Black Eyed Peas' "Alive"

Why do the Black Eyed Peas even pretend Fergie is not their star? She carried the hooks for "Don't Phunk With My Heart," "Don't Lie," "Shut Up," "Where Is The Love?", and "My Humps." Seriously. will.i.am's production may be top-notch, but this group is nothing without Fergie's signature rasp. Or, signature growl. Or signature vocal personality.

Fergie's a vocalist-of-all-trades. And Fergie's importance is evident in both of the BEP's new singles. "Imma Be" is a blast--leagues better than the atrocious "Boom Boom Pow"--with excellent base and drum work. (Shockingly subtle for a will.i.am production.) But Fergie's opening rap, complete with the quintessential Fergie Ferg and "hips" references, saves the track from sinking into a safe pocket musically.

"Alive," assumedly the third(-ish) single off the yet-to-be-released The E.N.D., surpasses any previous BEP efforts since "My Humps." The chorus is derivative lyrically--no surprise for the Peas--but the production here is superb. "Alive" opens with a piano-driven melody, and as the track builds, the piano chords are replaced with vibrant synths and increased vocoder use. It's incredibly underplayed; when any BEP song peaks during an electronic organ solo, you know there is a good deal of innovation at work.


The Sad Truth About Brooke Hogan

This pic tells you all you need to know.


Michael Thad Carter

...is amazing. Not only is his body of work fantastic, and his resume that of a soon-to-be-legend, but he's an awesome guy, as well. I'm lucky enough to be a friend, or at least a "Party Together at Eeyore's" friend or "Get Drunk At Elysium" friend or even just a "Mutual Friend of Kelley's" friend. Hell, I'm a Facebook friend! But no matter. My future BEST friend-slash-photog took this stunner a few nights ago. It's one for the history books.

He should add it to his website, no?


Paris Hilton...continues to surprise

I hate posts about Paris Hilton. She's one of those humans with a very singular purpose--to entertain--but even that "purpose" is kind of muddled most of the time. I mean, what does she do? Five years ago, I understood; wannabe-famous billionaire heiress, interesting enough, SURE! But now, she's lost what made her interesting: The delicate balance between naivete and a splash of naughty. Now, she's just naughty and predictable. The wonder is gone.

Her outfits, though, are increasingly impressive. Girl's got an iconic image, if anything.

Paris Hilton, above, at Cannes 2009.


Music Update: It's shiny

Annie. Oh, Annie. What is going on in your world? One day you're signed to Universal, releasing weak-ass singles and dying your hair an increasingly lighter shade of blond, and the next time I look you're releasing weak-ass singles without Universal. Oh, well. The Old Annie may be gone, but New Annie still has something to offer.

"Anthonio," off Annie's delayed and likely inferior sophomore album Don't Stop--it's gotta be real, it's even got cover art!--is a blitzy, synth-filled track high on lyrical drama and low on originality. It's a step up over "I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me," a song I covered last summer, but that's like saying Lindsay Lohan is a step up over Hilary Duff; one is just a bit more exciting.

Now, as the Megan Fox to the Duffs and Lohans of this post, a friend of mine recently turned me onto the best DJ I've heard in 2009, a Brit named George. George Lenton, that is! Apparently new to the international scene, Lenton has one thing most "famous" (a.k.a. sell-out) DJs like Seamus Haji and even the Justice duo have not: a fresh perspective. Remixed tracks like Bob Marley's "Island in the Sun"--transformed by Lenton from stoner jam into dizzying dance track at just the right tempo--and MGMT's "Weekend Wars," you'll gladly sacrifice your car speakers for Lenton's amorphic beats.

He's got some nice original work, too, like "Refresh," the track Paul Oakenfold wished his Brittany Murphy disaster "Faster Kill Pussycat" had been. "Your Love," another throbbing club track, is his most traditional but also his dirtiest; the bass is sketchy and rough, but the piano bars throughout the track keep it accessible. He's remixed Yelle and a few more obscure artists, but "Island in the Sun" is his most surprising and most danceable selection off his recent EP. You can check him out here, and as a gift to my readers, a link to "Island in the Sun."

...and "Refresh"...and "Your Love"...and "Weekend Wars"...


Armani Exchange Campaign: Um, yes.

Suffice it to say A|X is not my kind of brand. My style is more, oh, Madonna ex-husband meets "cool dad with tech job" combined with a touch of 2020 pop star. A|X is, quite simply, for tools.

However, their new ad campaign is great. I mean, the images are shot beautifully--the female lead is particularly striking--but the final shot, located just above, is the most memorable. (For obvious reasons.) So I applaud the art direction here. Racy advertising isn't limited to Gossip Girl, DSquared and Calvin Klein. A high-end douchey brand offshoot like A|X can be trashy, too!


Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D."

The album cover for the BEP's new album is really neat conceptually. Individual images of all four members were digitally transposed over each other and formed this one, all-encompassing face. Great concept.

You can see the hints of femininity (Fergie) and masculinity. Hopefully the album is as cutting-edge as their cover, and hopefully nothing like "Boom Boom Pow."