Nov 18, 2013

One Direction Midnight Memories Album Leak

Well, we done and did good for the most part. And by we, I mean borderline psychotic One Direction fans. Usually something gets leaked. I'm shocked "Story of My Life" didn't get leaked before the radio debut... proof there is a God! 

In all seriousness though, the time has come. The album leak of the Midnight Memories era. "Diana" was leaked a long time ago, before "Story of My Life" was even a sparkle in our eyes. This leak is giving me life right now. 

If you don't know, yes, I'm 26 and fully loving One Direction. And you know what? I'm sick of making excuses. Is it a crime to like their music? For real. Back off. They make catchy music that I can loop while I'm writing or running or driving and, not to mention, they're British and they're cuter than a bloody litter of French bulldogs. I jam to Take Me Home on the regular while running on the tread. It pushes me to new heights. (I never thought I could run a fast 10 and I went for it during "She's Not Afraid" — and managed not to kill myself or anyone else.) 

Moving on: I was a little suprised they went with "Story of My Life" as a single because a) it's not too pop-driven, b) it doesn't sound like them and c) I figured they'd do something really fast and uptempo. But I think it was a great strategy, given most people I know sing along to it and then they're lying dead on the cold hard ground after I inform them that One Direction sings the song that they had assumed was Mumford and Sons or something.

Anyway, Midnight Memories doesn't release for a solid week, but apparently some hoodlums got a hold of a pre-sale disc and decided to upload the whole damn thing to the internet. Hence we all rejoice. And it appears as if 1D's bubble gum pop days are as dead as Hannah Montana. 

Let's dive right in. I am too lazy (and I'm not 15) to download the entire ripped album straight from the internet, so I've been randomly listening to songs as they get uploaded to Youtube. Here is the track listing, with notes, commentary and video links as I get them. *Many of these links will be broken soon. Youtube will more than likely remove a majority of them. Sorry! Be sure to download the album next Monday when it's released. 

1. "Best Song EverReleased with This is Us movie. Includes an adorable video. Getting flack for sounding too much like a rip off of The Who. 

2. "Story of My LifeThat single you are jamming to in the car as 30-year-old stockbroker until you realize it's a boy band. But you keep singing it. And if you haven't watched the video, get ready to shed a tear.

3. "DianaReminds me a lot of "Boys of Summer."
Side note: this is the track that leaked first. Someone got real creative with a rumor that spread, saying that they named the song "Diana" because the song is about self-harm and Princess Diana used to cut herself, and that the boys think their fans are princesses. I hate to break it to you children that were born in the mid-90's, but as someone who was a living, functioning human during the Diana era, I don't know one single source that reported that Princess Diana ever inflicted harm on herself. So calm down with that nonsense. 

4. "Midnight MemoriesThe anthem for their tour? I'm getting the feels for this song. They curse on this track, but they've faded it out for the 10-year-olds. Because they're good boys. Duh.

5. "You & IFor a hot minute, I swore they sampled "Heaven" by Bryan Adams for this song. Especially during the parts where they sing "You & I." I like the song, but I have to be a bit critical here: I'm thinking this entire album is taking the influence of Bryan Adams, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Mumford — whoever it may be — and included a few key chords from each song to incorporate them into their music. But it might be genius for a few reasons. Most of their demographic has probably never heard "Heaven" or "Teenage Wasteland," and it's a nice throwback memory for the parents who have to take their kids to the concerts. Everybody wins.


7. "StrongLove the lyrics on this one. Harry is particularly strong (heh) with his vocals. Zayn's solo is ridiculous as per usual. Voice of an angel. I could see this one playing in a trailer for some kind of romantic drama...

8. "HappilyThis reminds me of "Wake Me Up," "You Belong With Me," and "Little Talks." Folksy and upbeat.

9. "Right Now" 

10. "Little Black DressStrong rock sound on this one. If you didn't think Harry Styles was a mini Mick Jagger, you will once you hear this track. And I know some of you will think I am delusional, but in all seriousness, listen to this song, even if you hate boy bands. I promise you that you'll end up liking it. It sounds straight out of the 80's, like something that Don Hennley or one of your favorite hair bands would sing. The lyrics remind me of some of my favorite rock bands from the Rock of Ages era. Don't mind me as I stand on the bar and dance to this one...
Also, a few months back, a song called (at the time) "Just Can't Let Her Go" was leaked and was rumored to be the first single from the album. When the track listing was released, a rumor started that this song was actually called "Little Black Dress." Which is, very clearly, false. So here's to hoping they actually release this track at some point so we can download a full version. 

11. "Through The DarkThere's a lot of folk influence on this album. I feel like Harry's rice farmer hat-wearing ways have rubbed off on the rest of the group! But really, did Ed Sheeran write this? Nice message and beautiful vocal arrangement.

12. "Something GreatNot in love with this one right off the bat. Sounds very much like a Phillips Phillip song.


13. "Little White LiesAND THE BEAT DROPS. Yep, if Taylor Swift can incorporate dubstep into her country music smash, it was only a matter of time before 1D joined in on the fun. It's catchy AF. I presume this will be a single. And the lyrics are pretty filthy if you listen carefully. It's weird how they're such little cupcakes and write these oversexualized lyrics. (Yes, they wrote most of this album.) 

14. "Better Than WordsAll of the lyrics to this song, with the exception of a small piece of the chorus, are titles of songs. Kind of cool. Love the guitar! I enjoy hearing these rock-driven songs. Glad they didn't go too electro-pop with this record because it could have been a nightmare. I'm actively enjoying listening to all of these songs. (Then again, I'm the type of girl who wishes "Pour Some Sugar on Me" would play every time I walk into a room...)

Tracks on the Deluxe Album
16. "Does He Know?"
Here's the "Jessie's Girl" of the album — if you know me at all, you know that this is MY JAM. It's 80's pop perfection. And the feels that happen during Harry's part, especially when he sings "the songs that you sing when you're all alooooone." Lord Jesus help me. Whooooooaaaaaa.
17. "Alive"
18. "Half a Heart"

I want to applaud these boys, because Midnight Memories could have gotten real crappy, real fast. It's their third album, and by *NSYNC's second album, they were writing songs about having sex on the internet. (Not like I didn't love every second of it, let's get real here.) While some of their lyrics are a bit naughty, but for the most part, their songs are fun, uplifting and relatable, without being overbearingly sexual or overly cheesy, either.

I've listened to a lot of pop albums the past few weeks; records that include lyrics to the effect of "I feel like I've got no panties on," (Miley) "Let me get you in your birthday suit, it's time to bring out the big balloons," (Katy "Sexual Innuendo" Perry) and, of course, "I lay in bed, touch myself and think of you" (Sexxx Dreams - Lady Gaga). So hearing a song about how someone will "find a way through the dark" with you is a nice change of pace. Give these little British babies a chance! If anything, you can oogle at Liam and how he looks like he could be David Beckham's illegitimate child. 

Nov 12, 2013

The Dichotomy of Your Mental Health and Your Haircut

If you think cutting your hair is as simple as hitting up a salon and asking for a haircut, chances are, you're a male. Or, alternatively, you're just looking for a trim.

True life: women take haircuts to a whole other level, at least in my experience. As it turns out, I believe your emotional stability is directly related to your haircut. Before you start screaming at your computer, hear me out... haircuts can be emotionally traumatic. For instance, take Mariska Hargitay, who recently revealed that a bad chop almost got her fired from Law & Order SVU. Our hair, while it lays dead as a doornail on our head, can affect our outlook on who we are as people. The New York Times has written about the emotional effects; Lady Gaga has belted out a prayer regarding her own hair... unlike makeup, when you mess with your hair, you can't erase the mistakes as easily as you can eyeliner.

So it makes sense that the decision to cut (or not?) my own hair has been an internal battle. Yes, this is a blog post about hair. If you are allergic to such topics, STOP READING NOW! If you're looking for something to take solace in, knowing that there is another neurotic, crazy woman out there who is equally, if not more, concerned about her hair than you are, keep going.

Let me give you the backstory: I've never had extremly long hair. 7th grade is when I peaked in terms of long hair. It's always been shoulder length or a little bit past that, while I always dreamt of the day I would have long, bountiful waves, a la a Victoria's Secret Angel. Was that too much to ask?

Since then, I've settled for the just-past-the-shoulders look. I don't love it, but I don't hate it. However, I know that I probably won't ever get that past-my-bossom hair, ever. And a few things have happened since I first dreamed of long, bountiful hair: A) I realized those VS Angels I wish to emulate are loaded up with extensions. (This is a fact I know to be true, since I had the Angel makeover this May and Orlando Pita himself sent me home with rack upon rack of extension after he applied each one meticulously to my hair.) B) At some point I got on birth control, which is notorious for stunting your hair growth... since I've gotten off of it, my hair actually has grown. (Yes, I'm off birth control. Don't meddle in my love life.) And C) I learned that the mantra that you should get haircuts every so often to help your hair grow is a big fat fib, probably started by some hairstylist who was eager to get their clients in the chair every 4-6 weeks. My hair kept getting shorter and shorter with every trim, with no progress in the growing-out department. So, yes, I guess you could say I don't believe in haircuts. Usually.

All that being said, my hair is fine in texture, but I have a lot of it, and it's getting back to my peak point, which is exciting! I still throw in The Tiz, my trusty extensions, whenever I feel like I want to whip my hair around like Taylor Swift or want to pull off a fishtail braid, but for the most part, I've embraced my natural hair this year.

Yet I'm craving a change. And I've been thinking about it for awhile: do I get a haircut? Not a trim. Not layers. A full-on cut. (Sounds like a curse word.) I've heard everything on this subject.

"DO IT!" "DON'T DO IT!" "GET BANGS INSTEAD!!!"

Everyone has an opinion on my hair, but I can't seem to muster one up on my own without going through six phases of deductive reasoning. "Jennifer Aniston has short hair. Jennifer Aniston is sexy. Therefore, short hair is sexy..." 

There are so many factors that play into this impending haircut. (If I can even use the term 'impending' at this point.) First being that I wouldn't be able to do hair tutorials with the cut I'm considering — I'll get to that in a moment — which is approximately 1/3 of my job. So that pretty much rules it out, Mariska Hargitay style. But if I never had to do another hair tutorial, ever, that still would't have me sitting in the chair at M├ęche, ready to make the big chop. 

I needed to talk to someone about this. Some roommates discuss their neighbors or their plumbing; my roomate and I have 30 minute discussions on haircuts. And some valid points were brought up. Points that I thought, "maybe if I put this much effort into my dating life, I wouldn't be having this conversation at 8:30 on a Monday."

I mentioned to her that I wanted to cut my hair because the ends are a mess and I want a change! "I want to go assymetrical. Longer in the front, past my chin, and shorter in the back, so it just brushes my shoulder a little bit. Then I'll add a ton of highlights so I look really blonde."

Fearne Cotton, bottom right, is the ideal here
She loved it right off the bat. "I think you have the perfect face shape for it!" 

Which brings me to my first fear: I have concerns that I will get a haircut that won't flatter my face, and it will make my face look fat, bloated, and like a potato. It's this, along with my irritional fear of thin eyebrows, that make me a nutjob. I'm also concerned that it will make my already fine hair look too thin, when I am hoping it will make it look thicker. See? There is a lot that goes into this crap.

Just a side note: I want to take a minute to express that while I over-analyze myself, it is quite the contrary when it comes to others. One of the most interesting things anyone has ever told me is that, from editing my videos, they figured I was some snotty bitch who judged everyone on their looks. You are the beauty host, after all! But once they got to know me, they said I changed their opinion. AND THANK GOD. Because I really wish my friends would stop making excuses for their appearances around me. Sometimes it feels like they have to explain themselves because they're nervous that I'm taking a good look-see at their skin or hair and whipping up a laundry list of things I'd makeover in my head. There is no need. Because guess what? My friendship is not contingent on whether or not you have a chipped manicure, or if your roots are fresh. I don't care if you're breaking out — I break out too. I am usually thinking about how your pores are smaller than mine, or how you have great eyelids. (Yes, I notice those things.) You could be a troll for Heaven's sake, and I'd still compliment you on your wild haircolor (even though your personality would piss me off). So don't judge me for being a psycho about my hair. This type of thing doesn't exist outside of my own self-evaluation, and that of celebrities. (Which I do for a living. Just saying.) 

OKAY BACK TO THE STORY. After showing her my inspiration photos: Kate Bosworth, Katy Perry, Fearne Cotton and some random chick (see above), she was still supportive. "I think you could totally pull it off, but this one right here? It looks a little Southern." Yep. She said the S-word. She is referring to the photo on the top right.

NO DISREPECT TO MY SOUTHERN HOMIES. Trust me, I want hair taller than the Empire State building, with lots of bountiful curls. Think Carrie Underwood. (This would all fly right out of that Empire State window though, if I did cut my hair.) But if I'm going short, I want the cut to look cool and chic. And I quote, "like I'm hanging out with the band." (Yes I totally said that, which makes me want to kill myself.) Gabby chimed in with a, "Yeah! You don't want to look like you just got your first job at SuperCuts." 

I don't think she could have put it any better. Y'all know exactly want I'm talking about: the cropped cut, oftentimes, can come off like a literal hair helmet on their heads. It can look great, pending that's the look you want and can pull it off, but I like to date linebackers — not look like one. Which is exactly what I would look like. I'd magically gain about 250 pounds as soon as my hair was chopped off. It's all so rational...

I am a Southern girl at heart, so it kills me to say it, but I can't do the Sally Field helmet hair people. I can't. I'm not that cool. So that is the first struggle: keeping the cut "cool." 

The conversation continued. 

Full disclosure: I debated deleting this entire portion because I'm embarrassed to admit that this was remotely a thought in my head, but hell, if I have thought it, I'm sure someone else has. 

"I know right? I know this is crazy, but I fear that men won't find me attractive with short hair." I pause and look at her. Gabby is a cool chick. Really pretty. And she has short hair. Time to backtrack. "I mean... I know that's so stupid but..." She cuts me off before I can explain.

"Oh, trust me. I get it. Before I had my hair this short, I had long, almost blonde hair. After my boyfriend and I broke up, I cut it all off and it was amazing. But I had to give myself a few months after the breakup before I could do it. Do it when you haven't been dating anyone for awhile!"

Well, great news! I've been single almost four years, and I have zero prospects. If there is a time to do it, it would be now, when no sh-ts are to be given. But why do I care so much about whether men will find me good looking with short hair? Isn't that absolutely ludicrous? Shouldn't they think I'm attractive regardless of the length of my hair?!

I can't stop thinking about the Instagram photo I posted with my hair-spiration, and couldn't help but notice that zero men liked the photo. Zip. And all the comments? WOMEN. I mean, I don't usually dress for men — I feel most women dress for other women in general — so why would I keep my hair for men? I'm sure I could go off on some feminist rant right now, but that's not the point here.

Not to mention, this hair on my head? IT WILL GROW. It's not like I'm getting a rhinoplasty or a giant back tattoo. It's a haircut. It will grow back out. Nothing permanent. So why am I acting like I'm making a life-altering decision, like pulling out all of my teeth or something?

Back on the topic of men though: do I want to be with someone who doesn't think I'm pretty when I have short hair? Only when I have long hair? Hell no. But I remember how crazy everyone went when Miley chopped her hair. Miley, in my opinion, is a beautiful girl, so she will always be beautiful, with or without long hair. But that's the thing: beauty is so subjective. If people don't like the way I look, it's not just because of my hair. Right? And why do I care is the real question.

On the contrary, we grow up putting so much emphasis on our hair. It's hard not to be concerned about the way it looks. I mean, we all love those makeover scenes in movies where the mousy-haired dud gets an upgrade to long, voluminous bouncy curls; or, in the case of She's All That, a ratty, long-haired geek turns into a chic, stylish babe with a crop cut.

Basically, it all comes down to this: I need a hair whisperer. Or maybe a Hairy Godmother/father. They can lead the way and help me see the light: what does my hair want from me? If it could send me a text and let me know whether or know it wants to stay or go, that would be great.

So next time you think someone just went an got a haircut on a whim, chances are, she's thought about at least one of these things, and furthermore, probably spent countless hours on Pinterest or looking in magazines to find her ideal look. When in doubt, always be supportive of a new 'do after it happens.

Nov 7, 2013

The End of an Era...

Embarking on my first of six flights this month, and, more importantly, the last leg of the 2012-2013 Holy Matrimony Tour for Liz Elliott's wedding!!! I'd like to thank my immune system for sticking with me, American, United and Southwest Airlines, Starbucks coffee, my boss alterations lady, reflexology doctors, Kleenex, whoever makes those neck pillows, and Kristen Wilson/Marina Beck for taking me to the airport at ungodly hours. Also, thanks to all of my beautiful friends who love me enough to let this crazy LA crony be in your wedding! 

(That sounded a lot like Travis Birkenstock's speech in Clueless about being the most tardy.)

In 2014 there will be a self-imposed bridesmaid ban so I can work on my real-life Katherine Heigl biography: "27 Dresses at 26"... So please don't get married next year Jennifer Robles Emily Jung. I beg of you. So does my bank account.


Off to the land of Wal Mart! (Bentonville, Arkansas!)



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