Sunday, May 31, 2009

Park Ji Yoon - In My Fading Memory

The world is overflowing with ballads, some beautiful some annoying and some boring. For me to notice and remember a ballad it has to be gorgeous, first and foremost but there also has to be something that makes it stand out from the sea of ballads I already know and like. It took me some time before I actually found something like that in Korean pop but I think I have my representative Kpop ballad now.
I listened to a lot of ballads before I heard this, mind you. Most of the ballads I heard didn't have the melodies to keep me interested and were way too sharp on my ear - there was always something wrong with them. This one in particular though is absolutely beautiful in all the right ways.

I class a song 'heavy' if I feel like I might get a headache listening to it or if I actually get one and I class a song 'light' if when I have a headache, I listen to it and the headache doesn't get worse, gets better or disappears completely. This song is the lightest of light but it won't make you fall asleep if you don't want to. If you do though, that's a completely different story.

The vocals are sweet, the girl doesn't bang you in the head with them(like a lot of American ballad singers I know..) but you know she has a gorgeous voice - she doesn't need to scream for you to realize that. The smoothness of her vocals lend a lot to why I love the song, the verses are so flow-y and lullaby-like but when she hits the chorus it's like full speed ahead.

The song is simple in itself, there's not much going on with the instruments and the melody isn't very distorted and processed with a lot of vocal gymnastics but that's what makes such a big impact. The girl sings the melody and it's enough to make people like me listen - you don't need more than that, actually. May I also add that the middle-8 is so friggin' floaty that it literally makes you want to go lie down on a cloud at that very moment. I'm not kidding. At all.

You have to hear this is HQ so if anyone wants a copy of the song, tell me.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

BoA - Atlantis Princess + Milky Way

There were two songs from BoA's 2003 album Atlantis Princess that to this day continue blow me away. These two songs are the reasons why I still respect BoA as an artist even though I think Eat You Up was a complete disaster of a song.

Atlantis Princess is more than worthy of being the albums' title track simply because it's a stunning pop masterpiece.
It's edgy enough to be danced along to, it's got a gorgeous melody and it's a pop song - perfect.

I have no complaints about this song whatsoever so to spare everyone of me rattling on - let's proceed.

If I was to enumerate the best pop songs made in 2000 up to now, Milky Way would probably be in the top three - I'm dead serious. I mean, this song isn't just nostalgic for me because I got addicted to it during what was possibly the best year of my life, it also happens to give me goosebumps from the first chorus all the way to the end - isn't that a good enough indication that it's one of the best, remarkable and brilliant pop songs of the 2000's?

The melody has the right mix of sugary-sweet and hip hop/dance-worthy elements and although I think the middle 8 is sub-par, this girl just delivers the verses and the choruses like she was meant to sing the damn song. Then you see the video with fresh-faced BoA dancing and just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, you lose your ability to talk because of it.

For any hard core pop fan, this will really, truly blow your mind. Heck, it throws Girls Generation completely out of the water and they're probably the closest thing Korea has to fun, carefree pop.

For both songs, 5/5.

Friday, May 29, 2009

2PM - Again and Again

This is a little more current than the other tracks - a few days ago on KBS's Music Bank it went head to head Super Junior's(if you remember I said during the 'crash course' post that they're the world's biggest boyband with 13 members..) current single, which in reality isn't as good as this track:
See what I mean when I said it's dance or rot and die for these types of boy bands?

I don't think it's as good as DBSK's Mirotic but for what it's up against at the moment, it's outstanding. I tried listening to a few 2PM tracks before but apparently I was listening to all the wrong stuff because like the Wonder Girls, I liked the idea but didn't find the songs special.

Well this is certainly special.

I still don't like the rap parts(although the one in the DBSK song isn't that annoying..) and that hold true for this song - I don't see the relevance of it when they could've just put in a brilliant middle 8 instead of the rap - oh well.

It actually does have probably some the best verses that get overshadowed a bit by that (sometimes)annoying loop that refuses to stop and give us a break but I think if I ever get the chance to hear an a capella version of this, it'd probably be even more fantastic than it is right now. One thing JYP knows how to do really well is make a melody I'd absolutely adore(I assume he's behind all my favorite Rain songs and his own material since that's how he was credited on those albums..) so kudos to him for writing this.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

BSB's new song is fantastic.

Am taking a little break from the special and back to the UK/US scene, boy have I missed a lot!I've spent the past few days engrossed in the new special but I couldn't resist listening to the new BSB song. My time wasn't wasted though - Helpless is just as brilliant as Bigger that I'm having a hard time choosing which one I like more!

It's snappy - when I think something big is gonna come along, it does. The melody's amazing and although I don't hear a middle 8, that can be forgiven.

The song also feels like Bigger, it's like they're derivatives of one long song and yet they're different. That's what I want in an album, songs that feel the same but don't sound the same. It's possible, many people have done it but it's just that not a lot of the more popular artists have done it. The tail end of the chorus reminds me of something straight out of the late 90's - amazing how they can just slip that in. It may seem like nothing but if you listen closer the background vocals really do sound very 90's-like.

Once again, I hate the rap part. I don't see the relevance of it but I'll have to make do because like it or not, the rest of the song is probably the best thing I've heard from the US this year.

Guess who's NUMBER ONE!

I couldn't believe it either but it's straight off Twitter...

RELEASE ME IS NUMBER ONE ON THE UK iTunes CHART!How long have I been raving about the song, huh? MONTHS. And the British public only agree with me now? Well at least they do - it's better than nothing.

Congrats to Agnes, she deserves it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

DBSK - Mirotic

From what I'm getting, either 2008 was a pretty good year for Korean music or their music industry's really thriving because if you look at the volume and quality of the stuff that was released last year, it's exceptional to say the least.

(I suggest you watch the video below before reading the review. Trust me - you'd want to be blown away before anything.)
So that was DBSK or TVXQ or Toshinki. Yes, they have three names. They're Korean by nationality and their first two albums were Korean under DBSK but in 2006, someone got the brilliant idea to market them in Japan as Toshinki and they exploded. Their real name is TVXQ but in Korea they're DBSK and in Japan they're Toshinki. I was confused and a little baffled for a while.

They're about as big and as successful in Asia as Westlife are in the UK and Ireland. In short, they're gigantic and record-breaking - they are the only foreign artist to have six Japanese number one singles, three of them debuted at the top. OK, they've achieved maybe half of what Westlife have but given that they've only been around for five years, I'd say it's a valid comparison.
I also happen to really, really, REALLY like the song. It sounds like a gigantic hit but it's not generic or bland - it's brilliant.

The melody takes a little time to digest but by the end of the song you'll want to play the whole thing again at full volume but what surprised me the most was the chorus and how brilliantly short and snappy it was. It wasn't done the wrong way and it didn't sound like it was forcing you to like the song, it sounded brilliantly in-your-face. 2000's R&B at it's best, if I may say so. Mirotic seems like a very heavy song on the surface but if you actually take time to listen to it well, it doesn't seem that heavy at all. The best part of this song is the middle 8 and even though it comes really really late in the song(you put it in the 50 seconds?) AND after a rap part, it's probably the most stunning thing in the already brilliant song.

And they really sell the song - the video's convincing. I mean the dancing(which is part of what makes them a great boy band..), the chaining themselves to walls and drowning in water really helps sell the thing. No wonder the album where this came from(also called Mirotic) was the biggest-selling album of 2008 in South Korea.

Take that NLT, V Factory, Varsity Fanclub and all you other Western boybands who've had no albums out in years but have been tempting us with all these leaks and hardly any singles out(heck, NLT even split up before a proper album release!) - this boyband from Korea that you might not even know about has just made you look like a bunch of losers compared to them.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I interrupt the current special for this announcement..

AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! AH! Do you know how long we've waited and longed for this? I bet you do.
This is exactly why The Saturdays are the best candidates to take Girls Aloud's place if and when they split up. I mean, look at how they've transformed over the year - they've gone from GA's support act to being the hottest new girl group in the UK, that isn't too bad is it?

But they certainly deserve it. They all have competent voices(some brilliant), they have amazing songs and they can dance - that's what girl groups are all about, right?

The single's out in June.

Lee Hyori featuring Wheesung - Sexyboy

Note: I just watched one of the bigger Korean music countdown thingies last night and out of the possibly 15 performers, I only knew like five of them - that goes to show how little I know. hahah.

In case you forgot, from the other day's briefing - Lee Hyori is Korea's answer to Britney Spears and Wheesung is the guy who covered Craig David's Insomnia.

So this track was from Lee Hyori's 2008 album and it's really, really different from the two techno-based singles but it sounds a lot more like what she used to do so that could be a good thing. Strange title and average vocals but once again, the melody wins me over.
At certain points Wheesung(I assume that's him..) tends to sound like a girl, most probably because of all the processing they put this song through - some of it really unnecessary. Putting all the effects aside, the melody is absolutely brilliant. It doesn't work Lee Hyori that hard because I assume that's the extent to which she can sing(if you notice, she doesn't go really high on a lot of her songs but it doesn't matter that much.), her voice is a little airy here and I presume it was done on purpose.

Back to the melody - it has it's weak points(the verses) and it's strong points(the chorus and certain parts of the middle 8) but put together it's like the strong points overpower the weak. That's what I call good writing. We need some verification that an actual person wrote a brilliant song, it has to have some kind of flaw.


A side note(again.): I said a few days ago that Wheesung was moderately famous but apparently he's really, really, really, really, extremely famous. I apologize, he's in between extremely famous and legendary.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Some observations on Korean Pop..

I put in all the non-review posts before I post any more reviews so those who aren't familiar with Kpop can get a feel for what the industry's like(It took me some time to get used to it and even now I'm confused..) and so you won't be totally lost when I start rambling on about stuff. So I'm obviously an outsider in the world of K pop and a lot of you guys might be as well so here are some of my observations over the past few weeks.

1. Companies, Talent Agencies
I'm quite confused as to how the business side of the industry works. From what I first looked up, Korean music isn't controlled by record companies who give you money to produce records and have their logo plastered all over your record then get you a manager and crew members, there are companies or talent agency-like things. You audition, they train you(I presume it's singing and dancing) and they can choose to put you in a band or let you debut as a solo singer, the decision is up to them (manufactured, much?) so I think they pretty much control you. You get a manager and you're tied to the company until you decide to leave(like Rain) but then if you don't make your own company(again, like Rain), you're stuck without a manager, distributor, mentor, producers, songwriters and the name of the company.
The companies I've heard of are SM Entertainment(Girls' Generation, BoA, DBSK, Super Junior), JYPE(Wonder Girls, formerly Rain, 2PM, 2AM), Daesung Entertainment(SS501, Kara, formerly Lee Hyori), MNET(it's also a music channel. Lee Hyori) and Nega-Network(Brown Eyed Girls).

But what confuses me is that some artists like Son Dambi are signed to Western 'Big Four' companies. So Son Dambi is signed to Sony BMG Korea and The Brown Eyed Girls are signed to Seoul Records but I haven't come across any other Korean act signed to a major label. hmm.

2. Dancing K pop puts a premium on dancing, I've noticed. Rain, Girls' Generation, BoA, JYP, Se7en(yes, there's a guy called Se7en in Korea. Reminds me too much of 5ive. Then there's 8Eight, but that's a completely different story..), Son Dambi, Big Bang, DBSK, SS501 and practically all of the gigantic Kpop stars make special adjustments to everything just so they can show off how well they dance(well there's Kim Jong Kook but there's only one of him and a mob of them..).

Dance breaks in the middle of songs, songs about dancing, dance versions of music videos(all the zoom-ins and special skits are taken out and it's just a full shot of the whole group dancing the whole song.. watch one here.) and dance battles - they're all really common. And it's not just the simple dance routines either, you see talent companies only taking really hard core dancers(Rain had to dance for five hours to get into JYPE. I don't think he even sang!) even if they're not the best singers in the world.

I think it's 'Dance or rot and die' for a lot of them.

3. Gimmick-y music videos.
That's probably one of the longest music videos I've seen - it's more or less double the length of the actual song and apparently, it was first made as a short film then edited to fit the song.

A lot of Korean music videos have short skits that most often require the acts to act or dance or whatever. It's kinda cool though if you're a huge fan of whoever and he/she gets double the airtime.

4. They don't have official singles charts.
They have official album sales charts but they're so hard to dig up and I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as a singles chart so there. It's kinda like here so thank God we're not alone in not having an official singles chart.
What they DO have are numerous TV show countdowns, the MNET M Countdown and I think the general TV stations have them as well.

5. Formats and Discographies can be quite confusing.
They have singles and albums but they also have a whole heap of mini-albums. Tantamount to EP's in UK and US music vocabulary, they're treated like how we treat full-length albums - with singles and music videos and special editions and they sell as much as albums do.
I don't know if it's really like that but I noticed that mostly girl groups have mini-albums. Like, The Brown Eyed Girls, Girls Generation and Kara all had mini-albums last year.(heck, Kara even had a repackaged version of theirs!) The Wonder Girls' debut material was a mini-album, they had one before a full-length release.

Then I noticed that unlike singles in the UK and US which have remixes and maybe one b-side, a lot of Korean singles have heaps of b-sides which confuses me a bit 'coz some singles have as many tracks as mini-albums do. Hmm, will have to figure that out.

6. A lot of them want to crack the US market(kinda like the UK..).
BoA, Rain, Se7en and tons more have been learning English(not very well, but a few are competent.), boasting that they've been working with big producers in the US and have attempted to break the US market - some successfully, some not.
(Just a side note: Does BoA really think that singing about eating up a guy will actually help break her into the territory?) Rain topped Time's online poll for 2006's most influential person which led him to sign with the William Morris Agency in the US, BoA already has a full-length English album out(but don't we all know that..) and SS501 and the Wonder Girls have been to the US on numerous occasions. Either the Wonder Girls seem to take cracking the US seriously because their English isn't that bad or JYP is forcing them to learn real quick.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A crash course in Korean Pop.

Here's a snapshot of what you can expect from the rest of the current special so it's best you get familiar with these names while I haven't bombarded you with reviews! hahah. These are the acts that have left an impression on me - whether good or bad(mostly good but you get what I mean..) and are moderately to extremely famous to legendary in Korea.

The Gauge:
(my assessment based on some research, YT-hopping and reading some k pop blogs.. from highest to lowest)
REALLY famous

This was what I was talking about when I said that if you take a song from the Wonder Girls and put English lyrics in, it would fit perfectly. I don't like Korean pop that way, it kind of defeats the purpose - I'd rather listen to the real thing..
That guy singing at the start is the 'legendary' JYP. He discovered Rain and turned him into Rain(redundant? hahah.) I acknowledge his greatness a bit for making Rain into a superstar but never when it comes to the Wonder Girls.(EXTREMELY famous)

Speaking of Rain...
Probably the most hardworking and brilliant Korean pop stars around. This guy owns his own talent company, has a clothing line and does all kinds of movies and TV shows on the side - how can you not think he's hardworking at the very least! hahah. The guy can sing and dance at the same time live(that has been proven on many occasions, mind you.) so what else do you need in a Korean pop star?(LEGENDARY)

So Lee Hyori is known as the Korean equivalent of Britney Spears(only Lee Hyori's a lot older than Britney, I think she's 30..). When I heard that I was put off a bit but when I heard that she was being linked to Rain for quite some time, I got a little curious. The song is OK but this is one of her older videos - I did quite enjoy her latest album(I wrote about one of the songs in a new music post a few weeks ago..). hmm.(Not so sure, but she may be somewhere between EXTREMELY famous and LEGENDARY)

Jewelry is a girl group about one generation older than the Brown Eyed Girls, Girls' Generation, Wonder Girls and everyone else in that circle. I think they split up a few years ago but then had a reunion last year(was it last year? not sure.)
When I first heard this song I wasn't so convinced and I'm still not that into the song but something makes me want to listen to it. I don't know what the crap it is but it's certainly leaving a good impression on me as time passes. They also hold the record for second-longest run of a single at number one on one of the music shows and were beaten by Girls' Generation's Gee.(REALLY famous)

How many times have I stressed the fact that Girls' Generation is probably the fun-est and cutest thing since anything?
See what I mean? They're adorable, they've got the most brilliantly fun pop songs and they can actually sing in tune - those are really hard to find in a girl group and yet they're so important. Oh, and the middle 8 of this song in particular is fantastic. Kudos to the girls and to SM entertainment - these girls always find new ways to amaze me.(EXTREMELY FAMOUS)

A lot of people will know BoA as one of the few Koreans who've released an English album and have had more than moderate success in Japan but we forget that there was a time when she was just like all the other Kpop stars.
To be honest with you, Atlantis Princess(the album where this song came from) was probably my first shot at Korean pop(I think it was in sixth grade, my best friend was a huge fan back then..) - I adored it, still do.(LEGENDARY)

There are also quite a few active and veteran boybands running around Korea, thank God. They even have the biggest boyband in the world(I'm not kidding) - Super Junior(13 members. Enough said.)
That was Big Bang, one of the many boybands floating around. What I don't understand though is why they're all so serious. I know a few girl groups are really, really fun and all but does that mean the guys have to beat people up or have this really serious music video? I not kidding, even the SS501 videos are serious! hahah. This song has something appealing about it, that's for sure.(REALLY famous)

This girl doesn't sound like this anymore but I thought I'd put her in anyway.
Son Dambi was dubbed as a female version of Rain and judging by the video I see where they were coming from but I don't know what happened to her after she took a year off and came back with this strange music video and an even stranger song - not my cup of tea. This video was pretty good and she can definitely dance if you were to ask me although she sounds a bit like Lee Hyori at certain points of the song.(MODERATELY FAMOUS)

Another girl group. See what I mean when I said there were tons of them?
Uh, the main reason why I put 2NE1 here is because one of the girls actually tried to make it big here(she joined a 'start search'-type contest and came in second then they paired her up with the guy who won and they were everywhere for a few months) but then at the height of her popularity she went back to Korea. Hmph. Well now she's in the female version of Big Bang(was it Big Bang? I think I got my research right.) and they're poised to be huge. Good for her. The band is a little more serious than the others(even Wonder Girls..) and the song isn't my cup of tea but something attracts me to them. Will wait for more material. Oh, and this video has two versions - the other version is here.(MODERATELY FAMOUS, gaining momentum)

I can't help myself - I have to put this in.
It can get hilarious at points, especially when you find out that the guy's name is Wheesung but if you listen to it without any outside factors it's a pretty good try at a pretty good Craig David song. I'd love to say that it's a complete sanitation of a perfectly good Craig David song and yes, a lot of a groove that the original one had is gone but it's not THAT bad. Believe me, we've all heard worse - namely the Eoghan Quigg album and I honestly think this is a lot better than that. He tried, let's give that much credit to the guy.(MODERATELY FAMOUS)

Phew. Well that was about three hours' worth of YT-hopping and sifting out all the stuff I liked and didn't. More detailed reviews and stuff in the coming days! yay.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


OK, since I only have like a week of freedom left, why not finally start a special I can finish? So this new special is..

Korean Pop!

As you may or may not know, over the summer I got really, really hooked on Rain which lead me to numerous other acts including the wonderful world of perky Korean girl groups. So I'll be YT-hopping over the next few days and blogging my adventures.

Of course I don't know everything about K pop yet - it's only been a few weeks but I think it's enough to build a special around.

Will that do? hahah.

Girls' Generation - Gee EP/Mini Album

A little note on a terminology - apparently in Korea and Japan(not so sure about Japan..), EPs are called 'mini albums' and they're not attached to a full-length album or anything, they're released like full-length albums. Usually(well from what I've seen..) there's one carrier single with a music video that they go around promoting and all, like an actual album.
So it's been a day since I first heard a song from these girls and I'm already hooked - I cannot believe this. I think they have a right to be worshipped and adored(wait, did that come from a song?) for making such brilliantly pop-y songs. If yesterday's rambling about the carrier single from this EP wasn't enough, I'll ramble on about the other tracks. 

NOTE: You HAVE to hear these songs, they're absolutely stunning.

There's this other Korean girl group called the Wonder Girls but the main reason why I don't like them is because they're not fun, they're not pop and they haven't made a single that has blown me away yet. No great melodies, no above-par voices, nothing to make me shut up and listen. Girls' Generation has done that so my main point of comparison are the Wonder Girls.

So obviously Gee is extremely fun, techno-ish pop but what I noticed after listening to it and watching the video a hundred million times more last night(I'm not kidding!) is that if you slap on English lyrics, it'll still sound Asian. There's something about the way the melody and instrumentations were made that'll always sound Asian and I find that really, really good in a song like this. Oh, and that's one thing the Wonder Girls lack - all their songs sound like they can be American or European, there's nothing that makes them themselves.

Way To Go has got this rock-y thing going on but that 'fun' that Gee has is still there. It still makes you want to jump off your seat and start jumping and banging your head to the song. It's also got a gorgeous, gorgeous melody - I'm dead serious. It's like something straight out of an early Lindsay Lohan Disney movie and it's got that 'you can do it' feel to it(although if translated, the lyrics are kinda 'we made it this far'..).

It's widely known that the real test if an artist can sing or not are the ballads. Dear Mom(corny title and I presume the lyrics are corny as well..) is the obligatory ballad on the album. When I first heard the vocals on this track I was a little surprised by how much these girls voices can morph from cutesy to serious - I can honestly say I'm impressed. It's all-in-all a beautiful song.
Destiny is something like a Liberty X single - it sounds serious and boring but then the melody comes in and you're spellbound. A lot of processing with the vocals but I think it goes with the whole feel of the song. It's kinda like that Brown Eyed Girls song I talked about a few weeks ago, serious but brilliant. The last track, Let's Talk About Love is more like Gee - fun and springy. It sounds like something that could be on a Korean TV show soundtrack - it's that light and brilliant.

5/5!!!(My first perfect review in a while, mind you.)

NOTE: If anyone wants to hear the whole thing, tell me and I'll give you the link to where I got the EP. hahah.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Girls' Generation - Gee

Just when we thought S Club 7 and 8 had a lot of members, apparently we haven't seen anything. Girls Generation has NINE members, obviously they're all girls but what makes it especially difficult to memorize all of their names and voices is that THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME. You think I'm kidding? Here:
It's like trying to memorize pieces of hay in a haystack. Well look at it this way, no need for backup dancers! hahah.

I'm wondering if they all get some kind of exposure throughout the video(they might although I wouldn't count on it..) and if they all do, that would be one really short line or something. Whatever.

So the song. It's perky, fun and everything you'd love in a girl group song and the reason why I don't like Wonder Girls that much is because of that. I haven't heard something like this or like the other song I wrote about from the JYP(the guy who discovered Rain..)-made girl group.

Ugh - I keep on straying from the topic. This song is so freaking perky and all that it kills. Great melody - gives the Brown Eyed Girls a run for their money and believe it or not, these girls actually have something that resembles a voice. I dug up a live performance of the song and individually they can actually sing(the chorus was clearly mimed but whatever.)

I first heard this song in full a few minutes ago and it's ALREADY stuck in my head. Thank you very much, SM entertainment.


Rant: I've had enough of this.

I don't understand why every time my opinion on something happens to be bad, a bunch of fans crawl out from nowhere and start attacking me, my abilities and my thoughts. I'm sick and tired of people saying that my opinions are 'merely a poor blogger's' or 'just from a kid'. What's wrong with kids or bloggers having opinions? I'm a kid and a blogger but I have a right to an opinion just like everyone else.

I don't know why some people don't understand what respect means and why they don't have any of it. If you say something bad about Westlife for example, I won't tell you you're wrong and that you don't know anything about anything. I'll read what you have to say and respect your views because that's what I think is right.

Then recently someone asked me who I was to be making all these kinds of comments and what I knew about music so I answered. I don't usually boast about things like this(I prefer living a nice, quiet life, thank you very much) but I answered the guy/girl who asked me that with exactly what I know about music.

My family has been in choral and classical music for the past 40 years, my father is the most sought-after record producer in the country, he's also one of the best drummers, my grandmother was the dean of the college of music at the most prestigious university in the country and she founded numerous choirs. I myself am a member of one of the best children's choirs in the country - our roots can be traced to numerous composers and European and American choirs(because of my grandmother). I know what I'm talking about, I can read notes like I read words and I can sing them. I play the piano, give me a music score and I know how to read everything on it. I have an extremely good sense of rhythm and time - my friends call me a human metronome.

Phew. So if that person who asked me what the hell I was doing talking about music is reading this, there you have it.

PS: I'd like to apologize to Ken for turning his blog into a firing range - I didn't think posting a comment like that would attract all these strange people.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Esmee Denters - Outta Here

I kind of predicted what would happen to the album when I heard the clips but I kept my mouth shut just in case the clips sucked as much as the GA ones did. Now what it's out though, my predictions were true and I'm a bit confused.

I have mixed feelings about this album as a whole. Esmee's voice is gorgeous and the melodies are somewhat brilliant but haven't we heard all of this before? I know I love it when people make pop like it used to be but for some strange reason her way of doing it isn't that convincing.

We've heard all of this stuff before - there are songs that sound like they're straight off a Destiny's Child or Amerie album and yes, they're good but it's nothing new. I like a mix of things so old+new always works for me but if you're gonna completely copy music of only a couple of years ago, I don't think that'll work.

Then once you've gotten through those tracks, the next few ones are uninteresting. I expected more from this girl - I wanted nothing short of brilliance but it seems like she can't deliver yet.

However - towards the end of the album, three above-average tracks sprout out.

The first track that stood out made me want to hear this girls' next album - in short, it's probably the most brilliant thing since anything. Just Can't Have It is what I'm looking for on this album, it reminds me of something from 2005 or 2006 but everything about the song stringed together makes it sound like something current. The melody really stood out and it's probably one of the two or three tracks I'd listen to again.

The First Thing is beautiful. It reminds me a bit of JoJo's How To Touch A Girl but you know it's not - the instrumentation and the melody make it that much more current but the execution, the vocals just drive the whole thing home. This is another one of these songs where everything is right - everything falls into place and it seems effortless. These are the songs I wanted, songs that seem like they were thrown together in a day but weren't - songs that separate the artists from the common singers. Oh, and it's got a gorgeous middle 8.

Bigger Than The World is another one of those Moments That Matter-esque songs and I love how this girl did it. This song proves that my comparison of her and Gia Farrell wasn't made in vain - it's totally something Gia could've sang had she not been mercilessly and stupidly dropped by her record company. What makes this song remarkable is the part before the middle 8 and the actual middle 8 or if I had it my way - THE TWO MIDDLE 8s. I mean, how great is that? A great melody and what do you throw in with it? Two middle 8s. Probably the most brilliant thing since that other song. Then once the brilliance finally comes to a close, she does it amazingly. Oh, joy.

See what I mean by mixed feelings?

So, to sum up the album:
Best Track: Bigger Than The World
Better Tracks: Just Can't Have It, The First Thing
Least Favorite Track: There were quite a few, actually.
THE RATING: 3.9/5 but I think Bigger Than The World deserves a 4.6/5 for reasons stated in the above review.


Catch my review in the next 24 hours.
I haven't even heard the thing...


Things have been extremely slow yesterday and today - I've been engrossed in reading all the books I'm surrounded by at the moment(don't ask why.. it's a very looooong story.) and there hasn't been anything good or ground-breaking to write about. I myself haven't been listening to a lot of music consciously(as background when I'm reading, yes but I just put iTunes on shuffle and that's it...) so there's nothing buried deep in my gigantic music library that I feel like writing about.

I'm annoyed and really sleepy - apologies.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ruben Studdard - How You Make Me Feel

Putting aside the fact that the rest of his new album will really make you fall asleep(I'm serious! I could feel my eyes slowly closing while I was listening over to the damn thing...) and I easily got sick of the lead single, there was one track I find quite enjoyable - at times brilliant.

I was three tracks into the album and falling asleep when this came along. The start sounded nice and sweet so I decided to stay at that when I was greeted with a song that actually had groove - comparable to a Craig David song. I didn't have to force myself to tap my foot or fingers, I just did and it's rare that I do that.

It's also got an absolutely gorgeous melody - the melody's straying to the wayside a bit during the chorus but like a lot of songs that I love, the middle 8 is to die for. A gorgeous middle 8, so-so choruses and verses with groove, I think that's a pretty good deal.

The downside is that this is the only song of its kind on the album, the other songs are boring and unentertaining.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mitchel Musso + Industry

Mitchel Musso's debut album is shaping up to be quite interesting and somehow fantastic - a new song just leaked a few hours ago and it's by far the most brilliant song I've heard since I left for camp. Hey is a song that if tweaked a little would sound a lot like something on Hilary Duff's early albums. In short it's ultra Disney pop/rock and yet there's a part of it than can put him beside all the other male AC/pop artists. I don't know if it's his voice or the song itself but it's not something Disney would put on all their soundtracks and advertise like mad(which they probably won't seeing as this guy isn't as big a star as Miley or Selena) and I'm kinda thankful that it won't.

It's extremely catchy(I sang along when I first listened to it!) and it's actually a good song if you take the thing apart. A lot of commercial appeal outside Disney which is good for him. And the video. I took a film class last semester(and topped it, thank God) so I think I'm slightly qualified to talk about the video and may I say, I love the effects and the whole vibe is very current. Kudos to whoever made the video - brilliant.
Uh, 4.8/5

I put a comment on Poster Girl's post on this song after listening to it once but when I listened to the new Industry song AGAIN, I realized it has quite a few strong points. The main thing is that the bridges are absolutely divine and when I say divine I mean it. Add that to the extremely Swedish pop-like chorus and the only thing that's actually wrong with this song is the fact that the girls are screaming all throughout the not so good verses. It can get annoying at times but the only thing that keeps me sane while listening to this song are the gorgeous bridges. But I do love the way you can still

Oh, and a little info about this band - one of the girls(Michelle if I remember correctly who is apparently a very popular Irish model) was rejected by Louis Walsh and instead formed Industry. Just an observation though - the guy singing the bridges sounds a lot like Brian McFadden at certain parts.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Alesha Dixon - The Alesha Show

I never got to talk about this when it was released probably because it was overshadowed by Girls Aloud and everyone else with new albums at the time but I have time now and after three singles(two of which I adored before they became singles..) I think it's time to put all my thoughts about this album into writing.

I've professed my love for Let's Get Excited time and time again but I honestly think it's a brilliant song. It's catchy and fun for the sake of it(I think I said that a few weeks back) and it doesn't try too hard to get your attention with all these unnecessary gimmicks and effects.

Breathe Slow was a song that I absolutely adored from the very start and it's the complete opposite of Let's Get Excited except for one thing - it makes you notice it. The melody and instrumentation are both gorgeous(what do you expect when this is a Soulshock and Karlin song?) then in comes Alesha's slightly raspy voice and the song morphs. If someone else with a smooth voice like Katharine McPhee or Jordin Sparks did this it would be a completely different song. Alesha's voice gives the song its quirk and sets it apart from all the other songs of its kind.

When I first heard Cinderella Shoe I instantly thought of Girls Aloud and how it would fit perfectly in Out of Control and Nicola could sing the start but as I listened to it more I heard similarities within the album that Girls Aloud would never do or even think of but I still think they'd do the song really well! hahah. The first song I heard off this album was The Boy Does Nothing(obviously, it was the first single) and for the longest time I hated it. Slowly it became slightly bearable for me but as I'm writing this and listening to the song in question, it's actually a competent song and deserves to be number one.

For some strange reason Chasing Ghosts reminds me of another Girls Aloud song along the lines of WWTNS or Chemistry. It's not one of the stronger songs on the album but it's nice to listen to. A little too flat for me though.

Another one of my favorites is Hand It Over - it's like a less epic Breathe Slow with a less screechy melody which makes for an over-all better song in my opinion. The strange thing though is that the start reminds me a lot of a Namie Amuro song I fell in love with a little more than a year ago. Besides that it's got a gorgeous melody that could rival Jordan Pruitt's Unconditional(the best song of 2008 according to me for those of you who don't remember..) any day.

Do You Know the Way it Feels? is your required simple, slow, bulding-up ballad without an R&B beat and more of an orchestral feel. I've heard songs like this before but none of them gave me goosebumps, this one did. It's slow, epic and very Alesha - she manages to make it a little less generic but still keep it adhered to the norms of the genre. Surprisingly, the raspy parts of her voice are gone and she delivers a smooth set of vocals - brilliant.

Can I Begin is something I think Lily Allen would put on an album or as a b-side - it's simple, has a sweet melody with an instrumentation reminiscent of a rainy day in London(that's what I'm getting!) and gorgeous vocals. This girl really knows when to go all the way with the screaming but when to pull back as much as she can to make a gorgeous song. Ooh Baby, I Like It Like That is a mid-range song and the instrumentation reminds me of GA again.

So, to sum up the album:
Best Track: Hand it Over and Let's Get Excited are tied
Better Tracks: Breathe Slow, Cinderella Shoe, Can I Begin, Do You Know The Way it Feels?
Least Favorite Track: Don't Ever Let Me Go

Thursday, May 14, 2009


As you may have seen on Twitter - I was going crazy for a while. I wanted a new look so I hunted down a cool template and tested it on another blog. It seemed to work fine and I found a way to put the banner in but once I put it on the actual blog, the sidebar went crazy.

I panicked but then like in my usual critical thinking mode, I thought why not put all the HTML elements in one thing since the sidebar only accepts the first gadget. So I did it and after quite a few bumps, THE BLOG IS UP AND WORKING. I'll be doing a few tweaks in the coming days(like cleaning up the sidebar..) but everything's more or less OK.

A few key points about this layout:

The sidebar is quite close to the body and I don't know what to do with it but I'll figure that out like I always do, don't worry. If worse comes to worse I'll ask a friend to tweak the code or something.

The archive is at the very bottom because it's not an HTML element that I can copy and paste into the main thing so if you have to look back at some posts, it's at the very bottom.

There's now a search function at the very top of the sidebar but when the posts appear and they're shorter than the sidebar, the thing moves - will have to fix that.

I like how the thing looks but it's so damn difficult to use this template. Oh well, it's done.


will be back in a few hours, don't fret!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm Back!: Jordin Sparks - Battlefield + JLS

I'm BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCKKKK! As you may have seen on Twitter - I'm indeed back.

So I opened up my Twitter once I finally got home and what did I hear? Something about Jordin Sparks. Seeing as I loved Paper Sut, I jumped at the opportunity and gave the song a listen.

I know this song is going to be a huge hit because it sounds like one. It was made like one, by people who do these kinds of stuff and it truly has hit potential. I'm not however, gushing about it. It's got a gimmick but it's not enough for me and the melody is nothing I haven't heard before - it sounds even more formulaic than all the other 'big, amazing hits'.

If I was to compare this to another song I'd say it sounds a lot like Bleeding Love and that's not just because Ryan Tedder wrote it but because it really sounds like it. I may hate Bleeding Love to death but to it's defense - it once had a strong melody for me(before it exploded and I heard it waaaay too much.) and it had something about it that made you notice it(good or bad, take your pick).

Probably the best part of the song is the middle 8 and I know I always stress the importance but a good middle 8 is not enough - it can make or break a song but if it makes it the rest of the song should be close or just as brilliant. I've tried my best to like it but after listening to it a couple of times there's no magic like the one I got with One Step At A Time or Next To You.

I want Jordin to sing all these beautiful songs - songs that make you want to smile. Sweet, pop-y songs that should grow as she matures yet keep that vulnerability and pleasantness her first album had.

It's going to be a hit, I'm sure of it but I don't like it because it sounds like a hit - generic, formulaic and nothing special.


Then I went and did the rounds on my favorite blogs and what else did I hear of? JLS!!!!!! Right now they're sounding like a little V Factory mixed with a lot of NLT. In short - amazing. NLT's gone and V Factory are getting closer and closer to a proper single release so this song has just made my day, I now officially have a replacement for NLT.

I don't know if this is the direction they're taking - they might still be in an experimental stage but this song certainly works for them. I don't know if it's good for them to sound very American but I commend Simon and Louis for giving the guys a chance to sing something upbeat and current.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rain - In My Bed

Sorry - just had to sneak a Rain song in, I'm in love with it too much.

As much as he's R&B and hip hop, he can actually also make a beautiful song - something people would adore. He's at the stage already where he can experiment within his genre, try new things with his existing music and although we know he can sing a ballad(his first three albums had more pop-based ballads, less R&B beats and all), we never knew to what extent his ballads would go.

It's him yet it's a ballad. He's known for his up tempos - the stuff he dances like mad to but this was actually the first Rain song I ever heard and it was gorgeous. And who says you can't dance to a ballad?
(I don't usually put videos with subtitles but I couldn't find anything else.. hahah.)

It's one of those songs that's a pleasure to listen to. It makes you want to listen to it, regardless of the language because it's absolutely gorgeous.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Blue - One Love

I've only ever written about Blue once before - maybe because I keep on over looking them, thinking that something's better. Come to think of it, they had some amazing singles(and you know I don't like a lot of singles..) and brilliant albums but I think because I got semi-addicted to them during my gigantic Westlife era, they kinda got overshadowed(although I do own physical copies of all three studio albums and a DVD. How that happened will remain a secret).

What's even worse is that I kinda shunned One Love for an extremely shallow reason - I personally think the cover looks ugly. hahah. When I actually listened to the album, it was like going back to second grade(One Love was released in 2002 so yeah.) when I absolutely despised pop music and I was listening to the one album I owned - Charlotte Church's Enchantment. hahah.

One Love was so big here that even I'd heard it before I knew anything about music. I think it's safe to say that this song broke them into Asia(I don't think they had any success or intentions of breaking the US though.) because at one point it was all I'd hear on TV. Come to think of it, it's actually a very good song - the melody's there and it's an actual song unlike everything else that becomes a hit here(*ahem* Single Ladies *ahem*). It's got a really catchy chorus and this 'street' thing going on but it's got refinement - they don't go out and trying to unsuccessfully rap the thing.

I cannot believe I once thought Lee's voice was gorgeous but Duncan was a heck of a lot hotter than him. hahah. I don't care that much anymore.


Music Show Recaps

In line with my want for PRN to be THE leading critical kpop review blog, if not the only one, I think it's time for me to think bigger and better - out of my so-called "comfort zone" of single, album and EP reviews and into the world of Korean music shows.

The three major music show's I'll be writing recaps for are namely - KBS Music Bank (Friday), MBC Music Core (Saturday) and SBS Inkigayo (Sunday). I won't be writing about everything because I'm not familiar with some of the acts - these recaps will focus on idols.


KBS Music Bank (Fridays)

MBC Music Core (Saturdays)

SBS Inkigayo (Sundays)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This years 'I'm going on a holiday' dynamics.

I'm not really going on a holiday - I'm working. It's a camp for my choir(which is the official choir for the University..) and we're learning a whole year's repertoire in five days. The whole thing is gonna be intense but I'm sure I'll have time to tweet(and possibly blog) from the dorm.

iPods are banned and my phone can only hold one gig worth of music(which is like a little speck in my music library) and I won't have internet access to check for new stuff so this is how the blog will work during these five days.

Today and tomorrow I'll whip up maybe 4 or 5 posts(I already have one in the works) and schedule them. They'll be posted and all. If during the camp I find the sudden urge to blog, I'll post with blogger mobile(it came at just the right time!). That's all good and planned out.

My main updates will come via Twitter. If I'm listening to something and I love it, I'll tweet. That's probably what I'll do the most during the trip - 'coz it's fast, quick and I know it'll work with my phone(which is a 5300 - ancient.) so yeah.

Phew. Well at least you get updates from me! If this was last year there was no such thing as blogger or twitter mobile!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Looking Ahead Part 2...

So it's May - four months of 2009 are done and over with. We got a few album releases and things have been quite slow these past few weeks but hopefully everything will go back into full swing soon enough. Who knows, we might get some albums in the coming weeks!
  • From what I'm getting, Mitchel Musso is set to release a debut album 'sometime in the future'. I love Speed Dial, think it sounds like a Teddy Geiger song so I'll be looking forward to this.
  • The BSB albummmmmmmm! From the demos we've been getting these past few days it seems really, really, good. Not only do they have Max Martin behind the whole thing(I assume he's working on at least most of the stuff...), the songs coming out just blow off all the competition. NLT, V Factory and Varsity - you're in for a lot of competition.
  • Speaking of the new boybands, when will that Varsity Fanclub album ever come out? If they keep on pushing back the release date, we're gonna get bored of them and when we finally hear it we'll be unimpressed 'coz we've heard all their 'unreleased tracks'.
  • Esmee Denters has really impressed me so far and she's only got one song out. She's out there somewhere recording so if we don't get an album from her by the first quarter of next year(that's my ultimatum), it's safe to say she's gone the Gia Farrell way. Amazing voice, great song - what more can I ask for? hahah.
  • Nick Lachey seems to be planning a 'comeback'. Patience was disgusting but All In My Head redeemed the whole thing for me - at least now I'll try listening to the album when it comes out. I still have mixed feelings about this whole thing, mainly because I just can't stand his crappy Patience cover. Does he really think he can fool everyone by coming out with a cover of a gigantic hit from a British boyband? NO! hahah.
  • I kinda got sick of the Ashley Tisdale song - that's bad. It's kinda like Just Dance, you listen to it more than a few times and it'll spill out of your ears like there's no tomorrow. There is already a tracklisting for Guilty Pleasure however.
  • The biggest surprise of this year was the new Click Five song - I love it. Now if they don't push through with this style I'm going to track Eric Dill down, threaten him to go back to the Click Five and force the band to make another album like Greetings From Imrie House. Their lame 'we want to be FOB/Panic! At the Disco' thing is not working and it never will, no matter how hard they try.
  • Leighton Meester signed a record deal a few weeks back. I so wanna know what she's gonna do - I'm curios. hahah. I do love that song she did the band though(Birthday?) - brilliance.
  • Savannah Outen's album is definitely on my 'greatest expectations for 2009' list - the girl is fantastic. Take that Miley Cyrus and everyone else who Disney 'discovered' to replace you!(*ahem* Demi Lovato *ahem* Selena Gomez *ahem*)
  • Mandy Moore's new album is shaping up to be somewhat brilliant - I Could Break Your Heart Any Day Of The Week(phew! that was a loooooong title.) was great. Wasn't a big fan of the other full songs that leaked though. Still, the album will get a listen from me, that's for sure.
  • Pixie Lott! We're getting major progress with her - Mama Do has a music video and I assume the single will be out in due time plus she's supporting The Saturdays so that has to count for something. I do hope the rest of her album is just as brilliant as everything we've heard so far - I don't want to hear a disappointing album in a few months.
So there you have it. As much as I say nothing's happening, this might be an indication that the best is indeed yet to come. If I missed anything note-worthy, tell me! hahah.

I. Cannot. Believe. This. + A new Craig David demo..

So a while ago while I was at the mall I went into the record store looking for a Rain album(which I found, and bought - brilliance.) when I came across this:
(click to enlarge..)

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! For crap's sake, do you know how hard it is to find this album here? I always, always complain about record stores here not stocking anything that's not big in the US and I'm not kidding when I say that the only GA album I've seen for sale here is Chemistry and it's not even the special edition! haha. It's been like six months since this was out(I think.. could be more.) and I only found it now. When I finally found the damn album, I screamed and I got a few glares but who cares - I FOUND IT!!!!!!!! MWAHAHAH.

Note to Pinoys who want a copy: I found it in the SM North EDSA record bar - the one opposite the old Cyberzone/Car Park? hahah. It might be in Tower or M1 as well.(although the SM record bars have 8 out of 9 Westlife albums.. when Tower only had like one) Me giving out tips on where to buy physical albums, when did this ever happen? Oh, and can you believe it's only 350? I paid 600 for the Rain album! hahah. Moving on.

So there's this song floating around which is supposedly by Craig David but when I opened up the file the artist was this guy called LaShawn Daniels who's apparently a songwriter(he wrote Destiny's Child's Say My Name). Since there's still a possibility that Craig David's going to be on the track at some point in time, I listened to it and it was utterly brilliant - definitely something that could be on his next album. It sounds like an even more CD-ish Insomnia, which is fantastic for everyone - people get the generic R&B they want and I get brilliance. Of course he's gonna give it even more groove but the song we have right now isn't that bad - the guy can sing.

PS: Cook's brother died a few days ago, I assume(I saw the news this morning but I'm not sure exactly when he died..). Even if I hate his music now, I still have a soft spot for the guy so my thoughts are with him and his family.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Elliott Yamin - Fight For Love

I've always had a soft spot for Idol contestants - regardless of how they do in the competition and how good their albums are I always give them a chance. I remember the first time I heard Elliott's first album I was so-so about it but I've come to really love some of the songs. What I love about this guy is how his songs have the most beautiful melodies - every one of them. I might not like them, but they're beautiful.

Let Love Be has a John Legend-ish feel to it and the verses are gorgeous, the chorus is amazing and the whole song just makes you want to tap your foot and smile - it's got that Moments That Matter thing going on. For a white guy he's got groove, if I may say so(even though Craig David will forever be king of 'groove').

Know Better is a bit so-so for me - it sounds too much like an Archuleta song(although this guy does it extremely better..) and the bridge is uncomfortable. Nice song though. Fight For Love is much better. I first heard this a few weeks ago and this was the song that got me excited about the album. Gorgeous verse, very unpredictable - I honestly couldn't tell what we coming next and I love how the chorus explodes, well done. I love the instrumentation of the verses - whatever's playing a semi-melody behind his vocals is gorgeous. The only thing I'm if-y with is the middle-8 - it's a bit too sharp/resonant for me. I do however love the breakdown at the end - I'd love to hear him do it live and all the fans start screaming and clapping.

The verse of You is something I'd imagine him singing in this deserted mansion with a piano and then once the chorus hits he's running through the hallways, chasing a girl in a long black gown or something. That's what I get with the song - it's dark but it's not. The instrumentation is dark and the violins make it serious but the melody's gorgeous and they don't clash(although I wouldn't say clashing's a bad thing..) - they kinda compliment each other. Not too fond of the middle 8 as well.

Can't Keep On Loving You reminds me of a Rascal Flatts song - gorgeous, simple first verse, an effortless chorus and a lot of piano work. My only complaint is that THERE IS NO MIDDLE 8. It could've been my favorite. Don't Be Afraid is like Moments That Matter with groove. The verse reminds me a bit of Craig David's Insomnia if it was stripped down. Gorgeous, gorgeous chorus - one of the most gorgeous this year. But there's more, THE MIDDLE 8 IS GORGEOUSSSSS! Finally Elliott, you give me a middle-8 worth listening to! Spectacular.

You Say reminds me of some late 90's/early 2000's song I can't remember right now and I love it. It's like all the stunning middle-8s start showing up later in the album - this one's just as great as the other one. hahah. For some strange reason Apart From Me reminds me of an Usher song mixed with Archuleta's Crush. Not a big fan of it and the middle 8 is nothing special either.

Cold Heart is like an Americanized James Morrison song or something that could be on Melinda's album. The song's OK but it doesn't really go with the rest of the album. He does it well though. I love the way How Do I Know builds up and the instrumentation is excellent. One of the stronger songs on the album and definitely something I'd listen to again. The best part of the middle 8 is the end. hahah.

This Step Alone is the prerequisite slow/piano-based song and it's probably the most stunning song on the album. The melody is extremely flow-y and the piano part is gorgeous, they just intertwine with each other. The middle 8 is strong, it goes with the rest of the song but it's not especially stunning. I love the piano-only part though - I seem to like a lot of those. hahah. Stunning. Show Me is a sweet ending to the album, refreshing after all the heavy songs. The chorus is kinda detached and I don't quite like the melody though.

So, to sum up the album:
Best Track: This Step Alone(WHY IS THE LAST.FM TITLE IN STICKY CAPS? It's injustice to the gorgeousness of the song.)
Better Tracks: Don't Be Afraid, Fight For Love, You Say, How Do I Know
Least Favorite Track: Not a big fan of You, Show Me and Cold Heart

Coming soon!

Fight For Love is HERE!
Watch out for my review later tonight or early tomorrow.
(I miss doing these 'IT'S HERE' posts.... hahah.)