzEwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjM4NjA2MDE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_

10 years has passed since a fire broke out in Paris – leaving only a mask behind… As the love story continues in Coney Island, NY. – from IMDb

This musical is my guilty pleasure. It seems like someone has turned Phantom of the Opera into a sticky soap-like fan-fiction, and is loosely based off of The Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth, the unofficial sequel to the original novel by Gaston Leroux. I’m not quite sure what Andrew Lloyd Webber was on when he wrote this musical, but there’s something beautifully bizarre that keeps me coming back.

6

Billy Elliot

MV5BODA5NTQwNzU0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDc4MTE1MzE@._V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_AL_

A talented young dancer has to learn to fight for his dream despite social and parental disapproval. – from IMDb

So this is a slight cheat here. Billy Elliot the original film had music in it, but wasn’t necessarily a musical. It was adapted to stage in 2005 and most recently, the live production was streamed out to hundreds of cinemas around the country, and was released on DVD. I’ve seen Billy Elliot in London four times, and I love having a piece of it to watch at home.

5

The Phantom of the Opera

MV5BMzkxMTk4NjI3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTgyNjA2MDE@._V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_AL_

A disfigured musical genius, hidden away in the Paris Opera House, terrorizes the opera company for the unwitting benefit of a young protégée whom he trains and loves. – from IMDb

Okay, slight cheat numero dos. I haven’t ever seen The Phantom of the Opera film starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum (can you blame me? I’ve only heard bad things), so I prefer to watch and listen to the 25th Anniversary Live performance with the Holy Trinity (Karimloo/Boggess/Fraser). I know some parts were tweeked from the stage version normally shown in London, but I really enjoy watching the Holy Trinity at their best.

4

Into the Woods

MV5BMTY4MzQ4OTY3NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjM5MDI3MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_

A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree. – from IMDb

This film was my most favourite of 2015, with another all-star cast, all of whom had fantastic voices and an imaginative reworking of Sondheim’s classic tale. Meryl Streep’s performance as the Witch particularly stands out, and Corden and Blunt’s chemistry leaps off the screen, perfectly complimented by Anna Kendrick as Cinderella. The list is endless for reasons why I love this film.

3

Rent

MV5BMjA3NTEwMDkyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDQ4OTYzMQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_

This is the film version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical about Bohemians in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love and AIDS, and the impacts they have on America. – from IMDb

This film was what kick-started my love for Rent. I know this ensemble doesn’t contain entirely the original cast, but having most of the originals there made it so much more special. The screenplay was also written by one of my favourite writers Stephen Chbosky who famously wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower (book and screenplay).

2

Jersey Boys

MV5BMjIyMjA2OTM0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzY2MTI2MTE@._V1_SX214_AL_.jpg

The story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. – from IMDb

My Jersey Boys obsession has been a recent discovery, as last year I saw the musical for the first time when it came nearby on tour. There’s something so electric and charming about these four guys and their dynamic that keeps their story timeless. The movie is directed by Clint Eastwood and instead of casting well known actors in the roles, Eastwood decided to cast actors who had played the roles on the stage, including John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for his performance as Frankie Valli on Broadway.

1

Mary Poppins

Mary-Poppins

A magic nanny comes to work for a cold banker’s unhappy family. – from IMDb

Mary Poppins is probably one of the greatest musicals ever written. Originally adapted from the book written by PL Travers, into the Disney Classic we know and love today. The story was then adapted onto the stage, starring a young Carrie Hope Fletcher, and closely resembled the book, rather than the sugary-sweet practically-perfect Mary that we were closely affiliated with. To me, Julie Andrews is at her best in this role and is my all time favourite movie-musical.

What do you guys think about my top ten? Have I missed any out? And do you agree or would you rather see a different film take the top spot? Let me know in the comments.

Top 10 Films of 2015

Standard

Going to the cinema is one of my favourite pastimes. So loved, in fact, that I have recently purchased a Cineworld card. I saw lots of films in 2015, some I had planned to see and some were spontaneous surprises, but which films made it to my short list? As usual, I will only list films that I’ve seen and can vouch for.

10

Far From the Madding Crowd

MV5BMTQzNjE5Mjk5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzQ3NDMwNTE@._V1_SX214_AL_

I was excited for this film for two reasons. One, Carey Mulligan. Need I say more? Two, I thoroughly enjoyed the adaptation of the adaption of this book… I am, of course, talking about Tamara Drewe, which was based off of a graphic novel, based off of the original book Far From the Madding Crowd written by Thomas Hardy. I wouldn’t say this film was my brand new favourite period drama, but it was certainly entertaining to watch.

9

Paddington

MV5BMTAxOTMwOTkwNDZeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDEyMTI1NjMx._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

Ever since Paddington THE MOVIE was announced, I had been on the edge of my seat waiting for a release date. I got even more excited when Colin Firth was announced as the voice of Paddington, and deflated when I heard he had parted from the project. Having seen the movie, and being blessed with hindsight, I can see that his voice would have been a bit too mature for an endearingly naive bear like Paddington. This film was always going to be a win for me, and even now I still wish I had my very own Paddington. (Although as long as he stays out of my bathroom, we’re alright.)

8

Pitch Perfect 2

MV5BMTk0Mzg4NDYyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTM2ODg2NTE@._V1_SX214_AL_

I don’t think this has ever been said before, but, I enjoyed Pitch Perfect 2 more than the first Pitch Perfect movie. There. I said it. The first movie for me was good but the second installment, of what will now apparently be a trilogy, was much more entertaining. I’m not sure whether it was the growth of the characters, the depth of the dynamic between the girls, or the rags to riches… to rags again, and back to riches, story of the Barden Bellas, but something about this movie did more than just click.

7

Cinderella

MV5BMjMxODYyODEzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDk4OTU0MzE@._V1_SX214_AL_

After the success of Maleficent, Disney’s announcement of more live-action-remakes made me feel a bit on edge. Disney had it so right with original animated classics, that a lot of them felt untouchable, but when Cinderella became first on the list, I felt warmed to the idea. Cinderella is the quintessential Princess story, but on review the original story seemed to lack depth, something which the new live-action-remake totally makes up for. We see more of a back story to Cinderella’s past and are blessed with a new moral-of-the-story mantra, “have courage and be kind.” 

6

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

MV5BNjQzNDI2NTU1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTAyMDQ5NjE@._V1_SX214_AL_

One of my most anticipated films of the year falls outside the top five? Yes, unfortunately it does. I wasn’t totally disappointed by the last film in the Hunger Games quartet, but I did have some problems with it. Another thing that I never thought I would say: it was too closely adapted from the book. Yes, I know that sounds ludicrous, and that’s what book-to-movie-adaptation fans yearn for, but the Mockingjay book was a complete let down for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books and the three films that were conceived as a result. I actually thought, dare I say it, the films were better, so my expectations for Mockingjay Part 2 were high, and unfortunately weren’t met. Having said that, I did really enjoy watching the film and it was really sad to have the series come to the end. I’m still in denial that there’s not going to be another Hunger Games film. Don’t touch me. I’m grieving.

5

Insurgent

MV5BMTgxOTYxMTg3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDgyMzA2NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_

Another one of my most anticipated films of 2015 was the second installment to the Divergent series. This set of books really got me well and truly into the dystopian funk and Divergent the movie was an absolute cracker. Insurgent, in my eyes, was a very strong but complicated book and I didn’t envy the screenwriters when the time came to adapt it. Trying to repack a book into a film is like getting a leopard to change it’s spots, and when the negative reviews for Insurgent came flooding in, I wasn’t totally surprised. However, I do feel as though all of the changes made in the translation were for the good of the story. They weren’t changing things just because they could, the writers tried to make a complicated book into a streamlined visual narrative. I admire their effort, but this film wasn’t up to the standard of it’s predecessor.

4

Inside Out

MV5BOTgxMDQwMDk0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU5OTg2NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_

I didn’t know about this film until my great friend GracieActually told me how amazing it was, and we took my Mum along to revel in the joy (literally) of this film. What stood out most for me was Joy and Sadness’ relationship, and how closely it mirrored my own relationship with my Mum. As many of you know I’m currently battling depression, so to see a character like Sadness be sad, and yet completely lovable and charming, was so amazing for me and my self esteem.

3

Paper Towns

 MV5BMjE2ODQxODMwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDY5NjY3NDE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

Picture the scene. I have just recovered from the emotional roller-coaster that was The Fault in Our Stars, and almost immediately afterwards it is announced that Paper Towns, another of John Green’s books, it due to be adapted to the big screen. Well, it took me a long time to stop screaming with excitement. Once again, this was one of my most anticipated films of the year and I was lucky enough to attend the Paper Towns Movie event in London ahead of it’s release and see twenty minutes of the finished movie before anyone else. I knew from those twenty minutes that I was going to love the movie, and when I finally got to see it in it’s fullest form, I was not disappointed. Many people said the film was “anticlimactic” which to me was kind of the point. Q had made Margo up in his head to be this wild and precious being, when really she was, in fact, a girl. The fact that the producers chose to end the film in that way, rather than have Q and Margo drive off to New York City as the sun sets, and keep the original themes of the book shows a massive step forward for future adaptations.

2

The D.U.F.F

MV5BMTc3OTg3MDUwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTAwMTkxNDE@._V1_SX214_AL_

Is it surprising that this is another YA book-to-movie adaptation? Probably not, but I actually didn’t like the novel The D.U.F.F written by Kody Keplinger. I gave it one whole extra star on Goodreads.com because I was SO HAPPY that someone had coined the term. I have spent my whole life feeling like I was The D.U.F.F and to potentially have some strong YA female bad-ass characters to commiserate with made excited. The book was a let down, but luckily the film was everything the book was not. Mae Whitman was the perfect choice for Bianca and Robbie Amell’s charisma oozed from the screen. He was the Wes I’d been waiting for, and his and Whitman’s double act type chemistry made this an amazing film.

This leaves the top spot, the number one film I watched this year, which was…

1

Into the Woods

MV5BMTY4MzQ4OTY3NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjM5MDI3MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_

Disney. Musical. Fairy Tale Retelling. James Corden. Meryl Streep. Emily Blunt. Anna Kendrick. The list titled “Why I Love This Film” is endless. When I heard that Sondheim’s classic Into The Woods was going to be made into a film, not just a film, but a film with an all-star cast, I was ecstatic. I had seen a version of the stage show that did not paint the story in a very flattering light, so I had high hopes for the film, and I was no disappointed. This film was so well crafted, with talented all-around performers and was nothing short of perfect in my eyes. It was everything I wanted it to be and more!

And that concludes my top ten list. Did you get a chance to see any of these this year? And did any of them make it to your top ten? Let me know in the comments down below what you think.