I’m bored so this is happening.
What’s there for me to honestly enjoy about the Princess of (country) Pop’s music. Not much. Despite releasing four well-received albums, selling a googol of records, and becoming the poster child of mainstream righteousness after being “victimized” by a inebriated Kanye West at the 2009 MTV Awards (which don’t really matter guys, come on), there’s not much for me, a 20-year old Nigerian-American male, to relate to or find fascinating in her music. And for the most part, that’s OK.
But on other terms, there’s the ever-present struggle between solid musicianship and corporate success that molds most pop acts, including Swift. She probably started out as the brave, rootin’-tootin’ country yarn-burner when starting out her career at fourteen, but those days are long gone. At 22, she’s run through a legion of male celebrities, using the essence of those failed trysts and the marrow from their dead, lifeless corpses to churn out hits while buying Dolce & Gabarino or drinking an appletini, whatever the hell that is.
Exhibit A: “22,” her age when her last album Red dropped and possibly some special time in her life. It’s also her latest single, of which the music video for said song has already amassed 6,000,000 in four days (not a small feat, regardless of her fame) and will surely be forced down my gullet in the ensuing months. The song has lyrics that dance around frivolous topics with no real aim: “It feels like a perfect night/to dress up like hipsters,” Swift sings in a somewhat sardonic tone, putting on black nerd glasses and hoping that the viewer “gets” it. She also notes that a collective “we” is “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time,” hoping not to exclude those suffering from schizophrenia from connecting to her intricate words. A couple “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY’s” here and a few “yeah’s” there, and she’s effectively earwormed another chemically catchy soundbite in the minds of the beholders.
The musical skeleton is just as uniform and cleanly constructed. There is the soft strum of guitar that keep those synapses in our heads firing whenever a “yeehaw” or “how y’all dern” is spoken, but its quickly buried under strong blasts of synthesizer and bass. Not overly offensive or shocking, but trying to call this a “new single” would be as useless as calling Ke$ha the new Britney Spears. They’re both essentially the same person, but one crawled from the deep and the other from the lagoon. And likewise, nothing separates this song from the “Live Like We’re Youngs” and the “We R Who We Rs” of the world besides the vocal presence. Even that that is absent, the sonic differences between each are minute.
Yet, like I said before about me being 20 yadayada, the song doesn’t appeal to me. She clearly doesn’t care about my demographic either, the last time she rapped was to “Super Bass” and the last time she beatboxed, my head exploded. But more importantly, to those who do enjoy her music even in the light of her exodus from Honkytonkville: why does her music still get to you? Has she not “sold out,” or did you notice how well she so properly focused on dominating the industry that you tend to give her a lift whenever Tay-Tay rolls through with another batch of jingles?
All I’m saying is that even though I enjoyed Flo-Rida’s “Low,” I left him in the dirt with all this “Whistle” nonsense. Same with Pitbull, Lil’ Wayne, Lady Gaga (she still exists right?), Katy Perry, Bruno- nah not Bruno he’s harmless. Harmlessly evil.
Anyway, I suppose the moral of the story is to scrutinize the music you want to enjoy so by the time you actually do, you realize that it is horrible and you learn about good stuff like Jimi Hendrix and ZZ Ward. Also, eat your peas and carrots.
This post now has 678 words so I am stopping now. I give the song 2 Caramel Macchiatos out of 5.
Kilo Kish has barely made a splash, even a cloud of mist, for the past couple of years that she’s actively rapped. She’s dropped a few loosies here and there, and certainly gained her most recognition due to her guest verse on Childish Gambino’s “Make It Go Right,” but overall Brooklyn’s softest MC has been relatively unknown to most listeners.
That should change with K+. While some may be partial to her low-toned, loosely involved delivery and ambiguous dialogues, that doesn’t disregard the fact that this is a solid debut, both in terms of production and showcasing her abilities.
Perhaps the strongest song on here, the Earl Sweatshirt-produced “Trappin’” gives listeners a taste of both worlds. Over a queasy synth, Kilo’s murmur meshes nicely with her peculiar poetry: “back to reality, let’s research your anatomy/engage me grammatically and the reason I’m proud to be/ in your phone you text back at me,” and the beat only accentuates that. This is trap, but only barely, as the skeletal snares hit one after the other like like stiff dominoes.
Her performance on other songs hover around that mark, promising a reliable consistency that can stand maximal electronica on “Turquoise,” a smattering of warped samples and 808 drums on “IOU” and most notably the Star Slinger-produced “Goldmine,” the mixtape’s luscious opener. Although her musings can get somewhat obscure for my tastes, Kilo’s very alluring charm and solid skills keep me entertained.
The assortment of instrumentals also add to the enjoyment factor. With producers like Childish Gambino, UK electronica stalwart SBTRKT and to a certain degree Earl, it’s no surprise to hear such a unified sound heavy on mellow, glossy synthesizers bleeped vocal samples, involved drum patterns and a chilling use of space. K+ vibes, swoons, glides and broods depending on Kilo’s mood, giving the project a tangible variety amidst the core sound.
So, the negatives? ”Creepwave.” It’s just too long and gangly to end the project properly. Also, pretty much every other rapper sans Kilo. Her rendezvous with Gambino on “Ghost” gets a pass due to their previous work and because he sounds eager, whereas Vince Staple’s own trademark ambivalence gives off the sense that he really just doesn’t care about this verse. Lastly, A$AP Ferg, while commendable for his broad-nosed obliviousness to his wretched singing, just tanks lyrically on “Love2K.”
It’s a hip hop trope that plagues many female-male rap collabs — the lady has certain idea in mind, and the man just goes at the track with the deftness of a drunken vagrant. Regardless, it does little damage to K+’s quality. It’s a short, nicely conceived full-length debut for Kilo, and deserves a good spin or two.
Note: I am a big Kanye West fan. I only like a couple Jay-Z songs, but was unaware of him in his prime; I did not listen to music then.
I honestly had no idea what to expect when a collab album between Ye and Jay Z was announced. I mean, it sounds like an atomic bomb would explode in my iPod. Did not like HAM, but enjoyed the bare essentials of Otis. That being said, I was really confused by this album. The first track is not a great opening; more like a vague religious statement. Lift Off started off good with Beyonce’s hook, but the track didn’t really evolve into anything. N***as in Paris is not great, but its a fun track that would have been a great opener. They have fun on that track, just like Otis. New Day is one of the more serious and better songs on the album, along with Murder to Excellence. That’s My Bitch is really a filler track, cool beat and decent hook but the lyrics are meh. Illest Mofo Alive is not as epic as it could be, although I did like it.
Overall, the production was completely different from any rap album besides MBDTF, but sometimes it really made it hard to hear the lyrics. Some of the instrumentals come off STRAIGHT WEIRD and I wasn’t paying attention at the lyrics at all. And to be honest, the lyrics could have been much better. I am not the guy saying that they shouldn’t have talked about money or whatever, no, this album was screaming excess just by the name alone. However, Kanye spends way too much time trying to get his dick sucked and Jay’s flow is so boring that I didn’t even care what he was saying, and he’s the one who actually had something more to say half of the time.
The album really feels like it has gone through a good number of changes and was rushed to stores. I think if they delayed it until October, it would have been much better. Ugh, I pressed play and was so excited, but after the first track finished I was so confused, and kinda stayed that way until Otis came on, then got confused once the next song started. I am not really dissapointed per se, because this was a side project and does not really weigh deep on their true talents, but I do feel let down. If you don’t want the entire album, I can understand that. At least get Murder to Excellence, Otis and N*** in Paris; those songs have lasting power.
EDIT: the read more thing won’t work! Sorry…
I fell asleep halfway through.
To be quite honest, this is the worst Pixar movie ever made, which is not particularly bad as it is just an overall lazy composition and execution of a blockbuster film. Yet that does not frighten me. I am completely positive that the majority of their future projects will be on par with Toy Story or Up in terms of emotional depth and family entertainment. Why is this, you ask? Simply because of the case concerning the first Cars film. When I saw that movie, I enjoyed it a good amount but didn’t feel it was on par with Toy Story, and I was around 12 at the time. Critically, it was of the same tone. The huge rift that occurred between this and other Pixar films that proves the ulterior motive for the franchise is the marketing. There has been no other film of their that had been merchandized with such aggression as Cars- toys, video games, party accessories, pens, pencils, backpacks, shoes, clothes, TV specials, you name it, they factored it into that line of revenue.
It is easy to see why this film was treated as such when you analyze the film. It is about an arrogant racecar who finds himself stuck in a podunk American town, surrounded by a bevy of stereotypical personalities. He is at first hardened, then warms up as he makes friends. He then goes back into the spotlight and wins a big race. Now compare that to Toy Story, where a cowboy doll struggles with loneliness and anger over the fact that his owner made nice with a more advanced machine than he, tries to commit homicide, gets in a fight with said toy, is left abandoned miles away from home, and fights his way out of a juvenile delinquent’s seedy den of torment. Yeah, Cars is a much more accessible and direct film in the Pixar collection.
Another point of view, focus on the characters. The directors took the guff and made sure that an obvious behavior and vocal talent was affixed to each car relative to the country of origin or cultural significance. What does this mean? The Volkswagen is a mellow “tree hugger.” The jeep is a raspy commander. The Fiat mumbles on in Italian when emotionally inclined, despite the fact that no one speaks it. Mater is a honky-tonk, rootin’-tootin feller jus’ lookin’ fer a gud tahm, and the lowrider is voiced by Cheech Marin. Obviously the bulk of the general public will find cultural stereotypes amusing, as diversity is supposed to be a good thing, even if it’s at the expense of truth.
The racing aspect is also important, if not the most integral aspect of the franchise. NASCAR racing, being associated with the hard-working citizens or simply conservative America, is the sport that evokes patriotism the most. Not to get political, but their fanbase is certainly considered to be a wealth of Republicans, all of whom favor tradition and values. The American values, of course, are triggered by the wave of a flag or the sound of well tuned engine going 200 miles per hour around an oval for 4 hours (I kid, but you get the point). The setting of Cars, a small town littered with mom & pop stores close to defaulting due to the big government infrastructure redirecting customers, will surely ring true for this demographic, at least subliminally, and I am sure that Larry the Cable Guy’s proximity to family entertainment is more than enough to get them on board for this film.
So when I say that it does not frighten me about the noticeable lack of dynamic characters, smooth plotting, and unique storyline, understand that I am suggesting that this was a conscious move by Pixar to fill their coffers for later projects. After all, there’s no way their creative team overlooked the easily manageable Incredibles sequel, which would have been better than this film in spades based on premise alone. Watch it if you’d like, or save your money for something better, like… Transformers 2… ugh.
This teen comedy is certainly a weird fit as a loose translation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” which was a serious tale of adultery, lies, and revenge, and it does tend to lean quite heavy on stereotypes, but it is an altogether fun movie. And Emma Stone is HAW-
The plot basically revolves Olive Penderghast, a mildly snarky yet easygoing chick who has decided to invest in a little white lie where she loses her virginity by portraying a sideline ho, and the self-righteous hatred/vulgar sentiments that are directed towards her. In a nutshell, the plot of the film plays it fast and loose concerning the plot and themes in the novel (the protagonist is largely directing the story, she doesn’t actually have sex in the film, there are multiple boys who partake in the web) yet this is fine because Stone’s persona carry the film tremendously.
Her parents, the vaguely New Age pair Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, are the best actors in the film, and for what it’s worth, Amanda Bynes as the forerunner of the Westboro Baptist Church was annoying and peachy keen as she should’ve been. Thomas Hayden Church, who plays a stern and absurdly buff English teacher, is set up to be an integral part of the story, yet only gives minimal input. Phoebe from Friends is in this movie, and results in a seriously shocking plot twist that had me agape at the mouth. Also, WTF Aly Michalka, WHY YOU ACT LIKE RAGING BITCH? You’re better than that.
The movie deals with teen sex and the social outcry in multiple ways, yet they either come off as stereotypical or largely unfounded. First of all, there is the Christian moral front that basically tries to use their faith to “bring her to repent” or “get the filthy whore out of the school.” Granted, this bigoted viewpoint is not falsified, but they work it in such a way that the Christians seem to be rising up against a trivial indecency. Secondly, there is the teenage politics from the school; the usual “word about her sluttiness spreads like wildfire and of course everyone knows who she is, so when she walks into school, all the girls cast snaring glances and all the guys with girlfriends whimper softly while hiding their boners and guys without girlfriends suddenly feel OK talking to her.” Seriously, Hollywood should get the fact that high school is not the Internet. And lastly, I can understand if her parents are genuinely open to their child being sexually active, but GEEZ! There was so much seedy and nasty stuff being said of their daughter’s behavior and they just shrugged it off like they heard about the weather.
Overall, this movie is fine. Not particularly worthy of being bought on Blu-ray in my opinion, but watching it with a couple of friends would a fun exercise in discovering other’s opinions. Emma Stone is hot.
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