Saturday, 31 December 2011

Best of 2011


It was a year of political drama and wedded bliss. If you ask your friends or check their Facebook statuses they will tell you that it was one of their worst years. I have to agree. This year was not as easy as 2010. Maybe that's why we have been complaining so much about 2011. If 2010 was not as great as it was would we have thought differently about 2011?

2011 might have been a terrible year for most, but that does not mean we can't review the year and look at what made it great, or terrible.

Music


Last year Rihanna, Kanye West were the big names in music. Nothing else has changed this year.

Rihanna and her red hair did not only influence the music scene but the dress code and hairstyle of many girls around the world. It would've been better if some left the red hair to Rihanna.

Her Loud album reminded us that she is a girl from Barbados who just loves to have fun.
Many other singers have tried to compete with Rihanna such as Katy Perry, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj but none of come close to her yet. When you carry as much influence as Rihanna does, you are a force to be reckoned with.





The music video to the song, We Found Love was most probably the most talked about music video of the year. For some strange reason people wanted to be involved in a relationship like the one in the video. I find this strange as this is an abusive relationship. I'll never understand. Some people even think the music video was an imitation of her and Chris Brown's relationship.


Rihanna wasn't the only eccentric female singer this year. Lady Gaga reined as well, as usual. Born This Way was the first mega hit released off her Born This Way album. The self-help hit helped her make her mark in the 2011 music scene and it was a very good year for her. Her other hit the controversial, Judas gave people something to talk about. While most Christians might loathe Lady G they don't know that her album speaks about their beloved God most of the time. The song Judas does the same. Lady Gaga speaks about how she would love to love a good guy, Jesus, but her love for the bad boy, Judas, is just too deep. At times I'm not sure if she is speaking about Jesus or her 'boyfriend'.



I wanna love you
But something's pulling me away from you
Jesus is my virtue
And Judas is the demon I cling to, I cling to


It was a brilliant year for Lady Gaga and Marry The Night turned me into a Little Monster.

But Rihanna and Lady Gaga were not the most popular female singers of 2011. The vocal and lyrically talented Adele had 2011 in the palm of her hands.


Her second album after the brilliant and underated album 19 was and still is the soundtrack for many broken souls. The lyrics and her vocal ability made the album good. The amount of emotion she put into each song is what made the album brilliant.

When my sister and I would listen to 19 we would call her our friend. This was because it seemed as if our friend was talking to us and telling us about her heart ache. 21 was no different. She might of been older but she was still heart broken (by another guy).


She told us how she was tired of Turning Tables and how her and this mystery guy could of had it all. The album which helped Adele get over her hearbreak also helped her enter super-stardom.
The album 21 was played everywhere and in every social circle. You would hear Rolling In The Deep and Someone Like You at night clubs and in people's cars.

The United Kingdom has produced a gem and an artist that will be known for years to come. But she wasn't the only amazing singer and performer to come from the United Kingdom this year. Jessie J also made her mark.


The eccentric vocally talented singer made her mark in pop culture with her hits Do It Like A Dude and Price Tag. Her presence in the music industry was underrated and almost went unnoticed as everyone else was concered with other singers such as Adele and Rihanna. But those who were aware of her only had great things to say about her


In terms of South African music, Zahara was the most talked about most played singer of the year. It has been long since us South Africans have had an authentic singer to call our own. Her voice is unique and the quality of her music is refreshing. The house version of Lengoma mixed by Dj. Sbu was played at every and any party. Like Adele, there was no where Zahara was not played. It's only brillance ahead for Zahara.


It was another brilliant year for Kanye West. His album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy produced hits such as All Of The Lights and Monster. But that was not the only album he released. Together with Jay-Z he released Watch The Throne.


Not everyone might think it was the greatest hip-hop album of the year, but you can't deny that it was the most popular hip-hop album released this year. Everyone had a status related to the album. Even just writing the name of a song from the album as a status meant 10+ likes on Facebook. It is one of my favourite hip-hop albums. A Jay-Z and Kanye West collaboration has never failed so hearing that Watch The Throne was the fasted downloaded album on iTunes ever was no surprise at all.
Songs like No Church In The Wild, Niggas In Paris and Murder To Excellence are what made the album great.

The album also featured one of the most popular artists of 2011, Frank Ocean.



Novocane, baby, baby .... If you haven't heard one of Ocean's mixtapes then you haven't heard the brilliant work of an upcoming artist. The singer and producer who has worked with the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Beyonce has made his mark in music and he has not even released an official album. His mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra features samples from MGMT, Coldplay and some Stanley Kubrick movies. Hopefully he releases and album soon before we forget about him.


One of music's best new artists has to be J. Cole. It has been a while since I have heard music like his. It's rare that I listen to hip-hop albums and like every song.

J. Cole's album is at times very personal as he recalls his father leaving him. He also speaks about how men blame women for becoming pregnant with "a baby that took two to make, coward n****, you a fake. How you gonna look in your son's face and turn your back, then go start another family, dawg, what type of s*** is that?" (Light's Please). Come to think of it, it's one of the most personal albums I've ever heard. In Never Told, he speaks about how he caught his father cheating and was told not to tell. But that did not stop him from cheating and during the song he wonders why men cheat.

It's refreshing to hear a hip-hop album that is this personal and that's not filled with auto-tuned voices and childish lines. Hopefully more rappers take this route and not the over-commercialised route.

As you know this blog post isn't complete without a review of the most popular songs of the year, according to myself and many sources. Please note I use the word popular, not best!



The Soundtrack to 2011 - The 30 Most Popular Songs of 2011


  1. Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
  2. Someone Like You - Adele
  3. Rolling In The Deep - Adele
  4. Give Me Everything - Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, Nayer
  5. We Found Love - Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
  6. Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
  7. Beautiful People - Chris Brown feat. Benny Benassi
  8. Cheers - Rihanna
  9. Novocane - Frank Ocean
  10. Born This Way - Lady Gaga
  11. T.G.I.F - Katy Perry
  12. Motivation - Kelly Rowland feat. Lil' Wayne
  13. All Of The Lights - Kanye West feat. Rihanna
  14. Look At Me Now - Chris Brown feat. Lil' Wayne and Busta Rhymes
  15. Man Down - Rihanna
  16. Marvin's Room - Drake
  17. Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
  18. Best Thing I Never Had - Beyoncé
  19. Lengoma - Dj Sbu feat. Zahara
  20. These Tears - Spiritchasers
  21. You and I - Lady Gaga
  22. On The Floor - Jennifer Lopez
  23. Otis - Jay-z and Kanye West
  24. Don't Stop The Party - Black Eyed Peas
  25. I'm Into To You - Jennifer Lopez
  26. E.T. - Katy Perry feat. Kanye West
  27. I Need A Doctor - Dr. Dre feat. Eminem
  28. Price Tag - Jessie J
  29. Take Over Control - Afrojack feat. Eva Simons
  30. Paradise - Coldplay

Fashion





Left: Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer Ready To Wear Paris | Right: Prada Spring/Summer Ready To Wear Milan

The biggest fashion trend of 2011 was colour blocking. I was never a fan. It was a little too outrageous for my taste. But no one does colour blocking like Prada and Louis Vuitton. Many retail shops copied the style from these fashion houses and now everyone can purchase a Marc Jacobs or Prada inspired colour blocking dress.


In terms of shoes, platforms were a very big trend. Jeffrey Campbell's Lita's were seen on blogs everywhere around the whole world. I am not a fan of these shoes, they look like rollerblades, but that doesn't mean I would turn down a pair.




Kirsten Stewart in Valentino

Sheer lace created not only Kate Middleton's beautiful wedding dress but to also a 2011 fashion trend.




Rosie Huntingtion-Whiteley in Gucci

Half sheer skirts were also a trend with fashion bloggers and models. It is a look very few can achieve. A lot of height is needed to pull off the look.



Christian Dior

High waisted pants were not only a runway trend but a street trend as well. In fact it was most probably more a street trend than a runway trend. Trousers were also a trend amongst many. But not skinny trousers (I think they call them treggings). 2011 saw the end of skinny jeans amongst trend setters and fashion designers.


Street wear this year was inspired by 80's hip-hop, well the '80s in general. Colourful and oversized tops were the order of the day. I'm not exactly sure what caused people to start this trend. I guess many were tired of the classical '50s and '60s vintage look so they decided to go back to the '80s. Most women pulled off a Madonna '80s look which included lots of leather and attitude while most guys opted for the Run DMC look.



Dolce And Gabbana Spring/Summer Ready To Wear Milan

As usual print was the order of the day but on the runway it wasn't the ordinary print. Fruits and bold flowers were used in print. Not so unusual, I'm sure it's been done somewhere in the Caribeean.

People are also starting to wear more loose fitting clothing that is a lot more comfortable than a little black dress. It's almost as if people are dressing down and dressing up is becoming looked down on. Some people's outfits have a pajyama's feel to them.

Candy coated coloured hair was the order of the day for most celebrities.



Nicki Minaj




Katy Perry




Rihanna





Lady Gaga

Weddings



It was the year of the wedding! The year started off with the highly anticipated Royal Wedding of Catherine Middleton and Prince William. Luckily for me the wedding took place during the holidays so it meant I could actually watch it in full. We all sat on the couch in the morning in our pajyamas waiting for the groom and bride to arrive. Then the whole world played: Guess who designed Kate's dress. When it turned out to be Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen no one was surprised. The lace sleeved wedding dress is the dress many will look to for inspiration.


Another Royal Wedding that took place is that of Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert. Now this wedding wasn't as joyous as Catherine and William's one. Partially due to the fact that the bride only smiled once during the ceremony. Then rumours obviously began to speculate. Apparently the South African Olympic swimmer found out about Albert's illegitimate children. Sigh! Even Royal men have problems. Her Armani wedding dress was a little boring but she did look nice in it. The detailing was impeccable. If only she smiled a little more. Drama or no drama the couple is still married. Whether they happily married or not, I guess we'll have to see.


Kim Kardashian might not be Royalty but she did try imitate a Royal Wedding. Unfortunately her marriage did not last and from the Keeping Up With The Kardashian episodes I've been watching I can see why it didn't. Her Vera Wang wedding dress was quite boring for a star of her stature but the drama after the wedding made up for it. I don't know why Kris Humphries decided to wear a white jacket. I find white suits to be unclassy. Married for 72 days, no surprise in Hollywood.




Young Hollywood and Child Models




10 year old Thylane Lena Rose Blondeau

If you are above the age of 16 then you are most probably to old to start a career in Hollywood or modelling. All the new models and actresses are as young as 13, 14, even 10.

The 10 year old French model sent shockwaves through the modelling world and normal world as well. There is nothing wrong with 10 year old models but when Thylane Lena Rose Blondeau appeared dressed as an adult it became a very big problem. Thylane was dressed in high heels, make-up, even leopard print.



Elle Fanning for Marc Jacobs




Hailee Steinfeld for Miu Miu

She isn't the only young girl to appear in magazines, Dakota Fanning's younger sister, Elle Fanning, 13 appeared as a model for Marc Jacobs and Hailee Steinfeld, 15, appeared for Miu Miu.

I don't think fashion houses like Miu Miu and magazines like Vogue should employ young children for their advertisement campaigns, unless it's for children's clothing. Not because older women will feel even older but because children need to live out their youth as children. Acting years older than you are even in an ad campaign can erase your youth.



Chloe Moretz



Abigail Breslin

Hailee Steinfeld and Elle Fanning are brilliant actors for their age and so are Chloe Moretz and Abigail Breslin.


Life And Death



Victoria Beckham gave birth to Harper Seven Beckham this year. The very fashionable toddler has been photographed more than most B- actors and has even made Best Dressed lists. Posh Spice Jnr is beautiful and even has an amazing wardrobe.

Unfortunately 2011 saw influential people pass away.

The lady of many diamonds and husbands, Liz Taylor passed this year. She passed away from congestive heart failure in March. She was the first of her time and definitely left her mark on the rest of the world.

RIP Elizabeth Taylor
17 February 1932 - 23 March 2011


I was never a fan of Jackass or Viva La Bam but many people were. The tragic passing of Ryan Dunn was one of the most googled stories of the year. He passed away from a drunk driving car accident. He made people laugh by being himself and he will be missed by many.


RIP Ryan Dunn
11 June 1977 - 20 June 2011


The troubled British soul singer, Amy Winehouse, joined the 27 club in July. It was a sad day for all good music lovers. As troubled as she might of been, no one can deny that she was a brilliant vocalist. She was an artist that was gone too soon but like most members of the 27 club, she will never be forgotten.


RIP Amy Winehouse
14 September 1983 - 23 July 2011.


2011 saw the passing of one of the most influential innovators of our time. Steve Jobs passed away in October after the release of the iPhone 4s and the announcement of the new Apple CEO. Many people don't understand why we should be saddened by the passing of a legend. They claim he didn't know us. He might have not known us by our names but he designed and created products for all of us. Hopefully the passing of an innovator like Jobs doesn't put an end to innovation.


RIP Steve Jobs
24 February 1955 - 5 October 2011


The People and Headlines of 2011

The most famous person of 2011 is not an actor, singer, socialite or reality star. In fact most people might not even know him. But they know the revolution he started. TIME Magazine named him person of the year. The Protestor, Mohamed Bouaziz. Every morning Bouaziz sold fruit and at times would be disturbed by the police officers. December 17th, 2010 a police officer confiscated his scale and slapped him. He complained at the provincial-capital building but no one would hear his story. He later used paint thinner to light himself on fire.


Bouaziz sacrificed his life for the lives of others in many other countries. After his brave act revolutions took place in many countries. It's unfortunate how the life of another has to be lost in order to start change. But at least it was change for the better.


Mohamed Bouaziz's mother.

The Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak and Tunisian dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali stepped down after month long protests took place in their countries. Unfortunately some countries like Syria are still at war and people are dying everyday.


Libiyan president Gaddafi was also brutally murdered this year during his countries protests. I'm not sure why the world had to see the photos of his dead body but the world was shown and it was the front cover of every newspaper. It was a sad way to end his regime but at least it has ended.


Unfortunately the lives of many others were lost after the Norwegian terrorist, Anders Breivik killed over 69 people. The terrorist bombed government buildings in Oslo which killed 8 people. After the bombings he arrived at Utøya island where he shot about 69 teenagers who were on the island for a Labour Party camp. His reasonings for the attacks was to save Norway and Europe from a Muslim takeover.


Kim Jong II, the president of North Korea passed away. People only found out I think two days later. Well living in a country with no Facebook or Twitter you are bound to find out everything days later. But I was confused when I saw the residents of the country crying. Okay, of course the president just died but this is the same president who gives the country such strict regulations. Turns out they were told to cry. Imagine, the government telling you to fake cry.


Barack Obama decided to kill Osama Bin Laden. Since when does two wrongs make a right? Obama obviously wanted to be the best president ever and he thought that killing Osama would do that. Maybe to Americans he is the best president ever but to the rest of the world he is the complete opposite. How as a nation can you celebrate the death of another human being? To this day I still wonder.

This year Nelson Mandela also suffered from an illness and the the media had to obviously take out of propotion. It's good to hear that the former president of South Africa is well.


On a much lighter note the Royals were in the spotlight this year after the Royal wedding of Duke and Duchess William and Catherine. But Catherine's sister Pippa Middleton received some attention herself after appearing in a figure hugging bridesmaid dress. I don't really know why she gets her photo taken. Her sense of style isn't all that original but I guess if you are the sister of a royal you are bound to be talked about.


Many actors were in the spotlight this year. The most talked about being Ryan Gosling. The Notebook actor has had three very popular movies come out this year, Drive, Crazy, Stupid, Love and Ides of March where he acts along George Clooney. Gosling has proved to be more than just an indie actor and 2012 should be another good year.


Gosling's co-star, Emma Stone has also had a good year. The Easy A actress sheds her comedic ability for a more serious role in the Golden Globe nomintated film, The Help.


Emma Stone's co-star from Friends With Benefits, Mila Kunis also had her share of the spotlight this year. Besides appearing at the Oscars in a beautiful gown she had two popular films come out this year. The thriller, Black Swan and the comedy, Friends With Benefits. The dark beauty showed us how she can be a comedic and dramatic actress and she played both roles well.


John Galliano also decided to get himself fired from Dior this year after a racist comment. If only Dior could decide who they going to replace him with.


The weather also decided to scare us all this year. Japan suffered a tsunami, hurricane and earthquake this year. You couldn't help but feel saddened when you saw the water sweep across people's homes and take away their belongs.

This blog post is not complete without South African headlines.


Can we please start with the South African national football team. After a goaless draw, Bafana Bafana were under the impression that they had qualified for the African Cup of Nations. So they start dancing and congratulating each other only to realise that they actually did not qualify. I have never been so embarrassed. But because South Africa is hosting the African Cup of Nations, they automatically qualify. I guess there is always a get out of jail free card for Bafana Bafana.

Unfortunately the Chokereas, I mean Proteas did not win the Cricket World Cup. Well what do you expect from a team that always chokes. A team that we didn't think was going to choke was the Springboks. But after watching them play and other teams play I knew we wouldn't make it to the end. But I still had hope. Unfortunately that hope died out after the SA vs AUS match. Oh well, next time I guess.


Remember when Research In Motion (RIM) for Blackberry crashed? All Blackberry users thought the world was ending. I found it quite amusing actually. People said the feeling of not having Blackberry Messenger and Blackberry Apps working was like being thirsty. RIM eventually fixed the problem and Cellular companies awarded people free call minutes and Blackberry gave us free applications, boring free applications *BBM talk to the hand face*.


Oprah's show also ended this year, the show that has bought millions of people together. But don't worry, it's not the end of Oprah. She launched a new network, Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Unfortunately I haven't watched anything from OWN because we don't have it in South Africa, but it's  probably as inspiring like her show.




Nolubabalo Nobanda


2011 also saw the execution of Janice Linden. A South African who was caught for trying to smuggle drugs into China. Maybe two days later, Nolubabalo Nobanda was caught for trying to smuggle drugs into china by wrapping cocaine into fake woolen drugs. I had no words. I must admit, I laughed ... but it wasn't funny. Many are asking the South African governemnt to make sure Nobanda doesn't get executed but the Chinese government cleary states that the smuggling of illegal drugs into their country results in the death penalty. I'm hoping she smuggled these drugs knowing that.

Let's leave Julius Malema and Jacob Zuma out of this post.


We had our Census this year in South Africa. Now with the census the South African government counts how many people there are in South Africa. It also counts literacy and things similar. Now there were smses, emails, bbms going around asking people (men) to stay at one home so they can only be counted once. Whether or not these men stayed at their real homes ... I guess we'll have to see when the statistics come out.

All in all it was a good year for the few. 
Hopefully 2012 will be better ... apparently it's the end.

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