Burberry + Apple Music: A Natural Fit…Ramble

Why is anyone surprised Burberry has started a music channel with Apple Music? Angela Ahrendts, the SVP of Apple’s retail and online stores, was the CEO of Burberry.

Ms. Ahrendts, with Christopher Bailey, were very vocal about taking the heritage brand, and modeling it on Apple’s cohesiveness to make Burberry cool again. They launched the Burberry Acoustic Series, which will be included in the channel.

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This is a natural and logical fit. I personally love it. The marriage of music and fashion is well-documented, with my own former boss, Ian Rogers, recently turning heads (as he does), leaving his role as CEO of Beats to take fashion powerhouse LVMH to the next level of digital innovation. Note: Yes, as much as we have seen digital be integral to many fashion brands, overall the industry still needs to innovate in the area. Don’t get me started on the fragrance industry (I used to cover it.)

My personal hope is now Burberry will create a stand alone app, where customers can live in a Burberry world, which will of course, include the music. *Yes, I wrote that request a few posts ago, you’re not imagining it. I love Burberry.

Now where’s my Burberry trench coat? I’m going to go outside and take my swagger back to Golden Square to wrap up my London Fashion Week experience.

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Franzen is the Kanye West of Authors…Ramble

When Kayne West approached the Grammy stage to snatch Beck’s golden statue for Best Album of The Year, claiming it should have gone to Beyonce, he tried to make it a joke- at first. We all know the fall out, Kanye (for a completely different POV click on Kanye’s name) wasn’t kidding. He went on to say he doesn’t want to perform again at The Grammys until they change it to reflect popular sales. Hmm, then he went on to say it was an insult to artistry, but he hadn’t even listened to Beck’s album, Morning Phase, which had been hailed as a critical darling in indie circles. I also want to say his intro for Kanye’s own performance said it was his “most personal” and point out there is nothing less personal than using Autotune.

I’m not anti-Autotune, but let’s not kid ourselves. Here’s a link for Kanye and all the other people, who, instead of wanting to explore and make an informed rant, is Beck’s Morning Phase:

Well, now let’s turn to another accomplished, lauded artist, one who has graced the cover of TIME magazine for his work, won the Pulitzer Prize, Mr. Jonathan Franzen. Franzen has chosen to take many jabs at women’s fiction writer, Jennifer Weiner. While he hasn’t read her work, he says no one has told him it is a “must read” and she is using a real issue – the lack of review space given to female writers, as a platform to get attention when she doesn’t deserve it.

Dude. Come on, if you had read her work, I would think you had some valid points, but you are not A) her target demo B) too busy to take the take time to read it the way Kanye, who likes to call himself an arbiter of all things cultural, could have taken the time, pre-Grammys to listen to every album in the category of Best Albums that was nominated. If you never read or listen to music outside of what you like, how can you really know what is good and what is not?

As someone who has been paid to be a music programmer (Yahoo! Music & Vh1), and a writer, I have listened and read works I was not naturally drawn to, and found it not only expanded my knowledge, it expanded my own creativity. I don’t always agree with awards, mostly they are a broken thing, but they do help curate what is interesting.

I have read many award winning literary books which I found to lack a strong plot or interesting characters or deliver a good ending. How is Kanye’s lack of respect any different from Franzen’s? It negates their point, which might otherwise presented have been valid. If you are going to diss someone at least know what you are putting down and acknowledge that’s not going to be given to you as a suggestion because your crowd is caught up in one scene.

When you make statements, that have some merit, but no foundation of their own, it not only disrespects the other artist, it disrespects their fans. How likely am I to buy Kanye’s next album or his ridiculous Adidas lineKanye_3

How likely am I now to read another Jonathan Frazen book? The answer to all those questions, is highly unlikely, even if they have critical acclaim. Why should my cash line their pockets when they clearly value their own taste and are unwilling to leave room for anyone else’s? Fans who started the #whoisbeck Twitter campaign are also in need of some more cultural exposure. Why must we tweet about our own ignorance or make statements in the press about it? Why not show the courtesy to make an informed opinion and allow that while not your taste, it can be very important to other people.

My friend Courtney Smith’s book, Record Collecting For Girls, has a chapter on guilty pleasures. It was inspired by our conversations. I don’t believe in having musical guilty pleasures. If it speaks to you, if it helps you, touches you, makes you dance or feel good in any way, then go right ahead and enjoy it.

9780547502236_p0_v1_s260x420 However, Courtney calls bullshit on that in her book and says anyone who doesn’t say they have guilty pleasures is either boring or lying or an asshole. That was the chapter she read on a book panel we did during her book tour. I started with the question “did you call me an asshole?” We have lively debates to say the least, but during that panel people asked me the most questions because they wanted to know about the popular artists that I got to work with in pop music over obscure indie bands — yes, even in Brooklyn! Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world.

Popular doesn’t mean bad. Jennifer Weiner is a fun, great writer who writes heartfelt stories about women that I can relate to, in fact, she is one of the reasons I got a dog. She wrote in her novel “Good in Bed,” every writer should have a dog. So, thank you, Jennifer Weiner for not only providing me and many other women with entertaining fiction we want to read. Thank you for standing up for female authors getting equal press coverage. Thank you for using the platform you EARNED for sticking up for everyone else who does not have it.

Entertainment to Keep You Warm…Ramble

While today I was informed it is warmer in Antarctica then New York, I was glad  I stocked up on supplies at Trader Joe’s yesterday, including a few protein bars that will help me fend off my need to order Chinese food on Seamless. (*Note, Seamless sending me a 2014 wrap-up that 68% of my orders are Chinese food.) I did go out to the soft opening of Hook and Cleaver on Greenpoint Avenue (yes, I took the Ghost train there and back) and now I’ve done my part for the New York scene for this week. So what’s entertaining me at home besides deciding which DIPTYQUE candle to light to combat my French bulldog’s gas? Here’s the scoop.

NETFLIX:

Marco Polo:
Get stuck in to a softer (less gore and sometimes the ‘good’ guys win), Asian version of “Game of Thrones.” Politics, breathtaking locations, cultural exposure to Geishas and, of course, war, love and spies make this an exciting epic journey. I love seeing this diverse cast of Asians and mixed race casting. Aside from Marco, the leads are all gorgeous mixed race and Chinese stars. Being mixed, this is the first cast I felt like I could walk on set and blend right in simply by showing up with some braids in my hair. I felt the same way in Hong Kong. Aside from that China is beautiful. The blending of the Mongolians and the Chinese cultures takes you deeper into each culture than the black and white “evil” vs. “good” of Disney’s Mulan.

PEAKY BLINDERS

Speaking to the Irish half of my gene pool, Cillian Murphy’s blue eyes lead you down the path of a family of gangsters in Birmingham, England. Aussie Sam Neil (yet, another side of my heritage), plays an Irish cop from Belfast determined to put an end to them. There are two seasons of six episodes here and this one, like Marco Polo, is also produced by The Weinstein Company. Beautiful, dark and they may be “bad men, but your our bad men.” Oh yes. The great thing is that Aunt Polly ran the show for five years while the men were off in France fighting. She is formidable with a dark secret of her own. She caters to the family’s finances and matters of the heart.

BOOKS

The delightful Kristin Harmel has a wonderful new book “The Life Intended,” which I have only just started and finding hard to do anything but read it. Her previous book. “The Sweetness of Forgetting” also a beautifully written book which tells the secrets across generations and has mouthwatering recipes. Don’t think I wasn’t all about the desserts when I went to Paris because of it.

MUSIC:
Whilk & Misky “The First Sip” is a sexy EP complete with some spoken French that’ll have you looking around for a winter romance to declare “Babe, I’m Your’s.” Pucker up.

” target=”_blank”>Nicki Minaj “The Pinkprint” – don’t let the singles dictate the vibe of the album. ‘Anaconda’ is fun to listen to during Zumba, but uh we’re all about getting those butts tight, but feels jarringly out of place with the rest of the album, which is a more personal, introspective traditional hip-hop album, cool vibe with insights to Nicki’s personal life with fun guest vocals. I have to SMH in wonderment of how Drake and C. Breezy wound up on a track together. Dudes can put anything behind them, but does it say something about the blatant money business part of the endeavor? The track was not as interesting to me as “The Crying Game,” without any other big names. I love “Four Door Aventador” and the overall vibe here so, if you haven’t given Nicki a chance in a while, it might be time to revisit and feel the wind in your hair as you blast “The Night Is Still Young” getting ready to go out on a Friday night cause “my only motto is don’t lose.” Get it girl.

RENTAL:
“Gone Girl,” which was a hyped book worth it. Yes, you saw the twist coming, but once it was revealed (in the printed version), it was fascinating how it all unfolded. Though I love Neil Patrick Harris, he was miscast in the David Fincher film version. That is a minor note because perfectly cast were perennial All-American boy, Ben Affleck, and the master of playing an ice princess, English actress Rosamund Pike (remember her as ‘Jane’ in ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and as a Bond girl? Kills it with ice.)

“Guardians of The Galaxy” a film I had no expectations for, except I knew that the main character’s last name was Quill, just like mine. I saw this on a plane that was jam-packed and it was my mental savior.  I needed something that was going to make me laugh and this certainly delivered, so if you’re inside, had a long day and need a mental vacation this fun film will do the trick.

Happy New Year! Snuggle up, layer and give yourself a hug from moi. Spread smiles, not hate in the world.

xx

Booty Display : J.lo vs. Nicki Minaj: The New Feminism?…Ramble

Beyonce is the poster child for feminism these days, despite whatever is going on behind closed doors. (Have we all been drawn in to the master plan of headlines that compelled ticket sales for her joint tour with her husband only to hear pregnancy rumors? Yes!)

If Queen B (and she’s not the first to claim that title), is the face of feminism and she sings about riding on Hova’s surfboard, her ass gyrating for all to see, is that any different than the outright tribute to her own ass, J.lo has released?

For years people have been commenting on Jenny from the Block’s rear assets. When I met her I was shocked at how tiny that rear is, but it’s all relative once you zoom in on something. Is that the new definition of feminism? Everyone’s talking about your ass so own it? Well this is a spectacular way of doing it:

If people are unable to get out of bed today because they are waxing their own surfboards with the release of this video, what is the difference between this and the tongue-in-cheek hit “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj?

Well, for one thing, the taste-level. Jlo may be chewing gum and smoking cigarettes, but she’s doing it in a closed studio, ‘artistically’ and it’s just her ass and Iggy (Nicki’s rival), celebrating how their milkshakes bring the boys to the yard. Hmm, counterpoint so is Nicki, but in a much more over-the-top crass way with coconut milk dripping and mentioning how her pussy tires out her man so much he calls her NyQuil.

The dictionary defines feminism:

feminism

noun
1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
2.(sometimes initial capital letter) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.
3. feminine character.
Both J.Lo and Nicki are taking their own rights as women to exploit their assets to earn the big dollars men are not providing for them. Nicki’s lyrics advocate getting men to buy her things and are generally crude.  Is it about packaging? ‘Anaconda’ has been viewed on YouTube over 177 million times. Men are not thinking about feminism, they are jerking off to it and every time they do, I can hear the cha-ching building up in Nicki’s VEVO account.
Both women smack other women’s asses in their videos, both shake, twerk and leave on a bikini-string to keep them from being ‘fully’ exposed. If we look at Miley’s video for ‘Wrecking Ball’ which, IMHO, is her version of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Beautiful’, that is, until she starts licking steel. Despite protests about Miley not having to ruin the artistry of that moment, fans have watched that video over 700 million times and is on track to hit a billion.
At the end of the day, women are still the first ones to get laid off and get paid 60 cents on the dollar if we are lucky. Has feminism morphed into a marketing idea or are these popstars really in control? I’d certainly like to believe it, because even though Jessie J sang ‘it ain’t about the money’, those are lyrics and we live in reality where bills have to get paid and most of us are not turning down sponsorship deals, we’re sponsoring ourselves! Shake those asses ladies, I’ll take the t-bills that are dropping out of them.

The Magic of Coldplay…Ramble

I just got broken, broken in to two,

Still I call it magic when I’m with you….

Oh my, Coldplay. Since I heard this song last week I cannot help but fall under its magic. There are certain times in life when a song hits the mark, it’s like the composer and lyricist crawled up into your head and explained to you why you feel what you feel. ‘Magic’ has already slid into my top five favorite Coldplay songs. There are already a bunch of really great covers of it on Soundcloud so I am not alone in my sentiment, which is exactly the point. Here’s to all the people who still believe in magic.

Throw Your Arms Around Me…Ramble

I’ve been thinking about happier times to get through difficult challenges of the moment. Maxims are not really a comfort, but the only way out is through does resonate in my mind. Then I picked up a photo album from back in the day with some of my first adventures in Sydney. Along with photographs, there is, of course, the music that my friends and I loved and created memories listening to, singing and buying *yes people actually buy music!

Here’s an Australian classic from the band Hunters and Collectors, covered by Neil Finn. The performance was taped at SXSW in Austin back in the day. I know because it was done for a website I used to work at called GetMusic.com, which is now, oddly enough a brand revived out of Australia by Universal. We did merge with Rollingstone.com for a while, which is denoted on the notes of the posting. Good times. Without further ado….I share this unforgettable song.

 

As a bonus, for all my fellow dog lovers, on the eve of my Elle’s fourth birthday tomorrow, the wonderful “Lester”, Neil wrote about a family dog.

I hope you enjoy these precious gems as much as I do.

Link

Roar + Brave Mash-Up

I have to hand it to Katy Perry & Sara Bareilles for having the most catchy tunes I can’t get out of my head – after one listen! I’m now obsessed with this remix and have it on replay over and over and over again. Kudos to on this mash-up to:

MixmstrStel 2

Someone stop me, no, please don’t because we should all BRAVELY ROAR! Again, again.