Celebrité, Music

Gaga vs Perry: Life is better when two pop stars reign at the same time

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Lady Gaga’s “ARTPOP” 11.11.13

vs.

Katy Perry’s “Prism” 10-22-13

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There seems to be a special alignment of the planets (or corporate music industry strategy. whatevz) when a huge pop star releases an album.  Madonna vs. Cindi Lauper, Britney vs. Christina, and now Gaga vs. Katy Perry. What would be the fun in releasing a major diva studio pop album without some healthy competition?! GOD THIS FALL IS GOING TO BE AWESOME.

Lady Gaga and Katy Perry rose to fame together, both have two albums under their sparkly belts and are slated to release their third albums this fall, respectively titled “ARTPOP” and “Prism”. I have no idea which one I’m more excited for. Dare I say I’m excited for both? Pop blasphemy! Pop music tyrant! To the VMA stakes!

I’m excited for Gaga’s “ARTPOP” because:

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Single art for Gaga’s “Applause”. Me gusta.

  • I like all of the aesthetics so far. Her first single titled “Applause” has a fresh look to it. I’m digging the white a lot. It’s a whole lot better than her “Born This Way” album art, that’s for sure.
  • Gaga lives for art. She puts a lot of effort into her artistic process. “ARTPOP” is said to be a journey through collaborations with famous artists like Inez & Vinoohd (worked with Björk in the music biz and a lot of fashion photography), Robert Wilson, Marina Abramovic (famous performance artist and recently in Jay Z’s latest video release) and Jeff Koons.
  • Girlfriend ain’t afraid to get a little weird, which is always makes for an interesting time.

I’m excited for Katy Perry’s “Prism” because:

  • She is a quintessential pop star. I get the vibe that Katy Perry will (and does) do everything she is directed to do by her label. I like her music a lot, but it is very cut and dried classic pop music. It will be like 200 feet in front of new trends, but won’t stand anywhere near what would be called innovative. She is here for one purpose: Sexy. Hot. Pop. Star. And we love her for that.
  • You know she’s gonna have the best pop song of fall on her new album. She works with the best pop music producers in the business (Max Martin, Dr. Luke) and the best pop music songwriters (Sia, Bonnie McKee). She gets the best of the best of the BEST to help produce and write her music.
  • Her fashion sense is good, even though it’s completely fucking commercial “I’m a sexy lady! Gee whiz! Boobs! Firework!”

“Born This Way” and “Teenage Dream” were both great sophomore releases but totally pandered directly to “troubled” and  “bullied” teens and less towards an artistic, grown up sound. I think both of their upcoming albums will show long overdue maturity, however Gaga probably has more freedom to grow up in the limelight than Katy Perry. Katy Perry is the pop music, number 1 hit maker slave, and Gaga is the weirdo artist but still has to appeal to a wide audience. Life is hard in Pop World, y’all.

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Pop Predictions

All things considered, I think Gaga’s album will be way more interesting and creative than Katy Perry’s. It’s like if Madonna from 30 years ago (holy fucking shit it has been THAT long) split in half, birthing two opposing pop star molds: with Gaga you get the edge, the art, and the cravings for controversy. With Katy you get the “I’m the Queen of Pop now” who releases really great but kind of predictable #1 hits that are about as stimulating as a cold Diet Coke with a really great sandwich. Sure, everyone loves Diet Coke and good sandwiches, but it’s no orange San Pellegrino with a side of classical piano training and a penchant for performance art. Only time (internet leaks) will tell which album will prevail. BRING. IT. ON.

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7 Questions in Heaven

7 Questions in Heaven with Celia Inside

7 Questions Celia Inside

Celia Inside (@celiainside) is an artist I met on Twitter. HELL YEAH TWITTER. We bonded over music, tv and HORRIBLE fucking dating stories. It’s cool to be out on the web and randomly stumble across people you vibe with. Sometimes the internet is great. Anyways, CI just released an EP called Remodel that is full of relationship deconstruction, electric guitar and really, very pretty vocals. (Download the EP for free here)

Check out what this very fresh artiste de Boston has to say (on the very first 7 Questions!) about breakups, the very solo recording process and loving Solange.

1. What was your main inspiration to record the Remodel EP? A break-up, a boring winter, an angel speaking to you in dreams?

There was definitely some post-breakup inspiration, but it was mixed with other stuff. I was going through a kind of perfect storm of huge life changes that happen in those first couple years after college. My friends were moving away and getting super busy with work, and I was busy too, but less well-adjusted about it, I think. So I pressed pause on everything, disappeared for a while, and turned my feelings about those challenging and confusing times into angsty songs! And then the title came about later — it was (and still is) the perfect one-word sentence/truth/tough love advice I need to hear. Remodel. Change, evolve; find a way to live your life that won’t make you miserable!

2)Which song is your baby, the one you love the most or that you feel the strongest connection with and why?

 

“Leaving Girls” is pretty near & dear to me, partly because it was the first song to really take shape both instrumentally and lyrically. There are a couple lines there that have really resonate with people, me included, and I like how the title/words leave lots of room for interpretation. I originally wrote it as a kind of friendship breakup song but it can really apply to anyone who is… leaving, I guess. Haha. I also like how dark and unpredictable it can be… along with the many layers going on between the harmonies and the spastic guitars and the synth. That’s my St. Vincent-wanna-be song.

3)The recording process: You recorded everything yourself (KUDOS bc that shit is HARD). Describe the last week of recording/mixing/mastering. Was there a lot of caffeine/alcohol/pot/sex/cuddles with puppies?

Haha — thanks, girl! Yeah, it wasn’t so fun at times. I couldn’t sleep because I was really stressed out, so I would just drink black tea and stay up super late tweaking this and that. I became super nocturnal — more-so than usual, haha. And yes, I definitely cuddled with my puppy on the reg! She’s so affectionate; bless her heart! She should get a producer credit.

4)Where do you see your music going in the future? Are there any new genres you’re exploring now that may influence your next record?

Ah, there is so much I want to do! On one hand, I’m into R&B in a big way. I grew up listening to so much hip-hop and R&B — it’s a part of me — and I definitely want to experiment more with making beats. I’d love to make an R&B mixtape and rap some on it. I used to rap a bit and I miss it a lot! Especially when I hear some inspired hip-hop. I also feel like a lot of people are loving “Stranger,” which is kind of my Mariah Carey/R&B experiment on Remodel. So yeah, definitely more of that hotness. ;)

On a totally different note, I’d like to rock a little harder; I want to see what I can come up with working with a more traditional set-up: guitar, bass, drums, and that’s it. I’m so amazed at what some bands can do with only three or even two people live. Hop Along and Wye Oak come to mind. When you see them play, you’re definitely going to rock out, but there’s so much genre-bending and style-blending going on with their music too. Those are both bands that make me cry while I bang my head!I’ve always been musically pulled in so many different directions. It makes perfect sense to me to make different albums in totally different styles (ala PJ Harvey or The Cardigans, who are both huge inspirations of mine).

5)You’re gearing up for some live shows in the Boston area (right?). How do you feel about performing these songs live? What is your live set up?

 

That’s the goal — to play live in Boston/New York/wherever I am in the near future. And I feel… conflicted. Because these songs obviously require some drums and synth and PEOPLE that I don’t currently have, yet I want to perform solo & acoustically, at least for a little while. Celia Inside is a veryyy new car and I need to put some miles on it before I, like, plan a cross-country road trip, you know? I’m still very new to performing. I actually just played an original song for the first time tonight at an open mic night! So I have some work to do on this front. But ask me again in a year! :)

6)If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Hmmm. So I thought about this for a while and came up with the BEST answer: Solange. When you talk about artists, truly original people doing new and incredible things creatively like only they can, Solange is at the top of that list. I’m so in awe of the True EP, partly because her last release (SoL-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams) was SO good and fresh and then she somehow managed to top that by like 100%. I love the choices she makes — vocally, lyrically, image and PR-wise, everything — and I just… feel her spirit (lol). Completely. She’s totally brilliant and down to earth and cool. So yes, in my dreams, I would collaborate with Solange and we’d become besties and Beyonce would get dinner with us occasionally and stuff.

7)What’s the most embarrassing artist/song you absolutely LOVE?

Haha. First, I want to note that I’m not easily embarrassed when it comes to this stuff! Like, I regularly go to bat for artists I adore that people are too cool for like Paramore and Danity Kane and whoever. With that said… Ashlee Simpson! When I listen now, her vocals can be ROUGH. Like, oh man. But I think there are some GREAT songs on those first two albums she did. “Unreachable” pops into my head to this day. That whole first album is money and then, on the second one, I LOVE “In Another Life,” “Dancing Alone,” “Say Goodbye”…. Omg, I forgot how solid they were! I think her team had a really cool sound going on. Ugh, I love it.
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Celebrité, Fashion

I hate rich people: Miley Cyrus Edition

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Image via hollywoodlife.com

Gotta love the mega rich. It’s so much fun watching them spend crazy amounts of money–and wear money outfits now!– during an economic recession. Way to go, Miley. BRAVO. YOU’RE SO EDGY AND RICH.

The national unemployment rate is currently 7.6%.

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Listen, Minneapolis

Listen: GRRRL PRTY “Wegula” is HOTTT

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Sophia Eris, Manchita and Lizzo from GRRRL PRTY Image via Facebook

This is the most bumpin’ tune I’ve heard come out of Minneapolis in a while! Can this be a summer jam on the radio stations? LOVE IT. Lizzo, Sophia Eris and Manchita, who are all local musico phenoms who constantly work on a BUNCH of different projects, comprise this new group amazingly titled GRRRL PRTY (vowels are SO last season). Their debut release is a single titled “Wegula”. I’m taking a stab in the dark and guessing ‘wegula” is a lil wordplay on people in bars/parking lots/literally anywhere trying to act superior or simply being a rude dude by claiming a “regular” status. If not, then they’ve added a word to the English language and we should be awaiting Webster Dictionary official status any day now.

Their video above is part of a series called “Lights and a Backdrop” (check out season 1 and season 2) ingeniously crafted by a production company called Evil Ice Cream Pictures. It’s a really cool series that has local musicians perform their tracks in front of-WHAT!- lights and a backdrop. It’s simple and a great way to showcase and spread the word about local talent. Cuz there’s a shit ton of local talent in MPLS/STP. Seriously. Everyone is in a band. It’s amazing.

In case you didn’t know, girl groups are fuckin IN in the MPLS scene. Lizzo and Sophia are also in an R&B girl trio called The Chalice with Claire de Lune. They’ve had a bunch of buzz and success this year. More power to the ladies. It’s refreshing! Plus girl groups were due for a pop culture resurgence anyways. There’s just something about a bunch of women tellin’ it like it is that gets everyone excited. Strong talent, strong opinions, strong style. FUCK. YEAH.

 

 

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Celebrité

Celebrité: Amanda Bynes is getting annoying

Everyone knows Twitter is full of useless information: jokes about dying alone, endless/useless fights about politics and details about strangers’ day to day lives. But once in a while, some fairweathered tweet about a useless celebrity sets me on fire.

Amanda Bynes erratic behavior is becoming a bore

Image via People

Image via People

It’s sort of beating a dead horse at this point to say “Why do we CARE about these people?” Is it because our love lives are stale? Our cubicle is depressing? We don’t have enough interesting things going on it our lives? Probs a combination of the three and a BAJILLION others, but I digress.

My problem with this tweet, and most gossip columns tweeting about AB, is that her crazy weird behavior is something we care to know about. Wearing crazy wigs to court because she shaved her head to wear bad wigs? SHOW ME THE PIC. Mumbling to herself all over NYC? YOU GOT A SOUND CLIP? Throwing a vase/bong out of a high rise window? I LOVE GLASS CHIPS. Entering stores and locking herself in bathrooms to “apply makeup”? DAMN THAT GURL IS HIP. Sure, calling Drake ugly and everyone else ugly is kinda funny and entertaining. But seriously, what the hell is her game?

I will dissect this in three ways:

  • Amanda Bynes is having a mid life identity crisis. Not legit crazy, which would explain why she has never been held by a court for incompetence. It also explains why her friend Drake Bell (granted I don’t know anything about him besides he starred on her show “The Amanda Show” in the early 00’s) said in an interview with OK! magazine that “She’s a sweetheart. I had lunch with her yesterday, and she’s brilliant. She’s good, and she’s healthy.” Without actual mental issues, there’s little anyone can do just because she’s acting weird and rude.
  • She is uneducated and starved for attention. At least Joaquin Phoenix’s weird year was for art. Unless Amanda Bynes is writing a dissertation on the absurdity of post-modern media, or planning to compile a book of tweets that mirror modern life in the era of useless information, I’m gonna continue to think she’s acting out for attention.
  • She thinks acting erratically and getting media attention will bring her career back to life. She’s not wrong, which is even sadder commentary on modern American pop culture and how to be successful. Be a dick! Be crazy! People Love it!

No matter what, the Amanda Bynes news is getting old. Either she’s going to continue to spiral into even more erratic behavior for more and more media/twitter attention, resulting in who knows what, or the public is gonna get bored of her weak attempts at staying relevant. Only sweet time will tell whether our fave semi-crazy B is gonna take it too far or reign herself back in. Oy. Vey.

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Gross, Music

Gross: Demi Lovato sells cars now

Demi Lovato, Car Saleswoman

EW. WHAT? Excuse me? Demi, are the first lyrics to your new song “Made in the USA” (PUKE TITLE) Our love runs deep like a Chevy? And is your chorus really cuz our love was made in the USA? Jesus. Nice try on the “Party in the USA” rip off, but no. Just… no.

Image via broadwayworld.com

She’s so edgy. Image via broadwayworld.com

How much do you think Chevy paid to have Demi Lovato, singer, actress, judge on The X Factor, to put a line referencing Chevy’s slogan in her song pukingly titled “Made in the USA”? Probably a lot. Oh, did I mention yet that Chevy is also the official car sponsor of The X Factor where Miss Lovato just happens to be a judge? Interesting! Transparent. And disgusting.

It’s like the mainstream music industry isn’t even trying to creatively cross promote anymore. Sure, Britney Spears made a couple of songs for Pepsi (and this AMAZING commercial that is my favorite commercial of all time), but she NEVER had a line in one of her albums about how good Pepsi is. It’s one thing to endorse a company and their product, but it’s another to bring it into your art or music and still call it art. It’s not art honey, it’s an ad. You make ads now.

Mental illness marketing is IN

The other thing that pisses me off about Demi Lovato is that she used/currently uses her mental illness(es) as a marketing tool. Come one, come all, o dearly afflicted teens! GROSS.

On one hand, she IS bringing awareness about mental illness into the homes of middle America. On the other, it seems a bit exploitative and confusing to talk about mental illness so much, and then release songs like this empty crap that have nothing to do with anything besides bringing brand awareness to said afflicted teens. Sort of like, Hey guys! I’m bipolar and depressed too. It really sucks, but you should check out this new 2014 Chevy. They are cool now. Skip the therapist to go for a test drive, cuz this shit runs DEEP. 

She's totally upset about the growing wealth disparity, you guys. Image via depotpicture.com

She’s totally upset about the growing wealth disparity, you guys. Image via depotpicture.com

Demi Lovato is the epitome of an uneducated, blank industry pawn. It’s not like she’s the first one ever, but she’s definitely the most obvious this year. It hurts me to know that these young stars, Miley, Justin, Selena, T-Swift, don’t have college educations, because I think a lot of them would be woken up to just how shitty of an influence they are on the world. It pains me to think about what’s going through their heads when they think of the world, life, entertainment, capitalism, commercialism, sexuality etc. *Shivers*

All in all, Lovato’s career is kinda doomed. She’s not ever going to be taken seriously as an ‘artist’ because of shit like this. There’s not really any coming back from corporate shillings. Cuz honestly, what’s next? A song about using Veet on your vag because boys think pubic hair is icky? “I love to Veet my vagina/it makes all the boys say ‘Hey Demetria!'” Wait that’s pretty good, actually.

I pray for my country.

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