Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next Review

This is Ariana’s second album in under 6 months. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this might mean the quality of the album wouldn’t be up to scratch compared to those she has spent more time on. She’s managed to make 2 albums in such a short space of time; her last was one of the best of 2018, this will probably be on year-end lists this time around.

The singles in the lead-up to this album were all up to her usual standard, with the title track being one of her most commercially successful to date, and it’s not hard to see why.

 

NASA and Bloodine are examples of what Ari does best; Confident, catchy pop tracks with great vocal performances & infectious hooks. ‘Thank U, Next’ has her strongest vocals to date throughout; keeping those breathy tones that make her voice distinctive but proving she has real vocal power. This is a more confident Ariana than we saw on Sweetener, with this being a completely solo effort with 0 features at all; quite apt for an album with self-love as one of its main themes.

‘Ghostin’ is one of the strongest cuts on the album; really showcasing Ariana’s voice with haunting, soft strings and spacious production. ‘Make Up’ is a bit of a forgettable track, and sounds like a left-over from her previous effort.

The album’s closer ‘Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored’ has the difficult task of following big singles ‘7 Rings’ and the title track, and it doesn’t quite fit in with the flow in the tracklisting,& would have been much better suited to the middle of the album if anywhere, it’s a rather generic trap-inspired song that doesn’t amount to much at all; ‘ Thank U, Next’ would have been the perfect closer.

Overall, ‘Thank U, Next’ is a very solid pop album that should ensure Ari’s place at the top of pop for the time being.

80%

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The Lego Movie 2 Review

The sequel to the surprisingly good Lego Movie builds (haha) on the original in every way; it’s still charming, funny and beautiful and feels like a proper sequel with a real story to tell rather than a money grab (Looking at you, Ralph.)

In The Lego Movie 2, we are shown a post-apocalyptic version of the city from the first film, now fittingly dubbed ‘Apocalypseburg’, where everything is decidedly not awesome after it was viciously attacked by Duplo creatures from the Sis-tar system.  Batman, alongside Lucy & the gang, is abducted so he can be married to Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (brilliantly voiced by Tiffany Haddish), and it is up to Emmet to save him from the Sis-tar system. Along the way, Emmet meets Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Chris Pratt) who attempts to get Emmet to toughen up his act so he can take down the evil Queen.

The extended voice cast is brilliant again, with the likes of Richard Ayoade, Ralph Fiennes and Jason Momoa popping up throughout, and there are plenty of off-the-wall cameos too.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have done it again with the story; the big twist in the plot actually got me, all of the new characters are great and likeable and the way they implement the real world into the narrative really works, and really plays with your emotions. This time the screen is not overloaded with pop-culture references but the ones that are here are genuinely, funny and have more impact.

80%

Venue Talk: Polo on Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

I spoke to Leeds based trio Doe about their favourite live venue, which is Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club. They recently released catchy new single ‘On My End’; read why they like the Brudenell so much below!

Why do you like it so much?

Intimate, pretension free atmosphere with the best sound, the best selection of up and coming music and a great selection of beer.  Always has a friendly and engaged crowd, and its universally considered one of the best venues in the country. 

Have you ever played there?

Yes, we’ve played there a few times, always a treat. Leeds is our home town and we’ve had the chance to support some incredible bands there, plus host a few of our own shows. There is a new, second room there now too, which sounds just about as good. Although you can’t beat the Brudenell main room…
Who else have you seen there?
We have seen a great selection of bands there, a few of our favourites being Porches, Japanese Breakfast, Mitski and Big Thief.
 

Facts About The Brudenell:

  • The Social club was established December 8th, 1913
  • Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand, The Cribs, Four Tet and The Fall have all played at the Social Club.
  • It is a community ‘non profitmaking’ venue, that holds charitable status.
  • Photography, Film and even Origami groups meet up at the Brudenell.

The Social Club have upcoming shows from Andy Burrows, Queen Zee, Doe, She Drew The Gun and The Orielles. Visit http://www.brudenellsocialclub.co.uk/whats-on to see all of their upcoming events!

Nina Nesbitt – The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change Review

This is Nina’s second album, and it’s been a long time in the making. With a myriad of record label troubles and other issues plaguing her path so far, it must take someone tough to come through and eventually put out an album, especially one like this.

‘The Sun Will Come Up..’ is a focused, brilliantly produced pop album with Nina’s crisp, controlled voice and new found confidence cutting through each and every song.

‘Is It Really Me You’re Missing’ is an honest, open point on the album that shows off Nina’s Voice with minimalist production and a soft piano backing, and the title track which closes the album is another example of great storytelling by Nina.

The run of tracks from ‘The Moments I’m Missing’ through to ‘Somebody Special’ show the quality of the songwriting on show here; most of the tracks here feel like they could be singles but the album still flows very well as a whole.

A great album that shows real promise for the future from Nina.

85%

Green Book – Movie Review

Green Book is a movie about master pianist Don Shirley and how he negotiated a tour of the deep south of the U.S.A in 1962. Don is played by Mahershala Ali, and his newly recruited driver/road manager Viggo Mortensen. The two of them are simply brilliant on-screen together.

Green Book is nominated for several Oscars, and it’s clear to see why. It manages to be funny, charming and tackle the issue of segregation in the deep south without the movie ever becoming too preachy or patronising to the viewer. The titular Green Book is

Both Viggo and Mahershala shine in their respective roles and are fully believable as their characters. The surrounding cast are also brilliant, with none of the characters seeming one-dimensional or shoehorned in; you can believe everybody shown has their own story.

Throughout the film, you witness Tony Lip’s character development while seeing Dr Shirley slowly warm up to his ways, and this slow-burn friendship is genuinely heartwarming, and seeing the chemistry between the two characters grow is the real heart of Green Book.

A truly great movie.

95%

Bring Me The Horizon – amo Review

‘amo’ is the latest album by Sheffield, their first since 2015’s ‘That’s The Spirit’. It’s a varied but focused project that’s miles away from their much heavier beginnings, but this shows a band who aren’t afraid to take risks. I think they paid off.

Lead single ‘MANTRA’ is still as punchy and vital as when it first dropped a few months ago, with it’s personal, timely lyrics about mental health and instantly infectious guitar hook, it’s the one of the best songs they’ve ever written, not a bad start.

‘nihilist blues’ features Grimes. The existence of this collab is enough to turn heads in itself, and the track will probably do the same to long-time fans. A heavy dance number with vocals from Grimes alongside Oli sounds wildly different to Mantra on first listen, but in the context of the whole album it just works.

Tracks like ‘in the dark’ and ‘ wonderful life’ are two more cuts that contrast eachother in terms of heaviness but the great songwriting and production really tie everything together here, with even the glitchy instrumental tracks like ‘ouch’ and the very poppy ‘medicine’ all slotting in perfectly. There are touching moments on the album too, with ‘mother tongue’ and ‘i don’t know what to say’ seeing Oli really opening up about subjects like grief and love.

They took some big risks and have taken a lot of slack for changing their sound, but ‘amo’ is a great album, no matter what genre it is.

90%

 

Vice – Movie Review

Christian Bale stars as Vice President Dick Cheney in a movie that manages to be genuinely funny, while still openly angry and dismayed at it’s main star.

The whole cast put in brilliant performances, with the central couple of Christian Bale and Amy Adams as Dick and Lynne Cheney being exceptional, alongside Sam Rockwell being perfect as George W Bush.

Vice is a very angry movie, (rightly so) but it funnels this anger at times through humour and light-heartedness, meaning some of the cuts between scenes almost give you whiplash; at one moment you’re laughing at witty text on the screen then suddenly you’re looking at graphic scenes of torture.

The way the story of Dick is told is very clever; I was gripped throughout – from his early alcohol troubled years all through his rise to become the most powerful Vice President in history, and it was very interesting and disheartening to see how he manipulated and took advantage of those around him to gain more power.

A must-see for anyone remotely interested in politics, and it might be even more important for those who aren’t.

85%