Ed Sheeran is coming back with new music this week, so here is the video that made me fall in love with him.

2017 is already off to a good start.

Anyone who knows me well knows that Ed Sheeran is my favorite. Period. End of story. His albums are always, and will always be, at the top my list of my all-time favorites, and I truly never get sick of listening to them. Yesterday on New Year’s Day, Ed announced that he was releasing new music this Friday. Today he shared this.

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While this could still mean he is only releasing one song, which was my original assumption,  it also seems like it could be a complete album release. “÷” is likely the name of his album, following his debut “+,” and sophomore album “x.” So, he could be saying that “÷” is coming in full this Friday, or perhaps just one song to start the next chapter. Regardless of the cryptic messaging,  I am so excited and I’m going to be happy with whatever gets released, because I have been waiting for this announcement.

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I was listening to my Ed Sheeran music library this morning after reading the tweet (to prep myself for the new album, of course) and it made me think of when I first discovered/fell in love with him as an artist. I was up really late on my laptop one night while I was still in high school when I stumbled across this video of Ed performing his song “Kiss Me.” It quickly became one of my favorite songs and Ed became my favorite artist. And although I’ve seen countless videos of him singing this song, and plenty of other songs– this one is still my undeniable favorite after almost five years.

So, in honor of new Ed Sheeran music coming this week, I give you the video that started it all (for me, at least). Happy listening! And Happy New Year!

Once a fangirl, always a fangirl: Finding Niall’s Billboard at Capitol Records

This is sort of a two-part blog post: (1)  My official review of Niall Horan’s first solo song, AND (2) the story of trying to find his billboard in Hollywood.

On Wednesday night this past week, there were so many rumors and deleted tweets and screenshots of people trying to prove that there was a solo Niall song coming out on Thursday. So much conversation was happening, that Niall’s unreleased, unconfirmed song was trending worldwide on Twitter (#ThisTown).

After reading through all of the speculation, I was completely on board with the conspiracies and I was so thrilled to see that Niall had actually dropped the song on Thursday morning.

I genuinely love “This Town” and I was really nervous I was going to hate it (Niall had written Summer Love for 1D, which I’m not the biggest fan of). The reason I love it so much is because it’s a song that I know I would like regardless of who the artist is. I’m a big fan of Vance Joy/Ed Sheeran-esque songs and I think “This Town” fits into that genre. It’s folky, I love the story of the lyrics and I think Niall sounds incredible on it. I felt like such a proud fan for the smooth and grown up transition he had made musically.

Which is why when I saw on Instagram that Capitol Records had put up a Niall billboard, I knew I HAD to see it. It was supposedly on the back side of the Capitol Records Tower, which is right in my neck of the woods.

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The only problem is we literally couldn’t find the billboard/had problems getting to it. We were in the general area on Friday night and tried to walk around the Capitol Tower to see the billboard, but a bunch of construction blocked the sidewalk and we couldn’t get around it. Since it was already super late we decided just to head home instead of walking all the way back around the building the other way.

Yesterday we were going to try to find it again, but ended up being too tired after a morning of volunteer work. We didn’t want to bother with wandering around Hollywood Blvd/Vine without any specific information on where the billboard was. So, we went home to rest and I scoured social media posts to figure out exactly where it was and how to get to it.

Today we set out on a walk SPECIFICALLY to find the billboard, and were able to find it with no problems. It really was right behind the Capitol Records tower, and if the construction wasn’t there, we would have found it easily on Friday night. We were literally just around the corner!

But I’m glad we got to see it today when we did. The sun was starting to set and they turned on the billboard lights as we were standing there looking at it.

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This isn’t the coolest or most adventurous LA outing, but it’s something I really enjoyed nonetheless. If I was still in Boston, I would have looked at the photo of the billboard and wished I could’ve seen it in person, and now that I’m here I had the opportunity to. And, I’m a huge geeky One Direction fangirl and that will literally never change. So all that being said, there was no better way for me to spend my Sunday evening. xo

Song of the week: “Heartbreaker” by Bad Suns

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It feels like I haven’t highlighted a song of the week for a while, so I am back at it with a solid JAM.

Since I have moved to LA, I have started spending a significant amount of time in the car. I was able to spend the first week listening to the radio, but a minimum of two hours driving per day soon made the radio repetitive and unbearable(“Heathens” by Twenty One Pilots is officially banned from my vehicle now).

So, I finally gave in and bought a subscription to Apple Music so I could have access to unlimited music and make ~sick~ playlists for my ride.

My subscription just happened to coincide with the release of the new Bad Suns album “Disappear Here.” I am a huge fan of the band, and have been since I discovered their song “Cardiac Arrest” as the free iTunes song of the week during my freshman year of college. Their 2014 release “Language and Perspective” has been a constant favorite of mine over the past couple of years. Basically, I had been patiently waiting for this latest release.

First off I’ll say that “Disappear Here” as an entire album is the perfect vibe for driving around LA, and I think I’ll probably always associate it with that now, even if I don’t ultimately end up staying out here when my semester is over.

I genuinely like all of the songs on the album, but one in particular has been stuck in my head nonstop. And that’s “Heartbreaker.” There’s just something about it that I love.

Bad Suns are going to be playing a show here in LA on November 18th, but the show is sold out and I don’t have a ticket, which is a bummer. Hopefully I can find a way to change that between now and then.

Bastille on Jimmy Kimmel & Fan Event

This week, we really took advantage of our new (temporary) home in Hollywood and got some free tickets to a Bastille concert taping at Jimmy Kimmel. As a Bastille fan, I was super excited to get to see the band live- I’ve always missed out on them when they were in my city, so it really felt like a long time coming.5.jpg

Going to a taping is something that I knew I wanted to do during my semester in LA, and the fact that we found such a perfect one so quickly felt like serendipity! It was really interesting to watch the setup of a taping and see how everything works from engaging the fans to watching Kimmel come out to introduce the band.

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Bastille performed a total of 5 songs, 3 from their new album “Wild World” and 2 old songs, including their huge hit “Pompeii.” We weren’t allowed to use our phones during the 1st two performances, because those are the ones they would likely use for the actual TV show, but for the last few performances I was able to snap some pictures.

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At the end of their set, the band told the crowd about a fan event that they were hosting around the corner in celebration of their new album, which we decided we were going to check out. We got to the event site relatively quickly, but the line behind us ended up winding all the way around the corner with the huge number of people who showed!

We waited in line to get into the event for around an hour and a half, and almost left because it was taking so long to get in and we were exhausted, but we stuck it out when the line started to pick up.

The fan event, called WW Comms, was a sort of performance art experience that connected with concepts of the band’s new album. We got to walk through the building and see different stations set up, one of them being the band behind a class pane with the words “I Want To Be Free” on it. It was a little creepy, but definitely cool.

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My biggest complaint about the event is that it took us so long to get in, and then we were really rushed through it. It looked like the event staff really let the first waves of fans linger within the event. So by the time we were allowed in, they were really rushing us through because they were running out of time. I didn’t get to look at everything for as long as I would have liked to, but I’m overall glad that I went. I just think it could have been run a little better.

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We did get this cute picture taken before we left, though. And I was able to buy a signed copy of the vinyl of the new album– so with all things considered it was a positive experience.

I have exactly 3 months until I have to move out of my LA dorm room and I’m so excited to see what adventures I’ll have until then.

Sounds Live Feels Live Mansfield: 5SOS Concert Experience

Last night at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA, my sister and I had the best time seeing 5 Seconds of Summer! Between our special Soundcheck Experience tickets and the show itself, it was truly an incredible night.

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Because we had the soundcheck passes, we got to arrive to the venue early and watch the band play a few songs, as well as participate in a Q&A session. They told stories about pantsing Calum on the bus, revealed some info about their next music video, and talked about memes that they had seen of other bandmates on the internet. And, because our soundcheck crowd was so big (over 1,000 people) the band played 3 songs instead of their usual 2. One of the songs they played, If You Don’t Know, is one of my all time favorites and I had never heard it live before, so in my opinion the entire soundcheck was completely worth it.

After we got out of soundcheck, we wandered around the venue a bit before the gates opened for everyone else. We got some food, including some yummy cupcakes, and I got my first legal drink at a concert (woohoo!).

Pretty soon after the doors opened we found our seats, which were amazing, and the first opening act Hey Violet came onstage. I really enjoyed their set, and will probably purchase some of their music in the future! The second opening act, One OK Rock, wasn’t really my cup of tea but I could see that a lot of other concertgoers were loving them, so it was still good for the overall vibe.

When 5sos finally came onstage the venue was electric. I have seen them perform many times now, but it truly never gets old. The guys are so talented and bring such energy to the stage it’s impossible not to have a good time. Some of my favorite bits of the show were when they performed Castaway, Outerspace and Permanent Vacation, as well as when Ashton left his drums to do a headstand onstage (with a little help from Michael).

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However, the absolute best part of the night was during Vapor, which happens to be one of my favorite songs (I’ve previously written about it here). As we first walked into the venue that day, fans were handing out orange hearts that they had made and instructed everyone to hold them up during Vapor. As the first few chords of the song played out there was a pause around the venue and slowly I started to see the hearts go up. People turned on their phone flashlights and held them up behind the hearts, making the whole arena glow in orange.

It’s become somewhat of a tradition to hold up orange hearts in Boston. Last year at the same venue we did it, but it all started at a tiny acoustic show in 2013. Being present at all three of them has been magical and beautiful, and you can tell that the band always appreciates it.

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Even though it’s always a bit of a hike getting out to Mansfield, it was completely worth the long day. 5sos are one of my favorite live bands and the day will probably go down as one of my favorites from the summer.

 

 

The Wait Is Over: Avett Brothers “True Sadness” Album Release

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Surprise! Another Avett Brothers blog post is here! This one, however, will probably be the last for a while because I’m going to talk about the new album which comes out this week!

True Sadness is the Avett Brothers’ 9th full-length album, which will be officially released on the 24th of June. However, you can listen to the album right now on NPR for an exclusive first listen here.  I have been itching to sit down with this album through NPR for a couple of days now, but I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had much time. I decided I needed to wait until I had a free evening to take my time and really appreciate what I was listening to. Today was finally that day.

As expected and as stated by the band, this album is a little different that past albums sound-wise. I would say that a lot of the folk roots are still there on True Sadness, but a lot of the songs have a more modern, “pop” vibe to them musically. I’m not sure if this new sound will bother some of the hardcore fans or not, but it I will say it didn’t alter my enjoyment of the album at all. I’m all about the lyrics when it comes to the Avett Bros.

While all the songs are interesting and worth listening to, I had a few immediate favorites from my first listen. I’ll mention quickly chat through some of those new tracks, but the album’s lead single, “Aint’ No Man,” will always be my #1 pick of the album. I’ve already written about it, so I won’t get into it again.

“You Are Mine” is super upbeat sonically, and has weird little sound effects in it that initially sound strange but then become a lovable part of the track. The lyrics to this song are also some of my favorites from the whole album. It’s a love song that just makes me feel happy. And with another song on the album called “Divorce Separation Blues,” we can use a happy song.

“Satan Pulls The Strings,” on the other hand, is one of the coolest-sounding songs on True Sadness (in my opinion). It sounds very “rock” to me, and it’s a song that I’m dying to see live because I can totally picture the band jamming to this. It’s really hard to describe, but I feel like it’s the most “badass” song on the album.

So far, the music critics reviewing True Sadness are putting “I Wish I Was” at the top of the list as one of the best songs on the album. I have to say I agree, because I immediately loved this song. It’s very stripped-down compared to the other songs, and much more reminiscent of “old” Avett Brothers material. While I do appreciate the evolution the Avett Brothers had on this album, there’s something about the way they sound stripped-down that is completely magical. That will never change.

I’m not sure when I’ll get to see them live again, but I can’t wait to hear some of these new tracks when I do. A big thank you to my favorite band for another phenomenal piece of art. I’ve been a fan for nearly 8 of my 21 years, and it’s been quite a fun ride so far.

True Sadness is out everywhere on June 24th and can be streamed right now exclusively through NPR. 

Movie Review: Me Before You

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As promised in my Me Before You Book Review, I am back today to give my review of Me Before You: the film.

For some reason, a local theater was playing the film starting on Thursday, June 2, instead of the 3rd, so naturally I reserved tickets for the first showing that day. I needed to see it ASAP, and I did.

As you can probably guess, the movie (in my opinion) wasn’t as good as the book (it never is). BUT, I will say that the film adaptation was very accurate and true to the main themes of the book, probably one of the best adaptations I’ve seen in a long time. I think they did a fantastic job taking such deep and emotional content and turning into a 2 hour film, because I know it must have been incredibly difficult to choose what to keep and what to cut. I had been prepping myself for the possibility of disappointment, but I walked out of that theater last night feeling satisfied with the job they did.

Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin were Lou and Will. The casting was excellent. Emilia had all the quirkiness down to a T and Sam delivered Will Traynor’s sarcasm perfectly. One of my favorite scenes was at the beginning of the film, during a montage of Lou coming into work at the Traynors every day. She would burst in, happy and cheerful, only to get a perfect side-eye from Will. The little judgemental side-eyes alone convinced me that they had cast the right actor. Maybe it sounds silly and trivial, but I knew I was going to love the film from that point on.

Also worth mentioning, the soundtrack to this movie is so good. I’m actually considering buying it. They played The 1975 during the wedding scene, which I loved, and the use of Ed Sheeran’sPhotograph” will probably change the way I listen to it for the rest of forever. And that’s really saying something for a huge Ed Sheeran fan. I also really liked the use of “Happy With Me” by HOLYCHILD and “Surprise Yourself” by Jack Garratt.

I also learned that even though I know everything that’s going to happen, I will still cry. I cried four separate times during the movie, and I don’t regret one second of it. Like I said in the book review, I tend to seek things out that are going to make me cry. I don’t know why I torture myself like this, but I do.

If you’ve read the book, I think you’ll love the movie. But if you’ve only seen the movie, I think you could still get something new out of reading the book. In summary: everyone needs to see it. I already want to go back and see it again. But, I’m not sure if it’s because of how much I love the story or Sam Claflin’s face (I think it’s probably both).