Fall 2011 Haute Couture: My Fashion Review

July 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Two weeks ago, Paris proved they were the ultimate fashion capital of the world when the big fashion houses debuted their Fall 2011 Haute Couture collections (which showed from July 4th to the 7th). Couture isn’t meant for every fashion house or company; it needs patience, precision, and critical thought. So I was greatly excited to view these collections. But after viewing and hearing about the various collections, I found only 1 that I truly loved. I present to you my selected review of the Fall 2011 Haute Couture collections!

Christian Dior

Many (including myself) were anxious to see Christian Dior’s Haute Couture collection post-Galliano, and what the house gave us was nothing unexpected. John Galliano was known for the creative energy he brought to the house, and this Fall 2011 HC collection did not reflect that. Instead, the ensembles were confusing, loud, and over-the-top. The focus of the collection got lost within neon tulle layers and unnecessary accessories. I hope that Dior’s upcoming Spring 2012 collection finds itself within the high ranks that Galliano once had.

View the entire collection here

Overall Rating: 1/5

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Song of the Moment: Frank Ocean – “Nature Feels”

July 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

When MGMT’s “Electric Feel” dropped 3 years ago, the world turned on its head. The psychedelic rhythm with Indian influence was a sound that many have never heard before. It was fresh, unique, and a worthy nod to the music of the late 60’s. So when Frank Ocean (of OFWGKTA fame) sampled the track for his 2011’s “Nature Feels” off his debut mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, it was welcomed by me with open arms.

Since I was already a huge fan of MGMT and their music, I automatically fell in love with Ocean’s take on the smash song. He takes the trippy song and makes it all his own, which is why I love it. “Electric Feel” was already a seductive track, but Frank Ocean took it to a rawer, more open level. His vocals on the track are so fitting as well: clean, enticing, and confident.

In 2011, R&B has been fading in the background behind Pop synths and the allure of grimy Lex Luger beats. But if Frank Ocean continues to stick around and create solid music such as “Nature Feels”, I think R&B will have no problem getting back on its feet.

Video Courtesy of: Youtube

My Top 20: The Albums That Have Influenced My Life

July 6, 2011 § 4 Comments

Whenever I speak about music, it is usually from a critical standpoint. I stray away from putting my personal thoughts about music into my writing because I look for a more objective approach. It wasn’t until today, as Britney Spears lyrics ran through my mind, where I realized how greatly music has impacted my life. As a nod to my age (I turn 20 in September) I’ve round up the top 20 albums that have had the most influence throughout my life. They represent specific stages in my life so far, as well showing my growth as a Pop music enthusiast. I think it’s important to note that I actually own hard copies of all these CD’s; most of them are cracked and scratched due to constant overplay. While these albums don’t necessarily reflect my musical taste as a whole (my iTunes library suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder) they are the basis of how I understand, interpret, and love music. Here we go!

20. Mavado: Gangsta for Life (2007)

I grew up with Dancehall & Reggae in my household, so I’ve always had a deep love for listening and supporting Jamaican music. I have a soft spot for Dancehall music, especially from the 90’s, but when Mavado’s debut album dropped in 2007 I was ecstatic. He provided a new sound to Dancehall; his pain-inflicted voice and violent, unforgiving lyrics were a mix that I have never heard before. Mavado is not the typical Jamaican artist; the combination of gun songs, party songs, gospel-influenced songs of this album gave Mavado the perfect stepping stone in becoming one of the greatest Jamaican entertainers of my generation.

Favorite Tracks: Don’t Cry, Amazing Grace, Me & My Dogs

19. Gwen Stefani: Love.Angel.Music.Baby (2004)

As a young kid I always thought No Doubt was a cool band, so when Gwen Stefani released her first solo album I knew it was going to be something special. The album released when I was in 8th grade, a time period where I was beginning to search for the types of music I like. Love.Angel.Music.Baby was a breakthrough for me because I was never exposed to such an eclectic sound before. The album is very 80’s kitsch synth-pop driven; a sound that I’ve grown to love.

Favorite Tracks: Bubble Pop Electric, Danger Zone, Crash

18. Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)

I was first introduced to the Arctic Monkeys in the summer of 2006 at Exeter’s summer program; I remember the exhilarating moment like it was yesterday. I was in a friend’s dorm room and we were chatting as her music played. But then this schizophrenic clash of rushing guitar & drums came on, and my ears were immediately intrigued.

I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor was such a different sound for me. I was exposed to alternative/indie rock before, but this was something completely fresh; it was British rock. The album gave me a taste of the British youth: the way they spoke, danced, acted, drank, etc. After hearing WPSIA,IAN, I began to research other modern British bands & fell in love. Now, in 2011, I’m an avid British rock fan 🙂

Favorite Tracks: When the Sun Goes Down, Mardy Bum, Riot Van

17. Ashlee Simpson: Autobiography (2004)

Back in 2004 (when MTV actually cared about music) I watched “The Ashlee Simpson Show”. During the short-lived reality series, Ashlee created her debut album. I was already a fan of the show, so when Autobiography dropped, I quickly bought it. I think I related to her album at the time because it covered themes of pain, yearning for attention, puppy love, finding oneself, etc. At age 12, the year when pre-teens think no one “gets” them, I totally connected to the lyrics of the songs. While I don’t listen to Autobiography as much as I used to, it truly does represent my angst-y stage as I transitioned from kid to teenager.

Favorite Tracks: Love Me For Me, Nothing New, Autobiography

16. Kings of Leon: Aha Shake Heartbreak (2005)

I remember when I first heard Kings of Leon. I was watching the FUSE channel when their video for “Four Kicks” came on. The record was so energetic, bad-ass, and new. In 2005, I was so used to metal and emo-core. So when I stumbled across the Southern band, it came as a breath of fresh air. After hearing the record, I searched for more of the band’s music and fell in love with everything I heard. After six years, I’m still a dedicated fan of the band.

Favorite Tracks: Soft, Four Kicks, Razz

15. Michael Jackson: Bad (1987):

I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan (I mean, who isn’t?) & I love all of his albums (I mean, who doesn’t?), but I believe I gravitated towards Bad because it found MJ delving more into a rockier, edgier sound. Every single song on this album is distinctive, gritty, fun, intriguing, and timeless. What I love most about the songs is the way that MJ’s vocal range mimic the guitar riffs, the drum beats, and the piano notes. The album highlights his artistry more than any other album, simply because the dirty/glam rock references have more of a capacity to play with than a soulful Motown beat. I know that I’ll be listening to Bad for years to come!

Favorite Tracks: Bad, Another Part of Me, Smooth Criminal

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Beyonce – 4: Album Review

July 4, 2011 § 8 Comments

Beyoncé, one of the music industry’s hardest working entertainers, decided to take a year off after her 2009 world tour. When she announced that she was back in the studio working on a new record, ears all around the globe perked up. On June 28th 2011, 4 was released to a swelling amount of anticipation. The set-up of the album mimics 2008’s I Am…Sasha Fierce, as it begins with heavy ballads and ends with club-ready bangers. But what separates 4 from Beyoncé’s prior release is her evident growth and comfortability with herself as an artist, wife, and individual.

The album opens with a slow ballad (1+1), something that artists usually stray away from as it tends to drain the rest of the record. I tend to agree with this testament. While I don’t enjoy the irky high-pitched accents, I appreciate Beyoncé’s vocals in the song. They are clear and ripple with a heartfelt emotion that reflects the song’s loving lyrics.

Party, the only track that has feature artists (Andre 3000 & Kanye West) is just great! I’m not just saying this because I’m a crazy Kanye West fan, but the song is just fun & makes you feel good. The production reminds me of being at a July family cook-out in the early 90’s; who wouldn’t want to relive a memory like that? 4 flaunts its genre-bending capabilities with another track, Rather Die Young, a ballad that will have you reminiscing about Motown soul.

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