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Closer: The Best Of Sarah Mclachlan
Closer: The Best Of Sarah Mclachlan
Price: £5.37

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missed Opportunity?, 1 Nov. 2011
Sarah McLachlan is stunning; I discovered her with the release of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, often lauded by her fans as her greatest work. It's where the sound, the tone, her voice, the lyrics - songs about love, betrayal, obsession, grief, domestic abuse... - and simply everything come together to create this wonderful, gut-wrenching, beautiful masterpiece. Some say it's now dated, but I think it stands unique in its own space in time - and maybe even more powerful now than the early-mid 90s, as though it was unique even then, you rarely find anything near that calibre being produced these days... Each of her albums is like an evolution; debut Touch simply touches at the edges of her genius, almost experimental in sound and in her voice and lyrics and what she's trying to achieve. By the mid 90s, with FTE and slightly more modern-sounding Surfacing, the genius is unleashed and will blow you away. Surfacing remains her biggest commercial success, and features two of her biggest known tracks: over-played Adia and the now-much-covered Angel. Perhaps after Afterglow, the edge has somewhat dimmed - a turn into a more main-stream sound, and lacking the meaningful lyrics - but there's no suggestion that she's `peaked'. Again - an evolution in her style, and of course the age. This Best Of provides a good overview of her work up to 2010 - tracks from all 6 major albums, in chronological order: Vox from Touch; The Path Of Thorns and Into The Fire from Solace; Possession, Hold On and Good Enough from FTE; Building A Mystery, Sweet Surrender, Adia and Angel from Surfacing; Fallen, Stupid and World On Fire from Afterglow; Don't Give Up On Us and U Want Me 2 from Laws Of Illusion. I Will Remember You was released on her B-Side album after featuring in a movie; Silence is a curious one-off collaboration with Canadian electro group Delerium. Whilst this collection definitely gives you an oversight into her work, it does only give you her `hits' which doesn't let you fully appreciate her full talent. FTE is so good that certainly 3 featured tracks does it no justice (I'd add Wait and Elsewhere if I could pick only 2 more) but then you could almost end up with a Best Of collection that only draws from one album - however, that's almost the case with featuring 4 tracks from Surfacing! This collection is also a little flawed in it's originality, simply sticking to what it feels constitutes 'Best Of' - a couple of live tracks should have been drawn from splendid live album Mirrorball, the piano-version Possession is stunning but sadly absent, maybe a couple of new and exclusive tracks could have been included, and where oh where is the tear-jerking Oscar-Nominated When She Loved Me from Toy Story 2?? And that this was overlooked in favour of Silence?? This collection therefore feels slightly disappointing, in that it's a missed opportunity to draw together a wide range of her work, not just giving new fans a starting point, but giving existing fans something special. If you are new to Sarah McLachlan, I would recommend this as a starting point to get a taste and feel, but to delve in you simply must own FTE and Surfacing - believe the hype! Existing fans will meanwhile own most or all of her albums, and will find nothing new here. 5 stars for Sarah McLachlan - 3 stars for this collection - 4 stars overall.

Family Guy - Season 11 [DVD]
Family Guy - Season 11 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Seth MacFarlane
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £10.50

10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Season NINE, 19 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Family Guy - Season 11 [DVD] (DVD)
For goodness sake, every time a new Family Guy DVD comes out, people begin winging about what season and what episodes and why. It's confusing but not difficult! :p It started with Season 4. Up to then, each boxset was indeed the Season stated on the cover. Then, instead of releasing a full Season 4, they released it as a half season - with the boxset then entitled Season 5 actually the second half of Season 4. The boxset entitled Season 6 was therefore the first half of Season 5. But then instead of sticking with this odd but at least straightforward method, they began joining different seasons halves. The boxset entitled Season 7 is therefore the second half of Season 5 and the first half of Season 6. And so each set was then entitled a season ahead of the newest episodes it contained. And with the Beeb showing the episodes in summer and the boxsets released in the autumn, you actually only get half of the episodes seen that year - thus, the second half of those new episodes seen that summer will actually take 18 MONTHS to get to DVD. And we then have a Season 9 boxset when the real Season 9 is still actually airing in the US, for instance. Our boxsets are more confusing that the US releases, which whilst using the same method, released the first 3 seasons differently and so their boxsets are entitled different - a season behind what ours are entitled, and actually at least slightly more accurate because at least their Season 7 set, for instance, contains Season 7 episodes. So by the time we got to the set entitled Season 9 for us - the set with King Stewie on the cover - which was called Season 8 in the US, it actually contained the second half of Season 7 and the first half of Season 8. But anyone buying Family Guy DVDs ought to know this by now - not about the US sets necessarily, I've added that for reference (and hope I haven't added to the confusion) but that each entitled Season is actually made up of two seasons, neither what stated on the set. Now this year, there seems to have been a concerted effort to finally get a grip on all this. Thus, instead of waiting until Christmas 2011 to release a new boxset, we got a boxset released in the summer straight after the newest episodes aired on the Beeb. This Season 10 set contained half of Season 8 and half of Season 9 - what had just aired. Ie: the boxset we would have been expecting for Christmas. However, instead of this meaning we now have to wait until next year, we have this Season 11 set being released 6 months later, will the remaining Season 9 episodes - which will mean that by Christmas, we will have on DVD ALL episodes that have aired in the UK up to this point, and ALL episodes up to the end of Season 9. The actual Season 10 is what is currently airing the US - TV Season 2011-2012 and will air in the UK in 2012. We have now even spring-boarded ahead of the US in DVD releases, who are still awaiting the set released prior to this one. But let's forget about the US and their own FG DVD issues! - and relish in that, though the set are incorrectly labelled and the episodes are all over the place, we will be up-to-date for the very first time! I do hope this clarifies the situation. I've tried to break it down as clearly as possible. And Seth MacFarlane has nothing to do with any of this - he's been asked repeatedly about it, but it's actually Fox who have done this for whatever reason. Considering they own The Simpsons and release those seasons in full, it makes it all the stranger. So again: this Season 11 set contains just the remaining episodes from Season 9 - the season that aired Summer 2011. And it's almost a refreshing return to form, after what I thought was a terrible Season 8. Come on: Season 8 contained the episodes where Stewie cross-dresses, a Hannah Montana robot goes on the rampage, the Evil Monkey is not evil and Peter develops amnesia - just as a few reminders of particularly *painful* storylines. Okay, so we're no longer hitting the highs of the glory days of Seasons 4 to 7, but the show is still funny and certainly not dying or even dead as some suggest. Halloween On Spooner Street and Road To The North Pole are the standout episodes (IMO) on this set. At least if you couldn't watch a Christmas episode in midsummer, this boxset will be out right in time to set the mood!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2011 12:47 AM GMT

Philips EXP2546 Portable MP3-CD Player
Philips EXP2546 Portable MP3-CD Player
Price: £29.99

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expected Better, 26 Sept. 2011
I bought this CD player through a rival seller - but still returned it just a few days later. As soon as I got it out of the packaging, I was disappointed with the quality; it's very 'plastic'. It takes a moment to read a CD when you first put it in, it makes a racket as it plays, and what clinched it for me was the terrible sound quality - adding the Bass just makes it distorted. Pretty poor all round.

Hama CD Wallet Nylon Black Holds 120
Hama CD Wallet Nylon Black Holds 120
Offered by DiscountDiscs
Price: £10.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Practical, 26 Aug. 2011
Holds up to 120 CDs in good quality wallet-style slips, protecting the discs as most important, and with enough flexibility to include the CD inlet/booklet too. Not too heavy or bulky even when full. Good quality casing to protect from knocks and drops. Good size - a lot of these CD holders are 4-to-a-sheet making the holder the size of a coffee table book but this holder is 2-to-a-sheet making it fairly narrow. Certainly practical enough to take in a bag on the go; could compare it to the size of a travel washbag. Prompt dispatch and delivery. Great price. Good value all round.

Los Angeles Not for Tourists 2011
Los Angeles Not for Tourists 2011
by Not for Tourists
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real-Life Information That's Not For Tourists, 20 July 2011
I've been living in Los Angeles and am planning a permanent move there imminently. The second largest city in the US has a huge and varied reputation, and you'll get from the city what you put into it. If you're coming to visit, you'll see Hollywood Blvd and Rodeo Drive and say you've `done' LA and so be it - that's the surface of the city. You won't need or want this book for that - stick to your guide books. Stay a little longer though and you start to see the city as a real place. Full of real people. With a real feel and way to it. And you don't hang out on the Sunset Strip because you're living on Western/7th. Real streets with real people. No tourists. And that's when you turn to this book. It truly is Not For Tourists. This might as well be called The Bible For Newcomers Coming To Live In This City - And Guidance For Those Already Here. Two thirds of the book contains maps and information covering Greater Los Angeles, from The Valley in the North, to South Bay, to the Westside, to East LA. And everything in between, including Downtown, Midtown, and even parts of South Central. No, certainly not for tourists. Each area map clearly lists all the places you NEED to know where to find - banks, post offices, pharmacies, libraries, schools. And where to have fun too - restaurants, bars, clubs, cinemas. The other third of the book gives more collaborated information; detailed information on beaches, parks, sporting venues, malls; some general information about LA sights but from a local perspective; and advice on transport. For me, this is where it is slightly disappointing, in that they assume you're planning to stick to your car and so don't really need this information. What they give you is pretty vague. LA is a car city of course, but getting round by public transport is actually easy to learn and easy to use. The advice about driving in the city is entertaining, and you're let in on tips and tricks and secret time-saving routes. I'll give you my own advice right now about driving in LA: stay away from Westwood outside of 10am and 2pm or the middle of the night... *shudder* If you're planning on spending a prolonged period in LA - or indeed moving there - this book will get you started in finding all the essentials, making life in this vast city just that bit easier.

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