08 August 2010

I am a huge fan of the franchise. This is the first game I played on the PSX console. It was Tekken 3 and it remains to be my all-time favorite video game. When they announced movie plans, I was interested. All of the characters had great backstories. Nina (and Anna) was even given a spin-off game.

I finally obtained a copy of the movie. No surprise that they chose Jin as the main character. After all, he’s the most connected story-wise to other characters. I was particularly interested on how they will do the fighting. I was most impressed by how they portrayed Eddy Gordo, my mom’s favorite character [did I mention that I have the coolest mom ever]. When he started with his battle stance, I was whooping with joy! Marshall (I would’ve preferred Forest) Law’s signature finishing move was also shown, once. Although not as a finisher. Where’s the epic Down + Circle kick? Other than those, well… at least you have a moves list in the game. I like how they put Jun in the story. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you would know how Jin connects to most of the characters. Looks-wise, they did good on Yoshimitsu and Anna Williams. Raven looked like Blade, as he does in the game.

Apart from those already mentioned, the movie featured Nina and Ana Williams, Christie (the female Eddy), Yoshimitsu, Bryan (my character in Tekken 3 if I just want to beat the shit out of everyone), Kazuya, Heihachi, Jun (my go-to character in Tekken 2), Raven, Sergei, Steve, Miguel, and (Gun) Jacks.

Here’s what I didn’t like: where is King? Paul? Dude, they are like the MOST popular characters of the franchise. And Paul’s one-hit kill shot? Down + Square? That’s… gah. I would’ve wanted the hotness of Hwoarang too. Also, they showed Yoshimitsu fighting WITHOUT his sword. That NEVER happens. Even a Mokujin in Yoshimitsu mode has a wooden sword. And what’s the shit about Bryan being half-cyborg thus illegible for Iron Fist Tournament? Hey, Yoshimitsu is 100% cyborg made in the labs of Dr. B! Christie, as I mentioned earlier, is a female version of Eddy. She has the same fighting stance and style. In the movie, nope. She just stood there and looked pretty with her ass crack hanging out. I kid you not. Even Jin’s signature air punch move wasn’t included. :\

Overall, despite the things they left out, I liked it. Sure, it’s your typical fighting movie with the small-town boy, dark horse, revenge-fueled rage cliche. But I geeked out from all the Tekken (game) references. I quite enjoyed the fight scenes because they were well-choreographed and even with the lack of signature moves, it stayed true and believable. Jin, especially with his fighting gloves, looked amazing. The acting was okay; not much was required anyway with these kinds of movies.

Do I recommend this? Yes, surprisingly. Haha. I’m normally a snob when it comes to cliche movies such as Step Up, Fast & Furious, and whatever movie franchise that has been squeezed dry. But Tekken: Movie… go for it!

23 July 2010

Covert Affairs stars Piper Perabo, of Coyote Ugly fame, as CIA agent Annie Walker. She's new to the department and her guide is Augie Anderson, played by Christopher Gorham, a blind officer. In the past, she met and spent three "sensual" weeks with this man in Sri Lanka. One morning (after), she woke up to find him gone, leaving behind a cryptic message. I think that is why she decided to join the CIA, to find out the truth -- to find him.

Two episodes in and I have two words for you guys: MARY SUE. Fuck, you don't even need to get through half of the pilot to realize that. Ten minutes in to the second episode and they introduce a Gary Stu character in the form of a teenager in college who is a computer genius uncovering codes which were "impossible" to detect in the past. Really? That's what you have? The CI-fucking-A could NOT detect such radio waves when a KID could? Later in the episode, the CIA was able to "crack" the code. Huh. Whatever.

But going back to the pilot. Why "Mary Sue"? Well:

  • Annie is a young CIA trainee who is suddenly promoted to field operative in order to help capture her ex-boyfriend, unknown to her (Wikipedia, 2010). "Trainee" ei? She seems to me that she's handling field operations well.
  • she can speak 6 different languages. How did she learn them? By traveling. And "language class" in university. This is entirely possible in real life but... coming from someone who has (unintentional) experience with writing Mary Sue characters, trust me. This is a go-to trait for all Sues.
  • she seems to be the BEST in everything that she does. And she fucking knows it. And rubs it on to the audience's face about ten minutes into the pilot. It's like she could do nothing wrong... until she got to play with the big boys. She bumps people, tables, and other inanimate objects. For someone training to be a CIA agent, she didn't know about security passes and protocols. Really? A little consistency here, writers. She should at least know those things.
  • She follows the same path as Alias' Sydney Bristow took (thus making her less likable): she thought she's the only/most important person in the world. "I'm Annie Walker, uh... I work here?" in that annoying "duh" tone when guards were checking her ID at the gate. Yeah, you and another hundred or so people.
Casting-wise, my favorite cast member and character is Christopher Gorham's Augie. He's the ONLY genuine character in the show - not overdone. He's probably the only one whom I felt something for. The others, I don't give a fuck. Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett) is Annie's boss and she's this paranoid "wife who works for the CIA - and NOT a CIA-wife". She's married to Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher) who also works for the CIA in a different department. They're in marriage counseling. Sheesh, I cannot begin to tell you how unnecessary this part of the plot is.

Piper Perabo's acting is nothing to write home about either. Unlike Jennifer Garner in Alias, she couldn't carry the weight of the character. Trying to act badass but it doesn't cut it. It comes across as overbearing and it's annoying.

I mentioned Alias and Sydney Bristow. I fucking loved Alias. LOVED. I abstained for any CIA-related TV shows and movies after it got... abandoned. I happened to watch Covert Affairs because I needed new stuff to watch. I might continue watching because, while so predictable, it has interesting stuff. Interesting enough to keep my attention and carry me to the next show.

04 May 2010

Yesterday, instead of heading over to The Met Costume Gala and stalking some celebrities, I hung around Broadway and attended the free reading of the new musical Volleygirls at The New World Stages. (It's all good. I figured it would be chaos over at The Met. A little audio/visual art is great too.)

Volleygirls is a story about the Saint Agnes Volleyball Team set in Bexley, Ohio during the current fall sports season. The show starts off introducing the current members of the team: Jess (Allison Jill Posner), the team captain; Marisol (Monica Raymund of Lie to Me), who will be revealed as a lesbian later in the show; Liv (Shaina Taub), the "fourth dumbest girl in the school"; and Ingrid (Raushanah Simmons), the tall and "nice" one. Their coach, played by Hairspray's Clarke Thorell is suffering from a case of "loseritis". He separated from his wife who happens to be the sports coordinator of St. Agnes, played by Jennifer C. Johnson (she plays 3 roles.), he dwells on the one bad review he got on his published work, and his team could not complete the roster of 6 players let alone beat the best of the league, Arlington. Eventually, they find two new girls, Katie played by Alex Ellis of Legally Blonde and Crash, portrayed by Joy Suprano. Katie is the new girl in school while Crash was the soccer team goalie looking for a change in scenery, "I don't want to STOP things from happening. I want to MAKE things happen."

At first, the team did not get along well with the new additions. Their "system" was not working - more like a hit or miss. Then Marisol, Ingrid, and Liv devise a new strategy which Marison dubs as "habali", wild pig. They practice in secret and then they start winning again. The team tries out another player, shy girl Jocelyn played perfectly by Leslie Flesner. She then asks Marisol to teach her how to "move like you do", confident and so sure of herself. This leads to Marisol developing a crush on Jocelyn.

Meanwhile, the sports commentator Xavier (Gideon Glick, Spring Awakening) is revealed to have a crush on team captain Jess. He coins the term "Volleygirls" which Jess shoots down initially. Jess' dad played by Eric Michael Gillett (who also plays 3 roles) does not believe in the team's coach and repeatedly speaks his mind to the Coach about it.

Under the high-energy music and (what I can imagine) action, nothing much happens apart from the team winning and losing some games until they get their act together and reach the finals against Arlington. And the underdogs always win, right? ;)

Volleygirls is a real feel-good show. The characters were developed nicely. The music/vocals were great. My favorite vocal performance was Eric Michael Gillett as the Russian referee. He was hilarious! Among the girls, I really enjoyed Monica Raymund's portrayal of Marisol. The music was really engaging. The "Habali" song reminded me so much of Spring Awakening's "I Believe" (this show seems to be following me around haha) because one, they rhyme; and two, it gets stuck in your head like a boss.

I am curious as to how this will look like fully staged. There were a lot of scenes where the team was at play. Somehow, I cannot picture how that will look like just yet. Also, would they bring more people to fill in some roles? Both Gillett and Johnson play 3 parts and even if they change costumes, it may still be confusing. (That was one of the things I didn't like so much about American Idiot - Mary Faber and Christina Sajous playing named roles as well as ensemble. After a while, you'll be wondering why Heather and Extraordinary Girl are in there spazzing with everybody haha.) Overall, the show is really fun. A musical about sports is something new to me and I enjoyed it very much.

Volleygirls is directed by Neil Patrick Stewart, Book by Rob Ackerman, Music by Eli Bolin, and Lyrics by Sam Forman.

----

There will be another reading on Monday, 10 May 2010 at The Beckett, Theatre Row. For more information, click here. RSVP volleygirlsmusical@gmail.com for guaranteed seats.

01 May 2010

Just got home from having dinner at Avenue B [oooouuuuut tonight! LMAO] -- spent the afternoon at Alphabet City. Then I remembered that I haven't blogged about my first off-Broadway show... AVENUE Q.

Last 28 April 2010, I got to watch Avenue Q at the New World Stages. It was easy enough to get there. And it's so close to the Gershwin! [I'm still thinking of watching/skipping Wicked. I mean, I love it as much as I do American Idiot but I've watch it so many times already.] I had two comp tickets but oh well, I watched it all alone. It's okay though. I might piss off any companion with my mouthing of the songs! I can't help it, sorry haha.

To "commemorate" my first off-Broadway show, I bought a souvenir. This Avenue Q keychain. [I got the American Idiot shirt/poster for free so I won't buy any more the next time I watch woot!] I loved it from the first time I saw it. It's so cute!

I didn't get a photo POV from my seat. Well, I tried but the theater was smallish and ushers were EVERYWHERE. Anyway, I was Orchestra Row M seat 5 and 7. Great seats! :D And oh, even though it was Avenue Q we were watching, I pimped American Idiot to those watching with me. The girls in front of me were wondering which Broadway show to watch. They were reading the list off the playbill and one of them said, "Oh American Idiot!" So I kinda offered my $0.02. The playbill helped as well: it has the Mayer on Armstrong interview and a full-page ad for American Idiot. Suffice to say, I am sending three new Idiots over to St. James next week. ;-)

Anyway, oh man I forgot how fun this show is. It's been a while since I listened to the OBCR and the last clip I've seen is of Mary Faber as Kate Monster singing "A Fine, Fine Line". My Princeton-Rod is Seth Rettberg and My Kate Monster-Lucy the Slut is Sarah Stiles. Ann Sanders is my Christmas Eve. I love them! I probably looked stupid singing along to "It Sucks to be Me". Yes, I know all the words. And fuck it, I "bopped" my head towards the end of the song, "We're together here / On Avenue Q..." I'm a dork lmao! It's a good thing there was no one seated behind me. Hahahaha!

At first, it was a bit distracting with my eyes shifting between the actor and the puppet. (My favorite cast is the original London cast because they are the most engaging and not distracting at all.) Sarah Stiles' voice was so cute. Although she did a better job as Lucy the Slut vocally than Kate Monster. I do like Seth Rettberg but sometimes Princeton's mouth doesn't move. So sometimes, I'm looking at Seth instead of Princeton. Like with Sarah, I like his secondary character more, Rod. Cullen R. Titmas was an awesome Nicky (voice). I loved his performance in "If You Were Gay". Ann Sanders as Christmas Eve was HILARIOUS! Whenever she's onstage, I couldn't take my eyes off her. Nicholas Kohn as Brian was okay. I mean, every Brian I've seen are somewhat the same anyway. Gary Coleman was played by Danielle K. Thomas. She was very funny. But for me, the best performance was by Maggie Lakis as one of the Bad Luck Bears. Oh man, she was so good!

My favorite scenes are "The Internet if for Porn", "If You Were Gay", "Fantasies Come True", and my favorite song from the show, "A Fine, Fine Line".

I didn't like "I Wish I Could Go Back" and "The Money Song" because there was a bit of sound overload. One funny thing that happened that night: in "Schadenfreude", there's a dialogue:

Gary Coleman: Satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.
Princeton: "Satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune"? That IS German!
Oh man, there were three "older" German audience members seated at the row in front of me. [They were talking in German during intermission, that's how I knew.] OMG, they weren't laughing for a good ten minutes... until after two songs at least! It was awkward but funny!

The audience was great! Most of those in the front rows are out-of-towners -- they were dressed to the nines! I think it was a class trip; I overheard a couple of them in the ladies' room... something about how "they don't have [this] back home".

Overall, I enjoyed it a lot. I couldn't have picked a better show to pop my off-Broadway cherry. Yes, I just said that. ;-)

On the way home, I decided to pass through Times Square and say hello to the American Idiot billboard. It's cool that it's beside the Avenue Q sign - the two shows I've seen so far. Then I got to 44th street and peeked at the St. James Theatre. I was kinda hoping I could catch some stage dooring but Avenue Q runs longer than American Idiot even without the intermission. Oh well, next time I watch then.

Next show: Volleygirls. Free reading at New World Stages (again), Monday at 3pm.

14 April 2010


Follow up to Generation Kill is this book. One Bullet Away by former USMC Captain Nathaniel Fick [aka the most awesomest man in the universe]. Nate is one of the Marines featured in GK, the platoon leader of Bravo 2. In the miniseries, he was portrayed by Tony-nominated actor Stark Sands.

This memoir starts from his decision to join the Marines, to his tour in Afghanistan, until after his deployment to Iraq. Like in GK, this is not about the war... but the people in and affected by the war. It is very human and you can't help but ADMIRE the crap out of this MAN.

Nate is currently the CEO of CNAS. He lives in Washinton DC with wife Margaret Angell and newborn daughter, Ella.

"For the first time in my life, desire and effort wouldn’t be enough. I was learning that in the Marines, the only easy day was yesterday. Success the day before meant nothing, and tomorrow might never happen. I woke up each morning at Quantico wondering whether I’d still be there that night." -- Nate Fick.


Generation Kill / Evan Wright

Based on the true story of the first marines to arrive in Baghdad, told by Rolling Stone writer Evan Wright, who traveled with them, witnessing the beginning of the war on terrorism. It tells the story of the first 40 days of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

I have been interested in Military [especially USMC] History for a long time and this is one of the best non-fiction pieces out there. In fact, this is the best book that I have read in 2009. Evan Wright did not hold back on his observations. He wrote everything from the impromptu karaoke in 2-1 Alpha's Humvee to the Command's sheer incompetence.

Wright mainly writes about what was going on in the lead vehicle two-one-alpha led by Sgt. Brad Colbert [now, Gunnery Sergeant]. Just through Wright's words, Colbert's courage and "Iceman" coolness can be appreciated. Also in the spotlight is platoon leader Lt. Nathaniel Fick [one of my favorite people in the world!] and his struggle to do what he thinks is "right" but he had "orders" from Command to do otherwise. The book really gives the reader a civilian's insight to what it is in Iraq early in the war and what the Marines really think of it.

I have two copies of this book. My first copy looks like a school book with all the highlighted dialog and quotes. It is so quotable - with just "good" quotes and technical dialog.

"Whatever happens, just promise me you won’t leave me alone." - Cpl. Gabe Garza to Sgt. Tony Espera before rolling into Al Gharraf. “Generation Kill” chapter 13.

GK was made into a miniseries by HBO, which I also LOVE. I recommend both book and miniseries to everybody.


I've always wanted to do a paw print design. I couldn't find a dotting tool with a large(r) dot so I put off doing it. But I improvised. And now it's here!

(Ain't that blue so pretty?)


I used:

  • base coat
  • Best Sence (don't ask about the spelling; it's on the bottle) blue
  • NYC French White Tip 134A
  • Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Black Out 28
  • dotting tool
  • Sally Hansen Super Shine Top Coat
Again, I like variety so I did a dog bone on my middle finger.

How-to:
  • Apply base coat.
  • Paint two coats of the Best Sence blue.
  • Using the dotting tool with a larger tip, draw a dog bone on your middle finger using the NYC French White Tip. Paint two dots, one atop each other on either side of your nail then paint a straight line connecting the two pairs.
  • Clean off your dotting tool. Using Black Out and the larger dotting tool, paint random dots on your other nails. With the smaller dotting tool, draw on 4 dots to complete the paw print.
  • Finish off with top coat.
And yes, that's my mouse. Cute huh?

03 April 2010

Sam Worthington needs a speech coach. At least pick an accent and stick with it. Also, he should be in the running for the next Batman… even if it’s just voice acting.

Another thing, the “one-liners” are awful. All but one. Io utters these words upon her “death”, “You’re not just that [part-man, part-god], you’re the best of both.”

Full review tomorrow… I hope.

26 March 2010

MATTE
Function: adjective
Etymology: French mat, from Old French, faded, defeated
Date: circa 1648
:
lacking or deprived of luster or gloss: as a : having a usually smooth even surface free from shine or highlights b : having a rough or granular surface

I like my makeup to have a matte finish. I like my nail polish to have a shiny [frosted] finish. So why am I reviewing a matte top coat? Uhm well, because I spoke too soon and am now eating my words. HAHA.

The first time I have heard of matte nail polish is from Manglaze called Death Tar. Sadly, this was discontinued. They do have replacements for it. Next, came Essie's Matte About You. It sells for about $10 or so. I never liked spending upwards of $5 on nail polish so I wanted to look for a cheaper alternative to try.


If you can remember my first haul post, Kleancolor Madly Matte was one of the products I picked up. And for $1.99, why not? I'd rather buy a $2 matte top coat than individual bottles of special matte nail polish.


I must admit, it's pretty cool. From the photo above, can you tell which ones have the matte finisher? ;) My ring finger has the Sally Hansen Super Shine top coat while the other two have one coat of the Kleancolor Madly Matte Finisher. It dries almost instantly! Although, it has a rather strong smell. But hey, it's nail polish.

I still prefer the shine over the matte but it's an awesome effect. I might apply this to all my nails to salvage this Spring look after all. :)

25 March 2010


March 20 marked the First Day of Spring. I decided to welcome spring with a fresh nail art.

I used:

  • base coat
  • LA Girl Disco Brites Vinyl Record
  • LA Colors Art Deco in white
  • LA Colors Art Deco in pink
  • dotting tool [or tooth pick]
  • LA Colors Art Deco in forest green
  • Sally Hansen Super Shine Top Coat
I like variety on my nail art so we have small flowers and one big flower.

How-to:
  • Apply base coat.
  • Apply 2 coats of LA Girl Disco Brites Vinyl Record.
  • Using LA Colors Art Deco in white, paint five lines [as shown in photo] to resemble a flower on the upper right side of your nail.
  • Retrace the white lines with the pink LA Colors Art Deco.
  • Blot a bit of green polish on a scrap piece of paper and using a dotting tool, paint a dot on the center of the flower.
The next steps are optional:
  • Repeat on each finger except the thumb.
  • For the thumb, paint an outline of a flower [as shown in photo] using the white LA Colors Art Deco.
  • Using the pink, fill in the blank space inside the flower shape.
  • Paint a green dot on the center for the flower.
  • Apply top coat.

And there you go. I was thinking of drawing two flowers on each nail but just one is cute and simple.

[Hooray for Generation Kill, btw.]

23 March 2010

I thought this week will be Teen Idols or something like that. Disney Channel shit. What happened? They even had the epitome of Teen Bubblegum Pop as their mentor: Miley Cyrus. I was looking forward to Andrew Garcia doing a Jonas Brothers acoustic and Didi Benami taking on Selena Gomez and The Scene. Shucks. >.< style="font-weight: bold;">Billboard #1 Hits. Back up a bit. Wasn't this the semi-finals theme, too? Okay, that was Billboard Top 100. So what's the difference? One hundred and sixteen years of Billboard number one songs versus one hundred and sixteen years of songs in the Billboard Top 100. It is as vague as it can be. I really wish they stuck with the Teen Idols idea. It would've been more interesting... if not entertaining.

I will run the risk of saying this over and over so I'll just say it here... Of all the songs, why this one? Seriously, 116 years of songs sure is a huge range but why couldn't they pick that ONE SONG they know heart and soul? I'd rather choose from a LOT than from a limited list, say for example songs by a certain artist. As Idol goes on, the importance of song choice only gets emphasized. Sometimes, it saves a contestant. He might not sing it very well, but there's an off-chance that there's another contestant who picked a worse song but sounded better technically. Lacey was saved by "Kiss Me". But it's also the same for the opposite. Song choice can kill you. You can be the best singer but the wrong choice of song might make you sound bad or indulgent.

Lee DeWyze, The Letter
Previous Idol rockers have done this song in the past: Bo Bice, Constantine Maroulis (in Hollywood Round AI4) and Chris Daughtry in his AI5 audition. Lee went with a big band, bluesy arrangement which I kind of like. The dude still gives me Danny Gokey flashbacks but I am in love with his voice. Miley commented that he needed a bit more personality [to fill up the stage] but with Lee, you can squeeze a little more but not a whole lot. He's more of a grassroots, intimate performer than taking on a "huge stage".

Paige Miles, Against All Odds
Trivia: What are the 3 most sung songs in American Idol history? Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me and I Have Nothing with six, and -- you guessed it, this song with seven. Rule one of Idol is to NEVER attempt a song that is bigger than you('ll ever be). Paige can definitely sing but this is just plain terrible. I do like the preview with the piano more than the performance itself. She was all over the place, she just couldn't find the notes. Again, 116 years of song. You pick this. And the Mariah Carey version, no less. Fail, Paige. FAIL. And oh, Kara... this is NOT the worst vocal performance of the season so far. That honor goes to Tim Urban and Apologize. And speaking of the devil...

Tim Urban, Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Timmy, worst time to attempt a Queen song. I am in my Tony Vincent, WWRY zone right now. Seriously, what is he still doing here? Can you honestly tell me that there were no better singers than him when they had to bring someone back? To be fair, he had no bum notes during this performance. But the performance itself... WTF? I have no words. If [and I hope] Tim goes home tomorrow, I want him to do a duet with Joe Jonas tomorrow.

Aaron Kelly, I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing
This is another staple song for American Idol. And personally, I have a love affair with this song. It seems so easy with Aaron. He can sing anything and do okay on it. The quality of his voice is awesome. He knows how to pick a song that works for him. But yeah, he does need to show that he's in this to win it not just singing for America.

Crystal Bowersox, Bobby McGee
Let me just say it, JOPLIN! Last season, they wanted Allison to do Janis Joplin; I disagree 115%. THIS is how Joplin should be attempted. And it was a VERY successful attempt. This here, my friends, is KNOWING THYSELF. Seriously, Crystal should receive a bye to the top 5.

Michael Lynch, When A Man Loves A Woman
I don't know what it is but I like Big Mike. Simon said it himself, the guy has mad charisma. He easily takes command of the stage with his voice and presence. And you can feel that it's genuine. Although I agree with what the judges said that this performance did seem a bit indulgent. Too much of the good thing. But still, compared to the others -- this is good.

Andrew Garcia, I Heard it Through the Grapevine
I am so sorry, fangirls, but I just don't get him. This is an example of hype backfiring. Is he singing the song or reciting the words? There is almost no melody, the song is too low for him. Wrong song choice. It was just awful.

Katie Stevens, Big Girls Don't Cry
By far, the newest song to be ever sung on an Idol stage by a current contestant. But Katie is the resident old soul. I sort of get the "young it up" comments but what if Katie is really just an old soul? Let's face it, songs then are so much better than the songs now. Trying to make her sing songs she might not like is not good advise. And with Katie, any song sounds old. To be fair, this is my favorite Katie performance so far and I am so glad she's not wearing something out of a beauty pageant.

Casey James, Power of Love
Every time he performs, he looks a little deer caught in the headlights-ish. And for some reason, the guitars look tiny with him. Whatever, he's hot. And he has a hot voice. But Casey, let go a bit more.

Didi Benami, You're No Good
I had to giggle at the irony of the song. Was it for the other contestants or herself? Or both? When Lacey was voted off, I thought those "wanting to be somebody they're not" were gone. Hello, Didi took Lacey's spot apparently. She said she doesn't want to be boxed in to a genre. But what if that genre works the best with what she has? Why not make the song work for her? I don't think she gets it. She is more indie than mainstream. She needs to realize that and work with it if she wants to stay.

Siobhan Magnus, Superstition
It's Miss "to-beat" in the competition. She's loud and low-key at the same time, really. She's a totally different person when she's performing. When she's not... she... talks... so... slowly. Seriously, does she know how good she is? One complaint though: the screech. Yeah, it worked for Adam but after that, this might get a little old a bit sooner than it did last season.

It's a very disappointing night. At least if they stayed with the Teen Idols theme, they have a legitimate excuse for suckage. I can count with one hand the marginally good "teen idol" songs of today. But with Billboard #1s? No excuse for a crappy song.

Miley Cyrus did a good job as mentor, surprisingly. My advise to her, QUIT DISNEY CHANNEL. NOW. She looks too old and [dare I say it] too good for them now. She has a totally different image than what Disney would like to sell. I hope she doesn't go the Dakota Fanning route -- start early and never seem to grow out of it.

Who's going home? Either Paige or Tim. But I'd rather go with Tim... going home, I mean. Can you imagine a 50-city tour that will kick off with him? [I skipped Sarver and Megan last year so yeah, what do I know, right? LMAO.] Between him and Paige, I do like Paige. She can sing and she can bring it.

21 March 2010

I love mascaras. Mascaras are like... my thing. It's the only piece of makeup I take seriously.

Every time I find myself at Sephora or the makeup section of a mall or drugstore, I am tempted to buy a tube of mascara. I've been eying a few products for a while but for now, let's look at CoverGirl Lash Blast.


Pardon the crappy photos. I used my Macbook's iSight for this about a month ago.

Anyway, pictured above is my second tube. I got those two-for-one deals from Costco. And yes, that's the old packaging. The new tube does not have that silver stripe anymore and it's called "Lash Blast Volume", I think. But it's basically the same thing. I love that the brush is rubber/plastic and is not immersed in the product when you first get it. And look at the size of that thing! The large brush definitely gives great coverage -- gets the whole lash covered.

CG’s LastBlast is… probably the best mascara I’ve ever used. So far. You can build up the color/coverage. And I thought such a mascara doesn’t exist -- but it does: IT DOES NOT CLUMP. Srsly. And it’s so easy to take off. Just soap and water, et voila! (I hate waterproof mascara.)


(Oh gahd, kindly ignore the non-pretty haha.)

No product on the right eyelashes. 2 coats of CG LashBlast on the left.

The way I do it is I comb my lashes before and after I curl it. And once more after I apply mascara -- before the product dries.

What I do not like about it — it flakes. The thicker the application is, the flakier it gets (which makes sense). What I do to remedy that is I take those small brush things from Sephora and “comb” my lashes from time to time. But it's no biggie, really.

*****

I still LUH CoverGirl’s Lash Blast but there are a ton of products out there. I’ve been eyeing Tarte mascaras every time I pass by Sephora.

Basically, I’m looking for products that give more volume [length’s a plus but I don’t need it as much as I need volume]. Lancome Oscillation Mascara is the FRICKIN’ SHIZ but I am not ever going to fork over $35 for any kind of makeup. EVER. And oh, fake lashes are out of the question.

So if you have anything to recommend, gimme!



I will not say anything else but: AMAZING.

[I legit cheered when the theme for a certain vampire TV show came on.]


I got the original idea here. I already had pink polish on my toes so I decided to zombiefy them.

I used:

  • base coat
  • Maybelline Mod Mauve 70
  • LA Colors Art Deco in Red
  • Kleancolor Nail to Toe in Black
  • Sally Hansen Syper Shine Top Coat
It's one of the easier nail art that I've tried. You don't really need a video to demonstrate it.

How-to:
  • Apply base coat.
  • Apply 2 coats of your pink / flesh color.
  • Paint a thick strip of red across the nail. Sky's the limit.
  • With the black, paint a thinner stripe along the red and then cross over it with shorter stripes to achieve a "sewn on" look.
  • Apply top coat.
I hope you like it!


I hope Sam Merlotte is paying me enough. Hard day at work. ;-)

LOL I wish!

I have two shirts off the True Blood Official Merchandise collection. This and the Eric Northman shirt in black. I do want the Fangtasia shirt too. I got this at Hot Topic for $22. Yes, $22 for an almost plain white shirt.


But what can I say? I like it. I also have a pair of shorts to go with it. All I need is a little apron and I'm all set to be an Asian Sookie Stackhouse for Halloween! X-D

My only complaint is that this shirt is thin. Almost see-through thin. No matter what color bra you wear, it will be somewhat visible. I always wear it with something layered over it.

20 March 2010

Glee: The Music, Volume 2

TRACKLISTING
1. "Proud Mary"
2. "Endless Love"
3. "I'll Stand By You"
4. "Dont Stand So Close to Me/Young Girl"
5. "Crush"
6. "(You're) Having My Baby"
7. "Lean on Me"
8. "Don't Make Me Over"
9. "Imagine"
10. "True Colors"
11. "Jump"
12. "Smile" (Lily Allen)
13. "Smile" (Charlie Chaplin)
14. "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going"
15. "Don't Rain On My Parade"
16. "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
17. "My Life Would Suck Without You"

Glee: The Music, Volume 2 contains songs from the last five episodes of the original thirteen episodes of Glee season one. The last four songs were performed during the Fall finale episode, "Sectionals".

Comparing Volume 1 to Volume 2, this one seems more mature than the first one. Again, wonderful selection of songs and like the first one, I find myself singing along constantly to these. We also get to hear more from the other cast members.

The CD opens up with Proud Mary. If the first CD did not convince you that Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) can sing, this might. We also get to hear Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) and for the first time, Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang) with solo parts on this song. I loved this performance on TV, with the wheelchairs and platforms. This is such a fun song and a great way to introduce Volume 2. Toning it down is Endless Love performed by Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester) and Lea Michele (Rachel Berry). These two stage veterans put together and it's magic. I love this song a lot. I can't tell you how many times I've sung along to this on my way home. Let me just say that I am in love with Lea Michele's voice when she sings ballads.

One of my favorite songs is I'll Stand By You by The Pretenders. This is an American Idol staple, even covered by Carrie Underwood for Idol Gives Back. Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) did an awesome job on this. This is the most emotional I've heard him sing. I am so in love with this version that I've got to say, I teared up a bit when I first heard the full version. In the episode, Don't Stand So Close to Me/Young Girl was hilarious. I'm not really in love with the studio recording. I think you need to watch this to get the full effect. I do like how these two song mashed up. Kudos to the musical director once again. To follow up "don't stand so close to me" (get it), is Crush. Originally done by Jennifer Paige, this is one of my favorite late 90s songs. After 11 years, I still know all the words. This one is performed by Lea Michele. As much as I like her voice in ballads and show tunes, her pop is not that good. Well, at least I think the song is wrong for her. I'm glad they recorded a full version of this. One the episode, this was on for like five seconds.

When Finn finally decided to tell Quinn's parents that (You're) Having My Baby, on-screen it was a bit awkward. I did like the sentiments but it was probably the most awkward part of the season. I really don't have anything to say about this song because I usually skip it to get to probably my favorite track on the album, Lean On Me. When I first heard this, I knew it had potential to be the next Somebody to Love. It's a classic song for glee clubs everywhere. Try taking a listen and I dare you not to sing along. Kevin McHale and Amber Riley leading this track once again is perfect! I really like Kevin's voice and I'm glad that he's given more solos this time around. On TV, Don't Make Me Over wasn't really sung. The backing track was played while Kurt was giving Rachel a makeover. With this, Miss Amber Riley proved she can sing soulful jazz. I like it.

My favorite moment of the whole season so far is Imagine. I must admit, I was crying like a baby when I watched that scene. There is something so powerful seeing a deaf choir "sing" this beautiful song in sign language. The Glee kids bring another layer to it by singing and signing along. It was a very touching moment. And no matter how many versions I hear of this song, it's always so beautiful.

All season, I've been waiting to hear Jenna Ushkowitz sing. I did; she did a part of Tonight from "West Side Story". But True Colors is her first Glee solo. I so was not expecting this and it did not disappoint. I love singing this song at karaoke. And the backing voices on this track are so simple and beautiful. Jump, originally done by Van Halen is another one of those unexpected songs they would cover. I love the original version of this song a lot. Like Don't Stand So Close to Me, you need to watch the whole thing to get the full effect of this song.

They did two "Smile" songs in this album. The first one is Lily Allen's Smile done by Lea Michele and Cory Monteith. I don't like this a lot so I usually skip this to get to the better one, at least in my opinion. Smile by Charlie Chaplain, another one of those classics that you can't mess up. And to all those who are bullied in their lives, do watch this episode, "Mattress". Especially during this song. :')

By now, I'm ready to rename this CD as Amber Riley featuring the Glee Cast. Although not my favorite version, Miss Riley's And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going is as powerful as they come. American Idol producers, what the hell were you guys thinking rejecting her?! Seriously! [To note: Heather Morris aka Brittany of Glee was also rejected by another Fox reality talent show: So You Think You Can Dance.] And since we are on the show tunes note, Lea Michele's glory moment - and to be honest, I've been waiting for her to do it - Don't Rain on My Parade. I've been dying for her to do a Streisand. And she did not disappoint! I even love this part of the season finale. I just love everything about it. Lea shines the brightest when she's doing show tunes.

(Before writing the next paragraphs, I've listened to Don't Rain on My Parade three times. That is how much I love that track.)

You Can't Always Get What You Want is their impromptu group performance for Sectionals. It wouldn't be my first choice if it were a competition in real life but it worked for them. And to close Volume 2, Kelly Clarkson's My Life Would Suck Without You. This is a wonderful Glee-fied version but the real treat here is the performance in the episode. At some point, they danced steps from their previous numbers. [Best part is the Emma/Will kiss but hey... LOL.]

So that's Glee: The Music, Volume 2. I am not liking the lack of Mark Salling (Noah Puckerman), Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel), and Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray) solos. Like I said at the beginning of the post, this has deeper emotions than the first volume. It's more grown-up. Personally, I prefer the first one. Glee has a knack of picking awesome songs to do and I can't wait for Volume 3.


Glee: The Music, Volume 1

TRACKLISTING

1. "Don't Stop Believin'"
2. "Can't Fight This Feeling"
3. "Gold Digger"
4. "Take a Bow"
5. "Bust Your Windows"
6. "Taking Chances"
7. "Alone"
8. "Maybe This Time"
9. "Somebody to Love"
10. "Hate On Me"
11. "No Air"
12. "You Keep Me Hangin' On"
13. "Keep Holding On"
14. "Bust a Move"
15. "Sweet Caroline"
16. "Dancing with Myself"
17. "Defying Gravity"

iTunes Bonus Track
18. "I Say A Little Prayer"

Target bonus tracks
18. "I Wanna Sex You Up"
19. "I Could've Danced All Night"
20. "Leaving on the Jet Plane"


A collection of songs from the first nine episodes of season 1 feature on Glee: The Music, Volume 1, which was released on November 3, 2009.


Okay, I am a SERIOUS Glee fan. I have the songs on loop some days on my way to and from work. Since getting this album, I've played it constantly. I love the songs they cover and the whole premise of the show itself. And it helps that I'm a former glee clubber. I almost attended their signing at The Grove, LA yesterday -- I had no one to go with me so I decided to skip it. Boo!

Anyway, I am familiar with some of the actors. Lea Michele (who plays Rachel Berry) was the lead in Broadway's "Spring Awakening". Kevin McHale had a small part in HBO's "True Blood". Matthew Morrison was nominated for a Tony Award. With an awesome cast and music, Glee is a very worthwhile show to watch.

The unofficial "title track", Don't Stop Believin', originally done by Journey, is one of my ultimate favorite songs. I literally have to sing along every time I hear it. It was used in the Pilot episode which aired after American Idol. Coincidentally, it was also used in an Idol episode and as an encore number for the Idols LIVE Tour. I think this is the only full song, so far, that they performed on the show. Lea Michele's voice is so strong. Cory Monteith carries his own very well. It's hard not to sing along.

Can't Fight This Feeling, originally done by REO Speedwagon... often gets stuck in my head. Another one of those songs that I have to sing along to. Cory Monteith, who plays Finn, said that this was his audition piece. They decided to put it on the show - Finn singing in the shower for Mr. Schuester to hear. It's a really beautiful track. It makes me want to bust out my lighter and wave my hands in the air. "And even if I wander, I'm keeping you in sight..." HAHA.

Amber Riley, who plays Mercedes, shows her excellent pipes on Gold Digger. Matthew Morrison (Mr. Will Schuester) does the rapping -- and it's a WOW. Kevin McHale (Artie) lends lead vocals as well. I never saw this one coming. Kanye West is not really glee club material but damn, this is good. One of my favorite tracks is Take A Bow, the Rihanna song, done by Lea Michele. Rachel was singing about Finn not noticing she's there. The bridge part of the song to the last chorus is so powerful. I must admit, I lip synced to this song a couple of times. Bust Your Windows is Amber Riley's solo singing about how Kurt Hummel, played by Chris Colfer, broke her heart so she "bust your windows of your car". If you've seen the episode "Acafellas", she literally busted out the windows of his car. Oh boy, Ms. Riley can SAAAAANG! Clearly a diva song; I like it a lot.

Another favorite track is Taking Chances. This is written by Kara DioGuardi (she also has a version of this with her band "Platinum Weird") and sung by Celine Dion. I love all versions, including this one. It's a really great pop rock song. I have mimed to this track more times than I like to admit. HAHA. I am just so in love with Lea Michele's voice. When my favorite stage actress Kristin Chenoweth guest-starred on the episode "The Rhodes Not Taken" as April Rhodes, I spazzed. And she did one of my favorite songs. Alone, an original by Heart (and one of my karaoke staples), is a duet with Matthew Morrison. I've never heard this song as a duet so it's a treat for me. Maybe This Time is another track performed by the great Miss Chenoweth. She shares the song with Lea Michele. When I first heard this, I could barely tell the difference. But when I saw the episode, it made more sense. Both Broadway stars held their own very well on this "Cabaret" song.

If I had to pick ONE favorite track from this album, it is Somebody to Love. Glee has a knack of picking my favorite songs. Originally done by Queen, this song is PERFECT for choir/glee club. I just wished they included Artie's solo part on the episode. Kevin McHale can seriously sing; I love his voice. This rendition is pretty epic. Normally, I would have my reservations of a Queen song is done by somebody else. But I'm extremely happy with this one. The Jill Scott original Hate On Me is given a fresh and in-your-face mix. It is so bad-ass and in your face... I just love it! Amber Riley's voice is perfect for the song.

No Air is another Rachel/Finn duet. I like the beginning of the song. Not much on the second half - it kind of went all over the place. To me, it didn't work as well as the other songs on this album. Same with Keep Me Hanging On, performed by Dianna Agron. She plays Finn's girlfriend Quinn Fabray. I'm sorry but I'm not sold on her voice at all. Had I not seen her audition video, I wouldn't believe she really sings. At least, after these two songs, Keep Holding On impressed me so damn much. Another song perfect for glee club, this Avril Lavigne original reduced me to tears when I watched the "Throwdown" episode.

After Matthew Morrison proved that he can rap in "Gold Digger", he does it again with Bust A Move. It's awesome because it's another one of those unexpected tracks. And oh, Sweet Caroline -- PUUUUCK! Mark Salling, why you so hot? I wish this song is a bit longer. I sing along to this every time it plays in my iPod, no matter where I am. This track is followed by another solo, this time by Kevin McHale with Dancing With Myself. I can't wait to see the episode with this song. I really like Kevin's voice.

And now... Defying Gravity. Performed by Lea Michele and Chris Colfer, my favorite character Kurt. This version is so right in so many levels. I have no words to express how much I love this version.

The iTunes bonus track is Say A Little Prayer by Dianna Agron. I don't like it. So... yeah. Target bonus tracks include I Wanna Sex You Up featuring Matthew Morrison, Mark Salling, Cory Monteith, Stephen Tobolowsky, Patrick Gallagher (Patrick Gallagher plays vampire "Chow" on True Blood), I Could've Danced All Night by Jayma Mays, and Leaving On A Jet Plane by Matthew Morrison.

Overall, this is a wonderful collection of songs. It can go on a loop on your player and you'll still find yourself singing along to these popular songs done Glee-style.



Hey! I've been listening to the Bonnie & Clyde masters a lot -- hell, I think I already know most of the words. I love the bluesy western feel of it, especially the piano. This was a bit different than Frank Wildhorn's other works and I like it. Now, I heard of Don Black from the London cast of Romeo et Juliette de la Haine a l'Amour. Erm. I did NOT like it. [I frickin' LOVE the French original to bits; the English version raped it.] So yeah, while I looked forward to the music in this, I was ready for excessive cheese in the lyrics.

Anyway, I listened a bit to the demo before I received any audio masters of the show itself. There are so much difference between the demo (which I think was started 1999) and the show proper (which was produced ten years later). So, I decided to compare them... sort of.

The demo was sung by Michael Lanning, he played Charlie/Preacher/Judge/Ensemble in the production, and Linda Eder, Frank Wildhorn's ex-wife. It consists of 13 songs. At first glance at the track list, it seems that they dropped a few songs. They added new songs too. And some changed titles. It's very interesting. My past experiences with demos and preview soundboards... they usually don't change a lot. Sure, Wicked removed a song and totally changed what is now "Dancing Through Life". With this one, the music stayed the same but they did changes on the lyrics. Again, Don Black... I am looking at you.

What Was Always Good Enough, or what I call "the tub scene", remained almost the same. I love that this is sort of the "official" introduction montage of sorts for the two. Clara Bow/Tom Mix was scrapped. Bonnie was talking about being called the It girl one day. In the production, Clyde takes care of that and of course, the "ravishing redhead" blurb in the magazine. Clyde talks about Tom Mix and how he wants to make it big too. Short Order World is one of my favorite tracks on the demo and the production. But the lyrics are TOTALLY DIFFERENT. In the demo, the chorus is comprised of the diner's menu: hash browns, eggs, bacon fried. The "I'm sick to death of the losers 'round here" part and the best line of the song, "I got me a dream and a dream's worth a lot." And oh, the demo is a duet. This Never Happened Before makes me smile every time I hear it -- without even watching the show. It's more amusing once you know what it's about... sorta. ;-) This one was kept intact.

The Long Arm of the Law was definitely longer in the demo. In the production, a good chunk of it had dialogue interludes. Some lyrical changes here and there but nothing too drastic. When I first saw the next song in the list, I Don't Know the Way, I thought it was removed. But when I listened to it... guess what? It's Dyin' Ain't So Bad. This song probably is in the Top 3 reasons why I DEMAND a cast album featuring Stark Sands and Laura Osnes. I am so in love with this song and Laura's voice is just... ahh! This never fails to make me cry. The final version just kept the bridge part, "I've met boys who talk about farms and horses.." but other than that, DIFFERENT LYRICS. When I Drive is another song scrapped from the production. Basically, it's just Clyde boasting that he can get any car he wants and he's most alive when he's driving. It's a good decision to remove this song -- I cannot imagine Stark singing this [Don Black, srsly?].

Another one of my favorite songs is You Can Do Better Than Him/Me. "Him" for the production and "Me" for the demo. In the demo, it's a Clyde solo. The lyrics are almost the same but pronouns are changed in the final production to make it a duet between Ted and Clyde. You're All I Ever Wanted is not in the final production. It's just another Bonnie solo professing her love and devotion to Clyde. Yeah, we have enough of that already. God's Arms Are Always Open was kept as it is.

And oh, my FAVORITE song in the production, The World Will Remember Us. There are a lot of changes in the lyrics. It's the third to the last song on the demo and it closes Act 1 in the production right when Clyde busts out of prison with the help of Bonnie. I think in the demo, it's sort of a "closing" piece of the whole thing. The one used in the production worked better - as a closer of both Act 1 and 2. I Wouldn't Have Missed It For the World feels like an 80s pop song. Hee! It's not in the production, which was good. It has an "Almost Paradise" feel to it. X-D For all the cheese it's worth, I kind of like this song. What You Call A Dream closes out the demo. Like the previous song, it sounds familiar but I'm pretty sure it's not in the final version of the show.

So there. Demo vs Production. Clearly, I prefer the stage play. Why? The demo didn't have BONNIE. The song, I mean. Some songs are very addictive and in no time soon, you'll be finding yourself singing along to them. I know I did. Stark and Laura definitely bring something different to the songs. That, right there, is a perfect piece of casting. I really hope there will be an official cast album featuring the La Jolla cast. I'd give ANYTHING for that.

Index finger design will go to toe nails. I’ve been playing Resident Evil way too much.

Design on middle finger is a nod to the first day of Spring!

I sort of review / how-to will come later. I hope. :)


Nail polishes.

That's probably the only beauty thing I'll splurge on. Everything in that photo is under $2.

(L-R)
LA Girl Disco Brites in Vinyl Record. I have another Disco Brites polish, Hustle. Do these actually glow under black light? I haven't tested that out yet.
Kleancolor Concrete Gray. Call me crazy, but it's a lovely color.
Kleancolor Madly Matte. A Matte Finisher. I still have to try it.
LA Colors Art Deco in Pink, Navy Blue, and Forest Green. I love these thin brush polishes.
Kleancolor Wizard Pads
. Vanilla scent.

PS: Yes, that is Alexander Skarsgard in the background. ;)

[I contributed this post to a fabulous music blog called Pop+Nation.]

It has been a year since American Idol season 8. Personally, that is my favorite season and I have emotionally invested a lot of time, money, and effort into it. Kris Allen won the title with Adam Lambert as runner-up. I do like Kris but Adam...

For Your Entertainment released 23 November 2009.

[I am a huge Adam fan but I am not affiliated with ANY Adam fan groups. I am completely sane. Personal bias might show here and there but it happens to everyone.]



TRACKLISTING

1 Music Again (Justin Hawkins, Rob Cavallo) 3:16
2 For Your Entertainment (Claude Kelly/Dr. Luke) 3:35
3 Whataya Want from Me (Pink, Max Martin, Johan Shellbeck) 3:47
4 Strut (Adam Lambert, Kara DioGuardi, Greg Wells) 3:29
5 Soaked (Matthew Bellamy, Rob Cavallo) 4:33
6 Sure Fire Winners (David Gamson, Alexander James, Oliver Leiber, Rob Cavallo) 3:32
7 A Loaded Smile (Linda Perry) 4:04
8 If I Had You (Max Martin, Johan Shellback and Savan Kotecha) 3:48
9 Pick U Up (Rivers Cuomo, Greg Wells, Adam Lambert) 4:00
10 Fever (Lady Gaga, Jeff Bhasker) 3:26
11 Sleepwalker (Ryan Tedder, Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey) 4:25
12 Aftermath (Adam Lambert, Alisan Porter, Ferras, Ely Rise, Howard Benson) 4:26
13 Broken Open (Greg Wells, Adam Lambert, Evan Bogart) 5:03
14 Time for Miracles (Alain Johannes, Natasha Shneider, Rob Cavallo) Bonus Track 4:43


Let me start with the cover. To be honest, I don't like it. I thought it will grow on me but it hadn't. There are better photos in the liner notes so why he chose this particular one, I have no idea.

Starting off the CD is Music Again. From the first time I heard this song, I immediately thought about the band "The Darkness". Then I read who wrote it: Justin Hawkins, the front man of The Darkness. (Music suggestion: The Darkness - I Believe in a Thing Called Love.) This song has tons of energy; from the intro, transitioning to the chorus. Also - maybe it's because I'm familiar with The Darkness - I felt that I already know this song. I remember riding the bus to work and I was already singing along to it. If that happens, then it's not a bad start to a CD.

The title track, For Your Entertainment, is probably the most different debut single out of ALL the Idols since the first season. It's definitely pop with a hint of glam and electronica. Over the years, I've expected Idol singles to be your typical run-of-the-mill pop, bordering to bubblegum and/or cheesy inspirational. This is something I would willingly listen to. Just... don't ever EVER watch his live performance of this song on the American Music Awards. EVER. I recommend you watch the music video for this instead.

Whataya Want From Me was penned by Pink, Max Martin, and Shellback. And it does sound like Pink. I like this pop-rock sound. I'm not much of a fan of Adam's earlier rock works but this one works perfectly for him. The guitar riff at the beginning is awesome! The lyrics are so good, "It's me, I'm a freak. But thanks for loving me 'coz you're doing it perfectly." I remember that this was the first song from the album that I put on loop. I am also in LOVE with the video. A complete 180 from "FYE".

One of the four songs Adam co-wrote is Strut. He worked with Greg Wells and American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi on it. When the track list leaked, a lot of people went batshitcrazy over this song. When I read "Kara DioGuardi", I had my reservations. Don't get me wrong, she does have really good songs (Music suggestion: Taking Chances). But sometimes she uses wacky lyrics or words that don't fit well with the song (from Taking Chances: "on this planet they call earth"). What do I love with "Strut" is the beat. It's perfect for... wait for it... strutting.

I was really excited when I found out that Muse's Matthew Bellamy will be contributing a song. Soaked is DEFINTELY has a Muse vibe. I am just so in love with this track. The strings are just divine. Adam did "Starlight" during the tour and from there, I wanted to hear more Muse songs from him. Now this... a song given to him by Matthew Bellamy! [I shall stop Muse fangirly-ing now haha.] I'm not that fond of the next track, Sure Fire Winners. Dare I say it, it's a bit forgettable. Clever lyrics though, "I was born with glitter on my face/ My baby clothes made of leather and lace." Other than that, it's an okay song. The second part is better than the beginning.

Halfway through the album and we get a slow song. Loaded Smile is penned by renowned songwriter Linda Perry who also produced this track. Adam maintains his falsetto all throughout the song. It's a nice break from the high energy of the previous tracks. Take a close listen to the lyrics and it's amazing. It's a sad, emotional song about a relationship about to end. And when I read the lyrics, it began to take on a different meaning for me (but that's what personal blogs are for, right).

Next is If I Had You. Very, very danceable. Adam really carries these kinds of songs very well. This is his kind of pop and it's very timely thanks to the likes of Lady Gaga and Ke$ha. "Life would be a party, it'd be ecstasy." Definitely on my party music playlist. Pick U Up is probably my favorite track from the album. Adam co-wrote this with Weezer's Rivers Cuomo and Greg Wells. I love the composition of the song and the build up. The key change towards the end shows Adam's mastery of his voice. From this album, this track has the most plays. No everyday do I gush like this over a 4-minute song but "Pick U Up" is just awesome.

And I mentioned Lady Gaga. Fever was co-written by teh Lady Gaga herself. Take a listen and it does sound like something she would sing. In fact, she did a demo of this (Matthew Bellamy did the same for "Soaked".) And like every Gaga song, it's fabulous. I wish one day, they take the stage together. Sleepwalker is a song penned by Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey, and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. It's a slower song - another break in tempo but not in intensity. Like in "A Loaded Smile", Adam keeps to his falsetto range. I would like to note that Orianthi provided the guitar solo on this track. When I first listened to this song, I didn't particularly like it. But it did grow on me. It's a very nice song. I love the layers in it.

The third song that Adam co-wrote in the album is Aftermath. This is an effort with his friends Ferras, Alisan Porter, and Ely Rise. If you are familiar with Alisan Porter's work, it definitely shows in this song. Powerful rock with deep meanings. Ferras and Alisan Porter performed this song at their recent Hotel Cafe gig where Adam is in appearance. (I was there too, but I didn't get in even if I could. I was with my family.) Broken Open was also co-written by Adam. This time, with Greg Wells and Evan “Kidd” Bogart. It's a haunting song to close out this CD. I'm not a huge fan of the song, though. I do love the vocals, Adam's falsetto is just so beautiful.

As bonus track, this album includes Time for Miracles from the movie "2012". This is Adam's "unofficial" first single. And quite frankly, the only reason why I sat through 3 hours of the movie. The song's pretty epic. Choosing Adam to do this was perfect. He gave it the emotion and the spot-on vocal power.

Speaking of bonus tracks, there are two more. One if you purchased from iTunes and another from his official website. Down the Rabbit Hole should be a party music staple. RIGHT THE EFF NOW. I dare you not to dance when you hear this song. Master Plan... I don't know, I find the intro riff so sexy.

Definitely one of the better albums of 2009. But hey, I'm an Adam fan. (If ever I review Adam's other "debut CD" then bias might fly out the window haha.) Experience FYE for yourself.

So that's it! Happy birthday, Adam Lambert!

And happy listening, people! It's for your entertainment.

[I contributed this post to a fabulous music blog called Pop+Nation.]

When singer-songwriter Katy Perry was 20 years old (2004), she worked with the production group The Matrix on an album. The album created a lot of buzz about Perry and British songwriter Adam Longlands; a couple of nobodies working with some of the top producers. Despite the buzz about the album, The Matrix decided to cancel the album weeks before the album's due date.


The Matrix is the self-titled debut album by the production group The Matrix which was released onto iTunes on January 27th 2009.



Opening up the record is You Miss Me. It has a very pop rock sound, wonderful guitars. The signature roughness in Katy Perry's voice gives it a very grudgy feel. Pair that with Adam Longlands carrying the chorus, it's a great song to kick off the CD. Broken was set to be the first single. It has a bit of a Disney feel to it. I mean, it sounds like something Hey Monday or Miley Cyrus would sing. Especially the chorus. Maybe because the song had previously been recorded in 2003, under the title "What Do You Do", by Matrix produced sister act, The Troys with a few lyrical differences *and* included in the compilation album, The Powerpuff Girls: Power Pop. Personally, I don't like it very much. The band recorded a music video for the song Broken to help promote the album. The video not only featured Perry and Longlands, but whole band.

Up next, Damn. If it sounds familiar, a song from Skye Sweetnam's Sound Soldier album, titled "Boyhunter", which was produced by The Matrix surfaced in 2007. The song uses a slightly altered version of the music from this track. It's very pop/R&B, a bit closer to Katy's sound today. Katy sings solo on this track and it's very danceable. Take A Walk was re-recorded by Sara Paxton in 2005 for the Darcy's Wild Life soundtrack. I don't dig the verses although I can imagine this song playing at a party -- even in a club, given the right remix. Adam Longlands' voice/style lends itself to that kind of sound. One of my favorite tracks is Just A Song. Katy sings solo on this slower song. It's a nice break from the heavier pop rock songs so far. It actually is reminiscent of "Thinking of You". It showcases the emotion in her voice so well. My friend described it to be "a bit emo" but it works for me.

I Love You is another song that has club potential. I notice that if a song is headlined by Adam Longlands, it has a particular pop/club vibe. On this song, Adam is on his own and yes, definitely a club party song. Live Before I Die is awesome. Although it is another Adam Longlands solo, it's slower. The strings are absolutely beautiful; one of my favorites off the CD. In 2006, "Live (Again) Before I Die", appeared on a Bonus track version of Ashley Parker Angel's debut album Soundtrack to Your Life. Ashley re-wrote the majority of the song.

Back to Katy Perry solos, Would You Care. It's a cute song. The singer talking to herself, "Get used to it Katy" as the first line. It's one of those "girl power" songs. Seen That Done That reminds me of something a boyband would sing. Very pop/R&B; I like the attitude. Last track on the album, Stay with Me is a light pop rock track. I don't have anything special to say about this track, to be honest. It's very simple and listenable.

I found a list of other recorded tracks for this album. And it's funny that the best track, in my opinion, is not included to the retail release. However, Love is A Train/Time's Up is re-recorded by Ashley Tisdale as a bonus track on her "Guilty Pleasure" album.

Overall, there's nothing very special about this album. The Matrix decided to release this after the initial success of Katy Perry's official debut album, "One of the Boys". But if you're a Katy fan, go for it.


[I contributed this post to a fabulous music blog called Pop+Nation.]

This is the lead single off Britney's second greatest hits album "The Singles Collection". The song "3" is produced by Max Martin.

If you listen closely,
the track is about threesomes. It is heavy on synthesizers (aren't most of her songs lol) and has an uptempo electropop vibe. I find it slightly awkward that this song is released about a day or so after Mary Travers of the trio "Peter, Paul, and Mary" passed away. This song being about a threesome (if you don't know what that means, look it up) and their names were mentioned... idk.

With this track, it shows Britney is once again trying to reinvent herself to compete with today's sound. Personally, I tend to like the songs Britney releases so I'm cool with it.

[I contributed this post to a fabulous music blog called Pop+Nation.]

I'm not gonna lie, I'm not much of an Allison fan while she was on the show. During the LA concert, I wasn't impressed either. But I got to say, she can sing her face off... it's just... she's not my thing.

To be fair, I took a listen to her single. Like my knee-jerk reaction to Kris Allen's first single, I wasn't feeling it very much. I expected a different kind - a darker feel - of rock vibe from Allison; certainly not a run-of-the-mill bubblegum pop rock. (But then again Max Martin is a POP god.) I gave it a few listens hoping it would grow on me. I like the refrain and the chorus... until it got to the part where she sings the title of the song. I found it so cheesy and it doesn't mesh well with the overall lyric of the song. I don't know -- like I said, she's not my thing.

EDIT: The Spanish version of this song,
"El Viernes Te Olvido Yo" -- I LOVED IT.


[I contributed this post to a fabulous music blog called Pop+Nation.]

London-based Irish rock band The Script did not always go by that name. Nor did they dabble in the rock/pop-rock genre. Back in 1996, Danny O'Donoghue and Mark Sheehan were part the boyband MyTown together with two other guys. I remember loving their song Now That I Found You. They enjoyed limited success in the UK and Ireland. Come 2001, the duo was joined by Glen Power and The Script is born.

Their self-titled debut album was released 8 August 2008 [08-08-08, get it?] in Ireland. It has 11 tracks (13 for the Japanese release including Live Like We're Dying and a live track) and released 5 singles. It was nominated for Choice Music Prize. The album was released in the US 17 March 2009.


We Cry is the debut single for the band. It was released 25 April 2008. It is said that this was inspired by Danny O'Donoghue's personal experiences. It peaked at #9 in the Irish Singles Charts. The song talks about teenage pregnancies, broken dreams, missed opportunities, and ambitions. It is really sad and gloomy. But it's strength is in the lyrics. It is a bit wordy but the message is powerful. It is reminiscent of The Black Eyed Peas' "Where is the Love". Before the Worst is released as the fifth single from the album. It is about a girl leaving the guy and before they both move on, they both go back to the memories before things went wrong. Like the previous song, this one has a dark mood to it without going "too emo". Talk You Down was released 16 March 2009 as the 4th single. The piano intro with the strings in the background is haunting. The transition to a faster tempo with the drum beats gives this rock song a more pop vibe for the pop lovers out there.

The Man Who Can't Be Moved is the second single to be released. And one of my favorite tracks off the album. It is also the debut single of The Script in the USA. It gained airplay from the CBS show "Ghostwhisperer". Compared to the first three tracks, this one is slower and has a lighter vibe to it. It is just a sweet song about a man who never leaves the place where he met a girl so if ever she decides to come back, she'll know where to find him. Breakeven is another favorite track for me. Released as the third single, it reached the top spot on the Australian Airplay Chart. The song reminds me of The Goo Goo Dolls alot. Relationship issues seem to be a common thread in The Script songs. This one talks about the imbalance in a (failed) relationship - how the girl has moved on whilst the guy has not. Rusty Halo has a taste of electro pop-rock sound. I really liked this the first time I heard it - probably because I like electronic music. If you do, then you should check this out.

The End Where I Begin a haunting track. It picks up in the middle. If the previous songs hadn't already, this song shows what great songwriters and arrangers they are. reminded me of the intro of U2's "Beautiful Day". The piano backing is really awesome and once again, I have to applaud the song construction. For a change, however, this is not about a relationship between the guy singing and the girl he's singing about. Instead, he's lecturing her about what he sees - falling in love easily, sleeping around, not loving herself. If You See Kay is probably about a real girl. I was a bit weirded out at first but the chorus is really sweet. I'm Yours is a nice change from the rest of the album. It's guitar-driven, acoustic love song. It is a sweet/sexy song; hell, I'd like a guy to sing this to me. Anybody There is a bonus track to the worldwide release of the album. This song closes out the album with an epic strings-driven backing track and as always, a powerful message.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to and reviewing this album. I love the skill in songwriting and song construction displayed on all songs. They do tend to get wordy (think of Jason Mraz). I might want more variety in sound - more songs like Anybody There or The Man Who Can't Be Moved. The whole album is truly worth the listen.

---- EXTRA ----

Live Like We're Dying despite the cliche title is probably my favorite of all The Script songs I've heard. Released as a bonus track/ B-side on the Japanese release of their album, this was picked up as the debut single for American Idol season 8 winner Kris Allen. Critics say it's the "possibly the best first post-American Idol single yet by an American Idol champion". And I agree. It appeals to a wide audience and it shows a sure direction where Kris is going with his music.

[I contributed this post to a fabulous music blog called Pop+Nation.]

The winner of American Idol season 8, Kris Allen, confirmed through his Twitter that the first single off his debut album will be "Live Like We're Dying". The song debuted 21 September 2009 on Z100 New York.

This is technically a cover version of the song. Originally done by the Irish band The Script, this track did not appear on their album. Comparing the two versions, I prefer Kris' take on the chorus. For the verses, I like how The Script did it. Overall, Kris' version grew on me fast. I am happy he went the Jason Mraz-ish route for his post-Idol sound. After seeing him live in LA, I really wish he does a version of "All These Things That I've Done".

[I contributed this post to a fabulous music blog called Pop+Nation.]

With the upcoming release of 2ne1's full album this October, I am publishing my review of the group and their mini-album.

2NE1 is a South Korean girl group by YG Entertainment comprising of talented young ladies CL, Minzy, Bom, and Dara. Their first single, Fire, was released 6 May 2009. To be honest, I did not jump into their KPop bandwagon right away. Their first appearance in BigBang's Lollipop was a little weird to me (mainly because of BigBang, not the girls). But the girls caught my eye.

I am familiar with Dara - known as Sandara or "Sandy" in the Philippines where I am from originally. I watched her in Star Circle Quest Batch 1. I was happy she was one of the winners. She went to the Center for Pop Music Philippines. (Useless information: I did too hahaha. But we were not classmates. HAHA.) I like what she brings into the group; she's the sweet among the spices. She looks so young and happy all the time. And she can pull off those crazy hairstyles haha. The best singer, in my opinion, of the group is Bom. Oh my goodness, she is so darn beautiful. I saw solo singing videos of her and she does have a great voice. And her legs... oh my! Sure, she's not the best dancer but her elegance and vocal ability makes up for it.

"Leader undeniable" CL is fierce! I love her attitude in performance. She always gives it her 200%. And her crazy sunglasses and clothes! She's so cool. And in the acoustic/reggae version of I Don't Care, she showed that she's not only for rapping - but also stylistic RnB singing. And last but definitely not the least, Minzy, the baby of the group. Who would've thought that she's only 15? She owns the dance stage! She rocks it every time.

2ne1 is probably the first KPop group I ever been interested in. Of course, knowing Sandara beforehand helped but when I tried to listen to "Fire", their first single, I was hooked. Then I saw the videos for the songs - they were fun. Watching their live performances sold me. I compared them to other KPop groups and for me, 2ne1 is not only cute... they are REALLY talented.


Their first mini album was released 8 July 2009, following the release of their second single I Don't Care. It has 7 tracks. On its first day, it recorded 50,000 sales in pre-orders. Their debut was a success on the Korean charts, as it heads straight to number 1 for its week - as it sold 13,675 albums.

The first song, and their first single, Fire is an introduction to 2ne1 as a group - "We're 2ne1... you better ring the alarm." It has 4 parts, one for each girl, that shows their personalities: CL and Minzy as the fierce, fiery half; Bom with the gentle vocal; and, Dara showing her own "fire" and grit. The MV has two versions: Space and Street. I prefer the Space version more but my favorites are still the live performances. The dance steps are so awesome! There is not a downer in this song, very well-planned. Dara's part in the bridge totally is perfect to close out such a high energy song.

I Don't Care is a song about a girl who suspects and catches her boyfriend "cheating" on her. The video starts out with the girls on the phone demanding to know where the guy is. And then they go into singing with the background frozen so they can see what their boyfriends are doing. Like in Fire, I also love the dance steps here. Bom especially, taking command of the chorus. "I don’t care e-e-e-e-e-e..."

The third track, In The Club, talks about a brokenhearted girl going into a club to forget her lost love. But then she spots the guy, already moving on. The song has an RnB/Hip-Hop vibe. 2ne1 used this song in their goodbye set, signalling the stop of their promotion of the mini-album. Let's Go Party starts, interestingly enough, with the girls speaking in different languages. CL in French, Bom in Korean, Dara in Filipino, Minzy in Japanese. It's a laid-back RnB track, smooth and sexy. I remember hearing Pretty Boy in their introduction performance. I immediately loved the beat. Very catchy and dancable. And the song's pretty bad-ass! Another one of those what I call "you go, girl" songs. I may not understand these songs (I have to read translations) but I don't need to understand them to dance to them.

Stay Together is probably my least favorite song in the mini album. It's about a girl who wants her man back. It is a sad and emotional song. Nothing special about it but surely the dancy RnB vibe sets 2ne1 apart from the other girl groups. The bonus track of the album Lollipop, their duet with BigBang. Like I said at the beginning of this review, I didn't like it very much. (Maybe it's because of the rapping, I don't know.) It's a good thing that these two songs are at the tailend of the album so you can skip it if this is not your thing.

Over all, this is a very good first offering from a fledgling girl group. I will definitely look forward to their full album if it means MORE songs as catchy as these.

[I contributed this post to a fabulous music blog called Pop+Nation.]

Many of you might remember Marit Larsen from her M2M days with Marion Raven. After their split in 2002, both girls ventured on to solo careers. Marion took the more pop-rock route while Marit chose the more singer-songwriter vibe.

In 2006, Marit released her first solo album "Under the Surface". From the 11-track album, she released 4 singles, "Don't Save Me", "Under the Surface, "Only A Fool", and "Solid Ground". Two years later, she released her second album "The Chase". Marit wrote/co-wrote all songs on her albums. "If A Song Could Get Me You" was released 14 August 2009. It is a limited edition album consisting of her greatest singles from her previous two albums. It is a great selection and if I were to make a mixtape of her songs myself, this is what I might end up with.


If A Song Could Get Me You, the song, is probably my favorite Marit Larsen song. It appears as the 2nd track on her second album. I found myself singing along to it right away. It is a light and happy song about a girl willing to do anything for her special someone. She hopes a song could make her notice him. I found a Youtube video of Marit performing this song live at a grocery store and I loved it. Don't Save Me is the 3rd track on her first CD. It has a very catchy pop vibe. I like the line "... our little castle is a house of cards". Like the previous song, it is not hard to find yourself singing along to this song. This is Me, This is You is the 3rd track on her second album. It's a slower pop song; gentle and simple. I love the delicate sound of piano with the violins. Marit's soft voice carries the song really well.

Under the Surface, the title track from her first album (2nd track from the CD) is another favorite. Take time to listen closely to the lyrics and fall in love with it. I also love to sing along to this song - very well-written. It is really emotional without being heavy. Only A Fool, track 4 from her first album, has a country vibe. It is a VERY fun song! I was instantly hooked the first time I heard it. Songs like this shows Marit's songwriting talent. They are not only great lyrics but also wonderful melodies. Solid Ground appears after Only A Fool on both 2nd and 3rd albums. When I shared Marit's music to my friends, most of them list this as their favorites. It is a slower pop song with a wonderful and inspiring lyric in the chorus. Her flowing words and the use of strings and the piano completes the emotion of the song.

Ten Steps is the 4th track from "The Chase". I really enjoy this song... "ten step from your to your door... ten steps then I'll see you no more..." It's a quirky break-up song of sorts. Totally a "go girl!" song. The 6th song from "Under the Surface", This Time Tomorrow, is another fun song. The song is in third person, talking about a girl who knows that her man will leave her "this time tomorrow" because of her imperfections.

I Heard Your Love Songs, track 9 from "The Chase", is a slow transition from the previous faster songs. It's a piano-driven ballad about a girl listening to old love songs from a boy and wondering what could have been. The Chase is the first track and the title track from Marit's 2nd album. It has a cute piano intro and wonderful harmonies. It is about a guy who likes to chase the girl but she does not want to give in. Is it Love is also from the 2nd album, 6th track. It has a laid-back pop vibe. It has an interesting meaning. A girl talks to her boy, they are having fun but just one word from the boy's ex-girlfriend and he goes running back to her. Track 5 from "The Chase" is Steal My Heart. It is a quirky and sweet song about the girl being ready to be loved and for a guy to "steal my heart". To close out this album, Poison Passion is a darker track that also closes out "Under the Surface". It is a song about being betrayed. It is a good song, however I might not exactly end the CD with this.

So what do you think? To me, this is definitely a 9/10. Share your own reviews! :)

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