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.

March 27, 2008

Annie Lennox - Sing /ft. Madonna, Celine Dion, Pink, Fergie, Joss Stone, etc

Album: Sing (Single)

Annie Lennox recorded this song with help from female superstars from around the globe to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. To list all of the participants - Madonna, Celine Dion, Pink, Shakira, KT Tunstall, Dido, Faith Hill, Fergie, Sugababes, Beth Orton, Bonnie Raitt, Martha Wainwright, Joss Stone, Melissa Etheridge, Angelique Kidjo, Beverley Knight, KD Lang, Shingai Shoniwa, Gladys Knight, Isobel Campbell, Sarah McLachlan, Anastacia.

March 10th was apparently “Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day”, so to help draw attention, she decided to release this song for free on Amazon MP3 for a week. This song is also recorded on Lennox’s recently released album, Songs of Mass Destruction. With so many vocalists on board, it’s hard to pick up some of their voices, but Madonna was obvious (since she gets a whole verse to herself), and I think I heard Fergie, Joss Stone and Pink (these three actually sounded similar, so maybe I only heard one of them). This song reminded me of “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” which was also sung by Lennox, while she was still part of Eurythmics.
More info on this song: www.annielennoxsing.com/sing.php

The Black Keys - Strange Times

Album: Attack And Release

Similar to The White Stripes, The Black Keys only has two people; one playing the guitar and singing, and the other on the drums. Their sound is also similar to The White Stripes as well since they both have that bluesy rock feel. This song also has a bit of eerie feeling similar to Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”

Duffy - Mercy

Album: Rockferry

iTunes gives out free single each week on their site – some are good, some are forgettable. But I have to give them credit for giving away UK’s biggest hits for free. Last year, Amy Winehouse, earlier this year, Adele and earlier this month, Duffy’s hit single was available for free! Similar to those two female artists I mentioned, she has a cool smoky voice. Could she be the next Amy Winehouse in the US?

Duffy - Ready For The Floor [Live]

Album: Radio 1's Live Lounge

I really dig Duffy’s vocal style. She was recently on UK’s popular radio show, Radio 1’s Live Lounge, which is an excellent show where the guest artist plays acoustic set of their hit and covers somebody else’s hit. Earlier this month, Duffy covered Hot Chip’s “Ready For The Floor”, which sounds more like reworked than covering it as the popular dance track turns into more sad soulful song. I really loved the arrangement.

Flo Rida - Elevator /ft. Timbaland

Album: Mail On Sunday

Flo Rida tries to prove that he is not going to be a one hit wonder from his “Low” single. His album was finally released, and it has enough guest stars to fill up the entire Billboard top 10 (Sean Kingston, Yung Joc, will.i.am to name a few). On this track, he enlists Timbaland who sings, “eleh-eleh-vator” reminiscent of “umbrella-elah-elah.”

Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Falling Slowly

Album: Once Soundtrack

For this year’s Acamedy Award’s best song award (I’m still bummed that none of the songs from Walk Hard was nominated), three songs from Disney’s Enchanted were nominated as well as this song from the movie, Once, which I’ve seen ads on the music magazines, but have never really heard of. And to everyone’s surprise, this song won, so I had to check it out. It’s a decent duet, but I much preferred Hugh Grant and Haley Benett’s “Way Back Into Love” duet better.

Gnarls Barkley - Run

Album: The Odd Couple

Gnarls Barkley, who took their name from Charles Barkley (I didn’t know that), is back with their second album. After having a huge hit, “Crazy” two years ago, everyone’s expecting them to do something crazy (no pun intended). This song is pretty good, but it definitely doesn’t grab me like how “Crazy” did. I would be interested to see if their next single may be any better.

Ingrid Michaelson - The Way I Am

Album: Girls And Boys

This song is actually a few months old, and I was aware of it, as it showed up on iTunes chart after it was played on Grey’s Anatomy. I haven’t watched that show since it went downhill after season 3, but after hearing her entire album, I can hear that her music suits that show very well. This song was also used for Old Navy’s sweater commercial (YouTube) last fall as the song contains the line, “if you are chilly, here take my sweater.”

Lil Mama - Shawty Get Loose /ft. Chris Brown & T-Pain

Album: VYP: Voice of the Young People

Lil Mama had a hit with “Lip Gloss” last fall, and was on Avril’s remix version of “Girlfriend” and recently she can be seen on America’s Best Dance Crew show on MTV as one of the judges. This song, as it’s produced by T-Pain, sounds a lot like all of his other hits, “Low”, “Cyclone” and “Kiss Kiss” which should suit the club well. In the music video, Lil Mama has a dance off with Chris Brown which looks pretty cool. Her debut album is finally going to be released at end of next month.

Ludo - Love Me Dead

Album: You're Awful, I Love You

I had never heard of these guys before, until I caught the middle of this song on the radio. For the first 10 seconds or so, I wondered if it was the new song from My Chemical Romance as it sounded like it could fit on their Black Parade album. After 10 more seconds, I realize that the vocal was slightly different, but the style was quite similar. After a quick search on the internet, I discovered that a couple of their songs (including this one) is available for free download on Purevolume website.

Madonna - 4 Minutes /ft. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland

Album: Hard Candy

After selling tons of her last album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, she is back with a new album (to be released in end of April). But first we are given this single featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. 50 Cent used their help for “Ayo Technology” which I thought sounded weak, but Madonna does a better job as this song is addicting. As this song suggests, her new album is supposed to be dance-oriented like Confessions album, but with more “urban” feel to it. It would be interesting to see if she can repeat the same success with Hard Candy.

MGMT - Time To Pretend

Album: Oracular Spectacular

This was a free single on iTunes a few months ago, and now it’s starting to get airplay on rock stations. This New York band, MGMT consists of just two guys (I wonder how they will sound live), and they will be playing at Seattle’s Chop Suey next month as well as at Summersonic (big summer festival in Japan) this August. Actually, their entire album is really good. One of the most solid album release of the year thus far. I’m looking forward to their live show.

Nicole Atkins - Maybe Tonight

Album: Neptune City

I don’t listen to country music, but somehow I know some names, and I thought I knew her as a country musician, so I dismissed her debut CD and didn’t even bother listening to it (I later found out that there is a country star named Rodney Atkins, so I must’ve been thinking of him). But after seeing this video on VH1.com, I had to check her out. Her vocal sounds similar to Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley. Some of you may recall seeing her (and her band) on American Express commercial (YouTube) where they realize that their rental car is too small to fit all of their equipment and they need to rent a bigger SUV instead.

PlayRadioPlay! - Madi Don't Leave

Album: Texas

PlayRadioPlay! is a one-man band from Texas (hence the album title). And that one man is still a teenage kid. He plays all of the instruments and produces all of his track on his computer. After the producers discovered that he had a strong following on his Myspace page, they signed him up. He is currently touring with Yellowcard and Secondhand Serenade, which I will be seeing next week. It would be interesting to see what kind of live show he will put on (will he have a band?). Kudos for mentioning Seattle in the song.

The Presidents Of The United States Of America - Mixed Up SOB

Album: These Are The Good Times People

The Presidents are finally back with the 6th album. They’ve been playing in Seattle once or twice a year, here and there (most notably during the Presidents Day weekend a couple of years ago), but finally they have some new songs. This single is a fun, catchy poppy song, which they are so good at. They can be seen at Sasquatch Festival at the Gorge this summer.

Secondhand Serenade - Fall For You

Album: A Twist In My Story

Secondhand Serenade is a one-man band, similar to Dashboard Confessional, the singer-songwriter, John Vesely mostly plays acoustic slow rock. His songs do actually sound a lot like Dashboard.

Shirley Bassey - Get The Party Started

Album: Get The Party Started

Shirley Bassey is now Dam Shirley Bassey. She is most famous for recording, “Goldfinger” for James Bond film in 1964. At least in the US, she is popular for that song, but in the UK, she is Britian’s most successful female chart artist of all time with over 30 hit singles. This, as you may know, is a remix of Pink’s hit single. But you wouldn’t think that in the first 30 seconds (sounds like it could be Batman’s opening music), and then a minute into the song, the music bust into James Bond style. It’s a cool dance track that makes you want to drive really fast like… James Bond. This entire album, which consists of mostly cover songs, actually has that James Bond feel. If you like that stuff, it’s worth checking out.

Snoop Dogg - Sets Up /ft. Pharrell

Album: Ego Trippin'

I was disappointed with Snoop’s new single, “Sensual Seduction” (or called, Sexual Eruption on the album) as it didn’t sound gangsta enough. I give him credit for trying something new, but it didn’t sound cool enough. His next single, “Life of da Party” had Too Short and Mistah FAB featured, but that didn’t sound that great either. After going through the entire album, I realized that there were only a couple of tracks that I liked, and this was one of them. The beat is very familiar Neptunes sound featuring Pharrell. For those of you that live outside of the US, Snoop now has his own reality show called “Fatherhood” where you get to see how he raises his kids. On one of the shows, his son wanted to learn how to play soccer, so Snoop called Beckham to come and help, and Beckham agreed to come. I was amazed that Snoop and Beckham could understand each other with their accents.

Tiernan - End Of The World

Album: The End Of The World

This small local bar band in Japan, called Tiernan, was picked up on Tokyo's popular station, InterFM's morning show. The lead singer, Laurier Tiernan is from Canada, and along with ex-US Navy bassist and Japanese drummer they have been slowly gaining popularity in Japan. Something about this song is really catchy. Tiernan sings "Arnold Swarchenegger will be President of the United States...." and the consequence of that. Their songs can be purchased on their former label's website.

The quality is not that great, but you can see them perform this song at What the Dicken's (one of my favorite live houses in Japan): Live performance of Tiernan's "End of the World"

Here is their myspace link: www.myspace.com/tiernanband

Usher - Love In This Club /ft. Young Jeezy

Album: Love In This Club (Single)

Usher’s previous album, The Confession was a big hit, and his new album is supposed to be released in June this year. The first single featuring Young Jeezy is already a #1 hit. In a recent interview, Lil Jon stated that he was working on Usher’s song, but was taking extra time on it because he wanted to make sure that it was going to be as good as “Yeah” which was indeed a huge hit.