March 2017 Where to Go + What to See/Hear Pop Culture Consumables Guide

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Who among us isn’t a quasi shut-in during the bleakest month of February—spooning ones cat as if she/he/non-identifying/were your emotional LIFE RAFT + the only reason to get out of bed in the morning to face the overwhelming dark sludge of ones existence?

Ohhh, just me? *clears throat nervously

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**MARCH** is the most opportune month to reinvigorate your POP CULTURE diet and get up to speed on all of the latest need-to-know releases & cool hunter happenings!

It’s time to STOKE that inner fire leave the darkest recesses of my duvet & pillow fort as the world around me you begins to thaw for the coming spring!

GET OUT!

The Montreal en Lumiere festival is continuing on until March 11th and **TONIGHT** is Nuit Blanche—a culturally edifying array of guided tours, workshops, installations, parties, performance art, gastronomy and films just to name a few! Open until 3am, there is a king’s ransom of stimulating and inspiring offerings (over 200 FREE activities!) adroitly sprinkled across Montreal in an easy-to-navigate landscape. This year Nuit Blanche has joined forces with Montreal’s 375th Anniversary for an “Expo 67” themed evening of programming that is sure to add a memorable dimension to the annual indoor/outdoor event.

Dress warm kittens, ’cause baby it’s cold outside!

MUSIC

The Chainsmokers

Grammy award-winning artist/producer duo The Chainsmokers (how cu-uuute is Drew Taggart?!) have been dropping Hansel + Gretyl-esque musical bread crumbs over the past year like “Closer” and most recently “Paris.” Finally, their debut album Memories Do Not Open [Columbia] is set to release April 7th, and will feature “Paris” as well as 10 additional never-before-heard tracks from the hit making duo. 

Jamiroquai

I feel like I may have willed this next one as I have been dreaming of a NEW Jamiroquai album forevs?! Ok fyyne, I don’t have that much power but Jay Kay is BACK after a 7 year absence and according to the response on my Instagram, the world is COLLECTIVELY thrilled by this! Ok, FYYYNE, just 65 of mainly my friends but whose counting? Be sure to download the e-n-t-i-r-e Automation [Virgin/EMI] album when it drops on March 31st, like any good 90’s kid would do.

…I can’t for the life of me control the rest of you impatient millennial maniacs!

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PODCAST

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On February 15, 2014, fitness guru Richard Simmons disappeared. He stopped teaching his regular exercise class at Simmons, cut off his closest friends, and removed himself from the public eye. Nobody has heard from him, save for a recorded telephone interview he had with TODAY’s show Savannah Guthrie about a year ago. Missing Richard Simmons follows documentarian (and former Daily Show producer) Dan Taberski as he tries to piece together CSI-style what happened to the famed fitness guru. The six-episode (so far) podcast which has reached #1 on the charts has gripped listeners but I think it’s all “a bunch of horse pucky”—something Simmons would totally say, at least in public. Apparently behind the scenes he has quite the potty-mouth.

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The man gave us his glorious lubed up legs and 24-7 glittery gay-enthusiasm for decades—all-the-while concealing his own lifetime battle with depression. Can’t we let him have some WELL DESERVED alone time without making him into an absolute mockery?

For SHAME people, For SHHHHHAME!

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*But listen to the podcast anyway, cause its ‘hella entertaining.

BOOKS

Sleeping Reading is truly one of my life’s greatest joys. Here are 2 spanking new reads to stimulate ‘yo synapses for the month of March.  

One Day None We’ll All Be Dead and None of this Will Matter [Doubleday Canada] is a collection of brilliant essays by Canadian Buzz Feed editor Scaachi Koul. And just because that holier-than-thou “real journalist” smarty-pants would never deign to follow me back on Twitter, I can still take the high road and give praise where it’s due. *Curtsey.

Whispers… “what. a. thunder. c**t.

South and West [Penguin Random House] is penned by none other than THE Joan Didion and details her account of a visit to New Orleans back in the 1970’s. Both non fiction titles are available on March 7th at my favourite place in the world besides my own bed, Chapters Indigo.

POP UP

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Toronto friendsicles: (I’m bi-provincial if you didn’t know), you must attend this ONE DAY ONLY cereal pop-up café—CEREAL BOX CAFÉ on March 10th, at 867 Dundas, St W Toronto, ON

Between the hours of 5-10pm you can choose from some of your favourite childhood or adulting cereals, some unknown international flavours “Chocella from France anyone?,” toppings akin to the ones found at your favorite frogurt spot, and AND your choice of 8 different types of milk including STRAWBERRY!?!?

Don’t dare miss it!

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Comedian Dave Chapelle flexed his comedic A-game on his debut SNL appearance back in November 2016—raking in the seasons highest ratings (6.2 million viewers).  A day later I tweeted that Chapelle should “get his own show back” and that this time he would definitely take the $50 million that he famously gave up in 2005 before fleeing to Africa.

Even better than I predicted, Chapelle was offered $60 million for three separate hour-long Netflix specials. The first two of said specials—Deep in the Heart of Texas and The Age of Spin were already pre-taped shows done in 2015 and 2016. They both premiere on Netflix on March 21st and here’s a video preview.

No word on the yet-to-be-taped all new 3rd special, but you will hear about it here first, so stay tuned!

***

So there you have it, some of the latest cool-quotient consumables for the month of March.

Now thread that pop culture needle lover heads!

XOXO,

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Now Trending : Star Sightings for Spring 2017!

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If you’re just tuning in tadpoles + kittens, you might recall that the last of the mammoth motif trends was the pineapple?

…And in the revolving door of trends where EVERYTHING changes and if you aren’t careful you could be guilty of being “sooooo 5 minutes ago,” this years appliqué-on-everything is… THE STAR!

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We first got a glimpse of this STARRY trend on Stella McCartney’s F/W Jeans + handbags & she’s continued into spring 2017 with her platform brogues with playful mirrored stars in a selection of incredible colours!

*Printed mid-rise straight leg jeans $495.00, faux leather platform brogues $1,140.00, Falabella mini star tote aprox $650.00 and up

Designer-to-the-stars (how Meta!) Elie Saab dedicated her ENTIRE ready to wear Spring/Summer 2017 collection to the star trend from head to toe including accessories.

Designer Rixo London have some amazing cosmic love Spring 2017 offerings…

…St Laurent is stylishly on trend with their stunning black denim skinny jeans and pink star appliqué leather sneakers.

…And super sexy + edgier than thou Canadian jewelry line TOVA  has a wall-to-wall STAR STUDDED S/S line (*I’m running out of clever metaphors here) and can be purchased through their Instagram @tovastore

…How about some star nail inspo to go along with the trend? Cute for the toes too!

And lastly, but not least-ly—Emma Stone owned the 2017 Golden Globes red carpet wearing this g-g-gorgeous diaphanous silver star dress by Valentino.

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…and this brings me to you-saw-this-coming-from-around-the-corner SEGUE of the title track from Emma Stone’s + Ryan Gosling’s LA LA LAND…

CITY OF STARS…”

You heard it here FIRST friendsicles! The STAR TREND is totally a thing. So get on it!

“…Might not know it now….Baby, but I are, I’m a star…”

XOXO,

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2016: The Best of List That Never Was

Photo: © Jill Greenberg

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the relentless tag team fu**ery of 2016.

**Newsflash**  2016 was a stinking pile of doggie doo doo—lit on fire and left on everyone’s front porch leaving an inescapable STANK that permeated throughout the entire year.

The never-ending yarn of loss, social injustice, terrorism + the congealed, rotten stench of the Trump campaign spooled on and on with seemingly no end in sight?

The crushing weight of (attempting?!) to condense it all was simply too overwhelming for me come deadline time.

Looking back, once 2016 took my idol Prince—I effectively went into “I’m officially dead inside” auto-pilot, and everything blurred into oblivion shortly thereafter.

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…I’m still not done bawling my eyelashes off FYI.

Little did I know it would be a full year of mourning beloved musical artists, writers and personalities that shaped the tapestry of my LIFE’S PATCHWORK QUILT. Artists taken suddenly and without warning—Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Carrie Fischer and her mother Debbie Reynolds—not but 24 hours later? Singer Sharon Jones (I thought her Cancer was in remission?!) Alan Thicke? Harambe the Gorilla?!?!

For the first time in years I had SEVERE creative fits and starts trying to write my annual  ‘Best of’ review.

A review, which by way, brings alllllll the boys to yard and makes my traffic stats skyrocket.

But I couldn’t pull it together—I couldn’t feign genuine enthusiasm. My stabs at humour + time-honoured recipe of wittier-than-thou nomenclature felt hollow and quite frankly, disrespectful.

What good could my picayune “best of list” + a couple juvenile GIFS do, for a world drowning in the daily BRINE of horror and sadness?

And, AND!!—If I don’t address some of the REAL issues I’ll feel irresponsible, but if I delve into them too deeply I’ll need a Kanye 5150 stay of the ‘exhausts’ and the ‘tireds’ cause its. all. too. Painful.

At its core The Pop Culture Rainman™ is an entertainment blog—long on comedic intelligentsia and short on tackling hard news à la Christiane Amanpour. That’s not to say I don’t personally step in deep puddles, but I prefer to stay on-brand whereas this blog is concerned. Either way, I felt mud-stuck and didn’t have a clue on how to balance funny, with say, the growing panic of what was happening in Aleppo!?

I wanted to crawl into a dark corner with a bag of weed gummy bears, 3-ply tissues and a clickity lamp.

…I simply didn’t have it in me to hold up 2016’s hair while it threw up all over the universe.

***

It (((still FEELS))) like a terrible Sophie’s Choice of abandonment. I work tirelessly year-round collecting photos and text, preening and priming, for what I pride myself as being a list like no other and it was all for naught.

I feel like I Mariah-New-Years-Rockin’-Eve’d all of my dedicated + loyal followers (all 27 of you!), and I sincerely apologize. I mean haven’t you read enough reductive lists fawning over the slushy, syrupy soft-serve that NBC’s This Is Us has coughed up? Aren’t you tired of the year end/new year Instagram posts from basic b’s that think they are being WAYYYY DEEP with #GoodVibesOnly hashtags?

You deserve better than that. We all deserve better than that. I pride myself on curating a list that is a salve to the onslaught of surface tripe out there. I promise to be back next year.  

‘Cause even if 2017 isn’t able to serve it up on its finest Reynaud dinnerware, at least we know it can. never. get. worse.

In the meantime, have a look at my Instagram as I did cover a lot of the past years trends there.

Before signing off, I do have to say a few words about losing Prince. If you haven’t read my piece Prince Can We Talk—doing so will help give you context.

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I thought I would honestly get to finally meet him in person in 2016 after months of talking strategy with his personal publicist. After a lifetime of fandom. After 5 concerts and 3 on stage appearances with him. After a bedside declaration to my dying mother in her last weeks.

Prince was the Swiss Army KNIFE of MUSICAL GENIUS. It’s like LOSING a COLOUR, or losing a LETTER OF the alphabet permanently. It’s NEVER going to be the same.

I will still name my first book Pop Life after Prince. The only difference will be that, meeting Prince will not be the tying up of my life’s work, like I had planned.

But perhaps that is the grand lesson. We are never done learning, growing and disrupting are we?

Prince certainly wasn’t.

I wish you Heaven 2017,

XOXO

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Win! My Pop Culture Inspired Holiday Book Giveaway!

 

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The **holiday season** is officially upon us! To mark this most momentous and joyous of occasions I am giving away 2 book sets of the years most pop culture worthy titles—with a healthy dose of Canadiana, ’cause really—there’s no place like home!

I can’t extol the virtues of reading more; whether for pleasure, inspiration, relaxation or to buttress the ’ol noggin —it’s one of my life’s simplest and yet, greatest pleasures!

As a book purist, I love the tactile feel of REAL books, and I’m bringing that gift to you courtesy of Indigo Chapters  & Pop Culture Rainman Reads!

TAH DAH! It’s the Razzle Dazzle of READING!

Check out these incredible titles! Each gift pack will include:

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The Best Kind of People Zoe Whithall

What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?

With exquisite emotional precision, Canadian award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse. 

*In the interest of pop culture, many have compared it to a modern day “Ordinary People.

 

 

51j10qkqfsl__sy344_bo1204203200_The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo Amy Schumer

#1 New York Times Best Seller

“Amy Schumer’s book will make you love her even more. For a comedian of unbridled (and generally hilarious) causticity, Schumer has written a probing, confessional, unguarded, and, yes, majorly humanizing non-memoir, a book that trades less on sarcasm, and more on emotional resonance.” —Vogue

 

 

 

1501141511Born To Run Bruce Springsteen

The fiercely private Bruce Springsteen opens up about his strained relationship with his late father, his on going battle with depression and life on the road as lead singer of the tight knit E Street Band since 1972.

“Richly rewarding…Bruce Springsteen proves that he has takenon life fully engaged both in living and examining it, and in doing so, he’s delivered a story as profoundly inspiring as his best music…It’s alternately brutally honest, philosophically deep, stabbingly funny, and, perhaps most important, refreshingly humble.” Los Angeles Times

 

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Shoe Dog Phil Knight

For all you sneaker heads and high top kick lovers, read all about the sneaker brand that changed the game forever. In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic and profitable brands

9780385689250Canada Mike Myers

In this instant national bestseller, comedy superstar Mike Myers writes from the (true patriot) heart about his 53-year relationship with his beloved Canada.

Mike Myers is a world-renowned actor, director and writer, and the man behind some of the most memorable comic characters of our time. But as he says: “no description of me is truly complete without saying I’m a Canadian.” He has often winked and nodded to Canada in his outrageously accomplished body of work, but now he turns the spotlight full-beam on his homeland.

  Keep them all or re-gift some away for the holidays—its up to you!
   

THE RULES

Contest is open to Canadian residents only

Must Be 18 Years or Older

Must follow me on either Instagram @reneepopculturerainman or Twitter @popculturerainman or follow my blog The Pop Culture Rainman. 

For Instagram you must write “I want to win the chaptersindigo pop culture giveaway from reneepopculturerainman#MakeItMerry #PCRReads on my Instagram or your own with a photo of the books

For Twitter you must write “I want to win the @chaptersindigo pop culture book giveaway from @popcultrainman #MakeItMerry #PCRReads on my Twitter or your own with a photo of the books

For Blog Comments just post below in comments section. No need to post the photo!

Do the above on at least one social media channel or in the comments section on my blog. Don’t forget both hashtags!

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↑ Copy and Paste + POST this photo for Insta or Twitter ↑

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GOT IT?

Winners will be randomly chosen and announced by December 19th, 2017.

GOOD LUCK!

XOXO,

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RESULTS UPDATE! The Winners of my Pop Culture inspired MULTI PACK Book giveaway is Ophelia Chang from Twitter and Zara Alexis from my blog The Pop Culture Rainman! Congratulations to the Winners!! Happy Holidays EVERYONE!!

Trend Spotted! My November 2016 Trending & Pop Culture Picks!

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November was a standout month for pop culture trends, innovations, transportation’s + mannequin challenge funifications! Check out this pop culture infused time capsule of all the THANGS that gave my inner Jell-O its wiggle this past month!

Animalic Perfumes

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The NYT published an article at the end of October 2016 on “Animalics” a new niche trend in perfumes that bring out ones primal BEAST. Read all about it here

While the idea is not new, it is one that seems to be cresting as of late with both niche and indie perfumers getting attention for their unique takes on the trend.

Victor Wong a Toronto gaming programmer-turned-perfumer came up with the idea for his unisex brand Zoologist a few years ago. He was drawn to scents that seemed to reflect the wild animal kingdom —intense musk’s + strange and densely shocking smells. He created his line that takes the user on a wild journey that tells a detailed story about each animal. It should be noted all of his scents are hybrid synthetics—no animal’s are harmed!

Zoology is a nicher than niche concept for avid perfume collectors, pop culture enthusiasts, trend hunters and certainly anyone involved in the way-beyond-my-comfort-level cosplay world of furries.

Zoology’s Bat perfume won the coveted 2016 Art & Olfaction award—a pretty incredible feat for a first time indie perfumer—and it has a huge cult following! This is definitely not a first timers perfume line although we can all agree that The Nightingale, a pink floral chypre with rich scents of saffron and rosy, powdery Japanese plum blossoms is one of the lines most wearable scents.The pink liquid and feminine bottle alone, will delight anyone who (like myself) likes to collect eclectic perfume bottles

Cruelty-Free Winter Jackets

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If you know me personally (hey! lucky you), you know my well documented distaste for the fur industry and the unregulated barbarian practices that take place across the globe—and yes even in CANADA. Far too many people are blindly buying into fur-as-a-fashion-statement or as a deluded sign of stature? Murdered coyote framing the faces of thousands of unconscious tweens via Canada Goose isn’t my idea of style people (parents I’m talking to you!) It’s not the 1700’s and you aren’t a Courier de Bois paddling up and down the river in your canoe?! It’s 2016 and there are cruelty-free OPTIONS available to keep you warm and looking  great!

 Quartz Co.

In what just may be a world first Quebec’s Quartz Co. unveiled a true innovation in winter jacket insulation. They partnered up with Quebec’s Fibres Monarch who had 5 years worth of research and development under their belts to bring milkweed insulation to the marketplace! Milkweed is a natural fiber that is grown all over Canada and not only does it help trap cold, but unlike fur or down feathers it also ABSORBS the cold! Speaking of down feathers, depending on where the jackets are made, this can also be a cruel practice–so do your research before you buy! Best of all, with Quartz co. jackets no animals are hurt in the process and milkweed is also natural habitat for the sustainability of the monarch butterfly!

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Beautiful, natural milkweed!

 

  • The bad news: Quartz Co. sold out completely of their milkweed jackets for the 2016/17 winter season. The inaugural roll out was a limited edition. 
  • The good news: The 2017/2018 jackets are already finished a full production line with a brand new array of colours ready for next season!

 

 

Another Canadian Co. WULLY Outerwear from Toronto is offering up an amazing incentive to trade in your fur coats for $300.00 off on their amazing animal-free parkas. Watch Below!

Wow Air

You must have noticed that half of everyone you know posted Iceland vacation photos to Instagram in 2016? That’s because Wow Air  the incredible low fare airline that launched in Canada last May has travel deals to Iceland and Europe that are out of this world! New European destinations were announced this November go online and ch-ch-check them out!

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Iceland has become a hotbed for pop culture footnotes in the past few years with celebs like Beyoncé + Jay Z vacationing there and Justin Bieber using the incredible scenery to shoot 2 of his music videos in 2015 & 2016! The famed HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones shot in Iceland and even The Simpsons got in on the Reykjavik spirit complete with a champagne party in the famed Blue Lagoon baths. And just last month Miss Iceland—Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir (try saying that 3x’s fast!) made international headlines when she bowed out of a Las Vegas pageant (and all pageants indefinitely) when she was told she had “too much fat” to compete!?! VEGAS YOU CRAY! In fact all ‘beauty’ pageants are an affront to feminism and should have no place in modern society.

*Click on photos for a detailed look and captions ↓

Mannequin Challenge

Mannequin challenges started to go viral online in early November 2016. Should you have no contact to the outside world a Mannequin challenge is a viral video craze that shows intricately laid out scenes captured on video with people frozen on spot many of them set to Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” song, which for the record I think is a big stinkin’ pile of doo doo, but hey it is the #1 song in the US right now. 

Choosing a favourite is really like an impossible Sophie’s Choice of decision-making but here is my top 5.

1.High School Mannequin Challenge “The Real Royal Family”

This was the first all-student high school mannequin challenge that I saw in early November and I believe it set a precedence for all others to follow.

2. Zach King

King’s gravity defying ping pong stance boggles the mind. Is this real life?

3. Boxer Dog

Sit Ubu Sit…GOOD DAWG!

4. London Underground 

Cramped spaces, strangers politely cooperating in unison on a moving vehicle? Say no more!

5. Lebron James, Michelle Obama and the Cleveland Cavaliers...set to classical music, natch!

Which Mannequin Challenge(s) were YOUR favourites? Let me know????

That’s all she wrote for November, the anxiety soup of December deadlines await…eek!

Stay tuned for Part 1 of The Best of 2016 Coming SOON!

XOXO,

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My Leonard Cohen Article…RIP Open Hearted Poet.

I was lucky enough to interview Leonard Cohen 15 years ago in person at the Hotel Vogue in Montreal. 

For well over an hour we talked freely while smoking Vantage cigarettes (his) and drinking wine in his hotel room.

This was a man that made smoking look elegant and almost spiritual.

These kind of exclusive opportunities simply do not take place in 2016. The time, the access, and the personal generosity simply does not happen in music interviews any longer. Might I remind you this took place—as have all of my most cherished interviews before smart phones or “selfies” were ever part of our communal lexicon. 

While we were winding down the interview Leonard Cohen, THE LEONARD COHEN, suggested I get in touch with his “single” son Adam Cohen who spent his time between Montreal and Los Angeles. He gave me Adam’s number and told me he would give Adam a “head’s up” that I was calling. I looked at Leonard and said “Leonard Cohen thinks I’m good enough for his son? Can I call you dad?” He looked at me and chuckled.

I got Adam’s LA answering machine when I called the next day and I left a baffled/shy message that went something along these lines…”Um, hi Adam? My name Renee Gold and I just interviewed your dad, and he gave me your number…” I felt like an idiot leaving it! I soon found out through common friends that Adam (unbeknownst to Leonard) was in a new relationship in LA, with I believe the mother of his son Cassius. I never got a call back from him, but I LOVE the memory and the gesture of Leonard Cohen trying to fix me up with his son. 

Here is my short article that was published in Elle Canada Magazine.

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RIP Leonard Cohen. Thank you for your prolific poetry, words, and music.

XOXO,

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Lady Gaga Joanne Review; a couple of hits, many misses.

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First off can I just say that I think Lady Gaga is one of the most singular sounding, indefatigable musical artists out there? She’s an incredibly powerful singer and a highly skilled musician (piano, guitar, drums and keytar).  

I need to say this as I’m about to give her latest studio album Joanne [Interscope] a lukewarm-ish review—and in doing so it hurts me more than it will ever hurt her.

Some critics think that Ga-Ga’s experimental take on genre hopping on Joanne is a tad gimmicky, but I disagree. Everyone from Bob Dylan to David Bowie (who Gaga tributed so beautifully at last years Grammy’s) both have a long history of throwing complacency to the wind and experimenting up the yin yang—so I’m all for it. Especially, in Gaga’s case where I feel an authenticity to every genre she experiments with here, like country/western for instance. She’s an enigmatic artist and were not necessarily supposed to be able solve this musical jigsaw, or even ‘get it’ for that matter. That’s the beauty of Gaga’s art.

The good news is that Joanne, a popcowboydancesoulfunkfolkrock mash-up boasts some incredible takeaway hits.

The problem issaid hits” were released to the public in promotional succession before the album even dropped?

Tis’ true, that some could argue and by some I mean ME, that Perfect Illusion, A Million Reasons and A-YO are the best of what the album has to offer.

In other words, “Joannepeaked early.

THAT’S A FILTHY LIE!I can hear legions of Little Monsters spewing vitriol in my psychic direction.

Well, instead of tap dancing around the square footage of this review, let’s go through the album offerings at a glance.

Diamond Heart

For the first 30 odd seconds of this track, I’m convinced I’m listening to Stevie Nicks herself until Gaga, ever-the- chameleon soon transitions from a tumbleweed country rasp into her familiar dramatic vocals. I really like Diamond Heart.  It’s a song that begs for a film soundtrack to pick it up immediately, as I can see the synesthesia colours and scenes that it lends itself to. A great song to play loudly on the open road. 

A-YO

A-YO is a fun clappity-clap pop track with an infectious chorus that brings to mind Footloose or the Coyote Ugly film. Again a great song to drive to or dance to on the top of a bar, if the kids even do that anymore?

Joanne

In another departure for Gaga, she takes on a 60’s folk/rock persona in the songs first 30 seconds (again!), before she switches off into what I now see as a Stevie Nicks copycat vocal. The song, a dearly departed love letter to her aunt for whom she was named after is both heartbreaking and lovely. It’s a pretty tune, that may just be the only other stand out song on the album besides Diamond Heart—but again that is subject to your taste level. It’s a simple song both lyrically and in melody, and I’m not convinced its truly memorable despite its overwhelming beauty.

John Wayne

I won’t mince words. I don’t like this country head banger.

Dancin’ in Circles

With a “La Isla Bonita” sounding swagger and reggae guitar plucking’s, Gaga sings in various styles, including a Gwen Stefani baby-doll spoken word verse. It’s got a classic Gaga feel and is sure to be a fan favourite, but I could take it or leave it.

Perfect Illusion

The 1st of her album pre released singles, Perfect Illusion has a signature theatrical 80’s rock feel. I love the way she words the chorus lyrics, singing “perfect illoooosion.” Again, it has a classic Gaga sound and feel and was a great first release to encapsulate the album.

A Million Reasons

By far my favourite track on the album. Written with singer-songwriter Hillary Lindsey who also does those gorgeous  background vocals—I can’t say enough about this song. It’s a timeless ballad that introduces us to her country tinged scratchy vocal, that reminds me so much of Bruce Springsteen’s wife—Patti Scialfa. In fact a dream performance would be to see Lady Gaga, Patti Scialfa, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Nicks in a foursome circle, harmonizing us all to a heavenly crescendo. Grammy’s 2018 get on THIS! This really could be her signature concert encore song going forward à la Bon Jovi’s Dead or Alive or Prince’s Purple Rain. To me its THAT timeless. A song that begs to be heard on a perma-loop play, courtesy of iPhone ear buds so it sinks into your soul.

Sinners Prayer

A HARD PASS on this country ditty.

Come to Mama

A derivative, Beatlesque-sounding tune that could have easily been a song from Hair Spray the Musical. It travels along the familiar GAGA trajectory of being an open-armed all-accepting MAMA Monster to her die-hard fans who have often felt marginalized. It would be fun for a flash mob, but I won’t miss it if I were to never hear it again.

Hey Girl

I had high hopes for this girl bonding duet between Gaga and one of my favourite artists Florence Welch. I loved it until after the first chorus, especially Welch’s singular brocade vocals that really peak when she sings “Hey Girl” in an upper register. As for Gaga, she sounds like a dead ringer for mid 70’s Diana Ross, as she again—morphs into another performance persona. A dizzying synth NOISE is introduced by producer Mark Ronson right after the first chorus and comes back in a screeching/nauseating way, that takes away from this song. In the end, I feel like Hey Girl, goes on a little too long, and becomes loopy sounding like a spinning record with a slight warp. It’s a must listen, either way.

Tell me that’s NOT vintage Diana Ross singing as Gaga sings us out on that last verse? WILLLLD!

Angel Down

An operatic ode to Trayvon Martin and the rampant shootings that have plagued the US in recent years. I wish I liked it, because I love the message, but it’s not something I’d want to listen to again. Perhaps its just to painful?

Grigio Girls

A cute, pared down acoustic song that speaks to sisterhood and female empowerment, but it didn’t speak to me.

Just Another Day

A simple piano plucking Broadway ditty that will please her fan base, but made me want to soft shoe the hell outta there.

Angel Down (Work Tape) 

I believe this is the original recording of Angel Down with little background music, but I didn’t like it the first time, so no thanks?

gaga-playing-her-dive-bar-tour
Back to her dive bar roots, Lady Gaga performs Joanne at the Bitter End on the eve of October 20th, 2016.

So there you have it, a mixed bag of eclectic offerings and yet I am only enamoured with 1 song. It will absolutely be music to her LOYAL fan base’s ears, and very well may be a slow burn that we will look back on DECADES from now as a MUSICAL GENIUS departure, but in this moment I say with great lament…

Move on, there’s nothing to see here.

We will always have a MILLION REASONS Tho’…

XOXO,

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