Archives for posts with tag: James Pavel

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Opinion
By James Pavel

No rapper in hip hop embodies the quintessential modern-day word smith like Aubrey Drake Graham.

Drake is less gun play more word play.

He proves that in the modern era, one exerts more swag by wearing a well-tailored suit on the cover of GQ rather than throwing up esoteric gang signs on the cover of XXL or The Source Magazine. Drake’s upcoming album ‘Views from the 6’ is the most hyped album of the year by a titanic size. Drake’s stake with the Toronto Raptors features a role that rappers a mere 15 years ago openly fantasized about without a notion that it would one day be possible for an MC from Canada.

It is too early to deliver a verdict on ‘Views from the 6’ but the fact that it has become such a centerpiece of music conversation for such a lengthy period of time speaks to the influence that Drake controls. Yes, Kanye West’s new album has gained plenty of attention but partially because Kanye is such a desirable centre of ridicule. West admitted that 2014 was the year of Drake and not of Mr. West. The problem for ‘Ye’ is that he has yet to reclaim the throne from the Canadian MC. Jay-Z jumping on a track every time a Drake album drops places a clear stamp of approval on Drake’s Toronto forehead regardless of how differently Drizzy nay-sayers or even Kanye, may feel.

Along with Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan, Drake is the face of the Toronto Raptors. Yet as you obviously know, Drake does NOT play for the Raptors. Think about that. He has actually made a Raptor hat more famous than a Raptor can. Drake sits court side because he can afford it but mainly because he is the official ambassador of the Toronto Raptors. Sure, he slaps hands with Steph Curry and Lebron James when they are in town because who the hell wouldn’t?

Drake reigns supreme because he’s reppin’ a city that never has been repped outside of Canada. And folks, he’s not just rapping about it. He’s singing, he’s crooning and he’s dancing inside glowing fluorescent cubes without a care in the 6.

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 Opinion
By James Pavel

 10. Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw feat. Taylor Swift & Keith Urban

McGraw explains that if you’re looking for a pity party, an inanimate object is a terrible source for sympathy. Highways are cold, dark and endless and apparently, terrible listeners. Based on Taylor’s Swift multiple train-wreck relationships, she’s likely attempted having an intense dialogue with the mountains, rivers and potentially even highways, so this song may serve as more than just a metaphor for running away.

9. We Are Tonight – Billy Currington

It’s a Friday night, it’s a small town girl, and it’s every country music stereotype Billy Currington can muster. Country exists on trite concepts and half-truths, similar to how rappers pretend they’ve all slanged crack and been shot at. The ability to embody the night is enchanting, but knowing a country singer, it will boil down to cold beer and campfires because one of the primary objectives of a great country song is to make life appear as simplistic as possible. Country singers are compulsive about simplicity. Every outfit, every scenario is dripping in monotony, hence why the warm, snug blanket of the never-to-be-forgotten past is constantly their topic of discussion.

8. If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away – Justin Moore

It’s country music’s version of Bone Thugs n Harmony’s “Crossroads.” The dogmatic beliefs of country music may come across as naïve, but more often than not, are generally charming and inspirational. Nobody listened in church more attentively than aspiring country singers, and based on Justin Moore’s depiction of heaven, he sounds like a first-class altar boy. The lyrics make one swear they were dicing onions while the song was humming because nothing makes eyes redder and wetter than a grown man dreaming of being reunited with his dead dog.

7. Get Your Shine On – Florida Georgia Line

The rap/country synthesis is so implausible that it could only be true. The only instrument separating Florida Georgia Line “Get your Shine On,” from a Cash Money Millionaire 90’s banger is the timeless banjo guitar. Florida Georgia Line is further evidence that the winter season does not exist in the realm of country music. It`s a world oblivious to snowflakes and parkas; a land where “getting your shine on” is part of a compulsory diet.

 6. Merry Go ‘Round – Kasey Musgraves

It’s a shotgun blast at marriage disguised as a nursery rhyme. Based on the almost comical divorce rate in North America, Musgraves probably has a point. Despite the outlandish expenses to raise a family and the odds of someone’s marriage surviving similar to him or her becoming an NFL quarterback, the societal pressure to get married is oddly as popular as ever.

5. Drunk on You – Luke Bryan

Country music is incredibly cryptic about sex. Rock music talks about sex on fire and pop music does everything short of recording a live orgasm, yet country music blushes when describing how tight a pair of blue jeans look. We’ll never know who has left Luke Bryan intoxicated because he spends 75 per cent of “Drunk on You” describing the mystery fox’s ass. Her behind makes his speakers go “boom boom” an analogy better fit for a school boy fresh off learning about the birds and the bees. If one were incapable of reading between the lines, it would sound as though no country singer has ever made it past second base.

4. Sure Be Cool If You Did – Blake Shelton

The verses are painfully forgettable, but the chorus is country wizardry. Black Shelton has served as the proud middleman between the old guard of country and the pop transformation that the genre has more or less been forced to undergo, which we suppose, is kind of cool. The song’s cheekiness practically winks at the listener, a tactic George Strait would be proud of.

3. Cop Car – Keith Urban

Keith Urban will likely be recalled as one of the most significant country music figures from this era because despite sounding unique and advanced, he is unmistakably country. There is no erroneous hip-hop lingo encroaching on his lyrics, nor does he storm up preposterous choruses completely manufactured for night clubs. Urban is as metropolitan as country will allow, but his guitar-God status seems to determine everything else.

2. Somewhere With You – Kenny Chesney

Country songs that sound like what ripping down the freeway in a sports car feels like are almost always pure dynamite. Chesney has his cowboy boot glued to the gas pedal as he is relishing the opportunity to be anywhere with the subject of this desperate confession. Country songs are always properly enunciated by the singer and easily deciphered by the listener making the narrative not only a clutch aspect, but imperative to country radio.  Sure, it’s generally the same plot over and over, whether it be chasing girls or coping with heartbreak, but country remains feverishly popular because no other fan base can relate more intimately with their favourite artist’s lyrics.

1. Springsteen – Eric Church

No other genre is built so dependently on nostalgia. Pop and rock both tinker with the past, but country is almost obsessed with dwelling over yesterday’s news. There doesn’t seem to be a particular era the honky tonkers yearn for, only as long as it does not coincide with the present or the future. Country music was for a great period a foreign species and for brief moments, appeared to be an endangered species. Living outside the parameters of the big city with nothing but a tractor and a bottle of whiskey has become only simplistic fantasy of the modern cowboys running the country music barn. “Springsteen” is what sounds like a genuine gun-slinger reminiscing about how he grew up listening to rock ‘n roll, a candid account of what the teenage years for modern country singers was realistically like. No country artist strictly exists on a diet of George Jones or Johnny Cash anymore. It’s a brave new world for the country proud and one that shows tremendous promise based on what this past decade has offered up thus far.

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Opinion
By James Pavel

Don’t blame Paulina Gretzky for the squabbling over the recent cover of Golf Digest. No no, the blame for the consistent sexualization of women’s sports lies squarely on the broad shoulders of men.

Sex, sex, sex. That’s right. For at least fifteen hours a day, men have naked women dressed as nurses and French maids marching circles around their membrane while they pretend to be productive. Sure, we make time for a job and plus we’ve evolved slightly over the past 15 years. Improvements in cooking, attire and the elimination of undesirable hair downstairs have become proud badges of the modern man. But don’t give us too much credit.

And definitely don’t blame Paulina Gretzky. It’s not just beating a dead horse. It’s beating an entire horsey cemetery.

The perverted and sexually repulsive brain of a man will make a woman wearing a turtleneck and long johns morph into a Victoria Secret angel.

There is nothing wrong with women’s sport. The 2014 Olympic hockey final between USA and Canada was one of the most dramatic  endings you’ll ever witness. Women’s World Cup soccer is seat-of-your-pants action these days.

Poor Paulina isn’t adding any injury to women’s sport that did not already exist. Men can cheer for the female red team or the ladies in blue. And we will do it sincerely and loudly. But you have to forgive us. At some point, sexual thoughts will infiltrate our brain like a snake’s venom and temporarily leave us determining what Halloween costume would look the best on number seven in blue.

It’s not women’s sport. It’s the psyche of the majority of heterosexual men. Paulina Gretzky is well aware of this. No, she is not a star athlete. But she is getting married to a professional golfer and every man that loves a bag of clubs and hot blondes would love to see them paired together.

That’s what Golf Digest has done. It’s for the money. It’s for the readership. But it’s mainly because men still and always will have primal instincts that cry for the sexualization of anything of age and with curves.

Let’s also not forget that Gretzky Jr. has a rack that possesses the magic of thirty wizards and a stomach flatter than Saskatchewan. She is stunning. And she probably likes golf. So she did what she does best (look pretty) and posed on the front of a magazine that is right now the hottest cover on the shelves.

Women’s sport deserves better. On behalf of men, I want to say sorry, but it’s an empty apology.

When Julia Roberts asked Clive Owen why sex is so important in the film “Closer,” he responds with an animalistic yell, “Because I’m a fucking caveman!”

Although he was speaking in character, he could easily have been answering the question as to why men will always attempt to inject sex into women’s sports.

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Opinion
By James Pavel

5. Saturday Night – Whigfield

It was catchier than H1N1 bird flu and was everything Saturday night dreams are made of. All the kids who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons in the 90s had this song as inspiration for the day they were old enough to shoot tequila and behave outrageously.  It’s similar to EDM of today except has a melody, chorus and is an actual song that relates to humans and not cyborgs.

4. Saturday Come Slow – Massive Attack

The anticipation for a weekend can be overwhelming, but perhaps a tad painful if the results continue to be the same. Another weekend gone by without the expected fireworks and midnight magic that only a boozy weekend can supply is what Massive Attack appear to be alluding to. They might just be pleasure delayers, but maybe they are sick of counting down the days until Saturday night only to wake up in the same cold and empty bed.

 

3. Saturday Night Fever – The Bee Gees

In some circles, to dislike the BeeGees is akin to defacing The Queen’s face while urinating on a tombstone. The BeeGees are disco angels, particularly Barry Gibb, who has the voice that could make the girl with the dragon tattoo weep like a sissy. There is an unmistakable mood that accompanies a Saturday, as if any sort of debauchery is possible. It’s not a sickness, nor is it madness, just a misery-free fever.

 

2. Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) – Elton John

Elton John is at his most brash and biligerent, traits that seem to only emerge for many when Saturday night rolls into town. “Saturday Night” is as rough and tough as an alley street fight and its this sheer danger that makes this song as notorious as one of Elton John’s outlandish outfits.

1. S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night – Bay City Rollers

Bay City Rollers merge high school cheerleading with a boozy campfire to form Saturday night’s greatest anthem. It’s that twinkle in the eye of a handsome stranger across the camp fire. It’s a group of pissed up lads howling at the moon like a pack of wolves. It’s the strawberry blonde finally giving it up to the town cowboy. The song encompasses everything a Saturday night could be and ought to be. Bay City Rollers are grinning from ear to ear and it’s not just from another swig of the moonshine. It’s Saturday night, the night when work shoes are replaced by high heels, suits are left on the bedroom floor in favour of leather jackets and pretty girls look just a bit prettier. You haven’t smoked since last Saturday, you haven’t allowed work to escape your brain, but everything changed the minute you realized it was the freakin’ weekend.

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Opinion
By James Pavel

5. Love on Top

She’s tipsy off bubbly in the hot tub of her personal limousine with 80s’ pop blaring through New York City. OK none of that happened, but there is something about “Love on Top” that sounds like a love child between Prince and Tina Turner.

4. Bootylicious

Am I partial to this track because I am a sucker for anything Fleetwood Mac related? Probably. Nonetheless, this remains one of the sexiest songs of all time. The key term being sexy, and not scandalous or borderline pirate-hookerish, like say, “Dirrty” by X-tina, or “Slave 4 U” by Britney. “Bootylicious” was dance floor mania that gave all the women sporting extra jelly the courage to finally shake what not just their mama, but an entire family tree gave them to make rumble like a Japanese earthquake.

3. Irreplaceable

Even when present in a nasty breakup, Knowles still has majestic rhythm. Men are created equal, which means when B shows you the door, there is a lineup of clones awaiting outside her million-dollar fortress. This track is the last of her truly venomous shots of anguish at cheating men as her later material seems to hint at happier times.

2. If I Were a Boy

If she was a boy, fearful and ashamed men would no longer have a problem welcoming a transvestite into their bedroom. B is merely weighing the options and in doing so, breaks down how easy it is for a man, and how difficult life in general is for a woman. The song highlights B’s notable use of the acoustic guitar in her career, an intriguing advancement that none of her peers have really attempted. The song’s concept and the use of the guitar demonstrate her method of again thinking outside hip-hop/RnB’s narrow and shallow square box and converting a predictable shape into a beautiful diamond.

1. XO

B isn’t just a cheerleader of love, but one of its glowing champions. She isn’t done shaking her booty or boasting her independence. No, she remains as strong as a prized ox, but she doesn’t shy away from allowing herself to become completely consumed with pure and unfiltered hugs and kisses. She demands relentless and pertinacious affection, till the lights go out in fact, and anything less will not satisfy the Queen B.

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Opinion
By James Pavel

“Monster” by Eminem and Rihanna will roar hourly on every pop radio station from now until probably late April. It is a painfully generic duet featuring a half-hearted, mailed-in chorus from Rihanna, and an annoyingly redundant, bitter, and whiny Eminem.

It is one of the lower points of Eminem’s artistic career and another blindingly glaring example of why Eminem needs to finally hang it up.

The Real Slim Shady died after the release of The Eminem Show and has only appeared as a ghost of his former self over his past four albums. Slim Shady is a washed up rapper who now relies completely on pop fans and pop radio to keep him relevant.

When Eminem was in his prime, he had two verses from the track “Til’ I Collapse” that went: “Til’ I collapse I’m spilling these raps as long as you feel ‘em,”and “So while you’re in it try to get as much shit as you can, and when your run is over just admit when it’s at its end.” Why can’t he exercise some humility and heed to his own advice?

Slim is unquestionably one of the most successful artists of the past 20 years and is likely one of the top five hip-hop artists ever. His first three albums are all classic, a feat few others can declare. He has been able to relate to millions by embracing his trailer-park roots and sharing tales of his whirlwind childhood many before him never had the ability to unravel into such epic poetry.

The climax of Marshall Mathers’ career was the 8 Mile soundtrack that contained the bombastic single, “Loose Yourself.” The song was a blazing semi-truck containing all of the violent emphasis and intense momentum stemming from the carnaged venom felt throughout the first three masterpieces (Slim Shady LP, Marshall Mathers, The Eminem Show.) It was Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” meets Tupac’s “Hit em’ Up.” Such velocity. Such brilliance. And then came the album, Encore.

Encore showcased Slim at his most childish and silly. He had returned to his filthy drug habits. He sounded desperate for a first single to market the album. Worst of all, he had adopted a half-baked East-Indian accent on a third of the tracks, a change to the usual Eminem program that even die-hard fans had difficulty accepting. Encore was the beginning of the end. And this was in 2004.

Slim has now released three more albums, all of poor standing when compared with the original trio. His previously fluid and empathetic tirades regarding his mother and on/off wife Kim were once honest and ripe with emotion. But he now sounds like a hypocritical schizophrenic. His emotional mood swings through hist latest material has fans unsure of whether they are supposed to forgive, forget, embrace or hate Eminem’s mother and wife/ex-wife/fiancee/soon-to-be-ex-wife etc.

Eminem isn’t just past his prime. He has driven so far past his original peak that he has practically discovered a new persona dedicated strictly to mediocrity. The Real Slim Shady needs to retire before his original material becomes so concealed in dust that it becomes forgotten in place of his unmistakably weaker and weathered material.

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 Opinion 
By James Pavel 

 I blame it on Game of Thrones. Ever since I completed season three of this HBO masterpiece, my expectations for mid-evil, soldier/knight productions is sky-high. And due to this elevated sense of what holds an audiences breath when watching warriors do battle, this sequel dies an unworthy death. 

 What remains one of the most intriguing aspects of the 300 premise is the background of the GodKing, Xerxes. We do learn how he became Zeus-like, but then he is again left on the sidelines of a film that could desperately have used his seemingly impenetrable abilities. 

 It isn’t that Artemisia, played by Eva Green, isn’t captivating. It’s that her vengeance against Greece is  a trite storyline, despite its merit, and she is a character that although appears strong, is clearly beatable despite the odds. 

 When someone pays $15-$20 to see a film in 3-D, they expect everything. If 300 wants to leave out the most intriguing character, Xerxes, for a delayed installment then convert the show into a mini-series, not a full-length film. The movie obviously left the plot open for yet another unnecessary installment, a disappointing method to garner more undeserving cash from an audience that was once thrilled with the original and what we thought only installment, the first 300

 What remains the strongest aspect of the 300 idea is that an incredibly small fleet of Spartans went to battle against an entire army. The second movie is so dry on fresh ideas that one of their sub-plots completely replicates one of the original story lines. A father and son go to battle together, making one another glow with pride. One of them fall during battle, putting the survivor into a violent rage and motivating him to slaughter at an even more violent rate than before.

 The movie is average because the first one was extraordinary.

It’s another example of a production team failing to recognize that this film did not require a sequel. We will now suffer through yet another 300 film nobody asked for, and squabble about how nothing will ever touch the first edition. 

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Opinion 
By James Pavel 

 How would you like to pay? “Debit please” will be the future answer from almost every individual waiting in line.

 This human centipede all impatiently awaiting a coffee from Tim Hortons should flow seamlessly. Every exchange between customer and employee should take precisely under one minute, but today and everyday this is not the case because of the absence of actual money. 

 Every single person in line has opted to use the debit terminal, thereby turning a potentially gushing lineup into a delayed medley of wrong-button pushing, late connections, and the horrifying and dehumanizing, insufficient funds. 

 I analyze my neighbourhood and recognize a bank on almost every corner. As recently as ten years ago, one would have to drive to their local bank, but that is no longer necessary because banks are now as ubiquitous as coffee shops. Banks have become filthy rich and are now cornerstones of every suburb and downtown core. A primary reason for their pronounced treasure chests is because men and women can’t refrain from using their debit cards for everything and anything, whether it be a flight to Las Vegas to a slurpee at 7-Eleven. Banks of course profit from this persistent debit use as individuals reguarly over-use their debit cards and are financially penalized or incur numerous bank fees for multiple reasons. 

 I began to shy away from cash a few years ago because every third bill I received in change began to look fraudulent. Many times, the suspicion was accurate, as I would discover five dollar bills that were a quarter inch too short to be considered legitimate. However, the Bank of Canada recognized this and has created outstanding new bills for the 5s, 10s, 20s, 50s and 100s, with such scrupulous detail, that the ability to forge a modern-day Canadian bill would be the work of a wizard. 

 This heavy reliance on debit cards is one of the most non-practical, delayed scenarios businesses must contend with everyday. “Try it again,” “Weird, I just put money in the other day, are you sure your machine is working,?” are cumbersome lines that employees have to withstand everyday because consumers are walking around cashless. 

 Is it strange to request that one would simply take out $100 from a machine to serve as spending money when out shopping to bypass the use of a debit card? Not only does it make a purchase a much more expedient process, but it lessens bank charges and service fees. 

 This cashless society is a slow and tedious one. 

 It is time to replenish our wallets with colourful, dirty paper and park our debit cards for emergencies and actual trips to our local bank institutions. 

 Viva la cash. 

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Opinion
By James Pavel

Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech for best actor at the 2014 Academy Awards exuded advice, wisdom, and comedy and thrusted a lifetime of charm into a perfectly-executed victory dissertation that will be remembered as one of the finest ever bestowed on the Academy.

I would like to thank blah, blah, blah, blah and blah. That is what 80 per cent of nominees sound like to audiences watching the Oscars across the globe. Nobody knows who your agent is, nor do they care. It’s not that these people don’t matter, it’s just that they don’t matter to us.

Which is likely just one of the reasons McConaughey’s speech was earth-shatteringly brilliant. He didn’t thank a group of people who’s names and duties are exclusive to his knowledge and a handful of others. He didn’t ramble on about how grateful he was to some random production company for giving him the chance to hone his craft.

No, he instead began by discussing his passed-away father, who he pictured looking down below drinking a Miller Light and rejoicing in his son’s victory. It was personal, but still painted a visceral portrait of a proud father that almost everyone can crack a smile over.

He then acknowledged his belief in God, but not in a self-righteous manner, but in the form of a purist, one who is able to ignore the question marks and deceit that revolve around religion and focus only on the tranquility and hope that faith can bring. The quick Hail Mary wasn’t arrogant or obnoxious, but just a man refusing to believe that his incredible fortune has not just been the result of blind chance, but perhaps a greater being.

He praised his family, but not in the over-the-top, awkward slime fest we’ve become accustomed to, but in an almost adorable, “I’m the luckiest guy int the world” method.

Finally, he closed his speech with two references to his two most iconic and glorified roles. He began that ridiculous humming sound courtesy of his coke-addicted, booze-throttling role in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and then gave stoners, hippies and aging hipsters the ode of a life time by uttering the one-liner of the century: “Alright, alright, alright,” via “Dazed and Confused.”

Bravo.

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. Picture – Sheryl Crow & Kid Rock

The day Kid Rock retired the white-trash, hooker-loving, hip-hop gimmick was a day all religions and cultures applauded in unison. In return we were introduced to a bluesy, laid-back, ex-cocaine cowboy primed to create something everlasting with the always reliable, Sheryl Crow. “Picture” helped re-define how to execute the duet by including a little back and forth Dosey-Doe, choosing a melody that agrees with both conspirators and opting for substance over pop predictability.

4. Pictures of You – The Cure

Robert Smith rummages through dusty shoeboxes of discarded photographs and allows the damns of past rivers to gush over his soul, if only for a brief five minutes. Falling just short of acidic rain, nothing burns the eyes more than a photo that captures a day when everything seemed impossibly simple.

3. Photograph – Ringo Starr

The eternal present that a photo exists in, that moment in time that is frozen like Walt Disney’s corpse but never to be released from its chains, has seduced the human mind since its advent in the 1800s. Arguably, nobody’s life has been researched and captured through photographs more than a member of the Beatles, and yet Ringo Starr’s interpretation of the photograph is, in classic Beatle fashion, gloriously human.

2. Take my Picture – Filter

To take a picture everyday is redundant and the definition of overkill, but on a boozy Saturday night, with the cliffs of Mount Black Out a mere shooter away, a photo of a night you won’t remember but likely won’t forget is the greatest idea you’ll have all night. The track is  a lyrical tirade against a father that never cared, (I’m guessing he did much less than neglect to keep a family photo album,) but as we all learn, it is the little things in life that count as Filter can attest.

1. Photograph – Def Leopard

Photo collecting had yet to explode, but Def Leopard predicted they were not destined to become lifelong scrap bookers. Photos are detailed and precious, but nothing captures an image the way the mind can. If you can outline someone’s freckles and beauty marks blindfolded, suddenly a photograph seems highly unnecessary. Photos are useless to the Leopard when their visions are so clear that they can practically penetrate the skin of their desired vision.

In Def Leopard’s heyday, there was no Facebook or Instagram, only cheesy nightstand photos of the one we can’t live without, and somehow this one photograph sounds more important than the 2 trillion mindless photos circling the web today.