music

A Star is Reborn again on Chromatica and How I Became a Fan of the Enigmatic Lady Gaga

In 2008 Gaga emerged into the world of pop music and nothing was the same again! Now 12 years later she is about to release her latest album Chromatica, to celebrate, I thought I’d write about how I became a fan and giving a short recap of her career so far.

‘Just Dance’ was Gaga’s first big hit and also the first single from her debut album ‘The Fame’ (fun fact it’s “RedOne” the tracks producer that she shouts at the start of the song not “Red Wine”) ‘The Fame’ is about well fame. the good the bad and ugliness of it. I was absolutely obsessed with ‘Poker Face’ the follow up single, which has one of the catchiest pop choruses, combined with a genius Boney M sampled “Ma Ma Ma” hook!

It was however the VMA Performance of Paparazzi which cemented my status from casual fan to hardcore fan! I’d never seen anything like it – it was shocking, entertaining and Gaga’s Voice was INCREDIBLE. I also was very touched that she used her platform to thank the gay community dedicating her VMA win to “God and the Gays”, which is a good precursor to the great LGBTQ activism she would later be involved in.

‘The Fame Monster’ technically Gaga’s second LP was released a year after her debut album, I say technically as the album was in most places tacked on to ‘The Fame’ as a deluxe edition. Gaga requested the album was also released separately as she believed the 8 track record stood as a separate body of work. These 8 songs each represent a different metaphorical ‘Monster’ in Gaga’s life eg fear of love and fear of death. This album contains my favourite Gaga track of all time, ‘Bad Romance’ which is in my mind pop perfection. The song combines catchy melodies, dark lyrics, a killer bridge and also manages to name check 3 Alfred Hitchcock films! (Iconic)

The Gaga/Motorcycle hybrid combined with super 80s style text album cover will probably go down as one of the most controversial album covers of the 2010s! The cover taken from Gaga’s 3rd album ‘Born This Way’ really split the fanbase, I personally do like the cover it’s strange, and incorporates the 80s feel of the album. Title track ‘Born This Way’ is an empowering anthem of self love and includes a shout out to the LGBTQ community. On release ‘Born This Way’ was criticised by certain people as pandering to the LGBTQ community, which I completely disagree with. Even just back in 2011 when the album was released LGBTQ rights were not where they are now, gay marriage wasn’t legalised in the UK until 2014 after all.

Some may question why hearing positive LGBTQ lyrics in a pop song is that important, but just think about how many places pop music is played, shops, restaurants, the radio ; for anyone struggling with their sexuality or gender identity to be told you are perfect as you are is very comforting message.

Themes of self love and empowerment are weaved throughout the rest of the ‘Born This Way’ album, on ‘Hair’ Gaga sings “I just wanna be myself,And I want you to love me for who I am”, Scheiße’ is a female empowerment anthem about wishing to be confident in yourself and ‘Marry The Night’ is about taking on your own demons. Other highlights include the controversial super catchy ‘Judas’, Lesbian love song ‘Americano’ and my favourite of the album ‘The Edge of Glory” inspired by her grandparents love.

Born This Way’ is personally my favourite album of Gaga’s as I’m sucker for 80s style music, the concept of reinvention, rebelling against a society that sometimes makes you feel you don’t fit in and it’s empowering message of self love.

“I don’t remember ARTPOP” Gaga tweeted last year referencing her 4th album, which wasn’t Gaga’s smoothest album cycle to say the least! The album came only 6 months after Gaga broke her hip and had to prematurely end her Born This Way Ball Tour. After the first single ‘Applause’, Gaga and her team had planned to release ‘Venus’ as the next single off of ARTPOP, but when Promo single ‘Do What U Want’ started gaining traction they decided to release the latter as the second single. The video that was shot for ‘DWUW’ was never released as it was too controversial and in hindsight was the best thing considering the featured artist on the track (the song has now been taken off streaming platforms and removed from any new CDs/vinyls)

Anyway…Even though there were issues with the rollout of the ARTPOP cycle I do still like album and don’t think it deserved the harsh reception it got from critics. I also appreciated how Gaga released a final music video mainly for fans – “G.U.Y (An ARTPOP Film)”, which featured songs ‘ARTPOP’, ‘Venus’ and ‘G.U.Y.’

Gaga went for a singer-songwriter approach for her next solo studio album Joanne which was released after Gaga’s jazz collaboration (Cheek to Cheek) with Tony Bennet. The album’s title track ‘Joanne’ comes from the name of Gaga’s late aunt and the song deals with her father’s loss of losing his sister begging ‘Joanne’ to stay with the lyric “Girl where do you think you’re going?”. Another popular song off the record ‘Million Reasons’ is a country inspired ballad about a relationship that is near breaking point but the song’s character will stay if give one good reason over a million not to. Some fans were a bit disappointed due to Gaga’s departure from electro-pop on this record, but I’m glad it exists as I enjoy vulnerability and stripped backness of this record.

Now it’s almost time to go to Chromatica! ‘Chromatica’ Gaga’s latest album comes off the success of her role in Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star Is Born’ and promises a return to the electro pop sound of her early career. The highly danceable first single ‘Stupid Love’ highlights is a precursor to the fun, feel good record that Gaga is serving up this time. ‘Rain On Me’ the second single featuring Ariana Grande (another fave of mine) was released two days ago as of writing and is getting a great response, seems like the perfect uplifting song for these current times.

Other collaborations to look forward to on ‘Chromatica’ include ‘Sour Candy’ featuring Korean group Blackpink and pop legend Elton John on ‘Sine From Above’, Sine referencing a sine wave the mathematical symbol for sound. A sine wave is also found on the album cover for ‘Chromatica’ as Gaga found that making the music healed her, Gaga said in recent interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music regarding the album “I’m making a dance record again. And this dance floor, it’s mine and I earned it. And all that stuff that I went through, I don’t have to feel pain about it anymore. It can just be a part of me, and I can keep going.”

Illustration of Rain On Me Video

I’m sure the album will be brilliant (it is a Gaga record after all) hopefully this album will also provide some healing for others just as ‘Born This Way’ helped me.

I leave you with the tag line of the album, a simple but lovely message.

“In Chromatica no one thing is greater than another” – Lady Gaga

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Charli – XCX-iting Futuristic Experimental Pop at its best

Charli XCX dropped her latest album on Friday 13th September 2019, her new album ‘Charli’ promising to be her most personal work to date.

Charli XCX is most well known for song ‘Boom Clap’ which featured in he film the fault in our stars. Charli is also known for her hit features on Iggy Azalea’s Fancy and Icona Pop’s I Love It (which Charli originally wrote) 

Charli’s musical career changed when she dropped Her Vroom Vroom EP in which she debuted her new style inspired by PC Music and produced by experimental pop artist/producer SOPHIE.  The song Vroom Vroom features loud,clunky, metallic beats with a super pop chorus, the hard instrumental and spoken word verses giving the song an extra edge. These songs won her a cult following, but not so much mainstream success.

Charli later released two mix tapes ‘Number 1 Angel’ and ‘Pop 2’, these mixtapes were met with critical acclaim especially ‘Pop 2’.  A. G. Cook Head of PC Music was a producer on both mixtapes and also co-produced Charli’s new album. In between these releases she released stand alone single ‘Boys’ a more digestible offering for the mainstream crowd. 

Anyway…After a hacked a google drive, a few standalone singles and two mixtapes the much talked about 3rd album has finally now been released!  And this album is crazy in the best way! I imagine this glitchy futuristic pop style to not be everyone’s cup of tea (Click’s outro sounds like your speaker exploding) but I love how fresh it sounds especially in today’s pop music landscape. 

A vast amount of the album features collaborative tracks with artists such as Christine and the Queens, Lizzo, Haim,Cupcakke, Brooke Candy and Troye Sivan.  On the collaborations Charli is in full on party mode and on the solo tracks she seems to be brought back down to reality as she sings on ‘White Mercedes’ “I hate the silence, that’s why the music’s always loud” which perfectly sum up these quieter, more stripped back solo tracks. 

Social anxiety anthem ‘Gone’ featuring Christine and The Queens, finishes with an brilliantly addictive glitchy break down, which perfectly replicates the feelings of the song’s protagonists. 

It seems that ‘I Got It’ from Pop 2 was a blue print for ‘Shake It’, looped sample from charli? Check! Cupcakke, Brooke Candy and Pablo Vittar?Check,check,check! Big Freida also teams up on the track. A completely bonkers track which gets crazier and crazier with Charli’s vocals getting chopped and changed through out, 

On 2099 Charli teams up once again with Troye Sivan to gives us a weird, crazy, chaotic, alien sounding Bop! The beginning sounds like an alien spaceship engaging the tractor beam and it literally ends with a bang! (And some alien interference)

Track 10 from ‘Pop 2’ gets a re-working on ‘Blame It On Your Love’ with a new instrumental and verse from Lizzo. I wasn’t sure what to think of this new spin on ‘Track 10’ when it was released as the first single but it has definitely grown on me, I do wish Lizzo’s verse was slightly longer though! 
One of my favourites of the album has got to be White Mercedes, but then again who doesn’t love a good ballad? Its a sweet a song and probably the most for lack of better words ‘normal’ of the whole album.

My top 3 songs from the album are White Mercedes, Gone and February 2017 (I love how different the structure of this song is to most songs)

For me this album cements Charli’s status as a great experiment pop artist finally creating the kind of music they want to make.

P.S. I have recently added some new cards to my etsy shop including the “Happy Birday!” and “Toucan do this!”, I’ve also added some more pocket mirrors. Click here to check out my shop!

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MemeowMix – Pride Playlist

As it’s Pride Month I thought I would celebrate by creating my own pride themed playlist, Welcome to Memeow Mix: Pride Edition!

1. Lady Gaga – Born This Way – No Pride playlist could be complete without some Gaga! An iconic self acceptance song which name checks the LGBTQ community. I also love Gaga’s idea of self reinvention, you can be “re-born” over and over again.
2. Janelle Monáe – Make Me Feel – A catchy prince inspired tune, which touches on pansexuality.
3. Troye Sivan – Bloom – a fun pop song about “Flowers” according to Sivan (I don’t think it’s really about flowers)
4. Tegan and Sara – Closer – a fun pop song from twin sisters Tegan and Sara.
5.Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast – Gettin’ Bi (Feat. Pete Gardner) – I had to include this one! This song is from the musical/comedy/drama show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and does a very good job of dispelling some of misconceptions of bisexuality!
6.Taylor Swift – You Need To Calm Down – Swift shows her allyship to the LGBTQ community in this new song, telling the bigots they “need to calm down” and that their is “sunshine on the street at the parade, but you would rather be in the dark ages”. Swift also shouts out LGBTQ charity ‘Glaad’ this has a led to influx of donations to the charity, which is nice to hear!
7. Sarah Bareilles – Brave – Sara Bareilles was inspired to write this song about a friend of hers that was struggling to come out.
8. Hayley Kiyoko – Girls Like Girls – A track about a girl stealing a girl from a guy! (It’s a new spin on the formula!)
9.Mary Lambert – She Keeps Me Warm – Lambert was featured on 2012 song ‘Same Love’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, ‘She Keeps Me Warm’ builds a new song around Lambert’s ‘Same Love’ hook.
10. Troye Sivan (Feat. Betty Who) – Heaven – Another Troye song! Here Troye sings about trying to reconcile religious belief with his sexuality.
11. Calum Scott – No Matter What – A lovely song about coming out and finding acceptance.
12. Kacey Musgraves – Rainbow – This is such a beautiful song and I love the message, also reminds me slightly of Jessie’s song ‘She Loved Me from ‘Toy Story 2’. Oh no! I think I have something in my eye…

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I Really Really Really Really Really Really Like Carly Rae Jepsen’s New Album!

On May 17th 2019 the world’s most likeable pop star Carly Rae Jepsen released her 4th Album ‘Dedicated’! The Canadian singer gained worldwide popularity in 2012 with her hit song “Call Me Maybe”, which became a viral internet sensation.

These days Jepsen popularity isn’t as mainstream, although she gained a loyal cult following within the LGBTQ Community after the release of her 3rd album ‘E•MO•TION”. “E•MO•TION” was full of 80’s inspired songs which was a departure from Jepsen’s previous “Call Me Maybe” sound, the songs however still retaining the catchy earworm quality of her biggest hit. “E•MO•TION” is a great pop record that I highly suggest you check it out if you haven’t already!

Album No.4 ‘Dedicated’ follows on the 80s pop inspired sound of “E•MO•TION” with some disco and modern influences mixed in. Jepsen wrote 200 songs for this album, which where then narrowed down to 15 songs with only the best songs making the cut. The album starts with the bright,electric guitar led funk/pop ‘Julien’ followed by synth led “No Drug Like Me”. “Want You in My Room” and “Happy Not Knowing” are two of the most infectious pop songs on the album and have found myself replaying them again and again, with the latter being my favourite off the album (Its very hard not sing/dance along to it!). “Real Love” is another one of my favourites, there is good balance of quieter vulnerable moments which build up to a danceable beat drop and then back to the stripped back production. ‘Now That I Found You’ is another highlight of the album which has has the most adorable music video featuring Instagram star ‘Shrampton’ a Scottish Fold cat famous for sitting like a human! All in all ‘Dedicated’ is another solid pop album from Carly Rae Jepsen, If had to sum up this album in one word… ADDICTIVE!

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Now That I Found Mew!

Popstar Carly Rae Jepsen has unveiled the new video for her latest single ‘Now That I Found You’ and what a purrfect video it is!

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Wut? Wasn’t me 👀 #flopbod

A post shared by Shrampton (@shrampton) on

‘Now That I Found You’ is the second single off Carly Rae Jepsen’s upcoming 4th album, the single was released 27th Feburary as double release with the song ‘No Drug Like Me’.

You can check out the feline-filled video below!

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