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.

September 27, 2007

1990s - You Made Me Like It

Album: Cookies

From Glasgow, Scotland, these guys were discovered and signed to a label after playing only 6 gigs. At one point, a couple of guys from Franz Ferdinand were in this band. The opening guitar riff reminds me of The Romantics' "What I Like About You."

Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry On Their Own

Album: Back to Black

Amy Winehouse's second album,. Back to Black is finally being released in Japan this month with a few bonus tracks, while her forth single, "Tears Dry On their Own" is hitting the airwaves in UK and US. This song sort of samples Marvin Gaye classic, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

Chamillionaire - Hip Hop Police /ft. Slick Rick

Album: Ultimate Victory

He hit stardom after "Ridin' Dirty" became a huge hit (it was so big that even Weird Al parodied it, which also became a big hit). According to the interview on Blender Magazine, Chamillionaire does not do drugs or drink. Instead, he is addicted to financing and he is always counting his money and looking into his investment. On this second album, Chamillionaire actually does not swear or use sexually explicit word or N-word in the entire album thus "Ultimate Victory" became the first mainstream hardcore rap album to not receive the Parental Advisory sticker.

Chris Cornell - She'll Never Be Your Man

Album: Carry On

This is Chris Cornell's third single off of his second album. It has a big of country-folk feel to it in the first half, but toward the end, Chris rocks it out. He recently played a sold out live show in Seattle and played for over two hours. What surprised me was that he played all the hits from Soundgarden, Audioslave and even Temple of the Dog. A lot of artists who turned solo after being in a big group refuses to play previous hits, but that's not the case for him. He had a good time, even bringing his little baby kids on the stage (kids were more interested in watching the drummer than their own daddy sing, which was cute).

Common - Drivin' Me Wild /ft. Lily Allen

Album: Finding Forever

Unlikely match up of hip-hop and UK girl, Lily Allen, but this works really well. Some might find Lily Allen's backing vocal slightly annoying, but I like it. This track was produced by Kanye West with sampling from "Love Has Fallen on Me" by Rotary Connection.

Eve - Give It To You /ft. Sean Paul

Album: Here I Am

When is her album coming out? It keeps getting delayed and delayed. It was supposed to be released around February this year, and now it's September, and her second single is hitting the airwaves, and still the album is being delayed. Perhaps she was looking for her singles to do better? It used to be that if you had Sean Paul singing the hook, it was going to be a big hit, but nowadays it almost sounds like a tired formula. Right now, Akon and T-Pain seem to be singing all the hook on current hits on the air.

Hot Hot Heat - Let Me In

Album: Happiness LTD.

This rock band is from Victoria, Canada. I had never heard of them before, but apparently this is their fourth album, and people in LA are aware of them because KROQ played their songs heavily. That bell sound in the background and synthesized violin reminds me of Smashing Pumpkins (particularly "Tonight Tonight").

Jennifer Lopez - Do It Well

Album: Brave

This is turning out to be a decent hit for J-Lo, but it lacks the strength she had in previous hits from the past. This time, she goes more pop (instead of street hip-hop thing she was going for). Maybe her husband doesn't want her rubbing her ass along with hip-hop artists. This track was produced by Ryan Tedder (lead singer of OneRepublic)

Kanye West - Good Life /ft. T-Pain

Album: Graduation

Kanye uses the same formula of chipmunk voiced sample which worked on his first hit, "Through the Wire" for this second single from his third album, Graduation. Apparently this song is sampling Michael Jackson's hit, "P.Y.T." but I have a hard time picking it up (maybe I don't know that song that well). But this song is so catchy and fun to sing along to.

Kim Leoni - Again

Album: Again (Single)

This song is being played over and over on the dance station, and at clubs around the world. Kim Leoni is half Indonesian and Dutch, and she was a model until she was discovered by her producers at some friend's birthday party. Like most dance club hits, her single is strong, but who knows if her album will ever be released.

The Last Goodnight - Pictures Of You

Album: Poison Kiss

I first heard this song somewhere, and tracked down the group, only to realize that they look different than they sound. The lead singer kind of has a mohawk. But despite the punk rocker look, they sing catchy pop rock song similar to Maroon 5. Their whole album is pretty good and I like their harder stuff better but since this is the radio hit, I selected this track.

Mark Ronson - Valerie /ft. Amy Winehouse

Album: Version

Mark Ronson is a British producer who is famous for producing Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album and several songs for Christina Aguilera’s Back to Basics album. This is his second album, and he covers a lot of UK rock bands such as Radiohead, Kaiser Chiefs, and like this song, The Zutons. This original song by The Zutons wasn’t a big hit in the US, but it got a lot of airplay in UK and Japan. Amy Winehouse effortlessly covers this song.

Matchbox 20 - How Far We've Come

Album: Exile on Mainstream

Their fourth album has six new songs and 11 greatest hits songs. The music video for this song looks back on the history of human being (it touches on possibility of having first ever woman or black US President as well). The History Channel liked this song enough to use it for promotions of their programs. It’s been five years since Matchbox released their last album. During that time, Rob Thomas had a solo album, which I didn’t think was all that great.

Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks

Album: The Stage Names

This indie rock band from Austin, Texas released their forth album last month. I’ve never heard of them before, but I like the unique singing style of this song. I also love the instrumental part in the end with violin and guitar jamming together.

Plumb - In My Arms

Album: Blink

This song has been played a lot on the Dance radio station recently, even though it’s not that upbeat. Plumb is actually a Contemporary Christian artist, who happened to cross over to the mainstream chart. She also writes songs for other artists such as Michelle Branch and Mandy Moore.

Public Enemy - Bring The Noise [Benny Benassi Sfaction Remix]

Album: Bring The Noise Remix

House/Techno DJ, Benny Benassi does a kick ass job remixing Public Enemy’s 1987 hit song. Ferry Corsten (aka System F) also remixed this track, but I prefer Benassi’s version better which has more bass. This song actually won a Grammy for best remixed recording at the 2008 Grammy Award.

Rilo Kiley - Silver Lining

Album: Under The Blacklight

The lead singer of this indie rock band is Jenny Lewis, who was a child actress (was in The Wizard and Pleasantville to name a few) in the late 80s and 90s. She also released a solo album last year along with The Watson Twins, which was a great folk album. I think Jenny Lewis has one of the sexist voices. A lot of people compare Rilo Kiley as the modern day Fleetwood Mac, which I can hear, especially on this song.

Sean Kingston - Me Love

Album: Sean Kingston

A lot of people thought he might be an one-hit wonder after his debut single, “Beautiful Girls” ruled the airwaves this summer, but I guess they were wrong. This track is also produced by JR Rotem, and it samples elements of Led Zeppelin’s, D'yer Mak'er.

Three Days Grace - Never Too Late

Album: One-X

Their second album, One-X was released last year (June 2006) but it’s still pumping out radio hits, like this one. It’s slower than most of their other songs, but has a great acoustic guitar playing.

Will.I.Am - I Got It From My Mama

Album: Songs About Girls

He’s the brain behind Black Eyed Peas, but somehow his solo work isn’t as catchy. This album, Songs About Girls is his third solo album (yeah, who knew he had released that many solo stuff), but I don’t think it’s going to do nearly as good as Fergie’s solo album. This song in particular is kind of catchy and fun (especially at clubs), but I can’t see this entering the top 10 Billboard chart.