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Scarlet Jupiter

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The Very Best Of
The Very Best Of
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best of 1987-1993 and then some, 25 May 2015
This review is from: The Very Best Of (Audio CD)
With so many Belinda Carlisle re-releases and greatest-hits albums since 2013, one would have thought that the absolute definitive BC collection is already out there. Actually it is. Well, almost. For those who like to have most of her biggest hits on one album, the best choice is 2013's "The collection", which is her "official" best-of, a nicely assembled CD+DVD package. This, also, is kind of a mini version of the 3CD+2DVD "The anthology", BC's most comprehensive career-spanning release to date, perfect for those interested to own a larger part of her catalogue (an item quite difficult to obtain due to its limited availability, and high price). This new very-best-of (1 of 2 BC releases from different labels this week), serves as a pretty definitive 2-disc Belinda retrospective collection; and I say pretty because it omits her "Belinda" and "A woman and an man" albums (thus, no "Mad about you", "In too deep", "Always breaking my heart" etc).

With a generous 34 tracks, and including the majority of her biggest singles, the tracklisting is nothing short of impressive. Apart from the 20 hit singles, it is most surprising the inclusion of some album tracks that are among her best ("You're nothing without me" and "Emotional highway" - from the brilliant "Live your life be free" album - and the top tracks from the "Real" record; "Tell me", "Where love hides", and "One with you"). Covering obviously her most successful era of late '80s and early '90s, it also adds 2 of the 3 new tracks off the "A place on earth" 1999 collection ("A prayer for everyone", "All God's children"), plus a bonus track ("The air you breathe", a B-Side which first appeared on the UK version of the "Little black book" single). What is even more impressive, is the price; so many truly great songs for only £6 is the best gift anyone can do to themselves. Belinda brilliance for everyone, including myself who could not miss out on this.

85% Proof
85% Proof
Price: £12.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A brave man with a soul to match, 25 May 2015
This review is from: 85% Proof (Audio CD)
4 years since the original Pop Idol released his last album, he bounces back into the game with his 6th - first for his new label - studio album, "85% Proof". He describes these new songs as "very honest and bold", clearly reflecting his current mental state. What is refreshing about Will Young is that he does not try to be anyone else but himself, ever since the beginning of his music journey, 13 years ago. His last album, the platinum-selling "Echoes", was such a sophisticated pop record, so well-balanced and finely-crafted, and enjoyable from start to finish. It will certainly be difficult to ever top it. Surely not with this set which, compared to his previous work, sounds quite lifeless and resigned. With only a handful of great tracks (opener "Brave man", the classy "Gold", single "Like a river", the elevating "Joy"), and some glaring missteps, what saves this is his strength as a vocalist, stitching together an album that is otherwise uneven and often uninspired. I am happy to listen to his soulful delivery, I just wish he was honest and bold indeed, as he is on the closing seconds of "Thank you": "Oh my God, you broke my heart, tore me apart, f*ck you". Not as strong as the album cover suggests, it is always good to have him around, regardless. There is no doubt that there is still a lot of fight left in him.

Dolce and Gabbana Intenso Eau de Parfum Spray 75ml
Dolce and Gabbana Intenso Eau de Parfum Spray 75ml
Offered by Farmacosmo
Price: £39.40

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intensly exciting, 19 May 2015
Browing here on amazon, I noticed that there is not a single review for D&G INTENSO. I find this almost shocking, since this has been one of the biggest releases of this year and, thus, I decided to write a piece about it. Conceived as an intense version of the D&G Pour Homme, INTENSO is a warmer, well round version of the original 1994 version. The packaging and the name are about the actual scent, not the performance, as they rather misleadingly suggest that this is a strong, woody, ambery, smoky fragrance. What this really is a fresh, soapy, leathery aromatic scent, ideal for those who like a classy and refined fragrance to fit their personality and wardrobe. In contast to its name, INTENSO is soft and quiet, clear, mild, with the EDP concentration giving it a complex and detailed definition without being overbearing. Fans of the regular Pour Homme should not expect a similar concoction. The D&G team took the highly popular formula from the '90s, and made it contemporary, giving it a more Mediterranean feel. To me this is their most subtly sexy male fragrance. The only downside is the longevity and sillage which are average, considering the EDP concentration, and for this I am not awarding 5 stars. But, do not let this dissuade you from at least trying it out once, this is really a superstar scent.

Price: £23.99

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colourful Conchita, 18 May 2015
This review is from: Conchita (Audio CD)
Delivered a year after winning the Eurovision Song Contest, this is Conchita's baby, product of 300 song submissions, and a painful but beautiful creative process, as she has stated. Pop music is heavily suffering from dullness and predictability, thus I had no high hopes for an album coming fron a ESC winner (having said that, Loreen's sublime "Heal" is to me the pop masterpiece of this decade). Listening to this, its versatility and brilliance is rather overwhelming. Being a mix of genres, it combines pop, dance, and ballads, with eastern-flavoured elements and electro sprinkles. Not often one finds a set with many good tracks, but this debut is filled with 12. Highlights are the touching "Other side of me", the cabaret-influenced "Where have all the good men gone", universal single "Heroes", the magnificent "Pure" (absolutely epic), "Colours of your love" (a stupendous climaxing track), and of course "Rise like a phoenix", whose transcendent quality renders it a true classic. The smart digipack presentation completes a near-perfect package. "It's basically the tracklist of my life", says Conchita about the album. "You can dance, you can cry, you can have a good time, and you can support your bad times. I see my life as a musical, and that's why this tracklist is so colourful." Could not have said it better.

#1 To Infinity
#1 To Infinity
Price: £9.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...and beyond!, 18 May 2015
This review is from: #1 To Infinity (Audio CD)
1998's "#1's", Mariah Carey's first ever compilation, and one of her many multi-platinum sellers, featured an impressive 13 No. 1 singles, spanning from 1990 up until that year. 17 years on, "#1 to infinity" is an updated version, featuring an incredible - and record-breaking - 18 No. 1 singles, plus one brand new recording. Scoring only 5 more chart topping singles in the years that followed "#1's", makes clear that MC has not been enjoying more of those era-defining, hit-ladden days of the '90s; still, releasing an entire album of No. 1 singles is quite a feat, not to be underestimated. Released to coincide with the launch of her Las Vegas residency show at The Colosseum at Ceasars Palace, and celebrating 25 years since the release of her debut, "#1 to infinity", also, marks MC's return to Sony Music, 15 years since they parted ways.

With 1995's "Fantasy", and 1997's "Honey" singles hinting towards a more urban sound, after 9 years into her recording career, MC opted for a more R'n'B-flavoured music style during the late 90s and early 00s, infusing her sound with hip-hop influences and rap musings. Unfortunately, her career from then on would suffer a major hit, from which she would only briefly recover with the release of the highly successful "Emancipation" album. Album by album, her music, as well as her image, changed pretty drastically, in an obvious attempt to compete with younger artists who emerged, and threatened to steal her popularity. "Rainbow" (1999), the most personal and transitional album in her catalogue, remains her most balanced set ever since, combining her trademark ballads with some uptempo grooves and funky jams.

The disco-inspired "Glitter" (2001) project was a commercial failure, the disjointed "Charmbracelet" (2002) under-performed, "E=MC2" (2008) faired slightly better, "Memoirs of an imperfect angel" (2009) proved as self-indulgent as its title, and her second Christmas album was poorly received, too. It was just 2005's "The emancipation of Mimi" that did her justice, a well-rounded album that presented MC on top form, produced hits, and sold a lot. Even her rejuvenating "Me. I am Mariah... The elusive chanteuse" from last year failed to rehash her past glories, despite the positive feedback it garnered. Times have changed, and if anyone knows this best, that is MC. This new-old set, somewhat ironically, demonstrates how successful, though incredibly uneven she has been, throughout her 2+ decade course in the music industry.

"#1 to infinity" includes some of her finest works, and signature songs, showcasing her amazing vocal skills. At her core, MC is basically a torch singer; she is at her best on smoky ballads like the gorgeous "Love takes time", or power-belters like the anthemic "Hero". Each of the 19 tracks on here, is testament to her talent to sing every lyric with intense passion and soul. Regardless of music styles, she shines on every note. She has brought too much to music to be dismissed: her voice, charm, great beats, old-school taste, interesting featurings. As the undisputed, youngest all-time best-selling female artist, an accomplishment in itself, MC may have long fallen from grace, but she remains elusive, indeed, entertaining, glorious, accomplished, unsurpassed, timeless. "#1 to infinity", is essentially a reminder of her greatness.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2015 7:37 PM BST

True Colors
True Colors
Price: £11.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rainbow rising, 18 May 2015
This review is from: True Colors (Audio CD)
With the release of his debut, Russian-born, Germany-raised wonderboy Zedd almost instantly became a powerhouse. Sophistication is not a quality often associated with EDM, but "Clarity" exhibited an unusual type of electronic emotion, heralding a promising future for this musical prodigy. 3 years on, sophomore "True colors" follows, but compared to his first, it is a more straight-forward affair, with no real surprises. This lack of inspiration renders the album pretty standard for its genre; predictable, repetitive, formulaic, with just a few truly exciting cuts (like gorgeous opener "Addicted to a memory", and the heavenly "Papercut"), made primarily for radio appeal than for listening pleasure. Looking at the inside artwork, I wished that the material was just as vibrant. But I am hoping that next time he will come up with a set worthy of the momentum he has been enjoying in the last couple of years. There is something very likeable about this young fella, that prevents me from dismissing him as another fleeting star DJ/producer. I have confidence in that his real "true colors" will soon propel him into the ranks of superstardom. This album is just not colorful enough.

Hairless Toys
Hairless Toys
Price: £9.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Artpop, 11 May 2015
This review is from: Hairless Toys (Audio CD)
Adorably idiosyncratic, immensely talented, freakingly underrated, Ireland-born singer/songwriter Roisin Murphy presents her third solo effort, her first studio album in 8 years, another stylish collection of progressive, experimental electro-pop. Departing from the catchy banging club grooves of past records, the peculiarly-titled "Hairless toys" sees her in a reflective, downtempo mood, revamping the sounds she has previously explored, with a more free-form approach. Amidst muted and introverted soundscapes, flourished with shimmering synths, trip-hop vibes, and dramatic textures, RM pays tribute to the drag ball (the underground LGBT subculture that gave birth to some of the most dynamic electronic music of the '80s and '90s), content with leaving behind the maintream dance-pop, and creating a whole new style. Long gone are the show-stopping hooks of the past; in their place, her wonderfully-punctuated, ultra-chic vocals, compliment the innovative musical forms, consistently re-inforcing the listeners' interest. Admittedly, some of the tracks tend to over-stretch, however, the impact stays strong and the result well-balanced. I am thrilled with this new album and its accompanying aesthetic. We often hear about artists going on hiatus and maturing, but Roisin Murphy has taken it one step further; she has gone from pop to art. Lady GaGa is taking all the credit for mixing music with art, but Murphy deserves her share for doing so, too (long before GaGa), and for being the anti-conformist that she is. I am placing this right next to Bjork's "Vulnicura", as albums of the year.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 11, 2015 8:19 PM BST

The Roxbox!: A Collection Of Roxette's Greatest Songs
The Roxbox!: A Collection Of Roxette's Greatest Songs
Price: £13.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PPP (=Pure Pop Perfection), 11 May 2015
New edition of the glorious 2006 Roxette box set, refreshed and updated. With extra songs from the "Charm school" and "Travelling" albums added, and a slightly revised back catalogue, it has also gotten a mini face-lift, presented in a fold-out digipack format (as opposed to the sturdy casebound longbook of the original release), with new layout, featuring some new pictures and liner notes. With another best-of released back in March, Roxette are releasing so many greatest hits, it is hard to keep up. To be fair, recent 2-disc "XXX" compilation is a comprehensive hits collection perfect for casual buyers; the ROXBOX is an essential anthology of most of the band's best moments, thus, appeals both to new and hardcore fans. And, since Warner has made this available for shipping everywhere, and at a reasonable price, everyone is happy. As Per Gessle has said about it: "Some major Warner-markets wanted this box-compilation since we're touring a lot so we waved the green flag." The original 4CD+DVD Roxbox 1986-2006 remains the definitive Roxette box set, so far. The 2015 ROXBOX is great for those who missed it the first time around (as long as they do not mind the omission of the collectible DVD), an essential buy of the highest order, from the sunniest pop band that has ever graced the earth!

Note: The songs from the 2006 version missing are: "The sweet hello, the sad goodbye" (original 1990 version), "Better off on her own", "New world", "Cooper", and "All I ever wanted". In their place are: "She's got nothing on (But the radio)", "No one makes it on her own", "Speak to me", "It's possible", and "The sweet hello, the sad goodbye" (Bassflow radio edit). For a complete tracklisting, see the photo below.
Comment Comment | Permalink

Nymphomaniac Volumes I & II Directors Cut [DVD] [Blu-ray]
Nymphomaniac Volumes I & II Directors Cut [DVD] [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Charlotte Gainsbourg
Price: £14.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rated X-cellent, 11 May 2015
Far from being the glorified porn that all the hype built up around its release would have anyone believe, "Nymphomaniac" is anything but. The film follows Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a woman in her fifties, a self-diagnosed sex maniac, spinning a tale about her sex life from childhood through to her middle-age. Unfolding a series of flash-backs, it recounts Joe's vigorous childhood and youthful erotic experiences, as she is contemplating her desires against the overpowering pressures and constraints of adulthood. Taking in the whole of the singular human experience, including the body and the mind, sex and love, and all the connections between them, in the end the story comes full circle, almost as if it were a thought-provoking psychological insight into a world of sexuality, loneliness, and love. Director Lars Von Trier, as the passionate, creative film-maker that he is, once again overflows his self righteous, controversial views into his work, not worrying about how outrageous these may be.

Being mostly narrative and drama, the original movie's 242 minutes contained about 20 minutes of sexual material, featuring some explicit adult scenes. On this extended version, there are more sexual depictions that are even more graphic, but when seen in the context of the film they are still not likely to offend viewers, especially those familiar with the director's work. 80 minutes of extra material is generous, though they going to be appreciated mostly by those who enjoyed the film the first time around. Obviously not an easy film to watch, but a very interesting one which requires close attention and an open mind. Complex, dark, raw, repellent, stimulating, lyrical, shocking, intelligent, often hilarious, occasionally exhausting, "Nymphomaniac" is simply not the pornographic epic that the press have been claiming to be. Rich in content, depth and imagery, it is a movie for adults, but not in the sense mostly associated with this term. A truly brilliant piece of work, finally available in its intended form.

Gladiator - 15th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2000] [Region Free]
Gladiator - 15th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2000] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Richard Harris
Offered by Helen's Goodies
Price: £13.68

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Are you not entertained?", 6 May 2015
The General who became a slave. The slave who became a Gladiator. The Gladiator who defeated an Empire. The Empire that inspired an epic film. The epic film that became a contemporary classic. The contemporary classic that got a terrible initial Bluray transfer. A terrible Bluray transfer that caused an outrage. An outrage that resulted in a spectacular Bluray re-release. A spectacular Bluray re-release that is RE-re-released for the film's 15th anniversary. Nothing new here, unfortunately, since this is the remastered 2009 2-disc Bluray version, presented with different artwork, and including a digital copy of the movie. Considering that one can purchase that edition for a lot less that the price of this "new" one, it is clear that there is nothing special about this misleadingly titled "15th anniversary special edition". The quality of the product is excellent, but there are no extras or anything not available already. A totally missed opportunity, which probably explains the poor marketing of such a big title (no info about the content prior to release).

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