Archive | September 2012

Matchday 4: Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool held, Arsenal rampant and Spurs Slick

John Terry causing a stirThe brief interlude of an international break disrupted the fluidity of Chelsea’s attack on Saturday as QPR secured just their second point of the season in a 0-0 draw. Julio Cesar had a baptism of fire with his first Premier League appearance against a Chelsea side that have started the season in free scoring mode.
 The match’s build-up was dominated by the race row between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry and as expected, neither shook hands before the game. It was a feisty game with plenty of robust challenges and a couple of penalty shouts, but overall QPR deserved their hard fought point. You would expect them to slowly grow more prominent as the season wares on, with Esteban Granero and Julio Cesar, two potentially important players, getting to grips with the Premier League.
Chelsea have often struggled at Loftus Road, winning just two of 18 top flight games there. The race row, which emerged last season at QPR, promises to make encounters lively for some time yet. The result means that Chelsea sit just one point clear, with ten points, at the top of the table and QPR are nestled in the third relegation spot on two points.
Liverpool actually scoringLuis Suarez managed to rescue Liverpool’s second point of the season in a 1-1 draw with a stubborn Sunderland. Steven Fletcher scored his third goal in two games for Sunderland in the 29th minute when he converted a cross straight down the middle of the goal. Glen Johnson powered forward time and time again, causing a lot of problems for Sunderland all afternoon, but it was a Raheem Sterling Cross to Luis Suarez at 71 minutes which drew Liverpool level. Brendan Rodgers said afterwards:

  “The performance was outstanding, both our creativity and our movement, and there was a really good tempo and rhythm to our game. (bbc.co.uk)

The fact of the matter is that Liverpool need to be more ruthless in front of goal. They had 20 shots in the entire game and only nine were on target. Sunderland had just six shots and four on target, yet they scored the same amount of goals as Liverpool in the game.

Despite Sunderland’s excellent defensive displays and attacking threat, they have accrued only three points in four games. With Martin O’Neal at the helm though, the Black Cats should finish in a respectable position this season.

 
Owen for Stoke
In the day’s other draw, Manchester City battled 1-1 with Tony Pulis’ Stoke side, who are undergoing a slight transformation. With Steven N’Zonzi, Michael Kightly and Charlie Adam all starting as Michael Owen was on the bench, Stoke have more variety to their play now, meaning they are far more dangerous. City gave debuts to Scott Sinclair, Maicon and Javi Garcia with the latter scoring the equaliser, but they were out of sorts in the absence of Sergio Aguero. David Silva, who has just signed a new five year deal, though suffering a dip in form, was needed for more creative spark. Peter Crouch scored a controversial goal as he fumbled his way through the City defence, seemed to control the ball with his arm a few times, before slotting home.

City are now on eight points and have failed to keep a clean sheet so far this season. Stoke are now on a ten game streak of failing to win a Premier League game. They’ll have a tough trip against Chelsea next to avoid that increasing to eleven.

Gibbs and GervinhoLevel on points with City are Arsenal, who thumped a floundering Saints side 6-1. Two own goals, both from Kieran Gibbs crosses, A Lukas Podolski free kick, two strikes from Gervinho and a late strike from Theo Walcott leaves Southampton without a single point in their first four games.

Saints though, have scored in every game and it was down to a Wojciech Szczesny spill that let Danny Fox slam a consolation home. Talk of Arsenal as title contenders will either die down or boil over after their next two games; Manchester City and Chelsea away. Southampton have scored against teams who finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Premier League last season which should be an ounce of encouragement for the coming games.

 
Alexander Buttner's debut

Manchester United dispelled any hint that they would struggle without Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie when they trounced a woeful Wigan side 4-0. Alexander Buttner produced a dominating debut as he scored from a marauding run into the box and set up Hernandez for United’s second goal. The imperious Paul Scholes scored on his 700th appearance for United and Sir Alex Ferguson won on his 500th home league game in charge of United.

Wigan were dreadful at Old Trafford and have lost all seven league matches at United, conceding 24 goals, since promoted in 2006. The Latics back four continuously struggled to cope with Nani’s trickery, Welbeck’s runs, Scholes’ passing and Buttner’s weaving runs. If they don’t address their defensive problems soon, this may be their season to go down.

Results

Norwich 0 0 West Ham
Arsenal 6 1 Southampton
Aston Villa 2 0 Swansea
Fulham 3 0 West Brom
Man U 4 0 Wigan
QPR 0 0 Chelsea
Stoke 1 1 Man City
Sunderland 1 1 Liverpool
Reading 1 3 Tottenham
Everton – Newcastle (Kick-off Monday evening)
Advertisements

Red Hot Chili Peppers- Blood Sugar Sex Magik Review

Track Listing
Blood Sugar Sex Magik album cover
  1. The Power of Equality
  2. If You Have to Ask
  3. Breaking the Girl
  4. Funk Monks
  5. Suck My Kiss
  6. I Could Have Lied
  7. Mellowship Slinky in B Major
  8. Righteous and the Wicked, The
  9. Give it Away
  10. Blood Sugar Sex Magik
  11. Under the Bridge
  12. Naked in the Rain
  13. Apache Rose Peacock
  14. The Greeting Song
  15. My Lovely Man
  16. Sir Psycho Sexy
  17. They’re Red Hot
1991 was a fantastic year for music. Nirvana released Nevermind, now certified Diamond, Pearl Jam debuted with Ten, another grunge album certified Diamond as of 2012, Primal Scream released Screamadelica, Metallica produced their eponymously titled album with singles ‘Enter Sandman’ and ‘Sad But True, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers finally made it big with their fifth studio recording Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
Their previous album Mothers Milk garnered mixed reviews, with many problems centred on a lack of structure, creative channelling and over distorted guitar in their songs, giving a lack of clarity to their tracks. Their best song on the album was a Stevie Wonder cover ‘Higher Ground’.
In 1988 Chili’s guitarist Hillel Slovak died of a heroin overdose and their drummer Jack Irons left the band, leaving Anthony Kiedis and Flea to search for new recruits. Guitarist John Fruscianti and drummer Chad Smith were put in place to replace the departed and formed the most consistent line-up the Chili Peppers ever had.
Production took place at Harry Houdini’s mansion in Hollywood, now owned by record producer Rick Rubin who suggested the band record there. Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles all stayed there during their careers to write songs and jam and the Chili Peppers certainly benefited from the creative atmosphere the magician’s home permeated.
Harry Houdini's famous recoding studio mansionBlood Sugar was heralded by critics as their most outstanding achievement upon release in 1991, and saw the band traverse new avenues in funk, punk and metal.
The opening track ‘Power of Equality’ possesses the trademark of Kiedis’ lyrical prowess as a rapper, but the difference being that there is a melody supporting him. The Chili Peppers were often berated by critics and record producers for not having a significant melody to their songs. Radio dj’s deemed their songs not radio-worthy due to this, leading to less exposure for the band. On top of that, there was too much explicit material in Kiedis’ lyrics to be able to make a sufficient radio edit.
Blood Sugar though, like the Chili Peppers previous studio albums, is one long sexual innuendo from start to finish. This is what The Chili Peppers are all about and what fans expect from them, except this time there seems to be a method to their madness. Organised chaos may be the best way to describe the album.
Antony Kiedis posing
‘Sir Psycho Sexy’, arguably the album’s best track, slaps you in the face with its sexual imagery. Kieids becomes an exaggerated ideal of himself as a sex-hungry animal of a man ‘with demons in his semen.’ Fruscianti’s guitar tone on the chorus is teasingly heavy, Flea’s punk-funk bass line throughout the eight minutes of the sexual frenzy sways around the song playfully. The song’s greatest moment though is at 5:41 where a trippy instrumental winds the song down to a mellow climax, with violins repeating Fruscianti’s riff and drawing the curtains on Kiedis’ debauchery.
‘Under The Bridge’, originally a poem Kiedis wrote whilst at his lowest, and almost didn’t make the album until Rubin’s insistence paid off, ended up being a major hit single for the band. ‘Give it Away’ was conceived by Flea and Smith aimlessly jamming and Kiedis coming out of nowhere with the songs iconic chorus, ‘giveitawaygiveitawaygiveitaway now.’ ‘Suck My Kiss’ and ‘Naked in the Rain’ exemplify the bands ferocious libido further too.
Touring of the album was hugely successful as they played shows with Billy Corgan’s The Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Tensions were boiling though between Fruscianti and Kiedis. Pearl Jam were deemed not big enough to perform alongside the Chili Peppers and so plans were in place for them to be replaced by Nirvana. Corgan however, refused to play alongside Kurt Cobain, who was dating Courtney Love, a past flame of Corgan’s. The Smashing Pumpkins left, Pearl Jam stayed and Nirvana joined.
The Chili’s performance on Saturday Night Live proved to be the tipping point for Kiedis as Fruscianti, it seemed, deliberately upstaged Kiedis by playing out of tune, out of time and wrecking the songs closing chorus. Keidis said of the performance:

[Frusciante] was experimenting the way he would have if we’d been rehearsing the tune. Well we weren’t. We were on live TV in front of millions of people and it was torture. I started singing in what I thought was the key he was playing in. I felt like I was getting stabbed in the back and hung out to dry in front of all of America while this guy was off in a corner in the shadow, playing some dissonant out-of-tune experiment (source)

Chili Peppers live
Fruscianti quit the band and for the next six years went on a downward spiral of drugs, self harm and depression. Flea kept in regular contact and helped him be admitted to rehab. Kiedis was open to the idea of him returning, after Dave Navarro quit in 1998, and met the guitarist to resolve the issues they had with each other.
To this day, ‘Give it Away’ and ‘Under the Bridge’ remain the band’s most played songs on tours and shows, owing to the lasting legacy Blood Sugar Sex Magik created for them.

The Doors- ‘LA Woman’ Review

Iconic Jim Morrison image(40thanniversary edition)
Track Listing
  1. The Changeling
  2. Love Her Madly
  3. Been Down So Long
  4. Cars Hiss By My Window
  5. LA Woman
  6. L’America
  7. Hyacinth House
  8. Crawling King Snake
  9. The Wasp 
  10. Riders On The Storm
Throughout a turbulent few months for me with graduation, finding a job and moving house I have needed music that has relaxed me and put me back into a mellow state of mind again.
The Doors’ sixth studio album LA Woman did just that and has remained a reliable source of de-stressing when needed, mainly due to its blues-rock style and ‘cocktail jazz’- a term commonly used as a derogatory remark about the album.
LA Woman turned out to be their most commercially successful and Rolling Stone magazine marked it as no. 362 in its ‘500 Greatest Albums of all Time’ list. It was also Jim Morrison’s last studio album before he died two months after its release. Morrison is now part of a collective term called ‘The 27 Club’ referring to musicians who have all died at the age of 27 including Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones and more recently, Amy Winehouse.
The album gets off to an upbeat start with ‘The Changeling’ which features the bands iconic organ sound layered beneath Morrison’s coarsely sung verses. As ever, Robby Krieger’s guitar swoons gently in unison with the vocals creating an uplifting start to the album.
‘Love Her Madly’ follows the upbeat mood but with a more blues tinge to the beat by adding a piano part which bounces melodically along in the background. These first two songs however signal a distinct deterioration in Morrison’s voice. ‘Been Down So long’ certainly adds credence to that fact as his vocals borders on the irritating at times.
LA Woman album coverThe next two tracks though completely dispel the notion that Morrison is past his best and give the album its gentler touch. Firstly with ‘Cars Hiss by My Window’, the poeticism involved makes you feel like you’re lazing on a Sunday summers evening by the shore. Who doesn’t want to feel like that listening to a song? Secondly the album’s title track ‘LA Woman’, a key hit single in any collection of the band’s best achievements, gallops at a contagiously head swaying rate until a smooth interlude. Lyrically, ‘LA Woman’ sees the band at their poetically enigmatic best. After the interlude, Morrison repeatedly sings the line ‘Mr. Mojo Risin’’, an anagram for Jim Morrison, which has an interestingly persistent rumour behind it. Upon Morrison’s death in 1971, there was no official autopsy and the police report cited a heart attack which killed the singer. But there are many conspiracy theorists who believe that Morrison had faked his own death, due to differing accounts from his life-long companion Pamela Courson, Alain Ronay (a photographer friend of Morrison’s) and police reports differing from the medical reports. Supposedly, if Morrison had faked his own death, he would use the term ‘Mr Mojo Risin’’ as a way of communicating with his close friends and band members.
The Doors posing for a photo
The album’s crowning achievement though is without a doubt its closing track ‘Riders On The Storm’. The song starts with torrential rain and thunder slowly fading in until the cyclical bass line kick-starts the track. Morrison’s voice is at its smooth, swooning best as he opens with the song’s title. Lines like, ‘There’s a killer on the road, his brain is squirming like a toad’ is said laconically, undermining the sinister undertones of the song. The reverb on Krieger’s guitar accentuates the rain, as if water was vibrating off the strings, and saturates the earthy bass line. From 2009, the song was inducted into the Grammy hall of fame and has been covered by many different artists including Santana, with Linkin’ Park Vocalist Chester Bennington singing and Ray Manzarek on keyboard as he did for The Doors in the studio recording.
Overall, the album is by far The Doors greatest studio recording and was the least toured lasting just two shows until, on the second show, the stage fell through because Morrison slammed the microphone stand down on it too hard. Afterwards, he announced his retirement from live shows and moved to Paris with Pam until his death two months later. The band split up in 1973 after two albums –Other Voices and Full Circle– without Morrison, with Manzarek and Krieger taking vocal duties, but couldn’t recreate the same chemistry without the late singer. Who knows how much more successful The Doors would have become had Morrison survived.

Matchday 3- Gunners Finally Firing, Stuttering Spurs and van the Man in Manchester.

Moussa Dembele photo shootJim White of Sky Sports News may have presented the transfer deadline day signings, right up to its 11 O’clock deadline, in a rather flustered and stuttering fashion, but the signings themselves proved to be far from hesitant in proving themselves. Andy Carroll completely transformed West Ham attacking wise, until his untimely injury, and Moussa Dembele came off the bench to put Tottenham in front against Norwich.
Lukas Podolski scores for ArsenalWhile Arsenal’s two new signings in Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla impressed by setting each other up for a goal each, to beat Liverpool 2 nil, it was the forgotten man at the Emirates, a tall, gangly, powerful midfielder in Abou Diaby who earned himself the man of the match award. Diaby’s quick feet, surging runs forward and simple (yet effective) passing proved far too much for the aging Steven Gerrard, Premier League new boy Nuri Sahin and Brendan Rodgers favourite Joe Allen in Liverpool’s midfield three. Comparisons between Diaby and a young Patrick Vieira, or Man City’s Yaya Toure, may have more credence later in the season.
Arsenal are now the only team in the league yet to concede a goal thanks to the 2-2 draw between Sunderland and Swansea, the Premier League’s other two sides who had yet to concede before the match. Michael Laudrup’s side continued to play their football in style, but found it tough to break down a sturdy Sunderland defence. Wayne Routledge continued his scintillating form and Chico Flores, signed from Genoa, had a tough afternoon when he was sent off in the second half for a face high (yes, face high) challenge on Louis Saha. Sunderland’s new £14 million striker Steven Fletcher soon began to repay his hefty price tag with two clinically finished first half goals.
Morgan Schneiderlin
Van Persie repaid a chunk of his own price tag when he scored a hatrick against, yet again, a spirited Southampton side. The score finished 3-2 and the Saints were unlucky to not get anything out of the game, but as soon as the Dutchman failed an attempted a chip on his penalty to put United ahead, he responded with two largely fortuitous goals.  Rickie Lambert started the scroring, before van Persie responded five minutes later, and Morgan Schneiderlin who headed in after Patrice Evra had slipped over in the box.
Andy Carroll, a player who is often seen slipping up, certainly didn’t on his debut for West Ham as he was instrumental in the Hammers 3 nil win over a Fulham side whose confidence is slowly deflating. Carroll’s link-up play with Kevin Nolan and Ricardo Vaz Te gave West Ham a completely different dimension to their attack, which should see them survive the drop this season. That is assuming though he can stay fit as he hobbled off the pitch in the second half with a hamstring injury, ruling him out of the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers for England.
Carroll’s old club Newcastle struggled against a more organised Aston Villa as they finished 1-1 at St James’ Park. Ciaran Clark headed Villa in front in the first half and Hatem Ben Arfa scored a simply stunning goal that would put him in contention for goal of the season. He received the ball on the far left of the box, rolled the ball forward to the right to make space for himself to fire a rocket of a shot straight at the top corner.
Hatem Ben Arfa
Results
Southampton 2 3 Manchester United
Newcastle 1 1 Aston Villa
Liverpool 0 2 Arsenal
Manchester City 3 1 QPR
West Brom 2 Everton 0
Tottenham 1 1 Norwich
Swansea 2 Sunderland
Wigan 2 2 Stoke City
West Ham 3 Fulham 0
%d bloggers like this: