Laurie En

Laurie En

English account.

Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, the most anticipated album of the year

jeudi 16 mai 2013      Random Access Memories [+digital booklet]

Everybody was waiting for the fourth album of the French duo Daft Punk, which was to be released May, 20th but was available to free listen a few days before, generating a real outcry worldwide, revealing how influential these two artists are held to be. Even before that, the Random Access Memories' pre-release campaign seemed to be perfectly planned ; everybody knew Daft Punk was bringing something new, something special, proving it with their hit Get Lucky ft. Pharell Williams, already n°1 of the international charts. It had already been said before ; the electronic dance music cannot exist without Daft Punk, they had already defined the sound of 21st Century pop with Discovery and are now willing to prove they can do it again and again.

I then took the opportunity to listen to the full album before its official release, and I have to admit that some fans risk to be disturbed by the new sound of the duet. Everybody had set the bar too high and was waiting for something much better than their previous albums. And for many of us, disappointment had been felt here : Random Access Memories is not punchy and rousing as Discovery or even Human After All, and we do not find any title able to make us dance all night long. Wishy-washy paces, voices reminding us of the Bee Gees, homogeneous theme, an old-school touch... Well, quite surprising but after all, isn't it what makes the CD original? Keep in mind that Daft Punk's style had been under the influence of funky music, so there is no surprise they wanted to pay tribute to this genre through their new album (even the title refers to it with the word "Memories").
Immediate reactions are not always the better, when we take time to figure out once again which message did the band want to deliver, it seems like Random Access Memories is well an audacious new turn for Daft Punk, but also a little gem for all the people who will listen to it carefully. The album is a kind of feelings' diary expressing joy and happiness on one side, sadness and misery on the other one. Lyrics are about love, music, questions of identity, serenity, stars and sky, and love again... kind of an ode to escapism. Music mixes piano, guitare, synthesizers, electro vocals, everything that can add something to the genius of the two DJs. They managed to strike a flawless balance between on the first side the way the music sounds and on the other side, the quality of music itself.

The artists said it themselves: “In some ways it’s like we’re running on a highway going the opposite direction to everybody else", proving they do not need to follow the actual trends to make music and to express their deepest feelings. They are aware Random Access Memories is not going to please everyone... and may also want to challenge their copycats to try to imitate this new sound.

Daft Punk is still able to rouse public's interest and to generate debates, but whether you like their new album or not, one thing is sure: they are also still able to surprise everyone. Random Access Memories may not be the CD you will hear in the clubs, it really deserves to be heard... and even to be lived.

Fifty Shades of Grey, the unexpected self-published best-seller

mercredi 15 mai 2013      Fifty Shades of Grey

Already a best-seller around the world, this first volume of the Fifty Shades trilogy, written by the British author E.L. James, was published in 37 countries around the world and its sellings even surpassed those of the Harry Potter books. The erotic romance novel attracted many married women over thirty, which made many press agencies call it "Mommy Porn", and it is much harsher than what first claimed the author, saying it was a "love story". Well, we all know that sex-friends are very fashionable in the last while, so.. everyone can have his own opinion on the question. Some readers are disappointed, others are shocked but however, the scenes are described with many details we would rather not be told...

When the young literature student Anastasia Steele crosses paths with the gorgeous and extremely wealthy entrepreneur Christian Grey, we identify some physical or mental features that are reminiscient of two others fictional characters: "Ana" is pale, too skinny, she has long and often messy brown hair, does not wear any make-up, does not really look after herself and - to top it all off - is an absolutely pure and innocent virgin (and also kind of naive). On the other hand, Christian is the amazingly handsome man we only meet once in our life; tall, muscular, with coppered reflections in his hair. And most of all, even if he has no fangs or no shining tan under the sun either, he is also older than Anastasia (well, from seven years and not three-hundred, but still). So, did you guess? The characters were inspired by Isabella "Bella" Swan and Edward Cullen, the Twilight heroes. In fact, the Fifty Shades books were developed from a Twilight fan fiction! Maybe that James thought there were not enough physical contacts between her prude characters...

Similarities are obvious, but the plot is here set in Seattle, in what we could call "the real life" (even if everybody does not drive an Audi R8, have summerhouses in three or four different cities and a private helicopter), and sex is here master of all the relationships between the characters. Fifty Shades has often been criticized for its lack of quality; and it is true that Fifty Shades Of Grey does not have real literary qualities or puzzling plot. It seems like the only aim of this novel was to write pornographic scenes (ably disguised as a love story). There are no surprises, no marked literary style, a tiresome lack of realism, and we have to go through this absence of quality of drafting in order to feel any connection to the story. We have to say that the number of sellings is not really representative of the quality of the content.

But the book is quick and easy to read and we can even get caught up in the story, just as these women with their destabilizing speeches telling the trilogy inspired them to test new experiences...

Ke$ha proves she is a cheeky-pop-electro Warrior

mercredi 15 mai 2013      Warrior (Deluxe Version) [Explicit] [+digital booklet]

Ke$ha made it clear with her two previous albums : she is a crazy party animal used to hangovers, hippie love stories or improvised dances on bar tables. She displayed the will to expand her repertoire with this third album, taking the opportunity to take guitare lessons in order to give Warrior a very much rock sound.

The rather homogeneous album features sounds showing the singer's progress since Tik Tok, but they all bear the print of the artist, this rousing freshness which is going to make us dance until the sun comes up. Sticking to her pop-rock environment with a tendency for electro-dancefloor sound, Ke$ha even risks to add some tones of country music to some of her songs, like she does on Wonderland. The songs are still addictiv and entertaining, matching the crazy-cheeky artist – quite immature as some would say – we already met through her two previous albums with titles such as Die Young, C'mon or Crazy Kids...which are all going to be broadcast on radio. Pieces like Supernatural (with dubstep elements) or Only Wanna Dance bring up a contagious vibe of goodness which is more than appreciable in these times of war or other depressing crises. Another surprise is the rock song Dirty Love, which is an unexpected duo with the rock-star Iggy Pop – by her own confession, Ke$ha had to stalk him to make him accept. On this one, Ke$ha let us know that she does not only know how to sing and to rap, but also that she is able to play with her voice, bringing it rawer and raging like Courtney Love knew how to.

Warrior is undoubtedly the most developed album from the young singer so far, with real hit-making songs, and even if it is actually not something groundbreaking, this album marks a turning point for Ke$ha, who prooves that her universe does not have real limits and also that she knows to get off the beaten tracks. That said, she still does not seem to want to drop off her image of rebellious party girl which sticks to her and which is reflected in the lyrics of her songs. But there is a time for everything : aged 25, the singer still has a bright future ahead of her.

Watch Ke$ha's official video for her song Die Young:

Paramore... what else?

mardi 14 mai 2013      Paramore

After the departure in 2010 of the Farro Brothers, co-founders of the American rock band Paramore, even fans began to doubt about the band recording a new album. But this fourth one, which is eponymous, is the most acclaimed by the international critic so far. The second single out in the US ans UK charts, Still Into You, runs in loop on the radio and flawlessly illustrates the unique pop-punk-rock spirit that establishes the label of Paramore from the beginning. Hayley Williams has obviously a lot to do with it ; vocally just as much as visually, the lead singer is recognizable at her voice with ironic or sarcarstic tones, but also because of her famous reddish hair – which are now multicoloured dyed.

The album Paramore carries an optimistic message of hope and love, encouraging people to go forward and to grow up. It has often been said that this fourth studio album was focused on the maturity gained by the « survivor-members » of the band after the departure of their friends. The musical arrangements are well-groomed, sometimes even commercial, as if they were made for the radio. Still Into You sounds more pop, and if it had been rewrited in order to get its chance in the sun, mission accomplished then! The song is totally catchy and addictive, fans of the genre are going to listen to it constantly without getting bored.
We retrieve the energy of Riot! and Misery Business, sounds meant to be played live and with backing vocals on songs like Anklebiters for example, but also a few never-too-melancholic sentimental songs such as Last Hope. But should Paramore really stay in the same musical line after two of its founders left ? Many people wonder if we can still talk about a band, or if it is a hidden solo project undertaken by Hayley Williams. Because she endorses the whole band identity and prooves that the musicians accompanying her are only secondary characters who can be replaced without affecting the band's success.

However, Paramore is a turning point in the story of the band, and is on its way to supplant the previous albums, making the Farro Brothers only forgotten shadows of the past.

Still Into You - Official video :

Spielberg's masterpiece: WWI seen through horse's eyes.

mardi 14 mai 2013      War Horse [DVD]

Young Albert Narracott lives a peaceful life with his parents in their farm of the English countryside, paced by his father's hangovers and the family's money issues. When his father brings a young foal from an auction, while he was supposed to buy a work horse to plough their fields, it seems that the fate of the family is sealed ; if the fields are not ploughed, there will be no income of money and Albert and his parents will have to leave their beloved farm. The young boy starts the breaking-in of the foal and has to overcome many obstacles before finally reaching turning Joey into a work horse. But the financial issues are so far not solved in the context of impending war and Albert's father decides to sell the horse to the British cavalry, much to the despair of his son. After that, we will gallop beside the horse on the French front, facing the ruthless German army. Remained in England, Albert is determined to join the British army with the sole aim of finding "his" Joey...

Based on the novel written by Michael Morpurgo which had been published in 1982, War Horse shows the horrors of war in a new light, through the eyes of a horse engaged against his will in this merciless battle. Spielberg offers a rather classical but perfectly mastered movie, technically remarkable, which follows the touching and harrowing journey of Joey, far from the "cute-teen-movie" some could have imagined with scenes of hugs in patures and riding lessons. War Horse is a dark and hopeless chronic, but also a really great show which drags us into the trenches' mud, following the reckless animal called upon to fight for survival, while the soldiers around him fall one after another.
The actors are really endearing, just as well as the unconditional friendship between Albert (Jeremy Irvine, an therefore unknown) and his horse, brillantly narrated by ET's father. We are caught between the horror of the massacre and the emotion generated by the solidarity between the soldiers – even those from opposite camps. The scene both magnificient and dreadful where one follows Joey galloping in the trenches is breath-taking, just as the outcome of the movie, which will obviously bring tears in the eyes of the most sensitive viewers. An absolute must-see for all horse lovers... and all others!
Saving Private Ryan
in an animal version.

Let's try not to cry just by watching its trailer: