I’ve started watching Scream Queens, finally

I’ve been a fan of American Horror Story for a few years now – since Hotel first aired. So you’d think I’d have been all over Scream Queens too, given it was also created in part by both Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy.

But for some strange reason, known only to me I guess, I have only just decided to sit down and watch it.

And it is freakin’ incredible!

The comic timing and sense of humour is on point in the pilot episode. So often it seemed I found myself being played like a fiddle at the whims of the creators. I found myself laughing out loud and then becoming appalled at myself for what I was laughing at.

All of the actors and actresses involved were fun to watch, but I have to give a special shout-out to original scream queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. I’m so happy she is in this show and can’t wait to see what part she ultimately plays. And of course, one of my favourite American Horror Story alumni, Emma Roberts as the super-fucking-bitch Chanel.

Chanel – As pleasant as she’s gonna get

Emma Roberts is so bloody disgusting in this show and yet I can’t help but love her character. She is so much fun to watch just being an incredibly evil person to those around her. And something tells me that she won’t get her just desserts any time soon.

I feel as though Scream Queens fell under the radar a bit, especially when compared to it’s mature older cousin American Horror Story. But just from this opening pilot alone I have found it just as entertaining, if not even more so.

There were some great musical moments too – something I’ve just come to expect from these guys. And some awesome song choices too — especially the opening song by Bat For Lashes — ‘What’s A Girl To Do?’.

If I hadn’t have had to get up early the next morning I’d probably have watched the next two or three episodes back to back. I guess I will have to wait.

Scream Queens is going to make a great show to keep my juices flowing ready for American Horror Story: 1984 in September.

I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to actually get started on it.

A Beggar Woman 1861 Painting by Hugues Merle

During our trip to Paris a few years ago, my girlfriend and I visited a fair number of art galleries. Although I saw a lot of paintings that stood out to me, this one — A Beggar Woman by Hugues Merle — was one that grabbed me the most.

I’m not even sure what it is about it that spoke to me. I just found myself imagining stories within the world this woman lived in.

Blue Lips [Lady Wood Phase 2] by Tove Lo

Lady Wood was one of my favourite albums from last year and still gets regular plays in my headphones. I was excited to say the least when I heard about Tove Lo’s follow-up Blue Lips [Lady Wood Phase 2].

A continuation of Lady Wood

This album felt more akin to the sweaty underground night clubs I imagine with her music. The kind of clubs where people are pressed tightly together; almost tasting each other’s sweat. The previous album had these moments but Blue Lips felt like these aesthetics were brought more into the foreground. The album’s intro and following lead single, ‘Disco Tits’, gave me the impression that a more deep bass / drum-driven collection of songs were contained.

There was a song from Tove Lo’s short film Fairy Dust, specifically the closing scene… that closing scene, that I didn’t recognise at the time. So I loved it when that very song, ‘bitches’,  came punching through my headphones to close off this album’s first half.

It’s not all boom boom boom

Although I like a good punchy beat-driven album now and again, I was relieved when I heard ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’, the album’s fifth track. It’s proof that she knows, as she sings on Disco Tits, how to dial it back. ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’ is more focused on her beautiful vocals and the direct message of acceptance she’s delivering to her other half in the song.

And baby, don’t ask, then don’t tell
Already know you’re fucked up
And it’s cool with me
My past and don’t ask and don’t tell
No need to share too much
Come on, let it be, ah (and baby)
dont ask dont tell – Tove Lo

dont ask dont tell – Tove Lo

This feeling is continued later in the album with the reminiscent ‘9th of October’, which actually started life as a poem that Tove wrote on her Birthday. This, along with the album’s closing track, ‘hey you got drugs?’, are two of my favourite songs from the album.

NSFW (not safe for work)

As I’ve come to expect from Tove Lo’s work, there is a high degree of sexual content in these songs. She’s definitely an artist who goes to places that other artists I listen to don’t. She’s not afraid of exposing herself, both physically and mentally, for her art and I respect that. I say that, not as a pervy guy just looking for filth, but as someone in admiration for her honesty and close to the bone approach to music.

Singers often sing about sadness; happiness; fear; love. But very rarely do they venture into the realms of the sexual. This too is an important part of what it means to be human, so why shouldn’t artists explore these issues too? Tove Lo seems to make up for the more reserved artists by spending a good portion of her album there.

In Summary

As great an album as I have come to expect from Tove, following her Lady Wood. Blue Lips is the continuation of her exploration and revelations in her relationships and the emotions they bring. Although I didn’t find this album as accessible initially, I still love to listen to it when the mood hits me right. And don’t take me to mean less accessible as a bad thing – it’s not. I just find Lady Wood a lot easier to listen to at any time, whereas Blue lips has its time and place for me.

Between hope and danger by Hante

Hante’s music is always a dark, dreamy escape that I am addicted to getting lost into. As soon as I learned of her new release, ‘Between Hope and Danger’, I immediately had to listen to it. From the get go it contained everything I love about her music – mystery-entrenched soundscapes of unapologetic synth. That and her haunting, echo chamber style vocals.

The opening, “Le Point de Non-Retour”, was a dark choice with a Gothic choir accompaniment and a buzzsaw-style style. Characteristic of a relatively new style of music I’ve discovered called “Witch House”.

“Lies // Light” sounds like she’s experimenting with a typical Synthwave / Outrun style, but still in keeping with her own aesthetic. At times this song has sounds that remind me of old-skool Sega MegaDrive games. This is only going to be a good thing.

To my ears, she is at her darkest during the song “Eternite”. A sweeping, eerie synth is met by a devil’s organ and married by her wistful voice.

In the titular song, “Between hope and danger”, I might be mad, but I can hear references to both John Carpenter – who is par for the course in modern electronic music – and Angelo Badalamenti. For those who aren’t familiar with Angelo, he is the man responsible for many of David Lynch’s film scores. “Between hope and Danger” had echoes for me back to his main theme for Mulholland Drive.

All in all this album is a terrific addition to an already impressive body of work.

P.S. If you’d like to get to know the lady behind this great music, you can read my interview with Hante.

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