Monday, May 27

Reels, Notes & Takes: Week 4

(Apple Music, Lucasfilm Ltd., Syco Music, Nikotransmission)

(Apple Music, Lucasfilm Ltd., Syco Music, Nikotransmission)

There’s no better place to keep a finger on the pulse of arts and entertainment happenings than Los Angeles. The A&E world is alive – it’s always buzzing, sometimes ready to implode with a hint of a surprise album or a celebrity’s controversial statement. Each week, the Daily Bruin A&E editors will discuss their views on recent topics and trends in pop culture.

From breakups to makeups

Adele’s album “21” captured her heartache. In 2011, her voice sung the words, “Never mind, I’ll find someone like you,” and “We could have had it all,” that still resonate in the radio airwaves today. She packaged quintessential breakup songs that are filled with pain and heart, but their relatability empowers those who sing along.

It has been almost four years since Adele released her breakup album, and I’ve been waiting patiently for more of her jazz-pop ballads.

This year, Adele is making a comeback. But this time, it’s with a makeup album.

Titled “25,” the album chronicles her personal growth, described in a heartfelt letter she posted on Twitter Wednesday. She opened up about the desire she had to skip time, to grow older – a desire that hindered her from fully enjoying her life. With the album, she said she is taking back the time she lost.

Although a single has yet to appear, a teaser of a song called “Hello” was released. She sings, “I was wondering if after all these years, you’d like to meet to go over everything.” The lyric follows the same path as “21,” because of its reference to heartbreak. It left me searching for the sense of introspection Adele described in her letter. I’m optimistic and excited for what she has in store.

A release date has yet to be confirmed, but the album is likely to be bait for the Grammy Awards.

– Gail Acosta

Drake did it for the memes

I cringed the whole way through rapper Drake’s newest music video for “Hotline Bling,” which was released Monday.

It’s not that it’s bad or anything, but Drake’s dancing is just plain weird.
(Apple Music)

Some may call his moves suave, but I call them dorky. Throughout the five-minute video, the Canadian rapper awkwardly bobs and weaves through thin air, making the atmosphere generally uncomfortable.

Even though Drake didn’t wow me with his dancing skills, I was definitely amused by the variety of memes inspired by the music video. Notable Twitter and Instagram posts paired Drake’s shuffle with the Charlie Brown theme song, up-tempo Bollywood tracks and, in true Canadian spirit, Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean.”

If anything, Drake turned “Hotline Bling” into a social media success. As with all things Drake, the music video is inspiring listeners to make their own parodies centered around the rapper. He seems to like the attention, though – he reposted a fan-made video onto his Instagram account.

With the music video to “Hotline Bling,” Drake becomes the butt of the joke for the umpteenth time. Here’s hoping Drake continues to be a great sport about it.

– Shreya Aiyar

“It’s true, all of it. The Dark side, the Jedi, they’re real.”

In case anybody hadn’t noticed, the latest trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” came out Monday.

Some, including one of the film’s main actors John Boyega, reacted by leaping behind the sofa in delight, while others like lead actress Daisy Ridley lay in bed weeping for joy.
(Lucasfilm Ltd.)

However people reacted to the trailer, I have never seen such excitement surrounding a movie sequel since “Terminator Genisys” earlier this year. Oh, no wait, just kidding.

But the trailer gave away just enough to keep fans’ mouths frothing and cause newcomers’ heads to turn.

By the looks of things, the film centers around Rey (Ridley), a scavenger on the desert planet of Jakku, and Finn (Boyega), a reformed stormtrooper. The trailer shows the two teaming up to fight the Empire after Finn’s TIE fighter crashes on Rey’s planet, emitting its signature screech as it falls.

The trailer also gives a more concrete depiction of the film’s antagonist Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who frankly looks and sounds uncannily like Darth Vader. He is even shown speaking over Vader’s charred helmet while swearing, “I will finish what you started.”

However, the trailer does leave one glaring, agonizing question unanswered.

Where is Luke Skywalker?

In the entire two minutes and 35 seconds, there is no flash of Mark Hamill’s face or droning buzz of his trusty green lightsaber – only a spindly, metallic arm placed on R2-D2’s body.

Has Luke in fact become Kylo Ren? The speech did look like a father-son talk.

Let the fan theories begin!

– William Thorne

One Direction is not quite “Perfect”

I have yet to be surprised by One Direction.
(Syco Music)

Tuesday’s debut of their latest music video “Perfect” only confirmed the band’s image from their early X Factor days – a sweet, sometimes rowdy group of guys enjoying themselves.

While each music video is slightly nuanced with a theme – like astronauts in “Drag Me Down” or throwback for “Story of My Life” – they follow a formula of seemingly candid shoots interspersed with the members singingly lovingly at the camera.

“Perfect” is shot in black and white and features the guys causing havoc in their hotel room. They put on a cool image by getting tattoos and singing about “secret little rendezvous,” but then they’re shown drinking tea and playing soccer in the hotel lobby.

It’s darling and charming and everything that One Direction markets itself as.

My favorite aspect of the video was its attempt at honesty, showing One Direction in its natural habitat on tour in hotel rooms with bodyguards and personal dressers. Lyrics seem to reference Styles’ past relationship with Taylor Swift instead of someone fictional. The video was even self-reflexive, as seen when a grip carries a boom microphone above Louis Tomlinson while he strums the guitar.

Over the years, Zayn Malik has departed, Tomlinson has become a father and the guys’ love lives are too complicated to keep track of. Thus, I don’t think One Direction can hang onto its “Perfect” naïve image any longer. I’m left hoping the band offers something new in its final album “Made in the A.M.” before it takes a break.

– Lindsay Weinberg

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Thorne is the prime director. He was previously the assistant A&E editor for the Theater | Film | Television beat.

prime content editor

Weinberg is the prime content editor. She was previously the A&E editor and the assistant A&E editor for the lifestyle beat.

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