A Review Of Ed Sheeran’s No. 6 Collab Album By Someone Who Isn’t Into Hip-Hop

I haven’t done a post about music in a while because my music habits are a bit weird and lately I haven’t listened to anything new and popular (aka worth talking about here). But just on Friday the 12th, Ed Sheeran released a new album, and it’s different than what you expect because it’s a collab album. It’s called No. 6 Collaborations Project and every song features one or more people.

I like Ed Sheeran. He’s had some great songs, and his last album ÷ was so good. I must have listened to it easily ~50 times. Just on repeat for days. I think he’s talented and has a nice voice, and though I’m sure it’d be filled with screaming 12 year olds, I would go to a concert of his if it was a good price.

Ed sheeran gif.
An icon

But the thing about No. 6 Collaborations Project is that almost all the artists on it are hip-hop or rap artists, and I really don’t vibe with that genre too much. I don’t mind a rap verse in a good pop song and you know I love Hamilton, but overall, it’s not my style. Is it because (in my opinion) rap these days is all about sex and drugs and money? Maybe. Is it because (in my opinion) a lot of the artists sound the same and the music is more about beats and computers rather than lyrics and talent? Maybe. Either way, I was hesitant to see what this album is about because I really want fun pop music and nice guitar ballads, but I knew that wasn’t what I’d get. And I also worried that the enjoyable Ed Sheeran aspect would get lost in the hip-hop. His single with Justin Bieber was decent, but it was more of a Justin song than an Ed song, in my opinion. Ed can ‘rap’ and all, but his music isn’t rap music by any means.

No. 6 Collaborations Project album.

So who better to give a review of a hip-hop album than me, someone who doesn’t really like hip-hop?

Overall, I was impressed with the album. I thought I’d dislike more songs that I liked, but that was me underestimating the power of Ed Sheeran. I listened to the whole album several times (in part for this post) and I didn’t mind doing so. I didn’t LOVE any of the songs; I thought there’d be at least one I’d immediately want to play on repeat, but that’s okay. I didn’t hate any songs either.

Ed Sheeran did a great job of using his singing voice to balance out the hip-hop/rap parts so I think the songs are tolerable for everyone. And I think if anyone was to do a collab project like this, he’s a good one. He fits in well with the genre despite it being different from his norm. Because he does rap a little, it works even more. And when he raps, he’s not trying to emulate anyone else, it’s literally just his style. It’s good rap for me because it’s got a musical aspect rather than a monotone reciting of bars (I’m sorry, I don’t mean to roast rappers/people who like rap). Also Ed didn’t lose himself in the songs that much at all. Or even in the album. There is one song (‘Best Part Of Me’ featuring YEBBA) that isn’t rap/hip-hop at all and it very much sounds like the kind of music we like from him.

This guy's good gif.

Maybe it’s because of all the artists, but all the songs do sound different from each other, and I really respect that. And they’re all pretty catchy and have fun sounds/beats. It’s definitely a more upbeat album, so it’s something you can have on at a party and it’ll work. A lot of rap can sound angry and aggressive, but there wasn’t much of that. ‘Antisocial’ featuring Travis Scott was probably the angriest, but it wasn’t even that bad at all.

I would have liked to see more collabs with artists of different genres, though. Some country, some older artists, a band, ect (I know Chris Stapleton is country, but their song was a rock song). Unless Ed really set out to have most of the songs hip-hop, some more variety would have been nice. But at least he got big names in, making it more appealing. In 2011 Ed had an EP called No. 5 Collaborations Project and all the artists he featured are people I’ve never heard of. Maybe they were all UK artists. I haven’t listened to that album; it was before I knew him or his music.

My favourite songs are ‘Take Me Back To London’ featuring Stormzy, ‘Beautiful People’ featuring Khalid, and ‘BLOW’ featuring Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars. Most of the song ‘Way To Break My Heart’ featuring Skrillex is good too, but I really dislike the EDM-style editing on the chorus. Ruins it for me.

If you’re like me and don’t particularly enjoy hip-hop or rap, I wouldn’t advise paying money for this album. It’s worth listening to on Spotify for sure, though, especially if you like Ed Sheeran. And if you do enjoy these genres, then I think this album will do you well. I hope Ed returns to his regular pop music in the future, but No. 6 Collaborations Project was pretty good and I’m sure it was fun for him to make with everyone. You can listen here on YouTube or here on Spotify.

Have you listened to this album? Do you like it?

 

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Ranking Marvel’s Netflix Shows By Season

With Jessica Jones S3 coming out last month, Marvel’s shows with Netflix came to end. And now a lot of the actors are signed on to new projects, so even if Marvel wanted to/legally could revive the shows on Disney+, it’d take a lot to make it happen, so I think it’s highly unlikely. Anyway, since we’re essentially done done, I thought it’d be fun to rank the shows by season (6 shows, 13 seasons). I was going to just tweet this, but then I figured I’d explain my choices and get a blog post out of it. Yay content!

I usually have trouble ranking things because I can never settle on how I feel and don’t want to commit to an order. My top 10 favourite musicals is really like a top 3 and then 8 others in no particular order (and yes, I am aware 8+3≠10). But I think I’ve managed to actually decide on how to rank these Marvel shows, so here they are, from least favourite to favourite.

The defenders.

(Note, I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but there may be some, so be aware!)

13. Jessica Jones Season 2
This season was the pits. Trish was way out of character, the villain was lousy, Jessica’s new boyfriend was boring, and it just did not have the same edge as the enjoyable S1. This was the first Marvel show I watched at double speed, and I have zero regrets.

12. The Punisher Season 2
This season was just really weird for me. I didn’t love Amy or how much she derailed Frank’s doings with her random issues, I didn’t like Billy’s story with the not-Maggie therapist, and I never really liked Agent Madani all that much so I didn’t care for her all that much. Frank is cool and I do like him, but it seemed that everyone else just dragged him and the story down. Plus, the whole season was just unnecessary. Continuing on the S1 plot that had closed nicely this way was just not needed and it bored me.

11. Luke Cage Season 2
Luke is just not leading man material for me. He’s too boring and uninvolved. He doesn’t say much and because he’s near invincible, I find the fight scenes dry. I honestly do not remember the plot of this season, so that’s all you need to know about how interesting it was. I do like some of the characters though. I love Misty, and Shades is a creepy dude, but even that wasn’t enough to save the season, because he and Mariah weren’t really the Big Bads. Overall, not impressed.

Luke Cage kicking ass.

10. Daredevil Season 2
Yeah, another second season here at the bottom. My biggest issue with this season was Elektra. She was the worst. Her arrival was unneeded, all she did was take Matt away from his friends and work, and their relationship was just bad. If it weren’t for the introduction of Frank and the contrast between him and Matt, I think this season would be at the very bottom. It was such a let down for me.

9. The Defenders
The shorter season worked for and against this show. It forced away filler and got right to the plot, but for such a big team up and such a big villain, the pacing was off. I mean, the Defenders didn’t even get together until four episodes in. I wish we saw them work together more and get to know each other more. But otherwise, I thought it was cool to see the little crossovers and see them all face the Hand, who most of them had dealt with in their solo stories. It was worth waiting for, but it could have been done a lot better.

8. Luke Cage Season 1
As I already said, Luke doesn’t thrill me. He’s a good guy and I root for him, but I just didn’t connect to him. As for the show, I didn’t love how the villain shifted halfway through from Harlem gangsters to his random brother. This season wasn’t totally bad and I enjoyed watching it and getting to know Luke and his area, but compared to other seasons of Marvel Netflix shows, it was lacking for me.

7. Iron Fist Season 1
Listen, I didn’t hate Iron Fist. I did not find it racist and I did not find Danny entitled. It wasn’t the most thrilling of shows, but it wasn’t awful for me. I think it was just such a huge shift for Marvel and it didn’t perfectly flow. I mean, we go from enhanced abilities due to science to ‘I punched a dragon’s heart and now I have these (underwhelming) powers!’ And we never even got to see the dragon! The villain wasn’t great either. But despite this, it was interesting enough to see Danny try to navigate his old friends along with his new friend, and understand his power.

Iron Fist using his fist.

6. Jessica Jones Season 3
Season 3 surprised me. It wasn’t half bad! It wasn’t superb, but it worked with what it had and put the focus on the right things. Trish’s behavior, though still a bit out of character from what we were introduced to in S1, came full circle, and I came to appreciate the story and what it did for Jessica’s character. I liked the new guy with the feelings and thought he worked in well without stealing focus. I wish this season wasn’t the very end of Jessica’s story or Marvel’s Netflix shows, but I think it was a strong note to end on, and one that very accurately represents the grittiness of this Marvel chapter.

5. Iron Fist Season 2
I too am surprised that this was so enjoyable when all the other second seasons disappointed me. I thought it was fun and had a good plot and everyone was in character. Giving Colleen the power of the fist was a wild move and I wish we had gotten a S3 and been able to see what happened next, especially because the little flash forward at the end was so cool too, but I’m glad we got what we got.

4. The Punisher Season 1
Overall, this was good, though the second half was way better than the first. It was enjoyable, it was harsh enough to work with Frank, and it felt different enough to stand alone, but still feel connected to Daredevil and the rest of the MCU. As in DD2, seeing the softer side of Frank when he’s with Karen (or his family) is really fun compared to his tough army side. I think the Billy twist and fight was good, and I liked his partnership with David (though I haaaaaated David’s wife).

Frank getting ready to do some punishing.

3. Daredevil Season 3
I was so glad that this show had a great comeback after a bad S2. It went back to its roots of Fisk being evil, Matt protecting Foggy and Karen, and the struggle of being a masked fighter and a good church boy. Plus I think Dex was very cool and made for several great fight scenes. Every episode was entertaining and the season didn’t feel too long because I was so into it. A solid season that really showcased how good the show was.

2. Jessica Jones Season 1
This was a very great show. The single season introduced a lot and wrapped it all up well. Jessica was very different from the first hero Matt, but that’s because her villain and her struggle were also very different and it made for a very different kind of dark and edgy. And it was cool to see her get a team and work with them begrudgingly whereas Matt went totally solo for the most part. Kilgrave was an amazing villain. He was creepy and monsterous in a real world way that made it watchable yet disturbing. I still think about the way he said her name. Chills.

1. Daredevil Season 1
I did not totally appreciate this show until I had seen all the others and realized just how strong we started. I mean, Matt from the start was so interesting and likable, and then we see his wonderful friendship with Foggy, and Karen slid in so well, and Fisk was a great and disturbing villain, and that one hallway scene…we had it good and I respect that. There was darkness and there was humor and there were great characters and I enjoyed it a lot. It was Marvel’s first foray into a darker side and I think they did great.

One of the iconic DD hallway fights.

Overall, I think Marvel did well. They created a mini MCU within the MCU and it worked on Netflix for the darker, rougher content. Matt, Jessica, Luke, and Danny were very different and it was fun to see their stories alone but also with each other through The Defenders and the little crossovers. I especially loved Claire Temple and wish she stuck around to be in all the seasons as the one amazing connector. Though there were a lot of disappointments, there were a lot of really, really cool parts to these shows, and I’m going to do my best to remember those more. And who knows, maybe we’ll see them again in the MCU.

What was your favourite season from these shows? How would you rank them?

 

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Monthly Look Ahead: July 2019

July! Summer is fully here, and while I’m still wearing three layers at work, it’s nice to feel heat when I’m outside for a second. But other than heat, July doesn’t seem like a special month. Once you’re out of school, summer means very little. Nevertheless, here’s what I’m looking forward to this month.

monthly look ahead logo

  • Canada Day on the 1st! For the sixth or seventh year, I will be attending a BBQ with my best friend and her family. It’s always a good time. There is a small chance of rain, though, so cross your fingers it holds off.
  • Spider-Man Far From Home is out on the 5th to retrigger all my Endgame feelings I have under control now.
  • Hollywood Game Night is back on the 11th, and I am very excited. It is a perfect summer show, and it always has my mother and I laughing out loud.
  • Ed Sheeran has a new album coming out on the 12th, and while I love his music and think he is very talented (÷ was a fantastic album that I listened to a whole lot), this album is a collaboration album, and it seems like all the artists he’s working with are hip-hop/rap artists, which is very not my style, so I feel like the music will not impress me. But I’ll still give it a listen.
  • Queer Eye is back for a fourth season on Netflix on the 15th, and I am very much looking forward to it because it is pure, wholesome TV.
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  • After watching an old bootleg and seeing it sweep the Tonys, I have been very into the musical Hadestown. The soundtrack was supposed to be out on June 7th, but it got delayed and instead will be released in batches throughout the month with the full thing being available on the 26th. I can’t wait to hear it in full. The songs already out are so funky and have all gotten stuck in my head. I recommend giving them a listen.

Aaaand that’s my July. Not very exciting, I know. Some months are like that. And sometimes, being able to look ahead at a month the way I do with these posts and see a boring month is good because I can prepare mentally or put a little extra effort into trying to shake things up as I go.

I hope your July is set to be better, so let me know what you’ve got going on!

 

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WordPress Wants Our Money So Badly

I have been on WordPress for almost a decade. It is, in my humble opinion, the best blogging platform ever. I’ve played around with a few others before, and from what I saw, none have the same professional look, ease of use, and community. I’m very glad my blog is here.

But lately, WordPress has been rubbing me the wrong way, and it’s like finding out your favourite celebrity is a jerk: maybe my favourite blogging platform is just like every other money-hungry company.

Three years ago, I wrote this post explaining why blogging for free is more than just okay. Spurred on by the number of people I saw sharing self-hosted journey posts, I wanted to be a voice for the rest of us who use a free domain and a free theme and just do it for fun. And I still stand by this belief, but I also said that WordPress doesn’t try to extort money. Lately, I feel like they’ve been doing a lot to nudge people into putting in those credit card digits, and I’m kind of really upset about it.

Image result for it bothers me gif

In the last month, I’ve gotten seven emails from WordPress, offering a 20% off deal to upgrade my plan. Four were four days in a row. And 20% is hardly a deal when they offer it all the time. Easter sales, summer sale, New Years sales… I like knowing if there are sales and whatnot, but six in one month is annoying.

Furthermore, I’ve found that the number of ads on my blog has jumped up. (For those unaware, purchasing a plan removes all ads). There used to be like maybe one at the bottom of a post and maybe another in the sidebar. Now my blog is crawling with ads, and really crappy spammy ones too. It’s the worst if you read on mobile. I mean, LOOK AT THIS.

From email to in the post, none of the images here (aside from my beans) are images I placed or want.

I don’t know if it’s better if you’re logged in because I do all my blog reading from the Reader, but either way, it’s annoying and I don’t want my readers to be annoyed when perusing my blog.

The fact that WordPress has paid plans they want to sign people up for isn’t the problem—I think it’s good that they have several plans and can cater to serious users who are willing to pay—it’s the fact that they’re making it so free plans aren’t a decent option anymore. Let us live with our lesser options and our WordPress branding. We agreed to that. It’s what every other company/service with free options does. We shouldn’t be harassed and made to feel like our free blogs, which are just as valid as paid blogs, aren’t good enough or meaningful enough, or have to look trashy.

And I’m going to be honest with you guys: the harassment is working a little on me. I mean, sure, I’ve been thinking about buying a domain for years now and can list out pros and cons until the cows come home, but it’s the ads thing that really bothers me. I can ignore the constant sale emails and I can ignore the many other bloggers making the switch, but when there are the ugliest ads I’ve ever seen on my blog interfering with my writing, that’s where I get mad.

Image result for it's disrespectful gif

I am impervious to marketing tactics and sales for literally everything else, but my blog is one of the most important things to me, and I am just so mad at myself for somewhat falling for this and for WordPress for doing this to us free users. That being said, I know it’s okay to feel ‘weak’ so I’m not beating myself up that much.

Is anyone else feeling this push from WordPress? Or have I fallen into a drip campaign or something? Alternatively, if you’ve bought a domain/paid plan from WordPress, did you do it because of these tactics?

 

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Collecting: We All Do It, But To What End?

When my grandfather died a few years ago, my father and aunts and uncles had to clean out his house and sell his and my grandmother’s belongings. Most of the stuff was fairly easy to toss or sell or donate, but my father was left with something a little harder to deal with: a coin and stamp collection that my great-grandfather had apparently started. Now, don’t get all excited, most of it is pretty worthless. Dad spent many hours sorting through the coins and examining them all with magnifying glasses and listing them all out so he can figure out what there is and if anything is worth more than face value. My brother and mother and I were recruited to help a few times. What made this process extra difficult was that the coins were kept in envelopes and bags, and some of the envelopes had rotted away, so these rusty as heck pennies were all mixed together. So, as a lesson to all, if you collect anything, make sure it’s stored neatly for when you die.

Here are some (blurry, sorry!) pictures I took during the family coin sorting sessions.

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I think collections are cool. As a kid, I went through phases where I had this deep desire to collect. I collected many things, usually with my brother. Rocks, Pokémon cards, Mighty Beans, coins, marbles, pencil leads, stickers… I think maybe I felt like collecting something brought me closer to feeling complete and satisfied with something. Or maybe just unique; I was always trying to be unique as a kid. I still have the coins, the rocks, and the Pokémon cards, though I don’t really do anything with them nowadays. I figure the Pokémon cards will be cool for when my brother or I have kids, and the rocks are too pretty to just toss away. The coins are just Olympic or province/state ones, so they’re not worth more than what they are, so unless I’m super broke, I don’t mind keeping them in my tiny safe.

i'm not ready meme.
Me when my mom asks if I want to get rid of my old junk collections

But it’s weird to think about why we collect things, though. Like sure, some coins can be worth a lot. And yeah, there are rare Pokémon cards or comics or whatever, but otherwise, we’re just hoarding things for no reason. We’ll die before we sell anything for big bucks. I doubt my grandfather often pulled out his coins and looked through them fondly. I haven’t looked at my rocks in years. My mom collects little frog figurines because she likes frogs. My best friend’s mom collects snowmen. My brother collects baseball and hockey cards. But is liking something enough of a reason to want to collect them? At least you could play with the Pokémon cards as you collected them.

I know I kind of explained there that I think I did it because I was trying to feel satisfied and/or unique, but is that everyone’s reason? A quick Google search pulls up lots of scientific/psychological explanations for a human’s need to collect. We like the chase, we like the organization, we like the nostalgia. Whatever the reason, our monkey brains are into it. I guess we’ll have to chalk it up to evolution and psychology and filling some void in our lives.

Simpsons fill the void gif.

I think everybody at some point in their lives collected something, so tell me what it is. What did you do with said collection? Why did you start the collection what propelled you to keep it up?

Anyway, I’ve decided to start collecting Likes and Shares on my blog, so please donate to my collection, I want to really build it up. Thaaaanks!

 

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