Taylor Swift Reputation; A Review

The 10th of November was the release date for Taylor Swift’s new album Reputation.

The new album, like many of her previous albums, became an answer to her critics over the years. Swift has reinvented herself several times during her career, her music started as sweet and innocent girl next door, her music was very much influenced by country music and had a soft and calm tone to it. The songs were love songs about lost or unfulfilled loves and she made a name for herself for writing songs about ex boyfriends. This name worked for a while however soon the media has started using this name against her.

In her album 1989 she answered to these claims in some songs however the album still focused very heavily on quite sweet love songs.

The album Reputation responses much more heavily to the name she made for herself and her, as the title states, reputation. In many of the songs during the album she does mention the reputation she made for herself like in the song Delicate and most prominently the first single from the album Look What You Made Me Do. The song itself, as well as the music that accompanied it references many “dramas” Taylor had during her career, the music video came out and announced her new self, her new sound, and her new album. The video as well mocked some different personalities she had and was known of having during the years.

The new album’s sound is very different than the normal “Taylor sound” people might be used to. It’s very electronic and not very melodic, but focuses on beats. The album does have some ballad and quieter songs like Call it What you Want, Delicate, and New Year’s Day however the majority of the album is much more up beat.

The lyrics of the songs still focus more heavily on love stories, however it’s done in a different way than the previous songs of hers. The song New Year’s Day to me represents the “Old Taylor” as she called her in the song Look What You Made Me Do, it’s sweet, innocent, talks about the want to be with someone in a naive way, of wanting a simple love “I want your midnights but I’ll be cleaning bottles with you on New Year’s day”.

In opposite to this song the album has songs like Don’t Blame Me which shows a more twisted, obsessed and unhealthy way to love “For you, I would cross the line I would waste my time I would lose my mind”.

My personal favourite song from the album is I Did Something Bad. I feel this song this song combines the two outcomes of the album, the going against the “reputation” Swift got for herself as well as the different type of love she is showing in her new album, the step away from the old innocent love she used to have in her music.

Overall I throughly enjoyed this new album. I feel that with a lot of artists when they reinvent themselves at this level, when it’s both their character and their music style, it often is not very well received, however I feel that Taylor is doing it well and in appropriate times. I also feel that many of her older fans have grown up and so the development was done very well.

 

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Thor: Ragnarok; A Review (spoilers)

This review will contain spoilers to the film Thor: Ragnarok as well as to the previous Thor franchise.

 

On Halloween eve (31.10.17) I went to see the new Marvel film Thor: Ragnarok. 

The film, directed by Taika Waititi, followed up from the plot of the previous Thor film The Dark World, in the end of which Thor’s brother Loki faked his death and disguised himself  as their father Odin and took over his place as the ruler of Asgard.

The film was a complete change from the previous two Thor films that had a much darker tone, this film was funny, colourful, very energetic and felt like it wasn’t taking itself too seriously.

The film itself showed Thors battle against his long lost sister Hela and her attempts to take over Asgard. At the same time a prophecy has been looming over regarding the the distraction of Asgard, “Ragnarok”. At the end of the film Thor realises that the only way to save Asgard, was to fulfil the prophesy and destroy it.

This film dealt with a very serious topic, the destruction of Thor’s home planet, this film could have easily been the darkest Marvel film to date, however Waititi direction of the film, the cast that was chosen, the iconic lines that were often improvised by the cast during the film itself, made this film enjoyable to watch and the whole difficult topic much easier to digest, something that I feel would not have happened had the film continued with the dark themes of the previous films in the trilogy.

Thor: Ragnarok had very obvious 1980’s influence in it, something that has been becoming quite popular in the media with films like Guardians of the Galaxy and the Netflix series Stranger Things, however what I liked is that the film didn’t feel the need to include a large soundtrack from songs of the time. One of the great successes of Guardians of the Galaxy was the amazing and very nostalgic 80’s soundtrack, it was very easy for the creators of the film to include as many songs as they could in the film, as it has proven to be successful, however part of the reason it has been as successful with Guardians of the Galaxy was the reasoning for the songs, it was the music that the main character loved, it was the his soundtrack, therefore it fit so perfectly to the film. In Thor: Ragnarok there was no justification for such a busy soundtrack within the film itself, and therefore they did not use one, that felt like a very smart choice in my eyes.

Overall I felt that Thor: Ragnarok was an excellent film, it was engaging and fun, and a film that provided a great escape from a harsh reality, by putting a fun spin on a very difficult subject.

Haylo Theatre: Sisters, Seagulls and Send offs; A REVIEW

Last night I had the pleasure to watch the show Sisters, Seagulls and Send offs by Haylo Theatre at Storyhouse in Chester.

The show portrays the process of dealing with grief of two sisters who recently lost their dad. The show, written and performed by Hayley and Louise took you through stories of the sisters’ dad, the happy moments with him, and the moments after his death.

It takes you through a whirlwind of emotions, from funny moments that have you laughing non stop, to the sad moments that bring you to tears. This showed, in my eyes, the process of grief. Grief doesn’t end a few hours, days, or even years after the effect. As the show stated many times, grief is a wave.

Life goes on, as it should, however it is in those happy moments that you remember something is missing, and it brings you back to the harsh reality that they are gone.

The show is a heartfelt, moving, and incredibly raw human story, a story that most, if not all people have gone through. This show gave it an uplifting twist, a performance that shows you the happy of the day after, alongside with the sad.

Sisters, Seagulls and Send offs is a show that must be seen to experience, and I highly recommend it.

More information about Haylo Theatre and any upcoming events can be found on their WEBSITE and FACEBOOK

 

Steve McQueen-Ashes; a review

On the 24th of October I had visited the Whitworth gallery in Manchester.
One of the exhibitions held that day was Ashes by Steve McQueen.

The installation projected two videos onto two sides of a screen, one side showed a video was shot by him in 2003, the young Ashes is standing on a boat. The sound used in the video is a combination of the speech and ambient sound from the other side video, with soft noises of waves at sea.

The other video was shot in 2015, after McQueen returned to the island to find out Ashes had been murdered by drug dealers. The second video shows the making of Ashe’s tomb.

I felt the way that the video was presented added a lot to the atmosphere of the piece. It added context to it and made me feel connected to the story.

When I first came in I only saw the one side and I didn’t really understand what it was that I was watching and didn’t have much of a connection to the story. I later went to the other side and watched the video showing Ashes when he was young. When I returned to the first video they had just finished making the tombstone where it said Ashes was only 25 years old when he passed. At that moment it all clicked and I had understood the impact of that story, as I felt like I now knew who Ashes was.

The way that the video was broadcasted, on the two sided screen, to me symbolised the balance of life and death. The physical move that you had to make while watching the film represented to me the moment when life stops, and the actual cross over to death.

The fact that the one making the tomb knew Ashes, and was speaking about him, showed the people who were left behind.

When exiting the room there were posters free to take with a photo of ashes and the text which quoted the words of Ashes’ friend which were played throughout the film. This to me was an invitation to take a part of Ashes’ life and story with is, it was an act of memory.

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Overall I felt that this was a very powerful and moving piece of work. It left me with many thoughts and contemplations, and one I am happy I got to experience.

Ashes is exhibited in the Whitworth gallery from 22nd of September 2017 until March of 2018.

Read more on this exhibition and others at the Whitworth Art Gallery onilne.