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 28, 2008

Cold War Kids - Something Is Not Right With Me

Album: Loyalty To Loyalty

When you first listen to this song, you think, “Man, this guy can’t sing” or “It sounds like some drunk guy trying to sing karaoke.” But then, when you listen to it a couple of times, this song stays in your head, and you want to sing along to it. Now, I am actually really liking the vocal. The music is also cool, kind of reminds me of Elbow’s "Grounds For Divorce."

Jazmine Sullivan - Need U Bad /ft. Missy Elliott

Album: Fearless

Missy Elliott’s new protégé sounds a lot like Alicia Keys and sings like Lauryn Hill. This “Ned U Bad” track has been #1 on R&B chart for four weeks. She has written songs for Christina Millian and Fantasia, yet Jazmine Sullivan is still only 21 years old. Since I haven’t selected any R&B songs in a while, I thought this would be a good one.

Jem - Crazy

Album: Down To Earth

UK singer (Welsh to be exact), Jem has had a couple of hits in the past few years, notably “24”. On this track, there is definitely Stevie Wonder influence; it’s funky and cool. Many of her songs have been used on TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy. On her latest album, Down to Earth, she has a track called “Aciiid” where she sings a few verses in Japanese. Interesting.

Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue

Album: Acid Tongue

Jenny Lewis is a lead singer of LA rock band, Rilo Kiley. She released a solo album a couple of years ago featuring the Watson Twins. This time, she is all alone. Jenny Lewis started out as a child actor (she was in Pleasantville, Foxfire, just to name a few), but has moved onto only doing music. I just love her voice. Normally I wouldn’t listen to this kind of slow music (especially when it sounds country), but when Jenny Lewis sings it, it sounds beautiful.

Little Jackie - The World Should Revolve Around Me

Album: The Stoop

There has been a lot of Amy Winehouse-ish singers from UK recently such as Adele and Duffy. Now there is American version of throw-back artist. Little Jackie consists of Imani Coppola (no relation to director Francis Ford), who had a brief hit in the late 90s with “Legend of a Cowgirl” and DJ, programmer, Adam Pallin. This track gained popularity after it was used for the opening of VH1’s “New York goes to Hollywood” show.

Meiko - Boys With Girlfriends

Album: Meiko

Two weeks ago, I reviewed half-Japanese singer, Marie Digby. This time I came across Meiko, who is quarter Japanese (but unlike Marie, Meiko doesn’t speak Japanese). They don’t look alike, but the way they approach music writing sounds quite similar to me. Meiko released her debut album last year, but was recently signed to MySpace Records, and her album was re-released. This laid back track was also a free download at Amazon MP3 store (for those that reside in US). In Japanese, her name would be pronounced “May-ko” but she pronounces it as “Mee-ko”. This site, LAist has short story of her success and some of her videos.

Metallica - The Day That Never Comes

Album: Death Magnetic

Metallica is back with a brand new record. Most of the songs on their ninth album, Death Magnetic is over 7 minutes long. The album, produced by Rick Rubin, sounds a lot like their older stuff. There is even a song, “The Unforgiven III”. This album has been #1 in both US and UK upon its release.

Nelly - Stepped on My J'z /ft. Jermaine Dupri & Ciara

Album: Brass Knuckles

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how LL Cool J may not be so relevant in today’s hip-hop industry. Nelly might be following that same track. He has released numerous singles for his latest album, Brass Knuckles, but none of the tracks have reached top 30. On this track, he tries to pull another “Air Force Ones” by rapping about his favorite shoes, Air Jordans. The only good thing about this track is Ciara.

Nikka Costa - Stuck On You

Album: Pebble To A Pearl

Nikka Costa has a very unique background. She is American, but was born in Tokyo, Japan, and made her first recording in Italy, and she is most popular in Australia. I’ve picked up her singles in the past as they tend to be fun and catchy. This lead off single from her fourth album, Pebble to a Pearl, sounds like it belongs on Austin Powers soundtrack. The remix of this track is available on Levi’s website.

Pink - So What

Album: Funhouse

“So What” is the first single from her fifth album titled, Funhouse. I was a big fan of her second album, Missundaztood, but haven’t been impressed by any of her singles since then. This track comes pretty close. I think it’s well produced and it’s a fun club song. It has already reached #1 on US Billboard chart.

September 14, 2008

Ben Folds - You Don't Know Me /ft. Regina Spektor

Album: Way To Normal

Piano pop singer-songwriter Ben Folds is back with his third album. The first single features Russian piano pop singer-songwriter, famous for the song, “Fidelty”, which I was not a huge fan of. But on this track, Spektor is a nice addition. It’s a fun duet. The new album is due out in end of September, but several of his songs were leaked on the internet in June. Ben Folds later admitted that he recorded ‘fake’ versions just for fun and leaked the songs himself.

Flo Rida - In The Ayer /ft. will.i.am

Album: Mail On Sunday

Florida rapper, Flo Rida proves that he’s not just a one-hit wonder. First single, “Low” was a huge success. Second single "Elevator" with Timbaland was a moderate success, charting at #16. Now this third single produced by will.i.am has reached top 10. I wouldn’t be surprised if he releases a few more singles from his album, Mail On Sunday. It is a good album.

Gym Class Heroes - Cookie Jar /ft. The Dream

Album: The Quilt

Gym Class Heroes’ last album was a huge success with hits like “Cupid’s Chokehold” and “Clothes Off!”. They try to repeat the success with their fourth album, The Quilt. The first single featuring Busta Rhymes was pretty good, but the second single, produced by “Umbrella” writer, The Dream gets stuck in your head. The chorus part, “My hands, my hands” sounds a bit like “My humps, my humps.” The lead singer of Gym Class Heroes is still dating the “I Kissed A Girl” singer, Katy Perry.

Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire

Album: Only By The Night

US southern rock band, Kings of Leon still hasn’t found mainstream success in the US, but they are quite popular in UK (this track is #1 on iTunes UK now). The band consists of three Followill brothers and their cousin (same last name). Similar to Oasis’ Gallagher brothers, these brothers get in fights all the time.

Lil Wayne - Got Money /ft. T-Pain

Album: Tha Carter III

Lil Wayne continues to have success. The album, Tha Carter III sold over a million copies (thanks to successful single, “Lollipop”) during the first week, which had not been done since 50 Cent’s 2005 album, The Massacre. This is the third single from the album. The music video is a continuation of “A Milli” (second single).

LL Cool J - Baby [Rock Remix] /ft. Ritchie Sambora

Album: Exit 13

The last album by LL Cool J that I remotely liked was Phenomenon, containing the hit single of the same name. Since then he has released five more albums, including his current new album, Exit 13. Exit 13 is his 13th album, and last album for the label Def Jam. He didn’t get along so well with his boss, Jay-Z. I’m not quite sure what the deal was on that. LL tries to stay relevant in today’s hip-hop, but it almost comes across as he is trying too hard to rhyme. The only decent track I found on his new album, was the rock remix to his first single, “Baby” featuring Ritchie Sambora (guitarist of Bon Jovi).

Marie Digby - Stupid For You

Album: Unfold

Marie Digby is half Japanese, hence, her name is pronounced Ma-ree-eh. She actually has an accent mark on “e”. Recently she was in Japan for radio interviews and I was surprised to find that she is fluent in Japanese. Justin Nozuka, who is also half Japanese, was recently in Japan for Fuji Rock to promote his single, “After Tonight”, but he doesn’t speak the language at all. I had briefly heard of Digby’s music, mostly because her cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” was YouTube sensation, but I didn’t really listen to her other songs. A friend of mine in Japan has told me I should check out her music, and I enjoyed her pop sounding piano songs. This track, especially had a feel good vibe found on Sara Bareilles or Daniel Powter.

Rise Against - Re-Education (Through Labor)

Album: Appeal To Reason

Recently I have been digging Rise Against. I get them and Against Me mixed up as I am a fan of both rock bands music. I really liked their last album containing two hits, “Prayer of the Refugee” and “The Good Left Undone.” Rise Against will be releasing a new album in October but their first single is already available at iTunes and Amazon. It’s another cool hard rock song.

Sohodolls - Bang Bang Bang Bang

Album: Ribbed Music For The Numb Generation

CW is an American TV network that targets mostly teenage girls with shows like Gossip Girl, the new Beverly Hills 90210 and One Tree Hill. I’ve never watched any of those shows, but people have been raving about the music on these shows. I decided to check out the music section of their site and was surprised to see a lot of the semi-obscure songs that I had selected in the past months had been used on these shows. I was curios to check out the songs that I didn’t recognize, and one of them was this track. Sohodolls is a British pop electro band led by vocalist Maya von Doll. Their music is sexy. It seems like a few of Sohodolls songs have been used on CW shows. I may not sit through their shows, but I may have to check back on CW networks’ music list once in a while.

Various Artists - Just Stand Up

Album: Just Stand Up! (Single)

On early September, divas of the music industry like Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow and bunch of others have teamed up to record this track to raise money and awareness for cancer. I’m not sure why only divas were invited to perform (it wasn’t specifically targeted for female cancer), but I like supporting for these causes, even though the songs are always really cheesy. During the telecast, which was broadcasted on all three US major networks at the same time, most of the divas took the stage together and performed this song live. Check out the YouTube clip of it. On the studio recording, it’s hard to tell any bad vocals, but when you are in company of great singers like Mary J. Blige and Leona Lewis, I felt bad for Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, who don’t have great live vocal.