by Paul Attard

by Paul Attard Current Music

Big Sean | I Decided.

February 17, 2017
big-sean

Big Sean wants you to realize how important I Decided. is: From the ominous intro of pouring rain to the voicemail interludes throughout, this project is presented as a grand personal opus, an album made in the mould of Drake’s Take Care. Sean makes every song feel large, utilizing expensive production, sing-rapping choruses that come off as calculatingly vulnerable, and indulging a six-minute track about the travails of fame. All of this worked for Drake, but Sean struggles under the…

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by Paul Attard Features

2016 in Review — Young Thug | Jeffery

January 17, 2017
young thug

Through a career that’s spanned 16 mixtapes (four of them released commercially), three label deals (Cash Money Records, 1017 Records, and 300 Entertainment), and yet still no studio album, Young Thug has maintained a reputation as the most elusive rapper going; one really need only listen to his music to get a sense of his radically non-conforming style, which relies heavily on unpredictable, usually high-pitched vocal fluctuations. In a growing sphere of auto-tuned “mumble rap,” Thug stands out for his sound specifically. But that’s…

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by Paul Attard Current Film

Manchester by the Sea | Kenneth Lonergan

December 28, 2016
manchester

What Kenneth Lonergan understands, probably better than any other writer-director working today, is how difficult it is to communicate grief in a convincing way on screen. With three feature films thus far, Lonergan’s acute exploration of coping mechanisms seems almost universal in scope, yet minimal in execution; with Manchester by the Sea, he’s crafted another incredibly…

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by Paul Attard Current Film

The Handmaiden | Park Chan-wook

December 28, 2016
the-handmaiden

Park Chan-wook’s career has largely been steeped in a particular fusion of twisty revenge narratives padded with philosophical implications. His latest, The Handmaiden, feels particularly lacking in the latter area. In a 1930s, Japanese-occupied Korea, Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri) is hired by conman Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo) to assist in stealing the fortune of a Japanese heiress (Kim Min-hee of…

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by Paul Attard Current Music

Soulja Boy & Bow Wow | Ignorant Shit

November 23, 2016
soulja-boy-bow-wow-ignorant-shit

It’s safe to assume that not many were all that ecstatic when Soulja Boy and Bow Wow announced their new project together, the mixtape Ignorant Shit. The Internet-era rappers are long past their prime—in fact, they’re barely even relevant anymore. Bow Wow announced his retirement from the rap game as recently as a couple months ago. The two rappers did collaborate once before, on the 2008 single “Marco Polo,” but afterward they beefed with each other (Soulja memorably challenged Bow Wow to a Lamborghini drag-race).…

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by Paul Attard Current Film

Under the Sun | Vitali Mansky

October 11, 2016
under-the-sun

From the opening credits, something seems off about Under the Sun, and the “truth” it projects. “My father says that Korea is the most beautiful country in the eastern part of the globe,” asserts eight-year-old Lee Zin-mi, staring directly into the camera. Director Vitali Mansky—given a script by the North Korean government—was tasked with shooting a documentary about this young girl and her average life with her family who live in the greatest country on earth…

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by Paul Attard Current Music

Rae Sremmurd | SremmLife 2

September 6, 2016
SremmLife 2

If there were a kingdom for party music, brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jimmi of Rae Sremmurd would be its anointed princes. The two came out of nowhere when, last year, their debut album SremmLife went gold, fulfilling the promise of the two hits that preceded it, “No Flex Zone” and “No Type.” While the duo continued to dominate that airwaves that summer, it’s been surprising since to see this album cycle’s slew of singles go largely ignored. Not a one of these songs is bad,…

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by Paul Attard Retrospective Film

The Real Body | Sion Sono

August 12, 2016
The Real Body

Sion Sono’s eighth feature refined and nearly perfected his early, amateurish Dogme 95-esque aesthetic. Billed as a “film about the human body,” The Real Body is a totally singular hybrid of documentary and fiction. It examines the work of four artists—photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, buoh dancer Akaji Maro, fashion designer Shinichiro Arakawa, and Sono himself—each of whom use the human body, in different ways, to express lust, love, and desire. Sono also directs a film-within-the-film following a high school girl (Keiko Hamaguchi) who loves to run and falls…

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