#OneLoveManchester

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On May 22, 2017 there was a terrorist suicide bombing at Manchester Area after an Ariana Grande concert had finished. 22 people died in this attack while many others were injured and everyone was forever changed, including myself.

While Manchester is almost four thousand miles from where I am in Minneapolis, it felt like it was in the next city over. As a person who used to go to concerts all the time growing up and finding them to be a place to forget about the real world and just enjoy this moment, it breaks my heart that an arena concert was targeted. Especially one filled with young people and family members. The United Kingdom has always held a special place in my heart and even though I’ve never visited Manchester, I have been to London and feel connected to the U.K. through music and my love for the great country.

So when I saw that Grande was planning to put on a benefit concert, less than two weeks after the terrorist attack at her show, I was impressed and admired her determination to fight back in a way that we all connect: through music. The One Love Manchester benefit concert featured artists/bands such as: Ariana GrandeMarcus Mumford, Take That, Miley Cyrus, Pharrel Williams, Little Mix, Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, Cold Play, Justin Bieber,and Manchester’s own, Liam Gallagher.

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Before watching this, I wasn’t a huge fan of Grande’s music or really her. I have seen her performance once and I will say, she is an amazing singer and talented. I found her awkward when speaking to the audience, but after One Love Manchester, I see her in a whole new light. She is a performer who really, genuinely loves her fans. You can see it when she talks to the crowd, how she approaches the other performers and even going out of her way to go to the hospital where people who were injured in the attack were being treated.

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I respect Grande a lot for giving back as much as she possibly could for a situation that had nothing to do with her. It was an unfortunate event that her concert was targeted but she is taking responsibility and doing what she can, including paying for the funerals of all those lost in the attack.

Performers stand on a different platform than say someone working a cubicle kind of job – aka me – in that they are in the spot light. They have more opportunity to reach millions of people and voice their opinions on important causes and try to make a difference. This is one of those instances where Grande took her fame and had her voice be heard all around the world. One Love Manchester is one of the most watched TV events of 2017 with 10.9 million viewers. 50,000 people attended the event and raised $2.6 million.

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Now, this isn’t the first benefit concert to come together for a great cause. One of the most well known is Live Aid that took place in both London and Philadelphia to raise money for Ethiopian famine. Over 65 performers, from Freddie Mercury/Queen, Madonna, U2, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Simple Minds and many more, performing. A combined 172,000 people attended at the arenas with a global audience of 1.9 billion across 150 nations who watched the live broadcast of the benefit. This event was a follow up to the successful charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – which is a family classic in my household.

I will say, whenever I think of the Live Aid benefit, I always think of Queen’s performance at Wembley Stadium in London. This is regarded as their greatest live performance, even though they were unenthusiastic about performing at the benefit. Just watching Mercury perform though, makes me feel like I am there and experiencing the energy he put on at events. This is how I know him and think of him.

These are just some examples of the impacts performers have on the world. They bring people of all kinds together in one space and a connection grows from that. The audience connecting with the performer; with other people; with the world. Music is something that affects us in different ways but there’s no denying that it brings us together in times of need.

The Manchester Arena attack is one of three attacks the U.K. has faced in the past year. London was the most recent city that was under attack and my thoughts are with that beautiful city.

To watch the full benefit concert, click here. For some of my favorite songs by my favorite U.K. singers, click here.

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Stay safe U.K. Stay strong.

 

 

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Top 10 The 1975 Songs

In honor of my upcoming The 1975 concert, let’s talk about my top ten favorite songs by the Manchester band.

10. PressureThe 1975

The key things this song has that make it to the top ten list are the soft instrumentals in the background and how light and airy lead singer, Matt Healy’s, voice sounds in this. You can really hear how they work and play the guitar to give it a unique sound to the music. It has hints of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” which is a favorite of mine and adds to the song. The lyrics are simple and nothing very deep, but the focus is on the instrumentals and how Healy’s voice compliments the music. Plus this has been my alarm for the past four years so, obviously I like it.

9. The CityThe 1975

I always think of the lyrics “If you wanna find love, then you know where the city is” every time I drive through or past a city because of this song. The drums in this song really stand out to me and create a heaviness to the song whereas when the guitar comes in, it lightens it. Healy is telling a story about love, a relationship and drugs. While it sounds beautiful and unique, there is more to it than just an easy to listen to song.

8. Ughi like it when  you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

This song is just fun – the sounds of it and Healy’s voice make it hard not to really dance along to it. Even though this whole song is about Healy’s cocaine addiction, it’s still catchy and tells his story of his addiction. I think it’s interesting how they took something serious like an addiction and turned it into a pop song. There’s a reminiscent sound of 80s pop mixed in as well which contributes to the upbeat sound and dance-y attitude of the song.

7. GirlsThe 1975

While this song sounds carefree and easy from the instrumentals and Healy’s continue drepetition of “Just Girls”, there’s more to it than just your average pop song. Healy and co. like their songs to talk about sex, love and drugs, and this pop-y sounding song is no different. Everything from the opening pop can sound at the beginning – which seems ironic to almost symbolize that this is a “pop” song – to the twangy guitar, this song is a hit that you catch your self humming throughout the day.

6. A Change of Hearti like it when  you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

The 1975’s music is an interesting mix of instruments, computer or electric sounds and Healy’s voice. And they like to intermix lyrics from previous songs into other ones which adds depth and layers to the meaning behind them. For “A Change of Heart” the band mixes in lyrics from “The City”, “Girls” and “Sex” which paints more of a picture of what Healy is singing about and relates back to their main themes of sex and relationships. I particularly like this song because of the story of falling out of love with someone and the way The 1975 addresses it in a way of having “a change of heart”.

5. ChocolateThe 1975

Ah, the song that first introduced me to The 1975. And I didn’t even know it was about drugs until today. “Chocolate” is slang for marijuana and “guns” is slang for needles aka heroine. The song basically tells the story of young people driving around smoking weed and going to buy weed and being rebellious. This song to me will always remind of me of college and that free feeling of no responsibilities and just enjoying yourself. This is a The 1975 classic.

4. Heart OutThe 1975

One word: Saxophone. The use of the saxophone in this song is what makes it into the top five of my list. I think it’s unique as you don’t hear too many main stream – or pop songs – with a heavy use of saxophone in it and it adds just that extra piece of music that elevates the song. And of course the synth used throughout this song sends me back to the 80s and I’m obsessed. Healy’s voice coaxing his girl to “figure his heart out” also adds to the softness that this song has. It’s not a typical love song talking about love, it’s a love song trying to connect with the other person.

3. SexThe 1975

This song is fast paced and intense with Healy’s whiny vocals telling the story of a guy and girl who only hook up – even though she has a boyfriend. It really grabs the listeners attention with the sharp instrumentals and lyrics – which aren’t shy about the context of the song – sex. I like how Healy repeats “She’s got a boyfriend any” over and over again almost trying to remind himself not to fall in love, that it’s just about the hook up, nothing more. This is a staple top favorite for any fan.

2. Somebody Elsei like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

I love how heartbreakingly sad this song is without being cheesy or too swoon-y. Again, Healy brings back words like “cold” and painting this picture of not wanting to be with her for the physical attraction. I like how subtle the instruments are; there’s nothing too harsh or loud that would unsettle the song. The touch of piano – not synth – is also refreshing and compliments Healy’s woeful crooning.

  1. The Soundi like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

This. Song. Is. EVERYTHING. When The 1975 was releasing singles for their upcoming album i like it when you sleep…, I wasn’t impressed with the first two. It wasn’t until this was released that I felt revived and was given the song I never knew I needed. In a time where music was so over done with EDM and electonic tones, we needed something that was refreshing but still relevant and this song is that. It brings in real instruments, synthesizers and electronic music and creates something all it’s own. Aside from the music, the lyrics are fun and they happen so fast that before you know it, you’re already onto the guitar solo that gives the song a classic authenticity. To me, I wish this song was longer, more lyrics, more singing but for what it is, it’s my favorite song by them and I will always listen to this on repeat.

Stay tuned for my review on The 1975 concert sometime next week.