Amy Macdonald’s first album success – This is the life review

Amy Macdonald is back in the charts with her third album but to really understand how much potential the young Scottish singer has you have to look at her previous work.

Amy Macdonald is still waiting for her first UK number 1 single

Her debut album ‘This is The Life’ sold over 3 million copies worldwide and reached number 1 in the UK Album Charts as well as 92 in the US Billboard 200 so it is easy to see how well she has been liked since the very start of her career but it has only taken me till now to discover just how brilliant she actually is. Just listening to album through once you understand her versatility as a musician but underneath it all you feel that she hasn’t lost her identity and stays true to the sounds that she knows and loves. The more you listen to it, the more in love you fall, it is really that good and the whole album is full of top quality songs that will speak to everyone as they are quite easy to relate to. She has fantastic storytelling ability and you can’t believe that she was only a teenager when this was brought out as some of her songs, in particular, ‘Run’ and ‘L.A’ show that she has so much more ability than other artists at that age.

But, her surprisingly mature lyrics are counterbalanced by her youthful spirit which will appeal to many different people and one thing that gives her points in my eyes is the fact that she doesn’t sound like a stereotypical female pop singer and each song has its own brilliance to it and there is not a single track that is boring like pop artists are releasing these days. The charm of the whole album is that, she doesn’t seem to have to try that hard but there isn’t a cocky arrogance about it and she proves that keeping things simple rather than doing things to your voice or adding a lot of beats does not make a track better.

Many of her songs have been used for different things and have allowed more people to hear her including the opening song, ‘Mr Rock and Roll’ which was used as part of the BBC’s coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games. The song reached number 12 in the UK and sets the standard for the whole album to follow, it could have been easy for it to get worse from there but even though this sing a long track is my favourite on the album by no means does it get worse. It is quickly followed up by probably her most favourite song, ‘This is The Life’ which was actually used on an advert for Fiat 500 shown all across Europe and this made it a major worldwide hit.

Macdonald’s voice is outstanding and the song, ‘A Wish For Something More’ shows her full range and also is a very good song to listen to if you want to also hear how impressive she is on the guitar. Basically, for most of the album it is just her and her guitar and the entire album will appeal to fans of folk music, indie and pop rock and  don’t think any of them will be let down by a single song.

Emeli Sande proving different can be successful

Emeli Sande could be the breakthrough artist of the year with her incredible album ‘Our Version of Events’

Sande started work on this album when she was only 11 years old

The album was released on the 13th February and has been to the very top of the UK Album Charts as well as faring quite well in America reaching number 28 on the Billboard 200. This is not something you really expect to hear at the top of the charts in the year 2012 as recently music has been more about getting up and dancing with a lot of energy to their songs but this is more like music of old and has brought poetry back to music. Most of the best songs are simple and this is what Sande has tried to do with this album by using her voice as the main effect and having a simple melody behind. You can tell she is influenced heavily by soul music and it really comes out at times during the album and you can really feel how meaningful the lyrics are to her. The most important thing to her in her songs is clearly getting the message of her lyrics across and is just as important as the tune, there is a definite passion and desire in her voice and this is seen in the songs ‘My Kind of Love’ and ‘Breaking The Law’. ‘Breaking The Law’ in particular is a very fascinating song and can mean many different things to people, it could be about a partner or a family member and it just shows how much some people will do for their loved ones.

The single, ‘Heaven’ is an epic pop song that will get audiences to throw their hands up in the air and sing along and will be heard over and over again in the years to come I am sure and it was named the record of the week by Fearne Cotton when it was released.

Most of the songs on the album are about love and romance but if you take the time to look deeper into it, you can tell it is much more complex than that and tries to explain complicated emotions, the song, ‘Maybe’ is an example of this as it is about after a break up thinking whether someone is the love of your life or not which is obviously difficult to explain but Sande is a very talented storyteller and does it well.

Some people may find the album boring and not be able to listen to the whole thing through at once because it can be a little too much of the same as their isn’t a massive amount of change but to me if someone has a s good a voice as her why try and make it about anything else. ‘Next to Me’ reminds me of old soulful house music and with it’s beautiful harmonies I can see this being many people’s favourite song on the album and is just another example of her amazing voice and you have to remember this is only the beginning and she will hopefully grow and get better and better.

The Forgotten Number One Artist- Afroman

Joseph Edgar Foreman spent three weeks at number one in 2001 with his famous song that a lot of people will remember once they hear his stage name, Afroman knocked off Kylie Minogue’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ with his single, ‘Because I got high’.

The song highlights the problems of taking cannabis in everyday life and rose to popularity after it circulated round the internet with many new admirers of the rapper. The song was later used on films such as ‘Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back’, ‘Disturbia’, ‘A Thousand Words’ and ‘The Perfect Score’ which made it even more recognisable to a wider audience. But what happened to Afroman and why do not many people remember him unless you say the title of his song?

Well the main reason is he didn’t really have much success in the UK or even in America afterwards but he still continues to write and make new music. He has released 13 albums in total with a 14th expected this year called ‘Marijuana Music’ so he has kept trying to make the breakthrough once again. Surprisingly, he also has a greatest hits album which makes me think that he does have very loyal fans but they must surely be few and far between.

However, I may be being a bit harsh as the album ‘The Good Times’ in 2001 reached number 10 in the US Billboard 200 and the song ‘Crazy Rap’ also reached number 10 in the UK Singles Chart. The album was his first studio album which was composed mainly from songs off his previous independent albums. The most famous song and the number one ‘Because I got High’ was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance in 2002.

The reason this came to my head is because I am becoming disenchanted with the music charts in the UK because it seems to be the same stuff that is getting to number one and nothing really that different seems to get the recognition it deserves. The singles chart is dominated by the same artists and the same genre of music which is now boring to me and I would love to see someone completely different take the top spot from Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. Everyone knows that nine times out of 10 when they release a new song it will go straight to the top spot in the charts. Would Afroman have even got the chance to get to number one in the year 2012? I don’t think anyone would know who he was or even heard his famous song, which would have been very disappointing and shows that the music industry is much harder to break into these days than it once was.