My Favorite Music Artist of the Decade

This is a list that talks about my favorite artist from 2010-2019. They don’t have to start from this decade, but they have to done at least 1 album this decade. Here we go.

10: Katy Perry, the decade started out great for Katy, but her last album was a dud. Oh well, She had some great songs this decade. Roar is an anthem for strong women.

9: Clint Black, songs like Nothing’s News shows Clint still knows how to tell a story. His new album sounds great as well.

8: Brandi Carlile, a real country artist who sings from the heart and writes with passion. What a great job she has done with highlighting social issues.

7: Kacey Musgraves, she is one of the best writers I’ve seen in a long time. Progressive, smart and fierce. Musgraves can write any man under the table. Biscuits is a highlight for me.

6: Miranda Lambert, with attitude, sass and great writing. Miranda is one of the best. She makes you afraid to make her mad, and that’s great. We can be Friends is a classic.

5: Ashley Monroe, the voice of an angel and writing that pierces the heart. Ashley deserves more attention than she gets. Like A Rose is a masterpiece.

4: Oak Ridge Boys, their Dave Cobb music has been some of the best country music of the decade. They are in their 70s and 80s and can put most acts to shame when it comes to singing. Seven Nation Army is a masterwork.

3: Ariana Grande, such a gorgeous voice and soul. Her songs are vibrant, colorful and thoughtful. She can do some of the best pop music on the planet. Focus is my jam when I want to dance.

2: Vince Gill, a true master. Gill can sing, write and play instruments. His guitar playing is unmatched by most players today and he’s not afraid of taking a chance and singing controversial songs. Nothing Like A Guy Clark Song will send chills up your spine.

1: Lady Gaga, was there any doubt? She has so much range, she can do any type of music well and she can write up to the heavens and sing as well. Born this Way made me cry and made me feel proud to be me. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

How was this decade in music? It wasn’t great, but it was good. The decade started out slow, but the explosion of You Tube and indie artist helped the music industry avoid a dark decade. This ended up being a good decade for music. Let’s hope the next decade is better.

Grade: B 85

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXYoX2bMru0

Review: The Good Place is A Great Show

I love it when I find a show that makes me feel good. The Good Place is a show like that. I smile from beginning to end. It is becoming my favorite show on TV. I love it that much. Why? Here’s why.

Characters
Kristen Bell is delightful as Elanor, who ends up in the Good Place, (she doesn’t belong there), she is so charming and cute from the get-go. You root for Elanor, even though she’s not a great person. Ted Danson is sensational as Michael or the creator. All the characters are given lots of room to grow, and develop. Each episode reveals new layers to the characters, giving them depth.

Story
There is no heaven or hell. The Good Place is Heaven, and the Bad Place is Hell. Each person is judged by their actions, if they get enough good points, they make it to the Good Place. The story starts simple but gets more complex as the season goes on. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Writing
Funny jokes, heartwarming moments, and rich dialogue show how good the writing is. Drew Goddard worked on Buffy, so it’s not surprising the Good Place has great writing. The story has twists, you care about the characters, and the jokes never insult the audience’s intelligence. This is how you write a show.

Flaws
No show is perfect. Sometimes, there is too much going on in the story. Focusing on one story might be better. Some of the jokes fall flat.

Rating
The Good Place is a GREAT show! I cannot recommend it enough. Great characters, wonderful stories, and writing make this show a winner. I haven’t liked a comedy this much since Scrubs.
Grade: 4 Stars, watch this show. It’s a winner!

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.nbc.com/the-good-place/episodes

Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening: Review

By Michelle Lynn Tackett

Few things bring a smile to my face like a top/down Zelda game. The art style, enemies and dungeons bring back memories. That’s why I was excited when I saw Link’s Awakening trailer. Is this a legendary remake? Let’s find out.

Graphics
They are gorgeous and adorable. You will hug your Switch the whole time! The textures, lighting, and colors are fantastic. Some people talk about the frame rate dropping, such as when the game changes from one screen to the next, but I didn’t experience that. Grizzo did a great job with the graphics. Just because it looks cute, doesn’t mean it’s not a powerhouse. The animations are fluid. This is the best looking game on the Switch until Luigi’s Mansion 3 comes out.

Gameplay
There is nothing groundbreaking here. It’s a typical top/down Zelda game. That’s fine with me. Link gets the master-sword, Hylian shield, bombs, arrows, and more. Because of the extra buttons on the Switch controller, you don’t have to keep removing items. You can use more than one at a time. This is a major upgrade over the original. There are no major changes to the game-play, so if you’ve played any top/down Zelda games before, you know what to expect. Lots of post-game content including a colored dungeon, and a dungeon maker.

Music
The updated music is a delight to the ears! The remastered orchestras and strings give more power to the music. Plus, Ballad of the Wind Fish has lyrics! They will send chills up your spine.

Story
Without giving away anything for those who haven’t played Link’s Awakening. All I will say is Link wakes up on an island inhabited by strange creatures and likable characters. He tries to find a way off the island. How does he do that? Play the game to find out.

Flaws
There are a few flaws in the game. It’s not BOTW in size, but not every game is. The game does end a little abruptly, so that’s one area I would change. The biggest flaw is the Dungeon creator. It’s not Mario Maker 2.

Verdict: It’s a top/down Zelda Game, that’s all there is to say. The dungeons are great graphics are adorable and the gameplay is top-notch. Is this worth sixty bucks? Absolutely!

Grade: 4 Stars, a must-own adventure that plays wonderfully on the Switch.

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/The-Legend-of-Zelda-Link-s-Awakening-1514327.html

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Review

By Michelle Lynn Tackett

I adore the fifty’s style, so when I see a show about the fifty’s, I get excited. When Amazon started airing this show called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I had to check it out. I am four episodes in, and I like it. How much? That’s what the review is for.

Acting
The cast is up to the task. Rachel Brosnahan sparkles as the lead. She brings warmth, energy, and cuteness to Midge. She makes her relatable and real. The real scene-stealer is Alex Borstein, who destroys every scene she’s in. Her sassy attitude shines, and she gets the best jokes in the show. If there is one criticism about the acting, it’s the men. They’re not given deep characters. Clueless dad and cheating husband are two examples. None of the men can stand up to the wonderful women. That does bring down the acting some.

Screenplays
The screenplays are funny, sharp, but cliched. Sometimes the show goes from heartfelt humor to cold as ice in seconds. I don’t think it fits the show. The jokes are funny, they give the women characters a lot of depth, not enough for the men, and the tone shifts too much at times. Writing isn’t the strong suit of this show. It is good, but not great. More consistency would help.

Directing
The directing is crisp, clean, and captures the look and feel of the fifty’s. From the clothes to the look of the homes. No detail goes overlooked. What a great job they do on each episode to make the tempo flow nicely and keep the look authentic. The best part of the show is directing.

Flaws
Some of the jokes and language come off as cheap shocks. Lots of cussing, too much at times. How many people do you know who curse like that? Male characters are not up to par with the women counterparts, and the stories get cliched. She gets on stage, and people love her, but she doesn’t think she can do it. Will she? What do you think? We know the answer to this. There’s no suspense.

Verdict
I don’t love the Marvelous Mrs. Masiel, but I do like it. Some cliches bring the showdown, and the inconsistency in tone keeps it from being, well, marvelous! This isn’t the type of show I will watch over and over. It is a show I can watch once and have fun with.

Grade: 3 Stars, a good drama, comedy with some great acting and directing. However, the cliches and shift in tone keep it from being great.

Astral Chain Review

By Michelle Lynn Tackett

What a great year it’s been for the Nintendo Switch. Link’s Awakening, Fire Emblem and Mario Maker 2 highlight some incredible games, but what about new IPs? That’s where Astral Chain comes in. Like a blaze of fire burning through the sky, it delivers a streak of action and excitement.

Story
Humanity is being invaded by interdenominational creatures who threaten to wipe them out. Only an elite strike force called Neuron can stop them. You play as one of the twins who try to take down the demons. Your character has to stop Jana Anderson, who serves as the main villain in the game. The story has a Bladerunner flair to it. I won’t give away too much. This story needs to be experienced. It is a good story.

Graphics
This game is gorgeous. The blue hues and the art style are amazing. The reflections and lighting bring the world to life. It’s like watching a stylized anime on your Nintendo Switch. The details are amazing from the sparks from the fire to the facial animations of the characters. Everything is lovingly detailed, making the world feel alive. You’ll feel like you’re living in this world.

Combat
This is where Platinum Games shine. The combat sounds complicated on paper, but you’ll figure it out with some practice. You control your character and call your legion out when you need them. The legion attacks by itself, but you can do certain attacks by button presses, or moving the control stick. This gives the game a fresh feel. It does take a while to get the hang of but flows like butter when you get the hang of it. The combat never feels overwhelming. It follows the old easy to learn, but hard to master philosophy that works so well for games like Bayonetta.

Sci-Fi PI
One of my favorite aspects of Astral Chain is the detective work. The Iris helps you see things to help you solve cases. Some cases are simple, while others take a while to complete. There are so many cases to solve, so it will take some time to solve them. Some think they slow down the flow of the game, but I find them refreshing. Solving cases will help your character get new clothing and upgrades.

Music
One of the best soundtracks ever for a video game. The thumping techno, glaring punk rock and soaring rock will stick with you for a long time.

Challenge
This is a challenging game, especially when you turn up the difficulty. There is a casual mode for noobs, but you can take the wheels off for experienced players. The boss fights are epic. The final boss is one of the best boss fights I’ve ever experienced. It takes skill to beat this game, but when you do, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.

Flaws
The camera is distracting at times. When you’re in a firefight, the camera will get too close or go behind a wall and get stuck. This can be annoying, but it isn’t a deal-breaker. Some of the plot twists were predictable, and some of the moves will take lots of practice to get down. That may turn some newer players off.

Verdict
Astral Chain is one of the best action games you’ll ever play. The gorgeous visuals, engaging plot, colorful character, and rich combat will keep you coming back long after the single-player campaign is over. If you own a Nintendo Switch, get it. If you don’t own a Switch, get one and get this masterwork of an action game from one of the best developers in the industry.

Grade: 4 Stars! Buckle up! You’re in for a wild ride!

Photo Courtesy of: https://xboxplay.games/news/astral-chain-how-to-beat-enceladus-tips-and-tricks-3037

Vince Gill: Nothing Like A Guy Clark Song Review

By Michelle Lynn Tackett

The music industry is going through a phase were most artist gotta have auto tune for their voice and big production to hide mediocre songs. This is what makes artist like Vince Gill special. Vince gill doesn’t need auto tune or a big production. Give him a guitar and watch him go.

Lyrics

They are simple and paint a brilliant picture of an artist who misses one of his idols. The writing is brilliant with Vince singing like he is talking to people telling them a story. Lines like, “That work bench was a holy place.” Will stick with you long after the song is over.

Music

The music is very clean, beautiful and clean. This is the antithesis of what Nashville and 95% of the music industry does now. Vince has enough confidence in the brilliant lyrics he wrote, that he doesn’t need to hide nothing. Like one of his heroes Johnny Cash, Vince strips down to get to the human element of music and it is a sight to behold for your eyes and ears.

Singing

It’s Vince Gill. That’s all.

Final Thoughts

Nashville needs to hang it’s head in shame for not playing legends like this on the radio. Gill is doing some of his best work and it’s a dang shame Nashville is ignoring incredible artistic expression in favor of generic bro country. Gill’s mastery will be remembered long after bro country is dead.

Grade: A 96 A masterpiece of writing and music that will send chills up your spine. Take notes music industry. This is how you do music. Take notes and learn.

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/country/8528039/vince-gill-okie-interview

Link to video:


All The Good Girls Go To Hell: Song Review

Billie Eilish has a new song called all the good girls go to hell. She also put out a new video of it, so I am here to review it.

Lyrics
Billie is known for her creative writing, so I am sad to say this song has nothing memorable to it. The lyrics are the standard faux pass for rebellion. We never get to know why all the good girls go to hell. There is no clear message in this song. Very disappointing.

Music
Nothing special. The music sounds like grunge mixed with pop. Nothing stands out about the music, and the song takes itself too serious. This could’ve been a fun tongue-in-cheek song, but the music is too bland and boring for that.

Video
The video shows Billie growing wings in the beginning. Is she supposed to be a fallen angel? This video is drab and void of life. Music videos are one of Billie’s weakest categories. Watching her videos is the equivalent of watching paint dry. Never mind, the paint may give you something different to look at.

Final Grade
Billie has a few good songs, but this isn’t one of them. Forgettable lyrics and bland production sink what could’ve been a great song. I know Billie wanted to do a girl power statement, but we have to be invested in the lyrics and music to care. This could’ve been a great song showcasing how society looks at powerful women. Instead, it’s a forgettable song with nothing to remember.

Grade: 1 Star

Billie shows her young age on this song. A better songwriter could’ve made this a satirical masterpiece, but this is forgettable and bland.

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.seventeen.com/celebrity/music/a28831446/billie-eilish-sleeps-through-wins-russia-2019-mtv-vmas/

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PZsSWwc9xA

Super Mario Maker 2 Review: A Real Master Piece

I love 3-D Mario games like Odyssey and Galaxy 2. The size, scope, and crazy levels make them some of my favorite games ever. However, nothing beats 2-D Mario for sheer fun. The platforming and power-ups are unmatched. Super Mario Maker 2 is out, and I waited a long time until I played enough of the online. Here is my review of Super Mario Maker 2.

Graphics
They’re great. The colors pop, the textures are clean, and the animations are fluid. The resolution is 1080p, and 720 in handheld mode. All skins look good, but NSMBU is my favorite. Mario games have always excelled when it comes to colorful graphics, and Mario Maker 2 is no different.

Gameplay
It is classic 2-D, Mario. The one player story mode is excellent, and the online levels are great. You will never run out of levels to play. Is it easy to make levels? Yes. Some will prefer the WII U gamepad, but I like the controller myself. It will depend on your preference. Handheld mode feels more like the WII U gamepad if that is what you prefer. Picking items and enemies can be slower, but I like having more time myself. If you like the split-second way, play portably.

Modes
This is where Mario Maker 2 shines. The amount of modes in this game makes the first MM game look bare bones. The multiplayer modes, story mode, and co-op give the game a ton of replay value.

Flaws
Some may not like the controller to make levels with, but you have a portable mode which is much better for those who like the WII U way. The only complaint I have is the lag time. When you play online multiplayer, it can get soooo sllooooooow. A tortuous race feels like the Indy 500. I hope Nintendo releases a patch to fix this. That is all I can find. This is a near-perfect package.

Final Thoughts
Super Mario Maker 2 is the dream tool-kit game you’ve been waiting for. Tons of modes make level creation fun, and lots of options to create levels give you the power to make levels your way. The online needs work, but that doesn’t drag down what a gem this game is. Buy it now.
Rating: 4 Stars, a must-have. One of the best games of the year, and another reason why the Switch is the best console on the market. An early candidate for game of the year, and that is saying a lot.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Super-Mario-Maker-2-Nintendo-Switch/dp/B07NQDG7RQ/ref=zg_bs_videogames_24/136-6255675-0274205?_encoding=UTF8&refRID=R0HVJF5V0ZF4XBA82ET9&th=1

Photo Courtesy of: https://junkee.com/super-mario-maker-hard/212638

Astral Chain Reviews Are In! Another GOTY Contender for Nintendo Switch!

Here we go. Astral Chain has an 88 on Opencritic. This is on par with Fire Emblem 3 Houses and better than Control. Astral Chain comes out this Friday, so get ready for the excitement. This is gonna be a GOTY contender along with Fire Emblem for the Switch. The Nintendo Switch is killing it this year. What an amazing year for games for the Switch. Nier got similar scores and Nier got a lot of GOTY nominations and won some. I think the same thing will happen with Astral Chain. Astral Chain’s sales on Amazon have shot up, so it seems like the reviews have done their job. Astral Chain comes out this Friday, be ready for one of the best games of the year.

Link: https://opencritic.com/game/7870/astral-chain

Link: https://www.amazon.com/best-sellers-video-games/zgbs/videogames

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.gamespot.com/astral-chain/

Billie Eilish: How Good is She Really?

By Michelle Lynn Tackett

Billie Eilish is the hottest musical act going today. She is selling great on the album charts, and some of her songs hit the top of the charts. She is very popular and a lot of times, popular artists are not very good. I wanted to look at Billie through an objective lens. How good is she? Is she an artist, or is she a smokescreen created by creative producers? Let’s find out.

Singing ability
Billie has a sad and soulful voice. It gets the job done for the type of songs she sings. There is a problem with her voice, she doesn’t have a diverse one. She doesn’t have the vocal range of Ariana Grande or Lady Gaga. To be blunt, her voice isn’t her strong suit, but her voice does a good job of helping deliver her songs.

Score: 2 Stars, a decent voice that lacks range and power, but it fits the type of songs she does.

Writing
Here is Billie’s strong suit. Her words pierce through the heart and stick in your mind. Billie goes places that most young artists won’t. She does a great job balancing sentiment and realism. Billie’s songs don’t get bogged down by hammering the message on you. It naturally flows, which makes it seem organic. Singing may not be her strong suit, but writing is.

Score: 4 stars, a genius writer who knows how to craft a great song.

Production
Hit and Miss. Some of her songs are perfectly produced, some are a complete mess. On some songs, the production comes off as forced, trying too hard to impress the listener. Other songs seem to come from the heart. She is young, so I think she will get better in this area, but she has a long way to go before she perfects her sound. For such an independent singer, she doesn’t speak her mind enough when it comes to producing her music. Here’s hoping she can find that independent voice that fits her wonderful lyrics.

Score: 3 Stars, she has a good ear for music, too bad she is inconsistent about her tone. Hopefully, she will find a voice as she matures.
Billie is very talented, but she needs to grow in some areas like her voice and produce.

My overall score for Billie is 3 stars out of 4. A good artist, who has the potential to be one of the best artists of this generation. Here’s hoping she gets better. I do want to like her more.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/WHEN-ALL-FALL-ASLEEP-WHERE/dp/B07N7PBZGF/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=billie+eilish+album&qid=1566511333&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.altpress.com/news/billie-eilish-bad-guy-billboard-hot-100-old-town-road/