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Jem – Finally Woken

The world of pop divas and mainstream music has waited for the arrival of someone like Jem, her debut album has not disappointed on the grand stage.

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The pop world of music has waited for a female star like Jem to hit the scene. As more and more female musicians and entertainers become more concerned with the artificial qualities rather than actually putting together quality music, we finally have a woman who does things a little differently- in way that is both unique and respectable at the same time. For one, the Wales-born and bred Jem is pure talent- having already contributed her writing ability to Madonna’s last single, “Nothing Fails.” And if she is good enough to write for the biggest female diva of all time, there is without doubt, talent abound, don’t you think? But just calling Jem talented, well, that is simply an understatement.

Jem successfully takes various styles of music and incorporates them into her own arrangements. A former club promoter and DJ, one can definitely see where she gets her dance and techno influences from, and she incorporates them into a manner that has not been achieved or mastered before. Her music combines a little bit of everything; you have your singer/songwriter pop elements, acoustic rock, electronic influences, hip-hop, dance and techno beats, plus a little bit of strings for the hell of it. Now, it does sound a little eccentric, but it works, and it sounds like nothing you’ve heard before.

She sings with a certain warmth and sex appeal; an attack from her lips that sounds as if she is seducing you with her voice. Her vocals are sweet, yet strong and they have that late night bedroom whisper feel to them. Couple that with her unbelievably catchy hooks and beats, and you find yourself trapped inside Jem’s musical masterpiece not wanting to get out.

The opening track “They” is the perfect song to open the album, and it provides the proper introduction to Jem. Right from the start, the listener knows they are in for something a little atypical. The song offers the unique style of music that Jem incorporates from so many genres in an upbeat and jump-start sort of way. The song that really stands out is the frenzied track “24”; with the guitars buzzing around her warm and energized vocals, this song just has that glowing feel to it. This track also exhibits the darker side of Jem with its rather ominous lyrics; “And I can’t believe / How I’ve been wasting my time / In 24 hours they’ll be laying flowers on my life / It’s over tonight / I’m not messing / No I need your blessing and your promise to live free / Please do it for me.”

The world of pop divas and mainstream music has waited for the arrival of someone like Jem, her debut album has not disappointed on the grand stage. Finally Woken is catchy enough and has enough pop sensibilities to build a buzz, but it’s the inventiveness and ability to take an assortment of styles of music and mix them together to make them sound so good that will have people talking about it for a long time.

(ATO Records)

Automotive

Rare Ferrari GTO sells for record $70 million

How much money would you pay for the car of your dreams?

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How much money would you pay for the car of your dreams? What about a one-of-a-kind beauty that you see driving past your prestige dealer? How about a rare 1963 Ferrari GTO?

If you are Dave MacNeil, the answer to the latter, is USD $70 million. MacNeil, who is the CEO of automotive weather guard company WeatherTech, shelled out the record amount for a rare Ferrari.

It is no ordinary rare Ferrari of course. While already limited to 39 builds, this particular one, chassis number 4153 GT, is special. The car won the 1964 Tour de France motor race and finished fourth at Le Mans in 1963.

Records Broken

The $70 million paid by MacNeil eclipses the previous record for the Ferrari GTO. In 2013, a GTO was sold for a then record $53 million.

The Ferrari GTO is powered by a 3.0-litre V12 engine and is one of only 39 built between 1962-1964.

MacNeil joins an exclusive group of GTO owners that include Ralph Lauren and Walmart heir Rob Walton.

How much is too much?

When you are in the same tax bracket as the Ralph Laurens and Walmarts of the world, perhaps there really isn’t a price that is too much for a prized automobile. It is truly rarefied air when the cars in your collection exceed seven digits a piece. For the rest of us, it seems utterly ridiculous of course. Collectors however, do see the worth of these incredibly rare vehicles.

How would you rather spend $70 million? I would definitely buy an expensive sports car, but one for considerably less.

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Automotive

Camaro coming to Australia as an automatic only

The Chevrolet Camaro is officially coming to Australia this year as an import from Holden Special Vehicles. Excitement may have been tempered slightly with its expected high price, and its auto-only option.

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With the demise of local manufacturing, Australian buyers looking for grunt outside of expensive European options have flocked to the Ford Mustang. Almost 10,000 ‘Stangs were sold last year, which is enough proof that, while Australians don’t make affordable muscle cars anymore, they still want to buy them.

Holden, without a flagship V8 for the first time in decades, is turning to its parent company GM for a much needed boost. Holden’s performance arm, Holden Special Vehicles, announced earlier that the Chevy Camaro, in its 2SS trim, will be made available this year.

Good News and Bad News

That’s definitely the good news portion of it. While the thrill of locally made, hotted-up Commodores have been put to bed, the Camaro is more than a worthy successor. HSV have announced the specs for the 2SS for Australia, proving that it’ll pack quite the punch to satisfy the cravings of auto enthusiasts and muscle car fans.

The Australian 2SS Camaros will come with a 6.2-litre Gen 5 LT1 V8, packing 454hp (339kW) and 455 ft-lb of torque (617Nm). It will have Brembo brakes, a bi-modal exhaust, tons of technology and a variety of colour options.

So what is bad news here? Well, the Camaros have started arriving in Australia in your factory standard left-hand drive version. They are being converted to right-hand drive by HSV, which will add a hefty bump to the price tag. While no official numbers have been released just yet, speculation is that the price will come in around USD$60,400 (AUD$80,000). That’s almost $20k more than made-for-Australia Mustangs. HSV says they will be looking to keep numbers at 1,000 units a year, well below that of Ford’s current Mustang sales.

Another sticking point for performance enthusiasts is that the Australian Camaros will be available with an automatic transmission only. I know that probably stings, so I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Equipped with paddle shifters, it’ll be mated to an 8-speed auto transmission, which means the Camaro will be based on the outgoing 2018 model, and not the new 2019.

Still a Winner

Time will tell how the factory-backed Camaro will do. European performance cars have done pretty well with automatic transmissions, so it shouldn’t really hurt that much. While on the pricey side, the Camaro will still be far more affordable than an Audi RS or BMW M-series. It is a just a shame that this particular car, one that is aimed at filling in some lofty Commodore shoes, comes a little shackled from the get-go.

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