January wrap up

It’s already February! January is always a really long month, which I’ve definitely been feeling a lot more this year than previously, now I don’t get any student time off.

I made a fairly decent start to the month, reading four books. Well, kind of. It’s been a bit of a mix of novels, and some of them I actually liked enough to give out five star ratings.

I thought since I’ve been a bit MIA I’d catch you up on the books I’ve read in the past month and what I thought of them.

*This is a long post, so you might want to grab a cup of tea!*

 

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The Nix by Nathan Hill

This is my “kind of” book. For a start, I listened to it as an audiobook rather than physically reading it, but I actually started it last year, but finished the bulk of it this year. We’re talking about 65% of it- so I’m alright with counting it as a book I did actually read this year.

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What Emma Read: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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First impressions before reading the book

I’ve been watching quite a lot of ‘BookTube’ recently, and I’ve heard this mentioned so many times, so when I was in my local Tesco browsing the two for £7 section and noticed this was in it, I decided to pick it up. I didn’t actually really know anything about the book except that it explores a relationship, and that the main character can’t leave the house.

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In The Spotlight: Currents by Tame Impala

My ‘In The Spotlight’ this week is dedicated to one of my all time favourite albums, by one of my favourite bands- Currents by Tame Impala.
 
 
Released in 2015, Currents is Tame Impala’s third studio album. It’s very psychedelic rock inspired, and I would say much more ‘dance’ like than the previous two albums, which were more alternative. The vinyl comes on two separate records, which is inconvenient for me as I already grumble when I have to get up and flip the side, but what can you do. (Listen to the MP3!! I hear shouts in the background.)

 
Tracklist:
1. Let It Happen
2. Nangs
3. The Moment
4. Yes I’m Changing
5. Eventually
6. Gossip
7. The Less I Know The Better
8. Past Life
9. Disciples
10. ‘Cause I’m a Man
11. Reality in Motion
12. Love/Paranoia
13. New Person, Same Old Mistakes
Favourite song: The Less I Know The Better
Least favourite song: Gossip
As I mentioned, Currents is one of my all time favourite albums. I don’t actually have a least favourite song, but since Gossip is more of a filler, I’ve picked that.
The song that I listen to the most off the album actually changes depending on how I feel, some weeks all I listen to is Let it Happen, others I’ll be blasting New Person, Same Old Mistakes. It’s such a brilliant album that I doubt i’ll ever get sick of any of the songs.
 
Track by track:
Let It Happen
This is an absolutely fantastic opening track. I think it’s a perfect blend of all the songs on the album style wise. It’s got a lot of synth, a la songs like The Moment and The Less I Know The Better, but it’s also quite chill, and vocally more like New Person, Same Old Mistakes. It’s a great tie together, but it’s also absolutely fantastic in it’s own right, and definitely one of the highlights of the album.

Nangs
Nangs is very trippy. There’s a lot of synth in this one. It’s short, and there’s not a lot of singing, but somehow i’m still into it.
 
The Moment
Ah, The Moment is one of my absolute favourites on the album. It’s just so cheery. Would definitely recommend giving this one a listen.
 
Yes I’m Changing
Not one I listen to that often. I feel like it’s quite a personal song. I do really like the lyrics though; “they say people never change, but that’s bullshit, they do.” Deep.
 
Eventually
To me, this one always feels super psychedelic. I think it’s probably the verses. I do really like this one.

Gossip
Gossip is really a filler track. As filler tracks go though, it’s definitely a funky one.
 
The Less I Know The Better
This was the first song I’d heard from Currents, and I instantly fell in love with it. It’s probably a good thing that I couldn’t link videos to this post, because the video for this song is both bizarre and slightly NSFW. It also includes a gorilla boyfriend- because as you do. Probably the most popular, and most cliche Tame Impala song to like, but it is my favourite.
 
Past Life
If you’re listening to this song via something with a lot of bass, this might hurt a bit. Or you might really love it, if that’s what you’re into. The verses are distorted speaking, but I love the singing in the chorus, even if the only thing really said in most of it is “from a past life.” Also, I can’t stop myself from saying ‘hello?’ in an Australian accent that would no doubt offend Australians everywhere.
 
Disciples
Probably the most upbeat, cheery song on the album. An instant feel good tune, I’m constantly in awe of high Kevin can sing because I definitely could not reach notes even remotely that high.

‘Cause I’m a Man
Another one of my favourites. It’s just so ridiculously laid back. Very dreamy this one.
 
Reality in Motion
I’m aware that “I REALLY LIKE THIS ONE!” is getting a little repetitive now, but I honestly do just really like this one. It’s a bit less synth, a bit more instrumental than the others. Not instrumental as in without vocals, rather that you can hear a wider range of instruments in the song. If that makes sense at all.

Love/Paranoia
This is actually one of the ones I listen to less often on the album, if i’m going to be be completely honest with you. I do love the lyrics though- “does it really fucking matter?” Great motto for life right there.
 
New Person, Same Old Mistakes
I always think that this song has a decidedly darker vibe to it than the rest of the album. Yes, Rihanna covered this song, and no, it’s definitely not better than the original.
 
 
Videos
Tame Impala sadly have a Vevo channel, which means I can’t actually embed any of their videos here, but if you want to check any of them out you can go here.
Instead, enjoy some lovely live videos of Kevin and co.

In The Spotlight: Art Angels by Grimes

I’ve never really been a person that will buy an album and sit and listen to it the whole way through, I tend to find a song I like and just listen to that until I find another song I like by the artist through what I guess would be random selection. However, I’ve gotten much better at actually listening to albums the past year or two, so I thought I would start a little series where I go through an album that I like, showing you my favourites and what I think about the songs.

So, for the first one i’ve picked my current obsession; Art Angels by Grimes. It’s not a new album by any means, it’s just one that i’ve been really enjoying recently.

 

Released in 2015, Art Angels is Grimes’ fourth studio album. Like every album, there’s some tracks I like more than others, but there isn’t a track I actively don’t like. Which is great!

Right off the bat, I know Grimes isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste. I wouldn’t describe her music as particularly ‘accessible’ or ‘mainstream’. It is quite pop based and synth-y. It’s very unique, but if that’s what you’re into, I highly recommend her music.

Tracklist:
1. laughing and not being normal
2. California
3. SCREAM
4. Flesh Without Blood
5. Belly of the Beat
6. Kill V. Maim
7. Artangels
8. Easily
9. Pin
10. Realiti
11. World Princess part II
12. Venus Fly
13. Life in the Vivid Dream
14. Butterfly

Favourite song: Venus Fly or Realiti
Least favourite song: laughing and not being normal

I can’t stress enough how difficult I found picking a favourite song from this album. I’ve been listening to Venus Fly, Flesh Without Blood and Realiti an obscene amount over the past month, but i’ve also been listening to other songs from the album almost as much.

It’s not that I don’t like ‘laughing and not being normal’, it’s just that I don’t like it as much as I like the others.

Track by track:
laughing and not being normal
This one’s mostly an intro. It does have a little bit of singing, but not much. Like I said, it’s not my favourite. But it’s fine, you know?

California
This one is very upbeat and pop. Also she sings in an impossibly high pitched voice, which I know is an effect, but every time she hits the a note in California i’m surprised.

SCREAM
Haven’t the faintest clue what is said in any of this song to be quite honest- all of it is in Mandarin, courtesy of Aristophanes. And there’s a lot of growling? But I actually quite like it? In a weird way? The lyrics go from being sexual to really weird within a matter of seconds. All in a day’s work for a Grimes song really.

Flesh Without Blood
This is the song that really good me hooked on this album. If you’re looking for a good way in to Grimes, I highly recommend this one. Also, those lyrics. There’s just something immensely satisfying about singing I don’t care anymore.

Belly of the Beat
This reminds me a bit of a mix between Artangels and Flesh Without Blood. It’s got a catchy beat.

Kill V. Maim
Kill V. Maim goes back to super produced synth. To be honest, that’s the part I like the most about her music, because you can almost hear the effort that goes into each track. It also sets her apart from other music.

Artangels
Despite being the titular track, when I was listening to each song to write about it, I wasn’t sure what this one was when it came on. Artangels is very pop. It’s easily the most mainstream/pop song on the album. Not my favourite, not my least favourite.

Easily
This is probably one of the less highly-produced songs. There’s less going on in Easily than a lot of the other songs, it’s just really singing and the music, rather than crazy synths. I really like this one, it’s much more stripped back than some of my favourites, but it’s a fresh contrast to the rest of the album, whilst still being classic Grimes.

Pin
Pin always reminds me of dream pop, a mixture between that and super sweet sounding electro pop. I can’t think of a better way to describe it than that to be honest. It’s catchy.

Realiti
Grimes originally had this as a demo that didn’t get released because the file got lost, but it was so popular with fans that it got rerecorded and put on Artangels. And honestly I am so grateful because this is definitely one of my favourites. Tied with Venus Fly. The demo version is also pretty great. I reckon this is probably one of the most catchy songs on the album.

World Princess part II
Don’t really have that much to say about this one, classic higher pitched Grimes. Quite a lot of electro/synth.

Venus Fly
As I mentioned, Venus Fly is one of my favourites from the album. It’s also probably one of the weirder songs (obviously after Scream) but I love it. I also quite like Janelle Monáe so that probably helps too. If you liked Flesh Without Blood you’ll probably like this one.

Life in the Vivid Dream
This is a very short song. Which is a shame, because it’s quite deep sounding. I’d say it’s the album equivalent of an intermission, but it’s the second last song on the track list, so ….?

Butterfly
Butterfly mixes a lot of synth with very pop vocals and beat. I feel like the overall ‘feel’ of this song changes quite often throughout it, which confuses me a bit. Almost like you’re listening to different songs.

Videos
Something that I really love about Grimes is how wonderfully weird her music videos are. The sheer amount of production that goes into every one of her videos always blows me away. She directs and edits all her videos herself, which makes them all even more impressive in my books. That girl has serious skills.

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What Emma Read: Requiem For A Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.

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 *Before you read this, I haven’t explicitly said all of what happens in, or at the end of the book, but it is kind of spoilery, so if that thing upsets you, you might not want to read this!*

First impressions before reading the book:

I already knew the entire plot of the book, as I’ve seen the film many, many times. Normally I try to hold off watching films until I’ve read the book version, but in this case I don’t think I was aware of the book prior to seeing the film. I do love the film, therefore I went into this book knowing what happened, but I was still excited to read it.

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