Archives for posts with tag: JamesPavel

2016

Opinion
By James Pavel

20. One Dance – Drake feat. Wizkid & Kyla

Nobody matters more in rap music than Drake. Kanye has finally had his Britney Spears moment and it would be wise to not hold our breath anticipating past greatness upon his return. Drake has been the ultimate 6 man for what must be at least four years running, and has made the duties of a DJ remarkably simple in 2016. Drake followed by Drake followed by Drake featuring Drake. The song was only for one dance, but Drake got about nine out of you before the night was all set and done.

19. Waste a moment – Kings of Leon

Their biggest premier single off an album since ‘Sex on Fire.’ All the ‘ooohhs’ a KOL fan could hope for plus a stupidly fun guitar riff that a 12-year-old could play.  The Kings like to tell stories of cowboy renegades, almost living out southern fantasies they were never quite able to dream about while under strict Christian rule as youths. “Take your time to waste a moment,” was the second-greatest life mantra of 2016, falling only behind Donald Trump’s slightly altered “Grab life by the pussy.”

18. Kids – One Republic

They refuse to apologize for staying longer than their suggested five minutes. There is a spiritually, uplifting vibe that One Republic always manages to achieve, no matter the year. There are many things taken from us, but being a kid may be the greatest.

17. Ooh Love – Ria Mae (Neon Dreams remix)

Roller-skating in the summer licking ice cream is what ‘Ooh Love’ was made for. This song should not be listened to in the peak of winter as it may lead to false hope and empty promises.

16. TerraForm – Sam Roberts Band

Sam Roberts is what it sounds like to drive through the Canadian Rockies. He’s what it feels like when you first enter the city of Toronto. He’s what it looks like when the sun sets in Quebec. ‘Terraform’ is a Canadian escape, a new chapter for the band and the soundtrack for adventure for new listeners. The Tragically Hip has unfortunately signed off as Canada’s band, and Sam Roberts Band is running for office.

15. This is what you came for – Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna

Now, we talk about the accolades of Beyoncé and the never-flailing popularity of Taylor Swift. But in 20 years, what we may look back on when discussing female vocalists, is the ridiculous number of hits that Rihanna had during the stretch of the 2000s. A greatest hits performance by her is essentially a tour of what people were listening to on popular radio in the new millennium.

14. Secrets – The Weeknd

The Weeknd drops the single ‘Starboy’ and it was..meh. This is the same dude that dropped the hottest song of 2015, right? Turns out, the album is constructed around the idea of being a ‘Starboy,’ and not to worry because upon album purchase, you immediately become swim-fan obsessed with track six.  He takes a famous Romantics’ idea, ‘secrets in your sleep,’ and gets all iconic MJ on us.  If you can finally feel your face again, Abel Tesfaye is about to enter your dreams and hear all your secrets.

13. Love on the Weekend – John Mayer

It’s a simple song, but by a complex man. John Mayor is a self-healed egomaniac going back to the basics. He’s managed to nail every celebrity south of Seattle and now seems ready to get back to the organic details that make relationships special.

12. The kid who stays in the picture – Hot Hot Heat

They announced it is their last album and then manage to release the single that might just lift them from obscure Canadian band to just obscure band.  The song sounds familiar, likely because it is a clear demonstration that Las Vegas group The Killers have begun to rub off on predecessors. The irony is that this is the exact sort of track the Killers could use to find a home again on pop radio.

11. Never be like you – Flume feat. Kai

Points for being the most original-sounding track of the year. The base vibration takes the listener on a bumpy journey with this successful Australian/Canadian collaboration.

10. Black Beatles – Rae Sremmurd feat. Gucci Mane

If you didn’t freeze frame with your homies at some point in 2016, then you just weren’t paying attention. ‘Black Beatles’ became the mannequin challenge anthem, the latest trend in Internet mind-numbness. We’ve planked, we’ve dabbed and now we’ve remained in pause while appearing to be in the middle of an everyday task. The memories and function of this song will forever trump the sound and any sort of appeal the track ever had.

9. Pillow Talk – Zayne

Zayne needs no directions when it comes to the bedroom, at least per ‘Pillow Talk.’ There has been nothing released by One Direction that comes even remotely close to as modern as Zayne’s successful attempt at pop glory.

8. Can’t stop the feeling!- Justin Timberlake

The most universally-liked entertainer, maybe in history, makes detention halls, senior homes and prison yards brush off their dancing shoes. The track was almost as contagious as the Zika virus in 2016, but for JT, we welcomed its global dominance.

7. Daddy Issues – The Neighbourhood

What initially sounds like a love song is a letter to the ghost of Daddy. Daddy wasn’t there, but that’s okay because the Neighborhood is.  Dependence, promiscuity, and yes-pure craziness, can derive from daddy issues. If there were ever a song to unite strippers worldwide, this may be the one. We know the power of a mother’s touch, but the presence of Daddy can also become one of the defining sensations in a child’s life.

6. Too Good – Drake feat. Rihanna

The most hyped album of the year by Toronto’s hype man didn’t quite live up to the mmm hype. Rather than deny the “too soft” complex that haters have and will continue to spew, Drake made an album loaded with slow-dance material, none better than ‘Too Good.” Drake and Rihanna is hip-hop’s most functional non-couple. They are a pair that may or may not have slept together, but for a refreshing first, audience are more concerned about what their next single will sound like and not when their next photo op will be.

5. Ful Stop – Radiohead

Radiohead have the rare ability to make any noise, any glitch, or any bleep sound remarkable. They rejoice in the ugly and linger in the unnatural.  No one seems to care less about how they are perceived, maybe because their legacy as one of the greatest bands of the past 25 years has been so firmly established. They are our version of Bob Dylan, but without any backlash and with instruments from outer space.

4. Threat of Joy – The Strokes

Julian hasn’t sounded this blissfully romantic since 2014’s ‘Chances.’ It is not the lyrics of music alone that create that warm sensation in our souls. It’s the words, it’s the synth, it’s the timing, it’s the syntax and it’s the drums.  ‘Let’s get into trouble, be there on the double’ is so simple and easy, but when heard on ‘Threat of Joy’ it sounds like Mark Twain with the warmth of Turks and Caicos.

3. Wow – Beck

Beck cools it on the country folk and drops a pound of shrooms for his latest endeavor. His eyes are as big as pool balls and all he can muster out is a resounding ‘Wow.’ Nobody likes to get weird like Beck and nobody made psychedelic rock music feel important in anyway in 2016 except for this American chameleon.

2. In a world possessed by the human mind – The Tragically Hip

In a country called Canada we were possessed by a live concert that showed an emotionally vulnerable, eccentric, sobbing lead singer muster his way through the hits for one last time before the world’s last greatest mystery takes hold. The live Hip show on the CBC was unquestionably the concert event of the year.

1. Don’t let me down – The Chainsmokers feat. Daya

Electronic dance music found a friend in Emo and managed to give soul to a genre crucified for being made for distracted robots incapable of comprehending or caring for lyrical-based content.

Chainsmokers have now been inescapable for two full years. Along with Drake they have held dance floors ransom, with no bidder in sight.

‘Don’t let me down’ separates from the pack because as much as it is a dance song, it is a song with human vulnerability. Sure, Calvin Harris’ monotone voice has attempted to inject a soul into what is predicted as a fleeting musical fad, but it took the smoke pit to successfully perform the procedure. The sign of a genre with legs is when the rest of music begins to incorporate its signature sounds rather than vice versa. Rap music has unquestionably fallen for years and rock music seems to have almost completely fallen out of grace with anything resembling the masses.

The Chainsmokers create music for a generation of debit tapping, snapchattting, Insta-filtering megalomaniacs that need a soundtrack that speaks to them with mechanical vigor, yet with straight-forward text-friendly lingo.

‘Don’t let me down’ has a star-gazing wanderlust buildup before a cliff-diving drop into a chorus that begs not to be disappointed. We welcomed the track’s inescapable methods and for this alone, it was the defining track of 2016.

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drake2

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.

By James Pavel

I want to fall out of love with my cellphone.

For years I have starred at my cellphone blankly. For years I have impatiently awaited its flicker like a signal from a nearby ship. For years I have allowed it to rob my attention at a whim’s notice.

I can’t completely focus on others because my cellphone demands my recognition. I can’t fall asleep because my cellphone isn’t done talking.

I can’t wake up until my cellphone vibrates beside me. I can’t start dreaming until my cellphone stops blinking.

I can’t make you laugh without the letters that my cellphone provides me. I can’t show my joy without the emoticons that my cellphone can illustrate.

I can’t see in the dark without the eyes of my cellphone. I can’t feel fully clothed without the texture of my cellphone.

I can’t leave my house without my cellphone. I can’t travel without my cellphone.

I want to feel whole without my cellphone. I want you to laugh in my face, and not through my cellphone. I want to disappear without my cellphone.

I want to fall out of love with my cellphone.

Opinion
By James Pavel

It might not have started with the Buddy Holly frames, but the emergence of hipster planet certainly snowballed from that point on. Buddy Holly glasses (vintage frames) were embraced by the “cool kids” earlier this decade because it was ironic how nerdy the glasses appeared. The trend caught on like Lulu Lemon sweat pants and soon every coolster was rocking the throwback, four-eye look.

But over the past few years, Buddy Holly glasses have been embraced by everyone, real nerds included. No longer are the glasses viewed as ironic because the irony has been evaporated by the glasses’ ubiquity.

The Buddy Holly experiment is a microcosm of the hipster culture. Hipsterism was merely one of a half dozen descriptions one could fall under, yet hipsterism has now morphed into its own planet with even its own sub-genres.

Hipsters are everywhere. Hipster culture is no longer a sub-culture of fashion and lifestyle, but has almost become the predominant culture in North America. If it wasn’t for the explosion of Guido/fist pump civilization, every single 20-something would be wearing suffocating denim, magenta purple shoe laces and the aforementioned glasses.

What is so complex about the sweeping movement is that the ethos of hipster culture is to evoke indifference. Thereby, acknowledging that jocks, Goths, skids and potheads suddenly all look identical would be akin to breaking the first commandment in the hipster Bible. If one didn’t care in the first place (that is the central idea behind hipsterism) then how could one suddenly be offended that others have mimicked the look/concept?

Now there are much greater problems in the world besides everyone beginning to dress identical. In fact, it may serve us well in the future. When we begin visiting alien planets, we will no longer have to issue Earth uniforms because everyone will have already conformed to a particular look.

Also, as hipster culture filters its way into high schools and middle schools, it may help diminish bullying as students will no longer be as easy to isolate based on their clothing and lifestyle. Students will begin to recognize students based on their names and not by the letters on their jacket or the purple streaks in their hair.

Obviously hipsterism could merely be a trend. But never has a trend been more about not caring that the trend exists. And maybe it’s happening because we no longer wish to all be viewed as drastically different. It’s a melting pot of diversity that North America has formulated, and maybe the one initial common ground that individuals can seek sanctuary in is the hipster way of life.

Opinion
By James Pavel

 Always – Bon Jovi

It’s the song Romeo would have written to Juliet if he had serenaded her in Rock-glam lingo instead of Old English. The stirring drama, the startling sincerity, “Always” is what every slow-dance song aspires to be. Themes of running away, packing up old things and running one’s cheating hands through a lover’s hair are all jammed into Bon Jovi’s most moving creation.

4. Yellow – Coldplay

A heart-rattling tribute to a most vibrant colour, Coldplay is singing about much more than just their favourite crayon. It’s the last verse that sets the song apart, as Chris Martin convinces his muse that every star in the sky is shining patiently for her. It was truly amazing how that when the song was released, it became incredibly apparent how desperate planet Earth was for a modern-day love song.

3. I’ll Love You Always Forever – Donna Lewis

The track’s immediate and thumping pulse perfectly mimics a heart beating twice its normal pace and manages to immediately stir up shoe-gazing emotions. Donna Lewis is singing love-letters out loud like a teenager drunk off of raspberry coolers for the first time as she carves her declarations of love into not just a tree, but the entire North American psyche of the 90s.

2. I can’t Take my Eyes off of You – Frankie Valli

It’s every male insecurity unraveled by the soft words of Frankie Valli, before he jumps on a milk crate and screams out his undeniable, unconquerable love. It’s before the days when attraction wasn’t so complicated, before the days of creeps and stalking, a time where telling someone I can’t take my eyes off of you triggered more blushing and less 9-1-1 calls.

Lady in Red – Chris de Burgh

It opens with an elevating hum that either pushes you away or brings you in close. “Lady in Red” is the perfect stranger, yet remains the woman who has heard every pickup line in the playbook and considers it normal to be constantly revered by love-struck men. “Lady in Red” is beyond lust, however, as it is more about the undeniable spectacle that a woman can create, and the nauseating sensation that develops when a beautiful woman, stranger or not, presents herself. “Lady in Red” flaunts the true colour of love and passion and certainly defines the true hues that have come to represent Valentine’s Day.

Opinion
James Pavel

The act of manwhorism dates back to the beginning of time. Kings having more wives than fingers and proud soldiers inserting their member in anything with two feet and a heart beat has unfortunately been common routine for ages according to history books.

Back in the chauvinistic hay-day, men were under the assumption that they had the right to roll in the hay with whomever they chose, no questions asked. This behaviour was further glorified in the ‘90s with the ubiquity of the term “player.”

Banging broads for sport was a status symbol for males. Yet women who attempted to mimic the promiscuous behaviour of their male counterparts were almost always labelled sluts, tramps and yes, whores.

It could be argued that no one was guiltier of promoting this shameless sexual-body count than hip-hop music. Rappers proudly dancing with dozens of half-naked women and lyrics that contained the slogan “playa’ for life,” helped push the ideology full steam ahead.

This obvious sexism and hypocrisy has seemed to finally become not just obvious to women, but to the world at large over the past few years.

Any man operating under the egotistical belief that sexual partners are as interchangeable as characters in Mortal Kombat are no longer knighted with praise.

They have finally earned the right to be stamped with a disclaimer proclaiming that this one individual is prone to whoring their male genitalia at all hours of the day.

Yes, while many of these afore mentioned, sexually spoiled rappers really were bangin’ a hoochie every night, many also had children with a number of different women (see Eazy-E) founding the brilliant, English internal-rhyme gem, “baby-mama drama.”

The fantasy of having intercourse with a different Victoria’s Secret angel every time the sun sets is tough to resist for any heterosexual male, but just like everything else that seems too good to be true, this concept is no different.

Multiple sexual partners in a short span of time can equal complicated issues not just for the individual, but also for all parties involved.

Storks do not deliver newborn children and these mammals really do, in fact, enter the world through a woman’s vagina. This should immediately signal to a man that he should ponder aloud any potential repercussions before engaging in sexual behaviour with a complete stranger.

Yet, the biggest blow to the player turned man-whore legacy is the unfortunate prevalence of sexually transmitted infections. If you can’t remember the name of the woman you slept with, it is no longer just irresponsible, it is downright dangerous.

Being labeled a man-whore implies that one is untrustworthy, is dispassionate towards making sweet love and might be hosting a party of troublesome issues in not only his trousers but also his heart.

The term “whore” is now an all-encompassing one, assuring any female and now male willing to yank off their belt at the drop of a hat are in the same exclusive club.

Female whores now have some much-needed company as self-proclaimed “players” are now earning the discredit to their name that they have been living up to for years.

So to all those tired of hearing males tally up their sexual conquests like counting their shots after an 18-hole golf game, long live the term: man-whore.