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.

August 27, 2009

Arctic Monkeys - Crying Lightning

Album: Humbug

UK rock band, Arctic Monkeys are releasing their third album this month, titled, Humbug. There was a rumor that they were going to turn this album into a metal album, but if anything, they have gone darker on their new set. The first single, “Crying Lightning” sounds like a mixture of Arctic Monkeys and the lead singer Alex Turner’s side project, The Last Shadow Puppets, which had darker sound. I do like the track, and am excited to hear more singles from them. I’ve read that they will be focusing more on the US market this time around.

Colbie Caillat - Fallin' For You

Album: Breakthrough

When surfer chick, Colbie Caillat came out in 2007 with “Bubbly” she was an instant star. She was cute, and so was the song. This month she releases her sophomore album, Breakthrough, which supposedly got a lot of help from American Idol judge, Kara Dioguardi (though not on this single). The music video for this song features Bobby Moynihan from SNL. It’s a cute song once again, but I think it lacks the charm “Bubbly” had.

Collective Soul - Staring Down

Album: Collective Soul (Rabbit)

90s alt rock is making a big come back. At least bunch of artists from that decade such as Better Than Ezra, Third Eye Blind, Sugar Ray, Fastball and Alice In Chains, just to name a few. Add Collective Soul to that list. Actually they have been consistently releasing albums for the past 15 years. Wow, it’s been 15 years since their debut song, “Shine” was an international hit. I wonder why they are not a major headlining band, despite having several #1 rock songs. Their latest release confuses fans by titling their album, “Collective Soul” which they have already done in 1995. To avoid confusion, fans and press are calling this album “Rabbit” since the album cover has a rabbit on it. “Staring Down” is another catchy song by Collective Soul, but will it be enough to place them as a big headlining rock band like the Chili Peppers?

David Guetta - Sexy Bitch /ft. Akon

Album: One Love

This is my favorite clubbing song of this year so far. The beat and the hook is amazing, and especially when heard at a club with good sound equipment, it gets everyone crazed up. French DJ, David Guetta should be proud of the fact that this song is already the #1 track in the UK, and Black Eyed Pea’s track “I Gotta Feeling” which he produced has been #1 in the US for a long time. Could he take the hottest producer title this year? A lot of artists are lining up to work with him now.

Great Northern - Houses

Album: Remind Me Where The Light Is

I started hearing their song on the radio since they will be opening up for Blink182/Weezer concert coming up next month. Great Northern is an indie rock band from LA, consisting of Rachel Stolte and former 30 Seconds to Mars guitarist, Solon Bixler. This track in particular sounds like something Metric would put out. I’m looking forward to seeing them live.

Jay-Z - Run This Town /ft. Rihanna & Kanye West

Album: The Blueprint 3

It’s nice to see Rihanna back in the music world after all the news about her incident with Chris Brown. Jay-Z continues to build momentum for his highly anticipated album, The Blueprint 3, by releasing another single, this time enlisting Rihanna and Kanye West, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Looking through Jay-Z’s album track list, it seems like a lot of the songs were produced by Kanye West, and a couple from Timbaland.

Kid Cudi - Make Her Say /ft. Kanye West, Common & Lady GaGa

Album: Man On The Moon: End Of Day

Rapper from Cleveland, Ohio, Kid Cudi had a hit with “Day 'n' Nite”, and he will be releasing his debut album next month. Currently, this track, “Make Her Say” which samples acoustic version of Lady GaGa’s “Poker Face” is getting quite a bit of airplay on the radio and MTV. Considering that Kid Cudi has to compete time with Kanye, Common and Lady GaGa, it almost feels like Cudi wasn’t even on this track, but it’s still a good catchy song.

Sean Kingston - Fire Burning

Album: Tomorrow

“Somebody call 911, Shawty fire burning on the dance floor, whoaaaa” the song starts out. This song has been on the charts and in the clubs for a while, but I never got into it until it was featured on Colbert Report. He claimed that song promoted “dangerous abuse of 911” because “you can’t call 911 every time Shawty starts fire on the dancefloor!” That one minute monolog changed my mind, and I began to appreciate the song. You can see the clip from here.

Sean Paul - So Fine

Album: Imperial Blaze

It must be summer if Sean Paul has a song on the radio. Sean Paul released his fourth album titled Imperial Blaze this August, and the lead off single, “So Fine” is getting enough radio and club play. It’s been four years since his last release. Previously, Sean Paul has commented that he wants to do less clubbing songs, but this track is definitely for the clubs.

Weezer - (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To

Album: I Want You To (Single)

I was surprised to hear that Weezer will be releasing another album later in the Fall this year, even though they had just released an album last year (Weezer the Red Album). The first single, (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To definitely has Weezer touch to it. It’s catchy, fun and makes you happy listening to it. The album is to be titled, Raditude, which according to the report was named by TV’s The Office star, Rainn Wilson (Dwight).

August 13, 2009

Aqua - Back To The 80's

Album: Greatest Hits

I have a confession to make. I thought Aqua was one of the most brilliant bubblegum dance pop group to come out since ABBA, and I was thoroughly disappointed when the Danish band disbanded in early 2000. The rumor was that they broke up because Lene (the female lead singer) started dating the guitarist, when she used to date the deep voice guy (the one that sings, “Come on Barbie Let’s go party”). Now that Lene is married and has a couple of kids with the guitarist, they seemed to have settled down their old fumes, and now they are back together. They recently released a Greatest Hits album in their native country of Denmark with three new songs, including this track, “Back to the 80s.” The song is a lot like Bowling For Soup’s “1985” where they poke fun of the 80s. My favorite line is “When M&M was just a snack, and Michael Jackson’s skin was black.”

Brendan Benson - A Whole Lot Better

Album: My Old, Familiar Friend

A lot of people, like me, has never heard of Brendan Benson until he joined forces with Jack White to form The Raconteurs. “My Old, Familiar Friend” is his fourth solo album, and he has specifically asked the record label to not put the sticker “member of The Raconteurs” on the album. He doesn’t want people to purchase the album just because he’s associated with Jack White. He pointed out that The Raconteurs fan maybe disappointed as his albums are more pop oriented. A song like, “A Whole Lot Better” is a well crafted pop rock song. Hearing Benson’s solo album reminded me that The Raconteurs success is not all because of White’s talent, but Benson’s pop sensibility deserve just as much of a credit as well.

Cage - Nothing Left To Say

Album: Depart From Me

I recently read about Cage on Spin music magazine. He is now somewhat well known in the underground hip-hip scene, but back in the late 90s, when he tried to launch his career, he blamed Eminem for copying his style. Cage is also a white rapper, with messed up family and drug infused background. Although Eminem and Cage’s delivery style were different, what they rapped about was quite similar. Eminem went onto become an international superstar, and Cage had to remain in the underground market. Could this new album be his chance to rise to the center stage? He has befriended Transformer star, Shia LaBeouf, who directed and appeared on the music video for “I Never Knew You.” I wasn’t particularly too fond of that single, but I really digged this track, “Nothing Left to Say.” It starts out really slow with Cage just speaking for a minute, but then the music kicks in, and Cage delivers powerful verses, a style more similar to Nas than Eminem.

Jay Sean - Down /ft. Lil Wayne

Album: Down (Single)

Jay Sean’s real name is Kamaljit Singh Jhooti, and he is Indian British. He recently signed to Lil Wayne’s Cash Money Records, making him the first Asian British artist to be signed to a US label. Jay Sean has released a couple of albums which was a moderate success in the UK (but big in India, following his appearance in the Bollywood movie). Now that he is associated with Lil Wayne, he should find a bigger success, as this first single is proving to be. “Down” is already a top 10 single in the US. The music video was available for a free download from iTunes in middle of August.

Lady GaGa - LoveGame

Album: The Fame

Lady GaGa knows what she wants, and she wastes no time by asking, “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick.” I’m particularly not a huge fan of this track, especially compared to “Poker Face” but “LoveGame” had turned into another international mega hit that I felt like I should probably own the track. A remix track featuring Marilyn Manson is also available, but I wasn’t too impressed with it. With more singles like “Paparazzi” being released, Lady GaGa is now officially a major pop star.

Noisettes - Never Forget You

Album: Wild Young Hearts

I have a thing for throwback music, which British artists like Amy Winehouse and Duffy did so well. Now, another British female singer, Shingai Shoniwa and her band, Noisettes are tackling that genre, and it sounds great. They recently released their second album, Wild Young Hearts, which was a top 10 hit in the UK. The lead off single, “Don’t Upset the Rhythm” was a huge success and placed #1 on the singles chart. “Never Forget You” is the second single from the album.

Owl City - Fireflies

Album: Ocean Eyes

With magical lyrics like getting hugged by ten thousand fireflies, Adam Young, who goes by Owl City has found numerous fans. When I heard this song for the first time, I thought it was a new song from Seattle’s Postal Service (ironically enough, Owl City has a song titled, “Hello Seattle”). Both iTunes and Amazon MP3 featured this track as the free single of the week. That exposure lead his new album, Ocean Eyes to peak at #2 on iTunes album chart.

Paradiso Girls - Patron Tequila /ft. Lil Jon & Eve

Album: Patron Tequila (Single)

Anytime you have Lil Jon screaming “Put your drink up!” it’s going to get heavy rotation at clubs, especially when you have Eve rapping in it. Needless to say, this track is currently #3 on the dance club chart. With Lil Jon and Eve on the track, it probably didn’t matter who was singing the rest of the song, but the new girl group, Paradiso Girls gets the credit. Paradiso Girls was created by the founder of Pussycat Dolls, and consists of five girls from different countries – US, France, UK, Barbados and Philippines. Pussycat Dolls had to depend on Busta Rhymes and Snoop to put them where they are now, so I assume Paradiso Girls’ debut album will be filled with featured artists.

Third Eye Blind - Don't Believe A Word

Album: Ursa Major

With a lot of 90s bands reuniting nowadays, Third Eye Blind attempts to make a come back as well. This lead off single, “Don’t Believe A Word” from their new album, Ursa Major has big guitar and banging drum section. It sounds very ambitious. Maybe a bit too ambitious for Third Eye Blind. They are the group responsible for the catchy “toot toot toot” from the song “Semi-Charmed Life”. I’m hoping that other songs on the album are a lot more catchy and friendly.

T.I. - Remember Me /ft. Mary J. Blige

Album: Remember Me (Single)

“Don’t forget” sings Mary J. Blige. When you have one of the hottest rapper nowadays, T.I. and legend in the making, Mary J. Blige singing the hook, how can you go wrong? This track has unbelievable beats and great delivery. T.I. recorded this song before he had to go to jail to serve a year and a day for possession of illegal firearms. I’m sure we can expect T.I. to write a lot more songs while he is in jail, and come out with a brand new album next year.

August 4, 2009

Summersonic 2009 (Fri)

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the popular summer festival in Japan known as Summersonic. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this year, but I went through and chose the artists that I would personally go check out. This year, instead of doing two days like they have always done, they are making it into a three day festival. Friday lineup are targeted to more “emo” and “dark” crowds with Paramore, Nine Inch Nails and My Chemical Romance performing in the main stage. Here are the artists in order of their appearance according to the time table, and some of the songs I’d like to hear from them.

Boys Like Girls - Thunder

Album: Boys Like Girls

Boston rock band, Boys Like Girls have recently released a new single, “Love Drunk” which is doing quite well on the chart thus making their upcoming sophomore album some promise. Their debut album, Boys Like Girls had several radio hits such as this track, “Thunder” as well as “The Great Escape” and “Hero/Heroine”. They will be the opening act on the main, Marine stage from noon.

Saosin - You're Not Alone

Album: Saosin

I had never heard of these guys until I saw this year’s Summersonic lineup. But from the songs I’ve heard they sounded pretty good – a bit of The Red Jumpsuit Apparetus and My Chemical Romance mixed together. Most of their songs are fast, metal-ish songs, but this slower track of theirs, “You’re Not Alone” got a decent airplay.

Girl Talk - In Step

Album: Feed The Animals

I may catch a first few songs of Dragon Ash at the Marine Stage before heading over to see Girl Talk perform (or more like spin) at the Dance Stage. Girl Talk’s latest album, Feed the Animal, which was sold for “pay what you want” was a crazy mashup record. I may not have to stay for the whole set, but I would definitely want to catch a glimpse of his live show as it is supposed to be crazy. I love the way Salt-n-Peppa and Nirvana is mashed together on this track.

Katy Perry - Waking Up In Vegas

Album: One Of The Boys

I think it was Katy Perry that called herself the skinnier and American version of Lily Allen. She’s had a couple of big hits, “I Kissed A Girl” and “Hot N Cold.” My personal favorite is still “Ur So Gay.” I wasn’t a huge fan of this track, “Waking Up In Vegas” but recently I watched the movie The Hangover, and this track totally reminds me of that hilarious movie, and it has grown on me. I probably don’t need to stick around to see the whole show.

Paramore - Decode

Album: Twilight Soundtrack

Paramore has grown into a huge band in the past couple of years, particularly after this song was featured on the vampire mega movie, Twilight soundtrack. Their songs may be a bit too young for me, but I want to see how the 18 year old lead singer Haley Williams can get the Japanese crowd going at the Marine Stage. My personal favorite track by Paramore is “Crushcrushcrush.”

Jenny Lewis - Pretty Bird

Album: Acid Tongue

For those of you who don’t know, Jenny Lewis is a former child actor turned musician, but who cares about that when she can sing so soulfully like on this track, “Pretty Bird” from her latest solo album. Jenny Lewis is also the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, and in 2006, she released an album along with The Watson Twins (love the track, “Rise Up With Fists.” It would be such a treat to catch Ms. Lewis at the smaller Beach Stage.

Phoenix - 1901

Album: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Phoenix is a pop-rock band from Versailles, France. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is their fourth album. They have been heavily promoted in the US recently by showing up on Saturday Night Live or performing on Letterman. They mix electro sound and rock quite well, thus creating a danceable tune with catchy beat. They will be performing at the Mountain Stage right after Katy Perry.

Boom Boom Satellites - Shut Up And Explode

Album: Exposed

There’s nothing that I am interested around the 5pm slot, so I will probably move over to the Marine stage to check out the Japanese electro duo, Boom Boom Satellites. They have been around for a long time, but I first noticed them when their song, “What Goes Round Comes Around” was used on Dodge commercial. They sound good, but something about their songs get tiring after a while. Maybe because a lot of their songs have repetitious wording. But it would be cool to check them out.

Nine Inch Nails - Only

Album: With Teeth

Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor recently announced that he will no longer be touring the US anymore. I don’t know if that statement means he’s retiring all together, but who knows, this performance at Summersonic may be one of his last performances ever. I’m not a huge fan of so called “industrial” music as Nine Inch Nails is often labeled as, but they do have some great songs like “Closer”, “Hand That Feeds” and “Head Like A Hole.”

The Enemy - No Time For Tears

Album: Music For The People

I was a huge fan of their debut album, “We’ll Live And Die In These Towns” which was filled with catchy singalong UK pop rock songs (similar to The Fratellis). Their second album, Music For the People has bigger production and sound, showing their evolution. It’s a shame they are performing around the same time as Nine Inch Nails, but I would like to catch at least a few songs by them if I can.

Tahiti 80 - Heartbeat

Album: Puzzle

Similar to Phoenix, Tahiti 80 hails from France. I’ve heard of their names numerous times, but I don’t think they are that big in the US. This particular song, “Heartbeat” sounds like it was used on some kind of commercial in Japan in the past. They will be the final act on the Beach Stage, but I don’t know if I will make it out there as they are not very high on my priority list.

My Chemical Romance - Vampires Will Never Hurt You

Album: I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love

My Chemical Romance is the final act on the Marine Stage for the Friday. I saw them perform their last album, “The Black Parade” in its entirely two years ago. I’m not sure if they will do the same thing again, or play little bit from every album, including this track from their debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. It’s funny listening to this track as there is so much difference in production and Gerard Way’s vocal strength compared to The Black Parade. Their live show was one of my favorites and memorable one, so I will probably try to catch their whole show.

Kasabian - Fire

Album: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

I’m bummed that they are no longer performing at Bumbershoot this year, and that they have to perform at the same slot as My Chemical Romance. Kasabian recently released their third album, which was number one for two weeks in a row in the UK. Their lead off single, “Fire” is catchy and addictive. On the time table, they are scheduled to perform half an hour past My Chemical Romance, so if you’re lucky you may be able to catch the last few songs, but chances are, the crowd control will not let you in.