Archive for Music

Why You Should Shop At CD Baby

Posted in Diary, Music, Personal Musings with tags , , , , , , , , on 30 June, 2009 by Nicola

Aside from the fact that CD Baby is a great place for independent upcoming artists to go to release their albums when their sound is not commercial friendly enough to be picked up by record giants.  And aside from the fact that it’s recommendation system is superb and precise.  And aside from the fact they have so many genre and sub genre categories that you cannot possibly go there without finding something you like, CD Baby have this to say in your dispatch notification e-mail:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole partymarched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Tuesday, June 30th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.  Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sigh…

And that is why you should shop at CD Baby.

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Hayley Westenra’s “Treasure”

Posted in Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26 March, 2009 by Nicola

I cannot even begin to describe the amount of sweat and tears that went into trying to understand this album.  The amount of effort I put into this CD to try and like it.  I was waiting for some miracle, some revelation to appear out of thin air, as to why this album tends to be a favourite among Hayley Westenra fans.  Why it is so highly esteemed, why it is the pivot of discussion.  I am not so lucky this time.  I have failed.  I officially don’t get it.

Let me start with the postives.  I do enjoy two songs on this album and tellingly they are two songs that are co-written by Westenra herself.  ‘Let Me Lie’ and ‘Summer Rain’ are clear standout tracks from what is otherwise a highly predictable album. Continue reading

Hayley Westenra’s “Prayer”

Posted in Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 24 March, 2009 by Nicola

I am going to take a wild stab in the dark here and guess that no matter what type of music you listen to, that most Eastern country, Japan, has laughed in your face before when they received the coolest edition of that coolest album by the coolest artist.  Damn them.  Us Westerners are never content with our 12 track albums, we want the four bonus track edition that Japan or Taiwan have.  All the more reason to hop over CDJapan and make an account.  This beautiful album, Prayer, released only for the Japanese market is no exception.  It’s actually a goldmine what mouth-watering tracks for any Hayley Westenra fan.

This album basically has lots of tracks recorded by Westenra that are otherwise scattered all over the place.  To put this into perspective, if you want to buy all of these tracks without buying this album, you will have to buy up to twelve albums to make up the tracklisting.  You see how awesome this album is now?  Continue reading

Hayley Westenra’s “Odyssey”

Posted in Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23 March, 2009 by Nicola

I have been putting off writing this review for a very long time.  Why?  The simple truth is that I could not quite decide how to review this album.  At first, I was quite content to review the first edition of Odyssey that I obtained, the one I know really well, but just out of curiousity, I picked the later edition up, the UK special edition, to see what the difference was.  I was struck stupid to realise that there’s a ten track difference.  You read that correctly. 

‘Well’, I thought, ‘this is stupid’.  Maybe I was too busy staring at paint and watching the sun rise and set to notice any commotion over at ‘TEAM HAYLEY WESTENRA‘ (i.e. the ever trustworthy HWI who have since told me that my original edition was never a UK edition) over this confusing blip in her discography, but I am on my own here, and I don’t quite know what to make of it.  It’s like I have had this hidden second album all this time without even realising it.  I don’t even know why I bought it, especially as I am quite strongly of the ‘SCREW YOUR MANY EDITIONS OF THE SAME ALBUM’ sentiment.

Okay, so if I could only let go of the fact that I basically have two different albums here under the same name, I could actually discuss the album(s). Continue reading

Michael Ball’s “Centre Stage”

Posted in Michael Ball, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on 1 March, 2009 by Nicola

I do get tired of Michael Ball‘s albums. He basically spews out about three a year with the same songs over and over.  Especially from musicals, as he is a West End star and acts as such in the recording studio, never making any real concept albums.

To discuss Ball’s vocals is a bit of a moot point.  He’s a baritone.  He belts. He’s powerful.  He’s emotive. He’s over the top. You can pilot a plane through his vibrato, and so on.  He is very pleasent to listen to, has a beautiful tone and thus the material he records verges on tragic as it’s such a waste of a huge talent.  But there you are.  This is what we get from Michael Ball, and we have to make the most of it. Continue reading

Emilie Autumn’s “4 o’Clock” EP

Posted in Emilie Autumn, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on 27 February, 2009 by Nicola

Emilie Autumn loves her EPs, especially when she has been riding the Opheliac horse since 2006, and has toured three times with it; I know, because I went to all of them.  It seems as if the EP format is a way to get out more material for her die-hard fans to rip their teeth into.

Comparisons with her previous EP are inevitible, and this EP is the clear winner, for there are no ‘repeats’ (unless you put ‘Organ Grinder’ in that category, but this could only previously be found on the Saw III soundtrack) and this EP flows and makes more sense as a whole. Far more atmospheric than the Liar/Dead Is The New Alive EP. Generally speaking, this EP follows the exact format as its predecessor, giving us a few original tracks, some remixes from Opheliac and some random extras. Continue reading

Hayley Westenra: In Her Own Voice

Posted in Books, Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , , on 22 February, 2009 by Nicola

Many would consider Hayley Westenra to not have walked the earth long enough to justify an autobiography (plus the fact that this is her second book; an authorised biography, The World At Her Feet, written by Paul Little was published in 2004) but to dismiss this book on that criteria would be a shame. Of course it does not have the intrigues and knowledgeable voice of someone in their fifties, who has endured love lost and found, career setbacks and so fourth, but this book is not really supposed to be about that. At twenty years old at the time of writing the book, Westenra simply wants to document her young life in its own little chapter. Although Darren Henley helps write the book, it is told in the first person, and Henley succeeds at projecting out Westenra’s personality.

This book’s most appealing trait, perhaps, is the inside look of the music industry, not just from anyone’s eyes, but through the eyes of a child, and later a naive teenager. Hayley documents her journey through the industry with innocent sincerity, and what is so beautiful about it all is that she is still young enough to remember everything with utmost clarity; an advantage she has over older autobiographers. There is something charming about reading about the world through so much naivety and innocence. She will lose this narrative voice when she gets older so I can hardly regret that she has written this autobiography early on in her life. Continue reading