Saturday, December 31, 2005
Lights, camera, action!
[voiceover]: "It's blogging's biggest night...simulcast from the five boroughs, welcome to the 1st annual TurnStyle Awards — recapping the year in entertainment and pop culture according to ballots stuffed with this know-it-all's picks for what was hot and what was not in 2005.
Live from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, please welcome your host, Miss TriniPrincess!"
Good evening and thanks for joining me for our inaugural cybercast. This year came and went like a blur of alcohol and hangovers. Entertainment wavered in quality but the standouts were always present. Honestly, it's a little like this. Every year as mid-autumn's chill turns a bit more arctic, I start scouring my bookmarked sources for the seemingly highbrow verdicts of what summed up the year that was. The best, the worst, the hits, the misses. I laugh, I cringe, I'm screaming "where the fuck did that pick come from?!" mentally. And then I got to thinking, why not get in on the pretentious hipster posturing as well? I spend enough time skewering entertainment for the past 52 weeks, so it only makes sense to compile my first real retrospective of my likes, loathes and sprinkles of random bitchiness on everything in between for your reading pleasure. So while I dazzle your imaginations with mock costume changes, let's get this show on the road...shall we?
Blame it on Steve Jobs. Thanks to iTunes and a serious Limewire addiction, my attention span for songs, let alone entire albums have gone the way of coherent plots on Desperate Housewives. With mainstream radio polluted with even more dreck on the airwaves, my attention span has whittled to a toothpick. If it doesn't catch my ear by the first 30 seconds, I flip the dial on the radio or skip to the next track. Pity the poor pop star expects to sit through their entire disc as a captive audience. However, as December is officially deemed the month of haughty apotheosis, and it's my turn to bestow recognition on what stood out. So, with the abridged Cliff Notes, check out the best and brightest who rocked, as well as chronic stinkers that, uh, failed in every other regard.
- Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine (Clean Slate/Epic)
- Kanye West, Late Registration (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
- M.I.A., Arular (XL/Interscope)
- Little Brother, The Minstrel Show (Atlantic)
- Goldfrapp, Number 1 [EP] (Mute)
- Kate Bush, Aerial (Columbia)
- Shakira, Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 (Epic/Sony BMG)
- Esthero, Wikked Lil' Grrrls (Reprise/Warner Bros.)
- Common, Be (G.O.O.D./Geffen)
- Raul Midón, State Of Mind (Manhattan)
- Lizz Wright, Dreaming Wide Awake (Verve)
- The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan (V2)
- Shelby Lynne, Suit Yourself (Capitol)
- Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better (Domino/Epic)
- Leela James, A Change Is Gonna Come (Warner Bros.)
- Keyshia Cole, The Way It Is (A&M)
- Brazilian Girls, Brazilian Girls (Verve)
- Anthony Hamilton, Ain't Nobody Worryin' (So So Def/Arista)
- Faith Evans, The First Lady (Capitol)
- Beanie Sigel, The B. Coming (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
Most overrated album: Mariah Carey, The Emancipation of Mimi (Island Def Jam) One thing the American public loves almost as much as watching celebrities fall from grace is their inevitable "against all odds" comeback story which puts them back in the winner's circle — and no singer better personified the legend of the phoenix better than Ms. Carey in 2005. The #1's began popping up bigger than those inflatable devices that doubles as her tits and securing both the biggest single & album in this calendar year all but camouflaged the One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest misstep that was her meltdown of 2001. Even critics by and large which had taken pleasure in maligning her material affirmed TEOM was her best yet. Ya think?
If you went solely by public opinion (which is about as accurate as Will Smith still winning AMA's), you would be under the impression this broad had rekindled the innovation of Stevie Wonder's golden years and released the '05 version of Songs In The Key Of Life. However the end result was little else but her same old PowerPuff Girls lyrics reined in with toned down melisma (for her bombastic standards) and slicker production value. All of this praise heaped on Charmbracelet 2.0 (save Stay The Night, Fly Like A Bird, Mine Again & Circles) when the supposed "return of the voice" is clearly damaged to the point of ProTools repair? I'm not moved.
Runner-up: Madonna, Confessions On A Dance Floor (Warner Bros.) Reinvention? Try repetition. While the velvet mafia collectively blows smoke up the ass of the masses by touting the bulk of this soundtrack for tweaking iceheads as a "stunning return to form," the truth of the matter is the formerly divine Miss M. has now taken her place next to George W. Bush as a fellow overachiever who has gone extremely far on modest gifts but needs to sit their ass down effective immediately. You know the advanced Botox sessions are in vain when a disciple of blonde ambition not only trumps this electro sludge set to crystal methodized beats not in only material, but also by being ahead of the curve by FIVE YEARS. Pick up Light Years on import and skip the critical hyberbole doled on a lesser effort. Kylie Minogue, I'm hoping the cancer goes into an extended remission because your disco needs you.
- Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx, Gold Digger (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
- Princess Superstar, Perfect (K7)
- Damian Marley, Welcome To Jamrock (Tuff Gong/Universal)
- Amerie, 1 Thing (Rise/Columbia)
- Shakira featuring Alejandro Sanz, La Tortura (Epic/Sony BMG)
- Gwen Stefani, Hollaback Girl (Interscope)
- The Game featuring 50 Cent, Hate It Or Love It (G-Unit/Aftermath/Interscope)
- Róisín Murphy, If We're In Love (Echo)
- Missy Elliott featuring Ciara & Fat Man Scoop, Lose Control (The Gold Mind/Atlantic)
- Tori Alamaze, Don't Cha (Universal)
- Natasha Bedingfield, These Words (Epic)
- John Legend, Ordinary People (G.O.O.D./Sony Urban Music/Columbia)
- Madonna, Hung Up (Warner Bros.)
- T.O.K., Footprints (VP/Atlantic)
- Mariah Carey, We Belong Together (Island Def Jam)
- Three 6 Mafia featuring Young Buck, Eightball & MJG, Stay Fly (Columbia)
- Gorillaz, Feel Good Inc. (Parlophone/Virgin)
- Imogen Heap, Hide and Seek (RCA)
- Ciara featuring Ludacris, Oh (Sho'Nuff-Musicline/LaFace/Zomba)
- The Killers, Mr. Brightside (Island)
Your body's calling, so why won't you listen?: If you can muster up one good thing to say about Ashlee Simpson (should the need arise out of maddening necessity), the girl's a trooper. In spite of how many times her immune system's been plagued and devolves into a little shop of horrors before a worldwide audience, the muppet who could won't give up. It's truly a triumph of the human spirit. Nobody's gonna break her stride, nobody's gonna slow this vocal powerhouse down. Oh no. She's gotta keep on movin'! Akin to two-fisting back Jello shots on an empty stomach, the body is a tricky fucker when it comes to regurgitating what doesn't agree with you, and in Asshat's case, it's one vicious mother when you put a microphone in her hand. Whether she's miming it in on late night television or waging an epic struggle against acid reflux at halftime, her will to persevere is right up there with any Olympic hopeful. The shovel of bullshit served up from presswhores after collapsing during a MTV Japan performance in Tokyo was that time honored excuse Hollywood loves almost as much as neatly cut coke lines. Exhaustion. Yeah, because trying to legitimately stay on key while warbling out a note or two can really take the wind out your sails. It's a small comfort to know that in the battle against the shit stain that is homogenized pop, we the listeners have the greatest of allies in enemy territory. Ashlee's own innards. Rejoice!
Most entertaining feud of the year: 50 Cent vs. The Game? Pshht. Brooke Shields vs. Tom Cruise? Hell nah. Kanye West vs. President Bush? Not even close. I'm weeping tears of glee over how Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim have rekindled their rivalry past the expiration of actual relevance to the rest of the English speaking world. First up on the American Gladiators obstacle course for original gun clappaz was the competing yardie spiced odes to hometown pride (Lighters Up vs. Come Fly With Me), and their dueling legal skirmishes (Kim's perjury conundrum vs. Fox Boogie's assault trial) and of course the main event bound to become some kind of bloodsport disability battle in a physical therapy session broadcast via satellite. Inga's scrap with never-was Jacki O. in a Miami recording studio earlier this year was merely a Survivor Series undercard to HoodratMania. Kim will roll up in her tricked out Herman Meier wheelchair with customized 22's to the tune of Big Momma Thang piped over the medical facility's loudspeakers and be like "Foxy Brown ain't shit! So what if she's deaf, I keeps it real... I'm paralyzed from the waist down, and what? These implants are leaking too, step to that! You in the hood now, baby..." Then it's popping wheelies back to the Do or Die. Consider my pay-per-view order booked.
How to wreck two classics without really trying: This is more like a golden shower on your wedding day, and no...it's not terribly ironic still. Remember those carefree days of playing hackysacks on a grassy knoll while ditching class, trying on bisexual kisses with your girlfriends as the Birkenstock'd trend of the week and the sweet smell of patchouli wafting through the air on the way to the nearest Lilith Fair pit stop? Behold the trivial pursuit of blissful mediocrity that is Alanis Morissette. Seeing as how she's spent the last 10 years taking a wrecking ball to any credibility remaining, it's damn near mind boggling to consider just how much of a reckoning Jagged Little Pill really was.
And now to commemorate its bajillion-times-platinum anniversary, along comes a repackaging of those powerful tunes nipped and tucked in a grotesque makeover befitting of Fox's The Swan. Stripping down what used to be anthems down to milquetoast melodies was merely one phase of the blandification still to come. Enter the gratingly cheesy "my favorite song" campaign thought up by those purveyors of corporate conglomeration - the Gap. Alongside Joss Stone, DC3's Michelle Williams (thanks for serving my curiosity on what an alley cat would sound like doing Al Green) and John Legend, Morissette opted to defecate all over Seal's Crazy twice. I suppose the yodeling ramble of her a cappella version wasn't torture enough, so re-recording it with a Eurotrash beat too mindless for even an Ibiza clubhopper was the cherry on a crap filled sundae.
My mind must've gone halfcrazy, because it's a wrap, honey: Musiq Soulchild's descent to the chitlin circuit of gospel plays. Imagine my surprise that the newest Negra spiritual/lonely woman revival to hit the Beacon Theater in "The Man Of Her Dreams," was going to be headlined by Mr. Dead Eye himself. Wait a second, hear that crashing in the offing? That's the sound of a once promising career hitting the skids.
- R. Kelly, TP.3 Reloaded (Jive)
- Tweet, It's Me Again (Elektra/EEG)
- Teairra Marí, Roc-A-Fella Presents Teairra Marí (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
- Tony Yayo, Thoughts Of A Predicate Felon (G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath)
- Ashlee Simpson, I Am Me (Geffen)
- Pretty Ricky, Bluestars (Atlantic)
- Will Smith, Lost and Found (Overbrook/Interscope)
- Santana, All That I Am (Arista)
- The Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business (A&M/Interscope)
- Jennifer Lopez, Rebirth (Epic/Sony BMG)
- Shaggy, Clothes Drop (Geffen)
- Faith Hill, Fireflies (Warner Bros.)
- Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill Acoustic (Maverick)
- Daft Punk, Human After All (Virgin)
- Marques Houston, Naked (Universal)
- Missy Elliott, The Cookbook (The Gold Mind/Atlantic)
- The Darkness, One Ticket To Hell...And Back (Atlantic)
- 112, Pleasure and Pain (Def Soul/Def Jam)
- Sheryl Crow, Wildflower (A&M)
- Brooke Valentine, Chain Letter (Virgin)
- The Black Eyed Peas, My Humps (A&M/Interscope)
- R. Kelly, Trapped In The Closet: Chapters 1-100 (Jive)
- D4L, Laffy Taffy (DeeMoney/Asylum/Atlantic)
- Teairra Marí, No Daddy (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
- Bow Wow featuring Ciara, Like You (Sony Urban Music/Columbia)
- The Ying Yang Twins, Wait (The Whisper Song) (ColliPark/TVT)
- Jessica Simpson, These Boots Were Made For Walkin' (Columbia)
- Destiny's Child, Cater 2 U (Sony Urban Music/Columbia)
- Alicia Keys, Unbreakable (J)
- Eminem, Ass Like That (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)
- Omarion, O (Sony Urban Music/Epic)
- Akon, Lonely (Universal)
- Nelly featuring Paul Wall, Ali & Gipp, Grillz (Derrty/Fo' Reel)
- Ricky Martin featuring Amerie & Fat Joe, I Don't Care (Columbia)
- 50 Cent featuring Olivia, Candy Shop (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)
- Ashlee Simpson, L.O.V.E. (Geffen)
- Mariah Carey, Shake It Off (Island Def Jam)
- Frankie J., More Than Words (Columbia)
- Daft Punk, Technologic (Virgin)
- Backstreet Boys, Incomplete (Jive)
In a year that saw a girl group extend their farewell (actually more like good riddance) appearances longer than the Friday the 13th franchise, two R&B heavyweights turned pedophila posterchildren sidestep singing like a jaybird in cell block 8 for all the wrong reasons and musicians reawaken their sense of political awareness by sending conscious anthems like to the top of the charts, it's uncanny that some fresh faces stepped up to the plate with some worthy contributions.
And among the most noteworthy newcomers were:
Natasha Bedingfield, Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz, Bobby Valentino & Chris Brown.
If there is one thing 2005 will be remembered by, it will be the way in which Hollywood decided to dig up the rotting corpses of as many old television shows as it could, only to watch each one of them bomb at the box office in rapid succession. Fortunately, as the year wound down to awards season, a number of excellent pictures arrived at a cineplex near you.
- Good Night, And Good Luck.
- A History Of Violence
- Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
- Brokeback Mountain
- Pride & Prejudice
- The 40-Year Old Virgin
- The Upside of Anger
- Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
- Mad Hot Ballroom
- North Country
- Layer Cake
- Wedding Crashers
- Hustle & Flow
- Pretty Persuasion
- Sin City
- In Her Shoes
- Son Of The Mask
- In The Mix
- King's Ransom
- Be Cool
- Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
- War Of The Worlds
- Aeon Flux
- The Honeymooners
- Diary Of A Mad Black Woman
- The Adventures of Sharkboy & Lavagirl in 3-D
- Kingdom Of Heaven
- A Lot Like Love
- White Noise
- Must Love Dogs
On the whole, the fights, fears, tragedies and victories paint a picture of a tumultuous, poignant and dramatic 2005. In the space of a year, a tsunami, an earthquake, torrential storms have claimed more than 300,000 lives to the tune of 100 billion dollars in damage. And while an American city was engulfed in peril leaving the rest of the world to wonder how could something like this take place in the self-appointed supercountry, what did our President have to say about this? "You're doing a helluva job, Brownie." In a time when journalists were written off as nothing more than corporate schills contracted to read from the script of the White House press corps, the depravity of human survival in extrenuating circumstances raised the bar for what makes compelling television.
While the film industry's attempt to make everything old new again to disastrous effect this year, in the literary world the transition was far more successful and no one harkened back to a welcome twist on a well-known tale quite like Zadie Smith. Building on her critically acclaimed debut, 2000's White Teeth, she reinvents E.M. Forster's classic Howards End as an engaging tale of a feud between two Rembrandt scholars and their families that encompasses issues of race, art, beauty and ethics in a New England college town, interconnected by love, sex, friendship and professional rivalry. Like so many, I highly recommend On Beauty, a triumph of sophisticated style and broad vision - and a pure pleasure to read.
- Zadie Smith, On Beauty (Penguin Press)
- Peter Guralnick, Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke (Little/Brown)
- Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking (Little/Brown)
- Thomas L. Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
- Bret Easton Ellis, Lunar Park (Knopf)
- Adam Mansbach, Angry Black White Boy (Three Rivers Press)
- Caryl Phillips, Dancing In The Dark (Knopf)
- Walter Mosley, Cinnamon Kiss (Little/Brown)
- Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (Free Press)
- Jeff Chang, Can't Stop Won't Stop (St. Martin's Press)
Nick & Jessica. Brad & Jennifer. Renee & Kenny. Charlie & Denise. Paris & Paris. Nicole & DJ AM. Paris & Nicole. Eddie & Nicole. Babyface & Tracey. Valerie & Eddie. Jude & Sienna. It was a busy year for spontaneous combustions and Jewish lawyers to make a killing.
Soul Power Fist Flashback of the Year: You know, one of the things that really tapdances on my damn nerves is the narrow representation of Black folk on reality TV. Either they're portrayed as the ultra-difficult diva (Omarosa, check), the passive brotha who just wants to get along (Kwame), the patented Angry Black Male or sometimes you get lucky when a dude like Randal Pinkett wins the whole damn enchilada. Agreeable to a fault and tough when warranted, you felt a collective "you go boy!" let loose when he chin checked Donald Trump for even suggesting that the runner-up Rebecca be offered a job also in the Apprentice's season finale. I know they told ya'll almost doesn't count, so quit your whining, heifer!
Love.Insanity.Religion.Baby: It's so frightening to truly the downfall Tom Cruise's credibility. Nazi-eyed tantrum toward Matt Lauer and Oprah's upholstery. One minute your America's favorite heartthrob with calling card of free snatch thrown your way, the next downgraded to the David Koresh of Dianetics. Here's the blow-by-blow from TV Squadon the descent to freak show oblivion:
"It all began when he leaped onto Oprah's couch in May. He was on her show to promote War of the Worlds, but all he did was talk jibberish about some B-list celebrity girl we all know for her starring role in a teen-angst drama on WB. He jumped around for 40 minutes of the program and at one point, he appeared to actually murder Oprah Winfrey. How did he and Katie Holmes meet? He couldn't really answer it. What is it about Katie Holmes that makes him love her so? He couldn't really answer that either, except to say she's "remarkable" and "amazing". Later, he also told Billy Bush that "Kate" was a wonderful talent, and that he had seen her on "Dawson Creek". Dude, it's possessive. Dawson's Creek. Obviously he knows her very well. They had been dating since, like, April. A lot of people (myself included) found it all very hard to believe. We're grumpy skeptics who only believe in love at first sight if it's in the movies. Plus, Tom and Katie both had movies coming out at about the same time. It sure seemed like a publicity stunt, didn't it? The two showed up everywhere, giving big, open-mouthed smiles and making out at everything from movie premieres to electronics store openings. It was real, they insisted. And, just to prove it, Tom took Katie up to the top of the Eiffel Tower and asked her to marry him. If you didn't doubt them before that you probably did afterward. How L-A-M-E. That mayhem alone didn't solidify my belief that Tom Cruise must be stopped. At that point, I just thought he was really intense and, quite frankly, I enjoyed watching him make an ass of himself. But it was this little appearance on the Today show, where Tom told Matt Lauer that vitamins and exercise cure depression, that made me realize he is out of his damn mind. Without even knowing Brooke Shields, Tom accused her of being misled into taking prescription anti-depressants to overcome severe post partum depression. Shields, Tom said, was mistaken. He also told Matt that he studied what Ritalin did to people and "do you know Ritalin, Matt?" Doctors all over the country were freaking out about the lasting effects of Tom's proclamation that post partum depression doesn't exist."One to watch in 2006: Ne-Yo. Co-writer of one of the biggest smashes of the year in Mario's Let Me Love You, this R&B crooner takes center stage next month with his full-length debut, In My Own Words. You know a song has passed the smell test when you find yourself stumbling over the lyrics just to get to the hook and the repeat button's on lock. The first single So Sick is just one of those cuts that has mass appeal written all over it.
- Berry commented at 1/17/2006 07:42:00 AM~
Hmmmmmm.... (scratched head at some of Trini's choices, hunches shoulders and walks away looking confused.)
- commented at 1/24/2006 05:49:00 PM~
mimi's and madonna's albums were overrated. aint really feelin keysha cole, but whatever. mimi better not wi best album at the grammys.
and once you get past "we can fight like ike and tina"...unbreakable isn't that bad of a single. :/ ok maybe when you get past ALL of the couple namings the song is pretty good. oh well...clive is gonna make sure it wins a grammy anyway.
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