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.

October 30, 2008

AC/DC - Rock N' Roll Train

Album: Black Ice

AC/DC’s brand new album, Black Ice is only available (at least in the US) at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. Personally I hate when they do that since it’s much harder to purchase digital single track. Nevertheless, this is Aussie band’s 15th album, which took 8 years since their last release of Stiff Upper Lip in 2000. The thing about AC/DC is that if you’ve never really heard of them, you probably can’t tell which singles were from which decade. In a way, that’s cool because they still rock out like “Shook Me All Night Long.” And so far this year, Black Ice is the second most selling album in its debut week behind Lil Wayne (that means this sold more than Coldplay’s album).

Black Gold - Detroit

Album: Tragedy & Legacy EP

I don’t know much about these guys, and they have only released a few songs for their debut EP, but I fell in love with this song after I listened to it. “Detroit” was available on iTunes as their free download of the week a few weeks ago. From what I can gather, the two guys that make up Black Gold has worked with/for bands like Panic at the Disco and Rachael Yamagata.

Britney Spears - Womanizer

Album: Circus

I was surprised to hear that this track became Britney’s second #1 song ever. The only other song that reached the pinnacle was her debut single, “Baby One More Time” nearly 10 years ago (wow, that’s 10 years ago already?!). “Womanizer” hit #1, but only stayed there for one week. Controversially sexy music video was directed by Korean American music video director Joseph Kahn (not to be mistaken as Joseph Hahn of Linkin Park). Maybe this song and the sexy music video can bring her back to being the popstar she once was.

Elbow - One Day Like This

Album: The Seldom Seen Kid

Going back on all the songs I have selected this year, I think one of my favorites is Elbow’s “Grounds for Divorce.” Recently they relieved prestigious Mercury Prize for their latest album, “The Seldom Seen Kid.” Listening to songs on their album, you can tell that all of their songs are good music. It’s a shame that even with all the awards and critical praise, they still haven’t met any commercial success. “One Day Like This” is over 6 minutes long, but you never get tired of it. Recently Snow Patrol covered this song Radio1’s Live Lounge.

Kaiser Chiefs – Never Miss A Beat

Album: Off With Their Heads

Mark Ronson, who won the producer of the year last year, mostly for the success of Amy Winehouse, produced Kaiser Chief’s third album. I’m a big fan of Mark Ronson’s throwback retro style sound, so I was excited to hear that they would be working together. But when I heard this first single, I couldn’t really tell that Ronson had anything to do with it. However, it does still have the Kaiser Chiefs sound. It’s not bad, but it might be a little forgettable.

Katy Perry - Hot N Cold

Album: One Of The Boys

With lines like, “you PMS like a bitch, I would know” Katy Perry, who had a big hit with “I Kissed A Girl” a couple of months ago comes back to the top of the chart with another addictive dance floor hit. There is definitely 80s dance pop influence on the song. It is very produced, which is should be as this track was produced by Max Martin (Britney Spears) and Dr. Luke (Avril Lavigne).

The Killers – Human

Album: Day & Age

The Killers second album, Sam’s Town and B-side compilation album, Sawdust added together didn’t match up the success of their debut album, Hot Fuss (which contained hits like “Mr. Brightside”). For their third album, Day & Age, they go back to the original formula by creating more dance tracks. The Killers enlisted help of Stuart Price, who procued Madonna’s hit album, Confessions on a Dance Floor. When I heard about all of this, I expected more electronica sound, but this track still has essence of rock. I’m excited to hear more tracks from the album to see what else they have up their sleeves.

The Last Shadow Puppets - My Mistakes Were Made For You

Album: The Age Of The Understatement

In May, I reviewed The Last Shadow Puppets first single, “The Age of the Understatement.” The group is lead by Arctic Monkeys singer Alex Turner. Using London Metropolitan Orchestra, most of their songs sound like something you would hear in a soundtrack. This track is no exception – mixing James Bond and Pulp Fiction-ish sound. It has a very cool sound.

MGMT - Kids

Album: Oracular Spectacular

MGMT has been traveling and playing at almost every single major music festivals around the world. Thanks to that, their album sale keeps going higher. Their first single, “Time to Pretend” was really addictive. And now they are releasing “Kids” which they normally play at the very end of their show (and always gets the crowd jumping up and down). The beat of this song is also very addictive and it gets stuck n your head. Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself humming to the keyboard sound from the intro.

Snow Patrol - Take Back The City

Album: A Hundred Million Suns

Two years ago, they had a breakaway hit with slow tempo song, “Chasing Cars” (“if I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lay with me and…”). Lead singer Gary Lightbody wanted to make this fifth album to be more cheerful compared to their previous efforts. This first single from the album, A Hundred Million Suns, is definitely more cheerful than “Chasing Cars.” But fans who fell for their slow songs may be a little disappointed.

October 14, 2008

Chairlift – Bruises

Album: Does You Inspire You

Apple does it again by selecting irresistible song for their commercial; this time for their new 4th generation iPod Nanos. From the vocal style, I thought they might be a British band, but they are in fact American bands. The rest of their debut album, Chairlift sounds like a mixture of MGMT and Feist put together.

Fall Out Boy - I Don't Care

Album: Folie A Deux

Fall Out Boy’s third studio album, Folie A Deux, was supposed to be released on election day (November 4th), but now they are saying the album will be delayed because “this is not the election to be cute.” Meanwhile, the lead-off single, “I Don’t Care” has been getting some airplay, though I feel like probably not as much as their lead-off single “This Ain’t A Scene” from their previous album, Infinity On High.

Jennifer Hudson – Spotlight

Album: Jennifer Hudson

I’ve never watched the movie, Dreamgirls, so I can’t comment on how she sound on her debut album in comparison to how she did on her Oscar winning performance. Personally I’m not a huge fan of this kind of music, but this song reminded me of late 80s Whitney Houston. There is a remix version featuring Young Jeezy, but he just raps a verse in beginning of the song with the rest of the song sounding virtually exactly same.

Lenka - The Show

Album: Lenka

Australian singer Lenka got some attention after this song was used on American comedy TV show, Ugly Betty. I’ve never seen that show, but I can imagine it fitting for the show. With numerous instruments, Lenka creates fun, pop sound that you want to sing along to on a warm sunny day. If you liked Yael Naim’s “New Soul”, this song is for you.

Natasha Bedingfield – Angel

Album: Pocketful Of Sunshine

Timbaland has been getting a lot of attention as a producer in the past decade, but another one worth paying attention is Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins (any song with “Darkchild” shout out is produced by him). His recent hits include Pussycat Dolls’ “When I Grow Up” and Janet Jackson’s “Feedback.” This track by UK pop singer, Natasha Bedingfield sounds like Darkchild trying to pull off Timbaland. Nevertheless, I like this track better than Bedingfield’s previous hit, “Pocketful of Sunshine.”

Oasis - The Shock Of The Lightning

Album: Dig Out Your Soul

Oasis hasn’t really hit big in the US in a long time (if you can name three singles post Morning Glory album off the top of your head, you are either a hardcore fan or don’t live in the US) , but they are still popular in UK and other parts of the world. A lot of the press are saying that this could be their US comeback album. Regardless, Oasis scored their seventh straight #1 album with this one in UK last week. The lead-off single from the album is catchy and has a big hook. It’s one thing to be catchy, but another to be memorable. I think most of the songs on their new album is catchy, but are they memorable? Not quite.

Rachael Yamagata – Faster

Album: Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart

Rachael Yamagata is a daughter of third generation Japanese father, and her mother is partially Italian and German. Her debut album from 2004, Happenstance, was known as dark, smoky, heartbroken album. Her second album, Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart is a double disc, with first disc following similar style as her debut album, and the second disc where Rachael tries to pull more rocking songs. The first disc is rich and contains numerous good songs, but I decided to select a song from her “try something new” disc. It kind of has PJ Harvey feel to it.

T.I. - Live Your Life /ft. Rihanna

Album: Paper Trail

Who would’ve thought O-Zone’s Romanian song, “Dragostea din tei” (Numa Numa song) would be sampled on T.I.’s new album, and hook sung by Rihanna. The idea sounds a little absurd, but on the record it sounds good. Rihanna’s voice is perfect for the part. This second single from the album Paper Trail, shot to #1, replacing T.I.’s “Whatever You Like.” Last time #1 song was replaced by same artist was when Usher’s “Burn” was replaced by “Confessionals Part II.”

Tegan And Sara - Call It Off

Album: The Con

Tegan And Sara are identical twins. I still can’t tell them apart. Just like any other siblings, they get into arguments a lot, so often that they decided to live completely apart from one another. Tegan lives in Vancouver, and Sara in Montreal. But when they sing together, it’s pure magic. They are one of my favorite bands (top 5, probably) right now. Their live shows are also fun, as they both like to tell fun stories between songs. Their latest album also contains hit singles, "The Con" and "Back In Your Head". They recently showcased their latest music video, “Call It Off”, which is very simple, yet effective.

Weezer – King

Album: Weezer (Red Album)

I just saw Weezer perform live on their tour along with Angels & Airwaves and Tokyo Police Club. It was a fun concert, which you would expect from these guys. They played most of their hit songs from their long career as well as new ones such as "Pork & Beans" and "Troublemaker". For “Beverly Hills”, they brought out local music students with various instruments and performed. They even covered Nirvana’s, “Sliver.”

On Weezer’s latest album, every single member has at least one lead vocal song. One of my favorites of non Rivers Cuomo vocal songs is “King” which is only included on the deluxe version. It was written by Rivers, but during the final cut of the album, it didn’t get voted. The track happened to be bass player, Scott Shriner’s favorite, and he insisted the song get on the album. Rivers then suggested that if Scott likes the song so much, he should sing it, and so he did, and although it didn’t make it on the regular edition, it’s on the deluxe edition, and it is also one of my favorite tracks. The sound is a little darker than the usual upbeat Weezer songs.