Fun

Hidden Gems

You can find part two here; https://thechriswhitingshow.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/hidden-gems-2-2/

A lot of the time, my favourite songs slip under the radar and I’m absolutely bored today so I thought I’d make a blog post commending some of my favourites, that are unknown to most.

Marina & The Diamonds – Oh No!

I’m actually somewhat a fan of Marina & The Diamonds. It always strikes me that behind her catchy songs are some really depressing, emotional and at times wonderfully observant lyrics. The well-known hits, ‘Primadonna’ and ‘Hollywood’ deal with society’s obsession with fame but ‘Oh No!’ provides a much deeper social commentary. Like the others mentioned, the song itself is very catchy but conveys a deep meaning about her ruthless desire to succeed and escape from a monotonous life where ‘TV has taught her how to feel’.

Frank Ocean – Forrest Gump

Frank Ocean’s debut album Channel Orange received rave reviews when it was first released. I initially resisted the temptation to listen to it, given his rising popularity in the quite frankly pretentious hipster culture. However, after hearing one of its singles; ‘Lost’, I changed my mind. After listening, one track stood out among the rest. ‘Forrest Gump’ kicks in with an almost eerie organ that quickly turns in to a nostalgic summer synth masterpiece. As if the song itself wasn’t good enough, the honesty of the song’s lyrics about Ocean’s unrequited love for another male from his teenage years only adds to the song.

Hellogoodbye – Two Weeks in Hawaii

One-hit wonders with keyboards is probably the best way to describe quirky band, Hellogoodbye. Their hit ‘Here (In Your Arms)’ was big back in the summer of 2007, the subsequent album, ‘Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!’ however, was not… except in my house. My sister had gained an admiration for them over that summer leading to many plays of their LP. ‘Two Weeks in Hawaii’ and ‘Baby, it’s Fact’ are the only ones still on my iPod today. It’s hard to pinpoint just what is I like about this song but it has survived the test of time.

fun. – Walking the Dog

Now, I probably shouldn’t have even included this in my list because I could go on for hours praising this band. They’re a favourite of mine and I highly recommend every single song from the commercial successful ‘Some Nights’ and its superior predecessor, ‘Aim and Ignite’. ‘Walking the Dog’ simply got the nod because it’s the cream of the crop. Fun pride themselves on their unique pop and complex lyrics, something the non-album single, ‘Sight of the Sun’ is good for too.

The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather

My Dad knows nothing about music but to credit him, he did bring this band to my attention. The song is instantly catchy and a classic juxtaposition in its construction. The music has a definite sombre feel, seemingly conflicting with the lyrics of adoration the singer has for his girlfriend. The rest of the songs on their EP, “I’m Sorry…” are basically average but in all honesty, ‘Sweater Weather’ could have topped the charts.

Maroon 5 – I Can’t Lie

Another of my favourite bands up next. I’ve always been a big fan of Maroon 5’s albums, particularly ‘Songs About Jane’ but this gem lies unnoticed on 2010’s ‘Hands All Over’. I hadn’t given the album much of a chance initially but during my American ventures last year, my iPod broke meaning I had to listen to my Dad’s. This album was one of the only bearable ones to choose from and this quickly stood out for me.

Little Comets – One Night In October

The inclusion of this song is again down to my sister’s influence. At some point, she made me listen to Little Comets and this insanely catchy song about a failing relationship was soon being played on a loop. The lyrics are less intellectual than some of the others in this list but the song is redeemed by the music itself. Other standout songs by the Little Comets include ‘Dancing Song’, ‘Adultery’ and ‘Isles’.

Alex Winston – Velvet Elvis

Most of you will recognise this from a Google Chrome advert or simply as the ‘Satchel song’. In reality, this track has nothing to do with either. The tune is chirpy and melodic, serving as a fascinating contrast to the sinister lyrics played over top. The single recounts a twisted love affair with a picture of Elvis Presley and her insistence that no one can come between them, not another woman, her father or a psychiatrist.

My favourite things

This blog is completely pointless and narcissistic but I feel like I moan a lot in my posts so I thought I’d share the things I really like and give them a bit of praise.

TV Programmes

“Shut up, I win”… Modern Family is my all-time favourite TV programme

1. Modern Family
Okay, maybe I’ve praised this show enough but then again, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of gloating about just how good this programme is. Its brilliantly observed  social commentaries, combined with impeccable writing of various types of humour make it a refreshing change from the average US sitcom. It’s already a classic and easily my all-time favourite TV programme.

2. Friends
Given the fact, I’ve spent my entire life watching re-runs of this show on E4 and now Comedy Central, it would be unfair not to have this among my favourites. Unlike Modern Family, it is a typical US sitcom, it’s just a lot funnier than the others.

3. How I Met Your Mother
Funnily enough, I was sceptical of HIMYM when I first heard of it. I assumed it would be a less-funny ode to Friends. And in all honesty, Friends is funnier but HIMYM’s interesting spin on the plot of an average US sitcom and it’s brilliant gimmicks make it stand out from the rest.

4. Desperate Housewives
I don’t even know why I liked this programme so much. It’s just so interesting, a perfect blend of drama and comedy that’s oddly relatable to every day life. At times, it is completely over-the-top and unrealistic but that can be forgiven when you consider it at its best. If you only watch one season of this show, make sure it’s season one.

Films

The force is with Star Wars… my all-time favourite films

1. Star Wars saga
Being honest, I’m not a big film person. Obviously, there are loads of films that I like but few that really stand out. Other than White Chicks and the Lion King, I struggled to think of anything that could compete with this, so it stands alone. Regrettably, I haven’t seen many of cinema’s modern classics (something I intend on correcting every summer but never do). Anyway, Star Wars is the ultimate sci-fi saga. I spent a lot of my childhood being obsessed with this franchise, meaning I have something like 20 lightsabers stored underneath my bed. It really is a great film, and yes the original trilogy is far better. It still shocks me that some people have never seen these films… and I hate them for it.

Albums

“‘Cause this is Thriller. Thriller night!”

1. Thriller
This is simply put the best album ever made. Featuring so many of MJ’s classsics including Thriller, Billie Jean, Beat It, P.Y.T., Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, The Girl is Mine and Human Nature, you can see why it’s the biggest selling album of all-time and my favourite.

2. Aim & Ignite
Okay, Fun. burst on to the chart scene in Spring 2012, with their hit “We Are Young” taken from their second studio album, Some Nights. While, that album is superb and only just misses out on a spot in the top 5, Fun.’s lesser known predecessor is even better. It’s melodic from start to finish with brilliantly crafted songs and lyrics that really make you think. It’s a shame they didn’t get much recognition for this album too.

3. Fearless
I don’t really care about the stigma attached to picking a Taylor Swift album as one of your favourites. I have a quiet love for country music and she has a well-known talent for song writing. In all honesty, I could have selected either Speak Now or Red to join the top five too but this album is just about her best.

4. Songs About Jane
When you were young, every family had that one album that you played in the car non-stop, every journey. This was ours. It really is brilliant.

5. Rumours
Again, a worldwide recognised classic. My love for this album probably again stems back to my quiet love for country and guitar music. It features many of the bands classics and is hard not to like. Although, funnily enough when I first heard this album, I hated it.

It’s worth noting, these are also my five favourite artists. Honourable mention to S Club 7 for providing the soundtrack of my childhood and yes, I still have a cheeky  S Club party every now and then.

Holiday destinations

Bude-iful… My favourite holiday destination

1. Bude
Ideally, an average looking seaside town in Cornwall is not the place you want to go on holiday. It’s mostly for personal reasons that I’ve picked this as number-one. Nearly everyone has a holiday destination their family goes to often. Bude is that for my family.

2. Los Angeles
Most people say LA isn’t as good as it’s hyped up to be. But it really is, the climate, the people and the sights are all incredible. It’s a place you simply have to visit.

3. San Francisco
San Fran is a great city of diversity, it has such a varied nature to it, there are rural areas, coastal areas, Skegness-esque areas and big city areas. Accompanied by the climate which is great too, it’s a must visit. In fact, if it weren’t for the USA’s gun crime problem, the San Andreas fault and its proximity to Yellowstone, I’d move to California in a heartbeat.

4. Canary Islands
Particularly Gran Canaria and Tenerife, these islands are wonderful, just off the coast of Africa, it is always hot and just a great place to be.