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Paul (Cheshire, UK)

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10 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the Hype!!, 11 Dec 2009
This review is from: Lights (Audio CD)
The annual BBC 'Sound of...' poll has had a good run over recent years at predicting which acts are likely to be successful during the following year. Over recent years, the poll has included names such as Bloc Party, Florence & The Machine, Kaiser Chiefs, Little Boots, Adele, La Roux, Mika etc - now well-known household names.

Inevitably, the poll isn't always completely accurate - Empire Of The Sun's album released this summer, for instance, was released to critical acclaim but didn't score commercially (in the UK at least - back home in Australia, they've fared much better).

This brings me neatly to the 'Sound Of 2010' poll. Ellie Goulding has been receiving a lot of hype during the final quarter of 2009 which kind of indicated that her inclusion on the Sound Of 2010 list was somewhat assured. Accompanying her on the list are acts such as Delphic, The Drums and Two Door Cinema Club.

It's fair to say that during the past four or five years, I've reviewed each year's list with a fair amount of interest and enthusiasm. Without the list, I tell myself, I may not have discovered acts such as the ones above and many others besides. This isn't because I want to simply "chase the hype", but instead tap into the thoughts of the industry insiders who tend to discover new artists long before most members of the public, either because they've heard a demo CD or seen them live in a tiny venue with twelve people in the audience.

So back to Ellie Goulding. The track 'Under The Sheets' has been doing the rounds now for several months. Around the song's central hookline, "Like all the boys before, like all the boys boys boys boys...", it meanders, never really going anywhere. In the background, there's a drum machine, keyboard stabs and layered Cher-like vocoder vocals. It's instantly forgettable pop, in a completely uninspiring way.

Of course, for the next nine months, the BBC will be ramming Ellie Goulding down our throats; her inclusion on the 'Sound Of...' poll pretty much also guartantees her inclusion on their A-list which means that you'll need to endure her appauling songs several times a day.

There are many names not on the list who should be - The Joy Formidable, Exit Calm, The Domino State, Yeasayer to name but four. The fact that they're not on next year's BBC list doesn't mean that they won't break through or that they'll be unsuccessful - it merely indicates how far off the mark these 'industry insiders' are this year.

Do yourself a favour - ignore Ellie Goulding's album. It's unremarkable tosh.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2014 9:53 AM BST

The Meltdown Years: The Unfolding of the Global Economic Crisis
The Meltdown Years: The Unfolding of the Global Economic Crisis
by Wolfgang Münchau
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.16

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Read, 9 Dec 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In one way or another, everybody has been affected by the economic crash of 2008/9. Many people have lost their jobs, some have lost their homes and for others, their marriages have broken down. Not good.

Fully understanding (and comprehending) what was actually behind of this is not easy if you only pick up the occasional newspaper or listen to the news on TV every so often. In fact, if you didn't really know any better, it would be very easy to sum up the entire crisis by blaming it on the sub-prime housing market in America.

That's where 'The Meltdown Years' comes in - in an extremely readable volume, Wolfgang Munchau covers the whole sorry mess in great detail.

If you enjoy economics books such as 'Freakanomics', 'The Undercover Economist' and 'Maxed Out' then you're sure to love this.

If you've a slight interest in business or economics, then this book is seriously recommended.

Sunshine Cleaning [DVD] [2009]
Sunshine Cleaning [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Amy Adams
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.73

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different film with a nice feel to it, 9 Dec 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If I were to sum up this film in a single word, it would be 'grower', but it's definitely one which I'd watch again.

The film starts off sort of slowly, introducing the various characters. If you've seen 'Little Miss Sunshine', then the father figure in 'Sunshine Cleaning' is somewhat a similar character to the Grandfather in that film, but that's no bad thing at all.

It took me a while to initially figure out what was going on in this story - and without giving too much away, the second half of the film is where everything starts to come together. There are sections during the first half where you start to wonder if the film is about discovering yourself, love-lost or something else entirely, but at least it keeps you on your toes!

The two sisters in the lead roles play excellent parts and work very well together. I also think that there's some seriously good acting from Amy Adams in particular; her unravelling and messed-up life, which comes to the fore in the first half of the film, slowly starts to fix herself in the second-half.

There's a really nice ending too.

If you liked 'Little Miss Sunshine' then you'll really like this - it's a totally different film, but the dialogue and the characters work really well. Recommended.

Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
by Steven D. Levitt
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely love these guys..., 17 Nov 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I don't know how these guys think so laterally, but they have a great ability to make you pause for breath, smile a little smile and wonder for a moment if they just might have a point...

Carrying on from where the excellent Freakanomics left off, it's familiarity is great but the subject matter feels fresh and new. Living in the UK, I can't begin to understand the lives & politics of people who live in China or India (or lots of other places for that matter), so there are some intriguing comments herein which somehow seem to completely stop you in your tracks.

The book is very easy & enjoyable to read, can be digested in small pieces (one chapter at a time if you prefer) as each chapter generally picks up on a new topic.

Don't worry about this being a book only for people who enjoy economics; I would recommend it to anyone and everyone - a great present and truly enjoyable read.

Emma (unabridged, 12 CDs) (BBC Audio)
Emma (unabridged, 12 CDs) (BBC Audio)
by Jane Austen
Edition: Audio CD

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Story - and Excellent Audio Transcription, 17 Nov 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have really enjoyed listening to the escapades of Emma. I found the CD story set a really relaxing way to enjoy the story of Emma, especially in the evening time.

It did however take me a little time at the beginning of each CD to accustom the story being told by one person, especially when another character would interject or join in a conversation. I had to listen attentively to what was being said to ensure I kept up with the thread of the story and what each character was bringing to the scene. I wonder if the story would have been enhanced better by having male speakers for the characters who were men?

I completed my listening of the story fairly quickly. In fact my appetite to know more and the next steps ensured that within a week I had completed the CD set. I know that I will visit the story again and will recommend the Emma CD set to others.

Max Factor Second Skin Foundation - Golden
Max Factor Second Skin Foundation - Golden
Price: £9.45

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My wife really likes this product, 24 Sep 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Being male, I clearly didn't order this product for myself.

My wife on the other hand really likes it. She says that it feels good on her skin and isn't too 'oily', unlike some other products she's tried in the past.

Overall, a great product.

Swing Vote [DVD] [2008]
Swing Vote [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Madeleine Carroll
Price: £5.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very average film, 24 Sep 2009
This review is from: Swing Vote [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have good memories of Kevin Costner movies. Unfortunately, this particular film is neither good nor memorable. I found myself flicking through a magazine after about twenty minutes and really not enjoying the content at all. It feels contrived, badly written and (Madeleine Carroll aside who acts extremely well and holds the film together somewhat) generally poor. The movie also has a pro-American bias, somewhat alienating British viewers.

Kevin Costner is an assured actor who is capable of much, much better. I only hope he's giving his agent hell for this movie.

Signs And Wonders
Signs And Wonders
Offered by raisagirl772
Price: £4.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant but generally unrewarding offering, 23 Aug 2009
This review is from: Signs And Wonders (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
On first listen, I'm not convinced that Animal Kingdom are going to trouble the UK charts. It's not that their album's bad - it's just not that great. There's a promising mixture of sounds, and tracks such as single 'Tin Man' are immediately appealing. 'Into The Sea' definitely leans towards Coldplay circa 'Talk', particularly in the guitar part.

However, where the band falls short for me is the vocalist - some will love his voice, but just as Danny McNamara from Embrace divided opinion with his voice, I can see that Animal Kingdom will do the same; Some will find the vocals just too lightweight. The vocals also struck me as being similar to Jon Anderson (Jon & Vangelis), although that's where the similarities end.

I'm also worried that the production here is too thin-sounding. Tracks such as 'Two By Two' scream out for the guitar to be far more prominent, distorted and the drums to be far more pulsating. They aren't - and the track sounds too whiny as a result. A real shame. I'm sure that live, many of the tracks here sound far, far better.

It also has to be said that the album is too long at 12 tracks. 'Mephistopheles' drove me spare - too much of a 'filler' track by half. 'Dollar Signs' should also have been crossed off. 'Yes Sir Yes Sir' commences with a nice '2+2=5' (Radiohead) guitar and for me this is one of the better tracks on the album - it feels more like the sound of a band and less like that of the producer.

Many other bands before them have made similar albums, but better. Check out Prefab Sprout if you want to see how this kind of music can be done properly.

Welcome to Britain
Welcome to Britain
by Jan Williams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.71

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A unique but mostly dull look at Britain, 20 Aug 2009
This review is from: Welcome to Britain (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
To me, this book felt a little pointless and generally unrewarding. An exercise in reading about Britain's unique and charming talents is probably better spent reading "A Fete Worse Than Death" by Iain Aitch, or "Bollocks to Alton Towers".

For me, if I want to look at the "perplexities of modern British life", then I can take a quick walk into the Town Centre. Maybe I'm missing the point, but when I pick up a book of people & places, I'd rather look at pictures of Sydney Harbour Bridge than something I can see at the end of my street.

Maxed Out [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Maxed Out [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Beth Naef
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £5.67

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly entertaining look at Credit Card use in the USA, 12 July 2009
Before seeing this movie, I first read the book (one of the best financial books I've ever read). The movie is different in that there is less detail than the book, but that doesn't detract at all - there's so much content here that it's a real eye-opener.

There are literally loads of examples where the credit card companies have invaded peoples' lives (and shattered a number of them, quite literally). Turning up at college open days, signing up students (think about that for a moment - none of these kids earn any income - how are they going to repay the debt?).

There are interviews with people who have had to sell their homes, pawnbrokers, people whose loved ones have taken their own lives because they were literally drowning in debt etc etc.

If you have a son or daughter who's about to go through University or into their first job, I recommend you buy this and make them sit and watch it.

If you have a passing interest in personal finance or economics, then it's also well worth buying.

The book, by the way, is absolute golddust. I would recommend reading that first and then following it up with this DVD.

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