Thursday, July 14, 2011

WHAT IF POPSTARS WERE VIDEO GAMES?

by ALEX NAGORSKI

Musicians are always being compared to one another. If Lady GaGa has a new single, it has to immediately be put in a fighting rink against Britney Spears’ latest single. If Kanye West is releasing an album one day, then 50 Cent has to release his album that day too to try to prove himself. My point? It’s unnecessary.

Instead of pitting artists against one another, I think we should all view them in comparison to something that makes far more sense … like video games. For example:


Joe Jonas as Major League Baseball 2K11
Let’s be honest: no matter how masculine you try to pretend like you are, you’re still wearing a jock strap under your tight pants while you play with phallic objects and shower in a locker room with other men.


Christina Aguilera as Epic Mickey
In theory, this sounds like it could be great. After all, the concept involves lavish costumes and squeaky voices ripping off the past and trying to pass it off as original. But the final product is overly convoluted and stuffed with obstacles that make it nothing short of an epic flop.

Britney Spears as Mario Kart
Granted, this is not the most complicated game. But at the same time, it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser, even if people seem apprehensive about it at first. And no matter how many Koopa shells (or Cheetohs) get flung in your direction, you know that you won’t be disappointed when you ultimately cross the finish line.  


Vanessa Hudgens  as Chicken Riot
I’m sorry but … does anybody know this even existed?


Ashlee Simpson as Avatar: The Game
It’s the classic story of the sad spin-off to a pre-established successful franchise that people buy out of brand loyalty but never touch again after storing it in the attic when they’re done using it the first time.


Kelly Clarkson as Arkham Asylum
It’s dark, twisted, and full of surprises. And just when you think you have it figured out and can see a glimpse of hope, a demon from your past comes back to haunt and torture you in the most painful ways.


Whitney Houston as every Sonic The Hedgehog game after the ‘90s
A sad resurggence of lost glory gasping for a breath of contemporary relevance. Like Tyra, we were all rooting for you. But noooooooooo, you just had to go and take something great and ruin it by making it incredibly boring.


Miley Cyrus as The Lion King for Super Nintendo
At first glance, you would assume this is child-friendly. Well, you’d be very mistaken. Full of bloodthirsty predators (paparazzi), overprotective parents (Billy Ray), bursts of rebellion (an Annie Liebowitz-shot Vanity Fair cover), jungle exploration (“salvia”), and an eventual spurt of maturity (Can’t Be Tamed), this game beats the innocence straight out of any Southern beast who plays it. 

Danity Kane as Donkey Kong
And it’s not just because of the initials. The second you lose Diddy, you lose the game.


Adele as The Legend of Zelda
Stunning, beautiful, and complex, this game makes you think more than the majority of the rest of what’s out there do. Plus the end result is far more satisfying. 


New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys super-group as Lego: Star Wars
Aw. It’s cute how hard you’re trying.


Jennifer Lopez as Mega Man
Whenever people hear that it’s coming back, it’s met with a mix of a lot of excitement and skepticism. But after one week on the shelves, it’s already forgotten about.


Ke$ha as Raving Rabbids
Because you can only really experience the brilliance of it when you’re high.

Agree? Disagree? Have some more comparisons you thought of? Share in the comments section below!
 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zooey Deschanelegend Frolics Through the Hundred Acre Wood

by ALEX NAGORSKI


Remember when Tom Cruise jumped up and down on Oprah’s couch about how much he loved Joey Potter (er ... sorry, Katie Holmes)? Well, had that not been a meticulously crafted PR stunt, it would have actually been really endearing. Endearing in that so-elated-that-of-course-you’ll-act-like-a-baboon-on-Oprah’s-furniture kind of way.

Well, imagine Williamsburg on the day that it was announced that Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward were collaborating again – this time for the soundtrack to Disney’s new film adaptation of Winnie The Pooh. So many ecstatic hipsters. So much broken eco-friendly thrift store furniture.

Zooey is to hipsters as Jesus is to Catholics or as Christina Aguilera is to herself. Disney’s decision to select her as the vocal muse for arguably their most nostalgic film to date (I dare you to tell me you didn’t tear up during that trailer) was brilliant. Not only because of her revered status among the adults who have so many childhood memories associated with the Winnie The Pooh franchise, but also because of her new-wave vintage sound.

In this new Pooh film, Disney has gone the opposite route than it has with its recent releases. Instead of creating an entirely CGI world like in Tangled, Winnie The Pooh is a return to classic Disney: 2D animation and music that doesn’t sound like a failed American Idol winner’s debut ballad. Who better than to provide the sound for this reverting to old-school agenda than Zooey, the reincarnation of 60’s female pop?

Upon first hearing Zooey’s take on the classic Pooh theme, I was overtaken by that warm, fuzzy feeling that you get when you’re in a play-pit with multiple puppies or when you realize you’re next to Michael Fassbender at a urinal and can take a sneak peek. To hear Zooey’s gentle alto voice singing “tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff” is like a spoonful of honey in itself. Crack-infused, smooth, delicious honey.

For the majority of the tracks, Zooey merely provides rich background vocals. Her little doo-wops and scooby-doo-bops create a near flawless harmony with the film’s bouncy and sunshine-tinged score.
Zooey and M. Ward also contribute an original song, “So Long.” Interestingly enough, the duo don’t cite the song under their band’s name (She & Him), but rather credit themselves eponymously.

“So Long” has all the essential ingredients of a typical She & Him song; a blend of indie surf rock with lo-fi ‘60s pop. Throw in the sugarcoated, cutesy and kid-friendly lyrics (“Well I could be the blossom / And you could be the bee / And then I could call you honey”), and you have the perfect new theme for the film.

Now, I’m not saying that I made sure I was up at midnight on Tuesday when the soundtrack came out on iTunes so I could buy it as soon as it was released. I’m also not saying that I listened to it while cuddling with a stuffed Eeyore in my bed before falling asleep. I’m also definitely not saying that I teared up. But HYPOTHETICALLY, if any of these things were true, it would mean that Zooey hit a home-run with her contributions to this movie.

Moral of the story: Zooey is the poo(h). So take a whiff. And don’t forget to bring your ski masks to the theaters this weekend when you go see Winnie The Pooh. This way nobody will see you ugly-cry.

Originally published on MuuMuse