#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.

 

 

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.

Top 10 The Killers Music Videos

Number 10: Spaceman (Day & Age, 2008)

The Killers are not unfamiliar with working with colorful characters in their music videos, but the setting and costumes of this one mixed with the upbeat music, create an – out of this world – video that definitely makes a statement. It keeps the viewer engaged and wondering what more will come around the corner as Brandon Flowers makes his way to the top of the structure and it continues to reveal new characters and settings.

Fun Fact: This video only costed $27 to make.

 

Number 9 : Miss Atomic Bomb (Battle Born, 2012)

Who wouldn’t love a Brandon Flowers cartoon? This live and animated music video serves as the prelude to “Mr. Brightside” bringing back the love triangle and expanding on the story. I think this video does a great job meshing the past, present and animation with live action together to tell the story of lost romance and how we look back on the loves we have in life.

Fun Fact: The original characters from “Mr. Brightside” reprise their roles in this video.

 

Number 8: All These Things That I’ve Done (Hot Fuss, 2004)

This out of order, almost comical – they try to ride on a miniature pony – music video shows the band as cowboys in the desert fighting off their temptations – women. The story features the women holding numbers to tell the order of events, leaving the viewer to put them in order and solve the video. This video set the tone for their second album, Sam’s Town.

Fun Fact: There are two versions of this music video.

 

Number 7: Somebody Told Me (Hot Fuss, 2004)

Aw, little baby faced Brandon Flowers! The second hit single off their debut album features a music video that captures their Las Vegas night life feel. Set in the desert with electric lights and a silhouette of a dancing girl, this video is a classic for The Killers. Plus can we talk about Flowers’ flamingo dancing toe tap? Classic.

Fun Fact: This video was in homage to New Order’s video for “Crystal”.

 

Number 6: Read My Mind (Sam’s Town, 2007)

Ah, the era of Sam’s Town featuring Flowers’ mustache. Completely shot in Tokyo, Japan and features the band in various activites around the town enjoying themselves. What makes this video is the culture surrounding them: the Elvis impersonator; the band dressed as Geisha’s; the band performing on what looks like Rock Band; and the Japanese character, Gachapin. It’s just a fun video to watch overall.

Fun Fact: The whole band, except Ronnie Vannucci, was asleep in the final scene where Gachapin crawls in to cuddle with Vannucci.

 

Number 5: Here With Me (Battle Born, 2012)

Again, this video demonstrates the great work that The Killers do with story telling in their videos. Directed by Tim Burton and featuring Winona Ryder and Craig Roberts, this video tells the dark tale of a boy obsessed with a famous actress. The scenes follow the lyrics pretty closely and leave the viewer mesmerized to see how the tale will end.

Fun Fact: This is only the second music video directed by Tim Burton ever. He also directed The Killers’ music video for their single, Bones.

 

Number 4: Just Another Girl (Direct Hits, 2013)

A new single featured exclusively on their Direct Hits album plays off of previous music videos – such as When You Were Young, Spaceman and more – with Dianna Agron playing Flowers. I think this video has a uniqueness to it even while using scenes from previous videos because of Argon’s perfect impersonation of Flowers and the smoothness of which the video moves through the scenes.

Fun Fact: There are special appearances by Felice LaZae, the model on the cover of Sam’s town and the couple from the music video Bones, Michael Steger and Devon Aoki.

 

Number 3: A Dustland Fairytale (Day & Age, 2009)

This video brings back reminents of the earlier days of The Killers. Set in the desert and telling a story of an old man dealing with the consequences of a fight from his youth, it is captivating. With flashbacks in classic Killer fashion and a strong beat and music to accompany the video through to the end, this video is one that I think gets lost along the way. The song is underrated and the video brings the band back to their roots of the Las Vegas desert.

Fun Fact: Neither the video nor the song received great reviews. But what do they know?

 

Number 2: Shot At The Night (Direct Hits, 2013)

This is my FAVORITE The Killers song and video. Even though it’s number two, it’s my favorite. This video features Bella Heathcote and Max Minghella (from The Social Network) and tells a love story that could only happen in Las Vegas. What I love is the feeling the video and the song combined make me feel – weightless and whimsical. It’s an appealing video just to watch, the colors and images that they capture of Vegas are intoxicating.

Fun Fact: The Las Vegas Review Journal ranked it as the #2 Best Music Video filmed in Las Vegas.

Number 1: Mr. Brightside (Hot Fuss, 2004)

The song that started it all. I will always remember where I was when I saw this music video for the first time. The burlesque show setting adds to the love triangle being played out and makes for a sexy edge in the video. I love the dancing and the intense scenes between Flowers and Eric Roberts, both fighting for the love of this one girl. I think the way Flowers displays the emotion of the song, while singing and not, he does a great job at telling the story. Oh and can we just mention the eyeliner? Yeah, I like that too.

Fun Fact: There are also two music videos for this single.

 

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my selection?

 

 

Where Are the People | Depeche Mode’s Newest Single

Ya’ll, Depeche Mode dropped a new single and it’s hitting real close to home.

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“Where’s the Revolution” is the latest single from new wave British band, Depeche Mode and the first off their upcoming album, “Spirit” which is set to release on March 17. And one’s thing for sure, they’re not holding back and they’re getting in your face about not only politics, but humanity.

This isn’t Depeche Mode’s first song that skews a little controversial, they have a long list of songs including a personal favorite, “People Are People” which debuted in 1984. “People Are People” takes a look at humanity and how we are all the same with differences that are supposed to make us beautiful but we make ugly. We take religion, politics and race so seriously we let it divide us as people rather than try to work together to better ourselves. We are so clouded in our minds with talk of politics and what we should believe and the people we should believe that we don’t take the time to listen to other perspectives and instead chose to hate and fight each other.

So it’s only fitting that after a four year break, the band comes back with a song to address the current state of the world we live in -and I can’t help but feel like this song is directed at us, the American population.

The sound of the song gives me pieces of their album, “Songs of Faith and Devotion” with the deep baritone voice of David Gahan and the notes of dark rock of “Ultra”. And the lyrics are of course classic Martin Gore, full of thought and actually calling listeners to action.

The song’s opening is my personal favorite; the classic techno sound of Depeche Mode that I recognize and tells me they’re not messing around. Then Gahan’s voice, hallow and almost soft as he sings, “You’ve been kept down/You’ve been pushed ’round/You’ve been lied to/You’ve been fed truths“. This first verse sets the whole tone of the situation that the world – to me mainly America – is facing. He asks, “Who’s making your decisions?/You or your religion/ Your government, your countries/You patriotic junkies“. Are we voting for a certain politician because of our religious views or because they actually have ideas that are beneficial for all? We’re so caught up in religion and politics and quite frankly, the two don’t mix.

The shift into the chorus to me feels a little off though. Gahan and Martin’s voices almost seem off sync and the beat of the music doesn’t fit. It’s almost trying too hard to make a musical point given the heavy lyrics calling people to action, asking “Where’s the revolution?“.

Through the next verse and chorus, we’re led to the great build up of the bridge. The song slows, the techno sound diminishes the lyrics are clear: “The train is coming…so get on board“. We’re heading towards something big, whether it’s a revolution or not, but either way, people need to decide where they’re going and if they’re ready for it. What are we going to do as we hurtle forward in not just Trump nation but humanity overall?

This is the thing I love about music. It’s able to make a statement and have it reach people in a way that we’re going to listen. This isn’t a call to riot or hate politics; it’s a call to humanity to take a look at the world we have created and to stop creating madness and start working toward to better it.