Lauren Pritchard Holds Her Own Musical Ground

Friday, February 25, 2011 by The Fashion Fool

In recent years, the U.K. has arguably proved superior in producing female powerhouse crooners with fresh means of dominating the billboard charts such as Adele, Duffy and, of course, the illustrious Amy Winehouse.

Stateside, America has put forth a worthy effort of its own, delving into this soulful singer/songwriter genre with the emergence of artists like Rachael Yamagata and Alison Sudolfrom A Fine Frenzy. Still, none have come close to the global success of their British counterparts.

The game might change, though, with the arrival of a serious contender on the scene: Tennessee native Lauren Pritchard.

At the ripe age of 23, Pritchard sings with the eloquent soul of someone who has lived to see it all, and done it all as well.

Her debut album, Wasted in Jackson, is comprised of 11 short tracks that give a glimpse of her deepest desires, innermost secrets and painful past relationships.

Although the lyrics are not groundbreaking, Pritchard injects a tenacious quality into every word she sings, taking these would-be formulaic songs into a fresh and empowering realm.

The titular and standout track of the album, “Wasted in Jackson,” is a brutally honest insight into wanting to leave a deadbeat town. Pritchard sings, All I hear is stick around / Everybody gets wasted in Jackson / I don’t wanna waste in Jackson. The combination of her stirring and powerful vocals laid over the poppy melody of the album uplifts the somber premise of the song.

Pritchard cites legendary crooners like Al Green and Carole King as some of the influences behind her style. Indeed, her expansive musical tastes of soul, jazz, R&B and blues are vividly reflected through her own work. Incorporating catchy jazz piano riffs and a string ensemble, her quirky love song “Stuck,” the second single off her album, plays like a modern take on Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”

Listeners can expect a whole spectrum of emotionally charged and sing-a-long worthy tracks from the punchy “Not The Drinking,” which deals with the end of a relationship, to the more upbeat and light-hearted “I Hope It’s You.”

Besides detailing relationships gone awry and situations beyond her control, Pritchard delves into more deeply-rooted issues in the track “Painkillers,” which, as the name suggests, explores the darkest moments of a person’s struggles with the most legalized drugs on the market.

But I know no painkillers make it go away / I tried it once before and it didn’t work for me / work and there’s no painkillers make it go away / if I tried to overdose / it would bring no change, Pritchard cries, lending the song a mournful resonance.

After leaving her home at a very young age, the road to Pritchard’s musical career has neither been the easiest nor the most conventional. While her peers were still attending high school, Pritchard was picking up odd jobs to fund her passion, including singing vocals for a reggae band and auditioning for roles in the musical theater circuit.

Most notable for playing the role of the teenage runaway Ilse in the coming-of-age hit musical Spring Awakening, Pritchard might have easily pursued a successful Broadway career or tried her hand at an acting job in Hollywood like ex-cast mates Lea Michele, Jenna Ushkowitz and Jonathan Groff, all of whom have joined the cast of Glee.

Instead, after a two-year run on Broadway, Pritchard has reclaimed her original dream of becoming a bona-fide musician.

Although her vibrato might be similar to some of today’s most soulful vocalists, including Adele and perhaps even Sia, Pritchard’s aesthetic is more a throwback to the 1990s golden era of female singer/songwriters. Her penchant for emotionally stripped yet unapologetic tracks comes off as a generous ode to some of the great lyricists of that era, from Fiona Apple to Alanis Morissette.

Pritchard’s talent is undeniable, and her debut album showcases more than just a pretty girl who can sing. It is a no-holds-barred and unreformed introduction to rival that of any competition from across the pond.

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No Strings Attached proves predictable and forgettable

Monday, January 31, 2011 by The Fashion Fool

As Billy Crystal’s character tries to prove in Nora Ephron’s classic romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, men and women can never be friends because, according to him, “the sex part always gets in the way.”

In No Strings Attached, the sex part is the least ofAshton Kutcher’s and Natalie Portman’s worries, as they seek to discover whether men and women can maintain a friendship and resist developing feelings for one another while having sex — and lots of it.

The answer to this question, as anyone who has seen a romantic comedy or has common sense would know, is no.

The premise of the film is simple enough: Boy meets girl at summer camp while the two are in junior high, then boy meets girl again in adulthood. When boy and girl use each other for sex, complications arise.

A doctor working all hours of the day, Emma (Portman) instigates this purely physical relationship. Independent, strong-willed and slightly intimidated by affection, she fits the prototype of the 21st century female lead.

Emma also establishes the ground rules: No staring longingly into each other’s eyes, no jealousy and absolutely no spooning under any circumstances.

But rules in the movie world are meant to be broken, and this is where Adam (Kutcher) comes in. He agrees to become a “sex friend,” but is vulnerable, and yearns for something more from Emma.

The role reversal is refreshing yet it feels idealized. The two leads act like over-dramatized versions of real people, without letting their roles develop any depth or complexity.

But it’s not entirely their fault. Every time the film approaches an area of substance, what feels like 20 superfluous supporting actors jump in with a punch line or two.

Although Emma’s comedic roommates (Mindy Kaling, Greta Gerwig and Guy Branum) are a delight to watch onscreen, the casting of rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges is so off-key and random that it begs the question of why he is needed in the first place.

No Strings Attached follows a formula that is tried and tested by every prior romantic comedy. DirectorIvan Reitman, of Ghostbusters fame, just barely bumps the movie to its R-rating.

Unfortunately, his attempt at the raunchy yet smart humor of Judd Apatow is more slapstick than witty.

Fresh off her critically acclaimed and haunting performance in Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thrillerBlack Swan, a role that snagged her a Golden Globe, Portman slides into the role of Emma like a bull in a china shop.

Clearly this genre is not for her, but she puts up a commendable first-time effort.

Kutcher, at least, has learned to embrace his inevitable fate of always being second best to a more dominant female lead. Here he is an accessory, but an affecting one nonetheless.

Clich├ęd, predictable and soon to be forgotten, No Strings Attached takes audiences on the same path that most romantic comedies tend to travel.

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"Blue Valentine" Takes the Break-Up to Another Level

Saturday, January 8, 2011 by The Fashion Fool

The story of finding love and falling out of it is an age-old formula that has come out of Hollywood, time and time again. However, with brilliant portrayals of a young couple coming to terms with the end of their relationship by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, “Blue Valentine” serves more than just the typical tragedy of star-crossed lovers; it is a realistic glimpse into the intimate and painful world of a break-up.

The film begins with Frankie (Faith Wladyka), a ridiculously adorable little girl as she is trying to find her missing dog. Frustrated, she calls upon her parents for help and within minutes, the two principal characters are introduced.Her father Dean (Gosling) is playful and sympathetic while her mother Cindy (Williams) seems cold and distant. Although an argument over the dog erupts, the tumultuous relationship runs much deeper and more complicated.

The pain from the fight lingers torturously thoughout the duration of the film, searing like an untreated burn. However in light of things, the movie changes its pace and time period to greet a younger and livelier set of characters. The two meet in the unlikeliest of places, a nursing home, and Dean claims it to be love at first sight. With every infectiously tender moment from when the pair begins to date; intertwined with a scene from the present, where their once budding relationship is now rapidly unraveling at the seams.

Director Derek Cianfrance, whose last film, “Brother Tied,” received critical acclaim more than a decade ago, has captured the fragility of this story so beautifully by choosing to incorporate plenty of extreme close-up shots. It makes the audience feel as though they are silent observers rather than intruders to the couple’s most private moments.

Despite having taken more character driven roles in recent years, people will most likely remember Gosling from the romantic period drama “The Notebook,” a movie that made women and men alike swoon across the country. In “Blue Valentine,” that same heartthrob emerges in a darker and emotionally stripped version.While both actors delivered some of the best performances this movie season, it is Gosling who truly triumphs in his portrayal of Dean. He is charming, funny, and often times stubborn, but he is also damaged beyond repair.

Prior to its release, the film had already gained the attention of critics and audiences alike; some for the warm reception it had garnered at the Cannes and Sundance Festivals and some for the now revoked NC-17 ratings. But apart from all the buzz, this movie is simply a love story unlike anything else before.

Tender, romantic, and at times painful to watch, “Blue Valentine,” pulls at your heartstrings like no other film will this year.

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I'm back babycakesss

Friday, December 31, 2010 by The Fashion Fool
say goodbye to 2010 and hellloo to 2011. you know what they say, new year, new slate.
The Fashion Fool/Candice
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A Dustland Fairytale Beginning

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 by The Fashion Fool
First off, let me begin by saying thank you to the wonderfully chic and lovely J. from My Closet, My Life for passing this fun tag/award to me. So completely unexpected and it definately made my day! (espescially since I ended up in the infirmary after tripping and falling at school today. Yikes! the reprecussions of accident prone teenager, I guess..) Anyway on to this fun questionnaire:
1. Who is your style icon?
of course Alexa Chung my self proclaimed doppleganger, chloe sevigny, and taylor momsen. I also take plenty of inspiration from some of my favorite style bloggers such as Karla from Karla's Closet, Aimee from Song of Style, Rachel from That's Chic, and of course Jane from Sea of Shoes!
2. Which is your favourite socialite book?
I'm not sure if I've ever indulged myself with a socialite book (unless Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann counts as one) but I do LOVE to read. favorite books? Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, any and all David Sedaris novels and the Percy Jackson and Harry Potter series. What can I say? I am a child at heart haha.
3. Favourite party theme?
Anything involving sweater vests, oversized glasses, argyle socks, in other words, a nerd party? but that's not really a stretch from how I usually dress..
4. Go to Halloween costume.
Yoko Ono. I am asian and I have a lot of hippie-esque clothes!
5. Extravagance you cannot live without?
Besides my computer, I would say food. I am always willing to spend the big bucks on good food.
6. Living person you admire?
Tina Fey, Jane Goodall, Nicholas Kristof, and yes, my mommy.
7. Greatest fears?
ghosts! They are real and I am scared of them!! but on a more serious note, I am terrified of acquiring a mental disorder.
8. Traits you deplore in yourself?
procrastination will be the death of me.
9. Which talent would you most love to have?
any sort of athletic ability. and I wish I was good at math. I have secretly always wanted to do a super long equation that takes up an entire blackboard (you know, the types you see in movies like A Beautiful Mind) all to arrive to the answer 1 or something. That would be a dream!
10. Greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is would be the small things that I do that might be nervewrecking to me at that time. For example, going on space mountain for the first time when I was ten, driving on the freeway by myself, or performing in front of people. I would like to think that those little things have gradually amounted to one great achievemnet.

And so, to continue this tag, I would like to pass this on to just some of my faves: Modern Marie, Toast with Charmalade, She is Sara, and well anyone who wants to do it!

ps. how fun is this editorial from the May issue of W Magazine?

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Sunday, May 9, 2010 by The Fashion Fool
This year, if I get accepted into a certain school, I made a promise that I would treat myself to a nice purse (one that I could potentially see myself using all through adulthood.) This is soo unlike me, as I am the most frugal (CHEAP) person on the planet. A trait that I have inheirited from my lovely mother. My favorite places to shop? Dollar Sundays outside of a vintage store called Jet Rag and Costco. But no, this time will be different. I've been doing nothing but saving up my money for the past two years and I am going to (dare I say it?) SPURLGE! Just the thought of it makes my heart race a little. Now, the only thing stopping me (not to mention, causing me the anxiety) are the admissions decisions!! Oh, how I want May to be over..
When it comes to handbags, I adhere to a very utilitarianistic mentality. That means bigger bags for everyday use and smaller ones (yes that includes fanny packs. I am a proud owner of one) for events such as concerts. And a bag with a longer strap for across the body action is a must. I am constantly thinking which bag will not only bring me the most practicality but also maximize my happiness? I don't quite think that this was what John Stuart Mill had intended when he came up with his philosophies..
When I was younger, I always imagined my first major piece to be the Marc Jacobs Stam, but now that I think about it, I don't see how practical using a chunky gold chain for straps can be. I I've never been a fan of monogram bags or extremely iconic bags such as the chanel 2.55 or the balenciega motorcycle. ( Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love those bags, but I can never see myself being important enough to trot one acoss LA.) After months of painstakingly researching all the different types of bags that the fashion gods could offer, I finally narrowed down my options to just two.

Alexander Wang Diego Bag
The successor to the extremely popular Rocco duffel bag of last year. And trust me, I went completely nuts over it the minute I saw Mary-Kate Olsen carrying one well before it hit the stores. (tyical MK right?) The compostion of the pebbled leather and the chunky gold pyramid studs at the bottom was enough to make me salivate. But the fact that it did not have a longer strap was its only fault. Thankfully, A. Wang had some sense to release the Diego bag, It has the most coveted features of the Rocco with the addition of the cross body strap! I did not think that I would like the bucket shape, but I am actually smitten by it. The one in white looks delicious enough to eat.
No one can work a Diego quite like Rumi from Fashion Toast. Tossing it in the bucket of a bicycle? PERFECTION.

My next bag is the famous PS1 from one of my favorite design house, Proenza Schouler. The leather to this bag is so buttery soft, it is insane. This mixes the professional aspect of a briefcase with a downtown, uber chic city vibe that only Jack and Lorenzo could pull out. I was debating between this and the Mulberry Alexa (inspired by my doppelganger Alexa Chung, haha) but overall, I love the discreet yet completely refined design that the PS1 has.
(Pictures via Opening Cermony and Fashion Toast)

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dont forget to cry at your on burial

Sunday, May 2, 2010 by The Fashion Fool
For some reasom or another, I came across a picture of model Charlotte Kemp Muhl and fell in love with it. Upon futher research (Google Images), I found that she is indeed, Sean Lennon's GIRLFRIEND. (Somehow, I feel like I'm the last person find this out) In fact, a lot of her editorials feature her other half. After the initial wave of shock and jealously left me, I actually find them to be quite a fitting match. So perfectly bohemian and luxe. Also I was reading an interview, where a reporter asked her about her Fendi fur, in which she replied that her boyfriend's mother gifted it to her. (Uh, you mean Yoko Ono?! Ah, I want to be her so badly!)

quite possibly the cutest picture ever?
(pictures via purple-diary and contact music)

Ok, I've been sucking with the posting lately. (insert same lame excuses and apology) But I've been hard at work trying to finish my school work. I am almost done! (some people have already completed and I congratuale/ envy them) But trust me when I say that I have an ENTIRE LIST of post ideas waiting to be, well posted. So once again, I am sorry, and I thank you for continuing to read. Special thanks to J. of My Closet, My Life for always, always leaving the sweetest comments even if there is nothing to comment. Your blog is awesome!
P.S if you're wondering, the post title comes from a Miike Snow song, "Burial"
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