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Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar 2011 Best Original Song Winner: Randy Newman - Toy Story 3

I am really surprised that even after nineteen nominations, Randy Newman has not even won one Oscar. However, that streak ended tonight as his song for Toy Story 3 - We Belong Together - won the Oscar for Best Original Song! I actually like the song! It's bouncy and truly reflects what the toys were feeling as they were facing the end of their use from their owner who was growing old.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chart Performance: Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy's fifth Top 10 album in the UK, Simply Eva, slips to #9 this week.  It debuted at #6.  Below are her Top 10 albums in the UK -

1998 - Songbird (#1)
2002 - Imagine (#1)
2003 - American Tune (#1)
2008 - Somewhere (#4)
2011 - Simply Eva (#6)

Chart Performance: PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey gets her second Top 10 album in the UK this week, as Let England Shake, debuts at #8.  PJ got her second Top 10 album, 18 years after getting her first one!

1993 - Rid of Me (#3)
2011 - Let England Shake (#8)

Remembering Teena Marie

While I was watching this year's Grammy Awards, I saw the name of Teena Marie among those artists they were bidding goodbye too. I learn later on that she passed away last December 26. She was 54.

I remember Teena Marie mainly because of her Top 10 hit, Lovergirl. Her music was very similar to Prince and she was not shy in singing those sexy lyrics. Also, she had a lot of airplay from R&B stations, considering that she was white! Not that it really matters nowadays, but back in 1985, things were still a bit different.

As I give Lovergirl another play right now, I realize that it really is a funky song - something that Prince could possibly concoct.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Singles Chart Performance: Kylie Minogue

Below are her Top 10 hits in the UK -

1987 - I Should Be So Lucky (#1)
1988 - Got To Be Certain (#2)
1988 - The Loco-motion (#2)
1988 - Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi (#2)
1988 - Especially For You (with Jason Donovan) (#1)
1989 - Hand On Your Heart (#1)
1989 - Wouldn't Change A Thing (#2)
1989 - Do They Know It's Christmas (with Band Aid II) (#1)
1989 - Never Too Late (#4)
1990 - Tears On My Pillow (#1)
1990 - Better the Devil You Know (#2)
1990 - Step Back In Time (#4)
1991 - What Do I Have To Do (#6)
1991 - Shocked (#6)
1991 - If You Were With Me Now (with Keith Washington) (#4)
1992 - Give Me Just A Little More Time (#2)
1994 - Confide In Me (#2)
2000 - Spinning Around (#1)
2000 - On A Night Like This (#2)
2000 - Please Stay (#10)
2000 - Kids (with Robbie Williams) (#2)
2001 - Can't Get You Out of My Head (#1)
2002 - In Your Eyes (#3)
2002 - Love At First Sight (#2)
2002 - Come Into My World (#8)
2003 - Slow (#1)
2004 - Red Blooded Woman (#5)
2004 - Chocolate (#6)
2004 - I Believe In You (#2)
2005 - Giving You Up (#6)
2007 - 2 Hearts (#4)
2008 - Wow (#5)
2008 - In My Arms (#10)
2010 - Everybody Hurts (with Helping Haiti) (#1)
2010 - All The Lovers (#3)
2011 - Higher (with Taio Cruz) (#8)
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Taio Cruz: Troublemaker

Taio Cruz's ninth Top 10 hit in the UK, Troublemaker, slips three notches to #9 this week, after peaking at #3.  Below are his Top 10 hits in the UK -

2008 - Come On Girl (with Luciana) (#5)
2009 - Break Your Heart (#1)

2009 - Take Me Back (with Tinchy Stryder) (#3)
2010 - Dirty Picture (with Ke$ha) (#6)

2010 - Shine A Light (with McFly) (#4)
2010 - Dynamite (#1)
2011 - Higher (with Kylie Minogue and Travie McCoy) (#8)

2011 - Little Bad Girl (with David Guetta and Ludacris) (#4)
2012 - Troublemaker (#3)


Chart Performance: Liam Bailey

Liam Bailey's first top 10 hit in the UK this week, his collaboration with Chase and Faith, slips to #10.  The song has peaked at #5.  Liam is a Nottingham-born soul musician who was discovered and signed to Amy Winehouse on her record label Lioness Records.

Chart Performance: Diddy-Dirty Money

Diddy-Dirty Money's first Top 10 hit in the UK, Coming Home, slips to #9 this week.  The song has peaked at #4.  Diddy - Dirty Money is an American music group consisting of its founder, Sean Diddy Combs as well as Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper. 

My Vote for the OPM Myx Countdown This Week: February 23, 2011

I normally vote for four OPM songs every week for the OPM Myx Countdown, but this week, I will only vote for one song, not because of lack of choices, but because the song I'm voting for speaks about support for young gay men, and it's really ironic that it took an all heterosexual male band to voice this out! 

So I give all my ten daily votes to their song to ensure that the song stays in the countdown for weeks to come, or until it slides out.  The song is 'Ituloy Mo Lang' and it was already played on radio in the last quarter of last year.  Even then, maybe it's only now that the teenybopper audience of mix is discovering the song, so I want many of them to get the positive message of the song. The song debuted at #19 in the OPM Myx Countdown, week of February 19.  Let's see how if it progresses this week, since I only started voting last night.
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Concert Review: Taylor Swift, Speak Now Concert in Manila

I was actually one of those who were very surprised to learn that all the tickets to her show were already sold out.  And I found out it was sold out since December pa of last year!!  Frankly, I don't remember anyone doing that since I usually buy my tickets on the day of the concert, and there normally is a ticket left - yeah, even for big ticket acts like Lady Gaga and Super Junior and even Janet Jackson.  I don't know if it was just a clever marketing ploy but it did work.  The organizers were allowed by the people of the Araneta Coliseum to open a section, an SRO section in Upper A and B last February 4.  I did not know that and I did not get my tickets that way.  Those tickets also disappeared quickly.

Anyway, I got my tickets because my classmate in Spanish class knew that I wanted to watch Taylor Swift but I didn't where to get tickets for it.  She had a friend who had some tickets and voila, I got the tickets yesterday!  That finally completed my plan for my 40th birthday week celebration!  Thanks Anne!!

Well, as for the show!  Now I know why the Grammy voters gave the prestigious Album of the Year to her last year.  She's a fantastic performer!!  And she knows how to connect with the audience! 

Well, for this show of hers, you'd have to be a real fan of hers to know the songs since she plucked most of tonight's material from her latest album, Speak Now, that's why it's the Speak Now tour

This is actually the first show in almost 16 years where I saw the performer from the back!  (In 1995, I watched the Valentine's concert of Zsa Zsa, and I was in the back!!)  Since the concert was sold out, the SRO tickets I got for tonight had seats for us, but we had to be at her back!!  Well, no complaints there.  We were so near the stage we could actually really see her everytime she turned around, including her last act where she falls off the stage.  A cushion caught her at the back - and we saw that fall of hers!! Too bad my camera has no zoom so I wasn't able to catch that moment, but I'm sure someone did since we were many in my section.

I actually love her song selection but I was just surprised why she left out "Teardrops in My Guitar" and "White Horse" - two songs which really introduced her to me. 

She opened the show with 'Sparks Fly' - the second song in her CD - a song which I like a lot!  Then she followed it up with 'Mine' which really drove the crowd wild.  If there was a decibel-measuring machine tonight at the Araneta Coliseum, it would've broken down since the screams from the mostly girl teens were really loud.  Actually, by her third song, my ear was starting to hurt from all that screaming!!

My favorite song from her concert set is Speak Now, the title track of her latest CD.  And she performed it with some background singers.  Of course, the loudest shrieks came for 'You Belong To Me' and 'Love Song'.

One thing I observed too was this was a really loyal group of fans!  It's normally in rock concerts where the fans can sing along with the performer - even in their most obscure songs, but tonight, except maybe for Long Live and Dear John (another song from Speak Now which I like very much!!), her fans practically made tonight a sing-along fest!!  You could hear their singing reverberate inside the coliseum!  I'm sure Taylor was mighty pleased to hear that!
Another observation is how tall she was!! She was as tall as her male guitarists!! She had this pair of long legs and long curly hair which she used to full effect in some of her songs!  No wonder she had that short affair with Jake Gyllenhaal! Except maybe for the fact that she's only 21, she's actually really pretty and tall!! I am saying that because I was really surprised to see how small Justin Bieber was during the Golden Globes!! He is still, really just a man-child - when put in the same table as Brad Pitt or some of Hollywood heavyweights - no matter how big he looks like in all those publicity photos and videos of his.  However, for Taylor, she's tall and beautiful in real life!! And quite a stunner!!

If this girl just keeps her senses straight and continues to write from her heart, she will still have loyal fans when she turns 50 in 2040 - and that would be quite an interesting album to listen too - since Taylor is such a perceptive songwriter!  I am saying that since the average age of the audience member tonight was most likely, 16!!

Last observation, now I know why the tickets were sold out!  Because kids bought it!! And where there are kids, you'd see the Mom and the Dad and the nanny too!!  Instead of just the usual two tickets for a date concert (say, like Bruno Mars' April 8 show), you can sell four to five tickets per customer instead since there were many parents around escorting their brood!  I caught sight of Richard and Lucy with their daughter in front but I don't think they are familiar with her songs.  Even their daughter just sat their passively. I hope Laura won't be like that when she sees Justin Bieber.

Well, tonight ended my self-declared birthday week!  And I am glad Taylor delivered a good performance tonight to make it a wonderful finale!!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who the Hell is Arcade Fire?

I admit I was one of those who gasped when I heard Barbra Streisand announce this year's Grammy Album of the Year award.  Yes, I have heard of Arcade Fire primarily because of them reaching the #1 spot in the albums chart for specifically this album!  Otherwise, I really haven't found the time to listen to them.  But now I have to!!  I knew they had a chance to win, but maybe in the lesser categories, like Best Alternative Rock Album.  But Album of the Year?  Wow, that's a lot of pressure, and the Grammys rarely give it to a newbie!  The last newbie act that I remember receiving this award was Norah Jones.  And for me, that album is a classic!  Oh well, maybe this one is too!  I should give it a spin one of these days and tell you my thoughts about it.

Happy For Lady Antebellum!

Their song, I Turn To You was one of my Top five favorite songs of 2009 so I was not surprised that they finally broke into the mainstream last year with Need You Now.  I admit I was one of those really surprised to find out that they won both Song of the Year and Record of the Year!  I like the song and since all the nominees in those categories were relative newbies, except maybe for Eminem and Jay-Z, I knew those prizes were up for grabs!  Now, I feel more pressure for them!  Let's see how their music evolves especially that now, they are officially Grammy material!

Concert Review: Janet Jackson The Number Ones Tour - Hong Kong


People were asking why we were watching Janet in HK and not here. Well, when I first found out at on December 28 that she was having a show in SG and HK, Vic and I checked the hkticketing and found out they were selling tkts already, and decided to buy there. At that time, there was still no announcement that she was coming to Manila. A friend said they announced it already in November. But if you checked her website on December 28, there was no Manila there. Singapore was her first show (at that time). Oh well, anyhow, even if we watched her here, it still would've been a waste of money. It would've even been tragic if I allowed Vic to buy tickets to her show here in Manila!! We would've spent more on her show than Madonna's concerts before, which is really ten times more impressive than this show was.

Well, the show was ok but the truth is, we expected more from her. The steps were just mostly rehashes of what she had already done before, so there was no new choreography thought of anymore. And the dancers looked 'old' to me. The costumes were unexciting and I guess, the idea of her incorporating too many songs in just under an hour and a half was too much of a smorgasbord. It would've been better if she just chose a compact set of maybe 20 songs, SANG THE WHOLE SONG, and maybe thought of a new choreography, or something.

The truth is, for artists who depend on choreography for effect (Madonna, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue), need to think of new ideas always for their shows! If they had the voice, then maybe we won't expect too much dancing. But since their voices are just so-so, and being eccentric creatures that they are - we always expect a theme or a concept from them.

The show just had medleys, I think four sets of them. Imagine she did all the six fast hits from her Control album - in 15 minutes!! Harang!!! She did all her rock-inspired songs in almost the same amount of time. It was like she was in such a hurry to finish everything off!

This show reminded me of that Whitney Houston concert we saw in HK where Whitney just made medleys of most of her hits. Destroyed the momentum and the need for a climax or something like that!

I just wished she did something like her Velvet Rope tour. Now, THAT WAS IMPRESSIVE!! I really thought she would come out with something like THAT! Every segment had a concept and the set design and costumes were beautiful in that show!

It really felt like she just wanted a quick buck! We really felt shortchanged considering we paid US$200 each for the tickets. Tsk..tsk...

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Music From New Chart-Topping Albums: Red - Feed the Machine

I'd like to preview some new music from some of the albums that debuted this week in the US.  First is the American Christian band, Red, whose album, Until We Have Faces, debuted at #2.  The critics have said that this album packs a sonic punch, which is very evident from the opening single alone, Feed the Machine.  According to the band, the theme of this new album is the search for true identity, inspired by a number of sources, including author C.S. Lewis' book of similar title, Till We Have Faces. The band itself is working through its own new identity - as a four-piece with the addition of drummer Rickard. Until We Have Faces takes listeners down the path of recognizing the hollowness of life until finding their true identity .

Chart Performance: Red

The American Christian rock band, Red, gets their first US Top 10 album, as Until We Have Faces, debuts at #2.

Chart Performance: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's thirteenth top 10 hit in the US, I Knew You Were Trouble, slips to #3 this week, after peaking at #2.  Here are her top 10 songs in the US - 

2008 - Love Story (#4)
2008 - Change (#10)
2009 - You Belong With Me (#2)
2009 - Jump Then Fall (#10)
2010 - Fearless (#9)
2010 - Mine (#3)
2010 - Back to December (#6) 
2010 - Speak Now (#8)
2011 - If This Was A Movie (#10)
2012 - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (#1)
2012 - Red (#6)
2012 - I Knew You Were Trouble (#2)

In the UK, the same song has now peaked at #3 this week.  It's just her third UK top 10 hit.  Last year, We Are Never Getting Back Together peaked at #4.  In 2008, Love Story peaked at #2.
This week, her fifth US top 10 album and third #1 album, Red, slips to #9.
2006 - Taylor Swift (#5)
2008 - Fearless (#1)
2008 - Beautiful Eyes (#9)
2010 - Speak Now (#1)
2012 - Red (#1)
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Chart Performance: Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin gets his fourth Top 10 album in the US, as Musica + Alma + Sexo, debuts at #3.  Below are his Top 20 albums in the US -

1999 - Ricky Martin (#1)
2000 - Sound Loaded (#4)
2005 - Life (#6)
2011 - Musica + Alma + Sexo (#3)

Chart Performance: Drake

Drake's eleventh US Top 10 hit, his collaboration with Rihanna, Take Care, has peaked at #7. This week, it rests at #7  Their previous collaboration, What's My Name, reached #1 last year.  

Below are Drake's Top 10 hits in the US -

2009 - Best I Ever Had (#2)
2009 - Forever (with Kanye West, Eminem and Lil Wayne) (#8)
2009 - Every Girl (with Young Money) (#10)
2009 - Bedrock (with Young Money and Lloyd) (#2)
2010 - Find Your Love (#5)
2010 - Right Above It (with Lil Wayne) (#6)
2010 - What's My Name (with Rihanna) (#1)
2011 - Make Me Proud (with Nicki Minaj) (#9)  
2011 - I'm On One (with DJ Khaled, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne) (#10)

2011 - She Will (with Lil Wayne) (#3) 
2011 - Take Care (with Rihanna) (#7)

In the UK, the same song slips from #1 to #3.  It is Drake's first UK #1 song.  His only other UK top 10 came last year, with the #9 peak of Bedrock.

2009 - Bedrock (with Young Money and Lloyd) (#9)
2010 - What's My Name (with Rihanna) (#1)

Album-wise, Drake follows up his first #1 album, Thank Me Later, with another #1 album, this time, entitled Take Care.  This gives him two #1 albums in the US!  This week, the album is at #7. 

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