Will there ever be another huge music movement?

The 50’s was Rock N Roll. The 60’s was Psychedelia. The 70’s was Punk and the 80’s was Glam Metal and New Romanticism.

All those decades are known for certain movements in music. Memorable genre’s which had their own culture, lifestyle and fashion, ones you had to commit to and which encompassed periods of your life. They spawned huge bands; with Rock N Roll you had Elvis and Buddy Holly, with Psychedelia you had Jimi Hendrix, with Punk you had the Ramones and Sex Pistols, and Glam Metal saw Bon Jovi whilst New Romanticism produced Duran Duran. History documentaries are made about these decades and these bands and their careers are immortalised in books.

However, when you get to the 90’s and to the present day…no band really sticks out. No genre was prominent and there was certainly no movement like Punk. I guess you could say the genre of the 90’s was cheese pop, the kind of genre you only ‘like’ when you’re about 5 pints and 3 tequila shots down in the club. The 90’s was the decade in which music got ‘samey’, and this funk has seemed to carry on throughout the 00’s. Pop started to be manufactured, mass produced and had to follow exact guidelines in order for people to buy the records.

Music has gotten safe, even rock bands that are emerging from underground claiming to be ‘punk’ or ‘hardcore’ etc just sound like watered-down re-hashes of their idols. Pop music and rap music is sounding too ‘sugary’, following the same patterns and all using the same tactics to draw people in- a female vocalist in their late teens or early 20’s, normally collaborating with a half well-known rapper, and dressed in revealing, tight high-on-trend clothes that, lets be honest, you would only really see the Kardashians actually wearing out.

All of this begs the question: is there ever going to be another movement in music, or is this how it will be from now on? Stale and samey?

Radio and TV stations like Kiss and 4music only play the same ‘trending’ songs on loop, day after day and now focus on what is being streamed instead of physically bought. So, this doesn’t help new bands who are potentially bringing something fresh and interesting to break out into the spotlight and get the media attention they need. Grime was a genre that reared its’ head a couple of years ago, but that was forgotten about, with only Stormzy still carrying the torch. Outside of the mainstream, there is a vast dance music scene, which has a huge following, it’s own festivals and accomplished DJ’s/Producers- this has the potential to be a movement, so what’s stopping it? Answer: the media.

There could be a new movement in music again, if the media would break out of the cycle of only playing the same artists, the same songs of the same genre. The media needs to recognise that if this is how it carries on, music will have no life. It will just sound too manufactured. There will be no passion, no real message or drive for the artist to make the music, other than expensive clothes and lots of money. However, this might just be how the industry is going to go for the foreseeable future, because record labels, managers, media outlets etc, have gotten too focused on just producing what will sell and what will make them the most money. Their heads are way too high up in the clouds for them to see that their method of doing things is what is slowly causing the music industry to flat-line.

A new band needs to come forward and be that revelation that the music industry needs.

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Album Review: ‘California’ by Blink 182

As part of a new ‘series’ on my blog, where I review my favourite albums, new or old, here’s my review of Blink 182’s recent and Grammy nominated album, ‘California’.

It’s their first album in 5 years. It’s also their first album without co-founder Tom Delonge, with Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio) stepping in and taking his place. To say Blink 182 have made a few small changes as a band in those 5 years, since their last album ‘Neighborhoods’, would be putting it incredibly lightly.
They had been teasing a new album for ages, with constant rumours of being in the studio, yet no actual evidence of new music surfaced. It wasn’t until Matt joined (after all the drama with Tom and his subsequent departure back in 2015) that Instagram posts of studio rehearsals and snippets of album artwork appeared, fuelling the hype amongst fans.
Vocalist and bassist, Mark Hoppus, wanted the new album, ‘California’, to have influences of early Blink whilst maintaining a slight maturity that ‘Neighborhoods’ showed us- and that’s exactly what we got.
There are the anthems such as ‘Bored To Death’ and ‘Los Angeles’, then the 30 second songs- ‘Built This Pool’ and ‘Brohemian Rhapsody’- which are very much reminiscent of ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Happy Holidays, You Bastard’. It makes you realise that Blink 182 haven’t completely grown up, and maybe the sincerity of ‘Neighborhoods’ was ‘just a phase’.
‘Bored To Death’ was the first and lead single off ‘California’, one which showcased their musical talent with sing-a-long chants, spiralling guitar hooks and a huge chorus which captivates you on the first listen.
The two stand out tracks on California are ‘She’s Out Of Her Mind’ and ‘Los Angeles’- the former reflecting their ‘Enema of the State’ era, with the video being a hilarious remake of the video to ‘What’s My Age Again?’.
‘Los Angeles’ is one of those songs which evokes so much emotion; it has so many contrasting elements, from the quick fire verse to the chorus where Matt Skiba sings, ‘Los Angeles, when will you save me?’ so powerfully, it makes you want to throw out your arms and belt it out with him.
Admittedly, not all fans will love this album, as die-hards are still mourning the (slightly expected) departure of Tom, and this album does need to be listened to more than once, in order to completely understand the concept.
‘California’ is a pop-punk masterpiece, one that encapsulates the meaning of Blink 182 and what the band stands for. It took a while to get here, but this album will not bore us to death anytime soon.

Eat, Sleep, Rave, Sleep again

I’m pretty new to the whole dance music scene. I used to- back in my unfortunate emo days- poetically describe it as ‘shit’, with probably only listening to one song. To be fair everything back then was basically, if it’s not My Chemical Romance, then it’s ‘shit’. However, fast forward 5/6 years later and with a much broader knowledge of the music industry and a more open mind, I find myself at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester, for my first rave.

The event is Life In Color, a show which tours the globe with some of the biggest DJ’s in dance, hardstyle and techno. There is also the addition of paint cannons, a prospect I was excited about, until you end up freezing your tits off because the paint is very watery and it is also February. I ended up clinging to my boyfriend for his body heat.

On the line-up were some very respectable DJ’s: Third Party, Jay Hardway, Juicy M, Dannic, W&W, Nicky Romero and Chuckie. Of course I didn’t know who any of them were until tonight, and I feel like I should have listened to them more beforehand because after a while I couldn’t really distinguish between them. I can’t say that these people aren’t talented, the way they layer the tracks, adding effects and sampling, creating melodies that are unique to them as an artist. It is incredibly hard to do and I have huge respect for them being able to create music like that.

You’d normally associate a rave environment with people taking drugs left right and centre, beer being poured over your head and bottles of piss being flung through the crowd. But this different…I mean there were people there who were still undeniably off their heads, but the majority- including myself and my boyfriend- were just there to have a good time and party to some amazing DJ’s. Before the coldness of the paint set it I did full on go for it, losing myself in this new genre of music that was just partypartyparty non stop. You had to have so much energy for a rave, not like a rock concert where you could take a breather whilst you whacked out a lighter for a slow song.

The highlight of the night was Dannic, I did really enjoy his set and will be sure to check out his music in my own time. This has all been such a new and eye-opening experience, and once I listen more to this style of music I will be able to review a rave or a DJ set properly. As I said, raves are fairly new to me, but I am definitely going to another one. The feeling you get, just dancing and not caring about anything apart from the music in something you are starting to lose at gigs and rock concerts nowadays. Everyone is too concerned to catch it all on Facebook Live or Snapchat, which I think is sad. Just enjoy the night and make memories! That’s what I did at my first rave and I can’t wait for my next one, hopefully without the paint though this time.

Music In Manchester

Nearly 5 months ago I moved over 200 miles, from a tiny little village in Norfolk to Manchester, to study music journalism at BIMM university. I’ve wanted to be a journalist for over a year now. I find writing interesting, captivating, stories and bands careers documented on pages to last as long as the paper will hold them. I want to immerse myself in this crazy world of music, through TV, radio, or print. Music is beautiful, and it is powerful. To be in a city surrounded by so many different genres, and being able to experience them first hand is an opportunity I am so glad I gave myself.

I’m writing this to Green Day’s new album ‘Revolution Radio’, as I’m seeing them at Manchester Arena this time next week (6th February). I would have never been able to see them if I had stayed in Norfolk.

Whilst Norwich did have a good, growing music scene, it just seemed to lack that enthusiasm that Manchester has. Norwich bands only seem to try so hard before settling for being pub bands, or going back to their day jobs, letting dreams of making it ‘big-time’ fizzle out into nothing. One thing I noticed as well whilst studying at college there was that underground bands were predominantly metal, or some form of that particular…and they always seemed to just be…samey. Good, but after about 10 minutes or so, just boring as hell. But that is my opinion.

However, Manchester -admittedly at first glance just seems to be obsessed with Oasis, Arctic Monkeys and The Stone Roses- is richer. There are more layers, more metaphorical corners to explore. In the space of a few days I will be going to Victoria Warehouse to see 7 different DJ’s play, then to see Green Day. How diverse can you get? It is refreshing and invigorating to be around so many music venues that hold gigs for known artists as well as upcoming artists. Everyone is given a chance. Just down the road from my accommodation there is the O2 Ritz, Gorilla and Sound Control, where gigs happen almost nightly. It gives me so much excitement to be in the midst of all of this talent, being able to write about new bands who could potentially one day be as big as their inspirations, whoever they may be. I could go see a psychedelic 6 piece one night, and then a Nirvana-style grunge 3 piece the next. You would not get that in Norwich.

I have ambition. I want to be successful, do well for myself, have a good life and career. Now I finally feel like that can happen. Music is healing, inspiring and being here has given me the chance to expand my knowledge further, to go to events I wouldn’t be able to back in Norfolk. If I’m honest I wouldn’t be in the same mindset either; you have to be very open minded when being a journalist, of course you can still have your favourite band or genre, but basing all your work on different oasis-inspired indie bands all the time isn’t nearly as fun. I’m looking forward to growing as a writer and journalist, especially in a place as vibrant as Manchester, my new home.

Live Review: La Mode (+Ballamona and Maddy Storm)

The Night and Day cafe in Manchester is one of those hidden gems nestled in Northern Quarter, and the last place you expect to be packed out on a Tuesday night for a gig.

GENERATION MCR– an event put on by BIMM students, for BIMM students and reviewed by BIMM students.

First up are Ballamona, who seem nervous- expected given the huge crowd- and arrive up onstage heads down, slouching behind their guitars. They are very much reminiscent of early Foo Fighters and soaked with Indie that if you cut them open The Strokes would play, with the bassist having a Kurt Cobain style presence. A moment during the intro to the second song, the drum beat was so similar to The Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson yet then twisted and went into a smooth, safe indie rock song. It captivated you as there were so many styles all blended into one. The vocals are almost slurred, definitely trying to recreate that laid back, nonchalant feel generic indie bands have. However, you cannot fault Ballamona on their talent. You can tell they have a direction and sound they are happy with and want to move forward in. They are a very melodic band, the music and vocals blend together like coffee and cream. It’s always good to interact with the crowd, however you need to judge the timing , as you will lose interest from the audience. Unfortunately this is the only time Ballamona slipped up during their entire performance, but no band is perfect when they first start out. Credit to them as they did pick it back up, captivating the crowd again and holding onto them until the very end of the set.

Little Maddy Storm with the big voice.
A huge contrast to Ballamona, with her music having a very ambient feel, unlike anything I’ve heard before. Maddy Storm and her band grab your attention in such a different way to Ballamona, the music tricks you into thinking it will constantly be a gentle listen and then the volume rises and Maddy releases a teaser of her powerful vocals. Whilst the music is good, it is so chilled out and relaxing, I could have easily curled up on one of the sofas and drifted off to sleep. Maybe Maddy wasn’t the right choice to have on after an indie-rock get up?
There were moments throughout her performance when the (intentional?) feedback detracted the attention from her voice, making it a struggle to make out the lyrics. Despite this, Maddy clearly has potential to become a strong character, there’s already a glimmer of front-woman in her. Her music is unique, it’s fresh sounding, you can’t pin point one particular artist she sounds like, and the performance tonight shows she means business and is not your typical singer/songwriter. There’s ambition, emotion and drive behind her voice. She just needs to act like she owns the stage, that it is her place…and she will go far.

For the entire performance that La Mode gave all I can think about is how the vocalist looks and acts so much like Joey Ramone that it scares me. With her voice also sounding like a mash up of Axl Rose and Joan Jett, it’s a very confusing gig to watch/listen…and I think I like it?
Songs such as ‘Electric’ inject the crowd with energy, with their sound being similar to Ballamona- very indie, punky, more aggressive vibes, dripping with attitude. Their cover of ‘Woman’is incredible, and I feel that most of the bands musical talent shines through this song. As someone listening to it you can tell that they love it and have worked hard on that, to do the song justice. La Mode are a band you can picture playing in bigger venues already. They have that edgy aesthetic that appeals to the younger generation.
Now, audience participation can be the make or break of your gig, asking the crowd to clap and getting blank looks back is always awkward, yet La Mode seem to have the audience wrapped round their little finger. The crowd claps and hollars along to pretty much every song. Impressive.
It’s time for the instruments to mellow out now, and let the vocals fill up the Night and Day venue like smoke. That girl has some lungs on her. She shouts, roars and yells her way through the whole of the set, never faltering, maintaining a consistent power few female vocalists actually master.
It must be a euphoric sensation being able to perform like that, and to end the set to a full crowd cheering, clapping and begging for more is such an achievement. La Mode should be incredibly proud of themselves.

The Return of Blink 182

Today, the music world became electric with excitement, barely keeping a lid on itself. After nearly 5 years since their last full length album, Neighborhoods, Blink 182 have finally announced that their new album’California’ will be released on July 1st of this year. To get fans even more pumped up, they released a new single titled, ‘Bored to Death’, via their Facebook page. I listened to this right before writing this post, and I absolutely love it. ‘Bored to Death’ is very reminiscent of ‘Neighborhoods’, in the sense that it has a more mature vibe to it. They’re not singing about girls or sex or anything crazy like that, it’s them bearing their souls after such a long time and after a rollercoaster 5 years.

Of course, everyone by now knows that the Blink 182 who have come back, are not the Blink 182 from 5 years ago. There has always been a love/hate relationship between the Travis, Mark and Tom, something which has time and time again put a strain on the band. It seemed that, after Neighborhoods was released that everything was okay between the three of them again, yet it didn’t last this way for long. I began to wonder if Tom particularly wanted to stay a part of Blink 182 after seeing their Reading performance on TV in 2014. The vocals from Tom were…like he wasn’t trying that much to give a good performance. It sounded as though he was just speaking the words instead of singing them like Mark was, and there was no attempt to harmonise between them. It just felt flat. There was all this buzz about them headlining, and at first when I watched it I thought something was wrong with the sound quality, but as the performance went on, it was clear that Tom just wasn’t making the effort.

The reason why I was so disappointed was because I went to go see them in 2012 for their 20th Anniversary Tour, and all three members were incredible, pouring their everything into the show. So, only 2 years on to see that the spark had already fizzled out, I honestly thought that we were never going to hear new Blink music again.

However, 2015 comes around and this is the year where Blink 182 hot up again. Tom DeLonge leaves Blink after quite public disagreements with the rest of the band, and Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio guitarist and singer) is brought in as his replacement. Initially, long term fans were sceptical about having such a prominent member replaced as they saw Blink 182 as always being Mark, Tom and Travis. Although in a very short time, fans quickly warmed to Matt becoming part of Blink, and after listening to ‘Bored To Death’, it’s clear that his vocals suit the style that Blink are going for with ‘California’.

I am incredibly excited about hearing more news to do with this album, and hearing it in full when it comes out on 1st July. Hopefully the spark won’t fizzle out this time.

Fearless Vampire Killers: ‘Bruises’ Review

Formed in Beccles in 2008, Fearless Vampire Killers are a band who have come a long way and grown so much in terms of their musical ability and sound since their first EP ‘In Grandomina’. Made up of 5 members; drummer Luke Illingworth, bassist Drew Woolnough, guitarist Cyrus Barrone (aka Shane Sumner) and joint front-men Kier Kemp and Laurence Beveridge who both take it in turns to do vocals and guitar, they create songs rich in individuality and all joined together through a story that weaves through their albums. Both their debut album ‘Militia of the Lost’ and ‘Unbreakable Hearts’ are based on novels created by Laurence Beveridge, set in the fictional city of Grandomina, with themes of love, loss, war and -of course- vampires and the ‘Fearless Vampire Killers’.

However, ‘Bruises’ does not seem to follow that same pattern. This mini album has taken a more personal route, with the band members expressing emotions that they feel, not that their characters feel. The songs are more like anthems, filled with truth, and you can hear how passionate both Kier and Laurence are when they sing their respective songs. At moments the music and lyrics are so overwhelming it’s hard not to get emotional. These are different stories they are telling this time, ones from the heart, not the pages of a book.

It starts off with ‘Feel Alive’, a song which encaptures FVK’s sound and throws it at you with a jumpy verses and melodic chorus, showing Kier Kemps voice change from clean cut singing to a harsher shout/scream in the second verse. ‘Feel Alive’ has so much variety in it, from the simple muffled drum beat and guitar riff for the intro, to the slower bridge where the whole band joins in to sing the lyrics, it shows that FVK are able to pack different sections into a song without it sounding patched together and sloppy. It is certainly a powerful opening song, one that captures the listener and shows great promise for the rest of the album.

Promise that is lived up to. The next track ‘Stepping Stones’ is sung by Laurence, who has a more deeper, rawer voice to compliment Kier’s higher range. It’s one of many clearly emotional songs, with a stand-out chorus that gets the listener singing along to it. Again, the whole band joins in to provide backing vocals and harmonies, something that they pull off so well, and is evidence of how tight they are as a group. My favourite part of the song is when they chant the chorus, accompanied by a marching drum roll, as though to show that the ‘we’ in ‘We walk these stepping stones’, includes you as well as them.

‘Keep Smiling’ is in total contrast to its predecessor, with the intro sounding much more like the style of Green Day. It’s exciting, fast and catchy, and keeps the energy level of the album up high. It’s put together in the same way as ‘Feel Alive’, but this time in the chorus you have Kier singing the lead lines over the rest of the band who are singing a repeated section underneath. This does make it hard to hear what the lyrics actually are, therefore losing some of the songs meaning, but this is regained when it comes to Laurence’s spoken word speech. Putting something like this in a song can prove risky, yet Fearless Vampire Killers hit the mark.

‘Ok so this is the way I see it:
All you do is commentate
On what’s hot and what’s not.
What’s hip and what’s shit.
What means something,
And what ain’t nothing.
You’re a leaking spout of shallow observations
Based on half-arsed assumptions.
You’re spineless.
You don’t add anything to this world.
You don’t create anything.
It costs you nothing!
This cost us everything!’

The speech actually relates to the rest of the song, it’s not just in there for the sake of it. Laurence has something he wants to say and has been wanting to for a while, it seems. You can speculate who he may be talking to, politicians, record companies, celebrities, bullies… The main thing is, people can relate to it. It’s powerful. And these days you need power in order to stand out in the music scene.

‘Regret’ is a beautiful song. It’s one that really touches me personally, and is one of those songs that gets you thinking, contemplating. ‘I’m holding on to something, I’m holding on to this regret’. Everyone has a regret, it’s not something you can let go of easily, and Fearless Vampire Killers capture that feeling and put it into this song. It’s a song that is very stripped back considering how huge some songs were in ‘Unbreakable Hearts’, yet stripping it back lets FVK reveal themselves more and shows how much they’re still growing- how much they still have to offer.

Now onto the stand out track, ‘Like Bruises’. The first single off the album and the one which has it all. Lead in by a blinding riff that comes at you like a whirlwind, mixing together the deepest notes of a guitar with the highest, it spins around you with such aggression that you wouldn’t normally associate with Fearless Vampire Killers. You can tell this song is fueled by anger. Even the video which accompanies it tells the story of a relationship ending, and shows how your life can change from good to bad in a split second, with just one sentence, shown with the lyrics ‘Like Bruises on skin, words unspoken sink in’ and ‘All that I am is no more’. It’s actually quite hard to watch that video, and makes you want to reach out and make everything better again. Laurence almost spits out the lyrics when he sings the verses, before composing himself to sing the chorus, yet no emotion is spared as it reaches the ending of the song, as that monster of a riff comes back around to finish the song with a bang.

An audio clip of someone getting out of a car and walking to a house, knocking on a door plays before the finale of the album starts, ‘Aging Love’. It’s the song which hits home the most. There’s no glorified story surrounding it, and it’s clear what it’s about, ‘I loved you, but this can’t go on’…’Why is an aging love so wrong? You promised me we’d be forever’… It’s dark, haunting and full of pain. However the bridge goes off on a tangent, as Laurence tells us more of the story, and you have to listen hard to keep up with it all to get the full meaning. Yet this is overshadowed by the wonderfully melodic instrumental finish that wraps up the album in a huge FVK shaped bow.

This album is all about them, no dramatics, no characters, just them as they truly are. Each track is so carefully thought out and professionally produced, Fearless Vampire Killers are a band that mean business, they want to get their voices heard- now more so than ever. They put songs out that they truly believe in and I couldn’t see how anyone could doubt their creativity. The instrumentation is so technical; each riff is different, each track contains multiple drum sequences and all the harmonies are done with such precision. This band will achieve big things, I have no doubt about that. They will do it their way, and they will let nothing stop them.

Vicki Hicks

 

Bang That Gong…Glam Rock and Sexuality

Okay so this blog post is a little bit raunchy, but something I find so intriguing…have you ever read the lyrics of Glam Rock songs? Like, REALLY read them. If you have, then you will know what I mean. Some people may get a little bit of a shock, and those people are normally the ones who just idly sing a long just because it’s catchy. But now lets take a long, hard look into the lyrics of said songs, and discuss how the genre of glam rock had such a connection with sex and sexuality.

“Well you’re dirty and sweet, clad in black, don’t look back and I love you…’ “Get it on, bang a gong, get it on”– ‘Get It On by T-Rex, their biggest hit in the US. What’s it about? Sex. However, as the imagery is a little subtle (probably not in the minds of people today) most people didn’t realise the meaning of the song. “Get it on” obviously refers to getting ready to have sex, and apparently, according to the ever reliable source of Urban Dictionary, “Bang a gong” refers to hitting a womans sweet spot with…well, you get the picture. Even the grinding guitar riff in 20th Century Boy makes anyone listening to it feel alive and makes you want to grab someone and dance up against them. For some reason, Glam Rock flicks a switch in people, turning on that part of us most of us hide until the lights go off.

You can’t talk about glam rock and sexuality without mentioning David Bowie. Now, whilst he may have had a stint playing in the glam rock genre before drifting in and out of others, he really created an uproar concerning sexuality when releasing albums such as The Man Who Sold The World, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars and Pin Ups. His character Ziggy Stardust, was portrayed as ‘plastic’ and ‘bisexual’, although Bowie immersed himself so much in Ziggy that his fans and the media were unsure of his true sexuality, something that at the time was a huge deal. He wore make-up, had bright coloured hair, wore skin tight feminine clothes and the media wasn’t sure whether to love it, or stick to the gender roles that were so in place at that time and put so much negativity on him for daring to be controversial. At a concert, when playing the role of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie reportedly went down on his guitarist and acted out oral, in front of the entire audience. This, clearly, did not help with calming the media’s anger and confusing concerning his sexuality. It seemed that Bowie was more interested in wanting to create a shock value, get a reaction out of people, that the high musical/lyrical talent of his songs and albums were overlooked. (Research from http://www.highbrowmagazine.com/david-bowie-and-medias-obsession-sexuality).

The New York Dolls were a band which really went straight in with the cross-dressing, androgynous element of glam rock, wearing over the top drag-queen style make up and having hair so big it made Bon Jovi’s do’s look flat as pancakes. They wore bright colours that clashed and bold patterns and platform thigh high boots. A style which would become more prominent when glam rock evolved in the 80’s. In an interview on http://chicago.gopride.com/news/interview.cfm/articleid/101881, David Johansen says that ‘there was a big celebration of sex going on’ (in the 70’s) and that he ‘never dug sexless music’. The New York Dolls song ‘Looking For A Kiss’ had one particularly sexy lyrical section,

“Well I been looking for a real.. hot.. kiss
Come on, kiss me

You think it’s bad, but you know it’s true
So why won’t you just look here baby
When I’m looking for a kiss”

Until that point it doesn’t seem like a deeply raunchy song, then it hits you and that is what brought them and other bands like them attention. Glam Rock was a genre which allowed you to explore. Explore yourself, explore others and allow you to do things for the first time that were originally looked down upon. When I think of glam rock I visualise a technicolour, glitter filled haze with smoke floating up and the sounds of T Rex in the background, and every form of sexuality being tried and accepted. I would have loved to have been around when Glam Rock was at it’s peak, so I could experience all the things that were associated with it, to see T Rex, Bowie and Suzie Quatro live… However I don’t think it would be as tastefully sexual if revived today, if anything there would be more controversy than ever, but thats another blog post.

Vicki x

Genre Claustrophobia

Okay so this is something that I have felt before, come across in other people and generally been thinking about it a lot lately. Genre Claustrophobia.

‘The feeling that you are stuck listening to one genre because you feel as though you have to due to family upbringing or social surroundings’. 

Yes I made that definition up in my head HOWEVER- it fits doesn’t it? It makes sense to me and probably does for you reading this. This idea came about to me last night, as I was listening to ‘Bang Bang’ by Jessie J. I’m not gonna lie, I LOVE that song, and it lead me to listen to a bit of Beyonce and then onto Lady Gaga. I now have a playlist on Spotify of my favourite songs from them. Now I used to really like Lady Gaga about 5/6 years ago, but felt like I shouldn’t listen to her because my Dad was (and still is) into heavy metal, death metal, hard rock etc and my friends were discovering bands such as My Chemical Romance, Green Day and Fall Out Boy. I still adore all three of those bands and got into them very quickly, which I am glad I did even though I initially listened to them to try and fit in to the big social group in my high school (even though that didn’t go well but made me a better person which I am today).

When I was first getting into them I threw out my Lady Gaga CD’s (regret that now -sad face-) and stopped listening to chart/pop music and fully immersed myself in rock/metal, going through that awkward little emo phase and wearing a whole stick of eyeliner round my eyes each day. After a while I started to feel suffocated by how I felt like I had to listen to certain bands and certain genres within rock and I fell out of love with music for a little bit. I didn’t want to keep listening to heavy metal, I got tired of hearing the same song topics and competitions of who could scream the loudest and scariest. I didn’t get a kick out of it anymore. So I delved back into punk (see post ‘Tori is a Headbanger’) and through that discovered pop punk and the band Patent Pending (here’s a little YouTube video of theirs- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6D6j_e3FmE). I view this as the moment when my tastes expanded again, as their sound was much happier, fun and easy to listen to. Plus they are AMAZING live and genuinely lovely people. I felt the genre claustrophobia start to lift a little…

My next breakout was when I watched the film Rock of Ages. Oh that film…I have a very deep love for it and have seen it many, many times and I am proud of it. It is what got me into classic rock bands such as Poison, Def Leppard, Journey and loads of other odd songs here and there. Classic rock is comforting to me, and it gets me motivated, excited about things and wakes me up in the morning. It sounds different enough than normal rock or hard rock so it doesn’t feel like I am still stuck listening to the same thing. I also have a Spotify playlist especially for classic rock and I am not ashamed in the least.

So now we come full circle back to last night. I was not in the mood for any of my usual listens, and just really wanted to hear something that sounded fresh. Dancey. Upbeat. So cue Beyonce and Lady Gaga. I felt completely free from being stuck in one place, I realised that I can listen to anything I want if it makes me happy. I have that option to switch between FrnkIero andthe Cellabration to Beyonce’s ‘Crazy In Love’ and it has made me feel invigorated and enthused about music again. We are in a society where there are still those who will judge you for not listening to what they think is the ‘right’ sort of music (i.e any band they listen to), but if you look at the bigger picture, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO YOU LIKE IT SHOULD NOT DEFINE YOU. It should merely be one of the many interesting parts of you.

I hope this post makes sense to you and if you can relate to anything then that’s amazing. Don’t feel suffocated in one genre, its your life and you choose the things that make you happy.

Vicki x

First album

Okay so this week I’m going to talk about the first album I remember buying myself. Of course I’ve had albums bought for me as a child but I count this one as I physically picked it up and went to pay for it, under my own initiative. If that makes sense?

Anyway, my first abum was Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance, which I bought in 2010, a few months after it came out. I first got into My Chemical Romance earlier that year, and initially didn’t like them. However this had to do with just starting high school, and trying to fit into the popular groups, therefore convincing myself I liked pop music/chart music…which I knew deep down I didn’t. Then Dad started to listen to them, playing Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and The Black Parade on a regular basis, and I gradually began to like them. I remember the music video for ‘Na Na Na’ being released, and after watching it I said, ‘Oi Dad! That weird band you like have released a new video!’. After listening to that song and a few others, I grew to love the album and MCR in general.

The upbeat sound of Danger Days, with its electronic elements, commentary by Dr Death-Defying (aka Steve Righ? from Mindless Self Indulgence), and strong concept and story-line, all combined to make this (in my opinion) a perfect album. ‘Summertime’ was even played at my Nanna’s funeral, and now I listen to that song with reflection and memories of her. It’s pretty emotional. What I loved was that MCR still included an element of humour in this album, which is prevalent in the last track, ‘Vampire Money’. Everyone kept wanting them to make a song for the ‘Twilight’ franchise, which Gerard Way was not interested in, so made an anti-twilight song highlighting that people wanted them to make the song just to get the money.

Danger Days made me start to love music and get a real passion for it, giving me a whole new genre to explore, instead of forcing myself to listen to the commercially churned out chart music I thought I had to listen to. It lead to me going through different phases in the next few years, discovering new bands and following MCR in the last few years of their journey, even their World Contamination Tour, which I will write about in the next blog.

Vicki x