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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Francis Magalona: A Legacy of Nationalism to the Filipino Youth

I love listening to different types of music. My day will never feel complete without any music playing. For over a billion songs and singers worldwide, I can say I can choose from almost anything. I admit I do not know a lot of singers in the country. Even though I listen to Filipino music, I am not familiar to a lot of Filipino artists and songs. But if asked if I have favorite artists, I would definitely answer yes.
My favorite Filipino artist is the late Francis Magalona. I know a lot of people know and admire him too.  But for those who do not know much about him, he is the first Filipino rapper who made it to the mainstream. He got the credit for pioneering the merge of Filipino rap with Filipino rock. He became a significant influence to other Filipino artists in different genres. He inspired and encouraged people by his nationalistic and thought-provoking rhymes and lyrics.  He touched other people’s lives and inspired them with tracks addressing the different cultural, political and social issues that plagued the Philippines; drug addiction and colonial mentality as such.

His music career from underground to mainstream has been successful. His contributions to the music industry had earned him pride and honor not only locally but also internationally. No wonder he could be cited not only as the “King of Philippine rap” but also “The father of Pinoy hip-hop”. He was also awarded the Pioneer Hall of Fame Award by the Empire Entertainment during the 1st Annual Philippine Hip-Hop Music Awards in 2005. He also received the MTV Pilipinas Video Music Award the year after in recognition to the success of his music career that has spanned decades and broke boundaries. He was even launched by several supporters for  the Order of National artist award, which is the highest award given to Filipino artists. He was the second most honored Filipino artist in the Philippines in the music industry with respect to Mr. Gary Valenciano. He was indeed a legacy in the industry for his music still continues to inspire people and different artists here and abroad.

Like any other, inspite his overwhelming success and blessings, he is still human.The country got alarmed upon hearing the confirmation that he was indeed suffering from cancer in 2008. He was diagnosed with AML or Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He appealed to the public for privacy. After his first treatment, he was able to make his return to hosting a popular noon time show, Eat Bulaga. During those times that he went in and out of the hospital walls, he continued doing the things he loved doing and inspired people to appreciate life and live life well until it lasted. He was even able to record songs with another famous local icon and favorite, Ely Buendia.

His collaboration with Ely Buendia gave birth to ‘In love and War’, a new album released in various music stores. This album was done during the days he was suffering from cancer. They collaborated well representing each genre, and once again merged Pinoy rap and rock music.

He had undergone several treatments and chemotherapies months after he got diagnosed. Due to different complications that caused his death, he was not able to undergo bone marrow transplantation and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. News of his death caught not just the country’s attention but as well as worldwide. The news spread the web causing web traffic and slowdown of web operations.  The country mourned with the family of the dearly departed, Francis Magalona. Different public figures visited his wake and glorified his legacy as one of the most influential artist of our time.

After his burial, the memory and music of Francis lives on. His music has been heard all over, in recognition to every contribution he did in the music industry. Though there were crises after his death, the family was able to resolve those issues easily. His wife and children continued what Francis left them with after his death. They were able to make everyone understand that Francis Magalona is indeed a big part of history.

His death did not stop me from listening to his songs. Until now I have been listening to Kaleidoscope World. It has been my favorite Filipino song since I heard itin the radio when I was younger. Many people liked this song as well. They can relate to this song well because it talks about identity and individualism.

He is my favorite male singer not just because of his song but also because he is inspirational. He used music to communicate something sensible and worth thinking. He is a true artist because he was able to transcend beyond what is tangible and was able to touch people’s lives. He is indeed a legacy.

Gary Valenciano: Still Mr. Pure Energy After All These Years

            Born Edgardo Jose Martin Santiago Valenciano, he is better known as Gary V,  Mr. Pure Energy. Eleven times he got the Best Male Performer of Awit Awards which he really deserves.  He has twenty-six albums to his name.
He is a contract artist of ABS-CBN. Some of his songs are theme songs of soap operas and mostly box-office hit movies of Star Cinema.    
His first television appearance was in “The Pilita and Jackie show”  sometime 1982, followed by Germspesyal then Penthouse Live. His first solo performance was at the Araneta Coliseum in the year 1984.
He is also an actor who was nominated as “Best Single Performer by an Actor” in the PMPC Star Awards for TV for his role in the Maalaala Mo Kaya episode where he played a prisoner who did an about face and turned back to Christ.  He is always in the Holy Week drama special, Gulong, produced by GMA 7.
He just released his new album Replay last year with “Did It Ever” as carrier single.
If you have seen him on stage, and for sure you have, you would know in an instant why he is called Mr. Pure Energy. He gyrates, dances and does body maneuvers while singing. How he sings!  He can be seen every Sunday noon at ASAP. When he is the one singing, you can feel the audience listening. Even his colleagues in the industry sit up and listen to him. You can also see how they respect him.
            What I also like about him is that he does not exaggerate his facial expressions like somebody in his genre. It looks as if he is a very decent fellow who expects respect and gets it.    
            One of his songs that I like is “How did you Know”.  It is all about meeting someone when you needed someone to have  a positive effect on your life. It is a rather common idea for a song but the way it was sung and the melody gave it a new poignant twist. 
            Have you heard of Gary V’s “Take Me Out of the Dark”? I am sure you have. Who have not? It is a very beautiful ecumenical spiritual song.
 Ecumenical in the sense that I can relate to it as we have the same God although different ways of showing our love and adoration for Him. I know he is Born-Again and I am Roman Catholic but nevertheless, it does not stop me from appreciating the song, singing along with him, and being touched by the lyrics. The wordings of the lyrics are the same things I ask God about.
            It speaks of God’s love for us even if we hurt him by sinning again and again. The song is also asking us to trust in God wholeheartedly. Oftentimes, hearing this words does not fail to prick my conscience because I am guilty of not putting my trust in God.
I always wanted to know the what and the why and the how of every thing especially if something is not good or if something has disappointed me. It sometimes gives me goosebumps particularly if I am on an “emo” mood, as adolescents say nowadays.
            Everybody should listen to spiritual songs now and then but most specifically in the morning to start our day right, especially if it is sung by Gary V.  
            “You’ve never left my side, You gave Your hand to me to hold, Oh Jesus, I’m no longer in the cold”  Nice, isn’t it?
            On the lighter side, I love his song “Di Bale na Lang”.  It is a dance-y song, all about a suitor who is waiting a long time for a  girl  who cannot decide whether she loves him or not.  He is ready to give up but then he is not moving on because he really loves the girl. Poor boy. Also, poor girl.  
            “Natutulog ba ang Diyos” is another song of Gary V. I like. It is all about a person who thinks that since she is lonely, God is sleeping. She is waiting for God to show her the way not knowing that the way to her happiness is already there just waiting for her to act on it.  O ye of little faith.
“Sikapin mo, pilitin mong tibayan ang iyong puso, tanging ikaw ang huhubog sa yong bukas…”. It applies to everybody. No one can make us happy but ourselves.    

Monday, May 30, 2011

Madonna in the Limelight

Madonna has been dubbed an enigmatic dominion in the world of pop music. The music she made in the 80s has left an iconic legacy to us all.  The tours she performed attracted intense audience impact, a versatile mix for fame and social acceptance. Despite the factional negative and positive opinions surfacing between the lines, these tours have incited sheer controversy and it cannot be denied that her stage performance stints around the globe have been performed with pervasive exuberance. Her album “Like a Virgin”, released in 1984, entrenched her into popularity and fame, as those other albums which she released consecutively for years until the 1990s at her career heights in the music industry and beyond. I remember those days whereby specific songs she composed and sang engraved an indelible mark communicating critique messages with unique audience impact, theme significance andoutbound imagery.
   The album, “Like a Virgin” elicited dichotomous attitudes within the public domain,between reception and critical discrimination inciting controversy with discriminative opinion and cosmopolitan fad. Certain songs in this album impacted to extent particular social groups who condemn the morale behind the message it brings forth.For example, “Material Girl” inculcated with enigmatic magnetism in its launch emerging a unique cosmopolitan image towards worldly idealism but promoting adversity in moral aspects. Materialism outweighs as an insurmountable value surfacing a distinctive fad the song is trying to communicatetoward a target to gear down social values to vulnerability.Regardlessof the odds, Madonna made her limelight stint to a hallmark icon establishing a reputative foothold imprinting throughout modern music history across the series of widescale tours made across the United States, Europe and Asia. Despite the odds, “Material Girl” earmarked an indelible success for her debut breakthrough in her music career over the more subtle projections she sported in her preceding debut albums. More culminating to institutional criticism, she pervaded so much widespread controversy in her, 1987 single,”Like a Prayer,”  constituting her image defamation by the Vatican associating Catholicsymbolism with sexual perversion. This led to widespread boycott against her promotion tours in Italian cities the Catholic Church encouraged to do, attribute to her Italian descent.  The music video presenting the song sports a luminous devilish setting that sensualized a pontifical reaction to a resulting religious degrade and negativism through a creative character of burning crossesthe darkness surrounds within as the attention eye catcher.  The single “Like a Virgin” promotes a sexually overt subculture dubbed to embrace premarital sex activity among the female teenage fan baseto preempt commonly social values among female teenagers vindicating sheer criticism.These particular songs supports to evade the universal social values criticalin a modern era.
However some songs in the same album project Madonna a distinct, wholesome image while maintaining a characteristicdiversity. An everchanging Madonna presents the world in a stancewith a makeover image to reverse into a neoconservatism level with a cosmopolitan accent. She attempts to imprint a universal image to compound socially common classes to evade criticism received following release of “Material Girl.” This time, the following year in 1985, petty values associate to love relationships dominate a message propaganda to envelop a reflective change in philosophy in “True Blue,” “Dress You Up”, exceptsporadic sexy images sporting G strings popped out to boldly unfold the highly controversial exposure in the infamous pornographic photoshoots in Playboy and Penthouse magazinesin the courseof this profile migration. In 1986, “Live to Tell”persisted with the same consistency in low key and subtle statures. The more  multipurpose yet cultural image maintaining the same image in the immediate precedent years reveal in “La Isla Bonita” and “Who’s That Girl?,” depicting as a Spanish Senora or punching Spanish translations in between the English lyrical lines. Madonna purportedly becomes provocative to attract the Spanish culture in America and the world as the second dominating culture in the world, part of her propaganda for fame.
     After more than 25 years it seems a phenomenon these songs retain their original value over the years as all-time favorites most generations remember about the unique 80s which brings into being a monumental legacy. Madonna remains an iconic legend in pop music. Though she continues to sport a wholesome profile, she will always be remembered to be a sexually overt icon that brought her name to fame.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Show Goes On: Lupe Fiasco's Second US Top 10 Hit

Lupe Fiasco's second US Top 10 hit, returns to the Top 10 this week, as The Show Goes On moves back from #11 to #10.  His first hit, Superstar, his collaboration with Matthew Santos, hit #7 in 2007.

His latest album, Lasers, went to #1.

2006 - Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor (#8)
2011 - Lasers (#1)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Il Volo Gets Their First Top 10 Album can you go wrong when you have three cute teenagers do classical music? And it does help that they were allowed to sing in American Idol! This week, Il Volo gets their first Top 10 album in the US, as their self-titled album debuts at #10.

Fleet Foxes Get Another Top 10 Album with Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes' second Top 10 album in the US, Helplessness Blues debuted at #4 two weeks ago and this week, slips to #9.  In 2008, their self-titled debut album peaked at #3.  They are a Portland-based folk band.

Discovering the Genius of Dinu Lipatti

I discovered the genius of Dinu Lipatti tonight after Leif Ove Andsnes talks about how he was inspired by the former. This version sounds urgent and demanding and commands your full attention! There is no lethargy to Chopin's music in his rendition. It loads your mind with visions of memories you've forgotten but has risen back to the surface to be reminisced once again. Que bella!

Justin Bieber's Christmas Offering: Under the Mistletoe

Justin Bieber's fifth US Top 10 album, Under the Mistletoe, slips to #4 this week. It's also his first Top 10 Christmas album and his third #1 album in the US

Below are his Top 10 albums in the US -

2009 - My World (#5)
2010 - My World 2.0 (#1)
2010 - My World Acoustic (#7)
2011 - Never Say Never (The Remixes) (#1)
2011 - Under the Mistletoe (#1)

Alfred Cortot: The Maligned Pianist Who Saw the Big Picture

This video is Alfred Cortot's performance of Chopin Etude no.1 op.25. It's sublime and beautiful and lyrical. It's like flowing water. It sounds melancholic but it does not give you that feeling. You feel like a small boat being rowed with no sense of urgency but with a certain placidity of thought and inner meditation.

The Lonely Island Gets Their First Top 10 Album

The Lonely Island is actually a group of filmmakers and comedians who've worked in Saturday Night Live.  Their album, Turtleneck and Chain, slips to #7 this week and has peaked at #3.

Do You Want to Smell the Way Justin Bieber Wants You To?

Justin Bieber egg

Imagine Justin Bieber's face buried in your neck.  Is that image heavenly for you? Well, then, maybe you'd have to buy his new perfume, Someday, since Justin wants more of your money, my little cute sisters!  The tag line for this perfume goes like this "a fragrance [Justin] can't get enough of and can't stay away from, making those who wear it irresistible".  But of course!

Beastie Boys' Still Rappin' Mad 25 Years After!

With a 26 year chart span in the US Top 10 albums chart, the Beastie Boys' sixth Top 10 album in the US, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 stays at #6 this week.  It debuted at #2 two weeks ago.  This is also the fourth straight decade that the Beastie Boys have a Top 10 album in the US charts.  From the 80's, 90's, 2000's and 2010's.  These are their Top 10 albums in the US -

1986 - Licensed to Ill (#1)
1992 - Check Your Head (#10)
1994 - Ill Communication (#1)
1998 - Hello Nasty (#1)
2004 - To the 5 Boroughs (#1)
2011 - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 (#2)

Reminiscing Beastie Boys "(You Got to) Fight For Your Right to Party"

Ask anyone in my generation and I'm sure many of them would remember this quirky party song by the Beastie Boys, who are by now, legendary rappers, since they have been able to hold a very loyal fan base for more than 25 years! I actually had fun watching this really old video. They look so young here! Totoy na totoy! Of course, the band's music has changed through the years but this song depicts what they were when they were still young. Party animals!

Beyonce May Be Popular for Her Bootylicious Dance Songs But Her Ballads Can Give You Goosebumps!

I did not follow the American Idol this season but I learned about Beyonce's performance there and that's where I got to hear her new ballad 1+1. Her latest release, Run the World (Girls) has been met with a lukewarm response in both the UK and US charts. However, I've always believed its her vocal prowess which you can hear in her power ballads which actually showcases Beyonce's real talent! Halo and If I Were A Boy are just some of the prime examples of how she can use her voice to full effect. This song sounds like something Prince would sing, don't you think? And this is a live version. Imagine what a few tweaks in the studio can do to this song!

Chart Performance: Mumford and Sons

Mumford and Sons' second album, Babel, goes all the way to #1 in the UK and the US.   This week, Babel stays at #6.  It has stayed #1 in the US for three weeks - and it slips to #2 in the UK after a three week stay at the top.

Their first album, Sigh No More, peaked at #2.
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One of My 80's Music Muses, Kate Bush is Releasing New Material Soon!

One of my nicknames in high school was 'Kate Bush', because I was so enamored with the music of this lady!  She was a huge cult favorite among college students in the US during that time and personally, I did find her music intriguing and interesting.  Now that I've learned that she's planning on releasing new material, I'm sure many of her fans now are just eagerly waiting to hear it.  I actually have a copy of her last release, Aerial!  Anyhow, it is mostly her music from the 80s that I truly treasure!  Can't wait for her to release her new material.  Get it going Kate!

Korean Singer of SG Wannabe Found Dead

A member of the Korean trio SG Wannabe, Chae Dong Ha, was found dead in his home on Friday morning, his agency said.  The agency failed to give more details re his untimely death. SG Wannabe is one of the most popular music groups in Korea.

Seether - Country Song (Lyrics)

This is the first single from the new Top 10 album of Seether. Interestingly, the song sounds like a country single and I don't know why the band decided to name their first single 'Country Song'. However, it's still a rockin's song and has stayed in the Top 70 of the charts.

Reminiscing Seether's Biggest Hit to Date: Broken with Amy Lee

This week, Seether's new album, "Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray", debuts at #2. Because of this, I thought of researching what the band's biggest hit is, at least in the US. It's Broken, a wonderful rocking ballad they sang with Evanescence's Amy Lee. The song peaked at #20 in the US and reached the Top 5 in Australia and New Zealand.

Seether Gets Third Top 10 Album in the US with Holding On To Strings Better Left to Fray

Seether gets their third consecutive Top 10 album in the US as Holding on to Strings Better Left to Fray debuts at #2.  Below are their Top 10 albums in the US -

2005 - Karma and Effect (#8)
2007 - Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces (#9)
2011 - Holding On To Strings Better Left to Fray (#2)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Concert Review: Maroon 5 Hands All Over Live in Manila

I discovered Maroon 5 during my vacation in Europe in 2003. Their single, Harder to Breathe was slowly climbing the US charts, and since I liked the song, I decided to buy their CD which was on sale in a 'tiangge' in central Oslo - for like 100 kroners! It then became one of my favorite CDs for that year! I became sick of the band though when This Love became such a monstrous hit that when I came back here, every place I went to that had a band - from Cebu to Manila - just had to sing that song! Anyhow, the band shocked everyone when they won the Grammy Best New Artist the following year - upending Kanye West, who was a heavy favorite!

Vic and I missed their last concert here. At that time, we bought tickets for the HK show but due to problems with appointments, we decided to give it away - and missed also the show here! Feedback from that show said that the concert was really short!

Well, this one was short too - starting around 9PM and ended around 10:30! Even then, I actually liked the compact nature of the show - and the selections the band decided to play. One thing though - Adam Levine is definitely the sexiest rocker I know now - of any band. In person - he's fit and trim - and has those tattoos all over his arms which adds to his sex appeal. He also has that killer voice - high yet masculine.

I actually checked their set list tonight - and it was similar to their other shows except for the song that they decided to cover. One advantage of knowing what they're going to sing is that I knew I had to enjoy their first seven songs because all of my favorites were there. At least after that segment, I could just sit down and relax! They opened with 'Misery' - sans fanfare or prolonged introduction segments. They just shut off all the lights and the band came on! Then they followed it up with their collaboration with Rihanna - If I Ever See Your Face Again - then Harder to Breathe, Give A Little More, The Sun (one of my favorite songs from their debut album), Won't Go Home Without You, and my favorite now - Never Gonna Leave this Bed. So after that segment, I decided to get a drink - just a Sprite and sat down for about two songs. In the Gold B segment, everyone was standing on their seats - effectively blocking the Silver people - who had no seats and were just standing - they were all pissed at us! Even then, there were three huge screens anyway where they could see Adam perform.

Yes, I did sing along with them - especially in Harder to Breathe and Never Gonna Leave This Bed! They also did a sing-along version for She Will Be Loved where they divided the audience into two - and each part sang a different line - and we had to sing it together - a technique which some choirs use. It was fun to do and to listen too!

Yes, I also got a shirt - it was a tad expensive at a thosand bucks butt he cloth was very soft - and it ahd the concert itinerary at the back! I also bought a poster - which you can get when you buy their CD - a usual marketing ploy! I have another concert poster for my room - yippeee!!

The band plays solidly and it's interesting how they segue from pop to pop-rock to rock in their song selections. I believe Hands All Over is really all out pop! I'm curious as to what direction they're taking their band after this!

My Requests for this Week's OPM Myx Countdown

I made some changes in my votes this week, including new music from veterans Pupil and Rico Blanco.  Here are my requests -

1.  Somedaydream - Hey Daydreamer - a wonderful pop song that sounds a tad bit like Owl City.  Oh well, everyone has their influences! (4 votes per day)

2.  Pupil - TNT - Ely Buendia's Pupil has been coming out with interesting songs these past few years but this is the first one that I've actually voted for!  I might actually buy their CD too! (3 votes per day)

3.  Spongecola - Tambay - I went to the record shop last weekend and none of Spongecola's albums had this song!  Where can I find it?  I want to hear their other songs too!  (2 votes per day)

4.  Rico Blanco - Kahit Walang Sabihin - this is the first Rico Blanco song I've voted since I voted actively but I've had some albums from Rivermaya and a solo album of his too. His video is very interesting too.  (1 vote per day)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Christina Perri's lovestrong: Her First US and UK Top 10 Album

Christina Perri gets her first US Top 10 album this week, as lovestrong debuts at #4. 

The same album debuts at #9 in the UK.

After 27 Years, The Cars Return to the US Top 10 Albums Chart

With a Top 10 album chart span of 32 years, The Cars gets their fifth top 10 album in the US this week, as Move Like This debuts at #7.  Below are their Top 10 albums in the US -

1979 - Candy-O (#3)
1980 - Panorama (#5)
1981 - Shake It Up (#9)
1984 - Heartbeat City (#3)
2011 - Move Like This (#7)

Stevie Nicks Returns to US Top 10 Albums Chart with In Your Dreams

With a 31-year Top 10 album streak, Stevie Nicks gets her fifth Top 10 solo album this week, as In Your Dreams debuts at #6.  Below are her Top 10 albums in the US -

1981 - Bella Donna (#1)
1983 - The Wild Heart (#5)
1989 - The Other Side of the Mirror (#10)
2001 - Trouble in Shangri-la (#5)
2011 - In Your Dreams (#6)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Menudo's Robi Rosa stricken with stomach cancer | The Number One Site for Philippine Showbiz

Menudo's Robi Rosa stricken with stomach cancer The Number One Site for Philippine Showbiz

This is sad news. I know it's the big C, which is usually a death sentence already but who knows, miracles can happen. Anyhow, one thing good about cancer is that people like him can finally set things in order with everyone in his very young life. There is no suddeness to it. He has time to make amends, to ask for forgiveness, to spend the remaining time with people he loves. Not many people are given that chance. Of course we always wish we could live longer, but why question God. If it's His will, it will happen.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hanging Out With Eevee, Ajka, Letter Day Story and Tanya Markova

I have finally fulfilled one of my New Year's resolution, which is to watch local acts live! Earlier this year, I couldn't make it to Juris and XLR8's shows since I had made previous commitments those nights - so finally, last night, I was free. So, I decided to hie off to Sazi's Bar in Spain and find out for myself if these bands that I like can actually play well - live!

Well, no surprise there. Eevee, Ajka, Letter Day Story and a host of other new bands like Kilos and Kaligta whose music I still have to familiarize myself with, all sounded solid and played with so much energy! It actually felt great being surrounded with these very talented musicians and singers who knew exactly how they want to sound and could clearly articulate through song what they wanted to say! I was also quite lucky to get to talk to them and engage them in smart banter, especially Angel del Pilar of Tanya Markova who had interesting views to share on lyric writing and K-Pop. All this while having a drink (I haven't drank Red Horse in ages, but Kicks of Tanya Markova offered me one, so how can I refuse! It did taste great - on the rocks, of course!)

To those who have lived under a rock, I am proud to say that today's OPM has not degenerated into Piolo Pascual, Jericho Rosales and Sarah Geronimo doing tired and bland renditions of hit ballads I grew up with. Well, they can bring in the crowds during their concerts and produce remade hits but they're obviously mass produced talent backed up by a huge studio. Big yawn!! If that's the only OPM you listen to then get a life and use Youtube to check out the music of Eevee, Ajka, Letter Day Story and many other great local acts (Pupil, Champ Lui Pio, Sandwich, Spongecola, among others). And that's only the rock genre. We also produce good OPM pop and R&B music too! But that's another article.

Eevee already has three hits so you can check out 'Gusto Ko Lang ng Girlfriend', 'Waiter' and their current hit, 'Larawan'. I was lucky to meet the band last night - Enzo, Craig, Jerrick and Paulo and got them to sign on their CD! Thanks guys! If you listen to their CD, it's like getting to know Enzo's love travails, he being their lead singer. It's actually quite a fresh and personal take on someone who's looking for love. At my age, I've already forgotten how humorous it was to look for love. They even have this song which is like a party ode to Davao! I wish someone would write something about Cebu, that way.

Among the three, I discovered Letter Day Story first, thanks to Sama-Sama. They also have two other hits Sulong and Paano, but it's their collaborations with Yeng Constantino (Kung Maibabalik) and Jaq Dionisio of Kiss Jane (Isang Umaga) which I actually like a lot. I'm not sure if the versions are in Youtube but you can always get their CD to hear it. Live, they play with so much energy they don't hesitate to jump from time to time when the song warrants it.

I discovered Ajka a few weeks ago through their song Tanong Lang, but what I can say is that their EP has more gems in it which in my opinion, actually sounds better to me than their carrier single. Sometimes it's a mystery to me as to how record companies choose which song to release, because in Ajka's case, Ako Naman and Denial would've attracted more of my age group - the group who actually buys CDs! It's a pity though that they only have an EP since I'm sure the band has so much to offer in new material, considering how solid the five songs in their EP is. I actually told Angel that they sound like a rockin' Swing Out Sister - a well-loved band among my peers.

Well, it's back to the foreign acts after last night with Kenny Loggins and Maroon 5 doing their shows in a week's time. As for the local acts, I only know of Miguel Escueta and XLR8 who have scheduled shows - or maybe, I'd have to do more research to find out who's singing where.
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My Votes For This Week's OPM Myx Countdown: May 14, 2011

Well, pop is still king in my votes this week as three of the songs I'm voting for have the pop flavor.   None of the new songs have caught my fancy yet so I'm not sure how my votes will change as some of these songs fall off already.  Here are the four songs I'm voting this coming week -

1.  Frencheska Farr - Isama Mo Ako - 4 votes per day - definitely a slow burn song for me, but now, it's something that I like to hear.  I like her lush voice and she doesn't have to birit unnecessarily.

2.  Spongecola - Tambay - 3 votes per day - this song has yoyo-ed up and down in my personal favorites list - and this week, it's on the up again!  I just love the chorus!

3.  Somedaydream - Hey Daydreamer - 2 votes per day - finally, this song has reached #1 and the kids have discovered the song!  I still like it but I couldn't find this guy's CD in Astrovision =(

4.  Maldita - Porque - 1 vote per day - Still high in my favorites list - I still love the way they placed Chabacano lyrics in this song

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Glee Cast - As If We Never Said Goodbye (Glee Cast Version)

OMG! I haven't actually seen the episode yet but Chris Colfer's voice here is so beautiful! I got goosebumps listening to it! And I thought Barbra Streisand's version was already the definitive version for this song. Chris takes it to a different plane! I really have to see this episode since I already like two songs from it.

Glee Cast - I Feel Pretty / Unpretty (Glee Cast Version)

I usually end up liking some songs from Glee every season. Finally, I found one for this season! They finally did a TLC song! Cool! I like their version!

Stan Walker Black Box official video

I first heard this song in the tracklist of one of the Body Combat releases, and I fell immediately in love with it! I love this guy's voice! No wonder he won the Australian Idol!

Des'ree - You Gotta Be

As I was going home tonight, this song suddenly came on the radio! This is definitely one of the best songs to come out of the 90's. I remember they even had children sing this in one of Jennifer Aniston's movies, "The Object of My Affection", one of my all-time favorite movies! It was so great to hear it again today!

Concert Review: Yes, Seriously, I Watched Justin Baby, Baby Oh!!!


Every generation, an artist is generously rewarded with opulent praise and loyal devotion from rabid teenage girls!  Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Madonna, Britney Spears - they would be nothing without teenage girls. Now, add Justin Bieber to that list, and you have unleashed a force of adulation that only a natural disaster like a tsunami or a volcanic eruption can match - and duplicate that in every country in the world with teenage girls!

I just had to find out for myself as to why there was so much attraction to this Bieber boy.  To an adult gay man, he just seems pretty ordinary.  But don't say that to any teenage girl.  They will tear me to pieces with their screams! 

Anyhow, I did find out soon enough.  I arrived in MOA at 4:30PM and there was already a very long queue snaking its way outside the venue.  And believe me, it was a very, very, very long line - and this was under the sweltering heat of a May summer.  What made it bearable was that the typhoon that hit us a few days back made the temperatures relatively cooler.  But not the Bieber fever!  I haven't seen so many teenage girls in my whole life since that Taylor Swift concert!  And to think that the concert was still about 5 hours later!  Such devotion!

So off I went to the gym and everyone I knew who saw me instantly knew why I was there!  Yeah, Tony in MOA means there's a show later on - yeah, they're realizing that now.  Of course, I had to downplay that a bit.  A friend of mine texted, "Seriously? You're watching Justin Bieber?" - and of course, I did not tell Vic I was watching and the next day, when he called.......

MOA was in a state of pandemonium as there were as many people who did not have tickets who just stayed outside to watch.  Kinda reminded me of Beyonce's concert years ago, where if you stayed in the right promontory in Bonifacio High Street, you could actually see the stage!  Same thing here.  The call center people of that building with Fitness First in the first floor had a free show - although I'm not sure how much they could hear with all that glass.  I even saw people with banners who did not have tickets - and were just content to listen from the outside!

Anyhow, I know that concerts usually start at 9:00PM even though the tickets say 8:00PM.  That's just how it is here.  So I went to my designated place at around 8:45PM, and immediately, the countdown began at 15 minutes.  Perfect timing!  I deliberately missed the Poreotics dance segment since I was not into robotic dancing.

So how was the show?  Well, if I were a 14-year old girl - I could've died that night with wonderful memories of Justin Bieber smiling upon me!  For one thing, he is really cute!  The big screens would show him in some angles which would highlight how cute he is!  All the girls around me would say. "Gwapo, ang gwapo", over and over and over and over again! And he does look cute, and I am saying that as a gay man.  I think it's in his eyes!

Another thing is, yeah, he's really just a boy.  His frame, his voice - and his music - is just reflective of where he is in his life now - so I don't really get why critics of his music bash him.  What would you expect a 17-year old boy sing about - divorce?  broken hearts?  adultery?   Give the guy a break and let him enjoy his teenage years.  As it is, when he sang Edwin McCain's "I'll Be", I felt he was singing to the wrong crowd, since I didn't see that many women of wedding age watching.  Maybe his musical director should've chosen a more appropriate song.

Otherwise, he sang songs from his My World series of CDs (and there's so many versions of them!)  He actually didn't even have to sing much that night. The chorus of teenage girls just happily sang along with him, song after song after song!  And they knew every freaking lyric and inflection - such devotion and love!

So what sections of the show did I like very much?  Well, I love his "Bigger" song, so I have that on video.  The acoustic part of the show was ok, but acoustic does not really work well for big venues, and voice-wise, he doesn't really have the big voice to drown out a big venue like that and only 2 guitars can mask it.  Then of course, the hits came after the acoustic part and this was where the crowd began to come alive - "Somebody to Love", "Never Say Never" and some songs I'm not sure of the titles of but sounded familiar.  All this time, the girls were either singing along, or waving their hands, or shrieking I love you's.

I love his video montage when he was still a toddler!  OMG, such an adorable boy!!  Three years old and already that bubbly!!  And he could play the drums and the guitar at maybe five or seven based on his frame!  And the voice was already there.  We even sang along to the toddler Justin doing A,B,C,D,E,F,G!!

Another notable thing is that Justin Bieber was surrounded by Filipino talent!!  His back up singers - a group called Legacy - were Filipinos!  One of his background dancers - also Filipino!  So he really knows what we are capable of!  And he was proud to announce that to everyone!

Anyhow, it was around 10:45 when he did his encore.  And of course, it was that 'Baby' song.  They did a cute skit before singing it, figuring what 'Baby' song it was.  Maybe Justin wants to do some acting soon so a simple skit like this is preparation for it.  Before the encore, his last song was "Pray" and he also did "That Should Be Me" and "Eenie Meenie" around there - and the crowd just sang along and danced with him.

Admittedly, I was very tired after the show.  MOA is not really a very good place to watch a concert. It's hot outside and the crush of people is difficult.  To think I was one of the taller ones in my section.  The Dad beside me had to lift his daughter on his shoulder throughout the whole show! Such love!  And I even saw a girl actually use her Ipad to get images and videos!  O nga naman, no need to download na!

For some weird reason I did not see any celebrity.  I saw and heard shrieks here and there but there were just so many people, I did not want to join in the crush of running after a local celebrity.  For that night, Justin was enough.

I will look back to this day 25 years from now, when Justin becomes 42.  I just hope all these girls would still adore him after all these years.  Because the way they love Justin reminds me of how I love Madonna.  Because after 25 years, I still love Madonna and her music. (I bought the 'Madonna' album in 1984, so it's actually 27 years already)  I hope their hearts don't stray - and most importantly, I hope Justin Bieber is still making good music in 2036 as he is now.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mark Alain: Cute Chanteur Opens for Lee Dewyze

I actually remember this guy make a guesting in Music Update Live last year, around September, and I remember he said he was the former lead singer of the Zamboanga band, Frio, and that he was going solo now.  That's why when I saw him tonight, he looked familiar.  And he looks great in person - cute and charming!  And he did do his best to warm up the crowd which was quiet in the beginning but as he sang, became more appreciative of his talent.  He can sing!  Well, I'd have to give his carrier single another spin since I'm not really into mushy songs, but yeah, his good looks got me interested!

Concert Review: Lee Dewyze Does A Soulful Set, Eastwood City Mall

Well, the rain did us a favor tonight! Because of it, the wise people of Eastwood Mall decided to hold the mini-concert of Lee Dewyze INSIDE the mall and not in the usual venue, the Open Park. Because of it, I was able to secure a spot which was just about eight feet from him! Fantastic! And I picked the right side! He entered on my side and he always had to face my side since his keyboardist was on his left, that's why everytime he faces the keyboardist for cues or something, he would always face ME! Nice!

Thankfully, my camera cooperated today, so out of a gazillion pictures, at least some of them are clear. I really have to get a nicer, more high end camera, but the concerts just keep on coming, don't have the budget for it yet.

I actually don't watch AI anymore, but even then, it is so ubiquitous, you'd have to live under a rock not to know who won it or who came second. So yeah, I knew he won last year. I also partly know how he sings because he did this beautiful duet with Crystal Bowersox, their version of the Oscar-winning song, "Falling Slowly". It is a fantastic version!

Another thing that impressed me is his choice of songs tonight. This being just a mini-concert, I knew he had to pick at most, five songs, from his CD plus some songs he sang from AI. I was able to listen to his CD for just 3 days, but you can glean from there which is candy pop and which songs he really cared about! And for tonight, he picked songs that he really cared about - and good for me - those were the songs that I love too.

Yes, he did Sweet Serendipity and Live It Up - he has too - those were the only upbeat songs in his CD. He also did Beautiful Day, which he said he sang in AI, and a new song which he just composed. After that, he just sang the songs that I felt he really cared about - "Beautiful Like You", "Earth Stood Still" and "Brooklyn Bridge". When I was listening to his CD, I actually wished he'd sing any of these three, but I thought, nahhh, maybe he'd pick the more upbeat ones - so three out of three ain't bad at all! By the way, he did a surprise encore, and that was Brooklyn Bridge - just the song I would pick!

I could've had more pics of him but my camera had no battery anymore. Tsk, tsk!

By the way, a cute guy opened the show tonight. Turns out, he was the former lead singer of Frio, that band from Zamboanga. His name is Mark Alain. And he can sing! I guess he held his own considering that most everyone here tonight was just waiting for Lee. It's a good pairing.

I am also getting a hang of Eastwood Mall. Like MOA, it's a mall which constantly irritates me since it's easy to get lost and it's tough to buy basic stuff. But since I've been here a few more times now, I am beginning to get a clearer physical picture of the place and where my favorite stores are. I just wished they'd put them closer together so I wouldn't have to go to that side then the other side just to get all my brownie fix, my book fix, my movie fix and my music fix. But of course, if they do that, I wouldn't see the whole mall.

By the way, I like Lee's gray shirt tonight plus his gray tie accent. I've done that look before but not in one palette, and never in gray. Well, he's white so grey looks nice on him!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Devil talk banned in Katy Perry's childhood home

Devil talk banned in Katy Perry's childhood home

Surprisingly, Katy Perry's 'weird' upbringing has made her quite a likeable lady, now that she's all grown up! Oh well, sometimes our parents really go overboard from protecting us from all the 'evil' things in this world. Reading her childhood though reminds me of something that might come from a quirky sitcom!

Shania Twain not only lost husband, but also voice

Shania Twain not only lost husband, but also voice

No wonder she disappeared! I feel for her though! It's good she has bounced back! Her story though sounds like a telenovela. They swapped partners - hmmmm!!!

I hope she releases new material. It's going to be tough though since Robert Mutt Lange is such a talented producer and writer. But not indispensable. She can channel all that pain into new material. Dig deep Shania!

Friday, May 6, 2011

My 50 Cent Top 5: #1 "In Da Club"

I was already a big Eminem fan when this song was released so seeing Eminem in the video and knowing that he had a hand in this song just bolstered my interest in 50 Cent. It also helped that this song had that "It's your birthday" line - which was ubiquitously used when the song was very popular.

My 50 Cent Top 5: #2 "Candy Shop"

Well, the lyrics of this song is really racy but still the groove is really good! Candy Shop is my second most favorite 50 Cent hit.

My 50 Cent Top 5: #3 "P.I.M.P."

P.I.M.P. is my #3 most favorite 50 Cent song. I love how he incorporated that West Indies drum giving this song a Carribean flavor. And with Snoop Dogg in the mix, well, just makes the groove pretty exciting!

My 50 Cent Top 5: #4 "Disco Inferno"

Well, this song is one of my favorites in the Les Mills Body Jam program. The song was segued well with the other songs (I forget now which songs it was grouped into but I remember Jennifer Lopez's Get It Right among them). I also remember the dance steps clearly since it involves a lot of, you guessed it, ass shaking! This is my #4 most favorite 50 Cent song. It really is a song which you can groove to!

My 50 Cent Top 5: #5 "Baby By Me" (with Ne-Yo)

Rap really isn't the music that most gay men listen to but I have a soft spot for 50 Cent since I really liked his first hit song, In Da Club. I even bought his first two CD's! Imagine a 50 Cent CD beside Madonna and Kylie Minogue!

Anyhow, while I was browsing through 50 Cent's discography, I was surprised how many hit songs he had! He does have a distinct dance vibe! Well, at #5 of my most favorite 50 Cent hits is his collaboration with Ne-Yo who also stamps his own cool sound to the Cent's hard rapping style.

The Wombat's This Modern Glitch, Their First UK Top 10 Album

The Wombats get their first UK Top 10 album, as This Modern Glitch debuts at #3. They are a Liverpool-based alternative rock group.

Foo Fighters' Wasting Light Hits #1 in Both US and UK

The Foo Fighters' sixth Top 10 album in the US, and their first number one is called Wasting Light.  It’s their first transatlantic number one album, as it debuts in both the US and the UK charts at #1!  This week, it dips to #10.  Below are their Top 10 albums in the US -

1997 - The Colour and the Shape (#10)
1999 - There Is Nothing Left to Lose (#10)
2002 - One By One (#3)
2005 - In Your Honor (#2)
2007 - Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (#3)
2011 - Wasting Light (#1)

In the UK, they make it into their third decade with another Top 10 album, and this time, their third #1 album in the UK.  This week, the album moves back up from #12 to #8.  Below are their Top 10 albums in the UK -

1995 - Foo Fighters (#3)
1997 - The Colour and the Shape (#3)
1999 - There Is Nothing Left to Lose (#10)
2002 - One By One (#1)
2005 - In Your Honor (#2)
2007 - Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (#1)
2009 - Greatest Hits (#4)
2011 - Wasting Light (#1)

Radiohead Returns to UK Top 10 Album Charts with The King of Limbs

Radiohead returns to the UK Top 10 this week, as The King of Limbs, zooms 25 places to #7.  It's their seventh Top 10 album in the UK.  Below are their UK Top 10 albums -

1995 - The Bends (#4)
1997 - OK Computer (#1)
2000 - Kid A (#1)
2001 - Amnesiac (#1)
2003 - Hail to the Thief (#1)
2007 - In Rainbows (#1)
2011 - The King of Limbs (#7)

After a four-year hiatus, Radiohead returns to the Top 10 with The King of Limbs, their fifth Top 10 album in the US.  The album debuts at #6 and this week, climbs to #3.  Below are their Top 10 albums in the US -

2000 - Kid A (#1)
2001 - Amnesiac (#2)
2003 - Hail to the Thief (#3)
2007 - In Rainbows (#1)
2011 - The King of Limbs (#3)

Cee Lo Green's The Lady Killer at #9 in UK Top 10 Album Charts

Cee Lo Green's Forget You, slips to #10 this week.  This is his first Top 10 hit in the US and the song has peaked at #2.

His first UK Top 10 album, his album, The Lady Killer, slips from #6 to #9 this week.  The album has peaked at #3.

Across the Atlantic, in the US, he does the same thing, as the same album debuts at #9.

Chase and Status 'No More Idols' Returns to UK Top 10 Album Charts

Chase & Status is an electronic production duo from London consisting of Saul Milton and Will Kennard.

Their album, No More Idols, jumps two places to #9 this week in the UK charts.  The album has peaked at #2.

They have two Top 10 hits in the UK.  Blind Faith, their collaboration with Liam Bailey, peaked at #5 this year.  Their first Top 10 hit came in 2009, when End Credits, their collaboration with Plan B, peaked at #9.

Chart Performance: 50 Cent

50 Cent's fourteenth top 10 hit in the UK, My Life, his collaboration with Eminem and Adam Levine, peaked at #2 last week and this week, it slips to #7.  Below are his top 10 hits in the UK -

2003 - In Da Club (#3)
2003 - 21 Questions (with Nate Dogg) (#6)
2003 - P.I.M.P. (Remix) (with Snoop Dogg, Young Buck and Lloyd Banks) (#5)
2003 - If I Can't (#10)
2004 - How We Do (with The Game) (#5)
2005 - Candy Shop (with Olivia) (#4)
2005 - Just A Lil' Bit (#10)
2005 - Hate It or Love It (with The Game) (#2)
2005 - Outta Control (with Mobb Deep) (#7)
2007 - Ayo Technology (with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland) (#2)
2009 - Crack A Bottle (with Eminem and Dr. Dre) (#4)
2010 - Buzzin' (with Mann) (#6)

2011 - Right There (with Nicole Scherzinger) (#3)
2013 - My Life (with Eminem and Adam Levine) (#2)

Here are his Top 10 hits in the US -

2003 - In Da Club (#1)
2003 - 21 Questions (with Nate Dogg) (#1)
2003 - P.I.M.P. (Remix) (with Snoop Dogg, Young Buck and Lloyd Banks) (#3)
2003 - Magic Stick (with Lil Kim) (#2)
2004 - Disco Inferno (#3)
2004 - How We Do (with The Game) (#4)
2005 - Hate It or Love It (with The Game) (#2)
2005 - Candy Shop (with Olivia) (#1)
2009 - Crack A Bottle (with Eminem and Dr. Dre) (#1)
2011 - Down On Me (with Jeremih) (#4)

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Mann's Buzzin' Clings to UK Top 10 at #10

Mann's Buzzin' becomes his first UK Top 10 hit. The song has peaked at #6 and this week, the song stays at #10 for a second week.

Tracy Chapman's Fast Car Still in UK Top 10 at #9

Tracy Chapman's reissued Fast Car, reentered the UK Top 10 chart at #4, almost 23 years since it was first released.  This week, the song slips to #9.  This is actually her only Top 10 hit in the UK, in her long and illustrious career.

Guilt: Nero's First UK Top 10 Hit

Nero is an electronic music act from London, UK composed of Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray.  They get their first UK Top 10 hit single this week, as Guilt debuts at #8.

Wretch 32's Unorthodox Slips to #7 in UK Top 10

Wretch 32's second Top 10 hit in the UK, Unorthodox, slips to #7 this week. It debuted at #2 last week.  He collaborates with Example here.  Earlier this year, Traktor, featuring L., peaked at #5.

He is a rapper from Tottenham, London and his true name is Jermaine Scott.