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Ed Sheeran’s ‘Bad Habits’ Is ‘Thriller’ For A New Generation – Essentially Pop

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There, I said it. Even just watching the preview clips before this morning’s release it felt as though Ed Sheeran’s new song and video, ‘Bad Habits’, was paying homage to the Michael Jackson classic, ‘Thriller’…at least in the video, if not the song.

Sonically it’s a new direction for Sheeran, it feels as though it’s been pitched slightly higher than his usual vocals: there’s a sense that maybe this song was originally meant for Justin Bieber, but for whatever reason Sheeran has decided to sing it himself.  If that’s the case, then it was the right move, because even though takes a little bit of getting used to, there’s no doubting that once you get over that, it’s catchy.

An upbeat pop song with a danceable chorus, the lyrics are simple, and centre on the point of view of the main character, who (kind of?) blames his bad habits on a lover. Deep down however he knows he’s rhe only one who can break his bad habits – and the only he’s going to do that is by no longer remaining in contact with his lover.

The video takes the song in a different direction. Now there’s no lover involved, but rather the one that he lets take control when the sun goes down is his vampiric alter ego. Sheeran, resplendent in a pink suit, long green acrylic nails, dark glitter under his eyes, fangs, and – shock – BLONDE hair…okay it’s just a lighter ginger really – starts off in the beauty salon, getting his do touched up, before spending his nights roaming the streets, Thriller style, with his vampire crew. There’s a lovely moment when he goes to hand a smiley faced balloon to a child…but that doesn’t last long as the child – she’s a vampire too of course – pops it with her own talons. Other cool moments include a confrontation between vampire Ed and his real self (like the balloon, this Sheeran pops and deflates) as well as dancing, and flying. You get the feeling everyone on set had a really good time making this video!

Dawn breaks, and all the vampires crumble into dust – including, it seems, Sheeran, but then we flash to the real Ed, who rubs his makeup off, and effectively breaks the fourth wall by returning to the way we all know and love him, a simple man in a hoodie, playing and singing with his guitar. In a way this too feels like a nod to ‘Thriller’, which famously ended with the “real” Jackson consoling his girl, before turning to the viewers to reveal that his true identity is a zombie.

’Bad Habits’ is out now and can be streamed and downloaded here. Watch the video for ‘Bad Habits’ here.



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‘No Time To Die’ Cements Daniel Craig’s Bond Legacy – Essentially Pop

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If you’re looking for a well-made, thrillingly tense, and surprisingly emotional action film, No Time to Die will more than satisfy you.

The film’s plot is an almost direct continuation of the previous Bond film, 2015’s Spectre – but presents a marked improvement in nearly all areas. We start our foray into Daniel Craig’s last outing as super-spy James Bond with a beautifully shot flashback to a foundational memory of one of our main characters, that sets the tone for the rest of the film’s action set-pieces: oozing the sort of tension you’d be hard-pressed to find outside a horror movie, or a thriller. From then on, Bond is set up to continue his usual globe-trotting, villain-hunting antics, nothing so revolutionary as Skyfall’s portrayal of Bond playing defence, but nevertheless entertaining. I do take major issue with the main villain’s plan – we’ve all seen Bond films of the past raise the stakes arbitrarily high, and No Time to Die is an unfortunate misstep in what was otherwise a refreshing break from that formula in Craig’s era of Bond. That’s not to mention the unfortunate resemblance of a semi-biological superweapon that threatens a global pandemic. It certainly explains why the film was delayed for so long, but given how this era of Bond has leaned away from escapism to a more gritty take, it doesn’t really take you out of the film. The film may drag its feet slightly in getting Craig back into action as 007, but it ends triumphantly, and with the sort of emotional climax that surpasses even those of Casino Royale and Skyfall.

The cast give grounded, well-acted performances, with Craig and Seydoux as the standout examples – providing the emotional core of the movie with believable chemistry, as well as by instilling an ever-pervasive sense of vulnerability, reacting to plot circumstances that put them and their loved ones in constantly increasing jeopardy. The decision to have most of the film’s excellent action set-pieces place Bond not only at risk of harm, but at risk of great personal tragedy through harming others, masterfully ratchets up the tension beyond what most other films would be able to do. This is of course amplified by Daniel Craig’s 15 year turn as James Bond, as we’re by now fully invested in his character. Going into the film knowing that all bets are off for the future of Craig’s James Bond counters any sense of invulnerability that the character has portrayed in the past.

The action scenes themselves are astounding. The choreography is clearly trying to take a leaf out of John Wick’s book, and there’s very little in the way of large CGI spectacle, which is good news for anybody feeling a little superhero fatigue. The film can’t totally emulate the top-tier technicality of the action seen in John Wick, but it’s made up for by the emotion and tension that the film is inundated with, which absolutely carries through into the action. The locations are beautiful, and well shot, and Craig’s portrayal of vulnerability continues to the action scenes as well. Of particular note are two sequences in the last third of the film – a car chase leading to a claustrophobic gunfight in a fog-filled forest, and the infiltration of Safin’s base, with specific mention to a one shot scene where Bond must fight his way up a staircase, that somehow turns the claustrophobia and vulnerability up to 11.

With regards to the rest of the cast’s performances, Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas give excellent shows as supporting super-spies that I would certainly like to see in future Bond films. The only other significant commentary to make is that I feel somewhat let down by the performances of the villains. For the portrayal of the two main villains in Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld, and Rami Malek as Safin, you find serviceable portrayals that by no means carry the film. Perhaps it’s an issue with the direction, or the writing, but for two great actors with 3 Oscars between them, I was disappointed. Blofeld and Safin will not find themselves among the great Craig era Bond villains like Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva, or Mads Mikkelson’s Le Chiffre. Furthermore, David Dencik as a corrupt scientist – responsible for development of the film’s MacGuffin bioweapon – could be at best referred to as a homage to the goofy villains of Bond past, and at worst, underdeveloped and sort of immersion-breaking.

All in all, No Time to Die is a more than competent re-tread of what made Craig’s turn as Bond so great. Emotional vulnerability and great, gritty action turn this into the perfect capstone for the formula that made Casino Royale and Skyfall so great. It cements Daniel Craig’s legacy as perhaps the best James Bond, and I would definitely recommend you watch it.



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Beirut Give A Look Back In Time With Artifacts

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Beirut has a new double album coming out called Artifacts, and it should make fans happy as it gives them a listen into the past. Frontman Zach Condon announced the album along with a new single and January 28 release date.

Artifacts will stand as a collection of B-sides and unreleased tracks that Condon has been keeping a secret since he started making music at age 14, “When the decision came to re-release this collection, I found myself digging through hard drives looking for something extra to add to the compilation.”

The first single off the album is “Fisher Island Sound,” which Condon says, “was written while staying in band member Ben Lanz’s old family cottage on the coast of Connecticut, on the Fisher Island Sound. I played with the lines for years before trying to record versions of it in Brooklyn with the band.”

Listen to the new track below and make sure to check out Artifacts when it’s released early next year!





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Songstress Daisy Gill Releases Her Brand New Single ‘Nothing Out Of Me’ – Essentially Pop

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Based in Liverpool, Daisy Gill is a singer songwriter who’s been learning music since she was 5, and at 11 she started writing songs. With her new single, ‘Nothing Out Of Me’, she’s standing up against all the misogyny and discrimination in the music business, and fighting for all the strong, confident, and intelligent women.

With feisty lyricism (think Anne Marie, and Taylor Swift), Daisy Gill has positioned herself as one to watch.

‘Nothing Out Of Me’ is a departure from her previous releases, which have predominantly been ballads, including ‘Save It For A Rainy Day’, and ‘Breaking Down The Walls’. It’s a bluesy-pop track with a super-catchy, primarily keyboard instrumental, and Daisy’s vocals are assertive and powerful, as she spits out the lyrics and speaks out for what she stands for. She’s not taking any more of it; she’s not interested in listening to anyone’s nonsense. It’s a hugely relatable song for anyone who’s been patronised or treated as inferior in work or their daily life.

‘Nothing Out Of Me’ was recorded at Liverpool’s world famous Parr St Studios, and produced by Chris Taylor, known for his work with Paul Weller, and The Coral.

Stream and download ‘Nothing Out Of Me’ here, and support Daisy Gill and her music online on

Facebook, Twitter, InstagramSoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Music.





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