Reviewsday – Les Miserables

It’s hard to get the true measure of something on a single viewing, tasting or other method of sampling. Cinematic experiences are particularly true for this, in my experience. The hype of visiting the cinema and the engrossing viewing environment; the big screen, the surround sound, the dimmed lights and the inability to pop out for a cuppa and get distracted loading the washing machine all add to the enjoyment of the film. I know I find that I’m much more likely to rave about something I’ve seen at the cinema, than I am to rave about a first viewing of something on the smaller screen.

Because of this, I’ve decided that the only way to review a film is to watch it once on the big screen, then let it sit for 4 months, watch it again on the small screen and make the review after that second exposure. Or at least that’s what I’ve done with the subject of this week’s reviewsday. With the slight addition of having listened to the soundtrack off and on throughout that 4 month break.

So, without further ado, I bring you my review of Les Miserables.

Les Miserables poster

First thing I need to do is to issue, as is often the case, a disclaimer. I have not read The Brick; aka the literary source material for this story. I have, however, seen the West End production, and I’ve even seen the film they made in the 90s with Liam Neeson taking on the role of Val Jean and not singing a note. So I know a bit about Les Mis. I’ll go as far as to say I was already a fan before I saw the most recent film adaptation. Because of that, I’m not going to give you a review of the story – it’s been retold in so many ways and I’ve seen/heard so many slightly different versions, it’s just going to get confusing. Instead I’m going to give you a 2012 film-specific review, looking at the cast and some of the direction and giving my opinion on them.

Now, I’m a list-based reviewer. That’s just how I roll, and that’s how I’m going to go about this. My points will be vaguely in film order, simply because I made notes during my small screen viewing and that’s how it worked out!

Hugh Jackman. Upon first viewing I liked him, but having listened to the soundtrack several (hundred) times, there’s just something I don’t like about his voice. It’s too energetic at times; too much a caberet star, and it doesn’t have the gravity I want in my Jean Val Jean. To be fair to Hugh; the two JVJs I’m comparing him to are Colm Wilkinson and John Owen Jones (who I saw on stage as the Phantom); both truly epic performers, and both with a bit more oomph to their voice. Watching the film again last night I sort of forgot my complaints; when watching him acting, Hugh does a fantastic job, but listening to the audio on its own lets him down a little bit. This is most likely due to the fact that they recorded it ‘live’ on set, which has to be exhausting, and I would imagine the acting and the singing each lost a little bit in trying to get both captured at the same time.

Russell Crowe, because I can’t start with one and not follow with the other. Who knew he could sing? Again, as with Hugh, he’s not got the same depth of tone as the West End cast recordings I’m familiar with. I adore Earl Carpenter’s version of Javert. I do, however, rate Russell’s version; I really see in him the black-and-white logic of Inspector Javert, and the utter conviction he has in his faith and his duty. I particularly liked the scenes between Val Jean and Javert – the two actors played against each other very well. There’s a video on youtube with Hugh and Russell singing Confrontation and they just look like they’re having so much fun!

Anne Hathaway – I know she’s persona non-grata on the ol’ interwebs, but I’ve always been an Anne Hathaway fan. I don’t get why people don’t like her. Fantine’s a tricky character; she’s not in the film for long enough for the audience to love her, but I think Anne did wonderfully, and I Dreamed A Dream was wonderfully performed – it’s such an emotional song, and was heart-aching to watch on both screens.

Samantha Barks – Now, here’s where it gets interesting; Sam Barks is from actual musicals; she was Eponine in the 2th Anniversary Concert, she knows how the theatre audience want to see their Eponine, and so I couldn’t help but to love her performances. What I didn’t love, however, was what the adaptation did to her character. In my mind, Eponine is lovely; she fancies the pants off Marius, but she helps when he asks for help; even if that help is pushing him toward Cosette. She climbs the barricades mid-battle to deliver news that she has given his note to Val Jean. In the movie she’s a scheming, conniving cowbag, hiding notes and just generally being unhelpful. Why?!?!

Also, whilst we’re on this particular soapbox, what the heck did they do to On My Own? The musical arrangement was beautiful, Sam’s voice was lovely. The scene, however, looked like a rather dodgy pop video. It’s everything I disliked about the direction of the film; the overuse of out-of-focus camera shots, the bizarre need for a rain deluge every time Eponine sings about rain, and yet remaining dry as a bone in every other shot. What is this?!? I may be over sensitive, I love Eponine, I love On My Own, I had such high hopes for that bit, and found it so utterly wanting. It’s not even just that scene, the strange out-of-focus camera work happens fairly often, and the mysterious sudden rain shower reappears when Eponine is felled at the barricades, just in time for A Little Fall Of Rain. Maybe the rain’s not as metaphorical as I had thought.

Quickly through the rest of the cast so as to not make this too much of an essay;

  • Aaron Tveit’s Enjolras is sheer perfection. This may be because I went into the film with already a little crush on the character, a crush which was certainly not harmed by that earnest face and amazing eye acting. The way Enjolras stares at Marius, and then later at Grantaire – makes my lustful knees go weak!
  • Speaking of Grantaire – major props to George Blagden; he wasn’t in the film for long, but he gave such an emotional performance.
  • Eddie Redmayne was a fantastic Marius. I believed in his love for Cosette, and his devotion to the revolution. Yes, his singing voice was a bit different to everyone else’s, but I kinda loved it. He sounds like he’s been airlifted from a Sinatra film, and there’s nowt wrong with that!
  • Amanda Seyfried was good as Cosette; a bit shrill at times, but not enough to distract from her performance. Bloomin’ difficult to warble along to in the car though!
  • Sasha Baron Cohen & Helena Bonham Carter made for amusing Thenardiers, but upon second viewing I wasn’t so easily amused. I think it’s because I can’t put aside the actors from the roles – I look at Sasha Baron Cohen and I see his other performances; Borat and Pirelli in particular, just as I look at Helena Bonham Carter and see Mrs Lovett, and every kooky Tim Burton character she’s ever played.
  • Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche) on the other hand is seventeen shades of perfect. His EVERY moment on screen is exactly right.

My favourite scene in the movie was probably Do You Hear The People Sing; the revolution’s beginnings in the crowds; a slow building song of revolution. In the cinema I got goosebumps (and that was the moment the tears started flowing, not to end until the credits rolled.) I also loved One Day More; it’s impossible to do that sort of montage in the theatre, and so there wasn’t much to compare it to, but even so it exceeded my expectations; as they prepared for battle. Marius’s return always makes me smile, especially with the addition of Redmayne and Tveit’s eye acting.

In fact, the whole short-lived revolution needs to be talked about. It was engrossing viewing; I flinched at every one of the gunshots. I wept piteously as Gavroche fell. I felt my heart breaking as the battle turned and the students were banging on doors begging for salvation. That final scene; Enjolras and Grantaire standing together, knowing death was moments away. That brief moment was so perfect, and such a lovely nod to the fans, especially those who maintain the pair were more than just brothers in arms.

Javert’s unravelling further served to break me; I did not expect the moment when he removed his medal and pinned it to Gavroche’s chest, and so that surprise utterly devastated me in the most cathartic way – his resolution had broken and his downfall had begun. At his suicide I wanted to applaud, as is right and proper in the theatre but most unacceptable in a cinema. Yes it was brutal, but the whole film is brutal in just the right way.

I do have to mention a couple of small annoyances (aside from the aforementioned camera work and rain scenes) – I didn’t like the sewer scenes. Yes; sewers are dirty and full of poo, but when Val Jean and mostly-dead-Marius emerged with gross poo-encrusted faces it broke my concentration just a little bit. They could have restrained the make up artist just a bit on that one, I think. Also – what the fudge was going on with their accents?!? I know the film was set in France, and to have them all doing dodgy French accents would have ruined it; but they could at least have picked one English dialect. I heard everything from Cockney London to Yorkshire to Irish, and that’s not even focusing on Hugh Jackman’s ever changing tones. It wasn’t a major big deal, but it was a bit irritating.

I’m going to bring this to a close on two last good moments of a fantastic film. Firstly; Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. This song, for me, is the end of the story; everything after is the gentle wrapping up; like coasting downhill. Eddie delivered this song so beautifully and so heartbreakingly, highlighting the devastating loss of so many young men.

And finally; Colm Wilkinson’s cameo as the Bishop made me too happy; seeing the original Val Jean on the big screen was a much appreciated hat tip to those of us who recognised his voice/face.

Les Miserables

Musical Reviewsday

Musical Reviewsday

As promised last month – I’m going to make my musical reviewsday a fairly regular thing. The only trouble is that iTunes’s charts are pretty rubbish. The two genres I reviewed last month are pretty much unchanged. I find this very strange – 4 or 5 weeks have passed and people are still buying what they were buying back then? Anyway – that ruled out re-reviewing Alternative or Comedy music. As I’m currently in the middle of a week of looooong days, commuting into London each day for a training course, and I’m also suffering from a particularly annoying cough, I’m only going to pick one genre to review, and it’s gotta be
Rock. Even though I could very easily go to sleep right now and a bit of high-octane rock music sounds to be the opposite of what I want… That said, a quick sweep of the eyes over the US and UK rock charts suggests there may be something awry with their genre-classifications. But we’ll get to that…

Let’s get on with it, eh?

10 – Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm
We appear to be starting in the nineties… No, wait, youtube says 2001, so it’s only 12 years old. Gawd, this is TEN years old… But yeah, anyone who was a teenager in the early 2000s will know this punk-rock offering; it’s catchy, it’s designed to be played loudly, there’s a guitar solo in the middle and a chimp in the video; what more could you ask for?!? I can’t believe there aren’t any newer rock songs to keep this out of the top ten, but I’m not complaining. At least it’s rock.

9 – Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
I love this song, but I don’t think I’d call it rock. Pop, maybe. Yeah, the pointy-faced John Rzeznik has a gravelly voice and there are guitars and drums, but really is this rock? I really do love the song though. For a long time it was my mobile phone ringtone (now it’s Back In Black, unless you’re special and have a different tune assigned to you…) and so whenever I hear it I am reminded of my old ringtone.
Again, though, it’s an old song. 2006. To be number 9 in the Rock charts on the evening of the 23rd April 2013 is a little bit odd. I’m growing slightly mistrustful of iTunes and their chartability.

8 – The Man Who Can’t Be Moved – The Script
Well, this is more modern… ish… 2008 – so not by much. As with Iris I’m half tempted to put it in pop rather than rock. It’s strange to look at a video of a pre-Voice Danny-from-the-Script. I think I would’ve liked them better ten years ago. Now I like the occasional song (Hall of Fame’s great for a sunny car drive) but their ballads, this one included, strike me as a bit whiny. I think I overdid the boyband ballads when I was a wee teeniebopper and I’m over them now. Maybe I’ll go full circle one day and be a crooning woman of her fifties, listening to Westlife and reminiscing about the good ol’ days, but for now Danny and his fellow Scripters aren’t really my cup of tea.

7 – I Will Wait – Mumford and Sons
This is Alternative. This is not Rock. I’m stamping my foot on this one. Of course that might be because I’m keeping time in the traditional folksy manner… I do love this song; from the furious banjo-ing to the simple-yet-lovely chorus. It’s bright (a lot of the Mumford & Sons songs have a tendency to err toward the solemn) and just brings a smile to my face, and I love that. I also like it because Mumford and Sons are one of the few bands I can listen to and say, sagely, ‘I’ve seen them live,’ as if that elevates me to the next level of fan status. Even though I only bought their latest album, Babel, last week when it’s been out for month already. Doesn’t matter that I was late; I saw them live once!

6 – God is Dead? – Black Sabbath
Something new… and it’s by Black Sabbath… I could not have predicted this chart, even if I’d had weeks to sit and think about what would be in the rock charts. It’s a proper old-fashioned rock song – it’s almost nine minutes long, and the first minute of that is introduction! I only know one Black Sabbath song – the same one I’m guessing most of you know, but it took no time at all to recognise the dulcet tones of one Mr Ozzy Osbourne once the singing started. It’s ok, I guess; would fit on any 70s/80s rock compilation album. At least it’s a rock song, I guess – can’t complain about this one being too pop or too alternative!!!

5 – Flame-Out! – Paul Weller
As with Black Sabbath, here’s someone else more commonly found on TOTP2’s late night replays, and yet the song is so new only half of it is on the youtube page of its singer, Paul Weller. It’s ok, I guess – not really my sort of thing; the vocals aren’t fab, and I’m not really that desperate to hear anything else from the upcoming album.

4 – Better Together – Jack Johnson
Meanwhile, back in the world of Should-Have-Been-On-the-Alternative-Chart…In-2005. It’s a looooovely song, it’s just not what I’d geared myself up for. In fact this whole chart just seems to be a random collection of songs which really don’t fit together. I remember the Alternative lot from last time being very much of that genre. The comedy too, although the definition of ‘comedy’ seemed to be ‘from youtube’ rather than anything broader.

3 – Don’t Save Me – Haim
I’ve heard the name ‘Haim’, but had never listened to the female trio until now. I’m pleasantly surprised, although that might be because they’re the first thing I’ve heard this evening which I would class as modern group playing a rock song! That said, I could imagine this playing over a John Hughes movie… The undertones and the repetitive chorus are a little bit 80s…

2 – Low – Sleeping with Sirens
And THIS is what I was expecting of this particular chart – the fast-paced, angsty, angry rock music of this modern age. I was imagining I would find 30 Seconds to Mars, My Chemical Romance, Bullet for My Valentine and bands of that ilk – not this confused collection of tracks… As for the song – it’s ok; hasn’t changed my world, but I wasn’t driven to turn it off… Meh, I guess is the right term.

1 – Falling – Haim
Back to our 80s-esque trio of long-haired girl-types for the number one entry. This offering also sounds like it could have been released 30 years ago; I can see my younger self finding it on an old compilation cd and dancing round the lounge to it. The video for this song is particularly odd – again I want to suggest it’s a little dated.

At the end of this foray into ‘rock’, I’m really rather confused. I don’t know what iTunes classes as Rock, and I don’t know who’s buying these songs… Nothing makes sense to me. Maybe it’s the tiredness talking, or maybe this IS what the modern rock fan listens to. It’s been an interesting journey through this chart – not as inspiring as the Alternative chart, not as amusing as the Comedy chart. Rock sort of feels like the chart time forgot.

I think I need a lie down…

Musical Reviewsday – Alternative vs Comedy

(First off, a quick apology – there was no Reviewsday last week. I have no excuse other than that I went out Tuesday night to see The Princess Bride as it was being shown at the cinema in a super special one-off viewing, so I couldn’t miss it, and I didn’t get my stuff together and write anything in advance. I failed… sorry!!! Will try better in future! In an attempt to make amends, this entry is ridiculously long!)

I have always struggled to tell people what sort of music I’m into, usually resorting to a generic ‘a bit of everything…’ This is exacerbated by the fact that my new music intake seems to happen in waves; every so often, usually months and months apart I’ll look for new songs/artists, but generally, thanks to my iPod, I’m listening to a big mix of old stuff.

There are four main times in life I listen to music;

  • In the car. This needs to be fairly up tempo music; something I can crank up loud and warble along to.
  • In the office. This would be played through headphones. Again, up tempo is good, but I’m not averse to a ballad. It sort of depends on how the day is going; sometimes happy music, sometimes moody music.
  • When writing. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I’m a writer. Charli is too. I write fantasy fiction, when I’m not writing for the blog or wasting my life wandering around Skyrim! My writing music of choice is something a bit background music-y. Sometimes I make playlists based on theme, but generally something wordless and almost bland to act like white noise works.
  • Going to sleep. I have neighbours, the heating makes funny noises, people walk past the house, so I like to put some very quiet music on when I’m going to sleep. This is where the sad songs and the love songs come to play – anything soothing or mellow fits here.

So I’ve set myself a challenge – to regularly expose myself to modern music, and I reckon the best way to do that will be to check out the different genre charts from the iTunes site. Probably once a month I’ll delve into the charts, pick a genre or two which I think I’ll like and review the songs I already know, and investigate the ones I don’t know.

Today I’m going to talk about Alternative and Comedy. I’ve taken the charts from the evening of Sunday 17th March in an attempt to appear like I’ve done some research ahead of writing! All links are to youTube videos, which will be what I base my reviews on.

Alternative Chart

1. ‘Pompeii’ – Bastille

2. ‘Ho Hey’ – The Lumineers

3. ‘Chocolate’ – The 1975

4. ‘My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up)’ – Fall Out Boy

5. ‘Still Into You’ – Paramore

6. ‘Radioactive’ – Imagine Dragons

7. ‘Indian Summer’ – Stereophonics

8. ‘Pompeii’ – Bastille

9. ‘People Help the People’ – Birdy

10. ‘High Hopes’ – Kodaline

I picked Alternative because I think I’ll like the most of these, and I think I’ll know the least. That said, however, I’ve just noticed Pompeii, by Bastille, is on the list twice. Investigation has shown that the number 1 entry is the single version and the number 8 entry is the album version. They’re both the same length, so I don’t think there’s a difference…

Let’s start with Bastille, then. I think I’ve heard this song maybe once, twice at an absolute push. I love the low ‘eh oh’ vocal work, and in fact I really like the whole song. It’s got a nice up beat sound going on, even if the video’s a bit creepy in places. It’s definitely something I can imagine listening to in the car, or on my headphones in the office and I’m very tempted to look further into Bastille’s album and see if it’s something I might part with money for.

Next up is ‘Ho Hey’ by the Lumineers. I think I’ve heard this a few times. It’s very similar to ‘Pompeii’ – a male vocal over a deep vocal rhythm. It has a catchy chorus and a very alternative video. It makes me think of a summer evening, and related happy thoughts. I’m not quite as enamoured with it as I am with Bastille, but again I’d probably check the group out further with a possibility of investment.

‘Chocolate’ by The 1975 starts with a really nice beat, over a moody black and white video. The vocals are almost a disappointment – not quite big enough to battle the poppy music. It’s telling a story, but I’m not really drawn in enough to pay attention; rather wondering whether there would be an instrumental version as I do like the tune.

The next song on the list I know I’m going to love. I’ve heard the recently revived Fall Out Boy’s new offering a couple of times, but as a long time FOB fan, I’m so happy with the familiar tones and Patrick Stump’s wonderful voice. This is perfect car music, and also rather good for a more attitudey afternoon in the office. I could imagine writing epic battle scenes to this, my head filled with 300-esque imagery. The video is beautiful; very phoenix-y; a burning of FOB’s back catalogue heralding their rebirth now they’re back together. This song is definitely on the ‘to buy’ list.

I’ve never been a huge Paramore fan. Not because I don’t like them, but because I’ve just never really listened to them. I’ve found a lyrics video instead of an official vid, but it’s cute so I’m leaving that link in! It’s a cute boppy song, what I would call pop-punk, but I don’t know if that’s even remotely the right term… It’s not an awful song, but I’m not really enthused by it – there’s nothing incredibly catchy about it, and the message doesn’t hugely appeal. I think because I’d heard of the band I was expecting something more…

On a youTube video I watched earlier this very evening I heard iJustine reference ‘Radioactive’ by Imagine Dragons. That was the first I’d heard of them. The opening to the song and the opening to the video are really nice; building up to a Something. I like the tone of the music once the vocals kick in; grimy and emotional, and it has some awesome apocalyptic lyrics. The video’s insane, but I kinda love that too. This is going straight to the top of the aforementioned ‘to buy’ list. It’s got the catchiness the Paramore song lacked, and it’s perfectly epic.

I have most definitely heard of the Stereophonics, although I couldn’t tell you anything they’d done recently… ‘Indian Summer’ opens on a strong beat. Good openings, apparently, play a big part in my song reception! The song itself appears to tell a story about a romance, as backed up by a video set in a very strange train. I do like Kelly Jones’ very recognisable voice and the big chorus – this would do nicely on a long car journey.

‘People Help The People’ wins points for its intro – it’s bee-yootiful! Music and video. I think I’ve heard this a few times before; the chorus is definitely very familiar. I really like it; Birdy’s voice is a treat to listen to, ranging nicely from soft to strong, and I’m such a fan of the simple piano music she starts off singing to. Not a lot to say about this track except that I like it! The one Birdy song I know which isn’t this one is from the Brave soundtrack and features Mumford & Sons, so she’d already got a good standing in my opinion!

My foray into the Alternative chart is rounded off with ‘High Hopes’. Both the song and the band, Kodaline, are brand shiny new to me. The video starts with the saddest of scenes. The music accompanying it is also slow, sad, tentative. The video is achingly sweet as the song grows, making me feel actually rather hopeful. And then 3/4s of the way through I stop typing, my mouth hanging open. It’s a mini film, and one I can’t stop watching. The song has the same epic, film-like qualities as its video; a story is being told, and it’s inspiring and emotional and really quite beautiful.

I’ve really rather enjoyed my taster of current Alternative music. It was certainly the right genre to start off with; there’s so much room for variety (as opposed to the country chart for this week which is 70% Taylor Swift. I like TaySwif, but I don’t think I could have talked about 7 of her songs all at once!)

Comedy Chart

1. ‘Yolo’ – The Lonely Island (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar)

2. ‘After Ever After’ – Jon Cozart

3. ‘Mine It Out’ – GameChap

4. ‘Screw the Nether’ – Inthelittlewood (feat. The Yogscast & Sparkles*)

5. ‘Always Look On the Bright Side of Life’ – Monty Python

6. ‘Form This Way’ (Born This Way Minecraft Parody) – Inthelittlewood [feat. The Yogscast]

7. ‘Harry Potter In 99 Seconds’ – Jon Cozart

8. ‘I Can Swing My Sword!’ – Toby Turner (feat. Terabrite)

9. ‘Threw It On the Ground’ – The Lonely Island

10. ‘Nikola Tesla vs Thomas Edison’ – Epic Rap Battles of History

In a very intentional change of tone I really wanted to look into the Comedy songs. I’ve heard two of them fairly recently, and am incredibly familiar with another two, so I have no doubts that I’ll like the category, but the main reason was the massive cross over with youTube. The majority of these songs are side-releases based on popular videos made for youTube. One of them may even be familiar to those of you who read my reviewsday entry from a fortnight ago and went exploring the channels I recommended! I won’t be looking at these songs in the same way as the previous set; they’re not upbeat enough for screeching in the car, and it’s not appropriate to be smirking through the work day. They’re too distracting for sleep or writing, so they’re not likely to hit my iTunes library.

Kicking us off are an American comedy trio known as The Lonely Island. They come from Saturday Night Live, which is fairly huge in the big ol’ US, but I’ve never seen it, despite having heard of it. I had, however, heard of The Lonely Island through the youTube series ‘Teens React’. YOLO is a particularly humorous dissection of the latest phrase which is hip with the kids (Oh gawd, I’m so old!) It stands for ‘You Only Live Once’ and is supposed to imply that you should live life because you only do it once, but this song has twisted the meaning rather amusingly.

I only heard After Ever After recently and it made me smile; appealling to my inner Disney child. Jon Cozart seems to be one of the many solo singers popping up on youTube. It’s the new My Space! The concept of this musical masterpiece is ‘what happened to the Disney princesses after they got their happily ever after?’ and it features Ariel, Belle, Jasmine and Pocahontas and is remarkably well sung. Not to mention the backing vocals!

‘Mine It Out’ is new to me, and to be honest I don’t really know the will.i.am song it’s a parody of! I know what Minecraft is though; an open world foraging and crafting game I really want to play but am afrraid I’d lose hours of my life playing it, and Skyrim’s already taken a good amount of my time!!! This track isn’t my sort of thing; I’m missing the humour by not knowing the original track (although it is quite catchy!), but the animation and editing is very impressive! Pay attention to the Diamond Sword, you just might be seeing that again soon…

But not this soon! Next up is ‘Screw the Nether’, another parody – this time of Moves Like Jagger. Oh – and it is a Minecraft themed parody! Minecraft seems the geekiest game ever, yet it’s all over youTube. I’ll confess I’ve spent hours (actual hours) just watching Toby Turner’s game play videos of Minecraft. Why? I really couldn’t tell you. The vocals on this track aren’t quite as polished/authentic as the previous one, but the animation is, as before, really good, and if I knew what the ‘Nether’ was… I’d probably appreciate it a bit more!

The odd one out of this chart is a true classic comedy song; ‘Always Look On The Bright Side of Life’, from the Monty Python movie ‘Life of Brian’. It closes the movie, depicting Brian (Graham Chapman – not the Messiah, just a very naughty boy) on the cross, alongside a number of other condemned folk. Eric Idle’s on the next cross, and he offers some wonderful musical advice. There’s not much I can say other than that you should go watch it now, especially if you’ve never heard of it!

In at 6 is another Minecraft parody song by the same creators as ‘Screw the Nether’. I’m guessing there’s some money in becoming an internet personality and releasing parody songs, combining pop music with cult video games… I might have to add it to my ‘to do’ list! In this case, instead of Maroon 5; they’re spoofing Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’. The video’s the story of a boy’s discovery of Minecraft, and shows some of the more epic creations from the Minecraft world, as well as some more great animation. If you’re good at animation, get thee to youTube!!! It’s so beautifully geeky!

Next up we have another entry from Jon Cozart (who appears now to be two people); this time singing us through the Harry Potter books in 99 seconds to the tunes of the sountracks. What more is there to say? I’m rather fond of Harry Potter, and am very partial to a cleverly written and well performed humorous song. This song wins on both counts!

Remember that Diamond Sword from earlier? Here’s another Minecraft song, but this time it’s an original one, not a parody… and it’s sung by one of my absolute favourite youTube personalities – Toby Turner. I love this song, and what’s more so does my 3 year old almost-niece (you may recognise her from Sunday’s Cookery Corner, making sticky toffee pudding! I could listen to this song on repeat (oh yeah… another popular thing on youTube seems to be the making of 10-hour repeating loops of things. I have not watched any of those because I simply don’t have 10 hours to spend watching the same thing… I have watched this one a fair few times though.

You’ll be glad to know entries 9 and 10 are nothing to do with Minecraft; giving it only a 40% hold over the chart at this instance! Number 9 is a return of the Lonely Island guys, with a very strange track named ‘Threw It On The Ground’ which seems to be a man’s tale of refusing to accept things handed to him because he doesn’t want to be a part of the system. It’s… bizarre… but the dubstep beat is quite cool, and the shots of things hitting the ground are oddly watchable. Not to mention the surprise cameo appearances from two Hollywood stars, committing a rather serious offence on the main character… Amusing for teenage boys, maybe (yes, that’s a sweeping generalisation, but it might be true…)

Closing out this Reviewsday is something I’d heard of but never watched – Epic Rap Battles of History. Featuring Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. There’s education in the lyrics if you look for it. I don’t really know what to say about it except again I think it’s more suited to the 13-16 year old audience… But then this is coming from a Toby Turner fan, and his demographic is also the young teen, so I’m perhaps not best to judge!!!

And that’s the current state of affairs in the UK Singles charts in the genres of Alternative and Comedy. I’ll do two more genres next month (or sooner if people like this/recommend which genres I pick next…

In the spirit of Epic Rap Battles of History, I think there needs to be a winner, and it’s an easy one to call. As much as I love Toby Turner and three other songs about Minecraft, the winner has to be the Alternative genre. Gavel!

Discuss…