AC/DC Highway To Hell 40th Anniversary Album Review

For Go Venue Magazine

https://www.govenuemagazine.com/ac-dcs-highway-to-hell-40th-anniversary/

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Miley Cyrus: Glastonbury Highlight Set

Miley Cyrus Glastonbury 2019 : She Put 100% into her Glastonbury Set and Owned Every Second

The singer-performer threw everything she had at her Sunday afternoon Glastonbury Pyramid Stage Set and love or hate her, has just taken a well-earned iconic moment and crown. The set is well worth watching.

Miley Cyrus has been no stranger to controversy over the years and has developed as an artist through many ongoing adolescent transitions. This has created a love or hate relationship based upon the question of talent versus the display of questionable behaviours in and out of the public eye.

The Sunday afternoon superset provided an explosive rollercoaster of her original titles with value added covers of Amy Winehouse Back to BlackMetallica’s Nothing Else Matters and Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog.  The cover of her Godmother Dolly Parton’s Jolene as a showcase of the intensity and energy she provided to the massive audience on site was a credible output.  Joined on stage by her father Billy Ray Cyrusand Lil Nas X to perform Old Town Road. The costume change to represent Ashley O from Black Mirror was impressive and lead to Head Like a Hole from Nine Inch Nails the presence and fullness of her performance was beyond value for money for the 150,000 strong Pyramid Stage Crowd.

The effort in each track and throughout the performance, many of which were dedicated to her family gives Miley Cyrus the right and respect as an artist and performer that she maybe now deserves.  In spite of the distance many people may have with her personal choices on occasion, this performance was an experience with an audience and the positive response was well warranted.  The vocal range and power that she reached was evident of someone hard at work, she gave this everything.  The absolute stand-out was Nothing Breaks Like A Heartearly in the set and Cyrus held back tears as she visibly and physically delivered.

This performance places a benchmark of the nature of effort that should be attained in each and every live performance across Glastonbury for future acts in forthcoming years. Nothing was held back, she was open, funny, direct and loving her Glastonbury outing. She owned her moment and everyone else’s. Possibly the highlight set of the weekend and raises the bar for performers in future based upon audience reaction and social media meltdown based upon her delivery and performance.

Thom Yorke Anima Album Review

A ground-breaking journey through the imaginative technological and dystopian visualisation of Radiohead’s frontman Thom Yorke and solo project and his inner thinking.

Alongside a beautiful 15-minute Netflix contemporary film, Anima as an album shakes the to the core humanity and explores the dark corners in a sensitive and responsive way.  Managing topics around anxiety, depression and mental health, love, loss and self. Whilst viewing these themes through a macro-environmental lens, the album shatters as it represents the person that is consumed by a frantic and overbearing society.

The album opens with Traffic, a dreamscape of samples and beats designed to pulse the sense of the sound and feelings of everything around us.  The lyrics highlight the normality of emotional observance, the void of the irrational and culminates the intrinsic and extrinsic elements that can impact upon us and in the main we remain unaware of. The clutter of noise and stacked samples can be observed as a busy city or a busy mind.

Twist and the repetitive opening, leading to an instrumental monotony is harmonised with a sub-falsetto vocal that Yorke stretches to the limit in places to allow the rawness of the lyrics.  Stated as oppose to a normal scan of lyrical flow, this adds a definition to each phrase.  “To You Who Brought Me Back To Life” for instance, echoes and whilst personal sense is made the following almost detached lyric promotes a winding journey and yes; makes many twists. The subtly of the interplayed truths that are expressed allow a calmness and raises the importance of that which we do not know and yet wish to uncover.

Dawn Chorus is the centrepiece of the album and the extended audio-visual Netflix version is stunning and uses Not The News from later in the album to visually expand on the topics in the tracks.  The shadow, colours and pace of the film introduce the love story and this is unlikely to ever end.  The return to “If You Could Do It All Again; A little Fairy Dust” are claimed from a stolen failure and resonance in the voice that Yorke portrays. Set within a industrial dystopia and using imagery such as Egyptian backdrops and subway journey as a metaphor for contemporary slavery in the modern workforce and life, this is a masterpiece.  The inspiration to use shadows and sound alongside lighting to produce the final sequence in the film with the track placed gently on top is the finale that crates peace and calmness to be able to; do it all again. The park scene closes and draws the dawn chorus and renews in a natural and less demanding way the closure, simplicity and genuinity.  Yorke makes the claim that the journey is beset with challenges and has a beautiful conclusion.

I Am A Very Rude Person, ticks into place as a lie, the core to the lyrics are folded to overlap purpose.  The central jazz style bass line and vocal echo in the instrumental is sampled with industrial beats to create the opposition that compliments the lyrics.  You have to draw what you need to believe as you connect with the idioms Yorke has used to stress meaning. The structured elements are at odds and offer the interrupted and the static blasts are indeed rude in a way.

Not The News offers a reprise of Dawn Chorus instrumentally and perfectly represents isolation, hurt and the anguish of the internal self.  The musical weight causes the trapped feeling whilst the lyrics almost fluidly engage in the sense of pain the track represents.  Following on from I Am A Very Rude PersonNot The News challenges the information flow and disrupts whilst discerning the difficult to touch topics embodied in the lyrics.

Though many of the tracks are a located in the technological dystopia, that is representative of contemporary society. The Axe notes the loose impact of social media and challenges the fake news and created truth.  The vocal is lost and dispassionate, the sense of rebuilding from the mid-point is waiting for the building blocks to be assembled to affect change.  The samples used are reverb heavy and the use of low-tone bass as a beat is both sensuous and offers escapism.  The threads of anxiety that the album is built upon are evident in this demand to elevate beyond a social media and technological observance.

Impossible Knots with a 16 beat hi-hat intro is followed by a bassline that is almost pop.  The synth harmony and vocal are the carrier in the track.  The album takes an upturn and lift towards a plateau of understanding. The gradual, safe, paced, slow and volumatic build to the repeated important vocal line is almost hymn-like in delivery.  Using a pop-styling to frame this junction in dystopia suggests cycle and development. 

Runwayaway is the only track that uses guitar and effect as the driver, there are replicated Doors-type riffs supported by electronic percussion and keyboard lines used to layer the journey of running away and the many pathways to finding your way back.  The pitch used throughout in the track are adjunct to the previous track on the album to detach and define the individualism and make clear the importance of association in reference to the title.

The album is genius and exploratory for Thom Yorke, there is pain, despair and repair threaded through the content and offers a visionary response to the actuality, realities and mistaken or overlooked important features of self and contemporary society.

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