‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Review

If Captain America: The First Avenger was a simple, wholesome 40’s war movie with wholesome Americans punching Nazis fun, The Winter Soldier is a modern thriller, complete with all the car chases, trust issues, and characters seemingly in peril whipping out a well concealed gun at the last second. All of these genres staples are in full effect here and mostly, very well done: the grey morality is particularly well handled, with Cap having to understand that’s how the world is nowadays. What’s not so well done is the bad guys overall plot: it just seems too ‘big’, not just for a thriller but in that it seems to what to top Avengers when these solo films should be smaller and more personal in my opinion (Thor and Iron Man can perhaps get away easier with a big spectacle finale with one being an all powerful God and the other being well… Iron Man). The titular Winter Soldier doesn’t get that much to do at all; that whole subplot is a bit predictable, underdeveloped and left open when you’d think it should be wrapped up, given the subtitle. There are enough plot threads running in the MCU at is it, with Guardians, Thor 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Cap 2 is less a standalone film and more a tease for the characters third solo entry. Which leads back to a positive point. Yes, its billed as a Captain America film but there is a lot of screentime dedicated to Black Window, instantly likeable newbie The Falcon, and Nick Fury. This is a good thing, as Chris Evans’ hero works best bouncing off other characters. I just wish a lot more of that character interaction was with the other titular character, as this really could’ve heightened to emotion to same levels as action and intrigue to make a really strong film, compared to a pretty good one.

 

 

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Do you have a minute to talk about pop’s saviour Lily Allen?

So on Monday (March 10th) My 2nd Favourite Popstar Ever Lily Allen debuted a new song and video from her third album, wonderfully titled ‘Sheezus’. Here it is:

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Now, its safe to say reaction to this song and, as a result, the whole ‘Sheezus’ ‘era’ has been mixed. The press were quick to pick up on a (now deleted) reply Lily made to someone’s tweet on Twitter (the best place to make a tweet really) that went like this:

RJwilding: “@lilyallen’s new music is actually docile pop rubbish. So disappointing. She properly just wrote some rubbish to cash some cheques.”

Lily: “@RJwilding what you’ve heard so far yes. All i can do is do my best, the labels and the radio stations won’t play the better stuff. keep the faith.”

That’s a fair few elephants in the room. Whilst I guess its refreshing to be honest (which is what I love Lily for) its sad to see her admit that songs like ‘Our Time’ and Air Balloon‘ are “docile pop rubbish”. Labels aren’t always the best at picking singles (I’m still gutted Gaga’s ScheiBe‘ never got a single release) but for an artist to admit they are unhappy with those choices before the album is even out is pretty major. Especially when that artist is Lily Allen, who you’d think was too outspoken to be forced into releasing songs she doesn’t want or pander to mainstream radio. ‘Air Balloon’ got a lot of flak for that very reason, from people like Mr. Wilding.  I myself wrote about it before I said I enjoyed its carefree nature but it was more of a B-side standard. Since then I’ve not been able to get it out of my brain and I actually think its worthwhile as a single. The labels plan worked, as the song has had strong radio airplay and charted this week at #7, better than Hard Out Here’ did last year. Personally, I think people are expecting every single song by Lily to have some sort of social commentary, and if that’s your beef you probably won’t enjoy this new one either.

Just a catchy song to show a different side to Lily Allen, or a soulless product designed to get an easy chart hit?

Lyrically, ‘Our Time’ is about a typical pop topic (a popic, if you like): a night out. But rather than being a generic full-on club banger, this is a more chilled tune with lyrics more down-to-Earth than throwing your cash in the air and getting with every single lady you see. And that’s refreshing. Groundbreaking? Not at all. Social commentary? Not really. Does that make it “docile pop rubbish”? I don’t think so. There’s always room for songs about nothing in particular but just lift you up and make you feel good. If every song I listened to was deadly serious I’d be pretty depressed (and/or a Coldplay fan). That’s why I love Kylie MinogueIf I’ve had a stressy day at work or one of life’s little things gets me down, it’s songs like Love at First Sight‘, ‘Lola’s Theme‘, ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and even ‘Air Balloon’ that cheer me up. So don’t hate on Lily Allen because not every new song is another The Fear‘ , ‘F** You‘ or Kabul Shit‘. 

Seriously, go buy this now.

Writing that last sentence has kind of put things into perspective a little bit. Perhaps the reason a lot of us are disappointed with the songs from ‘Sheezus’ so far is because every song from ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ was so, so good. As in, my favourite album of all time good. Apart from maybe ‘Hard Out Here’, everything from this campaign sounds like a sequel to Lily’s 2006 debut, ‘Alright, Still’. And once again, that’s fine. Although we are promised the ‘better stuff’ is on the album, I’m not expecting it to beat her sophomore effort. If it does, I will be more than pleasantly surprised. If not, I will still have another album of great pop music made by a great popstar. I can’t wait.

If nothing else, this album ‘era’ has given us these two gems and that’s better than what your favourite could ever pull off:

Lily Allen Baggy Pussy

How all nights out in Britain end, fighting with a hot dog

How all nights out in Britain end, fighting with a hot dog

#KEEPTHEFAITH

Some new songs that came out in (or around) February

Usually on my music write-ups I gush about pop music by artists that aren’t exactly mainstream, and no one really pays attention to me. So in a blatant attempt to get some views (and for people to read about an artist I really, really like) I’m going to also review two songs by people whose music I always hear ‘in the club’…

First up, Ludacris ‘Party Girls’ (feat. Wiz Khalifa, Jeremih and Cashmere Cat)

Ludacris is really popular, right? I mean, I liked his song ‘Rollout’ when I was like, twelve and didn’t know better. His bit is the only non-chorus bit of Usher’s ‘Yeah’ that people attempt to sing/rap along to and he’s obviously on Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’. He’s also roped in the guy who did that ‘Birthday Sex’ song, some dude I’ve never heard of but I assume is popular amongst hip-hop fans and the chap from ‘Payphone’ and the song where T-Pain ruins one of my favourite Lily Allen tracks. If that’s not going to get me tons of views nothing will! So onto the song itself…

Oh dear. I imagine Ludacris think he’s being really edgy and cool by sampling Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ here. Sure, rappers like Flo-Rida have been taking cheesy Eurodance songs and turning them into anthems about having lots of sex with sexy ladies for a while now, but to go further than any rapper has before and interpolate THAT song is pretty courageous, right?

No. In fact, its about as boring as going to Subway and buying just ham on plain Italian. Onto the next one

Jason Derulo – ‘Stupid Love’

About as boring as going to Subway and just having bread.

Well, if you came here for Ludacris and Derulo then please stay for five more minutes and listen to this song by one of my favourites artists. She’s been an internet favourite for a few years now, hopefully moving into up-and-coming success in the mainstream territory. This is Florrie…

Florrie – ‘Seashells’

With Girls Aloud breaking up almost a year ago to the day, the Gossip album being a major mixed bag and the whole Amelia Lily debacle, I was thinking this was the end for Xenomania – my favourite pop makers of all time. Luckily, Florrie was there with my second favourite song of last year ‘Live a Little’ keeping my faith alive. Despite finally signing to a label, this singer-drummer-model-fireman combo hasn’t ditched team X to work with the current big names that everyone else is. And despite the songs Brian Higgins and co have put out over the last 2 years nearly all being firmly in the electronic category, ‘Seashells’ instantly hits you with some Asian-sounding production. This is typically Florrie and Xenomania in that it ignores typical verse-chorus song but is made up of nonsensical playground style chants that earworm into your brain. It’s not the most immediate song on first listen, nor does it seem to compare to earlier Florrie songs like ‘Call of the Wild‘ or ‘Every Inch’, but if your curiosity takes you back for further listens, it really grows on you.

The video suits the song too, its not really about anything but its got the chilled aura to it. The Instagram effects coupled with Florrie’s relative unknown status make this pretty hipster friendly but she really is worth getting into, and not just to have an unknown popstar to brag about liking but because her music is really damn good.

(and she’s not actually a fireman)