Fifth Harmony – Album Review

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I have been absolutely obsessed and have listened to this CD on repeat since it was released. Fifth Harmony’s self-titled third album has represented such a huge milestone and moment in the groups career. Fifth Harmony have grown and changed massively since they formed and I feel the girls have found so much more of their sound and style with this album. I am incredibly happy for the group and have loved every note of these new songs.

I can not help but compare this new release with their previous album 7/27 which came out last year. I can say right now that I have enjoyed listening to Fifth Harmony much more; the new songs are sassier, and faster. The beat and style is more R’n’B than their previous music which I enjoyed massively. All of the girls’ voices fit the R’n’B genre compared to their old sound which was a lot more Pop style. Looking back at their music, you can see the girls have dipped into and experimented with R’n’B in all of their albums with hits like Worth It and Work From Home. However with the changes to the group in the past year, it’s so great to see the girls diving right into and relishing R’n’B in almost every track on their new album.

I can not go any further without talking about Camila, who decided to leave the group in December last year. Their first album as a foursome, I, as well as the rest of the world, didn’t know what to expect but I think the girls couldn’t have smashed it any better and exceeded all of my expectations. As much as I love Camila and her solo music – I think she’s extremely talented and her passion and creativity for music shines through her in a unique way – I actually feel the group is better as a four-piece. The four voices complement each other and it’s clear the girls all feel strongly about the style they are creating, and are happy to deviate away from the old genre. I can not imagine Camila’s personality or voice on these tracks. Although Camila exited the group rather swiftly and there was a fair bit of drama surrounding it at the time, it appears it was the right move and step forward for all of the girls as Camila has been delving into her own Latino style, and Fifth Harmony seem to have removed their reins and have experimented more with R’n’B.

Camila has already revealed in recent interviews that she felt objectified whilst in the group, which probably refers to revealing outfits, costumes and music videos. I really feel the group is no longer being held back by this, as the remaining members appear to embrace the sexy outfits and music videos. With the release of the He Like That music video, I can not see Camila being a part of the choreography or style whilst the other girls actually own it and look comfortable. Whilst it’s obvious Camila is more reserved and collected, I believe Fifth Harmony are now all on the same page and all enjoy their sexy persona, with no one member holding them back by feeling uncomfortable or not agreeing with certain aspects of their choreography or music. In my opinion, I think the four voices actually sound better without Camila because she does have a very unique, flexible and over-powering voice which would not fit the new low and raspy tone the group is performing in this album. I could not be happier with how the group have taken this opportunity to grow closer and communicate their common interests in their music and style. As I have said, it feels like all the girls are now on the same page and are heading for the same goal. This is as well as appreciating their own individual strengths and sharing the lead vocals on each track rather than keeping the same roles for each song, which was what their set-up used to be like when they were first starting out in the industry.

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The group have obviously grown so much, and are now more mature. I know I said this about their last album, but people evolve constantly and whilst 7/27 experimented with this new genre, this record really makes it Fifth Harmony’s own sound. Although it seems impossible for the group to become any more confident than they already were, it’s also clear that the girls have more security and faith in their abilities. This shows most in Dinah Jane and Normani. I love how Dinah takes more of the leading vocals in these new tracks and she does such a brilliant job and fills every note with passion and strength. At the beginning of Fifth Harmony’s career, I always felt Dinah was overlooked which was probably down to her being the youngest member and being more shy than the other girls. Seeing Dinah now, you can really tell she has found her voice, her personality, and has the confidence any young fan would look up to. I was also pleasantly surprised by Normani as she takes on much more challenging notes and vocals in this album and it all pays off. It feels as though she has also grown in confidence, and wants to take risks rather than play it safe. She is the main example for what I mentioned above in regards to the girls coming out of their usual set-up; whilst Normani would normally take on low notes, and the fast sassy verses, this album shows how much she has developed taking the lead vocals and rifting. I obviously adore Lauren with a passion and I am biased to write about my favourite part of each song, because every favourite part would be her part. I just feel there is a maturity and uniqueness to her tone. Ally continues to be supportive to the other girls in every track, whether that be taking the lead or not. I think Ally is one of the best for backing vocals as her voice is so high and precised. She’s definitely got a sweetness to her and I am inspired by how loyal she is to the group.

As you can see I feel strongly about this album and I think it might be the first record I would be happy to listen to over and over again. I also really like how there are only 10 tracks, because it makes every tune special, and it doesn’t overload you with tracks just for the sake of making a longer album. It gives off the feeling that the girls hand-picked every song and that every story means something to them. Having an album longer may run the risk of including “filler” tracks which are not as good as the others. It seems the group have focused on a smaller list of tunes to make them the best they could be. The album art is stunning and is actually very simplistic. They have traded in the breathtaking outfits and scenery from their last album with hallucinating, alienating colours which is super cool. Even the album booklet containing lyrics and thank-yous from the girls show the group in pale pink and cream outfits with neutral hair and make-up, which I think presented a serious and mature vibe. The girls understood the media, the fans, the industry were watching them closely to see their next move, so they have decided to keep these aspects calm and composed to show their peace with now being a foursome.

Obviously the name of the album was also highly important and I think there was no better way to go than to self-title. The media have been questioning a name change, the group getting a replacement member, or even the group splitting up after Camila’s exit so it was an extremely clever move to show everybody watching that the girls are not changing. I think it’s so empowering to convey that the girls are sticking to their roots and are staying together because that’s who they are. Not only is it a nod to them not changing their name or any other aspect, but it also acted as a reminder of their identity.

Whilst their previous music presented a lot of intimate romantic themes as well as messages of girl power and confidence, the girls clearly feel they have already covered those themes, and have decided to sing more about the saucy, sexy side of love as well as touching on being kinky or cheeky. It’s so refreshing to listen to, and I have actually felt sexy in myself whilst playing the lyrics and the beats. The girls use their sexuality so creatively.


“There ain’t no kinda situation where I wouldn’t cross a line for you, FBI interrogation I would get up there and lie for you,”
DOWN


Down is the first track on the album and is the only song to feature another artist. I think this shows how strong and secure the group are on their own, however I still loved Gucci Mane’s verse and it does make the opening song stand out. Down has been compared heavily to Work From Home which was the girls’ most famous song from their previous album, due to the repetitive chorus and beat. Although this can be a criticism, others have noted how the girls released this as their first single and opening track to offer some familiarity with that of their previous music. I feel that the new songs are so different from what the group have done before, it’s easy and sensitive to include Down almost as a transitional aid by presenting the sound they are most famous for.


“He got that dope boy cash, but he get it nine to five-ing, He got a thing for them girls that make their money overnightning,”
HE LIKE THAT


Next we have He Like That which is, without doubt, my favourite song on this album. All four girls use their vocal strengths to stand out and I just love the sexy message. The group’s self-confidence shine through this song and it spills morals of feeling strong, powerful and comfortable. The lyrics and tune is also highly addictive and the music video which came out last month is super hot and is so well directed and choreographed. It’s beautiful to see four young women of all different shapes, sizes, races and style all own what they do and how they look and using that to promote being secure with your own sex and feminity.


“I don’t want no problems, I want power.
I’m drivin’, you follow,”
– SAUCED UP


Sauced Up is very similar to He Like That in the beat and messages however I felt it has more of a fun, lively, up-beat vibe to present living free without worries. Whilst the previous track was fairly intimate and flirty, Sauced Up is more an open message to everyone and the lyrics are less weighted because of this. It’s also got a sick beat and I think Ally’s voice handles the lead magnificently. Make You Mad is the next song on the album and I think the beat of this one is one of the best. It’s a very easy song to get hooked on and again presents the confidence and power the group are trying to promote.


“I’m gonna make you miss me, I’m gonna make you so mad,
I’m gonna make sure I’m the best you ever had,”
– MAKE YOU MAD


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“No need for replacements or a warrantee,
And he’ll never need another, that’s a guarantee,”
– DELIVER


The next song is Deliver which was another single released by the group. The lyrics and tune are really intricate and clever and it’s also sexy in it’s own sleek, mature way, and, i’ll say it again, it’s confident. Dinah and Ally’s voices complement each other elegantly in this track and I feel it really stretches their abilities. I absolutely love Lonely Night which is the next track, and it reminded me of Not That Kinda Girl from 7/27. In the same way that the Fifth Harmony album is more mature, and R’n’B, comparing these songs just presents this in such a specific way. Whilst Not That Kinda Girl included quite high notes, and was almost cheeky and childish, Lonely Night shows, even in the title, that these girls have grown and learned in relationships and have found confidence with that. It’s got such a catchy sound, and I think any girl would relate to the message of getting involved with a guy who is messing you around.


“If you don’t treat ya mama right, bye-bye, bye-bye,”
– LONELY NIGHT


Don’t Say You Love Me is the slowest and deepest song on Fifth Harmony and I think that is what makes the track so special. Whilst a lot of the album is spent building on self-confidence and being more sexy and more powerful in relationships, Don’t Say You Love Me has quite a sad atmosphere to it and presents so many sorrowful situations like hurting in love, rejection, false promises, waiting for someone, being unsatisfied in love and each girl has the chance to sing the chorus lines in their own way which just makes it more personal. I definitely love the story behind this track and it’s so heart-felt and relatable so it feels real.


“You think words can ease the tension,
But you can’t deny that something’s missin’,”
– DON’T SAY YOU LOVE ME


The next song is Angel which is the sassiest song and I think is the most associated with R’n’B. The verses are very quick and cheeky that it sometimes feels like the girls are rapping. The lyrics and beats are reminiscent of 90’s music and I think this was reflected in the group’s music video. Lauren’s voice is actually stunning in this song and Normani owns her parts so well that it’s as if she wrote them herself. I also think Normani’s voice goes alongside Dinah’s voice beautifully in the choruses because they both have such different tones.


“Should’ve never crossed that line with ya,
Everything was cool, just drinkin’ with ya,”
– ANGEL


Messy is next and I think it’s the only song that I don’t absolutely love which is saying something about how amazing this album is. The meaning of the lyrics are a bit mysterious but I still feel the messages of self-acceptance and self-confidence slipping through as the girls sing about being themselves and maybe be “messy” or “crazy” sometimes but how they’re not changing who they are. I think that’s a great message to put out there, especially for their young fans. I personally didn’t vibe with this track because I didn’t feel it fit with the other songs which are much more powerful but I also think this song can be extremely real and relatable.


“I can be cruel sometimes, outta my mind, Insecure and out the door, I’m who I am, and you don’t have to wonder,”
– MESSY


Finally, we have Bridges which has loads of connotations and meanings and being the finale it makes it even more impactful and special. The vocals and the lyrics are full of kindness and peace and it shows how the girls are taking more responsibility and care with their music. Not only does the song potentially refer to Camila’s dramatic exit from the group and how the girls have learned not to “burn bridges” and to be kind and supportive of each other using communication and unity, I feel the words could easily hint towards the current political situation in America. The fact that the meaning is not certain makes this such a beautiful track with an open-minded and accepting message.


“There’s something beautiful in the flaws in all we are,”
– BRIDGES


I just can’t get over how amazing the girls have pulled together this album and they do everything with such dignity. I will continue to play Fifth Harmony on repeat and I just can’t wait for the future because all four of these women are beautiful and talented and I would want every young person to have them as their role models. This album is a testament to the group’s strength, love and kindness.

Love, love, love.

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Hey there!
If you don’t know who I am, Hi! I’m Evie. I write about Music, TV, Film, Lifestyle, Society and I love to blog. I’ve just created a new Twitter account so I can put all those crammed thoughts out there into the inter-space. Head over and give me a nudge @evietaylo
Also, if you love Fifth Harmony and haven’t already read it, I reviewed their last album on my blog. Please read, comment, like, share, re-post…
Much love,
Evie x

 

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Little Mix – Glory Days Album Review

Everything about this album is centered around love. Even the break-up songs show how love and relationships are not always a walk in the park and it is so realistic. The feelings Perrie, Jade, Leigh-Anne, and Jesy are creating in their music are so genuine and relatable which makes sense with how popular Little Mix have become over the last year. Relationships are a broad subject but the group still manage to home in on so many sub-themes such as cheating, sex, passion, dominance, and acceptance and not one song felt out of place.

I actually found it very refreshing that the girls produce an album like this. The majority of Little Mix’s music up until now have mostly been about confidence, power, and finding your individuality but I guess that shows how the girls have grown and matured. It’s clear they have the experience to craft songs from their past relationships and have the confidence they may not have had a few years ago to really own it. It feels less focused on themselves and on their journey, and more focused on the concept of love and the atmosphere created by multiple different relationships which expresses the universal feelings we can all relate to. The girls have grown massively and are coming to the age of experimenting and dabbling with their own hearts.

“nothing else matters like love”
Glory Days, Track 12

The album itself is stunning and is full of warm colours obviously representing the themes. The photos show off the group’s strength, friendship, confidence, maturity and so much more. I think that it’s also important that the photos used on the album cover show the group outside because I just think it shows how free and wild they are, and how far they’ve come from the teenagers they started out as.

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One of the group’s most famous songs begins the album. Shout Out To My Ex is fresh and new and is extremely catchy and easy to enjoy. It has become something of a break up anthem and everyone and anyone can easily relate. The music makes audiences want to scream out and join in because everybody has an ex. It did radiate with me personally as I think it would with anyone and it doesn’t feel angry or vengeful. When you listen to this song the main message is of peace and closure and finally getting over a bad period of your life and getting past that. After Perrie went through such a public break up with former One Direction member Zayn Malik, I can see that people fell in love with the group even more after realising through this song how ordinary and human the girls are. Shout Out To My Ex shows that everyone goes through heart break and everyone comes out the other side.

Another big hit was Touch which I believe went even more global because it is so catchy. The music video for Touch captured the seductive, passionate vibe the girls wanted to show their fans and it felt like a new sound the group were exploring. The song appears more mature and sexy and it has such a great beat and rhythm. After a few listens, the song can become repetitive or irritating, but you can not deny how amazing the riffs and harmonies are. Additionally, the positive feelings of passion and sex are presented with accurate and descriptive lyrics. I really like how the girl’s have created songs from so many different aspects of love. To go from Shout Out To My Ex to this is so cool, and is a smart way of showing the different stages of a relationship.

Then we have my favourite song from the album which is F.U. I desperately wished the girls had made this a single because I really connected with the words, and the melody I just think is fantastic. The song sounds traditional and almost old-fashioned which breaks up the album even more and keeps things different and unique. When you listen to this song it’s like it should have been released years ago because the music feels like an old classic from the 60’s. I just think this song is incredible and the girls do an amazing job reaching all of the best notes. Their vocals each shine individually and yet they create a beautiful song collectively. The group’s voices sound so grown-up and sophisticated that it is hard to imagine the girl’s as just in their twenties. There is so much more I could say about this song, but most importantly I think that the message offers a platform for frustration and anger towards someone who is not treating you right. The power and strength radiating from the lyrics is the reason this tune is my favourite.

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Charlie Puth features in Oops and brings something different to the album. Oops feels really cheeky and fun, and represents that young, free and single period of life. The music and lyrics are so simple and yet feel fresh and exciting. It is one of the most catchy and memorable songs on the album by far. You Gotta Not continues the cheekiness and I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed listening to it. Every song on this album takes the atmosphere somewhere else entirely and You Gotta Not is no exception. Again, I related to this tune a lot as it describes meeting a useless bloke, who doesn’t have a job and still asks his mum for money. I think this is something most girls have experienced and the song is so funny in that it confronts useless guys everywhere to get their life together. It’s another demonstration of how much the group have grown up and how they’re done with boys who are not yet men. I love that the girls included this song because I wanted to scream it at all the guys I’ve met who didn’t have a car!

Down & Dirty is another sexy song but I think what sets it apart from the songs so far is that it’s got a hot beat. The lyrics may not be the best but it will turn-up any party you’ve got going on. To complement the song before, Power is next and I feel like I have a very odd relationship with this song. Like Down & Dirty it’s got the beat, the hook, the similar chorus and it’s actually coming out in the form of a single, as announced by the girls, so I think this song is going to blow up everywhere. I actually really liked the Stormzy remix because I felt his rap made the song better and I’m gutted it wasn’t included on the album. However, I just hate the motorbike bit which is basically a section of a repeat of the word motorbike which is played twice. I think it’s stupid and I cringe every time I listen to it. I try and pretend it’s not part of the song. The girls obviously liked the idea but I just don’t think it showcases the amount of talent the group can actually demonstrate. That being said, the song as a whole is catchy and it does have a strong message.

I’ll stop being so picky for a bit and talk about my favourite moment in the whole album and that is Leigh-Anne’s vocals when she sings the bridge in Your Love. Oh my god, I didn’t even know there were notes that exist that high and I’m still convinced they are impossible. Not to take away from the fact that all of the girls sounded amazing throughout this song and that’s basically what I am in awe at when I listen to it. I also think the lyrics are probably the most romantic and poetic in the whole album. Nobody Like You is also very emotional and full of passion as it continues to present the more warming, comforting sides to love. Listening to this song is almost heart-breaking.

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Then we have No More Sad Songs which is another hit that has been popular. I’m annoyed Machine Gun Kelly isn’t featured on the track on the album because I love his rap, but the song still re-ignites messages of peace, acceptance and getting over a hard period of your life. I think No More Sad Songs can be belted out from anyone and we can all feel like we are lifting a weight from our shoulders. It also demonstrates all of the girl’s individual vocal strengths and brings them together to mesh into something really raw and genuine. Private Show goes hand in hand with Power and most importantly Down & Dirty because they have the same sounds, impact and the same great beats. With the group mostly singing about confidence and heart ache, it’s great to hear so many sexy and saucy tracks on this album. The thing that sets Private Show apart is that it’s more cheeky and funky, and it feels really straight-forward and blunt, representing the girl’s attitude towards singing about sex which is refreshing.

I always feel the last song on the album gets the least amount of listens and attention but the more I listen to Nothing Else Matters the more I think about how it perfectly concludes Glory Days. When love creates such tragedy and heart break, I think it’s important that the girls show that they have made their peace with their hearts, their relationships and love in general and believe, despite all of the bad times, love matters and is inevitable in life. It’s a short, sweet climax that shows, after you’ve made your shout out to your ex, love does take presidence and will always come back.

The group have done so well with this album and have released so many singles, remixes and collaborations with other artists. I’ve found that it’s difficult to review songs that have been so popular worldwide and have made such a big impact, but I’ve finally done it and I’ve loved listening to Little Mix grow with their music. I never thought this album would be so full of love and sex but it’s executed so well and feels real. The group sound and appear like they have finally become secure and confident enough to make this album. Glory Days takes Perrie, Jade, Leigh-Anne, and Jesy out of the spotlight because they no longer need the self-reflection, or the self-motivation they have shown from previous singles and albums, and they can now draw from external relationships in their life and it’s beautiful to watch.

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Film Reviews for 2017 so far

La La Land
Rating: 5/10

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I still feel that La La Land is way too overrated. The plot and characters were interesting however I could not stop myself from becoming annoyed at the fact that the film’s message is about how fake and celebrity-driven the entertainment industry and Hollywood is, and yet use two of the biggest actors in Hollywood to sell their film, giving them time and money to train in music and dance rather than use two actors who could actually sing and dance.

Mia, the main character is shown in multiple auditions where all of the other actresses auditioning look exactly like her and the casting directors only see two minutes of her performance, and yet the film doesn’t seem to care about all of the real actors trying to make it in Hollywood – no, we’ll just hire Ryan Gosling because the girls love him.

Plus, for me, I felt Emma Stone really took away from the plot because she is so well-known in other parts. She is not an amazing singer and I would have enjoyed the film a lot more if the actors were less known or famous because then it would actually feel real.

The majority of the musical numbers were easily forgettable and I understand that the writer was trying to present the “What If?” question that everyone asks themselves, but it just didn’t work for me. In my opinion, it felt like we were watching Mia and Seb have this huge character arc on following their dreams, being happy and being together, to then watch them go separate ways in the name of their career and then dream of what life would have been like together. The film basically says that anyone would choose fame, money and success over love and happiness, which is just a bad message for any story. It may be a realistic message, but the surrealistic and dream-like scenes throughout the film then makes this ironic.

Hacksaw Ridge
Rating: 9/10

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From my least favourite movie this year, to my favourite; I have been recommending Hacksaw Ridge to everyone I know. The story is so compelling, dramatic, intense, and impactful that I came out of that cinema wondering what life was. Andrew Garfield’s character is so full of goodness and represents naivety and innocence and holiness that I think we all wish we had.

Although Desmond, the protagonist, is a devout religious man, I didn’t feel that the idea of God was forced on the audience and you would enjoy this movie with any set of belief systems. Despite Desmond praying and speaking to God, and it’s obvious all of his actions are motivated by religion, we still feel more connected to the character himself because of his passion and determination to be good which I think is strong in everyone, regardless of what belief you have.

The action scenes and war imagery are so intense and it leaves you feeling thankful and lucky. Even though there is a lot of blood, guts, gore and violence, the film strives to keep the value and message based on love, as Desmond shows his unbiased, unselfish love for pretty much everyone, whether that be his wife, the fellow soldiers who beat him up part-way through the movie, his drunk father, his friends on the field, or even the opposing Japanese army.

He uses his skills as a medic to save and comfort people, no matter who they are, and acts as a glimmer of light and hope for everyone in the awful war. It’s a beautifully directed movie and Andrew Garfield is perfect. His character represents so much more than a glimmer of light, but also, for me, showed that you can be whoever you want to be and do good things in life, despite the general consensus. Desmond decides to go against killing and violence at a time when everyone around him were doing it, and he trusts in his own heart and his religion that he is doing the right thing which is so beautiful and tear-jerking to watch.

Logan
Rating: 8.5/10

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I also thought Logan was pretty amazing and such a brave risk for the film makers, even for a Wolverine film, as it was so different from any other X-Men movie. The main three characters, Logan, Charles Xavier and Laura make up this sweet and beautiful family which really makes us care about them.

The story is set in the future, in an almost post-apocalyptic world, adding to the seriousness and severity of the threat against our main characters. Any other X-Men movie would not be this intense or feel as if the characters were in this much danger, but because our characters are completely alone and do not have any back-up, with all of their allies being dead, it feels very dangerous.

The action is so good. Despite Logan being sick and weak throughout the film, the fight scenes are intricate, detailed and not repetitive at all. Dafne Keen is so brilliant – her character of Laura is dangerous, violent, threatening, as well as being mysterious, passionate, and funny. The idea of this 11-year-old girl killing multiple grown men all at once does not seem far-fetched or silly when you watch this actress’s performance and see how the director has shot the fights. Laura isn’t just mindlessly violent but also clever and has understanding motivations that come from the heart and the character’s background.

The film is very heart-warming and the biggest message is family. Probably my favourite line in this movie is when Logan says to Laura “Don’t be what they made you”, referring to the corrupt organisation that made Laura as a weapon. The ending of this movie had me in tears and I could not imagine a better send off for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

Kong: Skull Island
Rating: – 6.5/10

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As someone who studied the King Kong movies in school, I feel this movie was as expected. It didn’t blow me away but I think it did justice to the King Kong stories and I am really excited to see how this film fits into the Godzilla Vs. Kong franchise.

Although it is based around the same mythical island and mythical giant gorilla tale, it does have a completely different plot and one of the things I found the most different about this movie from other Kong movies was the scale of everything. This might just be because it is the most modern of these movies which therefore means the director was able to make the sets, the visual effects and the concept larger. However, I think another reason for this was to reflect the 2014 Godzilla movie, (which I loved by the way).

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, Godzilla follows the story of a few different giant monsters and the destruction they leave behind them, leaving the human characters feeling extremely small and helpless. Kong: Skull Island complements this incredibly as, not just Kong, but all of the strange creatures on this island are massive on a scale that these characters can’t even comprehend. At one point, the characters find themselves wondering underneath of a giant bug. Even though the majority of these creatures are harmless and are not trying to cause destruction and death, the scale of them is enough for the audience and the characters to feel vulnerable and out-numbered. The large scale of the creatures and sets really keeps you on edge throughout.

The star of the show for me had to be Tom Hiddleston, who I had never really rated highly until I watched this movie. I didn’t ever feel that Hiddleston could play the type of character he’s portraying here but he totally nails it and I was pleasantly surprised. His character of James feels completely ahead of his time due to his mysterious nature and intelligence. I also thought Samuel L Jackson showed a great performance and in-depth character and I liked how the plot and action progressed. The only negative for me was the plot being overshadowed by the constant action and violent deaths. At face value, this film is just like any other action movie with its fair share of gore, death, guns and bombs.

Beauty and the Beast
Rating: 9.5/10

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The wait is over! I was so excited to see this film and it did not disappoint me. What I liked most about this movie was that they added more background to the famous characters which gave the plot more juice. Making a live action of a classic and widely-popular, widely-loved Disney film, means that it’s difficult to prevent the story from feeling boring or repetitive. However, the film makers kept the integrity of the original story and added in more depth and even explained a few things that were left out of the original.

It was very emotional for me, especially the ending battle, and the enchanted talking objects made it very difficult not to care about them. I pretty much cried for the entire last half hour. I think the casting was almost perfect. I did feel that Emma Watson seemed too young to be with the Beast however I thought her singing was beautiful. It’s plainly obvious that Emma Watson was cast because of her existing global fame, however I felt that the rest of the actors suited their characters amazingly.

Gaston and LeFou were incredibly funny and vile at the same time, the castle’s enchanted servants were heart-warming, Maurice, Belle’s father was quirky and caring, and the Beast himself was made into such an in-depth character which led to a better understanding of his actions and more sympathy. I really enjoyed the opening scene which showed the Beast becoming cursed as it gave more to the story.

The musical numbers were a whole lot better than La La Land’s and were memorable. I loved the Beast’s solo he sings in his castle; it was so emotional and I think that was the turning point for the character who develops and becomes selfless and kind, and the turning point for the audience as well on their opinion of the Beast. The settings and visuals were also on point throughout and I was very pleased with how they pulled it off.

Power Rangers
Rating: 7/10

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I was maybe a little bit too excited to watch this movie. I loved Power Rangers when I was younger – It’s such a global franchise that has reached so many people for so long, and I think this film does that justice. I was slightly worried that it would be cheesy, unrealistic and childish but I didn’t feel this was such a big deal. The reason for this is because the story focuses on, above anything else, the five teenagers who are thrown into being super heroes, when they don’t even know each other and are still making mistakes and finding themselves. This overshadows everything else, so even though the scenes and story may seem unrealistic or silly at times, the audience remains invested and interested because of the characters who drive the plot and the emotions.

We discover a lot about the five rangers in a short amount of time and they, and the development of their friendship, becomes the centre of the plot. Aside from the large scale battles, visual effects, saving-the-world aspect, the story follows the character’s journey towards adulthood and coming of age. This was the highlight for me because these five kids are the only thing that we, as an audience, can relate to because we’ve all had to grow up and find our identity through teenage struggles and issues, and so everything else like the super powers and saving the world becomes just an added extra that doesn’t need as much attention.

Leading on from the characters, the actors are so good in this movie. I also didn’t realise that the film used the same character names and personalities from the original series, and I liked that. However, I really didn’t like the Alpha 5 ship robot and found him annoying and irrelevant. The character of Zordon was obviously necessary to lead the plot and the characters, but the visuals for him were pretty terrible.

The physical ranger suits were gorgeous and I did find the jokes funny at times, although I can see why people would find them cheesy. I felt that this film worked incredibly well on it’s own and yet still established a universe for a potential film franchise. It looks as though a sequel is confirmed and I cannot wait to see how they are going to introduce a green ranger into the group. It would definitely create some sparks as the gang took a whole movie to bond with, feel comfortable and open up to each other.

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Little Mix – Our World – My Thoughts

I bought Our World on a whim, purely interested in the celebrity culture and wanting to know more about the girls personally. Recently, I have started to become more and more of a fan of Little Mix and the main question for me was: Do the girls really like each other as much as they seem to? Being put together on the X Factor feels like so long ago and so I don’t remember much other than Perrie pretty much stole all the rifts and strong notes, and Leigh-Anne and Jesy didn’t really get a look in. I really wanted to know how much creative freedom they got on X Factor and how much they bonded as friends once they were put in a group.

After reading their book, I will say that I have a lot less judgement for each of them, which is to be expected when you read more about their personal life, childhood, opinions, hobbies and thoughts. A lot of the stereotypes I had for them have been debunked and I feel that I see the group a lot more like ordinary girls. There are a lot of topics included in the book that I think most people, at least casual fans, will not know and might be surprised to hear.

The cover and pictures inside are stunning and beautiful. It’s a well-made hardback and the photos of the girls are very good and show them in many different outfits and poses. I will say that the pictures do get a bit repetitive after a while. Preferably, I would have liked more behind-the-scenes images of the girls doing more every-day things, as well as more of their childhood and X Factor pictures. A lot of the images, which appear on every few pages, were obviously taken in the same photo shoot set up specifically for this book and so get very tedious and boring after a while. There were some photos of the girls when they were younger and with boyfriends and family but the majority were from this one photo shoot and of them on stage on tour.

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A long the same lines as the photos, the stories and experiences that the girls discuss in the book also get repetitive as each of them seem to write about the same events, just in their own point of view. This is interesting to read, however the editors could have cut a lot of it down considerably. I felt that I was reading a lot of the same sentences and stories again and again from each girl. After all, if these experiences, big live performances or trips away from home, were happening to all of them at the same time, it’s clear that they will describe the experience similarly.

However, as I have said, I feel that I understand the girls a lot more after reading Our World. I originally believed that Little Mix have been famous for a good few years now but it would seem that they still have a long way to go. They write about wanting to crack America and build their fan base further. I saw that they performed on the Brit Awards 2016 but I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t think that they had anything to prove or were not famous enough to be singing on that stage but apparently the girls thought so. They talked about being starstruck to meet other celebrities, trying to save money to buy their parents a house, and of struggling to write their third album and worrying about being dropped. I never thought that these girls dealt with this sort of stuff. From my point of view, Little Mix, was one of the biggest girl bands in the world and had definitely already conquered American, what with Black Magic being released. It would seem that the girls feel that they are not famous to the extent of Rihanna or Justin Bieber but would love to achieve more recognition. I also believed that the girls were pretty loaded, and already owned houses for themselves and their families – this turns out to be false. I think that Perrie is the only one who mentions buying her own place, which was only due to her break up with One Direction’s Zayn. Leigh-Ann talks about eventually getting a place of her own but it doesn’t look like any of the other girls have managed to buy their own house which I just thought was surprising. We imagine that celebrities get everything they want but I guess that’s not the case.

There were many things that surprised me that is written in this book about all four of the girls. Perrie was probably the least surprising. I already knew that Perrie was bubbly, a bit whacky and hippy-ish and sweet. I also heard that she had medical problems with her tonsils and didn’t have a sense of smell but, as Perrie goes into more detail in the book, it becomes a much bigger issue as she describes having operations every week to stretch her throat. As a child her food would get stuck and she would end up being sick. Shortly after winning the X Factor she also suffered with tonsillitis almost constantly and had them removed. I also knew that this happened but, again, the way it happened was a surprise. Before reading the full story from Perrie, I thought that she had her tonsils removed at her leisure so that it was easier for her to sing and work, however the book describes her in pain constantly for a year and considering all the possibilities of losing her singing voice, before actually going through with it. I’m not sure if this is peculiar, but I always thought a celebrity could afford any medical treatment and didn’t think that they would have the same worries and hassles as ordinary people when it came to having an operation or being ill.

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The pages that Jade wrote were very surprising for me and now I think I see her in a completely different way. For one, I had no idea that Jade is mixed race and so, when she wrote about being bullied for it at school, it was pretty awful. Jade never really struck me as a shy girl but it’s obvious now that she is the most quiet and shy out of the group. That is really not obvious when you see the girls on stage or in interviews but when Jade described school and going for the X Factor she seemed pretty petrified and quiet. I think people must think she thought highly of herself to audition for the X Factor three times but Jade writes about wanting to give up and the fear of being rejected again. Jade talks about having the worst stage fright and worrying as a kid that everyone would laugh at her. Another fact that surprised me was that the other girls describe Jade as the best at doing make-up. I really didn’t notice that before I read the book and it’s because Jade did a beauty course before she went into singing.

There are plenty more surprising insights into Jesy’s life. I remember watching the girls on the X Factor but I had forgotten just how wacky and crazy Jesy’s personality and style was. Jesy talks about being in a dance group that was the sister group for Diversity and being an extra for Harry Potter and other famous films. It seems that there is way more to the girls than first meets the eye. Leigh-Anne really changed my opinion of her completely. I always saw her as the weakest singer, but I have noticed over the past year how much better she has got. I thought this was just me realising that she always had talent however Leigh-Anne actually address her vocals in the book and talks about the criticism she got and the pressure to keep up with the other girls who were all much better than her. She got a vocal couch for their Get Weird tour and Leigh-Anne states that he helped her do things with her voice that she never thought she would be able to do which I found really sweet. I feel that Leigh-Anne is very inspiring as a person. She comes across in the book as super confident. Even when she addresses her weaker vocals, she says that she always knew she was good and worked hard but wanted to reach the same level as the others. I think Leigh-Anne is the most confident. Jesy seems the complete opposite as she writes about being totally deflated and depressed during the X Factor due to all of the horrible comments she was getting about her appearance. I remember that Jesy was bigger than the other girls but it was obvious Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne were way smaller than average, but it obviously affected Jesy more than viewers can see. However, Jesy seems to really appreciate that those dark times happened because she is so confident about herself now and is exactly who she wants to be. As she quotes, “If everyone looked the same, the world would be boring” which is really inspiring and role-model material. For some reason, I thought that all of the girls had tattoos because that’s just want famous people do but Jesy is the only one who mentions them and it just shows how unique and creative she is as a person.

Regarding the X Factor it does feel like the girls didn’t really have a good time on the show and only endured it to live the pop star dream. They talk about how the producers tried to get a photo shoot of them in underwear which led them to break down and cry as they were so young at the time and didn’t want to do it. However, the worst story for me was when the girls talk about their make-over that the show creates for all of the contestants who make it to the live shows. Perrie talks about always having long, luscious blonde hair since being a kid but when it came to the live shows the producers wanted to cut it short. Perrie apparently begged for them not to in fear that it wouldn’t grow back, but they did it anyway and bleached it bright blonde. Leigh-Anne had the side of her head shaved and died bright red and both her and Perrie stated that the make-overs ruined their natural hair. I’m pretty sure Jesy mentions it as well, but Jade appears to have come away unscarred as she talks about dying her hair many different colours. The girls talk about how much they cherished and tried to protect their hair when they were younger before the show and then just having it all ruined when they were all glammed up. I know it’s not the worst thing in the world but it’s now very nice, especially with how young they all were.

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Little Mix also seem to talk about performing live and on tour a lot and I am annoyed that they don’t mention lip-synching. You’d have to be blind not to notice that when the girls are dancing on stage, choruses seem to be playback and mic don’ts even seem to be on for most of it. No one is disputing the fact that the girls can sing as apparent in acoustic and acapella performances, however, as is probably the common thing to do in the music industry, lip-synching is used for almost all of the girls big performances. They talk about how great and hard they worked for the 2016 Brit Awards performance and yet fail to mention that they lip-synched the majority of it. I don’t think it is a bad thing to lip-synch when the girls are singing the solos and verses and have heavy chorography but I would have liked for them to acknowledge that and it felt a little like they were pretending that lip-synching was even a thing which is just silly.

Finally, I want to talk about the fact that the book seems outdated. Our World was published in October 2016. Glory Days, their new album, was released in November. Since this book came out, the girls have had multiple hits from this album such as Shout Out to My Ex, Touch and Oops and a lot has changed. The most awkward part of the book for me was when Jesy was talking about her engagement with Jake Roche. The couple have since announced their split, so the many romantic stories and a few hints at wedding planning seem really awkward. The girls also talk about trying to crack America and since the release of the book, the girls announced they were touring America with Ariana Grande, one of the biggest pop starts in the country. The girls talk a lot about their Get Weird album and tour, which feels old now, especially as Glory Days has been such a hit. I understand that Little Mix don’t know what the future will bring but they knew their new album was coming out and it would have been much better to write and release an auto-biographical book when they had a lull in work or didn’t have any new music coming out so that what they write and say on the pages are more accurate and updated.

Overall, I feel that I know the girls loads more after reading this book. It may not have been the best edited or planned piece of writing but it feels that the girls poured their heart out into the words and a lot of the information and experiences the four of them share you wouldn’t find anywhere else. It was like all four of them just had a long chat with you so it feels personal and secret. Despite it’s flaws, this book must be an awesome read for Little Mix fans.

Busted – Night Driver Album Review

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One word I would use to describe this album? Chilled. When you listen to Night Driver you instantly feel relaxed and calm. The boys, James, Matt and Charlie, have had such a big break since making music together and have grown as individuals. This shines through their mature and sophisticated new album. They have also got better! It feels like the songs are completely their own and they single-handedly crafted this album themselves, utilising every thing they could possibly know how to play a tune on. The result; sounding brilliant.

The physical album is visually beautiful, with the purple shade of a sunset on the cover. Casual photos of the boys sit inside the album booklet which, again, adds to the relaxed feel. The guys really present their love for music in the sense of acting so at peace with what they have created. They are extremely confident and secure with who they are as a band.

One theme that I found very prominent that demonstrates how much these guys have grown into adults is the idea of travelling. The album is called Night Driver after all and quite a few of the songs involve travelling to new places, being away from home and driving. As the boys have been touring and travelling the world for almost all of their lives, they seem to understand exactly how it feels and also how it feels to miss your family. These are very sophisticated and interesting topics to discuss and the messages seem to come from the heart and feels genuine.

I will criticise this album slightly for not quite being as diverse as it could be. Every song follows the outline of a small number of lyrics, and electronic melodies during the chorus. Although, this adds to making you feel relaxed when you listen to the songs as they are not too fast or complex. As someone who has listened to this album commuting to work in my car, it really does make you less tense and stressed. It’s like the boys were high when they were writing this album (but maybe that’s not a bad thing).

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Coming Home is the first song on this album and, as I have just mentioned, tackles the idea of travelling away from home and away from your family. The basic message is that there is no where better in the world than your own home, and this is coming from three men who have been to their fair share of different places. The most impactful lyric in this song is “There’s nothing else to see”, and I’m certain that this would resonate with everyone. The tune is very slow and does make you think of your family and the people you love.

Then we have “Night Driver” which is one of the much faster and funkier songs. The lyrics are very interesting, presenting messages of power and control as they describe how the “road belongs to you”. As I said, I listened to this album only when I was driving so it did give me a big confidence boost whenever it came on and it makes you feel completely in control of your life. Charlie pretty much carries this whole tune from start to finish which makes sense as his voice is so strong. It’s also very catchy.

Speaking of catchy – it’s the one and only “On What You’re On” which is definitely one of the best songs on this album. Following the chilled vibe, the song feels so laid back and really romantic as well. Symbolically, the song describes the passion and desire to reach someone and understand them on a personal level. It’s really about connecting with someone mentally but also has the fun, party vibe and it’s also feel-good. The vocals are amazingly good and the saxophone solo is a highlight!

 

New York is another favourite of mine, and is very similar to Coming Home in the sense of the boys being away from home and wishing someone could be with them. It really captures the feeling of being in love and feeling that nothing else is the same when that special person is not with you. Despite not really describing New York very much in the song, you still picture the bright, busy city when you listen and feel a heart ache of missing someone. The tune is slow and soft and easy to listen to.

My most-played section of the CD continues with Thinking of You which is incredibly catchy. As well as being am amazing love song, it’s also something that you would hear playing in a club. The instruments used throughout this tune really showcases the boy’s talents and it’s also relatable, because we’ve all been in that situation where you just can’t get someone out of your head. The song is so simple and yet perfectly presents romantic feelings.

“Without It” is the first song that tackles a break-up or a struggle in a relationship. Up until now, all of the songs have been quite passionate and romantic, but this is the first song to sound angry, regretful and irritated with love. The main premise is that the recipient of these lyrics should just give up on the relationship if they don’t care and that both people in the relationship would then be “better off”. The boys sound so mature during this song as they state “I’ve tried to love you the best way that I know how” so instead of moaning or trying to change who they are, they have accepted that the relationship won’t work and things would be better without it. It’s definitely a breathtaking and interesting idea.

The next song is not a memorable one for me. “One of A Kind” presents that amazing feeling of love at first sight or that first lovey, passionate period of a relationship. However, I do feel that this song is a bit too fast and catchy therefore kind of ruins the message and makes it less important or romantic which I feel it should be. “I Will Break Your Heart” is fairly catchy and fun, and is a message that you don’t normally ever hear in songs. In the fear that the relationship won’t be long-lasting, the boys decide to make the most of it while they can and it’s got a feeling of pure fun and casual romance.

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“Kids with Computers” has a very inspiring message and quite complicated lyrics that must have multiple different interpretations. The digital beats and tunes in the song complements the lyrics in predicting that the future will be mostly virtual and robotic. Although there may be sub-messages in there, I feel that it really hits home that this is what the world will turn into.

The album slows down again for “Easy” which brings in sorrowful messages of wishing for someone who is too difficult to latch onto. The song is very relatable and makes the listener want to scream “I wish it was easy!” because we all know that love is not. The song looks deep into every little detail of the problem which represents when we overthink in a relationship. The best line is “No fun when you’re the only one love drunk when the other’s sober,” because it is so sad and we all know how that feels to love someone and not have them love you back. The harmonies are also brilliant.

“Out of Our Minds” is very fun and fresh and really captures the party vibe. “It’s clear that the weekend means nothing to me” is my favourite lyric and the song doesn’t apologise for having a great time or being out of it. It’s really up-beat and gets you pumped when you listen. It’s also got a great sense of unity with all three boys screaming “We’re out of our minds” which shows their strong friendship.

The last song on the album is titled “Those Days Are Gone” and is a weird mixture of slow and fast, sorrowful as well as uplifting, as the song tells the story of not wanting to let go of someone or their memories. Despite the days being gone, the boys are not giving up on holding onto them. It’s fitting that this is the climax to the album as, despite the meaning of the song probably being based on a romantic relationship, it’s nice to think that the boys are referencing their friendship and reunion.

And that’s it! If you’re thinking of buying this album, I will say that it does get quite repetitive which just showcases how much the boys have grown into their own style. This collection of songs is so relaxing and chilled that you can easily fall asleep to the music after a long and stressful day. Enjoy it!

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The Best Pop Music Moments of 2016

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It’s the end of a very special and interesting year which had it’s fair share of awesome hits and tracks. As 2016 comes to a close, I list the best, most exciting, fresh, funniest and most inspiring pop musical moments of the year, from Meghan Trainor falling over on Jimmy Kimmel to the Black Beatle Mannequin Challenge.

Shout Out to Little Mix Getting Their Ex’s Out of Their Hair

The two biggest hits of the year came from these girls and both tracks are about getting over that toxic ex-boyfriend. Both sounds are catchy and addictive in their own ways, and both music videos are intriguing and visually stunning – you can’t really look away when Little Mix are on. First the girls brought us Hair in April with a tightly choreographed and directed music video which follows the story of a girly sleepover, with Leigh-Anne getting her ex our of her hair. The music video was so fun and casual with all four girls in their pajamas for the majority of the time.

The music video for Hair and Shout Out To My Ex were both set in quite American surroundings. In Hair, the girls get together in a large house, order pizza and fool around with outfits in their walk-in wardrobe (or closet). In Shout Out To My Ex the girls are show in a very open plain, next to a pool, and in an American car. Maybe the girls are trying to pander to their very large American fan base but, the videos the girls are putting out look as though the group are from the U.S. It could be that this is the reason Little Mix have done so great this year,

Moving on, Shout Out To My Ex, which was released in October, made a huge entrance before the video was even out. The girls went back to their roots and made their debut performance of this song on XFactor UK before anyone had even heard the tune. They caused a lot of talk after this performance including discussion on their “revealing” outfits and how the track sounded exactly like GRL’s song Ugly Heart. However, no matter how much criticism this group got, they have stormed through this year as triumphant.

Although, we all know the real reason Shout Out To My Ex, the repetitive, generic break-up song, did so well this Autumn; Perrie and Zayn’s break up. It did feel like all the interviews, performances and publicity surrounding this single was mainly focused on Perrie and her cancelled engagement with the former-One Direction member.  It has also recently come to light that Jesy has also split from her fiance, so, although it’s not a nice fact, all of these things do aid the selling of a record and I think that was utilised when this song was released.

In essence, these girls are so fun to watch and both music videos are eye-catching and addictive. The songs the group have promoted this year are relatable to pretty much everyone, whether you’ve had your heart broken or just need to forget your ex ever existed, Little Mix have covered all the feelings and motions.

DNCE Doing It Like They Do

I know that DNCE’s most famous track, Cake By The Ocean, was actually released last year but the song has remained in our minds and is still being played frequently. It is such a summer track that it’s no surprise it made more than a few appearances in the summer of 2016. However, since that beach-party-tune was released, DNCE have kept themselves busy with their new single Toothbrush being brought out in May which got just as popular.

This song gave listeners such a great feeling of that passionate first few months of a relationship and it is super catchy. The guys in DNCE seem to have established their own style and mannerisms already that you can tell who these guys are just by listening. Toothbrush re-affirmed the band’s genres and messages which includes that feeling of excitement in a relationship. These guys are also great to watch live, with this excitement and fun energy radiating off of the stage and into the audience.

Meghan Trainor Takes a Tumble on Jimmy Fallon

My girl, Meghan Trainor, has had her fill of hits in 2016. First she threw us her lead single, NO in March, which was both reminiscent of the 90’s and yet had the beat of a fresh new sound. Then she came in again in May with the famous Me Too track that has peaked almost 300 million views on YouTube. The music videos for both songs were talked about loads but Me Too won all the hype when it transpired that the first cut of the video included photoshopped shots to make Meghan’s waist look slimmer. This video was quickly taken down and replaced with an unedited version. Meghan did a great job of brushing off this issue and the message she sent out this year goes hand-in-hand with her music.

NO was an additive anthem and I thought Meghan absolutely smashed the music video. I saw a lot of negative comments, like Meghan being stiff whilst dancing, but I actually really enjoyed the video. This first single was pretty much aimed at us ladies and it really captured that bad-ass feeling we let out when we come up against persistent unwanted individuals. I fell even more in love with this song when Meghan performed it on The Voice UK and The Graham Norton Show [watch now]. Both performances were faultless and stunning. Meghan can pull off singing completely live with her amazing vocals but understands the use of a backing track to enhance her performances and allow her to rift and it makes for great entertainment. These two performances blew me away so I would definitely give them a watch. Meghan’s long pause before belting out the last chorus will make your heart stop beating.

NO combines with Me Too to create the perfect confidence booster. When you listen to Meghan’s 2016 music, your self-esteem just soars and you feel good. Me Too was honestly something I had never heard before. It was a completely new message, promoting loving what you have and being confident. As the music video follows Meghan around her celebrity life, it should feel arrogant and big-headed, after all, the hook is “If I was you, I’d wanna be me too”, but it’s really not arrogant at all. Meghan has so much fun in the video and this radiates to the viewer. The song isn’t about rubbing what you have got into other people’s faces, but rather loving your life and all the things you are able to do. The fact that Meghan openly admitted to the photoshopped video and demanded it be taken down and an unedited version re-uploaded, adds to the incredible vibe she spreads that encompasses confidence, positivity and being yourself.

And what was the cherry on top of all these wonderful messages? Falling over on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. I had heard that Meghan had fallen, quite literally, on her ass on the show whilst performing Me Too so I watched the entire performance on the edge of my seat, innocent to the fact that Meghan nails every single dance move. It’s not until the very end does she trip over completely, causing Jimmy Fallon to join her lying on the floor. Meghan reveals in an interview the next day that she performed the song all over again but, on reviewing both performances, said the first was a better performance so the original version was aired. Just another reminder that Meghan encourages humidity, creative passion, morale and good laughs.

Fifth Harmony Go To Work, Work, Work

Fifth Harmony  have had a hell of a year with the release of their second studio album, 7/27, which debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200. Multiple hits came out of this album which surpassed the success of Worth It. The five girls have gradually grown in publicity throughout the year. First their lead single, Work From Home, and it’s music video were released way back in February. This single is officially my song of 2016 and is still going strong. The girls look and sound so amazing and they really smashed all the stereotypes of them being a typical XFactor girl group who only appeal to teenage girls. This Is The Life and Write On Me were also great tracks that were released at around the same time but were not as popular.

Fifth Harmony have managed to keep Work From Home alive throughout the year through their stunning live performances. One of their first performances being on Jimmy Kimmel Live! where they managed to re-enact their music video almost perfectly by incorporating a bloody massive truck along with exactly the same outfits and famous, powerful dance moves from the music video. The song has been constantly kept fresh with the girls performing it everywhere they go and always developing new moves and surprises with each new showing.

Then came All In My Head (Flex) [watch now] which the girls performed a number of times before releasing the music video. All performances of this song were pretty incredible and so, when the video finally came out in June, I wasn’t surprised that people loved it so much. The video is set on a beach and the girls look stunning so what’s not to love? Then, just when you think Fifth Harmony can’t give us any more sexy, sassy tracks, along came That’s My Girl [watch now] which was released in September. This was the one that headed everything off and became popular very quickly due to the messages of friendship and girl power. The girls nailed the live performance on the American Music Awards. Although the heavy production may have overwhelmed the actual vocals, the women in the audience were so captivated and so it was definitely an impactful moment for 2016.

Fifth Harmony have blossomed this year and have kept us intrigued, not leaving us bored for new music. The three top singles we have been listening to in 2016 have all been strong, special and memorable.

Hallelujah, it’s Pentatonix!

The A cappella group stayed fairly quiet this year until autumn dawned on us and they emerged from their recording studio with an incredible rendition of Hallelujah accompanied by an equally heart-stopping video. This track, released in October, made me prematurely excited for Christmas, with the video set in Winter, featuring winter clothes and slow harmonies. They have received over 70 million views on YouTube for this song and it’s not even Christmas yet! Believe it or not, this video was trending before it was even November and it’s brilliant. For a song that has been covered and re-hashed too many times already, Pentatonix still managed to keep it fresh and deliver us a version completely different, hitting notes that you would never think of when looking at this song. It looks like Pentatonix were saving all their ammunition for the end of the year.

Shortly before releasing this video, the guys shot a cover of Jolene with the one and only Dolly Parton [watch now]. This got such great reviews that the gang performed the track again live on The Voice US alongside Dolly and Miley Cyrus. The television performance obviously had it’s errors and mistakes but Pentatonix themselves were still faultless and tight throughout. All 7 voices blended and complemented each other amazingly. Hopefully all of the groups hard work this year will get them a Christmas number 1 somewhere!

BEATZ Get Even Bigger and Better

BEATZ have gained in popularity over the past couple of years, thanks to their 2014 XFactor Australia audition of Hollaback Girl pretty much becoming viral [watch now], with people praising their tight harmonies and dance moves, as well as their ability to create something new and unique with an old track. The girls unfortunately never made it to the live shows in 2014 but, after they raised to prominence more online, they came back again this year, auditioning with Problem in October. Iggy Azalea has been one of the XFactor judges this year and group member, Taylor, does a brave job of nailing Iggy’s rap right in front of her.

Some people would say that the girls improved on their second audition but, personally, I thought that they had talent and potential from the start. This year the girls not only went to the live shows but made it all the way to the semi-finals. Despite the fact that BEATZ were knocked off the show yet again, they pulled off some jaw-dropping performances whilst being on the show and I hope they gain even more publicity because I feel they really deserve it. Ever since I saw their rendition of Hollaback Girl I knew that there was something special about these three. They are all so young and yet have the talent, maturity and confidence of a group that have been in the industry for several years. Here’s me hoping that they go even further!

BEATZ gave us a host of new live covers this year which includes my favourites; Single Ladies where, again, they do something completely new and fresh with the famous track and look amazing whilst doing it, and Move [watch now] where the girls look so much like fully-formed recording artists that I just don’t get why they haven’t made it yet. It seems like the group don’t need any more experience and are bursting from their creative, talented bubble just eager to go head first into the music industry. These girls perform better than some professionals and I can’t wait for them to release their own music.

We Have Been Starving For Hailee Steinfeld And We Didn’t Even Know It!

Hailee Steinfeld’s track, Starving, came out of absolutely no where. We thought she was just a Pitch Perfect actress but now she is the voice behind probably the biggest hit of 2016, despite also being the star of the movie The Edge of Seventeen that came out this year as well. Hailee has gained so much praise for this track. I still don’t understand how this girl has such beautiful vocals and is only 19 years old. When I watched her live performance of Starving on Late Night With Seth Meyers I was so blown away, and not just because of the shirtless backing dancers.

Hailee has so much confidence and actually sings live. Unlike most artists, she sounds great because her performances sound real and genuine. She also does not get distracted by those wonderfully hot dancers, and the tune that she has been blessed with is incredibly catchy. The message behind the song is so passionate and reminds us of all those special and unique people that we have interacted with that have given us a spark or something  new. The beat and tune are so simple and yet the track has gone through the roof at over 77 million views on YouTube. I really hope that Hailee keeps going further because she is such a talented singer and actress, not to mention that she always looks amazing as well.

 

Ariana Grande Keeping It Interesting

One of the queens of pop. The most popular tracks from Ariana Grande this year continue to be sexy, saucy and fresh. First she releases Into You in May which was slow, seductive and passionate, and then she hits again with Side to Side in August. This one really got people talking about the extremely sexy messages. The music video being set in a gym, Ariana is not afraid to show off ass and send as many phallic imagery she wants – and it got the world buzzing.

Ariana performed this track at the MTV Video Music Awards and pretty much blew any expectation out of the water. First she started on a exercise bike, whilst keeping pretty steady vocals, and then she moved onto a gymnastic horse bench, at one point hanging almost completely upside down, before Nicki Minaj made her big entrance. Ariana does this all whilst singing live which is mind-blowing. The show was so provocative and erotic that there was obvious discussion which brought extra publicity to Side to Side. You may watch the performance and be a bit taken aback but things like this got Ariana very popular in 2016. Side to Side and Into You are still being played over and over because of Ariana’s sexy, fun character.

 

The Come Back of an XFactor Winner Long Forgotten

I’m sure we had all forgotten that James Arthur even existed. After he won the XFactor UK back in 2012 and disappeared due to controversy and lack of good material, he was back fighting this year when he released Say You Won’t Let Go in September. This track went straight to the number one here in the UK and Arthur has, to date, been the only male winner of the XFactor UK to have more than one number one hit which is a great achievement.

Arthur received heaps of praise for this love song which was slow and had beautiful, sweet melodies. The track really broke up the radio from all the electric dance music that is so popular nowadays and brought us acoustic sounds and simple lyrics which is rare in today’s pop music. Since September, James has forked up almost 100 million views for this song on YouTube. Let’s hope for more sweet love songs from James in 2017!

Black Beatles

If I told you a year ago that this duo, Rae Sremmurd, would be responsible for the most played song of 2016, would you believe me? The Mannequin Challenge first came about last month and, has since, gone viral. Rae Sremmurd’s single Black Beatles, which was released in August, became the theme tune for this particular internet sensation and led to celebrities such as Destiny’s Child, Paul McCartney, James Corden and Adele all giving it a go. It was overnight success for Rae Sremmurd as Black Beatles went straight to number one in the ITunes chart. The song itself is very unique and has interesting beats and lyrics; the group’s style is almost the pinnacle of hip-hop. This viral challenge led to increased success in Rae Sremmurd’s other 2016 singles, No Type and No Flex Zone which is so great for the group as they are really well-produced and fresh.

 

So, if you were hidden under a rock throughout 2016, that was what you missed! Obviously, several other artists had a slice of the attention this year. Shawn Mendes continued to make catchy pop anthems after his break through last year with the release of Treat You Better and MercyNick Jonas was another artist who had to live up to his reputation from last year’s Jealous, which he has managed to keep up with this year’s Bacon (he performed a particular amazing version of this on The Late Late Show with James Corden). 

Justin Bieber is obviously as famous as ever, with Cold Water becoming a massive hit this year, Zara Larson kept up her profile with Ain’t My Fault, ridiculous considering that she is so young, and Sean Paul has just recently brought out Rockabye with Clean Bandit which has been very popular. We also need to mention Sia who powered through this year with hot hit Cheap Thrills back in February which is still being played and loved everywhere. Then she hit us with The Greatest, released in September, which adds to the fact that Sia is becoming more of an individual artist, and is gaining in mainstream popularity.

One of the biggest tracks of 2016 has got to be The Chainsmoker’s Closer which has been extremely over-played, and then we have Drake. Hotline Bling is still a massive tune despite being released over a year ago, but Drake’s One Dance stole the limelight this year, being named Song of the Summer by Billboard. In October, Spotify also revealed that One Dance has become their most-played song. Hopefully, “I need a One Dance” will remind us of 2016 in the future.

Moving forward, one of the two tracks that I can not stop listening to right now, which will probably be one of 2017’s biggest hits, is Noah Cyrus’ debut single Make Me (Cry), which she released with Labrinth last month. Noah sounds so much like her sister and looks amazing in the music video. I still can not believe she is only 16 years old.

The second song that I am hooked on at the moment is Machine Gun Kelly and Camila Cabello’s Bad Things which is such a fresh tune and their voices complement each other so perfectly. This song is an instant replay and the two of them have performed the tune live several times already, my favourite being on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. These two seem to create so much chemistry and artistry, and bounce off of each other when performing, and Camila always looks incredible too.

What has been your pop music moments of 2016 and what tracks are you obsessed with right now? #BringOn2017

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The 8 Best People to Watch Online This Year

We’ve all seen this trend on our social medias: 2016 – The year where everything screwed up. The year our history books will skip. The year we will have to teach our children.

Brexit tore Britain in half and now Donald Trump is America’s new President. Peaceful protests and dangerous riots are taking place all over the US right now and it’s easy to lose your identity and your viewpoint, especially when the mainstream media and news outlets are politically biased towards the left-wing.

To help us get through these trying times, here is my list of people online who re-ignite my love for humanity and, more plainly, speak f*cking sense in a time where it feels like nothing does. For those people reading who have been taken in and mindwashed by propaganda, just know that you’re individual opinion does matter and we do not need to live in a world where there is only one way of living and thinking. This is no longer 1984.

Blaire White
A “tranny” in her own words

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Blaire is so inspiring as a strong character who works hard to feel happy and comfortable rather than blaming society for her problems. Blaire is a strong advocate of the fact that there are only two genders, hates the Black Lives Matter community with a passion and is really funny. When I watch most transgenders on YouTube, it depresses me (*cough* Milo *cough*), but Blaire makes me smile.

Her most popular video is entitled Triggered To Death By Milo Yiannopoulos where she talks of the famous Trigglypuff and the impacts of Milo Yiannopoulos’ Dangeous Faggot Tour.

Milo Yiannoplous
Which leads me onto the man himself

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One of the most famous “provocateurs”: Milo Yiannopoulos is a gay, British, Catholic conservative who disagrees with the left’s view of gay people and men. Some of the most interesting things he has said include “I don’t want gay marriage”, “Feminism is Cancer”, “Black Lives don’t matter to Black Lives Matter” and “Donald Trump is going to build a wall and it is going to be beautiful”. Milo enjoys touring the US due to the freedom of speech which has seemed to have been demolished here in the UK.

Milo is the top dog when it comes to anti-feminism, and the fact that he says things that do not line up with what he has been labeled as by the left, people don’t know what to do with him. The videos I would recommend from Milo is where he completely destroys the gender wage gap myth and when he defends men everywhere for being accused of being inherently violence.

Paul Joseph Watson
Never afraid to say anything

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Paul is probably as far right as you can go and he doesn’t apologise to anyone for it. He mainly advocates against political correctness, censorship and heavily criticises the Islamic culture. He delves very deep into ideas and theories but backs up his arguments substantially.

The funniest parody Paul has produced is called The Truth about Trans-Everything which is definitely a must-watch, but prepare your stomach because you’re going to be laughing a lot.

Chris Ray Gun
A privileged white guy

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This guy has the balls to say pretty much all the usual things but is so witty and hilarious. His main topics include Feminism, censorship and Social -Justice. The video I would recommend watching is “SJW vs LYFT! – The Racist Hulu Girl” where he does an amazing job of dissecting the words of the famous rude feminist who basically screams at an innocent Lyft driver.

Andy Warski
Hilarious and relatable

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This dude is so funny, genuine and is confident in the things that he says. I feel that he is most famous for absolutely hating MTV’s Decoded which, let’s be honest, I don’t blame him. He has had multiple online arguments with the face of Decoded, the one and only Franchesca Ramsey and it’s pretty funny to watch. His most popular videos are where he puts MTV in their place. He mostly discusses racism today but he also talks about sexism and politics. I feel that he is very thought-provoking as someone who criticises a range of different opinions. I also love the fact that he posts videos extremely regularly.

His most popular video which I would recommend is entitled “Pronounce my Name or You’re RACIST!

Lauren Southern
Inspirtational

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I owe Lauren so much as she was the person that really inspired me. Some people may not know this but I used to be a feminist. I was introduced to Feminism/brainwashed in school and online, and I actually believed that I was oppressed or was not treated as well as a man. Then, the turning point in my life was this amazing little video entitled “Why I’m Not A Feminist” by Lauren Southern from the Rebel Media. This video changed my life and I would recommend it to anyone.

I watched this video and it sparked something in me. I started thinking ‘Ya’know what? I have my own mind and my opinion, and I don’t need to be a victim or a feminist just because I’m a woman’. It  wasn’t so much what Lauren said in the video but what she did. I watched in awe. Here was a strong, empowered woman, who was decisive and had her own views and she was not a feminist. Here was a woman who had different views, a discussion, a mind, and strong opinions and it really inspired me. For all those so-called feminists who claim women who do not identify with feminism are stupid or misogynistic, Lauren is the biggest role model for young girls everywhere that you do not need to think like feminists tell you you need to think.

Lauren is also extremely intelligent and has discussed rape culture, sexism, and gender. Considering she has been physically attacked multiple times by feminists, this woman is an inspiration to me. The video called “Lauren Southern – Why I am not a Feminist is a must-watch.

Hunter Avallone
Hitting it home

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I don’t agree with everything this guy says, evident when I criticised his views on abortion, but I respect Hunter so much that he’s not afraid to say what he feels. Everyone should have that right. His comedy is daring and risky and sometimes he might not get away with it but he’s fun to watch. He makes a lot of content reacting to Buzzfeed and Social-Justice videos. His most popular video is called “Why I Hate ‘Fat Acceptance‘ where he hits home the blunt truth and it’s great.

Steven Crowder
A very loud and determined man

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This guy is a blessing. He speaks with so much accuracy, wit and depth and always seems to have tricks up his sleeves and substantial evidence to back up his words. He’s also as hard as nails and as loud as a megaphone but that’s what’s so great about watching him. I think that his greatest gift is debunking the mainstream opinion and he absolutely hates political correctness. When people call him out he doesn’t care – he can say whatever he wants and doesn’t care if you don’t like it. He really blew the roof of the joint when he ranted at The Triggering: Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far event where the panel were discussing racism, sexism, religion and political correctness in college campuses and he really goes up against a lot of angry feminists and smashes it.

And that’s it! I’ve had a lot of fun watching these 8 characters online and, as I said, they do give me faith in humanity. These people represent so much more than jokes and laughs; these guys represent creative freedom, freedom of expression without the fear of being censored or prosecuted, and, believe it or not, equality and acceptance. If anyone wants to stop feeling so uptight and worrying constantly about oppression and hate speech, chill out and relax to the works of these wonderful people.