#Review: Amy Studt – Happiest Girl In The Universe

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Amy Studt is an English singer, songwriter, musician and actress, who first rose to fame in 2002, with the release of her first single, ‘Just A Little Girl’, followed almost a year later, by ‘Misfit’ and eventually her debut album, False Smiles. Though she’s been through ups and downs in the rather perilous music industry, she is now set to release her third studio album, Happiest Girl In The Universe, independently. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Amy Studt - Happiest Girl In The World

If you knew Amy Studt from her debut album, or even 2008’s Paper Made Men, then you might not instantly recognise her now, as this is quite the far cry from her former artist, self.

Following a breakdown in 2009 and a diagnosis of rapid cycling bipolar, it’s amazing to see how this strong woman, has channeled her mental health, feelings and emotions into a brilliantly artistic project.

Whilst at its core, this record is still Amy Studt, she has created something experimental and unassuming pop music. Happiest Girl In The Universe is a much more mature record than some of her previous releases, dealing with some rather deep emotions and intense feelings. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted – think Lana Del Rey’s more depressing moments…turned up to eleven! That said, she’s crafted something special and undoubtedly therapeutic.

Amy Studt has laid herself bare, with raw, heartfelt vocals and honest, painful lyrics detailing how tortured she has been over the past few years.

If you’re like me, this album might even take you two or three sittings to get through, in order to digest the significance of the messages, understand her crippling depression and comprehend the enormity of the topics, as well as embrace the unusual style of music.

Amy Studt has explored her suffering and documented it like an audio diary – without frills attached! She paints vivid, personal pictures in a most cinematic way, occasionally touching upon moments of hope and redemption.

Her voice remains identifiable, with the occasional twinge of The CranberriesDolores O’Riordan. Possibly one of the best songs is ‘Sleepwalker’, on which she demonstrates a wonderful shouted vocal towards the end of the track, with something Kesha (of all people) about it. There’s a lovely rawness that is almost off-key, but it really doesn’t matter due to the intense delivery. She further demonstrates a tortured scream-like vocal on ‘Violently With Love’, showing off just how impressive her voice is.

‘I Was Jesus In Your Veins’ is a wonderfully diverse track, that seems dark and brooding yet switches to a light-hearted chorus, whilst ‘Let The Music Play’ has a rather twisted-sounding yet catchy chorus.

‘The Water’ stands out for being part spoken word poem, part song, accompanied by a chaotic, hypnotic and rather intense instrumental. Whilst ‘One Is The Only Number’ has haunting, screaming guitars in the background, beautiful falsetto vocals and an underlying, heavy beat, like the pounding of a primal drum on the way to the gallows. Another wonderful track is the rather whispery ‘Troubles Coming In’.

Haunting and haunted are probably the two best words to describe Happiest Girl In The Universe. Amy Studt has laid herself bare, with raw, heartfelt vocals and honest, painful lyrics detailing how tortured she has been over the past few years, creating something mysterious and wonderfully dark, yet utterly captivating. I hope this can put to bed a difficult chapter in her life and that she continues to make music from here – I know I’ll be listening!

Rating
4


‘Happiest Girl In The Universe’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/happiest-girl-in-the-universe/1479696794


Happiest Girl In The Universe on Spotify

Let The Music Play (Official Video)

Overdose (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Amy’s latest album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#reDISCOVERED: Good Charlotte

Welcome to our first re:DISCOVERED post!

Although this post is a trial, to see the reactions it gets, these posts will hopefully be a monthly occurrence, appearing on the first Sunday of every month (the Sunday after our monthly playlist).

This month, we have #reDISCOVERED: Good Charlotte

Good Charlotte Banner2

Good Charlotte originated from Waldorf, Maryland, USA and formed in 1995. Since 1998, the band has consisted of four constant members; twins Joel and Benji Madden, Paul Thomas and Billy Martin; then, since 2005, they have had drummer Dean Butterworth on board.

The band’s frontmen, the Madden twins, had a relatively rough childhood; on Christmas Eve 1995, the pair’s father upped and left, leaving the rest of the family to be evicted from their house. They then went on to work a whole host of jobs to help keep their family in their new home, as their mother had the autoimmune disease, lupus, meaning that she regularly stayed in hospitals. It was in 1996 their band began to take shape and record demos, launching them into their career, slowly but surely. This band and its members are ones I feel truly deserve to be where they are; they’ve worked their way up from nothing, to their global successes and achievements – a true marvel!


Good Charlotte

In September 2000, Good Charlotte released their debut album, Good Charlotte, with their first single, Little Things, being featured in the film, Dude, Where’s My Car?

The band went on to release a couple of other singles from the album, but the next track I want to feature is WaldorfWorldwide which is an album track also taken from their debut album. This song has a very ska-punk feel to it and caught my attention due to it’s interesting vibe.


The Young and the Hopeless

It was in 2002 (USA) and 2003 (Worldwide), when GC released their second album, The Young and the Hopeless, that they fully captured the world’s attention with their first single off the album, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. This track was iconic dude to its intense pop-punk sound and lyrical content about celebrities and their lack of appreciation for how privileged they are.

Next I’ve chosen single, The Anthem, which literally is an anthem for the band! The video featured cameo appearances from other American pop-punk bands, MEST and Home GrownNew Found Glory were also present at the filming, but weren’t featured in the final video. This particular song has gone on to be featured in a whole host of films, soundtracks and television programmes.

The third single from the album, Girls & Boys, has to be mentioned due to it’s popularity; up to this point this was their highest charting single in the UK, reaching number 6. The song is themed around girls basically being gold-diggers and the video featured elderly people playing video games and ends with Benji Madden, waking up to find an elderly lady in his t-shirt!

The final from this album was Hold On and this song particularly struck a chord with me due to its video. The song was written by the band, in response to letters they received from fans who said they were considering suicide. The video then featured several people talking about their experiences of either surviving suicide attempts or talking about loved ones they’d lost to suicide. This song feels personal and like it speaks out to fans – it’s a song to bring people, going through similar things, together.


The Chronicles of Life and Death

The first single from this 2004 album was Predictable and saw an angrier side to GC. I particularly liked this song at the time, due to its angry, almost-spoken, sections – it really was every emo-kids wet dream to chant along to…and sort of still is! The video was interesting too, taking place in an almost Edward Scissorhands-like town, which was actually drawn by band member, Billy Martin.

Next, I’ve chosen the title track from the album, The Chronicles of Life and Death – this song has quite a plodding feel to its verses before bursting into an anthemic chorus about life and death, as is the song’s theme. It’s quite a simple, yet effective track.

The final song I’ve chosen from this album is the song We Believe; as well as being the final single from the album, this song captured me from the very first listen of the album. I adore the build-up from the mellow verses to the more beautifully chaotic choruses – even the instrumental breakdown feels passionate. It’s a real chanter and makes you feel like you’re part of something special when you sing along. This is possibly one of my favourite GC songs!


Good Morning Revival

Released in 2007, this album saw GC move from pop-punk to dance-punk with its more synth-infused sound. I have chosen the first single off this album, The River, as it is one of my other, favourite GC tracks, featuring M. Shadows and Synyster Gates from the band, Avenged Sevenfold. The song features several Bible references but has a very catchy chorus.

The next song I’d like to mention is Misery, which although was released as the fourth single taken from the album, did not ever have a music video. This song really encapsulates their dance-punk sound from this album; the bridge from the verse to the chorus has an interesting, fast-sung quality to it and works well with the synths underlying the song.

The final song I’ve chosen from this album, was the album track, Broken Hearts Parade, as it’s got a very ska-punk quality to it, similar to their track WaldorfWorldwide from their earlier days.

This album also saw the band support Justin Timberlake on some dates of his FutureSex/LoveSounds Tour.


Cardiology

In 2010, GC released their fifth album. This particular album saw the band return to their more pop-punk sound, with Benji Madden stating that the album would “sound a lot like Blink-182.”

I’ve chosen album track Counting The Days as my first featured song from this album; I love the gang vocals towards the end of the song as it would make a real crowd-pleaser at a live show!

The penultimate track was the second single released from GC’s fifth album, Sex On The Radio. The song’s all-consuming chorus makes you sing along and whilst it’s sort of cheesy, it’s got quite a 1970s/1980s rock feel to it, making it quite a stand-out track.

The last song I’ve chosen is GC’s final single release (to date!), 1979. This sound has a very summery feel to it with its predominantly acoustic-driven sound. It also paved the way for The Madden Brothers‘ debut album, Greetings From California, which has a similar vibe, even though it wouldn’t come for another four years after this album. You can read more about The Madden Brothers on our recent #FeelGoodFriday post.


So here it is, the full list of Good Charlotte, re:DISCOVERED. Please feel free to watch the playlist on YouTube or listen to it on Spotify, both of which are found below:

  1. Little Things
  2. WaldorfWorldwide
  3. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
  4. The Anthem
  5. Girls & Boys
  6. Hold On
  7. Predictable
  8. The Chronicles of Life and Death
  9. We Believe
  10. The River featuring M. Shadows and Synyster Gates
  11. Misery
  12. Broken Hearts Parade
  13. Let The Music Play
  14. Sex On The Radio
  15. 1979

As for the future of Good Charlotte, no one is certain. The band are rumoured to be working on a sixth album, but nothing is set in stone, as of yet. We’ll keep you updated though.


I hope you’ve enjoyed our first re:DISCOVERED post about a band who mean a great deal to me. Are you a Good Charlotte fan? What are your favourite songs by the band? Please share this with your friends on your social media accounts and spread the GC love.

Matt – Muzik Speaks