May 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
One of my favorite magazines, Numero, released their May issue last month. I’m a huge fan of the French-based publication’s dramatic and visually entertaining editorials. The #123 issue greatly lives up to that expectation.
The cover features Australian stunner Abbey Lee Kershaw in a striking, dancer-esque pose, which sets the tone for what’s inside the magazine. I love the cover because it has the capability of catching the readers’ eye on a newstand, unlike other American magazines.
While Kershaw’s face looks slightly gaunt, the rest of the frame makes up for it with its curve-enhancing top, warrior-like leather harness, and a silk skirt that elegantly blows in the wind. Titled “Performance”, this Numero cover gears the reader up for strong, energetic, and innovative editorials. Let’s review them, shall we?
1. Edita Vilkeviciute shot by Camilla Akrans
I am a huge fan of Camilla Akrans work; she has the ability to highlight the best assets of a woman with her soft photography and dimmed lighting. When I saw this editorial, I was surprised that Akrans shot it. I wasn’t used to such a stark perspective from her; the imagery felt more suited to photography duo Mert & Marcus. Nevertheless, I do love this editorial.
The depth of color used in this editorial paired with a model like Edita makes for a great combination. The lighting used casts shadows in all the right places, showing off the model’s deep cheekbones and delicate frame. Overall, the editorial gives off a Ziggy Stardust vibe, with the strong make-up and heavy outfits. I mean, who doesn’t love the ’70s? Rating: 4/5
2. Elena Sudakova by Solve Sundsbo
This editorial is one of the stranger ones that I’ve seen over the past few years. It reminds me of what goes on behind closed doors in an insane asylum. The walls, sheets, clothing, and model’s skin/hair all share the same nude color, which I find very creepy. The contortionist poses elevate the theme even further; Elena’s twists and turns makes her seem like a doll, doing whatever the photographer tells her to. This editorial seems very controlling and manipulative, which I find interesting and refreshing for a magazine. Rating: 5/5
May 25, 2011 § 3 Comments
On May 23rd, 2011, Mother Monster unleashed to the world a record intent on shattering musical taboos and praising uniqueness. That record is Born This Way. An album created solely for her fans, Lady Gaga poured her soul into making a solid Pop album. Before the album release, Lady Gaga flooded our ears with 5 singles that gave us an insight to her supposed masterpiece. Interestingly enough, the strongest songs on the album are the ones that have not been released to the public. Don’t let the Photoshop 101 album cover deceive you, Born This Way is a decent record.
The album opens with the stunning “Marry The Night”, a true dedication to Pop music. Gaga’s voice is clear and confident, with a hint of glam metal flair. With its thumping bass and ecstatic electric guitar, the track is ready for the dance floor. “Born This Way” released in February 2011, is a song that I never enjoyed. The “Gay Anthem” concept is over-thought and over-used; many people felt that it was too Madonna circa “Express Yourself”, which I completely agree with.
Nevertheless, the songs on Born This Way highlight topics that only Gaga would be brave enough to speak about. “Government Hooker”, a story about a girl who lives the life of a prostitute, sounds like it would be a tragic ballad. But remember, this is Lady Gaga we are talking about. This song, which I’ve been dying to listen to since I heard the title back in March, is a sex-filled tease. With its references to the late JFK and Gaga’s raunchy wails, this song will make you want to do naughty things.
“Judas”, another song that touches on controversy, is solid track off the album. When the song was released last month, I couldn’t bring myself to like it. But this song grew on me like no other; I even found myself humming the rhythm in the shower. What captivated me the most was that damn electronic synth; I’ve never heard something more energizing in my life. That distinct sound, combined with Gaga’s accented dictation, makes “Judas” a showstopper. “Scheibe” is one of the weirder songs on the album, but it in the best way possible. Never has the German language sounded so sexy. The song is pure Euro-trash, and it works.
May 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
Every month, as magazines display their current issues, I look for photos from fashion/beauty editorials that I save on my hard drive as inspiration. One editorial that has been on my mind lately is from the March 2011 issue of Numero #121. The editorial, entitled “Duo’s Fleur de Lys”, features the lovely Polish model Magdalena Frackowiak, shot by Sean & Seng.
Many magazines are doing editorials that focus on Gothic or dark themes, and it becomes a bit redundant; coming across this editorial was so refreshing. The two factors that sticks out to me the most are: the photography, and the styling.
The photographer’s choice in lighting is beautiful; the shadows cast on the model are at all the right angles, making her body seem even more sculpted and defined. The lighting also frames her face well, highlighting her razor-sharp cheekbones and feline eyes. I like the styling because it is simple yet effective; chains and bright colors aren’t necessary in this shoot.
The clothing is right out of the ’50s, with its delicately creamy tones, high-waisted bottoms and boudoir-ready bras. The gold pearl earrings, slick pompadour, and wine-stained lips top of the classy & sultry look. The touches of nudity aren’t offensive or gauche, which I appreciate. The peek-a-boo effect of a bare bum and bare breasts amplify the theme of this editorial: the ideal elegant woman.
View shots from the Numero editorial below:
May 9, 2011 § 1 Comment
If you follow this blog, it should come as no surprise that I am a HUGE Britney Spears fan. I listen to all of her albums religiously, and there are always certain songs that are on constant rotation. This time, the chosen song is off the pop star’s current album Femme Fatale. The deluxe edition track, titled “Up N’ Down”, is steadily becoming one of my favorite songs of the moment! Every year there are a handful of songs that I normally choose as “Songs of the Summer”, and this bumping dance track is definitely holding on strong.
“Up N’ Down” is so incredibly catchy; it makes you want to give it your all on the dancefloor. The track opens with some intense 90’s-feeling techno chords which completely electrifies the body & soul, gearing it up to fist pump, shake your booty, break dance, etc. The lyrics, while a bit cheesy (“I know you want me like kids want candy”), are effective, taunting, to the point, and seductive in a way that only Britney Spears could master. Combine that with a great techno-driven rhythm, and you have a perfect Pop formula for a hit. In short, it’s a freaking SOLID dance-pop track. Why it didn’t make the official Femme Fatale album beats me. But look out for “Up n’ Down” in the upcoming summer months, it’ll become your new go-to party song!
May 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
After being pushed back for over a year, Jennifer Lopez’s Love? finally dropped this Tuesday to much anticipation. Shifting to a new record label, Island Records, the Pop Diva found herself playing around with new Euro-driven sounds and fun lyrics. With the birth of her twins and her busy job as judge on American Idol, Jennifer Lopez’s presence within the music scene was minute. But with Love?, Lopez wanted to come back with a bang. But the album is more of a sizzle.
Love? is based on Euro-dance Pop, a sound that we are all used to in the year 2011. Instead of setting herself apart from the sea of female Pop artists dominating the industry, Lopez sinks with a robotic fervor. “Good Hit” transforms the 41-year old entertainer into a try-hard tween, with its screeching auto-tune and standard rhythmic production. Lopez returns back to her Latin roots with “Papi”, a bass-thumping dance track that gets you into the mood to shake what you got.
The singer isn’t known for her powerful ballads, yet they are still present on Love? “Until It Beats No More” is a dull record about heartbreak and resurrection. Unfortunately, the production is too high for Lopez’s tight vocal range; the singer strains to reach notes that she cannot pull off. Lopez’s vocal range is pushed into the Justin Bieber category with “One Love”, a mid-tempo ballad that would be better suited for the 17-year old popstar. “Villian”, a track that oozes sensuality and mystery is quite strong. But once again, the breathy vocals and edgy-techn0 beat would fit Britney Spears, not Jennifer Lopez.
May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
I have never been a huge fan of Keri Hilson, but the R&B singer got me hooked on a particular song off her recent sophomore album No Boys Allowed. Hilson paired with fellow crooner Chris Brown to create a solid record, “One Night Stand”, released in March of this year. The track is classic 90’s R&B; the rhythm is heavy and bass-driven, the harmony is electric and sexy, and the lyrics are simple yet effective. The song alone is such a standout from all the other R&B records out there, but it is the video that takes the song to the next level.
Brown and Hilson channel the essence of Jodeci, Aaliyah, Janet Jackson, and Ginuwine perfectly. From the trench coats, the thick-rimmed sunglasses, the dim lighting, the duet dances, and the grungy setting, it all oozes seduction and mystery. I’m a huge fan of this record; being an avid 90’s music fan, I hope that other R&B artists will take this classic sound and twist it into a fresh sound that we all can love and relate to.
Video Courtesy of: Youtube