Thursday, 30 September 2010

Glee Season 2 Episode 2 (BRITNEY SPEARS EPISODE) Recap

I've never done a Glee recap - it's one of those shows you watch but never really pay attention to but this episode maybe deserves a special mention.

It's only the second episode in the second season of Glee, and already we have a tribute to a famous singer. Not just any singer- It's Britney, Bitch. Ever since the first rumour of a Britney episode on Glee, it set the internet ablaze and we've been anticipating its release since its confirmation. Britney has kindly updated us through her Twitter throughout the process :) 

Anyway, having finally watched the episode, I can now say that it is one of my favourite episodes of Glee, and the way it was presented was really good- well synched into the storyline in a fun way.

So basically, Emma's new boyfriend played by John Stamos is a dentist, and the Glee kids get epithemies or "Britney fantasies" when they visit, first of which was Brittany (whose full name is actually Brittany S. Pears). She takes on "I'm A Slave 4 U" in three different classic Britney costumes which were all really genuine:

The next time she visits, Santana comes along and they both do a rendition of Britney and Madonna's "Me against the Music" which also was done very well and very much like the original.

Later on as Rachel visits the dentist, her fantasy was "Baby One More Time" which again was done super well, with Finn propped in the background as the basketball player that features in the original video.

Artie does "Stronger" which he sings well, but the accompanying action was really lame- football players dancing around him and him lifting weights gave too literal an interpretation of the song. To finish off, the whole troupe performed "Toxic" for their homecoming assembly. The way they changed it elevates the song so much higher- yet still very sexy.

Check out the clip:

Overall, the way they recreated the videos throughout the episode, then changed "Toxic" at the end was truly phenomenal and makes this a really amazing tribute to the princess of pop. This trumps the overhyped "Lady Gaga Episode" of Glee by MILES, as proven by the record breaking ratings. Gwyneth Paltrow is known to star in a future episode, but I doubt that would generate as much hype, or manage to beat this in any way, shape or form.

America's Next Top Model Cycle 15 Episode 4 Recap

The first challenge of the cycle brings the girls to Knott's Berry Farm theme park where they were given an emotion to portray whilst on the Silver Bullet Roller coaster- interesting concept for a challenge, certainly funny to watch as they screamed and [cried]. The winner of the challenge was Liz, who was given the word commericial/happy and all she did was smile cheesily- lame... had everyone been given that word I'm sure we'd have a different winner...

Anyway, Miss commercial brought Kayla and Chris to her prize of shooting the cover and afterwards had tea with Tyra herself and a quick chat...

The photoshoot this week was shot by Matthew Rolston in an underwater themed beauty shot selling jewellery. The concept was much more exciting than the previous photoshoots, though the dead eels and lobsters were a bit overrated.

It was really cool how the photographer directs the shoot like an artistic piece and how he tries to adjust things to make the model look their best, but it was a bit too far when he went to almost every girl to point out their facial imbalances and proportional problems...

The shoot went well for most, except for Liz who kept complaining during the shoot (= bottom two), although Rhianna got negative critique from Jay for being too Elizabethan?!

At panel, everyone got praise- oh how beautiful they look... there really wasn't much diversity and the results make the overall shoot look really flat and undiverse. Some did really well (Kayla, Ann) with awesome comments, whilst Liz was critiqued for complaining- she was even doing that whilst she was being judged... Rhianna was critiqued for looking the same every week and not really being versatile. Chelsey was called a drag queen.

So after deliberation, Ann got first call out- third time in a row! followed by Kacey (WTH) with Kayla not getting her call until near the end which is atrocious!!!

In the end, Rhianna and Liz were in the bottom and Rhianna got eliminated despite having an obviously better photo- lame!!!! It was quite obvious due to the editing that Rhianna would potentially be cut, but seeing her serene photo, I did have hopes she would be saved... I guess not.

My top three to win:
1. Ann
2. Kayla
3. Lexie

So next week, they are going to be doing some sort of shoot inside a fighting ring, supposedly looking fierce... Ann was shown to struggle, but you know what, there's bound to be a good shot in there and perhaps even get first call out again. Manly Liz and Chelsey may rise due to this particular theme, but we'll soon find out.

Sad that Rhianna is cut- she was so sweet- will the sun rise tomorrow?

Fearless Platinum Edition- Taylor Swift Album Review

Taylor Swift's "Platinum edition" re release of "Fearless" with inclusion of six new tracks was enough to get me to purchase it. To top it off, it only cost me £5 from Amazon so it is a real bonus. Swift's new album, "Speak Now" will be released in late October, so these new tracks will hopefully last me until then at the very least.
What you can't see from the picture is that the text is actually metallic and it looks phenomenal against the black background. This special detailing does make the overall cover much more dynamic and premium. I really like this subtle edit!

I don't usually comment on the insert booklet but this one by Taylor Swift is perhaps the most well done I have seen for a long while. Each double page features lyrics for two songs with a really consistent theme- they are fun, colourful and really cool. Some images are taken from music videos, whilst others from promos- overall the pictures are stunning and really inspiring, with a unique and creative style.

 The Platinum Edition has a total of 19 tracks:

1. Jump Then Fall* 4/5
A subdued guitar intro leads into a more explosive chorus but quickly falls back down. A good track, but not amazing- they lyrics are sweet and well written.

2. Untouchable* 4.5/5
Again, this song starts off soft with a much more moody feel. This is quickly relieved by the first chorus and brought into a more upbeat atmosphere which remains throughout the rest of the track- sounds very typical Taylor Swift.

3. Forever And Always (Piano Version)* 4/5
Upon first hearing this, I was not at all impressed. Whilst the piano is extremely impressive (how I wish I can get the sheet music and play it), the vocals are somewhat drowned against this. However, this version is much more raw and heartfelt that my initial reaction to it is completely unjustified. Whilst this is not at all commercial, it will be loved by fans.

4. Come In With The Rain* 4/5
The verse does not wow me but the chorus is fantastic which makes this song better than what it is- the lyrics are fab and written in a very unique style that can be associated with Swift.

5. Superstar* 4/5
The first few notes of the intro vaguely resembles "Love Story". Nothing spectacular musically but again she uses "wide eyed girl" in her lyrics sounding very similar to that other track with the same phrase, the name of which I cannot remember.

6. The Other Side Of The Door* 5/5
The last "new" track on the platinum edition; finally "The Other Side Of The Door" wows from verse to chorus to the end. It is not only catchy, but addictive and I feel this should've been on the album originally, but glad to have it at long last because it sounds so good!

7. Fearless 5/5
An upbeat introduction with a powerful backing track - an addictive song that will cheer you up and brighten your mood- may even get you dancing and singing along!

8. Fifteen 4/5
Not one of my favourites, but a song that is easy to listen to. Lyrically, it also doesn't appeal that much, but given it is written by Taylor Swift based on her personal experiences, I guess it is genuine and heartfelt.

9. Love Story 5/5
One of the best songs on the album is "Love Story" that is a story in itself. Musically, it just gets better and better and you reach the climax and it becomes an explosive love song that is inspired by "Romeo and Juliet"- absolutely love this and you just can't tire of it.

10. Hey Stephen 4.5/5
Surprisingly catchy and upbeat. This is a song I tend to forget seeing the title, but the tune is very memorable- probably better if it had another title, but this is another strong track that gets you singing.

11. White Horse 4.5/5
"White Horse" is a softer track with sweet lyrics- the mood is again brought back down slightly, but kept in a realm of sensibility and soothing-ness. The chorus is really good here both musically and lyrically.

12. You Belong With Me 5/5
Some may find this extremely cheesy lyrically, but I love it- the contrasts in the lyrics are funny and very descriptive- this is perhaps my favourite track on the album. The backing music aids in making this quite quirky and exciting.

13. Breathe 4.5/5
Another really soothing song that is good not for the upbeat cheeriness but for the simplicity and heartfelt delivery. She sounds like Avril Lavigne in the verse part :P

14. Tell Me Why 4.5/5
I'm not a big fan of the intro (cheesy alert!) but this is quickly diffused. Phew! It grows into a really catchy and addictive song with a amazing chorus. This is another favourite of mine.

15. You're Not Sorry 5/5
Again, this song is soft but the lyrics are fantastic and the overall feel of the song has a great atmosphere. The emotions are also expressed very well in the song which makes this a really phenomenal song.

16. The Way I Loved You 4.5/5
The chorus is really exciting and fast which makes it catchy and addictive. I'm not too fond of the verses, although the lyrics work well with the speed... This is one of those tracks you forget. It's not bad, but compared to the really strong ones, it's overshadowed.

17. Forever And Always 5/5
Quite a catchy verse that we are instantly plummeted into which continues fairly consistently through to the chorus and to the finish. Another one of my favourites!

18. The Best Day 3.5 /5
A comparatively average song compared to everything else- certainly not what we want nearing the end of the album... some good lyrics can be found here though...

19. Change 5/5
Despite the mediocrity of "The Best Day", "Change" does simply what it's called- change the tone. The into is extremely rocky but leads to an upbeat and happy song that leaves the album with an exciting sound that will hopefully be carried forward in her next album "Speak Now". The simple fact that this song is rather different due to its harsher backing makes this another of my favs!

* refers to a new track

SONGS TO LOVE: "The Other Side Of The Door", "Fearless", "Love Story", "You Belong With Me", "Breathe", "You're Not Sorry", "Forever And Always" and "Change".

SONGS TO SKIP: NONE, but some are overshadowed by the strongest tracks.

~~~DVD DISC~~~
The second disc contains five music videos (Change, The Best Day, Love Story, White Horse and You Belong With Me) along with behind the scenes videos on three of those. Additional content on this disc are photo gallery of her Fearless Tour in 2009, behind the scenes of that tour and "Thug Story" from the CMT Awards.

They are good bonuses, but not essential as you can watch the music videos as well as the behind the scenes online- the most interesting will have to be the behind the scenes video of her tour.

For the super duper price of £5 that this is at, this product is a no-brainer. All the songs are well written and have a very upbeat feel which is easy to listen to. Fans of Taylor Swift will love her new tracks, although they are in no competition to tracks originally on the album such as "You Belong With Me", "Love Story" and "Fearless".

The whole album is really strong although the only criticism is that it all starts to sound a bit similar after hearing the nineteenth track. I can only fault this album on that but there are a few good soft ballads that do balance the tracks out, but the overall feel, sound and tone of the songs are pretty much the same- I guess it just makes me want to hear her new album even more as it is a new era for her! Despite this, "Fearless" Platinum Edition is simply a MUST!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Charice - Charice Pempengco Album Review

After seeing Charice Pempengco star in Glee as "Sunshine" and hearing her sing "Telephone" (By Lady Gaga) and "Listen", I just knew she was something spectacular and I was right- a Youtube sensation that shot to fame and has recently released her self-titled international album, Charice.

A simple full portrait of the singer against a coloured background and rounded text form the cover of the album. I think it is very minimalistic which is nice; I'm unsure though, of her facial expression- she looks in pain opposed to the edgy look I presume she is trying to achieve. 

The album contains twelve tracks:
1. Pyramid (featuring Iyaz) 4/5 [Solo version gets 5/5]
This song is really catchy from when it begins and has all the right ingredients for a pop hit. Having also heard the solo version, I personally prefer the solo version, but I can see how this collab. with Iyaz will gain more widespread appeal. The chorus is music dynamite!

2. Reset 4.5/5
A strong beat introduces this song, which has a bit of a quirky verse, but easily leads into a hip chorus which resembles something from early Rihanna. It is another catchy track which is extremely easy to listen to and simply quite addictive.

3. In This Song 4.5/5
An upbeat ballad showing off Charice's vocals. It is a good song, but isn't really as addictive, though it is wowing. This track reminds me of the sound similar to Rachael Lampa.

4. Nobody's Singin' To Me 5/5
I really like this song because it is extremely catchy and the chorus just sounds like something you can hear on the radio all the time- this I feel is a really strong HIT and should be released as a single ASAP. It sounds quite like Leona Lewis, because her vocals are used very well to compliment the song.

5. Thank You 4.5/5
A similar beat to "Reset" is found in this song which is a very upbeat ballad/pop track. Again, Charice's vocals sound fab but with a more rustic feel. This is another super strong song!

6. I Love You 3.5/5
The "Ai-ai-i-i-i" bit that starts this track is a bit TOO similar to Alicia Key's "No-one" but the similarity quickly diffuses into an upbeat and strong, but the chorus is rather cheesy. I don't like this as much, but Charice's vocals are flawless yet again!

7. In Love Too Deep 5/5
The Intro is much darker here with a rockier feel. It has a really familiar sound - it's as if I've heard it before somewhere else which isn't good as far as originality goes, but this song is phenomenal (best song on the album!?) so can't argue with that. Absolutely LOVE this.

8. All I Need To Survive 3.5/5
A soft ballad with great lyrics, but is overshadowed by her even stronger upbeat tracks. This is a good song, but really doesn't help being sandwiched between two stunning songs. The strong backing beat does help though.

9. Nothing 5/5
The chorus is what makes this song quite spectacular and is another upbeat track that is easy to be addicted to. At this point though, songs do start to sound quite similar, especially with the backing beat, so they really have to stand out.

10. The Truth Is 5/5
This starts off quite soft but gradually builds up to a more powerful ballad which works in this case, and does break up the previously strong beated track quite nicely.

11. I Did It For You 4/5
Surprisingly, this sounds different in some way, but is another upbeat track. It isn't WOW but isn't BLAH either, so it is quite nicely a strong track that you can listen to easily.

12. A Note To God 4.5/5
Being the last track to the album, "A Note To God" is a heartfelt soft ballad with meaningful lyrics. No other song on the album is like this and thus it leaves a lasting impression. It gradually grows in power and is another really strong song which did quite well in the charts (#44) being a lead single to this album, given her relative obscurity in the US when this album was released.

TRACKS TO LOVE: All of them are good, but the best are "Nobody's Singin' To Me", "In Love Too Deep", "Nothing", "The Truth Is" and "A Note To God".

The album overall is extremely song. Most of the tracks are super catchy and addictive, with an upbeat sound that many people will enjoy. Softer ballads break up the strong beated catchy tracks, although these are not always powerful enough to balance the sound out effectively, as they are sometimes just drowned and overshadowed by the addictictive pop hits.

The sound of the album is like a mix between Leona Lewis, Rachael Lampa, Holly Valance, Stacie Orrico and Rihanna-- she has undoubtably one of the strongest voices I have heard for a while combining all the positives from the artists listed above.

Charice Pempengco is from the Phillipines and she is the first Asian artist to have a Top 10 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, gain a #1 in the US dance chart and have a single reach top 40 on the UK chart. At just 18 years old, Charice has achieved only what some dream on, and her career continues to soar as she stars in Glee as a recurring character Sunshine. I eagerly await to see what she does next- she has a long career ahead of her!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

YouTurn Pavilion by UN Studio

YouTurn Pavilion by UN Studio was designed for the Sao Paulo Art Biennale. Designed from a centripetal shape, it features strong curves, rounded edges and crisp lines. A combination of art and structure, it features a central convergence that allows people to interact together and with the form.

The design looks very modern and sci-fi which could definitely be toned down, but the structure, curves and shape of it is lovely. I really like the multipurpose central area which could be used for a variety of things, but overall is aesthetically pleasing and thus successful.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Cute Animals: Koala -not really- Bears

Photograph taken by David Morgan-Mar
This week's cute animal spotlight goes to the Koala. Although commonly called the Koala-bear, they aren't actually bears but marsupials (with a pouch for their baby) and hence uber-cute.

I have always liked Koalas from a very young age and one of my aspirations is to see them for real and give one a big cuddle- they look so soft and lazy and sleepy that I'm sure they wouldn't mind... but I have head them to claw and bite! 

Since they sleep for the majority of the day, most of the pictures I found were of them sleeping, but I also found some really cute ones of their babies so enjoy!

Again, hope this has cheered you up and brightened your day!


Sunday, 26 September 2010

Marchesa Spring Summer 2011 Collection (New York Fashion Week)

Marchesa's Spring/Summer 2011 Collection showcased at New York Fashion Week was sensational. It was like the designs just popped out of a fairytale. Everything from the shape of the garment to the detail is perfect, the craftsmanship is flawless and each one is like a work of art in itself.

I love these and they are really inspiring from a structural point of view- the manipulation of the fabric to create the forms is spectacular. 

Prepare to be WOWED.




Bernard Chandran Spring Summer 2011(London Fashion Week)

Bernard Chandran's Spring/Summer 2011 collection for London Fashion Week on the outside appears to be quite sci-fi due to the recurring use of metallic beads and light silky fabrics. On closer inspection, you can really see cultural inspiration (actually inspired from Mayan dress) but with an edge. 

There is somethign edgy about this collection. Perhaps it is the very defined shoulder pads or the enlarged side pockets that give the collection power and integrity.




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