Monday, August 31, 2009

"Brand New Flava In Your Ear"

Paramore -Ignorance

I thought I loved their first album, until I heard this song! The song and the video sound and look are more raw and in a good way, too. (P.S. I know I used too many "ands." Ha. But that's how excited I am!)

Selena Gomez and The Scene - Falling Down

Why do I like this song? I cannot stand the chorus, I do not love Selena as a singer and she sings "You" strangely. However, the verses, the hook and the bridge are so catchy and I love how she sings "darling." Oh, the confusion in my head! On the bright side, this is not a typical Disney sound, so thumbs up to that!

Maya Azucane - Get It Together

I am always a fool for a positive song and a song like this should be one of those songs belonging to a new Civil Right Movement for our generation.

Paolo Nutini- Candy

He sounds older, but in a good way, a very good way! I feel like I am in the 70s with Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkle, Joni Mitchell, Carole King and the other singer-songwriters. It is such a beautiful song and definitely what I call a love song!

Laura Izibor - Don't Stay

Simply, her voice and this song have so much soul and depth and I can listen to her all day if I had to! I know it is sad song, but it still makes me smile!

Laura Izibor - Don't Stay

Ginuwine - Trouble

Ginuwine is back to his old sound and I am liking it! The plus is I can listen to this song and not feel disgusted!

Colby Calait - Falling For You

One word - adorable!

Official Video:

Digital Girl ft. Drake, The Dream & Kanye West - Digital Girl

When it comes to Drake's verse, I am feeling it, but right after his verse, the song goes downhill and I stop listening. At least Drake gaining a little of my respect again, especially after the "Best I Ever Had" video, the Blackberry Freestyle and that terrible "Forever" song.

Update: Listened to "Successful" and he lost a little of my respect again!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"In My Life" : Van Duzer Summer Streets Fair

After attending the Van Duzer Summer Streets Fair, I have a whole new view on Staten Island. I attended the fair last Saturday, and after it was done, I was wishing I attended the last three Saturdays of the fair. Just think of it as the Staten Island version of Greenwich Village in Manhattan; a place where artists and bohemians of all kinds meet together. Music, dancing, art, fashion and it was all free!

First on the line-up, the Baptist choir! Since I was missing church the next day, this was a very uplifting substitute! Performing songs like "Oh, Happy Day," "Jesus is A Friend of Mine," and "We're Blessed In the City," people swayed together in unified enjoyment and those who were not moved, still showed their appreciation and respect. From the children's choir to the praise team to blues-based Gospel band to the full choir, I felt the spirit!

Next, the belly-dancers! This was fun to watch, not because of the dancers, but the people trying to belly-dance with them. Just look at the photograph above. Even funnier were the two young boys trying to learn to and one was pulling the other to join him. Boys, leave it to the professionals or at least go take a class!

When I saw this guy creating this painting, I immediately wanted it! I could not stop staring so I had to take a picture. It was the only piece of artwork that caught my eye that day. So, wherever you are, painter guy, here is your advertisement!

Now, time for the headlining act of the night, Aquavibe! If you want to know how good this Hip-hop band was, ask my mom; she did not know one word Dyverse the 1st was saying, but she was grooving to all of their songs. Aquavibe calls themselves mix-hop, which is a mix of Hip-hop, Soul and Alternative music (check out their myspace: and that is probably why I loved their performance.

Covering songs like Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" and Madcon's "Beggin'," the band sounded just as good as the actual songs and also playing some of their own songs, such as "Big Plans," they were playing some "feel good" music and seem more positive and original than a lot of mainstream Hip-hop artists right now.

Side note: The saxophone player, Cyclonis (haha, what kind of name is that) was the only negative side to the group. Sorry, but he cannot play; I could barely hear him and when I did, he was off-key and off-time. Luckily, he was only a guest that day (I hope).

Finally, for the not so hot artist of the night, Scott James! Unlike Aquavibe, when he performed with his hype-man, I stopped caring. The two of them reminded me of a somewhat better version of Rin and Tin, The Hip-Hop Dalmations, from Brown Sugar. The only song I remembered was "ULikeIt" and I thought that was so corny and it was not a love song as they claimed! Wouldn't you laugh if you hear rhymes like "I am so real like a happy meal" or "I am so real like a banana peel!" I could not help but shake my head and sit there watching people enjoy this! To me, he was just another typical Hip-hop artist who belonged only to the club, where people are dancing and not really paying attention to the songs. But I guess I am just not the audience for him. Oh well...

Here is a list of what happened all four Saturdays at the Van Duzer Summer Streets Fair:

12:30-2 p.m.: Live painting in the street with John Exit & Mike Die
2-3:30 p.m.: Children’s Songswap with Rob Yuzuk (Wahoo Skiffle Crazies) & Kristen Rodak
3:30-3:50 p.m.: Opening ceremony on the main stage
4:30-5:20 p.m.: Kilgore Trout is Dead
5:30-6:20 p.m.: Captain Ahab & the Sea Crackens
6:30-7:20 p.m.: Paragraph
8 p.m.-3 a.m.: After-parties at The Cup & Martini Red

12:30-2 p.m.: Kids’ street games (badmitton, water baloons, toss across, bubble wand, jump rope & more)
2-3:30 p.m.: Women’s basketball clinic
3:30-7 p.m.: Open skateboarding session sponsored by DC Shoes
4:30-5:20 p.m.: The Seconds
5:30-6:20 p.m.: The Pragmatics
6:30-7:20 p.m. The Great Unwashed
8 p.m.-3 a.m.: After-parties at The Cup & Martini Red

12:30-1 p.m.: Group-led meditation and excercise in the street
1-2 p.m.: Yoga in the street
2-3 p.m.: Pilates in the Street
3-4 p.m.: Martial arts in the Street
4:30-5:20 p.m.: Wahoo Skiffle Crazies
5:30-6:20 p.m.: The Headlocks
6:30-7:20 p.m.: The Bandulos
8 p.m.-3 a.m.: After-parties at The Cup & Martini Red

12:30-1 p.m.: Children’s Modern Dance Workshop
1-2 p.m.: Bellydancing demonstration
2-3 p.m.: Breakbeats (break dancers & DJ)
2-6 p.m.: Sandy Lo book signing/selling of “Lost in You” at Bent Pages
4:30-5:20 p.m.: Baptist Choir
5:30-6:20 p.m.: Aqua Vibe
6:30-7:20 p.m.: Scott James

So, next year, I will definitely get my butt over there again if I can! I hope you will join me!

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Looney Tunes 4"

Need a laugh? Here are some funny songs to sing along with...

Jason Lewis (Wiley, JME, Frisco) - Too Many Weave (Too Many Men parody)

Alphacat - Best I Ever Had Spoof (Drake)

Alphacat - She Wolf Spoof (Shakira)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Brand New Flava In Your Ear" (Update)

Time again for some new music, and with a few returnees! Woohoo!

Fefe Dobson - I Want You/Watch Me Move

Fefe's Back! I love these songs and I can't stop listening to them! "I Want You" is reminiscent of The Ramones, simple but rocking! "Watch Me Move" is simply hot and she looks like Mick Jagger while dancing!

Jay-Z, Kanye West and Rihanna - Run This Town

To put it simply, I am glad Kanye is rapping again, Rihanna's nasally voice fits the dark vibe of the video and song, but Jay-Z does not really fit in with the song. Also, the video makes me think of a cult version of "California Love" with Tupac and Dr. Dre. However, the song is not as epic as they might have wanted it to be. The song is good, not great, but good.

Jay-Z click here

Mary J Blige - I Can Do Bad All By Myself

Tyler Perry and Mary J. Blige together are legendary! Powerhouse performances in both hise movies and her songs. Enough said!

Dwele - Travelin' Girl

Underground R&B and Soul is so much better than mainstream R&B and this guy is one reason why. Ever since I heard "I'm Cheating," I have loved his voice, sound and lyrics. This song has a strong horn section and Dwele's smooth voice fits it perfectly.

Creed - My Own Prison

Another artist that has returned! Creed proves that you can be a Christian artist, and still be just as good as any rock band out there and be real! Being a Christian is not always happy times, but at the same you have hope in the cross and this song puts that on my heart.

Adam Sandler - Real Love

After seeing "Funny People" and hearing this song, I want Adam to release a full Adam. The only time I have heard him sing was when he was doing SNL skits or a comedy album, but he needs to do a serious album because he has a sweet voice and he would make John Lennon proud if he heard this cover!

Pink - Funhouse

Pink can always take a song with a sad undertone and make it fun to listen to. She is as explosive as her video!

Miley Cyrus - Party In the USA

My problem with this song is that Miley is not right for it. It has the potential to be a good song and the melody is good, but when she opens her mouth, it sounds awkward and I do not like it as much.

Honor Society - Where Are You Now

Hearing this song makes me want to go see Bandslam. At first, I did not want to like this group because I thought they would sound like the Jonas Brothers and I do not like copycats, but they are actually good. Good choice, Jonas Brothers!

Whitney Houston - Million Dollar Bill/I Look to You

Our last returnee, Whitney! Once I got past the weird note at the beginning, I realized that the song has a nice old school "feel good" vibe to it and even though her voice does not sound as good as it did before, Whitney can still out-sing a lot of other singers out there now.

Not one of her powerhouse performances, but it is still a good song for her return and I am feeling it!

Now for my Huh? moment of today...

Jason Mraz ft Lil Wayne and Jah Cure - I'm Yours Remix

"I'm Yours" is one of my favorite songs and Jason Mraz and Jah Cure are two of my favorite artists, but why is Lil Wayne on here? But I will have to admit that he does sound better on here and his lyrics are good for a chance; why can't Lil Wayne sound like this more often? Still he does not fit with this song!

Here are three others I forgot to mention...

Smokey Robinson - Don't Know Why

Smokey and a Norah Jones cover equals magic! Like someone said he has the voice of an angel!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll

I kept forgetting to put this song on here, so here it is! I love the dance party and horror movie mix to this song! Creepy yet entertaining! The plus is an MJ werewolf and blood that looks like confetti (but then it would probably be too fun to kill people in real life)!

Official Video:

Pleasure P - Under

Okay, I only put this video here because Tia Mowry is in it, other than that it is your typical R&B pop song with autotune in it and not really memorable (and I know he can do better than that!). But at least Pleasure P is on his own because he was the best thing about Pretty Ricky (who were the other guys again?). What I do not get is the extra girl in the video and the corny bed/water scene; are those really necessary?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"In My Life" #1: Kings of Leon Today Show Performance/Up Close & Personal with John Legend

On this feature, I will be ranting and raving on specific events in music that happened "in my life!" Ok, let's get started...

I promised myself...I promised myself that I would not go to another one of these Today show summer concerts with the crazy fan girls, aching feet, the all-nighter, rain and being too far back to see anything, but guess where I was again...Three fridays ago, I was right back where I said I would not be. Why? Two reasons - to hang out with my friends (Katrina, Pryanca and Zara) and to see the group Kings of Leon! However, unlike the last time, this performance was not that bad...

Maybe it was because I was more enthusiastic to see Kings of Leon and my friends and I spent the night watching Kings of Leon videos. The adrenaline rush I was getting from not sleeping the entire night might have been the reason. Or maybe it was that we were one of the first in line and that we waited on line only the morning of the show and not since the night before. Just might have been that my friends, I and other fans were united in our true love of KOL and also united in our anger over those with VIP passes who just came and left as they pleased while we stuck it out in the rain. It also could have been that there were funny moments like when some us thought a guy in the window of the building looked like Caleb and we found out later that he was just a look-a-like. Even though my feet ached, it rained on and off, they sang the same three current hits repeatedly instead of singing older songs and I could barely see anything, just singing along with everybody else and all the other things I mentioned made this an experience that I am glad happened... Still, I am never doing this again!

Now, Heeeerrre's... Johnny!

Thanks to the Recording Academy (aka Grammy University), as a member, I got an exclusive invite last Wednesday to go to an interview with the talented John Legend for free! Since it was my first time there, it was a bit awkward. Picture me going into this huge, fancy building on 42nd street and waiting at the front desk while a bunch of girly girls with their dresses and make-up come in for the same event...I felt so plain jane in there. Well, when we walked in the room, it was a lot more intimate setting than I thought it would be (close enough to see the designs on his sneakers!). As we sat there waiting, I read some of the free booklets and Grammy Awards book that they gave out, and then finally the man of the hour (literally it was an hour) came out! OMG! I thought I was going to faint; he looked so much more handsome in person.

A few other things I learned about Mr. Legend, besides his handsome features, was that he is very articulate, funny, down-to-earth and genuinely talented. Here is a list of some of the other things I learned about him:

1) Growing up, John was part of a Pentecostal (like me) and he said that this denomination is known for its liveliness, creativity and spontaneity (yeah, that's right). Also, in poor black communities, the church is the only place where a person can really learn music, since music programs are taken out of school and music lessons are too expensive. He said that is why many artists came from the church.

2) While at the University of Pennsylvania, he was part of a cappella groups and often went downtown to go to shows featuring The Roots, Jill Scott and Bilal (some of my favorite artists). Also, he went to Black Lily in Philadelphia, which is a festival with mostly female neo-soul artists. One day I will attend; it seems like my kind of scene.

3) Before John Legend started appreciating legendary R&B and Soul singers, like Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, he liked the New Jack Swing Movement in R&B, which included artists like Jodeci, SWV, and Boyz2Men (I love these artists, too).

4) Legend also described how he writes a song using the song "Again" off of his second album: he starts off with the music and then he lets the lyrics build from the music. John usually writes the bridge last and says the bridge is the easiest part. Also, he said how he uses patterns and repetition in both the verses and the chorus so that it is memorable (e.g. in "Again," he uses time in the verses). Good advice, John!

5) Additionally, he said when it comes to writing songs, he usually stays until the song is finished. Raphael Saadiq (another artist I love, taking notes?) noticed this and said he wished he could do that because he always has people telling him to finish a song. John said he doesn't know why, maybe it is because he is a capricorn. Funny, isn't he?

6) His first demo, which featured most of the songs from Get Lifted, at first did not get anywhere. Only until Kanye West released his first album, The College Dropout, which Legend worked on, and signed John that the hype over his album increase. He said that sometimes it is not about the talent but the timing and buzz surrounding the artist.

7) John Legend has becomes known as "the guy who worked with everybody" because he has worked with artists from Alicia Keys to Lauryn Hill (played piano on "Everything Is Everything") to Black Eyed Peas.

8) From working with Will.I.Am on a Black Eyed Peas album, John came up with the chords for "Ordinary People." It was originally suppose to be a song for the group but John ended up liking the song more for himself. As a deal, Will.I.Am was supposed to produced the song for giving it up, but Legend played the non-produced track for some people and they loved it the way it was. So, "Ordinary People" became the song it is today because of that! Wow!

9) With the music industry the way it is today, John does not blame record companies for demanding 360 deals from artists, which is taken a percentage of sales from not only album and single sales, but also touring and merchandise. He said it is almost impossible to get a record deal without making a 360 deal.

10) According to John, talent or artistry comes in various forms from performing to choosing songs to sing to actually writing the songs (I agree, look at my artistry vs. entertainment music note). He wants people to know that he does not works alone when he is writing songs and it is definitely a collaborative effort. Ain't he humble?

11) He said other artists he might want to collaborate with are Beyonce because of her voice and Lil Wayne because he is very popular right now (Ewwww, why John, why?).

12) John Legend likes the show The Office and made a few references to it (okay, he's back on my good side!).

13) Finally, he has his own record label called Homeschool Records and his first artist was Estelle! Check out the website:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"One Love" Videos: Woodstock

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, here is a little taste of it with some songs and videos from the three days of great music in upstate New York! However being in the crowd was not all lovely-dovey -- from the stench of human waste and body odor, little if edible food, the mud, the rain, the disorganization, and some of the people extremely high on drugs to other nightmarish parts of the festival. If I was there I probably would have hated it, but at least we have videos to see from the comfort of our own homes! Still the myth of peace and love lives on; if only the world was truly like that. Well...Enjoy!

Richie Havens - Freedom

Richie Havens - Strawberry Fields Forever cover

The Who - My Generation

Joe Cocker - Little Help From My Friends

Santana - Soul Sacrifice

Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze

Jimi Hendrix - National Anthem

Crosby, Stills and Nash - Blackbird

Crosby, Stills and Nash - A Long Time Come

Country Joe - Rock and Soul Music

Arlo Gunthrie - Coming Into Los Angeles

Joan Baez - We Shall Overcome

Joan Baez - Joe Hill/Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Jefferson Airplane - Saturday Afternoon

Janis Joplin - Piece of My Heart

Bert Sommer - Jennifer

Sly and the Family Stone - I Want to Take You Higher

Sly and the Family Stone - Love City

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Psychology of Music

This feature will cover science-related articles and videos about music!

Remember Bobby McFerrin? The guy who had the famous hit, "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Well, he is a conductor and participates in many music education programs, such as volunteering to teach music and lecture across the country. In the World Science Festival, he showed the audience how most of us do have an innate musical ability with the pentatonic scale:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Brand New Flava In Your Ear"

Truckload of new music on its way to you now....

Maxwell - Bad Habits

Talk about hot in here! Maxwell knows how to make anything sound so romantic and sexy! Also, the video with Kerry Washington is classy and naughty at the same time! Go, Maxwell!

Brendon Urie, Cee-lo, Janelle Monae, Patrick Stump, Travis McCoy - Open Happiness

The song and the video put a smile on my face! The plus is that everyone in the song are some of my favorite artists! Woohoo! Too bad it is for a Coca Cola commercial because I don't really drink it anymore. Oh well.

B.O.B (Bobby Ray) - Put Me On

Again, showing you what real Hip-hop is! Sampling Tribe Called Quest's Bonita Applebaum, this guy can sing and rap (unlike Lil' Wayne who makes no sense or steals rhymes and Soulja Boy who has no flow). I feel like I am back in the early 90s with this guy, when Hip-hop was at its peak.

Tanya Morgan - So Damn Down

Another Hip-hop track that should be on the top of the charts and should be a classic, too. I am loving the Jazzy feel to this song! These guys should be more popular.

Ledisi - Going Through Changes

Ledisi is amazing. Sultry, natural, beautiful - this is what R&B should sound like now. Just like Maxwell, she can make something that is bad or painful sound so good.

K'Jon - On the Ocean

Speaking of what R&B should sound like...This is my "feel good" music. It reminds of Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" because of its eeriness, but it also sounds like the positive sequel to the song.

Official Video:

Jet - She's a Genius

I want to think this song is about me...haha! Jet is exciting and rocking, but what's with the video. I think the director was having some editing problems, ran out of film footage or high, and why is the girl in a wookie costume?

Bat for Lashes - Sleep Alone

This song sounds like something a minstrel would sing at a Renaissance fair mixed with the creepiness in a horror movie...I love it!

Amie Mirello - Brand New

Why am I always attracted to interesting-sounding voices? Amie's sound is like a mix of country, jazz and blues. The song feels genuine and fresh (just as fresh-faced as she looks). Two thumbs up and I hope to hear more from her!

Urban Rock Band - Black Morning

They call themselves Hip-hop meets the Beatles and I say more at Pearl Jam with this song. More creative and different than a lot of the mainstream garbage out there. Once again, proof that Hip-hop is not dead, one just has to seep through the trash floating above!

Thenewno2 - Yomp

If you know my favorite bands from the 60s to now, you will understand why I like this group and the song. I guess being George Harrison's son has its benefits! Dhani!

3 Doors Down - Let Me Be Myself

Most people have probably heard this song from the Geico commercial with the cavemen, well the video expands on this concept. When I think about it the song is too good to have a video like this; it distracts my attention from the emotional and uplifting element of the song. The song can be a hit without the funny gimmick of the cavemen.

Official Video:

Heavy D - No Matter What

Leave Heavy D alone! Stop trying to put the guy in a box; he is not the greatest reggae singer in history, but he is pretty good and the song is sweet!

Seether - Careless Whisper

A rock version of a classic George Michael song? I am not sure about this one, but Shaun's voice is great as usual. On the other hand, what's up with the "video game" video? I understand the 80s references, but am I suppose to laugh instead of take the song seriously?

Tyler Woods - Slow Jam/Relations

K'Jon and Tyler are my R&B heroes right now! Tyler is bringing back the old school slow jam. I am starting to beleive his statement that he is the next Curtis Mayfield and shouts to 9th wonder for introducing such talent.

Matisyahu - One Day

My favorite Reggae Jew is back! Matisyahu always finds a way to bring light and joy to my day!

Now for the so-so stuff....

Shakira - She Wolf (Loba)

What happened to the old Shakira, the one with darker colored hair and a guitar? Is it just me or is she trying too hard to be liked by the mainstream audience? Or maybe she just has too much bleach in her hair and the fumes are distorting her judgment. I guess after a while the song started to grow on me and it is good to dance to, but it is just not her best song.

Mariah Carey - Obsessed

Mariah Carey is another singer who I miss the old version of, but I do like the song and the video is funny (sorry, Em).

Official Video:

Jeremih - Imma Star

"Birthday Sex" made me sick, but at least this song is better, not great, but better. I just wish these guys who are not even that huge would stop bragging about how much they have or how hot they are when they probably do not have anything yet!

And finally for the biggest offender of them all...Soulja Boy and his S.O.D. Money Gang

S.O.D. Money Gang - Outer Space Flow

Wow! Okay, people, just because he is beats are good and he is making money does not mean Soulja Boy is a good rapper at all. He has no flow! As soon as he started rapping, I wanted to puch him out! However, I will admit that he is better, especially after "Crank Dat Soulja Boy."

"Say It Again" Musician Quote of the Day

Jess Origliasso from The Veronicas said this:

“Never forget to question everything. There is more to music then what Record Companies force feed you! Discover old music and new music."

I agree with her completely! Why do you think I created this blog and I have said it so many times on this blog! We should not just take what music is given to us because half of it is not even that good in the first place.

Friday, August 7, 2009

"One Love" Videos

Playing for Change is a music documentary, record and multimedia movement that is trying to bring the world together and create peace through music. Started in 2004 by producer Mark Johnson and his Timeless Media Group, local musicians from all over the world performed and recorded covers of legendary songs. Then the music and film were combined to create beautiful masterpieces that will inspire anyone... Here are two of the songs from the DVD, "Stand By Me" and "One Love"

Stand By Me (RIP Roger Ridley)

One Love


Monday, August 3, 2009

Cool Vids: Nas Comments on Hip-Hop

Along with Nick Cannon and Affion, Nas does a P.S.A. about the declining state of mainstream Hip-hop. I could not agree with him more...