Pick of the Year: 2007

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  1. Jojo – Too Little, Too Late
  2. Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good
  3. Mika – Grace Kelly
  4. Fray – How to Save a Life
  5. Keane – A Bad Dream
  6. Take That – Shine
  7. Bowling for Soup – High School Never Ends
  8. Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around Comes Around
  9. Fergie – Glamorous
  10. Pink – Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)
  11. Hilary Duff – With Love
  12. Ciara – Like A Boy
  13. Timbaland – Give It To Me
  14. Linkin Park – What I’ve Done
  15. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
  16. Hellogoodbye – Here (In Your Arms)
  17. Jojo – Anything
  18. Rihanna – Umbrella
  19. Twang – Either Way
  20. Kelly Rowland – Like This
  21. Fray – Over My Head
  22. Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry
  23. Kate Nash – Foundations
  24. Timbaland – The Way I Are
  25. Robyn – With Every Heartbeat
  26. Kanye West – Stronger
  27. Gym Class Heroes – Clothes Off
  28. Matchbox 20 – How Far We’ve Come
  29. 50 Cent – Ayo Technology
  30. Shayne Ward – If That’s Ok With You
  31. Enrique Iglesias – Tired of Being Sorry
  32. Britney Spears – Gimme More
  33. Take That – Rule The World
  34. Backstreet Boys – Inconsolable
  35. Robyn – Handle Me
  36. Craig David – Hot Stuff
  37. Chris Brown – Kiss Kiss
  38. Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music
  39. Leon Jackson – When You Believe
  40. Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup
  41. Bowling for Soup – When We Die

JustSO release debut album

‘All music is escapism for me, but I like the way that, on a good night, that sense of escapism can be shared’ – Jamie xx

One of the best parts of my job is being able to talk passionately about things I love and discovering new music has always been a great love of mine. Writing this blog has given me many amazing opportunities, and none more amazing than being offered the opportunity to work as press officer for local North East rock band The Longsands after they read a review I wrote of one of their gigs. It helped that I was mates with them at school of course; having an already established relationship made the job so much easier and it was a dream come true for me.

Guitarist from The Longsands Stan had always had a side project in JustSO, a more laid back acoustic offering with vocalist Olivia Morley which he managed concurrently with The Longsands but when the boys decided to call it a day in 2017, Stan moved forward with JustSO and started recording their own material rather than just relying on a popular wedding band repertoire.

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They’ve now just released their first self titled album full of original material and although it couldn’t be more different from The Longsands back catalogue, on just first listen it sounds like a perfect laid back pop album.

The change in direction (for Stan at least) is a refreshing change of pace and his distinctive voice shines through as he shares 50% of the vocals. As soon I heard his guitar kick in I instantly thought ‘there’s Stan’. His voice melts like butter with Olivia’s who although may vocally lack the power of Beyonce or Adele, she certainly more than makes up for it in soul and reminds me of some of my favourite female singers from the 90s like Paula Cole and Jewel.

The album is track after track of polished classy radio friendly hits with a distinct modern americana vibe. Stand out track from me is Stay, which could have been pulled straight off the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack and believe me when I say I hold the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack in very high esteem!

History hasn’t been too kind to male/female bands however I think JustSO manage to pull off the musical credibility of Fleetwood Mac (without being too mumsy) and the energy of The Beautiful South (without being a bit rubbish). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you heard them on radio 2 in the very near future!

Download the album from amazon and find out more about the band on their Facebook page.

Gig Review: Jaret Reddick Heartache & Hilarity Tour

‘It’s cool to meet your idol’ – Meg White

It’s safe to say Dave and I have quite varied musical tastes and provide very little overlap. In fact if you drew a venn diagram of what we listen to it would look something like this:

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So of course when Jaret Reddick, Bowling for Soup front man announced that he was doing a solo tour, you can bet your sweet ass we were getting tickets. Before I go into a review of the gig let’s rewind slightly to earlier in September and me bored on a train to Eastbourne. Idly scrolling though my instagram feed and I see that Jaret is asking people to post pictures of themselves doing their best ‘Jaret Faces’ to win 4 VIP tickets to a gig of their choice. Now, it’s 6 hours to get from Newcastle to Eastbourne, (it’s literally the other end of the country you know) so to pass the time I thought i would post a picture of me and Emma (also a massive BFS fan) pulling our best Jaret faces:

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And then I forgot all about it. Until 7am on a Tuesday morning when  I woke up and checked my phone as I always do and saw that Jaret had tagged me in something. My sleepy blonde brain instantly though ‘oh the winners of that competition must be announced, bet I didn’t win’ then I though, hang on a second, he wouldn’t be tagging me in if I hadn’t won right? RIGHT? Our drunk mugs had only bloody won! Now our drunk mugs (along with Dave and my Dad) were off to meet the great man himself!

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Despite a few rokc n roll admin issues surrounding the Meet & Greet (it started early so we showed up a little late) we were let into the venue and ushered through to say hello and have our pictures take with Jaret. I know people say you should never meet your idols however he couldn’t have been more lovely, he happily posed for pictures with us and loved the story I told him about my dad introducing me to the band, he then went on to suggest my dad have a commemorative tattoo from the onsite tattooist (that was clearly the ‘hilarity’ aspect of the tour title).

We had a few drinks and watched the Lounge Kittens who were supporting – definitely worth checking out for their mashup of 80s cartoon theme tunes alone. We also had chance to practice our kazoo work – something we were given by Jaret to join in with when he played 1985.

I’d seen Jaret and Erik so a solo acoustic tour back in 2010 which isn’t something I thought could be topped however I think this may have even been better (sorry Erik!). Jaret, in my opinion, has never sounded better and I love the laid back vibe of gigs like this and takes me back to the old Storytellers series that used to be on VH1. We’ve all heard the songs of our favourite bands but it’s a unique experience to also hear the stories behind them. It helps that Jaret is a natural storyteller, the right amount of ernest and witty (unlike a lot of Americans he seems to get British humour) and had the audience hanging on his every word.

The highlight of any BFS tour for me will always be the inclusion of Turbulence which is a song I listen to on a weekly, if not daily basis and particularly if i’m having a tough time. It’s the musical incarnation of the phrase ‘this too shall pass’ and that’s something I regularly need reminding of.

Set list wise I couldn’t have asked for much more. I’m naturally more drawn to the more sentimental serious ballads of their back catalogue, being the lyrics girl that I am, and they’re the songs that lend themselves better to an acoustic show. Hearing Where to Begin live was pretty monumental for me as after Turbulence it’s my second favourite BFS song, however it’s always super cool to hear Girl All the Bad Guys Want and The Bitch Song song acoustically too.

Bowling for Soup are such an important band to me, my family and friends and what a pleasure it was to meet such an honest, friendly humble guy. Never meet your heroes? Poppycock! I’m so pleased we got the opportunity to meet ours. Even if our kazoo skills still need a bit of work.

Pick of the Year: 2004

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  1. Kelis – Milkshake
  2. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
  3. Maroon 5 – Harder to Breathe
  4. Snow Patrol – Run
  5. Blazin Sqaud – Here 4 One
  6. Busted – 3am
  7. Keane – Somewhere Only We Know
  8. Luther Vandross – Dance With My Father
  9. Lemar – Another Day
  10. Britney Spears – Toxic
  11. Kylie Minogue – Red Blooded Woman
  12. Blink 182 – I Miss You
  13. Enrique Iglesias – Not In Love
  14. B2K – Badaboom
  15. Usher – Yeah
  16. Will Young – Your Game
  17. JC Chavez – Blowin Me Up
  18. Streets – Fit But You Know It
  19. Natasha Bedingfield – Single
  20. Jay-Z – 99 Problems
  21. 411 – On My Knees
  22. Gabrielle – Stay The Same
  23. Kristian Leontiou – Story Of My Life
  24. Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done
  25. Mario Winans – I Don’t Wanna Know
  26. Brandy – Talk About Our Love
  27. Freestylers – Push Up
  28. Black Eyed Peas – Let’s Get It Started
  29. Shaznay Lewis – Never Felt Like This Before
  30. J-Kwon – Tipsy
  31. Ananstacia – Sick and Tired
  32. Mousse T – Is It Cos I’m Cool
  33. Kanye West – Jesus Walks
  34. Girls Aloud – Love Machine
  35. Beverley Knight – Not Too Late for Love
  36. Lucie Silvas – What You’re Made Of
  37. Bowling for Soup – 1985
  38. Destiny’s Child – Lose My Breath
  39. Steriogram – Walkie Talkie Man
  40. Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For
  41. Band Aid 20 – Do They Know It’s Christmas 

Pick of the Year: 2003

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  1. Black Eyed Peas – Shut Up
  2. Lemar – Dance With U
  3. Robbie Williams – Come Undone
  4. Zoe Birkett – Treat Me Like a Lady
  5. Matchbox 20 – Unwell
  6. Justin Timberlake – Rock your Body
  7. Melanie C – Here It Comes Again
  8. Black Eyed Peas – Where Is The Love?
  9. Appleton – Don’t Worry
  10. 50  Cent – In Da Club
  11. Lumidee – Never Leave You
  12. Britney Spears – Me Against The Music
  13. Matchbox 20 – Bright Lights
  14. Gary Jules – Mad World
  15. Christina Aguilera – Fighter
  16. Will Young – Leave Right Now
  17. DMX – X Gon Give it To Ya
  18. Outkast – Hey Ya!
  19. Mis-teeq – Scandalous
  20. Jamelia – Superstar
  21. Beyonce – Crazy in Love
  22. Fatman Scoop – Be Faithful
  23. R Kelly – Ignition (remix)
  24. The Darkness – I Believe in a Thing Called Love
  25. Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots pt 1
  26. Tatu – All The Things She Said
  27. Big Brovaz – OK
  28. O-Town – These Are The Days
  29. Eminem – Sing for the Moment
  30. Missy Elliott – Gossip Folks
  31. Eve – Satisfaction
  32. David Gray – Be Mine
  33. Jay-Z – Excuse Me Miss
  34. Triple Eight – Knockout
  35. Girls Aloud – No Good Advice
  36. Bon Jovi – All About Lovin You
  37. B2K – Girlfriend
  38. Michelle Branch – Are You Happy Now
  39. Eminem – Business
  40. All American Rejects – Swing Swing

10 of the Best: Modern Music Documentaries

‘I think documentaries are the greatest way to educate and entire generation that doesn’t often look back to learn anything about the history that provided a safe haven for so many of us today’ – Steven Spielberg

Some Kind of Monster (2004)

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Metallica seem to go into a tailspin after bassist Jason Newstead quits so they decide to go into group therapy to try and work through their problems. It’s clear from the beginning they have some serious issues. lead singer James Hetfield is an utter control freak, insisting that nothing is recorded or even discussed without him being present. This clearly winds up the rest of the band, particularly drummer Lars Ulrich and they clash frequently. Things become even more tense when Hetfield enters rehab for alcoholism and the bands future is put on hold for an uncertain amount of time. The fact they got Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) in to be interviewed and having him bitterly insist that he’s not at all bitter is entertaining and highlights the dysfunction from really early on. An absolute classic music rock doc that has since become the benchmark for all films of this type.

I’m Going To Tell You A Secret (2005)

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Lady M has done quite a few tour docs over the years and Truth or Dare and The behind the scenes footage from the Sticky & Sweet Tour DVD are also worth a watch. For some reason though this one is my favourite. Filmed by acclaimed video director Jonas Åkerlund and follows the entire Re-Invention tour from dancer audition through to the final show. There’s no doubt at all that Madonna runs the entire show, what she says goes no matter how playful and flippant she tries to come across as however much I never want to be in the same room as her there is something that makes her absolutely fascinating. Seeing her with her hen husband (Guy Richie) and kids (Lola and Rocco) is sweet and certainly seems to have been genine affection between the couple at time, which I guess makes it even more interesting. I saw her live in 2012 on the MDNA tour which was spectacular so seeing how such a large scale production comes together is a must for any pop music fan.

Shut Up and Sing (2006)

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Following the the aftermath of Natalie Maines’ now infamous comment that she was ashamed that George Bush was from Texas this follows that immediate fallout, the firestorm of hostility from country radio and the quite frankly disturbing comments from fans who claimed Maines should be muredered for her comments. The film follows the bands reaction to the backlash, how they are treated at subsequent tour dates in the Bible Belt States (people holding up banners saying ‘I, only here because I couldn’t get a refund’ and how they stand by each other through all the abuse they all get while they go on to record their next album and prepare to tour again. Some of the comments made by local news anchors at the time are shocking ‘they deserve to be smacked around’ said one but its inspiring how they refuse to apologise for expressing an opinion and how the majority of their fans do actually stand by them in the end.

Michael Jackson – This Is It (2009)

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I was destined never to see this man perform. Having been a lifelong MJ fan Janine and I snapped up tickets to see him the third week of performances in London. Then he cancelled the 1st week, so our week became the second week. Then he died. I’m SO pleased this film was released because I think it shut up all the critics for a while. Before he died there were rumours of ill health, which obviously his imminent death proved semi true, but looking at the footage, to me he looked fit and healthy and in great shape. What makes me so sad watching this film is seeing how brilliant the show would have been had they gone ahead. It shows, that personal life aside, what a true performer he was and how much creative input he had. He knows his songs inside out and knows how his fans want to see them performed. Let’s me honest, people either love him or hate him so this is very much a film for the fans. It’s such a great shame I will now never get to see him perform but at least with this film I can pretend for an hour or so!

Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful (2009)

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Shot to celebrate their 25 year anniversary and filmed in the run up to staging a free concert in Central Park in New York this is an interesting look into one of the worlds biggest rock bands. You don’t need to be a fan to stay interested; in fact if you’re not a fan Jon Bon Jovi’s maddening arrogance and pure douchebaggery will entertain you. For me it’s infuriating and quotes like ‘I’m the CEO of Bon Jovi inc’ and ‘I’ll be damned if I let the drummers wife tell me when I go on tour’ had me wanting to throw my laptop out the window. However the interviews with the other members are insightful, funny, articulate and touching. They make more than make up for Jon by coming across as genuine down to earth guys with genuine affection for each other. It’s also all shot in black and white so it’s all arty and classy and that.

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (2011)

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Follows the classic documentary format and proving that to move forward sometimes you have to go back. This film follows ATCQ from their formation in high school to their disbanding in 2008 and then just keeps going. All members are present and correct to give their side of the story and a plethora of classic hip hop artists wade in on one of the most iconic rap groups of my generation including The Beastie Boys, De La Soul. Pharrell Williams to name but a few. A Tribe Called Quest have always been one of favourite 90s groups and their debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm would be very close if not in my top ten albums of all time. The film does an excellent job chronicling their career, their penchant for creating ‘party records with a conscience’ but also the fractions within the group, particularly the clash of egos between Phife Dawg and Q-Tip. I guarantee watching this will make you nostalgic for a hip hop life pre-Kanye.

 Katy Perry – Part of Me (2012)

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I’ve never let it be a secret that I’m much more Team Katy than I am Team Taylor; there’s just something infinitely more likable than that blonde skinny drink of water. Whereas this essentially is a tour documentary movie (big woop) and it does start off that way, lots of glitzy high energy polished concert footage and screaming tweenagers. However it also does delve a little bit deeper as the film progresses and captures on camera the breakdown of Katy’s marriage to Russell Brand, which, I’ll be honest, is pretty heart breaking. How she manages to put a smile on her face and perform the night she gets ‘the text’ when he files for divorce I’ll never know. Of course many cynics will arguing that the emphasis put on her marriage to Brand was a away of selling the movie to gossip hungry celebophiles like myself, and that my be true, doesn’t make it any less interesting though!

Amy (2015)

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It’s really easy it sit and say that Amy Winehouses’ story is tragic and heartbreaking and sad while it is all of those things, what struck me mst about this documentary is that no one stood up and said ‘you know what, I could have helped her and I didn’t’. Everyone seems to blame someone else and that’s what I find saddest of all about the whole thing.  She was clearly extremely gifted from a young age and seeing archive footage of a young Amy singing with her friends is really interesting. It’s also a refreshing reminder that if you have genuine, bonafide talent, then that will always win out over a super polished, washboard abbed pop startlet. Amy always was a reluctant pop star, all she ever wanted was to sing jazz and as the story unfolds it becomes less and less a tale about a fallen idol and more and more an anti drug movie. Anyone who thinks popstars glamourise drug use should watch this film, ain’t nothing glamorous about it.

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)

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Lots of documentaries about fallen stars seemed to come out in 2015. This is the first documentary that the Cobain family have played any part in and the fact that Kurt’s mom and ex band mate Krist Novoselic are featured heavily throughout the film is testament to that. It doesn’t dig too deeply by way of explaining Kurt’s descent into drug use other than his parents split up when he was younger. As the film progresses though, Kurt meets Courtney and their drug use gets worse, some of the home footage of their life is truly shocking. Stories like these always fascinate me, bands seem to work so hard writing music performing in shitty bars just trying to make it, then when they do they not happy and just piss it all away on drugs and alcohol. Some of the poetry and raw demos that provide the films soundtrack gets quite shouty and annoying after a while but this is a must see for anyone who likes their rock stars damaged. They don’t get much more damaged than Kurt.

Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of (2015)

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I couldn’t have a music documentary list without including y favourite boys! This was filmed over a 2 year period from recording their In a World Like This album to the subsequent world tour to support it and all the drama in between. Having said that it’s more about reminiscing that it is a tour documentary and while it’s really interesting to hear them talk about all the legal troubles they’ve had, and how they coped being in a boyband when they really wanted to be rock stars, I can’t help but feel it’s nothing real hardcore fans didn’t already know. It would have been nice to hear more about AJ and Nicks drug and alcohol problems for example however it is a very interesting inside into the corrupt world of the 90s pop world and you learn how to say ‘will you give me a blowjob’ thanks to Kevin so, you know, it’s pretty educational!

 

Pick of the Year: 1995

‘1995 is missing buses, It’s walking 15 miles to see your love’ – The Radio Dept. 

Dad’s ‘Pick of the Year’ tapes were always a firm family favourite where he would make a compilation cassette of his favourite songs form that year. He stopped in 1992 however, when music got a bit too modern for him. It’s something over the years I’ve tried to carry on, and did for a while but, no one listens to CDs anymore and they don’t have the same impact as mp3 playlists. I’ve often thought about restarting it all from 1982 on my blog though just so I have somewhere to put them all for prosperity sake.

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The first rule of POTY is DON’T TALK ABOUT PICK OF THE YEAR, sorry, that’s the illegal underground fight club i’m part of.

The first rule of POTY is that you can only pick songs that charted in the top 75 in the UK. The second rule of POTY is that you can only pick enough songs that would fit onto an old C120 cassette (between 30-40 tracks). The final rule, one which I’ve imposed myself, is that you must include that year’s Christmas number 1 (highlighted in green)

  1. Oasis – Wonderwall
  2. The Bucketheads – The Bomb
  3. Def Leppard – When Love and Hate Collide
  4. Take That – Back for Good
  5. Blur – Country House
  6. McAlmont & Butler – Yes
  7. Bon Jovi – This Ain’t a Love Song
  8. Everything But The Girl – Missing
  9. Pulp – Common People
  10. Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise
  11. Human League – Tell Me When
  12. The Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You
  13. Seal – Kiss From a  Rose
  14. Scarlet – Independent Love Song
  15. Bobby Brown – Two Can Play That Game
  16. Take That – Never Forget
  17. Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone
  18. Ultimate Kaos – Hoochie Booty
  19. Diana King – Shy Guy
  20. Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know
  21. Montel Jordan – This Is How We Do It
  22. Madonna – You’ll See
  23. TLC – Waterfalls
  24. Brownstone – If You Love Me
  25. East 17 – Hold My Body Tight
  26. Alanis Morissette – Hand in my Pocket
  27. Janet Jackson – Whoops Now
  28.  MN8 – I’ve Got A Little Something For You
  29. Edwyn Collns – A Girl Like You
  30. Freak Power – Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out
  31. Wildchild – Renegade Master
  32. Mike & The Mechanics – Over My Shoulder
  33. Ali Campbell – That Look In Your Eyes
  34. Oasis – Roll With It
  35. Alex Party – Don’t Give Me Your Life
  36. Simply Red – Fairground
  37. Love City Groove – Love City Groove
  38. Shaggy – Mr Boombastic
  39. Dana Dawson – 3 is Family
  40. Livin Joy – Dreamer
  41. Michael Jackson – Earth Song