Thursday, 27 November 2008

This Is The Life

An occasionally prophetic review I wrote for The Vine (University of St Andrews student magazine) in March 2007

Amy Macdonald is a terrible poser (check out her website if you don’t believe us), but she’s probably going to be mahoosive. In the musical sense, rather than appearing on telly with diet bitch Gillian McKeith. The 19-year-old indie pop songstress (as she’ll probably be called) has already attended the Brit Awards and been given a slot at Glastonbury; and the fact that she’s a Scottish girl with a guitar has begun to draw those obvious (but by and large complimentary) comparisons with KT Tunstall.

Her album sampler (watermarked so that The Vine does not fiendishly copy it to share the beautiful acoustic pop melodies with others who will undoubtedly want to buy the CD, shirt, and moody photograph of Amy sitting on a wall somewhere faintly scummy in Glasgow that's about eight miles away from where she actually lives) contains five tracks from the debut, This is the Life, due for release this summer.

The new single, Poison Prince is quite catchy. It’s got a fast, toe-tapping bit to hook you in there, then a quieter bit for variation, then back into the chorus. Yay! Oh well, at least it’s easy. Sounds like a reasonably good track to drive to, and fractionally less annoying than a lot of Radio 1 fare.

Track 2, Mr Rock And Roll, has a bit of a celtic ring to it. Amy is keeping her options open, she might be asked to do Robert Burns’ birthday on BBC 2 next year if she plays her cards right.

By the way, she’s heavily influenced by fellow Scots, Travis. Oh dear. Travis are all well and good, don’t get us wrong, but as your main musical inspiration? Well no, not quite actually, Travis were her first musical discovery, but the title track of the album was motivated by the works of drug-addled media-whore Pete Doherty. She wants to be deep, bless her, but she’s stuck for any proper life-changing experiences to write about. “Although the songs you hear are sweet and happy they actually come from a much darker place,” she trills on her myspace gumph. Bollocks. What darker place is she referring to exactly, Paisley?

The slow track™ is called This Is The Life, and sounds like it was written the morning after, when you get home and realise you’ve lost your keys. And nobody’s in to open the door of course. Bumsticks. This leads you to question the very meaning of existence, and indeed, where you will sleep tonight. Pretty deep, non? So, in a flurry of existential contemplations, you wander about trendy coffee shops with an acoustic guitar, looking moody and hoping someone from Mercury will give you a record contract.

Barrowland Ballroom
is a bit perky again, there’s even a wee honky tonk thing going on there. How cute, and not a bit twee. Amy can rhyme ‘drink’ and ‘think’, and wishes she was onstage instead of at the bar. Fair enough, if you’ve ever been to a gig in the Barrowlands you’ll know how uncomfortable it can get in the audience. If ever you wish to intimately acquaint yourself with the sweat glands of a roomful of strangers, that’s the place to be.

And so we come, politely tapping our toes in time with the poppy goodness, to the last song on our much sought after sampler (the inaudible watermark allows us to trace this audio back to YOU). “Put a ribbon round my neck and call me a Libertine / I’ll sing you songs of what I used to dream.” Pardon? This is the opening to Let’s Start A Band. Presumably pap like this is why Amy is a solo artist.

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