Reviews

True Blood Season 7 Episode 10 ‘Thank You’ Finale Review

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Above: The people of Bon Temps raise a glass to an easy life and a happy ending.

The last drop of blood has been tasted as the curtain falls on the last True Blood episode. 

The fans had high expectations of the finale season and even higher hopes for the finale episode titled Thank You. There have been many complaints about the way the supernatural TV show has ended but I have to say, I think although it was a safe ending, a lot of loose ends were tied up for all of the main characters.

The episode is an emotional one as Bill dies but what I and many of the other fans don’t understand is why he wanted Sookie to kill him? I mean, hasn’t he done enough harm to her? He wanted Sookie to use her light bomb to kill him which would give them both what they wanted, Sookie could be ‘normal’ and Bill could die at a time that was right for him. In the end Sookie decides to keep her light and I’m glad she did because it is a part of who she is and in the end she finds happiness with a mystery man, who appears to be human.

The biggest problem I had with the finale was that there was a gaping hole in the plot. During the last few episodes of season seven we are led to believe that Bill could possibly be turning human. He has many human visions, he tells Sookie that having Hep V has made him feel more human and Sookie reads his thoughts in the final episode. I think the writers screwed up with that one. It would have been a more sufficient ending if Bill turned human again and he and Sookie lived happily ever after. It makes no sense that Bill had a problem with Sookie being with a vampire when he didn’t mind Jessica marrying Hoyt, who is human.

I know what the writers were thinking with the finale, they wanted the entire story to go full circle. The first episode began with the people of Bon temps and that’s exactly how it ended. They used a flash forward to show the viewers what happened in Bon temps when the balance was restored. They paired Jason with Bridget, they had three kids. Arlene ended up with a vampire named Keith. Lafayette finally found happiness with vampire James (I’m still annoyed that he didn’t get his moment in the finale) and Sookie is pregnant and with a mysterious man which in my opinion should be Bill. The finale felt rushed and sloppy and I think the writers actually ran out of ideas. I still love the show and I, like many others believe that it had definitely ran its course as a TV series.

I hate to give it a three star rating but I was definitely disappointed in the way True Blood ended.

 

 

 

Reviews

Orange Is The New Black TV Review

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A beautifully plotted TV series with heart wrenching moments of truth.

Orange Is The New Black is the latest TV craze to spark controversy and gain instant fans. This comedy drama set in a prison was everything I wanted it to be and more. The writing, first of all is absolutely brilliant in this show. The characters are individual and I really liked the way that each episode focused on their backgrounds, how they ended up in prison and how much they have changed since their crime.

There is a diverse cast and some of the stories are lifted from Piper Kerman’s memoir ‘My Time In A Women’s Prison.’ The series began as a rich to rags story about the main character Piper and her ways of adapting to the prison life. Although I enjoyed the first few episodes, it wasn’t until the end of season one that my anticipation grew.

However, as the first season progressed and season two began, the main arc of the series focused on the conflicts between inmates and how their stories coincided.  I personally loved the character Suzanne Warren, often referred to as Crazy Eyes. She was a wonderful character with many layers to her back story and I am glad that justice happened in the end for her character in the season two finale.

I now have to wait like everyone else until next year for the next instalment of Orange Is The New Black, but after that spectacular season finale. I am left feeling satisfied and warmed by the surprise endings and the sweet karma that killed an inmate that definitely had it coming.

Watch it! I promise you won’t regret it.

Five Stars!

Reviews

‘The Civil Wars’ By The Civil Wars Album Review

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The Civil Wars release, what could be their last album. The album is a beautiful collection of organic arrangements, radiant vocals and heart-rending lyrics. It’s the perfect ‘break-up’ album.

I first discovered this duo when their song If I Didn’t Know Better was featured on the pilot episode of the US TV show Nashville. They also sang alongside Taylor Swift in the beautiful soundtrack song Safe & Sound for the successful film The Hunger Games. I was captivated by their harmonies, the smooth and eloquent melodies and the passion-filled lyrics.

The Civil Wars are currently on hiatus, there is a large uncertainty that they will never get back together but nevertheless they release their beautiful self-titled second album. If you are looking for an album to dance around your room to, you are in the wrong place. This album is a perfect soundtrack to your tears, a soothing collection of tracks that will make your heart ache.

After connecting in a Music City recording studio writing camp back in 2008, Joy Williams and John Paul White created The Civil Wars and worked their way up the Nashville scene. Their Gold-certified first album Barton Hallow received a Grammy; it showcased the obvious talent and chemistry of Williams and White. And while they were never a couple, they are both separately married with children, their best songs play off the will-they-or-won’t-they tension that fills the spaces between locked eyes and harmonized choruses.

The songs on this album are nothing short of radiant, from the flawless vocals to the simple arrangements, the duo are an absolute treasure.

In late 2012, they unceremoniously cancelled a chunk of tour dates, and announced that they would no longer play together live. It wasn’t quite a breakup, but it was enough to seriously question if they would have new music for their fans this year. To everyone’s surprise, Williams and White somehow managed to get in the studio together, at the height of their mutual discontent, to record their highly anticipated sophomore self-titled album.

Their 2011 début album, Barton Hollow, received a huge boost when Adele hailed them as ‘the best live band I’ve ever seen.’ They went on to win two Grammy awards this year, collecting them without making eye contact or, notably, thanking each other. They stated ‘If you want to know what happened to the band, listen to the album.’

That raw honesty runs through the core of this album. From the album’s opening moments with the dark, smoky eruption of The One That Got Away, a resonant track that doesn’t have a hint of any reconciliation between the two. A perfect break-up song that could resonate with many, with poignant lyrics such as ‘Oh, if I could go back in time / When you only held me in my mind / Just a longing gone without a trace / Oh, I wish I’d never ever seen your face / I wish you were the one/ Wish you were the one that got away.’

I Had Me a Girl is a little brooding, a little dangerous. It smoulders says Williams. With dark Gothic tones and distorted electric guitars, White’s voice is seductive; Whereas Williams’ vocals are moody and entrancing.  A classic Civil Wars type of track, with amazing vocal runs and simple relatable lyrics such as ‘Like cigarette smoke/ she came and she went/ I slipped through his hands/ to my back door man/ under his chin’ – what more do you want from a song?

The album is littered with songs, describing emotional turmoil.  Same Old Same Old is haunting, gentle with profound lyrics. Williams describes the meaning behind this track she says ‘This song represents the ache of monogamy… What I’m realizing now is that sometimes the ‘same old same old’ can actually be rich, worthwhile and a great adventure.’ The track is beautiful, it’s about love, separation and desire. The gorgeous acoustic guitar gently accompanies the two voices.

Dust To Dust starts with a metronome drumbeat that is the pulse of the entire song. Williams’ voice is elegant, filled with heartache and longing. When she sings the lyrics ‘They don’t fool me, you’ve been lonely too long, and it is definitely heart-breaking. She comments on the process of writing this song. Dust to Dust is ‘an anthem for the lonely… when John Paul and I wrote this late one night in Birmingham, England, we decided to change the pronoun at the end of the song. We wanted to represent that we all experience loneliness in our lives.’

Eavesdrop is a mid-tempo acoustic number that builds. A song that could easily swap from Country to Pop, it is one of my favourites on the entire album.  Williams says ‘Pregnancy literally changed the make-up of my vocal chords. There’s a different timbre to it now, and I love that I can hear the story of my son in my singing.’

Vocally, the real gem on the album is Devils Backbone, Williams croons about a bad boy love affair, and it’s a great showcase of what she can do with her stunning voice. The duo says ‘this song is our take on an Americana murder ballad.’ This track is a little more complex than the other, a smooth mix of rock ‘n’ roll and country.

From This Valley brings a cheerful disposition to a collection of sombre tracks. Towards the end of country gospel track, drums and guitars suddenly drop away to leave the voices of Joy Williams and John Paul White exposed, the duo harmonising with almost spooky grace. Syllables are elongated and multiplied, their voices blend together, twisting and turning, separating and uniting.

Tell Mama is a rendition of a classic, Williams quotes ‘We recorded the performance at Fame studio in Muscle Shoals, a place we’d written a few songs. I always felt the musical ghosts in that studio, one of whom was the great Etta James. We thought it would be a fun to take a stab at ‘Tell Mama.’ I found out later that where we recorded was the same room she recorded her version. That might explain why I kept getting goose bumps.’ They bring out the conviction in the lyrics and the gorgeous flow of the melody.

Oh Henry isn’t my favourite on the album; it seems to drop in quality ever so slightly. The music is bright and buoyant but the song doesn’t really sit well with the rest on the album. Disarm is a rendition of the Smashing Pumpkins number. This track showcases White’s soaring vocals, gentle acoustic guitar and perfectly mirrored harmonies, this is excellent.

Sacred Heart is the only track on the album in a different language. Williams says ‘We wrote this song in a flat in Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in full review on a cold night. Tall windows and Victorian furniture, somehow the atmosphere of all the seeped into the song.’ Although this song is in French, the feeling behind the words still bleeds through. A delightful and unexpected turn on the album, a charming song.

D’Arline is ‘a sweet lament of loss and the belief that you’ll never be able to love anybody else again. While we were recording the song together, John Paul and I could hear crows cawing in the background that I’ve since named Edgar, Allen and Poe. This recording and performance of the song is the first and only in existence, a work tape recorded simple on my iPhone.’ A quiet and gentle song that perfectly closes the album.

Williams and White haven’t spoken since the album’s recording finished in the early spring of 2013, and it’s a damn shame that there’s little chance these songs will be performed any time soon. Nonetheless, The Civil Wars have left fans with what is undoubtedly the best album of their career, an elegant, country-stomping exploration of emotional and creative inspiration that definitely didn’t disappoint.

 Rating 5/5

Reviews

‘Same Trailer Different Park’ By Kacey Musgraves Album Review

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Kacey Musgraves released her fourth studio album Same Trailer Different Park earlier this year and it has had amazing success, it has reached number one in the Top Country Albums chart.

After finding out that Kacey Musgraves originally wrote and sang the song Undermine from the hit US TV show Nashville, I knew I had to listen to more of her music. Her most recent album Same Trailer Different Park is an exquisite twelve track Country Folk album with an Infectious Pop twist.

It’s hard to find a review of Kacey Musgraves’ new album that doesn’t compare her to Pop Country singer Taylor Swift. I see the resemblance, a young fresh-faced country girl singing story-like lyrics about Life, Love and Dreams. She may have that similarity but Musgrave’s definitely has her own identity.

Strong women have always been the backbone of Country music and Musgraves is another woman that successfully expresses her feelings, with just her voice and an acoustic guitar. She sings about characters in her songs, such as the trash-talking waitress in the song Blowin’ Smoke, the nosy neighbour in Trailer Song and the substance-addicted family in Merry Go’ Round. As a songwriter Musgraves isn’t afraid to speak the truth, something that is very rare among artists.

The opening track Silver Lining is inspiring, cheerful Pop fluff with a slight Country vibe. With quirky lyrics such as ‘If your ever gonna find a silver lining/ it’s got to be a cloudy day/ If you wanna fill your bottle up with lightening/ you’re gonna have to stand in the rain.’  My House is filled with harmonicas and upbeat guitars, definitely more Country than the first track. The song is fun, happy with strong southern feel flowing through.

Merry Go’ Round has a solemn message, with lyrics such as ‘Mary Mary, quite contrary, we get bored so we get married.  Just like dust we settle in this town. On this broken Merry Go’ Round.’ This haunting track is riddled with the lyrical truth of life in a small American town. Dandelion is a slow, acoustic based track with elegant vocals and heartfelt lyrics. Blowin’ Smoke is feisty and bold, so is the album closer It Is What It Is which has an inspiring message of ‘You are who you are.’

At the core, Musgraves is a country traditionalist. This album showcases a dozen of songs that are about the truth. Playing guitar and banjo, her voice riddled with Southern quirks, she sings her straight lyrics, no gimmicks. Same Trailer Different Park is one of my favourite albums of the year. It shows that Country music is still thriving as an individual genre.

Rating 5/5

Reviews

True Blood – Season 6 Episode 1 – Review (Spoiler Alert)

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True Blood is officially back on our screens with the fang-tastic sixth season. 

I can’t tell you how annoying it was to wait a whole year to find out what happened to my favourite characters but for the next ten weeks I can indulge myself in the blood, sex and gore of the hit TV show True Blood. With shows like this the response can be unpredictable because for the next season to thrive there must be a change in pace and after watching the first episode of season six, I am very excited about the new road that the show is going down.

Based on the best selling books by Charlaine Harris, True Blood is a fantastic TV show on HBO and Fox TV UK that brings the world of Sookie Stackhouse to life. The show has been on the air since 2008 and since then we have watched the show become a massive success as we discovered the supernatural beings present in Bon Temps Louisiana. Over five seasons there have been vampires, shape shifters, fairies, werewolves, mane ads and ghosts all fighting to get along and more importantly- stay alive.

At the end of season five we were left with a cliffhanger, one that frightened every  ‘Truebie’  to their very core. Bill or should I say Billith rising from a pool of blood as Eric and Sookie watch in pure amazement and fear. Eric yells run to Sookie and the credits roll. And that is what every True Blood fan was left with. An uncertainty of what would happen next. But never fear because season six has returned and I personally think it will be the best season yet!

The first episode carries on from where season five left off and I have to say I really liked the thriller-type-camera-angles in the first ten minutes of the episode. I watched an interview with Stephen Moyer who plays the role of Bill Compton and he directed the first episode and the camera angles were his idea. He said ‘I knew I wanted to play the episode as a thriller, I never had the camera on a tripod, I never had the camera on a dolly. We were literally hand held and running, I wanted to give it the feeling that you were with the actors.’

In the first ten minutes of the episode a character dies, which is a little bit of a surprise. The character wasn’t one of the primary characters but I still felt like her death was rushed and they could have waited until further in the episode. However, the death of this character shows the true revelations of what is to come for all supernatural beings and humans during this season, hence the tag line ‘No one Lives Forever.’ When one character dies though another one is introduced. Jason has a run in with Eric’s sister Nora and leaves Sookie, Tara and Pam behind to run off his frustration.

I guess no one ever told Jason to never get into a car with a stranger – but he does. There is something odd about this character from the beginning but I knew that he had some connection to Sookie. He claims that he is Warlow and Jason obviously reacts and ‘Warlow’ disappears without a trace. That won’t be the last of him though, he will be occurring in plenty more episodes and I’m sure they will reveal his true identity because judging by the season trailer, the old guy in the car isn’t Warlow but a distant relative of the Stackhouse siblings.

In the first episode of season six titled Who Are You, Really? We see the end of the Bill and Sookie relationship. Well I assume so, she did try and stake Bill to save Eric. Maybe they will find their way back to each other one day? Hmmm maybe not.  I think I prefer her with Eric anyway. Another surprising turn in the episode was Sookie banishing Eric from her home, it seems that Sookie has finally learnt that vampires bring trouble – About damn time Sookie! She believes that her life with will one day be ‘normal’ but who is she kidding really? She’s a half ling – half fae half human telepathic. There’s nothing normal about that.

Now, let’s talk about this Billeth situation. I wasn’t the only one who was shocked when Bill supposedly died and resurrected from a pile of red goo. I didn’t know how the writers would come back from that and I felt that the character Bill was going to be killed off. But cleverly it has worked to their advantage and now the character Bill is actually exciting to watch – I found him boring and too perfect before. No vampire is that perfect. While the episode spent much of its time on the aftermath of the assault on vampire central, it also found time to add a few new layers of intrigue, most notably the new politician storyline. I feel like this is a secondary part of the plot, like the vampire authority was in season five.

I tolerate it because it is part of the show but I prefer the show when they focus on the main characters but that is my personal preference.  It’s still early days, but so far, it seems that Bon Temps is indeed an almost faerie-free zone – except for the magical children in the care of Andy Bellefleur. Lafayette is yet to be possessed by anyone yet but it will happen at some point – he has the worst luck in the world. Just like Sookie, he will never be normal. Alcide has become the master of his pack and is enjoying the power he has over the other wolves, especially the ladies.

I am really excited for next week’s episode. Ten weeks sounds like a long time but I feel like it isn’t long enough to unravel all of the hidden parts of the plot that need to see the light. Hopefully they carry on making True Blood because I think the show is exceptional! I give the first episode of season six five stars because it has left me excited and on the edge of my seat. I guess I will have to wait until Monday to find out what happens but in the mean time I think I am going to dive into the fiction that runs through the veins of the show – it’s time to read the fourth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series Definitely Dead.

I don’t like to compare the books to the TV show because they both run on completely different tracks. Some hardcore fans are annoyed by the fact that the show doesn’t stick to the books – but where is the fun in that? I will possibly write another review next week after the second episode airs. I hope you all like my review on the first episode of season six – now I need to go and ‘sink my teeth’ into the next Charlaine Harris novel.