listen

listen: jamie cullum “taller”

Jamie Cullum - Taller.png

It’s been four years since his last album, “Interlude”. That was an album of all covers; this one all originals (except for one song on the deluxe edition I was lucky to pick up)! He’s such an interesting musician. He’s always had solid original songs but the arrangements for his covers have been incredible. I think the covers is more of what drew me to him. (He and Michael BublĂ© are kind of contemporaries in the remaking standards but Cullum plays the piano and has composed way more original songs than BublĂ©. I also found them around the same time)

Cullum is considered a British jazz musician and I’m not going to dispute that. What was interesting about this album is that he leaned more in R&B for a few songs. This doesn’t surprise me because he’s previously been drawn to contemporary R&B and reimagining them (“Frontin'” on “twentysomething” and his “Don’t Stop the Music” cover on “The Pursuit” is brilliant).

The lyrics this time around were extremely mature. It’s really something. Like he went through something pretty serious. All I can say is that I probably could have used songs like “Life is Grey”, “Monster”, “Endings Are Beginnings”, and “The Age of Anxiety” when I lost my job last summer. Absolutely perfect for melancholy! Still, I’m very happy to have this album now even if I’m trying to break into more positive moods.

Which is wonderful for the fact that his cover of The Killers’ “The Man” made the deluxe edition. What I wouldn’t give for him and Brandon Flowers to perform the song together with Cullum’s arrangement. He somehow injects the song with even more life and that is impressive.

2019 is shaping up to be a year where all of my favorite artists are releasing new albums. None of them have let me down yet.

#disneydare, pixar

#disneydare: toy story 4

Another year of Disney and Pixar putting out sequels instead of original content. But that will change next year!!!

Toy Story 4 poster.jpg

Regarding this particular sequel, I mean, did we really need another Toy Story? The third one was perfect and wrapped up the story extremely well. I’ve enjoyed all the little specials on ABC to show the toys’ new life with Bonnie but was intrigued when they said it would focus on Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and Woody (Tom Hanks). I was down for a prequel-type situation but that’s not what we were given. And that’s not a bad thing!

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read

read: zodiac starforce, volume 1: by the power of astra by kevin panetta & paulina ganucheau

I don’t remember how this series came to my attention but I’m glad it did.

Zodiac Starforce Volume 1: By the Power of Astra

A group of teenage girls were granted powers and became Zodiac Starforce. They haven’t been needed lately and their friendship has fallen by the wayside. But when their leader, Emma, gets sick and monsters return, they reunite to save the world!

I loved this! It is very reminiscent of Sailor Moon but the characters are very modern and fun. Emma’s going through a lot but she doesn’t let anyone down. Kim is hilarious. Savi is so so great. And sadly, I didn’t connect to Molly? But it’s super colorful and the artwork is stunning. My only complaint is that a Sagittarius was not represented at this time. I know there’s one more volume so I pray it’s rectified but also, I’m angry we don’t get more than that. It’s such a great story for young girls! Why do the comic gods hate me?

watch

watch: dark phoenix

I’ve never fully spoken about how much I love the X-Men movies on here. I know I spoke about it on my podcast but the first X-Men movie helped me after 9/11. And I instantly became a fan. X2 is still my favorite but The Last Stand was a low point. And then there was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Both of these movies have flaws but I don’t mind watching them for some reason (okay, Hugh Jackman is the reason).

And then, they rebooted the franchise. They gave us First Class, which was delightful and brilliantly cast James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Xavier and Magneto. It revitalized the love I had for these characters and Days of Future Past was also excellent. And then came Apocalypse. I think I was in between blogs at this point so I didn’t review it. And to be honest, I can’t remember like anything about it besides that it was an absolute waste of Oscar Isaac. So, going into this film was hard. I love the cast but they already stumbled with this storyline once before! Still, I believed it couldn’t be worse than Apocalypse

Dark Phoenix (film).png

After something goes awry during a space mission with the X-Men, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) has her powers amplified. She is unable to control her new powers and seeks help from others outside of the school, including Vuk (Jessica Chastain), an alien on search of the cosmic force that is affecting Jean.

It’s funny. In previous X-Men reviews, I struggle to write a synopsis. Here, there’s no problem but also I think it’s part of the problem. All the stuff I usually love in these movies was missing. Making it smaller was not a bad thing but it also took away from the larger message these movies try to tell. They touched on it briefly but it wasn’t enough so the stakes weren’t really there.

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book club, read

read: this is how it always is by laurie frankel

This Is How It Always Is

I somehow missed when this was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick (but it’s rare that I get to read those anyway…) but the PopSugar Reading Challenge selected it for May. It was cheap enough at Target so I bought it. (Side note: I really need more stability so I can get a library card. I miss the library)

This is a story about a family. Rosie and Penn met in college and instantly fell in love. They have five boys and have a pretty nice life but then, their youngest son Claude announces he wants to be a girl when he grows up. They are thrown but try their hardest to give their child the life she wants.

I really liked this book. It reminded me a bit of This is Us as it is not always told in a linear fashion and the family aspect is very strong. But the overall message was so important and it’s definitely something to read for Pride Month. The strongest parts were the first two; telling Rosie and Penn’s love story as well as their family life. All of the boys are so different and I loved reading about them. And how they reacted to the change in their family dynamic.

It is such a modern story too. She never flinches from hard conversations and the constant push and pull from both Rosie and Penn about Claude, or his chosen name, Poppy, was insightful. Claude/Poppy was the lead character and a lot broke my heart regarding the story arc. While it ended quite beautifully, the final part was not the best. It took Rosie and Claude away from the family and though it ended up working, I missed the presence of Penn and the other boys. It was a bit of a radical departure and I couldn’t see where it was going. But that was pretty much my only complaint. It was such a well-written story and it genuinely moved me.

listen

listen: may 2019

May was not a great month for me. And I think it showed on this slightly neglected blog. I have some ideas for more content here so please bear with me!

Here is my playlist for May. There are only 30 songs because my May 31st song was not available on Spotify and my own copy of the file didn’t show up either! (It was “If I Believed” from Starkid’s Twisted if you’re interested!)

watch

watch: rocketman

Rocketman (film).png

Last year, I reviewed two tribute albums for Elton John and Bernie Taupin and explained my connection to these two musical geniuses. Due to this, it should come as no surprise that I was very excited to see the film based on John’s life.

This is a story about how Elton John (Taron Egerton) became a world superstar while battling addiction and exploring his sexual identity.

I liked it. The performances were brilliant but there were a few things that threw me off but I’d rather put them under the cut.

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journey to episode ix

journey to episode ix: shattered empire by greg rucka

See, jumping around the timelines! Woo! (Note: I’m keeping it tagged “Journey to Episode IX” even though we now have a title because it’s long and I’m not interested in changing it. Also, I’m lazy)

Taking place after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, the Rebellion wants to celebrate the end of the Empire but the Empire doesn’t seem to be backing down. A-Wing pilot Shara Bey and her husband Kes Dameron (MHMMM) join Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker on separate adventures to officially try to stop the remains of the Empire.

My one criticism is how short it is! Four issues?! Definitely not enough! Especially since trades usually cover at least six issues! But honestly, it was very interesting. So, the comic was part of the “Journey to The Force Awakens” series which is why it’s nice to see Poe Dameron’s parents in action! Also, to show how the galaxy fell into such a state again (I have an idea kicking around for a long essay on why this shouldn’t be such a source of anger to anyone. Alas, I likely will never finish it). Slight spoilers under the cut.

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