#AwesomeBoresome (Week ending 19/04/2015)

Apologies for being slightly late to the #AwesomeBoresome-ness this week. Blame this on the fact that I am currently fending off a sore throat and thus have the energy and attention span of a fruit fly.

Being slightly ill isn’t one of my #Boresomes though, but there are a couple of things that are. So after last week’s crayoning and weather inaccuracies, let’s see what I’ve been digging and ditching this week just gone…

  • #AWESOME – Olly Murs and Caroline Flack returning to ‘The X Factor’

olly-murs-and-caroline-flack-magic-fm

It’s fair to say I have always been a big old romantic at heart. This creates a few problems more often than not, in that, in real life and outside of this, I love seeing a beautiful partnership blossoming and developing into a ‘will-they-won’t-they-and-God-damn-it-they’re-so-cute’ type situation, and I become rather like Davina McCall when romance blossomed on the second series of ‘Big Brother’ between Helen and Paul (‘I LOVE YOU PAUL CLAAAARRKE!’ Who could forget? – I digress).

Step forward Ross and Rachel in Friends, Miranda and Gary in er, Miranda, and also step forward Carolly, or as they’re more commonly known outside of a group of flouncing Tumblr based shipping nerds, Olly Murs and Caroline Flack.

Even though it’s been the worst kept secret for like a fortnight since Dermot O’Leary announced his hug giving, head patting and Louis Walsh ribbing duties were to be no more on ‘The X Factor’, the rumours have finally been confirmed as true this week that after a two year break, the most beautiful telly partnership will be back for the show’s 12th series this autumn – this time, graduating from ITV2 to hosting the main ITV show.

Which hopefully means we will once again see the return of moments like this:

tumblr_mghh12KzQP1rul426o1_500

And this:

tumblr_static_tumblr_mej29ujv7c1qd9i2mo1_500

Oh and this:

82ab60d0-d535-11e4-a687-b18a7f9a7b53_CAROLINE-AND-OLLY

THEYREJUSTSOFREAKINGCUTESASHERHFHSDFHWHEBSHBHASDFGHJKL.

 

  • #AWESOME – Pringles forming a supergroup with Doritos (kinda)

It’s pretty much common knowledge that the king and queen of all moreish, crisp based snacks are Pringles and Doritos. So it was only a matter of time, we naturally wondered, before someone would combine the two, wasn’t it?

kelloggs+pringles

Well, as you can see above, that time, my friends, is now. Pringles Tortillas have been going for about a year in America and have now finally come to the UK – they’re in Tesco at the moment but we haven’t seen them anywhere else.

We gave two of the tubs a try last week – Original and Sour Cream – and let’s put it this way. If this takes off as well as it has across the pond, this is going to be crisps what McBusted merging was to pop music, they are that good. Yum.

 

  • #BORESOME – Apple Watch, The completely unnecessary launch of the

It’s true to say Apple’s been at the forefront of some of the most cutting edge and impressive technology in the last two decades. The iPod for instance: literally very good. The MacBook: also quite good (we are writing this on a HP netbook but that’s besides the point). Very occasionally though, they take complete leave of their senses and launch some complete and utter crap.

applewatch

You know there comes a point when even the most insane gadget loon holds their hands up and says ‘Hang on a minute, all I need my watch to do is tell me the time. That is, after all, what it is there for’. Having a hi-tech watch filled with gadgets and apps is fine if you’re James Bond or someone with more money than sense. Anyone else is either a fashion victim or a pillock. Or both. Hopefully this will tank thus before we all become mini versions of will.I.am.

  • #BORESOME – ‘Ninja Warrior’

uktv-ninja-warrior-11

ITV has launched more than a fair amount of Saturday night primetime turkeys in recent years. ‘Stepping Out’. ‘Red or Black?’. That awful ‘Stars in their Eyes’ revival with Harry Hill (and which has now been axed, thus meaning we’ll never get to apply to go on as Tom Fletcher. Damn you Harry). ‘The Nation’s Favourite Dish’.

And now joining that list is a show that’s basically the so-OTT-it-was-awesome ‘Gladiators’, without the spandex outfits or giant cotton bud things they used to batter the crap out of each other with. Basically, a not very good ‘Gladiators’ for the 2010s. Not even our beloved Rochelle Humes hosting on this can save this utter travesty of  a show and it’ll be lucky if it gets renewed.

Advertisements

5 songs by Mark Ronson that are better than ‘Uptown Funk’

markronsonartwork

Mark Ronson has long been a DJ and producer I have admired the work of for many years. But there’s a caveat. Just very occasionally, a record of his will be the most universally loved thing in the world and yet, without wishing to sound like a douchebag, I’ll be completely resistant to its charms. See: ‘Valerie’ with Amy Winehouse (largely because I preferred the Zutons’ original and the fact that every over straining X Factor auditionee for years afterwards labelled it as being a song by ‘Amy Winehouse’), and see also ‘Uptown Funk’.

On paper, his collaboration with Bruno Mars that’s already the biggest selling single of the year in the UK and US should have been something I loved everything about. And that’s the trouble: it is, but it’s just very predictable on both his and Bruno’s counts and for me, a real ‘Wow, that’s a good pop record’ moment should deliver and THEN some, which is what made say, Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ the defining pop record of 2014. And ‘Uptown Funk’ just doesn’t go anywhere after the initial excitement of the first two/three plays, and I’m not just saying that now it’s getting overplayed to hell.

To this end, I felt it my duty to write about some songs by Mark Ronson which I feel are probably amongst his best – in no particular order, rather off the top of my head.

1. SOMEBODY TO LOVE ME

From the album ‘Record Collection’, 2010

For all of his last album campaign five years ago, Mark went under the pseudonym of Mark Ronson and the Business International. It conjured up a grand total of three singles, all of which were total gems (we may come to the other two in question a bit later), but this was the best of the lot by a country mile. Featuring the vocals of both Andrew Wyatt, from indie electro combo Miike Snow, and Culture Club’s Boy George (and uncredited backing vocals from the literally very good Cathy Dennis), this is lush, ambient and just utterly enrapturing with a hint of vulnerability.

2. PRETTY GREEN

From the album ‘Version’, 2007

A single that never was from his million selling feted covers album, The Jam’s original was reworked into this frenetic, breakbeat inspired version featuring the vocals of Santigold prior to the release of her own (brilliant) debut album a year later. It’s a complete audio riot and it’s a shame this didn’t get more of the attention some of the other tracks from its parent album got.

3. OOH WEE

From the album ‘Here Comes the Fuzz’, 2003

Taking it right back now, this was Ronson’s very first single 12 years ago, and though more hip hop oriented then what was to come from him (it sounds not unlike something Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim might have knocked up on his lunch break c. his imperial phase at the end of the 90’s) it’s a deliriously catchy number that features raps from both Ghostface Killah and Nate Dogg.

4. JUST

From the album ‘Version’, 2007

Another cut from the album that was to launch him full scale into the charts, ‘Just’ was a cover of the old Radiohead track that purists and fans of the band seem to hate with every fibre of its being. However, Alex Greenwald, lead singer of US indie kids Phantom Planet put in a vocal turn that’d give Thom Yorke an equally intense, eerie run for his money.

5. THE BIKE SONG

From the album ‘Record Collection’, 2010

My final choice is, I’m aware, probably a bit of an acquired taste, but trust me on this one – once you accept this track as the total uncomplicated joy it really is you realise its genius. Featuring guest rap from Spank Rock and lead vocal from The View’s Kyle Falconer, ‘The Bike Song’ takes what lyrically, is about the mundane and ordinary and turns it into the fabulously quirky.

Click below to listen to my Spotify playlist with all my choices:

#AwesomeBoresome (Week ending 12/04/2015)

In what I hope to be a new feature on this blog, I thought it might be a cool idea to tell you a little bit more about what I’m enjoying and what’s really been irritating me this past week. I’m calling it *drum roll please*…

#AWESOMEBORESOME

That’s right. It’ll be a list of about two or three things each that I think are either awesome or boresome. I’ll wanna know your thoughts on these too, so feel free to leave a comment below or drop us a Tweet – it’s @ThePensmith10 on Twitter. So here’s this week’s #AWESOMEBORESOME

 

  • #AWESOME – Lawson’s comeback single ‘Roads’

lawson_600_lawson-pip_law_c2_254

Pop rock four piece Lawson have been away for nearly 18 months but they are now BACK! BACK! BACK! And what a veritable thrill it is to have them back. I interviewed them nearly two years ago during my time as a writer for the short lived online pop mag AMAZEPOP – it was a great interview and we all laughed/debated the greatest boyband songs of the last fifteen years and the merits of service stations within radius of the M25 – and I have seen them live a couple of times since so can testify what a great band they are.

Having played a handful of low key comeback shows week before last, they now return with ‘Roads’, the first single off their second album and it is an absolute BANGER. Part OneRepublic, part Shania Twain and part KT Tunstall, it’s a total hoedown throwdown that’s so unlike anything they’ve done before but is a really refreshing change to what’s out there at the moment – and I feel it’s destined to take them onto even greater things this time round. Check out the video here and make sure you go download the single when it’s released on 24th May.

  • #AWESOME – The art of colouring in

I probably put myself at severe risk of sounding incredibly hipster with this next one – particularly in light of a Guardian piece this week which stated that ‘Secret Garden’, a self professed ‘colouring book for adults’ by Scottish artist Johanna Basford is currently top of the Amazon bestseller lists in America – but colouring in has become one of my new favourite pastimes, and is one of the few things I can’t attribute to being a side effect of having a four year old niece and two year old nephew (though I do love colouring in with them when I go round to visit them or they come over for a sleepover).

11092982_544753922334526_567050921_n

This week just gone at work, with the Easter holidays still being in full effect, my boss had her 6 year old son in for the morning, and thus came the suggestion that to keep him occupied, we had a colouring in contest. A furious but playful war was thus waged amongst me and my colleagues over crayons and felt tips. The above, my attempt at Gonzo from the Muppets, was highly praised, although her son rightfully won out in the end with his very impressive Spongebob Squarepants. In all seriousness though, it’s more of a therapeutic pastime than you might think. Switch your phone off for an hour or two this week and give some printouts from Google images a go – I might even post some of the best next week.

  • #BORESOME – Weather, British people incorrectly identifying the seasons of

After autumn, spring really is my favourite season of the year. Not too warm or too chilly, but just right enough to leave the house without either feeling too bitingly cold or too swelteringly warm, with flowers all coming into bloom and lighter mornings and evenings making it a thoroughly pleasant time of year.

article-2108597-11FC2B09000005DC-388_964x562

Or rather, it’s pleasant until you’re confronted with THESE kind of inane headlines:

BPkVX23CYAAvV86

Admittedly, the above is a Daily Express headline from the summer of 2013 but my point still stands. People who don’t embrace the four seasons as they rightfully and correctly should be in the UK – winter, spring, summer and autumn (or ‘fall’ for the latter to our American or overseas readers) – and who thus dramatically call nice weather in March/April/May time ‘summer’ or ‘the only bit of summer we’ll ever get’ when it’s quite patently not, need Winalot force fed up every orifice until they see sense.

  • #BORESOME – Katie Hopkins, the continued media presence of

There’s no image to accompany this particular rant because the mere horsefaced appearance of this one makes me rather riled. Particularly with the news this week that this vacuous, pretension zone professional troll is now getting a CHAT SHOW of her own. Admittedly, it’s gonna be airing on The Learning Channel, a channel that not even the most wide eyed insomniac would settle on in desperation at 3am – but the question begs.

How much longer before people stop giving a vehicle and thus the oxygen of publicity to a thing who has extended and whipped her 15 minutes of supposed ‘fame’ way past its sell by date? Particularly with her continued complete idiocy and un-informed bashing of everything and everyone, from depression to weight loss in a tedious ‘look at me but don’t look at me’ documentary that said ‘most fat people would have lower metabolisms if they put less in [their mouths]’ and ‘skinny people aren’t lucky, they move more’.

As was accurately expressed by Geordie comedian Chris Ramsey on a recent episode of ITV2 panel show ‘Celebrity Juice’, ‘most of her weight loss comes from losing the s*** that comes out that end [her mouth]’. Media outlets of Great Britain, it’s time to cut off contact and outlets with, and send the non career of this vile being down the U bend of a toilet once and for all.

#CrazyStupidTV: “Tom Felton Meets the Superfans” (BBC Three)

image

It’s all too easy these days to assume the warts-and-all investigative documentary is a dirty, provoking and common beast that belongs in a 9pm or 10pm slot on Channel 4 or Channel 5, primed and ready for dissection of its subjects by Daily Mail columnists and sadist social media trolls alike. In recent years, it’s not hard to see why that stereotype is in place. Just a quick glance at this week’s TV listings, for instance (correct at time of writing, Sunday 12th April 2015), unveils the likes of ‘Skint’ and ‘First Dates’ on Monday and Wednesday night on Channel 4, and ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!’ on Wednesday night on Channel 5. Documentaries that are there to point and sneer at sections of society rather than highlight them in an accurate light.

Not so in the case of this, the directorial debut from one Tom Felton that got it’s first airing on BBC Three this fortnight gone. Known to, and adored by millions worldwide in his role as Draco Malfoy, nemesis of Harry Potter in the films based on J.K Rowling’s popular fantasy book series, he seems to be the person most well placed to carry out this investigation into the psyche of, and the life of the superfan. ‘From Beatlemania to Bieber Fever,’ he states in his opening gambit, ‘I want to find out what it is that makes the superfan the biggest above all others.’

His investigations first take him to meet up with the woman partly responsible for kick starting his acting career with his now iconic role as Draco, J.K Rowling, and his on screen nemesis/co-stars Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), to get their takes on the ‘superfan’ phenomena. Whilst Daniel says he finds such intense adoration hard to deal with, and that Rupert finds it so hard to not make time for fans he even wound up at the apartment of a drag queen fan at 2am, J.K Rowling has a different stance on it.

Namely, that as the writer of the work, she only really sees the feedback and appreciation of her written work as opposed to the adoration from others to the actors as people as it is for say, Tom, Daniel or Rupert. What was most interesting however, was that she herself, is not immune to a spot of fangirling – such as a tale she recounted to Tom of when she met one of her idols, rock singer Morrissey, whilst having lunch with her sister-in-law, and recollecting right back to the time she told her teenage self she would meet him and he would know who she was.

felton-superfans-e1427154164550

So you might be wondering what’s drawn Tom to making a documentary about the cult of the superfan? Well, it turns out he has his own superfan, 40 something Tina, who has followed him and met him at countless events over a seven year period. It was a chance encounter with her again last year, where she waited four hours outside a premiere he was attending to give him a card to send her condolences at the recent loss of his pet dog, that decided to make him reevaluate why she was as dedicated as she was.

So after finishing filming on his latest movie in Spain, his investigations then take him to America, where he meets up first with diehard Potterhead David, whose YouTube video dressed up as Harry in the basement of his house in Pittsburgh, covered in wall to wall Harry Potter paraphernalia, has amassed over 1.9 million hits. He then ventures on to Tulsa, to a fan convention or ‘Comi-Con’ as its more commonly known, where he meets both fans and stars of franchises such as Star Trek, Superman and Batman alike – and he’s briefly unable to comprehend coming face to face with fans dressed as their favourite characters, let alone stars like William Shatner who briefly turns him into something of a gibbering wreck.

David, a perfectly normal chap as Tom discovers, states he is more interested in the characters than he is the actors, and insists he would lose his cool more over J.K Rowling appearing at his front door then any of the other Potter actors, and that his interest stems from a sense of identification with the plight and story of Harry’s character in the books – the geeky, pale and bullied underdog turning into one of the most powerful, kick arse wizards ever. Similarly, another fan he meets up with after the Comi-Con, Jessica, is almost on the point of tears when she says the books and films were the best treatment for her coping with her depression.

As he heads on to New York, he then meets up (pictured above) with Brian Péchar, one of the most feted and respected superfans around, who has turned his passion for autograph and selfie hunting – but particularly for that of solo star Nick Jonas, his favourite singer – into his career, with two bestselling books to his name on the subject of his many famous encounters. After some time spent with Brian out on the streets of Manhattan on a rainy evening that just so happens to be the same night of a music awards ceremony Nick Jonas is at – this time in disguise as a grungy superfan himself – a near encounter with the law makes Tom wonder if being a superfan can sometimes border on being a detrimental thing. Brian however, states it’s the joy and thrill of the chase that makes being a superfan as much fun as it is and that he generally knows when to not push the boundaries.

Tom Felton: Meet the Superfans

Heading home to the UK, and having attended another Comi-Con event in Birmingham – this time, in disguise as ‘The Joker’ from the Batman films (pictured above), which he seems to enjoy more than the one he went to in Tulsa under no disguise – he finally decides to go and meet his own superfan Tina, to get her own take on what it means to be a superfan. ‘For me,’ she says to her idol, ‘it’s because … I’ve always seen you [the Harry Potter cast] as being like a family. And I feel like part of that family.’ When it’s put like that, it’s hard to see how being a superfan of any film, actor, book or popstar, whatever age you are, can be such a bad thing – only to those who don’t understand.

It particularly struck a chord with me watching this, because, even though I’m not a fan of Harry Potter or a comic book series, I’m a dedicated fan of different people and TV shows, like Olly Murs and Miranda Hart’s BBC sitcom, and I could see a little bit of myself in all the different types of fans that Tom met along the way here. Where his documentary is perhaps the most believable in recent times is that he, the subject of adoration, has turned it round to make the fans the subject, but not in a patronising or dismissive way. He shows everyone he meets here such understanding, eloquence and respect, and highlights the positive impact being a loyal and dedicated supporter can really have on someone’s life. It’s essential, heartwarming viewing for everyone, from Twihards to Directioners the world over.

‘Tom Felton Meets the Superfans’ is available for UK viewers to watch on BBC iPlayer until 26th April.

#CrazyStupidGig: McBusted (@mcbusted) – Most Excellent Adventure Tour (O2 Arena, London, 4th April 2015)

Hello all – and happy Easter! Today’s blog post is being powered to you on these bad boys…

11098588_1430083227288630_1219386639_n

(*with mouthful of egg* I digress.)

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, so firstly a few things – I’ve gone a little bit more upmarket as you can see, and now have a full domain name (Captain Fun Times)! If you ever wanna redirect to the blog from now on, you can use our new domain name which is http://alexscsb.com.

Secondly – I have quite a few new readers as a result of my recent decision to end my beloved Olly Murs fansite ‘OM Daily’ after a great four year run, which means there will be even more posts and general craziness g’warning on this part of the internet from now on. So welcome to you if you’ve come from there – I appreciate all the support I had with the announcement and the site over the last four years, and rest assured, I am just as giddy a #MursArmy fanboy as ever even in this new chapter of my life.

dyc-slide-McBusted77

Now onto today’s blog post – and my first gig review on here. And also (were it not for the fact I fell ill on the week I was meant to be seeing Pharrell Williams on his GIRL tour there last year) my first time back at London’s O2 Arena in exactly two years. Ever since the McFly lads joined forces at the height of their career renaissance with their old buddies James Bourne and Matt Willis from mentors and former labelmates Busted to form the supergroup McBusted at the end of 2013, I’d been desperately wanting to see them in action ever since.

Sadly, real life at the time prevented me seeing them on what was the most successful and talked about pop tour of last year – 33 sold out dates up and down the country, including a huge show at London’s Hyde Park last summer which saw a packed out crowd of 18,000, all of which were documented for their tour film ‘TourPlay’ which I’ve watched pretty much religiously since I got the DVD for Christmas. I was determined not to miss out this time, so I duly booked for this show of their ‘Most Excellent Adventure Tour’ via the magic of their album pre-order/tour pre-sale access thingy on Amazon last November.

After a quick perk me up coffee in Costa on arrival (and catchup with the marvellous Ed Drewett, who was in the audience that night – good to see you dude) and a merch stand trip (T-shirt, programme and keyring. Standard by my standards, but there ya go), I went in and got seated just in time for the first support acts to arrive on stage. First up were Symmetry, a four piece punk pop outfit from Los Angeles (pictured below) who, like, toadly rawked out, dude. Albeit whilst sounding a little too much like a rip off of New Found Glory, although they did put in a rather good cover of Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ that had the whole arena singing along which I enjoyed.

Ca308Iep

5165530-large

Not long after, it was the turn of the actually rather good New City Kings – from near my neck of the woods in Brentwood as it turns out, so YAY on that front. They had a bit of a Bastille-ish vibe to their music and from the sound of their free ‘Change’ EP they offered the audience to download that night that I checked out the following day, I’d say they’re bound for even greater things in the future.

So – onto the main event. Most people who know either Busted or McFly’s back story and origins from the height of their imperial phases at the start of the Noughties will know that a lot of common interest for both bands is that of so-kitsch-they’re-good 80’s cult movies – particularly the Michael J Fox blockbusting ‘Back to the Future’ series which inspired Busted’s biggest hit ‘Year 3000’ and gave McFly their name. So the final 10 minutes before the show warmed things up and set the tone for the night as old school trailers for the likes of ‘Back to the Future’ and also ‘Weird Science’, ‘Teen Wolf’ and ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ played on the screens – the latter of which thus gave the title of this tour.

As the kabuki drop plunged down to reveal the stage, it’s safe to say I was blown away. The main stage was shaped like a giant, technicoloured Commodore 64 with joysticks and 8-bit sound effects and Super Mario style screen visuals, all of which complemented a varied Smorgasbord of both band’s hits and tracks from their brilliant self titled debut album – first single ‘Air Guitar’ and visceral, witty Mark Hoppus collaboration ‘Hate Your Guts’ kicked off proceedings in fine style, before McFly’s ‘One for the Radio’ and Busted’s ‘You Said No’ tore the roof off.

1391413_1417226721917593_2039086247_n

‘Slap my arse and call me Charlie Simpson!’ exclaimed an awestruck Dougie Poynter as they took in the crowd reaction. It’s fair to say since this supergroup merging happened, much has been made more of Matt and James’ dumbstruck return from the wilderness to pop glory, and less of McFly’s – although they had continued on as a successful entity in their own right for the 9 years following Busted’s split so that’s partly to be expected. Dougie’s reaction was a timely reminder however that, as McFly had been on a bit of a downward turn themselves five years prior to this, and had never played the O2 on their own (even on their own arena tours, the largest a venue came for them was Wembley Arena), that it was heartwarming to see them take in this warm welcome from their old and potentially new fans.

Still, it has to be said that Matt and James’ return to glory – especially considering how merciless both of their descents to ground level were post-split – is indeed an equally endearing thing to behold, more so when ‘What Happened to Your Band?’ – a track originally written for James’ clever if not quite big rebound collective Son of Dork some 8 years ago, and which is undoubtedly the highlight of the ‘McBusted’ album – was played. Both he and Matt sang every lyric of that song from their hearts and you could really feel the emotion from them in particular.

B__xSOzXEAEZ2Ea

The set and staging got even more bombastically brilliant as the show progressed – an amusing nod to ‘Back to the Future’ in a film piece about a futuristic Japanese ‘McBusted museum’ segwayed neatly into their arrival on a B-stage in the middle of the arena via a flying, lit up DeLorean (also used on their last tour, but to see for myself in the flesh as opposed to a DVD was even more exciting). As they blasted through ‘Air Hostess’, ‘What I Go to School For’ and ‘Obviously’, it was a reminder that both bands had such a good ear for melody and songwriting that means their back catalogues are now some of the most timeless pop records of the 21st century.

Their return to the main stage for ‘Crashed the Wedding’ was earmarked by an equally amusing procession through the crowd dressed as a wedding party, consisting of bride and groom (Matt and Dougie), bridesmaids (James, Danny Jones and Tom Fletcher – Tom in particular seemed to love flourishing the confetti a little too much. Although if you’ve seen his vlogs, that’s no surprise) and a stripagram vicar (who else? – Harry Judd), whilst another album cut, ‘Riding on My Bike’, saw the sloped, semi circle walkway extending out from the stage become a giant half-pipe for James as he rallied up and down on his BMX.

11116716_1383984801926201_731224035_n

By the time they came back out for a rip roaring encore of ‘5 Colours in Her Hair’, ‘Shine a Light’ and ‘Year 3000’ – the audience was screaming, moshing, breathless and begging for more just as much as they had at the start. I can testify myself that having now finally seen them in the flesh, this certainly won’t be the last time I go see McBusted live. I think they’ve also now undoubtedly swiped Take That’s crown as Britain’s best touring pop band risen from the flames with a whole new audience of their own. The ‘Most Excellent Adventure’ was a totally awesome show that I’d recommend to anyone, dudes.

RATING: 5/5

McBusted’s ‘Most Excellent Adventure’ tour continues tomorrow night at the Brighton Centre (7th April) and until 22nd April at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena. The live DVD of the show is out 22nd June and available to pre-order on Amazon.co.uk now.

#BringBackEnya – why it’s time for the 2015 return of a pop enigma

I’ve spoken on previous blogs before, about how my taste in music has been inherited from various different sources over the years. Quite a lot of that is thanked in part to my parents. Some of it I’m happy to admit a love for (Simon &  Garfunkel, The Beatles), and others I’m partly cautious to admitting.

See all the following albums, the large majority of which were always playing in our house as we were growing up: Phil Collins’ “…But Seriously”, Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms”, The Corrs’ “Talk on Corners”. And also see “Paint the Sky with Stars”, and “A Day Without Rain”, both by the Irish chanteuse and instrumentalist Enya.

image

So why am I ‘cautious’ in admitting my love of the likes of ‘Only Time’ and ‘Caribbean Blue’, and the others I listed above? Well, it’s not so much that those artists or albums are guilty pleasures. Far from it. It’s just that they seem to be the sort of artists who are the scourge, again as I’ve often spoken about on here, of the ‘serious’ music press.

Enya, in particular, is often mocked for perpetually releasing the same album, musically speaking, and is often bracketed somewhat unfairly with the ‘New Age’ tag, and for releasing, as one critic writing for Rolling Stone put it, the ‘kind of albums you should only be listening to if you are in a herbal mud wrap at a health spa’.

image

This is a highly unfair testimony to her and her music though. Whilst a lot of her albums do carry a distinctive sound that is hers (something her and her long time collaborators, husband and wife team Nicky and Roma Ryan have worked hard to capture and define) – a mellow, harmonious multi layering of string and synth tracks, and choral vocal pads with staccato-y effects, she can traverse out to other, worldly inspired sounds.

Take for instance, ‘Book of Days’, her 1993 love theme from the Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise movie ‘Far and Away’ – a lusciously cinematic piece that captures the drama of the film. Also take ‘My! My! Time Flies!’, a decidedly more blues-y swinging number with more than just a passing nod to ‘Strawberry Fields’ era Beatles. Or even the heartbreakingly beautiful ‘Fallen Embers’.

image

It is this nod to another genres whilst maintaining her own unique identity that means she has sold over 70m albums worldwide in the last 20 years – that’s more than Madonna, Lady GaGa, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston put together. And she’s done all that whilst barely touring and keeping a tight degree of anonymity.

It thus explains why she’s known to take much longer extended breaks between albums. However, having had both the above albums of hers I grew up with my parents playing on again in the last few days on my Blinkbox Music account, I feel that, nearly 7 years since her last album (2008’s ‘…And Winter Came’) it’s time for the most enigmatic lady in pop to make a return to the charts.

So go on. Tweet her record company Warner Brothers (@wbr) today people – let’s get the campaign to #BringBackEnya on a roll (or Orinoco flow, depending on how you look at it).