PAPERhttp://www.qladfj.tw/PAPERen-usSun, 29 Dec 2019 19:55:55 -0000https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTA2ODkwOS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU4MzMzNzc2OH0.B7dlqK9VroirVbem_5j3qi0SX_csZWmyjOSh2H9Esho/img.png?width=210http://www.qladfj.tw/PAPERCanadian Trans Activist Julie Berman Dies After Assaulthttp://www.qladfj.tw/lgbtqia-activist-death-julie-berman-2642703695.html

Officials confirm that trans-identifying LGBTQIA activist Julie Berman died after being attacked in Toronto last Sunday.

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Per CNN, Detective Robert Choe said that they received a distress call reporting assault, and discovered 51-year-old Berman injured severely on her face and head. By the time they were able to take her to the hospital, she was pronounced dead. Choe told CBC that her cause of death was "blunt-impact trauma," though no further details were given.

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Her accused attacker, 29-year-old named Colin Harnack, was arrested on the crime scene and charged with second-degree murder. "It wasn't a manhunt. We got to the scene and made the arrest," Toronto police spokesman David Hopkinson told CNN.

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The Toronto LGBTQIA community mourns Julie's loss. "In loving memory of Julie Berman, a proud Trans Woman and tireless advocate who fought to raise awareness of the increasing rates of anti-trans violence across our city," Pride Toronto tweeted. "With heavy hearts, we will remember Julie. #RestInPeace"


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Photo via Getty

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 19:40:41 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/lgbtqia-activist-death-julie-berman-2642703695.htmlLgbtqLgbtqiaLgbtNewsCanadaTransphobiaTorontoJulie bermanTrans rightsTransJasmine Ting
Poppy Parts with Creative Partner Titanic Sinclairhttp://www.qladfj.tw/poppy-titanic-sinclair-2642681887.html

Poppy has officially ended her creative partnership with Titanic Sinclair.

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This news comes about a year after the singer, also known as Moriah Pereira, and her former collaborator settled as lawsuit with singer-songwriter Mars Argo. Argo, born Brittany Sheets, accused Sinclair of duplicating her act in order to help create the sensation that the world now knows as Poppy.

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In the letter addressing those concerned, Poppy wrote that this split from Sinclair has been a "long time coming but," she adds, "this is a person whom I defended in the past because I thought he was just misunderstood." She continued, "The reason I am making this statement is due to the amount of misinformation online about me and my character and I owe it to myself to clear a few things up."

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"I met this person at a young age and things were seemingly good for a while until echoes from his past were too loud to ignore." She explained, "I was never 'an accomplice' to this person's past actions like some believe — I was a person who suffered similar wrong doings as one of his former partners brought to light."

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Poppy went on to say that Sinclair "glamorizes suicide" and used it in manipulating her. "As a grab for attention he messaged fans before he tried hanging himself while I was on tour with an item that belonged to me," she recalled. "These are the tactics that he used for years. This person lives an illusion that he is a gift to this earth." The 24-year-old also claims that Sinclair has moved on to pulling the same act with her "former friends" to repeat the same "manipulative pattern."

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"I was trapped in a mess that I needed to dig my way out of – and like I always do, I figured out how to handle it." The singer adds that she's not looking for people's sympathy, but simply wanted to "set the record straight." She concluded her message with, "I am happier than I've ever been and I am excited to move forward."

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Read the full statement below.

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Poppy is still expected to start her 2020 world tour, beginning January 9 in Los Angeles.

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Photo via Getty

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 15:15:21 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/poppy-titanic-sinclair-2642681887.htmlMusicFamous peoplePoppyTitanic sinclairTitanicCelebritiesCelebrityJasmine Ting
Kourtney Kardashian Responds to New Puppy Criticismhttp://www.qladfj.tw/kourtney-kardashian-puppy-2642321455.html

Kourtney Kardashian is responding to critical speculation surrounding the new puppy her family got for Christmas.

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Earlier this week, Kourtney took to Instagram to share some adorable pics of the pup with her kids, while asking fans for input on a name.

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View this post on Instagram

But what should we name her?

A post shared by Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) on

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And while most commenters gushed over the new addition to the family, as People reports, ?Kourtney also faced some scrutiny from critics who asked whether she had gotten rid of her older Pomeranian, Honey.

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In response to one person asking if they still had Honey — "or do they just get rid of dogs for new ones" — Kourtney wrote, "Of course we still have Honey our baby Pom Pom." That said, she didn't stop there.

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View this post on Instagram

baby ??

A post shared by Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) on

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After seeing a comment from another user that accused Kourtney of "never [keeping] your dogs," the star fired back by writing, "Wow so much negativity we still have Honey, but thanks for your assumptions."

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As for her final word on the speculation? "I'll assume Santa wasn't good to you, hence your vibes."

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Oof. Needless to say, don't come for Kourtney.

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Photo via Getty

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 01:03:37 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/kourtney-kardashian-puppy-2642321455.htmlKourtney kardashianFamous peoplePenelope disickReign disickPetsDogsChristmasKeeping up with the kardashiansSandra Song
Rihanna Says She's 'Hiding' From Navy Amidst 'R9' Anticipationhttp://www.qladfj.tw/rihanna-hiding-navy-2642315962.html

It looks like Rihanna isn't done having fun with the Navy and their fervent excitement over her highly-anticipated ninth studio album.

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On the heels of an post joking that she was "listening to R9 by myself and refusing to release it," Rih has continued to fan the R9 flames via social media — though, this time, the tease came via her mom's Instagram.

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Related | Rihanna Teases Fans About R9 Release

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Earlier today, Monica Fenty took to her account to share a festive photo of her family's cute Christmas bears, each one of which held a heart bearing the family's names. However, it didn't take fans long to notice that Rihanna's bear was a little shier than the rest.

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"Robyn hiding behind a hat!," as one person wrote. That said, this particular comment apparently caught Rihanna's attention. Her response?

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"from the navy," she replied, much to the amusement of her fans. So while we may still be waiting on a firm answer from Rih about a release date, at the very least, she's got some jokes to tide us over.

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See Rihanna's reply, below.

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Photo via Getty


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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 00:41:11 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/rihanna-hiding-navy-2642315962.htmlRihannaFamous peopleR9MusicSandra Song
Lana Del Rey Asks For the Return of 'Family Momentos' After Robberyhttp://www.qladfj.tw/lana-del-rey-robbery-2642309824.html

Lana Del Rey is pleading for thieves to return her sister's artwork to their family.

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Late last night, the star took to Twitter to reveal that some "family mementos," including her sister Chuck Grant's "entire retrospective" of artwork, were stolen from them over Christmas.

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Explaining that "the work we lost can't be reproduced and exists nowhere but where it was," Del Rey went on to ask for the robbers to "consider sending any of the scans of her previous work back to us."

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She went on to add that they'd be willing to give them "a no questions asked reward" in exchange.

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See Del Rey's tweet, below.

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Photo via Getty

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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 23:52:41 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/lana-del-rey-robbery-2642309824.htmlLana del reyFamous peopleRobberyChuck grantArtSandra Song
Coolest Person in the Room: Micah McLaurinhttp://www.qladfj.tw/coolest-person-micah-mclaurin-2642263011.html

Popularity is relative, and especially in the digital age. You could have hundreds of thousands of followers online, but be completely unknown in the streets — massively famous on Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, but lack any kind of real, authentic cool in person. For our new series, Coolest Person in the Room, New York-based photographer Megan Walschlager pinpoints all the people whose energy is contagious regardless of their following count or celebrity. Meet Micah McLaurin, the New York-based concert pianist you need to know.


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Tell me about your day job,

I'm a concert pianist. That means I get engagements all around the world with an orchestra or as a soloist to do a performance.

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How did you get to where you are now?

I started piano when I was 8 because my grandma gave us her old piano when she got a new one. I was very interested, so my mom signed me up for lessons. I studied in Charleston until I was 18, and I was doing a lot of competitions and all that stuff. Then I went to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia for 5 years; that's where I got my bachelors degree. Curtis is one of the most prestigious schools in the world. The acceptance rate is only 3% because they offer full scholarship for all the students there. After I graduated, I went to Juliard for my Masters and that's where I'm at now.

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Earlier you mentioned you had a lesson later today, and I am kind of surprised to hear that even at this level you are taking lessons!

I have a lesson every week. I think it's helpful because you don't always know what you're doing. You think you know what you're doing, but sometimes it's completely different than what's coming out. I find it helpful to have another ear, and another mentor to help you. If I wasn't in school I wouldn't be having them as frequently because I don't feel like I need it that often, so I would rather come to somebody once in a while when I felt I needed the help.

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How often do you have to practice?

I used to practice — like when I was at Curtis — like all day long. From about 10 AM to midnight with breaks. But I don't think that's necessary anymore. I practice a lot of if I have a concert coming up or if I'm preparing for a competition, but if I don't have any of that I like to enjoy life a little more.

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Related | Coolest Person in the Room: Yves

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Totally. What else do you do to enjoy life?

Besides piano... I love fashion, I love going to parties and all kinds of events. I think if I wasn't a pianist I would do something in fashion. I love really over the top, bling-bling and all that stuff.

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How did you first get into music?

My mother always played classical music in the car growing up, and I was always pretty attentive to it. Actually when she would play something I didn't like, I would throw a temper tantrum because I would insist she play my favorite piece.

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Do you ever write your own music?

I do. I don't really write it down anymore, but I improvise. I used to write a lot more when I was younger, but I thought that other people's music was so great that I couldn't compare. I just felt like how can I present this if everything else is so amazing?

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How often do you have a performance? Are there busy seasons or is it pretty steady?

It's pretty inconsistent. Sometimes I'm busy and have a lot of concerts in a small period of time, sometimes I have long periods where I don't have anything at all and I'm looking for the next thing to do. Sometimes, for example, I have a big gig and then nothing after that, so it kind of throws you off. You're like, "What do I do with all this time?"

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Do you have a piano at your house in New York?

I actually don't. I don't own a piano. It's pretty sad, right? A pianist without a piano.

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Well, I was just thinking you would have to have a pretty big apartment to house a piano.

Yeah, you do. But believe it or not, pianos can fit in these apartments. People think they can't but they can. Even a grand piano can fit.

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Have you had a performance that has been a pinch-me experience?

Yes. I played with the Philadelphia Orchestra back in July 2018. It was in an outdoor venue called the Mann Center. There were like 3,000-5,000 people there. The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the greatest orchestras in the world and I was playing Gershwin with them; I was playing his concerto as the soloist. That was the biggest pinch me moment because it just felt glorious playing with one of the greatest ensembles in the world on this huge stage with a big audience. It was like heaven.

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Do you ever get stage fright before a show?

I definitely get nervous. Sometimes I start shaking or you get nauseous or you start having all these negative thoughts like, "What if I have a memory slip? What if I stop? What if my hands are too cold?" You have all these things running through your head and sometimes when you get on the stage all of that goes away and you feel comfortable, inspired and free. But sometimes you get on the stage and it doesn't. And there's nothing you can really do to control it, from my experience. You just kind of have to go with it and if you're having a bad day, you're having a bad day.

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You have very good posture, is that from playing the piano?

I do. I try to have good posture because the chiropractor told me that if my neck is too forward from playing the piano then I'll get carpal tunnel.

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In your hands?

Yes. If your neck is too far forward, it stresses the nerve that causes carpal tunnel, so I was always super conscious about not getting that. So I always try to keep my back straight and my neck upright.

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Related | Coolest Person in the Room: Kyra Cherie

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Do you have any getting ready routines or pre-concert rituals?

I always like to have a banana. I don't know if it's the placebo effect or not, but people say it calms your nerves down, and for me it actually does. And it's always good to eat something. I also like to be by myself. I don't like to talk to anyone before I play because it throws me off. Actually, I'm kind of a bitch before I play because I go into my own zone and can't think about anyone else.

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When does this start, like an hour before or the day of?

It starts a couple of hours before. Like before we get to the venue. It's not on purpose, it's just because I'm so focused.

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Do you get to dress yourself for a performance or do you have to wear a uniform?

I absolutely dress myself because I am my own artist and I'm not part of an ensemble. I think in classical music the way people dress is very boring. They're always wearing all black and it's so stoic. It's like a funeral sometimes. But I think the music is so expressive and so emotional — it is over the top — and I think the stage and the performer's clothing can also contribute to that.

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I love that. I feel like classical music has this very rigid perception around it.

I'm very passionate about classical music. I'm actually really passionate about all kinds of music, because there's always something that really gets me going. Like if Lady Gaga comes on in the club, I will jump up and down and start screaming. I go crazy for her. But also for classical music, there's composers and pieces that will have an equally large effect; it will make me cry or give me butterflies or the chills. It really touches me and I feel like it's really a part of my voice.

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What is next for you?

In January, I'm playing in Milan. I've never played there before. And I'm playing in the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, a really big arts festival in my hometown. It's the first time I've been invited there, so I feel pretty honored to play there.

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What do you think are some of the coolest places in New York?

For me, New York is all about the people and everything it has to offer. I think you can find anything here. You can find yourself here and be anything you want to be. I think the atmosphere of New York, you really feel like you can be free and to me that's the best part.


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Follow Micah McLaurin on Instagram (@micahmcl).













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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 19:45:40 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/coolest-person-micah-mclaurin-2642263011.htmlMicah mclaurinCoolest person in the roomMegan walschlagerMusicInterview & Photography Megan Walschlager
The Decade in Fashion: 16 Runway Shows That Defined the 2010shttp://www.qladfj.tw/most-memorable-fashion-shows-2010s-2641975788.html

If there's one force that upended how we consumed fashion this decade the most, it's without a doubt Instagram. The 2010s saw designers stage elaborate sets and spectacles that became instant hits on the photo-sharing platform, where users could see collections hit the runway immediately. It marked a watershed moment for the fashion industry, which suddenly found itself reaching a bigger, younger, and more global audience than ever before.

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With the floodgates fully opened, fashion week was no longer reserved for the eyes of traditional gatekeepers. You'd be hard pressed to sit through a show this decade without iPhone-wielding guests clamoring to get a non-blurry shot to share with their followers. (Instagram's video function eventually corrected this problem.) Now, virtually anyone could get in on the action.

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The 2010s were also defined by the nearly constant game of designer musical chairs, where creative directors seemingly jumped ship every couple of seasons from one brand to the next. It was quite difficult to keep up with all the switches, departures, and changes each year, but that just made the decade all the more intriguing to follow.

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Beyond these changes, the collections that made the biggest impact this decade had their influence amplified thanks to social media, where users could fawn over Chanel's enormous supermarket set and Versace's supermodel tableau in real time. From highly anticipated designer debuts to unexpected hit items, the most memorable shows of the 2010s are still some of the most shared and talked-about to this day. Read on, below, for PAPER's 16 picks, listed in chronological order.

Alexander McQueen Spring 2010


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In what was to be Alexander McQueen's final show before his untimely death a few months later, the designer staged what Suzy Menkes described as the "most dramatic revolution in 21st-century fashion." Dubbed "Plato's Atlantis," the collection was built around the concept of an apocalyptic world in which humankind is forced to live in the oceans after destroying the earth. (Futuristic digital prints of aquatic imagery, abstract scales and reptilian motifs dominated the line-up.)

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But it was the way Lee embraced technology and pop culture that made this show a milestone as it entered a new decade: the show's soundtrack marked the world premiere of Lady Gaga's new single "Bad Romance," and the now-iconic armadillo shoes she subsequently wore in the music video are from this collection. Two manic robotic cameras filmed the entire runway, making the show one of the first to stream live to users globally. The site on ultimately ended up crashing after Gaga tweeted out the link to her then-six million followers.

Givenchy Men's Fall 2011


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Riccardo Tisci's tenure at Givenchy saw the designer infuse a gothic sensibility to the storied luxury brand while putting out hit items that flew off the shelves. His Fall 2011 men's collection was a seminal moment for menswear, and by extension, the fashion world at large. This was the show that introduced the now-famous Rottweiler series of tees, sweatshirts, and jackets printed with images of the snarling dog, which sold out quickly and was worn by everyone from Kanye West to Liv Tyler. (West performing in a leather skirt from this collection caused quite a sensation at the time.)

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The collection cemented Tisci's ability to translate his dark, romantic aesthetic into selling wildly successful and commercial products while fusing elements of hip-hop and streetwear. Few other brands were able to get away with charging hundreds of dollars for graphic sweatshirts, a concept that is now widely employed. A few seasons later, Tisci would eventually have more best-selling hits on his hands thanks to Bambi T-shirts and sweaters for women, further underscoring his knack for creating desirable, luxury clothes utilizing prints of well-known yet unexpected characters.

Dior Fall 2012 Couture


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To fully grasp the extent of how much was riding on Raf Simons' debut show at Christian Dior, consider who all was in attendance: Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Azzedine Alaia, Riccardo Tisci, Alber Elbaz, Donatella Versace — the list goes on. Since the firing of former Creative Director John Galliano a few seasons prior, the industry was waiting to see who could step into the designer's lofty shoes and carry the brand forward. (Interim designer Bill Gayten's collections for Dior received mostly poor reviews.)

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Enter Simons, who had just spent the last seven years designing collections for Jil Sander to critical acclaim. His nerves and emotions were captured in a poignant documentary, Dior and I, which delved into how his debut collection for Couture Spring 2019 came together and how he had to overcome the pressure. What followed was a show (complete with walls covered in a million flowers) that ushered in a new era for the Parisian house, where a modern sense of elegance, construction and beauty took hold. While his tenure at Dior proved to be short-lived, it nonetheless proved to be one of the most talked-about designer-brand pairings in recent memory.

Saint Laurent Spring 2013


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Perhaps no designer debut garnered as much negative feedback from critics as Hedi Slimane's Spring 2013 collection for Saint Laurent. (He dropped the "Yves" from the name of its ready-to-wear line a few months prior, further angering the brand's loyal devotees.) "Mr. Slimane's clothes lacked a new fashion spirit," wrote Cathy Horyn for the NYT. "Indeed, it was as though he refused to interpret the YSL style, beyond updating proportions. Even the colors seemed flat, suppressed." Other journalists echoed Horyn's sentiments.

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And yet, Slimane's divisive '70s line-up of floppy hats, pussy-bow blouses and black boho dresses marked a turning point for the French fashion house commercially, and his clothes ultimately became a hit with customers on the sales floor. The creative director's fixation with LA youth culture and neo-grunge quickly resonated with shoppers, who gravitated toward the brand's wardrobe staples like sleek leather jackets, Chelsea boots, and skinny jeans that are selling like hotcakes today.

Celine Fall 2013


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?Shortly after Phoebe Philo debuted her first show for Celine for Spring 2010, the sleepy Parisian brand was suddenly on everyone's radar again. Her designs immediately filled a void in the wardrobes of working women, who were looking for smart, practical clothes with a feminine touch. (Philo's knack for creating must-have It-bags like the Luggage and Trapeze styles didn't hurt either.) But it was undoubtedly the ready-to-wear that spawned the brand's new, devoted following, dubbed the "Philophiles."

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Many would argue that Fall 2013 was the collection that showcased Philo's strengths the most: cozy, boxy coats; skirts that hugged the hips and flared at the knee; the way the models clutched their pouch bags. It was utterly chic and wearable, elegant and sensual, and soft and intimate. The sense of warmth on display complemented Philo's minimalist bent nicely, and further cemented her legacy as a designer with an innate sense of how real women want to dress.

Prada Spring 2014


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Of all the looks Miuccia Prada has sent down the runway the past 10 years, perhaps none have been Instagrammed as much as her Spring 2014 collection. The set of the show featured vivid mural works depicting portraits of women from artists like Mesa, Gabriel Specter, and Stinkfish. Images of close-up faces and rainbow colorways were re-created and applied on everything from embellished dresses to sporty accessories — a sharp contrast from the designer's familiar '90s minimalism.

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It seemed as if no one in fashion could resist the artsy statement pieces from this line-up. Marc Jacobs famously wore the collection's colorful coats on numerous occasions, from walking his dog Neville to walking on the red carpet. The designer's take on Tevas also proved popular with the style set, and marked the start of fashion's obsession with ugly-chic footwear. But perhaps the show's most enduring impact is its subsequent Steven Meisel-lensed ad campaign, which produced one of the most iconic collection images of the season.

Rick Owens Spring 2014


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Rick Owens' clothes don't typically fit the mold of traditional Paris collections, which made his brand's Spring 2014 show all the more prolific. The American designer's signature draping and deconstructed goth-grunge aesthetic reached a turning point this season with the addition of a dance number performed by a team of sorority hip-hop steppers, most of whom were African-American. With scowls on their faces (known in the step show world as "grit face"), the dancers stomped the runway with an electric choreographed number that showed off the clothes in motion.

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It was rather unusual (and still is) to see a Paris show feature women of different body types, but followers of Owens' work know that he's anything but conventional. Not only did this show challenge the notion of one-dimensional beauty, but it also pushed the discourse of creating meaningful and authentic messages of inclusivity and diversity to the forefront, something that few designers of his caliber bothered to work with at the time.

Chanel Fall 2014


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As soon as the photo of Joan Smalls pushing a Chanel shopping cart with Cara Delevingne and Rihanna spread like wildfire on social media, it became pretty clear that no other designer would be able to top this show that season. The luxury French brand staged the mother of all fashion shows for Fall 2014, with a set that resembled a gigantic supermarket complete with fresh produce, candy, household goods, and Chanel-branded hardware.

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As a cultural critique, the show was a commentary about the state of consumerism, a point made all the more salient when you consider the hordes of guests who rushed toward the set to grab as much products as they could after the show was over. Fashion-wise, Lagerfeld continued the idea of high-end sportswear he explored in his couture show prior, with models wearing luxurious sneakers and work-out attire that coincided with the rise of athleisure around this time. One of the most coveted pieces from the collection — a Chanel chain-link grocery shopping basket — sold out instantly.

Gucci Fall 2015


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When Gucci's Fall 2015 show hit the runway under the newly installed (and little-known) Creative Director Alessandro Michele, few would have predicted the enormous impact the collection would have on the fashion world at large. Sure, the romantic clothes and the eccentric styling caught your attention right away, but the successful maximalist, gender-fluid magpie aesthetic he introduced in this collection has remained virtually unchanged in every show since.

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It also catapulted Michele into fashion stardom seemingly overnight, thanks to skyrocketing sales numbers that followed year after year. (Gucci's cash-generating products like their popular fur-lined loafers and logo belts made their debut here.) His first show for Gucci was actually Men's Fall 2015, which bowed just a few weeks earlier and was put together in just a few weeks, but it was this collection that marked his official outing to the world. Despite some mixed reviews from critics (Vogue Runway said it "lacked a bit for sophistication" and needed "more substance going forward"), it made Gucci one of fashion's biggest success stories of the last decade.

Vetements Spring 2016


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The flurry of Vetements mania and hype seemed to come out of nowhere in the middle part of the decade, but the brand's off-kilter wardrobe staples and underground street-inspired aesthetic arguably reached its peak with its Spring 2016 collection. After showing at a gay sex club in Paris the season prior, the Vetements collective led by then-designer Demna Gvasalia held their next show at a Chinese restaurant. Who knew that the collection's first look, a male model sporting a yellow DHL logo tee, would produce one of the biggest-selling items that year?

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The rest of the clothes augmented the collection's other big themes, such as thigh-high boots, sharp and wide shoulders, oversized hoodies, and floral prairie dresses. Gvasalia's penchant for elevating everyday, generic clothes made Vetements one of the most desirable brands of the Paris fashion scene, in some cases rivaling the city's heritage brands and luxury houses in terms of It-status. While Gvasalia eventually left the brand to focus solely on his work at Balenciaga, the influence of Vetements on fashion cannot be overlooked.

Marc Jacobs Fall 2016


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Marc Jacobs held his Fall 2016 on the last day of NYFW in a stark white set with nothing but short, quick ping sounds emanating from the speakers.The stoic space provided a counterpart to the collection itself, which consisted of all-black and gray ensembles in multiple layers, exaggerated volumes, and dramatic proportions. Speaking of drama, the towering platform heels could not be any higher, but models stormed the circular runway anyway with a confident pace and determined look. (Lady Gaga blended in seamlessly with the other models walking the show.)

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The renowned duo of Francois Nars and Guido Palau were the masterminds behind the makeup and hair for the show, respectively. Heavy eyeliner, black lipstick, and dark eye shadow were paired alongside slick braided hairdos that added a gothic, sinister flair to the theatrical looks. While Jacobs' shows aren't necessarily the most aesthetically consistent season-to-season on the surface, his affinity for opulence and ostentation results in collections that provoke a visceral, emotional reaction to the clothes, something that show-goers no doubt felt on this particular day.

Balenciaga Fall 2016


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If there's one image that captured an entire collection in a single look from the Fall 2016 season, it's the rhinestone turtleneck, black cigarette ski pants, and red puffer jacket strategically unbuttoned to sit off the shoulder from the Balenciaga show. It was the brand's first collection under new Creative Director Demna Gvasalia, who made a name for himself at Vetements, the design collective he co-founded that's known for its underground, low-brow sensibility. How was Gvasalia, whose aesthetic leaned toward ironic streetwear, going to translate his vision to one of the most storied couture houses of the 20th century?

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The answer was made clear early on with this debut collection, which riffed heavily on strong shoulders, padded him, sharp tailoring, and angular outerwear. Look #14, the aforementioned outfit worn by Julia Nobis, captured the spirit of this show the best: functional pieces with a couture attitude. After the first half the show's structured silhouettes walked out, Gvasalia offered a series of floral dresses in loud, clashing patterns paired with candy cane-striped tights. They became the defining codes of Gvasalia's Balenciaga, providing a modern template for the designer to work from in the seasons to come.

Hood By Air Spring 2017


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A few months after Hood By Air canceled its Fall 2017 show, which was scheduled to take place during Paris Fashion Week, the brand announced that it would go on hiatus, much to the dismay of its fans. The brand, led by co-founder and designer Shayne Oliver, first made waves when it initially launched in 2006, but it really captured the zeitgeist in the mid-2010s. Oliver's genderless designs effortlessly blurred the lines between streetwear and high fashion, while incorporating fetish and kinky elements for tribes of punks, club kids, and queer people alike.

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Spring 2017, last show for HBA, just happened to be his most provocative collection yet. (Oliver revealed earlier this year that he intends to relaunch the brand soon.) A front row that featured the likes of Jaden Smith, Rick Ross, Naomi Campbell, Juicy J, and will.i.am signaled that more eyes were on HBA than ever before. A collaboration with Pornhub caused the biggest frenzy, but other pieces like the Wench logos (his joint musical project with the electronic producer Arca) and "Hustler" polo shirts proved to be some of the standouts looks of the season.

Jacquemus Spring 2018


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With a few seasons under his belt, Simon Porte Jacquemus appeared to finally be hitting his stride. The designer carved a niche for himself early on by leaning into his South of France roots, youthful exuberance, and playful approach to fashion. Up until "La Bomba," the name of his standout Spring 2018 collection, his ready-to-wear had an innocent, naive quality about them. This time around, his woman was all grown up, and the clothes quickly followed suit.

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Asymmetrical dresses with plunging necklines were held up by tiny straps, and the slits on skirts opened up considerably higher. This sexier, freer attitude was made all the more captivating by Jacquemus' use of giant floppy straw hats that soon became the must-have accessory of the summer. (Everyone from Kylie Jenner to Rihanna to Emily Ratajkowski sported the grandiose headpiece.) The hat was accompanied by the debut of mis-matched earrings that dangled on each side, underscoring the designer's knack for creating unexpectedly covetable accessories at a reasonable price point.

Versace Spring 2018


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Fashion loves a surprise, but no one was prepared for what would soon transpire at the end of Donatella Versace's Spring 2018 show. Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell formed a tableaux at the front of the runway decked out in gold chainmail dresses, an instantly iconic image that brought to mind the brand's '90s supermodel heyday. The women then walked the runway to a rapture of cheers and applause, embracing each other at the finale while joined by Donatella herself.

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The reunion followed a collection that was all about nostalgia: the year marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Gianni Versace, the brand's founder and Donatella's brother. She digged deep into the company's archives, and utilized various Gianni references and signatures from the early to mid-'90s. It was the first time she pulled directly from her late brother's work to create a collection, which featured everything from baroque prints to illustrations of classic Warhol motifs. It was a monumental chapter in Donatella's career, and demonstrated her resilience and ability to pay tribute to the past while remaining resolutely forward-looking.

Valentino Spring 2019 Couture


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Since taking over as sole creative director of Valentino with the departure of longtime design partner Maria Grazia Chiuri (who decamped to Dior), Pierpaolo Piccioli's work for the Roman house has never looked better. Suddenly, his Valentino shows captured a new sense of romanticism, beauty, and emotion, with a particular affinity for bold, vibrant colors. But it was his intimate Spring 2019 couture show that received universal acclaim, thanks to its regal silhouettes and show-stopping dresses.

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Not only was the show a feat in construction, volume, and opulence, but the cast was also considerably diverse. According to Piccioli, the show was inspired by photographer Cecil Beaton's 1948 iconic photo of models decked in ball gowns from American couturier Charles James. The image captured the upper echelons of high society, which was predominantly all-white. This Valentino collection, then, sought to re-create that moment in time with a cast of mostly black models, including Adut Akech and Naomi Campbell, who closed out the show.

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The emotional collection was a tour de force for Piccioli, who wanted to celebrate the beauty of all skin types through the uber-exclusive platform of haute couture, the pinnacle of high fashion. (Even Celine Dion, who sat front row, reportedly cried at the show.) In all, the show was a standout moment of the decade and is one that's meant to be relived over and over again.

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Photo via Imaxtree

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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 19:04:15 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/most-memorable-fashion-shows-2010s-2641975788.htmlRick owensValentinoChanelJacquemusGucciTop fashion showsFashion shows 2010sAlexander mcqueenVersaceHood by airBalenciagaMarc jacobsMario Abad
From PSY to BTS: The Decade K-Pop Went Viralhttp://www.qladfj.tw/decade-in-k-pop-2010s-2642225845.html

At the start of this decade, Korean-pop acts were slowly creeping into the international music conversation, eager to break into America after successfully trending in Asia. 2009 was the year Korea's top diva BoA recorded her self-titled English language album for the US market, collaborating with of-the-moment hitmakers like Bloodshy & Avant and Sean Garrett, and even singing a song co-written by Britney Spears. It was also the year that Wonder Girls scored a legitimate hit single with an English version of their K-pop hit "Nobody."

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For a little while there, it seemed like it was translated versions of K-pop tunes that would help the genre find a Western audience. The next ten years have disproved that theory completely. Curiously, and crucially, the "K" in K-pop has been essential to its overseas success.

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Related | Break the Internet: BTS

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2012 was the year K-pop became possible in America. In October, the world fell in love with PSY's "Gangnam Style," a song written entirely in Korean, released with the K-pop scene in mind by one of its veteran performers. Certified 5x platinum in the United States, "Gangnam Style" — a song celebrating Seoul's Gangnam district — was the top-selling song in America for months. A year after its release, YouTube reported that global views of K-pop videos had grown from two billion to seven billion, doubling in America they had doubled. This didn't happen by chance. K-pop was designed for this — a genre designed with mass consumption in mind, primed for a worldwide takeover.


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The same year "Gangnam Style" broke out, K-pop's avant garde pop heroes 2NE1 and BIGBANG held arena concerts in America, a nine-member-strong Girls' Generation performed on the Late Show and Live! with Kelly, and the Korean-culture festival KCON held its first-ever date with six acts performing for 20,000 fans. As the decade continued, even when there wasn't a highly visible star from Korea appearing on English language magazine covers or Billboard chart positions, the music was growing in important ways beyond a viral hit.

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K-pop album sales and chart performance in America grew year-over-year. In 2014, 2NE1 earned the best-selling and highest-charting K-pop album ever with their Crush LP, until a year later when boy band EXO would beat their sales week with Exodus. That record was then beaten by BTS' Wings album in 2016. Since then, BTS has been Korea's undeniable leader in overseas album sales (with three No. 1s on the Billboard 200 albums charts so far), but there have also been impressive showings from girl group BLACKPINK (who have two EPs that reached the Top 40 of the albums chart), other boy bands (NCT 127 and Tomorrow X Together have entered the albums chart), and even K-pop "supergroup" SuperM, who earned a No. 1 album earlier this year with their debut EP.


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Touring was a major contributor to this success. OG K-pop fans will remember going to the concert of whoever was coming to America because it was a rare chance to see Korean artists live and get a chance to be part of a fervent online community IRL. In 2010, there were just two big concerts for K-pop acts, both in Los Angeles, and Wonder Girls went on a multi-city tour. In 2019 alone, there have been closer to two dozen artists touring multi-city dates. GOT7, Monsta X, TWICE, BLACKPINK, NCT 127 and SuperM all played arena shows beyond the coastal capitals. BTS even sold out a full-fledged stadium tour, joining the company of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé and Jay-Z as rare artists to even book stadiums, much less sell them out.

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Related | PAPER's Top 50 Songs of 2019

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KCON is another great example of the genre's genuine growth. When it launched as a one-day convention and concert in Anaheim, California in 2012, there wasn't any indication K-pop would continue beyond "Gangnam Style." But KCON saw exponential growth. The festival quickly relocated to the more centralized Los Angeles the following year, and has since become a multi-city, multi-day, multi-concert experience. 2019 saw KCON spread across two days in New York City (where acts like NU'EST, (G)I-DLE, ATEE and The Boyz performed at Madison Square Garden) before a remarkable four days in Los Angeles (where acts like Seventeen, Stray Kids, LOONA and SF9 played the Staples Center.) KCON has also held dates in Mexico, Thailand, Australia, Japan, France and the United Arab Emirates.


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K-pop isn't all bubbly music videos and crazy profit margins. With more international fandom has come increased scrutiny of a closely guarded industry. A 2014 car crash where two members of rising girl group Ladies' Code died spotlighted the unsafe conditions many artists and their teams work under, in part due to packed schedules that prioritize work over physical and mental health. In the latter half of this decade we lost some of our most beloved K-pop singers to suicide — the industry still has questions to answer about its lack of mental health resources and intense cyberbullying culture, though some positive changes have been implemented as more labels offer psychiatric help and suicide prevention classes.

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Related | PAPER's Top 20 Albums of 2019

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But when we reflect on this decade of K-pop, perhaps what might be the most important is that the emphasis is, finally, on the K. BTS has made it clear they have no intention of singing in English because, well, they don't speak it. But the septet have still been able to create the world's most powerful fanbase — one that literally broke this very website last month.


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Today, BLACKPINK and (G)I-DLE's messages of badass empowerment are as equally embraced as TWICE and Girls' Generation's stories of love and friendship. SuperM showed the power of combining various K-pop fan bases and create an even more powerful market. Monsta X and NCT are pushing the boundaries of how and where K-pop artists can collaborate and enter the scene. Artists like Tiffany Young, Amber Liu, Kang Daniel, Zico and Hyolyn are showing how they can operate both in and out of the K-pop scene as independent artists.

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A whole new generation of up-and-comers and future K-pop stars have more opportunity than ever to make an impact on the global music scene not by hiding or diminishing parts of their identity, but instead embracing and being truly proud of it. It wasn't an easy road — and many people remain doubtful that K-pop can ever truly be part of the global conversation — but if there's anything to learn from where K-pop was in 2009 to where it is at the end of 2019, it's that people love these artists for staying true to who they are amid the pressures of a world that has yet to embrace and accept them. That's a lesson anyone can take to heart.

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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 17:58:29 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/decade-in-k-pop-2010s-2642225845.htmlBtsBlackpinkMusicPsyGangnam styleAsiaPopKoreaSouth koreaKconMental healthHalseyLadies' codeBreak the internetMonsta xK-popJeff Benjamin
Now We Scream: Ryan Murphy's Camp, Queer Decadehttp://www.qladfj.tw/ryan-murphy-tv-shows-2010s-2642244401.html

"I'll have a Trenta, no-foam, five-shot half-caf, no foam pumpkin spice latte with no foam at 210 degrees." One of this decade's finest television lines crawled from the lips of Kappa Kappa Tau president Chanel Oberlin, played by Emma Roberts draped in a fuzzy pink throw. She led FOX's Scream Queens, which featured not only the world's most extra pack of sorority sisters, but also a cheesy serial killer, college campus dean skilled in fighting, and a vlogger with a candle-sniffing addiction. Niecey Nash played special agent Denise Hemphill, Keke Palmer slayed as Zayday Williams, and Lea Michele preyed as the murderer in a neck brace.

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In just two seasons, the show decorated laptop screens around the world with designer brand motifs, vagina teeth, witty one-liners, cliché horror-movie screams, and MCAT study tips. (Just cheat!) Scream Queens, canceled prematurely but beloved by stans, was Ryan Murphy at his most completely camp — it's just one of the mega-writer-producer-director's beloved and decade-defining TV shows with an unapologetically queer bent.

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Related | From How-Tos to Hauls: Ten Years of Beauty YouTube

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Alongside frequent collaborators Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan, and Alexis Martin Woodall, Murphy should be hailed as the co-creator of mainstream hits and cult classics that won over both fans and critics, although they always appeared written with mainly the former in mind.


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You can call a lot of Murphy's work pop television. With the music-focused Glee, which sprawled FOX's screens for the first-half of the 2010s, that was literal. To massive success, Glee portrayed the unionizing of William McKinley High School's misfit, sexually curious choir groupies as they sang their way through regionals, nationals, and puberty. It included Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, and Madonna song covers, and cameos from the likes of RuPaul's Drag Race queen Shangela and Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker. More crucially, Glee's storyline invented the high school experience many of its LGBTQ+ viewers wished for, while at the same time thoughtfully addressing the experiences they most feared. Chris Colfer's character was relentlessly bullied, mostly and ironically by the in-the-closet jock Dave Karofsky, who attempted suicide in season three episode "On My Way." Murphy sought out his characters' identities, locating and exposing them, challenging gender norms, and living for the shock twist.

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Related | Race to the Top: Ten Years of RuPaul

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The show's gay and lesbian romances — groundbreaking even in the early 2010s — were undoubtedly impactful on audiences and future TV writers. Glee was, for me, one of the first portrayals of gay representation on TV that I could even kind of identify with. It first aired when I was entering middle school, and ended as I was about to exit high school — I didn't come out until I was in college, but Glee made it seem like that eventual moment could turn out okay. Kurt's father's acceptance of his son provided a fantasy example of queer acceptance.


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At the other end of the Murphy spectrum, embodying a totally different vision of camp, sits American Horror Story. Lady Gaga memorably revolutionized its fifth season Hotel as The Countess — a sex-driven, blood thirsty, and incredibly chic monster of the night. Or rewind back to AHS: Coven, as Frances Conroy exhumed high-fashion and taste as Myrtle Snow, Angela Bassett ruled as a voodoo queen, Jessica Lange's Supreme spawned memes, and Stevie Nicks proved a memorable guest star.

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Both Hotel and Coven established Ryan Murphy's voice superbly, and the nine seasons since have delivered yet more quotable lines and leading ladies — notably Sarah Paulson, a now-frequent Murphy collaborator. It's the melodramatic mixing of life and death and past and present that's made American Horror Story worthy of a cult fandom.

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POSE — created and written by Murphy, Falchuk, and Steven Canals — adds yet another layer to his pop culture oeuvre. With stars like Billy Porter, Mj Rodriquez, Angelica Ross, and Ryan Jamal-Swain, its late-1980s portrayal of ball scene culture won Porter an Emmy and catapulted him to mainstream fame. The show's depiction of sex work, the AIDS crisis, womanhood and motherhood, and the beauty and loneliness of fashion is informative and enchanting, vulnerable and necessary.

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Related | Decade of the Barb: Ten Years of Nicki Minaj

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It's also camp, obviously. Indya Moore, who plays the "frostiest bitch in New York" Angel, delivers gag upon gag and look after look. Dominique Jackson's Elektra Abundance walks with grace, leg, and "daffodil realness." In one of many fan-favorite scenes, Abundance has plans to "deck these fucking halls" in a cherry red ensemble as she and Lulu steal $2,300 from the Salvation Army Santa — Elektra secretly schemes to pay for her sexual reassignment surgery. While striking a serious note, the show manages to keep the laughs coming.


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The duality is Murphy's specialty. You see it in 2011's first AHS instalment Murder House, and in the most recent season 1984, when Cody Fern's "gay-for-pay" character's "porn-daddy" dies after checking out Matthew Morrison's enormous bulge through a shower peep-hole. We can't forget The Politician's Dusty Jackson, who declares that all gays really do is "munch butts and celebrate Halloween." Legendary.

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Ryan Murphy shows have invented a mode of pop-camp that's ubiquitous now: a wave of characters, plots, and aesthetics that have fully integrated into internet and offline culture. You gasp. You laugh. Maybe sometimes you cry. Even as seasons end and shows are discontinued, they live on via memes and Netflix.

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If you were sleeping through the 2010s instead of binge-watching Ryan Murphy, well. In the words of Pray Tell and Chanel #1, the category is decade-defining, award-winning TV realness. Disagree? You must be new here.

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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 17:58:27 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/ryan-murphy-tv-shows-2010s-2642244401.html2010sDecadeNostalgiaTvTelevisionStreamingNetflixAhsAmerican horror storyGleePoseScream queensFoxLady gagaCovenHotelSarah paulsonJessica langeEmma robertsAngela bassettBilly porterIndya mooreThe politicianRyan murphyWolfgang Ruth
10-Year High: The Weeknd's Game-Changing Decadehttp://www.qladfj.tw/the-weeknd-2010s-career-2642233169.html

"The first time I ever heard The Weeknd I remember it was raining, I was in Toronto, and I was downstairs in my apartment building," Drake recalled on stage back in 2011. "I remember that I heard two songs; there was a song called 'What You Need' and a song called 'The Party & The After Party.' And I'll never forget… that was the night I realized that this is the greatest thing that happened to music in a long time."

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He and Abel Tesfaye are no longer quite so close, but Drake's sentiment still holds up. The Weeknd's decade has been monstrous — we've seen him transform from an unknown alternative R&B artist to a global pop superstar. Since 2009, when his music first surfaced on YouTube, The Weeknd has never released two bodies of work that sound the same. He fell in love with the idea of new experiences and challenged himself to reflect them in his music. "I like to create characters based on different people I've met, and relationships," the musician said back in 2013.

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Related | PAPER's Top 50 Songs of 2019

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His lyrical content has never frayed, finely describing the cohesive high of love, drugs, and pain. But over the past 10 years, The Weeknd has also been able to relentlessly adapt in what now appears to be a genre-less industry. Unlike at the top of the decade, artists are now finding success from rigging the charts by blending different musical elements into their music. Mixing styles has taken prominence, and has added reason as to how hip-hop songs like Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" can top the country charts. Or pop songs like The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" can top the R&B/hip-hop charts.


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Few artists over the past 10 years have been able to do it as successfully as The Weeknd. Because of his mastered ability to diversify himself, his name has been consistently planted in the press, on the charts, among headlining festival acts, and now even movies across the world. Each chapter, as he likes to call it, represents a new journey and conquered style. And as with any good book, no matter how different the chapters are from one another, they combine to create one cohesive story. Although it's far from finished, we're six chapters into The Weeknd's novel, and the world is hooked.

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Related | PAPER's Top 20 Albums of 2019

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For most people, The Weeknd's journey inaccurately starts with Trilogy. But his first unofficial mixtape The Noise was birthed in 2009. By the time he stepped into the game, music was defined by a dominant arrival of "crank thats" and dance crazes, creating pressure for both rappers and go-to singers like Trey Songz and Chris Brown to make music for the club. The Weeknd's first output was the exact opposite of that, catering to a group of introverted individuals who preferred unapologetically honest songs they could consume in the bedroom rather than the party. Leaked by a group of "salty" producers, The Noise is a combination of old demos, backed by grimey tracks like "Love Through Her" and submissive vows like "Material Girl." The likely unintentional leaking of these songs just added gasoline to a fireThe Weeknd was already cooking up. Unlike most artists who sit on their material until the "timing is right," The Weeknd gave it all he had in 2011. In that year alone, he released over 30 songs in the form of three golden mixtapes: House of Balloons, led by dark lullabies like "The Party & The After Party" and "The Morning," Thursday, led by the birth of OVOXO on "The Zone," and Echoes of Silence, where he fully embraced Michael Jackson's influence on "D.D."

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Already prospering with his own releases, Tesfaye also helped co-write and produce Drake's classic Take Care. Chapter I was where The Weeknd defined his voice, and had people eagerly anticipating his next release.

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Related | Decade of the Barb: Ten Years of Nicki Minaj

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Repackaging mixtape material to sell has become a common practice for artists now. But no one was doing that until after The Weeknd did. In 2012, he compiled three of his mixtapes into a 3-hour-long triple platinum album, also known as the birth of Trilogy. As he was gearing up to drop his debut album Kiss Land in 2013, he left Toronto for the first time and traveled to Tokyo, where he was heavily inspired by the Japanese street culture — hence the merch and album cover art. He stepped out of his comfort zone and found the confidence to release something uncomfortably cinematic and experimental. His Soundcloud at the time only had four songs; "Often", "Or Nah", a remix of Beyonce's "Drunk In Love", and most importantly, "King of the Fall." "King" was starting to feel apt.


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The mid-2010s reignited an interest in party bangers, backed by artists like Rae Sremmurd, and trap music from Atlanta's next class of superstars. Artists were having fun with everything they put out, likely not caring about the numbers. It was hard for artists to break the seal — once fans caught onto a hit, they weren't letting go, and would play a song hundreds of times rather than searching for a new one. The Weeknd saw the writing on the wall and decided to dip his hands into the pop world instead. With "Earned It" — a chamber pop song created for the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack — he finally found his mainstream success. "Earned It" allowed The Weeknd to talk his shit in a way that was both radio and family friendly, despite the movie's BDSM theme. He then dropped his second album Beauty Behind the Madness, which is both coated in melancholy ("Shameless"), but also jubilantly catchy ("Can't Feel My Face").

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Songs of the '10s

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Initially fans questioned why The Weeknd was going pop. His explanation was coded into the lyrics of songs like "Tell Your Friends," where he acknowledged his intent to change and leave his Trilogy days behind him. Beauty Behind the Madness rightfully became the number one album in the country. Chapter III was where The Weeknd proved that he could become a chart-topping success. How could he not? The crown was up for the taking, so he snatched it up.

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At this point The Weeknd was already credited with creating a disturbingly honest form of R&B. He'd also proven himself in the world of pop with Beauty Behind the Madness, and gained respect from the hip-hop world by bodying songs alongside Travis Scott and Meek Mill. He leaned on electronic music next, adding life to his comic book-turned-album Starboy. Fronted by the self-titled single, Starboy was a celebratory record that simultaneously included every genre he'd once leaned on or experimented with. His 2017 headlining set at Coachella was like a party, filled with dedicated fans who sung along from "Wicked Games" to "Reminder." When The Weeknd first dissociated himself with OVOXO back in 2012, critics ignorantly questioned whether he could build a career on his own — an idea he addressed on "Sidewalks." 2016 was when Drake and The Weeknd met again at the top, just in different ways. After the release of If You're Reading This It's Too Late, Drake had made a commitment to trap. And after Starboy, The Weeknd was clearly more interested in pop. Nonetheless, as predicted back in 2011, they both made it. This chapter was about things coming full circle. As the lyrics went, "if you really made me, then replace me." No one could, and Tesfaye knew it.

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Albums of the '10s

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People are always worried when their favorite artists start adopting new sounds. In 2018 The Weeknd was due for new music, and the hope that he would drop a throwback to his old themes remained. Now a full blown celebrity, the lack of new music didn't stop The Weeknd's name from hitting headlines. He dated both Selena Gomez and supermodel Bella Hadid, and eventually gave us a soundtrack to those drama-filled relationships by releasing My Dear Melancholy — a welcome plummet back to heartbreak. Neck and neck with "Valerie" as one of the most emotionally driven songs he's ever released, "Call Out My Name" was a throwback to 2011.


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To bridge the old style with a new sound, My Dear Melancholy utilized that same electronic feel from Starboy in the Gesaffelstein-assisted songs like "I Was Never There". To close out the six-song EP, "Privilege" is an obituary to his old days. Right when fans assumed that "he lost it", The Weeknd used his next chapter to remind them of why people loved him in the first place. He also asserted that he could bring back his old self at any time.

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After announcing his next album Chapter VI, The Weeknd moved into yet another form of stardom. He was cast in Uncut Gems alongside unlikely screenmate Adam Sandler, and starred in a new commercial for Mercedes Benz. To see the name Abel Tesfaye run across the credits of one of the most anticipated blockbuster movies of the year, or during a cable the ad slot, is just crazy. He also dropped off two singles: "Heartless," which debuted at number one, and "Blinding Lights", which debuted at number 11. Surrounded by delicate riffs like Post Malone's "Circles," Maroon 5's "Memories," and Lizzo's "Good as Hell," The Weeknd is still sticking to the dark side on a chart that shows people often just want to feel happy. We've learned not to predict what to expect going forward, but this version of The Weeknd is all smiles, rocking a red suit in an afro with his teeth shining brighter than the Vegas lights behind him. Take what you will from that, but expect a damning mix of darkness and light on his forthcoming new album.

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The Weeknd has thrived with his honesty about infidelity and drug use during a fast-moving decade that's caused us to constantly reassess genre. Although we've seen an overwhelming presence of new rappers, and some key dark R&B singers like PARTYNEXTDOOR and dvsn who navigate fully in The Weeknd's old lane, this decade has also marked the fall of rap greats like Kanye West and Lil Wayne, and a decrease in popularity for former sing-kings like Trey Songz and Chris Brown. But The Weeknd has emerged as one of the new greats, and just completed one of the most successful runs in music during a time where things were shifting more than Tetris blocks.

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Maybe The Weeknd's "High For This" was a microcosm of his entire career. He was right — listeners had no idea and still don't know what's in store. But whatever happens next, it's guaranteed to be an intoxicating ride that will add the legacy he started ten years ago. Looking forward to 2020, Tesfaye's earned his spot on music's throne. His reign is far from over.

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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 17:58:25 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/the-weeknd-2010s-career-2642233169.htmlMusicPopR&bHip hopDrake2010sDecadeNostalgiaLil nas xLizzoChris brownBella hadidSelena gomezLil wayneHigh for thisStarboyThe weekndKemet High
From Reality to Real Life: 10 Years of Kardashianshttp://www.qladfj.tw/ten-years-decade-kardashian-jenners-2642213737.html

On December 31, 2009, it would have been impossible to predict the Kardashian-Jenner family's coming decade of success. Back when Kris Jenner had more children than grandchildren, the reality TV family were still blinking in the spotlight, unsure of where fame would lead them. Perhaps as a test to see how Kim Kardashian's sex-tape free siblings would fare leading a show on their own, Kris green-lit the first Keeping Up With the Kardashians spin off, Kourtney and Khloe take Miami.

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Related | Break the Internet: Kim Kardashian

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Since then, the Kardashians have taken New York City and the Hamptons, too. On the home front in Calabasas we've followed the relationships of Khloé Kardashian and her ex-husband Lamar Odom, Kylie Jenner and her ex-best friend Jordyn Woods, and Rob Kardashian and his ex-girlfriend/mother of his child, Blac Chyna. But the TV shows have increasingly felt more like blooper reels of the family's real life — the one heavily documented by paparazzi and Instagram.

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Over the past decade, the supposedly "talentless" Kardashian-Jenners have glued their acrylic nails to the cultural pulse. Kylie Jenner made her first Instagram post just over a year after the platform launched in October 2010. The overly filtered photo of a roaring fire stoked the 14-year-old's career, eventually burning down the established rules of what it means to be famous, "self-made," and a teenage tycoon.

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Related | Kylie Jenner: Get Rich or Die Following

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At the forefront of the influencer movement that helped turn her cosmetic company into a billion dollar industry, Kylie, like the rest of her family, knows how to hop on a trend and bank on it. For better, worse or culturally appropriated, it's no accident that the majority of popular Instagram influencers look like Kylie clones. The early days of her Juvederm journey inspired the "Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge," where followers purposely injured their lips by sucking on small cups, bottle caps or shot glasses. Doctors warned that this suctioning of the lips could cause irreparable harm.

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Just a month after the lip challenge became a thing, Kylie took to Keeping Up for a public announcement. After seeking counsel from her family, she and her injected lips came out. This marked a turn in the show's purpose — instead of the contrived chaos, the show pivoted to real life, finally fulfilling the promise of the reality TV genre. Adapting to their increasing fame, the family couldn't help but break the fourth wall and address divorces, transitions, children, adultery, and any other big life event that's bound to happen to a family of their size.

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Related | Poosh Calling: Kourtney Kardashian Takes Time Out for Herself

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Even now, in their 17th season, the family grapples with how real they want to be with fans. Kim's transformation from club kid to Mugler-clad businesswoman slash lawyer has proven all her critics wrong. While she's stayed loyal to Keeping Up, after her notorious Paris robbery in 2016, Kim has gradually slunk away from the spotlight. Seeking independence from the chaos and embarking on her own entrepreneurial ventures, Kourtney also increasingly refuses to film.

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As the Kardashians become too famous for their day jobs, it's unclear how much of them we'll see over the next decade. They definitely don't need the reality TV money anymore. They might not even need social media. Back in the mid-2010s, you'd find Kylie on Snapchat hourly, alongside Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé appearing on Instagram Stories for regular peeks into their personal lives. But it's no longer necessary for them to disclose like this; they might maintain their audience better by sustaining a little mystery. They might get tired of scheduling filming around a million other more lucrative and personally fulfilling projects.

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Still, if the 2010s theme of the younger KarJenner set rising to fame and surpassing their elders is any indication, this upcoming decade could bode well for Kris Jenner's grandchildren. Kourtney's son Mason, born on the show, sat for his first Keeping Up confessional this year — if his mom is looking for an out, he might just be it. Kim and Kanye's eldest child North West has appeared on multiple magazine covers. Kylie's baby Stormi is poised to take over her mom's cosmetics empire. We're in for at least one more generation of obscene success. In the 2020s, you can bet we'll be keeping up with the Disicks, Wests, Websters, Thompsons — until they get tired of keeping up with us.

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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 17:58:20 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/ten-years-decade-kardashian-jenners-2642213737.htmlKim kardashianKris jennerKhloe kardashianKourtney kardashianKylie jennerKendall jennerCaitlyn jennerReality tvInstagramKylie cosmetics2010sNostalgiaDecadeKeeping up with the kardashiansMariah Smith
Internetty Ep. 4: Break the Internet Awards? With Evan Ross Katzhttp://www.qladfj.tw/internetty-break-the-internet-awards-2642233650.html

Internetty: From the people who broke the internet, a look at the week's biggest online news, trends and social media phenomena. No subject is off limits, and no topic is taboo.

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Peyton and Justin are joined this week by special guest Evan Ross Katz to review and debate nominees from PAPER's annual Break the Internet Awards?. They'll talk about YouTuber of the Year, TikToker of the year, Red Carpet Star of the Year, Clapback of the Year and more. Tune in for an episode you won't want to miss, and place your votes here.

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Listen to Internetty on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.


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Illustration: Hilton Dresden

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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 17:07:53 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/internetty-break-the-internet-awards-2642233650.htmlInternettyPeyton dixJustin moranBreak the internet awardsEvan ross katzPaper Magazine
'Where's My Juul??' Is a Screamo E-Cig Bophttp://www.qladfj.tw/wheres-my-juul-full-tac-2642227365.html

As a long-time Juuler, no three words instill as much terror within me as the phrase, "Where's my Juul?" From rummaging through couches to wasting countless hours retracing my steps, only to find it in some forgotten fold of a jacket I never wear, I know for a fact that I'm not alone. Just ask anyone who's also fallen under this devious, little device's spell and they'll say the same exact thing. Either that, or they'll tell you they're also now obsessed with Full Tac and Lil Mariko's e-cig anthem for the ages, "Where's My Juul??"

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Related | Why the Internet Is Obsessed With White Claw

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If my panicked, pod-craving thoughts had a soundtrack to spiral to, "Where's My Juul??" would pretty much be it. Much like the Juul itself, the song is obnoxious yet addictive, chock full of nicotine-addled ad libs and the sorts of unhinged accusations I've screeched at anyone unfortunate enough to be within ear range. And combined with its equally as batshit video — which features a bratty, pig-tailed Lil Mariko stomping, screaming, and running around in search of her Juul — it's, obviously, gone viral.


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That said, Full Tac and Lil Mariko (AKA producer Jared Soule and vocalist Kat Zhang) never really expected "Where's My Juul??" to pop off in this way. In fact, the IRL couple said that while it was "wild" enough to see the track go viral on Twitter, the real kicker was seeing the video garner over a million views on Twitterr in just a few days — especially given that the duo thought they were late to the trend.

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They initially made the project in August, but Soule said he questioned the video's viral appeal while uploading it last week, as he believed "the Juul was kind of wearing off." Yet, despite the memes and all that hand-wringing legislation — not to mention the fact that Soule's original video was temporarily taken down due to a copyright claim by another creator disputing their use of the phrase "where's my Juul" — the song's continued success makes it obvious that the internet is just as Juul-crazy as ever. It probably also didn't hurt that the song itself "slaps."

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After all, as one apt internet user put it, the song's mish-mashed, industrial-indebted production combined with those quippy, all-too-relatable lines made for a song that feels as if "Poppy tried to make a Social Distortion song." And most would immediately attribute a good portion of the song's appeal to Soule's production (which you may be familiar with thanks to his work with BigKlit), as he explained, "Where's My Juul??" was definitively carried by Zhang.


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"I think I hear Kat say, 'Where's my Juul?' more than most other phrases," Soule said. So, naturally, during a one-off session in the studio, Zhang ended up freestyling most of the hilarious ad libs and deranged threats that are all too familiar to anyone who's ever lost their Juul. Her heavy metal past and love of '90s rave music also ended up providing much of the sonic palette for the track — influencing everything from her scream-filled vocal performance to the song's stylistic inspirations, which were further solidified by guitarist Russ Chell's heavy metal riffs.

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"It may be a joke, but we did want to make something together that was on some Mindless Self Indulgence, The Prodigy-type beat," Zhang said, reiterating that her own nicotine-crazed experiences made it easy to "add in some of the universal things that made it into something kind of cringey funny."

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Soule is also quick to acknowledge the satirical aspect of the song, saying that "it is meant to be silly." He's particularly looking forward to keeping that "playfulness" within their videos going forward, which Soule enjoys using as a way to showcase his love of filmmaking — even if he continues to get throttled during the breakdowns.


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Ultimately, the success of "Where's My Juul??" has also proven to them both that they can make some great stuff together. So, needless to say, get ready for many more collabs in the near future, even though they may not necessarily be e-cig anthems.

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"It's refreshing and inspiring in a way, but this also makes me feel like Kat and I can put out more music and more viral songs dealing with pop culture and society," Soule said. "And, hopefully, we'll look back and this will be the Juul anthem for the future."




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Welcome to "Internet Explorer," a column by Sandra Song about everything internet. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter's finest roasts, "Internet Explorer" is here to keep you up-to-date with the web's current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic.

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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 16:25:03 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/wheres-my-juul-full-tac-2642227365.htmlJuulFull tacLil marikoInternet explorerSandra songBreak the internetSandra Song
Maison Margiela's 'Tag Earring' Divides the Internethttp://www.qladfj.tw/maison-margiela-tag-earrings-2642081296.html

Maison Margiela's divisive "tag earring" is currently confusing and delighting the internet in equal parts.

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After all, aside from Vetements, if there's one other high fashion brand that knows a thing or two about a viral moment, it's Margiela. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the folks over at the French fashion house came up with an ostentatious accessory that looks like a pack of earrings.

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Related | Leon Dame's Moody Walk Stole the Show at Margiela

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Retailing $305 — though the price has since dropped to $92 via Ssense — the single earring features two, detachable brass hoops attached to a piece of "cardboard" made from white calfskin and embossed with the MM6 signature.

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However, as noted by The Daily Mail, the accessory recently sparked some serious online debate after user @doragzplora tweeted out a screenshot of Ssense's listing.

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And though some took up issue with the concept and compared the accessory to a cattle tag, other commenters appeared more mystified by the accessory's price tag.

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That said, a good number of users also just found it funny, while others acknowledged the fact that Margiela's always been a little on the "weirder" side whilst arguing that this earring was par for the course.

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Granted, it doesn't seem as if the negative chatter has deterred anyone from actually buying the earring.

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I mean, it is on sale!

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??Photo courtesy of Ssense



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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 03:14:20 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/maison-margiela-tag-earrings-2642081296.htmlFashionMaison margielaMargielaEarringsTag earringInternet cultureSsenseAccessoriesSandra Song
Drake Talks About Rihanna, His Collaboration With Chris Brownhttp://www.qladfj.tw/drake-chris-brown-rihanna-2642060970.html

Today in news surprising no one, Drake is once again talking about Rihanna. Somehow though, the context this time is even more questionable than usual.

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On the heels of the release of his new track "War," the rapper stopped by Rap Radar to chat about his beefs with everyone from Pusha T to Kanye West. And on this tip, Drake also ended up talking about his eyebrow-raising decision to release "No Guidance" earlier this year with supposed nemesis, Chris Brown.

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Given Drake's undying obsession with Rihanna, it was somewhat disturbing to see him collaborate with Brown, who in 2009 was charged with felony assault following his domestic dispute with Rihanna — an incident that resulted in her hospitalization.

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Related | Fans Think Drake Has a Rihanna Tattoo

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However, Drake tried to address his controversial decision by talking about how things had always been tense between him and Brown in this new interview. Explaining that previous collaborations never worked out thanks to the built-up "resentment" they had toward each other, Drake went on to say that the source of this tension was a woman.

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"You know, really at the end of the day, when you kind of step away from it and break it down, you start to feel silly because it's over girl stuff," Drake said. "But obviously that could snowball into real shit and that's what happened in this situation."

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And though he never mentioned Rihanna by name, the rapper then clarified that the person who was "in the middle of us" is not currently a part of either of their lives, before saying that he initially had "a moment of hesitation" about the collaboration. Why? Well, he apparently didn't want Rihanna to feel "disrespected." That said, he continued by saying that he believes she would be alright with it.

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"I think of her as family more than anything and I felt... I actually had kind of a moment of hesitation before because I didn't want her to ever feel disrespected by me linking up with him, but I also know how many nights she knows that me and him have both been consumed by this issue," he said. "I think she is a good person with a good heart who would rather see us put the issue to bed than continue like childish shit that could end up in a serious situation."

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Watch Drake's interview for yourself, below.

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Photo via Getty


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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 02:17:07 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/drake-chris-brown-rihanna-2642060970.htmlDrakeFamous peopleRihannaChris brownDomestic violenceNo guidanceWarMusicSandra Song
Red Velvet's Wendy Hospitalized After Serious Stage Accidenthttp://www.qladfj.tw/red-velvet-wendy-injured-2642063338.html

Red Velvet's Wendy has been hospitalized following a serious mid-rehearsal accident.

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ET Canada reports that Wendy suffered from an 8-foot fall off stage while the K-pop group was prepping for SBS's annual Gayo Daejun event yesterday.

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According to the publication, she broke multiple bones, including her right pelvis and wrist, while also sustaining a cracked cheekbone, as well as multiple bruises. She will reportedly require six weeks of healing time.

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Related | Red Velvet Are on a Red Hot Summer Streak

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"Wendy climbed to the second-floor tunnel, as scripted," a staff member present during soundcheck told All KPop. "She was prepared to go down the stairs during the song. But the stairs were not set in place. At that moment, she lost her balance and fell down the stage."

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The staff member went on to explain that in addition to the stairs not being ready, the tunnel "was dark and cramped" and did not even have the fluorescent markings required to make it visible, which is "how she fell below 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) in such a defenseless state."

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"Wendy was immediately taken to the hospital for a thorough examination," Red Velvet's management group wrote in a statement. "She has undergone emergency treatment and is currently awaiting additional examinations. As her health comes first, we will focus on her treatment."

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Photo via Getty

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Fri, 27 Dec 2019 01:02:17 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/red-velvet-wendy-injured-2642063338.htmlRed velvetWendyFamous peopleK-popMusicSandra Song
Decade of the Barb: 10 Years of Nicki Minajhttp://www.qladfj.tw/decade-of-the-barb-nicki-minaj-2641581899.html

Nicki Minaj's 2008 mixtape Sucka Free is hardly comparable to her most recent record, Queen. The 2010s had yet to hit the then-25-year-old Minaj; a line from her cover of Biggie Smalls' "Dead Wrong" sticks out as both a triumph and an omen: "First they love you, then they switch/ Yeah, they switch like f*****s."

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Songs of the '10s

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It was a set-up for ten years' worth of career ups and downs, but throughout the '10s, Minaj always had her Barbz. One of the more reactive fan groups, they've never left her side. Their loyalty has defined a musical era; the "first they love you, then they switch" line is incidental if not comical now, her wayward Queen Radio rants are practically scripture, and her ego has become part of her allure.


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At the precipice of the decade, Minaj saw her first big commercial win – a verse on Young Money's no. 2-peaking hit, "BedRock," and a formal "Hello!" to the general public. Given only a minuscule amount of time to shine above heavy hitters like Lil' Wayne and Drake, she delivered a blow that was unheard of in a Top 40 hit. Soon-to-be-infamous cutesy affect in tow, she spits out, "Maybe it's time to put this pussy on your sideburns." With that one verse, Minaj set the stage — and expectations — for the release of her debut studio album, Pink Friday, the following year.

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True Barbz will remember the earnest beginnings of the Pink Friday era, including Minaj's shameless self promo the day prior to the album's release on the 2010 American Music Awards. The record's lead single, "Your Love," was a slight deviation from what fans of her mixtapes had fallen in love with throughout the 2000s, but nonetheless unique. I still remember blasting the clean version of "Your Love" in my headphones connected to my orange iPod nano as I dragged my mother to a Hot Topic store back in 2011 to buy me a Nicki Minaj t-shirt. It was the only Nicki merch I could access as a preteen with limited internet, but I was determined to wear it proudly. "Your Love" was the introduction for many Barbz' to her solo work, and a glorious one at that.


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Less boldfaced and braggadocious, "Your Love" was perceived as a pitch-shifted pop complement to her previous works, and thus began the sine wave of musical contradictions Minaj would oscillate between throughout the decade. The sonic "Minaj dichotomy" — of which she can bounce between inter- and intra-track — isn't necessarily aggression versus innocence as much as it is passion versus invitation. An early example of this divide can be found in the fan favorite "Roman's Revenge," featuring Eminem. "Raah, raah, like a dungeon dragon" is practically a Barb bird call, uttered in huff-like spurts. Threatening? Sure, but more than anything, Minaj is just full-volume, occupying the track's bandwidth with a carefully crafted hook.

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The breakdown of this tone into something more inviting can be heard at the end of the Pink Friday tracklisting, all the way in the bonus tracks section of the record. "Super Bass," Minaj's insurmountable hit, is practically asking listeners to get up and dance along to its bubbling beat. The song was the first true earworm of the 2010s, snaking its way past genre bounds and pushing pop-rap blends to the front page of iTunes.


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The domino effect that Minaj managed to set off with "Super Bass" cannot be understated or undervalued; a Nicki feature on a radio-impacting track was suddenly the hottest commodity in the industry, and there's a paper trail of evidence to support it. From Madonna's "Give Me All Your Luvin" and Big Sean's "Dance A$$," to Britney Spears' "Till the World Ends" remix and Drake's "Make Me Proud," the 2011 exchange rate for a Minaj verse skyrocketed in the wake of "Super Bass" mania.

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Hot on the heels of something big, mid-2012 apocalypse phenomenon and at the kickoff of EDM's tightening grip on the industry, Minaj struck pop-rap gold again with "Starships." The rise of the six-times platinum single off of her sophomore album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was not without incident, however. Minaj was met with Facebook-era backlash over the abrasive "Stupid Hoe," a cut from the sophomore album which keyboard critics pegged as an exemplar of the general public's decaying taste in music. "Stupid Hoe" was never meant to be compared to prose-like songs, though, and a criticism of that caliber against a similarly repetitive song by today's standards — say, Doja Cat's "Juicy" — might be called out as misogynistic.

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Albums of the '10s

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Regardless, Minaj's reign continued through the early 2010s, and her fandom grew exponentially with each feature and new track. MyPinkFriday.com, which now stands as an official checkpoint for fans to buy merch and stream Queen, was once a forum for Barbz and a shining pillar of early stan culture. Minaj engaged fans and gave into requests continuously, feeding the fandom machine; for 2014 The Pinkprint era, she teamed up with Beyoncé to give the collective Barb-hive a heart attack of "World, stop" proportions.


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Between her verse on Bey's "Flawless" remix and "Feeling Myself," Minaj cemented her discography as unflinching. The critique-cloaked misogyny at the center of commentary about "Stupid Hoe" no longer applied as Minaj began leveraging her network, prior lyrical prowess, and newfound industry footing to become post-fad. Her "Roman Zolanski" characterizations, fluorescent beehives, and theatre kid-like sensibilities went out the door for the second half of the decade. Minaj no longer had a need for the layering mechanisms that engineer pop stardom, but instead became comfortable with letting her verses speak for themselves – that is, until it came time to release her fourth studio album.

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Nearly four years after the release of The Pinkprint, and notably at the tail-end of the decade, Minaj began promoting Queen. Something had shifted, however, and the craze around Queen wasn't quite matching the fanfare from previous eras. Perhaps it was the large block of time between the major releases, which was peppered with beef between Minaj and other rising artists capturing rap market share. The inundation of features that she continued to promote, and continued affiliations with controversial lightning rods 6ix9ine and her now-husband Kenneth Petty, might have also had something to do with the lack of Queen-specific buzz online. Sure, units were moving on singles and features, but the general sentiment around Minaj's end-of-decade identity somehow took the shape of pre-Pinkprint speculation. Suddenly, her artistry was up for question again. One surprise retirement fake-out later, and Minaj became headline fodder for her haters.

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Barbz wishing for a revival of Minaj's reputation to mid-10s greatness shouldn't look toward any rumored smash-hit or upcoming feature for hope, but rather toward the cycle of craftsmanship that she herself created at the outset of the decade. Sonic ferocity can be interpreted as passion, and during the release of Queen, she was more passionate than ever before, and perhaps to her detriment. We're ending the '10s with a lull in communication from the Queen of Rap, a handful of TikTok memes, and "Megatron," a pop-infused summer hit. Could this possibly be signaling a move into an era of invitation? Fumbled tour and missteps in the past, will the Barbz get to dance along to the music once again?

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Thu, 26 Dec 2019 16:33:21 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/decade-of-the-barb-nicki-minaj-2641581899.htmlNicki minajBarbzBarbPink fridayPinkprintBeyonceStansTwitterMusicHip hopRapBrendan Wetmore
Rise and Fall of the Reblog: 10 Years of Tumblrhttp://www.qladfj.tw/ten-years-of-tumblr-2010s-2641949795.html

The 2010s were the decade in which we gradually forgot how to log off. As 2019 draws to a close, the internet is far from being something we come home to do in our spare time; it's our entire way of being. Clichéd as it's become, we are dependent on our phones to shop, work, communicate, and navigate.

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This can be perceived as either convenient or dystopian, but as the decade ends it's easy to argue the latter. Our data and personal information is stored online, our every move predicted by algorithms. We only have to think about a product to see it appear on Instagram. Those of us who grew up before this era mourn the death of spaces where we could be our online selves in secret — before our internet personas were intrinsically tied to our IRL and even our professional lives. While in the 00s we had spaces where we could experiment, find like-minded people, and indulge our niche interests, in the 2010s there was only one website carrying the torch for internet subculture. This decade saw the dramatic rise and fall of Tumblr, the fan-driven "microblogging" site which became a haven for young users then eventually succumbed to the same forces which have corporatized the rest of the internet.

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Songs of the '10s

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Launched by 20-year-old David Karp in 2007, Tumblr didn't truly take off until the beginning of this decade, when it received a ton of funding. Its rise can perhaps logically even be traced directly to the decline of Myspace; where one ultra-personalised platform changed drastically and destroyed the features people loved, another slipped into its place.


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Users initially used Tumblr as a sort of mood board of their interests and personality. Where LiveJournal, Blogger and Myspace blogs were mostly occupied by personal spiels or stories of thousands of words, Tumblr was different. Users were free to post shorter updates and mix them with lyrics, quotes, screenshots and other images they just liked. They would post multiple times per day and were able to "reblog" others' content; it quickly became seen as a more honest representation of who its users were. Often anonymous, pages were still dutifully curated, a playground for honest experimentation.

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That experimentation spawned a culture that existed, initially, only on Tumblr. Everything that happened on the platform was an elaborate in-joke that served to infuriate outsiders and make those involved feel a part of something; it spawned its own absurdist, often seemingly nonsensical humour. It kick-started many teenagers' interest in social justice, an interest that pushed many into more meaningful political battles on more mainstream platforms. Inevitably, it also prompted a backlash both on and off-site against the perceived archetype of the "Tumblr SJW". Sites like social-justice-bullshit call out people engaging in "identity politics" or "snowflake behaviour" both on and off the platform. Today's so-called Twitter "cancel culture" is rooted in Tumblr fandom.


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Generally, though, Tumblr gave people space to figure themselves out. Where other spaces on the internet are often cold and unforgiving, Tumblr, for the most part, tried to let people experiment with their identity. That was often to its userbase's reputation's detriment, of course – their propensity for self-diagnosis proved divisive, as did the platform's alleged invention or popularisation of identities like "transracial" or "sapiosexual". While users' thought exercises were more often controversial than not, the platform still provided an imperfect space for people to discuss their sexuality, seek out those like them, and learn to understand themselves. Body positive, LGBTQ+, and chronically ill communities quickly grew on Tumblr this decade, uniting people across the world who wanted to talk about their identities and lives. Tumblr can be credited, too, with shaping modern fandom as we know it.


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But perhaps what Tumblr was best known for this decade was its unintentional association with sex and porn. The ways in which Tumblr and sex interacted were diverse: Hentai and furry porn flourished, but so did screencaps of regular porn, erotic photos, and extended slash fan fiction. Sex workers, too, used the site to raise awareness around their work and to sell content. Sex became central to Tumblr, but after surviving several eras online, the website's downfall came when it was sold to Verizon. In December 2018, Tumblr CEO Jeff D'Onofrio announced a ban on all adult content, preventing users from posting explicit images, including "photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals." The move, a response to Apple's threat to remove Tumblr from its app store, was immediately controversial, censoring fans, artists and sex workers – a fair chunk of Tumblr's users.

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Albums of the '10s

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Tumblr isn't entirely gone; it still exists as a ghost, a porn-free puppet of its former self, much like how Myspace is technically still online. Many users cling on, although still more have left, with sex workers and artists migrating to Twitter and Pornhub. It's a miracle that something so experimental (and frankly unprofitable) lasted as long as it did, its individuality resisting against shifts in online culture. Tumblr fought back against Karp breaking his promise to keep the platform ad-free; it overcame the launch of Instagram; its dedicated users kept it afloat in a hostile world. But what it seems incapable to survive is the porn ban – it forced its primary users onto more sex-positive platforms, censoring sex workers and artists while failing to ban Nazis or abusers.


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Tumblr's lack of loyalty to its core user base is a damning indictment of the internet's future.Tumblr was one last bastion of user experience over profit, while other platforms (Silicon Valley giants like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube) become shinier, more self-conscious and monetized.Existing on the fringes of the internet, users on Tumblr rarely even needed to share their full name. But with the porn ban and ever-declining numbers, users are less and less committed to the platform.

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When every corner of the internet that we used to go to for solace is obsolete, censored or monetized, online expression as it formerly existed has all but disappeared. Without Tumblr, there's nowhere to go that feels free, doesn't feel policed. Without an online mood board, do we take to cutting up magazines again? Do we create our own platforms? Or do we just accept defeat and give into the algorithm, scrolling through the same clinically curated posts and ads forever, gradually learning to forget that there was ever such a thing as internet subculture?

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Thu, 26 Dec 2019 16:33:17 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/ten-years-of-tumblr-2010s-2641949795.html2010sDecadeTen yearsInternetSocial mediaBloggingMicrobloggingFandomStansDavid karpPornBanCancel cultureTumblrMarianne Eloise
From How-Tos to Hauls: 10 Years of Beauty YouTubehttp://www.qladfj.tw/decade-in-beauty-youtube-2010s-2641944952.html

On 21 September 2009, a 27-year-old single mother from a coastal town in the north east of England became the first beauty YouTuber to launch their own make-up range in Sephora. "By Lauren Luke" was a collection of five skin, lip, and eye palettes by the eponymous creator, -a former taxi driver who boasted just over 300,000 subscribers at the time. Luke rose to fame by posting easy-to-follow tutorials on her channel Panacea81, mimicking celebrity looks with popular videos such as "Rihanna & Angelina Jolie cat eyeliner eye make up tutorial," "TAYLOR SWIFT 'Love story' Soft bridal make up tutorial," and even "AVRIL LAVIGNE punk goth emo make up tutorial lesson inspired look."

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To modern eyes, these videos are alarmingly amateur. There are no contouring brushes in sight, Vaseline is recommended as an eyeshadow base, the camera shakes and often refuses to focus. Perhaps the biggest proof that the past is a foreign country comes in a 2009 Forbes interview with Luke. When the journalist writes that her videos "create the perception that anyone can really look like Kylie or take a piece of her look," they are referring to Minogue, not Jenner.

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Songs of the '10s

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A decade later and it's a beauty influencer's world — we just live in it. Luke recently admitted she earned just £5,000 ($6,550) total from her deal with Sephora. This November, when the second most-subscribed beauty YouTuber in the world, Jeffree Star, launched the Conspiracy Collection with YouTuber Shane Dawson, it sold out in less than 24 hours and earned an estimated $35 million ($10 million of which went directly to Dawson).

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In the last decade, we have gone from everywoman beauty YouTubers applying foundation with their hands and smudging their eyeshadow with an index finger, to billionaire beauty gurus creating cut creases with their own range of eyeshadow brushes (link in the description!). How exactly did we get here, and what was the highly pigmented fallout along the way?


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Big beauty brands began paying attention to YouTubers after the relative success of Luke's Sephora launch. In spring 2010, 22-year-old guru Michelle Phan was hired as Lanc?me's "official video make-up artist", a role which involved showcasing its products in one video a month. She was the first online make-up artist to be hired by a big brand, even though she had just over half a million subscribers, a number that would be considered paltry today.

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Albums of the '10s

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A host of now-famous fashion and beauty gurus had first joined YouTube about a year earlier, from Bethany Mota to Kandee Johnson to Zoe Sugg to Tanya Burr. In 2011 – without so much as a whisper from the press – Burr's then-boyfriend's sisters, Samantha and Nicola Chapman, launched their Real Techniques make-up brush range. While make-up brushes have existed for centuries, the Chapmans' affordable line revolutionised make-up application for the general public.

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"The majority [of women] have grown up using triangle wedges, eye applicators, powder puffs, and even their fingers to apply makeup," reads the official Real Technique's website. Recalling how the brand was born, it goes on: "Now that YouTube was coming alive as a way to learn the pro secrets, brushes seemed like the perfect fit."

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The early 2010s were an era when YouTubers stopped parroting trends and started creating them. Celebrity tutorials slowly became less popular, and "how tos" paved the way for "hauls." Suddenly make-up videos were less about what you could do with the products in your local drugstore, and more about conspicuous consumption. In Michelle Phan's first ever make-up tutorial, she doesn't even name the brands she's using – it's all about application, and she simply instructs viewers to "find your favourite lip gloss". In a "My Summer Favorites" video uploaded six years later in 2013, Phan links to 54 different makeup, fashion, and accessory products. The make-up alone (not including skincare) has a combined value of well over $400.

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Related | James Charles: Sisterhood Is Stronger Than Subscribers

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While regulatory bodies now ensure that online influencers use the hashtags #ad or #spon when they have been paid to promote a product (and declare when their links are affiliated), no such rules existed in the early years of vlogging. Low production values meant many young viewers believed YouTubers were their friends, trusting their recommendations – after all, they were practically there with them, in their bedrooms, learning how to look like Lady Gaga. Yet a lack of disclosure slowly created a sense of distrust – on gossip forums, viewers began questioning why vloggers suddenly praised a brand of make-up wipes they previously slated, or why a mascara they "loooooved" was still sealed.


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In hindsight it is fascinating that this distrust didn't pave the way for greater authenticity, instead leading to our current era of polished and professional beauty YouTubers flaunting unobtainable lifestyles under the hazy white glow of a ring light. As #ad and #spon became more commonplace, viewers weren't turned off by the rampant profiteering, but instead saw purchasing products as an opportunity to support their favourite personalities. "My wallet: crying. Me: Shut up this is Shane's moment," is a comment with 3,600 likes on Dawson's YouTube video revealing his new Conspiracy Collection. "I'll never wear these but I had to buy one to support the effort that went into this," reads a tweet with over 11,000 likes.

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If Lauren Luke represents the early, amateur days of beauty vlogging, 20-year-old James Charles represents what it has become now. Charles created his YouTube channel in 2015 and rose to popularity in 2016 when he shared a highlighter-heavy yearbook photo (that was later revealed to be photoshopped). Charles' career has been dominated by controversy, from ill-advised tweets about Ebola to his recent falling out with fellow guru Tati Westbrook. But nowadays drama doesn't damage profits, and is instead a route to further success. Though Charles lost one million subscribers after Westbrook condemned him on her channel, he has gone on to regain all of them while simultaneously earning coverage across the international press.

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In 2019, beauty vloggers are firmly involved in the tea trade. Money is no longer made just by launching lipsticks, but also by selling secrets. A whole new genre of channels has emerged that profits from spreading gossip and spilling tea about YouTube gurus. AdSense money accumulates quickly under videos exposing stars, and later, videos of those same stars apologising.

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We no longer watch make-up tutorials to learn how to do our make-up — we watch them to be entertained. Tutorials have fallen prey to the same algorithms as the rest of YouTube, meaning clickbait ("Puppy Picks My Makeup!") prospers. Perhaps this was inevitable – perhaps we all mastered our winged eyeliner in 2011, and no longer needed online teachers. Regardless, over the last decade, beauty gurus have transformed the very concept of a normal make-up look, a normal make-up collection, and the normal tools you should use.


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Over the last decade, YouTubers have gone from showcasing five products on their face to creating tour videos of their overflowing make-up cabinets, opening drawer after drawer of lipstick. The effect on young fans can be confusing and upsetting – anti-haul YouTuber Lucia Tepper has spoken out about how following beauty gurus as a teen left her buying make-up every time she left the house and exacerbated her anxiety. Beauty gurus themselves have also been emotionally affected. In a video entitled "Why I Left" in June 2017, Michelle Phan explains why she logged off a year earlier. "Once, I was a girl with dreams, who eventually became a product, smiling, selling, selling," she said.

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Lauren Luke still uploads to YouTube, but her most recent video has just 4,000 views. In a video posted in early December, she answers questions from fans, one of which is how she feels about the YouTube beauty community now. "I know it's not the same as it used to be," she says. "I do believe when I first started it was innocent, there was no money involved, it was pure, it was innocent, it was creative, it was having fun… It still is that now, but I think for a lot of people it's very money-driven."

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Thu, 26 Dec 2019 16:33:12 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/decade-in-beauty-youtube-2010s-2641944952.htmlBeauty gurusVloggersMake upMuaJames charlesJeffree starCosmeticsKylie cosmeticsShane dawsonMichelle phanLauren lukeZoe suggYoutubeAmelia Tait
Race to the Top: 10 Years of RuPaulhttp://www.qladfj.tw/the-decade-in-rupaul-2641948905.html

No queer pop culture figure looms larger over the 2010s than RuPaul Charles, who made this decade his bitch with four Emmy awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, Vanity Fair, Interview and PAPER covers, a podcast, a make-up line, a perfume line, a talk show, seven studio albums, and more. These past ten years put some respect on Ru's name, one that has been in the cultural lexicon since he burst onto the scene in 1993.

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It's in some ways surprising that RuPaul has reached his current level of cultural dominance. "RuPaul is a private guy and so much of his genius plays out in private," says Randy Barbato. He and business partner Fenton Bailey met RuPaul in 1985 and went on to executive produce Drag Race from its series premiere. "Even though he could buy any car he wants, he still drives his mother's red Volvo," Bailey adds. "His mom passed while he was on stage at the March on Washington, and the fact that he still drives that car to this day speaks to the loyal, quiet and deeply sensitive soul behind the glamazon."

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Songs of the '10s

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When RuPaul's Drag Race premiered on the Logo network in February 2009, it was unusual to behold Rupaul out of drag. This was noted in the New York Times review of the show. "There is no shock to see this singer-performer in a cascading blond wig and feathered, form-fitting ball gown," Alessandra Stanley wrote. "It's more startling to see RuPaul make a subdued entrance as RuPaul Charles, a tall, elegant bald man in a tailored suit, tie and eyeglasses."

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She went on to describe this iteration of Ru as "more like Tim Gunn on Project Runway," a hard left from the matching red girdle and over-the-knee patent leather boots displayed in Ru's 1994 Mac Viva Glam lipstick campaign. This more dapper expression of Ru became a signature in the show's workroom. In his more stereotypically "boy" presentation, RuPaul was able to forge deeper connections with his queens, leading to conversations about abandonment, body image, suicide and more — what is now a key piece of the show's puzzle. In doing this, Ru's positioning with the zeitgeist began a tectonic shift.

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RuPaul kicked off the decade by capitalizing on his newfound role as mentor, with the release of his book Workin' It!: RuPaul's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style in February 2010, coinciding with the second season premiere of Drag Race. And it was Season 2, which debuted at the top of the decade, that began to formulate the show as we know it today: the mega-hit with Ru as the marionettist.

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Related | From Sylvia Rivera to RuPaul: The Faces of Pride 1978-1996

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"With Season 2, Drag Race seemed to snap into place a little bit more as its own creation, rather than just being a low-rent parody of Project Runway or America's Next Top Model," says Tom Fitzgerald, who co-authored the forthcoming book Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul's Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life with his husband Lorenzo Marquez. "Season 2 is when the show held its first library mini-challenge, its first singing challenge and its first Snatch Game, all of which shaped the entire series going forward, taking the focus away from modeling and fashion-based challenges and fully embracing more performance-based ones."

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Albums of the '10s

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Workin' It! would push RuPaul's trajectory toward spiritual guru (he'd later release a follow-up, GuRu, in 2018). "Whatever you proclaim as your identity here in the material realm is also your drag," Ru writes in Workin' It!. "You are not your religion. You are not your skin color. You are not your gender, your politics, your career, or your marital status. You are none of the superficial things that this world deems important. The real you is the energy force that created the entire universe!"

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This journey was further solidified on the show, where Ru began to give the contestants (and by proxy, viewers) a more fully fleshed out version of himself. During a Season 2 lip sync between Sahara Davenport and Morgan McMichaels, RuPaul broke character for a moment, stopping to share his personal connection to Martha Wash's "Carry On," the song the contestants would be lip syncing too. "This song means a great deal to me because when my mother, who had suffered with a long bout with cancer, finally passed away, I was listening to this song incessantly," he shared. It was in this moment that Ru fully formed the persona many have come to know him as completely. "I want you to know that even through adversity or death, love [and] energy live forever," he told the contestants — and again, by proxy, the viewers. It's not to say this RuPaul hadn't existed all along; it was that he finally had a platform to dispense his wisdom.

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In sharing more of himself, Ru also shared more of the marginalized queer culture he came from. With his guidance, drag culture brushed up against the mainstream, and presented 140 versions of queer identity that helped broaden the idea of what queer people look like, where they come from, and what they can be. "Ru has ushered in a generation of queer superstars," The Vixen, a constestant on Season 10 of the show, says. "In sharing her platform, she has created a pipeline to success for drag queens, designers, make-up artist, hair stylist, photographers and all sorts of artist in her orbit. Through the success of Drag Race comes a global celebration of queerness that we've never seen before."

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In that sense, the decade in RuPaul — and his myriad professional achievements within it — is a win for something much bigger than just himself. RuPaul's past decade and the mega-success of his baby Drag Race shows that by presenting artifice and that which is behind it in tandem, one never has to sacrifice one for the other. It's not as though Ru the glamazon is gone. Just look to the recently-wrapped RuPaul's Drag Race UK as an indicator that Ru's dolled up days are nowhere near the rearview.

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By capitalizing on drag's universality ("we're all born naked and the rest is just drag" is one of his many catchphrases) while uplifting its artistry, RuPaul built himself an empire. Long may he reign.

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Photos via Getty

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Thu, 26 Dec 2019 16:33:07 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/the-decade-in-rupaul-2641948905.htmlDrag raceRupaulRupaul charlesLgbtqDrag queensFameTelevisionReality tvEvan Ross Katz
The Internet Is Upset With North West's $10K Birkinhttp://www.qladfj.tw/north-west-birkin-backlash-2641784816.html

At 6-years-old, North West has already proven herself quite the fashionista. That said, her latest accessory has some corners of the internet quite upset thanks to its lavish nature.

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Over the weekend, North was spotted leaving Kanye West's Mary opera in NYC with mom Kim and little brother Saint. Outfitted in a custom SKIMS robe, pearl choker, and white boots, North completed the look with a $10,000 Hermès Birkin bag — perhaps lent to her by mom?

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Related | North West's 9 Defining Fashion Moments

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And while some people called North a "legend" or just made jokes, as parenting site SheKnows notes, others were quick to criticize the fashion choice — calling it "overindulgent" and "ridiculous," while unloading some hefty criticism upon Kim and Kanye.

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"Overindulgent parents raise kids with no concept of the value of money," as one person wrote. Meanwhile, another chastised the "values" giving a child a Birkin would instill, writing, "It's a shame the wealthy don't instill values in their kids and teach them humility instead of literally giving them whatever they want."

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Neither Kim nor Kanye have addressed the backlash.

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Photo via Getty

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Vote for PAPER's Break the Internet Awards 2019 here

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Thu, 26 Dec 2019 01:34:58 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/north-west-birkin-backlash-2641784816.htmlNorth westKim kardashianKanye westFamous peopleInternet cultureBirkinHermesFashionSandra Song
Billie Eilish Explains Why She Doesn't Want to Collaborate With Anyone Elsehttp://www.qladfj.tw/billie-eilish-collabs-2641778146.html

Even though it feels like everyone's hopping on a collaboration right now, for her part, Billie Eilish has doubled down on her commitment to working solo.

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That's right, even though she obviously has her fair share of famous fans who have expressed interest in working with her, it doesn't look like we're going to be getting those fun features any time soon. At least according to Eilish, who told Spin that she's not interested in doing any collaborations at the moment. But why?

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Related | Billie Eilish Stands Up For BTS Against Fan Negativity

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"I don't like working with other people. I get really in my head and weird," she explained. "I don't like mixing friendships with music for some reason. I don't even play songs for my friends until they're fully done. I don't like people watching me work… and I'm doing pretty well on my own, so I'm OK."

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Not only that, but Eilish also recently told The Guardian the same exact thing, saying that "collaborating doesn't really interest me."

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"It's a question I get asked all the time and I genuinely don't want to," she said. "It's nothing against anyone, I just don't feel the need."

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Granted, it seems as if there's still hope for a Billie Eilish-BTS collab down the line. Or at least it seems that way from her explanation as to why exactly she's hesitant to work with other people.

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"I love music, I love other artists, but I hate that as soon as I meet an artist the entire world is like 'Billie Eilish and so-and-so might be doing a song together!' Why can't I just be a friend with them?" she said, before adding, "I'm not saying it's never going to happen, but it's not something I'm looking for."

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Photo via Getty


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Thu, 26 Dec 2019 00:59:24 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/billie-eilish-collabs-2641778146.htmlBillie eilishFamous peopleMusicBtsCollaborationSandra Song
PAPER's Top 10 Albums of the '10shttp://www.qladfj.tw/paper-top-10-albums-decade-2641630072.html

The 2010's were mostly cursed: a glorious, yet infuriatingly chaotic decade during which shifting politics, technology and social media played a lasting role in how we consume and react to the world around us. Trends in music, which swung wildly from the Svedka-bottle throb of EDM to trap-inflected everything (and many fusions of both), were equally as disorienting. While it remains to be seen how history books will define the '10s, musicians made album-length statements that valiantly rose to meet the challenge of doing so.

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Related | PAPER's Top 10 Songs of the '10s

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Azealia Banks pushed rap to more artistic, provocative heights, while famously pissing everyone off. Fairweather reality stars made unapologetically shallow pop with enduring cult appeal. White people finally found out that Beyoncé is Black, and she doubled down. After a decade of frenzied output, Rihanna learned not to give a fuck and made her best work yet. Lana Del Rey spelled out accurate visions of doom and hope, while ANOHNI warned the world of its inevitable day of reckoning.

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On R&B futurist Kelela's 2017 album Take Me Apart, she lets her emotions take up space. As a result, Kelela produced a project that's gloriously tumultuous and seductively complex, assisted by heavyweights like Arca and Jam City.

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Sometimes the space surrounding Kelela's observations takes the form of extraterrestrial silence, as heard on "Jupiter." Other times, the space is inhabited by warring breakbeats, like in "Onanon," where Kelela dances an endless tango with a lover: "We're not in a race/ You're running away/ We're spinning around." Elsewhere on the record, Kelela is nostalgic, channeling genre forebears like Janet Jackson and SWV on "Waitin'," where she runs into an ex and lust instantly rushes back. "Saw you there and it fucked me up/ Now we're back to where we started from," she sighs.

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It remains to be seen exactly how Take Me Apart will influence future genre-blurring R&B stars, but we can already hear similarly versatile stylings in music by singers like Ella Mai and Normani, who are dabbling in the sci-fi sounds that Kelela helped popularize this decade. But she must already understand this album's impact, given how last year, she produced an imaginative, remixed version with DJ Asmara and a legion of other queer, POC collaborators ranging from Serpentwithfeet and Joey LaBeija to Ms. Boogie and CupcakKe.

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"I wanted to create an institution so the next time I do a record, it's just known that this spirit of inclusive collaboration is a part of my identity as an artist, and that we reach people who don't have access to that, who may not have been immersed in that world, and we keep them there," Kelela told PAPER in 2018. In doing so, Take Me Apart quietly embodies the R&B renaissance that captivated the '10s while uplifting an unsung class of innovators behind it. — Michael Love Michael


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Breathy, sensual, enigmatic and a little bit alien, FKA twigs stands in a class of her own. With an all-encompassing vision of the world she wants her music to inhabit, FKA twigs' highly anticipated 2014 debut, LP1, introduced us to her unique blend of R&B vocals and experimental electronic beats. We've been entranced ever since.

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Opening the album with the mantra "I love another and thus I hate myself," twigs takes us on a journey through the many ways in which love warps our sense of self. Swinging from seething jealousy on "Video Girl" to luxuriating in hopeless infatuation on "Hours," twigs all but obliterates herself for her lovers in a tragically beautiful way. A dancer by trade, there is a visceral quality to twigs' music; the stuttering drums of "Pendulum" rocking back and forth like a creaky ghost ship still rattle my vertebrae to this day.

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Working with producers like Arca, Clams Casino, Sampha, and Dev Hynes, LP1 felt like it was beamed back from the future — simultaneously of the moment and so far ahead of its time. — Matt Moen


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No one can get in your head like Lorde. Why? No one else can pull off her cocktail of self-awareness and romanticism. The 23-year-old New Zealander makes pop music that's deeply introspective, while also capturing visceral pleasure and pain. She offers complex feelings, delivering cheeky commentary on her own emotions in real time, but never gets bogged in explanation. That's why a signature Lorde lyric can be a perfectly-crafted turn of phrase, ("I care for myself the way I used to care about you") or a perfectly simple one ("Hand under your t-shirt/ Know I think you're awesome, right?"). Both lines kick you in the chest.

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Melodrama testifies to the most written-about topic in music: a break-up. Lorde doesn't try to resist archetype. Instead, as the title promises, she brings clichés (the falling-in-love, the escapist night out, the rose-colored flashback) alive with vivid urgency. The secret is how she collapses the romantic timeline. We know from the first song that Lorde will wind up dancing alone. But there's no real beginning or end on Melodrama, no happy or sad songs. Lots of musicians are skilled at bottling feelings just so and Lorde is as good as anyone. But the magic of Melodrama is how the full, messy arch of the story — the crush, the good days, the rupture, the fall-out, the relapse and the rebirth — feels present on each song.

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The good-times songs are full of poison. The self-destructive party songs reach out for stability. The most devastating songs are also the cracks where the light floods in. On "Sober," when Lorde and her lover were still "King and queen of the weekend," mounting affection is characterized with a warning: "Acting like I don't see/ Every ribbon you used to tie yourself to me." "Writer in the Dark," an anthem of manic obsession ("I love you till you call the cops on me") ends with Lorde comforted by stable routine ("I ride the subway/ read the signs"). Lorde wonders if she and her lifestyle are simply too messy for love on "Liability," which transforms into a talisman of self-possession. The way Lorde tangles her story, while keeping you on the edge of a knife, is in perfect harmony with Jack Antonoff's epic, dissident production, which screws up all the math of pop melody. The result is as varied and confounding, as pleasurable and painful as heartache itself. — Jael Goldfine


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Born This Way is bigger than Lady Gaga. Its first single and title track became a mission statement for the pop icon's entire career, normalizing the LGBTQ experience on a world stage and, most importantly, putting the word "transgender" on Top 40 radio.

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This celebration introduced her 2011 epic, which packed together themes of youth, rebellion and freedom inside production that bridged the distant gap between Bruce Springsteen Americana and seedy Berlin electronic. With allusions to Christianity throughout and cover art suggesting Gaga was the vehicle for a new generation, Born This Way was decidedly ambitious — and entirely singular.

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This era delivered some of Gaga's best-known anthems to date, from her pre-Joanne country bop "Yoü and I" to the massive '80s crescendo of "The Edge of Glory." But it's Born This Way's deep cuts where Gaga unleashed her strangest, most intricately coiled concepts. "Heavy Metal Lover" and "Government Hooker," two standouts, saw shiny metallic synths and grinding, machine-like bass get layered beneath twisted lyrics only Gaga could conceive: "I want your whiskey mouth all over my blonde south," she demands on one. "I'm gonna drink my tears tonight," she confesses on the other.

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Then there's a hair metal-broadway baby hybrid ("Hair"), an ominous guitar-led hook-up song with church bells ("Electric Chapel"), a ferocious dance cut where Gaga purposefully butchers the German language on beat ("Scheibe"), and an eerie, melodic pop-opera with cultish chants and Gaga's piercing shrill ("Bloody Mary").

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While music trends are typically ripped from the biggest stars and repeated ad nauseam, nothing has come close to sounding like Born This Way since its release nearly 10 years ago. And that's because nobody could possibly replicate the oddities that boil inside Gaga's brain, especially from a time when she was consistently unleashing some of the most provocative visuals, songs and ideas into mainstream pop culture. — Justin Moran


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On Rihanna's superior cover of Tame Impala's "New Person, Same Old Mistakes," she drops the first half of the song's title and the "d" in "old" to embark on a wildest astral trip of her life, thick Caribbean accent piercing through the fog. "Feel like a brand new person," she sings.

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With 2016's ANTI, the Barbados superstar not only broke new artistic ground for herself, following a relentlessly consistent output of trendy dance-pop smashes, but she created the album superstars like her make when there's nothing to lose. She's certainly earned it, spending the first half of the decade churning out an album a year and promoting them on sold-out world tours before age 30.

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Rihanna's now-permanent identity as an inimitable tastemaker emerges on ANTI's eclectic tracks. "Desperado" casts the wistful lone ranger in full, high-fashion yeehaw getup — clomping industrial beats and all — well before its ubiquitous pop culture resurgence this year. On "Higher," she's whiskey-drenched and literally hollering 3 AM booty calls when the liquor gets her feeling pretty. And on "Consideration," she makes it clear she's doing things her way from now on, while nabbing an early collaboration with SZA, who would have an explosive breakout the following year. Rihanna's impact. — Michael Love Michael


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Heidi Montag capped off a 2000s trend of tabloid celebrities releasing music, and ushered in a 2010s phenomenon of reality stars becoming serious, multi-faceted entrepreneurs. She was ostracized for today's new normal of "famous for being famous" influencers whose careers thrive on seeking validation and altering their appearances. And her first and only full-length album, Superficial, was released in the fire of all this public scrutiny, making it both a commercial failure and a now cult favorite.

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With a $2 million investment from Montag herself, Superficial was manufactured by some of the biggest producers and songwriters in pop music. She onboarded names like Cathy Dennis, who was behind Britney Spears' "Toxic" and The Runners, who'd go on to produce hits off Rihanna's Loud. She spent "entire nights and days in the studio," and sometimes cried from exhaustion. "I can't even count how many hours — literally blood, sweat and tears," Montag told PAPER in 2018.

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Though Superficial sold just over 1,000 units in its first week of release, The Hills alum's hard work made for a blueprint of all the materialistic, trash-pop that musicians like Slayyyter and Kim Petras create today. Its title track is a swirling synthesized ode to paparazzi flashes and luxury sports cars: "They just mad cause I'm sexy, famous and I'm rich," she accuses, her robotic vocals drenched in autotune.

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Other highlights like "Turn Ya Head" and "Look How I'm Doin" are platinum blonde, bandage dress, bottle service club bangers, while "One More Drink" and "I'll Do It" deliver sexed up, irresistibly cheap bops. — Justin Moran


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Standing alone at the end of the decade as her first and only studio album, Broke With Expensive Taste is the delicate masterpiece of NYC native and musical firebrand, Azealia Banks.

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When EDM pushed the charts to a saturation point in the mid-2010s, Banks delivered a blow that promised to only be the beginning of her reign — when in retrospect, BWET's critical success was the beginning of the end. Banks' legacy may not be what places the bass-blasting 2014 record on a trophy shelf next to a roster of music's greats, sure, but "212" alone will.

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Put it next to the UK garage-influenced "Desperado," the enduringly destructive "Yung Rapunxel" and "Heavy Metal and Reflective," and you've got enough to credit Banks with one of the most compelling discographies of the 21st century. — Brendan Wetmore


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ANOHNI's HOPELESSNESS was a wake-up call, imploring us to examine our complacency in a social system built on patriarchal violence and bleeding the planet dry. On the album, ANOHNI leans into an indignant fatalism in an effort to expose the apocalyptic harm that comes from our inaction, from wishing a drone strike would "explode [her] crystal guts" to wanting to see "dogs crying out for water" and "fish go belly-up in the sea" on "4 Degrees."

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Working with producers Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never, ANOHNI uses electronic dance music to amplify her emotional appeal, whether it be through the beating of war drums ("Crisis" and "Marrow") or intricate synth melodies ("Obama" and "Violent Men"). On the album's title track ANOHNI wonders, "How did I become a virus?" and places the blame squarely upon herself. "I've been taking more than I deserve/ Leaving nothing in reserve." She confronts the difficult truth that we have let our greed go unchecked and now must face the consequences. Almost four years later, HOPELESSNESS begs the question: has anything changed? — Matt Moen


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With her debut album, Born to Die, Lana Del Rey became the first artist of the '10s to find substance in melancholy. Setting off a domino effect of experimentation with sadness as an instrument, Born to Die exists in the pop canon as a deeply unsettling hit record that was never meant to be. In theory, Lana's smoky touchstones, from the inaugural ("Video Games") to the universal ("Summertime Sadness"), should have never taken off.

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In 2012, generally depressive tracks didn't fit in the post-apocalypse scare landscape of celebratory dance songs on the radio. Somewhere, somehow, Born to Die grew its niche audience; first, in queer sub-communities on Tumblr, and then on a viral scale, thanks in part to Lana's retro aesthetic and fascination with controversial lyrics and themes ("Lolita"). — Brendan Wetmore


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For what felt like years, Lemonade was all we talked about. The seismic surprise drop that commanded the internet for a week, cementing Beyoncé as our most powerful culture-maker. The album's recoup of Black American history, which employed artifacts from Yoruba deities to Yeehaw to interrogate the intergenerational impact of slavery on Black families. The post-genre sound (also a history of Black America) which spans the continuum of pop, R&B, rock, country and hip-hop, including collaborators like James Black and Jack White, and samples ranging from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Father John Misty to Led Zeppelin. The Grammy loss to Adele.

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The album unleashed a matrix of contradictory conversations about the author herself. Beyoncé as champion of vulnerability ("I'm not too perfect/ To ever feel this worthless"). Beyoncé as perfectionist auteur, art-directing herself crying. Beyoncé as Black revolutionary, performing at the Super Bowl in front of a sisterhood of Black Panthers. Beyoncé as Black capitalist ("Always stay gracious/ The best revenge is your paper").

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Within a year, college courses dedicated to using Lemonade to study race, gender and feminism were open for enrollment. As many Lemonade essays ended: "You know you're that bitch when you 'cause all this conversation." Lemonade electrified the conversations we began the decade with. We'll be having the ones it started well into the '20s. — Jael Goldfine


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As chosen by Justin Moran, Michael Love Michael, Jael Goldfine, Matt Moen and Brendan Wetmore


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Sat, 21 Dec 2019 00:58:55 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/paper-top-10-albums-decade-2641630072.htmlKelelaAlbumFka twigsLordeLady gagaRihannaHeidi montagAzealia banksAnohniLana del reyBeyoncéMusicPaper Magazine
Lou Dallas' Eco-Friendly Fantasyhttp://www.qladfj.tw/lou-dallas-eco-friendly-fantasy-2641660769.html

While the holiday season calls for celebration, artists Raffaella Hanley, Carol Civre and Will Sheldon want to remind you to stay sustainable. According to the National Environment Education Foundation, Americans discard of 25% more waste during the holiday season, which nets out to one million extra tons of garbage each week. Since founding Lou Dallas in 2013, Hanley has committed herself to building collections on a sustainable framework, incorporating most of her materials using sourced surplus fabric found in warehouses, from donations or leftover upholstery.

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For almost seven years, Hanley has been designing clothes out her Brooklyn apartment. Partially named after Bruce Willis' character from The Fifth Element, her brand has become recognizable for its signature twisted, romantic-punk style. "Lou Dallas is the accent piece for the wardrobe you already have," she says, creating clothing to transport you to a time period that hasn't yet happened.

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Photographed by James Emmerman for PAPER, Hanley's newest pieces are featured in collaboration with Sheldon and Civre. Sheldon, a tattoo artist at NYC's Fun City, met Hanley when she showed up at his show at Cleopatra's Gallery. Civre met Hanley on Instagram, she says, "Where I seem to meet most people these days."

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The trio's work is featured here as a reminder of excess during the holidays, from the heaps of material in a Black Friday bundle, to the amount of gifts regifted or left in the trash. Inspired by Christmas elves, Macy's Department store window displays and the flowers, fairies and fabrics of Will Sheldon's illustrations, Lou Dallas invites you to shop sustainably and responsibly. "We wanted to create something fun and festive, while touching on an important topic," Civre says.

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PAPER sat down with the three collaborators to talk about inspiration, the holidays and 2020.

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Do you have an early childhood memory that stands out as being especially formative in influencing your style?

Raffaella Hanley: Watching the 5th Element for the first time!

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How did you incorporate Will Sheldon's art into the new pieces?

Raffaella: I usually give Will a mood board and he comes back to me with sketches and we go from there. Will's work has either been silk screened or airbrushed onto the garments.

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Where do you get inspiration from?

Carol Civre: I try really hard to make digital work that doesn't look digital. I think it's really easy to fall into an internet aesthetic when working in 3D because of the shiny materials and futuristic graphics — and there's nothing wrong with that, but it isn't for me. I draw more of my inspiration from art forms like oil painting, photography, even airbrushed illustrations rather than from computer graphics. So I guess my artistic style is CGI with a more DIY/organic feel to it.

Raffaella: I've been cutting up silk screen T-shirts that Will and I did maybe 2 years ago, and sewing them into a variety of different styles and incorporating other scrap fabric I have.

Will Sheldon: Flowers, fairies, witches, houses, trees, eyes, fabric.

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How do you feel about the holidays?

Raffaella: I can't wait to listen to "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and be totally in-season.

Carol: I like that people put up really kitsch decorations and everyone considers it totally normal and acceptable. My mom made an entirely pink Christmas tree this year.

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What is the best gift you've ever received?

Raffaella: My grandfather gave me an Anthony Van Dyck etching, which is a portrait of the artist Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, who my parents named me after.

Carol: A ticket to the Westminster Dog Show for my 23rd birthday.

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What are you most looking forward to in 2020?

Raffaella: Creating new work.

Carol: Throwing a murder mystery party. It takes place in the fashion industry.

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About the artists:


After studying painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, Raffaella Hanley quickly realized that her interests lie in acetates, not acrylics. She soon began to pour her creative energy into assisting fellow RISD alum Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta to launch Eckhaus Latta's first collection. Hanley was nominated as a finalist for the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, where she showcased her work

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Carol Civre found herself on her current path in a roundabout way. She majored in Fine Arts at NYU Steinhardt, where she studied everything from printmaking to woodworking and SFX makeup. For Civre, a senior-year excursion into digital engineering cemented her interest in 3D design, and for the past several years she has been honing her skills, working on projects for Crocs, Opening Ceremony and Helmut Lang.

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Will Sheldon is an artist based in NYC. He initially started tattooing to make money so he could practice music. He first practiced on himself before he began tattooing others professionally.

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Photography: James Emmerman
Clothing: Lou Dallas
Styling: Raffaella Hanley
Art: Carol Civre and Will Sheldon
Set Design: Joyce Equenazi Mitrani
Hair: Carol Civre
Models: Anaury Pe?a and Alishanee Chafe-Harmon
Casting assistant: Ramsey Bouari
Location: Creative Drive Studios


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Fri, 20 Dec 2019 20:14:10 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/lou-dallas-eco-friendly-fantasy-2641660769.htmlLou dallasFashionRaffaella hanleyCarol civreWill sheldonStory Sander Siegel / Photography James Emmerman / Art Carol Civre & Will Sheldon
How Uglyworldwide Stole Christmashttp://www.qladfj.tw/uglyworldwide-cindy-lou-who-2641658642.html

It's Christmastime, and our fave model @uglyworldwide (AKA Jazzelle Zanaughtti) is feeling more naughty than nice. She presented us with this series of cursed-yet-festive images of herself dressed as an all-grown-up Cindy Lou Who from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Well, she's wearing Cindy's iconic blonde pigtailed wig at least.

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Related | Uglyworldwide's Trail of Terror

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Now we're re-gifting them to you, filthy PAPER readers. Don't show Grandma. Or... do? 'Tis the season for mischief after all. As well as bringing these photographs to the dinner table, Jazzelle also shares 12 more ways to ruin the holidays, below.

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1. Reindeer for dinner.

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2. Steal presents from the Christmas drive.

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3. Spike the egg nog.

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4. Tell your family how you really feel about them.

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5. Run an ice cream truck into the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

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6. Tell children Santa Claus is dead.

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7. Dump your partner on Christmas Eve.

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8. Shit in the stockings.

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9. Fake a gas leak so you don't have to cook Christmas dinner.

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10. Have a friend call your family and tell them you died so you don't have to show up.

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11. Tell everyone you're having Christmas dinner at your house and then just never open the door when they all arrive.

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12. Bring an Ouija board instead of monopoly.

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Photography: Oscar Ouk
Model and makeup: Jazzelle Zanaughtti
Hair: Sean Bennett
Lighting and assistant: Alex Kalb
Location scout: Andrew Samaha

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Fri, 20 Dec 2019 18:03:57 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/uglyworldwide-cindy-lou-who-2641658642.htmlUglyworldwideCindy lou whoOscar oukGrinchHow the grinch stole christmasNycHolidaysChristmasXmasPhotography Oscar Ouk
PAPER's Top 10 Songs of the '10shttp://www.qladfj.tw/top-10-songs-decade-2641628905.html

Trying to identify the best songs of any 10-year period, let alone one that saw such radical transformation, during which so much important music was released, is a deeply futile project and we certainly didn't attempt it. Instead, to commemorate the 2010s, we put together 10 songs that tell 10 different stories about this absurd, stupefying, enthralling decade. These songs never could have been made at a different time. Some sounded like, or said things we'd never heard before. Some of these songs made history. Others simply prevailed into obnoxious ubiquity. Some of these songs are brilliant, and others are deliciously stupid. One of these songs is a No. 1 hit, while others, very few people in the world have ever heard. Some simply make sense to us here at PAPER.

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The drumroll and revving engine that opens Princess Nokia's "Tomboy" sends shivers up my spine: I know what's coming. The song is a punk rap assault that makes most "body positivity anthems" sound like nursery rhymes. "WITH MY LITTLE TITTIES AND MY PHAT BELLY/ MY LITTLE TITTIES AND MY PHAT BELLY," Destiny Frasqueri screams 25 times during the song. "Tomboy" is Frasqueri's manifesto of being hot shit, despite not meeting the heteronormative beauty standards of her own Boricua community in New York City, nor the mainstream. She commands her sexuality, brandishing it like nunchucks (or a dish of hot soup) towards any man or white person who'd cross her. There's room for others behind her line of fire: "I be where the ladies at," she spits, later adding: "You come to my party/ You gon' meet my army/ A room full of girls and we actin' real rowdy." Just like that, a song Princess Nokia woke up and "randomly wrote about having no titties" became a feminist fight song, taken up by women who, no matter what their bodies look like or where they're from, who crave the emancipation in Frasqueri's voice. — Jael Goldfine


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For the latter half of the decade, SOPHIE has been responsible for some of the most innovative, future-facing sounds to ever blow up a club's sound system. From Madonna and Vince Staples to Charli XCX, the producer's distinctive sonic vocab has reshaped the world of pop in its own plastic image. Every track she's touched with a latex glove has turned to gold, but her collab with New York rapper Quay Dash is the blueprint. Between its rubberized squelches and Mortal Kombat shouts, SOPHIE's beat hits viscerally, while Quay's serpentine bars swoop in to swiftly snap our necks. Off the bat, Quay declares her position: "Bitch I'm on top now, where your funds at?/ Click click pow, where your guns at?/ Show y'all really how to do it, bitch bump that." The track effectively sees the two transgender women reclaiming their agency from a world constantly seeking to silence them. For a new generation of queer club kids carving out nightlife space to safely and unapologetically be themselves, "Queen of this Shit" is an anthem. — Matt Moen


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This decade birthed Natalia Kills, and then erased her entirely from the internet a few years later. A victim of cancel culture, which we normalized in the 2010s, the dark-pop star was forced to change her name to Teddy Sinclair when an appearance on The X Factor instantly destroyed a career she'd spent years building (more on that, here). Everything she'd released up until then was ambitious and disruptive: 2011's Perfectionist with themes of suicide, murder and money, all wrapped into left-field synth-pop; and 2013's Trouble, which solidified her reputation as a bad girl chasing controversy... and Marlboro Lights. Her sophomore album single, "Problem," produced by Jeff Bhasker (Lana Del Rey, Kanye West, Rihanna), is a mission statement for Kills' brief, but potent brand. It rattles like a Harley exhaust pipe, pounding with searing guitars and a bassline that could get you evicted. "That girl is a problem," Kills repeatedly warns, and she was absolutely right. — Justin Moran


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If you didn't hear "Said lil' bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to," shouted by every single person in 2017 at some point, you probably never left your house. Cardi B's explosive "Bodak Yellow" not only launched her career well beyond the stratosphere, but it remains the hit to beat for rappers everywhere. With a flow inspired by her then-industry peer, Kodak Black, the song is bragadocious and targeted. Cardi's sharp-as-nails tone was enough to evoke a performance from those singing along in the club. Fingers were pointing, voices were shouting, and the pure trap bliss was broadcasted on every Snapchat story in America. — Brendan Wetmore


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Everything about M.I.A.'s career has felt like a rebellion, from the way she introduced now-popularized genre mashups to her polarizing performances and political views. By 2010, she announced plans to retire from music and start a family, but turmoil was brewing in her native Sri Lanka, where she once fled at the height of Civil War before age 11. The year prior, M.I.A. tweeted that the Sri Lankan government had killed 50,000 Tamil civilians within a five-month period, and "Born Free," with its abrasive punk-rock sound and driving Suicide sample, leaked online. The track was a no-holds-barred condemnation of the mass killings, some of which had been filmed on iPhones by the Sri Lankan Army. Without her label's knowledge, M.I.A. made a bloody nine-minute film for "Born Free," depicting genocidal violence against redheads as a way to channel her fury. The video was briefly banned in the U.S. and the UK. Only in retrospect, like most impactful art from the decade, has "Born Free" grown in appreciation. Genocide and other forms of state-sanctioned violence against "the other" (like ongoing ICE raids under Trump's administration) remain global human rights issues. Nowadays, it's not brave or subversive to sound the alarm on crimes against humanity — it's just the right thing to do, and M.I.A. was doing the right thing years before it was cool. — Michael Love Michael


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Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" started the decade off on a note that can only be considered industry-changing in retrospect. An almost perfect blend of hyperpop tropes and Minaj's clever raps, the song's immense impact hinged on a moment in time that was pre- "Feeling Myself," pre- "Boss Ass Bitch," and inherently pre-Minaj. Her Queen of Rap title followed soon after "Super Bass" — originally a bonus track on the deluxe version of her debut album Pink Friday — hit the charts. The chorus is like listening to the color pink; vibrant beyond belief, "Super Bass" will forever be remembered for its earworm-y boom ba doom's and bubbly synth pops. — Brendan Wetmore


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Lana Del Rey turned herself into an art exhibit, a noir film, a comic strip, a collage of every cliché about femininity. At first, it just seemed like good cinema (albeit from someone who still refuses to admit they're playing a part). But looking back, Lana was doing much more than entertaining. Women from Billie Holiday to Amy Winehouse have been singing about the malaise of womanhood forever, but Del Rey allowed women to recoup and cash in on their own pathologization. The way she did it was messy, indulgent, inconsistent, gratuitous and sometimes went too far. But her music was radical and necessary at a time when young women were valorized for happy, healthful confidence, and punished for anything else. Lana made anthems for girls who felt like problems. It's no coincidence both Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift will tell you Lana is their number one. "Summertime Sadness" was her manifesto: a cliffside car chase of a pop song, in which Lana races against her own boredom and despair. She builds from a plea for affection ("Kiss me hard before you go") up to sinister satisfaction ("I know if I go/ I'll die happy tonight"). When she pauses to look out over the California hills on the inescapable chorus: "Got that summertime/ S-s-s-summertime sadness," it's not a confession, it's permission. — Jael Goldfine


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Mykki Blanco changed everything this decade, upending outdated ideas of gender, helping spark — and then eradicate — the "gay rap" trope, and ultimately transcending her underground New York roots to collaborate with stars like Kanye West, Teyana Taylor and Madonna. In 2012, Blanco kicked things off with her Cosmic Angel mixtape, featuring career-defining cuts like "Haze.Boogie.Life," "Kingpinning," and the undeniable Brenmar-produced "Wavvy." The music video for "Wavvy" is something of a cultural timestamp, with cameos by queer NYC legends like Macy Rodman, Melissa Burns and Jasmine Infiniti. Blanco flips between hyper-masc and hyper-femme presentation, which she's done throughout her career, and invites listeners in at their own risk: "Welcome to hell, bitches/ This is Mykki Blanco/ New World Order motherfucker, follow pronto." — Justin Moran


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If you close your eyes, you can hear that iconic saxophone solo as clear as day. The opener to Carly Rae Jepsen's critically celebrated album, Emotion, "Run Away With Me" marked the moment that Jepsen stopped being referred to as the "Call Me Maybe" girl and made every Mac Demarco-stanning indie bro realize that it was cool to like pop. Coated in a decidedly '80s sheen, "Run Away With Me" indulges in nostalgia while not losing itself in it. Thrumming basslines and shimmering synths sweep us up in a rapturous euphoria as Jepsen's vocals soar atop. "Baby, take me to the feeling..." Overflowing with giddy, bright-eyed optimism and the promise of romantic escape, Jepsen extends her hand and asks us to escape with her to a world where possibilities seem endless. — Matt Moen


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"What you say to me?" Solange and Sampha sing, eyebrows raised, on A Seat At the Table's "Don't Touch My Hair." The line, delivered with an almost tossed-off directness, is aimed at white people who consistently perform microaggressions toward Black people — everything from unwanted petting to condescending comments about linguistic fluency around identity and experience. The laidback, horn-filled groove is one profound statement of many on Solange's 2016 opus, each in their own way affirming the value of Black feelings, Black ownership, and Black life — a true hallmark of the last 10 years. This song goes far beyond hair, though. The hair is one piece of a bejeweled crown, as Solange sings, and depending on how it's worn, becomes an expression of pride and historic regality. Whole legacies come with each crown that truly can't be erased: "They don't understand what it means to me/ Where we chose to go, where we've been to know," Solange sings, her voice swooping from falsetto to the pit of her gut, where the song's strength and potency is derived. No matter what a white person tries to do to strip her power, Solange knows her soul remains untouched. That there is hers, and this one's for us. — Michael Love Michael


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As chosen by Justin Moran, Michael Love Michael, Jael Goldfine, Matt Moen, and Brendan Wetmore

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Thu, 19 Dec 2019 22:51:00 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/top-10-songs-decade-2641628905.htmlSolangeNatalia killsCardi bM.i.a.Nicki minajDestiny rogersMykki blancoSophieQuay dashCarly rae jepsenLana del reyMusicPaper Magazine
PAPER's Top 20 Albums of 2019http://www.qladfj.tw/top-20-albums-2019-2641554202.html

Every 12 months, music snobs and fans debate whether or not it was a "good year for music." What determines this beyond personal taste, and the sometimes random hills on which those critics and fans will die on to argue whose taste reigns supreme?

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For PAPER, any year that women, communities of color and queer people get the mic and rock it in a really big way provides major cause for celebration. Across genres, 2019's albums were particularly exceptional in this regard, showing that everyone can find common ground and lay their pitchforks down to prioritize artists shifting the ways we consider music and culture at large.

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Related | PAPER's Top 50 Songs of 2019

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Whether it's FKA Twigs' mighty comeback, the explosive cross-generational success of goth teen queen Billie Eilish, sweeping magnum opuses by diverse artists entering their glorious final forms, or queer and trans indie-pop outliers poised for megastardom, 2019 was thee final year to prep listeners for 2020 — a year of perfect vision, in which there are even more seats at the table for those previously denied them.

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Lover should have been Taylor Swift's self-titled album. Because on it, she ascends to her final form: rainbows, glitter, kittens and all. A slightly unhealthy obsession with her haters. A devotion to crafting fairy tales from real life. Lover is cloying, self-righteous and often truly obnoxious. Lover is ambitious, immaculate and often truly breathtaking. The best songs are perfect: epic and precise. The worst songs have the capacity to grow on you like weeds. We've been celebrating male artists' foibles as self-aware power plays for years. I'm intrigued by the concept of doing the same for Swift. It's easy to picture her cackling about the people who'd hear "London Boy" and turn the record off. Lover is the logical endpoint of "Blank Space" — the first time Swift learned to throw the parts of herself being weaponized against her back at critics. But while Reputation was her album for those critics, Lover is for the fans. — Jael Goldfine

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Must Listen: "The Archer"



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For the most part, Black people understand the importance of history and context innately, given ours is prone to constant white erasure. Enter Jamila Woods, Chicago poet, educator, activist and musician, whose interest in examining Black lives of the past reflects a desire to uplift and keep those legacies alive — alongside her own. Her sophomore release LEGACY! LEGACY! is a generous, forthright invitation to celebrate this desire. Across 13 robust jazz and lush R&B arrangements named after historic cross-disciplinary teachers and heroes, Woods sings about everything from defining her own joy ("BASQUIAT") and being Black enough ("ZORA") to being the author of her story ("BALDWIN"). And as Woods sings on "BETTY," an untold introduction to "Mrs. Miles Davis," she feels validated in not compromising what makes her special: "I am not your typical girl/ Throw away that picture in your head." — Michael Love Michael

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Must Listen: "BASQUIAT"

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JPEGMAFIA is an efficient experimentalist, packing chaotic sounds, choppy ad libs, carnal rap vocals and loaded lyrics into tightly wound tracks. All 18 songs on the Baltimore artist's new album, All My Heroes Are Cornballs, are like firecrackers, each exploding differently than the next, but exploding nonetheless. On "Kenan Vs. Kel," Peggy says he's "on a mission to slaughter the competition," transitioning halfway from shimmery, glitched-out bliss to grinding hedonistic production. The rapper oscillates between these two extremes, provoking the genre just enough without abandoning his love of pop (namely Charli XCX and Britney Spears). "This is the beauty of rap," JPEGMAFIA told PAPER earlier this year. "We can still come with anything and pull in new influence and it's still rap at its core." — Justin Moran

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Must Listen: "Jesus Forgive Me, I Am a Thot"


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The Boo-Ah bitch, Kim Petras, came back this year to remind us exactly who the reigning spooky queen truly is. Expanding off her previous EP of the same name, TURN OFF THE LIGHT pretty much does for Halloween what Mariah Carey did for Christmas. From the metallic scrapes of "Knives" to Elvira's sinister feature on the title track, Petras masterfully turns horror tropes into electro-injected club anthems across the project. It's tongue and cheek without being gimmicky; for every over-the-top banger like "Death by Sex," there is a classic power-pop gem like "There Will Be Blood." Its gothic inspiration makes the record cohesive, while leaving the project open-ended enough for Petras to work her magic. Turn Off the Light goes for the kill and enjoys every last blood-soaked second of it. — Matt Moen

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Must Listen: "There Will Be Blood"


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Latinx artists absolutely dominated in 2020, making the permanence and universal appeal of urbano — the broad term encompassing reggaeton, Latinx trap and dembow, among other styles — undeniable. OASIS, the eight-song early summer collab of two of urbano's biggest stars (Puerto Rico's Bad Bunny and Colombia's J Balvin, who also happen to be adorably close pals), epitomizes the exciting and experimental place where the genre's at right now. Standouts include "LA CANCIóN" a perfectly tragic breakup tale that moves at an emo pace, "YO LE LLEGO," a booming bop in the globally understood "where's the party?" tradition — and we could go on to name the rest, to be honest. — Jhoni Jackson

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Must Listen: "LA CANCIóN"


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Claire Cottrill could've leaned into the simple Spotifycore bedroom pop that made her famous. Instead, for her debut album she put the laptop away, picked the brains of everyone she met, teamed up with a master indie producer and mined her most vulnerable experiences to craft a lovely self-portrait. Clairo tells the story of her life with the sounds of her life: Vampire Weekend-style guitar runs, Toro y Moi beats, R&B sounds from the girl-groups of her childhood, chilly autotune to signify emotional distance, and a children's choir as a proxy for her younger self. It's all glued together with banging drums and Claire's wry lyricism, with which she renders adolescence so unflinchingly that it begins to feel bearable. "Eighth grade was never that tight" she trails off, at the end of her account of a middle school suicide attempt in "Alewife." "I was 15 when/ I first felt loneliness," she remembers matter-of-factly on "White Flag." It's a heavy record, but bursts of joy, clarity and queer discovery let light in through the cracks. Immunity showed us who Clairo is in multiple ways. — Jael Goldfine

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Must Listen: "North"


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Many described Late Night Feelings as a record of "sad bangers," but that's a rather glossy reading of Mark Ronson's latest triumph. The implication is that any other club bop is inherently for happy people, when we all know that a trip to the discotheque — while glittering — rarely resembles Saturday Night Fever. The album's track list is a songbook of disco-laden pop complexities; it listens like a musical. A rising overture opens the record to a blurry reality, while sonic motifs ("On and on and on") are weaved throughout to establish continuity during a night of loss and sin.

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To ignore the sheer power of the femme presence on Late Night Feelings would be irresponsible. Alt-pop powerhouse Lykke Li lends her vocals to the title track, while Camila Cabello resists pop structuring on "Find U Again." The apex of the record, however, is King Princess' appearance on the multiplex of a hit, "Pieces of Us." The main chorus, which hits past the halfway point of the track itself, is the pop melody forbidden fruit artists dream of plucking in a studio session with Ronson: nostalgic enough to sting far past its runtime. — Brendan Wetmore

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Must Listen: "Find U Again" (feat. Camila Cabello)


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Naming her 2019 EP after her 2017 "My Neck, My Back" freestyle "Icy Grl" was just one of many warning signs that Saweetie was about to hit the charts in a big way. Breakout hit "My Type" became the summer song that could cause a purge of club bathroom stalls and flood of the dancefloor with just a whisper: "Hennessy on my lips, take a little sip/ Privacy on the door, I'ma make the shit grip." ICY is truly one of the least derivative rap projects released in 2019, while still remaining relatable. It features two Quavo-assisted tracks, "Tip Toes" and "Emotional," both of which will guarantee replay requests at the DJ booth. The booming opener "Trick" shows Saweetie's determination to make compelling trap hits, featuring a head-banging drum pattern, a lyrical tribute to modern astrology, and a repetitive chorus that'll have you twerking in your seat. It's Saweetie all 2019 and 2020, understood? — Brendan Wetmore

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Must Listen: "Tip Toes" (feat. Quavo)


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The follow-up to 2017's widely celebrated album, Flowerboy, Tyler, the Creator put us back in our feelings this year with his most mature and nuanced album to date. Embracing a scratchy lo-fi aesthetic, Tyler incorporates elements of gospel, soul and pop into his bizarre hip-hop orchestrations along with bright synths and lumbering basslines to provide a cheerier backdrop for the album's heavier themes. A self-produced record about heartbreak and the ways in which love can turn us into/make us feel like a grotesque monster, IGOR is Tyler's most cohesive record to date. From groovy barn-burners like "I THINK" to desperation-drenched ballads like "ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?," Tyler makes it all fit together in one heartbroken universe. — Matt Moen

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Must Listen: "EARFQUAKE"


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The cerebral "Texas Film" for Solange's fourth studio album When I Get Home is a love letter to Houston and an exploration of origin. Set to cosmic jazz, R&B and hip-hop, the film's freeform structure and candy paint finish is packed with imagery of Black cowboys galloping, groups of dancers in circular formations and a surreal dance sequence between Solange and a masked man in a beaded suit. First teased on Blackplanet.com, it melts time altogether and takes place in Black diasporas both real and imagined. Sleek downtown architecture, parking lots full of DeLoreans and Solange's signature slow-mo twerk are just small parts of a major feat for the singer and for musical visuals in general. — Roytel Montero

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Must Listen: "Binz"


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Coming off the momentum of two game-changing mixtapes, Number 1 Angel and Pop 2, expectations for Charli XCX's latest studio album were pretty high, and thankfully she delivered. Having radically reshaped her sound with the help of experimental pop-minded producers like A. G. Cook and SOPHIE, Charli was served as the culmination of her recent artistic genesis. Combining a future facing sound with her pop-writing prowess and incredible ability to assemble an all-star list of collaborators, Charli pulls out all the stops. From the watery ASMR banger "Shake It" (feat. Big Freedia, CupcakKe, Brooke Candy and Pabllo Vittar) to the nostalgia-laden verses of Troye Sivan's "1999," Charli's ability to straddle the line between experimental and accessible is the key to its success. It's the realization of the PC Music dream; impeccable pop pushed to the extreme. — Matt Moen

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Must Listen: "Next Level Charli"


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With just five songs on its track list, one of which is a trap-dubstep remix of previous single "DDU-DU DDU-DU," BLACKPINK's KILL THIS LOVE EP doesn't have time to meander through serviceable b-sides or deep cuts — which is precisely why every track packs the punch of a radio-polished single. In a musical epoch marked by chilled-out, downtempo R&B, whispered or mumbled pop hooks and moody beats, BLACKPINK's no-apologies zeal for larger-than-life dance-pop is a bold and welcome diversion. On the album's explosive title track, "Kill This Love," members Lisa, Jennie, Rosé and Jisoo make a strong case for murder (of one's ability to fall in love, anyway — it's a certain path to heartbreak, so fuck it). "Kick It" is a rock and hip-hop-inflected pop anthem to self-love that particularly dazzles during its girl gang chant bridge, while "Don't Know What To Do" is a big electro-pop banger that builds and builds before detonating like a missile the moment the chorus hits. But even during the EP's quieter moments, like on their heart-bare, country-infused ballad "Hope Not," the girls prove that their ability to capture — and keep — our attention isn't just dependent on bombast and swagger. — Erica Russell

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Must Listen: "Kill This Love"


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Halfway through their sophomore album, MUNA resigns from love. It's bullshit, but Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson are so skilled at making the perfect songs for particular moments that you believe them. When Gavin sits down to write about wanting somebody who's taken, or craving change, she does it with searing precision and generous honesty. Sometimes it's as specific as her autobiography (from "It's Gonna Be Okay, Baby" "You're gonna move to New York/ And experiment with communism/ Go down on a girl/ After reading her some Frantz Fanon"), or as universal as "Number One Fan," a monologue between confidence and self-doubt. MUNA songs are always smart, but they don't over-intellectualize. Crafted from euphoric glittery synths and ecstatic geysers of drums in the life-affirming style of Robyn, the trio's vignettes of heartbreak double as invitations to dance it all out. Jael Goldfine

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Must Listen: "Never"


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As I looked out the window at the sky, the bus I was on careened through miles of rolling forest roads near the Pocono Mountains. Playing softly in my headphones was "How to disappear," Norman Fucking Rockwell's waltzing midpoint, and beams of sunlight danced in my pupils. Before I knew it, tears fell down my face as Lana sang the song's final lines in a peacefully resigned murmur: "I'm always going to be right here/ No one's going anywhere."

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This message of serene surrender and certainty grounds the album's exploration of a modern world on fire. We remain, even as the California hills burn. If Lana's last album, 2017's Lust For Life, was her form of American protest music, NFR is a balm for the soul in times of sociopolitical unrest and pending climate disaster. She's largely done away with romanticizing toxic love in favor of a more widescreen approach, eviscerating man-children in the album's Fiona Apple-esque title track, and meditating on how the world needs perhaps more hope these days than love, even when it's dangerous. All the while, she writes her most potent music to-date — the most synthesized Lana Del Rey statement that only Lana Del Rey could make. In doing so, she pays homage to the Joni Mitchells and Leonard Cohens before her, whose folksy birdsong hymns did what all great art, and Lana herself, manages to do in trying times: respond and provoke catharsis. This road leads to healing. — Michael Love Michael

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Must Listen: "the greatest"


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Oscillating autotune, blaring guitar riffs, nonsensical lyrics and volume-clipping bass drops? Welcome to a 100 gecs-guided tour of pop hell. Dylan Brady and Laura Les' genre-resisting project had been making an undeniable impact in DIY sub-communities on SoundCloud prior to the release of their debut album, but with 1000 gecs they're being heard on a more massive scale than ever before. From going on tour with Brockhampton to playing a series of sold-out headlining shows across the country, 100 gecs is newly front-and-center. The experience of listening to this 23 minute-long record is quick, yes, but it's nearly 4D. Opening track "745 sticky," with its manipulated vocals that sound like a choir of choking dolphins, the song begins as a ferocious trap-pop bop: "I make my money on my own, yeah/ Wakin' up five in the morning, yeah." Then the song devolves into a vertigo-diagnosed Skrillex beat, accompanied by a smattering of samples ranging in randomness: a siren, a wail, a dog's bark. If you're confused, yet can't help but hit replay, good — that's exactly the intended effect. — Brendan Wetmore

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Must Listen: "money machine"

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This year pop found its genderfluid savior and their name is Dorian Electra. Their debut album Flamboyant is catchy, campy, over-the-top and unabashedly queer with an almost theatrical androgyny that makes Electra sound like no one else. Bouncing from glossy electro-pop one second to gear-grinding dubstep the next, Flamboyant is a veritable theme park of genres. Each track contains its own high octane thrill ride cobbled together by some of the most exciting producers and songwriters making music today.

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On Flamboyant, Electra chooses to tackle themes of masculinity, identity and queerness within the confines of their music. In their breakout single, "Career Boy," they lampoon the trappings of office culture with a BDSM twist. On "Man to Man" they upend traditionally toxic notions of masculinity in favor of a more radical vulnerability. Wielding wit and satire like a sharpened blade, Electra addresses these topics in a way that doesn't feel overly academic or patronizing. Electra's ability to fold this into an engaging, well-polished pop product is what puts them in a league of their own and ultimately has us hitting play again and again and again. — Matt Moen

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Must Listen: "Freaky 4 Life"


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On the coda of FKA Twigs' stunning sophomore album's centerpiece "mary magdalene," the tense minor keys and drum patterns fall away to reveal a woman calling out from the abyss. She sings in quivering falsetto: "Oh, you didn't hear me now/ You didn't hear me when I told you." This chilling bridge hinges the album's first and second halves, but it's also a powerful statement about how women are systematically erased. In relationships, their worth is defined by a sacrificial ability to prioritize male partners' needs above their own. In history, their significant contributions are minimized. Who writes these narratives? On MAGDALENE, Twigs asks the question, informing an album equally modern and biblical — as if to say that times may have changed, but global attitudes about "a woman's place" have not. In 2019, she advocates for a fairer rewrite of Mary Magdalene's previously damned origin story: she was her own woman, a "creature of desire" removed from the virgin-whore complex and as Twigs sings, an inherently divine being with her own "sacred geometry."

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And as she does for Mary, a revered and reviled figure, Twigs rebirths herself throughout MAGDALENE, a layered album that rewards (and demands) repeat listens. The songs, which she wrote and co-produced the lion's share of, are wrought from heartbreak and resilience. On "thousand eyes," she can't be anything less than perfect, or she'll be torn apart in the public's gaze. On "holy terrain," Twigs rejects the love of a man "bound by his boys and his chains." She shares her partner's loneliness on "home with you," where home is a warped cocoon of safety and danger. She battles internal and external demons on "fallen alien," singing over haunted piano chords: "In this age of Satan, I'm looking for a light to take me home and guide me out." Twigs' light comes from within, though, because she's everything. Michael Love Michael

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Must Listen: "fallen alien"


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Former Chairlift frontwoman Caroline Polacheck's Pang was the autumnal nightcap that girls and gays everywhere had been praying for all summer. While Polacheck's vocals are most certainly front-and-center — tracks like "New Normal" and "Door" demonstrate her more manipulative, pitch-shifting understanding of the voice as an instrument — the production on Pang is beyond lofty. Every synth blip, vocal modulation and percussive element is weighty enough to keep steady the immense loving pains between her words. Sharing co-executive production credits on the album with Polacheck is producer and PC Music whiz Danny L Harle; also included in the production credits is PC Music founder, A. G. Cook. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that the same glitch-pop sensibility that brought to life the mythology around the London-formed label is present on Pang. The title track features a series of radar blips in its instrumentation, ringing through its entirety with the occasional triangle-like sample and rushing drum hit to punctuate her sentences. That being said, the record isn't participating whatsoever in bubblegum pop trends, nor mocking them. Pang is something else — a meditative lapse from actual romance into a fantasy, as told by Polacheck herself. — Brendan Wetmore

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Must Listen: "Go As a Dream"


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No one could've predicted Billie Eilish, a teen pop star who has critics close reading her braces, and millions of teens lmaoing at masculinity alongside her. Or maybe she was entirely foreseeable: the obvious pendulum swing from the pink, fluffy normativity of '00s pop of her childhood. Plenty of artists are powerfully reworking that tradition, but the 17-year-old rose to greatness not in spite of dressing like (as Tyler, the Creator put it) a linebacker and making haunted, uncanny minimalist pop, but because of it. WHEN WE ALL FALL is one of the year's sentient responses to being young in 2019: a wasteland haunted by dead friends, Xanax, the climate and the monsters in her own head (the three closing songs have a suicide story arc). With it, Eilish made space on the charts for freaky sounds and dark thoughts, while also emanating life (see: "bad guy," "you should see me in a crown"). It's also simply an album of catchy, poignant ballads and bangers. Generationalisms aside, given how far the record brought Eilish and her brother from the simple style of "Ocean Eyes," what she chooses to do next will be just as unpredictable. Jael Goldfine

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Must Listen: "you should see me in a crown"

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Around this time last year, I received a poster in the mail of breakout rap star Megan Thee Stallion wearing a red wig and licking a lollipop, encouraging me to listen to her viral Tina Snow hit, "Big Ole Freak." She's come infinitely far since then, and when her debut mixtape Fever finally arrived, it solidified her formidable presence in music and pop culture at large.

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The anime-loving, book-smart Texan — per her late mother's advice, she's stayed in school to study health administration, knowing the importance of a fail-safe back-up plan — reminded audiences that Yeehaw originated with Black people, made everyone feel their inner Hot Girl year-round, scored high fashion clout with Anna Wintour, and inspired millions with her live performances co-starring those powerful knees. The most important thing about Megan is that she's an underdog leading the way for southern Black women to reclaim their rightful thrones in rap's still predominantly male, coastal echo chamber.

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Though now signed to 300 Entertainment and repped by Jay-Z's Roc Nation, she prides herself on being self-made. She writes her own songs and relies on old-fashioned integrity, hard work and unapologetic authenticity to secure her place on top. And all of this finds its way onto Fever, a collection of nonstop, high-energy, maximal bangers spotlighting Meg's confident flows bolstered by limitless self-respect. The ethos underneath even her rowdiest anthems is "you can do it, too." She schools boys on her self-worth ("he know he givin' his money to Megan") because she's the best they'll ever have, all while doing hood rat shit with her hood rat friends, leading games of Simon Says at epic dance parties, staying unbothered and keeping it realer than real. Going into 2020, Megan Thee Stallion and her built-in winner's mindset is thee one to root for. Best believe she'll bring her friends along for the ride. Michael Love Michael

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Must Listen: "Realer"


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Honorable Mentions

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"TEARS IN MY HENNESSY" by Joey LaBeija


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Must Listen: "dial up affection"


"Trinity" by Eartheater


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Must Listen: "High Tide"


"Arizona Baby" by Kevin Abstract


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Must Listen: "Peach"


"Slayyyter" by Slayyyter


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Must Listen: "Celebrity"


"GIRLS" by Yung Baby Tate


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Must Listen: "Mean Girl" (feat. Queen Key and Asian Doll)


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As chosen by Justin Moran, Michael Love Michael, Jael Goldfine, Matt Moen, and Brendan Wetmore


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Wed, 18 Dec 2019 20:43:36 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/top-20-albums-2019-2641554202.htmlAlbumTaylor swiftMegan thee stallionBillie eilishCaroline polachekFka twigsDorian electra100 gecsLana del reyMunaBlackpinkCharli xcxSolangeTylerThe creatorSaweetieMark ronsonClairoBad bunnyJ. balvinKim petrasJpegmafiaJamila woodsJoey labeijaEartheaterKevin abstractSlayyyterYung baby tateNew musicRankingMusicPaper Magazine
PAPER's Top 50 Songs of 2019http://www.qladfj.tw/paper-top-50-songs-2019-2641607112.html

We'd like to forget about 2019, to be honest. It's been the kind of cursed year where everything was so incessantly absurd and dismal, that it's hard to pick discrete chunks out of the debris of the last 12 months. But we've been saying things like that for a while now ("2018, thank you, next," "2017 was a dumpster fire").

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No matter how bad shit seems to get, the musicians we love keep rising to the occasion to offer escape, comfort, provocation, visions of a different world or simply a mirror for the one we're in.

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Related | Vote for PAPER's Break the Internet? Awards 2019

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The songs on this list stewarded us through long commutes and messy break-ups, terrifying news and uncomfortable transformations, personal and global. They captured how it feels to be endlessly online, and reminded us to get the fuck off. They delivered us out of ruts, and to that increasingly rare sensation of awe.

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We could never forget about 2019, because it sounds like Christine and the Queens yelping, "I feel so unstable/ Fucking hate these people/ How they're making me feel lately." Like the battle-march horns of BLACKPINK's "Kill This Love." Like Rosalía's claps, Megan Thee Stallion's bars and 100 gecs' squeak. And cheers to that.

50. "We Are in Hell When We Hurt Each Other" by PAT feat. Patrick Belaga


49. "Freelance" by Toro y Moi?


48. "Adoption" by Joey LaBeija


47. "Honeypie" by Johnny Utah?


46. "Enjoy Your Life" by MARINA


45. "boys r dumb! duh!" by Silver Sphere


44. "Chattanooga" by Briston Maroney?


43. "BB" by Shy Girl


42. "Song 32" by Noname


41. "House Vs. House" by Blanck Mass?


40. "Bag" by Lil' Kim?


39. "Mine Right Now" by Sigrid


38. "NYC Baby" by Maluca


37. "ME" by Kitten


36. "Evening Prayer aka Justice" by Ezra Furman


35. "Worthy" by Palehound


34. "Eternal" by Holly Herndon?


33. "Only Child" by Tierra Whack?


32. "Young Enough" by Charly Bliss?


31. "Air On Line" by Anamanaguchi


30. "Money Diamonds Roses" by Lolo Zouai?


29. "Work It - Soulwax Remix" by Marie Davidson


28. "Tia Tamera" by Doja Cat feat. Rico Nasty


27. "Do Me" by Kim Petras


26. "Suge" by DaBaby?


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Only Poppy could make the lyrics, "Bury me six feet deep/ Cover me in concrete, please/ Turn me into a street," sound positively sweet and anthemic — like something a group of teens could sing together, swaying in unison. But when the world is rapidly burning and being blanketed by capitalism and greed, why not twist our impending doom into a hopeful plea? On "Concrete," the mysterious YouTube sensation-turned-pop star juxtaposes these happy melodies against furious metal guitars and demonic shrills that sludge with the weight of a wrecking ball. Poppy might always be blank-faced, but this single reveals something darker churning beneath the surface of her avatar-like persona. — Justin Moran


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It can't be easy to be Miley Cyrus' baby sister or Billy Ray's daughter, the heir to a country-pop throne with everything to prove. Lucky for Noah Cyrus, the 19-year-old's got talent and a personality. Using these assets, Noah made one of the saddest, sweetest songs of the year with "July" — one I returned to again and again just to feel the line: "'Cause you remind me every day/ I'm not enough/ But I still stay," kick me in the chest. The line's so simple, it's almost bland. But not the way Noah sings it (she has the family voice: sweet, husky, penetrating), with fury and longing cracking the surface of sadness. A hard swerve for the middle-fingers-up Instagram cool girl, whose dipped her toes into all manner of radio-friendly sounds, "July" is a classic country road song, except the traveler can't get out the door. When Noah begs for rejection because she can't leave a bad relationship on her own, the painful story and self-awareness it took to tell it will make you see the young celebrity differently, and wonder what else she's capable of. — Jael Goldfine


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Thank god Justin Bieber rejected this song. Tyler, The Creator's "EARFQUAKE" is perhaps the best song to sum up the artist's '80s-sounding lovesick "don't leave it's my fault" woozy synth masterwork IGOR. The song is emotional maturity you can dance to and proves that Tyler is getting older, but not old. With chant-like lyrics, "I don't want want no confrontation/ You don't want my conversation," juxtaposed against an unfortunate shout out to Woah Vicky, for which Playboi Carti is responsible not Tyler, "EARFQUAKE" is proof that Tyler knows what love is (or was). It has the same cascading rhythm as a drunk voicemail from your ex sent two days into the breakup — and whoever broke this man's heart: fuck you and thank you. It broke all the way to the top of the charts. — Taylor Roberts


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Taylor Swift's written about loving bad boys before. She acknowledges this on "Cruel Summer:" a story about desperate, reckless romance so archetypal, the "angels roll their eyes." But thanks to Jack Antonoff and St. Vincent, who engineered the song's shimmering, frantic pulse, the stakes have never sounded so high. The song (rumored to be about summer '16, when Swift was "cancelled," then met Joe Alwyn while still entangled with Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston) takes place in a lawless "breakable heaven" of a love that Swift sings about like it's war. She captures all the pleasure and pain of bad-idea relationships when she howls, "I love you/ ain't that the worst thing you ever heard?" However, the song is far more about pleasure than pain (of course: she and Alwyn ended up together). "Cruel Summer" sounds like the pop star twirling around with a coy smile on her face and a dramatic hand to her brow. Swiftian cinema at its finest. — Jael Goldfine


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One of the undoubtedly best albums of the year — hell, the past five years, let's be real — and of Lana Del Rey's career, will of course be remembered for the fact that "Venice Bitch," "Mariners Apartment Complex," and "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing..." all exist on the same project. But remember when Lana drove around the Pacific Coast Highway and posted grainy late-night clips from her car while blasting this psychedelic, synth-driven jam session about loving a prescription pill addict? The blown-out sound spawned plenty of "where's the album sis" memes, building anticipation for something other than Norman Fucking Rockwell's hazier cousins — something equal parts Laurel Canyon Neil Young-referencing and Born to Die hood Lolita outlier. A "Cinnamon Girl" is the chaotic queen who can do both: walk on the wild side and gaze longingly into a Joshua Tree sunrise, not unlike the multitudinous Lana herself. — Michael Love Michael


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When Normani dropped "Motivation," it felt like the internet paused for a second. Everything, everywhere, was suddenly about her — and it felt so right. For her solo debut, Normani settled on pure pop bliss supplemented by glittering Y2K pop star aesthetics. While the song brings something inexplicably bubbly to the decade-end pop landscape, "Motivation" was almost destined to be a hit before its release. From the extensive mythology around Fifth Harmony's split to the four seconds-long clp Normani teased prior to the track's drop, it was always going to be received well in the end, but now, it will go down in history. — Brendan Wetmore


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Slayyyter's run of singles this year leading up to her debut self-titled mixtape steadily built both her audience and distinct recognition of her made-online sound. But it's "Cha-Ching" that gives listeners something completely new to chew on. An admitted student/stan of pop starlets like Britney Spears and masters of pop songwriting like Taylor Swift, Slayyyter fits countless bratty, but undeniably clever phrases ("Get my cell phone and call Naomi") into a song that disavows the pretenses of wannabes, VIP bottle service, and Insta-fame. In a world where Slayyyter as a project and a pop star feels increasingly like an avatar, "Cha-Ching" is almost startlingly real. — Michael Love Michael


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A frenetic vocal sample hails the coming of Bree Runway's "2ON," the lead single from the British artist's debut EP, Be Runway. As if that's not enough chaotic energy — it isn't — the beat explodes into double-time club beats that could only suit a woman as aware of her ferocity as Bree. She knows it's too much ("Super trilly but you know I'm 2ON/ Ya girlfriend, she don't like me/ But she fuck with my sooooong"), but as a dark-skinned Black woman deftly navigating mainstream pop's avant-garde edges of dancehall, house and fashion, why would she ever tone it down? Why should she? Michael Love Michael


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Listening to "Daddi" is like watching a horror movie scene, where you'd do anything to make the people on-screen turn back. Clem Creevy's hypnotic incantation over an arpeggiated guitar riff conjures a terrible image of female subservience: "Where should I go daddy?/ What should I say?/ Where should I go?/ Is it okay with you?/ Who should I fuck daddy? Is it you?" It makes you want to pull your earbuds out. Why keep them in? Because her madwoman's lament is as terrifying as the reality of gendered abjection. The song isn't just performance art, but a scathing feminist satire, which recalls the female rock tradition of performed self-abasement utilized by Blondie and the riot grrrls before her. When Creevy wakes from the nightmare, protesting over a wall of noise ("Don't hold my hand/ Don't be my man"), you feel the power of her refusal in your bones. Jael Goldfine


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There's only one man in the world who can convey the lovelorn comedown of a post-club night out and the adrenaline-fueled blues of reconnecting with a former fling: Mark Ronson. No stranger to hit-making, Ronson set out to make modern love come to some retro life on his newest album, Late Night Feelings. The title track accomplishes this mission, and then some; Lykke Li sighs out the second verse with as much fervor as someone with a broken heart can muster, "Write you erotic, and I know you wait/ Before you answer just to make me go insane." It's a tale as new as the ghosting age, brought to life by the lustful instrumentation of a disco gone wild. Brendan Wetmore


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The standout single off Caroline Polachek's debut solo album Pang, "Ocean of Tears" is piercing. Like a siren call echoing across fog-covered waters, it's melancholic, chilling, and oh so alluring. Crashing in a series of pummeling waves, "Ocean of Tears" is sweepingly beautiful in a haunting way, much like the ocean she sings about. Opening with the line "This is gonna be torture/ Before it's sublime," feelings of yearning and unrequited love spill out from Polachek. She collaborated with PC Music producers Danny L Harle and A. G. Cook to deliver powerful pipes pushed to ear-splitting extremes as gauzy synths and blown-out bass hits churn things up below. — Matt Moen


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Immunity's closing track is about a period when Claire Cottril's rheumatoid arthritis was so debilitating, that her boyfriend had to carry her up and down stairs, and drive her to class. To express the helplessness she felt, she has a children's choir sings the central refrain: "I wouldn't ask you, to take care of me." The 7-minute track is the most complex and ambitious song the 21-year-old's ever made, broken into two chapters. The first three minutes are a testimony of shame, self-loathing, feeling corrupted and untouchable, mumbled over glowing piano plunks. When the song shifts to honeyed R&B, it morphs into Claire's fantasy of what could be if she weren't sick, voice-pitched to codify a disconnect to reality: "Be your tinkerbell bitch/ you can make me your queen." It's a unique way to make a song about a hyper-specific scenario. But Cottrill's words belong to anyone who's found themselves in the unfathomable position of being both broken and loved. Jael Goldfine


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Who would have thought that ska would be relevant again in 2019? Yet, here we are. On paper there is nothing about "Stupid Horse" that should work: pop punk-ish vocals, shitposty lyrics and an over-caffeinated ska riff that tumbles into an anthemic festival trap chorus. The song's main refrain, "Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche/ Lost the money in my bank account," sounds like it was written by a neural network and inserted between auto-tuned "Woos." But somehow 100 gecs pulls it off, and deftly at that. There is an inexplicable feeling of wanting to dive head first into a mosh pit and then pour a Monster energy drink in your bowl of Lucky Charms. Dylan Brady and Laura Les' brand of TikTok-core post-pop is the most left-field thing we heard this year, and probably the best indication of where music is headed in the next decade. — Matt Moen


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After a dembow and reggaetón-steeped collab with Colombian superstar J. Balvin early in 2019, months later, Rosalía dropped "Aute Cuture," a trumpet-laced, pop-minded track that, while borrowing from urbano, was also something of a return, subtly reincorporating the translations of flamenco that originally captivated listeners on her conceptual 2018 debut, El Mal Querer. Making empowerment of ostentatious metrics of success, lyrically "Aute Cuture" attributes strength to over-the-top, gifted designer fits and meticulously crafted nails that double as weapons — metaphorically and, if necessary, we imagine, also literally. While her cultural borrowing has raised conversations of appropriation, it's hard to deny Rosalía brings a unique voice and distinct blend to her music. As much as "Aute Cuture" culls, however, the track is undeniably distinctive; in today's pop crop, it's a singular sound. — Jhoni Jackson


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At first glance, "Bad Guy" is a sexy pop song about being naughty: tip-toeing around, seducing dads, making girlfriends sad, getting bruises on your knees. Stuff Britney Spears would have sung about over abrasive robotic beats in the aughts or Lana Del Rey, amidst mournful strings during the 2010s. When it dropped, nobody knew what was going on. Why is this homeschooled 17-year-old who dresses like a lacrosse player and lives at home moaning about making mommas sad? Tweets like "billie eilish singing about 'I'm the might seduce your dad type' girl shut up lmao take your ass to AP Gov" went viral. Some decided we were overdue for a moral panic about teenage girls' sexuality. However, Eilish, who loves to see people squirm, was baiting us. When you stop filtering her through an outdated mold, it's easy to hear Eilish mocking the entire enterprise of trying to seem cool. Particularly, men: in the video, we got to watch Eilish degrade and humiliate a buffet of large, important-looking dudes. Hearing Eilish flick male ego off her sleeve like lint — as she did with an industry that no doubt told her her ASMR whisper-pop wouldn't sell — just felt right. — Jael Goldfine


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The opener off MUNA's sophomore album, Saves the World, "Number One Fan" was instantly iconic. A song about silencing your own inner saboteur and learning to stan yourself, "Number One Fan" is fun, flirty and effortlessly badass. As far as 2019 summer anthems go, "Number One Fan" is the kid skipping class to go smoke cigarettes in the teachers parking lot. If John Hughes was making movies today, "Number One Fan" would definitely be the song that plays while the protagonist sings into a hairbrush, giddily jumping up and down on their bed. — Matt Moen


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Lizzo has accomplished plenty over the past 12 months, but I'll bet dropping a track with her idol and label mate Missy Elliott felt even better than all those number ones. Featuring a purring verse from the veteran rapper, "Tempo" is a sexy throwback to the hip-hop club banger golden age that bumps up nicely against the aughts nostalgia instilled by Hustlers (which Lizzo memorably cameoed in) and Elliott's MTV Video Vanguard Award. Capping off a year of unlikely chart triumphs, the union of these two talented musical weirdos was as heartwarming as it was catchy. — Katherine Gillespie


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Jhené Aiko's sultry threat in the first verse of Saweetie's "My Type" remix is just as sex-slicked as the original: "You ain't never had a bitch from Slauson," she says. Taking the already promiscuous anthem to new lustful heights, Aiko and the City Girls' Yung Miami join Saweetie on the summer club anthem for more than a few lines about ass pops and dick riding. Together, the three make their type especially clear: if you're not packing eight inches or more, you might as well fall back. Don't embarrass yourself, and leave the real hitmaking to the dolls. — Brendan Wetmore


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Leave it to Dorian Electra to queer Christianity and make it absolutely bang. Flipping the historically homophobic phrase on its head and rewriting the classic creation story into one that's more inclusive, "Adam & Steve" eschews original themes of temptation and sin into a pop epic of unconditional love and acceptance. Vacillating between angelic verses and demonic snarls, Electra's performance on the song is one of their most dynamic to date. If Dorian's fanbase is The Holy Church of Electra, "Adam & Steve" is their gospel. — Matt Moen


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The opening of "Cash Shit" is enough of a warning for other artists to delay their release dates until Megan Thee Stallion's hits finally cool off the charts: "Real hot girl shit/ Yeah, I'm in my bag, but I'm in his too." The earsplitting kicks that creep up in the chorus, combined with the glitching effects in the background of her verses, are thunderous reminders of her newfound power in the music industry. She growls through each line, taking no time with each bump and grind to dwell on any single rhyme, all while inviting other self-proclaimed "Hot Girls" to join in on the fun. And if you don't throw it back to DaBaby's verse like your TikTok following depends on it, you're not doing it right. — Brendan Wetmore


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The culmination of experimentation made in pop alongside producer A. G. Cook, "Gone" rests atop the tracklist of Charli XCX's new album as its crown jewel. Full of glossy synths, deep bouncy bass stabs and titanic drums, the Christine and the Queens duet is grounded in familiar pop structures but ups the intensity tenfold. The emotional swells feel more cathartic than ever; each verse is intricately detailed with vocal quirks and ad libs, and all of it ends with a dance break that sounds like the song is being disassembled by a line of glitchy robots. As shown by the shibari-themed video, Charli and Christine have undeniable chemistry. They effortlessly weave in and out of each other as they trade lyrics about social anxiety and loneliness. The line "I feel so unstable/ fucking hate these people" alone feels like the perfect rally cry for an exhausted, digitally isolated generation. There is no doubt that pop historians and future devotees of the genre will talk about how perfect "Gone" is for years to come. Matt Moen


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Rosalía and J Balvin have established ravenous fanbases for their respective takes on global music (Rosalía's fusion of pop and hip-hop into Catalan flamenco and Balvin's melodic take on reggaeton), but 2019's "Con Altura" joins their powers in a song that's literally about altitude. The uber-catchy, crossover banger features intertwined verses from the two, and dives into a fantasy about lifestyles of the rich and famous. For as high as these two fly, they still remain grounded. Rosalía sings about flowers and carats before things turn dark: "Y si es mentira que me maten," meaning, "They can kill me if I'm lying." They do this for their people. The duet is also the first to chart globally for both stars, which only emphasizes their staying power, and puts them in great spots to dominate 2020. Michael Love Michael


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"I got the horses in the back," followed by a thunderous drum kit, is music's most defining moment in 2019. For being so brief, earwormy and almost satirical, it's had an incredible impact. The lasting legacy of Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" can't be measured from behind a screen, even if that's how it all began. The track is the first song to really go viral on TikTok, but it's also had a massive cultural effect on the way we view country and trap music, inclusively. The genres, once separated socially and sonically, now exist in a narrative being pioneered entirely by a Black gay man. In an intro video for a ceremony at the 2020 Miss Rodeo America pageant — a competition steeped in traditional western culture — "Old Town Road" was featured prominently and even set the stage for an all-contestant dance routine. The embrace of Lil Nas X's breakout by trap and country music listeners alike is evident, even if the charts were initially hesitant to reflect this truth. Brendan Wetmore


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FKA Twigs wrote one of the best ballads of the decade, full stop. "Cellophane" was the public's musical re-introduction to a singular multi-hyphenate entertainer in her own artistic realm. And MAGDALENE, the album announced by "Cellophane," is a feat all its own. Consider the song's devastating sources: Twigs underwent the dissolution of a very public relationship with Robert Pattinson, then her body failed her, as she had six fibroid tumors removed from her uterus, which affected her ability to move, let alone create. Imagine the challenges this would pose for an artist whose most prominent statements are rooted in graceful, ethereal and athletic movement. Which is why "Cellophane," as a musical statement, is so powerful: "Didn't I do it for you?" Twigs pleas, echoed with mounting intensity against spare piano chords. Twigs has never sounded so vulnerable as a singer, yet so totally in command of her voice. And then, to see an accompanying triumphant visual of Twigs scaling a pole's heights with renewed vigor like a rising phoenix is a win for us all. Michael Love Michael


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With a fanbase and impact as large and as international in scale as BLACKPINK's, it's easy to forget the K-pop foursome made their debut a little more than three years ago. SQUARE ONE, their first singles album released in 2016, only contained two tracks, but they were heavy-hitters: the melodic drum 'n' bass hit "Whistle," which topped the Korean charts, and the razor-sharp dance banger "Boombayah," which earned the group their first Billboard World Digital Songs chart No. 1. The release was a promise of sensational things to come, like the band's history-making 2019 Coachella set, during which they became the first K-pop girl group to perform at the event. Also making history this past year? The girls' record-shattering single "Kill This Love," which became the biggest-ever music video debut on YouTube at the time, earning 56.7 million views in its first 24 hours (and beating out Ariana Grande's iconic "thank u, next" video in the process). It also earned the group a nomination at the MTV Video Music Awards, landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart — as well as the Billboard Digital World Songs chart, where it crowned at No. 1 — and racked up a staggering 253 million streams on Spotify since its April 4 release.

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Beyond the numbers though, BLACKPINK's booming 2019 single is a perfect sonic synthesis of members Jisoo, Jennie, Lisa and Rosé's fiery brand of global girl power, and effortlessly captures what makes them so special — their palpable chemistry and kinetic energy — while simultaneously delivering one of the most addictive hooks of the year. It also packs a message we could all stand to learn from: burn those toxic relationships to the ground and don't look back. (That grody fuckboi who won't return your texts after you hooked up? "Kill this love." That admittedly delicious restaurant chain you found out doesn't offer its employees fair wages or overtime? "Kill this love." That charismatic political candidate you were going to vote for 'til you found out they blocked pro-clean energy legislature in the past? "KILL THIS LOVE!")

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The song is also an explosive culmination of the musical styles that ruled the last decade, incorporating the maximalist, neon-hued electro-pop of the early 2010s; the skittering trap beats and slick rap verses of the latter part of the decade; a swaggering vocal delivery that commands attention; and the kind of big, floor-shaking beat drops that have flooded clubs in recent years. It's an air horn blast of a pop track: unapologetically loud and impossible to ignore. Even its music video is an unrelenting onslaught of audio-visual stimulation, clobbering viewers with glossy digital effects (like a giant bear trap that, at one point, threatens to snap around the girls as they dance), eye-popping fashion and mesmerizing whiplash choreography. That thunderous horn that kicks off the track isn't just an intro — it's a warning. "BLACKPINK in your area," indeed, and we hope they stay awhile. — Erica Russell


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To stream all 50 songs on Spotify, click here.

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As chosen by Justin Moran, Michael Love Michael, Jael Goldfine, Matt Moen, and Brendan Wetmore.

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Tue, 17 Dec 2019 21:28:50 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/paper-top-50-songs-2019-2641607112.htmlMarinaTaylor swiftMegan thee stallionPoppyNew musicJ balvinSigridKim petrasShy girlJoey labeijaNonameTierra whackEzra furmanPalehoundCharly blissPatPatrick belagaBlank massToro y moiAnamanaguchiMarie davidsonMalucaLolo zouaiLil' kimHolly herndonKittenDoja catRico nastyBriston maroneySilver sphereJohnny utahDababyNoah cyrusBilly ray cyrusLil nas xTyler the creatorLana del reyNormaniDorian electraSlayyyterBree runwayCherry glazerrMark ronsonLykke liCaroline polachekClairo100 gecsDylan bradyLaura lesRosaliaBillie eilishMunaLizzoMissy elliottSaweetieCity girlsJhene aikoCharli xcxChristine and the queensFka twigsBlackpinkMusicPaper Magazine
Break the Internet: Pete Davidsonhttp://www.qladfj.tw/break-the-internet-pete-davidson-2641400317.html

Before meeting Pete for the first time, I had low expectations that we'd get along. I knew nothing substantial about him, only what I'd heard through others and tidbits from the press, which is to say I'd only heard gossip. I'm six years sober and I was pretty certain he partied — and partied hard. And straight guys tend to put me on edge; I never feel comfortable or safe enough to be myself around most of them. But a close friend I was crashing with in New York had met him at a party a few days before, and they were hanging out when I landed in the city.

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It was the beginning of summer. As the elevator doors opened onto our now-mutual friend's Soho loft, I heard this crazy, guttural laugh and there he was, in all his Pete glory: basketball shorts, tattoos, baseball cap, smoking a blunt with a Colgate Wisp hanging out of his mouth like an early-aughts toothpick. "Hey man!" he said, before I could even put my bag down. I immediately felt drawn to him in this way that I've stopped trying to even make sense of. In a way that had nothing to do with his "BDE" [Big Dick Energy] (or maybe everything to do with it?). It was clear that I'd judged him too soon. We chilled that night, and I felt like I'd known him my whole life, or in past lives, like we were kindred and destined to be friends. Maybe it's because he reminds me of my older brother, even if he is two years younger than me; maybe it's because he stood up to shake my hand hello and sincerely made me feel welcome; maybe it's because he has this ability to laugh so goofily that you're immediately disarmed and can't help laughing with him.

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I think, in the end though, if I had to sum it up in one word it'd have to be heart: a massive — perhaps wounded — eagerly available heart inside the body of a boy I would've expected to beat me up in high school. A heart that will text you out of the blue, from 10,000 miles away, to say, "I'm here for you always, just want you to know, I love you!" A heart that isn't afraid to show love to anybody around him or of seeming "gay" for doing it. A heart that has changed my perspective and opened my eyes to a world of funny and what it means to truly be a friend — to be there for someone else without judgment, no questions asked.

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We'd spent the summer getting close; he even came to WorldPride with me. In a car, on our way to set for his new movie with Judd Apatow, we brainstormed ideas for our upcoming shoot together. I threw out a Ken Doll concept. It seemed right since tabloids manipulate people in that way, him especially. He was down with the idea, but challenged me to go darker, something that leaned into his struggle with depression, which he has been admirably public about. He'd told me he slept in a car bed as a kid and I saw it immediately: this Staten Island Ken Doll version of Pete stuck in a Barbie nightmare, pills everywhere. "You'd be like depressed Ken," I said.

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Related | Break the Internet: Kim Kardashian

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"Yeah! And dickless, like, with Ken-dick," he said, and the whole car exploded with laughter. And actress/model/artist Julia Fox was the perfect outer-borough Barbie to Pete's Ken. A star on the rise in her own right, she's currently starring in the Safdie brothers' new film, Uncut Gems, produced by one of Pete's good friends, Sebastian Bear-McClard.

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A few weeks after we shot the cover in Bushwick, Pete and I met up in LA on the set of The Real Bros of Simi Valley — he was shooting a cameo — for a wide-ranging conversation, touching on his relationships, Leonardo DiCaprio, gay rights and where he sees himself in 10 years.

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Are you ever in Staten Island when you're not working?

I'm always in Staten Island, since I built this little fortress in my mom's basement. Pretty much all the homies just come over, we smoke a bunch of weed and micro-dose [mushrooms] and we watch movies.

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That sounds like a dream...

Yeah! We don't really go out much, and I made my basement kinda like Vegas, where there's different lights, so you can't tell what time it is ever... Also I pump it full of oxygen — we have a thing that sucks the smoke out.

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And your mom and her Peloton?

Yeah. My mom Peloton bikes every night... and it really sounds like she's getting banged out...

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Haha moving on. So let's talk about comedy. Compared to when you were first starting out in comedy, the world seems like a more hyper-sensitive place where you can't say anything without somebody being offended. What does that feel like as a comic?

It makes doing college [shows] really hard. I refuse to do a college after this year 'cause it's like, you're just setting yourself up for trouble... Comedy is just, like, getting destroyed. Standup's about to be about, like, sneakers. Like, "Hey, everyone like sneakers?" You can't talk about anything. You can't. The second you open your mouth and have an opinion, you lose money today. And I don't think that's a safe place to live in.

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Creatively, it seems like it would stunt you.

It's the worst! It's why I got rid of the Internet.

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Talk to me about that. First of all, I'm jealous. Because it's a terrible place most of the time.

I got rid of the Internet because I can't be on it. And anytime I would go on, I would just see horrible things written about me all the time... I would look though the search tab on Instagram and I'm a meme! I'm multiple MEMES. I'm punchlines or set-ups to jokes, so social media's a little different for me. I had to get rid of it. Also, dude, it's like, anytime you put something on the Internet, or type it out, it could be interpreted so many different ways. When you see the person saying it, there's no mistaking it at all, so I'm just saving everything for standup, and for, you know, shit like that.

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I feel like there's power in putting that shit in your own art, and not just letting it seep out, through these weird, subliminal Instagram stories or tweets.

Yeah. Like I'm not the star of Gossip Girl,you know —

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But I wish you WERE…

Oh, me too.

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Related | Break the Internet: Minaj à Trois

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With a headband.

Every time you post something like that, you're being such a tool, you know? I think the generation after [ours] is missing self-awareness... Like, knowing you suck is really important. [Laughs]

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Someone was telling me recently that there's this doctor in LA that gives you an Instagram filter face — that's literally what they do all day long to people.

That's insane. That's so sad.

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They use Facetune in the room to show you what you're gonna look like. Isn't that crazy?

Wow — I bet that guy's ballin'...

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BAALL-INNN'

Bawlin'.

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Like the girls move to LA and no more than 10 hours later, they've picked out the cat filter on Instagram to have on their face.

That's crazy.

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Moving on from that! Do you say shit that you regret in your sets? And how do you deal with that?

Yeah, look, when I'm doing standup and stuff, nothing I ever say is coming from a hateful place. And you can't know what's funny until you try it, you know? But anything I've ever said on stage or made a joke about, I don't regret it. I mean, some jokes I'm like, "Welp, that joke sucked." You know? But I'm never like, "Aw fuck!" 'Cause there are times I try things that I think are ridiculous and they work. And that's what sucks about political correctness in comedy, I think that you need freedom.

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What has living in the public eye over the past few years taught you about how to protect your private life?

This last year I've definitely learned a lot. Like, not to believe 95 percent of it, and I learned kinda how to hide in plain sight. But I've also learned that you could avoid a lot of stuff...

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How so?

Like, you learn how to move through places and how to spot people. You'll be like, "Oh. This is not a good idea." You know? I can still go to the movies, but we have to either get there first or we show up as it starts. So, it's just how you go about it and your overall demeanor.

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We talk a lot about the male gaze on females, but you're a guy that's been subjected to the female gaze in a similar way, if that makes sense.

What do you mean?

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Like you're this sexual icon for people.

OH!! Well, that's what people said...

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And sexualized intensely. You're the reason BDE exists.

Yeah. I think it's very... weird. I don't really pay attention to it. But I do know that [the gaze] is either, "Ye-YESSS!" or "FUCK NO!" There's no happy medium with me, which I think is really fun. It's either like, "Oh, that guy's awesome," or it's like, "I hope that guy fucking falls off of a cliff." But it's sad and it sucks. When enough people call you ugly, it definitely gets to you. For me, personally, I can't block that stuff out. That's why I had to get rid of the Internet and stuff. But you definitely have to get to a place where you're just like, "This is how I look. Alright." You know?

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But I think there's also the opposite of that, right? There are a lot of people who are like, "He's the hottest person in the world."

Right. Those people are crazy. It's all very weird. You lose either way. However you respond to that question, you lose.

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Yea, I was talking to a musician friend, talking about how teenage girls message her about masturbating to her music and how uncomfortable it feels to be their sexual awakening…

Yeah! Well, I used to jerk off to Leonardo DiCaprio... Uhh, like his acting.

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I mean, THAT'S amazing…

Yeah. I used to have a HUGE crush on Leonardo DiCaprio. I had this huge poster of him from The Beach in my room, and there used to be, like, "Leo love books"... Do you remember? Like, right when Titanic came out [when I was] in like third or fourth grade, he was just like, "teen milk." There were love books and I had all of them. He was the coolest.

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Related | Break the Internet: Amanda, Please

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Have you met Leo now?

I've met him twice and I've just shaken hands and run away fast, like —

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You can't even process…

Yeah, it's too much.

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Well, when you're in a real-life relationship, what's your love language? Like, some people's love language is verbal, some people's love language is through buying things for other people, and some people's love language is physical…

I do all that shit! My love language, when I'm in a relationship, is I treat the person I'm with like a princess. I try and go as above and beyond as possible, because that's what you're supposed to do? If you're in a relationship with someone, you're just supposed to make that person feel as special as possible. But sometimes when you put so much on someone, it overwhelms them, and then they don't know if they could come close to that.

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Or if they deserve that...

Or if they can keep up with it. So, it's very off-putting to some. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, and then it sometimes makes me feel bad about myself because I'm like, "I did all this stuff and..."

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They didn't fucking care.

You didn't care at all! But you can't do that. I have learned that anything you do, it just has to be 'cause you wanna do it.

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No expectations.

No expectations. Otherwise you're gonna be resentful. It's something I had to learn in a past relationship, which sucked to learn through that person, but it makes you better. I used to get really upset that this person didn't "match" my intensity or how much I show by actions, you know? I'm not really good at accepting just words, 'cause people could say shit all the time. And this person was very word-heavy, so because of how insane I am, and how untrustworthy and scared I am, I couldn't only take that... So, I had to learn that you just have to do stuff 'cause you want to do it.

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What else have you learned in past relationships?

That it's nobody's business. I think when you first get in a relationship and you're on television, you don't realize that when you post a photo of you and your girlfriend, you're pretty much announcing to the world your relationship. I didn't know that because I know couples that are together that I followed that, you know, are my homies that work at Best Buy, and when they post each other's picture all the time and there are no articles written about it or they're not followed around, you forget that you have to approach it differently, which is really difficult for both [people in the relationship], because the second [the public] knows you're together, it's already against you. You're losing. Because now they know you're together, if you're not [seen together], they know something went wrong. As opposed to like... people date. People date and are friends.

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Yeah. And, like, people go on a couple dates and it doesn't mean they're together! On a celebrity level, but also like a high school level — it's in our human condition to want to know…

Who you fuck?

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Who is fucking who, and why and how.

So now I'm just as private as possible. I'm as discrete as can be. I know now not to do PDA. I'm a very PDA [person], though. I'm a lovey person. I love licking faces.


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That's cool. Speaking of faces, wanna drop the skin regimen?

Well [exhales], my skin's insanely bad because I have Crohn's, so I have like no immune system. So, I get cystic acne and I have to take extra-special care of my skin so it can still look shitty. But now I'm on Accutane, so I've been told I'm gonna be a little bit of a BITCH for the next six months.

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Yep. Been there. Accutane made me like mad anxious and depressed and like… fully psycho. But not for a long time.

Yeah. Yeah.

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Related | Break the Internet: BTS

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And if you know about it, then you're fine.

Yeah, you're like, "Oh! It's the Accutane!"

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That's why I'm cranky!

So... right now, it's just like, maintaining... the shit.

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Maintaining the shit. Well, honestly, your skin does look poppin'.

Thank you.

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You were talking about how in a relationship you show your love on every level, and I see that with you and your friends, too. In the short amount of time I've been friends with you, I have witnessed your generosity, your love, your support of all of those around you. You're an ally to people. And you have so many gay friends. What does being a good ally mean to you, and what does it mean when someone is being a good ally for you, and what does it mean when someone's showing up and being supportive?

Well, nothing's cooler to me than seeing my friends crush it. I also have the most talented friends ever. And I think my friends are a good reflection of me... anybody that I fuck with is sweet and morally sound, you know? I find it super weird that it's weird that a straight dude has gay friends... like, some straight dudes do have gay friends, but like they make like a big show of it as opposed to them genuinely being a friend...

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Just like how some pop stars use gay people.

Yeah. I really feel like I have to be careful when I'm saying this, but I do feel like a lot of women in entertainment use gay men as props.

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Sure. I mean, I've been that for them. I feel like I've been that for a pop star's entertainment.

Right! If you really listen to any of the songs that they're doing, or any of the things that they're doing, it's to promote them[selves]. It's rarely for the LGBT community. It's to make them look good. Like, how cool they are that they're hanging out with gay people.

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Being on the other side of that, as it pertains to our friendship, you've made me less scared of straight men. 'Cause I feel like I grew up in this world with older brothers who were sometimes really mean to me as a kid — now we're really tight — but their friends in high school fucking sucked. They were all fratty, douchey straight guys and I wrote off having any meaningful relationship with a straight dude because of that, and I feel like because of the way that you approach things, the way you think about things, you genuinely treat everyone equally, unless, like, they've maybe wronged you in some way.

Yeah, for the most part, I'm pretty accepting with everybody, unless they hurt me or my friends. And, even if then, I might be able to get past that.

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What are you excited about right now?

I'm really excited for many things... to do the special!

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It's your first big special?

It's my first real special, or I consider it my first real special, 'cause I did a special on Comedy Central when I was, like, 22.

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Whoa.

And it was rushed. So, this is the first time I was able to put thought into it and effort into it, and I'm really excited about that. [I'm also excited about] this Staten Island movie with Judd [Apatow] that has all my friends in it, and this indie movie, Big Time Adolescence, with Jason [Orley], also has all my friends in it. Then we're shooting this movie in Miami in the summer, and you're in it — all the homies are in it. So, it's just a lot of friend-centric things right now... Everybody is working together and everything's really nice.

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What goes into preparing for a special and what's different from when you were 22 and preparing for your first one?

Well, now I just feel like I have more to say. I feel like I have experiences.When you're 22 — not that it was that long ago, but it's a very different, significant change — all my jokes were very immature, high school, pot,"sMoKinG wEEd" [jokes], you know? Just nothing with substance. Now I still have that stuff in there, but I feel like I'm talking about stuff that's kinda more adult? Or mature?

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You have life experience that supports your comedy.

I have stuff I'm excited to talk about, rather than jokes I'm just telling.

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Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully behind the camera.

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You wanna direct?

Yeah, I wanna write stuff and direct and, like, honestly, just have a family.

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You wanna be a dad?

I would love to be a dad, 'cause I feel like it's the one [thing] that would keep me here... everybody that I talk to that's had a kid and who used to be depressed says it just alters this part of your brain... And also, not that I didn't have [a dad], but I didn't really get to grow up with one, so I would like to do that for someone. Does that make sense?

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Do you feel like you grew up quicker because of your father's passing?

Definitely. I say this all the time, but you're not supposed to learn what death is until you're in high school and that weird kid that you don't know, like, falls asleep in the car in the garage with the exhaust on or one kid ODs — that's when you're first supposed to be shocked with death and learn about it. You're not supposed to learn when you're SEVEN... That's just way too young. So I don't necessarily think I was like "man of the house" per se, but I definitely, mentally, learned a lot quicker than others... It's another reason why I'm so affectionate, I think, because people like to be coddled or... taken care of. It's nice to know that you're safe, you know?

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Do you feel like getting into comedy at such an early age helped you process the death of your father?

Absolutely. I wasn't well liked in school growing up because I was weird because I was coping — dealing with personal stuff. So, I was acting out in school, and I was made fun of a bunch. So that's why I started doing standup, because people had to listen to me. I always enjoyed comedy, but I also wanted to do it because I felt like it could get a lot off my chest. It's the best form of therapy possible.

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You've been so open about stuff that you're dealing with, like mental health issues. How are you feeling today with that and continuing to navigate that journey? What advice and thoughts do you want to share with younger readers who might be going through similar experiences?

I think if you're able to be open, it's really good. It's reassuring when you hear someone that you admire talk about [topics like that] publicly, because it's an embarrassing thing sometimes. Crohn's is an embarrassing disease to have so it's not fun to talk about, but there are people out there that have it.

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Do you think you'll ever leave New York? I know we joke that you'll move to Colorado, but it seems like Staten Island and New York are so ingrained in you.

If it was for the right reasons, yeah, [I'd move]. But I get depressed out in LA, if I'm out there for more than a week. And I just love New York. It's just a different vibe. I love Staten Island. I love the person it made me. It really taught me what not to be. I love living there. I don't think anybody there is dumb or anything like that, it's just there were certain morals that I grew up around that I questioned, and it made me go do standup and go to Manhattan and meet other people. Because of that, I'm the first person in my family to have gay friends.

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Ha. You know, most people would be like, "I'm the first person in my family to go to college…"

Yea-yea-yea-yea-yea-yeah! So now like my whole family loves gay people. They know not to be afraid. It's just because they were raised so, like, Catholic and old-school...

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Yeah...

But, you know, Antoni came over to my house for Thanksgiving last year, and my aunts, they always say something a little off, but it's from a good place.

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Yeah.

They'll be like, [Staten Island lady voice] "Yer so handsome, are you sure yer gay?"

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That's hilarious. I met your sister, she's such a sweet angel.

Yeah, I'm really lucky. I got lucky that I didn't end up with a thotty sister.

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She just seems so smart and grounded and adult. Can she come run my life?

Well, yeah, she had to grow up even faster than I did, 'cause she had to deal with all my horseshit, usually... so she is the complete opposite of me. She had a 98 [Grade Point] average, studied, played D-1 basketball, scored a thousand points in high school... she's fucking coooool, has cool friends, was invited to parties. So, I'm super proud of her, and we don't have much in common, but that's why I'm so proud of her — 'cause none of the bad things that I do, she does. Like, she's a nurse. She runs a shift. She's a boss.

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That's awesome. What are your favorite Staten Island spots?

You gotta go Campania, which is an Italian restaurant. Nucci's, which is an Italian restaurant, and then, Denino's, which is an Italian restaurant. Ummm, we also have a Moe's Southwest...

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I FUCKING LOVE MOE'S! I grew up on Moe's!

When I'm in Moe's, I feel safe.

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What super-famous comedian have you never found funny?

I hate David Spade, but I find him funny.

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He's gross, but he is funny.

Yeah. Can I just say that? David Spade is a disgusting human being, but he is funny... If you're 17 and up, there's a chance David Spade has DMed you. Can you write that?

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Do you wanna talk about Ariana?

I don't ever make public statements about relationships 'cause I just don't think it's right, you know? I usually express how I feel about anything through work. So, I hope she's well. I hope she's very happy. And that's pretty much it. And print doesn't usually age well.

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Anything else you wanna talk about? When's your weed company launch?

April 2020 is the goal.

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Alright. Great.

Tight.

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Love you.

Love you, too.

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Click Here to Order Pete Davidson's Break the Internet Issue

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Photography and Creative Direction: Tommy Dorfman
Styling: Chris Horan
Set Design: Lizzie Lang
Hair: Luke Chamberlain
Makeup: Isamaya Ffrench
Nails: Elina Ogawa
Lighting Tech: Megan Leonard
Digitech: Isan Monfort
Photo Assistant: Allison Brooks
Styling Assistant: Lauren Jeworski
Styling Assistant: Sierra Simone




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Thu, 21 Nov 2019 16:57:04 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/break-the-internet-pete-davidson-2641400317.htmlBreak the internetSnlComedyMental healthDepressionUncut gemsSebastian bear-mcclardStaten islandInternetInternet cultureMemesLeonardo dicaprioAriana grandeKaia gerberLgbtqPete davidsonNsfwPhotography and Interview Tommy Dorfman / Styling Chris Horan
Break the Internet: BTShttp://www.qladfj.tw/break-the-internet-bts-2641354203.html

In June 2018, a massive billboard celebrating the fifth anniversary of one of the world's biggest music groups went live in Times Square. Splashed across multiple towering LED screens, videos and images promoting and commemorating the band were broadcast for days, visible to nearly half a million daily passersby in one of the densest and most visited pedestrian areas on the planet and the epicenter for tourism in New York City. But the billboard wasn't purchased by the band's record label, nor was it the corporate product of some multimillion-dollar branded advertising campaign. Rather, the billboard — which, compared to similar NYC ad space, likely cost somewhere between $10K and $30K to run — was funded by a handful of fans intent on showing the world, and the K-pop group featured on its screens, just how much BTS means to them.

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Whether you spotted international headlines about their impassioned 2018 speech at the United Nations (a first for a Korean music act), watched their charming presentation at the 2019 Grammy Awards (also a first for a Korean music act) or stumbled onto the YouTube video for their landmark Saturday Night Live guest performance in April 2019 (another first — getting the picture?), BTS is an omnipresent force. Even if you've never heard a single song from the superstar music group, it's impossible to ignore their ongoing impact on the music zeitgeist — and the overarching increased globalization of pop culture — in the 21st century.

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Over the past half decade, BTS has made veritable history, setting and smashing records across Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, Twitter, Guinness World Records, the Billboard charts and the Gaon charts in Korea. Two highlights include May 2018, when BTS became the first Korean music act to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with their album Love Yourself: Tear, and April 2019, when the video for their RIAA Platinum-certified single "Boy With Luv" (featuring Halsey) broke the YouTube record for most viewed video, most viewed music video and most viewed K-pop music video in 24 hours, thanks to a reported 74.6 million views within a day of its release. And many of their award wins, like their landmark Best Group victory at the 2019 MTV VMAs, have been firsts for a Korean act.

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BTS made their debut in June 2013, just three years following their 2010 formation under Big Hit Entertainment, a Korean entertainment company launched in 2005 by record producer and businessman Bang Si-hyuk (a.k.a. "Hitman" Bang). At the time of the band's official introduction, Big Hit was still a relatively young company — at least compared to South Korea's established and longstanding "Big 3" agencies, SM, YG and JYP, the latter for which Bang cut his teeth as a composer.

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Despite Big Hit's corporate juvenescence, Bang had managed to bottle lightning with the members of BTS: RM, the underground hip-hop star referred to Bang by a friend, as well as the first to join; Suga, the hip-hop producer convinced to join BTS in 2010 after auditioning to become a trainee; J-Hope, the rising dance star who auditioned for another company before being scooped up by Big Hit; Jin, who was famously scouted after being spotted on the street while making his way to university in Seoul; Jungkook, who was recruited by numerous talent agencies but ultimately chose Big Hit after RM impressed him with his skills; V, who serendipitously auditioned on the spot after initially attending a friend's tryout; and Jimin, who was encouraged to audition by his dance instructor.

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Following a vigorous yearslong training period that included dance and vocal lessons (standard for a K-pop group, sometimes along with English language courses and media training), the group spent the early days of their career on the grind. They enthusiastically performed at smaller venues, including a free show at West Hollywood's Troubadour in 2014, as well as mid-lineup at the Korean pop culture festival KCON LA the same year. From the ground up, they cultivated a diverse fanbase through meet-and-greets, savvy social media practices (including charismatic V Live streams) and energetic, high-quality hip-hop-inspired releases (2013's single "2 Cool 4 Skool" and EP O!RUL8,2?) that captured complex issues faced by young people.

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According to the Hyundai Research Institute, Big Hit is currently believed to be valued between $1 and $2 billion (which means it could potentially rank higher than the original "Big 3" agencies in terms of corporate value). BTS themselves reportedly account for an estimated $4.65 billion of Korea's GDP, which includes tourism draws, exported goods and brand campaigns, among other factors. (Even in the West, the group has become highly in-demand for brands, from Mattel to FILA.) But it's no secret that long before they were leading the pack, BTS was the underdog of the ultra-competitive K-pop industry.

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The foundations of the modern multibillion-dollar K-pop industry were first laid in the early to mid-'90s, with pioneering Korean acts like Seo Taiji & Boys and H.O.T. incorporating international music elements (in their case, rap and hip-hop) to cultivate a new musical landscape marked by genre experimentation and diversification. By the early 2000s — thanks partly to its allure to the Korean diaspora, as well as the growing appeal and accessibility of its internationally successful acts — K-pop was firmly established in its power to not only shape music media and culture, but the very economy of Korea itself, lending to Korea's significant "soft power" around the world. (Even the South Korean government has noted that K-pop is one of the country's most lucrative exports, behind goods like vehicles, medical equipment and computer products.)

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Though BTS was initially formed within the framework of a more traditional K-pop idol group, they've arguably transcended their place inside the industry — surpassing talented K-pop peers even during the exciting rise of Hallyu 2.0, or the second Korean Wave that began in the late 2000s. Spurred by the success abroad of K-pop idol groups like Girls' Generation, and driven by technological developments in how media is disseminated across time, space and culture (i.e., social media, YouTube), Hallyu 2.0's Herculean grip on mainstream pop culture has so far proven even more salient than its predecessor, putting K-pop at the forefront of mainstream cultural conversations around the globe.

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But BTS' groundbreaking success has sparked much debate about whether it's even accurate anymore to define them as a by-the-books K-pop act, considering their steady, rarely-before-witnessed ascent to mega-fame as a globally dominant pop music act, period. But it doesn't matter what you label them: At least in the West, their very existence is challenging outdated perceptions about non-white, non-English-speaking music acts. (The label doesn't appear to matter much to BTS, either. As RM raps on their fiery 2018 single, "Idol:" "You can call me artist/ You can call me idol/ No matter what you call me/ I don't care!")

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Each member of BTS is a multifaceted artist in his own right. RM (Kim Nam-joon, 25), an agile rapper and hip-hop prodigy, serves as the group's sagacious de facto leader who, thanks to his English-speaking skills, often acts as a translator for his bandmates when abroad. Thoughtful and fierce, Suga (Min Yoon-gi, 26) is a skilled yet humble record producer and songwriter who has worked on tracks for other K-pop idols like Epik High and Heize, and angel-voiced Jin (Kim Seok-jin, 26), a.k.a. "Mr. Worldwide Handsome," is a sentimental songwriter. Jimin (Park Ji-min, 24) is an elegant dancer and lyricist whose delicate vocal style is chills-inducing; V (Kim Tae-hyung, 23) is a talented actor and deeply soulful vocalist; Jungkook (Jeon Jung-kook, 22), the group's shy yet strong "golden" maknae (youngest member), is well-regarded for his impressive songwriting talent and for making short, insightful documentaries chronicling the group's journey; and playful J-Hope (Jung Ho-seok, 25) boasts explosive rapping and dancing skills, which are on prominent display on 2019's "Chicken Noodle Soup," his multilingual rework of the 2006 hit with Mexican-American pop artist Becky G.

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BTS' appeal is far-reaching: They're objectively talented (see their kinetic choreography, extensive vocal abilities and glossy visuals) and their camaraderie (like when they play pranks on one another in vlogs or comfort each other during interviews and moments of backstage stress) is undeniable. They're also philanthropic, frequently donating their time and money to meaningful causes. (Currently, BTS is an ambassador for UNICEF, where the group advocates against childhood violence. Since its launch in 2017, their UNICEF LOVE MYSELF campaign, which aims to "lend a helping hand to children and teens exposed to violence," has raised more than $2 million in donated funds.)

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And though the group is powerful as a singular force, they also shine in their autonomous endeavors, which include individual mixtapes, songwriting projects and occasional collaborations with other artists, the latter of which have increased in recent years as BTS' popularity spreads and the Western music industry catches up. From Lil Nas X to Fall Out Boy, Nicki Minaj to Charli XCX, BTS members have, either as a group or solo, worked with a diverse assemblage of rap, rock, pop and EDM acts.

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Becky G says she was "honored" to work on "Chicken Noodle Soup" with J-Hope: "I've always said that music is universal, and to be able to merge three beautiful cultures in one song, especially one that both J-Hope and I remember dancing to during our childhood, was so cool. He was so welcoming and absolutely crushed it with every dance scene. Everyone on Twitter said we are kind of the same person, and I definitely felt that when we finally met."

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BTS' wide-scale discography, catchy as it is, is packed with complex lyrics about a multitude of layered topics often considered taboo in traditionally conservative Korean society, from the crushing societal pressures explored in "N.O," an aggressive hip-hop single about South Korea's restrictive education system, to the importance of discussing mental health as heard in "The Last," Suga's solo track about anxiety and depression, released under his Agust D stage name. Originally, the group's titular acronym represented the Korean phrase "Bangtan Sonyeondan" (or "Bulletproof Boy Scouts" in English), a metaphoric nod to their initial mission to protect the youth from society's criticisms. (In 2017, Big Hit announced that for its English translation, "BTS" would thereafter stand for "Beyond The Scene" to coincide with their pursuit to inspire youth to seize their own future.) That unapologetic self-love is a major cornerstone of BTS' widespread message, and just one of the many reasons the septet has inspired Beatlemania levels of devotion. And if BTS is the lightning, their fans are the thunder.

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The booming millions-strong international community of BTS fans is known as the BTS ARMY, an acronym that stands for Adorable Representative MC for Youth. Dedicated to spreading BTS' message (as well as pushing for more representation and visibility for the band), ARMY is one of the most deeply engaged music fandoms — especially on Twitter, where they boast 22.2 million followers as of October 2019 and where they hold the record for most engagement at more than 250,000 retweets per tweet. They're responsible for the thousands of BTS-related hashtags on Twitter on any given day; the countless fansites and accounts chronicling BTS' every activity and accomplishment; the self-funded promotional billboards splashed across cities and subway stations; and the mobilized voting sprees that help propel the group towards social media award wins and other digital victories.

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But perhaps one of BTS' most resonant victories is their incidental yet inherent transformation of the face of global superstardom, and their impact on the increased visibility for artists who are often excluded from white-ethnocentric Western music industry narratives. (On March 1, 2019, BTS famously sold out London's 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium in under 90 minutes for their Love Yourself: Speak Yourself World Tour, becoming the first-ever Asian act to do so.) Sung primarily in Korean, their songs have been embraced in countless non-Korean speaking countries, from the U.S. to Brazil, transcending lingual and cultural boundaries. BTS' future-facing stance, in which they affirm through their lyrics that achieving one's dreams is never out of reach, is deeply self-prophetic for an East Asian music act that has become "the world's most preeminent musical group," according to DJ and producer Steve Aoki.

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"[They've] dented the universe," continues Aoki, whose BTS credits include a remix for their 2017 single "MIC Drop," production on their 2018 track "The Truth Untold" and their 2018 future-bass collaboration "Waste It on Me," which features English language vocals from members RM, Jimin and Jungkook. "There hasn't been a more prolific phenomenon since the Beatles. For us Asians, this is our generation's Bruce Lee — putting Asian faces once again in a powerful image."

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According to BTS, the theory behind their universal appeal to listeners is quite simple: "We think it's the message [behind] our music that we want to share with our fans," the group shares. "Anybody can relate to the message we are trying to deliver, as we try to talk about the feelings shared by our generation. Our music may be breaking down barriers between regions, languages and people."

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PAPER: What's the greatest challenge you've faced as a group, and how did you overcome it?

RM: Seven grown men always staying close together and experiencing work and life at the same time means that we come face to face with numerous contradictions and differences. But I think we overcame that by working on understanding and caring for each other over time.

Suga: Seven men with different values living together was not easy. It was difficult for all of us to focus our thoughts on one single point, but looking back, they are all good memories.

J-Hope: There was a time when we fought each other quite a bit because we all came from different backgrounds and our personalities were so different. But we were able to overcome that after frequently talking to each other and living together for a long time. We now know what each of us are thinking just by looking at each other.

Jimin: Because each member was so different, I think it was hard for everyone to understand each other. But we didn't give up, and now we are a team where each member is irreplaceable.

Jungkook: When something I said or did caused an issue or made people feel disappointed, I realized that I should think twice before I do anything, and not forget where I am, no matter what situation I may be in.

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If you could switch talents with one of your bandmates for 24 hours, who would you choose and why?

RM: I would like to dance like J-Hope just for one day. What would that feel like?

Jin: V's ability to memorize choreography. I want to say to RM, "Have you already forgotten [the moves]?"

Suga: RM — I want to be good at English.

J-Hope: Suga's amazing producing skills!!!

Jimin: J-Hope's smiley face. Looking at J-Hope, I think his smiley face is really adorable.

V: I want to borrow RM's brain and make a whole bunch of songs.

Jungkook: RM. I want to write really nice lyrics and have deeper thoughts.

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Do you ever feel pressured, in the face of global fame, to present yourselves a certain way to the world? What do you do when you feel overwhelmed to be “perfect"?

RM: It would be untruthful if I said there was no pressure. Still, on stage I want to do really well.

Jin: I try to keep myself on the right lane.

Suga: I would not be telling the truth if I said there's no pressure. But what can you do? Pressure is also one part of life.

J-Hope: I can't say we don't. These days, I feel like I live with a sense of mission. Rather than thinking, “It has to be perfect!," I do what I have to do, making sure I remember the really important and fundamental things and trust that the results will follow.

Jimin: All things aside, I always think that I have to show a performance that is at least close to perfection for everyone who comes to see our performance.

V: I feel the pressure of showing a performance that is close to perfection, but I also think that being natural is important, too.

Jungkook: The pressure is always there. But I want to show them that I am improving.

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Is there any advice you wish you could give your younger selves?

RM: If you're debating whether to go or not, go.

Jin: Jin, study English!

Suga: Please study English.

J-Hope: When things get tough, look at the people who love you! You will get energy from them.

Jimin: Silence is golden. Don't waste time.

V: You worked hard! [Pat on the back.]

Jungkook: Don't lose the people beside you because of your mistakes and wrongs. And live [your life] to the fullest.

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You recently took an extended vacation in order to rest and get some relaxation after a long span of releases and promotions. How did you spend your vacation?

RM: I slept, worked out and went to art museums quite a lot. I went to Jeju Island, Venice, Vienna and Copenhagen.

Jin: I played games at home. I also went fishing with Suga.

Suga: I focused on resting and worked on some songs. It was a time [for] looking back at myself.

J-Hope: I went to film the music video for "Chicken Noodle Soup." I felt and learned a lot of things! I can't call it a rest time, but it was a meaningful time. After that, I came back home, I had good food and rested well. I also played with my puppy.

Jimin: I just kept on the move and went to a bunch of places. It was an opportunity to think about [the group] in the past and in the future.

V: I took a good rest. It was an eat-play-sleep routine.

Jungkook: I worked on music.

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Are there any music styles you haven't tried yet as a group that you're excited to dip into in the future?

RM: I want to show our various sides that reflect the progression of our age as well as our emotions and sensibilities.

Jin: I want to try something in the genre of rock. I think it will come out great because our members are pretty charismatic.

Suga: There are so many I don't know which one to say. There's plenty of things to show you, so please look forward to it.

J-Hope: Now it feels like BTS is just BTS. Whichever [style of] music or performance, it comes out in BTS style.

Jimin: There are so many things I want to try, but I don't want to be too specific about it.

V: I want to try doing music in the style of Conan Gray or "All Tinted."

Jungkook: It's different from time to time. I just hope I can widen my vocal spectrum regardless of what that might be.

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Your fans, ARMY, are one of the most passionate, mobilized music fanbases in the world, especially on social media. How would you define what makes your fanbase so special?

BTS: It's an honor that people around the world love our music and messages. It seems like there's no language barrier. We think that ARMY helped us spread our music across the world. All of this would have not been possible without ARMY.

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Another theme in your music is dreams. With all the heaviness of the world today, do you think dreams help people find meaning and ambition to move forward amid uncertain times?

RM: We just hope that we can be of help. We did say that you don't have to dream, but living a life without dreams or hope would be quite dim, wouldn't it? I think everyone needs motivation and milestones in order to move. Whatever that may be, we want to be of help, even a little, for them to move forward.

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So many of your dreams have come true since you'd made your debut: No. 1 albums around the world, sold-out stadium tours, Grammys and U.S. award shows, becoming the first Korean music group to perform on Saturday Night Live…What new dreams have sparked for each of you now that you have these accomplishments crossed off the list?

RM: I want to head in a straight path without losing sight of what I feel now. [I want to] keep our passion burning bright and walk straight.

Jin: I talk to Producer Bang quite often about how we should work together for a happy life. How to live happily...I think about that frequently.

Suga: I would like to have a hobby since I never had one. I would love to have a lifelong hobby.

J-Hope: To stay healthy! So that we can keep doing what we're doing now!!!

Jimin: I know that many people are cheering for us for who we are now. I think about how those people would love seeing our new, better music and performances. What I'm trying to say is, my dream is to show them more performances and better music for a long, long time.

V: They're not new dreams, but dreams that we never imagined could achieve. I'd like to keep them going.

Jungkook: I wouldn't want anything more than to keep doing music and performances just like now.

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What do you hope to get better at or improve upon?

RM: Dancing! And knowing "myself."

Jin: I hope that the team always gets along and everyone is happy.

Suga: Without a question, English.

J-Hope: Our team's health! And happiness! They are the path to growth!

Jimin: I want to be good at what I am currently doing.

V: I want to widen my spectrum and become an artist who has a variety of talents.

Jungkook: If I had a chance to improve every aspect of myself, then I would work hard to make it happen rather than just sitting idly by.

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What music is exciting you right now? What's on your personal playlists?

RM: I'm listening to Post Malone's latest album.

Jin: Taylor Swift's “ME!" The song has a bright energy, so my mood is lifted when I listen to it. I want to try that kind of music, too.

Suga: Post Malone's “Circles."

J-Hope: I listen to older songs these days: The Fugees' “Killing Me Softly" and Cheryl Lynn's “Got to Be Real."

Jimin: I prefer songs that fill me with emotions. Nowadays, I listen to our song “Jamais Vu."

V: I'm listening to DaBaby's new album.

Jungkook: I'm listening to Jang Beom June's songs these days.

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What did it mean for your album to be nominated at the 2019 Grammy Awards for Best Recording Package?

BTS: It truly was an honor. We were happy to be invited as presenters to such a big show, with such great musicians. We also became members of the Recording Academy this year. We hope to be invited to the show next year as well.

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The importance and power of “loving yourself" is a cornerstone of the BTS message, in your lyrics, speeches, music videos and beyond. But when and how did the notion of self-love become something you were all so passionate about?

BTS: Our LOVE YOURSELF series bears the message that “loving yourself is the beginning of true love." The “love" that we aim to convey can be both the individual experience and a message to our society today. We once saw somewhere that “being able to love is also an ability. If you don't love yourself, you can never love anyone else." Reflecting on the ways you love yourself, we thought that this question could give the answer for many different aspects. We wanted to focus on that searching process and find the answers. [We] think LOVE YOURSELF has a positive impact. [We] also ask ourselves, “Do I really love myself?" So, [we] looked back one more time and put that notion into the lyrics.

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What are the key differences in performing for audiences back home vs. elsewhere in the world?

BTS: Fans all over the world are cheering for us. We get on stage with the mindset to give them the best performance. Every occasion to meet our fans is important and meaningful.

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How has social media and the Internet impacted the way you're able to reach listeners?

BTS: We like communicating with our fans. We communicated [with them online] even before our debut. Fans enjoy it and so do we. Our Weverse app was launched recently, which is a platform for our fans. We can see their messages and leave comments there. We feel that the whole world is truly connected as one through social media. Language is not a big barrier anymore, and we think that with good music, sincere messages and the effort to communicate, fans from all around the world will show their love.

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What can you share about any upcoming new music?

BTS: We are currently practicing and working on new songs so we can show you the best sides of ourselves. Please look forward to it.

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Editors' Note: For PAPER's 2019 Break the Internet moment, we combined three cultural powerhouses: BTS, our cover stars; Lisa Frank, who created custom artwork; and Virgil Abloh, whose Spring 2020 collection for Louis Vuitton Men appears on the group. BTS is the biggest music group on the planet and since the beginning, they have championed youth empowerment. PAPER is particularly inspired by their "Love Yourself" campaign and speech at the UN last year when RM urged young people, "No matter who you are, where you're from, your skin color, gender identity: Just speak yourself. Find your name and find your voice." For decades, iconic American artist Lisa Frank has similarly empowered young people to express themselves freely and think creatively. Her art is the ultimate symbol of "Love Yourself." Finally, there is simply no one better at communicating with younger generations and breaking barriers in fashion than Virgil Abloh, artistic director for Louis Vuitton's menswear as well as the founder and creative director of Off-White. Separately, their contributions to pop culture are enormous, together they Break the Internet.

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Click Here to Order BTS' Break the Internet Issue

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Photography: Hong Jang Hyun
Illustration: Lisa Frank Inc.
Styling: Mia Solkin
Art Director: Jonathan Conrad
Hair: Kim Ji Hye; Seo Jin Young (at Bit&Boot); Kim Ye Li
Makeup: Kim Da Reum; Baek Hyun A; No Jin Kyeong
Casting: Jill Demling
Production: Lee Kyung Kim
On Set Coordinator: Park Hee Young
Fashion Assistant: Kim Na Yon









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Tue, 19 Nov 2019 16:57:17 +0000http://www.qladfj.tw/break-the-internet-bts-2641354203.htmlK popMusicCoverRmSugaJ-hopeJinJungkookVJiminKoreaHalseyGrammy awardsDancePopGirls' generationPhilanthropyLil nas xFall out boyNicki minajCharli xcxBtsPhotography Hong Jang Hyun / Story Erica Russell / Styling Mia Solkin
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