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.

June 30, 2009

Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling

Album: The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies)

When "Boom Boom Pow" first came out, I was a little disappointed (mostly because of Vocoder effect, which EVERYONE is using). But after a few listens, I got used to it and even really liked it. Peas second single, "I Gotta Feeling" gives me the same feeling as I don't particularly enjoy the song so much. But it is the #2 song in the US, and #1 in Japan right now. It is produced by David Guetta, who's current single featuring Kelly Rowland is #1 song in the UK. With "Boom Boom Pow" still maintaining the #1 spot on Billboard chart, having #1 and #2 song in the US hasn't been done (with #1 album) since Outkast did it with "Hey Ya" and "The Way You Move."

Carolina Liar - Show Me What I'm Looking For

Album: Coming To Terms

Fronted by American vocalist and backed by Swedish band (and produced by Swedish Max Martin), Carolina Liar found success with the song, "I'm Not Over" last year. The second single, "Show Me What I'm Looking For" is an overambitious slick pop song with bells and catchy hooks. The song title was too irresistible for Overstock.com to want to use this song for their TV commercial.

Eels - That Look You Give That Guy

Album: Hombre Lobo

Although Eels has been around for a long time, I still consider them to be a one-hit wonder for the hit, "Novocaine For The Soul" in the 90s. After numerous lineup changes, Eels released their seventh album. I hadn't really listened to any of their songs since "Novocaine" but I was quite blown away. I particularly fell in love with this poignant song, "That Look You Give That Guy" with lyrics like "That look you give that guy
I wanna see Looking right at me. If I could be that guy Instead of me. I'd give you all I got" (with John Lennon-ish music). Thanks to this song (and few other great track on the album) I no longer consider them to be one-hit wonder (at least in my heart).

The Gossip - Heavy Cross

Album: Music For Men

"Heavy Cross" starts out like Stevie Nick's "Edge of Seventeen" and continues to rock out. Gossip hit big time with their previous effort, "Standing the way Way of Control" from 2006. For their latest album, Rick Rubin took the producer seat to bring their fourth album to life. The new album is filled with danceable rock songs. I'd love to hear this song played live as they are known for very energetic performance.

Incubus - Black Heart Inertia

Album: Monuments & Melodies

California rock band Incubus has been around since the early 90s (though they became mainstream in the late 90s), and they released their first "greatest hits" album. The two disc set has Monuments disc which contains their greatest hits plus two new songs, one of them being "Black Heart Inertia". The second disc, Melodies has rarities such as B-sides including Prince's cover of "Let's Go Crazy." There is no mistake that this track, "Black Heart Inertia" is Incubus song, which sounds like it belongs in their previous album.

The Lemonheads - Beautiful

Album: Varshons

The Lemonheads became popular in the 90s with hits like "Into Your Arms" and cover of "Mrs. Robinson." They are back with covers album, with songs by Leonard Cohen (featuring vocal from Liv Tyler), Arling & Cameron (featuring vocal from Kate Moss), and Townes Van Zandt to name a few. In these relatively unknown lineup (to top 40 listener at least), there's Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" cover. It sounds like something out of a jukebox. The Lemonheads are currently working on a new album with all new material.

Maino - All The Above /ft. T-Pain

Album: If Tomorrow Comes

Brooklyn rapper, Maino had a moderate hit last year with the single "Hi Hater." A year and a few months later, he's finally getting an album release with If Tomorrow Comes. The current single, "All the Above" featuring T-Pain. The track was produced by Just Blaze who uses tight violin sample to make this track one of the hottest hip-hop songs of the summer.

Michael Johns - Heart On My Sleeve

Album: Hold Back My Heart

Michael Johns was a contestant on Season 7 of American Idol (same year as Brooke White, Jason Castro, David Cook and Archuleta). His Aussie charm and soulful voice put him as a top contender when the season started, but was voted off early to everyone's surprise. Now he is releasing his debut album with "Heart On My Sleeve" as his lead off single, which was written by British singer/songwriter, James Morrison. It's a well structured pop ballad. This song is currently available for a free download from Amazon MP3.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Take Me With U

Album: SPIN Presents Purplish Rain

no sample
It’s the 25th anniversary of Prince’s Purple rain album, and the music magazine, SPIN decided to do a full tribute album featuring indie artists such as Of Montreal and Chairlift. Although the concept is great, most of the cover sounds like a cheap imitation. It’s Prince. Unless you do something drastically different, it’s tough. There were two noteworthy cover. One was by The Twilight Singers who completely changed the sound of “When Doves Cry.” But my favorite was Sharon Jones take of “Take Me With U.” It’s not the most famous Prince song on the Purple Rain album, but it’s a brilliant cover.

Street Sweeper Social Club - 100 Little Curses

Album: Street Sweeper Social Club

At the first listen you may think, "they sound just like Rage Against the Machine." Well, you are not all wrong. Street Sweeper Social Club is formed by rapper Boots Riley of the The Coup (never heard of them) and Rage Against the Machine guitarist (also lead guitarist of Audioslave), Tom Morello. Instead of social conscious lyrics of Zach de la Rocha, Boots Riley raps about partying. All the songs has killer guitar riffs thanks to Morello, but hearing these songs makes me wish that Rage Against the Machine would get back and record a new album, already.

June 12, 2009

Cage The Elephant - Ain't No Rest For The Wicked

Album: Cage The Elephant

Sounding a bit like The White Stripes, this Kentucky band found success in UK before generating some buzz in the States. They toured and opened for popular UK rock band, The Pigeon Detectives and gained audience. This single climbed the top 40 chart in the UK and was also featured as iTunes free single of the week several weeks ago.

Dave Matthews Band - Funny The Way It Is

Album: Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King

I was never a huge fan of Dave Matthews Band even during their prime popularity days of mid 90s when “Crash Into Me” was a bit hit. Since then, they have released four album, which I hadn’t really listened to. Their latest effort, Whiskey and the GrooGrux King claimed the #1 album of the week with 424,000 sale, the third highest of the year thus far behind Eminem’s Relapse with 608,00 and U2’s No Line On the Horizon with 484,000. All of their albums since Crash has reached the #1 position. This album was produced by Rob Cavallo who was responsible for My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade and Green Day’s American Idiot.

David Guetta - When Love Takes Over /ft. Kelly Rowland

Album: When Love Takes Over (Single)

Kelly Rowland hasn’t found chart success like her former group Destiny’s Child or bandmate, Beyonce. Although “Dilemma” was a decent success, she was only a featured artist for Nelly. "Like This" from two years was just ok. Currently between labels, Rowland can be seen as a host on Bravo network’s “The Fashion Show,” and she also had time to record vocal track for famous French DJ, David Guetta (he was voted #5 DJ in the world in 2008). This dance track turned out to be a huge hit in the club scene, it’s been sitting on the #1 position on the dance chart for several weeks. With this success, Kelly Rowland is now seriously considering making her next album dance/electro album.

The Dream - Walkin' On The Moon /ft. Kanye West

Album: Love vs. Money

Already labeled as this year’s “American Boy” (made famous by Estelle and Kanye West), The Dream does a good Michael Jackson imitation. In fact, I wonder if this song was written for Michael Jackson at first, since there was a rumor that The Dream was working on a song for Michael Jackson a couple of years ago. Kanye spits decent verse for this track, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable, but if I have to compare, I prefer “American Boy” over this track.

Flo Rida - Sugar /ft. Wynter

Album: R.O.O.T.S.

Flo Rida so far has the biggest hit of 2009 with “Right Round” which sampled Dead Or Alive’s “You Sping Me Round.” His next single samples another popular club track, except this time, instead of from the 80s, he takes late 90s, Eiffel 65’s hit song, “Blue (Da Ba Dee). It’s catchy and it’s ready for the club.

Katie Melua - If You Were A Sailboat

Album: Pictures

When I saw her album release, I thought she was just another teeny-bopper singing for WB network. Turns out that she’s currently Europe’s biggest selling female solo artist. Born in Georgia (not the State, but former Soviet), but raised in Ireland, and currently a British citizen, Melua is still only 24 years old, despite selling millions of records worldwide (mostly in Europe). She holds the World Guinness record for playing 303 meters below sea level (which she had to get extensive medical tests for), and has great sense of humor. She is currently trying to break in the US market, but considering that I haven’t really heard much about her, I don’t know how well that is going so far.

Linkin Park - New Divide

Album: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen Soundtrack

This is the second time that Linkin Park was asked to create a song for the Transformer movie franchise. Last year, they had a hit with “What I’ve Done” which was included on the first soundtrack. Actually “New Divide” has a very similar feel to “What I’ve Done.” Non Linkin Park fan may not be able to tell the song apart (ok, maybe that’s saying a bit much). I do like the song a lot, despite lack of Mike Shinoda’s presence. On recently interview, Shinoda has said that the new album they are currently working on should have a little more of rapping than the previous album. I’m happy to hear that.

MxPx - Linda Linda (English)

Album: On The Cover II

“Linda Linda” is a very popular punk song sung by a Japanese punk band called Blue Hearts. Although the official title of this particular song is “Linda Linda (English)” the song starts out with the Japanese verse. The chorus part had been translated into English. Apparently they are not the first band to cover this track, as Andrew WK had covered it before. This song is on MxPx’s latest album containing all cover songs.

Rancid - Last One To Die

Album: Let The Dominoes Fall

Rancid is back with a new album. It’s been six years since their last effort. The lead singer Tim Armstrong had a solo album two years ago, which generated a moderate hit, “Into Action.” But I’m happy to see Rancid back with the same ska/punk style.

Rick Ross - Mafia Music

Album: Deeper Than Rap

I’ve never really thought of Rick Ross as a prime rapper. Sure, he’s had moderate success on the rap chart, but his third album, Deeper Than Rap is actually quite good. “Mafia Music” is the opening track on the album, and unlike most songs, it has no hooks or chorus. Ross just raps and tries to claim his significance. He has a lot to prove as his past as a corrections officer was recently uncovered. That may not seem like a big deal, but to rappers, who feud with cops, corrections officer would put you on the wrong side. Recently he had beef with 50 Cent since he looked at him the wrong way at the BET Award. On this track, Ross disses 50 by rapping “I love to pay her bills/can’t wait to pay her rent/Curtis Jackson baby mama/I aint askin for a cent/Burn the house down/gotta buy another/don’t forget the gas can/jealous, stupid muthafucka.” With beef with 50 and his past as corrections officer aside, the album has slick production, and this track although not the most upbeat tempo, gets you pumped up.