Monthly Archives

July 2014

To Infinity & Beyond

By | Music

If there’s a superhero in you and you feel like you have the power to save the world, then this is your playlist. Grab your cape and mask, and let the action begin!

Here’s a look at some of the most inspiring superhero theme songs out there, as well as songs written and performed by some of our all time favourite bands and musicians who feature on these superhero movie soundtracks.

Superman Theme – John Williams (1978)

“Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith first. The trust part comes later” – Man of Steel (2013)

Williams conducted the London Symphony Orchestra to record the Superman soundtrack, made up of three main components: a fanfare, a march and a love theme. The structure of the theme contributes to the emotional power of the song. Director Richard Donner was unable to contain his excitement and ruined the first take of the original recording session for the film’s theme by shouting: “Genius! Fantastic!”

The Superman theme was nominated at the 36th Golden Globes for Best Music (Original Score) and won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.

Ghostbusters Theme – Ray Parker, Jr. (1984)

“We came, we saw, we kicked ass!” – Dr. Peter Venkman

“Ghostbusters” was recorded by Ray Parker, Jr. in 1984 and reached Nº1 on Billboard Hot 100 and reached Nº2 on the UK Singles Chart, staying there for three weeks. Parker only had a few days to complete the song. He was inspired by a cheap commercial on TV and thus, wrote a pseudo-advertising jingle for the movie soundtrack.

It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Original Song).

Spider-Man Main Title – Danny Elfman (2002)

“With great power comes great responsibility” – Uncle Ben

Sony released Danny Elfman’s Original Motion Picture Score for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in June 2002. It fuses traditional orchestration, ethnic percussion and electronic elements. It was nominated for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media at the 45th Grammy Awards.

The Hulk Theme – Danny Elfman (2003)

“Hulk Smash!”

Danny Elfman composed the soundtrack to Ang Lea’s film adaptation of the Hulk, released in 2002. Allmusic’s review states: “Elfman tried to fuse his own quirky, often tense style, with a more overtly serious, droning sound that feels more akin to the work of Hans Zimmer.”

The Incredibles Theme – Michael Giacchino (2004)

“I never look back, darling, it distracts from the now” – Edna Mode

Michael Giacchino scores his first Pixar film, The Incredibles, in 2004. It’s a fun track that mixes spy/adventure music from the 60’s with fun jazz music.
The theme won several awards for Best Score and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.

The Dark Knight Trilogy Themes – Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard (2005 – 2012)

“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me” – Bruce Wayne

Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard co-composed the soundtracks to The Dark Knight Trilogy, which includes Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight rises (2012), however Howard did not return to complete the score of the third film of the franchise. Regarding his departure, he said: “I just really felt that I had made what I felt like I could contribute to the series, and I always felt that Hans was the mastermind of those scores. I mean, they really sounded the way they sounded because of him. His conception of the scores was really brilliant. It’s not that I didn’t add a lot, I did, but I don’t think I added the aspects of the music that really defines the character of those movies”.

The score of The Dark Knight (2008) won the Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.

Iron Man Movie Theme – Ramin Djawadi (2008)

“Iron Man – That’s kind of catchy. It’s got a nice ring to it” – Tony Stark

The Iron Man Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was composed by Ramin Djawadi and released in May 2008. The Iron Man main theme song for the Jon Favreau’s 2008 adaptation of Marvel Comic’s Iron Man has been described by AllMusic as a “slow-built menace of Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard’s work on Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise and dials an industrial army that utilizes crushing percussion, huge strings, and a symphony of distorted guitars, that echo Metallica’s concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, minus the vocals.”

Captain America: The First Avenger Theme – Alan Silvestri (2011)

“This isn’t freedom. We’re holding a gun to every citizen’s head and calling it security” – Captain America

Composed by Alan Silvestri and released in June 2011, the Captain America theme has been deemed by Jonathan Broxton of Movie Music UK as “one of the most enjoyable scores of the summer for one single reason – it’s fun… much like the film it wears its heart on its sleeve and has a simple intent: to excite you, to entertain you, and leave the experience smiling.” Allmusic have reviewed it as: “appropriately stoic and expansive… both familiar and iconic… it’s enjoyable and effective, but not groundbreaking, which pretty much sums up the score as a whole”.

Here’s the extended playlist:

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Bakermat – One Day (Vandaag)

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Dutch producer Lodewijk Fluttert, known by his stage name Bakermat, is on course for his first UK Top 40 hit with One Day. The track was a huge hit across Europe last year and is now breaking out of house music circles and entering the big leagues! The song samples Martin Luther King’s most famous speech “I Have a Dream”.

The song was originally released as ‘Vandaag’ in August 2012 as a single and reached the top 10 in Austria, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. It was then rereleased by Sony this year as ‘One Day (Vandaag)’ and immediately became a hit in Germany and Austria and now – it’s edging up the UK charts, currently sitting at Nº12.

Bakermats masterful use of the saxophone melody, overlaid with samples of the speech gives the track an almost ethereal feel. We interviewed Bakermat in November last year and spoke to him about the use of this famous speech: “I think it’s the best speech ever written and narrated. The speech is music itself. I thought it would be nice to ‘remix’ it and so, I started the track “Vandaag” from scratch, with only the speech to draw inspiration from. I made the chords and built stuff up around it. Martin Luther King remains one of the best speechmakers ever.”

Read the full interview here.

Upcoming Bakermat concerts:

Saturday 06 September 2014 – O2 Academy Brixton, London, UK

Saturday 20 September 2014 – L’Olympia, Paris, France

Saturday 11 October 2014 – Sunday 12 October 2014
Escape Music Festival 2014 – Pier 9, Brooklyn, NY, US

Saturday 25 October 2014 – Parc des Expositions, Caen, France

Saturday 01 November 2014 – The Garage, Glasgow, UK

The Most Watched Music Videos of 2014

By | Music

YouTube have revealed their list of the most played music videos of 2014 (so far) and Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ is the clear winner – by a sweet 100 million views! Sitting pretty in second place are the sexy twosome – Shakira and Rihanna with their over-the-top video for “Can’t Remember to Forget You”. Shakira appears twice in the list as does Latin heart throb Enrique Iglesias.

1-Katy Perry, ‘Dark Horse’ ft Juicy J (494,834,900 views)

Katy Perry’s Dark Horse music video is the clear favourite to be the year’s top clip, with almost half a billion views since February! The clip sees Perry as an Egyptian queen with supernatural powers. The video has sparked quite a bit of controversy though among the Muslim community as Perry uses her powers to disintegrate a man wearing a pendant with the word Allah on it.
“Blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an opposition of God) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames,” wrote Shazad Iqbal in an online petition to have the video banned. Many similar petitions submitted to the website have been met with counter-calls from YouTube to keep the video online in the name of “free expression”.

2-Shakira, ‘Can’t Remember to Forget You’ ft Rihanna (358,925,042 views)

Shakira and Rihanna’s sexy video is only 100 million views behind at 360 million views. This video also caused quite a scandal for showing the two girls writhing around together on a bed and smoking cigars. A columbian politician released a statement saying that the video should be banned for promoting tobacco and lesbianism, the New York Daily News website reported.

3-Shakira, ‘La La La (Brazil 2014)’ ft. Carlinhos Brown (264,211,400 views)

This video ranked high on this top 10 for three reasons: 1) It was one of the official World Cup songs, 2) It’s Shakira (she now has 101 million fans on Facebook) and 3) It’s a great video clip, the best of the World Cup ones, and you even get to see Shakira’s football skills!

4- ‘We Are One (Ole Ola)’ [The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Song] (Olodum Mix) (218,498,700 views)

Another World Cup song by Pitbull feat. Jennifer Lopez & Claudia Leitte – this powerhouse trio is enough to rank up some hefty views, even without the influence of the World Cup. The song received positive reviews from critics, but also some negative reactions from Brazilians due to its lack of Brazilian ‘feeling’. To remedy that, another version was created and the music changed slightly to fit Afro Brazilian group Olodum’s style of drumming. It didn’t do that well commercially but did reach the top-twenty in a few countries including Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, France and the World Cup’s host country Brazil.

5-Enrique Iglesias, ‘Bailando’ (Español) ft Descemer Bueno, Gente De Zona (230,758,500 views)

This song is the Sound of Summer 2014 – at the top of numerous Latin charts it’s heard everyday on the radio. For a song that is mostly in Spanish, it’s interesting how it has become such a big pop hit. Perhaps Enrique is just the ultimate ambassador of the cool and smooth vibe. Or perhaps it’s because the song is so damn happy and feel-good that it cuts through all the clutter and sets your hips swaying…? Enrique himself told Billboard’s executive director of Latin content and programming, Leila Cobo, “Of all the songs I’ve written in Spanish, there’s something about this song, the more I listen to it, the more I seem to like it. There’s something addictive about this song.”

6-The Chainsmokers, ‘#SELFIE’ (187,011,580 views)

This video and song perfectly captures our cultural obsession with selfies. It might soon be relegated to a pop culture footnote but for now it shows no signs of dwindling. The Chainsmokers are Drew Taggart and Alex Pall and they recorded a demo of the track and uploaded it to Soundcloud and Instagram. It went viral and was picked up by Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records. Ok, so it was helped by TheAudience – a marketing firm that specialises in social media, but nonetheless no one can deny that it became a ‘viral sensation’.

7-Iggy Azalea, ‘Fancy’ ft Charli XCX (187,050,600 views)

This song has spent the majority of the summer to date at Nº1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is the song of the summer. From Memorial Day to Independence day Fancy was downloaded 1.3 million times – that’s a record for a six week period. According to Billboard, since Memorial Day “Fancy” has a cumulative audience of 1.03 billion “listener impressions”. Fancy that.

8-Frozen Soundtrack, ‘Let It Go’ (291,127,574 views)

The worldwide phenomenon that is the Frozen soundtrack – many have been surprised at the incredible success of this soundtrack. “When a musical grosses a billion dollars at the worldwide box office and features an inspirational album, why should we be surprised?” asks Glen Brunman, former head of Sony Music’s soundtrack unit. The time that the movie was launched made the ‘weather’ a key player in it’s success. With freezing temperatures, most Americans were confined to their homes and the album became a soundtrack to more than a movie. Disney fans have posted more than 30,000 versions of the song to YouTube with a combined total of more than 150,000,000 views.

9-Jason Derulo, ‘Wiggle ft Snoop Dogg’ (155,308,309 views)

What a great combination Derulo and Snoop Dog make! This track, lifted from the hugely successful ‘Tatoos’ album sees Jason and friends surrounded by bikini-clad girls enjoying a party at a huge mansion – it’s not difficult to understand it’s success!

10-Enrique Iglesias, ‘El Perdedor’ ft. Marco Antonio Solís (130,772,069)

The second single from Enrique’s album ‘Sex and Love’ – the song is the opening theme of Mexican telenovela ‘Lo Que La Vida Me Robó’. It’s the 5th time one of Enrique’s songs has been chosen as an opening theme of a telenova. According to reports, Enrique wrote this song eight years ago and was just waiting for the right time to approach Marco Antonio Solís, one of his biggest idols, to ask him to put his vocals on it. The music video, released in January 2014 was directed by Jessy Terrero and also features a guest appearance by televonela star Sandra Echeverría.

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Zumbao – Taboo

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American-Mexican rapper Taboo, best known as a member of The Black Eyed Peas, released a rhythmic solo single entitled ‘Zumbao’.

The song was released just before the start of the 2014 football World Cup Brazil, and has now become one of the most played hits in Latin America.

The track was composed by the Ecuadorian singer-songwriter and winner of a Latin Grammy, Paulina Aguirre. Taboo pays homage to his Latin roots in ‘Zumbao’, where he mentions South American pop stars like El Chavo del Ocho, Juan Gabriel and Marco Antonio Solis. In his own words it’s a way of describing, through music, his childhood as a Latin growing up in California.

Jaime Luis Gómez, or Taboo, became tremendously popular in the 90s and early 2000s as part of The Black Eyed Peas. Today, his fame hasn’t waned and is among the 10 top-paid rappers in 2014, according to the ‘People with Money’ magazine – his profits are around $46 million. With the launch of this latest solo single, he’s cemented himself at the same level as the other members of the band, such as Fergie, and, who already have several works and collaborations on the market.

Having just turned 39 and father of 3 kids, Taboo stated that ‘Zumbao’ helped him get his feet back on the ground and escape a life led by drugs and alcohol. Some of the habits were destroying his personal and professional lives, and are covered in his biography, ‘Fallin’ Up: My Story’.

After collaborating with artists such as Sie7e, Mexican star Paulina Rubio in his hit ‘Hoy Me Toca a MI’, and the recent ‘Taboo Experience’ tour, in which the rapper toured the world’s best clubs, Taboo returns with ‘Zumbao’ while still shaping ‘Tabmagnetic’, which will presumably be his first full-length work.

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
– Anything Goes

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It’s Jazz time baby! Lady Gaga reveals her incredible voice in this first single from her joint album with Tony Bennett, ‘Cheek to Cheek’. “No autotune. No tricks. Pure jazz,” Lady Gaga tweeted.

Most people are unaware of the fact that Lady Gaga has been performing jazz numbers since age 13. Tony Bennett said: “I don’t understand why she had to make contemporary music! When she sings great standards, she does it with such emotion… It will surprise people by the quality of her voice when making quality songs. We sing a duet again on the album, but also separately. With this album, I think she will become bigger than Elvis Presley! Of course we recorded the album in New York. As the saying goes: ‘If you can make it in New York, you’ll make it anywhere.”

Gaga commented on the collaboration “Cheek To Cheek came out of a very organic friendship and relationship that Tony and I have built over the years and it truly was a collaborative effort. It was important to Tony that this was a jazz record. I’ve been singing jazz since I was a child and really wanted to show the authentic side of the genre. We made an album of jazz classics, but it has a modern twist.”

“I love everything about working with Tony – he’s such a legend, and because of that I get to learn so much when we sing together. We met 3 or 4 years years ago and started recording Cheek to Cheek a couple of years ago.”

The unusual pair first collaborated in 2011 with “The Lady Is a Tramp” for Tony Bennett’s Grammy Award-winning album Duets II. They have performed together many times this year including an appearance at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Cheek to Cheek features jazz musicians that are associated with both artists, including Gray Sargent, Mike Renzi, Harold Jones and Marshall Wood. Jazz soloists include tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and flautist Paul Horn, who passed away earlier this month, according to a press release. The album features such standards as “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Lush Life,” “Sophisticated Lady,” and more.

Appearing yesterday (July 29) on the ‘Today Show’ they announced that the album will finally be released on September 23 – although the single ‘Anything Goes’ is now available on iTunes.


Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj – Bang Bang

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The long-awaited collaboration between the powerhouse trio Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj is finally here!

This dance anthem is everything fans had hoped for, and more. It’s upbeat, fun and is full of powerhouse vocals, big bouncy beats and horn blasts. It was produced by Max Martin, Savan Kotecha and Ilya, the same team that worked on Ariana Grande’s recent chart topper, ‘Problem’.

The song basically explains why they are better than the other ladies out there…(does anyone need convincing?) “She mighta let you hold her hand in school, but I’mma show you how to graduate,” Ariana belts outs. Later Minaj raps “Queen Nicki dominant / Prominent / It’s me, Jessie, and Ari / If they test me they sorry.” We love one of Jessie’s line: “She got a body like an hour glass but I can give it to you all the time!”

While Ariana and Nicki are both Queens of Pop in the US, Jessie J has not yet reached their dazzling heights.  However, ‘Bang Bang’ has enough star power and radio-playability to make a real impression for her stateside.

‘Bang Bang’ was released today (July 29) through Republic Records, the label that houses all three artists, and serves as a joint single. It is the lead single from Jessie’s upcoming third solo album and will also feature on the deluxe version of Ariana’s ‘My Everything’, slated for release on August 25.

Jessie J opened up about her new album today whilst chatting to Capital FM about ‘Bang Bang’: “This is the album to make a change, I feel like that’s what this album is about for me. I’ve learnt a lot, I’ve had my ups and my downs and I feel like the third album is always the one where you feel like your feet are found,” Jessie explained. “I feel like I really know what I stand for now, and what makes me, me!”


The 20 Most Iconic Album Covers of All Time

By | Music

Album covers have sadly become a lost art in the twenty-first century. Stemming from the international standardization of MP3 in the early 90’s, to the iPod revolution in the early 2000’s, to the rise of today’s download and stream-friendly platforms like iTunes, YouTube and Spotify, album covers have regretfully been reduced to the size of a stamp and are only truly cherished by a small minority of people.

This will explain why some of the best and most iconic album covers date back to the 60’s and 70’s – a time all music lovers associate as the ‘glory’ years; a time when everything to do with music was treasured at its face value; a time when album covers captured “the dreams, hopes and fears of a music-loving generation” and when studying the sleeve was part of the whole-rounded experience of owning an LP.

Here are our picks for the 20 greatest album covers of all time. We review our favourite 10 in date-release order.

1. The Velvet Underground – “The Velvet Underground and Nico” (1967)

The bright yellow banana that graced the cover of The Velvet Underground and Nico’s debut album has become one of the most recognised pieces of pop artwork ever, crafted by the most popular pop artist ever, Andy Warhol, who also produced this 1967 protopunk album. The original album cover was interactive, telling fans to “peel slowly and see” and allowing them to peel back the banana skin sticker that revealed a pink banana underneath. Part of the reason behind the album’s delayed release was because manufacturers found it hard to pull-off the sexually charged effect of peeling the banana.

Although the album saw no commercial success, the band eventually became a cult favourite in the decades after The Velvet Underground broke up. Today, the album has become a rare collector’s item and an emblem of the protopunk genre.

2. Cream – “Disraeli Gears” (1967)

Created by Australian artist, Martin Sharp, the cover of Cream’s “Disreali Gears” album has become an icon of spiralling fluorescent movement of the 60’s. Sharp combined Victorian elements and loads of “flower-power” roses and feathers with a publicity photo he had been given by Eric Clapton. Sharp attempted to capture the sound of the psychedelic music in the cover, which he described as a “warm, fluorescent sound”, by first drawing the cover in black and white and then colouring it in with fluorescent, eye-stinging, colours.

3. The Beatles – “Abbey Road” (1969)

Those who believed Paul McCartney’s death myth in 1967 analysed the cover of Abbey Road. They believed that McCartney has been replaced by a dopplegänger and interpreted the picture as a funeral procession, with John Lennon as the preacher (dressed in white), Ringo Star as the mourner (dressed in black), George Harrison as the gravedigger (dressed in denim) and Paul McCartney as the corpse (walking barefoot). They also believed that the license plate in the background read 281f, symbolising McCartney’s death at the age of 27 (when the album came out) and making people think the message was intended to represent McCartney turning 28, had he not died. All of the latter was pure coincidence. The Beatles shot the cover of the album on August 8th, 1969 outside of Abbey Road studios.

The cover is the most recognised album cover in pop music history and has been parodied several times. Today, Abbey Road is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the London area.

4. The Rolling Stones – “Sticky Fingers” (1971)

“Sticky Fingers” was The Rolling Stones’ first album for Atlantic Records, which provided them with the budget to mass-produce their cover art with an actual zipper. Designed by Andy Warhol, the zipper on the album’s cover could be unzipped to reveal white underwear with the Rolling Stones’ tongue logo plastered on it. Nobody seems to know who exactly was the man in the underwear, but it wasn’t Mick Jagger’s crotch, contrary to the popular myth.

5. Pink Floyd – “Dark Side Of The Moon” (1973)

The design of the iconic album cover for “Dark Side Of The Moon” represents three elements; the band’s stage lighting, that comes through via the prism of light, Richard Wright’s request for a “simple and bold” graphic design, and a triangle to symbolise thought and ambition, a subject that comes through in the album lyrics. The initial inspiration for the album cover art was a black and white photo of a prism on top of some sheet music, with a colour beam going through it. Storm Thorgerson, George Hardie, and the team at Hipgnosis, took these initial ideas as a starting point and eventually came up with the iconic prism-and-rainbow design set against a black background.

6. Led Zeppelin – “House Of The Holy” (1973)

Inspired by the ending of Arthur C. Clark’s novel, “Childhood’s End”, which portrayed several hundreds of naked children wandering the earth, Led Zeppelin’s artwork for their “House Of The Holy” album has become one of the most iconic and most mysterious album covers of the 70’s. Produced by the design firm Hipgnosis, the cover was shot on the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. Audrey Powell, who designed the cover, photographed two children, a brother and sister, over the course of ten days at dusk and at dawn. The children were to originally be tinted in gold and silver but the hand tinting accidentally went wrong. Powell explains: “when we hand-tinted it, the airbrush artist, by accident, put a kind of purple tinge onto them. When I first saw it, I said, “Oh, my God.” Then we looked at it, and I said, “Hang on a minute, this has an otherworldly quality.” So we left it as it was”. The siblings were later multi-printed to create a small army of 11 children.

7. The Sex Pistols – “Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols” (1977)

According to Steve Jones, the album’s title, which was originally going to be titled God Save Sex Pistols, was taken from two fans who would always say the phrase “never mind the bollocks” to one another. Due to the album’s indecent use of language, the police filed an obscenity case and tried to prosecute Virgin Rercords for displaying it on their shop shelves. The Sex Pistols and Virgin Records were found not guilty after their lawyer, Queen’s Council John Mortimer, produced expert witnesses who could demonstrate that the word “bollocks” was a legitimate Old English term originally used to refer to a priest, and which also meant “nonsense”, in the context of the title.

Art director of the Sex Pistols and designer of the album cover, Jamie Reid, explains: “I saw Punk as part of an art movement that’s gone over the last hundred years, with roots of Russian agitpop, surrealism, dada and situationism”.

The cover became a blueprint for punk design.

8. The Clash – “London Calling” (1979)

Pennie Smith captured one of the most iconic pictures in rock music history, while taking pictures of the Clash at New York’s Palladium in September of 1979.

Simonon explains: “we weren’t getting any response from them [the audience], no matter what we did. I’m generally good-natured, but I do bottle things up and then I’m like a light switch, off and on, and it can be quite scary, even for me, when I switch, because it’s very sudden. Onstage that night I just got so frustrated with that crowd and when I go to the breaking point I started to chop the stage up with my guitar”.

…Talk about rock n’ roll!

9. Nirvana – “Nevermind” (1991)

The naked baby floating underwater on Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album is one of the most eye-catching album covers of all time. According to photographer Kirk Weddle, the image was “a fluke”. Kirk completed the shoot at a public pool in Pasadena in Southern California, after convincing his friends to use their four-month-old baby boy for the cover, of which the original concept was to capture an underwater birth. Kirk explained: “the mom was on my left, and blew a puff of air into the child’s face… then we dunked him in and, bang bang, pulled him out. We did it twice and that was it”. The fish hook and dollar bill were added by the record label’s art department as finishing touches. Indeed, “the baby has a platinum album”, says Kirk. Today, Spencer Eden, the infamous naked baby, admits: “It’s kind of creepy that many people have seen me naked… I feel like the world’s biggest porn star.”

10. Santana – “Corazon” (2014)

Santana’s unique cover art for the latest and very first all-Latin music album “Corazon” was designed by art collective Boa Mistura, who is based in Madrid and works on public art pieces and developing projects in South Africa, Norway, Berlin, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. Full of bright colours, this album cover is a beautiful eye-catcher.

11. Frank Sinatra – “In The Wee Small Hours” (1955) / 12. The Beatles – “Revolver” (1966)


13. King Crimson – “In The Court Of The Crimson King” (1969) / 14. The Who – “Who’s Next” (1971)


15. Stevie Wonder – “Innervisions” (1973) / 16. Elton John – “ Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (1973)


17. Pink Floyd – “Wish You Were Here” (1975) / 18. The Eagles – “Hotel California” (1976)


19. Supertramp – “Breakfast In America” (1979) / 20. Prince – “Purple Rain” (1984)


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Lily Allen – As Long As I Got You

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Lily Allen pays tribute to her husband in this colourful, feel-good video for ‘As Long As I Got You’, shot this year at the mother of all music festivals, Glastonbury.

The Chris Sweeney-directed video clip features fans and her performance at Glastonbury 2014. This isn’t a high budget music video, this is Lily having fun! It’s the first time she has played Glastonbury for 5 years and she starts off the video by sharing some family photos of herself and her dad in the mid-80s and talks about how they used to go to Glastonbury every year.

Lily said: “Glastonbury has always been a huge part of my life, and I wanted to make this video there to celebrate the spirit of the festival and also to show how my life has changed since the last time I played there. From being there as a child with my Dad, to my wilder days in the 2000s, to this year when I was back on the Pyramid stage, and taking my husband and own daughters along!”

Lily met her husband at Glastonbury back in 2009 and this lyrical ode to their love together is wonderful. “I had that awful feeling / That I needed help / My life had lost its meaning / But you saved me from myself.”

‘As Long As I Got You’ has been lifted from her latest chart-topping album Sheezus, released in May 2014, following ‘Hard Out Here’, ‘Air Balloon’, ‘Sheezus’, ‘Our Time’ and ‘URL Badman’. The album debuted at Nº1 on the UK Albums Chart, becoming her 2nd consecutive number-one album. Across the water on the Billboard charts it debuted at No. 12 selling 17,000 copies in its opening week.

The Greatest Animated Music Videos

By | Music

Animated music videos, including cartoon, motion graphics, 3D, lo-fi and hand-drawn animation, have become a big hit throughout the MTV Generation. The animated style has become a go-to for artists on tour who don’t have time to appear for shoots, who don’t want to appear in their own clips, who have a tighter budget, or even artists who simply choose animation for stylistic purposes. 

By putting together a playlist of some of our favourite animated videos, including promos by Queen, Bjork, Gorillaz and Daft Punk, we honour the talented designers and illustrators behind some of the craftiest and most colourful music videos in our digital modern age.

The videos are featured in date-release order, following the evolution of digital animation.

Dire Straits – Money For Nothing (1985)

‘Money for Nothing’ was Dire Straits’ most successful single, peaking at Nº1 for three weeks in the US. Taken from their hugely successful 5th studio album ‘Brothers in Arms’, the song won a Grammy for the Best Rock performance. The album proved to be the band’s crowning glory selling more than 25 million copies worldwide. It was also the first album to sell a million copies in the new CD format. 
The music video featured early computer animation illustrating the lyrics and was one of the first uses of computer-animated human characters – it was considered ground-breaking at the time of its release. When MTV Europe launched in 1987 this was the first video they played which contained the appropriate line ‘I Want My MTV’! The video was awarded “Video of the Year” (among many other nominations) at the third annual MTV Video Music Awards in 1986.

Leave Me Alone – Michael Jackson (1987)

The music video for ‘Leave Me Alone’, directed and produced by Jim Blashfield and Paul Diener, combines stop motion animation and weird imagery, including shrines to actress Elizabeth Taylor, tabloid videos of MJ’s personal and public life, a nose being chased by a surgical scalpel in reference to Jackson’s plastic surgery, all of which compliment the song’s paranoid feel towards the paparazzi and the media. The video won Best Short Film Music Video at the Grammy Awards in 1990 and Best Special Effects at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards. It also received 6 nominations for Video of The Year, Viewer’s Choice, Breakthrough Video, Best Editing and Best Art Direction. After MJ’s death, Rolling Stone referred to the track as “Jackson’s most monumental song”.

Innuendo – Queen (1991)

‘Innuendo’ immediately shot to Nº1 in the UK Singles Charts in 1991. It is the lengthiest of Queen’s songs ever to be released as a single. The music video, directed by Jerry Hibbert and Rudi Dolezal, inspired by George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, has been described as one of the band’s darkest and most moving works. The use of live action with stop motion animation, eerie plasticine figurines, montage and illustrations, accommodates Queen’s prog-rock, heavy metal, flamenco and rock opera sound of the early 90s. While Freddie Mercury is drawn in the style of Leonardo da Vinci, Brian May is drawn in the style of Victorian print, Taylor in the style of Jackson Pollock, and Deacon in the style of Pablo Picasso.

Hold me thrill me kiss me kill me – U2 (1995)

Written for the ‘Batman Forever’ soundtrack, the American top 20s smash was nominated for a Golden Globe. Inspired by the world of comic books, it was only fitting that the band members of U2 would appear as cartoon superheroes and villains performing in Gotham City in the animated video clip. Directed by Dave King, the video also uses clips from the third installment of Tim Burton’s Batman film series.

Paranoid Android – Radiohead (1997)

The animated music video for ‘Paranoid Android’, created by Magnus Carlsson, is drawn in a simplistic style, using bold colours and clear, graphic lines. It features Robin, the character from the Swedish animated series ‘Robin’, and his friend Benjamin setting out into the world, running into EU representatives, bullying pub patrons, and featuring a prostitute, two men kissing, a drug addict, deranged businessmen, mermaids and an angel who plays table tennis with Robin. The video is indeed bizarre and hard to figure out!

Freak On A Leash – Korn (1999)

The animated music video for the late 90s funk-metal sounding track, ‘Freak On A Leash’, directed by Todd McFarlane, contains a mixture of animation and live performance footage. The video combines “special effects and clever camera moves in the live action portion of the video”, while it follows the journey of an accidentally-fired bullet travelling out of the animated cartoon realm and into the real world, damaging property and flying around the members of Korn, before it makes its way back into the animated world. The video received awards for Best Editing and Best Rock Video at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards and also won a Grammy Award for Best Short Music Video in 2000.

One More Time – Daft Punk (2000)

The music video animation in Daft Punk’s dance-pop classic track ‘One More Time’ later appeared in the 2003 Japanese animated film ‘Interstella 5555: The 5tory of 5ecret 5tar System’. The video, directed by Kazuhisa Takenouchi under the visual supervision of Leiki Matsumoto, illustrates a pop-band made up of blue-skinned aliens performing a song on their home planet, while a bizarre force approaches it.

Californication – Red Hot Chilli Peppers (2000)

‘Californication’ is still one of the band’s most popular songs. The animated music video, directed and produced by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, has over 110 million views on YouTube. The video takes the form of a video game, which intercuts with live-action footage of the band performing. The game is filmed from a third-person point of view of each of the band members, all of whom are on different adventures within the game. Eventually, the band members end up turning back from 3D computer-generated avatars into their real selves, as the message on the screen reads ‘Game Over’.

Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz ft. De La Soul (2005)

The alternative rock song, ‘Feel Good Inc.’, by the British virtual band Gorillaz, won Best Pop Collaboration at the 2006 Grammy Awards, Best Breakthrough Video and Best Special Effects in a video at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards. Directed by Jamie Hewlett and Pete Candeland, the music video mixes CGI with two-dimensional animation to create a textured and layered effect, with Japanese-inspired colours, textures and tones. The animated video’s main themes approach the issues of intellectual freedom and the media-induced dumbing down of mass culture.

Wanderlust – Björk (2008)

Björk has said that ‘Wanderlust’ is about “being in the state of something and almost knowing you’re never going to find it”. The strange and uncanny animated music video, directed by Ecyclopedia Pictura, presents us with a kaleidoscopic vision, by using a mixture of animation, large-scale puppets, live action acrobatics, miniature clay figurines and CGI. The video also uses pillarboxing – an effect that occurs on widescreen displays when black bars are places on the sides of the image, shrinking the original image and placing it in the centre of the widescreen frame. The video won Best Art Direction, Best Alternative/Indie Video and Video of The Year at the 2008 UK Video Music Awards. It was also nominated for Best Special Effects.

Heartless – Kanye West (2008)

Kanye West teams up with director Hype Williams, for a vibrant tribute to Ralph Bakshi’s 1981 film ‘American Pop’. It features rotoscope animation (a technique in which animators trace over footage, frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films) and references several scenes and background from the film. The video was William’s first animated clip. ‘Heatless’ is one of the best-selling singles of all time, selling 5.5 million digital copies in 2009, alone.

Strawberry Swing – Coldplay (2009)

Coldplay’s sweet melody, with afro-pop influences and alternative rock vibes, became a top 5 hit in several European charts. The music video for ‘Strawberry Swing’, directed by Shynola, features stop motion animation, with frontman turned superhero Chris Martin lying on the ground against animated chalk drawings, as he rescues a damsel in distress. The video was nominated for Best Animation at the MTV Video Music Awards 2009 and for Breakthrough Video at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.

Get Busy Living – Goldfish (2010)

Goldfish are know for their stylistic and comedic animated music videos, most of which have connecting stories, use recurring characters and which usually feature pop culture references. The music video for ‘Get Busy Living’, directed and animated by Mike Scott, was the official video for Goldfish’s first single from their self-titled album.

The Shrine – Fleet Foxes (2011)

Sean Pecknold, brother of Fleet Foxes frontman Robin, directed the haunting animated music video for ‘The Shrine’. It’s an eight-minute long video about a carnivorous antelope “travelling across a hostile, fantastical landscape”.

Miss Atomic Bomb – The Killers (2012)

Director Warren Fu fuses the two mediums of animation and live-action shots to bring to life a heartbreaking love story in the animated music video for ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’. The video has been characterized as “the epic companion to Mr. Brightside”, as it continues the love triangle depicted in the latter video, released in 2004. Actress Izabella Miko and actor Eric Roberts re-adopt and re-enact their roles from the ‘Mr. Brightside’ video and approach the story from a different point of view.

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“Something Quite Special” – An Interview with Lewis Watson

By | Music

21-year-old British pop singer-songwriter/acoustic-guitarist, Lewis Watson, is a name rising to the global skyline. The YouTube sensation-turned prolific iTunes chart topper, has released five EP’s and an album since his 2012 debut, and has built a following of over 100,000 Facebook likes, 70,000 Twitter followers, five million YouTube views and five million Spotify streams. Watson’s album “The Morning”, released on July 8, is charged with powerful melodies and has storytelling qualities that tremble with sensitivity, charm, honesty and maturity.

Lewis chose our Sunday Sessions this week!

The Oxfordshire-born troubadour began his road to stardom at the somewhat tardy age of 16, when he was given a guitar for his 16th birthday and began uploading his tunes on YouTube. Watson soon landed a deal with Warner Bros after releasing his first EP “BTW”. The charming boy-next-door, with his folk-rooted sound, is indeed “something quite special”. Having yielded singles such as “Calling”, “Even If” and “Stay”, toured with the likes of Birdy and Benjamin Francis Leftwich, and having already achieved success in the States and Australia, Watson is sure as hell ready for the big leagues.


How exciting! You just released your debut album “The Morning”! How do you feel right now?
Thank you! Yeah, it’s a bit wacky but amazing… still pinching myself, really.

Before the release of your first album, you released 5 EP’s in the space of two years, and were already rising up the charts worldwide. Did you ever expect such great success so early on in your career?
Never, I didn’t expect any ‘success’ full stop, to be completely honest. My outlook on life (which is a terrible one!!) is that if you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed. I wish that wasn’t how I looked at things but it’s all I can do! I have been so overwhelmed with everything up to this point and I think I like it that way.

You picked up music relatively late in your life. What was it that sparked your desire to follow music as a career? And how did you get so good so fast??
Haha, thanks! I’ve always been a big fan of music and I think that anybody who loves music would love to create it. For me, the tipping point was that music started meaning more and more to me with every song I listened to. Lyrics started to really resonate with me and I couldn’t stop wanting to give it a go. I always thought the guitar would be a lot harder than it was – although it’s quite tough! – I thought it’d be impossible. I just found that the more I played guitar, the more I wanted to improve and so I dedicated all of my time to it.

You’ve collaborated with some very talented artists on your EP “Some Songs With Some Friends”: Gabrielle Aplin, Kimberley Anne and Hudson Taylor. What did you take away from that experience?
That I have some super talented mates! It was a joy being in the studio with them and, being a big fan of all of their music, it was an honour that they’d want to jump on a track with me.

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Out of all the countries you’ve been to and out of all the shows you’ve played, which was your favourite city and what was your most memorable moment?
Probably Sydney Opera House in Australia (obviously…) I played 3 nights there with Birdy and I just felt so welcome. I was the support and, although a few people had bought tickets because I was there, it wasn’t my crowd and I was pretty scared to play to that many people who didn’t know me. It went so well, though! Everybody seemed to be really into it (or pretending at least) and I went away feeling very grateful. Not only is Australia a lovely country but the people are brilliant.

What can we expect from a live show and what’s the funniest/craziest thing that’s happened to you on stage?
I’m a fairly nervous (babbling) performer when it comes to speaking and in-between song jokes, etc. However, I’m lucky to have a great band and I do have a great time playing the songs and that’s all that matters, right?

How did you feel when you first heard your song play on the radio?
It was crazy! I remember I was on a bed in a Manchester hotel on tour with Gabrielle Aplin when Zane Lowe played my song “What About Today’. I had no idea he was going to play it and I got very warm. Chuffed.

Do you think you could ever get used to hearing an audience sing your lyrics back at you?
Never. Those lyrics were written by me, for me, and to think that other people are singing them for their own reasons is amazing. I’m paraphrasing but Dave Grohl once said ‘50,000 people can be singing my lyrics back to me and it’s for 50,000 different reasons’ (or something like that) and that blows my mind… (Not quite 50,000 for me though, Dave)


What do you do when you get writer’s block?
I just stop writing. It’s a horrible feeling but getting frustrated because you can’t write is worse. It really puts you off writing and that’s super bad. Just stop, have a cuppa, read a book, watch a film, listen to some music, etc. and come back to it.

In order of importance, which has had the biggest influence on your success: creative ability, live performance, social media, radio play, passion and drive?
Nothing can beat passion and drive – there are extraordinary examples of that every day in the news and stuff. I’d say with 100% certainty that I’d do this forever, even if I knew that it wouldn’t be my career and I think that has had a massive influence on my career so far.

Social media has definitely helped me capitalise on that but I think that I had to have it in the first place for it to be as effective!
Live performances, radio play and creative ability have helped a lot too (of course) but the passion and drive is the main thing I think!


What has been your biggest challenge yet and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me was the thought of anybody listening to my music to be honest. At the start, I was terrified of what others thought and I almost stopped because of it. All I did to overcome it was to bite the bullet and do it. I knew that I wanted to do this and if people didn’t like the stuff I could’ve just deleted them!

A lot of young artists are independently releasing their material and promoting it on social media platforms. Having sailed those waters yourself, do you have any advice for them?
It’s terrible but don’t expect anything to happen immediately. If it does, amazing and congratulations but chances are that it won’t. It could take 10 years but good music will always rise to the top!

So, you have 5 EP’s and 1 album tucked in the bag, and you probably have a whole lot of festivals to attend this summer. What happens next?
Write the next record; tour, tour, tour; record the next record. Rinse and repeat! (Hopefully)


Follow Lewis Watson on:

Buy ‘The Morning’ from his website.

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