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Andy Norton "Andy" (Oxfordshire, UK)

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Tender is the Night
Tender is the Night
by Robert M. Drake
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incoherent Experience, 16 Aug. 2017
This review is from: Tender is the Night (Paperback)
Tender Is the Night may not be the best book for newcomers to get into Fitzgerald's writing style, but its incoherent experience of chronicling this relationship between the main characters makes this an interesting read. Some chapters are shorter than others are, whilst some may outstay their welcome by delving too much into a particular aspect that can get lost by the time you are reading the next chapter.

Tender Is the Night may be pigeonholed as a 'classic', but those not used to other works from this period or this very author may be scratching their heads why it is hailed as one. It is a good period romance, but you may want to read something a little less taxing after reading it.


The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
by Alexander McCall Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Light-Hearted Joy to Read, 27 Jun. 2017
Whilst everyone is going nostalgic for famous literary characters from the 1990s, then there is no better way to get ready for another series reaching its 20th-anniversary milestone next year than to revisit Alexander McCall Smith's comic detective character, Precious Ramotswe, in the first of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books.

Whilst some chapters establish some of the main characters, and others more episodic as we see Mma Ramotswe become Botswana's answer to Miss Marple or Sherlock Holmes in Smith's rather distinct and intriguing writing style in solving the odd mystery. You can tell Smiths' background as a lawyer comes out in some of the detective work and policing side of Botswana life, but also there are plenty of scope and glimpses into Botswana's open and honest outlook on other aspects of life such as gender politics in this establishing instalment to this popular series.

If you aim to keep an open mind to those familiar with European and American mystery novels, then The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency becomes a light-hearted joy to read and emerge yourself into the main crop of characters that evolve around Mma Ramotswe's setting up her business to working on her very first cases.


History [CD 1]
History [CD 1]
Offered by marxwax
Price: £9.23

4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Sound, 14 Jun. 2017
This review is from: History [CD 1] (Audio CD)
With the twentieth anniversary of their milestone masterpiece of an album, Urban Hymns, on the lips of those that love the work from this British group, may wish to check out some of the earlier stuff to see how they evolved into the grandeur that Urban Hymns became. With that, CD 1 of History, a track from their 1995 release, A Northern Soul, shows a pleasant sound coming from the group, thou not as polished as their next album was going to be, but still worth revisiting for those that want to. 'Back on My Feet Again', is another lovely track that just works, using Richard Ashcroft's vocals juxtaposed with their genial guitar rock arrangement that would seem audibly agreeable with the listener. However, the acoustic version of On Your Own is probably hunting down this single release of History, as it shows the lyrical power that would evolve into such classics as The Drugs Don't Work and Changing Man. The Brainstorm Mix of Monkey Magic is an okay instrumental affair that you would probably dismiss as being generic even by The Verve's musical standards.

Therefore, CD1 of History is worth finding it for the acoustic version of On Your Own, with the other tracks just showing the range and scoop The Verve were capable of circa 1995.


Born to Run
Born to Run
by Bruce Springsteen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Quintessential Reading, 1 Jun. 2017
This review is from: Born to Run (Hardcover)
Born to Run was Bruce Springsteen's first bona fide masterpiece of an album, as well as an iconic title track. Now because of this memoir, it is now an excellent insight into the iconic performer's passion for music as well as their personal struggles with family amongst their mental health.
Whilst some chapters seem to emphasise some of his key albums (Born to Run; The River; Born in the USA; etc), and highlights into his personal life too, the real reason why Born to Run makes brilliant reading is his insights into the music that inspired him, as well as his own escapades into establishing his first band. Even if you are not acquainted with Springsteen's work or his musical influences, the writing into his insights will make even the most stubborn of music aficionados appreciate American popular music from the 1950s and early 60s that inspired Springsteen as a budding musician. The chapters about his albums provide plenty of insight to keep die-hard fans happy, whilst newcomers may find the stories behind some of his key songs, such as the title track to Born in the USA, fascinating nuggets of wisdom.
Born to Run, as a memoir, acts as a testament to the life and professional story of this popular American performer. It also acts as an excellent insight into popular culture history from his early influences to his debut album, to the height of his commercial success, and albums that reflect themes happening in modern American history (The Rising for example). Whether you are a fan of his music becomes irrelevant when reading Born to Run, as you get into his physique, his achievements, and his personal problems with such brutal honesty.
'Born to Run' is quintessential reading if you like reading memoirs that go one step further in painting famous figures in an honest light, as well as reading about their passions alongside their own perils with coping with fame during the process.


Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 43
Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 43
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £6.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Your Nostalgic Cup of Tea, 12 May 2017
The late 1990s falls into two camps of pop. One in which the scene was dominated by cheesy manufactured pop, with girl bands and boy bands included amongst this commercialised swamp. Whilst the second being the more alternative offering, with evidence that Brit Pop was no longer the order whilst trance and dance became virtually the same for a generation of dance fans. Whatever camp you liked, or disliked then Now 43 would be your nostalgic cup of tea for anyone with a broad taste in pop.

Disc One is ideal for the manufactured pop fan, with everything to your desire from boy bands (Boyzone; 911) and dance anthems from the likes of Basement Jaxx and ATB trying to stand out of such dated flare from the likes Lolly, S Club 7, and Venga Boys (shudder!). Disc Two is a far superior album, with everything from the likes of Fatboy Slim and Chemical Brothers sandwiched rather pleasantly with the likes of Supergrass and Semisonic. Whilst, not every track is worth the revisit (Gomez's attempt at being heavy with Bring it On), there is plenty of treats to keep you occupied that you would probably want to revisit that particular setlist and forget the existence of most of the tracks on Disc One, with one or two exceptions.

'Now 43' is not perfect, but neither was the pop scene back in this period.


Pure Heroine [Explicit]
Pure Heroine [Explicit]
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Made Pop Album from the Early 2010s, 10 May 2017
Lorde's Pure Heroine is the kind of album that got you noticed, with the key hit single Royal captivating listeners with her low-key approach to pop arrangement that makes Lana Del Ray a bit of a serious drama queen by comparison. Whilst the rest of the album deals with what her repertoire was when this was released, there are tracks that work better than others do.
Pure Heroine is a well-made pop album from the early 2010s and is worth picking up to understand Lorde making such a cultural impact in the world of pop very quickly.


The Magic Position
The Magic Position
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £4.97

4.0 out of 5 stars An Album You Can Get Lost In Throughout Its Entirety, 10 May 2017
This review is from: The Magic Position (Audio CD)
Anyone expecting some knock-off of the likes of such musicians like Badly Drawn Boy, Frank Turner, and Lightspeed Champion may wish to pigeonhole Patrick Wolf into such a category. Whilst the archaic use of sample sounds may seem clunky in places, there is a lot of melodic content to keep such fans of Indie singer-songwriters from the 2000s amused for its 40-minute period. With Magpie, and Accident and Emergency being the most memorable, The Magic Position is an album you can get lost in throughout its entirety and fell that you have been pleasantly rewarded rather than bored to death at some avant-garde live gig.


Voice Of An Angel
Voice Of An Angel
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Voice of an Uber-Gifted Schoogirl, 6 May 2017
This review is from: Voice Of An Angel (MP3 Download)
Released in time to fill every classical fans' Christmas stocking back in 1998, this album cashed in on the latest teen star of the classical world, Charlottel Church, dubbed the very title of this album. And whilst she is now a thirty-something married to some rugby layer with some carreer in boradcasting, now is a good time to reassess the hype and ask yourself this. Does she have a 'Voice of And Angel?' As far as this classical cash cow proves, she had a good voice, a voice of an uber-gifted schoolgirl that was fortunate to have an orchestra to come along for the ride as well.

Whilst she tacklees such standards as Pie Jesu like any other choir chid of that standard, we do see some potential with a few tracks as Panis Angelicus, Ave Maria, and those Three Welsh Bird Songs, accompanied by Meinir Huelyn's lovely harp work.

So for an hour, Voice of An Angel works as a pleasant sounding girl in her early teens, but may leave die-hard fans seeking someone with more scope and depth after going through this album.


I Dreamed a Dream
I Dreamed a Dream
Offered by Great Price Media EU
Price: £3.75

3.0 out of 5 stars An Acquired Taste, 5 May 2017
This review is from: I Dreamed a Dream (Audio CD)
Susan Boyle maybe an acquired taste to start with. Tame enough not to gve your grandma a heart attack, but not hip enough to be place onto the Spotify playlists of teenagers and students. Whilst he debut album may have been created out of her instant rise to stardom from winning Britain's Got Talent back in 2009, it actually shows plenty of promise of her easy listening persona that will continue to keep making albums all throughout the next decade, whilst other TV talent show winners become bargain-bin has beens by the time the next series comes around.
This could be down to tackling such classic pop songs such as Wild Horses and Daydream Believer. Whilst purists will always prefer these songs without the easy-listening upgrade, they show plenty of strong production values with Boyle's distinctive range tackling such iconic lyrics. The title track proves you don't need to sob your bloody way through it to make an impact (Ann Hathaway's Oscar-winning performance from Les Miserables anyone?) althoug her distinct 'snarl' may get a snigger from fans of such musicals.
Easy Listening fans will lap it up, whilst those looking for something more substantial may wish to donate this album straight to the charity shop straight after listening to it. But those patient can enjoy such tracks such as You'll See and Up To The Moutain, and can probably tolerate a few more listens before finding another album to listen to.

Easy


Oxygène
Oxygène
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Experience from Start to Finish, 4 May 2017
This review is from: Oxygène (MP3 Download)
Wheter you know Jean-Michel Jarre's music from his 40-odd year career, only knew his gretest hits, or just happened to stumble on his music from playing GTA5, you all own yourself to check out his seminal album from the mid-1970s. From Parts One to Six, Oxygene is an excellent experience from start to finish, with too many standout tracks to pick out out from its 40-plus-minute runtime. Whist Part Five may sound too simplistic to hold up on its own, in sequential context it delivers a rather good filler between Parts Four and Six.

For anyone that likes electronic music from an important decade that gave us such milestones as the score to A Clockwork Orange, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, to the emergence of key groups such as Kraftwerk, Oxygene makes enough justification to cements Jarre's legacy from this influential period.


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