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.

November 30, 2008

3OH!3 - Don't Trust Me

Album: Want

There has been a lot of noteworthy bands coming out of Denver/Boulder, Colorado recently such as The Fray and Flobots. Add 3OH!3 to that list. 303 is the area code in Boulder region. With humorous lines like, “Tell your boyfriend if he says he’s got beef that I’m a vegetarian and I ain’t fuckin’ scared of him”, and accompanying music video that feels like it was produced by Saturday Night Live staff, these guys know how to have a good time. They sound like All-American Rejects mixed with Scissor Sisters trying to be crunk.

Beyonce - Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)

Album: I Am...Sasha Fierce

What’s with all these artists with alter ego names? Mariah came out as Mimi, Janet came out as Damita Jo (though that is her middle name), and now Beyonce is out as Sasha Fierce. Beyonce’s third album is a double disc, first disc containing slow R&B ballads (including hit single, “If I Were A Boy”), and second disc targeted more for clubs, such as this song, which was produced by “Umbrella” hitmaker duo Tricky Stewart and The-Dream.

Christina Aguilera - Keeps Gettin' Better

Album: Keeps Gettin' Better - A Decade of Hits

[sample not available]
Xtina has gone from bubble gum pop sound to 1920s style jazz and blues in the past decade. As the album title suggests, this album is her “best of” album, which also includes a couple of new remixes (I like the new “Genie in a Bottle”), and a couple of new songs, including this one. The new mixes and singles suggest that Christina is moving to futuristic euro-electro beat sound, similar to Kylie Minogue.

David Cook - Light On

Album: David Cook

The winner of seventh season American Idol, rocker from Midwest, David Cook tries to follow Chris Daughtry with true rock music. The first single from the self titled debut album was penned by Chris Cornell, and produced by Rob Cavallo, (Green Day, My Chemical Romance). During the American Idol season, one of Cook's highlight was covering Cornell's version of "Billie Jean". With that kind of superstar help, I expected more catchy tune. Now I want to hear Chris Cornell sing this song. Somehow I can imagine Cornell singing this song, and sounding much better.

Framing Hanley – Lollipop

Album: The Moment

Nashville rock band, Framing Hanley is getting some attention with this hard rock cover of Lil Wayne’s #1 hit from the summer, “Lollipop.” According to the band, this song came up when they were auditioning for the new replacement guitarist, who started playing the intro to the song. They tested the song at one of their concerts, and their fans loved it, and now it is climbing up on the rock chart. Their debut album was first released in 2007, but with this popular single, they re-released the album with this bonus track last month.

Guns N Roses - Chinese Democracy

Album: Chinese Democracy

[sample not available]
It took 17 years for Axl Rose to write original material for this album. It has taken so long that it was becoming a joke that it will never be released. Earlier this year Dr. Pepper mentioned that if Guns N Roses ever manages to release a record by end of the year 2008, they will give a free can of Dr. Pepper to everyone in the US. They kind of kept their word by having people go to their website on the day Chinese Democracy was released (only available for that one day), and printing out a coupon (but who would actually take their time to do that?). In the US, this album is only available at Best Buy. I haven’t listened to other tracks, but this lead off single sounds pretty good, despite not having Slash in the band anymore.

The Knux - Bang! Bang!

Album: Remind Me In 3 Days...

The Knux consists of brothers “Krispy Kream” and “Rah Al Millio” from New Orleans. They lost their home to the hurricane and moved to LA to pursue a career in music. What makes them unique is that they come from marching band background, and played all of the instruments on their album (how many rap acts can do that?) The result sounds like Outkast with cool bassline.

Lydia – This Is Twice Now

Album: Illuminate

With keyboard and male/female vocal harmony, Lydia creates indie emo music. I had never heard of this band, but the song, “I Woke Up Near the Sea” was available for free from Amazon.com, and I liked what I heard so I checked out their album. I really like the opening piano of this track. The band is still young, as members had recently graduated from high school.

Ra Ra Riot - Can You Tell

Album: The Rhumb Line

A lot of people compare them to Vampire Weekend. Although this band has more strings (there is a cellist and violinist in the band), the vocals sound quite similar with Vampire Weekend. I had listened to their debut EP last year, which included this track, but didn’t think too much of it. This song was re-recorded in Woodinville, Washington for the album, The Rhumb Line. In this version, the strings are more prominent and sounds much cleaner.

Scott Weiland - Missing Cleveland

Album: Happy In Galoshes

It’s a shame that Slash and Velvet Revolver had to let go of Scott Weiland from the band, but I was super happy to check out the reunited Stone Temple Pilots, who put on an awesome show, at Bumbershoot festival this summer. Stone Temple Pilots are supposedly working on a new album, but meanwhile, we are treated to Weiland’s second solo album, Happy in Galoshes (I never knew that he had released another solo album ten years ago). The album is not nearly as hard rock as STP or Velvet Revolver. No Doubt members (minus Gwen) also helped with the album.

November 12, 2008

Akon - Right Now (Na Na Na)

Album: Freedom

Despite all the success Akon has faced, he has endured some painful and difficult time as well, with several incidents during his live shows. Akon, like his friends T-Pain and Lil Wayne has been everywhere on the charts recently. It is said that he is secretly working on Michael Jackson's new album (he did do an excellent job with the remix for "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'". This track doesn't feature any rappers, but Akon proves that he can hold his own.

Bloc Party - Talons

Album: Intimacy

Bloc Party, most famous for the hit "Banquet", was on the news a few months ago for receiving racial attack from Sex Pistsols. The lead singer Keke Okereke is black, and he claims he got beat up by Pistol's John Lydon and his friends, when Okereke went to greet his former hero. With Obama winning the election in the US, it's sad to hear that there is still a lot of racial tensions elsewhere in the world. Bloc Party's third album, Intimacy, was released digitally back in summer time, but is now getting physical release. It's a bit of Chemical Brothers, and a bit of Franz Ferdinand.

Dido - Don't Believe In Love

Album: Safe Trip Home

British slow tempo pop singer, Dido is back with a third album, titled, Safe Trip Home. This first single didn't have the initial impact as some of her other dramatic songs like "Here With Me" or "White Flag" but it grows on you after several listens. Her brother Rollo (who belongs to the group, Faithless) helped produce this track.

Jack White & Alicia Keys - Another Way To Die

Album: 007: Quantum Of Solace

James Bond theme songs has had its ups and downs. Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name" was a good one. Madonna's "Die Another Day", not so much. The new theme song from the movie Quantum of Solace teams up Jack White of White Stripes with R&B diva Alicia Keys. It's dark, it's unique and it sounds like James Bond theme written by White Stripes. I've read that some Alicia Keys fans are disappointed after hearing it because "they" made her sound bad. Sure, it's not a smooth singing R&B song, but I think she does an excellent job with this delivery. I don't care so much about the movie, but I can't wait to see the opening number of the movie with this song.

Kanye West - Love Lockdown

Album: 808s & Heartbreak

Kanye is releasing a new album, only a year after his last album. The "808" from the album title refers to Roland TR-808, which is a drum machine Kanye used for this production. He also uses Auto-Tune (voice effect that makes you sound like T-Pain) and sing all of his songs, instead of rapping. A lot of his fans are already disappointed in hearing that he does not rap on this album, and that he uses auto-tune on almost every songs. I thought it was odd, but I'm really digging the tribal beat of this track.

Lady GaGa - Just Dance /ft. Colby O'Donis

Album: The Fame

This track has been popular on the dance chart in the past few months, but it is getting released to the pop chart. Lady GaGa has been writing songs for other popstars (like The Pussycat Dolls), but she gets her shot on fame with her debut album, titled, Fame. Both Lady GaGa and featured artist Colby O'Donis have close connection with Akon and his Konvict Records. This track has already reached #1 in Australia and Canada. Not sure if it will find similar success here in the US.

Ludacris - What Them Girls Like /ft. Chris Brown & Sean Garrett

Album: Theater Of The Mind

After being in several high profile movies, Ludacris comes back with album number six, Theater of the Mind. Ludacris is going for the movie theme for the album by saying "co-starring" instead of "featuring". Every song is supposed to be a scene from a movie. On this track, produced by Darkchild, he gets "co-starring" help from Chris Brown and Sean Garrett.

Nickelback - Gotta Be Somebody

Album: Dark Horse

Their previous album, All the Right Reasons sold so much that it never left the Billboard album chart, and called the album, "the biggest rock album of the century so far." Canadian rockers will be releasing their sixth album this month, which was produced by Mutt Lange (worked with Shania Twain). This album is supposed to have more adult-themed songs (such as "Something In Your Mouth" and "S.E.X.").

Queen + Paul Rodgers - Cosmos Rockin'

Album: The Cosmos Rocks

The remaining members of Queen (after death of charismatic lead singer, Freddie Mercury in 1991) performed with ex-Bad Company and Free singer, Paul Rodgers during Queen's UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. They even went on to tour together, performing Queen's classic hits such as "We Will Rock You" as well as Bad Company and Free's classic hits like "All Right Now" and "Feel Like Making Love." Touring together wasn't enough, so they decided to release set of brand new songs. If I had listened to this track without knowing that who it was, I don't think I would've recognized it was Queen. Although it is a decent track, it doesn't stay in your head like classic Queen songs.

Shiny Toy Guns - Ricochet!

Album: Season Of Poison

Shiny Toy Guns had a decent hit two years ago with "Le Disko" (they were even nominated for Best Electronic Album Grammy award). Now they have replaced their lead female vocalist, and are releasing a new album titled Season of Poison, which has much harder sound, reminiscent of 90s Marilyn Manson. The new vocalist Sisely Treasure and Chad Petree share vocal duties for this track. This winter they will be performing at Deck the Hall Ball in Seattle along with The Killers and Death Cab For Cutie.