Chris Brown vs. The World

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Wow, Chris Brown just can’t catch a break.
BECAUSE HE DOESN’T DESERVE ONE!… yet.

Sunday night, Brown was leaving a recording studio in L.A. when Frank Ocean, who has previously been the subject of anti-gay dissing from Brown, blocked his exit and allegedly said, “This is my studio. This is my parking spot.” When Chris Brown allegedly reached out to shake Ocean’s hand, he allegedly got a tidal wave of hurt from someone in Ocean’s posse, who allegedly hit Brown. The crews all jumped each other, Ocean’s hand got cut up, and Brown fled the scene. The cops were called, but no arrests were made.

It sounds like Frank Ocean may have technically instigated this particular fight, but trouble is going to find Chris Brown no matter what because he is an awful piece of cat shit. When he bashed Rihanna’s face, he made no apologies. Now that she has stupidly taken him back, I doubt there will be any public acknowledgement of his wrongdoing. Once, when questioned about the incident on Good Morning America, he threw a chair and stormed out of the building. What a delightful example for all their young fans. Hey kids, if a man beats you, its OK and you can totes get back together with him.

This “man” has a vicious anger problem that manifests itself physically. He is dangerous. He is disrespectful. He feels entitled. He has no remorse. If he would sack-up and show some vulnerability, explaining how bad he feels, or hey – do a PSA about domestic violence and drop some coin on a charity, then maybe the intensity of his haters will die down, but nooooo he wants to flip the finger to everyone who has anything to say to him on the topic. What’s most fascinating is that he has a tight-knit fan base who calls themselves Team Breezy. They will defend his anti gay rants and condone his misogynistic actions to their last, dying, ignorant breath. A recent tweet from the wife of rapper J. Cole says “I’m the type that, Chris could shoot somebody & I’d be like “Oh well” they saw he had a gun should’ve ran Who just stands there?” This is standard protocol for all of Team Breezy and a lot of them are young women and teenagers – who have been duped by society’s structure of male dominance that they cannot even see the trap they are falling into, especially since Rihanna says its totally cool.

Hey Chris, this will haunt you for the rest of your life until you actually feel sorry about your actions, communicated it to the public, and taken control of your anger issues. Stop being a woman-beating, homophobic-ranting jerk and people will stop treating you like a women-beating, homophobic-ranting jerk. And please don’t kill that puppy.

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Who is more awful: Anne Hathaway or Taylor Swift?

My circle of queens is really torn. Anne Hathaway was undeniably brilliant in ‘Les Miserables’. Point. Taylor Swift dated Jake Gyllenhaal. Point. Anne looked like a shining, professional star while hosting the Academy Awards, but couldn’t anyone next to dum-dum James Franco? Half point. Tay-Tay got interrupted by Kanya West and I reeeeeally hate Kanye West. Half point.

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Anne and her bro, Michael

However, the way Anne acted at the Golden Globes was completely insane. What an obnoxious, phony-bologna, princess. She reminded me of every self-important girl in high school theater that just HAD to have ONE MORE THING to say at the microphone. After receiving her award and making her speech, she elbowed herself in front of the ‘Les Miserables’ producers when they won Best Film to continue thanking everyone she didn’t have time to thank in her first speech. The nerve! Even when she’s being genuine, I feel like it’s an act. Sure, she has a gay brother and she really really really loves the gay community and she’ll make sure to talk about it over and over again as long as she’s on camera. I don’t doubt she’s genuinely supportive, but criminy! I bet Lea Michele wishes SHE had a gay brother! (don’t even get me started on that one – ok one thing – Lea Michele was doing shampoo commercials during the Golden Globes while Anne was collecting her prize. I bet that makes Lea crazy!)

54D0DA14975A99C885452110D23878_h231_w308_m5_cTDfzaZHiI first heard of Taylor Swift when she won some award and Kanye West interrupted her to talk about how she didn’t deserve it. I felt so bad for her! But how long ago was that and have I listened to a full song of hers since? Over three years and no. She threw an icy death eye at Adele at the Golden Globes and then left early after she didn’t win. Word on the street is that since she was passed over for the role of Eponine in “Les Miserables” she didn’t want to hang out. Oh gee. Poor Tay-Tay had to suffer through a slightly awkward awards show that she had the great honor of being nominated at for creating music. It must be really tough to make money doing something that you love and have people praise you for it. Speaking of her music – IT SUCKS!! And she’s, like, best friends with Justin Bieber. Lametown. And how many celebrity boyfriends has she had and how long were those relationships? Pull yourself together, gurl, before your huge fans in middle America realize you’re not country music.

Now that I’ve thought about it, I have my answer. Anne Hathaway may be super annoying, but she’s had genuine moments of art that I have appreciated. Taylor Swift, on the other hand, barf. Its not that Anne Hathaway wins, but that Tay-Tay loses. Who do you think?

The 15 Best Albums of 2012

Welcome to the first post in my new blog about Pop Culture & Politics! I’m sure once I start learning fancypants computer codes, this blog will polish up real nice, so check back for the evolution. But this post just couldn’t wait! What better way to celebrate the new year AND a new blog than to begin with a Best-Of list (I’ll be posting my Best Songs of 2012 list soon). I LOVE lists! I love making lists. I love reading lists. I love talking about lists. I love typing about lists. Whoa. OK. Here we go…

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#15. ALABAMA SHAKES – Boys and Girls <——-Click on the blue links for more info!
Brittany Howard is gonna throw a honey-coated soul bomb in your face. She’s the lead singer for the roots rock Southern band that uses gritty guitars and heart as their tools for creating their unique, but familiar blues sound. Alabama Shakes is reminiscent of many greats: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, which would explain why they were nominated for three Grammy’s, including Best New Artist.

scissor-sisters-magic-hour#14. SCISSOR SISTERS – Magic Hour
The Scissor Sisters could fart and it would make my list. While Magic Hour was not as solidly mind-blowing as 2010’s Night Work, there are some great tracks. “Baby Come Home” is a bright opener, followed by the jittery “Keep Your Shoes On”, which is a kyoot ode to quickies in the bathroom. The stand out track is “Let’s Have A Kiki”, which opens with a hilarious voicemail to someone who is about to have a house party, whether they like it or not. “Lock the doors, lower the blinds” – a “kiki” is a loose term for a gathering of friends at someone’s home instead of going to the club. The rest of the album is an uneven mix of bouncy standards and unimpressive ballads, but I forgive the Scissor Sisters because I want to make sweet sweet love to all of them.

#13. SUFJAN STEVENS – Silver & Gold
Sufjan is an extremely talented musician. A sexy savant. A born-again Christian who is obsessed with Christmas. With a staggering cornucopia of 58 tracks, Silver & Gold eclipses his previous seasonal album, Songs for Christmas (which only has a pithy 42 tracks). Some standouts include: “Lumberjack Christmas”, “Angels We Have Heard On High”, and “Christmas Woman”. Whether he is putting a unique touch on traditional Christmas songs or presenting original, sometimes loony Christmas jingles, this musical mad scientist has truly become part of my winter wonderland.

#12. GOTYE – Making Mirrors
This album actually came out December of 2011, but Americans are slow to culture. Including myself sometimes. Gotye’s last album was back in 2006, but he proves good things come to those that wait. His intricate stylings are exactly what I want to hear when I’m enjoying a glass of white wine at dusk on a Spring day. “Somebody That I Used To Know”, featuring New Zealand weirdo, Kimbra, was a huge radio hit, but you really owe it to yourself to explore the rest of this lovely album. My favorites are “I Feel Better” and “Easy Way Out”. There is a quick instinct to compare his vocals to Sting, but that light association is only the beginning of the craftsmanship inside Making Mirrors.

#11. JUPITER – Juicy Lucy
With it’s disco roots, this Parisian duo delivers masterful synth-pop that is perfect to put on when you walk through the door after a night out on the town and you want to keep the party going. Airy female vocals dance on a rolling new wave parade with highlighted tracks being “One O Six” and “Juicy Lucy (Needs A Boogeyman)”. Jupiter has concocted a retro sound that I automatically respect just because they’re French. And French people know their electronic shit.

#10. CALVIN HARRIS – 18 Months
You know that Rihanna song everyone loves? It’s called “We Found Love”, but it’s not actually Rihanna that makes the song so catchy and memorable – cuz she’s an idiot. The hero of the dancefloor is Calvin Harris. With an impressive entourage of guest vocalists (including Florence Welch, Ne-Yo, and Kelis), he manages to create a sound that’s just different enough to be brilliant, but still has commercial mass appeal. I’ve been a big electro-indie fan of his since 2007’s I Created Disco and 2009’s Ready for the Weekend. He’s an experienced beat dropper for the pill poppers and I’m happy to see him have such a widely appreciated album this year.

#9. FRANK OCEAN – Channel Orange
Smooth R&B vocals blend perfectly with the potpourri of funky samples that Frank Ocean engineers in this robust example of afternoon sex music. Seriously. Put this album on and try not to spring a stiffie. Ocean was raised in New Orleans and you can hear the jazz influences in his work, which includes writing songs for John Legend, Justin Bieber, and Brandy. 2012 was a noteworthy year for him because, in addition to this album that is topping lots of Best-of lists, he publicly announced he was gay. He was moved to tears because he finally felt free to express who he really is. Kudos to you, Frank! And thanks for the bone tones!!

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#8. MUSE – The 2nd Law
These Englishmen are so. effing. dramatic. Some of their past songs have found their way into my collection, but it wasn’t until this album that they had my full attention. The 2nd Law takes it’s name from the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy. “An economy based on endless growth is unsustainable”, says a TV reporter before turning into an evil dubstep robot on the track “Unsustainable”. A high-concept album that tells the tale of possible global collapse through the eyes of modern day glam rockers. Easily, the standout track is “Madness”, that seduces you with electric warbles and carnal vocals.

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#7. KENDRICK LAMAR – good kid, m.a.a.d. city
When I looked at some other Best-of lists for the year, Kendrick Lamar’s first album under Dr. Dre was at the top of many. In the last few days, this gangsta rap has been calling me like a gyrating siren’s song. I cannot stop listening to it! Lyrically astute, his flow is full of deep character. Lamar refers to his album as “a short film”, which is easy for me to get behind because this is visual music. “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Swimming Pool (Drank)” are must hear tracks. Weaving his way through a cinematic story of a young West-coast rapper growing up in Compton, he delivers some of the most powerful thematic elements I’ve heard in a minute. Pure storytelling. A real poet.

#6. MICHAEL KIWANUKA – Home Again
Son of Ugandan refugees, Kiwanuka was born in London, England, where he grew up playing jazz guitar. As a back-up musician for Adele, he shined. In Home Again, his solo debut, he brings a surprising, gentle blend of African folk, Van Morrison, and 1960’s soul. A voice so pure that all he needs for accompaniment is an acoustic guitar. Songs about love, finding your place in life, and the fire in our hearts is his focus, and ours, in this devastatingly gorgeous album.

51O8oVGAyWL#5. MORGAN PAGE – In the Air
Progressive house music albums from a DJ based in Los Angeles could be a nickel a dozen, but Morgan Page stands out because he strikes a synergy between vocal harmonies and pulsing beats that you want to shove directly into your ear. Page has assembled a solid list of guest vocalists, but my favorite surprise is lesbian folk superstars, Tegan & Sara, on one of my favorite songs of the year, “Body Work”. Whether you’re burning calories on a treadmill or speaker humping on ecstasy, this delightful, dancing daydream is your soundtrack.

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#4. THE KILLERS – Battle Born
Having been a huge fan of The Killers from first notes of “Mr. Brightside”, I am still constantly astounded by their musicianship. The Las Vegas based band is uniquely All-American and their fourth album is a true piece of theater. Lush guitar anthems that mount a Mustang and ride off into the rock and roll sunset. They navigate the senses with a primarily alternative rock foundation, but skillfully blend a little electrobeat here, a dash of 80’s throwback there, and the next thing you know, you’ve experienced an album that feels like one long, cohesive song. Brandon Flowers’ lead vocals are, as always, indelible.

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#3. CARLY RAE JEPSEN – Kiss
Carly will forever be hailed as the summer pop voice of 2012. If you didn’t hear “Call Me Maybe” at least 372 times, then you weren’t on planet Earth. She easily could have been a one-hit wonder, but after signing with School Boy Records, Justin Bieber and his posse have created confection perfection. Definitely check out “Turn Me Up”, “Drive”, and her collaboration with Owl City in “Good Time”. As a Canadian Idol runner-up, Miss Jepsen has cemented herself in the Top 40 world. She’s not even in danger of being replaced as my favorite house cleaning music!

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#2. DRAGONETTE – Bodyparts
Absolutely the best dance album of the year. A little Robynesque. A dollop of Goldfrappy. A toucha Yeah Yeah Yeahsish. Memorable melodies by Martina Sorbara, a Canadian songstress, are delicious against Joel Stouffer and Dan Kurtz’s well produced dance beats, drums, and guitars. After two previous albums, Dragonette has finally gelled into their upbeat sound. You can’t help but race everyone to the dancefloor and that’s exactly the type of electro-spirit I crave.

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#1. EDWARD SHARPE & THE MAGNETIC ZEROS – Here
During my crazy summer adventure on reality TV, this album was my motivation, my rest, my salvation, my sin. The hippy-dippy ensemble, who sometimes have up to 25 musicians on stage at once, is a talented crew. A cornucopia of instruments are necessary: tambourines, didgeridoos, woodwinds, and strings are just the tip of the soulful iceberg. Formed out of the need to create after getting sober, Edward Sharpe is a fictional folk messiah breathed into life by Alex Ebert, the man behind the patchouli curtain. My favorite moment on the album is “I Don’t Wanna Pray” – a light-hearted take on spirituality and having a relationship with whoever God is outside the context of religion. “I’m looking to become not the prayer but the prayer” is truly a simple, wonderful thought.