Top Ten Tuesday: Books & Music

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Books and Music. These are two of my favourite things, but I rarely put them together (except for the thing I wrote here). So I’ve decided to make a list of songs that are based on literature/authors and/or make literary references.

I know there are a lot more out there – especially David Bowie and Radiohead and The Cure and whatnot – but I limited the list to songs I’m really familiar with.

1) “Resistance” – Muse; based on George Orwell’s 1984

2) “Time to Dance” – Panic! at the Disco; based on Chuck Palahuick’s Invisible Monsters

3) “Legendary” – The Summer Set; references J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan

4) “Painting Flowers” – All Time Low; references Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

5) “Weight of Living (Pt. 1)” – Bastille; based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

6) “To the End” – My Chemical Romance; based on William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

7) “Win Some, Lose Some” – You Me At Six; references Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games

8) “Back to Life” – Paradise Fears; references S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders

9) “Bukowski” – Moose Blood; refers to the author, Charles Bukowski

10) “Sowing Season” – Brand New; the second verse is inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”, and the title of the song comes from Stephen King’s Secret Window, Secret Garden

I’m positive I’m missing really obvious ones from my music collection, but those were the ones I came up with (of course, there would have been more if I repeated artists, such as All Time Low’s “Somewhere in Neverland”, Bastille’s “Icarus”, and Paradise Fears’ “Stories in the Dark”, etc).

Let me know in the comments if you think of other songs that could make this list!

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Show me mercy from the powers that be

This past weekend, we attended our first concert of 2016: Muse!

muse

I’ve been a fan of Muse since high school – this was the third time I’ve seen them, and their shows have only become more elaborate and gorgeously done as the years go by. This time around, the stage was set up in the middle of the arena for a 360 effect so that no matter where you were sitting, you had a decent view of the band.

The opening band was X-Ambassadors. I’ve seen them twice before (opening for Panic! at the Disco and then opening for Imagine Dragons a month later), but I haven’t really listened to them. They put on an interesting show: they have a bit of a Kings of Leon vibe and you have to respect any band that includes a saxaphone solo from their frontman in a couple of songs. You may have heard them before – their song “Renegades” is on a commercial for like a truck or a car or something (I can’t remember which one)…you’ll know it when you hear it.

Muse came on just after nine. This tour is in support of their most recent album, 2015’s Drones, so they kicked off the show with back-to-back singles: “Psycho” and “Dead Inside”.

The rest of the set was made up of classics, from “Hysteria” to my favourite Muse song, “Starlight” and the sexy “Time is Running Out” not to mention an unexpected rendition of “Citizen Erased” (before which, frontman Matt Bellamy joked that only “about ten people” in the crowd would recognize it), and, of course, “Supermassive Black Hole”, which is the song that seemed to really get the audience excited. I was also surprised that they ended with “Knights of Cydonia”, but it didn’t stop it from being epic!

Because of the stage’s set up, Bellamy and bassist Chris Wolstenholme were able to run around the circular mainstage and up along the two arms that jutted out, allowing them to face different parts of the crowd. We were lucky to be on the side where the piano was, so that anytime Bellamy sat still long enough to play, he was in front of us. Meanwhile, drummer Dominic Howard was in the centre of the stage which rotated so that he faced a different direction for just about every song. It was wonderfully constructed and the production was so seamless, it sometimes took me a moment or two to realize something had changed, whether it was the descent of the transparent banners that acted as screens on either side of the stage or the clear floating ball things that swung around during certain songs.

drones

This was my (lopsided) view of the stage.

Not only is their music unique and bold, but their live shows are more like a theatrical event than a standard concert. I highly recommend catching a Muse show if you’re able to.

Top Ten Albums of 2015 [+ link to Mind the Gap]

As usual, I’ve made my list of the best albums of the year, including links to any reviews I wrote on them. You can click here for a playlist featuring two of my favourite songs from each release!

top ten of 2015

1) That’s the Spirit – Bring Me the Horizon
2) American Candy – The Maine
3) American Beauty/American Psycho – Fall Out Boy
4) Future Hearts – All Time Low
5) Life’s Not Out to Get You – Neck Deep
6) Blurryface – twenty one pilots
7) Life in Real Time – Paradise Fears
8) Automatic – Don Broco
9) Sounds Good, Feels Good – 5 Seconds of Summer
10) Vikings – New Politics

There was lots of other good albums this year, including Knuckle Puck’s Copacetic, The Wonder Years’ No Closer to Heaven, Young Guns’ Ones and Zeros, Muse’s Drones, We Are Harlot’s self-titled debut, and Nate Ruess’s solo release, Grand Romantic.

What made your list of best albums?

New Music Round-Up: March 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I had the best “new music” week ever: singles from All Time Low, The Maine, and Muse!

This resulting in me wondering if I had perhaps died and gone to “awesome new music” heaven i.e. I felt like this:

dead

Kids in the Dark – All Time Low

Admittedly, this video kinda reminds me of You Me At Six’s “Lived a Lie” (at least the part with the band in the studio, not the paint-splattered kids), but I’m actually okay with that.

It’s an excellent song; I feel the same way about this as I did about “Something’s Gotta Give“: it’s fairly poppy, but the lyrics are totally vintage ATL.

Miles Away – The Maine

Ahh, why are they so cute?! Again, poppier than 2013’s Forever Halloween, but makes perfect sense with “English Girls“.

Also, I’ve been trying to find The Maine lyrics that I’d want tattooed (there are just so many options), but this song has pretty much cemented “in my mind, I’m miles away” as the perfect choice.

Psycho – Muse

Muse is back, baby!

I’ve seen a lot of comments/reviews complaining about the sub-par lyrics (fine, “your ass belongs to me” isn’t the most eloquent thing Matt Bellamy has ever said/sung), but that riff is classic Muse (no, literally; they’ve been playing it live as an outro (I think?) to “Stockholm Syndrome” for years), so it evens out.

I remember hearing “Madness” for the first time before 2012’s The 2nd Law came out and being surprised at the direction they were going in. This single marks a return to their old sound; some comments have compared it to Black Holes & Revelations-era songs and since that’s my favourite Muse album, I’m even more excited for Drones now.

Black holes and revelations

One of my favourite vocalists – in terms of range and ability – is Matthew Bellamy, lead singer of Muse (his falsetto is a thing of beauty).

Chris, Matt, Dom.

This post’s title comes from one of my favourite Muse songs, “Starlight”, but is also conveniently the title of my favourite Muse album (released in 2006).

Let’s conspire to ignite all the souls that would die just to feel alive. 

Over the course of their 20-years and 6 full-length albums history, they have mixed elements from a variety of genres, which makes it impossible to truly categorize them. At different times in their Wikipedia article, they are referred to as being alternative rock, new prog, space rock, rock opera, symphonic rock, and progressive metal. I only know what some of those genres are (what the frack is ‘progressive metal’?).

Their sound has changed in each album, enough that you can hear their various influences: they’ve cited everyone from Queen to Chopin to Tom Morello and all the people in between. They have the type of sound that doesn’t necessarily work for everyone; for example, their most recent album, 2012’s The 2nd Law, sounds all-over-the-place when listening to the songs separately, but the album as a whole (in chronological order) makes perfect sense. For example, when “Madness” was released before the album, I was worried they had completely changed everything that made them so special. But as the album’s second track, it works magically.

Ma-ma-ma-ma-madness.

They also draw a lot of inspiration from literature. Most of 2009’s The Resistance was based on George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and Matt Bellamy loves conspiracies, so you can sometimes find references to some of his rather outlandish convictions.

They will not force us. They will stop degrading us. They will not control us. We will be victorious.

Muse also puts on a phenomenal live show: the lighting and visual effects alone are mind-blowing (i.e. the roulette wheel used to choose between “Stockholm Syndrome” and “Plug-In Baby” on the last tour), never mind the fact that they sound just as good live as they do recorded (if anything, it’s more impressive). I’ve seen them twice: in fact, their show in 2010 was Nina’s first official concert and (in my opinion) is one of the events that really solidified our friendship FOREVER. If you ever get a chance to go to a Muse show, I highly recommend it.