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.

January 31, 2009

Dead Confederate – The Rat

Album: Wrecking Ball

I started hearing this song on the local rock radio station. It reminds me of the early 90s grunge days. Dead Confederate is a rock band from Athens, Georgia that recently signed to the major label. It took me a long time to actually find this song as I thought the title of the track was “Bang Bang” and kept on searching with that name. Not quite sure why it is called The Rat.

Eric Hutchinson - Rock & Roll

Album: Sounds Like This

A little bit of Stevie Wonder and bit of Jason Mraz, this singer-songwriter hails from New York (though he is originally from Maryland). I had never heard of him until recently when I heard this song on the radio, and caught my attention. He was one of VH1 You Oughta Know artist (I normally check that, so he must’ve slipped under my eyes). Great upbeat pop song.

Erin McCarley - Pony (It's OK)

Album: Love, Save The Empty

This Texas born singer songwriter is now based in Nashville, Tennessee but she doesn’t sound country at all. If you like Sara Bareilles or kind of music Grey’s Anatomy likes to put on, you would probably enjoy her music. This track was featured on iTunes free single of the week earlier this year.

Franz Ferdinand - No You Girls

Album: Tonight

This song was available for free download from their MySpace page. It reminds me of their debut hit song, “Take Me Out” mixed with some disco vibe. Tonight is Scottish rock band, Franz Ferdinand’s third album, which was just released at end of January. So far the album has been getting great reviews.

Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet About Me

Album: Lessons To Be Learned

This Australian singer doesn’t sound 17 years at all. Her vocal style is similar to Amy Winehouse, and this particular track definitely puts her on the same map as recent throw-back artists like Winehouse and Duffy. This track has been burning up the chart in her native country Australia and UK. There is still no US release date of her album, but Universal Republic has been pushing this track out on their monthly sampler.

honeyhoney - Little Toy Gun

Album: First Rodeo

Sounding very much like part of Quentin Tarantino soundtrack, this duo (Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe) creates music that mashes up rock, blues, jazz, and country. Their debut single, “Little Toy Gun” music video was directed by tv show, 24 star Keifer Sutherland. I had never known this, but he owns a small record company and honeyhoney belongs to the label (also Lifehouse).

Jay-Z - Brooklyn Go Hard /ft. Santogold

Album: Notorious Soundtrack

Jay-Z’s record rep are denying that his new album is coming out soon, though other reports suggest that his new album, The Blueprint 3 is coming out in February of this year. This collaboration between Jay-Z and newcomer Santogold was featured on the soundtrack to Notorious, a movie about the rapper, Notorious BIG. This track is only available to purchase if you buy the entire soundtrack, which is ridiculous considering most Biggie fans probably already owns most of the songs on the album.

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes - Let's Just Do It /ft. TLC & Missy Elliott

Album: Eye Legacy

I’ve always felt that Left Eye and Missy Elliott were the only good female MCs. It was such a tragedy to lose one of the best rappers in the game. For some odd reason, her solo album never got released in the US (though it did decent in Japanese market). With some leftover material and previously released songs remixed, TLC’s rapper will finally get to release her stuff to the US audience (though I don’t think it’s getting much publicity).

Meiko - Piano Song

Album: Meiko

Meiko, a quarter Japanese singer songwriter, is currently on tour with Tyrone Wells. I reviewed her first single, “Boys With Girlfriends” last September. I plan on seeing them shorly, so I figured I should select another song by her. Most of her songs are a bit slow tempo for me, but this track was still somewhat upbeat.

Tyrone Wells - Sink Or Swim

Album: Remain

Just by chance I sat through his set during Bumbershoot last year, and thoroughly enjoyed it. He is from Spokane, Washington, and a lot of his songs have been used on numerous TV shows. From the name and his voice, I imagined a black guy like Lenny Kravitz, but he’s actually a bald white guy with very soulful voice. This was my favorite track I heard live, and I had been waiting for him to release his new album.

January 12, 2009

Britney Spears - Circus

Album: Circus

I am still digging her first single, “Womanizer” (great clubbing and workout track). But Britney has now released another single, the title track from her latest (sixth) album, Circus. When “Womanizer” was #1 on the chart, this song debuted at #3. The track was produced by Dr. Luke (responsible for Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” and Avril’s “Girlfriend”), which has his usual infectious pop beat.

Daniel Powter - Love You Lately

Album: Under The Radar

Whatever happened to the guy that sang the exit song on American Idol a couple of seasons ago? That was Canadian singer-songwriter, Daniel Powter singing, “’cause you had a bad day, you’re taking one down.” Powter’s third album, Under the Radar was released in Europe, but there is still no set date in the US. The latest album was produced by Linda Perry who made Pink into a superstar, but maybe that was not the right combination for him as most of the tracks sounds weak and not really catchy. However, this track, which was included as a bonus track from the previous album, was remixed. It almost has the similar feel as “Bad Day.” But chances are, Daniel Powter will be known as one-hit wonder.

Kanye West - Heartless

Album: 808s & Heartbreak

Kanye may not be the best singer, but he sure likes to try to sing. His first single, “Love Lockdown” had cool tribal beat. On the second single, he raps a little instead of singing all the way. I still dig the catchy beat Kanye and producer No ID have come up with. I know a lot of people, including myself, are disappointed in the fact that Kanye decided to sing instead of rap for the record. In a recently interview, rapper, Stat Quo voiced his opinion on the matter, "I was hurt because he's one of the biggest hip-hop figures and when somebody like him doesn't rap, it kind of takes us down and with hip-hop, it takes away from us because it makes it seem like rapping isn't the thing anymore." Could this be the end of hip-hop era?

Keyshia Cole - Playa Cardz Right /ft. 2Pac

Album: A Different Me

I saw Keyshia Cole perform live this past summer. She does have a great voice, and her songs aren’t bad, but when I compare her to Mary J. Blige, I feel like she doesn’t reach me enough. But Mary J. Blige is a legend herself already. Keyshia has her own reality show on BET, which I had never seen. I mostly like this song for 2Pac’s rap intro, but Keyshia showcases her voice well as well. This track was previously available on 2Pac’s album, “Pac’s Life” but has been rearranged to become Keyshia Cole’s single from the third album release.

Lily Allen - The Fear

Album: It's Not Me, It's You

Lily Allen had finished recording her second album a long time ago, but due to record label’s issue, the release date had been pushed back. Now it is scheduled to be released in February. At least the first single has been released. Lily Allen commented that the new album will move her into the new direction since the last album’s retro sound was copied by bunch of other artists, and she wants to move on. Listening to this track, she still has clever lines, and uses fun beat.

Love Psychedelico - Standing Bird

Album: This Is Love Psychedelico

no sample
Japanese rock duo, Love Psychedelico had been releasing hits after hits in their native country since their debut in 2000. Singer Kumi and guitarist Naoki create music familiar to fans of Beatles, Bob Dylan and Sheryl Crow. Most of their songs are in English with some Japanese words mixed in, but Kumi sings those Japanese words as if they were English words, which is very unique. Now they are getting their shot in the US by releasing their US debut album, properly titled, “This is Love Psychedelico.” All of the tracks on this album are gathered from their previous albums in Japan. With so many good songs, I had a hard time choosing just one song, but went with “Standing Bird.” I love the intro of this song. It stays in my head, and even though I don’t know what she’s saying half of the time, it grabs me. My other favorite tracks from the album are “Lady Madonna”, “Your Song”, “Everybody Needs Somebody” and “Last Smile.”

Rivers Cuomo - I Was Scared

Album: Alone 2 - The Home Recordings Of Rivers Cuomo

Last year, Weezer frontman, Rivers Cuomo released his solo album, “Alone.” Since that album did well, he decided to release the second one with more rare recordings he did himself. Some of the songs don’t have great sound quality or plain sound weird, but this particular track sounded like it could belong on any Weezer album. He also covers Beach Boys, “Don’t Worry Baby” on this album.

Shinedown - Second Chance

Album: The Sound Of Madness

I had never heard of this band before, but apparently they have had quite a few top ten hits on the US rock chart, and a couple of theme songs for WWE. Shinedown is a rock band from Jacksonvillem Florida, and they have been around since 2001. I first came across their album because I liked the illustration on the album cover. With slick production by Rob Cavallo (My Chemical Romance, Green Day), this rock song is very pop friendly, as if it was written for Daughtry.

TV On The Radio - Golden Age

Album: Dear Science

Many music publications placed TV On The Radio’s fourth album, Dear Science, on the top 10 albums of 2008 list. Both Rolling Stone and Spin magazines placed this album as the best album of the year. TV On The Radio hails from New York, with four of the five band members are black, and they play rock music with a hint of pop, soul and funk.

Young Jeezy - My President /ft. Nas

Album: The Recession

Obama will be taking oath to become the next US President next week, and I thought this song would be appropriate for time being. Jeezy and Nas recorded this song, long before the election. I wonder how Obama actually feel about rappers rapping about him. Not many people can say, “My President is black, and my Lamborghini (Lambo) is blue,” but Jeezy can. This is one of the best tracks on the album.