Saturday, January 29, 2011
2010, what a year for music... This top 5 are of my own opinion and of any genre throught the year. It was culled down and judged on how often I listen to the albums. Enjoy...
1. ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’- KANYE WEST
Love him or hate him, Kanye West is back and better than ever. ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ is the producing giant’s 5th studio album and in my opinion, his best to date.
A year on the ‘down low’ following his infamous interrupting incident at the 2009 MTV VMA awards, provided the musical inspiration for a rapper who was criticized and beat down for simply speaking the truth. A few months later, ‘Power’ was leaked to millions across the world, giving an insight into what the new album would sound like. With a message of ‘I don’t really give a f*ck’, Power set the bar for every song soon to be dropped on ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’.
‘MBDTF’ was released to the masses on November 22nd 2010 and quickly received rave reviews across the world. I downloaded the album and have listened to it nearly every day in its entirety since its release.
Kanye West is what I like to describe as the drunken uncle at family parties who gets really smashed and says some cringing shit, but in reality, he actually makes sense and just says the stuff people are thinking. This album shows brilliance and pure genius on production and through the powerful and truthful lyrics.
It’s hard to pick individual favourites, but if I had too, I would name, ‘Lost in the world’ as my favourite track off the album, as it reminds me of my mum in the weeks following her death. The drum beat and lyrics are so powerful and really hit home every time I hear them. In close second place, is ‘All of the lights’ featuring Rihanna and others.
In many ways, the album offers slower songs with breathing space, then on the other hand it serves up some nasty in your face tracks such as ‘Monster’, where up and coming female MC ‘Nicki Minaj’ outshines both Kanye and Jay Z with her punching verse. ‘Runaway’ recently voted at the number 14 spot on Triple J’s Hottest 100 of 2011 also deserves a special mention, where Kanye reflects on all the ‘Douche Bags and Scum Bags’ he has been in the past.
Long time friend of Kanye, ‘John Legend’ is also featured on one of my favourite tracks, ‘Blame Game’, telling of a failed relationship (thought to be written for Kanye’s Ex girlfriend, ‘Amber Rose)
From start to finish, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ is an album that has been carefully thought out and produced. It was an album that if not for Kanyes mishap interrupting, wouldn’t of happened. For the haters, for the lovers, it’s an album for all who appreciate music as a whole. From the samples in each track, to the straight up honest lyrics, MBDTF outshines every other album of 2010, and is Kanye West’s best to date.
2. ‘April Uprising’- JOHN BUTLER TRIO
The number two spot goes to The John Butler Trio’ with April Uprising’. Released in April of 2010 is first album released from the new look John Butler Trio. Nicky Bomba the new percussionist and Byron Luiters on the bass, bring a new and exciting feel to the trio. I was sceptical of the new sound at first, but after buying the new album, I was impressed with its rootsy feel good sound.
I was fortunate enough to see them perform live at the Horden Pavilion late last year, and as usual, they never disappoint. John butler has grown as a song writer and performer and seems to be producing more upbeat catchy tracks, compared with his darker, longer acoustics which many have grown to know and love on his previous albums.
Stand out tracks on April Uprising for me were, ‘Revolution’ which adds the political element that you come to expect from the Butler. ‘I’d do anything’ which makes me melt and shows the love he has for his wife and family’, and ‘Close to you’ which just makes me feel good with memories of sunny Sunday drives with my best mate in Sydney.
All in all, April Uprising was an album that I have enjoyed from start to finish in 2010 and is the type of CD you can listen to at anytime while in any mood.
3. ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot, The Son Of Chico Dusty’- BIG BOI
Coming in at the number 3 spot is an album that I was busting to get in the weeks leading up to its release date in July of 2010. In what was dubbed ‘The Hip Hop Album of the year’ by several sources, ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot, The Son of Chico Dusty’ was the debut solo album of former ‘OutKast’ member, ‘Big Boi’.
For the lovers of old school hip hop mixed with a little bit of new, this album brings it all. Powerful fast flows by Big Boi, mixed with that dirty south sound and unusual samples in production. Guest artists also played a big part in the success of the album, including tracks such as ‘Be Still’ featuring ‘Janelle Monae’ who offers a softer side to the sometimes harsh sounding flow of Big Boi.
Although it was his first solo album, the addictive sounds of his former duo ‘Outkast’ are still featured heavily throughout the album with tracks such as ‘You ain’t no DJ’, produced by ‘Andre 3000’... His live performance mid 2010 in Sydney is also worth a mention: Not a lyric missed.
Without a doubt the biggest song off the album though was ‘Shutterbug’, offering massive amounts of bass and uncontrollable foot tapping’...
Sir Lucious Left Foot, The Son Of Chico Dusty is definitely an impressive album, especially for the hip hop dedicated.
4. ‘Distant Relatives’- NAS/DAMIAN MARLEY
I got told about this album by my cousin Dustin and within the first week of its release in May 2010, it was a part of my collection. ‘Distant Relatives’ is a collaborative studio album from Hip Hop legend, NAS, and reggae royalty, Damian Marley (son of Bob Marley).
The album is conscious, hard, and political and translates the plight of poverty stricken Africa. The first song released, ‘As we enter’ has an energetic raga/hip hop beat, which received radio play all over the nation (including from myself, while on Koori Radio, 93.7fm, Sydney).
The lyrical content alone is why it scored the number 4 spot on my list. The track ‘Patience’ shows similarities to one of my favourite Nas and Damian colabs, ‘Road to Zion’ with the same thought provoking lyrics mixed with slow carefully orchestrated production.
Distant relatives was definitely one of my favourite albums of the year in 2010, and I only wish I was still living in Sydney to see them perform the tracks at ‘Good Vibes festival in early February 2011.
5. 'Record Collection'- MARC RONSON & The Business Intl’
If I have to be honest, up until the release of ‘Record Collection’, I was unaware of the brilliance of producer ‘Mark Ronson’... Triple J Radio as usual was the first to introduce me to his genius.
TV Series, ‘Entourage’ featured the first song released from the album, ‘Bang Bang Bang’ featuring rapper ‘Q-TIP’, MNDR. The song kicks off the rest of the album with its electro, funky sounds and was my ringtone for a good few weeks.
‘Ride my bike’ is another track that has that 60’s inspired, psychedelic, feel good rhythm to it that you can’t help but enjoy. The biggest and most talked about song on the album though would have to be ‘Somebody to love me’ featuring the fresh out of jail and 80’s crooner, ‘Boy George’ and others. The music and production alone in this song makes it stand out from the rest and with the shaky, distinct voice, the song ties together nicely to easily be one of the best tracks of 2010.
For anyone looking for an album of various range and the quirkiness factor, then you can’t go past Mark Ronsons ‘Record Collection’.
One Love, One Life....
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Until now, I haven’t had the desire to write, be creative, smile, breathe, laugh or be content. My life changed within in instant on Wednesday 29th December 2010. The day was like any other normal day.... I woke up, caught the bus into town to work, only to realise I wasn’t rostered on and I had the day off. I sat at Gloria Jeans and had a coffee while listening to Kanye West’s new album, before ringing my friend Noella. She came to pick me up, we spent a few hours down at Maroubra beach, watched ‘Entourage’ and settled into the afternoon and watched the movie ‘Australia’....
Until now, my life was going along fine... Only a few weeks earlier, I had just graduated from the top media school in the country and received a $20,000 excellence award scholarship, my only sister Jade just got married to her childhood sweet heart after 15 years in front of our family and her friends, and I had scored a much sort after co-producer job at ABC Local Radio in Sydney... Life was going good for a girl from the country. I felt fulfilled, and grateful for all the opportunities and joyful times I had experienced within the past month.
It turned out that Wednesday 29th of December wouldn’t be another normal day. When I woke up to that quiet normal Sydney morning, I didn’t think for a second that my life would change later that afternoon. As I sat on that couch in Maroubra watching ‘Australia’, I received a phone call that would change my life forever. Around 4:45pm, my sister rang me to tell me that my mother had been rushed to the hospital back home... 15 minutes later, I found myself answering a phone call from an Atherton Doctor informing me that ‘They worked on my mother for half an hour and tried all they could but they were unsuccessful in bringing her back to life and they were sorry for my loss’.....
At this very moment, I felt as if I was shot in the stomach. How could this be? How? Why? No? My mum? How is this possible? The few minutes I was on the phone to this woman, to this idiot of a woman who couldn’t bring my mother back to life, was indescribable. I had no words for her. I didn’t know what to say, I was in shock. Instead I cried, screamed and swore. In hindsight, I don’t hate her, she was only doing her job, and what a f**ked up bit of the job it must be for her.
My dearest friend at that moment, Noella Green caught me and held me as floods of tears and screams left my body. I was shaking, my stomach sick and my throat dry reaching, my breath shallow and my head faint. As I sat on the floor with my best friend rocking me, I have never felt such sorrow and pain in my life. The next 24 hours were a blur. I was in Sydney alone with only my friend, without my family, all who had been calling me non stop as the bad news travelled fast. That night I waited, tired, eyes heavy and stinging from the nonstop tears with no sleep, I waited for my 6am flight back to North Queensland. Wednesday December 29th 2010 would be the day my life changed forever.
I left a wet, dark Sydney on Thursday December 30th, in what would be my last day in the city I had called home for the past 8 months. As I sat on the plane in the emergency exit, exposed to what seemed the whole plane, I sobbed more than I’ve ever sobbed before. My heart literally hurt as I cried my way home across the state.
The next 2 weeks would be a blur. I have never been so overcome with grief in my life. My mother was one of 7 siblings in her family and the first to go out of her brothers and sisters. To return home to these equally heartbroken family members was like nothing I have experienced before. My only goals on my arrival were to be with my sister, my little brother, my dad and my family. I knew if nothing else would get me through this process, my family would.
The last time I physically saw my mother before her passing was the day after my sister’s wedding on Sunday 12th December when she waited with me at the airport while I waited for my flight back to Sydney. We bought hungry jacks and chatted about Jade’s big day and how lovely it was. My flight was called out over the loud speaker and she kissed me goodbye and told me she loved me and to call her when I flew into Sydney. The last time we spoke was on Boxing Day when she rang me for a yarn. We laughed and chatted about our Christmas days and she rang to see how I was doing. She said goodbye and then started a conversation again, to which I then joked and said, ‘Mum, you can’t start a brand new topic after you already said goodbye’... After I said this, she jokingly said, ‘Shut up, I’m going then, love ya and catch ya ring later’... That was the last time I would ever speak to my mother.
From these conversations only a few weeks earlier to me in Atherton surrounded my grieving family, we made our way to the Hospital to see my mum. Seeing my mother in the hospital without life inside of her was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. The decision to physically walk into the morgue to see my mother’s lifeless body was a heart wrenching decision to make but one I had to do in order for the process to be real. I didn’t want to, I wanted to have the memory of seeing her smiling face, with tears in her eyes of my departure in my mind for ever, not the memory of her calm, lifeless face. It took 2 of my fully grown cousins to hold me up when viewing my mum in that cold room. My legs felt like Jelly and my heart was broken. I stroked my mother’s hair and told her I loved her as I watched my father, brother, sister and family in the room, sob alongside me. This is a process and experience I would never wish on my worst enemy!
My mum’s funeral was surreal. The week leading up to it, felt like time had stopped. My best friend and rock, Nathan flew up from Brisbane and was with me early that morning. Before his arrival, I sat at the front of my sisters the morning of her funeral listening to that Kanye album again, played ‘Lost in the world’ and sobbed my heart out once again at the reality that Saturday January 8th would be the day I would say goodbye to my mother, the woman who gave birth to me, who loved me, who took care of me and told me every time we talked that she loved me.
Friends and family came far and wide, from interstate and overseas to pay tribute to a woman who they had all grown to know and love. Over 450 people attended my mother’s service. I sat at the front of the non denominational chapel and heard the sound of ‘Pink Floyd’s’ ‘Wish you were here’ song begin, a song I had chosen for her to be carried in by all of my cousins who all donned traditional ochre on their foreheads representing ‘One Blood’. The sound of Yadaki (didgeridoo) and clap stacks played by my uncle and brother took over as the song was faded down and mum was bought to the front for all to see. Her purple coffin chosen by us (her favourite colour) was draped in Aboriginal material bought down from a family member in the Northern Territory along with our murri flag; The Red, Black and Yellow.
Sitting there for the next hour, I cried, I squirmed, and I screamed. The pure disbelief that I was at MY mother’s funeral. Nathan sat beside me, held my hand and talked me through it, my sister to my left sobbing doing the same. This was like nothing else I have experienced. Without their love, without their genuine care for me, I would not have had the strength to sit through it all. As the service ended, my cousins side by side, all held my mother with such pride and respect and lead her out to the Hurst.
My family and I walked behind mum, past the blurred faces in the chapel and those spilled outside of the doors and beyond the car park. As I watched the boys put my mother’s vessel as she would always call it, into the back of the Hurst, I grabbed onto my chest and wailed. My mother would often speak of death and how black women and men ‘Wail’ when they feel such grief’. I never understood what she meant by wailing until that moment. It’s a feeling and a sound that comes from the pit of your stomach. It’s an emotion that could be best described between crying and screaming, all in one. I threw my head back and wailed as I watched them drive her away slowly, and then push my way through the crowd following her until they drove her past the gate and out of my sight.
Even though I know she wasn’t there, and even though I knew her spirit had left her body, I still had an attachment to her body. That was the body that gave birth to me, the body that I hugged and kissed, the mother who physically was there for me until she took her last breath. With them taking her away to be cremated was the last straw for me. I sat on the grass with my best friend behind me and took shallow breaths in between the tears and sobbing. Strange family members and old familiar faces came up to me offering their hugs and condolences there at the service and later at the wake, but the truth was, I didn’t want their hugs or kisses or condolences, I just wanted my mum.
Fast forward nearly a month later to today, Sunday 23rd January 2011, and here I sit on my bed in Tolga, at my mother’s house, now mine, typing this message. I have now taken on the responsibility of raising my 13 year old little brother, Eika. Tomorrow he will start his first day of grade 8 at Atherton State High School. My mother would’ve been so proud to see him in his uniform. I will be awake at 7am to make him breakfast and pack his lunch, and get him ready for his first day of High School. I wish nothing more for my mother to be here with us for every first that we all will go through for the rest of our lives but reality is, she isn’t physically, but spiritually I know she is looking over us.
This Thursday 27th January will be her 50th birthday, also the day we as a family are wanting to scatter her ashes at her beloved ‘Harveys Creek’. I miss my mum more than words can say. On that normal Wednesday, she lay down on the couch and went to sleep and didn’t wake up. Her cause of death is unknown and put down as natural causes. Although it hurts me to my core that she isn’t here with us now, I take great comfort in the fact that she passed away peacefully in her sleep without any suffering or pain.
My life has now taken a different path. I gave up a good paying dream job at the ABC/Triple J radio in the city and made the decision to move back to the country, a place I haven’t lived in for nearly 10 years to raise my little brother. Although it is hard, I am taking it all one day at a time, and am leaning on my friends and family for support, love and comfort. Nothing and no one will ever replace my mother, but if I can raise my little brother right and see him through high school, I know my mother’s memory will live on through us each day.
My goals in life no longer revolve around my career or making money. My path has now changed dramatically in a short period of time and my goals are now to raise my little brother to be the best human being he can be like my mother always wished for him. My mum believed that everything happened for a reason, and I know that without a doubt she will guide me and my family for the rest our lives.
This is by far the hardest blog I have ever had to write, but these words are nothing to the pain and anguish I feel every day. I wrote this blog because writing enables me to record and release the feelings I have inside of me that are sometimes harder to speak.
They say it all gets better with time, but I am still waiting for those brighter days. It’s true what they say,’ you never miss someone until their gone’...
Until next time, cherish every moment you have with your loved ones...
One Love, One Life.... XO