Category Archives: Movies & Music

Reel Review: The Avengers

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Some people say that you can judge the quality of a movie by counting the number of times you check your watch when the movie is still screening. When I exited the cinema after a whopping 142 minutes, I never even got close to touching my watch. In fact, I seriously thought the movie felt too short! Yup, folks…The Avengers is really THAT good!

I have to admit that I went into the cinema with many high expectations of this movie. All the buzz and hype leading to its release certainly didn’t help. 😛 So, were my high expectations met? Oh YEAH…not only did The Avengers met it, it surpassed it beyond ‘infinity’ (hint! hint!)

The story starts off explosively enough with Loki attacking a SHIELD facility and steals the Tesseract, a cosmic cube with mucho mucho powers of universal proportions (what else?!). It is also capable of opening up a portal to allow an alien army from another dimension known as the Chitauri to invade Earth with Loki at helm. This immediately triggers Nick Fury to become ‘very desperate’ enough to begin gathering Earth’s mightiest heroes..Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk (Bruce Banner), Black Widow and Hawkeye.

The initial ‘assembly’ didn’t exactly go as planned as the customary mistrust, teamwork issues, bickering, arguments, etc. sets up some mouth-watering superhero vs superhero battles. The heroes seem to be like a hopelessly divided lot after falling for Loki’s schemes during the stellar battle scene onboard the Helicarrier.

Eventually, they would regroup and stand ‘assembled’ in Manhattan (where else?!) where Loki’s army of Chitauris would begin its invasion of Earth. Would the Avengers prevail?

Under the directorship of Joss Whedon ( he of Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse fame), the Avengers benefited from a very impressive script – witty and charming dialogue with just the right amount of action sequences. With a movie of this magnitude and so many heroes clamoring for silver screen space, Whedon successfully and cleverly distributes the stage spotlight for all the characters to shine without allowing some characters to be given the teacher’s pet treatment (read: Wolverine from X-Men movies). I also began to appreciate that Whedon chose to use the Chitauris as the alien army in the movie compared to more regular and obvious alien races like the Skrull or the Kree. With already so many superhero characters to develop into the storyline, putting in the Skrull or Kree would surely mean additional time to be clocked in to explain their origins, powers, etc. The Chitauris were less prominent and better choice for the audience to keep focused on the main antagonist, Loki.

All the action sequences’ choreography and movements were excellently filmed. I certainly liked that not too many slo-mo shots or shaky camera realistic shots were used. Compared to the action scenes in Transformers where the battle scenes ranged from being too messy, choppy or confusing to follow at times, The Avengers has clearly set the standard of how action sequences should be filmed as it allows the audience to be totally immersed in the action lines! Another gem of the movie has to be the technological evolution of the CGI Hulk. When compared with the earlier screen versions, the Hulk here is definitely the most realistic and impressive!

One of the many talents I love about Whedon is his ability to create great team chemistry as seen in his earlier works. In the Avengers, he brings this up to another level with many great teamwork spots – where a superhero tag-team fights side-by-side – Cap/Iron Man, Thor/Hulk, Cap/Widow, Widow/Hawkeye, Cap/Thor, Iron Man/Cap, etc. In addition, the superhero vs superhero scenes didn’t disappoint as well. We were treated to superb battles like Iron Man vs Thor, Widow vs Hawkeye, Thor vs Hulk, etc.

I have to admit the casting was another special touch. For example, it isn’t easy finding the right actor to portray Bruce Banner/Hulk but I think they have hit the jackpot with Mark Ruffalo, who carries Banner’s shy, geeky persona to its very best. Jeremy Renner was certainly ‘spot on’ to play Hawkeye. I did notice Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow having difficulties maintaining her Russian accent but overall, I think she managed to stay tough with the guys. Robert Downey Jr. as usual has the best lines as Iron Man/Tony Stark, Chris Evans did well enough to play the soldier out of time/captain of the team when needed role. Whilst Chris Hemsworth played Thor well, I personally thought Thor looked best in all battle scenes. 😛

If there was any flaw to The Avengers, it would have to be its overly simple storyline. I kinda expected a little more sub-plot twists to the story, but at the end of the day, it turned out to be plain old enemy aliens invading earth (via USA, of course) and superheroes standing united to defend it. I guess when I start to analyse deeper, Whedon was probably doing his best movie cover of a comic-book, where plots are kept simple and actions fast and furious!

In summary, The Avengers is one engaging and exhilarating ride of a lifetime that shouldn’t be missed. Although framed with a rather simplistic and childish plot, the movie is brilliantly paced with its sharp dialogue, fantastic action sequences and wonderful team chemistry. it certainly delivers in all departments and has undoubtedly thrown down the ‘gauntlet’ to future superhero movies to follow.

Oh yeah…don’t forget to stay on after the movie to catch an exclusive teaser after half of the credits roll. It’s gonna make you breathlessly wait for the sequel! 😀






Avengers Fan Art Posters

I have to admit….the only thing I kinda dislike about The Avengers so far is the official theater poster. I’m sure all of you would have seen it too. Yup, that bland, customary group pose with action scene as background…just doesn’t quite cut it for me.

Anyway, in my final blog this week to commemorate the release of the Avengers TODAY, I have decided to share some of the more better looking unofficial fan-art posters I could find.

Better than the original? Check them out yourself!

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Which one is ya favourite?

Avengers Assemble!


Avenger Quotes

In my continuing blog to commemorate the release of The Avengers this week, I would like to pay tribute to Joss Whedon’s exceptional skills to writing sharp, witty and charming dialogues.

Trust me, we will get to hear plenty of them throughout the movie. Fortunately for us fans who have been drowned with plenty of trailers and teasers and TV spots leading up to the movie release, we were able to catch an audio glimpse and enjoy snippets of the colourful dialogue from the movie.

Here are some of my favourites…(source: Rotten Tomatoes)


Loki: Ooh, it burns you to have come so close, to have the Tesseract, to have power, unlimited power. And for what? A warm light for all of mankind to share? And then to be reminded of what real power is…

Nick Fury: Well let me know if real power wants a magazine or something.


Thor: He’s still my brother.

Captain America: Your brother killed hundreds of people.

Thor: He’s adopted.


Tony Stark: Doctor Banner, your work is unparalleled. And I’m a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.


Loki: I have an army

Tony Stark: We have a Hulk!


Captain America: Big man in a suit of armor. Take that away and what are you?

Tony Stark: Uh, genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist…


Loki: How desperate are you that you’d call on such lost creatures to defend you?

Nick Fury: You have made me very desperate.


Captain America: Men who want to rule the world end up getting just six feet of it.


Tony Stark: If we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damn sure we’ll AVENGE it!


Are you ready?

Avengers Assemble!

Avengers Assemble Parody!

Yup, folks…it IS The Avengers’ opening week, so I’m keeping up with my on-going blogs to spice up the momentum till the (possibly) BIGGEST movie of all time is released!

Today, I thought I would share an unofficial parody website about the Avengers that was created way back in 2010. They have managed to create some 15+ episodes with our favourite Earth’s Mightiest Superheroes tackling serious everyday problems like Unemployment, Pollution, Budget Deficits, Middle East Crisis, etc.

Heck, they even managed to get Stan Lee to star in one of their episodes! 😛

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I couldn’t stop laughing watching all the episodes in one sitting. Simply hilarious and a MUST-WATCH before watching the Avengers on the big screen. To whet your appetite, here’s two sample episodes from AvengersAssembleThe Series:


Season 1, Episode 4: The Middle East


Season 2, Episode 4: Job Interview


Watch ALL the episodes and MORE at AvengersAssembleTheSeries.Com

Avengers Assemble!

5 Questions Requiring Assembly

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Ain’t it cool that The Avengers is opening a couple of days EARLIER than in the big ol’ US of A? Yeah!

Anyway, methinks the Marvel Factory have really done it this time – with regard to publicity (read: viral trailers, TV spots, online buzz, forums, etc.). With all previous Marvel movies over the past two years containing some from of teaser at the end of its credits that is indirectly promoting this movie, fans from all over have been  salivating in anticipation of this possibly THE biggest movie EVER! I kid you not.

Wait, what? You have not heard of The Avengers?!

OK, lemme try to bring you up to speed with this trailer that has garnered gazillions of views since its released. Just imagine if everyone who watched the trailer were to buy ONE movie ticket, The Avengers could easily become the BIGGEST movie of all time!


Now, I’ve always been a big fan of Joss Whedon, the director of The Avengers. I totally loved what he did with the Sci-Fi western flick series, Firefly and also his incredible work in the Astonishing X-Men graphic novel. Although I wasn’t quite a follower of Buffy or Dollhouse, I am quite excited about the stuff he would bring in his directorship of The Avengers – great team chemistry, quick wit, charming characters, women empowerment and unpredictable twists.

With The Avengers opening in theatres later this week, these are my Top 5 things I am looking forward to be revealed from this blockbuster:

1. What is the Metal Dragon?

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At the end of the trailer, the movie teased us with a glimpse of a gigantic metal looking dragon that seems to be ripped off the pages of Transformers. Since the release of the trailer, fans have been trying to guess the identity of the metal beast, narrowing it down to the possibilities of either the Midgard Serpent, the alien mother ship or even another character from marvel’s comic-lore – Fin Fang Foom!

Although I would personally love for it to be FFF, I think it is simply the alien ship that carries with the evil army that invades Earth..sigh. Anyway, we shall soon find out!

2. Who is Loki’s army?

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I have to applause Joss for keeping the identity of Loki’s army under wraps for months – during its pre-production, shooting, and even after the trailers were released!

The very fact that the identity remained unknown for so long initiated lengthy debates amongst the fans – from Kree to Skrulls to Frost Giants to Atlanteans, etc. heck, I was surprised The Smurfs wasn’t added to that list. 😛

However, as the movie looms closer to it opening, the identity had actually been revealed to be (spoiler: highlight to see): The Chitauri

Although their ‘reveal’ technically takes them out from my list, I would still want to retain it here because it was so cleverly hidden from us fans. *applause here*

3. A Sub-Heli Carrier?!

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Comic fans would easily recognise SHIELD’s HeliCarrier as the signature flagship vehicle that is used by SHIELD for its operations, transport, etc. Although there were notably many versions or designs used in the comic books, the version that I saw in the trailer prompted me to ask this question:

Is the Helicarrier in the movie capable of going UNDER the sea as well? Cool! Can’t wait to find out!

4. Who Wins when Avengers Disassembles?!

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All trailers and TV spots have suggested that throughout the movie, there will be some form of adjustment struggles, disunity and discontent amongst Earth’s Mightiest Heroes before they are finally erm, assembled for the climatic final battle.

Personally, I am really looking forward to these heroes vs heroes battles – Thor’s hammer coming upon Cap’s shield, Thor head butting Iron Man, etc. Cool stuff, indeed!

5. Who Will Die?

Yup, it is no secret that Joss Whedon has the bravado and guts to kill off characters in his movies. Regardless if they were fictional characters or a cult Marvel superhero, Joss can and will do it. I am already preparing my heart in anticipation of this in the movie.

Only question is….which character or characters will bite the dust?

Are we all ready for the Avengers Already?!!

Manchester Assemble!

The race for the BPL crown seems to be going down right to the wire this season, especially with the Manchester derby this coming weekend poised to be the “title decider”. At the same time, one of THE most highly anticipated movies of this year (if not, of ALL time), ie. The Avengers looms upon Malaysia this coming weekend too…

Now, the more I see and think about it, the more I couldn’t help myself but to reflect on the many parallels from the BPL race and The Avengers that would suggest that Manchester United are really like the Avengers who are mankind’s only hope against the Loki and his army, who seriously resembles our noisy neighbours, Manchester City! (Gasp!)

Don’t believe me, here’s some proof…

Proof #1: The famous rallying cry of Earth’s Mightiest Superheroes is “Avengers Assemble!” Now, when you think about it, the word ‘ASSEMBLE’ is strikingly synonymous with ‘UNITED’, which means a gathering of parts or people, joined together for a single purpose, etc.

Proof #2: In the upcoming movie, The Avengers, the evil Loki will be seen donning a long corporate-styled trenchcoat and sinisterly accessorised with a neckscarf too! If you are now scratching your head to think where have you seen someone that looks like this before…..ahhhh….look no further to Roberto Mancini – City’s manager who was the eerily same sense of taste in fashion, hairstyle, stare and all…

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Spot the Difference?!

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Proof #3: In the movie, Loki does not take on the world on his own. He will apparently summon an evil army from another dimension to do his bidding. So what do these creatures look like? In brief, they look tall, scary, strong and most importantly, sports a blue-coloured skin. And what colour of jersey does Manchester City wear?…

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Proof #4: In the movie, Nick Fury is the character from SHIELD that is responsible for gathering all of Earth’s mightiest superheroes to defend against the threat of Loki. Now, do you think it is a coincidence that the name ‘ FURY’ is strikingly similar to Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘HAIRDRYER TREATMENT’?…

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YIKES! Need I say more?…

Manchester Assemble!

Reel Review: Seefood

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Last Saturday, I woke up strangely feeling a little more patriotic than usual (that, and quite bored too) and decided to take Collin out to watch one of the more highly anticipated local 3D animation films to open in recent times – Seefood.

So off we went to the nearest cinema and checked out the screening times. I was also delighted to see Citibank having this Buy 1-Free-1 promo on Saturdays. Hmmmm…perhaps should go for movies on Saturdays more often. 😛 Anyways, it was either Seafood or The Lorax. I brought Collin to check out both posters – one showed a scary looking cat-like creature and the other featured a cute fish and a shark in a robot-suit. Easy choice. Heh.

Sorry…back to the quick review. In brief, Seefood is a story about two sharks, Julius, a white-tipped shark and Pup, a bamboo shark, that happens to be best friends. One day, some humans dive into the ocean and take home all the egg sacks from Pup’s reef. Angry and determined, Pup journeys onto land to rescue the eggs. When Julius finds out about Pup’s daring mission, he gets some help from Octo (an octopus, obviously) to build him a machine that would enable him to walk on land, so that he can go and help Pup and bring his best friend home.

With some really cute characters, original plot, and a shark walking on land, this should have all the makings of a hit movie, right?

Unfortunately, Seefood turned out to be one of the WORST animated movies I have ever seen – suffering from a very poor script that doesn’t do justice to the very good animations that had been put into this film. It’s like they have a ‘Everything That Could Make a Movie Bad’ checklist and efficiently ticked every box on it.

Perhaps it would be better for me to start with the positives first….hmmm…let’s see….the plot was relatively original, the animation skills were really good – comparable to many international 3D animations, many cute characters – good for toys/plush/marketing campaigns, plenty of Malaysian identity inserted.

So, where did the movie go so wrong? OH, let me count the ways..

1. Complex storyline. Whilst it’s exciting enough to have a shark walk on land, I have no idea why they decided to throw in some sideplot about some factory polluting the sea with some industrial waste and some strange, mean sepent and his creepy looking spider-like goons from the deep? If the stories were well connected, it would have made more sense. Instead I was left baffled as to why these subplots were there. It’s a KIDS movie! Try to keep the plot simple, OK?

2. Poor Film Editing. Many segments throughout the movie seemed to end abruptly, causing me to go “Huh? What just happened?” before they cut to another segment. Sigh.

3. Loose Endings. This probably concerns all those confusing subplots as well. I was totally lost on the conclusions of all subplots. I mean whilst it is good to finish the main story well, we must not lose focus to tie up all endings as well. I felt the subplots were poorly concluded.

4. Humourless Dialogue. One of the weakest points of the movie was its inability to make the audience LAUGH. And for a KID’s movie, that is the LEAST it is expected to do! The dialogue was bland and un-natural. And if the lines didn’t make me laugh, there wasn’t enough slapstick to tickle the kids either. It was not surprising there were only minimal chuckles heard from the full-house cinema. If I was walking past the cinema hall, I would have guessed a thriller movie was screening!

5. Moral Message? Ever since Happy Feet showed the world how effective a moral message embedded into a good film for kids can be, many other films have tried to emulate that. When Seefood introduced a subplot involving a factory spewing industrial waste, I thought it was a good byline that would eventually carry a strong message about the evils of sea pollution, etc. Sadly, the moral message that I think the writers/director wanted to project didn’t quite take off as planned.

6. Draggy Pace. For a film that is selling its promos on a ‘shark walking on land’, it sure took a great deal of time before that actually took place. My advice? The shark on land aka fish out of water (literally) segments should have gotten longer screen time and more humour-based. I mean it’s gonna be the first time a fish is on land. The types of jokes one can play with is almost limitless. Unfortunately, we only got some scene involving a car at the traffic light (as seen in the trailer) and the coconut crabs (boring).

7. Bad Soundtrack. One of the most important component of all good movies is a a good supporting soundtrack…and Seefood sadly lacks this. The accompanying audio was all over the place and lacked the quality to build the tension as required in key scenes. Also missing were some SONGS that could have been used to spice up the film. See how Pixar also incorporates catchy tunes into their movies.

8. Main Message Missing. Usually, one would come out from the cinema with one key message that the film was delivering. For example, Cars 2 stressed on the importance of friendships and Kung Fu Panda 2 highlighted the need to remember who we are in the present moment. Sadly, in Seefood, I didn’t get any key message at all. Was it about friends helping each other? or friends don’t eat friends? I don’t know.

9. Lack Explainations. Much was not explained about the evil looking eel-like fish and the spider-minions, their plot, how they came from, were they mutated products from the industrial waste, etc.

10. Lacked Tension. I recalled there were several action scenes in the movie that was supposed to be edge-of-the-seat stuff. Unfortunately, I felt none of it. Sigh.

Thankfully (for me, at least), Collin said he enjoyed the show although I did notice he was already getting fidgety and restless by the final third of the show.

In summary, I came to watch Seefood, with strong hopes that it could be something groundbreaking for our local animation industry. Unfortunately, what I saw was how a local animation film should NOT be. It’s rather sad that whilst the film has the standard and quality in terms on animation techniques, its poor script and editing made it a terrible film overall.

Do also check out my personal alternative movie script for Seefood …:-P






Audience Response:


Poster Previews

What movies are you looking forward to next year?

For those who only go to movies based on the poster, check out the following posters of upcoming (potential) blockbusters. Are you sold yet?

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Still waiting for the official Avengers poster, but till then, I think Batman’s Dark Knight Rises’ teaser poster has got to be the pick of next year’s posters, donthcu think?

Huff and Puff: WinMo’s Angry Birds

Undoubtedly, one of the more popular touch screen games to hit the world was Angry Birds. Everyone that owned an iPhone simply had to download this game. Eventually, Android users could also immerse themselves in this addictive game where the user guides kamikaze-like birds via a slingshot to destroy pigs. With the revelation of the iPad, the game has grown so much more popular because the screen size certainly helps in creating more intensity and better view of destruction. Ha.

Poor Windows Mobile users (like mua) had to watch with envy as there was no news that the game would be re-developed to cater to WinMo users. Sigh.

Well, fret no more. A similar game was recently released by Touch Dimensions called Huff and Puff. Here’s the much touted video demo of the game which you should be view before I proceed with my review.

In brief, it has relatively simple gameplay where the objective is for the user to play as the wolf to destroy the pigs (poor animals) using his arsenal of breath. Yeah, seriously. There are apparently over 40 levels of challenges to master, and I believe there is longevity in this in the sense that most users would want to replay every level to score the total destruction in one attempt thingy.

In terms of display, I think the developers have done good in making the characters large enough to be seen and ‘felt’. In Angry Birds, all the characters really look so tiny that it seemed that it was actually built for the iPad. For difficulty, I believe the game has enough challenging puzzles to last you for a while. Like I mentioned, even though you could sometimes get through the level with 3 breaths, you’d want to REPLAY the level to try to pass it on ONE try. Trust me. 😀

The developers have also managed to add in some spice to the Wolf’s weaponry with an assortment of stuff like eating chillies would enable the wolf to burn straw and wood objects, eating garlic would give the wolf powers of bad breath that could suffocate and kill the pigs oh most gruesomely, and I have not even seen what ice-cream can do yet!

But perhaps one of the more innovative moves of Huff and Puff is the dual mode of gameplay. You could use the basic tapping on your touchscreen to aim and blow your big bad breath, OR you might want to LITERALLY blow your own breath into the phone mic. It works as well too!

So, whilst WinMo7 users may finally get their Angry Birds, if the rumors are true, I personally think Huff and Puff is one WinMo game that closely rivals it in terms of playability and addictiveness. Highly recommended. Get it today from Windows Marketplace!

Mobile Requirements: Touch Screen WVGA Phone, supports Windows Mobile 6.1, 6.5

Huff and Puff
Graphics &
Simple 2D animations with catchy sounds!
Innovative use of mic to literally BLOW your own breath. Seriously addictive and engaging too!
Plenty of chances for replay due to human nature of wanting to hit the highest scores with ONE try!
Nice progression of difficulty levels with plenty of spices thrown in like chilli, garlic and wind movement!
Lite version available for FREE on Windows Marketplace
Addictive and appealing game that is comparatively as good, if not better than Angry Birds


Taylor Swift: Speak Now

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Much anticipation was in the air before the album Speak Now was released. How would Taylor Swift follow-up or even measure up to the unbelievable success of her Fearless album? In short, pretty darn good, actually. :-)

There have been many critics who say she can’t really sing. In a way, that has some truth to it. I’ve seen some of her stage performances and she didn’t sound very good. However, she can still carry a tune and besides, when you listen to Taylor Swift, you’d really want to listen to the words of her music. Time and time again, she has proven that she can write really good music – mature, thought-provoking, and most importantly, fun! She has somehow discovered the correct formula for songs that can connect with the people and subsequently become a hit.

Take a look at some of the lyrics that this talented singer/songwriter can some up with in Speak Now (lyrics extracted from

I remember how we felt sittin’ by the water/And every time I look at you it’s like the first time (Mine)

You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard/Calling me out when I’m wounded/You picking on the weaker man (Mean)

You are an expert at “sorry”/And keeping lines blurry/Never impressed by me acing your tests/All the girls that you’ve run dry have tired, lifeless eyes/Cause you burned them out/But I took your matches before fire could catch me/So don’t look now/I’m shining like fireworks over your sad empty town…(Dear John)

You’re in the car on the way to the movies/And you’re mortified your mom’s dropping you off/At 14 there’s just so much you can’t do/And you can’t wait to move out someday and call your own shots/But don’t make her drop you off around the block/Remember that she’s getting older too/And don’t lose the way that you dance around in your pj’s getting ready for school (Never Grow Up)

Wasn’t it easy in your firefly catching days/Everything out of reach, someone bigger brought down to you/Wasn’t it beautiful running wild till you fell asleep/Before the monsters caught up to you (Innocent)

So, is Speak Now better than Fearless? Personally, I felt Fearless was a better album. It had more hit-potential songs and was sweetly pleasing overall. But Speak Now has Swift all grown up (ok, maybe a bit..) and has its strengths too. The tone and theme of her songs has somewhat matured from Fearless and that is a good thing! The songs in Speak Now has an independent, confident ring to it which should carry it well to the top of the album charts.

She also has this knack of writing songs about people who have crossed her life, and it is very, very evident in Speak Now. Almost all of the songs were written about guys who have impacted her life, in good and bad ways too. Like Dear John which is like a blunt reference to her sad fling with John Mayer; or Back To December is an apology to Taylor Lautner; and who could forget Kanye West’s infamous interruption? Well, Innocent was written specially for him…

I felt like the only songs that suited her age were the title track, Speak Now, Mean and Mine. Look out for the brief giggle in the middle of Speak Now. Shows that she’s still young and having fun! But, surprisingly, the stronger numbers on this album IMHO would be her more matured songs like Dear John and Never Grow Up. Her versatility is really evident in the mix of songs she can write and deliver and to me, that is one plus point over most artistes in the market today.

My only complaint would be that her songs may seem overly personal at times. And since the songs were written for specific persons in Swift’s life, how would anyone else relate to those songs is another story. Perhaps if she could write more generic songs in the future? 😀

Definitely highly recommended.

Standout Tracks: Back To December, Dear John, Never Grow Up