Archives for category: opinion

canadagoosejacket

Opinion
By James Pavel

This past weekend, the tech-savvy group Anonymous protested Canada Goose jackets on Dundas Square in Toronto. They provided graphic videos and handed out pamphlets detailing the barbaric way in which Canada Goose retrieves the fur they use to decorate their winter jackets. Canada Goose has come under fire because videos have surfaced of coyotes being caught in traps, being shot in the head and eventually skinned all to provide a warm neck surface for the consumer.

The jackets are immensely popular and therefore gain strong defending from their supporters. An argument I read against the protest was essentially the following: ‘I was just yelled at for wearing my Canada Goose jacket while that person was wearing an outfit that was probably made by a child laborer in China and drinking coffee that had its beans retrieved by an impoverished child in South America. Hypocrites #Justletmelive.’

This individual is likely correct in his/her assessment of the other’s wardrobe and origins of their beverage. Sweatshops still exist and are still operated by some of the biggest suppliers in the world. Ditto for the coffee. But that provides little justification to completely excuse Canada Goose of their business strategies.

While sweatshops are unfortunately located in countries where we have little to no influence on labor laws, the same cannot be said for Canada Goose. This is the home of the strong and free remember? Canada Goose is a CANADIAN company that is trapping and killing defenseless coyotes daily. The details and the videos are graphic and upsetting, but if you wish to see/hear, visit the PETA website. Although sweatshops are dehumanizing and unethical, they are not killing grounds. These children are not murdered or have their legs locked in traps. These animals are. The Canada Goose headquarters is in Toronto, not in Beijing or another country where a Canadian voice does not register the way it can in North America.

What’s ignorant from this post is that we are provided with a plethora of other alternatives to Canada Goose. Faux fur and materials that are proven to be as warm as real animal fur. Folks, it’s a no-brainer. The idea of having a dead animal draped around your shoulders is as dated as smoking in a restaurant or consuming alcohol while pregnant. Canada Goose is a company that treats animals as creatures incapable of feeling pain, which is tragically not the case.

Visit PETA for more information on why Canada Goose should not be purchased. It’s worth a Google search.

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20171219_084737

Opinion
By James Pavel

  1. What Lovers Do – Maroon 5 feat. Sza

Pop/rock is currently defined by one band – Maroon 5. Radio advertises mega stars, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, etc., along with one face standing among the crowd as the sole survivor of pop/rock – the dude with a tiger wrapped around his arm. The track is an overdose of morphine gone horribly right. Maroon 5 knows their role and they play it perfectly – keep it simple and keep it fun. Mission accomplished this year.

  1. Telefono – Phoenix

Thomas Mars grumbles aloud about the paranoia surrounding a long-distance relationship with Sophia Coppola. He ponders her latest casting decisions and perhaps he is merely old news. He pines in French and in English, the transition between languages perfectly reflecting his wishy-washy emotions. Phoenix remains one of the quintessential bands of the summer and will forever define July/August skies.

 

  1. The Man – The Killers

In case you didn’t realize the Killers were all about Brandon, you do now. Brandon is at his ego maniacal finest, swinging his dick around the casino table like an elephant swinging its trunk at an opponent. At first listen, it’s the worst song the Vegas group has ever released. Second hearing demonstrates a humorous side to the track. Finally, after three or four re-starts, the heavy bass and thundering drums become the center pieces, and the genius of ‘The Man’ ensues. It has David Bowie at his funkiest with Brandon’s unmistakable showmanship all tied into a fancy bow on a brand-new Cadillac.

 

  1. Bad Ones – Matthew Dear feat. Tegan & Sara

Tegan and her sister team up with what sounds like a Calvin Harris fill-in, for what was a sneaky treat for us in 2017. It showed the strength of the two sisters harmonizing together with a beat that couldn’t be better for their range and overall sound.

  1. Slide – Calvin Harris

The world’s house DJ was at it again in 2017, this time pairing with the mysterious Frank Ocean. If you didn’t enjoy the song, you were shipped off to the insane asylum or declared deaf. Hearing people yell ‘I might’ in the voice of an 8-year-old grew annoying after a while, but it was all in good taste.

  1. Unforgettable – French Montana feat. Swae Lee

    Heavy bass paired with soulful vocals is always going to be a smash. French Montana has a cool name, but he could use a few dope tracks to back up the title. He managed to do just that in 2017, pumping out one of rap music’s go-to joints.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTFtOOh47oo

14. Call me Pretty – Alexander F

An Apple iPod commercial waiting to happen. This song is practically bursting at the seams by the time the chorus explodes into a thousand multi-colored balloons blasting out into the sky. The 80s’ hyper-synth mashed with 50s’ doo-whop, made fans grab for their comb and quickly transform it into a pretend microphone.

  1. Passionfruit – Drake

We might officially be Drake’d out. He still runs the 6, he is still the Toronto Raptors head cheerleader, and he was still able to put out one of the hottest numbers we heard all year. But I swear we have had it up to our nostrils with Toronto’s finest. That is, until the next banger comes out. Here we go 2018.

  1. In Undertow – Alvvays

Ever wonder what hipsters dream about? Look no further, Alvvays captured it on camera. So shoe-gazey, so synth-warming, so ridiculously hipster. Oh, did I mention it was a fantastic song? That too.

  1. Congratulations – Post Malone feat. Quavo

Welcome to emo-rap. No genre is more self-indulgent than rap, and this song doesn’t help that reputation. Malone congratulates himself for working so hard, that he forgot how to book a flight to Mexico. A life-time of back-slaps would not suffice, and only a brilliantly-constructed rap banger would suffice for one of the new faces of hip-hop.

  1. You’re the best thing about me – U2 vs. Kygo

If Coldplay can mash with the dance scene, why not U2? Bono and company recruit one of dance music’s hottest acts and dare him to go toe-to-toe with planet Earth’s greatest band. It’s Bono at his cheekiest and most self-deprecating, a man who refuses to stop smiling regardless of how any haters try to tear down his walls. The ‘Songs of Innocence’ and now the ‘Songs of Experience’ albums, mark a new era of U2. The band recognizes that they aren’t supposed to matter anymore, but when did Bono ever listen to anybody?

  1. Gravity don’t pull me – Rostam

Rarely do we hear a love song so blatantly gay. But here we are, and it’s a beautiful thing. Vampire Weekend sidekick Rostam, delivered one of the boldest albums of the year, with ‘Gravity don’t pull me’ being one of many highlights. The closing dub-step portion magnifies the heart-break while elevating the overall track’s significance.

  1. Creature Comfort – Arcade Fire

If social media could provide one PA message for the entire world, they need to recruit Arcade Fire. ‘Some girls hate themselves, stand in the mirror and wait for the feedback,’ – Is that not everything wrong with the selfie/social media culture in one carefully-crafted verse? No band is as conscious of the times we live in, exemplified by yet another thematic album, ‘Everything NOW.’ Instant gratification is our motif, regardless of the suicidal consequences.

  1. Sign of the times – Harry Styles

    Styles does what we did not necessarily expect. It would have been an obvious step for him to go the route of a Justin Bieber of Nick Jonas. But Styles has decided to show off his true colors, which look and sound remarkably like a young David Bowie. ‘Sign of the Times,’ was a total throw-back, an almost miracle that it was given proper airplay. Only someone of Styles magnitude and promise could pull off releasing an instant-classic sounding hit made for the 70s and get away with it in the generation that has the attention span of a puppy.

     

    6. Wild Thoughts – DJ Khaled feat. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller

If there ever was a guitar slaying that deserved repeating, it is Santana’s ‘Maria, Maria.’ If you remember when Santana’s song was originally released, you my friend, are officially getting old. The good news is that Rihanna managed to somehow turn what was a classy dame of a song, into a sultry, half-drunk senorita begging for trouble. Basically it’s ‘Maria, Maria’ on Cialis.

  1. Slow Hands – Niall Horan

Easily the sexiest song of the year. Fast hands are overrated, and even criminal, in 2017. ‘Take it slow’ remains advice to be taken seriously. The song hovered over the summer like California smoke. We spent half the year enjoying the best offering from One Direction and the other half trying to determine if, after all this time, dirty laundry is an aphrodisiac.

 

  1. Too good at goodbyes – Sam Smith

He looks a little thinner, but he sounds even more powerful this year. How could you follow up such an insanely successful first album? Passing this exam is always a sign of the greats. George Michael left a massive role for an English bloke to fill, and Sam Smith already seems on his way to trumping any of Michael’s greatest feats. While most of us are pathetic at saying goodbye, Smith has mastered the art as a twisted defense mechanism. It likely helps that he can sing his way out of any pain or emotion, a tactic that hopefully continues for the decades to come.

  1. Prisoner – Ryan Adams

A refreshing metaphor for love encapsulates the most recent dish served up by Adams. If love is a crime, then Adams is a brutal and sadistic prisoner, worthy of the electric chair. It’s an exceptionally beautiful concept and perhaps the premier album of the year. Adams songwriting and harmonica abilities make him a less grumpy version of Neil Young.

  1. Something just like this – Coldplay feat. The Chainsmokers

Could the biggest band in the world somehow remain relevant in an EDM-obsessed planet? Of course they could. In the ultimate case of ‘if you can’t beat em, join em,’ Coldplay joined forces with the dark side and put out, incredibly, one of the biggest songs of their career. While the other tracks to contend for their best offering are funeral-ready slobber fests, this song is a bombastic, bouncy castle of fun.

  1. Humble – Kendrick Lamar

In the year of fake news, ‘Show me something natural like ass with some stretch marks,’ was the realest shit said all year. Kendrick is real news, and we’ve never needed a subscription this badly. Do you want to see a pack of teenagers go bonkers? Surprise them by blaring ‘Humble.’ It sounds like a beat by Dre for millennials, by the closest rapper we will ever see that could be considered the resurrection of Tupac. Substance and clear-sounding, Lamar is the greatest rapper today. While Drake may finally be suffering from over-saturation, Lamar has managed to strategically pick his spots and maintain integrity with the hip-hop hardcore, and yet appease the pop masses.

 

 

 

 

 

warblog

Opinion
By James Pavel

The latest onslaught of new television shows debuting this Fall may have different characters and storylines, but they all contribute to the same cause – to push forth a pro-American war sentiment. ‘S.W.A.T,’ ‘Seal Team,’ and ‘The Brave,’ all showcase American soldiers in a ‘save-the-world’ complex. This ensures that television viewers have no doubt who to cheer for in the fictional world and of course, in the real world.

Tensions with North Korea are at an all-time high, the Middle East remains in shambles and there has never been this many question marks surrounding Russia in decades. The United States is a country of divided cultures and ideologies and never has a president created such polarizing conversations.

So what better time than to introduce entertaining propaganda disguised in televised format, to convince the war-mongering attitudes of the USA can continue despite a fervent anti-war and anti-gun movement within its boundaries. The shows will paint Middle Easterners as hell-raising terrorists’ intent on destroying America. The shows will cast the foreigners as villainous antagonists threatening nuclear war. And most importantly, the programs will continue to show American soldiers and government officials in a favorable light.

What a grandiose chunk of the population seems to know, that America are the intruders and the aggressors, does not matter. The American war-machine can’t be stopped and television will continue to help push this agenda, regardless of the inaccuracies.

liam-gallagher

Opinion
By James Pavel

Going solo was always going to be easier for Noel. He was the songwriter and the soul of Oasis and his individual creations versus Liam’s in the post-breakup era have been comparable to a Manchester City versus Crystal Palace matchup. But despite Liam’s Beady Eye shortcomings, more is still expected. He is, after all, the primary voice of the greatest British insurgence outside of Beatle mania.

So here in 2017 arrives yet another kick at the can from Liam, but this time ensuring no confusion over who or what is behind the project.

‘Greedy Soul’ is immediately forgettable and comes across as a Beady Eye B-side. ‘When I’m Need’ demonstrates what quitting cigarettes and alcohol can do for the system. Liam reaches notes he hasn’t hit in decades and the determination pays off. It’s the song John Lennon would have made in his last days if he hadn’t been too busy rolling around naked in the hay with his little China girl.

‘Wall of Glass’ has that grimy, down in the allies of England feel to it. Do you secretly hope to hear Noel come raging in for the chorus? Absolutely. But Liam holds his own on this one, making it arguably the first proper single he has put out, post-Oasis.

The gem of the album is ‘Chinatown.’ It captures Liam in a state of reflection, a song that finally displays who he really is – a man who has seen and been through some shit. It features instrumentation potentially viewed as too soft for an Oasis bloke, but not in 2017. ‘Show me that you’ve seen some places,’ dares Liam, as if he couldn’t fathom another individual matching his singular experiences.

‘I’ve all I need’ is Liam at his most honest, and honesty serves him well in his now advanced age. It sounds as though he has reconciled any angst or sourness with his brother, yet is still profoundly aware that their relationship is beyond repair. ‘There’s no time for looking back,’ he exclaims, which is true for both parties as Noel prepares to release his latest material. Some situations are meant to remain unresolved and we are better off going our own way – This track may be Liam’s way of convincing himself.

Liam and Noel could both wait for the next wave of 90s nostalgia to grasp the youth and cash in on an Oasis reunion. But they are both too stubborn, too bull-headed, but also too ambitious. Liam knows and believes he is a rock n’ roll God and that music still needs him. It’s that faith in one’s self that seems to define the greats. While many bands are happy to play the hits, Liam finally punches out a solo project that refuses to be dismissed.

bradpittfightclub

Opinion
By James Pavel

 

‘Killing them Softly’

·         The most disorganized bank robbery in history. Could you imagine going into such a crime without ever discussing the ins and outs before hand? My adrenaline was thrusting through the ceiling, but I can’t imagine the internal struggle going on between these two knuckleheads.

·         Brad Pitt at his most intimidating.

·         The film takes a useless detour with James Gandolfini ranting about hookers and booze.

·         The moment Brad Pitt’s character enters the movie, it loses almost all excitement. While the bank robbery scene is pure excitement and the bind that Marky (Ray Liotta) finds himself in, introduces a highly-intriguing plot, it is all lost upon the introduction of Pitt’s character.  

·         The final scene delivers the greatest line – ‘America is not a country. It is just a business. Now pay me.’ Potentially everything wrong with America, all in one paragraph delivered by Pitt.

 

‘Fight Club’

·         Fight Club remains the character Brad Pitt seems forever linked to. When we reflect on his career, it may remain as his signature work.

·         After a third watch, the film finally makes complete sense. Try it.

·         This desire to fight random strangers is clearly a plot reaching for a higher idea. So why were men in the late 90s so desperate to feel something? The film tackles materialism, the greatest internal and societal war that men appeared to contend with. Now 18 years in our rearview mirror, it is astonishing to see that we have appeared to have traded in our materialism ideals for narcissism. Status symbols and name brands have been slightly blurred while the way one is perceived by others online has taken greater prominence. Material items can easily be forged in today’s online world. What is important in today’s world is the appearance of materialism and not necessarily actually owning a Mercedes Benz or dressing like the Queen of England every day. What would Tyler Durden have to say about 2017? It seems that we need a Fight Club more than ever. To truly feel, to truly connect is lost on today’s world – nothing could solve that faster than a punch to the ribs.

·         The fact that Tyler Durden is as cool as he is remembered is a remarkable feat – He wore absurd red sunglasses, tops intended for hookers and slept and bathed in an abandoned dungeon. 

 

’12 Monkeys’

·         Pitt displays his greatest range at this point. As a result, he won a golden globe award for best supporting actor.

·         By the end of this journey of Brad Pitt films, this will contend for the title of his greatest film.

·         Pitt at his ugliest. Cross-eyed, witch-haired and sufficiently bat-shit loco.

 

‘Spy Game’

·         Pitt was two weeks away from graduating from Journalism college, before dropping out. With that in mind, his role in ‘Spy Game’ seemed to come naturally to him.

·         The flash-backs make the entire movie. A viewer will wish that the movie focused more on the spy’s past together as opposed to the present-day circumstance Pitt’s character finds himself in.

·         It’s possible that the film began Pitt’s fascination with spies as he will go on to play a spy in at least two more films. ‘Spy Game’ is likely the greatest of the Pitt/Spy genre.

To be continued..

 

moneyball_brad-pitt-535x343

Opinion
By James Pavel 

After watching the semi-enticing ‘7 years in Tibet’, I have decided to completely commit myself to watching every Brad Pitt movie in no particular order. Here are my thoughts on the first batch of Brad:

‘MoneyBall’

Billy Beane is the ultimate story of failing to meet grand expectations. I can’t think of a moment that would compete on a scale of frustration.  His inability to perform at the standards he was accustomed to was not a conscious decision nor was it because of any new strategy or unexpected variable. It wasn’t a decision like choosing to leave the club that drafted him or a personal one like choosing to have an affair. It was a mentally excruciating ordeal that was completely out of his control – The sudden saga of no longer being any good has no equal. He will forever be labelled a bust of the greatest proportions. There are few experiences in sports that would be as difficult to overcome as this. To suddenly have the results drastically dwindle for every other past experience would be overwhelming and yet Beane finds a way to squeeze out success in the pros, just in a much different setting. This is certainly one of Pitt’s greatest films.

‘Burn after Reading’

-Brad Pitt’s ability to manipulate his age is second to none. He looks no older than 28 years old in this film despite being well into his 40s

-By far the funniest scenes are of Pitt dancing like a goof

-John Malkovich has some of the greatest anger outbursts in Hollywood. He is the white man’s Samuel L. Jackson.

-This film has potentially the worst ending of Pitt’s career (at this point anyway)

‘Ocean’s 11’

-Likely Brad’s worst fashion/hair phase. The 2000s showed no mercy and even poor Bradley was not spared. His hair urges to grow long but is haulted by the quirky and bizarre trends that defined the new millenium.

-RIP Bernie Mack. Truly hilarious.

 

‘The Devil’s Own’

-Pitt’s worst attempt at an accent.

-The film had the ingredients to be an Irish powerhouse but was petrified to be too dark and focused  heavily on contrived, light-hearted moments that did nothing for the story’s development. We needed to feel Pitt’s character’s pain, but we rarely were given the chance because scenes were either rushed (the opening break in/murder scene) or time is allotted to the police department’s pursuits of no-name crooks. The audience immediately recognized that Harrison Ford’s character was a fine chap, yet the film repeatedly drove this point home instead of defining Pitt’s character as a hell-raising Irish terrorist with a plethora of reasons to be pissed off at the world.

-Pitt reminds us how great an Irish sweater with a leather jacket can look

-A fantastic time warp back to the simplicity of the 90s’. When the father warns the daughter that she is only allowed five more minutes on the telephone, they both know he has the ability to cut the conversation off at any time, unlike a buzzing cellphone that knows no boundaries.

-This story doesn’t have a happy ending. “It’s not an American story…it’s an Irish one.”

‘TROY’

-Probably the most bad-ass opening scene of Pitt’s career. You immediately stand behind Achilles.

-Man versus boy has never been clearer than the relationship between Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana.

To be continued..

 

 

 

 

 

Opinion
By James Pavel

The Killers announced this week that not only will their bass guitarist Mark Stoermer not be touring with the band on their upcoming venture, but lead guitarist Dave Keuning will also sit this one out. The Killers release their 5th studio album this month, but only their second since 2009. After a bustling start to their career, the band’s material has slowed and unfortunately, so has their popularity. The two guitarists have done next to nothing compared to what lead singer Brandon Flowers has done during the band’s extended hiatuses. Rather than helping revive the group and planning a tour stronger than ever, the two guitarists seem to have zero interest in taking the band to the next level.

Even watching the two on stage, it seems that the life has been sucked of them. They have not been anywhere near as excited as they were prior to the Day & Age tour and now seem to almost dread appearing on stage with the other two members. Watching Dave perform at this year’s Lollapalooza was a clear indication that he no longer believes in the spirit of the Killers. The most energy he conveyed during the show was when Flowers announced they would perform a cover of Muse’s ‘Starlight.’ He is constantly dead-panning the audience and seems content with shoe-gazing during the entirety of live shows.

Stoermer has always looked like the weak link in the group and now his desire to not tour at all has made this suspicion valid. If you can’t tour and promote the new material, their shouldn’t be any room for this sort of negativity and failure to remain united.

Brandon and Ronnie have already announced their replacements and they have already proven to be more than up to the task.  Ted Sablay and Jake Banton will officially take over the roles of the two lost souls that once made up the Las Vegas quartet. Ted has already taken on the majority of the backup vocals from Dave and seems poised to take over the role completely. Jake has been Brandon’s right-hand man since his solo debut ‘Flamingo,’ and appears to be much more engaged and enthused with performing.

If Dave and Mark can’t help the group on their biggest tour in years, it should serve as a clear indication to Brandon and Ronnie that it’s time to make some serious adjustments to the starting lineup.