Archive for Pop

Il Volo. ‘Nuff Said.

Okay, yeah, Jamie is probably sick of reading me talk about Il Volo…but I just can’t stop! It’s the Jonas Brothers obsession all over again, I tell you! And I’ll give you a warning before you read on: This is going to be mostly me fangirling over them. Don’t expect quality writing. At all.

First of all. I guess I should introduce who Il Volo is. They are Italian. Il Volo means “the flight” in Italian. They sing crossover opera-pop. And they are amazing. I first saw them on American Idol result show (the one where Haley got voted off). Nothing could describe my expression when I heard them. At first, I only heard their voices since I was studying on my laptop and wasn’t really looking at the TV screen, but their voices piqued my interest. I looked up, expecting to find a group about the same age as Il Divo. But no. No, my friends, these guys are most definitely not in their 30’s. They’re teenagers. Gianluca Ginoble (16), Ignazio Boschetto (16) and Piero Barone (17). And you know what’s crazy? Gianluca was born in Feb. 1995! He’s almost exactly my age! I freaked. I mean, I have never heard anyone my age sing like that. Seeing that Gianluca was born in 1995, I was hoping that Piero was born in early 1994, but no, he was born in 1993. So he’s supposed to be a graduating senior, and therefore, not as close to my age as I would like. (As you can see, I’m not actually a Gianluca fangirl. I am indeed a Piero fangirl.) Of course I know that I’ll never meet them. But still.

Now, I shall talk about why I love them so much. First: the appearance appeal. Ignazio, the chubby one, has the most adorable smile. With the dimples and all. So adorable. And he always smiles, so it’s like, when I’m watching him sing, I’m just so transfixed by his smile. Then there’s Gianluca, the guy my age, the one with curly hair. Apparently he won the Italian singing competition that all three of them entered. He does have a great voice. But the appearance appeal. His eyes are beautiful. Just…beautiful. Ahh. Whenever he stares into the camera when he sings, you just feel like melting. And now, we get to Piero. Oh, Piero. He’s just perfect, in all his nerd chic-ness. (Of course I’m being biased. What can I say? I love nerdy chic guys.) The glasses. The scarves. The smile. The spiky hair. The cute faces he makes when he sings. So. Freaking. Cute.

And now we move on to the voices. They are just unbelievable. Their voices are so mature for their age. I honestly have never heard anyone my age sing like that. They’re tenors, but Gianluca mostly covers the lower parts, which definitely fits him the best, and Piero and Ignazio covers the higher parts. Gianluca’s voice has this rumble–I can’t quite describe it. But it definitely has a very unique, beautiful texture. I think Ignazio doesn’t have as distinctive of a voice, but still, it’s pretty amazing how well he sings considering the fact that he’s sixteen (going on seventeen). And the first time you watch Piero sing, you would not believe that that voice is coming out of his mouth. Seriously. He has the most opera-ish voice out of all three, and it’s just so strong. Once again, I may be biased on this, but I think he has the best voice out of all three.

I think this isn’t the only thing that’s so special about them. There’s just something about the way they sing. When you watch them live, it’s just so mesmerizing. They just have a certain charm about them. It just draws you in when they start singing and bouncing to the music. They’re amazing. Period.

Oh, and I just found out that they apparently took part in the We Are the World 25 for Haiti. The Jonas Brothers were in that! Along with other great artists, of course. It’s just so cool, thinking about it. Il Volo and the Jonas Brothers in one room. I would be in hysterical-freak-out-mode if that ever happens again.

Anyway. I’ll leave you with two of my favorite Il Volo songs:


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KSM’s “Best Friends Forever”

Since it’s the end of the school year and I’m leaving Shenzhen for good, this post is dedicated to all the friends I met in China.

KSM is an all-girls band who opened for Honor Society and the Jonas Brothers. And yes, of course, that’s how I discovered this band. KSM consists of five girls: Kate (drums), Katie (guitar/vocals), Shae (guitar), Sophia (bass) and Shelby (vocals), and the name of the band comes from their initials and the first letter in ‘music’.

I love the simplicity of the beginning of the song “Best Friends Forever” from KSM‘s album “Read Between the Lines”. I think it captures the emotion of the song very well. Other than that, the composition of this song is pretty standard and predictable.

Shelby’s voice is really interesting, though. Very unique; I’ve never heard any other voice like hers. I think her voice fits this song. In some of the other songs, her voice can get a little shrieky at times. I actually prefer Katie’s voice. Her voice is more soft than Shelby’s, and I think it’s very pretty. Check out the song “Everytime You Go” if you’re interested in listening to Katie’s voice.

I think that it would be nice if they added a piano part in this song because I think of piano as a soft instrument, and I think it would work well with this song.

Anyway — to my best friends: I’ll miss you, and I dedicate this song to you. See you guys in a few years. =)

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Lee DeWyze & Crystal Bowersox’s Cover of "Falling Slowly"

Falling Slowly
I’m sort of in an American Idol mood right now, and I just really want to blog about this one song. It was performed during Movie Week in American Idol as a duet, by my two favorite contestants, Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox (well, mostly Lee, but I like Crystal, too). This song is originally from the movie “Once”, which I heard is really good. Believe me, I’ve heard three people rant about how amazing it is (*cough*Mr. W*cough*). And it’s supposed to be this romantic story, apparently, so I really want to watch it. (Me and my romance… *sigh*) I’d watch it, but it’s rated R, so… I can’t. Obviously. But I digress. Now I’ll go back to the song.

Anyway, the song is called “Falling Slowly” and I think they sang it really well and arranged it really well, too, for a duet. I really liked how in the beginning, it’s just the two guitar and vocals, and then it builds up with the strings and piano and all that. It makes the song more interesting than the original version. I still like the simplicity of the original, but I also like how they arranged it here. Even though I think that the drums are sort of a little too much sometimes. Well, the drums only exist in the live version of it. But yeah…it’s still really good, even with the drums!

I also really like how well Lee and Crystal‘s voice go together. I’m guessing you already know why I like Lee’s voice, if you’ve listened to him sing, since he has that raspy, rough voice that I just love. (Though sometimes, I think of his voice as a combination of Kris Allen‘s and Danny Gokey‘s, if you know how any of the American Idol people last season sound like. Just saying.) Seriously, how many times have I written about a guy with a voice similar to this one? I should count it. I think right now, it’s, I don’t know, four? Anyway… (why do I keep on going off topic these days?) I never really realized how nice Crystal‘s vibrato sounds. It really shows in this song. And… yeah, they just sound really good together, in my opinion! They are just two really good musicians and I was very delighted when I found out that they were to do the duet together. I’ve seen some people comment on American Idol contestants, and a lot of people say that Crystal is the one to win; people have mixed reviews on Lee, however. Some say he’s going to win (including me. Heh.), some say he’ll certainly be in the top 2, while others hate him so much that they say that he can’t sing. Which is obviously not true, since he’s currently in the top 3… But hey, you can tell me after you listen to this song! Gosh, how many times have I gone off on a tangent?

I also really like the part towards the end of the song, where they sing different parts at the same time. That doesn’t exist in the original song, and I think it’s a really nice twist. Makes the song more memorable, and it gets stuck in my head a lot. It also shows the efforts they put into making the song sound like their own without changing it too much. Christy actually got it stuck in her head after listening to it just once!

Overall, I just really like the song and its various versions. (The original soundtrack version, Kris Allen version, and Dewyzersox version) It’s a really sweet, beautiful song, and I think that Lee and Crystal did a really good job singing it. Tell me what you think! I’m very eager to know. =)

P.S. If you’re wondering where I got the ‘Dewyzersox’ thing (DeWyze + Bowersox), I got it while reading another blog… And it just stuck in my head, just like the song! Oh, and I don’t actually have the song, so this is a link from a different site.

Studio version:

I personally like the live version better (I think that the way they performed it on stage was just great!), so if you’re interested, watch the video here:

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Nick Jonas & The Administration’s "Vesper’s Goodbye"

Who I Am

For those of you who haven’t realized it yet, the Jonas Brothers are awesome. In my opinion. I know I sound ridiculous to some, but the Jonas Brothers aren’t that bad. SERIOUSLY.

Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers did a side project with a few other musicians, and formed a band called Nick Jonas & The Administration. Their debut album is called “Who I Am”, and I am going to talk about one of the songs in this album, which is called “Vesper’s Goodbye”. If you haven’t guessed already, it’s a depressing song. Obviously.

So anyway… Here goes.

I think that the song has a really good beginning, with just the keyboard and vocal. It sets the perfect mood for a sad song. I actually wish that it’s just like that for the whole song, with maybe a little bit of guitar in the chorus. The drums kind of killed the mood.

The melody in the chorus is really beautiful and memorable. Short, sweet, beautiful and memorable. It’s always stuck in my head! Plus, I also think that Nick’s voice really fits this kind of song. Slow pop with a little soul. And I just like his voice generally. It has such a unique character to it.

This song is really, really simple, actually, but it’s very beautiful, in my opinion. The structure of the song is ABABC so it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t a very complicated song. But I think that sometimes, those simple melodies are just so beautiful and memorable, since everyone’s trying to make all these unique and complicated songs. It just makes the simple songs stand out more! And I don’t think there are any clear verses and chorus. I think. I’m pretty sure that’s the case.

Sometimes, this song reminds me a little of the Indonesian song I wrote about earlier. “Saat Terakhir” by ST-12. They’re both about someone dying and they’re both slow songs and… both of the endings are awkward. Seriously, it sounds like the song hasn’t ended yet. The last chord on the keyboard just hangs in the air like that, and then, it’s end of song. The first time I listened to “Vesper’s Goodbye”, I was startled when I realized that my iPod have moved on to the next song!

I think that’s all I wanted to share with you. Listen to it, and I hope that you like it!

And WHY am I so fun to TEASE?????????????????

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Jonas Brothers’ "Hey Baby"


I felt like it is an obligation for me to talk about a Jonas Brothers song, since I’m supposedly suffering from Obsessive Jonas Disorder (OJD), so I’ll talk about one in this blog post! (Yes, I know, I sound very weird right now.)

The Jonas Brothers is a New Jersey band, made up of real life brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick. They are a part of Disney, and have released four albums, one under Columbia Records and three under Disney’s Hollywood Records. Their songs are generally pop/rock, but they also range from jazz to country, and they have co-produced other artists, such as Demi Lovato and Honor Society, both of whom adopt the same main genre as the Jonas Brothers. In their latest album, “Lines, Vines, and Trying Times”, the Jonas Brothers experimented with different instruments, such as horns and strings.

“Hey Baby” is one of the songs from “Lines, Vines, and Trying Times”. It is one of the most unique songs in the album. It also features Jonny Lang, a singer/songwriter/guitarist. He has some guitar solos in this song.

I personally think that the use of horns in this song is very effective. They give a jazzy feel to the song, which is unusual for a Jonas Brothers song. Jonny Lang’s solos also add to the uniqueness of this song.

The change in tempo from the verses, to the bridge, to the chorus is also very nice. The verses and chorus has a moderato-allegro tempo, while the very interesting bridge has a very allegro tempo. I think that this makes the song even more interesting.

And now, I’ll talk about my favorite topic: voice textures. Joe has a very smooth voice, which complements Nick’s unusual bluesy voice. They sound very nice together, and even though I personally think that Kevin should also sing, this combination of voices is very effective in this song.

I might be a little biased, but it is very hard for me to find a flaw in any Jonas Brothers song. Especially this song, since it is one of my favorites. I never get tired of this album, and I think that the Jonas Brothers have improved a lot since their first album—when Nick’s voice sounded slightly like a girl, and when their songs are much simpler than their songs nowadays.

Listen to it and let me know what you think!

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ST-12’s "Saat Terakhir"


Since you probably haven’t heard any Indonesian songs at all, I’ll do my country a favor and talk about a certain Indonesian band. (I know it’s a ridiculously long blog post, even longer than Mr. Weinhold’s, but I can’t seem to write anything shorter than this!)

ST-12 is a very famous band in Indonesia. I believe that they are also pretty well known in Malaysia. Most of their songs are mellow, and the lyrics are mostly sad. Based on my observations, it is very common for Indonesian songs to be slow and depressing, but this particular band is unique because their songs have a Malay twist to them. The way the vocalist slur the notes makes it sound more Malay. It is very hard to find a good comparison between this band and a band/artist that more people might know about, since not a lot of English-language songs have this kind of style. However, if I’m comparing it to another Indonesian band, I would compare it to Hijau Daun, who also uses the Malay style in their songs.

The song “Saat Terakhir”, or, if translated to English, “Last Moment”, is one of my favorite songs by this band, from the album “P.U.S.P.A.”. The intro, with the piano and guitar, sounds cheerful, and you’ll immediately think of happy things. However, when the vocalist started singing, the melody suddenly became a little more sad, so that was unexpected and surprising. When I first listened to this song, I was taken aback by how sad the song actually is. It is said that the song was inspired when one of the band members died because of a brain condition.

I think that they did a good job in using dynamics. The beginning, when the lyrics talked about how he never thought about what had happened, was more mezzo piano, which fits the mood. Then, towards the end, came the more passionate part of the song where they added electric guitar, and they raised the dynamics to mezzo forte. I think it really depicts how passionate he is about this topic, and how it means a lot to him.

In my opinion, they did a great job in writing the melody. I’ve never heard any song that is similar to this one, and so I think that this song is very original. The use of piano and guitar is very effective in setting the mood for this song. Also, the occasional strings in the background blends very nicely with everything else. I also think that they were right to not use any percussion in this song, because I think that percussion would ruin the whole mood of the song.

If you read my comment in Mr. Weinhold’s blog post on Chris Garneau, you probably know that I like unique textures in voices. ST-12’s singer’s voice has a very nice texture to it, and it is very pleasant to listen to. His voice also blends nicely with the smooth sounds of the piano, guitar and strings.

I think that they should have made the song a little bit longer, because the ending is kind of awkward. It sounds as if the singer is going to sing more, but suddenly, the song ends with a chord on the piano. However, one might argue that they wrote that ending for the element of surprise, like what they did in the beginning. Also, they might want to put another verse after the chorus, instead of singing the chorus twice in a row, because it’s a very obvious repetition, and it gets slightly boring because of that.

Overall, I think that this is an excellent piece of music that gets stuck in my head. Give it a listen and tell me what you think!

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