Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Top Albums of 2012

I decided to write a few blog posts which discuss what I enjoyed in 2012. This is the first..

Top Five Albums of 2012

1. Cruel Summer - GOOD Music/Kanye West
I know what you're thinking guys... Kanye West with the best album of 2012?! And yes, before you ask, I know that I am white (and poor) and am not a 'G'. However, I must profess my love for Kanye 'Yeezy' West and his penchant for everything in excess. Watch The Throne and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy served as perfect introductions to this eclectic mix of all year listening. Cruel Summer is a compilation album and feels almost like a mixed tape of someone's favourite songs rather than an actual album it itself. I know that there aren't a huge amount of awesome things we can say about Kanye West as a person (sorry baaae!) but do not let it stop you from having a listen to this album.

Highlight tracks include: Clique, Cold, and Creeper.
When to listen: When driving. You will begin to think you're in a 'hummah'

2. Babel - Mumford and Sons
The first album by Mumford and Sons, Sigh No More, remains to this day one of the best albums I have ever heard, to the point where I was actually scared to listen to their second offering in case it ruined them for me. Whoaaa, lordy. I hate the fact that I missed time on listening to this on repeat. This is an eclectic, folky offering which, despite all of its joys, might sometimes step a little too far into the whimsical sorrow of string instrumental. You would probably have to already enjoy Mumford and Sons to do this album justice, but if you are a fan then you surely won't be disappointed.

Highlight tracks include: Broken Crown, Lover of the Light
When to listen: Before bed

3. Coexist - The xx
So, shoot me. I'd never heard of The XX before this album was released in September. It was actually a colleague who got me listening to them on the claim that they were "the best band ever!!!". OK, not the best band ever, but as far as music goes, particularly in a year that I feel was somewhat dry of spectacular musical achievement, they are not half bad. Give this a listen and you probably won’t regret it.

Highlight tracks include: Reunion, Angels
When to listen: In the gym

4.  Until Now - Swedish House Mafia
I am almost certain that you have to be a particular kind of person to really appreciate Swedish House Mafia. They are not for everyone. Contrary to popular belief, however, you do not have to be a smack-head raver to appreciate the way their tracks are so finely put together. I have always had respect for talented musicians, no matter what genre they choose to pursue. I’ve been in enough dodgy bars all over the world to appreciate a good DJ!

Highlight tracks include: Antidote, Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
When to listen: A New Years Eve Party/Nightclub

5. Our Version Of Events - Emile Sande
I know that this one is a bit of a dark horse. It isn't really all about the album guys (I'll admit, I'm cheating a little!) Anybody who watched the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony (hello, everyone!) can appreciate the talent here. This album does have its weak spots: you will never listen to every track, but the tracks you do enjoy? You really, really enjoy.

Highlight tracks include: Heaven, Next To Me

When to listen: Over dinner

Noteable mentions: What We Saw From The Cheap Seats - Regina Spektor; Not Your Kind Of People – Garbage; Halycon – Ellie Goulding 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Letter To My Nineteen-Year-Old Self..

KGUYZ, been a while.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my life now and the sense of déjà vu, which is haunting me on a daily basis. I wondered whether I could ever actually get caught in the same situation twice; or whether it would, inevitably, be different.

The second law of thermodynamics gives us an arrow of time, and states that all matter, whatever it is, will change over time. Like humans, stars will die… and everything will eventually cease. Something of low entropy will become a high entropy object, and it cannot go backwards.

So surely I have not gone backwards, and the situations I find myself in are, if only in a small way, different?

This was the inspiration behind the below letter. It is a letter to my nineteen-year-old self. I realized that, if nothing else has changed it is my perspective on the situation, and the way that I deal with the decisions and options before me. My subconscious reaction is ultimately different, and can never go backwards.

Nineteen was an interesting time for me. This is why I felt it important to go back there, and see exactly what has come of it.


A little piece of advice in terms of what is coming in the future for you, kid. It’s definitely going to be interesting.

First off, try remembering who you actually are as opposed to who other people think you are, and make you want to be. Other people are a constant source of inspiration, but they shouldn’t define you. From time to time, you’re going to see your entire future in another person, but it simply isn’t the case. It’s because you don’t really know what’s coming and you need to trust something. The best thing you can do is to make this mistake.  You’re going to take the long road, kiddo. You’re going to be that person who learns who they don’t want to be before actually figuring out who you are. It’s OK. This lesson in itself will define you.

You’re going to meet people who just weren’t built from the same stuff as you. Don’t judge them for it. Some of your best friends in the future will be people you never thought you would have anything in common with. Life is about chemistry and understanding. It isn’t about how you grew up or where you came from. You’re going to take a pretty serious point of view on this later in life.

Look back fondly on everything you can still remember. If you can, write stuff down. It’s more than a little embarrassing that you can’t remember all the great memories your friends have. Then again, perhaps it is because the memory bank is filled with so many other wonderful things.

Don’t start smoking. Seriously, it’s gross, and you will fight against it for the rest of your life.

The decisions you make now will change who you are forever. Choose wisely, but don’t let the thought process dominate. Always trust your gut: it will serve you well.

Every time.

Don’t ever take your money for granted.  Sometimes you will make a good amount, and sometimes you will make nothing. Spend money: it will not last forever, but be sure to save some for a rainy day. There are a few rainy days in your future.

Oh, and another thing? You’re going to work in sales. It’s probably going to make you begin to hate all people, but it’s also going to give you a pretty thick skin. You won’t be scared of a ‘no’, and you won’t expect much on a maybe. Your life will become dependent on the black and white: this is not a bad thing. In a few years you will understand the pun behind the negative shades of grey.

Stop taking yourself so seriously: Laugh.
You have years and years ahead of you: Slow down. Don’t rush so much.  You’re just not ready yet and that’s OK.
Listen to bad music, watch awful movies.

And never underestimate the value of helping another person. Nothing is ever worth anything unless you have someone to share it with. Whatever it is that you think you want from your life and from yourself, it will never be what you think it is unless you have family and friends there to stand by you.

Don’t grow up too fast, kid.

Also… remember to moisturize.