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.

February 28, 2010

3 Doors Down - Shine

Album: AT&T Team USA Soundtrack (Vancouver Olympic)

Two years ago, AT&T did the similar thing for the Beijing Olympic by enlisting big name artists to raise money for the US Olympic team. 3 Doors Down was part of that program and released, “The Champion in Me” back then. This year, for the Vancouver Olympic charity compilation, 3 Doors Down releases “Shine.” I purchased this song for the cause, but I thought the song was leaning on the cheesy side. I didn’t watch much of the Olympics but from what I hear, it was supposedly exciting.

Alkaline Trio - This Addiction

Album: This Addiction

I had never heard of this punk trio band from Illinois, but they have been around since 1996. The current lineup consists of Matt Skiba (vocal/guitar), Dan Andriano (vocal/bass) and Derek Grant (drums). Their latest album, This Addiction (same name as the lead off single) is their seventh release. They sound like other punk rock bands such as Bad Religion, MxPx and Rise Against.

Angels & Airwaves - Hallucinations

Album: Love

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Angels & Airwaves is lead by Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge, and they are trying to pull off what Radiohead did with In Rainbows, where fans can download the entire album for free, but they can also make a monetary donation. DeLonge hopes to make up the money from corporate sponsorship and tours. The album is actually quite good, so I suggest that people download it from their official website. The album, Love, was released on Valentines Day, and within 48 hours, there were already 300,000 download.

Crash Kings - Mountain Man

Album: Crash Kings

When I heard this song on the radio, I thought it was another one of Jack White’s new project. But once I listened to the vocal closely, it wasn’t Jack White. The band turned out to be Crash Kings from LA, who had signed to new label of Linda Perry (formerly of Four Non-Blondes, but recently more famous for producing for Pink or Christina Aguilera).

Deadmau5 - Ghosts N Stuff /ft. Rob Swire of Pendulum

Album: For Lack Of A Better Name

I assume this DJ name is pronounced, “Dead mouse.” Deadmau5 is a popular house/techno DJ from Toronto, Canada. This track, “Ghosts N Stuff” have been around for some time, but the album was released just a couple of months ago. The beat is great. Being a Canadian, he performed during the winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Gorillaz - Stylo /ft. Bobby Womack & Mos Def

Album: Plastic Beach

Animated virtual band, lead by Blur’s Damon Albarn is back with their third album, Plastic Beach. Albarn mentioned that it is going to be the most “pop” album he has ever worked on. Once again there are a lot of guests on the album, including Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Mick Jones, De La Soul and more. For this track, Bobby Womack and Mos Def lend a hand. I haven’t heard any other songs on the album yet, as the album will be released in early March, but I didn’t particularly think that this song was as catchy as their previous singles.

Ludacris - How Low

Album: Battle Of The Sexes

What’s great about Ludacris is that he always brings fun into hip-hop, showcasing that you don’t have to be gangsta to enjoy hip-hop. The album, “Battle of the Sexes” was initially supposed to be collaboration album between Ludacris and female MC, Shawnna, but that was later changed. This single, produced by T-Minus, has climbed to #6 on Billboard single chart.

Nneka - Heartbeat

Album: Concrete Jungle

Nneka’s father is Nigerian and mother is German. She grew up most of her life in Nigeria until she was 18, and since then divides her time between Germany and Nigeria. She reminds me a lot of Neneh Cherry. Her song is poetic and her music is unique. With Lauryn Hill out of picture (though there are a lot more rumor of her comeback), Nneka could make a good dent in the US for her rap/R&B style of music.

Three 6 Mafia - Feel It /ft. DJ Tiesto, Sean Kingston & Flo Rida

Album: Feel It (Single)

Oscar winning rapstars, Three 6 Mafia’s new album, which is rumored to be titled, Laws of Power, has seen its release date bumped to later dates several times already. “Feel It” which was produced by superstar DJ, Tiesto is the third single, and it is packed with addictive dance beat, and features Sean Kingston on the hook, and Flo Rida for some rapping. It is climbing on the dance chart, but hasn’t had much success on the mainstream chart just yet.

Violent Soho - Jesus Stole My Girlfriend

Album: Violent Soho

They sound a little like Nirvana, The Vines, and The Datsuns put together. Just like the Vines, Violent Soho hails from Australia, and plays Nirvana-esque screaming rock songs. Their US debut album, Violent Soho will be released in early March. Most of the songs on the album are from their debut album, We Don’t Belong Here from 2008. They are currently touring all over the US to get their name out.

February 14, 2010

Artists For Haiti - We Are The World 25 For Haiti

Album: We Are The World 25 For Haiti (Single)

It has been 25 years since Quincy Jones, Lionel Ritchie and Michael Jackson gathered their musician friends to record “We Are the World.” Back in November of 2009, there was a talk of re-doing the song with completely new artists, but Lionel Ritchie, who co-wrote the song, didn’t think it should be remade, as the song was recorded for a particular purpose. But with Haiti’s devastating earthquake, Ritchie agreed that there is now a purpose, and the song got recorded.

With the exception of Michael Jackson who sings from archival footage alongside his sister Janet , none of the artists from 25 years appear on the new version.

The song starts out with Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Nettles, Josh Groban, Tony Bennett and Mary J. Blige. Toward the end, there is auto-tune and rap from LL Cool J, Will.I.Am, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and Kanye West.

Now, of course, when you compare it with the original, where almost all of them are now considered legendary artists, the song doesn’t sound as powerful. To many, the auto-tune and rap part may sound absurd. But I personally think the producers did what they can to get the song to sell for today’s music buying population. The purpose of this song is to raise money for the Haiti cause, so including Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Lil Wayne probably makes sense.

Black Eyed Peas - Imma Be

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

Black Eyes Peas continue to release hits after hits from their latest album, The E.N.D. Thanks to the Grammy performance, “Imma Be” gained a lot of new fans, and it is already #2 on Billboard singles chart. It may not be long before it swaps places with Kesha’s “Tik Tok” for a #1 spot. I’m not a huge fan of this song (though I can see the mass appeal), and I’m still waiting for “Rock That Body” to be the next single.

Celine Dion, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson - Earth Song [Live at Grammys]

Album: 52nd Grammy Awards

This year’s Grammy had most number of viewers in the recent years, and there were some good performances. One of the stand outs was the Michael Jackson tribute. The 3D footages of natures was not appealing, but having the all star artists from various different genres singing one of Michael’s beloved songs was something. Even amongst vocal powerhouse like Celine Dion or Jennifer Hudson, Michael’s voice comes across very strong. A lot of the performances from the Grammy’s is available for download from iTunes, but so far this song is not. It’s a shame.

Helping Haiti - Everybody Hurts

Album: Everybody Hurts (Single)

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Simon Cowell may be only known to American audiences as the “judge.” But he is actually a record producer, and has a lot of connections with numerous musicians. He was supposedly asked by the British Prime Minister to gather his talents to put together a charity song, and as a result, he recruited superstars such as Leona Lewis, Rod Stewart, Mariah Care, Cheryl Cole, Miley Cyrus, Bon Jovi, Susan Boyle, Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams to cover R.E.M.’s classic hit, “Everybody Hurts.” The result? It tries to be “We Are the World” but it’s hard to get each singer’s personality on it. I bought the track for the cause, but after a few listen, I’m already bored of the song. At least it sold enough to make it number 1 in UK.

Lady Antebellum - Need You Now

Album: Need You Now

Every couple of years, I watch the Grammy’s and I notice a country song that hits me somehow. I’m not a country music fan, so I hardly ever listen to it, unless I’m at a country fair (which I hardly ever go to), or if I’m watching the Grammy’s and a country act performs. Three years ago, I really liked Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice” and this year, I fell for Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.” The lyrics is so simple (“it’s quarter after one. I’m a little drunk and I need you now”) yet, touching, and the music goes well with it.

Lady GaGa - Speechless / Your Song [Live at Grammys] /ft. Elton John

Album: 52nd Grammy Awards

Lady GaGa opened the Grammy show with “Poker Face”, and went into this medley of her song “Speechless” mixed with Elton John’s “Your Song.” From shouting, “Take my picture, Hollywood!” Lady GaGa shows that she owns the crowd. And how long has she been in the business? At least as a signed performer, not too long. Whether you like her or not, you have to give her credit for her showmanship. Elton John performed with Eminem several years back, and he proves once again, that he can collaborate with any performer out there.

Metric - Gold Guns Girls

Album: Fantasies

This song stays in your head. Especially the opening line, “All the gold and the guns in the world.” Metric is an indie rock band from Toronto, Canada. They had a hit earlier in 2009 with the song, “Help I’m Alive.” Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park is a fan of Metric, and he did a good remix of this song as well.

Switchfoot - Mess Of Me

Album: Hello Hurricane

Sounding like a mixture between Foo Fighters and Finger Eleven, Switchfoot comes back to mainstream radio with their new hit, “Mess of Me.” The last time I heard their songs on the radio was in 2003 when “Meant to Live” was a hit. Switchfoot hails from San Diego, where all the members are surfers, and the word “Switchfoot” apparently is a surfer term.

Vedera - Satisfy

Album: Stages

Vedera has recently signed to Epic records and is lead by vocalist Kristen May from Kansas City. Her voice sounds a lot like Natalie Imbrulia from her “Torn” days. I think the song is catchy, and I’ve read that it was used on one of the teen drama shows, but I wonder if their sound is unique enough to break any further.

The XX - Islands

Album: XX

A lot of indie rock magazines named this young British group as the next band to watch. Spinner magazine placed this song, “Islands” as the fourth best song of 2009. Several of their songs have been used on major TV shows as well. I recently got a hold of their debut album, and as a whole I was a little bored. I can tell that musically they sound unique and different. This song somehow reminds me of Lykke Li’s “Little Bit” little bit.