2013 – A Year In Review

We have survived the first 8 days of 2014 and with only another 51 weeks, 357 days or 8,592 hours until the new-year, I thought I’d review the highs and lows of 2013.

January
The first month of the year means school holidays and summer! Luckily enough the average temperature was the highest on Australian record, so students were treated to a month of sunshine. Unfortunately other parts of the world weren’t in such good spirit, with over 60,000 people dying in Syria’s civil war. In the entertainment world Lindsay Lohan once again faced court and jail-time and was refused hotel rooms on her trip to Los Angeles. In sporting news Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka took out the men’s and women’s singles final at the Australian Open and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were at the top of the music charts with their hit single ‘Thrift Shop.’

February
My personal favourite month of the year – the weather is still great, school goes back, my birthday and for me, dancing returns. Macklemore was still dominating the charts, but this time with new single ‘Same Love.’ However the latter half of the month showed the ‘Harlem Shake’ craze take over, but not for long. In the world of sport there were unfortunately more lows then highs as a year-long investigation showed that some of our sporting heroes are using drugs to improve their performance. Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on February 11 of 2013, the first Pope to do so since 1415. In entertainment, the One Direction boys headed to Ghana to film their video clip for single ‘One Way or Another’ and to raise money for Comic Relief.

March
 In the month of March, Kate Middleton denied knowing the gender of her unborn baby at an appearance in the UK. In sports news, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and athlete Jessica Ennis were awarded the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards. The number 1 spot on the music charts was finally taken from Macklemore, this time by Pink and Nate Ruess with hit song ‘Just Give Me a Reason.’

April
On the 15th of April the world was left in shock after multiple bombs explode at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed, including an eight year-old boy and at least another 170 were injured. President Obama said “We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts, but make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this.” Passenger took over the charts for the entire month with ever so popular song ‘Let Her Go’ and sprinter Black Caviar finished her racing career at Royal Randwick with an amazing 25 wins from 25 starts.

May
The debate about racism in sport was kicked off again in May, this time after Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes singled out a 13 year-old Collingwood supporter who called him an ‘ape.’ On a better note Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota legalize same-sex marriage and couples were able to get married as of August 2013. Miley Cyrus was the most talked about celebrity in the entertainment world after her raunchy photos, new sound and new haircut. Her relationship with Liam Hemsworth was also on the rocks due to their busy schedules and not having time for each other. Daft Punk’s new song ‘Get Lucky’ stole number 1 on the charts for the month of May.

June
In Australian news, our first female Aussie Prime Minister Julia Gillard resigned after being outed in a party vote. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd replaced Julia as party leader, and then prime minister the following day. Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal took out the men’s and women’s singles title at the French Open, this being Nadal’s eighth French Open win and exactly 11 years since Williams bet her sister and acquired her first win. This month Robin Thicke was on top of the music industry with hit song ‘Blurred Lines.’ In the entertainment world, Kim Kardashian finally finalized her divorce with former NBA player Kris Humphries.

July
The month of July marked the awaited arrival of the royal baby! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their son George Alexander Louis to the world, who is automatically third in line to the throne. In Australian sport the Queensland Maroons won their eighth consecutive State of Origin series. Although a streaker robbed the Maroons of a try, it didn’t stop their run at the top of the Origin legacies. This month it was ‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii that proved to be the most popular song and rock legend Jon Bon Jovi donated $1 million to the Superstorm Sandy Relief Fund.

August
Jason Derulo dominated the charts with his song ‘Talk Dirty’ which featured 2 Chainz. The sudden death of Glee star Cory Monteith struck the people of the world, including fellow Gleeks. After months of speculation, the investigation of the ‘supplements’ program being run at the Essendon Football Club came to a head. The club was banned from being a part of the 2013 AFL finals, coach James Hird was given a one-year ban and a number of other suspensions and fines were handed down. In big world news, 25 year old Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail after leaking 700 000 US government files to WikiLeaks.

September
The Hawthorn Hawks were victorious in the 2013 AFL Grand Final, beating the Fremantle Dockers by 15 points at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In the ninth month of the year the number 1 spot on the music charts was shared by Katy Perry and Redfoo with their singles ‘Roar’ and ‘Let’s Get Ridiculous.’ Miley Cyrus’ controversial film clip to song ‘Wrecking Ball’ broke the record for the most number of views in 24 hours, with 19.3 million views after just a day. In world news, Apple unveiled the brand new iPhone 5c and 5s, and the rain continued to pour in American state Colorado as more than 1200 people remain unaccounted for in the current floods.

October
In October we sadly saw the death of two students and a maths teacher at Sparks Middle School in Nevada. The three were shot by a middle-school student who later shot himself in front of other students. ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry remained in the number 1 spot for this month, which led the hit single to be the longest-running number 1 song of 2013. The Boston Red Sox had an exceptional run of success, this continued by winning the 2013 World Series. A team in shock after the Boston Marathon Bombings pulled together and claimed an inspiring win.

November
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones recorded in history struck the Philippines and resulted in over 5000 lives being lost. In the sporting world it was a month of retirement and we were left to send off some all-time sporting greats. Mark Webber said goodbye to his Formula One career after a podium finish and cricket star Sachin Tendulkar said farewell on his home ground in Mumbai after scoring 74 runs. Australian X-Factor stars Dami Im and Taylor Henderson released singles and both songs reached number 1 for a short time this month but it was ‘The Monster’ by Eminem and Rihanna that remained on top for the most part of November. Fast & Furious star Paul Walker sadly passed away in a car accident in Los Angeles, leaving movie fans in shock and wondering what will happen next for the Fast & Furious series.

December
It’s finally Christmas time and there was a cheerful spirit all over the country after the Australian Cricket Team’s long awaited success at the Ashes Series. Aussie surfer Mick Fanning took out the Hawaiian Pipe Masters to claim his third world title after pulling out an amazing last-minute ride. It was John Legend’s song ‘All Of Me’ in the number 1 position over the Christmas period. Apple reported that $1 billion was spent by their customers at the App store during the month, taking their total yearly earnings to $10 billion.

All in all 2013 had its fair share of lows, but for me it was an amazing year full of fun, friends, family and fantastic achievements. May everyone have a good 2014 year and I look forward to writing another of these posts at the beginning of 2015.

Happy reading!

Review: One Direction Midnight Memories Album

The world’s biggest boy band One Direction is busier then ever! With their Take Me Hour tour coming to a close just a month ago and their new album Midnight Memories being released last week, it’s hard to see how the boys can fit in so much in so little time. But their hard work really has paid off this time with the new album reaching number 1 on iTunes and the Billboard 200 in just a matter of days. The power of the Directioners is stronger than ever as the crazy but dedicated fandom come together and it wont be long before the album is number 1 in almost all corners of the globe. It only feels like yesterday that 1D’s first album Up All Night was released, and their innocent, soft voices that we all fell in love with were first shown to the world. The next album Take Me Home was completely different to the first one, and many Directioners weren’t sure how to react but it wasn’t long before we all loved these songs just as much as the first. Once again they have surprised us with a new sound but this new bunch of songs are my favourite to date. Our boys are back – tattooed and all, with an edgier, rock sound in their voices and a matured, grown-up look about them. Here is my review of One Direction’s Midnight Memories album:

Track 1: ‘Best Song Ever’

Best Song Ever is the lead single for Midnight Memories. It was released earlier this year in July and gave us all a taste of what to expect when the new album was released. I don’t believe that this is One Direction’s best song ever, but is definitely one of the catchiest and a great way to start an album. It is your common pop song tune, with extremely catchy lyrics but the film clip definitely makes it! The film clip sees the boys in a Hollywood office, speaking with two executives Johnny and Harvey (Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan), after being led in by office assistant Veronica (Zayn Malik). The geeky marketing man Marcel (Harry Styles) shows the 1D boys pictures of themselves in terrible outfits and even brings in choreographer Leeroy (Liam Payne) to show them some potential dance moves for the film clip. The band then bursts into song, and even adds in a few of their own dance moves throughout! This film clip broke the Vevo 24-hour record but was later beaten by Miley Cyrus with her ‘Wrecking Ball’ video. This song was a great single and an even better way to begin a new album.

Track 2: ‘Story of My Life’

Story of My Life was the second single, and second song on the album! It is a much softer song, with beautiful lyrics and it really shows off One Direction’s vocal ability. This song received positive reviews from critics, fans and is one of my personal favorites. This song is a nice mature point between their pop rock and ballads, which provides a balance through the album. Although it isn’t as catchy, it is a memorable song that is enjoyed by people of all ages – even if you aren’t a boy band lover. ‘Story of My Life’ shows that One Direction isn’t just another boy band, they each have amazing vocal capabilities that can be shown in their slower songs. The lyrics to this song are much deeper and more meaningful and show that boys really have matured since they first started out.

Track 3: ‘Diana’

Diana‘ is the first of a number of rock songs on the album. The catchy guitar and drum tunes throughout the song are similar to those of the 80’s. This song does resemble some old songs by past boy bands but I love it and I think they have done a great job with this song, especially as it is a new style of music for them. Any Directioner named Diana (or those that change their name after hearing this song) will feel very special once they’ve listened to this great tune.

Track 4: ‘Midnight Memories’

Once again this song has a rock influence on it, which isn’t unusual with 1D but it comes across heavily in their fourth track. Critics have also compared this song to past 80’s-90’s music, Def Leppard’s music is a common comparison. I believe that the song they title their album after should be a good one, and I think they have delivered here. Midnight Memories is one of those summer songs that gets blasted through the speakers, it is a YOLO sort of tune that will make anyone happy.

Track 5: ‘You and I’

You and I is another one of my favourites on the album. It is an inspirational sort of song that makes you feel like you can do anything! The song has a slight resemblance to ‘Little Things’ from the Take Me Home album. This song has beautiful lyrics, a love song saying that nothing can come between ‘you and I.’ My favorite line in the song by Mr. Harry Styles himself:

“You and I,
Not even the gods above
Can separate the two of us.”

The lyrics to this song are something that all girls want in real life – especially if it was the One Direction boys singing it to us.

Track 6: ‘Don’t Forget Where You Belong’

I feel that this song is one very close to the boy’s hearts. To me they are saying that they have come a long way, and done so much at such a young age but they will never forget their homes or how they all started out. This is a soft-rock song with meaningful lyrics that I really enjoy! Considering the boys have been on the road for so much of their lives recently, critics say that they were expecting a song like this on the new album. The first time I listened to Midnight Memories this was my favourite song, and after listening to it many more times it is still up there with some of the best!

Track 7: ‘Strong’

‘Strong’ is another amazing song by One Direction – and another love song that we all wish they were singing to us! It’s the sort of song that we have seen on ‘Up All Night’ and ‘Take Me Home’ but the sort of song that we have grown to love the boys singing.

Track 8: ‘Happily’

‘Happily’ is definitely a stand out on Midnight Memories, it is more or less my favourite song on the album. The eighth track as well as the seven before it is a good mix of genres and style and that is why the first half of the album is the part that I enjoy the most.

Track 9: ‘Right Now’

This song could appeal to a much older audience, rather than their usual teenage crowd. This is one of the matured, calming songs on Midnight Memories and it really shows how much the boys have grown up in the last few years. I believe that this song is quite personal to the 1D boys, in particular Louis, Zayn and Liam. The lyrics seem to be talking about long distance relationships and with the boys on the road a lot, this is something they are left to deal with.

Track 10: ‘Little Black Dress’

This is by far one of the catchiest tracks on Midnight Memories! With an rock feel to it but a ‘dancy’ up-tempo beat it just makes you want to get up on the dance floor. This is a song that everyone will chant through the chorus and I have no doubt that it will go off when they sing it on tour.

Track 11:Through The Dark’

This song is the same sort of style as ‘Happily,’ but not quite as memorable. Once again this is another song with great lyrics and it really shows of their vocals but it won’t be a big hit and it doesn’t really stay in my mind when the album has finished. However it is still a fantastic song with a folk feel to it.

Track 12: ‘Something Great’

Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody helped out one Direction on this one and critics say that there is the resemblance of Snow Patrol’s music in here. This isn’t one of their potential hits, more or less just an album filler but it is still a great song of course, along with every single tune on here!

Track 13: ‘Little White Lies’

‘Little White Lies’ is a catchy pop song that keeps the album going just before the end. We’ve had ‘Little Black Dress’ so why not ‘Little Black Lies?’ I am a huge fan of this song – one of my favourites!

Track 14: ‘Better Than Words’

This is a fantastic way to end another great album by One Direction. ‘Better Than Words’ is a ballad that the boys do so well, and as they get more experienced their ballads are just getting better. 1D chose to finish off with what they do best and that was definitely a smart move. This final song just leaves me wanting to know what will follow in the months to come.

Overall, there is nothing out of place on this amazing new album. I’ve had it on repeat for days and don’t think that I’ll ever get sick of it. It’s great that we get to see the boys mature and grow as artists in not just their appearance, but their music as well. I still believe that this is the beginning for One Direction and I cannot wait to see what they have in store for the future. If you are not a 1D fan, I suggest you listen to ‘You and I,’ ‘Right Now’ and ‘Little White Lies’ because these sort of songs can appeal to any age group – they aren’t your average boy band music. But if you are a Directioner, I have no doubt that this will be your favourite album to date!

 I give ‘Midnight Memories’ by One Direction 5 out of 5 stars.

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