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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 October 2007
My CD collection is littered with albums that I buy on the strength of 1 track and never listen to again. And so one sunny day I purchased Amy McDonald's 'This is the Life' after hearing track 1 'Mr Rock & Roll' on the radio. Of course being the first track I assumed that I would listen to it over and over again thinking what utter tosh the rest was.... WRONG!

By the time you have listen to the first three tracks, `Mr Rock & Roll, the brilliant title track 'This is the Life' and 'Poison Prince' you are hooked. This album is like a drug you just can't get enough of. Every tune is simply brilliant and the production seems to be near perfect, if not perfect. The album works on so many different levels - if you want a good tune and nothing else it delivers, if you want excellent lyrics - it delivers and if you are looking for exquisite vocal then Amy delivers again.

I don't actually anything about Amy McDonald other than she is a master at her craft.

If ever there was just one album to own then this may well be it. 5 stars seems not enough.
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on 26 June 2008
Many of these songs have an excellent use of rhythm, beat and bass to create very catchy pop rock, yet retaining the simplicity of singer/songwriter style folk music. My roots are in 70s/80 rock music and yet I really love this.
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on 7 August 2007
This is the debut album from much talked about Amy MacDonald. Currently the female music scene is full of `The Streets' equivalents such as Kate Nash/Lilly Allan, and then there's Rihanna who seems to be on the radio 24/7. So when this 19 year old from Bishopbriggs came onto the scene with her catchy folkish acoustic pop songs; it felt like a breath of fresh air.

The album title `This is the Life' is appropriately named as it reflects the theme of the album as a whole. The songs give you the impression, she never had any doubt about what she wanted to do with her life and that she has always had the drive and ambition to achieve it. You can almost picture her when she was younger sitting in her bedroom with her acoustic guitar dreaming of making a career out of music. Unlike many who continue to dream, she did something about it and penned her thoughts about her dreams and ambition in to her songs. In fact the tune, `Lets start a band', is like seeing Amy's thought process in how she decided to make music. The song starts off with trumpets, singing about dreaming of being in a successful band and appearing in Rolling stone magazine. Furthermore she would only enter a band with someone if they wanted the same things as her. The middle section of the song goes into a kind of opera style singing which acts as a good build up because it gathers the momentum of the song leading to its climax; chanting "Let's start a band", repeatedly, you can feel the excitement.

Another song which echoes the theme of dreams is the joyful `Barrowland Ballroom'. For those of you who don't know `The Barrowlands is a legendary venue in the East end of Glasgow. Its one of those venues many artists aspire to play and from this song, it shows Amy is no different as she sings; "I wish that I was on the stage". In this song, Amy captures the essence of `The Barrowlands' brilliantly, "The lights outside are as bright as the sun, their much brighter than everyone". To me the song also implies that Amy's influences are from the 70s and 80s rather than more modern music through the lyrics:

And I wish that I saw Bowie, playing on that stage,
I wish that I saw something, to make me come of age

However her `My Space' page shows that most of her influences are modern, with bands like Guillemots, Kings of Leon and Arcade fire, to name but a few.

As well as the feel good chirpy folk/pop songs; Amy gives an insight into the other side of her song writing through `Youth of today' and `Footballers wives'. These songs are lot more scaled down, as if Amy is making people hone in on the lyrics because the issues covered are ones she feels more strongly about. In `Footballers Wives', Amy vents her annoyance about footballers wives getting lots of press coverage just because they are married to a famous footballer, e.g. `she thinks she's some kind of star, yes you know who you are, I don't think so'. While in the `Youth of Today' she sings about the older generation not giving enough respect to the younger generation, e.g. `It's just your one sided opinions that keep getting in my way'. These songs show that MacDonald is not afraid to say what she thinks and turning them into songs which convey powerful messages.

Having not even mentioned the superb hit single `Mr Rock n Roll' and her great take on Dougie MacLean's `Caledonia', which reflects well on the strength of the album as a whole. From this effort, it is more than apparent she has an abundance of talent, and at just 19 years old; I get the feeling the best is yet to come...
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on 2 March 2008
...and perhaps the most listened album in my collection. Over an over you'll read that there isn't a dud track on here. I'll echo that - I have my favourites and you'll have yours, but the standouts for me are Run, Mr Rock and Roll, This is the Life, L.A, Footballer's Wife. She should go far, and I eagerly await her second album. Almost with trepidation as it is hard to imagine a better album than this.
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on 7 February 2008
Amy MacDonald is a Scottish singer/songwriter who is currently very successful - and with good reason. She has a gorgeous voice, which she doesn't strive to mask with a faux-American accent as many British acts have done. Her voice has a real depth and timbre to it that many older singers would struggle to match. However, her songwriting is where many people will focus. She has a very mature writing style, with lyrics that are perceptive and thoughtful. The arrangements of all of her songs are a joy to listen to. This is the kind of female artist we need more of - her catchy, eloquent songs could teach her unreasonably popular, mockney-accented peers a thing or several about how to create wonderful music that can be appreciated by audiences of all ages.
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on 4 September 2007
I have never written a review before but this album is so good I feel compelled to write to encourage more people to try it. All songs get better and better with listenning and her lyrics are superb. Thoroughly enjoyable, well worth buying. Well done Amy MacDonald!
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on 25 August 2007
I bought this album on the strength of one song (Mr Rock n Roll) which is always a gamble, but in this case the gamble paid off. All the tracks are strong, but for sure feel good Barrowland Ballroom wins out and for sheer 'thank god someone said it' Footballers Wife. I was really surpised to find out she was only 19 as this album suggests otherwise. It has rarely been off the CD player since I purchased it. Thougroughly recommended
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on 31 January 2008
Up until a week ago I hadn't even heard of Amy Macdonald my head had been buried for so long in the reggage genre that I had given up on finding any talent that would drag my attention back to any other scene and then someone mentioned Amy, I was almost a throw away comment one of those "Have you heard of this girl, you may like her,"

May like her has turned out to be one of the most underated statements I have ever heard.

I don't remember the lsat time I heard an artist that has determined I instantly rush off in search of her albums and dash out for tickets, I live down in Wales and failed for the Bristol concert and so had to go to Wolverhampton, would I have gone to Portsmouth for one night, for yes a resounding yes, in fact I was considering travelling to Europe if all the Uk tickets had been sold.

Such energy and insight from someone so seemingly down to earth and every song guaranteed to the hairs on the back of your neck standing up.

Other reviews have concentrated on the tracks and so I won't, all I will say is this stunning album shows the mark of a woman who is destined for international acclaim.

Lets hope she avoids the downfalls of other stars like Winehouse and Dougherty because the dimming of this star would be a huge loss for everyone.

Long may she contiune to shine
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on 24 April 2016
We've all been there. That certain place or time. Could be at home or in a pub or club, on the radio or TV. Who knows? You do. When you hear it for the first time. That first time you hear that track. That track that you know you want to hear again, that track you want to know who's this?. That track you know you must add to your collection. That track that promises more. You know. For me, the place was a central Dublin bar. It was early evening on a Friday, that time when the after work crowd is just starting to head home and is being displaced by you or me. The me in this case being one of the weekend tourists there for the craic. A few pints of the black stuff and the video jukebox playing out the ubiquitous sounds of the day. And then it comes on. It seems out of place, out of context to what else has been playing. . I haven't heard it before but I like it immediately. Feet tappin'. Head rockin'. It's catchy. I join in at the end of the second chorus. I know. I wish I'd known you before. I wonder why I haven't known. I spot a couple close by, singing along to the track. I approach, apologise for interrupting and ask who it is. They willingly tell me. I ask what
the rest is like and they tell me if you like it, you'll like the rest. I go back to my mates and ask that they remember the name in case the black stuff yet to be consumed impairs future memory. A minute later, one of the couple hands me a slip of paper. I look at it and thank them. Amy MacDonald. This is the life, Mr Rock and Roll. Indeed it is. To the couple from Edinburgh who happened to be passing through Dublin at the same time as me on that Friday night (April 15, 2016) I have two things to say to you. Firstly, you were wrong about my liking it. I love it. Secondly, thank you so very much for making my life that little bit richer by introducing me to the music of Amy MacDonald. Indeed, This is the life.
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on 4 October 2007
This is truly a stunning debut album from someone of such tender years. Like most great debut albums, they get around by word of mouth. Not having any previous history or fan base to call upon, they have to rely on impact and this has an impact like a cube of ice thrown down the back of your shirt. It forces you to sit bolt upright and!

The sheer quality of the songs on this CD shines like a beacon in the dark. Tremendous folk/pop stories, none better than "Mr Rock & Roll", "This is the life", "Poison Prince", "Youth of Today" and ...........well all of them if I'm honest. Wonderful melodies and thoughtful lyrics.

I repeat a stunning debut. I've bought more than my share of so called "rated" albums only to try and convince myself that by the 8th listen I must be missing something because I don't like it. Not so with this, I keep playing it because I simply love it.

Worries? I hope that such a carefree talent doesn't get crushed by the sheer weight of expectation that will surly surface when she gets around to recording her follow up. I really hope that she comes through because I want more from Amy MacDonald. If that's being're absolutely right.

Believe in the word of mouth and the written word................this is sensational.
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