Announcement: Blogvent Calendar – Starting Tomorrow!

Tomorrow will see me do an advent calendar (blog a day) theme on my blog. Why? Because of the fesitivity of course! But also because I was unable to get involved with November’s “NaBloPoMo”, because I want more views and followers, and lastly, a celebration!

A celebration? Yes! Well, after checking my Stats, I realised there’s now 695 of you guys! Oh my word that’s a lot! So this should be a thank you!

Also, not all of these posts may be festive – more just general posts really. But we’ll see. Enjoy!

Liam

Thoughts on Music

Music has always been a bit part of my life, and is quite a large area to talk about. But after Capital Cities’ Safe and Sound (mentioned in this week’s Musical Discovery post) has been a song I have constantly listening to this weekend, I have been curious as to why we listen to music. What even is it in music that appeals to us?

For those of you who don’t know, I am a drummer (you can view a fairly average video of me drumming to Use Somebody here). In my unbiased view, drummers and vocalists are important for any musical groups. But, when listening to music, are there any instruments that are ignored – that are there just as a small effect on “the bigger picture”?

Most questions like these are hard to answer, as music is listened to differently by different people. I know that, on most occasions, I pay attention to a song’s drum rhythm first before I actually start to appreciate what is going on regarding other instruments. I presume this is the same with other instruments. We all pay attention to different instruments based on what we play (if any), and other factors in music. For example, tempo, dynamics and solos, as well as all the other terminology assigned to music allow us to focus on that particular instrument in that moment in time. We either have a preference, or the song itself determines what we listen to.

I’m no biologist, but the reason why music appeals to us is an odd one. Chances are it is more likely the complexity and the “alien-sounding” noises created, different to our own, that make us interested in music. We, as human beings, like to discover and learn. Once again though, I’m no biologist, and it can be dependant on the person.

But what in music appeals to us, can be explained rather well. The first being an empathic link. Sure, if the music contains great musical melodies, then that helps. But consciously or unconsciously, we pay attention to the lyrics, and if they have a strong empathic link with us, then we listen. Songs carry emotions of happiness and sadness amongst many others, so there will be points where songs appear to replicate emotions and scenarios. This empathic link created creates interest. Also, let’s not forget, love is a key life story, and with love being a cliche, but long sought after, topic for tracks. So there will be empathy there.

Basically, songs know how we feel, and it is that which is why music therapy is often encouraged.

But what are your thoughts on music? Why do you listen to it? What sort of music do you listen to? Leave a little comment below or get involved on other social networks. You can leave a comment on my Facebook page or use the Twitter hashtag, #lifeofathinker to let me know! Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter too if you like, @lifeofathinker.

Liam

P.S. Credit goes to C L Haden at Loving Life in Wellies for telling me about incorporating hashtags into my blog! Do go over to her blog and say hello for me!

Liam Reaches 1/4 Milestone! | The Friday Article

After much re-planning, and large amounts of thinking, blogger Liam O’Dell is excited to announce that he has written 16 out of 60 chapters for his first ever book, passing the 1/4 milestone.

Liam, who blogs on the The Life of a Thinker, commonly blogs about his writing endeavours, and promises to keep blog followers updated. He is now eager to tell those interested about how is book is coming along.

When asked about his writing endeavours, Liam said: “It’s obviously a great moment in writing progress. I could possibly get it planned by the end of this year!”

He added. “I’m looking forward to the writing stage.”

Liam

Thoughts on Bucket Lists

The concept of a “bucket list” is a rather interesting one to me. The phrase apparently comes from the metaphor of “kicking the bucket” – however relevant this may be, and despite me having no idea what metaphorical meaning lies, the idea of having a list of things to do before the time comes is an interesting, yet somewhat contradictory thing to do.

In terms of my bucket list, I have a few things that I would like to achieve, rather than do as such. For example, the main – and probably only – one at the moment that I want to achieve is that of writing a book, because, for as long as I can remember, writing a book has been a lifelong ambition of mine. It provides a sense of accomplishment. There was one day as a young child where I read books and questioned the possibility of actually writing one – as if 10 years or so of experience would be enough to write something decent (but yet again, I am yet to find out because, you know, procrastination. Among many other commitments).

So what I mean is that we all have moments in life where we aspire to achieve or do, and we add it to our mental to-do list. Most people just keep a mental note of it rather than actually writing one down (though I do know people who do), because the urge to achieve or do those things is so strong because of the ambition, that it is constantly remembered as some sort of nagging feeling in the back of our minds…

Life, aside from school and work, consists of time we are responsible for. We have been granted life and with that, time, which is like a blank canvas for us to do whatever we want in that time. But of course, with the recent realisation that life’s too short, we now come with the urge to fill as much of this “blank canvas” as we can with moments in life that we can reflect on, learn from and feel proud that there is a sense of achievement.

Though what I mean in terms of contradiction is the fact that, like most simple to-do lists, we are faced with the truth that new tasks are added once old tasks are completed, and some have set deadlines. The rather daunting prospect is the fact that with life being a rather big window of opportunity, there will be a large amount of things that we want to do, and time will run out. So there will be a point where some of our aspirations won’t be completed. But yet again, we won’t have the consciousness to reflect and feel sad about it because death.

So it makes sense to start a bucket list as soon as possible, with the hope that the initial tasks on it will be the compulsory tasks that you want to achieve more than anything, which is often the case, and leads to less important and meaningful things appearing later on. But in terms of my bucket list (which I will name differently at some point with a different metaphor), I’m going to do that now!

1. Write a book. As mentioned previously. For writers, I think we can all appreciate how much “The End” means to us when writing.
2. Write an article for a national newspaper/magazine. Similar to the book one, as an aspiring journalist, it would be nice.
3. Perform in a band to a large(ish) crowd. The “ish” taking into account that this task on my list is not exactly measurable, but I would very much like to join a band at some point.

OK, so mine’s small at the moment, but when we take into account the time frames involved, this can take a couple of years to complete each, which, to be frank, is the whole point.

*Insert deep, meaningful and metaphorical life quote here*. But life’s one big to-do list, you’ve just got to tick off as much as you can…

Liam

Musical Discoveries: The iTunes Voucher Playlist!

So recently I put out a request on my Facebook page (you can visit it and like it by clicking here – go on, it’s nice over there. I’m on Twitter too, you can follow me there if you like), asking people for their favourite song recommendations for me to include in this week’s Musical Discovery. Thanks everyone who suggested tunes, I really liked the suggestions you gave, and I had a good listen!

Now, without further ado, this week’s Musical Discovery sees me do something a little different. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and have always thought about making this a regular post in terms of music, or at least for a one-off. The premise of this is that with a traditional iTunes voucher you can purchase (roughly) 15 songs (on the grounds that they are all priced at 99p), or around that. So, with the added fact that Christmas is coming soon, and that iTunes vouchers are often used as a gift, here’s a hint as to what songs to download when getting one.

1. Youth – Foxes

Most commonly known for its orchestral cover for the Debenhams adverts, this track actually has a strong electronic original version. With vocal distortion and powerful drum beats throughout a variety of different verses in the song, the track contains a large variety throughout. A feel-good track to listen to anytime.

2. Look Right Through – Storm Queen (MK Remix)

Not to be confused with the MK Dub Remix and other similar remixes, this is a great and funky remix of the track by Storm Queen. There is also a funky and stylish video to accompany the song too. A very catchy and rhythmical track overall.

3. Girls – The 1975

With this being the next The 1975 track I listened to after the amazing Chocolate, it’s good to see that the rock group have once again created a unique but still catchy guitar riff, and fitting vocals to create a song for their album that is original, but with the same pattern and themes that The 1975 have made their own.

4. Bonfire Heart – James Blunt

A memorable track and return for the singer. The track has gained a lot of air-play recently, and has since reached the charts. The song is a nice country track with meaningful lyrics to accompany it. A heartwarming, relaxing, and emotional track to listen to.

5. All the Wrong Places – Example

Example has always been one of my favourite musicians. This track sees him return to his singing roots (taking a break from rapping) and focus more on delivering more memorable electronic tunes! This song comprises of powerful and complex drum rhythms, and a touch of Faithless near the end.

6. Hey Brother – Avicii

After Wake Me Up, it is clear that DJ Avicii has a thing for combining country vocals with memorable electronic melodies for the chorus. When it comes to Hey Brother, this is similar, but with the chorus melody setting the song apart from previous single successes.

7. Safe and Sound – Capital Cities

I heard this song on the radio whilst on Florida, and with its long release date, I eagerly anticipated its release. It’s now finally here! This track sees funky trumpet solos combined with secret base tones that create a really positive feel-good track! A great song overall!

8. You Make Me – Avicii

Personally, I’m not one for the video, but this song sees a much more relaxed song from the musician. Unlike other singles which see a more fast-paced electronic solo, this track sees a much slower tempo. At first, I wasn’t too keen on the high-pitched vocals towards the chorus, but after listening to it many times, I appreciated that it provided an opportunity for the unnamed vocalist to show off his talent.

9. Applause – Lady Gaga

The return of Lady Gaga was a good one, personally. Applause contains a memorable synthesiser pattern, with powerful and talented vocals. A good return and introductory single for her new album, ArtPOP.

10. Sexy Lady – Jessie J

Another song that has been made popular through publicity such as TV show appearances and adverts, this song by Jessie J bears a similarity to the funky guitar riffs present in her song Domino. A catchy track that is unique in its own right, but with a touch of the expected Jessie J flair.

11. Atlas – Coldplay

Not only does Coldplay’s status as being a great band create a hit single straight away, but with this track becoming a part of The Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, it appeals to a much larger audience. This track sees a different tone to what Coldplay usually does, but fits the tone of the film, but also creates a relaxing song to listen to. Another tune by the band.

12. Eat, Sleep, Rave Repeat – Fatboy Slim, Riva Starr and Beardyman (Calvin Harris Remix)

With an interesting documentary-style music video to add to simplistic vocals by Riva Starr, this remix sees an amazing beat drop that suits the title. A great floor-filler.

13. Let Me Go – Gary Barlow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENrj5u_lrWw

Now usually this isn’t my usual preferred type of music, but with the publicity of the single (especially as this is the first solo track by Mr Barlow), it has lead to a large amount of airplay. This repetition has lead to this song being liked by me. The chorus also adds to the catchiness of the song.

14. F for You – Disclosure

This is one of those songs that has been lingering in the back of my mind for a while, and after exploring it in further detail, it is clear that Disclosure have made a brilliant debut with past tracks, and this adding to the collection. However, the music video can be confusing to watch, not to mention a tad boring…

15. Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais

At first, with many chart shows and radio shows dismissing the song as a sad (regardless of the title) and depressing track, but when putting this aside. Gervais’ cleverly timed bass melodies add a new level of emotion to the track, and lightens the mood, making it more enjoyable for people like me.

This is a just a selection of current tracks I’m liking. Do you like any of these too, or is there any I should add? Comment below!

Liam

Thoughts on ‘The Day of The Doctor’ (Review)

I have no doubt that numerous other bloggers and TV critics will jump at the chance to review this. But still, I’m going to review the episode anyway.

First of all, the episode contained a rather large amount of kissing. Don’t ask me why I noticed that, but with the Zygon having a poisonous tongue, and there being a lot of romance with the Doctor and Clara. Also, the mentioning and inclusion of some past regenerations and episodes (in particular, the rather sneaky, but relevant, appearance of Peter Capaldi, and the appearance of the legendary Tom Baker as a curator). As well as that, I liked the tiny reference Tom makes: “Oh, if I could be you.” – Brilliant!

Anyway, to the plot! It sees Queen Elizabeth become confused with a Zygon before they deal with Time War nonsense. Firstly, on the matter of Joanna Page’s portrayal of the monarch. Despite Joanna being of Welsh nationality, her attempt at an English/royal accent was brilliant! Also, it did help to clear up the mystery that was the 10th Doctor’s affair with Queen Elizabeth.

Then, the next subject of the episode. The Fez. Of which I have no doubt that the hat will become a key motif of the series. Oh, and let’s not forget the predicted return of Billie Piper/Bad Wolf. To be honest, this was where I was a bit put off, as there was a lack of interaction with the Doctor, and she didn’t really contribute as much. Shame.

However, I did love the banter between all three. The comparison of screwdrivers and TARDIS’ were great!

But as a Whovian that thoroughly enjoyed the whole episode, I’ve forgot most of it because I enjoyed it so much, and my head hurts a little. Well done Moffat!

So lastly, let’s look forward to the Christmas special, about Trenzalore… This should be interesting…

Liam

Thoughts on Inspiration

Yesterday and today saw me do an enrichment day at my school. This revolved around the theme of “inspiration”. It began with a presentation and speech about how motivation can affect your future, and pursuing your dreams. But there was one aspect of pursuing a dream and inspiration that wasn’t quite mentioned in the presentation. But before that, a little snippet on what I did today.

So lessons were “suspended” for the day, with workshops from experts replacing them. The four lessons I was given included (in order): Art, Web Design, Music and Journalism.

Art consisted of doing spray painting, which, after originally disliking art (I don’t consider myself a good drawer, only when copying a photograph or image), I actually enjoyed it, and am now seeing about looking into doing more art in the future. Then, regarding web design, we initially were going to design a website in Adobe’s DreamWeaver (but unfortunately crashed), but instead had to use Notepad. But eitherway, that was very interesting after I found out I had learnt a bit of code already! – If you use the app version of WordPress, it has code on it!

Then we had break time before going to Music. As a drummer, this was a great lesson, as we had to write a song (quite easy for a poet, no?) and then perform it. Well, we didn’t perform in the end, but it gave me a great insight, and I now feel inspired to go into songwriting! Lastly, it was the journalism workshop, which of course for someone like me, was amazing! I designed my own magazine, which I enjoyed (expect a future magazine coming to newsagents soon!).

But anyway, back onto the topic of inspiration and pursuing your dreams. I couldn’t help but think that there is another aspect to pursuing dreams. This factor is that of seizing opportunity, and knowing where to look. For it is that, which enhances CV’s, UCAS applications and makes progress. Knowing that you want to be the next journalist, footballer, or whatever, means you’ve got to know where to look. A footballer has to look for clubs to be involved in, journalists look for people to interview, whatever you aspire to be, you need to look…

So yes, inspiration and motivation plays a part, but at the same time, there comes the motivation to take the next step, and finding opportunities that will lead to you achieving that dream.

Liam

Sidenote: Most blog posts will now start with “Thoughts on…”, as I am trying to adhere to my blog name!