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Old 03-17-2014, 04:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default At The Back With The Safety Scissors And Glue - A Journal by Tristesse

At The Back With The Safety Scissors And Glue
- A Journal by Tristesse



Who The Hell Am I?


My name is Dave. I have always been quite middle-of-the-road when it comes to music. I reckon it’s because I’m far too lazy to seek out obscure bands or bother to listen to the new bands that NME plasters all over its pages or my hipster friends recommend me. Being a hipster just seems a little bit too much effort for not much reward, which is why I am happy, no wait, I am PROUD to say that I generally listen to mainstream music. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not referring to that latest chart topper by One Erection or David Guetta – I have always been an indie rock kinda dude and I don’t have any intention of changing that; it’s just that the indie rock that I listen to is stuff that is usually (there are exceptions) quite well known.

I’d like for this journal to be a place where I can prattle on about the bands I like and maybe reintroduce you to a catchy song or two you may have forgotten about over the years. On a selfish note, I'd also like to develop my writing skills as they are pretty rusty at the moment, as you can probably tell.

A BAND YOU MAY REMEMBER




The Fratellis – Costello Music (2006)

The Fratellis have sunk into obscurity in recent years, which saddens me greatly as Costello Music (above) is an excellent album. It’s full of punchy riffs, dirty basslines and some unbelievably catchy choruses, most notably the biggest hit, Chelsea Dagger (below).




While the lyrics are hardly poetry, it is hard for anyone to deny that it is insanely catchy. Overall, the album’s lyrics focus on our young indie heroes attempting to copulate with girls who, quite frankly, come across as a bit tarty (but then it is Glasgow).




Taking their name for the Italian word for ‘brothers’, the Glaswegian band went so far as to change their surname to Fratelli, making Jon Lawler, Barry Wallace and Gordon McRory into Jon Fratelli, Barry Fratelli and Mince (nope, me neither) Fratelli. I imagine it got rather awkward after they decided to break up in 2009 (living with a constant reminder of past success must have got to them as they reformed in 2012 to release and new album and tour the US).

Unfortunately, neither of the two albums they released since has been in the same league as Costello Music, and neither have enjoyed commercial success. It would seem there are only so many sing-a-long songs you can write before you peak and they aren’t going to gain popularity from their lyrics. Perhaps if they write some more of what they’re good at, we might hear of them again.

AND ONE YOU MIGHT NOT


I fall in love very easily, which meant I had no chance resisting the voice of the seductive Sunderland siren Lauren Laverne. Having first seen her presenting numerous TV programs here in the UK (the best of which being 10 O’Clock Live, the podcast of which can be found here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/...416532485?mt=2), it was a pleasant surprise to find that she originally started her career fronting late 90s indie pop-punk outfit Kenickie.


(No, not that guy)

Like the Spice Girls if one of them left, another turned into a dude, and then they all took their heads out of their arses and had some fun, Kenickie mixed poppy riffs with playful lyrics, giving the impression that they were in a band for the fun of it rather than to try and make money. Although some lyrics are quite simply cringeworthy (“PVC, it’s my favourite plastic, PVC, cos it’s nice and shiny”) and a few songs don’t really have anything going for them, listening to Kenickie just makes me want to call up some old school friends and go run around for a bit.




Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if Kenickie are a bunch of yoofs playing out of tune guitars in their nans garage; the songs are good and the performances are impressive. It is refreshing to hear those bands once in a while that are good but also don’t take themselves too seriously. NME placed ‘Punka’ at no. 29 in their “100 Greatest Britpop Songs”, describing it as a song made up of “hook-laden sarcasm”. As much as I hate to agree with NME, I think they’ve summed both the song and the personality of the band up quite nicely.



AND A GUILTY PLEASURE



Katy Perry – One Of The Boys (2008)

No no no wait, before you judge, just give me a chance! The rise of Katy Perry to the forefront of the world’s commercial pop industry is an interesting one. Sticking her foot in the door with the controversial ‘I Kissed A Girl’ in 2008, she has a stream of hits since and quickly built up a devoted fanbase. Leaving her Christian rock roots behind and abandoning her birth name of Katy Hudson, Perry changed her songwriting style to appeal to the teen market, writing songs reminiscent of a slightly less angry Alanis Morissette - except, unlike Morisette, she comes across as extremely likeable. As with Kenickie, Perry gives the impression that she doesn’t take herself too seriously either. Whereas Lady Gaga presents us with extreme outfits meant to shock and draw attention to her, Perry wears outfits of a similar exuberance but without the showiness or the feeling that she is trying to be controversial just for the hell of it. I have a lot of respect for artists whose main reason for performing is that they enjoy it.


‘One Of The Boys’, her first album after reinventing herself, got mixed reviews from critics. A lot of criticism is over Perry’s attitude and the image she is trying to portray in the album. While I can understand that she might come across as a spoilt brat to some people, I view it more as playful and provocative rather than her being genuinely unpleasant. Although I will admit that the album is packed full of radio-friendly ‘safe’ songs and that there isn’t much experimentation or anything ‘new’ musically, I don’t really see a problem with that. Are we not allowed to have a neat fun little pop album once in a while without complaining because it doesn’t introduce any new ideas? Then again, as I said at the beginning, I have never really ‘got’ the whole hipster thing when it comes to musical taste. Give me a tune with a catchy chorus and a neat riff and that’s all I need. (Thanks for your time )

EDIT: I also love Hanson's 'MMMBop'.
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Last edited by Tristesse; 04-01-2014 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 03-17-2014, 05:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Your journal is finely written. I honestly don't know why you would think otherwise. Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading future installments.
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Old 03-17-2014, 05:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You should go down the rabbit hole and listen to Katy Perry's other albums especially the most recent one. I'd like to hear your thoughts on them.
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah, once again someone underselling their writing skills. Nothing at all wrong with yours, my friend. We look forward to more from you. Also glad to hear your name is Dave: we need another Dave since we lost (seemingly) Mr. Dave sometime ago.

Seriously, welcome and thanks for taking the time to start up a journal (though perhaps from your first entry I should say tart up?)

Welcome!
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've always been convinced the bass player in Kenickie was the drummer in Dodgy dressed up in drag.
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've always been convinced the bass player in Kenickie was the drummer in Dodgy dressed up in drag.


There is a hint of man to her.


And thanks guys, I appreciate your kind words!
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You should go down the rabbit hole and listen to Katy Perry's other albums especially the most recent one. I'd like to hear your thoughts on them.
A GUILTY REVISIT

‘Teenage Dream’, Perry’s most successful of her three mainstream albums to date, spawned five number one singles making her the first female artist to achieve this in history, and the second artist ever after Michael Jackson (for Bad).


After hearing ‘One Of The Boys’, her first mainstream album, I had a pretty good opinion of her. I’m not the sort of guy that believes that all popstars should be role models to little kids, but if pre-adolescent girls were going to choose someone to look up to, I thought Katy Perry would be a pretty good shout; lyrically ‘One Of The Boys’ dealt with issues that are generally relatable and manages to present an album that has just the right balance between soppiness and ass-kickingness . Many of the songs on the album rely heavily on electric guitar and an actual drum kit, which in my opinion suited her voice and the songs perfectly, like ‘Waking Up In Vegas’ (below) – if I had heard that and not been aware of Katy Perry I might have assumed it was a decent pop-rock band.




Unfortunately, ‘Teenage Dream’ was a huge let down. The two most popular singles from ‘One Of The Boys’, ‘I Kissed A Girl’ and ‘Hot N Cold’ were two of the only songs on the album to not be based around guitar parts and have acoustic drums, but were enjoyable mixed in with the other more rock influenced tracks. On ‘Teenage Dream’ however, most of the tracks are jam packed with synthesisers, fake hand claps and unnecessary vocal effects. I don’t quite understand why she felt the need to change her style so significantly.




Starting the album, I enjoyed the first four songs, which I had heard before as singles. There was an obvious difference lyrically and in theme, moving from a relatable, genuine lyrics to lyrics that just made her come across as a bit up herself and phony, but it wasn’t bad enough that I couldn’t enjoy the songs. Despite not being a particularly great song, ‘California Gurls’ has succeeded in providing a music video that is undoubtedly a fantastic spectacle.



I think the music video for ‘California Gurls’ would have been better as the one for ‘Teenage Dream’, because as a teenager I frequently have dreams involving the scene shown above.


It was within the first five seconds of the 5th track on the album that I realised something was wrong, and that it was only going to get worse.
If it were possible, I’d like to erase the song ‘Peacock’ from history. It has got to be one of the worst songs I think I’ve ever heard. It isn’t even slightly subtle – the song makes it so incredibly obvious that it is about looking at wangs that it would be impossible for anyone not to realise what it’s about.
“Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock? Don’t be a chicken boy stop acting like a bi-atch” being one of the more charming lines in the song.




You know what I said about thinking she would be alright for girls to have as a role model? I’ve changed my mind.


After that, it’s just bad. Ridiculous irrelevant similes in the lyrics, bland synth beats and vocals that sound like even she has realised that what she’s singing is complete bullshit. The cliché love songs clash with the dirty ‘risque’ songs hideously (maybe she was trying to go along the same lines as ‘I Kissed A Girl’ with the song ‘Hummingbird Heartbeat’, but it really didn’t work and just seemed incredibly fake; “you make me feel like I’m losing my virginity the first time, every time when you’re touching me”) and whereas the lyrics from the previous album were relatable, these fell into two categories:

1) About her perfect her relationship is and the intensity of her ‘love’, using metaphors and similes so cringe-inducing that it’s virtually impossible to relate to them (“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?”) - No. No I do not.

2) Trying to appear controversial and like a ‘bad girl’ (“We went streaking in the park, skinny dipping in the dark, then had a ménage a trios”)


I wouldn’t mind so much if the vocals were backed up with some chugging guitars or kick-ass drumming, but when it’s just her vocals over an uninteresting synthesised drum beat with some generic effects layered over it, there’s nothing to enjoy about it.




This leads me on to her latest release, ‘Prism’. I could tell just by looking at the album cover that this wasn’t going to be like her first album either.
It seems that ‘Teenage Dream’ was merely a stepping stone in Perry’s transformation from indie tomboy in ‘One Of The Boys’ to her latest incarnation as bland dance vomit in ‘Prism’. She has combined a strange mixture of influences in ‘Prism’, which is essentially a dance album. A couple of tracks, including the popular single ‘Roar’ appear to be attempts at African inspired songs, but someone should tell Katy that just including bongos and having the occasionally animal imitation doesn’t make songs sound exotic. I quite like ‘Roar’, but it’s a sad state of affairs when it is the best song on an album. ‘Unconditionally’, the second single released from ‘Prism’, is ok, but nothing more. It’s the kind of song that has nothing special about it whatsoever, a generic “heartfelt emotional cry for help” that fails to deliver anything.


Then we come to the third single, ‘Dark Horse’. For some reason she enlisted some rapper I’d never heard of to feature on this track (although my knowledge of rap is severely limited, anyone who thinks the rap segment of this is decent is clearly deluded). The guy’s name is Juicy J, which just sounds to me like Jessie J’s American rapping cousin. The rest of the track is so-so.




I expect anyone who is into dance music might find something good in this, but as an indie rock kinda dude I failed to find anything that I would ever choose to listen to again. Katy was fine as she was on ‘One Of The Boys’, and there was no need for her to change her style. I don’t think I’ll be listening to any of her other albums again anytime soon (although I doubt she’ll mind, she must be rolling in it!)



I'm not going to try and make a habit of reviewing lady pop singers in this journal, it's going to be primarily indie/rock. But it's nice to get some guilty pleasures out there occasionally.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Sorry bruv. I did read this soon after you posted the two reviews but I just didn't leave any commentary. I need to check out her second album because I've only heard the singles from it but with Prism. I feel like she decided to take the sweet drenching poppiness(doubt that's a word but oh well) of the singles from the second album and amp it up a notch with some variety.

I feel like the third album continued down the same path as the second way because she had way more success with that formula instead of the acoustic sound that you love so much from the first album.

Also yes, Juicy J is definitely big stateside and loads of people know him. He recently released a solo album so that's probably why he jumped on a Katy Perry track for a bit more exposure with a throwaway verse. I'm not mad at him for making that money. He is one part of the group Three6Mafia. This group has actually won an Oscar for one of their songs used in a movie. He is also a really good producer as well.

I don't know if you know this song but this is one of their bigger hits.
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Fame, fortune, power, titties. People say these are the most crucial things in life, but you can have a pocket full o' gold and it doesn't mean sh*t if you don't have someone to share that gold with. Seems simple. Yet it's an important lesson to learn. Even lone wolves run in packs sometimes.


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IMO I don't know jack-**** though so don't listen to me.
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The problem is that most police officers in America are psychopaths.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hey, came by to tell you how awesome the title of this journal is.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey, came by to tell you how awesome the title of this journal is.
Cheers man!

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Sorry bruv. I did read this soon after you posted the two reviews but I just didn't leave any commentary. I need to check out her second album because I've only heard the singles from it but with Prism. I feel like she decided to take the sweet drenching poppiness(doubt that's a word but oh well) of the singles from the second album and amp it up a notch with some variety.

I feel like the third album continued down the same path as the second way because she had way more success with that formula instead of the acoustic sound that you love so much from the first album.

Also yes, Juicy J is definitely big stateside and loads of people know him. He recently released a solo album so that's probably why he jumped on a Katy Perry track for a bit more exposure with a throwaway verse. I'm not mad at him for making that money. He is one part of the group Three6Mafia. This group has actually won an Oscar for one of their songs used in a movie. He is also a really good producer as well.

I don't know if you know this song but this is one of their bigger hits.
There wasn't enough contrast between the songs on Prism for me, they were all in too similar a style for anything to particularly stand out.

I have nothing against rap, and have been meaning to get some education about rap and hip-hop, but the rap section on Dark Horse is truly abysmal.

And I haven't heard that, I don't think they've had a huge amount of success here in the UK.
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