Sep 30, 2013

Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience Part II Review

Well, it's here! Justin Timberlake dropped Part II. I'm really loving this "view" (if you will) of 20/20. There are several tracks that I am already eager to replay over and over again (and have!) — something that was seriously lacking for me on the first album. (With the exception of fast forwarding to the chopped part of "Pusher Love Girl".)

One complaint a lot of us had was that Part I sounded like a cut and pasted attempt at something new. Which, wouldn't really have been a problem if Future Sex/Love Sounds wasn't so dramatically different from Justified, and if we hadn't been waiting six years for this album to drop. And while I love the sentimental value "Mirrors" holds, you can literally sing "Cry Me a River" to the tune and it matches. With Part II, there are songs on this album that are unlike anything I've ever heard him perform before, which makes me happy. R&B JT is great, but I'm surprised and thrilled that he incorporated more rock into this one. 

Early favorites are "Drink You Away" -- vocals are very similar to his track "Love Don't Love Me" (from the Bad Boyz II OST — yes, I know of this song due to my first job being an usher at the movie theater) — but the song itself is a far cry from typical JT/Timbo. "Not a Bad Thing" is 11 minutes long, broken into two sections. You get to enjoy the beauty in Justin's voice that is sometimes overshadowed by thick bass lines. Not on this one. It's gorgeous. Yes, I can admit, I thought the lyrics were a little cheesy, but the melody is addictive, and he curses in the chorus so that has to account for something, right?

That being said, I don't think Justin made these albums to necessarily get airplay on radio. He couldn't have. There are barely any radio-friendly singles on either album, by typical standards. As an artist, you're usually pusheRd to create music the rest of the world wants to hear, given that's what makes you the cold hard cash. (emember the Clive Davis and Kelly Clarkson drama?) Because Justin is such a massive superstar, and frankly doesn't need another dime, he has the ability to go into a studio and record music unlike other artists are able to: with the freedom to produce a sound he wants, without having to worry about if it "fits the mold" or being told, creatively, that he needs to change X, Y or Z. For lack of better words, he does what he wants. He's living the artistic dream as a mainstream artist. 

I don't have a review of every track, but here are some thoughts on the ones I do:

1. Gimme What I Don't Know (I Want)
2. True Blood
Nothing to see here. My least favorite track. I don't understand the tempo of this one. Or really what's going on with this one in general. It's confused and should be named schizophrenic. 
3. Cabaret
Sounds like it was produced in the same vein as "Don't Hold the Wall." This is a quintessential JT/Timothy Mosely collaboration.
4. TKO
I already wrote a review of this one here
5. Take Back the Night
We've heard this one. It hasn't taken off, but frankly this song is the only one that can transcend the generation gap. Mostly because it sounds like Michael Jackson wrote it.
6. Murder (featuring Jay-Z)
HOV makes his obligatory appearance. It's too repetitive for me. Leaves something to be desired. 
7. Drink You Away
Has the heaviest rock influence on the entire album. Sounds similar to a John Mayer track, from the Battle Studies era, and it's working for him. 
8. You Got It On
Bring on the autotune! Justin doesn't need it, but he knows how to use it to his advantage. 
9. Amnesia
Grandiose intro, a la "Pusher Love Girl."  
10. Only When I Walk Away
Kind of sounds like a Lenny Kravitz record.
11. Not a Bad Thing
This is easily my favorite track on the album, which is ironic because my favorite track on Part I is #11 as well (from the exclusive Target release — "Dress On"). The lyrics are beautiful, Justin's voice is the focus, and it's more guitar than synthesizer or bass.

What do you think about Part II? What tracks do you hope get released as singles? 

Sep 25, 2013

One moment I was tearing off your blouse, now you're living in my house

You just sit and get stoned with 30 year olds and you think you've made it

The 1975 Album is really spectacular. I particularly love Girls, Settle Down and Menswear. The album is sexy, youthful, and reminds of me Summer in some instances. Then again, reminds me of music I'd like to curl up on the couch, by a fire, and read a book to. 

It just makes you feel good. 

Don't forget to check out their unbelievably sensual version of What Makes You Beautiful from BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge (the channel I'm living for right now).

Sep 19, 2013

Justin Timberlake: Total TKO With Second Single

Here's Justin's second single from the second part of The 20/20 Experience, TKO. In case you aren't privy to boxing terms, TKO means "technical knockout" which is called when the ref deems the fights is cannot safely continue to move forward in the match. Timbaland is still his partner in crime on this album (as per usual). 

This sounds a lot like something 2006 Justin might put out there. Reminds me a lot of Chop Me Up.

This comes after his first single, Take Back the Night, only peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. The highest it's gotten is on the US Hip-Hop/R&B Singles chart at #8. While the first album was said to be a "lovemaking" album, the second half is (allegedly) supposed to be sexier. 

You can purchase TKO on iTunes right now (September 20th). 

Sep 16, 2013

Playlist, September 2013

Why hello there.

I've been on a roll lately, engaging my inner 13-year-old. A One Direction concert, the Taylor Swift concert; Disneyland. I'm totally unashamed and loving every minute of it.

At work, I am usually subject to ridicule because my ringtone is "Teenage Dream" and hell, I just love pop music. But why put me in a box, people? I love all types of music.

Here's what I've been jamming to lately. Namely it's been Betty Who's new EP, The Movement (which you can download for free!), but in addition to all that, here is my Spotify playlist. (Accurately titled "Jam City.") (Also, I cannot promise this list will be bubblegum pop-free.)


1. The Saturdays, Higher
2. Tegan and Sara, I Was a Fool 
Saw them in concert on the 4th -- so amazing! If you are enduring a breakup, this song will be your theme song.
3. Ciara, Livin It Up (Feat. Nicki Minaj) 
I think Ciara's new album is grossly underrated. I feel like Rihanna and Rita Ora kind of steal her thunder but girlfriend has it going on.
4. Ciara, Overdose
5. Selena Gomez, Birthday
Listen. As much as I like Selenerrr — Tejas girls have to stick together — there isn't one song of here's that I'm like THIS IS MY JAM. Well, wasn't, anyway. However, Birthday IS MY JAM.

6. CHVRCHES, The Mother We Share
7. George Ezra, Benjamin Twine
I had to get up early this morning to catch the Burberry Prorsum show at London Fashion Week. You know, the one that Cara Delevigne walked in and Harry Styles attended. Anyway, the first song is by George Ezra and it's called Benjamin Twine. I'm obsessed. (Here's the stream of the show!)
8. Haim, The Wire
Please don't speak to me if you don't know who Haim is. Think Fleetwood Mac meets The Pretenders.
9. Le Youth, C O O L
When Cassie first came out with "Me & U," I was embarrassed to like the song because it was so... naughty. (I was 17.) And this just takes naughty to a classier, elevated level. I love it.
10. Neon Hitch, Love You Betta
11. Tove Lo, Habits
I am dying for Tove Lo. They call her the Swedish Ke$ha, which is accurate lyrically, but melodically and sound-wise in general, she kicks Ke$ha's ass. Like, Ke$ha songs make me embarrassed for people who want to brush their teeth with a bottle of Jack, but Tove Lo singing about puking in the tub makes it sound cool and not pathetic at all.

12. Charli XCX, What I Like
Charli has written for Britney Spears and I'm pretty sure is heavily featured on her new album. I'm partially convinced that she sings half of Britney's tracks because they have a similar tone at times.
13. Cara Salimando, Dust
This song reminds me of Vanessa Carlton, although it sounds nothing like her.
14. Travis, Flowers in the Window
15. Katy Perry, ROAR
Sue me. I will always love Katy Perry because she makes kick ass music videos.

16. Lady Gaga, Applause
17. Ellie Goulding, Burn
Why this song is not taking off in the U.S. blows my mind. 
18. Bonnie McKee, American Girl
She writes for Katy Perry... do I need to explain myself any further?
As disastrous as Miley Cyrus's reputation, life, and overall sense of self is, she is putting out some decent music. Collaborating with Will.I.Am on this one was a great move.
20. London Grammar, If You Wait (entire album)
This album haunts me. I could listen to it all day, but then I would try to slit my wrists. Just kidding. You'll play this entire album on repeat for days. Try Metal & Dust, Hey Now, and Strong.
21. Betty Who, The Movement EP
Euphoria. That's how I feel listening to Betty Who. Basically it feels like Passion Pit, Robyn and College had a baby and then she popped out. Her single is "Somebody Loves You," which is great, but I am LOVING High Society and You're In LoveWe'll drink Chardonnay every day if you say so... a silk lapel suits you well...
22. Foy Vance, Feel For Me
So I heard about Foy Vance because of Ed Sheerhan. He reminds me a lot of Ray Lamontange and Mumford. Definitely "folk-soul." He has a collaboration with Bonnie Raitt, which is bloody amazing. The whole album is a bit melancholy. I imagine his music in a movie where there is a little hope and a realist approach. Feel For Me makes me hurt in the best way possible.

Sep 15, 2013

I Love Nails: 3rd Street at Crescent Heights

I Love Nails
8036 1/2 W 3rd St
Los AngelesCA 90048

Mon-Sat: 10-8PM
Sunday: 10-7PM
Street parking, private lot

$30 manicure/pedicure, no spa chairs

I didn't want to venture to my regular spot, InStyle Nails, on Santa Monica Boulevard, so I Yelped manicure spots closer to the Fairfax district. I Love Nails, a little hole-in-the-wall by Robata Jinya, had mostly positive reveiws (over 50 of them), so off I went.

I didn't see the parking lot behind the salon, as the Yelpers had mentioned, so I opted for street parking ($1/hour). The place is fairly small and I beleive only has six chairs.  I went at 4:30 PM on a Sunday, but was able to sit down immediately and only waited about 5 minutes for someone to get started. All of the chairs were full my entire duration, and they had plenty of walk-ins.

They don't have the fancy massaging spa chairs; it's pretty old school, with large, comfy chairs and separate baths that they fill with warm water. I didn't get the name of the woman who worked on my nails but she was particular and quick. If you are expecting an luxurious massage, that is not included in this $30 manicure/pedicure combo. She cut and shaped my nails perfectly, and really took time to trim my cuticles. (Which is important to me since my hands are always on camera.) Best of all, whatever top coat they use really does the job quickly because I was able to dig in my purse and get my wallet within five minutes of the application. It wasn't Seche Vite, my favorite top coat, but it really did dry quickly!

They have a huge array of Orly, OPI and Essie polishes, in on-trend colors, and they're organized by color and texture, which is very helpful! Also, they had a large selection of gel colors as well, which I was somewhat surprised about.

All in all, I don't have a bad thing to say about this place. Everyone is nice, it's relaxing, quick if you need it to be, and they have plenty of add-ons if you desire them (scrubs, massage, etc.). Just to be clear, they do apply a scrub to your feet, and massage your legs and arms, but nothing extensive.

Happy manicure-ing! 

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