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.

December 30, 2008

Angela Desveaux & The Mighty Ship - Sure Enough

Album: Angela Desveaux & The Mighty Ship

Angela Desveaux is a folk singer from Canada. Her voice, especially on this track, reminded me of Meiko, but most of her other tracks are more country influenced, like Lucinda Williams. I’m not much of a country music fan, but I tend to like “Canadian folk country” musicians such as Kathleen Edwards.

Cold War Kids - I've Seen Enough

Album: Loyalty To Loyalty

I really dig the drumming on this song. This song has not been released as their single, but it’s my favorite track on their album, Loyalty To Loyalty, which was released September 2008. The song is dark and deep. It suits their black and white photo based website.

Coldplay - Lost+ /ft. Jay-Z

Album: Prospekt's March EP

Colplay has already collaborated with Jay-Z and Kanye West in the past. They do it again with Jay-Z for the remix of their song, “Lost” which can be found on their latest EP, Prospekt’s March. The original song is decent, and Jay-Z’s rap is decent as well. It’s not either of their best work, but considering that there are a lot of bad rock & rap mash-ups, I’d say this one is not a failure.

Fleet Foxes - Ragged Wood

Album: Fleet Foxes

It’s the end of 2008, and a lot of music critics and publications have released their favorite albums of the year. Many indie rock albums by such artists as MGMT, Elbow, Vampire Weekend has been named. But many seem to think Seattle folk rock band, Fleet Foxes deserves the #1 album of the year, including Billboard magazine. Personally, I think their music is a little too slow for me, but I can hear that they produce beautiful music. They also sounded great live. Their album is available for only $5 at Amazon MP3.

I'm From Barcelona - Paper Planes

Album: Who Killed Harry Houdini?

Contrary to their band name, this band is actually from Sweden, and there are 30 members with bunch of instruments such as clarinet, flutes, accordions, etc. A lot of their songs sound like they could be on oldies radio station. I like hearing different instrument in different part of the song.

James Morrison - Broken Strings /ft. Nelly Furtado

Album: Songs For You, Truths For Me

When I first heard of James Morrison, I thought he might be related to The Doors’ Jim Morrison, but from what I could find, that doesn’t seem to be true. James Morrison is a British singer-songwriter. He had a decent hit with, “You Give Me Something”. Jason Mraz fans might know him as the featured artist on the song “Details in the Fabric.” This duet featuring Nelly Furtado is a big hit in UK right now. It sounds like something American Idol producers will try to pull off, but better.

Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody

Album: Only By The Night

Kings of Leon’s new album, Only By The Night is still doing really well in the UK, much better than their native country, US. Use Somebody is their second single. Their first single, “Sex On Fire” is currently #1 on the US Rock chart.

Maroon 5 - Wake Up Call [Mark Ronson Remix] /ft. Mary J. Blige

Album: Call And Response: The Remix Album

During this time of the year, a lot of artists release Best Of, Live music, or Remix albums. Good Charlotte did greatest hits remixed, last month, which I didn’t think was that great. Maroon 5 does the same by enlisting some hottest producers and remixers. Most of the remixes are so-so, but this remixed track, Wake Up Call (originally a hit last year), caught my attention. I really like Mark Ronson’s sound (he produced Amy Winehouse’s hit album), and if Maroon 5 and Mary J. is in a same track, how could it go wrong?

Shirley Manson - Samson And Delilah

Album: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Soundtrack

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I have yet to watch a single episode, but I was excited to hear that lead singer of Garbage, Shirley Manson has ventured off into acting. She plays some evil CEO on TV version of Terminator. And she sung the cover song of “Samson And Delilah” for the second season premier. The original of this song has been recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in 1927, but the most famous cover thus far is by The Grateful Dead. Shirley’s version doesn’t sound anything like the original. It has the eerie, James Bond-ish feel to the song. Now, I just wish that Ms. Manson would release that solo album that she had been working on the past few years.

Sum 41 – Always

Album: The Best Of Sum 41: 8 Years Of Blood, Sake And Tears 2000 - 2008

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Canadian rock band, Sum 41 recently released their Best Of album exclusively in Japan. The disc contains all their hit singles from 2000 to now, including last year's "Underclass Hero". There is one newly recorded song, “Always” which is burning up the chart in Japan. I wonder why they won’t release this in US or Canada. It’s a good punk pop rock song. They are currently working on a new album, which is to be released sometime in 2009.

December 14, 2008

50 Cent - Get Up

Album: Get Up (Single)

Produced by Scott Storch, 50 Cent tries to prove that he is still relevant in the rap world ruled by Lil Wayne. Initially his fourth album was supposed to be released in early December, but now it is being pushed to February of 2009. His fellow Interscope mates Dr. Dre and Eminem were also supposed to release their new albums this month, but they are also being delayed. I was waiting to post this song review until at least the official album cover art was released, but considering that 50’s last album was delayed several times, I figured I should review it now. It may not be as good as the monster hit, “In Da Club”, but it sounds better than anything from his previous album, Curtis.

The All-American Rejects - Gives You Hell

Album: When the World Comes Down

Oklahoma band, The All-American Rejects is releasing their third album, When the World Comes Down. Their last album, Move Along was a huge hit, launching several top 40 hits from the album. They stay on the pop track with this lead off single, with sing along hooks. Not sure if I like it too much, but when I imagine this song being played live, I can see it working.

Brandy - Right Here (Departed)

Album: Human

Brandy had tough time in the past few years. Her last album “Afrodisiac”, despite production by Timbaland, didn’t do too well, and in 2006, she rear ended and killed a driver in front of her, which caused her to step down as one of the judges on America’s Got Talent (talent seeking show on NBC). This lead off single from Brandy’s fifth album was produced by Rodney “Dark Child” Jerkins. It’s a good club track, similar to their collaborative effort in 2002, “What About Us.”

The Fray - You Found Me

Album: The Fray

The Fray had two huge hits in 2005, “Over My Head” and “How to Save A Life” the latter hit thanks to Grey’s Anatomy (How to save a life, get it?) using it on their promo spot. The Fray work with ABC network once again, this time, using this song for Lost series promo. Their album won’t be released until February of 2009, but this first single is already climbing up on the chart.

Leona Lewis - Run

Album: Spirit - The Deluxe Edition

As some of you may know, I tend to like a lot of UK music (mostly UK rock), and I was always disappointed that I couldn’t purchase anything from iTunes UK without having proof of UK residence. But now there is Amazon UK MP3 store that is even better. They have DRM free (meaning you can play on any device or make copies without any restrictions) MP3s for about 0.6 pounds. Leona Lewis recently released a deluxe edition of her debut album in UK, containing a few new songs, including this cover of Snow Patrol’s “Run.” It is not available in the US yet, and I was happy to find out that I can actually download from Amazon UK. This is an amazing song to begin with, but Leona Lewis (with a help from choir group backing her) pulls the song into a new direction.

Low vs Diamond - Heart Attack

Album: Low vs Diamond

Originally hailing from University of Colorado, Low vs Diamond relocated to California. At the first listen, I thought they sounded a bit UK, though American sounding, similar to how I felt about The Killers when I heard them first. I later discovered that coincidentally, this band was discovered and signed by the same person that signed The Killers in Las Vegas. If you like The Bravery or Carolina Liar, you would probably enjoy this group.

Mates Of State - My Only Offer

Album: Re-arrange Us

Not many husband-wife rock group can survive (or keep their marriage), but Mates of State has been doing it since 2001 (they have been together as a band since 1997). Wife, Kori plays the piano, and husband Alex plays the drum, and they both sing together, creating nice vocal harmony. The piano loop on this track is quite addicting.

Michael Franti & Spearhead - Say Hey (I Love You) /ft. Cherine Anderson

Album: All Rebel Rockers

I had never heard of him until I saw him at this summer’s Sasquatch Festival. The way he worked the crowd was quite amazing, and I didn’t know that he had such strong following. It’s hard to classify his song in one particular genre as sometimes he does more hip-hop oriented stuff, and other times, it’s more reggae or folk or jazz. I’m just going to call it pop. He is famous for singing very political songs. But for this track, he tries to sing about love, a simple story about a boy falling for a girl.

Ray LaMontagne - You Are The Best Thing

Album: Gossip In The Grain

His raspy voice sounds like Joe Cocker, and his songwriting is folky kind of like Iron & Wine. Most of his songs are really slow, the kind that married couple in their 40s can slow dance to inside the log cabin with the fireplace going. But this track is a feel good song that’s not too slow, and won’t put me to sleep.

Zach Gill - Family /ft. Jack Johnson

Album: Zach Gill's Stuff

Zach Gill is the lead singer of the band, ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra), which supported Jack Johnson’s tour, and belongs to his label, Brushfire Records. Zach Gill attempts to go solo with his debut album, Zach Gill’s Stuff. Similar to when Matt Costa and Donavon Frankenreiter tried to launch their career, Jack Johnson lends his hand (and name) as the featured artist. The song style is very much like Jack Johnson’s chilled relaxed type. This song is not a Christmas song, but a good one to listen to during the holidays.