Behance magazine

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Behance Magazine

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  • 1 YEAR AFTER THE DEATH OF THEGREAT

    ZAC POSEN 2011

    &YVES SAINT

    LAURENT

    MAR/11

    ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

  • R E M E B E R I N G

    A L E X A N D E RM C Q U E E N

  • Its been year since Lee Alexander McQueens passing. Inhonor of his legacy, heres a brief biography of the man who

    changed Modern fashion as we know it.

  • the interest of fairness, I should let you know that some people think Madonnas new album, MDNA, is pretty good. Even if you exclude the obvious outliers (those who get worked up and claim its her best since Like a Prayer) and partisans (wholl ride and die for anything with her name on it) even if you take into account the low standards set by the albums singles even after all that, theres a definite streak of appreciation for this release. People crave and root for the all-caps version of Madonna whos meant to be appearing here, confident and cutting loose, eyes and ears focused on the dance floor, ready to be bad. This should be a per-fect moment for the regal reemergence of that person. Not only is the pop world near-obsessively fixated on dance music (and the intersection of dance music and sexual/religious theater where Madonna once set up shop), but it seems to be shot through with a sudden wide-eyed reverence for the icons of the pre Internet world, the stars who were titans back when titans were well and truly titanic.

    Also, the album is called MDNA, a three-way pun whose every arm seems promising: The album should (a) be very Madonna, (b) reengage with her stunning musical history, her (so to speak) DNA, and (c) sound like its on ecstasy. This should be exactly the Madonna the world wants, the one who controls the universe.

    Im glad there are listeners savvy, sensitive, and invest-ed enough to actually locate that version of Madonna on MDNA, because the record Im hearing spends most of its time pinballing from decent to wan to okay. Dispiritingly enough, the one element that doesnt fit into it is Madonnas own voice, which has never been the most robust or expressive in the world it can feel flat and flimsy but shes made decades worth of fabulous music thats perfectly tailored to it. Matched with luxurious nineties house beats, it could be a steamy moan, or sound flinty and tough. On ballads it seems small, brave, and lonesome. For a while she had producer William Orbit who returns to the fold on MDNA, joining a fleet of others to make whooshing, propulsive tracks she could skip her high voice over like a stone on water. Shes found countless sounds that welcome her, but the dance-pop of 2012 is not one of them. Its hard-edged, dense, shiny, and mecha-nistic, a harsh and unforgiving environment for an instru-ment thats always fared better in sonic hothouses. Put

    MDNAs production and her vocals together and every-things flat, colorless, and blocky as if made out of Legos and photographed in black and white and no number of chirpy hooks can combat that.

    Okay, a few can: the gleamy rush on Turn Up the Radio; Madonna and Orbit both echoing their own Beautiful Stranger on Im a Sinner; a solid shot of electro machinery on Im Addicted. Those all work well enough; theyre likable, especially if you have rea-son to want to like them. But a lot of the music here feels hollow and strained, and all the lyrical and sonic references to Madonnas history lines about lucky stars and getting into grooves, a winking reuse of the Abba sample from Hung Up only underline that fact. There is much expensive workmanship and machine-tooling around here, but not much Madonna.

    Its frustrating, because there are things toward the end of MDNA that suggest the project could have been more interesting. The last few tracks like Love Spent and Masterpiece (from Madonnas film project, W.E.) circle back toward that brave-and-lonely ballad voice: Its the sound of Madonna singing songs, as opposed to the sound of Madonna making awkward small talk with machines. And the bonus tracks, naturally, include ideas many times better than anything on the album. (B-Day Song sees Madonna and M.I.A. doing a gleeful duet that evokes Sonny and Cher, and Best Friend has an ominous, fluttering beat I dearly wish I could hear on the radio sometime.) Its odd: If theres one thing MDNA is extraordinarily good at, its reminding you of all the less businesslike and perfunctory music you could be listening to instead.

    - Nitsuh Abebe

    IN

    THE APATHY AND ECSTASY OF MADONNAS MDNA

    This should be a perfect moment for the regal reemergence.

    4

  • the interest of fairness, I should let you know that some people think Madonnas new album, MDNA, is pretty good. Even if you exclude the obvious outliers (those who get worked up and claim its her best since Like a Prayer) and partisans (wholl ride and die for anything with her name on it) even if you take into account the low standards set by the albums singles even after all that, theres a definite streak of appreciation for this release. People crave and root for the all-caps version of Madonna whos meant to be appearing here, confident and cutting loose, eyes and ears focused on the dance floor, ready to be bad. This should be a per-fect moment for the regal reemergence of that person. Not only is the pop world near-obsessively fixated on dance music (and the intersection of dance music and sexual/religious theater where Madonna once set up shop), but it seems to be shot through with a sudden wide-eyed reverence for the icons of the pre Internet world, the stars who were titans back when titans were well and truly titanic.

    Also, the album is called MDNA, a three-way pun whose every arm seems promising: The album should (a) be very Madonna, (b) reengage with her stunning musical history, her (so to speak) DNA, and (c) sound like its on ecstasy. This should be exactly the Madonna the world wants, the one who controls the universe.

    Im glad there are listeners savvy, sensitive, and invest-ed enough to actually locate that version of Madonna on MDNA, because the record Im hearing spends most of its time pinballing from decent to wan to okay. Dispiritingly enough, the one element that doesnt fit into it is Madonnas own voice, which has never been the most robust or expressive in the world it can feel flat and flimsy but shes made decades worth of fabulous music thats perfectly tailored to it. Matched with luxurious nineties house beats, it could be a steamy moan, or sound flinty and tough. On ballads it seems small, brave, and lonesome. For a while she had producer William Orbit who returns to the fold on MDNA, joining a fleet of others to make whooshing, propulsive tracks she could skip her high voice over like a stone on water. Shes found countless sounds that welcome her, but the dance-pop of 2012 is not one of them. Its hard-edged, dense, shiny, and mecha-nistic, a harsh and unforgiving environment for an instru-ment thats always fared better in sonic hothouses. Put

    MDNAs production and her vocals together and every-things flat, colorless, and blocky as if made out of Legos and photographed in black and white and no number of chirpy hooks can combat that.

    Okay, a few can: the gleamy rush on Turn Up the Radio; Madonna and Orbit both echoing their own Beautiful Stranger on Im a Sinner; a solid shot of electro machinery on Im Addicted. Those all work well enough; theyre likable, especially if you have rea-son to want to like them. But a lot of the music here feels hollow and strained, and all the lyrical and sonic references to Madonnas history lines about lucky stars and getting into grooves, a winking reuse of the Abba sample from Hung Up only underline that fact. There is much expensive workmanship and machine-tooling around here, but not much Madonna.

    Its frustrating, because there are things toward the end of MDNA that suggest the project could have been more interesting. The last few tracks like Love Spent and Masterpiece (from Madonnas film project, W.E.) circle back toward that brave-and-lonely ballad voice: Its the sound of Madonna singing songs, as opposed to the sound of Madonna making awkward small talk with machines. And the bonus tracks, naturally, include ideas many times better than anything on the album. (B-Day Song sees Madonna and M.I.A. doing a gleeful duet that evokes Sonny and Cher, and Best Friend has an ominous, fluttering beat I dearly wish I could hear on the radio sometime.) Its odd: If theres one thing MDNA is extraordinarily good at, its reminding you of all the less businesslike and perfunctory music you could be listening to instead.

    - Nitsuh Abebe

    IN

    THE APATHY AND ECSTASY OF MADONNAS MDNA

    This should be a perfect moment for the regal reemergence.

    5

  • 6

  • ves Saint Laurent, who exploded on the fashion scene in 1958 as the boy-wonder successor to Chris-tian Dior and endured as one of

    the best-known and most influential coutu-riers of the second half of the 20th century, died on June 1, 2008, in Paris. He was 71.

    The designer who arguably did more to advance fashion than any other of his gen-eration pointed the way to the future by consistently reviving the past. His endur-ing fascination with more gracious or, per-haps, more vital times, informed his re-fined, theatrical aesthetic and made him the most influential designer of his day. His celebrated fashions of the 60s and the 70s continue to inspire younger generations.

    Saint Laurent achieved his greatest triumphs in the midst of a notoriously turbulent emo-tional life, giving him mythical stature in his own time. Born Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent in Oran, Algeria, he seemed intent on burnishing that myth from an early age. Precociously, he entered a design contest while still in his teens and won the attention of Christian Dior, who eventu-a