Thursday, 26 November 2009

Something a bit different than music

Do comedians have a moral responsibility?

Last week Jimmy Carr was criticised for a joke about servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan, which was: "Say what you like about these servicemen amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan, but we are going to have a f***ing good Paralympics team in 2012". This joke raised negative attention towards Carr as a respectable comedian, with many people believing that this was a step too far, which begs to ask the question what is a joke too far? And should comedians have freedom of speech to joke about whatever they want? And are there any subjects that should just not be joked about? However, many servicemen have since come out and said that they are not at all offended by Carr’s joke. There also seems to be a general consensus, that awareness of amputees has been raised in the news, and that many amputees are happy that Carr told this joke as it makes them feel more human and included in society. This seems that if those in the joke are not offended, why are so many other people? If anything, Carr’s joke mocks Britain’s poor attempts and limited success in Olympic games. Nevertheless, Carr has since promised to raise money for a charity which supports wounded servicemen after the uproar caused from this joke about troops.
People who would willingly pay money to be in the audience at a Jimmy Carr stand up show, would know far in advance of the type of show that Carr would put on and how he is renowned for shocking and outrageous material. This criticism implies that Carr’s joke was something out of the ordinary, however Carr was just following his standard shockingly distasteful jokes, which most spectators will know is said ironically, and thus it should be what is expected. Comedians such as Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr make their living through their dead-pan style of jokes on crude and not politically correct subjects or opinions, so the audience should be expecting some sort of shocking material. This is purely their style of comedy, in the same way you would expect Harry Hill to use slapstick, and Michael McIntyre to use observational realism for jokes.
Out of context, Carr’s joke does seem very distasteful and offensive, but if those who are targeted are not offended, and there is freedom of speech, then comedians like Carr should be allowed to make their living as the type of comedian they have established themselves as.

Album of the year 2009

My album of the year
Maxwell - BLACKSummers’Night
Maxwell’s fourth studio album, and eight years in the waiting, again reasserts him as the epitome of classy neo-soul. Despite not being very well known in the UK, Maxwell is perhaps the best soulful R’n’B artist out there, and this album doesn’t disappoint; full of soulful slow jams, with stand out tracks ‘Pretty Wings’ and album opener ‘Bad Habits’. Maxwell’s album, with his smooth sensual vocals, reminds us how good soul can actually be!

Dabbling in a couple of album reviews

Cheryl Cole – 3 Words (Album Review)

Currently Cheryl Cole stands with the world at her feet. However, her idiosyncratic debut, ‘3 Words’, falls somewhat short of expectations. Standing at only 11 tracks, ‘3 Words’ is overproduced, generic R‘n’B, instead of the catchy dance-pop she is renowned for. The production is lazy and predictable, with Cole’s weak vocals skewed by the much-maligned vocoder, particularly on title track ‘3 Words’ and album track ‘Heaven,’ revealing the influence that has had on the LP. Cole seems to be targeting a mass US audience, rather than providing for her already established fan base. Cole, however, shines brightest on ‘Parachute’ and ‘Rain On Me’ where the (relatively) minimalist production complements, rather than overwhelms. Overall, it is not a bad album, but is somewhat underwhelming and lacks a standout track. Considering all the hype and interest surrounding Cheryl Cole, this album is unlikely to establish Cole as a credible female solo artist.
2 out of 5

N Dubz – Against All Odds

It’s been a fast 12 months for N Dubz since bursting onto the commercial scene, with help from Tinchy Strider earning them a number one. N Dubz sound has not progressed since their debut ‘Uncle B’; it’s still their trademark grime-pop crossover sound. Although this time, with collaborations with Mr Hudson, Wiley, Chipmunk, and surprise writer on album track ‘No One Knows’ Gary Barlow! Lead single, ‘I Need You’ sets you up for the rest of the album; accessible cheesy ‘urban’ music you know you shouldn’t like, but you’ll find yourself singing these irritating catchy tracks!
3 and a half out of 5

Which is better small intimate gigs or huge stadium shows?

An intimate at Astoria before it closed.

A very full Wembley Stadium

Intimate Gigs Vs Stadium Gigs
The more success a band receives the higher the demand for big stadium gigs, which begs to ask the question which is better, a small intimate gig or a huge stadium gig? Small intimate gigs create a closed in atmosphere, which is much more personal, whilst, a big stadium gig creates a crazy atmosphere, with mass audience singing along. Small intimate gigs seem to be perfect for getting close to your favourite band, but stadium gigs are inevitably the ones where the most energy and effort are put into them, yet are always extortionate in their prices! Both types of gigs have their positives, and suit different types of bands. Bands like Coldplay and The Killers you would expect an outstanding stadium show, whilst smaller bands such as The Maccabees could not exhibit themselves in such a huge arena. Inevitably intimate gigs are going to be suited to smaller bands. So effectively, you need a mixture of big and small bands to make the most of both types of gig.

Arctic Monkeys – Nottingham Trent Arena 22/11/2009

Arctic Monkeys – Nottingham Trent Arena 22/11/2009

First time I’ve seen Arctic Monkeys live, and I was hoping they would not neglect their old music. But a set list of balanced amounts of all albums was perfect. Playing all their singles and the big tracks, was ideal and encouraged audience participation, especially noticeable with ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ when people started singing after playing the first chord! Their third album ‘Humbug’ I was not so keen on before the gig, but after hearing it live, it has grown on me, especially album tracks ‘Pretty Visitors’, ‘Secret Door’ which had a massive confetti explosion mid-song and album ender ‘The Jeweller’s Hands’ which sounds better live than on the album. Arctic Monkeys have grown in their sound, and this gig certainly suited a larger venue.