About This Site

Each month I select 20 songs (10 songs twice a month) that I am either hooked on or am curious about. Most of the music I select are rock, hip-hop, R&B and pop songs.

My song selection comes from 20-30 CDs I get from various sources each month, as well as recommendations from iTunes and Amazon. I also check out the charts in US, UK and Japan.

May 30, 2007

50 Cent - Straight To The Bank

Album: Curtis

Looks like 50’s album is being delayed for some reason. I heard that this first single from his third album was produced by Dr. Dre, so I had high hopes for it, but I later found that Dre was only partially involved on this track (what does that really mean?). This song definitely doesn’t have the impact “In Da Club” had, but it’s still a decent track. Hopefully his other singles will be better. At this point, I’d give The Game more credit.

Brandi Carlile - The Story

Album: The Story

Not to be mistaken as “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” singer, Belinda Carlisle, and the are not related (last name is pronounced the same, but spelled differently). Brandi Carlile is from Seattle, and she has been around for a few years now (though I’ve never heard of her until recently). This song was used to promote Grey’s Anatomy. At the first listen, I thought she had major pitch problems in her vocals and disregarded her, but after a few listens, I have began to appreciate the crack in her voice and the weird pitch as they convey raw emotion to the song.

DJ Khaled - We Takin' Over /ft. Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Baby & Lil Wayne

Album: We the Best

He belongs to Fat Joe’s Terror Squad Entertainment. I’m not quite sure what DJ Khaled’s duty was for this song, as this song was produced by Danja, and he doesn’t rap on the song. But it’s a cool track. If you have Akon singing the hook, and T.I. and Lil Wayne doing a verse, how can you have a crappy song?

Dropping Daylight - Tell Me

Album: Brace Yourself

Dropping Daylight is a rock band from Minnesota. I think most of the guys in the band are still in teens or early 20s. Sebastian Davin is the lead vocalist/pianist, which kind of reminds you of Ben Folds Five, except they have a guitarist that loves the distorted sound. It’s a catchy emo rock song with piano on it.

Fabolous - Diamonds /ft. Young Jeezy

Album: From Nothin' To Somethin'

Fabolous’ fourth album titled From Nothin’ to Somethin’ will be released next month, and the lead off single features Young Jeezy. It’s not Fabolous’ best song and the beat is not that fresh (it’s actually a little annoying), but his album is supposed to be good, so we’ll see.

The Feeling - Sewn

Album: Twelve Stops and Home

The Feeling is a UK rock band, that tends to play slower tempo songs. Their album was released in UK a year ago, but in the US it was released a couple of months ago. This song was one of the biggest hits in UK last year.

Green Day - Working Class Hero

Album: Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign To Save Darfur

To benefit Amnesty International’s campaign to save Darfur bunch of famous artists are doing a cover of John Lennon songs, since Yoko Ono is donating the publishing royalties for the cause. In March, R.E.M.’s cover of #9 Dream was released as a single, and earlier this month, Green Day’s version of Working Class Hero was released as a single. Also on the album are: U2, Christina Aguilera, Lenny Kravitz, Aerosmith, and Avril Lavigne left to cover “Imagine.”

Joss Stone - Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now /ft. Common

Album: Introducing Joss Stone

This is the second single from Joss Stone’s third album, Introducing Joss Stone. I was impressed with her first single, “Tell Me ‘Bout It”, but I am even more impressed with this one. Joss Stone’s soulful voice and Common’s smooth rapping is a perfect match.

Kazi - Life Goes On

Album: The Hip-Hop Project Soundtrack

I’ve never heard of a movie called, The Hip Hop Project, and never heard of the soundtrack either until one day I was browsing through iTunes and somehow came across this album, and I listened to the 30 second preview, and I immediately fell in love with this song. I don’t know where I can go to see this movie, but after reading the synopsis, it interested me. The movie is supposed to be about kids growing up in New York and using hip-hop as empowerment and self growth. This guy, Kazi, was apparently a former homeless teenager, but is now a youth mentor. It’s nice to hear non gangsta rap once in a while.

Kelly Clarkson - Never Again

Album: My December

Kelly Clarkson’s last album was a huge hit. She tries to follow that success with this third album, which has quite a bit of dark feeling, including this lead off single. The rumor has it that she butted heads with the producers and Sony BMG head, Clive Davis regarding this album since it was not commercially well made. I’d like to take artists side for the most part, but after listening to this song, I am worried about her upcoming album.

Kevin Michael - We All Want The Same Thing [Acoustic] /ft. Akil Dasan

Album: YaDig?

Kevin Michael is half Italian and black. This was one of iTunes free single of the week, and I immediately liked the song. It has a cool soulful vibe, and catchy pop feel at the same time. So far he is only releasing an EP, but hopefully his full album is going to be just as good.

Permanent Me - Until You Leave

Album: After the Room Clears

Thanks to MySpace and Sum 41’s lead singer, Deryck Whibley catching their page, they were able to sign to a record label. This song reminds me of one of Angels & Airwaves songs.

UPDATE 2008-Mar: Permanent Me decided to break up.

Rise Against - Prayer Of The Refugee

Album: The Sufferer & The Witness

This song is from their fourth album, The Sufferer & The Witness. I have actually never heard of them until recently. They are the only hard rock/punk band where every single member of the band is a vegetarian. But this song rocks.

Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - Kiss The Sky /ft. Nino Moschella

Album: Voices and Choices

Shawn Lee is American, but he’s been around everywhere and when he moved to UK, he was signed. He also released a couple of albums solely in Japan. I’ve never heard of him, but this song was one of the free downloads at iTunes, and it grabbed my attention. It has a similar eerie feeling as Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”

Sick Puppies - All The Same

Album: Dressed Up As Life

This Aussie band started out by two highschool kids, singer/guitarist, Shimon Moore and bassist Emma Anzai (I can’t find any data, but she looks part Japanese from the photos). Moore, who used to give “Free Hugs”, made a video from his hugging experience, and when one of his friend’s grandma died, he sent the video as a sympathy card, using this song as the background music. And that video was posted on YouTube, and next thing you know, they had 10 million views. Needless to say, they were soon signed, and touring around the world.

Tim Armstrong - Into Action /ft. Skye Sweetnam

Album: A Poets Life

A weird combination of former Rancid vocalist and former Canadian teen pop almost-star, Skye Sweetnam, where she sounds like Gwen Stefani from 10 years ago. Rancid is supposedly not broken up, but while on the break, Armstrong has been busy producing for other people, the biggest project being Pink’s failed album, Try This. A Poet’s Life is Armstrong’s first solo album, and the CD includes a DVD with a video for every single song. I’m not a huge Rancid fan or anything, but have always enjoyed their singles. I like this song as it’s catchy and fun.

T-Pain - Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin') /ft. Yung Joc

Album: Epiphany

This rapper/producer from Florida is famous for using vocoder on pretty much everything. On his last album, he had a hit with "I'm N Luv (Wit A Stripper)". His second album will be coming out early next month, and this is the first single from that album.

Ultra Nate – Automatic

Album: Grime, Silk & Thunder

I remember when I first started going clubbing, the big hit then was, “Free” by Ultra Nate. Since then she popped up occasionally (such as on the movie 54), but has been pretty much obscure, like most dance divas from the 90s. I always thought of her as an European, but I guess she’s from Baltimore. This song brought Ultra Nate back on the chart and it scored #1 on the dance chart. I still prefer “Free” though.

The Used - The Bird And The Worm

Album: Lies For The Liars

This song sounds a lot like My Chemical Romance. Those two groups performed “Under Pressure” together in 2005, but since then they are no longer friends. I forget what happened, but I remember reading something on some magazine. Since this album sounds a lot like My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade, I thought maybe they were produced by a same person, but this album is produced by John Feldmann (lead singer of the band Goldfinger).

The White Stripes - Icky Thump

Album: Icky Thump

Yes! White Stripes are back and they sound stronger than ever. All I can say is awesome. How could they sound so good and cool with just a guitar and a drum. A lot of bands have twice the people, but don’t even sound half as good as the Stripes. Icky Thump is the first single and also the name of their sixth album. The White Stripes are from Detroit and have always recorded in Detroit, but they’ve moved to Nashville since then and this is the first album recorded in Nashville. There is a bit of Nasville influence on their new album.