Tag Archives: recovery

Top 5 everything of 2010

Once again, as hard as it is to believe, another year has almost already passed by and it seems like yesterday I was having dinner with the family at my uncle’s house for New Year’s day for this new decade. The more time passes by, the more it seems to fly away at the speed of light, and I’m again left wondering if this year will be the one where I’ll have time to do everything I’ve planned for the coming 365 days. Of course, it will not happen, but, before this year ends, I did manage to find some time to look back on 2010 and realize how good a year this has been. And, since the only things I’ve seen on social networks in the past days are Top 10s and Recaps, I decided I’d make my own Top 5. Ok, I’ve cheated on some categories, some are top 5 with honorable mentions, others may contain only 3 winners, but, you get the point.

This is of course my own personal opinion. No stats, no results, no expert analysis, just my own totally subjective, sometimes biased opinion. Let’s start it off.

BEST ALBUMS

1. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I said it recently, and I stand with my first impression, this is the album of the year, and critics (aka Rolling Stone Magazine) seem to agree. The creativity, the originality and the “I don’t care what you think of me” attitude that emanates from this album make it impossible to ignore. Mr. West has taken his music one step further and created a sound of his own, and for that, you get my gold medal Kanye.

2. Eminem – Recovery
Wouldn’t it have been for Kanye, first place would have gone to Mr. Mathers. Recovery is the return of the king, the road to redemption fulfilled for Eminem. It is his most mature album yet, and I think I’ll dare to say it also is his best album. It may not contain as many classics as The Eminem Show or The Marshall Mathers LP, but the overall ride on which Eminem takes you with his latest album is definitely something no Em fan has ever witnessed before. A must for any fan of hip-hop.

3. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
The Montreal band proved to the world that they are a force to be reckoned with this album. Their sound is unique, the lyrics are profound, and the overall experience that you go through while listening to The Suburbs is definitely something special that not many bands can match. For me, this is an instant classic, something that my iTunes play-count can start to fear.

4. Jònsi – Go
The Sigur Ros vocalist/guitarist released a solo album back in April, and I did not listen to it until earlier this month. To be honest, I’ve lonely listened to it twice, so I don’t feel like I know this album too well, but I couldn’t leave it off this list. This is musical ecstasy. Whether they make you joyful or nostalgic, Jonsi’s exotic melodies are sure to spark a lot of emotions inside you. It is hard to describe, so the best thing I can say is, buy it and let yourself be immersed by the sound of it, you will not regret it.

5. B.o.B. – The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Probably the hardest position to fill, because the list of contenders was endless, but B.o.B. had to have his place in my 2010 year. I listened to this album countless times during my trip to Costa Rica, and it just has a special feel every time I listen to it. Even if this is his first LP, B.o.B. shows an incredible maturity as an artist, mixing super catchy commercial pop songs with more dramatic, serious tracks on which the lyrics are certain to make some hip-hop veterans jealous. The artists collaborations are original (Hayley Williams, Rivers Cuomo…) and it is just a good, easy to listen album. Plus, Airplanes has to be one of the greatest hip-hop songs released in the past 5 years, so for all that, I raise my hat to B.o.B. who fills in the last position of my top 5 for albums.

Honorable mentions
Bonobo – Black Sands
Misteur Valaire – Golden Bombay
Travie McCoy – Lazarus

BEST MOVIES
Important notice: I have been a total failure as a 2010 movie-watcher. I’ve watched countless “classics” on my To-See list, but I’ve just not been into the new movies this year. I haven’t seen Social Network, Black Swan, Toy Story 3… So, this is of course my own best of, where I’m sure some of the movies I’ve just named would have had their place had I seen them.

1. Inception
How can this not be the best movie of the year ? It is a cinematic masterpiece, incredibly intelligent, well shot and brilliantly acted. Christopher Nolan raised the bar to another level with a very original story, brought to life by shining performances from DiCaprio and company. An instant classic in every genre, a movie that will be talked about for years.

2. The Killer Inside Me
Western movies are more and more noticeable nowadays since they are becoming more of a rare thing, but this one really slipt under my radar. I watched it just a few weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it. Casey Affleck is incredible, to the point he should easily be nominated for an Oscar. The mood of the movie is scary, tense, and the story really sucks you in. It is brutal, violent, sometimes disturbing, but always intriguing. A must-see, at least only to witness Affleck’s brilliance.

3. The Book of Eli
This movie did not get very good reviews, as do all of Denzel Washington’s films for the last 5 years. But I think critics were a bit harsh and have failed to see the strong points that this movie has to offer. It is visually flawless, every image is sure to make you wow at your screen. It might not be Denzel’s best performance, but you can’t say so for Gary Oldman’s. He just shines in his role as the bad guy and shows he’s one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood nowadays. Plus, the fight scenes, and especially the gun-fights are masterfully directed and now have a place in my personal best combat scenes in cinema history. Plus the ending is just incredibly surprising.

4. Ghost Writer
Roman Polanski’s latest film has a sort of Woody Allen feel, with endless dialogues and a fairly old style of editing, which make it stand out. The intrigue is good and the always entertaining Ewan McGregor is very good in the leading role. Not your typical Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s really worth a watch.

5. The Town
I rented this movie 4 hours before writing this blog post, as it was, surprisingly, on most 2010 best-of lists. You should have seen my level of skepticism before watching this film. I’m really not a Ben Affleck fan, but I decided to give it a chance. Surprise of the year for me. This is a very entertaining thriller, in which Affleck shows talent as both director and actor. The acting award in the film will definitely go to Jeremy Renner though, who is so believable in his role that you could think the producers found a guy from the projects to play in their movie. You won’t fall in love with the other characters, but they show some kind of depth, enough to make you enjoy this film, along with its good heist scenes.

MUSIC VIDEOS

1. Jay-Z – On to the Next One
One might wonder why this is taking the pole position, and it is for only one reason: It’s a music video. Hurricane and Runaway are closer to short films than music vids. Jay-Z’s video, directed by Sam Brown, portrays a funeral through multiple black and white, highly aesthetic images. It was the first music video released in 2010, and in my opinion, it is still the best. It is a shame it didn’t win any awards at the VMA, but let’s be honest, the VMAs are pretty much meaningless. Jay-Z proved once again his immense artistic talent by releasing a video of this caliber, and the 41-year-old rapper also proved he’s here to stay.

2. Kanye West – Runaway (extended edition)
Here it is, the video that will be at the top position of everybody’s list in 2010, and it deserves it. While to me this is a short film, it redefined what music videos are. It is artistic, different, colorful. It delivers powerful messages, and it is accompanied by one of the best soundtracks ever. As I said in my previous blog post, this is sure to make history with the likes of Thriller.

3. 30 Seconds to Mars – Hurricane
Another video that should be considered a short film, Hurricane will probably have its place in history also. While less visually appealing than Runaway, Hurricane is controversial, sexually offending, twisted, and beautiful. A video that the American public is not ready to see at all (and it got banned for that), and because of that, Jared Leto’s band deserves a lot of recognition. They dared, and succeeded in creating commotion.

4. Eminem – Love the way you lie
Eminem’s real comeback in the music video scene, because Not Afraid was definitely not it. This is also a controversial video that caused a heart stroke to America, because of its reference to domestic violence and dysfunctional relationships. Joseph Kahn used his enormous experience to direct a video that suits the song like few videos have been able to. The cinematography is amazing, Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan are good in their main roles and the Eminem/Rihanna duo just fills the screen with presence and intensity. One of the best videos of the year on all aspects.

5. Linkin Park – The Catalyst
Joe Hahn has slowly made the transition from turntablist to director for Linkin Park, and this change shows how much talent the guy has. He was a great DJ (he still is in fact) and is now one of my favorite director in the music video domain. His creativity is unmatched, and everything he does just fits the Linkin Park style beautifully. The Catalyst is no exception. The imagery is innovative, the editing is on-point and the Linkin Park guys really give one hell of a performance. Great use of slow motion throughout.

Honorable mentions
Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
Linkin Park – Waiting for the End
B.o.B. – Airplanes

TV SHOWS

1. Breaking Bad – Season 3
Discovery of the year for me, TV-wise. A fresh, original concept with actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul playing two of the most fascinating characters to ever appear on TV. Be warned, this, like many other series, is highly addictive. Sometimes humorous, sometimes dramatic, and seldom highly violent, this show will get you through the whole set of emotions, and will also kill your social life, second warning here !

2. Entourage – Season 7
The second-to-last season of the series aired this summer, and deceived no fan. Vince, E, Drama, Turtle, and especially Ari were back in full force, with new relationships, new insults and new adventures. The dialogues were once again a work of genius, and Vince’s breakdown was amazingly put together. The Cameos were entertaining and the complicity between the characters was once again something so entertaining to watch that every episode made you wish you had their lives. If you haven’t started to watch Entourage at all, I also envy your life, because you’re in for 7 seasons of never -before-seen laughter and entertainment. Start now !

3. Sportscentre – Morning Show on TSN
Probably the most unexpected winner of my entire top 2010 list, but I couldn’t pass by it. Jay Onrait and Dan O’toole are the best start of my day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. They redefine sports news with their incredible sense of humour and amazing charisma. They don’t take themselves seriously at all, they’re spontaneous and it gives a whole other perspective to everyday sports news.

Honorable mentions
Mad Men

BEST ADVERTISEMENTS

1. Dulux – Let’s color
Adam Berg takes the prize two years in a row for me, with his masterpiece Carousel for Philips last year. The whole concept of this Dulux ad is so good that it goes beyond the final TV spot. The fact they used local people and gave them the chance to put some color back into their dull scenery is amazing, and the fact that they were able to render this live process into such a beautiful advertisement is just brilliant. This is advertisement at another level.

2. Nike – Write the Future
The biggest sports event in the world of course means, the best advertisements in the world, and W+K knew that they havd to give it their best shot, and they didn’t fail. This ad pictures the World Cup vibe with such epicness and bigger than nature reactions that it clearly makes it the best ad of the tournament. The overall idea is so clever and the production value is unbelievable.

3. Sussex Safer Roads – Embrace Life
A beautiful alternative to encourage people to always wear their seat belts, Embrace Life succeeded in doing what all the gory, violent ads about car accidents couldn’t. The ad created an enormous buzz on the web, and probably saved more lives today than any other commercial. The concept is so well-thought and the imagery is spectacular.

4. Gaz Metro – A Natural Evolution
It takes great patience and dedication to tackle a project like this one, but it takes incredible talent and vision to make a project like this one look as good as this. This entire ad, conceptualized by Sid Lee, was done in stop-motion over 4 nights and with more than 1500 pieces of chalk. The animation is unbelievably fluid considering it’s stop motion and the visual is spectacular. Another considerable piece by one of the most creative agencies in the world.

5. LG – Something Lurkingg
One of the toughest spot on which to deliberate, the final slot of my entire top 2010 goes to the very recent LG ad, created by Y&R and the masters of animation, Psyop. Read a couple of posts prior to this one to know how amazed I was by this ad.

Honorable mentions
Adidas – Cantina 2010
Sony – Eye Candy
Audi – The Art of Progress
BBC – Honk If You’re Human
AT&T – Rethink Possible

This is it ! Probably the most time I’ve ever invested in a blogpost. I hope, even if you don’t agree 100% with me, that this will make you discover some gems in the media domain and give you things to entertain you during this one-to-two-week holiday that is coming up. This will most likely be my last blogpost of 2010, so in advance, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year !

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Eminem & Jay-Z Home and Home Tour

This could be the longest blog post I’ve ever done, because it was one of the most exciting nights of my life, but I’ll try to be as brief as possible. There are Youtube embeds at the bottom related to everything I say in this post.

Back in June, some friends and myself decided we would attend the Home & Home Tour, this 2-night exclusive event starring Jay-Z and Eminem in both their respective home towns. We tried to get tickets for NY, because it was way closer to us, but tickets sold out in less than 10 minutes, so we had to get tickets in Detroit.

We had tickets for Friday, September 3rd, which was the second night in Detroit. So, we left Quebec City on Thursday morning and drove 14 hours through Quebec and Ontario until we reached the customs in Detroit at 9 o’clock in the evening. We partied like crazy at Exodus nightclub on the rooftop terrace and spent the day trying to find something to do in Detroit the next day. We finally decided to go buy those custom made “RUN DET” t-shirts at Division Street Boutique and we then walked to the Comerica Park to enter the stadium for what promised to be one of the greatest shows ever.

How stoked was I when B.o.B. (who has to be one of my favorite artists of 2010) came on stage to open the show ! He played most of his album, and ended the show with a cover of MGMT’s Kids, which made the crowd go bananas. He didn’t play Airplanes, but any B.o.B. connoisseur knew what that meant…

I had seen Jay-Z previously in October at Bell Centre in Montreal, so I was expecting him to have a similar line-up. As expected he played most of the same songs, but added a few, including A Dream while paying a tribute to Biggie. But the best moment of his performance was definitely when he sang Death of Autotune and when he got to “this might need a verse from Jeezy”, Jeezy actually came on stage and did Put On for the crowd. Detroit went insane, that’s the least to say. Once again, I’ll have to say though that there is not a song in the world that will match U Don’t Know in terms of making a stadium reach its maximum level of craziness. People in Montreal exploded when he played that song with Memphis Bleek, and the people from Detroit really matched this atmosphere. Once again, Hova proved that he’s probably the most classy guy in the rap industry by spotting people in the crowd at the end of the show and saluting them.

Overall it was a great show, but I have to say that I preferred his show in Montreal. The audio sounded better, and his multimedia tower setup had something unique. His visuals on the Detroit stage looked really good though, especially on On To The Next One, which matched the visual from the music video.

And then, the main course came on stage. Eminem, who hadn’t performed for close to five years, came on the eyed-shaped stage. He opened up with Won’t Back Down and continued on with many other records, including 3am and Square Dance. Then, one of the heaviest song of the evening had to be Welcome to Detroit City with Trick Trick appearing on stage. The Comerica Park exploded in cheers. Other guests came on stage, like D12, with songs like Fight Music and Purple Pills.

Just when we thought this couldn’t get any better, the beat for Patiently Waiting started, and none other than 50 cent started singing along side Em for this song. Marshall then left the stage and introduced Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks, who performed I Get Money and In Da Club before giving the stage back to its true owner.

Shady dropped many other singles, and then the lights went off, just to have the first piano notes of Airplanes part 2 resonate in the stadium. B.o.B. came back out and dropped his second first of the song, while Eminem joined him on stage to perform his verse. This was definitely one of the highlights of the show for me.

On Thursday, Drake made a surprise appearance and played Forever. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it to the Friday show, but Eminem still rhymed his verse from Forever, which has to be one of his best verses of all time.

But then, the most unexpected guest showed up. Em started playing My Name Is, and when he reached the line “and Dr. Dre said…”, the beat stopped, and Dr. Dre raised from the floor, played Still D.R.E., Nothing but a G Thang and left. The crowd was so loud that the beat was almost inaudible.

Of course, later on, Jay-Z came back and he and Eminem played Renegade, which was a crowd pleaser as well. And, to close things off, Eminem played his new single Not Afraid, and gave an encore performance with Lose Yourself, and ended all this with an insane fireworks show.

So that’s it, after playing over 30 songs, Em left us and we headed back to Quebec City, knowing that we had just witnessed hip-hop’s history.

Put On

Lose Yourself

Still Dre

In Da Club

Airplanes Part 2

Square Dance

No Love

Forever

Eminem’s Intro

Jay-Z’s Intro

Renegade

Welcome to Detroit City

Dirt Off Your Shoulder

Fight Music

Patiently Waiting

Till I Collapse

Eminem’s Recovery review

It’s become almost a habit for rap artists to have their albums leaked on the Internet before their official release dates. Marshall Mathers is of course the latest artist to be a victim of the world wide web. His highly-anticipated album, Recovery, scheduled to release on June 22nd, was released earlier this week on the web. Is it a marketing stunt or an honest mistake from someone in Eminem’s entourage ? We’ll probably never know, but what is sure though, is that Eminem’s new album is absolutely amazing.

His last release, Relapse, received harsh criticism, and it deserved it. Eminem really delivered a sub-par album, and Encore, the one before that, was also a let down compared to his previous masterpieces. Slim Shady does his Mea Culpa on Recovery, admitting that his 2 last albums did not live up to the expectations, and he backs it up with some incredible beats and lyrics.

The album starts off with Cold Wind Blows, a track that awfully sounds like a Dre beat, but the credits say that Just Blaze produced it. This satiric song introduces the good old Em into this new 17-track CD. Then the album carries right into Talkin’ 2 Myself, featuring Kobe. The song takes the satire away and presents deep and emotional lyrics, which is one of my favorite songs on the album. Further down the tracklist, you’ll find incredible collaborations, including Won’t Back Down featuring Pink, which is probably the most unexpected artist to ever feature on an Eminem track. Love the way you lie is another emotional song with Rihanna singing the chorus, adding a lot of feeling to the track. Those two tracks are sure to invade radio waves in the coming weeks.

Lyric-wise, Marshall Mathers proves once again that he is probably the best lyricist to ever be born on this planet. The rhymes are incredible, his flow is unmatched and the honesty and the message delivered throughout his words are sure to make you rewind the songs a couple of times and give you shivers.

My expectations were sky-high for this album after Em dissed his own Relapse album on Not Afraid, his first single. Well, he definitely knows what the expression walk the talk means. This is an amazing album that is sure to make die-hard Slim Shady fans believe in their hero again after a couple of let downs. Eminem is back, stronger than ever.

Eminem trying a new path

It’s no secret anymore, Em has a recipe when releasing a new album. He launches his catchy single in which he insults celebrities, in a funny video in which he’s usually dressed up as people he talks about in the song. Take for example My Name Is, The Real Slim Shady, WIthout Me, Just Lose it, and We Made You.

When Not Afraid was released, I was surprised that Marshall Mathers decided to use a deep, introspective song as a first single to promote Recovery, his June 22nd upcoming album, I was really surprised by this decision, but in a good way. It seems Em finally decided to focus on what he does best, and that is writing powerful lyrics and rhymes, and give a real preview of what’s to come on the album.

Now about the video. It starts off great, with shots of him rapping on a rooftop, mixed with some other performance shots of him in a low-lit basement. The video moves on to a super-well directed mirror sequence, where he gets lost on the street in a maze of reflections. After that though, he just pushes it too far. Eminem starts to fly throughout the city like Superman, which looks exaggerated to me. The video could easily have gone on with the performance scenes and do its job perfectly.