Clean Slate: “I’ve Started Fuckin’ Someone Else” by @JamesPoole_ begins a mysterious chapter for the UK singer/songwriter

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JAMES POOLE, “I’ve Started Fuckin’ Someone Else”

Take flourishes of Mika from his first two albums and add a few parts of not-so-simple whimsy of Paul McCartney, but the rest is all UK pop singer/songwriter James Poole as he reveals his new chapter of music with his official debut single “I’ve Started Fuckin’ Someone Else”.  Sung mainly in a staccato kind of falsetto, this one bears repeated listens.  It sounds bitchy and straight-forward to start but there’s a telling message underneath to which anyone who’s experienced cheating can relate.  The production gradually becomes rich with a driven rhythm.  So who’s to know where James Poole is heading next?  “I’ve Started Fuckin’ Someone Else” is available for purchase on all digital platforms.  Listen below!

Published in: on June 9, 2017 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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@JamesPoole_ pays tribute to Amy Winehouse with “Back To Black”

JAMES POOLE, “Back To Black”

To coincide with the documentary “Amy”, UK singer James Poole digs down deep into the talent of Amy Winehouse for a rendition of her “Back To Black”.  This song is a unique one, and it took me a number of listens before coming up with my opinion.  Vocally, it’s a pretty flawless and spot-on interpretation as James captures the essence of the forlorn and jealous sentiments of the song, which was a UK Top 10 hit and is probably better known now than ever.  James hardly changes a thing, including the lyrics, a smart choice knowing that it’s not a song you’d expect to hear covered by a guy, and where he makes it his own is at the 3 minute mark which is the bridge of the song – taut, understated, soulful.  Hearing “Back To Black” only makes you want to hear more James Poole.  A record is in the works, and he’s probably my most-written-up performer who has yet to have an official release.  And “Back To Black” gives long-time listeners confidence that when that record is ready, James Poole will indeed have worldwide attention – this is an amazing choice to cover in concert and wow the crowd.

Published in: on July 18, 2015 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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UK singer @JamesPoole_ re-imagines @50cent’s “In Da Club”

JAMES POOLE, “In Da Club”

As readers of this blog know very well by now, I think that UK singer James Poole is a transformer.  I normally don’t write about performers who have had no official releases yet but James has got something great in store for us when it happens.  In the meantime, I don’t think anyone could have seen a cover of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” re-imagined as a swinging big band number!!  So don’t expect all of the cussing and references to Dr. Dre or Eminem.  Instead, ponder sheer elegance on the dance floor on a classy cruise ship while a tight band and its vocalist keep on bringing it on stage and won’t stop till the audience drops.  James continues to show off his versatile and adaptable voice while finding a perfect arrangement which will certainly elicit surprise upon first listen.  Fans of rap and the original song who are open-minded will definitely have to take a few steps back before embracing James’ rendition.  “In Da Club” may throw off the odd listener but those who continue to stick with this talented singer will be in store for more transformations like this in future.  Always ambitious, always well done 🙂

Published in: on April 30, 2015 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Smooth ‘n Sultry Singing from @JamesPoole_ on “Anyone But You”

JAMES POOLE, “Anyone But You”

UK singer James Poole hasn’t got his sultry on in a little while… well maybe a tad with his rework of “I Put A Spell On You”, but that was meant to be playfully evil 😛  But if you look back through his viral covers on You Tube, you will know what I mean.  Singers like Michael Bublé and Matt Dusk can easily make company for James in the contemporary crooner category with his original “Anyone But You” (with its very classy artwork too I might add).  I can picture many a fancy dance to this one, which shows how rich and sophisticated his voice can be.  Like Lady Gaga with her Tony Bennett duets, James also introduces the power of vocal jazz to his many young fans.  He’s already tackled classically-based songs of his own as well as straight-up pop songs.  James Poole’s diverse ability to move from style to style seamlessly will continue to win over more fans until a release of his own – hopefully soon! – will allow us to purchase his music.

Published in: on March 3, 2015 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Brighten Your Day with “Alive” by @JamesPoole_

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JAMES POOLE, “Alive”

Brilliant UK singer James Poole brings his quartet of piano-based songs to completion for his online EP For Your Ears Only with “Alive” (below).  It’s a lovely, positive song about always looking ahead to tomorrow with someone special.  Staying positive in the world with or without companionship can be a difficult thing for many of us sometimes.  The song really allows James’ voice to soar and be convincing as well.  Do not forget to check out his other songs at the You Tube link below.  “Alive” sounds melodically similar to his own “Silver Moonlight”.  “The Clocks Of Our Lives” is based on an classical Italian melody, while “Runaway” is probably the most obvious ‘pop’ song of the four.  It appears that James will have a release sometime soon for us to purchase, so like the other Poole Party fans who read my blog I am awaiting it quite anxiously 🙂  I’ve also put the link below to James’ outside-of-the-box take on the classic “I Put A Spell On You”, which I personally think contains his best vocal that I’ve heard, in case you missed it!

BILLCS Top 75 Songs of 2014

Bill's Top 30 of 2014

2014 has been an interesting and unique year for music. I’m not sure how well the songs will stand up against others in music history, but there has been an incredible variety. What seemed to strike me most were alternately creative EDM songs or ballads that aimed straight for the heart.

I am first and foremost a music fan. I look for songs and singers that are one-of-a-kind. A great hook or chorus will get under my skin fast. The latter explains the presence of the likes of the delightfully naughty Janoskians on my year end list, as well as fellow Aussies 5 Seconds of Summer, who had a million Twitter followers before breaking out in North America and proved their chops with great performances on some televised awards shows.

The performers I listened to most, and even saw in concert, were all Brits – Sam Smith, Jessie Ware, and Bright Light Bright Light. Other North American performers who were heard pretty much on record and have played some gigs but should break out in some way are Adam Tyler, Brandyn (Burnette), Mikky Ekko, Matthew Koma, Tristan Thompson, Nick Hagelin, and Travis Garland. Overseas, look to new voices such as the UK’s Harriet, Eurielle, Sam Dickinson, and James Poole (who hasn’t even released anything officially yet!) and Sweden’s Anton Ewald to make waves. And I was really impressed with the calibre of contestants on NBC’s “The Voice” in the past few seasons. Some of these singers have real futures ahead in the business.

A terrific production helps immensely. The Sam Smith and Jessie Ware albums are pretty much flawless in this department. FrankMusik dazzled us again with his By Nicole release. But there were other individual songs whose overall sound is impressive – the Aron Friedman house-y recreation of Adam Tyler’s “I Won’t Let You Go”, the tight mesh of pop and hip hop on “Get To Know You” by Corey Niles featuring Ish, the delicateness of Eurielle’s “Gold”, and the other worldly dubstep of “Love Space” and “The Day You Left” by San Diego’s Convulsic.

And we could not escape Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”, the simple, old school R&B throwback which was the best selling song of the year everywhere.

So here’s a further recap of my Top 30 Songs of 2014. You can view the full list of my Top 75 Songs of 2014 right here. Onward to 2015!!

1 SAM SMITH “STAY WITH ME”

Stay With Me the release of Sam Smith’s album In The Lonely Hour by a few months. With its Gospel influences and genuine, passionate performance, the song immediately captured public attention and was soon all over social media, being covered by You Tubers and singers on TV shows like The Voice. Stay With Me is a belwether song for any male singer to try and match, and shows what a unique singer and presence Sam Smith has commanded during 2014, which will continue into 2015 much like Adele cast her spell over 2011 and 2012.

2 SAM SMITH “MONEY ON MY MIND”

Towards the end of 2013, I wrote that Sam Smith’s Money On My Mind was one of the first great records of 2014. Continuing on the dance tip from collaborations with Naughty Boy and Disclosure, Sam combines old school soul with a high-tek arrangement, as well as some great high register and falsetto work. Who would have thought back then… or what was to follow.

3 BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT “AN OPEN HEART”

Like in 2010, Bright Light Bright Light (Rod Thomas) has commanded my attention with his thoughtful electronic dance music, and for a second time ranks two songs in my Top 10 of the Year. I added An Open Heart to 2013’s list at #11 prematurely, the song endured for me well through January and only recently became the second single release from the album Life Is Easy. Bright Light Bright Light toured on two legs of Elton John’s tour, in both North America and Europe,and Elton even dueted with him on the single “I Wish We Were Leaving”. But An Open Heart with its larger than life lyrics has become one of my most favourite Bright Light Bright Light songs.

4 SAM SMITH “I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE”

Sam’s eloquent ways of singing about being lonely and unloved really struck a chord with people in 2014, including myself. His debut album In The Lonely Hour is hands down my favourite of 2014. I was able to watch Sam in performance at a small club date in Toronto for only $16!! And now the best seats for his shows are $100+

5 JESSIE WARE “SAY YOU LOVE ME”

UK singer Jessie Ware has one of the silkiest, gorgeous voices to arrive in pop music in years. In 2014 she released her second album Tough Love, and put on one of the finest, most intricate small club performances of the year here in Toronto. The big push for the album to start was on Say You Love Me, a song about words that anyone wants to hear from the one they love, but particularly women from men, who often don’t communicate our emotions. It’s a glorious vocal performance and Jessie is touring again in early 2015 so be sure to catch her show.

6 MARTIN GARRIX “ANIMALS”

So what made Animals by Martin Garrix stand out more than any other electronic instrumental of the last several years? It created a groundswell at raves and clubs, and then before you know it near the end of 2013 it reached #1 in the UK, and then #1 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart. Not bad for the then-17 year old who caught manager Scooter Braun’s attention. Since then it’s been a whirlwind for the young producer/DJ with the unique style as he collaborates with just about every other notable producer/DJ’s and performs on several huge concert bills. And it’s not going to stop just yet for Martin Garrix.

7 MIKKY EKKO “SMILE”

You already know Mikky from the Grammy-nominated Rihanna’s Stay, and “Smile” possesses one of the most unique vocal performances of 2014 along with a memorable storyline which you might think is downbeat but is actually quite a happy one that will leave you very content by the end of the song. Look for Mikky’s album Time in early 2015.

8 SHOWTEK & JUSTIN PRIME featuring MATTHEW KOMA “CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE)”

Cannonball (Earthquake) is what happens when two songs that truly belong together are mashed up. So we have European DJ’s Showtek & Justin Prime’s instrumental Cannonball mixed with US singer Matthew Koma’s Earthquake. The result is one of the most infectious electronic dance music singles of the year which ended up as a UK Top 30 hit.

9 HOUSE ROCKERZ, DAVIS REDFIELD & CARL MAN “ELECTRIFY THE NIGHT”

Electrify The Night by the collaboration of German DJ/producers House Rockerz and Davis Redfield, and UK vocalist Carl Man, is probably one of the most obscure songs I’ve ever placed in my Top 10 of any year. It was only released in Europe on a couple of electronica compilations. But the song itself is an inviting stunner, one that gets better with every listen, thanks to great songwriting pedigree from Charlie Mason and team, as well as a gem of a vocal by Carl Man.

10 BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT “I BELIEVE”

I Believe is Bright Light Bright Light’s happiest ;pop/dance single to date, from his sophomore album Life Is Easy, and it stands out as one of his finest songs so far. I adore the sad electronic dance songs always written from an interesting perspective but I Believe is simply joyous.

11 DISCLOSURE featuring SAM SMITH “LATCH”

Latch has an interesting history – it got to #11 in late 2012 in the UK. But it’s had long legs, especially after Sam Smith got to #1 in the UK in 2013 singing on Naughty Boy’s La La La. Both songs became belated hits in 2014 in North America hot on the heels of Sam’s solo success. Sam’s partnership with UK producers/songwriters/brothers Disclosure will endure though, as they were heavily involved in Mary J. Blige’s latest album The London Sessions.

12 TRISTAN THOMPSON “TIDAL WAVE”

He’s 16, Canadian, and has a silky developed voice that straddles styles of both Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Tristan Thompson’s debut single Tidal Wave captured a hybrid style of 80’s Hall & Oates blue-eyed soul meets 90’s heartthrobs like Backstreet Boys or 98 Degrees. With a fine debut album Here For You and a second single Burn Again receiving Canadian radio play, Tristan Thompson is off to a smashing start.

13 MARTIN GARRIX “PROXY”

Young Dutchman Martin Garrix gave away his song Proxy for free earlier in the year as a thank you for his success with his previous single Animals, and now appears on the EP Gold Skies. It’s another playful instrumental which helped establish is trap/EDM style on the DJ circuit.

14 ANTON EWALD featuring MEDINA “THIS COULD BE SOMETHING”

If there’s one record that would have you Oooh Ooohing and Ah Ahhing in 2014, it’s This Could Be Something, a slick duet between Swedish star Anton Ewald and Denmark’s Medina. It perhaps is the best song Katy Perry never got to record. The duo has a wonderful, sensual chemistry in the song, which nicely dances on the bridge between pop and electronica.

15 HARRIET “AFTERGLOW”

One of 2014’s best new arrivals is UK singer Harriet. Her warm, Karen Carpenter-meets-Rita Coolidge voice held my attention throughout the year, and particularly for several months until Afterglow saw official release in Harriet’s debut EP What’s Mine Is Yours in the summer. Afterglow is the best kind of lazy Sunday or classy dinner party music, produced by the reknown Steve Anderson of Kylie Minogue fame.

16 TRAVIS GARLAND “EASY”

Easy by Travis Garland is one of the stand out album tracks from Travis’ self-titled album. It’s essentially a Latin-flavoured disco song, quite different from the rest of his songs, and it’s easy to visualize shimmering lights glowing over beautiful people as they dance away the night. To me, anyway!

17 BRANDYN BURNETTE, “THANKS FOR NOTHING”

What can I say about L.A.-based singer Brandyn Burnette? His single for Warner Brothers, Thanks For Nothing, took a while to grow on me, but once that happened I was hooked on how he took a negative situation and turned it into a positive song with a great message. Brandyn is entering 2015 going by only his first name now as his upcoming solo album is on deck for early in the year. He’s posted a lot of new songs on Soundcloud, so be sure to check them out, and follow him on Twitter for wise posts from an old soul with a young mind.

18 ADAM TYLER “ELECTRIC VALENTINE”

Adam Tyler’s music has had frequent visits to the BILLCS Top 30 over the years. But my very favourite from him is now Electric Valentine. Adam started 2014 giving away this song for free, on Valentine’s Day of course, but the feel good vibe of the song took on a life of its own, and it ended up on his deluxe edition of Shattered Ice. There’s nary a song this year that will put you in a great mood like Electric Valentine.

19 AVICII featuring AUDRA MAE “ADDICTED TO YOU”

I can’t say I was a huge fan of Swedish DJ/producer Avicii’s mix of country music with dance music, which had already been done 20 years ago. So going deeper into his album True we find Addicted To You, immensely enhanced by a creative bluesy vocal by singer Audra Mae.

20 HANNIS “TIME HAS COME”

One of the most unusual but addictive songs of 2014 is Time Has Come by new Finnish singer Hannis. The singer’s lush europop vocals mesh well with an inventive, dub-steppy arrangement which makes it memorable for anyone who hears it.

21 NEVEREST, “TAKE COVER”

Take Cover by Toronto band Neverest started the year as a free download follow up to their BILLCS Top 30 2013 #1 Rewind. It’s an equally powerful and punchy rocking song that shows that this group can do when they are not writing stellar ballads.

22 SIRPAUL “EVERY SINGLE MOMENT”

New York dance club singer SIRPAUL has built a nation-wide reputation for creating original songs that are alternately romantic and touching, or mysterious and even a touch dirty when it comes to what goes down in the bedroom. From his album Seventh Star, Every Single Moment is dedicated to that special person you want to spend all of your time with.

23 ZEDD featuring MATTHEW KOMA & MIRIAM BRYANT “FIND YOU”

After previously collaborating on 2012’s #1 dance hit of the year “Spectrum”, Grammy-winning producer/DJ Zedd brings back go-to-guy Matthew Koma along with newcomer Miriam Bryant for more crossover emotional dance/pop with Find You. Zedd has remarkable magic with production, melody and vocalists.

24 JASON WALKER featuring BIMBO JONES “TELL IT TO MY HEART”

Jason Walker’s cover of Taylor Dayne’s Tell It To My Heart came right out of the blue with a powerhouse vocal performance that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. This NYC singer has already been to the top of the dance club play chart many times so it’s no surprise that Jason’s collaboration with UK DJ’s Bimbo Jones became yet another Top 10 dance hit for him.

25 EURIELLE, “GOLD”

Shrouded in mystery and an exotic, medieval sound, UK singer Eurielle revealed her EP The Incarnation, which included Gold, an update on renaissance-oriented song stylings brought into the pop world in the past by the likes of Enya and Loreena McKennitt.

26 ADAM TYLER “I WON’T LET YOU GO” (Aron Friedman remix)

I Won’t Let You Go was first released in 2011 and was in my Top 30 for that year too! But the house-inflected Aron Friedman remix gave the song new life again and it appears on Adam’s deluxe edition of the Shattered Ice album.

27 THE PRESETS “NO FUN”

Veteran Australian duo The Presets only released a few singles in 2014 to whet our taste for a full new album. No Fun was one of them, and fun it certainly is – a whole lot of inventive electronic wizardry that plays off of a more laid back vocal this time.

28 TRAVIS GARLAND “MOTEL POOL”

Carrying over from 2013 with his self-titled album, L.A.-based Travis Garland issued Motel Pool as its second single, a sexy and sizzling piece of R&B pop that continued to showcase the singer’s versatility and made his album one of the finest of 2013.

29 CONVULSIC “LOVE SPACE”

San Diego’s Erik Hale is also known as EDM/dubstep artist Convulsic, and he released a trio of cool songs in 2014, including Love Space. All of them actually bridge the dance and pop worlds much better than could be expected, which holds promise for new songs from Convulsic in 2015.

30 LITTLE MIX “LITTLE ME” (Steve Smart & Westfunk radio edit)

Little Mix is the all girl vocal quartet that won X-Factor in 2011, and of course went on to great success in the UK with several Top 10 placings. But it was a remix of their song Little Me that got my attention in 2014. The whirling frenzy of a remix by Steve Smart and Westfunk set the song to a new upbeat melody from its original downbeat mix which focused more on its thoughtful message for girls and young women. The combination of EDM remix and message gave “Little Me” an edge in 2014.

@JamesPoole_ Slays the Beast That Is “I Put A Spell On You”

JAMES POOLE, “I Put A Spell On You”

UK singer James Poole is full of surprises.  So for a Hallowe’en treat, James brings us his rendition of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic 50’s R&B tune “I Put A Spell On You”.  The song has never really been a big hit in any version in North America, though the UK saw hits of it by Alan Price in the 60’s and Sonique in 2000.  Nina Simone also recorded a well-respected version in the 60’s.  I love the original song and it’s a hard one to sing, so I was a tad iffy about an adaptation of it, since I’ve heard other versions of the song come off like huge soggy noodles instead of powerful and eerie and fiery.  Well, James tackles this beast of a song, and boy does he slay it in his own soulful and jazzy rendition.  He shows off his spectacular high register vocal technique like no other song that I’ve heard him sing yet.  It’s suitably creepy for Hallowe’en, yet James teases when he briefly brings down his vocal.  “I Put A Spell On You” continues to increase the ‘wow’ factor for James, and I for one am looking forward to the release of his record when it comes, all in good time.  In the meantime, be sure to put “I Put A Spell On You” on your must-hear list.  Just for comparison’s sake, you can also listen to another fine version, by New Zealand singer Willy Moon, below.

Published in: on October 31, 2014 at 5:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Aching Broken Heart: “Runaway” by @JamesPoole_

JAMES POOLE, “Runaway”

British singer James Poole does have an EP release in the works, as he releases a third new treasure in advance for your listening pleasure, “Runaway”.  The piano backdrop is very quiet as James sings about a guy who tries to win back his former love by wanting to have her stay, fix her, and then run away with her.  Alas the story is well past its end by the time fixing her is raised, so “Runaway” is a retrospective story of could-have-been, possession, and regret.  James’ high register gets a workout throughout committed to the heartache that the song conveys.  But whether his voice is high or low, loud or soft – and his low register often has this gruff, recognizable sound to it – it carries “Runaway” through to a thoughtful piano break a minute before the end.  Quiet power in British pop is definitely ‘in’, not only with big names like Sam Smith and Adele, but others who you find in my posts such as Harriet and Eurielle.  As you know from past posts in these pages, James Poole’s stunning voice leads the way in 2014.  Watch the lyric video above.  Top notch artwork too, really reflects the mood of the song.

Published in: on September 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ever So Delicate: “Silver Moonlight” by @JamesPoole_

JAMES POOLE featuring YIRUMA, “Silver Moonlight”

If it’s not clear by now from my previous blog posts, UK singer James Poole clearly has one of the best new voices of 2014.  It’s already been proven with adventurous cover song choices, as he moves into recording and sharing some original songs.  We’ve already heard the emotional, classical-based “The Clocks Of Our Lives”, so far one of the finest new songs of the year yet to be released.  “Silver Moonlight” follows that with another gorgeous, delicate piano melody (courtesy of South Korea’s Yiruma) matched with romantic lyrics and imagery – okay, folks… just.. remember… to… breathe!!  The song highlights James’ head voice range, whereas other songs have given us pop styles with his deeper octave which shows his opera training.  

Another thing that I like about James’ new songs is that they are subtler and quieter but still promoted to the attention of a younger generation that won’t hear them on the radio. With James’ online and in person dedication to his fans, he seems to be honing in on a unique market.  And don’t forget that transitioning out of being a ‘boy band’ member (late of Class A) and into this classic pop style would have once seemed as unfathomable.  

But once again James delivers, makes it extraordinarily memorable, and now the rest of the world must simply catch up.  Listen to “Silver Moonlight” above.  I don’t normally write about songs so far in advance of an actual official release, but I’m looking forward to the day that I can buy these ones 🙂

Published in: on August 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Risky Business: An Original by @JamesPoole_ “The Clocks Of Our Lives”

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JAMES POOLE, “The Clocks Of Our Lives”

I love it when a singer wants to be a game changer and take risks.  UK singer James Poole has set aside his excellent viral cover version choices for an original this time, “The Clocks Of Our Lives”.  James has already hinted at taking risks with his cover of Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana”, which was  a huge score with a decidedly different version of the song.  

“The Clocks Of Our Lives” reminds me particularly of 1970’s Elton John, who also took many risks with long, classically-based songs.  Here James incorporates Einaudi’s “Nuvole Bianchi” piece into the basis of the melody.  So it takes me back to Elton’s best work such as “Tiny Dancer” or “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, but I would say comparisons could also go to Chris de Burgh and his early to mid 80’s works, as well as to Jim Steinman, who wrote such beautiful songs for Meat Loaf.  

“The Clocks Of Our Lives” wants the singer to go back in time to start over, but he knows that he has to endure the heartache instead.  By the 3 minute mark, when James’ voice soars, it is a heart-wrenching moment.  Even though it’s over 5 minutes long, the song never seems that long as its resignation unfolds.  

I think James is secretly trying to educate us all on classical music and opera in his music 😉 and he might succeed.  This is a brilliant first original, but one that is so bold that I think it might take some time before it could catch on.  Nonetheless, it only makes me want to hear more from James Poole and his amazing voice.

Published in: on June 21, 2014 at 8:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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