Music of the minute

Every so often I like to keep you updated on what’s top of my current iPod playlist so here’s a few of my favourite tracks that have been circling my head for the last few weeks…

Jamie xx – Loud Places (ft Romy)

Oh Jamie, you wonderful, wonderful man. Everything you touches turns to beautiful, aural gold. I implore you to give this one a listen, just heavenly. This video is pretty sweet too.
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Sam Smith – In The Lonely Hour

I’ve decided to start incorporating my music posts into A Lot of Lovely Things. Music is my main passion in life, it drives me. And it seemed a shame to keep it separate from my other loves. So here is my first post:

Let’s talk about Sam Smith’s new album In The Lonely Hour.


This single Money On My Mind has been in the charts, accompanying adverts and blasting out of radios for months. If you’ve missed it, God only knows where you’ve been. Give it a listen whilst I run down the rest of the album.

I bought the album In The Lonely Hour yesterday and it is one of the most beautiful albums I have ever listened to. I played this album on repeat about six or seven times at work and at one point I cried. Yes, I welled up at my desk and had to run to the bathroom to compose myself. The song in which brought about such a meltdown: Not In That Way. The story of unrequited love really touched a nerve. But, in hindsight, the whole album struck a nerve – every song is so raw, full of passion and love, and so well crafted – it is hard to not be affected by this work of art.

His latest single Leave Your Lover shows off the true talent of the BRIT Critics’ Choice Award winner. His silky voice, so full of emotion tells the story of our protagonist pleading with his love. A truly sad song which many people will be able to connect with.


Stay With Me, his third single from Sam Smith and is utterly gorgeous. His voice oozes with love and vulnerability, meaning you hang on to every word to see how the story ends.

“This album is supposed to be the soundtrack to those quiet moments in life” Smith told Digital Spy and I can’t agree more. It was when working on my own at work that I got so caught up the unrequited love story that I started crying. This is one to be listened to alone and when you’re ready for a time of reflection, but it is worth the tears as it is simply stunning.

Have you listened to In The Lonely Hour? What do you think of Sam Smith? Leave comments below as I’d love to know your thoughts!

Rx

Review | 12 Years A Slave

I went to see the highly anticipated and highly praised 12 Years A Slave. There is so much expectation on this film, it has award nominations coming out of its ears, so naturally I couldn’t wait to see it!

As always **SPOILER ALERT** Go watch the film then come back and read my review.

Firstly, this is a triumph of a film. It was powerful, moving, harrowing and at times, a difficult watch. The atrocities suffered by slaves in 19th Century America is disturbing, but all credit to Steve McQueen for tackling it in such an excellent way.

Chiwetel Ejiofor is brilliant as Solomon Northup. The pain and strength he shows in his portrayal makes you feel his anguish for days after watching the film. Near the end, there is a long close up shot of Solomon, his whole face fills the screen, he looks around silently, eventually looking down the lens right at you. It is so intense, I had to look away. I felt so guilty for witnessing Solomon’s life.

The violence suffered by the slaves, not just Solomon, is horrific. But I feel it needed to be shown. Films such as this shed light on a dark moment in America’s past and should be addressed in modern film to prevent such horrors happening again. When Patsey is being whipped at the hand of psychotic slave owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), the whole cinema gasped at the visual. I simply couldn’t watch when Solomon was being ‘hanged’. The violence was so incredibly graphic but the shock of it made the film more powerful.

Fassbender was tremendous as Epps – If he doesn’t get the Oscar something has gone badly wrong somewhere. His character was utterly compelling – neurotic, paranoid, and so angry. When Brad Pitt waltzes in to challenge him, I was sure Epps was going to kill Solomon’s saviour.

Another excellent performance from Paul Dano, he really is one of my favourite actors and Benedict Cumberbatch also does well as the more ‘sympathetic’ slave owner.

All in all, this film is tremendous. All the praise that you keep hearing about it is completely justified. I keep telling my friends about it, imploring them to see it. So here is my advise to you – go see this film, its a work of art and will stay with you for a very long time.

Have you seen 12 Years a Slave? What did you think? Leave links and comments below as I’d love to have a read!

Rx

Review | John Green – ‘The Fault In Our Stars’

I’m quite the book worm. I really love reading. Nothing gets me more excited than finding a book which captivates and consumes me. And that is exactly what John Green’s ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ did.

John Green - Fault In Our Stars

Now I knew John Green from Vlogbrothers way before I read TFIOS as, you know, him and his brother Hank are pretty awesome. Here is their channel. And here is John talking about said book:

So, I won’t give away any spoilers but the story is about 16-year-old Hazel who has terminal cancer. Yes, its a cancer book, and no it is not just about cancer. Its the story of Hazel and a boy she meets at Cancer Kid Support Group called Augustus Waters.

TFIOS is brilliant; completely absorbing, tragically witty and heart-breakingly emotional. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me look at life a little differently after reading it. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time! There is a reason why this book was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, you simply HAVE to read it.

Bestseller

Have you read it ‘The Fault In Our Stars’? Did you enjoy it? Leave me links and comments below – I’d love to know your thoughts!

Rx