Isn’t It Strange? Collab Review

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If you have yet to experience my intense Lauren Aquilina flailing, HERE IS YOUR CHANCE. Today I’m so thrilled to be reviewing (!!) her debut LP (!!) with An Overthinking Teenager (!!) @ Mixolydian Musings. We’ve both been massive fans of her for a while so obviously ALBUM NEWS was amazing to hear. It’s been a long wait for Isn’t It Strange? but I truly think it was worth it. 😀 We also reviewed some of her earlier music including the Ocean EP here, if you’re interested!

We’ll be going through the album track-by-track, but we’ll also discuss the album as a whole and general comments throughout.

midnight mouths

I personally wasn’t that keen on this upon my first listen — I think I was feeling a bit nervous that Lauren had gone completely electronic? But now I adore this one, especially the chorus!

Me: And I also love the whole ‘midnight mouths thing and the entire aesthetic of the song haha.
AOT: I loveeee how the texture thickens just before the chorus, it makes it so powerful… and I personally quite like tropical house/dance music so I like old Aquilina but I was well on board with the new electronic era too.

(Again I’m slightly paraphrasing and editing for readability, by the way. Not completely direct quotes! Because those had a lot more terrible punctuation and capitals on my part.)

wicked game

Wicked Game is definitely a favourite of mine on the album. I love the combination of darker lyrics with more electronic-y production, and the lyrics basically kill me every time. We also thought that the contrast of the lower verse with the higher chorus was super effective — the contrasts in this song do just work REALLY WELL.

AOT: And the lyrics kinda reflect a lot of life, like “nobody ever taught me to play this wicked game”…it kinda reminds me of how much of life you’re just expected to navigate alone.
Me: YES that is a good point! It’s kind of…both specific yet extremely relatable?

kicks

We discussed this one a bit in our previous review, but basically WE STILL LOVE IT. The production feels so seamless to me; the clapping and the little electronic-y riff going on are really cool. It was also fabulous to see a more positive song here! We also thought this (like many others on the album) felt more mature and experienced compared to the EPs.

AOT: AND ALSO KICKS = KICKING ME AROUND = PUNS/WORDPLAY = LOVE.
Me: IKR WHAT GREAT WORDPLAY HONESTLY.

(Okay, I lied about the capitals. WHAT CAN I SAY? Our flailing is too great to be constrained by proper grammar and capitalisation.)

how would you like it?

I loved this one from the first listen, although I think it’s only improved with time. We thought that the stripped production really let the emotion shine through — it’s just such a raw and powerful song. Although again it’s quite a specific situation, ‘how would you like it?’ feels like a really universal lyric too. HONESTLY, this just gives me the chills asdfjkl.

way too good

Me: I love the aesthetic of it like — I don’t know, it feels so classy to me.
AOT: Yesss I agree about the classiness thing, I think that’s because it’s more minimalist and, again, ‘grown up’.

I think I’ve said this way too good many times, but this one is ALSO one of our favourites. I love the humming bit at the start, and generally the whole minimal but also slightly electronic production? The lyrics are honestly SO AWESOME — in particular I enjoy the ‘I am, I am’ bits and the whole vibe of appreciating the moment even though you know it won’t last.

hurt any less

This one is pretty different to the last one, but it has so many great contrasts — the fast verse and then slowing down at the chorus, the lyrics/melody… I adore the pre-chorus bit. ‘This was never love/it was chaos,’ is probably one of my favourite lines on the album!

AOT: Yep it’s amazing and also like that it feels happy even though it def isn’t.
Me: Ooh yes that’s interesting! Like, it does feel rather upbeat but listening to the lyrics you’re like…wait… It’s a bit bittersweet, I guess.

fools – live at RAK studios

So this one is a re-recording of Lauren’s first single, Fools, rather than a new song. She only wrote this age 16 (!?!?) but it’s still an incredibly moving song — like, seriously, where can I get these skills? It still fits well with the rest of the album, and it feels very fitting since it’s been such an important song in her career. We thought it was a little more reflective and subdued than the original. Lauren’s voice has also changed a lot, wow!

Me: Currently I’m just listening to the original of this to kinda compare haha.
AOT: I read somewhere that she rerecorded it because her voice has changed. And I agree with something else she said — about the way she sings it now is more serious and less naïve because she knows how the relationship ends
Me: oh that’s very interesting to hear! I’d definitely agree — I think it actually feels pretty similar to the rest of the album. Like, more grown up.

suddenly strangers

Suddenly Strangers has a lovely water-y vibe, especially at the beginning! The concept of how people can go from knowing each other so well to not talking at all is really interesting, and I think it works wonerfully here. This song has some great lines including the album title, ‘isn’t it strange?’ Once again it feels like a very universal theme.

thinking about

I was pretty excited to hear this one because I’d seen a video of Lauren performing it live about a year ago and I was like OH I REMEMBER THIS LYRIC. (Actually, turns out the video is still up on YouTube!) We really liked that this is pretty pared down yet it’s still so powerful. The melody and lyrics speak so strongly on their own!

Me: Mm yes I don’t think it’s one of my absolute favourites overall but definitely another strong song. (And it reminds me a little more of like kinda Liars-y production? What with all those floaty piano things and stuff.)
AOT: Yes yes yes love it — I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite song overall but ‘all I’m thinking about’ etc is one of my fave lines on the album, I think.

ocean

We also reviewed this one previously, since it came out late last year, but IT’S STILL SO AWESOME. What a fabulous end to the album! To me it feels very cathartic, and it’s a lot more abstract than the others — like, it kind of applies to the whole album in a way.

an overall look

Me: *flails* tbh just…what great music…i think I have used too many ellipses here but yes I am vaguely speechless
AOT: Yess yess yess she’s done so freaking well it’s honestly amazing. 10/10 methinks.

In summary, we absolutely ADORED this. It was definitely worth waiting for, and I know that it’s one of my absolute favourite recent albums. We really liked that the songs sort of followed a linear narrative — going from the more electronic and dark opening tracks, they became a little more reflective as we went along. Something that I also noticed was that third person pronouns were used more; I think there were hardly any in the EPs! The lyrics in general just feel more experienced and direct, though they still retain a beautiful poetic quality. Like, there’s definitely less abstract imagery happening. AAH YAY IT’S JUST SO AMAZING and I can’t wait to hear more from Lauren Aquilina! Thanks so much to my wonderful reviewing partner An Overthinking Teenager, and I hope you guys enjoyed this flailing. 😀

what did you think of isn’t it strange? lauren aquilina fan? listened to any other good albums lately?

Finding Our Feet // final film!

finding our feet post graphics

I’m so excited to finally be sharing this project with you all! For the last few weeks I’ve been collaborating with Em @ Adventures of a Lost Teen and Victoria @ Addlepates and Book Nerds to create this film about young people finding our place in the world.

Being a teenager (and slightly older) is a crazy time. There are highs and lows and all sorts of weird figuring-yourself-out things to do. The aim of the project was to spread some love and positivity around the blogosphere, which is where you guys came in! We asked you all to send in words of advice and a video of yourself walking and…now you can watch them together in a video. 😀 Seeing everyone’s submissions was an absolute pleasure!

It’s so amazing to see this project actually come to life. It started with just an idea and now we have an actual thing! (Shh. I am allowed to be cheesy. I like being cheesy.) I can’t thank Em, Victoria, and everyone who submitted to the project enough! Collaborating with people is always awesome and this was no exception. YAY ALL THE PEOPLE. We couldn’t have done it without you guys.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this video as much as we did putting it together — that it helps to fulfill what we wanted it to be, and that it puts a little more happiness into your day. 🙂

Delobbi, Sleepover and Studio Ghibli

Eve- Today, the Sleepover of Awesomeness with Anna and Eve culminates. We have some pictures of Delobbi (Delilah/Dobby) to share with you. Delobbi are ducks. DID YOU HEAR THAT? ANNA HAS DUCKS IN HER POOL! ISN’T THAT AWESOMELY AWESOME??!!??!!

Except we think Delilah and Dobby might have broken up, because Delilah has just disappeared. Though she might just be hiding in the tree…we’ll give you an update soon. For now, be content wth these pictures of Delobbi.
Anna- I think Eve might be just a touch hyper. It might have something to do with the several Nutella/banana/sugar pancake combination we had at breakfast. Or not.
Eve- Anyway, have you ever typed in a bunch of random letters and seen what spellcheck comes up with? It’s fun. Look:
Anyway colicky Ivor urn pakeha rsem x Ewan oxides jvodhem
See? It’s fun. You should try it.
Anna- But on a way, way, awesomer note, we went to see The Wind Rises with our friends. It came out only last Friday, and it is the last Studio Ghibli film by Hayao Miyazaki.
Eve – And it was SOO sad! It was very different from other Ghibli movies like My Neighbour Totoro and Porco Rosso. At the beginning, the boy kept having dreams in dreams in dreams (maybe the whole thing was just a dream) and it was very confusing. It was Ghibliception. But it was an EPIC film. The use of ‘epic’ in that sentence doesn’t mean ‘great’, by the way, it means ‘long and meaningful’. Or something. Think Lord of the Rings.
Anna- I kept crying at the end, and sneaking glances at the people sitting next to me, just to make sure I was the only only bawling. I wasn’t. Eve came over to my house afterwards, and we basically just watched Merlin, ate popcorn and sweets for the entire time. I personally was not complaining, even when we had to talk in whispers because my brothers were alseep- no! Delobbi!
Delobbi has disappeared. A sad day for all.
Eve- NO, DELOBBI, NO! Delilah, you have to come back! Actually, we’ve just been told Delilah is in the tree. Delobbi hasn’t broken up after all.

Bye, Anna x
Byeeeee, Eve c:

Anna blogs at Paint.the.Sky.

Eve blogs here.

Collaboration: Right Now tag

This is a sample of our daily conversation:

Anna: Eve [Apple], you can’t remember it. *snatches iPad away*
Apple (aka Eve): NAAAAAAAAAHG GIVE IT BACK *steals iPad back*
Anna: You know this is really painful? Can you move up?
Eve: MEH no! *moves up and snatches away the iPad*
Anna: Are we actually gonna do this?
Eve: Yes! Well, maybe actually not.

 

We have been trying to write a collaboration but as you may gather it is not working out that well. Well, Anna says it’s working out fine. Kind of. Anyway, we’re going to do a tag about stuff happening Right Now (capitalising every letter is important).

So…

 

1. What are you doing right now?

Anna: Um…being awesome.

Eve: Writing up all our answers for this collab post (duh) and listening to Anna’s music.

 

2. Are you listening to anything right now?

Anna: The song Fallen by Imagine Dragons…

Eve: Ditto but I am also listening to my own beautiful voice. Oh, and Anna’s too.

Anna: So modest.

 

3. What are you wearing right now?

Anna: I am wearing a pair of super warm – oh, what do you call them? – pyjama socks? Whatever. I’m taking them off. I’m also wearing a pair of jeggings and a tunic top.

Eve: And I am also wearing jeggings, but I’m wearing a black and white jumper that I bought on a shopping trip with Anna.

 

4. Where are you right now?

Anna: In my bedroom that happens to be in my house. Who would have guessed?!?

Eve: I mean, Anna, who would have guessed you’re in your own house? Anyway, I am in Anna’s house, coincidentally in her room as well.

 

5. What are you feeling like right now?

Anna: Relaxed. And…a bit hyper from Eve’s chocolate crispies/Easter cupcake things.

Eve: Personally, I’m not feeling that relaxed. I’m more on the hyper side, to be honest. *laughs manically*

6. What are you thinking right now?

Anna: That this is a really weird collaboration. Eve, what are you doing…

Eve: I’m not really thinking anything. I’m thinking about doing the candle thing but not the candle thing.

 

7. If you could eat anything, what would you eat right now?

Anna: I’m not actually that hungry, but if I had to have something to eat/drink, I would have an ice-cream float with fizzy melon juice, vanilla ice cream, chocolate sprinkles and an umbrella. Oh, and more cream.

Eve: Wow, that sounds nice. Personally, I really feel like a stroopwaffel. It’s like two waffles sandwiched together with syrup inside.

 

8. What specific thing are you looking at right now?

Anna: I have an exquisite view of my wardrobe at the moment…

Eve: I am looking at Anna’s red scarf which is hanging on her mirror.

 

9. What colour best describes your mood right now?

Anna: A soft orangey colour, so quite cheerful but not completely insane (which makes a change).

Eve: I feel like lime green. If we’re allowed to have a pattern, my lime green has calmer purple and orange spots.

 

10. What is your favourite thing, obsession and/or hobby right now?

Anna: My favourite thing right now is my iPod classic which I love. I’m also currently obsessed with the book Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. My favourite hobby at the moment is blogging. I don’t know what else to say.

Eve: Can I say I introduced you to Throne of Glass? Anyway, I think I’m more obsessed than you. I’ve read it like six times. My favourite thing at the moment is probably Anna’s Totoro slippers (even though I gave them to her). I’m not sure about my favourite hobby – probably writing/blogging as well.

Now, we are tagging three people to do this tag. If you’re tagged then all you have to do is answer the ten questions and maybe tag some other people to do it.

Maya Brock

Just My Little Musings 

Thank you for reading this, we know we aren’t the sanest of people, but we had lots of fun doing this!

Here’s Anna’s blog-

Bye, Anna!! x

Bye, Apple/Eve xx