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: http://www.aimini.net/view/?fid=sxM0mhT9AaJdMqDafQRQ

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: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTczNDY4ODAw.html

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Tom Felton’s "If You Could Be Anywhere"

I’m very baffled about my reluctance to write. Seriously, I’ve been waiting for May during April just so I can write more blog posts (I was trying very hard to not write anything more during April) and now that May is here, I just have no time to write. But alas, here I am, and I’m writing. So, on to the first song of the month!

So the song I’m going to be talking about is called “If You Could Be Anywhere” which is by Tom Felton. You know, the guy who plays as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies. Yes, he sings. And yes, he writes his own music. He has a few EPs on iTunes, and one of them is called “In Good Hands” which is the EP that contains “If You Could Be Anywhere” one of my favorite songs by him. He plays all the instruments and sings in the song.

So, you might be wondering how I found out about this song. I found out about Tom Felton’s songs through YouTube, when it wasn’t blocked in China, of course. I was just searching for random Harry Potter stuff when I found a video of Tom Felton playing a guitar and singing. I liked the first song, so I looked for more, and ta-da: this song is my favorite now!

This is a pretty simple song, I guess, since it consists of only acoustic guitar, vocals and harmonica towards the end. However, I think it has a very catchy tune and it gets stuck in my head. A lot.

This song doesn’t have a very thick timbre since the only instruments played are acoustic guitar and harmonica, and I think this fits the song’s light and cheerful mood. (For once, I am actually blogging about a cheerful song! Ha!) I really like it, and I don’t think I’ll like it as much if he puts more instruments in it. Sometimes it feels really awesome listening to a really simple song like this one.

I also think that the harmonica is a very nice addition to the song. It makes the second half of the song sound more interesting and I think it’s creative. Not a lot of songs nowadays would include something like a harmonica, and being a former harmonica player (no, I don’t play anymore), this is really cool for me.

I really don’t know what else to say. Hmm. Interesting. Anyway, I’ve been trying to think of a weakness, and me being the kind of person who doesn’t really think of the technical things in music, thinks it’s just fine. So. If you have any thoughts on it, please share!

P.S. I think the song sounds so much better with his thick English accent. Hehe. Christy is influencing me way too much…

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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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Evanescence’s "Bring Me To Life"

Fallen

Here’s something weird: a few weeks ago, I suddenly remembered a single song title that I haven’t heard in ages. Then, I looked for it on listen.grooveshark.com (great website, by the way, you should check it out) and listened to it. Guess what happens next?

I became obsessed with it.

Seriously, this is a bad habit for me. I’d listen to one song that I either really, really love or haven’t listened to in a while, and then I can’t stop listening to it! So I guess now you know why I’m talking about this, right? Because what else am I going to talk about in this blog post? Why, that piece of music that I’m obsessing over, of course!

So. Drum roll, please, as I present to you the song…

It’s “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this band or not, but Evanescence is a Goth rock band with a female lead singer, Amy Lee. This song, which was a single from their debut album “Fallen”, was released in 2003 and features a male singer, too: Paul McCoy. I have never heard of him before this, but apparently, he’s in another rock band.

Now, here’s a teeny warning before you consider listening to it. There’s a little bit of screaming in it. But it only takes about 10 seconds of the song, so I think it’s fine. I mean, I don’t like songs with screaming in it in the first place either, but this is an awesome song.

Anyway, I’ll move on to actually talking about the music. Finally.

The intro is very eerie and mysterious. It consists of only piano and strings, and it was very quiet, so I guess this is why it sounds mysterious. The singer’s voice in the beginning is actually rather haunting, too. It gives me the chills when I’m listening to it in my room all alone at night…

Then, the guitars come, and the drums, and then it just becomes this awesome loud music. I love how the different instruments come out one by one. It’s a great buildup to the song’s climax. A great contributor to the crescendo, too.

Paul McCoy comes out first in the chorus. I think that this part is a really addicting part, because it gets stuck in my head, mainly because they repeated the chorus a few times.

This whole song is great, but my favorite part has to be the bridge. Amy Lee’s voice is really strong and powerful in this part, and I love that. And there’s a little part by Paul McCoy that sounds kind of like rap, which is interesting. I also think that the melody here is really memorable, especially the part where the lyrics says “Frozen inside, without your touch, without your love” and so on. And then, of course, comes the screaming. Actually kind of fits, I think. It’s like this part is very balanced, because there’s the melodic and vulnerable female part, and then there’s the screaming and rough male part.

I really like the drums in the end. It’s so loud. I don’t know, sometimes I just like that loudness. Like I can’t hear myself think, so that I don’t think as much as I usually do. I guess it’s sort of like my escape from reality.

Right now, I can’t really think of any flaws in the song… It won Best Hard Rock Performance in the 2004 Grammy awards, after all. But, hey, maybe you can think of something. So please listen to it, and share your thoughts in the little comment box below! And if you’re interested in this band, I’d recommend you to listen to the rest of the “Fallen” album, which I think is by far their best album to date, and especially listen to “Going Under” and “My Immortal”. These two and “Bring Me To Life” are my favorites!

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Simple Plan’s "Generation"

SP1

This time, I’ll talk about a song from a Canadian band, Simple Plan. I heard this song on TV, in a commercial for the TV series Heroes. It stuck to my head, and so I decided to buy the Simple Plan self-titled album. I’m not exactly sure why, but they remind me of bands like Linkin Park and Green Day.

“Generation” is the reason I started listening to this particular band. The song is very catchy, and it easily gets stuck in my head. It’s the kind of song that makes me jump around in my bedroom, singing along to my iPod!

The beginning is very nice, with the trumpets. The beginning builds up to the loud guitars of the chorus. Some people may not like loud punk rock songs, but I think that the drums and guitars in the chorus make the song interesting. Without it, the song will probably sound dull.

I think that the repetition in this song is very effective. It doesn’t make it boring at all, and you know, Mr. Weinhold always says that a good composition repeats itself a lot. Some examples of the repetitions in this song are the trumpets in the beginning, middle and end, and the repetition of the word ‘generation’.

Pierre, the vocalist of this band, has a very nice voice, despite the lack of interesting texture. (Yes, I’m not going to ramble about how unusual someone’s voice is. Ha!) I think that his voice fits this type of music.

I love this song, but I think that there are still some flaws in it. Overall, the song is a little bit monotonous. They barely change any of the tempo or dynamics, keeping it allegro and forte. As I said before, quoting Mr. Weinhold, ‘repetition is good’, but if you look at it at this angle, it’s way too repetitious.

This is a song that I enjoy listening to very much, and I know people have different tastes, but give it a try and tell me what you think!

Note: Wow, it’s shorter than usual. Don’t worry, I’m just having a slight writer’s block. (Yes, I’m acting as if you actually like my long blog posts.)

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Jonas Brothers’ "Hey Baby"

jonas-brothers-lines-vines-and-trying-times

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"

Album_Puspa

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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