This Is the Life

This Is the Life

4.2 9
by Amy MacDonald
     
 

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Don’t lump Amy MacDonald in with 2008’s crop of young British soul singers -- the Scottish singer-songwriter was born to strum furiously on guitar. This Is the Life roared out the gate in the U.K., entering the charts at No. 2, and it’s little wonder: a teenager whose pop smarts belie her years, MacDonald’s debut boasts more potential hits than an English

Overview

Don’t lump Amy MacDonald in with 2008’s crop of young British soul singers -- the Scottish singer-songwriter was born to strum furiously on guitar. This Is the Life roared out the gate in the U.K., entering the charts at No. 2, and it’s little wonder: a teenager whose pop smarts belie her years, MacDonald’s debut boasts more potential hits than an English soccer stadium five minutes before the final goal. She avers influences from the Libertines to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but more, em, mature listeners will hear echoes of the finest U.K. ‘80s post-punk, from ska- and skiffle-flavored pub rock à la Katrina and the Waves and Kirsty MacColl to the dream-pop of the Cranberries. The addictive title track showcases the delightful burr in MacDonald’s voice in a smart, acoustic-based arrangement that packs punk energy into a folksy package last heard this successfully via Dexys Midnight Runners. Of course, MacDonald wouldn’t have entranced her home country with her discerning taste in new wave alone; lyrically, she sums up the struggles of a certain kind of young lass we all know, the one hanging on the periphery of the burnouts and Goths, a little too smart to follow the crowd. But it’s those inescapably catchy songs that set Amy MacDonald apart from similar indie spirits such as Regina Spektor -- pure breezy pop that comes from a small, intimate place but, as This Is the Life proves, can grow very, very big.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Sharon Mawer
The debut album from Scottish singer/songwriter Amy MacDonald, This Is the Life achieved a remarkable feat -- it entered the charts at number two. MacDonald admits that the song "Poison Prince," which received a limited release as a single, is based on the life of Babyshambles/Libertines singer Pete Doherty, but the first nationally released single "Mr. Rock & Roll" has nothing whatever to do with him. With a finger on the pulse of news items of 2007, she fills "Footballer's Wife" with observations on WAG (wives and girlfriends) culture, in which female spouses are famous for nothing much more than their celebrity partners, and uses the title track "This Is the Life" to reflect upon the lifestyle she had always envied since the early days of practicing her guitar and honing her songwriting skills. Meanwhile, "Let's Start a Band" is exactly what it looks like: a song about being successful in the fickle career of pop music, a theme that is further developed on the song "Barrowland Ballroom," named after a venue in Glasgow that many an aspiring artist wishes to play. MacDonald captures the feelings of ordinary people in the crowd wishing that something exciting would happen in their lives ("I wish I saw Bowie playing on that stage"). There is a nostalgic feel to the album, which conjures up vocal images of Kirsty MacColl and vintage coffeehouse folk singers, and even the cover art evokes the '70s with its frayed edges and warm, lived-in appearance.
Paste Magazine
MacDonald's infectious guitar hooks and sublime harmonies position her at the top of a genre replete with copycats.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/19/2008
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0602517692305
catalogNumber:
001133502
Rank:
83992

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Amy MacDonald   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Track Performer
Susan Dench   Viola
Audrey Riley   Cello,Conductor
Peter Wilkinson   Percussion,Piano,Keyboards
Richard George   Violin
Seton Daunt   Electric Guitar
Laura Melhuish   Violin
Jonathan Hill   Violin
Jolyon Dixon   Electric Guitar
Sarah Erasmus   Background Vocals
Matina Nagel   Cello
Jamie Sefton   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Bass Guitar,Saxophone
Chris Tumbling   Viola
Adam Falkner   Percussion,Drums

Technical Credits

Dougie MacLean   Composer
Paul Adams   Audio Production
Joe Fields   Producer,Engineer
Peter Wilkinson   Programming,Audio Production
Amy MacDonald   Composer
Paul Adam & His Mayfair Music   Executive Producer

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This Is the Life 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amy's debut album, "This is the Life" reached the number 1 spot on the UK charts in January, knocking off Radiohead for a number of weeks. Her first single, Mr. Rock & Roll had a huge impact on Britain, her following singles, "L.A." "This is the Life" and "Run" making the same impact. Now, with her newest single "Poison Prince," it looks like she'll have a pretty successful career. Don't compare her to the other Amy's out there, Amy Winehouse or even Duffy [her first name is Aimee]. Her style of music is completely different. While Duffy and Winehouse sing bluesy tracks, Macdonald choses to perform more organic, folky pop, which sets herself apart. After having a few successful performances in New York, Boston, and Toronto, she's ready to make waves on the other side of the pond, and this is the best attempt I've seen. There are no weak tracks on this album. Every single song Amy wrote on her own there aren't three names after each track, and her voice is phenomenal. Don't make the mistake of shaking her off as just another singer-songwriter. You'll regret it! Some great tracks are "Run" "Mr. Rock & Roll" and "Poison Prince."
AvidReaderMC More than 1 year ago
I found her CD boring and not enjoyable to listen to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This music grows on you, and the next thing you know, you can't get it out of your head. I hope she has a long and successful career, and I'm excited for her to release more music in the future. Highly recommended.
LillyLove More than 1 year ago
I am not particularly attraced to this artist's work. This was a gift from my husband that I probably would not have purchased myself.
Solveigtx More than 1 year ago
Amy MacDonald has a soulful alto voice, a rocking guitar, and a gift for memorable melodies. It's pretty simple, straight-forward music, but there are twists. Her Scottish burr takes a bit of adjustment for US audiences, and there's a definite Celtic feel to her often-minor keyed songs. Her lyrics are poetry, filled with teen angst and wonder, but they translate well for older listeners, too. I'm looking forward to her sophomore effort!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I heard Amy MacDonald's highly publicized debut CD This Is The Life, I was deeply impressed of her outstanding songwriting skills, rich vocals and guitar-driven solos that not only gave the soft-rock circuit a powerful new sound, but would gove popular music a brand new fresh and lasting sound. A Number One hit in five countries and widely released in 2008, this daring young Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist became an international music sensation that resulted with This Is The Life being a Top Ten album in many countires, including Canada and Japan. Her music is showcased by outstanding tracks, like Mr. Rock And Roll and Borrowed Ballroom, which shows that she can be a masterful and creative composer. This Is The Life received critical praise and outstanding reviews by the music press, including The New Musical Express, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine as a result. Now that her debut CD has made music history, we will hear a lot more from Amy MacDonald for a long time, we would like to wish her the best of luck on her aspiring music career, because she fully deserves it. She is absolutely sensational!