Dan Says – Week Eighteen

This week marks the jubilation of one of my dearest friends’ Lora’s 31st (or should I say 18th?) and she hosted a rather splendid, small gathering at a pub in South London and it got me thinking of ideas for my forthcoming birthday.

I’ve never really been a big fan of parties, I’ve always had this social anxiety of putting lots of different friends together and watching a collatable explosion right in front of my face but I realised that as I get older, I should care less – if my friends decide to not get on with one another, that’s on them, it’s not my responsibility. I can easily merge with lots of friends’ friends with no issues therefore any issues that arise will fall completely on them.

Having recently moved to a lovely new flat, it seemed only right to have friends over and it seemed ample to have my friend Eddie over. Where I’m based now in Muswell Hill hosts an array of memories for us both as during our university days this was where we lived for 2 of the 3 years, and boasts a selection of really great memories amid some not-so-great. There are two main bus services that we relied heavily on – the 134 to Soho (stops you directly behind The Phoenix Theatre – AKA Pee stop!) and the 43 to London Bridge (via Holloway Road – perfect for uni). Muswell has seen some changes: the Giraffe is no longer here (irony at it’s finest if you know anything about me); the O’Neill’s has been replaced by a Miller & Carter (on the to-go list); and La Porchetta has downsized but still seems as crammed in as ever. I can’t begin to emphasise the history that we have in Muswell…we laughed about some the other night…we’d gone out one night and drank copious amounts of alcohol and agreed for an early start to go and grab day tickets for ‘Viva Forever’ (the Spice Girls musical)…we met in Starbucks and Eddie ran straight to the toilet to vomit before finding himself perched on the floor of the tube…there are so many little anecdotes I wish I could share but alas, we would be here for days and as RuPaul would say “ain’t nobody got time for that”.

Katharine McPhee – ‘She Used To Be Mine’

She Used To Be Mine - Katharine McPhee

Finally! This is a long time coming! As Katharine waves goodbye to the West End and London she gives us the one thing we’ve all wanted since her announcement of starring in ‘Waitress’ – a recorded version of the token track from ‘Waitress’, ‘She Used To Be Mine’. The one word for it is beautiful, and I can’t stress how beautiful Katharine’s version is. She doesn’t strictly follow the melody structurally and in context of the show…it’s simply wonderful. Her voice soars over the instrumental so elegantly and profusely and it’s quite a shock to the system that she won’t be here anymore. I’m slightly disappointed at myself for not seeing her in the role a few more times…but alas…she was so wonderful when I did, and to have had the pleasure of meeting her twice and picturing with her and managing to discuss her music career with her…it’s all that 15/16 year old boy from Devon would have wanted who listened to her debut album on loop. PS – If you don’t get goose-bumps listening to this version of ‘She Used To Be Mine’, then you’re probably heartless.

Kaskade & Meghan Trainor – ‘With You’

Kaskade, Meghan Trainor - With You (Animated Audio)

‘With You’ is the latest earworm from Ms Trainor and earworm it is…the track is a little bit of a dancier/house number for Ms Trainor, and she soars over the breakdown, “wasting my time with you” as she’s declaring she wants rid of her loser lover and needing better reasons why she should continue pursuing her loser lover…of course the narrative of the song isn’t completely relatable for Ms Trainor at present as she’s all loved up…but it’s a great club number and if it’s not a huge summer hit, it will be a shame…the general public seem to be sleeping on Meghan at the moment and I’m not overly sure why…she’s serving us bop after bop.

Taylor Swift – ‘You Need To Calm Down’

Taylor Swift - You Need To Calm Down (Lyric Video)

‘You Need To Calm Down’ serves as the second single from Taylor’s forthcoming album ‘Lover’, and I think it’s painfully obvious that Taylor can do no wrong. ‘Me’ wasn’t overly well received as I think audiences might take Taylor a little too serious, which is ironic, because most of her music involves her being part of the joke about herself (see ‘Blank Space’, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ etc.). ‘You Need To Calm Down’ is an 80s synthy track that is essentially tailored at the LGBT+ community and is the perfect little jaunt within Taylor’s discography… it’s inoffensive, catchy, and stays in her lane… lyrically it’s a little confusing however as “cause shade never made anyone less gay” doesn’t really make sense because “throwing shade” is generally a term used within the gay community; therefore if someone were throwing shade…it wouldn’t make them less gay…but more gay…I get the concept at what Taylor’s saying…but lyrically…it doesn’t really make much sense.

Aly & AJ – ‘Star Maps’

Aly & AJ - Star Maps (Official Video)

And here we go…for the underrated Disney act (besides Hilary Duff)… Aly & AJ have released two great bodies of work over the last year, ’10 Years’ and ‘Sanctuary’ and have been blissfully ignored but the triumphant fight to continue does not stop the duo and they’ve dropped their slightly camp video for ‘Star Maps’, whilst the song itself is a bombastic, pop number that sees the girls singing, “I wanna burn this house to the ground after playing with fire”…I must say the middle eight is painfully earwormy. Whilst the girls aren’t capturing mainstream success, their small success has seen them embarking on a UK tour next month and you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be there at Scala.

Ashley O – ‘On A Roll’

Ashley O – On a Roll | Official Music Video

I think by now it’s been decided that Ashley O is the hottest popstar on everyone’s lips at the moment and I more than anyone wants an Ashley O doll…someone to teach me dance routines… yeah… sign me up. Miley Cyrus’ titular role from the ‘Black Mirror‘ episode has finally dropped two tracks onto the digital world and the whole thing is ridiculous, bonkers and playing into the whole ‘Black Mirror’ notion…imagine if Ashley O had a #1 hit? ‘On A Roll’ is a reworking of the Nine Inch Nails track, ‘Head Like A Hole’ and it showcases how genius pop music is…the original track is a rock number with the same intent but changing the tempo to a pop song seems to ‘take away’ the lyrical aspect but actually as any pop music fan will tell you…it highlights the lyrical content just as much and shows how great a song can be, to be changed so dramatically but maintain the same message.

What were your thoughts on the fifth season of ‘Black Mirror’? I loved the Ashley O episode; I was quite confused at the notion of the first episode – why did he want to play the role of a woman if he was not interested in men at all? And ‘Smithereens’ – what was the ending about?

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