Posted in Blogging, Simple Plan

And they’re back! Again! (Like six months ago…)

2022: the year Simple Plan released the best album they’ve ever released (bar Still Not Getting Any… ‘cos reasons)! HARDER THAN IT LOOKS – released: 6 May 2022

It’s been six long years of waiting for the diehard Simple Plan fan and let me tell you, the wait was definitely worth it. Harder Than It Looks is an album that all long term fans will absolutely love. And I don’t think it’s hyperbole to state that as fact.

Author in natural habitat 26.12.2022

It’s also been probably six long months of waiting to have the mental capacity to sit down and type up this review. I was planning on posting this after I first listened to it, however, life happened. But, even after this amount of time my initial thoughts still stand.

6.05.2022 – Harder Than It Looks is a tribute to what the band has created in their twenty-plus years of being a band. I feel like the album is a mix of every album they’ve released with some songs reminiscent of Still Not Getting Any whilst others vibe off the self-titled and GYHO. There is even one track, Best Day of My Life, that feels like it hearkens back to Pierre and Chuck’s Reset days, pre-SP. And then a couple of songs that have a fresh sound that the band hasn’t done yet, but still with a hint of the past echoing through them. It’s definitely a roller coaster ride that I don’t want to get off.

The songs that I loved after my first listen all the way through: Anxiety, Iconic, Slow Motion (and of course, Congratulations and The Antidote are firm faves too).

The timing of Harder Than It Looks could not be more appropriate. It came out just when another wave of a certain little virus went through where I lived, and I was a little overwhelmed by the day-to-day life. And a certain track from this new offering spoke eloquently of where I, and many others, were positioned mentally and emotionally. Anxiety is that song. I will let the lyrics speak for themselves.

The pressure comes, I can feel it now
I’m just another tragic case of
The only one I was missing out
Comparisons I can’t escape from

All these voices circling my head
(Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh-oh)
I wish I was someone else instead
‘Cause it all just brings me down

Anxiety is killing me
All of these expectations
Are shaking up my sanity
I’m getting so tired of faking now
It’s all so much that I can’t breathe

Thеre must be something wrong with mе
Reality is killing me
It’s giving me, anxiety

Get away, get away, get away, get away
Get away from me
Anxiety, anxiety

I try to run, gotta separate
It’s everywhere, it’s all around me
I try to sleep but I’m wide awake
‘Cause every dream is filled with envy

Let’s turn everything, everything off (Turn everything off)
Don’t ever, don’t ever look back (Don’t ever look back)
Let’s turn everything, everything off (Turn everything off)
Don’t ever, don’t ever look back
‘Cause it all just brings me down

At the end of May I caught COVID-19 for the first time – yes, I’ve had it twice – and Simple Plan’s music was once again a great source of comfort, along with my faith in God, and my love for a certain composer… *cough*LinManuelMiranda*cough*. But, this post is about Simple Plan and their new album.

It’s been quite some time since I listened to the album for the first time, but here are my thoughts on the album as I listen to it for the umpteenth time, track-by-track.

Wake Me Up When This Nightmare’s Over – This track opens the whole album. The soft piano opening draws you in to listen and though it’s not a favourite of mine, it is a solid SP offering. The lyrics resonate as they can speak of specific circumstances, but at the same time are generic enough that each listener can relate it to their own circumstances – eg. “I can’t believe this mess we’re in / Tell me where do I begin? / ‘Cause it’s making my head spin / And I can just feel it.”

Ruin My Life (feat. Deryck Whibley) – Whenever the band feature other artists they always hit it right out of the park. I was never much of a fan of Sum41; however, his vocals fit well with this track. Ruin My Life is an anthem to all those bullies and naysayers who put one down in the past. An anthem to us rising above them and proving them wrong. (Sorry, I don’t mean to disappoint you, but you didn’t ruin my life.)

The Antidote – The first single the band released from the album, prior to the release. I fell in love with it from the first listen.

Million Pictures of You This is such a beautiful sappy romantic song.

Anxiety – Pierre said this song was influenced by his own journey with debilitating anxiety and that is oddly comforting. Knowing that we are not alone in our struggles (lyrics are above)

Congratulations – This track is quintessentially SP. I really don’t have the words.

Iconic – This track gets me totally pumped!

Best Day of My Life This song hearkens back to Pierre and Chuck’s Reset Days.

Slow Motion “… one of those whiteboard ideas Chuck had… idea of love at first sight. … This is gonna sound silly, but when I hear this chorus, it just makes me want to cry. I was driving…and I was sitting in my car with tears coming down my face, and I’m like, ‘What is wrong with me? I’m listening to my own music and I’m crying in my car!’”Pierre Bouvier

Two – From the general all encompassing song at the beginning to the extremely specific song about split homes this whole album is amazing. The band is not afraid to tackle difficult topics, but do it with their typical pop, rock and pop punk sensibilities with a few new flavours sprinkled throughout.

I love this album so much. I love this band so much.

Ten out of ten for always being my favourite band.

Posted in Blogging, movies, thoughts

The Lion King (2019) – Film and Soundtrack- My thoughts (aka don’t let nostalgia and perceived expectations take away from how good this film actually is)

Let me preface this post by saying this: The original Lion King will always be better than any other version, ever. Just saying. Also there will be spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the new film and you don’t want to be spoiled (I know, I know…how can there be spoilers if it’s a remake? Well, there can be because of new scenes or moments that weren’t in the original film…anyway, spoiler alert for those who mind…)

~~~~~~~~ Continue reading “The Lion King (2019) – Film and Soundtrack- My thoughts (aka don’t let nostalgia and perceived expectations take away from how good this film actually is)”

Posted in album review, Blogging, blogging the important stuff, Music, new music

DNA – Backstreet’s Back!

After twenty-five years this “boy” band does not disappoint. From the first note of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart to the final ring of Ok this album DNA gives me hope for the year to come. At least for the music landscape as a whole.

I must admit, I haven’t been a fan of the Backstreet Boys for as long as they’ve existed. Twenty-five years ago in 1994, I was nine years old and still listening to the music my parents listened to and hadn’t formed my own personal musical tastes as such. It wasn’t until BSB’s album Millennium was released that they really came into my radar. But, that cemented them in my mind if not quite my heart.

Every release since, I’ve waited with some anticipation for each one. But, it wasn’t until In a World Like This that I fully realised my love for this group. And now as DNA is released to the world, I reflect on the impact this group has made on my music journey as a whole.

But, before I get to that, my thoughts on the twelve tracks on this album.

  1. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – When they released this track in the middle of 2018, I was so excited and ready for new BSB music. Though I didn’t love the song straight away, I do enjoy its strong beats and their dance moves in the music video.
  2. Nobody Else – it took a second listen of this track for me to appreciate what was being said in the song as the electronic tones jarred for me a little. But, when I concentrate on the harmonies and the lyrics, it speaks to me so profoundly.
  3. Breathe – one of my favourites on the album. BSB a capella will always be great as it showcases their harmonies so well.
  4. New Love – the subject matter of this song jarred with my sensibilities for a moment, but, it has a fun beat and a great tone to it. A good song to play in a club
  5. Passionate – this is such a catchy song, it makes me want to get up and dance, makes me feel so passionate too. Haha
  6. Is It Just Me – a more mellow track, still with a good dance beat
  7. Chances – This song. My heart. Enough said.
  8. No Place – I love the video the boys released with this song, a glimpse into their family lives. And importantly a singable chorus.
  9. Chateau – I love the simple opening with just the single vocals and keyboard chords. Then leading into the vocal harmonies. Beautiful.
  10. The Way it Was – I could imagine the boys singing this like old time crooners Jersey Boys style.
  11. Just Like You Like It – It feels like one of their songs from the Never Gone era.
  12. Ok – This song really concentrates on their harmonies and simple musical stylings with guitar and beats. And a beautiful way to round off the album

I love this album, I love how I can listen to every single track without skipping a song. It makes me think of another band that I can do that with. Simple Plan. Yes, I can’t not mention my all time favourite band, ever. Because, I think in a weird roundabout way, if I wasn’t so into 90’s pop music (of which BSB is the unofficial ambassador) when I was a tween/teenager I wouldn’t have been drawn to the pop tones of Simple Plan. And yes, they are more pop than punk, fight me.

I do believe now, in hindsight, that the Backstreet Boys have had more of a profound impact on my music journey than I used to think. Especially since I kinda had a song crush on NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye (and It’s Gonna Be Me) for a whole year. But, Backstreet Boys has lasted. I mean, they’re twenty-five years old! We enter their twenty-sixth year as a group, and that is amazing. And their music has featured on many a playlist of mine over the last two decades. That’s a long time. Only Simple Plan comes second to that.

And I’m hoping with the release of DNA that that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Backstreet Boys are definitely in my DNA.

Backstreet’s Back, alright!

Posted in Blogging, Music

Rend Collective – Good News (Album)

This morning, I sat down and listened to this album that was released at the beginning of the year. This wasn’t my first listen through; however, I wanted to write down what thoughts I had for each track as I listened, and then share them here on my blog. I wrote my thoughts out in my journal and so some of these thoughts are disjointed and are stream of thought. This is not a formal review, just a collection of thoughts from my mind invoked by the music.

Here is the tracklist of Good News – Rend Collective – along with links to the songs on YouTube

  1. Life Is Beautiful –
  2. I Will Be Undignified –
  3. Rescuer (Good News) –
  4. Counting Every Blessing –
  5. Nailed to the Cross –
  6. Hymn of the Ages –
  7. True North –
  8. Resurrection Day –
  9. No Outsiders –
  10. Weep With Me –
  11. Weep With Me (Reprise) –
  12. Marching On (feat. Hillsong Young & Free) –
  13. Yahweh –
  14. Counting Every Blessing (Ukulele Session) –
  15. Christ Lives in Me –

And now for my thoughts

Continue reading “Rend Collective – Good News (Album)”

Posted in Blogging, Music

My Top 20 Albums Ever

The title is self explanatory; however, I’ve never really sat down and looked at what my all time favourite albums are. I think this is due to the fact that what I deem a favourite is quite fluid. My mood often dictates what I enjoy at any given time. But, I think I can definitely narrow it down now. At least for this season of my life.

The criteria I used to narrow down this list, include:

  • Enjoying/Appreciating every track on the album – not wanting to skip any.
  • Amount of time I’ve listened to the album (Though this is not prescriptive, as some I’ve only listened through a couple of times, but they just have a certain something about them; or they’re a relatively new album that I’ve only started listening to.)
  • The artist/band/group

So, without further ado. My Top 20 albums, ever. (The top 10 is in order, the rest not in any particular order.)

  1. Still Not Getting Any – Simple Plan
  2. Diamonds – Hawk Nelson
  3. Good News – Rend Collective
  4. The Greatest Showman – Original Soundtrack
  5. Pictures Not Taken – Paul Morrison
  6. Divide – Ed Sheeran
  7. This is Not a Test – TobyMac
  8. The Promise – Plus One
  9. Greetings From California – The Madden Brothers
  10. Avenged Sevenfold – Avenged Sevenfold
  11. Storm Front – Billy Joel
  12. No Other Name – Hillsong Worship
  13. Taking One For the Team – Simple Plan
  14. Hail to the King – Avenged Sevenfold
  15. Highlights of the Phantom of the Opera – Andrew Lloyd Webber
  16. The Best of Human Nature – Human Nature
  17. Let’s Talk About Love – Celine Dion
  18. Get Your Heart On! – Simple Plan
  19. Get Your Heart On! The Second Coming – Simple Plan
  20. Simple Plan, Live in Anaheim – Simple Plan

And, there you go. My Top 20 albums. Oh, and anyone who knows me will not be surprised by the fact that Simple Plan features four times. Haha. They are my all time favourite band.