2017: Album Of The Year.

2017: Album Of The Year.

It took a little while longer than planned, but hopefully it’s worth the wait, here is my rundown of 2017’s best albums.


creeper.png

It’s rare for a bands first album to feel genuine authentic and effortless and yeah for the most part on eternity in your arms creeper managed this the self-described horror punk band hit all the aggressive highs and deep dark lows the crafted rock opera the kind that My Chemical Romance would envy and at times they almost have shades of the Legendary 5-piece. They’re not quite there yet but hopefully they won’t struggle settling for having one of the best albums of 2017.


paramore

To say that Paramore came into the year an underdog is itself an understatement. Their previous self titled effort saw them rocket to mainstream success, but turn away from the Paramore of yesteryear. After laughter, However, manages to tread the fine and brilliant line between capturing both the dark and damaged tone of their third album with the flow, structure, production and songwriting of classic Paramore. It’s not an album that will please all of their fans but it is a damn good collection of music that pushes the bands boundaries whilst feeling like the Paramore you grew up loving.


es ts

Some albums are defined more by the tracks you skip then the tracks you listened to, the tracks you couldn’t bring yourself to hear, that had too much weight or meaning to just “be listened to”. But Enter Shikari’s The Spark is an album defined by the difficult songs you do hear. The record takes the Shikari formula and applies it to a more personal, smaller scale album that tells stories of breaking down and building back up again. This is also the structure of the record, building up with heavier guitar driven tracks, breaking down to quieter, or smaller scale tracks and then rebuilding to something new. It’s an emotional journey in terms of both the sound and the tone of the album and it makes for a record that is undeniably the best of the year.


Thank you for your patience with this year’s “best of” series and as always thanks for reading!

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Movie Of The Year 2017.

Movie Of The Year 2017.

Just last week we saw award season reach it’s peak with the handing out of the 2018 Oscars. So now it’s time to close award season out with the most important awards of all, the Cam Writes Blog best film awards.

I Kid of course, Sorry this took much longer than usual


6 la la

A love letter to the Golden Age of cinema La La Land is a sleek and beautifully produced film that is just as fun to watch as it is to listen to. The film’s story is multilayered despite being at face value a little bit basic but it’s stunning presentation and joyous subtext elevate it to one of the best films of the year for cinema fans and a perfect example of how the musical genre can translate to screen and maintain a unique atmosphere


4 Logan

The best word to use to describe Logan is brave, not necessarily because of its subject matter, or particularly it’s presentation, (though the black and white home release could certainly make an good case). No, Logan is brave because of the obvious risks it takes with a genre that has been Cinema’s most popular for nearly the last decade and for its dedication to seeing the vision of its director, writer and creators through to the end, a very bitter end in the case of this film.  Yes, it struggles with pacing and it is far from an easy watch, but it’s arguably the film that will have the greatest impact on your more traditional “popcorn-movie cinema go-er” this year, a fact that most people would have doubted from a franchise like X-Men.


tlj

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a surprisingly difficult film. It manages to simultaneously challenges it’s franchises framework and totally cement it in place, it builds up characters beyond belief and tears them down like they’re nothing. It treads a very fine line between the old and the new, for some fans this was a dichotomy that went too far but it’s easy to make the argument that a good film should challenge as much as satisfy and The Last Jedi does both in spades. Again it suffers from some pacing issues, but to see such a marvelous franchise evolve in such a natural and organic way, to be something truly unexpected, is one of the purest joys a film fan can have and have no doubt about it The Last Jedi is one of those joys.


Baby Drover

Baby Driver, poor poor Baby Driver. In any other year Baby Driver would not struggle to take the best film of the Year Crown by a mile. Every aspect of its production is brilliant, it’s performances are stellar, it’s core story line and Direction are some of the best Hollywood has put out this year and it’s production values are slicker than Elvis Presley’s over gelled hair. But even Elvis would give the thumbs up to this film for its stunning use of music, knocking La La Land in to second place as best cinema musical of the year. Edgar Wright’s latest was one of the most stylish, surprising an enchanting films that 2017 had to offer. If you’ve yet to watch it, do yourself a favour and set aside the time you need to do so, you won’t be disappointed.


br 2049

It takes one hell of a film to beat out Baby Driver and Blade Runner 2049 is that film. Positively overflowing with neon tinged 80s nostalgia, Blade Runner is a love letter to what came before and a perfect example of how a film franchise can, not just live again but, evolve. A slow aching burn of a movie with subtext deeper than the Mariana Trench, Blade Runner is easily the best film of 2017 because it manages to introduce and play with many threads whilst keeping the audience enthralled and on the edge of their seats at all times. What secures the crown for Blade Runner though is how it’s always four or five steps ahead of you, it will make you feel simultaneously like the smartest and dumbest person in the auditorium. All of this comes before even a consideration of its stunning stylistic approach Denis Villeneuve is quickly making a case for himself being one of the best directors in Hollywood and Blade Runner 2049 is the icing on that auteur shaped cake. A film that makes you want to think, cry, laugh, smile and soak in its world, Blade Runner 2049 is absolutely a masterpiece and absolutely the best film of 2017.


But are there any films I missed, or any you think deserved the title more than Blade Runner. Let me know what you’re film of the year was. Next week: album of the year!

2016: Album Of The Year

2016: Album Of The Year

Following on from Movie of the year it’s now time to run down the best music released in 2016 but before that here are some special mentions.


Enter Shikari: Singles.

Enter Shikari haven’t released a full new record since last year’s The Mindsweep, they did, however, release a small selection of new music this year and it was fantastic. Redshift started the year off with a softer, pop rocky ode to the universe and Hoodwinker closed the year out with a stomper of a track, one of the heaviest Shikari have made in a while. they couldn’t be put in any slot on the album of the year list but they more than stand up with the best music here, keep it up Shikari!

Busted: Night Driver.

Their first album in 13 years Night Driver is a departure from the teenage pop rock sound that defined this band for the opening years of their career. This album starts off with smooth synths and goes from strength to strength. It’s an uninhibited pop record and goes to prove how good this genre of music can be when it’s made by damned good musicians.


5: Panic! At The Disco: Death Of A Bachelor.

Death Of A Bachelor is the first official record where Panic! At The Disco means Brendon Urie and that means Death Of A Bachelor is the product of Urie’s creative process alone. For the most part this is a damn good thing. Panic!’s fifth album is made of a combination of modern pop rock and Sinatra-esque, 50’s style, swing jazz. On paper it’s an odd combination but Urie’s smooth voice does a fairly good job of pulling this all together. The only real failing of the album is that it doesn’t commit to that crooner style more. None the less it’s a fantastically produced collection of songs that shows just how talented Urie is as a musician.

 

4: Little Bribes: Obstacles.

Little Bribes are, in no uncertain terms, one of the most interesting independent bands of the last few years. Full of energy and buzz, it’s rare that you hear a band both so heavy and so authentic. Their debut E.P. released this year is chock-a-block with catchy, guitar driven music, the likes of which will have you humming and head banging along in no time. The best way to describe Obstacles is: If Taking Back Sunday made their best, heaviest record yet, but recorded it in a garden shed. And if that description doesn’t tempt you to listen to this band, who knows what will. Little Bribes are a fantastic breath of fresh air which they’ve managed to bottle perfectly on Obstacles. They very much deserve your attention.

 

3: Radical Face: The Leaves.

Every record from Radical Face’s The Family Tree has been an easy inclusion on each of these lists and The Leaves is just as deserving. The Leaves is the final part in a series of albums designed to tell the story of a family during turn of the century America with a super natural twist. This time round the album features more obvious use of electronic instrumentation and even stronger use of percussion than its predecessor. One of the most defining things about The Family Tree has been its subtly haunting tone and The Leaves captures that ethereal sense perfectly for a final time.

 

2: Good Charlotte: Youth Authority.

Good Charlotte are one of the most underrated bands on the planet and Youth Authority is absolute proof. The album starts off with bright vibrant guitars, on point drums and vocals that catch your attention and for the next 12 tracks it just gets better. Perhaps the best thing about Youth Authority though is the way in which it genuinely captures the feeling of pop punk from the early 2000’s. A genre that Good Charlotte arguably helped to define. This record is fun, fast and joyous and if you grew up listening to this kind of music, you owe it to yourself to hear Youth Authority.

 

1: Green Day: Revolution Radio.

By the end of 2016 people were calling for Green Day to release American Idiot part 2. What they didn’t know is that Green Day already had. Revolution Radio is one of the most mature, politically motivated records Green Day have ever made. But mature does not mean quiet as this record is also the most lively, punky album the band have put out since their classic rock opera of 2004. Green Day deserve this year’s top spot because of how perfectly written, performed and produced this album is. From the very first song it’s tone and message is consistent and on point. Every piece of instrumentation is as good as Green Day have ever been and the album flows from track to track perfectly. Revolution Radio is by far the best album of a very dark year.


This is the last blog I will publish in 2016, if you’ve taken the time to stop and read anything published on this blow in the last 12 months thank you so so much. See you in 2017.

2016: Movie Of The Year.

2016: Movie Of The Year.

2016 was far from a champagne year for film, but among a year of some fairly major flops there were some damn fine releases and here are the best, but first some honorable mentions:


Hail, Ceasar!

The Cohen Brothers do a damn good job of capturing the feeling of cinemas golden age. As an original work it struggles but as an ode to an era of film making past it’s something quite beautiful.

10 Cloverfield Lane.

Dan Trachtenberg uses tense claustrophobic shots to tell the story of a woman fighting against a man who is either her captor or her saviour. Twilight Zone-esque and full of palpable tension it’s a fantastic first step into Hollywood produced by JJ Abrams.


  1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Rogue One is a dark, dense and gritty story that takes place within the Star Wars universe. Rather than focusing on a force user, Jedi or “chosen one” character the story instead focuses on a Jyn, the daughter of a family tied to the construction of the Death Star. Rogue One is more focused on giving a genuine feel of humanity and strife to the rebellion. These are not just characters on the “good side”, they’re desperate individuals pulling together to fight a foe who seems totally insurmountable. Rogue One takes a beloved franchise and twists it to feel new, interesting and gritty in many of the right ways.

 

  1. Deadpool.

Deadpool is easily the most memorable movie of 2016, it is one of the funniest films released in the last few years due in no small part to the incredible, 4th wall breaking performance of Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool’s commitment to dark humour and a mature tone helps to separates the movie from its super hero peers, making Deadpool feel fresh and vibrant in a genre that felt somewhat bloated this year. It’s brutal, messy, sexy, gory and hilarious from start to finish exactly as you’d want a Deadpool movie to be.

 

  1. Captain America: Civil War.

Civil War switches up the usual Marvel formula by replacing the traditional Macguffin based antagonist with a deep, tense and human drama driven by the politics of The Avengers. The film’s plot is fantastically smart and just when you think it’s running out of steam it surprises you with another card it’s been playing close to the chest. It’s action is beautifully choreographed so that every member of its giant ensemble has their own recognisable fighting style and can be picked out and followed amongst the fast paced, giant scale battles. Civil War manages to make a Marvel film feel fun and action packed but also tangibly tense and like it has real consequences. It’s a brilliant action movie that manages to stay two steps ahead of its very excited audience at all times.


So the best of the year has begun, next up is 2016’s album of the year. Thanks for reading!