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og-dre

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. Let me Blow Ya Mind – Eve feat. Gwen Stefani

It was widely recognized that Gwen Stefani was one of the most talented and desirable women in rock n’ roll, but she had yet to be used in any context outside of No Doubt. That all changed in 2001 when Stefani collaborated with Moby on ‘Southside,’ and then more impressively, with Eve for the Dr. Dre/Scott Storch produced ‘Let me Blow your Mind.’ It was the whitest of the white girls tag-teaming a Dre banger with a black woman who had bear paws tattooed on her ta tas. It proved to be a beautiful contrast. Dre teaming with Gwen was surprising, but it helped him broaden his talents and made an even wider group of club-goers bounce to his music without them immediately recognizing that one one of their favourite pop stars was singing to beats conceived by a hip-hop icon.

 

 4. Who Am I? (What’s My Name?) – Snoop Dogg

It is one of his most raucous and heavy sounding beats of the 90s. ‘What’s my Name?’ was a child of the ghetto wailing proudly for the cities of Long Beach and Compton to boogie to. The beat was pure gangster-funk, a term Dre’s cousin Warren G would come to further define and utilize throughout his successful 90s career. Nothing sounded better in your friends Acura Integra bolstered with amps or in 2016, in your signature Dr. Dre headphones.

3. Nuthin’ but a G thang – Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg

It was that siren spinning through the introduction, like a snake slithering its way over Dre’s Compton keyboards that helped transfix fans with this song from 1993 til’ infinity. It’s G-Funk for the California beaches because hey, gangsters need to lounge too. This track would signify the beginning of the true domination of Dre-produced tracks, an era that would launch the career of Snoop Dogg and then several years later, the real Slim Shady.

 

 2. In Da Club – 50 Cent

In an interview accessible through YouTube, 50 Cent’s nemesis Ja Rule describes his reaction to when he first heard the thunderous boom of ‘In Da Club.’ – Oh Shit. Ja Rule, Murda Inc. and the rest of the hip-hop world would be at the mercy of Fiddy after he dropped a track that featured Dre’s most pulsating and intimidating beat of his career. One could argue that this release was the pinnacle of rap music in terms of sheer popularity. There was no mass EDM scene, rock n’ roll was going through its most awkward phase of its existence and country music remained loyal to true cowboys and cowgirls. Dre’s production juxtaposed perfectly with Fiddy’s monstrous size and legendary survival tales. It would mark yet a fourth rapper that had their career grossly augmented by a superb beat via the Doctor of hip hop. This track had originally been bookmarked for Dre’s elusive and essentially mythical album ‘Detox,’ but he decided it would better serve the 50 Cent agenda. We can only hope that Dre receives annual Christmas Cards from the G-Unit household.

1. Still D.R.E. – Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg

Green, neon goosebumps. It’s the sensation every rap head aged 12-30 experienced when this G’d up piano with bandanas falling off its keys absorbed our living rooms and our mental soundtrack for the entirety of 1999. This track roared that Dre’s not just back, he might even be better than he was back in 1993. He made Snoop Dogg relevant again after his ill-advised stint with No Limit Records, and he reminded everyone what California Love sounded like, with one of rap music’s defining orchestras.

 

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sam roberts band

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. No Sleep

His rustic gruff saves Sammy from going full indie, but even if he did, even just for this track, we would still adore him. It shows off his ability to romanticize tragedy, as he mournfully swoons about the realities of growing old despite feeling like a young chic. The addition of French to the second verse is gorgeous, a trick borrowed by Arcade Fire frequently throughout their own respective career.

4. Canadian Dream

No other track of Sam’s does he bluntly reveal exactly where he stands on the political spectrum. He doesn’t hint or mince with metaphors – he literally spells it out for you:  Socialism. Sam represents what a modern-liberal is, or perhaps what a modern socialist should represent – a tri-lingual, artistically-driven musician who contributes music that speaks to the social conscience and not to personal gains, unlike the way the majority of current pop music deems fit to behave.

3. Never Enough

After navigating through the crunchy, bluesy raucous that defined the album ‘Collider,’ his latest endeavour steers back to heart-melting, sun-hailing guitar riffs. “Never Enough” is not a complaint, but a revelation. The wonders of Roberts’ life never quench his desire to explore more in depth and to love more intensely. Roberts’ practically pinches himself mid-song at his great fortune, but it is the fans that have gained the greatest from the spoils of Roberts’ superb musical collection.

2. Brother Down

It’s the track that would come to define not only his overall sound but also his coherent, progressive ideas for a utopian Canada. He is not a blinded hipster but an awakened and evolved force of pacifism, preaching the importance of seizing the moment without infringing on the lives of others. “Brother Down” captured the campfire sing-a-long harmonies that were in full force at this moment, essentially the Jack Johnson era, and as easy as it would have been to remain in this cavalier position, he would use this track as a catapult to grimier and yet more polished sounds in the years to come.

1.Uprising Down Under

If you have ever been to Australia, which is every third, red-blood celled westerner between the ages of 20-35, you can appreciate a song dedicated to the wonders of down under.  Roberts paints a vivid and flush fusion of love and Australia, the waves of Byron Bay moving in synchronicity with his unwavering patience for pure harmony.

why-so-sad

Opinion
By James Pavel

-This is rare, but the author (Jason Porter) looks exactly the way I pictured the narrator. I found this somehow comforting (p.s. I am not sad).

-Do you wonder if people find you attractive? “Stop staring in the mirror and do some pushups,” was one of my favourite answers.

-What does it feel like to get out of bed in the morning? I can’t imagine how gloomy some of the responses could be to this. I generally feel like I could continue sleeping for about another 10 hours. But the guilt of a potential sleep-in rapidly seeps in and I come to life. It’s amazing how difficult getting up seems until you are up. Then that’s it. The idea of jumping back into bed doesn’t even arise. The second I am on my feet, is the second my day turns productive.

-I admired the following idea: The tines of the rake are the different paths available to us in the future.” This satisfies the two predominant theories about the future. Yes, our future is pre-determined (by the direction of the tines) yet we have the ability to determine what tine we follow. Essentially, destiny is calling you, but destiny has finite options.

-The following is one of the most hilariously cynical answers I’ve read: Is today worse than yesterday? Yes, because one of those two I still have to live through.  I might be the kind of guy that laughs at a funeral.

-Although I enjoyed this book, mostly for placing a much needed refreshing spin on a dreary subject, but I partially disagree with one of the central themes of the book. One of the overall thesis’s is that we have never been worse off as a society because nobody bothers to ask or understand how they themselves or anyone else is doing. We live in a world where we have almost everything we ever dreamed of as a society. And yet here we are sulking in the corner like we haven’t gotten our way. Are we the depressed generation? Or are we the spoiled-rotten generation that are inept at sacrifice and are nothing more than professional pity-party throwers?

Do you think people will remember you after you die? I think I’ll die after people remember me. The perfect rebuttal. Do you believe in God? I think God is a placeholder for the anxiety created by unsatisfying answers to unanswerable questions. Is this the first commandment of atheism? What an incredible response.

justin-timberlake-2013_2014_istanbul_diamond_tour_best_songs

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. Not such a Bad Thing

Leave it to JT to recognize that instead of saturating the radio with a lethargic EDM fist-pumper, he releases a throwback to the N Sync*/BSB domination days, where falling in love to pop songs happened every music video. He hasn’t forgotten his roots, except maybe the macaroni curls and full-piece denim suits. He is a mainstay on late night television and sometimes stars in the year’s biggest films but this hasn’t stopped him from writing songs about everyday implications that Not Such a Bad Thing discusses.

4. Love Stoned/I Think That She Knows

LoveStoned served as space-age lust for millennials and generation-Xers. The opening four minutes is future-fabulous, but it’s the final two minutes that unwind into something as revealing as a sudden black hole. “I think that she knows,” is always supposed to be bad, but really it is marvelous news, as it allows the chance for something to happen that wasn’t previously possible.

3. Mirrors

Audiences have listened for decades about what he desired, what he craved, and what he lusted over. Mirrors is a parade dedicated solely to Jessica Biel with Justin clinking his glass to make his grandest toast to his most precious feat. The chorus is less a poppy hook and more modern-day wedding vowels, which would be a tiring ordeal for fans if it wasn’t anybody besides JT. Timberlake is simply one of the most likable entertainers in history. He can act, he can dance, he can obviously sing, and he can marry women that look like Jessica Biel.

2. Sexy Back

It didn’t sound like Timberlake. We initially refused to believe he could conceive something so radical sounding. And yet, the radio host did not lie. Timberlake had brought back what we didn’t know had gone missing, and if you didn’t like him before, you did the moment you walked into the club Friday night. It was aggressive and naughty, but not soulless or exploitive. JT made a song that no one has dared to make before or after and it remains a staple of modern-day dance-club mayhem.

1. Cry me a River

To make a villain likable, you must find a way for the audience to empathize. Men were reluctant to accept Timberlake had talent, even despite their girlfriends and crushes relentless claims that a new King of Pop was performing right before us. His first solo single, The Way I love You, was swanky, but it still didn’t exactly force dudes to allow room for a new king on the throne of Michael Jackson. But when he sat us down through a rain storm and told us how Britney Spears, our collective love interest, had cheated him, we began to finally listen. The hypnotic Timbaland beat-box beat paired with Justin’s cryptic accusations, made the old-idiom, cry me a river, a revived chant for those cheating lovers spewing crocodile tears.

Usher laid claim to the throne early on, but couldn’t help be seduced by the easy money that dance music offered. JT always refused. He has always seemed to search for a way to push music to previous unknown realms, while maintaining a chokehold on pop culture’s pulse.

Jennifer-Lawrence

Opinion
By James Pavel

The personal photos of celebrities such as Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence have been purged for the world to gawk at and it demonstrates the disgusting way pornography has infiltrated our minds and behaviours. 

The primary and obvious issue of the leaked images is that it appears that it was relatively elementary for this computer-hacking monster to access these vulnerable and “private” pictures, despite the cloud technology’s security platform.

 But now that the world has behaved like a giant peeping Tom and viewed these stolen properties –  What does one come to understand of these images and what is the effect?

 I have not seen every photo nor do I intend on. But I have seen a handful. And what is plainly obvious, is that the hackers found exactly what they were looking for – porn.

 These are not just whimsical, topless photos taken at some private beach in the Virgin Islands; these are poses generally found on pornographic websites.

 Apparently, celebrated actresses and famous, super-model women are mimicking these provocative and hasty looks, despite their chance to be photographed in whatever they choose on any given day. 

 It provides a bedroom full of irony, considering porn stars are mostly aspiring actresses gone astray, and yet now the upper tier of female celebrity are doing their best version of Jenna Jameson.

 The world has become a pornographic stage with consumers no longer just limited to Playboy Magazine subscriptions, but now host men and women who are aggressively delivering pornographic images and videos of any human, regardless of the consequences.

 These pornographic predators hacked the cell phones and emails of celebrities hoping to find racy, inappropriate photos that no one would believe that these women would capture themselves doing.

 Websites containing the links have been bombarded with visits because our sex-tech conquests are predatory. Many undoubtedly fantasized about Jennifer Lawrence naked, especially after watching say, American Hustle or Silver Linings Playbook.

 But you didn’t need to see it; nor do you deserve to see it.

 This obsessive sense of sexual entitlement didn’t exist until the explosion of internet pornography. Suddenly the bodies of celebrity are ours to seek and to judge, the good and the bad. If Jennifer Lawrence suddenly put on 50 pounds, we would for some unGodly reason believe that we had the right to see her inflated stomach and heavy thighs. Of course this is not the sort of content that was leaked. They are personal photos, that were intended for one viewer and one viewer only and now the opposite has occurred.

 There are arguments made that pornography is actually empowering to women, despite females rarely being seen in a domineering role. The idea that pornography is positive, particularly for women, is bogus. If you believe that a naked woman hosed down in semen by seven different men or a woman being gagged and practically begging for mercy is at all a form of feminism, a century of therapy would not be capable of quelling your delusions.

 It is Jennifer Lawrence that will likely take the largest hit to her stock value. The sweet alluring face of The Hunger Games is now going to have images and videos assembled beside the likes of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton.

Kardashian, the most famous woman in the world, could be defined by many adjectives, but one that is undebatable is, porn star. Paris Hilton held a similar position of supremacy through identical means, and it makes one wonder – is being desired as a sexual conquest the most sought-after position for a modern-day famous woman?

If female actresses and models now aspire to be looked upon with the same raw sexual vigor as a Jenna Jameson or Amy Reid, it is a concerning trend.

pitchfork

 

Opinion
By James Pavel

  • Why not just wait until December before unveiling such a (potentially) influential list? You know, when half the decade is actually over?
  • If this list is to be received as scripture, then Kanye West is the greatest and most celebrated rapper in hip-hop history.
  • Pitchfork is remarkable at ignoring albums that are actually culturally relevant. Sure, Deerhunter’s Halcyon is a decent release, but at what point was it ever more recognizable and relatable than Arcade Fire’s Reflektor album? Arcade Fire is the only band in the world where it isn’t insane to mark them as modern-day legends and yet their most recent work is slotted in the 88th position on this list, as if they are some brigade of high-school drop outs still perfecting their instruments.
  • They can argue this point, but Pitchfork is a pseudo-underground site for hipsters and closet hipsters. How can they possibly not crown “The Suburbs” as the greatest album since 2010? It’s the first time in eons where the coolest album of the year was actually recognized as the album of the year at the Grammys. The Grammys remains the highest honour, and it’s a shame Pitchfork can’t at least allow this victory to take significance in the realm of consideration.
  • Number five is a brave and just placement of Beach House’s Teenage Dream. This might be the strongest female vocalist-driven album of the past ten years, never mind since 2010.
  • Pitchfork constantly over-compensate for their strange obsession with terrible new-wave screamo by awkwardly and confusingly awarding hip-hop with the highest accolades (#1 and #2 albums of the decade..thus far
  • Love the inclusion of Vampire Weekend’s Contra

James Pavel

doodle-forever-forever-young-glmr-klls-pen-Favim.com-453318

Opinion
BY JAMES PAVEL

5. Younger Us – Japandroids

Japandroids dump out their disposable camera pictures and reminisce out loud about how fun being free of responsibility really was. It would have sounded like a drunken heart-to-heart in your high school buddy’s garage if it wasn’t for the up-tempo, heart-convulsing guitars shattering through this teenage dream. They don’t write off the trials and tribulations of adulthood, but it may make those who know their best days are behind them plead for a time machine.

4. Young – Keeney Chesney

Chesney demonstrates an uncanny ability to capture the weekend lives of millions of youth with probably one of the best modern country songs of the past 20 years. It’s not all guts and glory, as he alludes to the awkwardness that certainly played a major role in everyone’s younger days to a certain erection-concealing degree. But the typical bad attitudes, the…

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