free web site hit counter

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kaas Sings Piaf

On Friday I had the pleasure of seeing Patricia Kaas perform "Kaas Chante Piaf," a tribute concert to Edith Piaf.
The performance was minimalist (3 musicians, 1 dancer, and a video screen) but very effective.
I didn't appreciate Kaas enough when I was following Eurovision 2009, nor am I a Piaf fan (and the crowd definitely seemed like all serious Kaas or Piaf fans), but it was easy to enjoy Kaas's wonderful deep voice.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Electric Lady

Time for a short post. Janelle Monae's The Electric Lady is already one of the best albums of the year. My favorite songs are "Electric Lady", "Dance Apocalyptic", "Look Into My Eyes","It's Code", and "Ghetto Woman". Even the overtures and interludes, which can be kind of toss-away in an usual album, are amazing here, especially "The Chrome Shoppe."

The Electric Lady is streaming on Spotify.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Album Battle: Halcyon vs Warrior

Like many people nowadays, I have quite a media backlog of things I'd like to consume on streaming services, and yes, even things I've paid money for too. What better way to go through a music backlog than by writing about it? Instead of writing typical reviews of even slightly older albums, and in the spirit of my habit of ranking songs, I thought I would start a new series. In Album Battle, I compare two somewhat similar albums. In this first installment, I compare two 2012 albums by female pop singers: Halycon by Ellie Goulding and Warrior by Ke$ha.

Track 1
“Don't Say a Word” opens with some soulful wailing. I love this kind of mystical poppy Ray of Light-like stuff. “Warrior” is a manifesto with the typical Ke$ha sound. The chiptune bridge is really out of place.
POINT: Ellie

Track 2
“My Blood” has a great chorus (both the part of the song as well as the group vocal).
“Die Young” is fun to do at karaoke. That's how classics are made!
POINT: Ke$ha

Track 3
“Anything Could Happen” is a little too twee. The chorus is just the title repeated many times, then repeated high pitched “oooh oooh oooh.”
“C'mon” is a midtempo pop song that has the typical lyrical content of a Ke$ha song, but the chorus sounds a little Katy Perry-ish.
POINT: Ke$ha

Track 4
“Only You” has some crazy chipmunk effects. Ellie's breathy soulfulness works well here.
“Thinking of You” is pop-rock that's a little too angry. There's some weird autotune effects on the bridge, which don't work as well as the voice effects on “Only You.”
POINT: Ellie

Track 5
“Halcyon” is more of the same.
“Crazy Kids” has some awkward rapping, and is a little too close to “We R Who We R.”
POINT: Ellie

Track 6
“Figure 8” is a dark pop song over a heavy beat that is barely disguised dubstep.
“Wherever You Are” is bouncy, but a little too tame.
POINT: Ellie

Track 7
“Joy” is sweet but a lacking in power.
“Dirty Love” has Iggy Pop.
POINT: Ke$ha

Track 8
“Hanging On” has some sweet vocals and dubstep elements.
“Wonderland” is a country-ish singer-songwriter song. Ke$ha has always been a singer-songwriter, but her songs don't sound like the stereotype.
POINT: Ke$ha

Track 9
“Explosions” is an appropriately powerful ballad.
“Only Wanna Dance With You” is trivial and bouncy, but not particularly catchy.
POINT: Ellie

Track 10
“I Know You Care” is solemn, composed ballad.
“Supernatural” sounds like a single, with pop and dance in balance.
POINT: Ke$ha

Track 11
“Atlantis” sounds mystical and has some dreamy harp.
“All That Matters (The Beautiful Life)” is catchier but doesn't have a very good message. Partying is a lot of things but it isn't everything!
POINT: Ellie

Track 12
“Dead in the Water” is another quiet ballad with a moving chorus.
“Love into the Light” is a quiet ballad, too, until the chorus where it picks up energy and percussion. Actually, it's the closest Ke$ha gets to Ellie's material.
POINT: Ke$ha

Track 13
Ke$ha's album ends in twelve tracks, but Ellie's still has one more. “I Need Your Love” is a major dance single and is better than most of the songs on Ke$ha's album.
POINT: Ellie

WINNER: Ellie, so go listen to it on Spotify.

Monday, September 02, 2013

OC ReMix: The Eevee EP Review

If you like videogame music, you know about OC ReMix. From their website
"Founded in 1999, OverClocked ReMix is an organization dedicated to the appreciation and promotion of video game music as an art form. Its primary focus is, a website featuring thousands of free fan arrangements, information on game music and composers, resources for aspiring artists, and a thriving community of video game music fans."
The Eevee EP is OC ReMix's 41st album, consisting of 9 songs, each based on Eevee and its 8 evolutions. Each track is from the game in which the evolution debuted, and is intended to be a musical embodiment of the Pokemon's type, with the exception of Sylveon, debuting in the upcoming Pokemon X and Y, whose type had not been announced at the time of creation.

The album opens with "The Destiny Infinite ~Eevee~", an arrangement of "Road to Cerulean - From Mt. Moon" from Pokemon Blue. It's a good opener to an adventure, calm yet determined.

Some of the tracks really fit well with their elemental type. The dark type "Bite ~Umbreon~" is blippy, crunchy, and a little mischievous. The water type "Wet Dreams ~Vaporeon~" is dreamy and acquatic. It's twinkling and bright, with a little bit of an edge to it. The grass type "Photosynthesis ~Leafeon~" has echoing songbirds giving it a forest feel. "Conundrum ~Jolteon~" adds an an manic and industrial electric type edge to the classic gym leader battle theme from Pokemon Blue.

Other tracks don't particularly sound like their type. The ice type "Snowflakes in Her Hair ~Glaceon~" has some jangling bells, but it's not very snowy in a winter-holiday way nor icy in a cold and slick way. The psychic type "Half Steps ~Espeon~" sounds more like a night at an amusement park, with nothing particularly mysterious or psychic about it. "WHAT TYPE ARE YOU ~Sylveon~" isn't fairy type like Sylveon because that type wasn't even public knowledge when the arrangement was composed. It starts as a music box version of the main theme and doesn't add much to it. However, it does sound like it could fit in a release of the game. It has a childish feel which is appropriate to a children's game.

The standout track is "Ember ~Flareon~" which is supposed to be fire type but is an arrangement of the theme for Lavender Town in Pokemon Blue, which is based on ghost types. This transformative dark metal version has both fire and ghost elements. The full version, not on this EP, is even more amazing. This somber and demonic track is constantly changing.

Pokemon: The Eevee EP is available as a free download at