Category Archives: Top 5

Update to bands I have seen…

Wow it has been a while, just a quick update on the bands I have seen page https://joelhopkins.wordpress.com/bands-i-have-seen-live/ again purely for my own satisfaction. Hopefully may restart this soon

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Top 5 albums of the 2000’s

Since I don’t rate my music knowledge enough, and feel I haven’t listened to enough of the ‘classic’ albums of the past decades… so I only feel confident enough to give a list of the last 12 years or so. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but this is only my opinion and I think, sorry know that many, many people will disagree with it. Hell sometimes I disagree with it…

5) Hopes and Fears – Keane

The first album in my very fluid list of albums, is the début LP by piano rock group Keane. Before people shout ‘boring’ and ‘depressing’ at me very loudly (you know who you are), people should give this a full listen. Hopes and fears is chocked full of emotion and feeling. Of course there are the tacks that most people will know ‘Everybody changing’ and ‘Somewhere only we know’ but some of the best tracks on the album are the lesser known ones. The song ‘We might as well be strangers’ really stand out; it is a track that builds up slow and ends in an almighty vocal permanences by Tom Chaplin(even better live). Talking of Tom Chaplin, his voice soars throughout. The album has a real maturity from a band who were then very young and new to the music scene and is a great indicator of what the band still had to come.

Best Song – Bedshaped

4) The Archandroid – Janelle Moane

A few years ago I would have been surprised as anyone to see this on my list, but times have changed. I think I have posted before how I first got to know about Janelle Moane, through her musical appearance on Stargate Universe so I won’t dwell on that. I absolutely love the whole sci-fi (look at that metropolis inspired cover) theme of the album, there is a concept and a story to Archandrioid something very few albums do. I love Janelle’s voice, it is full of funk and rock and roll, yet it has truth to it that allows a story to be told. It is as if she is both singer and a voice actor on it. But it is a work of music and so it can’t be all story, there is some amazing song on this 18 track album! I can’t wait for the her next work, for the continuation of the story as much as the music itself.

Best song – Cold war

3) Origin of symmetry – Muse

There are few bands that are as fun as Muse. Origin of symmetry their second album is not only fun but has an epic quality to it. The great thing about it, is that there is not one weak song on the whole thing. Origin’s is arguable what helped Muse break into the mainstream and you can hear why after the first song. You can’t go wrong with most tracks, but the song ‘Plug in baby’ and ‘Citizen erased’ are obvious highlights. Although there is real joy when you play the album from track one to eleven. This is something that I found out in one of the best ways imaginable, as I saw muse play live their special 10th anniversary show of the ‘origin of symmetry’ album at Leeds festival. It was one of the most special gigs I have ever seen. They played every track in order and it really struck home to me, what a special band/album this is.

Best Song- Bliss

;

2) Under the iron Sea – Keane

Yes it is Keane’s second album on the list! After their multi million début album, Keane really needed to come back with their second attempt with something very, very good. I believe that they did this with a proper ‘classic’ album. Keane were known for being a trio that never used guitars (not the case now), but that didn’t stop them from making a keyboard distorted to the point in almost sounds like a guitar, a technique that is used throughout. This made sure that the album was much more up tempo to the last outing. Not only does the album have some of the more rockier songs that Keane have done, but it also has some great emotional song which ‘Hopes and Fears’ had in the bucket load. It is the perfect blend of Keane’s two sides and it really is the best album that Keane have ever done.

Best song – Crystal Ball

1) The Suburbs – Arcade Fire

Arcade fire are a great band, they have over 100 members in their band (perhaps a slight exaggeration) and they make some sweet, sweet music. Arcade fire have had two, ‘fine’ previous album but the Suburbs (the 3rd) was the first album that just clicked. It is slightly more polished album, yet still keeps the rawness of their music intact. However, I don’t think that this is only things that makes this album so much better than their previous attempts. I’m sure there is lots of different things that make the difference; I am just not musically talented enough to work them out .
You know I am not much of a dancer, in fact a bad dancer a very bad one, yet sometimes (not when anybody is about, I hope) I find myself doing a little dance; albeit with my head, to this album…. I like to think that this is good sign. Every track on the suburbs builds on the last, layers and layers (like each song) of music creates a deep thought process in the listener. I like an album that gets me to think. This is another band that when you hear the music being played live you immediately feel closer to each song and to the band. It is not number one on my list for nothing, you should check it out. Actually if you haven’t already check out all the albums…

The best song – Them all, but Deep Blue

Top 5 Metal Gear Solid boss battles

It is the return of the my infamous top 5 list…….

In terms of trademarks, the Metal Gear series has got a few, contrived but epic plot lines, a odd ball sense of humour, long cut scenes, but most famous of all (or at least, easiest to make a list of) is the boss battles. The battles range from tense shoot outs to fourth wall shattering oddness. So this is my top5 list

5) Rex vs Ray

It isn’t the hardest battle, it is is not particular that fun compared to other bosses on the list, but it is the only time in a series called “Metal gear” you get to pilot one of the fuckers. One of the most memorable moments in Metal Gear Solid 4 is the return to Shadow Moses, this section of the game is filled with nostalgia. As Snake moves in to the hanger, which housed metal gear Rex, on his first visit- and in here he sees the crumpled wreck of Rex. There is a slight amount of sadness seeing the beast that caused so much havoc in the first game, so damaged and useless. That is until, the wreck is revived and put back into action – it is a great moment. In a unique gameplay moment for the series, Snake pilots his old enemy against another Metal gear. It is a quite departure for the series, more reminiscent of Zone of the Enders than metal gear solid. And that is why it is in my top 5.

4) Liquid Ocelot

Also in in MGS4, a hand to hand battle between two brother (kind of) – for the second time. The fight starts as a clear reminder of the fight atop of metal gear Rex in MGS1, between liquid and solid. The fight uses a completely different control scheme preferring to use a beat-em-up style battle to what has come before it. It is a real fun battle, but the real special thing about this boss battle is the atmosphere. The battle comes in four parts, each with it own music, heath bar and style of fighting – each correspond to different game in the series. It is special fight, stylish and tinted with sadness. It might turn out to be the last of solid snake’s battles, and if so it has to get a place on the list.

3) Psyco Mantis

Some people might be surprised to see this battle so high (low?) on the list. There has been much said about this boss in the past, the dark humour, the breaking of the fourth wall and the BDSM – I won’t repeat all this. The Psyco fight is the perfect example of how games can do things that no other  medium of entertainment can do. I was 7 when I first battled Mantis and it is something that has stuck in my psyche ever since. It is impossible not to put him on the list.

2) Metal Gear Rex

In Rex’s second entry to the list, friend is turned enemy. MG Rex was was my first meeting with a Metal Gear, and I was pretty bad at it. Rex was very scary to a 7 year old, the whole game had led to this battle, and I ashamed to admit I had hand the controller to my mum to get past it. But as I got older I revisited the game and found a great boss battle. You are given a huge area, a stinger missile and told to fight a huge walking tank with nukes on its back. What is not to love?

1) The End

In first place, and my favourite boss of this great series is the End. On the surface the prospect fighting an old man whose only ally in the battle is parrot. But this old man happens to be an expert sniper and you are on his home soil. It takes nerves of steal to take on this man, especially on hardest difficulty, and to complete it you may need a few spare hours. The battle is the ultimate free roaming moment in the series, you are given lots of different ways to kill the end (some hidden) and a massive area in which to do. To outfox this eye popping sniper, you need to use nature to your advantage. Well I guess that is the end.

So that is my number 1, do you think I’ve made a glaring error in the list? Why don’t you comment below…..

 

Top 5 – Shows I am watching, that haven’t been cancelled… yet. (Or have but I only just started the show)

It has been 2 months without a top 5, so I thought it was about time I came up with a new one. TV shows are like skin (stick with me) you have a set a show that you watch for years, they are usually on at the same time in the year; and slowly, one series ends or maybe two. Then a new series starts and after a number of years, like your skin, you get a whole new set of programs to watch.  In the past I watched many shows that was a regular part of my weekly viewing pattern, shows like stargate, X-files, Farscape, Lost, Rome, Life on Mars and many more. But these shows are long gone and with other shows like Chuck and House in their final series, I will have new skin, it will be a harder skin less vulnerable to the hurt from premature cancellation. I’m not really sure what whether TV have become weaker in the last few years, I just know this is pretty strong list of shows right here….

Any way on to the list…

5) Fringe

Image belongs to Fox

4) The Wire

Image belongs to HBO

3) Sherlock

Image belongs to the BBC

2) Walking Dead

Yup the image belongs to AMC and not me

 

1) Game of Thrones

Another Image that belongs to HBO

 

 
Well that was another fucking lazy post, anyway a few plans for the blog, lets hope I don’t find excuse not to execute them!

Top 5 Leeds Rhinos matches (I have seen)

The new rugby league superleague season is now only 4 sleeps away, it will be my first season as a season ticket holder. As a 19 years old, I am not going to lie or think I’ve seen the best matches Leeds Rhinos and of course all those years before the name rhinos. But I think I’ve seen a few good matches over the short years.

5) Leeds V Bradford Bulls 2007 Millennium Magic

Sure it was technically not a fair win, sure Bradford should have won! But they didn’t,  mostly due to the referee. However, when you win such circumstances against your rival (then, now they are a little bit shit to be called our rival(joke)) make for a memorable match.

Not seen it? or want to relive the match? Watch the video below….

4. Leeds V St. Helens 2011 Grand Final

This years Grand final, and it was a good one. Two amazing tries, one scored and one made by Rob Burrow. Leeds looked out after 60 mins, but showed what they was made of and came back to win and be officially called champions of 2011.

3.  Warrington Wolves V Leeds 2011 Play off Semi Final

A great match that went to-and-fro. One of the most exciting matches I have ever watched. It was made sweeter by the fact most people gave us no chance of winning it.
Watch the highlight from  below.

2. Leeds V Melbourn Storm 2008 WCC

I might be a little biased about this game. Everything went good for me on this day. While there might have been Storm hanging over leeds (literally there was really bad weather that day, I’m not trying to make a bad pun) I had very good day. It was a Friday, and I was in the last lesson of my day at school, it was always a bad lesson for me. But I got taken out the lesson and told to wait at the schools reception. They did not tell me what was happening, and as you do I worried a lot. But, I soon found out that I’d been picked (due to a letter I wrote) to go on the trip to china, to represent the school and country at the youth science and technology expo. Later that day Leeds played Melbourn in leeds, and Leeds won and was crowned the best club in the world. I remember the rain pouring down and getting soaked in the trip back to the car, I remember it was tough and close game. Wish I could see it again; good day.

1. Leeds V Bradford 2004 Grand Final

The first championship win in 32 years, I might have only been 12 at the time, but I still felt how big of achievement it was and I’m very glad I got to be there to see it live. I think this experience probably cemented my love of rugby league and my love of the Leeds Rhinos.

Top 5 games of 2011

The last top 5 of the year and the last post of the year. There are only two formats that I am heavily invested in now, that is books and games. Films have taken a back seat, as has new music, and with the fact that stargate is now dead and cold I have not started many new TV shows this year either. This has been a good year for games, however annoyingly most of them seem to be in a series, because original games are getting rarer; or maybe I am not giving the ones that are out there the chance.
So here are the games I’ve been playing the most this year.

5. Dead space 2

The original dead space was a bit of a revelation for myself. I’d never been particularly bothered about horror games, the most i’d played of the genre before was 20 minutes demo of the original silent game that came with Metal Gear Solid. I was 7 at the time, and slightly traumatised at the whole thing, it put me off horror games. But I bought dead space 1 not knowing that it was a horror games, I thought it was just expecting another action adventure game in space, I was wrong. However, I found the experience unlike silent hill to be a enjoyable one. Dead Space 2 takes place soon after the first game, and with a cooler suit. There were some crazy moments, such as being forced to stick a needle in your eye. Some parts are infuriatingly hard, and in a rare moment of gaming courage for myself I completed this game on the hardest difficulty. The story is as good as anything Hollywood can offer (not great), but with the added immersion factor.

4. Portal 2

A spin off from one of my all time favourite game Half-life, albeit loosely. With a story that could only work in a game. It follows a crazy robot or two, who do science and like to test a young woman, who is forced to take part in puzzles using a portal gun. The physics bending puzzles make this a great game in the first place, but add on top, an over the top story line (which works perfectly strangely enough) and you’ve got a game. Most will want to complete in two playthrough, many like me did. It contains the voice acting of Stephen Merchant who works perfectly as both a loveable robot, and a evil though useless villain. A great game that will get you completely engrossed from the get-go.

3. Uncharted 3

One of crowning jewels in the sony crown. A funny, fun, fantastic and action packed game, that adds upon the experience from the first two games. Most games will either, be open world or give you multiple option to complete a game, and if they don’t they will try and mask this to give the illusion of it. Uncharted doesn’t give you options and doesn’t mask masks it, it is is clear you only have choice. However, the developer makes sure the one path it does give you is pretty amazing, filled with twists and cinematic events that flow seamlessly into the gameplay. It is also has a addictive and fun online multiplayer (and co-op), which is much improved from the second game. Also I think the graphics in this game are the best out there.

2. Skyrim

Perhaps this game would have made it in to the number one spot, if it wasn’t for the big framerate issue  that is effecting PS3 users (and in turn me). To be fair to the issue only started to effect my enjoyment of the game 50 or so hours in (many game you don’t play for half that amount) but I still have to completed the main quest plus many more, but the game is unplayable sometimes! It is not all bad though otherwise it wouldn’t be number two. It truly is a epic game, in which you can do so much more than any other game I know, the graphics can take your breath away at times (if they load correctly).  Combat is fun, the story is great, and with me hopeful that a patch will soon fix the issue that plagues me, I am looking forward to playing the game again. Hopefully

1. Mass effect 2

I’ve never been jealous of halo, nor gears or war. There was always a clone of them, which would satisfies my lust for those games. Only Mass Effects ever came close to tempting me to buy the 360 (not out of any fanboyisum, I just don’t have the money). So when I  learned that the killer franchise was coming to my loveable blackbox, I was understandably excited. A good RPG are rare these days (I played two this year with skyrim). And even rarer is one set in space. The other day I looked just how much time I had spent on ME2 it turns out I have played the game for 100+ hours. I said that with slight embarrassment, but  I can honestly say I don’t regret the time I spent on it, as it will just give me more options for when the third game comes out.

Well that is my list complete, hope you all have a great new year, which starts in four hours for me.