2010s music review

Performances of the decade

10. Lizzo – Glastonbury, 2019. Lizzo at her prime, preaching to the masses and making me, Isobel and Liz the happiest people in the world for just an hour. We laughed, we cried, we sang, we loved.

9. Madonna – O2 Arena, 2015. An icon in the flesh. A slick production – albeit messy at points. Nevertheless, singing Like a Virgin with my mother while Madonna pole danced will be a memory I will certainly cherish from this decade.

8. Lianne La Havas – Wilton’s Music Hall, 2015. One of my favourite artists from the decade, as recommended by Mr Smith, who as usual was accurate in his suggestions. Seeing some of my favourite songs in a gorgeous intimate venue was unforgettable.

7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – O2 Islington, 2013. I decided at the age of 14 that the YYYs were my favourite band, and thus began my indie rock phase that lasted a max of 3 years. This was a lot of fun, and I am thankful for Karen O spitting her water over the crowd, resulting in my baptism.

6. Florence + The Machine – Glastonbury, 2015. Singing and dancing in a field with my best friends to some classic songs with a fantastic performance. What more is there to say?

5. Charli XCX – Heaven, 2014. Interestingly, this is a gig pre-Sophie and PC music. However, this is representative of Ms XCX’s phenomenal stage presence and talent. The woman knows how to put on a show. Me and Jess came away absolutely gobsmacked.

4. Robyn – Alexandra Palace, 2019. Miss Robyn. Hearing the perfection that is Honey live was a real treat, and that alone would render this concert a position in my top 10. However, with a back catalogue as iconic as hers – Dancing On My Own, Call Your Girlfriend, With Every Heartbeat – and a performance as emotional and heartfelt as was witnessed – in addition to enjoying it all with the wonderful Celina, this is undoubtedly a top 5 of the decade for me.

3. Lorde – Alexandra Palace, 2017. Nothing says existential crisis like seeing Lorde sing about getting older while wearing a suit after having recently joined the corporate world. Her albums mean a lot to me and this was pure catharsis.

2. Lana Del Rey – Hammersmith Apollo, 2013. Very clever Josh attended this in the middle of his AS exams,and subsequently fucked them up. But we digress. After 2 years of intense stanning and Twitter DMS, it was time to see the Del Rey perform. It was everything 16 year old me wanted and more, and having her recognise me in the crowd will always make this gig a special moment for me.

1. FKA twigs – Roundhouse, 2015. One of the most formidable performers of our time. Twigs is a tour de force and not simply a singer songwriter, not simply a dancer, but an artist. I do not use the term loosely. I have never been so astounded at a performer as I have with her, and this gig at the gorgeous Roundhouse will forever be ingrained in my brain as the most pure example of high art.

#Albums of the decade

10. Ceremonials, 2011 – Florence + The Machine. Florence at her most refined. A gorgeous body of work. The latter part of the album really digs into Welch’s psyche, and Remain Nameless and Seven Devils are underrated deepcuts.

9. The Suburbs, 2010 – Arcade Fire. An album that fills me with nostalgia and makes me wish I was always on a road trip in the American West. Dips a little in the middle but picks up back into flawless territory with the cool Wasted Hours.

8. Honey, 2019 – Robyn. Slick, experimental, unexpected. After the bangers from Body Talk, I would never have thought Robyn could better herself – but I was wrong. No skips, even Beach 2k20 (in the right mood). I listened to this a lot while pounding the streets of Elephant & Castle at night.

7. Blood Pressures, 2011 – The Kills. The epitome of 2011 for me. A perfect indie rock record with absolutely no skips.

6. Born This Way, 2011 – Lady Gaga. 2011 was a big year for me. I have very vivid memories of listening to ‘Bad Kids’ on Benfleet platform while waiting for the train to school, wondering why Lady Gaga was being rude about her parents. I also remember listening to the lyrics of Born This Way at the ripe age of 14 while realising I was gay, absolutely terrified, and having no idea of how I would live with that. Looking back, this album really helped me more than I realised at the time, and symbolises one of the hardest years for me. Thanks Gags.

5. Golden Hour, 2018 – Kacey Musgraves. One of the most beautiful albums that makes me happy, makes me sad, and keeps me calm. I will cherish this album for years to come.

4. Teenage Dream, 2010 – Katy Perry. Like Born This Way, I attach this album with my coming out and the summer of 2011 – a lot of which was spent at Shoebury East Beach. This album really makes me nostalgic, but is also full of so many 10/10 bangers, and as such has aged well.

3. E•MO•TION, 2015 – Carly Rae Jepsen. We all knew this was coming. The second coming of Jepsen. A perfect collection of pop that I don’t think I will ever tire of.

2. Born To Die, 2012 – Lana Del Rey. While now this is not necessarily her best album, it is an album I look to fondly, and this is undoubtedly an album that defined my decade in music.

1. Pure Heroine, 2013 – Lorde. Despite being released in 2013, Lorde’s debut has stood the test of time sonically and lyrically,and still manages to reflect how I feel. A truly timeless album that has been with me through it all.

#Tunes of the decade

  1. Unlock It, 2017 – Charli XCX. Charli really came into her own with her mixtape, ‘Pop 2’, and Unlock It is the cherry on top of a fantastic collection of industrial, experimental pop. It also brought the wonder that is Kim Petras into my life.
  1. Teenage Dream, 2010, – Katy Perry. Pop perfection and the intro always makes me feel nostalgic for 2011.
  1. 1991, 2011 – Azealia Banks. The biggest travesty of the decade is Ms. Banks inability to maintain a solid career despite an abundance of sheer talent. 1991 for me is a flawless 3 and a half minutes that doesn’t hold back.
  1. Hannah Hunt, 2013 – Vampire Weekend. Beautiful, simple, and the slow build up to the euphoria at the end is porn for the ears.
  1. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), 2010 – Arcade Fire. A loud and huge anthem that just makes me so so happy. It feels like an event, honestly.
  1. Run Away With Me, 2015 – Carly Rae Jepsen. The song that defined Jepsen as the pop icon we never knew we needed, but are forever grateful for. The saxophone at the start of the song really sets the tone of the song and takes you on a journey of excitement and wonder.
  1. Everything Is Embarrassing, 2012 – Sky Ferreira. This song sounds absolutely brilliant. It used to make me think of tumblr and being miserable, but has aged well into a millennial angst anthem. I just wish Sky’s career had aged well, too.
  1. Ribs, 2013 – Lorde. Existential anthem that fits every mood. “Feels so scary getting old” – it really does, but it’s a fun ride. 

    2. Dancing On My Own, 2010, Robyn. The pop song to end all pop songs. Absolute perfection that elicit’s every emotion of heartbreak alongside the joy of dancing it all away.

  1. Oblivion, 2012 – Grimes. I love everything about Oblivion. It already feels like a classic, and I don’t think I’ve listened to any other song more this decade. I’ve never tired of it. The whole song feels so joyous despite the dark lyrics, and I like to think come 2030 I’ll still be blasting this at least 10 times a week.

3 weeks in China – what I did, what I would change

Summer 2017 marked the end of my time as a full-time student and the end of undergraduate studies for my boyfriend; and as such, we wanted to do a big trip together to celebrate. We initially thought of Japan, but realised it was a bit too expensive for our student budgets (we’ve actually just been this summer 2018!), so my boyfriend suggested China.


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3 Months down, 2 to go.

I’m almost 3 months in, and I can already tell that I will miss my semester abroad terribly. My experiences so far have been brilliant, and as well as the academic differences, I’m enjoying the subtle differences. So far, these have included language, a more causal culture, the independence and undoubtedly travel. Studying abroad has definitely enhanced my confidence and personal development, and I like knowing that I’m able to move to a different country on my own without too much trouble.

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Spring Break

Spring Break – a very American institution. As well as enjoying myself at Georgetown, I knew I would love the traveling aspect of this semester abroad. I decided to opt against the traditional break of going to in the Caribbean, Mexico or Miami, and took in four cities across the states. Beginning in LA, and ending in Chicago, this is a brief summary of my 8 day Spring Break.


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Internships & Competitiveness

For the past few months I’ve been interning/volunteering one day a week at the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign. If you are not aware, Senator Sanders is in the running to gain the Democratic nomination alongside Hillary Clinton. He is very much as left wing as allowed in America, which on the whole is pretty right wing. I tend to think of Hillary Clinton as being far closer to David Cameron than Blairites. He has similar stances to Corbyn, but not as left.

From speaking to others at Georgetown and George Washington University, I’ve noticed the emphasis there is on interning alongside one’s studies. During orientation, there was a whole session dedicated to the protocols of interning. It isn’t unheard of back at King’s to intern, I know a few people that do so, but it isn’t an overwhelming majority like I have found here. Amongst exchange students, there a few of us that do, and the majority that aren’t, are actively seeking one. I know someone who is interviewing to work at his country’s embassy, and a few that intern at Capitol Hill.

I do believe that interning an excellent thing to be doing to stand out from the crowd in the employment market, but I have noticed that it breeds an intense level of competition, and from talking to others, a lot of people really don’t like what they do. I feel like this is a typical view of those that intern, and I do know a girl that enjoys where she interns, but others I know aren’t as crazy about it. I must admit I’ve become disengaged with campaign work, especially when the majority of the time I am phoning people that don’t want to talk to me. It is exciting working on a campaign, but I know that having a few months working in America will look good for my CV. That argument is the reason why those of us intern, but there are some implications to this, i.e. stress. It might be just me, but with the intense workload at Georgetown, it often seems like too much balancing it all.

Although, I only do one day a week, and I know others that do two or even three days. This constant work must lead to a lot of stress and sacrifice when considering schoolwork. The professor for my ‘Politics of Inequality’ class (Matthew Carnes) took a poll in our class today, asking how stressed the class of 40 felt in general, over two thirds felt stressed regularly, with one of the two thirds feeling ‘overwhelmed’. This institution is a highly academic and rigorous one, and adding intern culture to the mix breeds a stressful environment, which speaks volumes for the calibre of the students here. As I become more integrated into this institution, I notice myself working harder, as if to keep up with everyone else, and this sentiment is quite common. I do wonder if other students are open about feeling stressed. Considering the competitive nature I imagine there is a desire to act as if coping with a lot of work, an internship, and extracurriculars is the norm. As well as being the norm, the amount of activities and stress one is under is almost glorified, causing people to gloat how much they have to do. The poll in my class earlier made me reconsider the Georgetown environment. Don’t get me wrong, this university a great place to study, impressive academics, and I really am loving it here, but there is a question of whether this competitive culture is healthy.


President’s Day Weekend: New York

New York Weekend (12th February -> 15th February)

Today is President’s Day, a somewhat national holiday. It essentially celebrates the presidents, and it usually lies between Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s, but today it actually falls on old Uncle Abe’s birthday. Happy birthday Mr. Lincoln. I say a ‘somewhat’ national holiday because some colleges have the day off – mine, and some do not. I feel deep sorrow for those who don’t. Thanks to this day off, three friends and I decided to have a little trip to New York.


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Week 1, Moving In

I’ve now been at Georgetown for a week and a day, and so far it’s pretty great. This past week has been incredibly busy, quite intense, but overall enjoyable. Here’s a recap of the past week.


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Today’s the day! I’m currently sitting in the airport waiting for my gate number to pop up on the board, and I couldn’t be more excited. I don’t think I’ll write much today because there isn’t much to say! All I can say is that I’m beyond excited now, and can’t believe the day has finally come. Anyone that knows me knows my (borderline) obsession with the US, so being able to live there for almost 6 months is a real dream.

This morning was an early start granted, but it was fine checking in and getting through security. T5 is always efficient for this. I had a quick breakfast with my mum and dad at Carluccio’s before I went in, then a rather emotional sendoff of course. I just took advantage of duty free and purchased a few bits, and then to WHS Smiths to buy a few packs of minstrels to tide me over. One thing about the US I don’t like is their sweets (or candy, have you). Not a fan. Hershey’s? No thanks. These minstrels will be great to have the first few days. Or unless I eat them on the flight.

So the plan for now is get on the plane, arrive through customs, get my visa stamp, cab to my hotel for the night, grab dinner, and sleep. I expect I’ll be pretty tired so I’m not planning to do anything much this evening.

I think that’s about it! My next post will be from DC!!!!




11 Days | Study Abroad Update

It’s hard to believe that I’m moving to Washington, D.C. in 11 days. It’s all come around ridiculously quick, and I have only recently (the past week) finished the necessary paperwork! It’s a heck of a lot, far more than I envisioned. Here’s what I’ve been doing in preparation the last few months.

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Paperwork and Plans

With 2 months and 2 weeks (~ish) to go – things are starting to come to fruition with regards to my semester abroad! It’s an exciting but tedious time, and it involves a fair bit of collating documents and what not – but the exciting part is making brief travel plans. I’ll document here how the process is going at the moment!

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