“K” Is For Kasabian

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220px-KasabianShootherunner-singleI am not actually much of a Kasabian fan, but I was torn between two videos here for my “K” post. In the end I plumped for Shoot The Runner, although the video for the song “Empire” is also excellent so check it out. Shoot The Runner reached number 17 in the UK music chart, so wasn’t a massive success, but I really like the sound of the song, it harks back to a 70s style rock track, perhaps something that Deep Purple might have done.

Now, I am visiting our old friend “Rotoscoping” again here, as this is how the video was animated, but its interesting to see it done in this way rather than the black and white rough sketch style that we have already seen in this A-Z challenge. I am quite a fan of this kind of art aswell, so it gives me a good viewing experience as well as the song being decent. The same style of animation was used in the Queens Of The Stone Age video for the song “Go With The Flow“.

indexIf you have a preference between the two songs I listed here at the top of the post, let me know, was I right to go for what I did, or is the video for Empire better?

“J” Is For Michael Jackson

Smooth_CriminalNow I know what you’re all thinking here, Thriller. WRONG! As much as I love that video, or rather short film, I actually prefer the video to Smooth Criminal from Michael Jackson’s film Moonwalker. I personally think that the dance performance in this video or much more slick in its execution than Thriller ever was, and its more of a polished article.

The song Smooth Criminal was taken from Jackson’s Bad album. The SEVENTH single to be taken from that album in actual fact which shows what a success it was commercially. I think a lot of this success was down to the highly choreographed dance routines and expensive music videos, which are in themselves mini movies, and Jackson was definitely way up there when it came to doing them right.

Of course, the bit in this video that everyone loves is the gravity defying lean, which is all done with clever machinery and camera trickery, but it looks great and does make you go “wow” when a) you haven’t seen it before or b) you haven’t seen it for some time. The effect is has is still worthy of some goosebumps. I suppose in the same way as when we saw Jackson do the moonwalk for the first time during that now famous appearance at the Motown 25 show in 1983.

indexCan you think of a better Michael Jackson music video? Post your suggestions in the comments box below and lets see…

“I” Is For Iron Maiden

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220px-CaniplaywithmadnessBritish rockers Iron Maiden were an acquired taste of mine, however, this song was always one of my favourites. Heavy metal has always been a passion of mine, and in the early 80s it was big business in the UK. Iron Maiden were trail-blazers in commercial metal music and I love many of their songs, but it is the video that accompanies the song “Can I Play with Madness” that really sticks in my mind.

Another thing that makes this video important to myself is that is one of the last times we saw the great comedian and Python, Graham Chapman in front of a camera before his untimely death in 1989. He plays an art teacher who finds himself lost in caves after falling down a hole during a school trip.

hqdefaultAny heavy metal  fans here? Do you have agree with my suggestion for “I” or can you give me a better video? Comment below with your thoughts.

“H” Is For The Hives

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1262636145I remember when this song came out way back in 2000. It amazes me that I didn’t realise that The Hives were actually a Swedish band until only a few years ago. Their sound is something that is so international I think. They have had limited success over here in the UK, but Hate To Say I Told You So is probably the most well know of their tracks globally.

The video is full of energy, but I do like when as the song pauses, so does the video, apart from the bassist (who looks like some sort of Mexican bandit from a Western movie set) and he makes the most of his moment in front of the camera. It’s just an all round, good video that fits the song very well in its energy and vigour.

602498573730_upc_416x312_01What do you think of this song? Does it sound Swedish to you? Drop me a line in the comments =)

Fast & Furious 7 (2015) – A Review

Fast-and-Furious-7-PicSo its time for some fast cars and big stunts. Fast & Furious 7 was released this week and this much-anticipated movie is of course a massive success following the death of its star Paul Walker.

The story follows on from the end of the last movie and we see Jason Statham take over the role of the bad guy out to get Toretto and his team, sorry..”FAMILY“, for crippling his younger brother Owen Shaw. Now I have enjoyed the series of movies and like them as much as the next guy and I know it’s the movies and Hollywood and make-believe and all that, but you would think that they would at least TRY to make it semi, reasonably almost believable?

Instead of just a quarter-mile race to settle their differences, we have to see planes parachuting from aeroplanes, a supercar jumping between three buildings and a person passing between two separate car windows whilst moving at high-speed and doing a 180. This kind of stupidness is what really spoils a good movie for me. No story, too much action that is completely off the wall and the fact that no-one is ever injured.

This film has so many holes in it should have been called Fast Swiss Cheese 7! There is also a cat fight. I find nothing more un-appealing than this in a movie unless it’s between an Alien and Ellen Ripley in a loader suit. Move along, nothing to see here.

Sorry folks, and this will probably go against the grain of what everyone else believes, but as much as I like out of brain movies, this was rubbish. The best part in the movie was the last 10 minutes and the Paul Walker tribute as he is driving alongside Vin Diesel before peeling off on his own. Nicely done. The film, only gets a lowly 2stars from me. No doubt there will be another movie as there always is more story, but I was sorely deflated after this, and even as I write, the movie is still on during the final chase scene and I don’t particularly care if they save the day…sigh 😦 In fact, the more that I think about it, I’ve changed my mind…1stars.

Trailer:

“G” Is For Genesis

Jesus_he_knows_meI have long been a mainstream Genesis fan. By that I mean the most popular era of the band featuring Phil Collins on vocals. I was never into Peter Gabriel and found his time with Genesis to be a “bit weird” with some weird songs and stage performances. When Collins took over, the band seemed to settle down and take things a little more seriously with more sensible sounding songs – well that’s the impression I got anyway. Of course, this didn’t stop the on-screen antics…

Jesus He Knows Me is a classic example of a band making a video and having a damn god time doing it too. Collins as we know has always been a frustrated actor and he manages to get his acting chops into the Evangelical character trying to rustle up funds via his TV channel. I always found this a very amusing video and it completely shows the Evangelists for what they really are, money grabbing, bigoted, hypocritical people who don’t care for anything other than fame and the almighty dollar.

Touch The Screen!

Touch The Screen!

It’s nice to hear that they are back performing together and perhaps in the future we will see more amusing videos from Genesis. For now though, I will leave you with the full length version of the video. Unfortunately the song itself only reach No. 20 in the UK chart, so I suppose the joke was lost on the masses eh?

John Wick (2014) – A Review

wick16x9Its been a while since Keanu Reeves has done a decent movie, lets see, what was the last one for me…probably Matrix: Reloaded, that was in 2003! Since then, he has kept a reasonably low profile, occasionally giving up his seat on the subway to middle-aged women 😉 It would appear that in John Wick, he has found a character that he can get his teeth into and put those martial arts to good use once more.

The story revolves around John, whom we discover loses his wife to an unknown illness and she bequeathed him a young dog so that he may love life again and move on from her death. Unfortunately, whether it be bad timing, or just plain stupidness but Wick’s home is targeted for his car (a very nice 1969 Mustang btw) and in the process his dog is killed. It is at this point we discover John wick’s past and this is not a man you want to be messing with.

This movie has so much action, from start to finish. I suppose you could put it in the same category of film as the Taken series or The Equaliser, but its a good watch all the same and Keanu, (who is often ridiculed in Hollywood for his lack of talent) pulls off his character very well. There are some really dark comedic moments in the film aswell, mostly provided by the hotel that he stays in; The Continental, which is pretty much sacred ground for all hitmen.

There is also a good supporting cast here, Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen and John Leguizamo. Okay, so not all of those people have massive amounts of screen-time, but the roles they play are pivotal to the story and set it off very nicely.

In conclusion, I was actually surprisingly impressed and with talk of a sequel, perhaps this could be a decent series of movies and therefore I will give John Wick a very creditable 4stars

Trailer:

“F” Is For Fleetwood Mac

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photo_1Yet another band I have loved since I was a kid. I can’t even remember what it was that sparked my interest in Fleetwood Mac; I had heard The Chain and associated it with the BBC’s coverage of Formula 1, but it wasn’t until much later that I because a fan. Perhaps it was the Tango In The Night album that was a commercial success here in the UK that just spiked my interest. It is however, one of the songs from that album that I have chosen today, Big Love.

Lyndsey Buckingham's Finest Four Minutes?

Lindsey Buckingham’s Finest Four Minutes?

I have chosen another live version today. I like the original track, but Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar work on this live version from The Dance concert in 1997 is simply stunning. I certainly wish I could finger-pick like that. He also performs the song with no help from his band-mates either. A truly great live rendition of a good song and I thoroughly recommend checking out the whole of that concert, it’s a great watch (and listen).

“E” Is For The Eagles

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51Unx6TiGnL._SY300_There can only be one song that makes it onto the list that is so good that it will probably remain a song that I will never be able to play properly on the guitar. Hotel California is a song that I include on my list of “perfect songs”. There is simply nothing negative that you can say about the song, the lyrics are deep and meaningful and can be interpreted in many ways, the band was brilliant and the music in incredible.

I have loved this song ever since I was a little kid and although we aren’t discussing a flashy video here, I think this performance of the song is brilliant. It was recorded live in 1977 and I think as live performances go, this is well up there in terms of how good this band must have been to see at the height of their success. This was a time of the dream lineup – Henley, Frey, Felder, Meisner and Walsh. The rows and breakups are well documented, but for me, this performance epitomizes everything that was great about The Eagles and its a shame that it can’t be again.

Do you have any memories of hearing this song for the first time?, or indeed at any time? Can you think of a better performance of this track? Let me know in the comments, I look forward to reading them.

“D” Is For Dire Straits

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Dire-Straits-Brothers-In-Arms-15237Dire Straits were a band that I grew up with. My dad listened to them all the time, in the car and at home. I still listen to them today and certain songs will always have a place in my life. None moreso that the title track of their most successful album, “Brothers In Arms“. The song has been covered a few times, but none will ever be as good as the original written by the great Mark Knopfler.

Using some of the same techniques as in A-Ha’s “Take On Me”, this offering combines the animated aspect and grainy live black and white footage. The song is about the futility of war and in the video, World War One is depicted, but also some modern aspects of warfare and weaponry. What I like about this video is how seamless the editing between live action and animation are, they really do a great job on it and its very stirring.

Niosy Animation, but Sublime

Noisy animation, but sublime all the same

Another use of the song was in an episode of The West Wing called “Two Cathedrals” If there are any fans of the show reading this, then I hope you will agree with me when I say that it is some of the best best television that has ever been made. The storyline and the song just work so well together and you be forgiven if you thought that it was the official video for the song, I have linked this so that you can see it, I never get tired of watching it, this really does give me goosebumps.

The video won a Grammy for Best Music Video way back in 1987 and I think it deserves every accolade it got. A true masterpiece.