I just saw Call Me By Your Name and it was soooo good. I got out of the theater hours ago and the feelings are all still bouncing around my mind. Without any spoilers, I’ll just say the soundtrack is amazing, the emotional intimacy is beautiful, and there are some cool stylistic choices that make the film a unique, absorbing experience
There’s a loooooot of talk about style over on twitter today, and I thought it might be helpful to share some examples of work I’ve done that draws from and embraces from my influences, without losing my own personal aesthetic voice. It’s a blast to play around in someone else’s stylistic sandbox when it’s a conscious, thoughtful choice that informs the tone of the work.
You don’t want to just blindly parrot the style of an artist you love and call it a day – study the artists you love, figure out why you love them! Own it. The more aware you are of your influences, the more you can learn, deconstruct, and eventually diverge from them.
Ahead of a Sept. 20 show at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre, Harry Styles took the stage at downtown L.A.’s Grammy Museum on Friday night (Sept. 15) for a Q&A conducted by writer and filmmaker Cameron Crowe. Styles, who released his self-titled debut in May, was joined by producer Jeff Bhasker for a lively, often laugh-out-loud discussion of how the album came together, Styles’ experience filming “Dunkirk” (“I was in the water way more than the movie suggests,” Styles cracked), and his views on the music industry.
And while the Grammy Awards weren’t mentioned specifically, the venue — as well as the presence of longtime Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich in the crowd — certainly brought to mind the possibility of a future nomination for what is arguably one of the strongest albums of the year. An understated post-interview performance of Styles’ gorgeous second single, “Two Ghosts,” featuring Bhasker on keyboards, drove the point home.
The story of how the music came together — written and recorded in a remote studio complex in Jamaica — has been told by this point, but Crowe dug deeper into the process, letting Styles and Bhasker expound on just how organic and, in the producer’s words, “authentic and viscerally honest” the project ended up being.
At the same time, said Styles, “it was the most fun I’ve ever had.” Partly because he started on the album without a label commitment (Styles would later sign to Columbia, home to One Direction), he felt unencumbered. “When we started the process, it didn’t feel like I was making any sort of commitment,” said Styles. “I didn’t feel any pressure.”
That freedom allowed songs like “Sign of the Times” to flow out of Styles, even as other tracks were still coming together. Bhasker described a moment in which Styles sat at the piano almost in a trance, coming up with the chord progression to what turned out to be his first single. “It was writing from this place of, ‘Let’s get an idea going, do something with it, and have fun,‘” said Bhasker. “And in 5 or 6 days, they had, like, 10 songs. … It was that immediate.”
Styles’ favorite track on the album is “From the Dining Table,” which he said is, “The one that makes me feel the most,” adding that, “it’s the most different than what I expected myself to write and it’s probably the most honest that I’ve been in a song as well.”
The album’s stylistic choices — what some deem as musical nods to classic rock acts like David Bowie and Pink Floyd — were also illuminated, with Styles explaining that his father listened to “a lot of Queen and Pink Floyd,” while his mother favored Norah Jones and Shania Twain. “I’m a huge Shania Twain fan,” said Styles (he later played a snippet of a Twain song on a kazoo, by request from an audience member).
Bhasker’s take is that if any “homage” is sensed, it was not intentional, though the record they ended up with was destined to sound the way it did. “We were not thinking about [influences] at all,” he said, noting that, in this era of ProTools and pop co-writes, “It couldn’t be more punk rock” to record an album the way those classic rock acts did.
Indeed, the sort of liberties Styles was afforded new artists rarely see, and for that, the singer credits the record company, run at the time of his signing by executive Rob Stringer, who has since ascended to CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. Said Styles: “We had signed with Columbia and I called Rob one day saying, ‘Hey, would you mind leaving me a alone for six months and I’ll call you when [the album is] finished?’ He said, ‘I want hear it when you’re excited to play it for me.’ … A lot of people get into this thing of, ‘It’s me versus the record label,’ and I feel so lucky to get to work with everyone at Columbia. The support from them allowed us to go do what we want, so I have to say thanks to them for letting it happen this way.”
Not to let the mood get too serious, though, Styles then encouraged all in attendance, which included journalists, television executives, and Grammy chapter members, to come to the Greek on Wednesday and experience these songs, the band, and the vibe, for themselves. “You’re all on the list,” Bhasker joked. Added Styles: “If anyone wants to come, Capitol Records said they would cover the cost.” Charge it to Niall Horan’s recoupable account?
Why does Mojo Jojo have pointy ears in the later seasons of the show?
…aesthetics? I guess? After the movie came out, they freshened up the designs of the characters on the show to reflect the new design from the film, and that’s where his pointy ears first showed up:
I’m just gonna go on a limb and say it was just a stylistic choice to make him look a little more evil and bring in some more angles (and I’m sure a certain individual here on Tumblr could further elucidate if he was so inclined to! :D), but… ick. I’m personally not a big fan of the choice. It’s a little less extreme in the movie than in the show where it makes him look more like a goblin than a chimp. And I think they ended up kind of making his face a little more narrow for the show, too, so he kind of looked…
I dunno. I was glad that for The PPG Rule!!! they went back to his original design with his rounded ears (and I was happy they did it for the reboot too… even though the rest of the design is lacking) ‘cause he’s not JUST a super serious evil angular villain. He’s gotta be able to look goofy and chimpy too! He’s our little antihero!
Hello! So first and foremost I wan to put out there how much I love Harry and his voice. Dear god it’s SO COOL and unique. I love how when he’s in good vocal health he has all these different textures to it- the gruffness of his chest voice, the purity of his falsetto, the power of his belt. When the studio version of SOTT came out I couldn’t sing his praises enough. His voice sounded SO HEALTHY. He was making such good choices!!! Everything was relaxed and well supported. He let the song build naturally. He MUST have gotten some solid vocal training over his break because that isn’t something that can just happen over night. I was very impressed and very proud. I was also a bit nervous to see if these changes would hold when he started performing live….and…..it looks like I had good reason to be nervous.
Here’s the thing. There are a few reasons I’m so hard on Harry in particular when it comes to poor technique. First, compared to the other guys, his technique is the only one that’s actually physically DAMAGING. Could the other guys benefit from proper training? Sure. Of course. Every singer can. Even those who have been singing for years still should train on a regular basis. But the other boys’ bad habits are just that- bad habits. They aren’t going to do long term damage, not the way Harry’s are. The second reason is BECAUSE I know he can do (AND HAS DONE!!!!!) so much better!! I know he’s CAPABLE of so much more and so yeah, I’m hard on him because of that. And finally, I know exactly what he’s doing physically and exactly what’s going through his mind because I have the same exact bad habits and I can see him using the same exact thought process as to why he slips into these again.
Harry is the Ultimate Performer. He wants nothing more than to put on a good show for everyone, even if that means sacrificing his own vocal health. Now, that’s isn’t a HUGE problem…until it KEEPS happening. Which is what happened with OTRA. And possibly might be happening now, although that remains to be seen. One performance of one song slips into an entire show of this slips into two shows of this slips into the entire tour and wham, you’ve got nodes. I think the biggest problem with Harry’s performance last night is he doesn’t trust the material or HIMSELF to sell it the way it is. He feels he needs to overcompensate and big Big and Bold right from the start and that song is not built to be sung that way. He started at a level that he couldn’t sustain throughout the entire thing and had nowhere to go. That’s when he ran into trouble.
As soon as he opened his mouth, I knew it wasn’t going to go well. Don’t get me wrong, he sounds fantastic in the beginning…but like I said, there was nothing for him to build upon because he already started it at too high a height. His voice sounded raspy to me too, raspier than usual. That can be caused by a few things- he could have been dehydrated (you can’t sing right if you don’t pee white!), he could have been tired (we know he’s a morning person and that show is pretty late for him), he could have strained his voice at the concert the night before, he could have over rehearsed, he could have smoked a bit. I don’t know what the cause was, but he didn’t start off the evening in the best vocal health, especially for a song that’s very difficult to sing. I also think he KNEW that so again, he tried to overcompensate for that by pushing.
There is so much tension throughout his whole body, particular his shoulders on up. I’m sure a lot of that is due to nerves. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: the SNL stage is one of the hardest venues for artists to play. There’s something particularly rough about it. He’s also always had problems tensing up his face when he sings, but it what was particularly striking to me was that he did it during the falsetto parts. That should have been EASY for him to sing. That’s something light and relaxed. Almost a break from the tension of the rest of the song…and yet he looks like he was in pain. Which makes me wonder if he WAS in pain. it’s hard to tell, but it almost seems like the second time he does it he pushes it more to a mix than a pure falsetto.
It’s notable to me how relaxed the second syllable of “bullets” around 2:44-2:48 is compared to the rest. THAT is what the whole thing should have sounded like. it’s relaxed and he’s got a great vibratto on it that comes straight from the diaphragm there- compare that to how tight “bullets” are the second time he sings it in that phrase at 2:58ish-3:04. Why did you change what you were doing, sir??? In fact, to me it seemed like he KNEW it sounded good the first time and did his cute li’l dance and then came back to it feeling like “yeah I got this…” and then tightened right back up again. because he didn’t trust himself.
Thennnnnn the bridge happens. And this is what i mean by he had nowhere to go. THIS should have been his first belt it out moment. but he pushed too hard too quickly and his voice just…wasn’t there. It was tired. The first scoop up to the first “we” was off key because of it and I think he knew it which made it even worse and MORE tense to the point where he just didn’t have the vocal agility to flip into his fasletto again for “learn”. And then we’ve got the “it’s just what we know” which was just a poor choice. I have a feeling he nailed that MULTIPLE times in rehearsals and mannnnn if he was in good vocal health how killer would that have sounded!??!!? But instead, we got what’s called harmonic distortion which is SUPER VERY YIKESY AND A BIG SIGN OF HOLYSHITYOU’REDOINGDAMAGE (i sincerely hope he has an appointment with an ENT this week and gets scoped to check that out). This was another instance of him trying to put on a great show and overcompensate for what he probably felt was lackluster vocals (which for the record WERE NOT THAT BAD. I’m picking it apart because…well, it’s what I do. and i don’t think I would have had too much of a problem if it weren’t for the super damaging choices he ended up making).
From there he’s thinking “Oh shit that was bad…I REALLY fucked up…better step up my game and make the end better!” and once again tries to overcompensate and push a voice that’s already been pushed to the brink. there just wasn’t more in there for it to give. He couldn’t sustain it. He had already given everything that there was go to give.
When it comes to ESNY, it was a much better performance. I think it’s partially due to the fact that it’s an easier song to sing and partially due to the fact that he was playing guitar so he wasn’t as much in his head (Side note: CAN YOU BELIEVE HE FINALLY BLESSED US WITH HIS GUITAR SKILLS?????). His belty part towards the end wasn’t as good as it could have been, but I think that’s just due to the fact that his voice was kinda shot and that’s the best it was going to be. It wasn’t TERRIBLE and obviously it could have been better, but I am curious to hear the studio version to see if there’s more belting that he just wasn’t comfortable with last night. I could have done without the facial affectations because it just adds more tension and tension is bad, kiddos But I think it’s a stylistic choice and I’m trying to pick my battles here. Additionally, as we’ve seen in gif form his li’l neck vein was popping out so yeah he was tensing up pretty good there…but again, it wasn’t as terrible as it could have been since the song itself isn’t as taxing vocally.
All in all, the performances were great, especially if you’re not as picky as I am. I know this was his first time singing live in well over a year and SNL is high stress and it’s his first time out there ALONE. I’m curious to see what happens on Graham Norton and if he improves his technique. I’m also really curious to see how he’ll be on tour as well. I do wonder if he’ll lower the key of SOTT so it’s not as taxing. No one would really notice and it would make things a little easier on him. It’s just frustrating because I know he has it in him to do it well. We’ve HEARD him do it well. But he just doesn’t trust himself enough to do that and that kind of breaks my heart a little. Thankfully, he’s young and has time to learn. He can still break these habits and make new, healthier ones and learn to trust himself more.
BUDDY. YOU GOT THIS. YOU HAVE AN AMAZING VOICE. YOU ARE A FANTASTIC SONGWRITER. YOU HAVE GREAT TECHNIQUE WHEN YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO IT. YOU ARE A KILLER SHOWMAN WITH A TON OF CHARISMA. PLEASE TRUST THESE THINGS AND STOP PUSHING YOURSELF BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOU DAMAGE ANYTHING.
Works best with bright colors, spooky/creepy cute things, and feminine characters (No anthro)★
Artistic freedom and stylistic choices will be made–I like to add little quirks to my art (Hairstyle variants, outfits, etc..)★
Price varies with complex characters/Lettering/additional characters/additional details/additional themes★
Mild NSFW okay★
[You must confirm the terms of the commission before an invoice will be sent; a lot of people forget to confirm with me, and I wait to hear back from them–In the case I don’t hear back from you quickly enough (1-2 days depending on demand), I will move on to the next inquiry–I will tell YOU when your spot is reserved.]
(aka phrases I use here to describe very specific things)
Sameface Syndrome: when various female characters all have their faces designed according to the exact same formula, in a way that detracts from the story and is clearly done only to make them “beautiful.” Does not apply to stylistic choices, and does not mean that the characters literally all have the exact same face. Ex. The women in Frozen were designed with major Sameface Syndrome.
Keaneface: currently the most common female face in Western animation, consisting of a heart-shaped face with large eyes and a small, low-placed nose and mouth. Popularized (though not invented) by legendary Disney animator Glen Keane.Ex. Moana has a different body type, but she still definitely has some Keaneface going on.
Girly-Tomboy Compex: when all female characters in a movie or show can be defined as either “girly-girls” (typically feminine clothing and interests) or “tomboys” (actively rallying against feminine clothing and interests, and/or interested in “boy stuff”). Ex. GoGo Tomago and Honey Lemon are pretty much complete stereotypes! They really exemplify the Girly-Tomboy Complex.
Usagi Syndrome: when a female character is criticized for traits that are universally accepted in male characters, such as being annoying, lazy, or gluttonous. Named for the protagonist of Sailor Moon, Tsukino Usagi.Ex. The publisher told me that the protagonist of my novel was too immature for her age. I guess she got hit with Usagi Syndrome.
Girl Power Quota: the practice of having your female character(s) act tough throughout most of the film and/or save the male character(s) at least once, only to suddenly become helpless during the climax.Ex. How come that character who knows kung fu was suddenly incapacitated by someone grabbing her arm? Guess the writers hit their Girl Power Quota.
Strong Independent Woman™: also called the Strong Female Character™. Refers to a method of writing female characters where, instead of giving the character an actual personality, the writer instead makes them “strong” with shortcuts like making them needlessly violent, having them constantly sass others, decrying all typical feminine traits as “weak”, etc.Ex. I was excited that they decided to add a female character to the action hero team, but she was too much of a Strong Independent Woman™ to be interesting. The writers clearly don’t know what women are really like.
Historical Accuracy Fallacy: the claim that it is okay for a story to star mostly white characters because of historical accuracy, even though the story uses fantasy elements that are obviously not historically accurate, not to mention many historical time periods had more POC than we realize.Ex. I got an anon message saying that there shouldn’t be black people in How to Train Your Dragon because the vikings were white, but I guess they were still fine with the dragons! They fell right into the Historical Accuracy Fallacy.
Smurfette Principle: making female characters who are essentially exactly the same as the male characters, except with gender signifiers like eyelashes, pronounced lips, the color pink somewhere on their person, or clothing. Coined by Lindsey Ellis. Ex. Classic Disney characters rely way too much on the Chipette Principle, what with Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck.
So I think most people know I hate shaders on emulators. I find artificial scanlines distracting and blurring and NTSC effects to uglify things… But I get why some people like them for sure and there is an argument to be had over whats more authentic. But there is one shader I hate with a burning passion and that’s BARREL DISTORTION.
See that bowing? Yeah that. I hate it so much. Sometimes a little barrel distortion can be alright, but when it’s pumped up it just looks like hell to me. Now personal preferences are personal preferences, but seeing a lot more indie games emulate this effect, I was caught thinking “I don’t REMEMBER barrel distortion when playing on old TVs.” Which is also crazy because that’d be for me within the last 5 years. So then I see this…
Fight’n Rage looks awesome so I’m not shitting on it. Judging by older screenshots, the extreme distortion is a stylistic choice not an attempt at realism… but seeing UIs like that in emulator screenshots had me thinking “Is this right? I don’t think this is right. I think I know why this isn’t right so let me check some photos… Okay yeah this isn’t right.”
So while this is fine to do for stylistic or taste reasons, I just want to make it perfectly clear: This is not an accurate depiction of a CRT’s curved screen. Not this or the previous screenshot. Unless your goal is to emulate a busted CRT. Because apparently a think a lot of people don’t know is…
CRT’s don’t project a rectangle onto a curved surface
So lets learn about CRTs! The easiest way to know about this is by owning a flat screen CRT (I’ve owned several) and realizing ‘wait, my screen as distortion and lensing issues) and then having to go through the settings and fix it. You’d THINK displaying a rectangle on another rectangle would be easy, but CRTs don’t just project rectangles. They project all kinds of shapes and you gotta smash it into a rectangle with MAGNETS. The purpose of all this? Well no one wants their TV to look like a bubble. So the image on most CRT’s is pinched and distorted so that optically everything looks straight.
Look at this old curvy boy. You can see some lensing on it but i’s mostly pretty straight! How Well, the image – or more so, the path of the electron beam is bent by electro magnets to be…. something like
Probably not that extreme but you could get the idea. You’re counteracting one distortion with the opposite distortion.
Here is a CRT with that dialed in too far.
Wide screen HD CRTs are tweaking nightmares. Look at all the distortion in the image trying to make whatever weird shape an electron gun wants to take into a perfect rectangle.
LOOK AT THIS GOOD BOY. So straight and true. You’ll have a little distortion still but VERY VERY LITTLE.
Even at an angle you can look at the lines on this game and they look -super straight-.
If you wanna have some idea what the settings on a CRT do to the shape of the final image, watch this from 2:30
Look how fluid the image is distorted and pressed into shape. CRTs are a craaaazy technology and people did whatever they could to get a good image, even if that involved sticking in more magnets. But even basic pinch settings are interesting to watch be dialed in.
So yeah, the gestalt memory of CRT screens is like, extra crapified from what they actually looked like and it makes me sad. :(