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.

June 29, 2008

Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You

Album: Partie Traumatic

Black Kids are an American band that has been gaining popularity in UK. This song in particular sounds a lot like The Cure from 80s. This single debuted on the UK single chart at #11, but hasn’t found much success in the US. Their debut album, Partie Traumatic will be released early next month in the UK and late next month in the US.

Busta Rhymes – We Made It /ft. Linkin Park

Album: We Made It (Single)

When I first heard in early April this year that Busta Rhymes and Linkin Park were working together on a new single, I was excited. I was a huge fan of Jay-Z and Linkin Park collaboration, and I could totally picture the dynamics of Busta and Linkin Park exploding together. However when I finally had the chance to listen to it, I was disappointed. It’s a much slower paced song than I had anticipated, and it was kind of weak. It seems like I wasn’t the only person that didn’t think too highly of this song as it didn’t even place in the top 50 singles chart. Linkin Park does superb job on slower songs like, “In The End” or “Numb” but “We Made It” didn’t have the same coolness. I was even more disappointed to hear that Timbaland did the drum track. I guess just having star names doesn’t make it a good song. I was waiting for Busta Rhymes’ new album information and cover to be announced, but other than having the album name, Blessed, announced, the release date kept on getting delayed and delayed. Meanwhile, this song was released in the UK recently, and it charted better.

Disturbed – Inside the Fire

Album: Indestructible

This song has been #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart for 8 weeks in a row now (Weezer’s “Pork & Beans” has been #1 on the Modern Rock chart for the same 8 weeks as well). I think it sounds a lot like their first hit, “Stupify” from 2000. Their album, Indestructible became the third consecutive #1 album debut on Billboard album chart (which has only been done by Van Halen, U2, Dave Matthews, Staind, Metallica and Sytem of a Down).

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

Album: Fleet Foxes

This folky rock band from Seattle has been getting a lot of attentions in the media recently, so I had to check them out. I managed to get a hold of their album, but half way through, I was bored. I guess it’s not really my type of music, but they have been labeled as one of the best debut in the past several years. Maybe my ears aren’t mature enough to appreciate this kind of music, but I thought I’d see what other people think. It has 60s Simon & Garfunkel or Mamas & Papas feel to it.

Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl

Album: One of the Boys

First, she sung about straight boys being gay in “Ur So Gay”, and now she’s singing about kissing a girl and how she liked it because it tasted like cherry chapstick. She succeeds with this gender-bending message song again, this time even greater because it ended up being the #1 song in the nation. Not only that, “I Kissed A Girl” became the 1000th #1 in the rock era (which started in 1955 by Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’). It would be interesting to see what kind of single would be released next.

Lykke Li – Little Bit

Album: Youth Novels

She is one of the most talked about and blogged about artists in the world right now (other than Fleet Foxes). I’m not quite sure why, but I see her name everywhere from Billboard magazine to reports on SXSW. Lykke Li is a young Swedish indie-pop singer. For that she is often compared to Robyn or even Bjork. Her album was produced by Bjorn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn & John). At first listen, I thought it was weird music and couldn’t get into it, but after a few listen, I can understand how people could be crazy about her creative sound as it is very unique.

Metro Station – Shake It

Album: Metro Station

If you think you’ve been seeing a lot of Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montana and her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus on TV recently, well, add Miley’s brother Trace Cyrus to the list. Trace Cyrus and Mason Musso (ironically his brother is also on Hannah Montana TV show, where these two met) started Metro Station, and after gaining popularity on MySpace, they were signed. Their debut album was released in Fall of 2007, but they had been unnoticed until their latest single, “Shake It” hit the airwaves. This song was actually free on iTunes last year, but now it is one of the most downloaded songs (paid and downloaded, I should add). I think it sounds kind of annoying, but not as bad as Miley Cyrus’, I guess.

Nas - Hero /ft. Keri Hilson

Album: Nas

Nas’ latest album (9th total) was going to be titled “Nigger” but record executives put a stop to that as it was going to be hard to market with that name (and Walmart said they wouldn’t carry his CD with such title). For the longest time Nas wasn’t going to give in, but a few months before the official release, he decided to change the name so more people can listen to his message. The first single from the controversial album (to be released in mid July) is Hero, featuring Keri Hilson, who got some attention by being featured on Timbaland’s “Way I Are” single.

The Pussycat Dolls - When I Grow Up

Album: When I Grow Up (Single)

Most of the people know that the lead singer in the Pussycat Doll, Nicole Scherzinger is the only one that does the actual singing in the group. She can sing, she is beautiful, why shouldn’t she go solo, like Beyonce did? Everyone in the industry thought Nicole would be the next Beyonce, but all three of her singles, despite having star rappers like T.I. and will.i.am being featured, failed to chart. So, now Nicole is back to her day job, as the lead on Pussycat Dolls, and the first single from the upcoming album, Doll Domination (to be released in September) is burning up the charts and clubs across the country. Great production by Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jenkins (sounds a lot like his other production, Janet’s “Feedback”)

Three 6 Mafia – Lolli Lolli (Pop That Body) /ft. Project Pat, Young D & Superpower

Album: Last 2 Walk

Their latest album is titled Last 2 Walk since there are now only 2 remaining members – DJ Paul and Juicy J (they started out as 6 men group). Is it just me, but when they start their songs by doing a shout out to themselves “three six mafiaaaaa”, I get into it. It’s still weird to think that they are Oscar winning songwriters.

June 14, 2008

Candlebox – Stand

Album: Into the Sun

Seattle rock group, Candlebox, has been out of the rock scene for 10 years. They are finally back with a brand new album, Into the Sun. The “ah aaaaah aaah” in the chorus sounds a bit like Led Zeppelin rip-off, but nevertheless, they sound good, and I hope they will do well this time around.

Coldplay - Viva La Vida

Album: Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends

This is another good example of a song being used for Apple iPod commercial and generating so much downloads (from Apple iTunes of course). Thanks to that it’s Coldplay’s most successful single to date, and it’s only available on iTunes so far (at least until their new album, Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends, is released next week). I thought this song sounded very “U2-ish” and learned that it was produced by Brian Eno, who incidentally produced U2’s albums.

Fat Joe - Ain't Sayin' Nothin' /ft. Plies

Album: The Elephant In The Room

I had dismissed Fat Joe’s 8th album, The Elephant in the Room, when it was released in March because I didn’t particularly like the first single, “I Won’t Tell” and the 30 second clips I heard from other tracks didn’t impress me. But I caught the music video to this song on MTV Sucker Free, and was instantly hooked on the dramatic beat. If the hook was a bit more catchy instead of being so wordy, I think Fat Joe could’ve had another “Lean Back” type of hit. The video features tons of artists (though they don’t sing or anything) such as Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Birdman and Pitbull.

Flogging Molly - Requiem For A Dying Song

Album: Float

Honestly, these guys don’t grab much of my attention, but I decided to select one of their latest songs as they are the headlining act for the local radio station’s summer rock festival (I’m mostly going to see Flobots and MGMT). I have never heard of these guys before, and I can see that they sound unique with the Irish influence, but they just don’t do it for me. But maybe after seeing them live, I may change my mind.

The Fratellis - Mistress Mabel

Album: Here We Stand

The Fratellis is one of my favorite bands now, and it had been on my list of band that I wanted to see live. Maybe very top on that list. I loved their debut album, Costello Music, from start to finish, and I am hoping the same for the second album, Here We Stand. They added all of their new songs to imeem.com and after listening to it, I realized that it may not be as catchy and fun as their first album. Costello Music grabbed me from the first listen, but their second album may take me sometime to get into.

Gavin Rossdale - The Trouble I'm In /ft. Shirley Manson

Album: Wanderlust

Young people may not know who he is, but he used to be very famous as the lead singer for the British rock group, Bush, in the 90s (they had hits like “Glycerine” and “Machinehead”). Nowadays, people may know him Mr. Gwen Stefani. Gwen had a huge success going solo from No Doubt, and her husband tries to do the same, but I didn’t really get the direction of this album. Most of the songs are slow ballad-ish songs and lacks the edge that Bush had in their prime. The only reason I like this song is, it features my favorite vocalist of all time, Shirley Manson (of Garbage).

Here’s what Gavin commented about this particular song:
That’s Shirley Manson of Garbage fame singing with me. One of my favorite records of all time is Bob Dylan’s “Desire” and especially “Isis” and “One More Cup of Coffee” with the great female voice blended in. I love that. It’s another thing that being in a band was not possible, Now it’s whatever goes. At first Shirley didn’t want to sing on it. I wrote her and she wrote back and said, “You persuasive bastard.” So she came to sing on it. And she’s great on it. It’s just about relationships and how we’re always in trouble.

Martha Wainwright - You Cheated Me

Album: I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too

Her older brother is Rufus Wainwright, and it seems like the music genes run in the family. Other than having another famous folk-rock musician brother, Martha hails from Canada, and this song is from her second album, I Know You’re Married Bu I’ve Got Feelings Too. This song was brought to my attention as it was a free single from Amazon MP3. I wasn’t familiar with much of her music, so I checked out her website and noticed that she likes to show off her legs a lot, just like in this album cover.

N.E.R.D. - Everyone Nose (All The Girls Standing In The Line For The Bathroom)

Album: Seeing Sounds

Pharrel, Chad Hugo and their friend Shay Haley just released their third album, Seeing Sounds. When I saw the music video for the song, I noticed that they cut out all the parts with “achoo” in it. I later found out that this song refers to girls snorting cocaine in the bathroom (I guess if I listen to the lyrics a little carefully I can get that).

Nada Surf - Whose Authority

Album: Lucky

In 96, they had a hit with “Popular” which sounded like one of Weezer tracks. Then they disappeared and everyone thought of them as one-hit wonder. In 2002 they suddenly came back with new musical direction. Now they sound like a lot of the indie mature-rock bands like Death Cab or The Shins. Their latest album, Lucky is their fifth album, and was recorded in Seattle with John Goodmanson as the producer.

Yoshida Brothers – Rising

Album: Best of Yoshida Brothers

I’ve been trying to get this song for a very long time. This song was used on Asahi beer commercial in Japan in 2005, and released as a single only in Japan. And finally this will be included on the US release of Best of Yoshida Brothers album. I got to see them live at a very small venue, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The way these guys play the traditional Japanese instrument, shamisen, is like seeing Jimi Hendrix rip it on the guitar. Check out their cool music video.