Review: Sam Hunt’s Montevallo

Artist: Sam Hunt
Album: Montevallo
Release date: October 27, 2014
Label: MCA Nashville
Genre: Country pop

Montevallo is the debut album for country music artist Sam Hunt, whose songwriting skills were featured on several country stars’ songs, such as Keith Urban’s Cop Car and Kenny Chesney’s Come Over.

samhuntmontevallo

First thing’s first, Hunt may be the very definition of a modern country man. His use of electronic synth arrangements and palm-to-knee slapping rhythm makes him immediately stand out from other male country music artists who choose to have a more traditional sound. His music is unlike any other in his genre and his contemporary look on “what is country” is definitely featured on the album. It’s also interesting to note that Hunt co-wrote every track on the album.

Montevallo may sound a bit “typical” for a first time listener. A majority of the tracks featured on the album are in some way about a woman and leaves a lot to be desired regarding Hunt’s diversity as an artist. While some of the songs feature a generic approach to the characteristic “country song about a woman”, Cop Car, for example, has a different way of expressing his feelings towards a woman which proves to be a nice touch to the album.

Hunt has his own unique sound which makes him stand out from other country artists. The catchy lyrics and quick-paced dynamic use of instruments in his debut single Leave the Night On dare to appeal to those who aren’t typically fans of country music. The pop-inspired hit would fit comfortably on the Country Music Channel as it would on MTV. Leave the Night On has a typical “bro-country” theme to it (country songs by men about getting drunk, girls in tight jeans, etc.) however it has its own charming appeal that’ll make your fingers tap and your head bop, and not roll your eyes and mutter “It’s just another country song”.

The way he mixes normal speaking with an outburst of song in Take Your Time and Break Up in a Small Town is an odd touch to his album, and I’m not too positive that’s a good thing. It kind of sounds like a musical where the character is engaging in dialogue and then randomly busts out into song and we, as an audience, are expected to think that is completely normal. It’s a unique twist to the typical song format, and for that, I applaud him for trying something new. However, these tracks that would otherwise be great listens with deep, emotive lyrics and a great sound, are mainly outstanding for the wrong reasons.

An interesting track to make note of on Montevallo is Single for the Summer; it’s probably the only track on the album that doesn’t have any typical country music traits to it: there are no mentions of drinking beer in the lyrics, and the quick strums of an acoustic guitar are also absent. This song has an almost dreamy sound to it with an electric synth-like sound and a slow, fading ending that makes you feel as if you are gradually dozing off to sleep. This daring track doesn’t seem fitting for a country-pop album but happens to be one of the best songs on the album for the sole purpose that is something very different that Hunt has tried and subsequently nailed as a music artist.

Overall, Montevallo is a step in the right direction for Sam Hunt that can be easy listening for all sorts of people, ranging from diehard country music enthusiasts to mainstream pop music fans and anywhere in between. His unique twist on modern country-pop music definitely makes for a great sound that can be repeated with a glass of white or a schooner of beer.

Or a bottle of water. If that’s your thing.

– by Noah La’ulu

Why I Don’t Support Kim Kardashian

Last week, Kim Kardashian attempted to break the internet with a couple of naked pictures. Little did she know, my internet was working fine with no faulty connections.

If you ask me in person whether or not I like the Kardashians or anyone commonly associated with that family, I would express my feelings with very colourful language and the fact that I do not like them will be made very clear. As this will be published online, however, I do have to express myself in a more calm and fair manner.

From my limited marketing knowledge, Kim Kardashian as a brand is successful. Her face is plastered everywhere, her products are doing swimmingly well, and she makes it on the front page of tabloids for merely licking an envelope. However, Kim Kardashian as a person, I don’t believe she can claim any success whatsoever.

Did anyone's internet actually stop working?

Did anyone’s internet actually stop working?

To my knowledge, she was first introduced to the world of celebrity for being Paris Hilton’s lap dog and part-time slave, and then her and Ray J (who, if you asked me what song he sung, I wouldn’t be able to name one) decided to make a sex tape complete with horrid fake noises, and then her and her family decided to make a reality show of their drama-filled lives which I personally do not envy in the slightest, and then there were “those pictures“.

With all of the things that I’ve mentioned above – granted I have missed out portions of her life – where does “talent” come into play? For me, as a journalist-in-the-rise, the only way I would want to be a household name is if it were attached to my skill as a writer or a content producer. Not because I’m really good at taking my clothes off, or I dated someone who was famous and now all of a sudden people are following me.

In that same vein, I can’t put her husband in the same boat. As much as I dislike Kanye for his attitude and superior God complex, the man is talented. As heck.

I don’t see the talent in following a hotel heiress around, doing everything she asks, and I don’t see the talent in recording a sex tape. (Unless you manage to hold the camera for the entire duration and not make it awkwardly shake… that would be talent.)

We as a society have gone from idolising true legends of cinema like Grace Kelly and awe-inspiring musicians like Elvis Presley, to girls with nice bodies who take nude photos for a magazine. If this one sentence doesn’t illustrate the entire point of this article, then I have failed as a blogging journalist.

I’m not trying to shade those who do support Kim Kardashian. I say “to each their own” and have at it. I would just prefer to use my time idolising someone who is great at what they do and is also a decent person like Brisbane Broncos’ Corey Parker, for example, than someone who’s in the spotlight for no apparent reason other than she is Kim Kardashian.

Let’s not beat around the bush. If you had to list four talents Kim Kardashian has shown during her time in the spotlight, you’d be hard pressed to name even a couple. It’s kind of sad how society’s views of admiration are diminishing so that seemingly pointless celebrities like her are gaining a cult following.

Oh well. I’ll just sit here and quietly admire the likes of Elvis Costello and Billie Piper. Y’all can have the Kardashian family.

– by Noah La’ulu

Review: Doctor Who season eight

I had the privilege of watching the Doctor Who season eight finale mere hours ago… without knowing it was the finale.

I kind of had a feeling it was the finale, and all the twists and turns in the episode suggested that it was indeed the finale, but seeing as I’m at times daft and unattentive, I was unaware of how important the episode was until I saw that it was indeed “the season finale”. Whoops.

The Eyebrows and the Impossible Girl.

The Eyebrows and the Impossible Girl.

Anywho…

**SPOILERS WILL SOON FOLLOW. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE ENTIRE SEASON AND WISH TO, I HIGHLY SUGGEST NOT GOING ON ANY FURTHER**

Season eight marks the official debut of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor after seeing a glimpse (his eyes) in Day of the Doctor and seeing my beloved Matt Smith regenerate into Capaldi. As I attended the Doctor Who World Tour stop in Sydney, I was privileged to watch Deep Breath before it premiered all over the world on its official date. Deep Breath was a HUGE start for Who, showing just how well-suited Capaldi is as the Doctor, proving doubters that he will have no problem filling the shoes left behind by the likes of William Hartnell, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant.

On that note, if I may take a moment to self-promote, here’s a clip of Capaldi making his grand entrance on stage at the Sydney portion of the World Tour. At the 1:02 mark, that is when Capaldi spotted me in the audience waving at him… and then he waved back. I died. Just to illustrate my feelings at the moment in time.

I’m going to say it: if Capaldi was the greatest thing about this season, coming in a close second is Michelle Gomez. I thought John Simm was an incredible Master, but Gomez REALLY blew me away as the Mistress. She was absolutely phenomenal in her role and, just like Simm, made it hard to hate her because she was that damn infectious… albeit a cray-cray kind of infectious.

Besides Deep Breath, there were a few other episodes in the season eight that, to me, really shone. The first  that I’d like to mention is Robot of Sherwood, which focused on the legend of Robin Hood (or not-a-legend, if you’re going to go down that route). The storyline in that episode was going okay – not great, just okay – until the massive swerve at the end which suddenly made the episode a WHOLE lot more interesting. Include the humorous interactions between the Doctor and Hood and you’ve got yourself a stellar episode.

Another episode that really stood out was Mummy on the Orient Express. The episode took a kind of old-fashioned “who dunnit” approach, although instead of “who was the murderer”, it was “who is going to be murdered next by a mummy that only the person about to die can see”. Writer Jamie Mathieson could not have capitalised any more if he tried; the episode was a total hit, with engaging interaction, well-placed humour and an attention-grabbing storyline that had me at the end of my mattress for the entire episode.

Along with the good comes the bad: In The Forest of the Night particularly stands out as disappointing. The plot was confusing and the acting on some of the children’s behalf was shoddy, not that I can hold it against them, being so young and all. Especially coming after the mumy episode, it really should have knocked it out of the park but it barely hit it off the tee.

One story arc I really didn’t like during season eight also was Clara and Danny. The story seemed forced together to give Clara another dimension other than perfect and prim companion to the Doctor. Realistically, they had been on like one date and then declared their love for each other. Danny, as a character, was annoying, and I couldn’t find anything really that I liked about him. I wasn’t too big a fan of Clara in season seven but she’s growing on me.

It is because of this story arc that I didn’t completely love the season finale. The fact that Danny saved the world was a bit how ya goin’ for me. Regardless, Death in Heaven was still a fantastic episode, if only to see Michelle Gomez do her thang.

Solst-o-meter
Storyline: 7.4/10
Acting: 8.8/10
Overall: 8.1/10

This was a definite treat for Whovians all over the world, and was a great taste for what Capaldi can bring to the much coveted role of the Doctor. Capaldi is fantastic in his role and I can’t wait to see what else he can do.

– by Noah La’ulu

The Cat and the Love Rat

Here’s my take on the whole Cat-Lawson drama that has been clouding over Big Brother Australia for the past few weeks.

If you have been avoiding anything Big Brother related, I don’t blame you, but you must have your head in the sand if you haven’t heard of the Cat-Lawson saga, like that emu who has its head in the sand. But again, I don’t blame you.

Who are you to stop such a beautiful smile?!

Who are you to stop such a beautiful smile?!

If you’re reading this confused, let me catch you up to speed: Lawson is a mid-late 20 something year old magician who has a girlfriend named Candice. He went into the house still in a strings-attached relationship with the girl. Enter Cat, the stunning 30 something year old midwife who immediately has a liking for Lawson. One night spent in a secluded hut and lo and behold, Lawson and Cat are hooking up like a pair of pelicans. (Terrible, terrible simile, but bear with me) Naturally, some of the other housemates are appalled at their behaviour and many Australians around the world who view that reality program have also shared their disgust.

Since then, both Cat and Lawson have been eliminated from the house – no doubt because they’re both “cheaters” – and have both expressed their sorrow for what they’ve done. In saying that, however, they both went on the record to basically say that “Love is love and who are we to deny those feelings that we had.”

Ooooooohhhhh.

And as any top Aussie blogger would do, I’m here to give my two cents on the Cat and Lawson drama that has plagued Big Brother Australia for nearly its entire season.

My thoughts on this situation can be summed up in four simple words: it doesn’t affect me.

Think about it. How does someone I have never met before cheating on his girlfriend whom I have also never met with a sexy midwife whom I have also never met affect me? It doesn’t. At all. Sure, the act of infidelity is frowned upon, especially if it’s done on national television, but face it, you’re still going to wake up the next day and you’re still going to work or college or wherever it is that you go unaffected. Something that Cat and Lawson may have done does not affect the way I think about them and, if we’re going by the “judge not less ye be judged” path, it shouldn’t affect the way anyone else thinks about them.

Cat was my favourite housemate this year and even throughout this crap, she has still been my favourite. I’ve always thought Lawson was a charming character and I still think he is to this day.

Reading some of the comments on Big Brother Australia’s page has really disappointed me in mankind… so quick to throw judgements and nasty insults around as if they’re totally clean and pure. No one is like that. People are going to make mistakes; it’s just what you learn from them which makes you a bigger person.

Now as a personal disclaimer, I am in no way advocating what they’ve done. I don’t agree with infidelity and think that if you do decide to get your jollies off with someone else, you should have the decency to break it off with your partner before you do so. Or don’t engage in a relationship at all.

But think about it. Lawson didn’t have the opportunity to do the right thing and tell his beloved Candice “Hey, I may have feelings for another woman, can we like take a break so I can pursue these feelings and see what happens after?” No. He was stuck in a small, secluded house with like 12 or so other people for over a month. Surely that is going to play on someone’s psyche after such an extended period of time. Some people don’t take into account the mentality of being secluded in the house can have on these housemates. They don’t have the privilege of going out wherever and doing whatever because they are stuck in that house.

The main point I’m trying to make is this: unless it truly affects you, like, truly affects you, you should probably take a few steps back and think “Hey, I don’t know how these people are feeling, I can’t really comment on their personal lives.” At the end of the day, who are we to get in the way of someone’s love lives if it doesn’t involve us at all?

Yes, that also means if someone is in a relationship on Facebook, it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

Js.

– by Noah La’ulu