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This Is The Life

This Is The Life

August 19, 2008
4.2 out of 5 stars 166 customer reviews

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1
3:35
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3:05
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3
3:29
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3:59
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5
Run
Run
3:49
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4:05
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3:57
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4:06
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3:45
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5:06
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3:17
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The most wonderful things happen when you least expect it. I was absentmindedly listening to an English radio station on the internet and suddenly I was in a happy place thinking that I was hearing a classic Fleetwood Mac or Eagles track. But it dawned on me, I hadn't heard this before. The tune was Mr. Rock and Roll. I totally flipped out, caught the name of the singer and hunted the internet to find out more. My twelve year old daughter came to my rescue got me to YouTube and we watched the video. After that I was hitting the play button again and again like a chimpanzee being rewarded with grapes. I couldn't get the tune out of my head. Then I began to feel uncomfortable. The vocals didn't give it away. Amy MacDonald was nineteen when she recorded This Is the Life. Was this the start of a mid-life crisis? Thankfully, it turned out that the album has resonated with the middle-aged, with apparently many sharing the joy with their kids. Besides Mr. Rock and Roll, the majority of the remaining tracks are just as catchy and melodic, sung with a voice that is rather hard to describe, peaches and grapefruit is about the best I can come up with. The acoustic guitar is addictive.

This is the absolutely the most enjoyable rock or popular music I have experienced in a very long time. Listening to this album certainly is the life.
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A friend of mine from England recently sent me this CD and I'm finding myself listening to it daily. There's a spate of talented female singer/songwriters deservedly coming to the fore in the UK right now, names such as Duffy, Adele, Kate Nash and Amy Macdonald.

Amy is a 20 year old Glaswegian who released this, her first album, in July 2007. It entered the UK album charts at No. 2 and stayed in the Top 10 for a while before gradually slipping down the charts. Then, for some reason, it came back around Christmas time (probably when everyone was buying it as a present for friends and relatives) and in early January 2008 it went to No. 1 for one week. Amy wrote all the songs on the album herself and plays acoustic guitar on every track. Her voice somehow sounds much older than that of a 20 year old. She also seems to have an "old head on young shoulders" as her subject matter is very mature.

There's one song called "Footballer's Wife" where she asks where all the real stars have gone, like James Dean and Fred Astaire, when today reality TV contestants and footballer's wives all think they're stars of the same calibre, which is partly the fault of the public who are prepared to settle for making overnight stars of them.

Macdonald recently supported Paul Weller (formerly of The Jam and now a renowned solo artist) on tour and he has named the track "Run" from this album his favorite song. In fact, Weller would stand in the wings every night and watch Macdonald perform the song.

"Poison Prince" is a song about Pete Docherty of the band Baby Shambles (and drug-addicted boyfriend of supermodel Kate Moss).
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This is the debut album from much talked about Amy MacDonald. Currently the female music scene is full of `The Streets' equivalents such as Kate Nash/Lilly Allan, and then there's Rihanna who seems to be on the radio 24/7. So when this 19 year old from Bishopbriggs came onto the scene with her catchy folkish acoustic pop songs; it felt like a breath of fresh air.

The album title `This is the Life' is appropriately named as it reflects the theme of the album as a whole. The songs give you the impression, she never had any doubt about what she wanted to do with her life and that she has always had the drive and ambition to achieve it. You can almost picture her when she was younger sitting in her bedroom with her acoustic guitar dreaming of making a career out of music. Unlike many who continue to dream, she did something about it and penned her thoughts about her dreams and ambition in to her songs. In fact the tune, `Lets start a band', is like seeing Amy's thought process in how she decided to make music. The song starts off with trumpets, singing about dreaming of being in a successful band and appearing in Rolling stone magazine. Furthermore she would only enter a band with someone if they wanted the same things as her. The middle section of the song goes into a kind of opera style singing which acts as a good build up because it gathers the momentum of the song leading to its climax; chanting "Let's start a band", repeatedly, you can feel the excitement.

Another song which echoes the theme of dreams is the joyful `Barrowland Ballroom'. For those of you who don't know `The Barrowlands is a legendary venue in the East end of Glasgow.
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Young Amy Macdonald is no stranger to millions of fans in Europe as she is a 2 time platinum selling and award winning artist. She started playing guitar and writing music/lyrics at 12 in Scotland, gigging at 15 and the rest is history, albeit a brief one so far. The 1st US release, which hits the street on August 19th, 2008, titled, "This Is The Life" has an acoustic folk/pop sound starts out well with the tunes, "Mr. Rock & Roll", the title song, "This Is The Life" and "Poison Prince" which very well may be an ode to good pal, Pete Doherty of Babyshambles/Kate Moss fame or someone like him. However, the sappy song, L.A.; an admitted ode to Jake Gyllenhall and "Footballer's Wife" are quite vapid.

Gotta remember, though that this is a girl of 19. She writes about teenage angst and therein lies a bit of a problem. Amy's voice is unbelievably mature beyond her years and is somewhere juxtaposed between Joan Armatrading, Judy Collins, KT Tunstall and Lilly Allen. Yeah, I know... Odd combination.

The tracks seem to gradually get a bit muddied with "Youth Of Today" being my least favorite on the CD. But the song, "A Wish For Something More" has a timeless story of a woman who happens to be best friends with a man but wishes for something more in their relationship. This is probably the best track on the CD in my opinion.

I believe that as Amy matures, so will her lyrics and approach to music in general. Plan to see many great things from Amy in the future. I am sure she will have the great success she has had in Europe and be received very well right here in the U.S.A.
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