Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The iTunes Shuffle Tag

I consider blog tags as one of the best and worst inventions in the blogosphere ever created. If you are lucky, you might get a tag that shows off your coolness to the world, and if you are jinxed like me, you get a tag that can completely devastate your entire readership in one post. This tag however, can be a little bit of both (i.e. a double edge sword). But In the end, I think my list has a whole “WTF” vibe going on if you asked me.

The premise of this tag is to simply answer the following questions by setting your MP3 player/iTunes (probably your iPod) to shuffle and then pressing next on each question. You have to jot down the name of the song for each question no matter how embarrassing or humiliating that song is. The tag also required the blogger to tag another 5 people, but I’m going to simply skip it because I’m a lazy bum.

It begins!

Q1: If someone says, “is this okay”, you say?

  • Song Title: The Battle For Everyone’s Soul
  • Album: Persona 3 Original Soundtrack
  • Artist: Shoji Meguro
  • Genre: Videogame

Q2: What Would best describes your personality?

  • Song Title: Candyman
  • Album: Back To Basics
  • Artist: Christina Aguilera
  • Genre: Pop

Q3: What do you like in a guy/girl?

  • Song Title: Legend of Zelda – Main Theme
  • Album: Super Smash Bros. Brawl Original Soundtrack
  • Artist: Super Smash Bros. Brawl Sound Team
  • Genre: Videogame

Q4: How do you feel today?

  • Song Title: Rise & Fall
  • Album: Rise & Fall, Rage & Grace
  • Artist: The Offspring
  • Genre: Rock

Q5: What is your life’s purpose?

  • Song Title: Kad Albi Ma’ah (She Took My Heart With Her)
  • Album: Lealy Nahary (My Night, My Day)
  • Artist: Amro Diab
  • Genre: Arabic

Q6: What do your friends think of you?

  • Song Title: Say Goodbye
  • Album: .hack//sign Original Sound & Song Track 2
  • Artist: Yuki Kajiura
  • Genre: Anime

Q7: What do you think of your parents?

  • Song Title: Kiss Me Goodbye
  • Album: Final Fantasy XII (Original Soundtrack)
  • Artist: Angela Aki
  • Genre: Videogame

Q8: What do you think about very often?

  • Song Title: Heavenly Star
  • Album: Heavenly Star – Single
  • Artist: Genki Rockets
  • Genre: Pop

Q9: What do you think of your best friend?

  • Song Title: Everybody’s Changing
  • Album: Hope And Fears
  • Artist: Keane
  • Genre: Alternative

Q10: What do you think of the person you like?

  • Song Title: Bosne Wa Salehni (Kiss Me & Forgive Me)
  • Album: Allah We’Allam (God Knows Better)
  • Artist: Fadl Shaker
  • Genre: Arabic

Q11: What is your life story?

  • Song Title: Free From Fear
  • Album: Biohazard 3 Last Escape Original Soundtrack
  • Artist: Masami Ueda
  • Genre: Videogame

Q12: What do you think when you see the person you like?

  • Song Title: Eyes On Me
  • Album: Final Fantasy VIII – Piano Collection
  • Artist: Nobuo Uematsu
  • Genre: Videogame

Q13: What do your parents think of you?

  • Song Title: The Tragic Prince
  • Album: Castlevania: Symphony of The Night Original Soundtrack
  • Artist: Michiru Yamane
  • Genre: Videogame

Q14: What will you dance to at your wedding?

  • Song Title: Feeling Good
  • Album: It’s Time
  • Artist: Michael Buble
  • Genre: Vocal

Q15: What will they play at your funeral?

  • Song Title: No Air
  • Album: Jordin Sparks
  • Artist: Jordin Sparks (Feat. Chris Brown)
  • Genre: Pop

Q16: What is your hobby/interest?

  • Song Title: With My Own Eyes
  • Album: Atonement (Music From The Motion Picture)
  • Artist: Dario Marianelli
  • Genre: Soundtrack

Q17: What is your biggest secret?

  • Song Title: Mareed El Mahabah (Patient of Love)
  • Album: Hind 2008
  • Artist: Hind
  • Genre: Arabic

Q18: What do you think of your friends?

  • Song Title: Distant Memories
  • Album: Eureka Seven Original Soundtrack Vol. 1
  • Artist: Naoki Sato
  • Genre: Anime

Q19: What should you post this as?

  • Song Title: Jayi (I’m Coming)
  • Album: Inta Menni (You Are From Me)
  • Artist: Yara
  • Genre: Arabic

Q20: What do you think of yourself?

  • Song Title: Give It To Me
  • Album: 3 Doors Down
  • Artist: 3 Doors Down
  • Genre: Rock

Album Review: Coldplay – Viva La Vida

  • This review is dedicated to Vixen.

Also dubbed as “Death And All His Friends“, Coldplay‘s fourth album has met with mixed and myriad reactions from music critics. Most of them have expressed disappointment and displeasure regarding the new direction Coldplay has taken in their latest offering to the Alternative/Rock genre. My reaction after spending all day listening to the whole album countless of times is that those critics must have been smoking crack or something! Viva la Vida certainly has pushed the boundaries of what I expect from Coldplay, producing a beautiful, serious and sometimes testing 45-minute disc, full with religious references and precious melodies.

The CD comes to life with a brilliant, glittering instrumental opener “Life In Technicolour“. It’s just a shame it doesn’t burst into a full track, lyrics and all, because it could have been the best on the album. “Cemeteries of London” follows next and it is blessed with douses of holy water; it’s atmospheric and daunting at the same time. “Lovers In Japan/ Reign of Love” is my absolute favorite. This unique track consist of two songs in one, it begins very instrumental and cheerful, then ends semi-acoustic and depressed. “Viva la Vida” is a brilliant string influenced track with incredible orchestration; excellent choice to represent the entire mood of the whole album. “Violet Hill” on the other hand, is more guitar influenced with monotonous repetitive melody over a rich harmonic background with a heavy insistent beat and clever use of piano at the end.

Viva la Vida definitely doesn’t disappoint, and it comes on par with “X & Y” if I dare to say. Sure, it might come a little bit different that Coldplay’s previous offerings but it certainly reveals its depth after several listens. Even though I reviewed only 5 tracks, I highly encourage you to give the entire CD a full album purchase. Believe in the hype baby! Believe in Viva la Vida!

Definite Downloads

1- Lovers In Japan/ Reign of Love
2- Viva la Vida
3- Cemeteries of London
4- Life In Technicolor
5- Violet Hill

~Rating~

Dirty Pop!

I was rummaging around and looking through my drawers and cupboards for an old book I wanted to re-read for the good old times, but what I got was a nasty surprise: my old cassette collection of Pop music of the 90s. As I was gaping into them, I remembered my teenage years of raging hormones, weird haircuts, zebra jeans, and having bad taste in music. I recalled my affection days with Britney on how I used to memorize every single song she murmured, and always choosing her side in Britney Vs. Christina showdowns. I recalled my admiration to boys band and my desires to look like them. I recalled the days I sat on my bed with a pen and a paper in hand as I wrote down the lyrics and translating their meanings. I recalled the days I used to listen to 99.7 on the radio and tuning in to every music show on every channel in Arabsat.

I recalled being a teenage boy.

Now, as I look through my current CD collection, I believed I matured and developed a much more sophisticated taste in music. Not just in music but probably in everything. I started to watch and appreciate independent and experimental movies than your average blockbuster. I started to listen to instrumental soundtracks and classics. I started to read books and novels for my own pleasure. I started to observe the globe and understand the dirty world of politics. I started to enjoy in engaging in meaningful conversations and debates.

I started to become an adult.

CD Review: Leona Lewis – Spirit

Soon after her X Factor win last year, Leona Lewis was whisked to the States to work with several top producers on her debut album, Spirit. And oh boy, what a debut album, but more importantly, what a strong voice does Leona possess. Spirit is a very well rounded album and totally demonstrates Leona’s capabilities. It’s not balled-heavy but it definitely offers a stunning range of musical flavors.

“Bleeding Love” is my favorite track in this album, and it’s actually Leona’s first single. It’s totally amazing and without question, the best single ever released by an X Factor contestant – although that’s not a bar set especially high. Half ballad and half not, and the bass-free production makes it an incredibly catchy song. “Take A Bow” is the song that really demonstrates Leona’s range and rhythm. It has a little bit of Mariah’s touch but Leona’s smartly makes it her own. “Better In Time” is also a standout track! It has the same vive as Bleeding Love; very catchy melody and chorus that blends beautifully with the piano and strings. “I Will Be” is more like a pop-rock song but Leona’s voice nicely overshadows the instruments and she takes the center stage with the lyrics. “Footprints In The Sand” is among the slowest track in the album but it won’t drive you to sleep at all. It is very beautiful and very Whitney Huston; it’s quite uplifting. In the end, I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this album to anyone who loves music generally. However, if you are a big fan of Carey and Huston, then this album is definitely for you.

Definite Downloads

1- Bleeding Love
2- Take A Bow
3- Better In Time
4- I Will Be
5- Footprints In The Sand

~Rating~

CD Review: OneRepublic – Dreaming Out Loud

onerepublic_dreamingoutloud.jpg

My anticipation has been really high for this group every since I heard them in their smash single “Apologize” in Timbaland’s Shock Wave. I’m glad to say this time around my expectations have been met and I feel like this is one of the most solid CDs that I have heard in awhile. Although, I have to admit that I have a slight disappointment with this album. They’re signed to Timbaland’s label yet I don’t feel like Timbaland was anywhere on this album. Nevertheless, this is a great album that I urge rock and alternative fans to obtain.

“Say (All I Need)” represents a great start of this album. The track keeps the rock element throughout but becomes more evident more on the second half of the track when the track evolves from the smooth groove to a more rockin’ out type vibe. “Stop & Stare” is my favorite track of this fine album. The beat is pretty basic but the lyrics kinda painted a picture for me especially when I got to the chorus: “Stop and stare, I think I’m movin; but I go nowhere”. “Apologize” is the one that started all but this remix might not be as appealing as the original Timbaland; Same lyrics but it’s more piano heavy this time around. “Mercy” is another great track the pushes the lead singer Ryan Tedder to the limit. And finally, “All We Are” has a great lyrical imaginary that makes it so appealing in a television format, and the beat is excellent as well. In the end, I consider this album a great example for a debut album. It’s very powerful and has a great range of rock elements that should please most rock fanatics. A worthy purchase indeed and a great start for OneRepublic.

Definite Downloads

1. Stop & Stare
2. Say (All I Need)
3. Apologize
4. Mercy
5. All We Are

~Rating~

rating_5star_45.gif

CD Review: Death Note Original Soundtrack

death-note-cover.jpg

Aside from its dark and terrifying album cover, the original soundtrack of Death Note is something you want to listen over and over again due to the smooth musicality and the very subtle and dark atmosphere. This album is a cooperation of Japan’s notable composers, Yoshihisa Hirano and Hideki Taniuchi, in which both demonstrated their excellent execution in putting together a well-crafted soundtrack that suits this dark adaptation of the manga.

All the tracks in this soundtrack demonstrate a great blend of alternative and rock genres. This can be heard in both “L’s Theme” and “Light Theme”. The tracks start very subtle and restrained at first but eventually the morph into something completely heavy and none acoustic. “Horror” is my favorite track of the album. The melody of the piano is wonderfully done and electric guitar provides an illustrious build up in the middle of track and then it reverts to begin subtle again. “Death Note Theme” and “Low of Solipsism” present a different flavor of the album. Both are fully orchestrated and contain a very powerful chorus that is certainly breathtaking and mind-blowing. In conclusion, whether you are a big fan of the anime or not, the soundtrack shouldn’t be missed as it hails to be one of my favorite soundtracks in recent memory.

Definite Downloads

1- Horror
2- L’s Theme
3- Light’s Theme
4- Death Note Theme
5- Low of Solipsism

BONUS TRACKS

Obviously, it wouldn’t make any sense leaving both the opening and the ending themes of the show. Unfortunately, the original soundtrack only has the short, TV versions. Thus, I took it upon myself and got you the long, full version of both the intro and ending themes. The songs belong to a Japanese rock band named “Nightmare”, and the tracks belong to their album “The World Ruler”.

1- the WORLD – Nightmare – Opening (full version)
2- Alumina – Nightmare – Ending (full version)

~Rating~

rating_5star_45.gif

Top 99 Women (2008 Edition)

katherine-heigl-picture-4.jpg

Once again, AskMen.com makes one of the most righteous and prestigious lists of the year and that is the 99 Most Desirable Women List. Drawing from the worlds of movies, television, fashion, sports and more, the feature celebrates the women we love and what we love about them. Most shockingly however, is that the very cute but not so sexy Gray’s Anatomy actress Katherine Heigl made her way to the top and kicking Beyonce out of her throne.

Here is the top ten:

10. Adriana Lima
9. Marisa Miller
8. Rihanna
7. Jessica Biel
6. Scarlett Johansson
5. Jessica Alba
4. Eva Mendes
3. Kate Beckinsale
2. Alessandra Ambrosio
1. Katherine Heigl

CD Review: The Black Mages

the-black-mages.jpg

As an avid fan of Final Fantasy games, I was completely ecstatic when I stumbled upon this fine soundtrack. The Black Mages debut album incorporated the most frantic battle themes in the history of Final Fantasy in a complex, progressive-heavy metal frame.

Those familiar with the game series should have an abundant sense of nostalgia listening to this record, and they should. The Black Mages did a great job of keeping the original tunes intact while putting their own spin on them and truly making them into some great music. This shows especially on tracks like “Clash On The Big Bridge” and “For Those Who Fight Further” or “J-E-N-O-V-A”. Some other tracks such as “Battle Scene” are a bit lighter on the guitar, letting some synthesizers into the mix, and this is okay, but it does take away from the music a bit, making it sound a bit less full and fleshed out. Some other very noteworthy tracks include “The Decisive Battle”, one of the heaviest songs in the album. It’s a good, not essential, album nonetheless but definitely a must-buy for Final Fantasy fans and instrumental fans alike. In the end, you will not be disappointed if you want something heavy to rock out to.

Definite Downloads

1. Clash On The Big Bridge (Final Fantasy V)
2. The Decisive Battle (Final Fantasy VI)
3. J-E-N-O-V-A (Final Fantasy VII)
4. Those Who Fight Further (Final Fantasy VII)
5. Battle Scene (Final Fantasy)

~Rating~

rating_5star_4.gif

CD Review: Asala – Sawaha Galbi

untitledfront.jpg 

Asala’s new album Sawaha Galbi (My Heart Did It) has met with a myriad of reactions from her fans; some of them loved it and others didn’t like it all. The reason of this conclusive spilt lays on the tune and dialect that Asala has chosen to promote her 2007 album: the album from the ground up is comprised of Khaliji dialect. It is important to note that this is not Asala’s first attempt to sing in a Khaliji dialect. The most prominent difference from her previous Khaliji album, Awgat [Times], is Asala’s work with some newer and younger talent. However, the question here, did she make a mistake by choosing this path again, or does this new Khaliji flavor prove that she is capable of mastering any dialect with ease? The answer is simply the latter.

Asala beautifully uses her strong, talented voice in conveying the Khaliji lyrics into powerful emotions that can either be upbeat or cheerless. The album also demonstrates the smart correlated use of Khaliji and modern instruments that perfectly introduces the Khaliji melody to those who are not familiar with it. However, just like Asala’s prior works, few of the songs suffers from extreme high notes that overshadows the instruments completely, and the slow pacing of couple of songs make them an absolute torture until the song come to an end. Nevertheless, I consider this album as one of her finest yet, and probably one of the best albums of this year.

Definite Downloads

  1. La Tekhaf (Don’t Be Afraid) 
  2. Kelmet Shokor (Word of Gratitude)
  3. Somokh Ezi (The Highness of My Pride)
  4. Sawaha Galbi (My Heart Did it)

~Rating~

rating_5star_4.gif 

Preview: Zune 2 Generation

zune_540x247.jpg

I usually leave the introduction of new gadgets to my tech savvy friends 3biad and Marzouq, but I’m not going to let them hog this privilege for themselves anymore (sorry guys). Anyway, yesterday Microsoft revealed the new lineup of their MP3 players dubbed as “Zune 2” which features pretty neat additions that some of them aren’t available in the iPod…yet. Here is a quick walkthrough of the new Zune features that will be also obtainable to old Zune users via a simple upgrade:

  • The newest additions are smaller 4gb and 8gb players with flash memory with sport video playback and wireless functionality.
  • They are priced at $149 -4gb and $199 -8gb.
  • Currently the small Zunes come in red, pink, green, and black.
  • An updated hard drive model will have 80GB of storage and come in black at launch.
  • New Zunes are due to release around November 13th.
  • New Wi-Fi features will include wireless sync with PC. Shared songs will no longer have a 3 day limit for use, but the 3 play rule remains in effect.
  • Photos as usual have no restrictions at all when shared Zune to Zune.
  • To improve on “the social” online Zune Cards will be introduced. Each card can be personalized based on unique interest.
  • Zunecasts (podcasts) are coming to the Zune marketplace along with video content. TV shows recorded on Windows Media Center can also be synced up with the Zune devices.

Why I Won’t Buy It?

  • The Zune Marketplace is still not as strong and user-friendly as the iTunes.
  • Is not compatible with Mac OSX.
  • No touch screen and Wi-Fi iTunes ala iPod Touch.
  • Still not that good looking.
  • Won’t be able to take advantage of Wi-Fi sharing because I don’t know anyone who owns a Zune.

Regardless, I think Zune is a good hardware and complement PC owners quite well. However, I still cannot consider it as an iPod Killer mainly because Apple owns roughly 75% of the MP3 industry while Zune only owns a mere 10%.