Review: AM

AM is the new album by Arctic Monkeys. This is the first album that I like that I discovered straight through Spotify. I saw it floating on the top of the “Top Albums” list for a few weeks, so I decided to give it a listen.

Best decision ever.

AM

Up to that point, I had no idea who the Arctic Monkeys were. I’d heard of them, but I had no idea what their songs were or even what music genre they were in. I had no idea what to expect. I have to admit, I was surprised. Pleasantly surprised.

A quick look at Wikipedia tells me that their genre is indie rock,but their music is very different from what my perception of indie rock was. They really emphasise the rock aspect, which is something that I haven’t really been a fan of before. However, I absolutely adore this album.

The songs are amazing, to put it bluntly. Nearly all the songs have this high-pitched harmony with the other band members, while the main singer does the main melody (obviously enough). It works really well, and really adds to all the songs. There’s lots of electric guitar riffs and heavy percussion (compared to what I’m used to, anyway). Everything just blends in perfectly and is a delight for my ears.

Now I’ll focus on the actual songs. I find it impossible to pick out a band song. If there was ever a recommendation on this blog, that’s it. The album opens with “Do I Wanna Know?” and “R U Mine?”, with a distinct upbeat, rock vibe to it. It slows down with “One for the Road” and “No 1 Party Anthem” later on, finishing with the romantic and mesmerising “I Wanna Be Yours”. The album changes quite a bit in parts, but at no point does the quality of the abum drop. It’s really exceptional.

I highly recommend that anyone who likes indie rock checks it out in its entirety, and those that are hesitant to at least listen to the first few songs. This is my favourite album so far this year, and that’s why I’m giving it a…

9/10.

Yes, I know I’ve neglected this blog again. This is my first post since August, which isn’t exactly “a post per month”. Anyway, I’m just going to post when I feel like I’ve something to say. Simple as that. I’ve added a review score this time, for those people who don’t like words. All feedback is much appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

R.I.P. OMGPOP

Recently I learned the sad news that OMGPOP will close down almost entirely by 3o September 2013. We knew back in June that their time was running out, when a lot of the company’s staff was let go, including the awesome Swiftor.

For those who haven’t heard of it before, OMGPOP is a great website for browser-based online multiplayer games. I joined the site back in 2012, and while I haven’t played it much recently, I still have fond memories of it.

omgpop logo

I remember playing game after game of Balloono (basically Bomberman) with Mayank for hours on end, and enjoying every minute of it. The website was crafted in such a way that you could play with those you already know with the click of a link, yet still create new friendships with absolute strangers in minutes, thanks to the in-game chat box and social features.

The games were far from original, but were a great way to play something for free that would have taken money and long downloads to do. My favourites are Balloono (as mentioned above), Tonk (a card game), Typow (a fun speed-typing game) and, of course, Draw My Thing, the game that eventually turned into hit 2012 app “Draw Something”.

When the webiste shuts down in September, I’ll feel strangely empty. This was something of my childhood which is simply going to disappear, never to be revisited. The website not only represents my online life at this time, but also my friendships with people. I’ve played these games with many of my Twitter friends, and the fact that I’ll never be able to try this games again really kills you.

The news of OMGPOP shutting down really helps to fuel my hatred of Zynga, the company that acquired OMGPOP in 2012, due to the success of Draw Something on iOS and Android. What really ticks me off is that the people behind OMGPOP tried to buy it back, but Zynga refused! It makes me wonder, if Draw Something wasn’t such a big success, would OMGPOP still be alive today? I was disappointed when Zynga purchased OMGPOP in the first place, let happy for the owners of the company. But now, all respect for Zynga has been thrown into an incinerator, just like a weighted companion cube.

Thanks for reading! What memories have you got from your time on OMGPOP, or are you just discovering it now? Feel free to leave all thoughts, positive and negative, in the comments section below!

Steam Summer Sale

It’s the time of the year that my wallet dreads the most. When all hell breaks loose, as prices are slashed more times than the bad guy in your average Samurai movie.

As someone who has been on Steam for about two years (back when Portal was offered for free), this may just be the first Steam Summer Sale. Equipped with improved broadband speeds and a new computer capable of running more games then ever before, I’m ready to get in on the action.

When I fired up Steam after hearing about the sale, I was overwhelmed, to say the least. BioShock Infinite half-price, reduced Half Life, Skyrim, Left 4 Dead… It was too much. There was no way I could choose.

Knowing me, I knew I’d probably end up buying games that I

  1. I won’t play
  2. I can’t run
  3. will be cheaper soon

To counter this, I’ve decided on some basic rules.

1) Wait until the end

No matter what the game is, I’m not buying it until the end of the sale. I know that there’s a possibility of it being even cheaper as a daily deal. If it’s a daily deal, however, that’s when I buy.

2) Stick to the wishlist

Before writing this post, I filled my wishlist with all the games that interest me. If it’s not on the list, I’m certainly going to think twice about purchasing it. (My wishlist isn’t finished yet, but it has a general idea of what I want.)

3) Stay on budget

I’ve given myself I nice round budget of €50. This is my absolute maximum. I’m not going to spend more than that. Because of this, I have to be careful what I buy. I’m going to try to stick to games that are under a tenner, but mainly only €5. This way I’ll get loads of great games without spending a fortune!

So there you have it! My three guidelines for the sale. So far, I’m most interested in games such as Scribblenauts Unlimited, BioShock and Left 4 Dead 2. I’m really looking forward to what else is being slashed before the 22nd!

I’ve decided to make a list of all the games I’ve bought so far, and their prices, etc.

  • The Walking Dead (€6.24)
  • Grand Theft Auto IV (€4.99)
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited (€4.74)
  • Left 4 Dead 2 (€4.99)
  • The Walking Dead (€4.99)
  • Assassin’s Creed II (€2.49)
  • Super Meat Boy (€3.49)
  • Mirror’s Edge (€2.99)
  • VVVVVV ()
  • McPixel (€0.79)

So, there you go! Finally! Nearly a month after I finished my exams, you have yet another lovely post. I’ve had quite a few scrap posts since my Random Access Memories review, as I want to keep a standard of interesting posts that I actually enjoy crafting.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post! If you’re also taking part in the Steam Summer Sale, I’d love to know what you plan on picking up over the next few days. Thanks for reading!

Review: Random Access Memories

I have a strange sort of relationship with Daft Punk. I first discovered them in January of this year, sitting in the car listening to the radio. Digital Love was the song, and it is probably one of my favourite songs of all time. Later that month I decided to give the full album (Discovery) a try, and I was pleasantly surprised. Since then, I’ve unashamedly listened to the album time and time again. It made it’s way into my daily schedule, my little treat. The album was crafted together so perfectly, it was like a story was just unfolding in front of you.

daft-punk-random-access-memories-artwork

Fast forward four months, and we’ve finally got our hands on a new album. A new Daft Punk album is something that generally creates an atmosphere of excitement, due to the fact that it isn’t a very regular occasion. The last album, Human After All (2005), was criticized for being highly repetitive. It’s safe to say that that isn’t the case with Random Access Memories.

 

Yes, Random Access Memories is the name, and fits in quite neatly. The whole album is a homage to the disco-style music of the late 70’s, early 80’s. As someone who was born decades after this time frame, the “Memories” aspect doesn’t exactly apply to me. Yet this album is possibly Daft Punk’s best to date.

The amount of variety in the album is unbelievable. With many artists including Pharrell Williams getting a piece of the Daft Punk action, they all have their own style added into the mix. Pharrell Williams songs are  catchy, upbeat and energetic, with top hit Get Lucky breaking records as the most streamed song in Spotify’s history. Paul Williams’ track Touch changes from extreme to extreme, yet leaving us with an experience you don’t seem to expect from a song of this genre.

While I understand why some fans are upset that  Daft Punk have “abandoned their roots”, they’ve done the opposite. They’ve gone back to before Discovery, back before Homework. They’ve taken music from an age that has fallen into an area forgotten by many of us, the music that inspired Daft Punk’s music from the start, and refreshed our “memories”, reminding us of this great era that many of us have never experienced. They’ve been inspired by the past, and have moulded them into something that I am proud to say is part of our present lives.

You can listen to the album on Spotify below:

spotify:album:4m2880jivSbbyEGAKfITCa

Is anyone here a Daft Punk fan? Agree with my review? Also, what’s your opinion on my reviewing style? Reviews are something that I read quite often, but hardly ever produce. Hopefully this will be the first review of many.

The Junior Certificate

Here it is. The biggie. After 1,200+ days, 170+ weeks, about 40 months, it’s finally here. The Junior Cert.

Yes, it’s finally here. It’s what I’ve been working on since I started secondary school. And now that I’m so close to it, it doesn’t quite seem so intimidating. I’ve finally got to the point where I basically want to get it over and done with. I’ve done years and years of exam papers, written and learned off notes and worn out my books. I’m ready to go.

My exams finally start on Wednesday, 5th June. My timetable is not that bad, with fifteen exams stretching out over nine days. English is my first exam, and probably the one which I’m dreading the most. While Paper 1 is fine, due to the fact that it mainly relies on your creativity and reaction to the unseen, Paper 2 is more intimidating.

Drama, Poetry and Fiction, all divided into Unseen and Studied sections. While Unseen (with a bit of look) is normally manageable, Studied is more difficult for me. See, there is a single word that describes my problem. “Studied”.

Okay, that’s an over exaggeration.  I have studied it, but not enough. I’ve decided to devote the entire two days before the exam entirely to English. English was my worst result in the pre-exams, so I really hope that I will be able to lift up the grade a bit. As I said, Paper 1 is fine. It’s worth half of the marks, so hopefully I don’t do too badly.

I guess all I can do is practice now. I just have to learn all the quotes for my studied pieces (The Merchant of Venice and To Kill A Mockingbird, for those wondering), practice some exam papers and hope for the best.