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.

October 29, 2009

Death Cab For Cutie - Meet Me On The Equinox

Album: Twilight: New Moon Soundtrack

I should start by saying that I’m not much of Death Cab For Cutie fan nor, am I a fan of Twilight series. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, so I haven’t really experienced the phenomenon first hand just yet. But I did think that last soundtrack from the film had good compilation of rock songs. For the second series, the music supervisor went more indie, and brought in acts like Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver as well as Seattle’s (Bellingham to be exact), Death Cab For Cutie. Unlike last time, all of these songs were specifically written (or at least rewritten) for the film. As I don’t plan on watching the film, I could never say whether this lead single fits the film or not, but I was intrigued by the selection by the producers, so I thought I would give it a listen.

Flight Of The Conchords - Hurt Feelings

Album: I Told You I Was Freaky

Months after season 2 of New Zeland’s comedic duo, Flight of the COnchords’s hit HBO show wrapped up, they are finally releasing an album with the songs from the show. As usual, the tracks are funny, but compared to the first album, these songs were written in such a short period of time, that they seem to lack a little bit of something. But there are standout tracks, such as “Hurt Feelings” where they rap about their hurtful past such as being called, “you look like a llama” (actually he kinda does). What’s brilliant about this song is that they use toy piano as the key instrument, and that miniscule feel totally fits the lyrics. Flight of the Conchords, you guys are hilarious.

Foo Fighters - Wheels

Album: Greatest Hits

It is a bit surprising that Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters has not released “greatest hits” album until now. They have been around since the mid 90s, which means it took them fourteen years and six hit albums before they decided to finally release the best of album, when some artists release best of series in half of that time. Kudos to Foo Fighters for sticking around this long and continuing to create good music. And like most Greatest Hits package, there are a couple of new songs. The two new songs are both produced by Butch Vigg, who has known Grohl for a long time as he produced Nirvana’s Nevermind album, and Grohl has guest drummed on Vigg’s band, Garbage at one time. Compared to most of Foo’s hits, “Wheels” is a mellow slow track. It is doing very well on the US rock chart.

Jason DeRulo - Whatcha Say

Album: Whatcha Say (Single)

If you are Imogen Heap fan, you may be upset at the fact that producer JR Rotem and young R&B star, Jason DeRulo have sampled her track, “Hide And Seek” or maybe you are happy that thanks to this track, a lot more people are discovering Imogen Heap. Either way, “Whatcha Say” has been getting a lot of airplay in the US, and may possibly take the #1 spot soon (it is currently sitting at #2, behind Jay Sean’s “Down”.

Joss Stone - Free Me

Album: Colour Me Free

British soul singer, Joss Stone is finally releasing her fourth album after battling with her label. Her new album, Colour Me Free is only available at Target and iTunes at US. The album cover image has also been changed for the US release, which only has Joss Stone’s name in large font with the album title. Elsewhere, the album cover looks like color by numbers, shown above. I’m not particularly a fan of either of these covers, but as usual, she sounds great on her new album.

Lady GaGa - Paparazzi

Album: The Fame

This is the fourth single from Lady GaGa’s debut album, The Fame to crack into top 10. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of her last single, “LoveGame” I think this one stands better. This track was already a hit in the UK several months ago, and now the US is getting the taste of it. GaGa performed this song live at last month’s MTV Video Music Award, which could only be explained as “bizarre.”

Michael Jackson - This Is It

Album: This Is It

By now, everyone should know that Michael Jackson’s rehearsal documentary film, “This Is It” is turning into a big box office success, and that there is an accompanying soundtrack. This soundtrack is just a rehash of his greatest hits, except that the new track called, “This Is It” is included. It was initially advertised as the “new” recording, but the song was actually recorded back in the 80s, and it wasn’t even originally recorded or written by Michael. And as a lot of people could see this mile away, this track is not available for a single purchase. You have to buy the whole album to get this song, even though most of his fans should have all of the songs from the rest of the album. Despite it, it is looking to be another #1 album for Michael Jackson.

Morningwood - Best Of Me

Album: Diamonds & Studs

As you can tell from the name of this group, they don’t take things too seriously, and it shows in their fun, upbeat music. This single is getting a lot of video plays on VH1 and MTV as they have recently switched label to VH1 Records (I didn’t even know that they had a label). “Best of Me” is a catchy song that should bring in new fans to this New York rock band.

Shwayze - Get U Home

Album: Let It Beat

When Shwayze released his debut album last year, it was considered unique, as it was rare for a black guy to release a chillin’ surfer music, such as on hit single like, "Buzzin'". This time, he completely changed his vibe, and the new single “Get U Home” from his second album, Let It Beat, is an electro-pop song, similar to 3OH3! or Cobra Starship’s “Good Girls Go Bad” song. This song still hasn’t grown on me yet, but I was intrigued with the change in his musical direction.

Tegan And Sara - Hell

Album: Sainthood

Canadian sister duo, Tegan And Sara are back with their sixth album, and returning for the producing job after a successful previous album, The Con, is Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie. Tegan and Sara normally write separately, but for this album, they apparently wrote together. I can’t wait to catch them on the next tour.

October 13, 2009

AFI - Medicate

Album: Crash Love

AFI (stands for A Fire Inside) had a massive hit with “Miss Murder” in 2006. They returned this Fall with their eighth album, Crash Love. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole album yet, but the first single, “Medicate” didn’t hit me like “Miss Murder” did. I still enjoy the track quite a bit. Hopefully they have other catchy singles on the new album.

Brandi Carlile - Dreams

Album: Give Up The Ghost

Brandi Carlile spent her early career in Seattle until she was discovered and signed to the label. Her previous hit song, “The Story” has been used on Grey’s Anatomy and General Motors commercial. This year she is back with her third album titled, Give Up The Ghost, produced by Rick Rubin. The first single from the new album is “Dreams” which has the similar feel to The Story.

Dead By Sunrise - Crawl Back In

Album: Out Of Ashes

Mike Shinoda, the rapper of Linkin Park, got to do his side project, Fort Minor, a couple of years ago. Now it is lead singer, Chester Bennington’s turn to take on a side project by the name of Dead By Sunrise. I’m sure Chester wouldn’t like this project to be compared with his day job at Linkin Park, but it sounds like Linkin Park with a few things missing. If I hadn’t known Linkin Park, I would probably thoroughly enjoy this track. What’s missing is probably Mike Shinoda and Mr. Hahn’s layered samples and sounds that adds dimension to their songs. I was personally not a huge fan of Linkin Park’s last effort, as they took a different turn by going slightly soft on half of the album (in my opinion a little bit U2-ish). I got a feeling that Chester might be on the same course, as the songs didn’t sound quite as hard. The first single, “Crawl Back In” is doing decent on the rock radio, but I’m hoping that I will get to hear the new Linkin Park album soon in the future.

Jay-Z - Empire State Of Mind /ft. Alicia Keys

Album: The Blueprint 3

The votes are in, and MTV hip-hop panels have selected Jay-Z to be the Hottest MC of 2009. The rest of top 10 is followed by Lil Wayne, Drake Kanye West, Rick Ross, Gucci Mane, Young Jeezy, Fabolous, 50 Cent and Raekwon. Eminem’s omission is being hugely debated right now. But beside that, Jay-Z was undoubtedly #1 this year. His performance of this track, “Empire State of Mind” with Alicia Keys on VMA (although Lil Mama sort of crashed the party in the end) was memorable, and his charity live concert at Madison Garden to support victims of September 11 attack was also something.

La Roux - Bulletproof

Album: La Roux

La Roux is electropop musician from UK. She’s came out strong this year with her debut album, La Roux, which already had three top 40 singles. When I first heard, “In For the Kill” (peaked at #2), I thought it sounded annoying. Not my cup of tea. But a few months later, I heard “Bulletproof” and I was hooked. The track even climbed to #1 on US dance chart.

Little Boots - New In Town

Album: Hands

While I was checking out La Roux’s music, I came across Little Boots, another female UK electropop musician. Compared to La Roux, Little Boots has more pop sound, similar to Kylie Minogue. Her UK debut album, Hands, placed in top 5 album chart, and the single “New In Town” was also successful. In the US, instead of a full album, Little Boots released EP titled Illuminations (not sure why).

Mando Diao - Dance With Somebody

Album: Give Me Fire

I’ve been a fan of Mando Diao since 2003 when they had songs like “The Band” and “Bring ‘Em In.” Their last album from 2007, Ode To Ochrasy was also great. As a rock group from Sweden, they are often compared to The Hives, but unfortunately, Mando Diao hasn’t had the international recognition just yet. I was excited when VH1 picked up their latest single, “Dance With Somebody” but despite it being a great track (in my opinion) it didn’t catch on in the US, and never got a release date for their fifth album, Give Me Fire. The album was released in their native country Sweden as well as Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Japan. One of these days, I hope they will get a chance to expand their career.

Mika - Blame It On The Girls

Album: The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Mika is another one of those artists that is huge in certain countries, but not really in the US. Mika sells out arenas in UK and France, but despite making a little dent on the dance chart in the US, he hasn’t had that much success. The Lebanese singer and the record label is trying harder to break in the US with his second album, The Boy Who Knew Too Much. For being able to hit such high notes, Mika is often somewhat compared as Queen’s Freddie Mercury. “Blame It On The Girls” is the second single from the album, and it was offered as a free download from Amazon MP3.

Tiesto - Feel It In My Bones /ft. Tegan And Sara

Album: Kaleidoscope

For those of you who listen to trance and electro music, Tiesto is a well known name. Earlier this year, fellow European DJ, David Guetta (France) was able to break into mainstream pop with hits like “When Love Takes Over” and “Sexy Bitch” as well as producing hot track, “I Gotta Feeling” for Black Eyed Peas. Dutch DJ, Tiesto tries to gain more audience, but instead of going pop, he recruited some of the best indie rock musicians such as Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, Priscilla Ahn, and my favorite, Tegan And Sara. I haven’t heard the whole album, but am enjoying this track very much. Stayed tuned for the new Tegan And Sara album as well, coming out later this month.

Warren G - 100 Miles And Runnin' /ft. Raekwon & Nate Dogg

Album: The G-File

West coast rapper, famous for hits like “Regulate” and “This DJ” from the 90s, Warren G is back with a new album. The G-File is rapper’s sixth album, and features guests such as Snoop Dogg, Mr. Lucc, Halla, Travis Barker (of Blink 182) as well as Nate Dogg and Wu-Tang’s Raekwon (who was recently named #10 best rapper this year by MTV). Although Warren G doesn’t get the kind of attention he used to get in the 90s, he proves on most of the tracks that he still has it. Some of the other songs on the album, such as “Ringtone” and “Crush” seemed a little forced, as if he’s trying too hard to lure in the young listeners of today. Personally, I prefer this old school groove g-funk track like “100 Miles And Runnin’”