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.

November 30, 2010

Bon Jovi - What Do You Got?

Album: Greatest Hits - The Ultimate Collection

Bon Jovi released their greatest hits (second time, since 1994’s Cross Road), with a couple of new songs, including “What Do You Got?” Although the song or the album was not a major success in the US, it is doing extremely well in Japan. Both the album and single reached #1 there. No wonder Bon Jovi likes to tour in Japan so frequently.

Bruno Mars - Grenade

Album: Doo-Wops & Hooligans

When Bruno Mars came out, he had clean cut pop singer image, but recently he was arrested for possession of cocaine. Despite his recent arrest, this guy can write and sing great pop songs. He has already proven himself with Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” and Cee-lo’s “F**k You”. His latest single is also addicting and climbing up the chart.

Charlie Hunter - More Than This /ft. Norah Jones

Album: Featuring Norah Jones

Norah Jones recently released an album with songs where she was featured on other artists’ albums. In the past decade, she has worked with numerous musicians from the legendary ones like Ray Charles, Willie Nelson as well as rockers like Foo Fighters, and even hip-hop artists such as Outkast, Q-Tip and Talib Kweli. One of the tracks from the album is Roxy’s cover song, “More Than This” with Charlie Hunter. This song was recorded right before Norah Jones signed with Blue Note, after Hunter heard the demo (the same demo that got her to sign to the label). This track has become top 10 song in Japan recently.

Chris Brown - Deuces [Remix] /ft. Drake, T.I., Kanye West, Fabolous, Rick Ross & Andre 3000

Album: Deuces Remix

Chris Brown has been trying to regain his fans after the incident with his then-girlfriend Rihanna. He was able to get a lot of famous rapper friends to spit verses on his recent single, “Deuces.” That’s an impressive lineup if you got Drake, T.I., and Kanye West, but that’s just the first half. Fabolous, Rick Ross and Andre 3000 of Outkast also appear on this remix.

Hugo - 99 Problems

Album: 99 Problems (Single)

Hugo has a very interesting background. He was born in theUK, but grew up in Thailand. One of the songs he wrote, “Disappear” was picked up Beyonce on her I Am Sasha Fierce album, and since then he was signed onto Jay-Z’s label. His debut album is currently in works, but he is gaining attention with the cover of his boss’ song, “99 Problems.” When I originally heard it on the radio, I thought it was Jack White.

JYJ - Ayyy Girl /ft. Kanye West & M. Yusuf

Album: The Beginning

In the past couple of years, several Korean singers and groups have tried to break through in the US market. This month, it is JYJ’s turn. Korean and Japanese audience will know them as the three guys from their former group TVXQ or Tohoshinki or Dong Bang Shin Ki. As much as I want to cheer these guys on for trying, their singing makes me nervous. It’s not that they are a bad singer, but combined with cheesy lyrics and not-so-sexy accent, it will be hard to sell this to US audience who have no previous contact with Tohoshinki. I do want to give them a credit for being able to drag Kanye West into this.

Kanye West - Monster /ft. Jay-Z, Rock Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver

Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West released his fifth album, the first one since interrupting Taylor Swift’s speech at 2009 MTV Video Music Award. The album was on sale at Amazon MP3 for only $3.99 during the Black Friday week (considering that they were giving away $3 free coupon on top of that, it was a really good deal). The current single, Monster is a good track which features Nicki Minaj who kills it once again. Currently on Kanyest.com, you can see the half an hour movie he directed and stars in, which features music from his latest album.

Katy Perry - Firework

Album: Teenage Dream

Katy Perry is on a roll. Here is another single that’s cracking in top 10. On this music video, she gets to blow fireworks from her chest (though the video is a bit more on the serious side compared to her other videos).

Kesha - We R Who We R

Album: Cannibal

Initially Kesha was going to re-release her hugely successful debut album, Animal, with several additional tracks, but the label decided to release these 9 new songs as EP instead. This single, “We R Who We R” is already a huge success and climbing up the Billboard chart.

Ne-Yo - Beautiful Monster

Album: Libra Scale

Ne-Yo’s album has been pushed back a little, but this single, “Beautiful Monster” was already a big hit in the UK back in the summer. The fourth album, Libra Scale, feels a lot like Michael Jackson album, especially this track.

November 20, 2010

Christina Perri - Jar Of Hearts

Album: Jar Of Hearts (Single)

Philadelphia singer-songwriter, Christina Perri got her lucky break when her song, “Jar of Hearts” was used on “So You Think You Can Dance” TV dance competition back in the summer. The song was an immediate success on iTunes. I was hoping to review her song until her EP, The Ocean Way Sessions, came out, but that album only contains her live recordings. The date for her full album debut has not been announced yet.

Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand

Album: Barbra Streisand (Single)

Duck Sauce consists of popular house music DJ, Armand Van Helden and long- time Kanye West’s DJ, A-Trak. Their collaboration single, “Barbra Streisand” was a huge hit in the Europe, breaking top 5 in numerous countries. The song has addictive beats with occasional vocal of someone saying, “Barbra Streisand” for not particular reason (in the interview they said that it could’ve been any word). The music video is a fun New York homage with lots of cameo appearance from Kanye West to Pharrel Williams.

Fran Healy - Sing Me To Sleep /ft. Neko Case

Album: Wreckorder

Fran Healy may not be a common name in the US, but he is the lead singer for the British band, Travis who are huge in Europe. Wreckorder is his first solo effort, and for this track, he gets help from Neko Case.

Matt & Kim - Block After Block

Album: Sidewalks

After having a huge hit with “Daylight” in 2009 thanks to the feature spot on Bacardi commercial, smiling duo Matt & Kim are releasing their third album, Sidewalks. I wasn’t a huge fan of the single, “Cameras” but really enjoyed this track, “Block After Block.”

Middle Class Rut - New Low

Album: No Name No Color

Middle Class Rut consists of vocalist/guitarist Zack Lopez and drummer Sean Stockham. This single, “New Low” had been Sacramento locals’ favorite since 2007, but now they are starting to get national attention. They released their full length album this past October.

N.E.R.D. - Hot N Fun /ft. Nelly Furtado

Album: Nothing

I’m not quite sure why this latest N.E.R.D. album was not promoted that heavily. Their first single, “Ho N Fun” featuring Nelly Furtado, wasn’t a huge hit in the US, which could be the reason for the slow sale as well. But the beat is the usual Neptunes style.

OneRepublic - Secrets

Album: Waking Up

This song has been all over the radio as well as TV and movie theaters recently, thanks to heavily promoted Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal’s new romantic film, “Love and Other Drugs”. Like other Ryan Tedder’s hits, this song has big sounds and catchy tune.

Pink - Raise Your Glass

Album: Greatest Hits...So Far!!!

After releasing five successful platinum albums, Pink is due for a greatest hits album. The album contains all of her hits from “Get the Party Started” to more recent, “So What”. The album also features two new songs, including this Billboard hit, “Raise Your Glass” as well as “Fuckin’ Perfect.”

Rihanna - What's My Name? /ft. Drake

Album: Loud

Despite having so many hits, Rihanna still has not had a #1 album of the week in her native US. She already has two hits from her fifth album, Loud, “Only Girl (In the World)” as well as “What’s My Name”. However, it looks like she will be blocked for the #1 title by Susan Boyle this year.

Weezer - Kids / Poker Face

Album: iTunes Originals - Weezer

I’ve been waiting to purchase this track from iTunes for a long time. It was available on some weird package deal, where you had to buy the entire album collection, just to get this song. But now this awesome hybrid cover song is available for a single download. Weezer has been playing this song live on their shows. One some shows, Rivers put on blonde wig to show his inner GaGa. His rapping sounds quite like Lady GaGa as well.