Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Year in Songs

13 of the best acts and songs of 2013 and some of the oldies but goodies revisited this year.
2013 has been an interesting year for music...From mainstream pop revelations to newcomers on their way to stardom to dependable artists and their dependably good music, here is a rundown of 13 songs I've enjoyed, made memories to and most definitely will keep on replay even when 2013 is over. Enjoy!

J. Cole feat. Miguel Power Trip

 For Pete's sake, homie, pull it together
                  Just fuck her one time and be through it forever

You can't sing, rap, write a song about love playing you like a game and make it sound, honestly sexy and effortlessly cool. J. Cole does just that. When Miguel starts singing in the chorus, followed immediately by J. Cole's persistent "we are, we are, we are...", you know you got yourself a song you'll be playing on those kinds of  nights, when all your broken heart could do is walk the streets and those orange lights alone and some drink in you. One of the-to borrow the term, sickest hip-hop, RnB hits this year. 

Sam Smith Nirvana

Oh you take me to Nirvana
I don't think this will last
But you're here in my arms

Listening to Sam Smith soar through  high notes and give justice to all the fantastic musical build-up of Nirvana's verses makes you want to cry. It's grand in terms of vocals, but humble because of its intimate, it's just-you-and-me lyrics. Definitely makes the perfect pair: handsome, dramatic vocals courtesy of Sam Smith and great, unbridled writing. It's one of 2013's little known gems of a sad love song. 

Lady Gaga feat. R. Kelly Do What U Want

Sometimes I'm scared I suppose
If you ever let me go
I would fall apart
If you break my heart
So just take my body
And don't stop the party

Regardless what people say about Gaga, she still had an awesome year. ART POP is a serious (dancey) contender in the musical arena and people ought to give her more credit for versatility AND keeping all things Gaga still intact. Teaming up with the smooth R. Kelly on this one-the way he sang his verse was just perfect, makes it an addicting song, you'll have to stop yourself from listening to it after a while. Who knew someone as hardcore Pop as Lady Gaga would make great music with a straight-up RnB singer like R. Kelly.? That's why I still anticipate Lady Gaga...

Phoenix Trying To Be Cool

I'm just trying to be cool
It's all because of you
Some fanatic attitude
We're both on
Phoenix has always been an intelligent band. They set the standard for what people should be listening to next. Up and coming bands that fall under good, are paying homage to the Phoenix sound, and you couldn't blame them. Trying To Be Cool is poetic, mellow but undeniably done up in true Phoenix fashion, never missing  out on the energetic beat. Plus you can't ignore the well orchestrated music video. Watch and repeat.

One Direction Little Black Dress

Little Black Dress 
just walked into the room
Makin' heads turn
Can't stop looking at you

To us Directioners (yes, late bloomer here), we're all quite aware how much the boys have grown up. One Direction is slowly peeling off the bubble gum trading it in for new spirits, borrowing from 80s rock n' roll. Little Black Dress is an example of their new sound. Simply written but catchy and still fun like most 1D songs, credits go to Louis and Liam who co-wrote the track and with credits to all their more mature, rugged voices combined, it's definitely one of the better songs off their new album. 

Miguel feat. Kendrick Lamar

How many drinks would it take you to leave with me?
Yeah, you look good and I got money 
but I don't wanna waste my time

Miguel had a great 2013. He's finally warming up under the spotlight he's long deserved and talent like his should never go unnoticed. How Many Drinks is just one of his many, growing hits, that reminds people how sexy should sound like in music. And what's so amusing about this song too is despite its honesty (the lyrics will help you understand), it doesn't sound trashy at all. So, how many drinks will it really take you to leave with me? Good job, good job.

Ariana Grande feat. Big Sean Right There

And if you never change,
I'm gonna stay right there

By now you'd think every whistling, high-hitting female singer has dried up the Mariah Carey comparison, right? Until Ariana Grande made it to the big leagues. The Nickelodeon star does have the chops (and courage) to cover a Mariah Carey hit like Emotions and make it sound like we're back to the early 90s, when Mariah had cute, curly hair. I'm a fan of Ariana because I'm a Mariah Carey fan and also because her timing is perfect. At a time crowded with Mileys, Gagas, Katys, Taylors and everyone else in between, Ariana's sound- the sweet fusion of RnB, Hip Hop and Pop, will take you back to the late 90s to early 2000s when this was the sound of choice. While it's not new, it's refreshing. She proves how timing is indeed everything. We're counting down Ariana. The skies real soon.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Salt Bites into...Giordano Concepts

Korean superstars: Shin Min Ah and So Ji-Sub for Giordano's 2014 campaign
Growing up and learning to dress smarter, it dawned on me that it actually takes a lot of deconstructing and returning-to-basics that makes better dressing quite the study. I could only speak for myself, though. When I grew more conscious of the way I look, I took out all the bad and traded my clothes in for the good, Giordano being one of those brands that made its way into my wardrobe and have stylishly taught me lessons about the basics of looking better.

Until this very day, I still go in Giordano, give it a round about and always find myself liking their most basic and essential of items--chic rain-proof jackets that're perfect for Manila weather (which they almost, always seem to have), jeans that always fit well, t-shirts and polo shirts that could go from office to night outs. They just understand the way clothes should be, no non-sense, straight-forward but still a pleasure to wear and a pleasure to look at.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Profile: Jasmine Curtis-Smith

Jasmine Curtis-Smith: At 1 am, this is how she looks like for a shoot...
An outtake. This photo by yours truly.
On her sure way up the ranks to super stardom, Jasmine Curtis-Smith stops for SALT to look at her life now: the award that changed her life, her love for the industry, her music and her interest in-of all genres, horror and mostly the woman behind her and her successes. An exclusive SALT profile. By Gerard Gotladera

Family First

Jasmine Curtis-Smith, did not have a magic moment. Contrary to popular belief and reportage, not all stars who make it big take root in that magic moment. You often read how actors are usually sparked by performances of famous actors and actresses, playing so terribly well on screen or on stage, that they too feel it's their own path to take. Quite the romantic touch, if you ask me, to any success story. But when my friend, award-winning actress, columnist, celebrity endorser and million-followed social media darling, confesses that there was "none whatsoever" of a magic moment for her, I was floored.

"It was the thought of helping my mama...Whenever I am given a role or project, she's always the primary inspiration to do well and give my best. The rest comes second. Along with that, I  owe it to myself to actually commit to something and be really good at it."

This is Jasmine Curtis-Smith in a quote. Despite her youth, beauty and stature, she plays the daughter role best. Decisions are strongly guided and grounded in family and this is one wonderful trait of the beauty. When asked why she chose the entertainment industry, her mother, the famous Tita Carmen, and her sister, needless of any introductions, the Anne Curtis, naturally spring out among the flurry of words she shares upon choosing show business.

"It just happened. I've always been exposed to this industry because of my older sister but I used to actually repel the idea of being an actress...because I badly wanted to be incredibly different from her. But one day an offer came along and I'd just started to enjoy acting in school, so I thought why say no when I can also help my mama financially."

Just Delivered Jeans

The country's top male models give this campaign its muscle and good-looks.
Gents, all the best jeans under one roof. SM Department Store's 4th year of Just Delivered Jeans

I'm a huge jeans person. Imagining my wardrobe without jeans, is a bit of a nightmare to think about. While I've worn trousers and pants of various cloths before, I always find myself slipping in my jeans. It's the comfort, durability and strength of denim and its effortless style that pulls me back. Among the many pants any man (or woman) could wear and own, I believe jeans should be in heavy rotation simply because they could be dressed up and down and in our time, could take you from closing deals on weekday meetings to opening bottles on weekends with friends. You could live with just three basic jeans (black, slim cut jeans, the classic blue jeans and light-washed jeans) and have your wardrobe build on top of these staples. But who would want to own just three jeans when you could have more stylish options?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Open Letter (on) Miley Cyrus

Slutty because she's naked? A mess because she licks a sledge hammer?
Not really.

Dear 2013 and all that could see this video,

I don't know if you saw it coming, but I did. When Miley Cyrus was no longer Hannah Montana I knew that this would happen. It's not like ex-Disney stars have it in their contract or that they follow a formula, but if you've lived long enough-say at least 16 years, to see pop stars past their teens or at least verging on the end of their bubblegum days, you'll know that this is the route called "Growing Up", as in Pop Culture "Growing Up".

Ask me some years ago, maybe I'll find Miley Cyrus bothering. But I'm glad it's happening now, because I could speak better of the whole "situation". This is all opinion, okay, don't take this to heart.  Here it goes. If you grow up under the spotlight and most especially if you've been suited with such a massive franchise like Hannah Montana, you know it'll be difficult to escape it. Miley, will probably never be seen apart from Hannah. And that's just how it is. I was never a fan of the show. I never thought she was funny or that she was adorable. And that's because I'm not the market.

Miley however, I like a lot. She's got guts to go this far. She's got a vision for herself, a sure sound for her music and most definitely an expectation of the many things to come after this incredible repackaging. That's what I like about her. She is fully aware of the billions of parents and now teenage girls who looked up to her huge mouth, sinister bright pink jackets and annoyingly stiff long wig, who are far from pleased at all her tongue action, twerking and dressing down instances and she still pursued this new path. While this is true and it will pain old fans, Miley is an adult now and is opening herself up-quite literally, to a new crowd, an older set of listeners and viewers who may not always look like her or act like her, but enjoy and appreciate the shows and songs she puts on.

Wrecking Ball is trending online and has hit close to 20 million views in a span of less than 24 hours mainly because of two things. She's Miley Cyrus and she's naked. That's it. Those 20 million views, you could only account for a small percentage of people who actually care about the song. A chunk of that cares about her ass, her breasts, her licking a sledge hammer. And maybe it makes others feel better that they're not like her, I don't know. But am I the only person able to go past the sex and the video's implications of it? I don't know.

I like the song cause she sounds amazing. The lyrics are well-written. Her voice is rough and tender at the same time and she hits high notes like you're spreading butter on hot toast. She's that good a singer, if you think about it. And must we overlook how maturely she sings about heartbreak and how love, often times is a true losing game-thanks Amy Winehouse? I tweeted about this video saying something like, I honestly do not give a shit if Miley does full-on porn for this video, not because I don't mind or that for me it's right, but because her talent is way bigger than the antics she does. Period.

People see the dirty videos, the naked bodies, the boy-cut hair, the endless licking because it's all they want to see. Nothing else. They label her slut and other things, but I'm better off with all this out-in-the-openness than girls who act like ladies but are far from lady-like when no one's watching.

So when I finally finished the music video, I thought to myself, while Miley may not be leading the crusade for good morals and whatever, she never actually set out to head down that road anyway. Right? Maybe her Hannah Montana days were all about that. But Hannah Montana is long gone. While the shadow casts dark and looms large over her, it's quite stylish, honestly for people to move on and realize that, well, they can't have Hannah Montana forever (thankfully).

And the same goes for this new Miley. I'm sure when she grows older, she'll drop the twerking, let go of her tight white tops and bottoms and change into something more appropriate her age. That's the hope anyway. What I believe in in Miley is her talent, that voice and that youth that grants her many, many more years to come of experimenting, shocking and pleasing and most definitely music. Like one teen on YouTube's Teens React To episode for Miley, I too have a good feeling about this one.

While you can't stop haters from hating-it's their job, you can take note of the fact that it takes more for a woman (or man) to be slutty and qualify as a mess, that music is still about the music and that finally, this is all entertainment. Call the police on Miley, not when she's swinging on a wrecking ball in her undies, but when she does all the real slutty things to you-steals your husband, sells you drugs, you know, those biases you have.

But I do have to agree with the naysayers: lessen the tongue action. For the next video at least, don't lick anything edible or inedible. Thanks.

Won't Stop and Can't Stop,