Articles on this Page
- 11/10/12--22:03: _Mary Kate Olsen, 26...
- 11/11/12--05:23: _ARIEL WINTER - Moth...
- 11/11/12--05:25: _Taylor Lautner bein...
- 11/11/12--05:25: _Soundgarden Roar Ba...
- 11/11/12--05:26: _Paul McCartney narr...
- 11/11/12--05:30: _Celebrity picture post
- 11/11/12--19:02: _A star is born!!!
- 11/11/12--19:02: _Rockstar’s Dan Hous...
- 11/11/12--19:18: _The Walking Dead 3x...
- 11/11/12--19:19: _Dexter 7x08 Promo "...
- 11/11/12--19:19: _Revenge 2x08 Promo ...
- 11/11/12--19:56: _Homeland 2x08 Promo...
- 11/11/12--19:57: _Misfits 4x03 review...
- 11/11/12--20:18: _Flawless House ONTD...
- 11/11/12--20:18: _Boardwalk Empire - ...
- 11/11/12--20:26: _Courtney Stodden's ...
- 11/11/12--21:11: _Crystal Castles tal...
- 11/11/12--22:06: _Fifty Shades of Gre...
- 11/12/12--06:53: _Reviews of 'Lotus'
- 11/12/12--07:10: _Kelly Clarkson - Ca...
- 11/11/12--05:23: ARIEL WINTER - Mother Was a Terror During Recent Film Shoot
- 11/11/12--05:25: Taylor Lautner being Cute on his BD promo.
- 11/11/12--05:26: Paul McCartney narrowly avoided crash
- 11/11/12--05:30: Celebrity picture post
- 11/11/12--19:02: A star is born!!!
- 11/11/12--19:02: Rockstar’s Dan Houser Spews More Bullshit on Grand Theft Auto V
- 11/11/12--19:18: The Walking Dead 3x06 "Hounded" Preview
- 11/11/12--19:19: Dexter 7x08 Promo "Argentina"
- 11/11/12--19:19: Revenge 2x08 Promo "Lineage"
- 11/11/12--19:56: Homeland 2x08 Promo & Episode Photos - "I'll Fly Away"
- 11/11/12--19:57: Misfits 4x03 review + 4x04 synopsis
- 11/11/12--20:18: Boardwalk Empire - Episode 10 Preview
- 11/11/12--22:06: Fifty Shades of Grey leads woman to divorce her husband
- 11/12/12--06:53: Reviews of 'Lotus'
- 11/12/12--07:10: Kelly Clarkson - Catch My Breath
Their relationship has been branded 'grotesque' by critics.
But Mary Kate Olsen, 26, and Olivier Sarkozy, 42, are doing their best to prove their haters wrong by packing on the PDAs at a basketball game.
The couple, who have been together nine months, seemed closer than ever at the Dallas Mavericks versus New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
Despite a 16 year age gap between them the pair have shrugged off any insinuation their romance won't last.
At the game it seemed difficult for the pair to tear their eyes off each other with Mary Kate opting for a casual look, with rough hair and a hoodie.
Meanwhile Sarkozy's ex-wife Charlotte, whom he divorced last year, has branded his relationship with Olsen as 'grotesque'.
Yet by all appearances, the cavalier half-brother of former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy isn't concerned with the criticism.
Ariel Winter's mother was an overbearing stage mom who constantly criticized Ariel and ordered her never to leave her side ... this according to a source on the set of one of Ariel's recent movies.
In June 2010, Aerial filmed "The Chaperone," starring Triple H. But according to a source who worked on the film, Ariel's mom Crystal acted like she was the star of the movie.
We're told Crystal had her own director's chair and listened to each take on her headphones. After each take, Crystal would pull Ariel aside to tell her what she did wrong.
Our source says Crystal opinions weren't reserved just for her daughter -- she would often tell the writers and director what she thought of each scene. Our source says Crystal would even order around the production assistants ... making them fetch her food from Craft Services.
The movie starred many other child actors, but we're told Ariel never got a chance to hang out with them because she was not allowed to leave her mother's side.
Our source adds ... while Crystal seemed like the stereotypical, overbearing stage mom ... they never witnessed any sort of abuse.
Crystal's antics weren't just reserved for Ariel. TMZ spoke with Crystal's brother-in-law, who told us Crystal acted the same way with Ariel's sister Shanelle when she was growing up. The brother-in-law says Crystal was extremely hard on Shanelle, controlling what she ate and how she looked.
Taylor Lautner vs. Michael Strahan: Gridiron Challenge
he's the cutest,im sad for his career right now :(
interviews at the source.
lol rob,get it!
Those happily reunited beasts in Soundgarden have delivered the inaugural music video for their first full-length in 16 years, King Animal. Album cover designer Josh Graham directs this dystopic clip for the furious earth-shaker "Been Away Too Long," in which a woman in a straight jacket attempts to escape her gas mask-wearing captors and their ferocious guard dogs. Spoiler alert: The magical snow room is not what it seems.
The video arrives on the same day as a tour announcement, which finds Soundgarden hitting the States hard come January 18, spending two nights each in New York, Toronto, Chicago, Oakland, Los Angeles, and their hometown Seattle. To go with, the band is giving fans a chance to design a tour poster with "a ferocious and primal design that embodies the untamed disposition of a 'King Animal.'"
The deadline for the contest is December 21 and the winner will receive a $500 cash reward, plus knowledge that she or he is, in the eyes of Soundgarden, a king freaking animal for life. Until then, be sure to catch up on SPIN's latest feature with the godfathers of grunge, our Motorvision photographic history of the band, and last year's interview with Chris Cornell for "It Was 20 Years Ago..." about their classic "Rusty Cage."
Soundgarden tour dates:
Nov. 13 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
Nov. 16 - Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Theater
Nov. 27 - Los Angeles, CA @ Fonda Theatre
Jan. 18 - Washington, DC @ DAR Constitution Hall
Jan. 19 - Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theatre
Jan. 20 - Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
Jan. 22 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Jan. 23 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Jan. 25 - Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
Jan. 26 - Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
Jan. 27 - Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
Jan. 29 - Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theater
Jan. 30 - Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theater
Feb. 1 - Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
Feb. 2 - Minneapolis, MN @ Orpheum Theatre
Feb. 6 - Portland, OR @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Feb. 7 - Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theater
Feb. 8 - Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theater
Feb. 10 - Vancouver, BC @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Feb. 12 - Oakland, CA @ Fox Theatre
Feb. 13 - Oakland, CA @ Fox Theatre
Feb. 15 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
Feb. 16 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
Sir Paul McCartney narrowly avoided a potentially-fatal crash when the pilot of his helicopter became 'disorientated' in bad weather.
The Beatles legend and his wife Nancy Shevell were just two feet away from disaster as the helicopter plunged towards trees, but fortunately the pilot dramatically lifted the chartered Sikorsky S-76C away at the last minute.
The drama happened as the aircraft attempted to land at night on a helipad at Paul's East Sussex estate and the helicopter eventually touched down safely after diverting to a nearby airport.
The couple were said to be unaware of how close they came to crashing but the near miss is being investigated by the Department of Transport.
According to The Mail on Sunday newspaper, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch has categorised the episode - which occurred on May 3 - as a 'serious incident', which it defines as 'involving circumstances indicating that an accident nearly occurred'.
The report also reveals flying conditions that night included 'low cloudbase, poor visibility and rain'.
Despite this, the pilot went ahead and prepared to land on Pauls's helipad, which is in the corner of a field encircled by woodland.
It added: 'While manoeuvring, the commander became disorientated and the helicopter descended towards tops of trees in the forested area to the south and west of the landing site.'
The pilot then 'executed a go-around' or aborted landing.
Peter Norton, chief executive of the British Helicopter Association, said: 'He [the pilot] was going to land and realised he wasn't in control of the aircraft because of the weather conditions and visibility; he pulled in lots of power to climb away and correct the aircraft to its proper flightpath and missed whatever it was by two feet.'
Paul's spokesman said: 'Paul has been spoken to. It has been put to him, everything. It's a no comment.'
On Good Morning America
Elizabeth Hurley at the Grey Goose winters ball
Elle Fanning at LAX
Katie Holmes and Suri at the music box theatre
Kardashians eat out in London
Carla Gugino, Iman and Gwendoline Christie attend the screening of "Hotel Noir" at Crosby Street Hotel
Rosie Huntington Whiteley at LAX
Jessica Biel in New York
Rose McGowan dines at Le Pain Quotidien
Ashton Kutcher at Larchmont village
Minka Kelly and Chris Evans in Los Feliz
Xfactor judges Saturday night
Katherine Jenkins at the Groucho club
Vanessa Hudgens at Madison square gardens
Rachel Bilson and Lauren Conrad at the ShoeMint Celebration
Breaking Dawn - Part 2: Fan Concert held at Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE
Lauren Conrad shops in West Hollywood
Lucy Liu at the Women For Women International Gala in New York City
James Franco at Miami airport
Owen Wilson and Robert
Source 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 1617 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Deport Justin Bieber and that horse face Cody Simpson!!
Move over Austin Mahone and Ark music factory!! Lock up Willow Smith, no seriously lock her up
There is a new star and he will rescue us from the 2012 apocalypse
Fresh out of the Netherlands I give you Lil Blade
Michael, one of the three playable characters in the coming Grand Theft Auto V, by Rockstar Games.
The Grand Theft Auto series of video games is a rare cultural phenomenon: incredibly popular (the last version sold more than 25 million copies globally), widely condemned (by politicians like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joseph I. Lieberman) and adored by the highbrow (Junot Díaz is a huge fan). Yet its creators at Rockstar Games have been able to shroud themselves in relative mystery for more than a decade, even after a Federal Trade Commission investigation in 2005, when copies of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas were yanked from store shelves after a fan unlocked some sexual content that had been hidden in the game’s code.
With Grand Theft Auto V, the first major title in the series in five years, coming out next spring, Rockstar seems more eager than it has been in the past to talk about itself and the maturation of its work. Rather than being inspired solely by gangster films and TV shows like “Miami Vice,” the Grand Theft Auto games now try to capture, albeit in heightened form, aspects of contemporary life. The new game, set in a fictionalized Los Angeles called Los Santos, tackles the aftermath of the credit crunch and the housing crisis for three criminals, each of whom is playable. (Previously, the games focused on a protagonist.) Yet it’s still Grand Theft Auto: In a demo version one character pours a ring of gasoline around a truck and lights it on fire.
During a recent conversation in SoHo, Dan Houser, Rockstar’s head writer and vice president for creative — as well as the brother of the studio president, Sam Houser — spoke about what he and Rockstar are trying to achieve with Grand Theft Auto V, how his Englishman-in-New-York status informs his writing, and whether he thinks the studio has changed with time. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
Q. What do you want people to get out of the games that you make?
A. Obviously, we want them to be entertained. We want them to be stimulated, questioned, amused, all of the other higher and lower things one gets from entertainment.
Books tell you something, movies show you something, games let you do something. Open-world games have an enormous strength, creatively. As well as letting you do something — run around, fly a helicopter, be the hero, be the antihero, whatever — they also let you be in the world, passively. So we’ve taken some of the things the director used to control within the movie and handed it to you as the consumer of the medium.
We have a vision for what we think interactive entertainment can become, and each time we get closer to realizing those ambitions.
Q. What is that vision?
A. It’s the stuff we’re trying to realize with this game. It’s a world brought to life, in which you are able to exist and explore and have the benefits of some kind of narrative pull-through, a world that exists and doesn’t exist at the same time. We’ve made something that sort of is Los Angeles and sort of isn’t. And that’s deliberate, that it isn’t an exact replication of it. We wanted this post-crash feeling, because it works thematically in this game about bank robbers. And that seems like it’s going to endure through the next year.
Q. Do you start with a place, or with the qualities and themes you want to address?
A. The longest part of the process of making one of these games is making the world. If this wasn’t the right way to do it, which I think it probably is, anyway, just from a pure production standpoint you have to start building the world as soon as possible. We start with the place, and then the characters come out from the place.
Trevor, another of the playable characters in Grand Theft Auto V, which will be introduced next spring.
Q. How does the new, three-character structure help you get closer to the ambitions you have for the medium?
A. Just at the conceptual level, the idea was three separate stories that you play in one game. The next bit was, let’s not have the stories intersect once or twice but have them completely interwoven. It felt like it was going to be a real narrative strength: you get to play the protagonist and the antagonist in the same story.
Q. Is it fair to say that your games are satires of American culture?
A. I think it’s fair to say that they are set in a world that is a satire of American media culture.
Q. Does your Britishness give you a perspective on this country that illuminates your satire?
A. I don’t think anyone in America really understands what growing up in Britain in the ’70s and ’80s was like. Eighty percent of the television was American. Every movie you saw was American. Even though there are all these great British pop stars, 95 percent of them sing in American accents, and they all sing in an American idiom. So there was a great love of America, and maybe some junior-partner resentments for it. But it’s a very different relationship compared to America’s contemporary relationship with Britain, where a few small things are cherry-picked and told how wonderful they are.
My brother and I have a certain perspective as people from London who then moved to New York. But the guys in Scotland at our Rockstar North studio, they have a different perspective, as people who never lived here. And then Lazlow Jones, who writes a lot of the satire with me, is a good ol’ boy from Oklahoma. The games have always been, in some ways, a British response to Americana, rather than America. But it’s not just that.
Q. You’re now 39. Has growing older changed your approach to video games?
A. In terms of whether we’re too old to be prancing around in allegorical spandex, no, I don’t think so. I suppose our reputation as a company was that we’re profoundly antisocial, histrionic and looking to be controversial. And we simply never saw it in that light. We saw ourselves as people who were obsessed by quality, obsessed by game design. I would use as Defense A the game called Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis. For us, that was as important as any game we made, if for no other reason than showing that we could make an interesting game about anything.
Q. I hear the episode when a fan unlocked some hidden code inside Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and ended up prompting a Federal Trade Commission inquiry was traumatic for your company.
A. It’s quite hard having your in-box read by lawyers, in a country where you’re only a resident. It was a really tough time, it shook us to our core, and we found it very, very unpleasant to go through. As anyone would, being told off for stuff when you felt it was the medium you worked in that was under attack, not the nature of the content.
Q. There are people who still aren’t delighted by the treatment of women in your games.
A. Of course. But is their argument that in a game about gangsters and thugs and street life, there are prostitutes and strippers — that that is inappropriate? I don’t think we revel in the mistreatment of women at all. I just think in the world we’re representing, in Grand Theft Auto, that it’s appropriate.
Q. Are there games you play in which you think, “Oh, I’m going to steal that,” or, “I’m going to do that but do it better, do it right”?
A. Anyone who makes 3-D games who says they’ve not borrowed something from Mario or Zelda is lying — from the games on Nintendo 64, not necessarily the ones from today. But I would argue in that regard we’ve certainly been more sinned against than sinning.
Q. I think of you guys as a particularly cinematic studio.
A. I suppose what we’ve borrowed from cinema is cinematography. We haven’t borrowed a lot structurally. We’ve borrowed from TV structurally, we’ve borrowed from long-form novels structurally. Even a short game like Max Payne is 10, 12 hours long. It’s several action movies back to back, in terms of how the story works.
Q. The closest thing to Grand Theft Auto I can think of that someone is doing in a different medium is the work of David Simon, who has tried to capture cities, in “The Wire” but even more so in “Treme.” It’s quite different, but TV is similar in the sense that people spend 30, 40 hours with a show.
A. I haven’t seen “Treme.” I never even saw “The Wire.” One of my weird disciplines is that I don’t really watch a lot of those shows, if they relate to what we do. I only watched a tiny bit of “The Sopranos.” No “Boardwalk Empire.” No “Breaking Bad.” Wherever it’s too close to crime, gangster, underbelly fiction, and it’s supercontemporary, I decided, for professional reasons, I have to avoid it.
Q. At this stage in the process, what’s left to do with Grand Theft Auto V?
A. We are editing, fixing, removing, replacing, adding, avidly. It’s the equivalent of, if you wrote a book, and you had two million spelling mistakes. And you had to do them by hand, in a language you didn’t understand. But once it’s working, you can sit there and watch the world go by. I still find that magical about them. You don’t get that with anything else. The life might be fake, but it’s still the closest we’ve come to a living artwork. I think that’s the core appeal of them.
Not here for them killing off Santiago Cabrera so quickly. Is Deb not allowed ANY HAPPINESS? Also, I like the conflict they're setting up for end season. I feel like Hannah may start going after Debra, and Dex (like season 1) will end up having to kill Hannah and forego his happiness/having someone accept him, because Deb really does matter more to him in the end.
FLAWLESS SHOW AND FLAWLESS GINGER.
This week was the strongest episode of the series so far, possibly due to the presence of three Rudys.
Joe Gilgun gave three sterling performances as Rudy 1 (the puerile one), Rudy 2 (the sensible one) and Rudy 3 (the evil one). He has already shown his versatility through sensitive Rudy and the crude version, but in this episode he took it to a new level with Rudy 3. The latest version of the character was a pure psychopath, whose actions are completely unpredictable which made him all the more sinister.
Forget about the evil twin, this week it was about the evil triplet. The moment where evil Rudy jumped into the body of crude Rudy was a brilliant bit of acting by Gilgun, particularly as he shifted from one character to the other. It was well done and it throws up the potential of more multiple versions of the character which could be based on the different facets of his personality.
The only real criticism about Gilgun’s turn was the lack of distinction between Rudy 1 and Rudy 2. Although they are vastly different, at times their personalities seemed to blur and there was some confusion as to which one was which. Perhaps the difference needs to be re-affirmed. Other than that it was great to see three Rudys, it almost seems as if Rudy could have his own show with multiple version of himself getting into sticky situations each week.
What was interesting about the appearance of the third Rudy was that he served as more of a plot device to explore Jess’s backstory. Up until now, she has come across as sarcastic and somewhat standoffish but finally we learn that she has suffered from an eating disorder, heartbreak and has even attempted suicide.
Despite her prickly exterior she is so vulnerable. Even if she does try to hide it, that fragility is quite obvious. If there were any similarities to Alisha they have now gone. Karla Crome plays Jess well enough and she is slowly starting to feel like a more rounded character.
Jess and Rudy’s heart-to-heart was a wonderful mix of comedy and drama, with snatches of the Macarena punctuating the serious conversation. It was a reminder of the genius of Misfits and the way in which it plays with the tone, taking it from one extreme to the other and back again seamlessly. The tension was broken but as soon as the music cut out, there was a sudden return to the drama.
Meanwhile in Finn’s world, he was hit on by his step-mother who is not his step-mother and finding out that his father is not actually his biological father. The whole sub plot was just not funny in the slightest, not even in a cringe comedy way. Finn is still taking time to become likeable, at times the naivety is sweet but most of the time it is annoying and just grates. As a viewer, there is the urge to smack some sense into him and tell him to grow up.
Curtis and Lola the ‘trainee probation worker’ (is she really) unsurprisingly embarked on a relationship which will be explored in detail next week. However, one thing worth pointing out is the great one-liners Curtis was coming out with this week. The role of Curtis is to be the sensible one, which some may read as ‘boring’, but he is necessary to counterbalance the silliness of Rudy. When Curtis does share a witticism it is actually quite funny.
As a whole this was a dramatic and funny episode due to Gilgun and Crome, and was reminder of how good the show can be. The use of Chris de Burgh’s Lady in Red which was played in the warped murder on the dance floor scene deserves a mention because it was so well done and was a delicious piece of Misfits tragicomedy. There are only two questions this episode may leave viewers asking. Firstly, does Curtis have a power? Secondly, why would anyone want to get married in the community centre?
Next time on Misfits… Lola’s story is the focus and some shady characters are threatening to kill her. There’s a high probability that the shovels will be out again.
Episode 4x04 synopsis
When Curtis's new girlfriend Lola disappears, Curtis discovers that she was never the person she claimed to be. As he investigates further, he is forced to use his power to bring someone back from the dead, with disastrous results. Meanwhile, Rudy and Finn have a disagreement about their shared living arrangements at the community centre, and Jess finally gets closer to mysterious barman Alex.
Source | Source 2
You can also stream the new Season 4 episodes on Hulu, I have no idea how long they will be up but the Season 4 eps are working with a regular Hulu account for now.
Gwendoline Christie and Carla Gugino at a Screening in NYC
Sophie Turner Outtakes from NYLON Magazine
Oona Chaplin in aMUSE Magazine
I know everyone hates Talisa (because she sucks omg), but Oona is lovely and awesome and should be posted more, imo. Anyway, bow. And party post y/y?
Looks like Owen/Margaret get caught? I think he's all talk on his "plans" with Margaret, too. :(
Poor bb Tommy. Rescue him, Richard!
So of course that qualifies her to give advice to Ariel Winter!
As RadarOnline.com has been reporting, the Modern Family star is involved in a nasty family battle, with her mother claiming it has to do with her 14-year-old daughter's romance with her 18-year-old boyfriend.
Out in Hollywood Saturday night, Courtney was asked to share her wisdom about older men with Ariel.
Stodden was obviously confused at first, not seeming to have any idea who Ariel is. Fortunately, husband Doug, was there to fill her in, helping Courtney come up with a good answer.
"I think it's awesome! As long as they're in love, it's okay," Courtney said with great enthusiasm."They should get married!"
That's probably not what Ariel's mother -- who has been accused of abusing Winter -- wants to hear.
The young actress' mother lost custody of her last week, and her sister has been given temporary guardianship of Ariel and her finances.
As Radar first reported, Ariel wants to be legally emancipated from her mother and estranged father.
Alice Glass and Ethan Kath on their new album's themes of oppression, and why their beyond-dire outlook is based on much more than a goth-tinted hallucination.
By Ryan Dombal, November 8, 2012
Photos by Erez Avissar
When most think of Crystal Castles, they think of the Canadian duo's riotous, strobe-strewn live shows, or frontwoman Alice Glass' manic yelps, or producer Ethan Kath's paranoid synth static. They don't think of the words coming out of Glass' mouth-- probably because nearly all of them are distorted beyond recognition. But they're there. And they're important to Crystal Castles.
On new album (III)-- which you can listen to in full below, via Spotify-- Glass' lyrics attack various forms of oppression: religious, societal, governmental. Her overall outlook, as you might guess from her dying-animal delivery, is quite bleak. On "Insulin", between claustrophobic bass hits, she cries: "Your first born will be accosted/ Fill their lungs with tar and sage/ Make the stem cells act their age." Her message is unrelenting as it depicts a dystopia filled with disease, hypocrisy, and bride burnings-- it makes The Matrix look like "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood". And, as Glass explained to us over email, her words are even scarier because they're all based on real-life injustices happening right now around the world.
Pitchfork: In your opinion, what are some of the worst forms of oppression in today's society? How can we positively combat them?
Alice Glass: The worst involve exploitation of children, preying on vulnerability, denying others the right to live safely, and denying people of their right to education. Two-thirds of the world's illiterate are women. Sixty-six percent of countries have no laws to protect women from domestic abuse, and battery is the largest cause of injury to women in America. Native American women are two-and-a-half times more likely to be victimized, but no one from the House Republicans voted in favor of the Violence Against Women Act that would have protected undocumented immigrants, Native Americans, and LGBT women.
African women are responsible for 75% of agricultural work and never see fair pay. In America, women still average 77 cents to every man's dollar. An average American woman will get ripped off $431,360 in her career for not being a man. Two thirds of lobotomies are done on women. Older white men dictate women's right of choice-- there were 604 abortion and reproductive provisions at state level as of June 1. Fifty-four percent of rapes will remain unreported to the police, and 97% of rapists will serve no jail time. There are over 12.3 million victims of human trafficking for sex slavery, and less then 1% have been identified. The average age for trafficking minors in America is 12-14.
Addressing the issues is the first step. There needs to be more awarenes
Pitchfork: Considering the album's cover photo-- which shows a Yemeni woman consoling her son, who was exposed to tear gas-- as well as a song like "Sad Eyes"-- which seems to be about the effects of Muslim burkas upon those who wear them-- do you feel like people should respect burkas as a religious tradition or are they always an oppressive tool?
AG: Burkas represent different things to different people. Some see regression, some see liberation.
Pitchfork: Did you grow up with religion at all? What's your overall relationship with religion now?
AG: I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school until junior high. I don't believe in transmigration or anything like that. I have resentment for being forced to believe in something. I will always think of the church as an institution and not a comfort.
Pitchfork: There are many lyrics on the album that deal with the idea of a "first born" and infants. Considering your dark view of the future, would you consider having kids? Should anyone have kids?
AG: No one should say whether others should breed or not, that would go against how I feel a woman has the right to choose. Everyone has the right to feel regret.
Pitchfork: The idea of "purity" shows up a lot as well-- do you think that is an unrealistic ideal, or something that can be achieved if it were not for forces aimed at sullying such purity? What is pure to you?
AG: Purity is an illusion. The idea of purity has been used as an excuse for calamities like honor killings, bride burnings, child molestation. Purification is genocide.
Pitchfork: After the Robert Smith version of II's "Not in Love", some people assumed you may record vocals for this album in a more traditional manner. That is not the case. Did you consider doing that at all? Why or why not?
EK: Robert Smith's vocals on that track are actually home demo vocals. We cancelled the studio time booked to record final vocals because we were all attached to his raw demo vocals. I went with this idea of first-take vocals on the [III] tracks "Pale Flesh" and "Insulin".
Pitchfork: Where do you think the world will be in 50 years time?
AG: When I genetically engineer my child from a test tube, I want them to have big eyes.
I pretty much bolded everything. This is a great interview whether you like the band or not. What are your favorite songs from (III).
A British woman is divorcing her hubby on grounds the erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey failed to get a rise out of his languishing libido.
The high-powered banker, who earns more than $600,000 a year, charged that her attempt to jump start their love life with author E.L. James’s raunchy novel backfired when her “boring” husband accused her of “unreasonable behavior.”
The 41-year-old woman’s attorney said it was the first time someone has cited the book — dubbed “mommy porn” for its explicit themes of bondage and S&M in a divorce petition.
“She thought their sex life had hit a rut — he never remembered Valentine’s Day and he never complimented her on her appearance,” divorce lawyer Amanda McAlister told the Daily Mail, who did not name her client or the soon-to-be ex-husband.
McAlister said the wife bought sexy underwear to entice her husband into making love, but he never even complimented her on her appearance.
“The woman had been reading the book and wanted to spice up her love life,” McAlister said. “She thought their sex life had hit a rut.”
When the wife pressed her husband to try out some of the action from the book, “he went ballistic” and blamed her for their marital meltdown, McAlister said.
“It’s all because you have been reading that bloody book,” the husband told his wife, according to McAlister.
The Guardian says:
3 out of 5 stars
Stars like Christina Aguilera aren't supposed to fall. The status of multi-platinum A-lister comes with an in-built positive feedback mechanism. Success, at this level, tends to maintain. A team ensures your singles sound like hits while fans buy into a star and are reluctant to disinvest because that implies their own taste wasn't trustworthy to begin with.
Nevertheless, Aguilera took a big knock with her last album, Bionic (2010). It probably sold around half a million copies worldwide (a big flop, in pop money). Blogs still rage about whether Bionic was too brave, featuring as it did collaborations with riot grrl veterans Le Tigre, or whether the record company dropped the ball. It was the tipping point for an annus horribilis. Aguilera got divorced, released a flop film, Burlesque, over-sang the Star-Spangled Banner at the 2011 Super Bowl, was arrested for being drunk in public, and acquired hips.
In pop terms, all this now makes the 31-year-old mother of one a Survivor, and that, in turn, allows her to dip freely into the righteousness narrative of older female stars who've been divorced, abused or addicted. Tenacity and rebirth are themes telegraphed hard on Lotus. Nothing to do with the luxury sports car – apparently the lotus is an "unbreakable flower that withstands any harsh weather conditions… and remains beautiful and strong". This is wiffle of the highest order. But one of the pleasures of Aguilera is that she can use polysyllables, even when talking the rot that fills women's mags.
Her ex (we presume) is the target on at least a couple of tracks, which serve up divorce two ways, devilled and fried. Uptempo thumper "Army of Me" shares emotional territory with the Björk song of the same name and Aguilera's old hit, "Fighter". Aguilera may be in pieces but all those bits have Uzis. "Circles" enjoins some dude to swivel on her middle finger. The sing-song verse is redolent of Rihanna but you can forgive a lot when there's a line as zingy as "Why you always tryna be up in my mixture?/ Cos I'm freaky fly fresh/ And you just bitter."
Elsewhere Aguilera tries hard to soothe the horses. Most of the uptempo tracks follow production trends closely and then drop an ecstatic Aguilerean ululation on top. You can see straight through them but they work. There's more Rihanna-copping, for instance, on "Around the World", a come-hither tune that also quotes from Aguilera and co's cover of "Lady Marmalade" (Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mýa, Pink), from a time when she could put no stiletto wrong.
Aguilera's stock is not at rock bottom. She is a judge on the successful US version of The Voice. She guested on Maroon 5's inescapable hit "Moves Like Jagger"; TV co-stars like Cee-Lo Green are on board here too, for tracks such as "Make the World Move". The only risks are taken on the introductory bagatelle, where multiple, chorusing Aguileras coo and bass booms. She's pulled in writers such as Max Martin (Britney Spears) for insurance on tracks like the first single "Your Body" (but, ironically, it didn't chart particularly well). The album's midpoint rave banger, "Let There Be Love", is about as formulaic as club pop gets. But it resonates effectively, like much else here; every throb and ooh in the right place.
The TV talent show “The Voice” changes lives — particularly the lives of its judges. Through his participation in the program, Cee-Lo Green completed his transformation from austere, intellectually challenging Southern hardcore rapper to roly-poly crowd-pleasing everyman. Maroon 5 was dead in the water before frontman Adam Levine turned himself into an overexposed chart-topping celebrity with moves like Jagger. Blake Shelton was a second-tier country singer whose best-known song was about a dog; now, he’s Nashville’s Entertainer of the Year.
Yet the rising tide has not yet reached Christina Aguilera, the cannon-voiced pop star who has often attempted to distinguish herself from her peers through her authenticity. Aguilera has never needed computer enhancement to blow the roof off the club, and has often acted as if she knows it. There’s an athletic quality to her use of melisma that makes her a natural for a competitive singing show. On “Bionic,” her 2010 set, she exchanged the organic quality of her voice for something more freeze-dried and modern. That didn’t connect with listeners, and with “Lotus,” the old, familiar Aguilera is back, steaming up 12 tracks of stylistically varied, hook-heavy pop that’s subtle as a sledgehammer and looking to capitalize on the success of the splashy show she judges.
And in case you’ve forgotten her side gig, she’s brought along her co-stars: Cee-Lo and Shelton sing showy “Voice”-style duets on “Lotus.” (She already paired with Levine on “Moves Like Jagger.”) Unsurprisingly, these are two of the least effective songs on “Lotus.” “Just a Fool,” with Shelton, feels handsome but perfunctory, and “Make the World Move,” which sounds like a wannabe soda commercial, is as goofy as everything Cee-Lo is involved with these days. Max Martin and Shellback, the calculating superproducers responsible for goosing up tracks by Britney Spears and Taylor Swift, have been retained by Aguilera, yet as catchy and randy as “Your Body” is, her voice is too big to fit their spreadsheet comfortably.
“Lotus” works best when Aguilera leans on the talents of collaborators who take a few more chances — careful, neatly circumscribed gambles, but gambles nonetheless. Lucas Secon, a former alt-rapper who lately specializes in pushing pop stars a few inches out of their comfort zones, outdoes himself on “Red Hot Kinda Love,” which manages to swagger despite a quirky beat. “Cease Fire” makes good use of a marching band. The slow-building ballad “Blank Page” was co-written by the veteran Australian pop singer Sia Furler, who has always had a firm hand with a sweeping, anthemic melody. It’s a naked attempt to recapture some of the self-affirmative majesty of “Beautiful,” Aguilera’s best-loved song, but Aguilera revisits that territory so enthusiastically it’s hard to begrudge her the trip.
Throughout the set, Aguilera behaves like she has something to prove, and a contest to win. As gauche as that may seem, she’s a fighter, and pugilism brings out the best in her. She knows this could be her last opportunity to recover the momentum she lost on “Bionic,” which muted her most explosive extremes. This time, she’s not repeating that mistake.
The Independent says:
3 out of 5 stars
It's a strange time to be Christina Aguilera.
Her too-long-coming electroclash album tanked because Lady Gaga was all over that stuff. Furthermore, she reckons she's now considered "too fat" by the industry. Lotus, however, is the sound of Xtina coming out fighting. Its best moments are its electro-pop numbers. Token lung-bursting ballads notwithstanding, we won't be seeing Xtina at the Superbowl again. But that's fine. The dancefloor is her home now.
Digital Spy says:
4 out of 5 stars
Christina's fourth studio album, 2010's Bionic, left her in somewhat of a predicament. For a global superstar it charted respectably enough - top ten in 23 countries - but its sales were shaky due to a release in the traditionally quieter summer months and there wasn't a hit to be found amongst its bloated, double-disc spanning tracklist.
She confidently described the set as a "beautiful masterpiece" at a recent event, but you'd be hard-pressed to find the same levels of assurance on Lotus. Naturally, she's rarely short on confidence - lead single 'Your Body' is a thumping, brilliantly sassy two-fingered salute at those criticising her weight - but the Max Martin production credit suggests an element of safe-playing.
It's not necessarily a bad thing either. Other notable knob-twiddlers include hitmakers Alex da Kid and Shellback, who allow her to seamlessly flit between sexy and playful on the brassy 'Red Hot Kinda Love' and Guetta-styled club diva on 'Let There Be Love' without sounding contrived or confused. In fact, their ability to reign in her chameleon-style approach to music gives it the kind of cohesion where even the three-and-a-half minute 'Lotus Intro' has single potential.
The ballads are left for the album's back-end, though the drag in pace is countered by their impressive delivery. Special mention goes to 'Blank Page', which sees her at her most unnervingly honest, confessing: "I know there's pain, but people change/ Lord knows I've been no saint" over nothing more than a piano. The result, like the album's namesake, is an elegant yet robust collection that should see her through these uncertain times.
Tracks to download: 'Army Of Me', 'Red Hot Kinda Love', 'Let There Be Love', 'Blank Page'
If you like this, you'll like: Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Leona Lewis
Slant Magazine says:
3 out of 5 stars
Christina Aguilera is her own worst enemy. Judging by her recent interviews, in which she calls her 2010 flop, Bionic, "ahead of its time," and her early work "more daring" than that of her teeny-bopper compatriots, the best promo she could do for her new album, Lotus, is none at all. The admirably forward-thinking, if not forward-sounding, Bionic got a bum rap, but it should be people like me who say it, not her.
Picking up where that album left off, Lotus opens with an electro-pop intro that samples M83 and features an Auto-Tuned Aguilera proclaiming her latest manifesto: "I sing for freedom and for love/I look at my reflection/Embrace the woman I've become/The unbreakable lotus in me, I now set free." But in an obviously calculated move, the rest of Lotus seems designed to appeal more to fans of her previous studio albums, and its lead single, "Your Body," was co-produced by Max Martin, the Swedish knob-twirler at the helm of all of those hits by Aguilera's fellow former Mouseketeers she inexplicably deemed less daring than "Genie in a Bottle."
If a pop song is only as strong as its hook, though, then "Your Body" is a heavyweight, allowing Aguilera to tear it up during the chorus, and it features the kind of provocative single entendres we've come to expect from the singer, even as her tatas and bits are strategically concealed on the album's cover (which, for the record, looks like an ad for a feminine hygiene product): "We're moving faster than slow/If you don't know where to go/I'll finish off on my own." But if Aguilera and her label really wanted to ensure her comeback, an even safer bet would have been the album's other Martin-assisted track, "Let There Be Love," a virtual hybrid of recent club bangers by Rihanna, Britney, Katy, and Ke$ha.
Aguilera has an infamous mean streak, and it often comes out in her songwriting, which is partly what sunk Bionic. But with the exception of the abrasive "Circles," on which she tells her foes to "spin around in circles on my middle finger,"Lotus largely checks the attitude at the door and focuses instead on self-empowerment anthems like the dramatic and defiant "Best of Me." The rest of the album's slow songs don't fare quite as well: The pretty vocal runs at the end of "Sing for Me" aren't enough to save the otherwise too-bombastic and rote power ballad, while "Just a Fool," an out-of-place country-pop duet with Blake Shelton, feels like a cheap cash-in. (For those keeping count, Aguilera has now recorded duets with all of her fellow judges on The Voice.)
By virtue of the fact that Lotus is Aguilera's shortest album since her debut, it boasts less filler, but also fewer obvious standouts. Produced by Lucas Secon, who scored a hit of his own in the '90s with the quirky "Lucas with the Lid Off,""Red Hot Kinda Love" effectively combines an old-school hip-hop loop, vocal samples, a catchy pre-chorus, and an even catchier chorus. The album's biggest surprise, though, is the raga-infused "Cease Fire," which employs a marching band and a carefully constructed collage of background vocals to bolster Aguilera's vaguely apolitical and shockingly non-schmaltzy call for peace. More songs like these would have made for a truly great album, something that, the first half of the double-disc Back to Basics notwithstanding, has thus far eluded her.