Monday, November 30, 2009

OneRepublic Waking Up Review

OneRepublic – Waking Up

1. Made For You
2. All The Right Moves
3. Secrets
4. Everybody Loves Me
5. Missing Persons 1&2
6. Good Life
7. All This Time
8. Fear
9. Waking Up
10. Marching On
11. Lullaby

No, that’s not a typo. All the songs are bolded. Early warning: this album is not mainstream material. But it doesn’t stop it from being my most favorite album in 2009, and should be yours, too.

You know OneRepublic since 2 years ago they released a massive hit, Apologize from the album Dreaming Out Loud which was certified Gold (selling more than 500,000 copies). Then, Ryan Tedder, their frontman vocalist, co-wrote Bleeding Love for Leona Lewis which reached #1 in Billboard Hot 100. Since then, Ryan Tedder became the most sought-after song writer in the US.

Released in the massively competitive November 17, Waking Up offers a huge improvement over their debut album. Sure, there are no tracks meant to be big like Apologize. That kind of song is hard to come by. However, it is compensated with great songs all over the album.

Made For You acts as the interlude to All The Right Moves, the first single. It is really catchy and perfect as the album opener. Then comes the batch of greatest songs they’ve ever made. You WILL love Secrets, may love Everybody Loves Me and Missing Persons 1&2 if you are not skeptic of their changes in musical direction, but you WILL love super catchy Good Life and ballad All This Time.

Fear relies on simplicity in lyrics and Ryan’s falsetto, which combines really great. Waking Up and Marching On pick up the tempo and are great sing-along songs. And Lullaby acts as the perfect album closer.

The only drawback in this album is there are only 11 songs in it. When the songs are this good, you will always find yourself ask for more. Even with Deluxe version, there are only 2 new songs and 2 songs previously in the previous album.

Final Verdict: A superb album. Though not all the songs are radio friendly, but they are of high quality. Kudos to them for prioritizing quality over commerciality.

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Kris Allen - Kris Allen Review

Kris Allen – Kris Allen

1. Live Like We're Dying
2. Before We Come Undone
3. Can't Stay Away
4. The Truth
5. Written All Over My Face
6. Bring It Back
7. Red Guitar
8. Is It Over
9. Let It Rain
10. Alright With Me
11. Lifetime
12. I Need To Know
13. Heartless

Kris Allen is the unexpected American Idol 8 winner. Most people expected Adam Lambert to win, but either most Adam’s fans are too overconfident or Kris is actually more popular than Adam remains unknown. But let’s forget what happened 6 months ago and focus on the now.

Kris released his debut album on November 17th. And what a release date, that is! Packed with the likes of John Mayer, Norah Jones, OneRepublic, UK sensation Leona Lewis, 50 Cent, teen prodigy Justin Bieber, popular Christian band Casting Crowns will seriously hurt his album sales, but still he’s the American Idol champion, and the release date had been set long time ago by the record label.

Okay, on with the review. Seriously, when I heard the album sampler, I was like, “wow, this album will suck” because the songs just aren’t strong enough. I really like his first single, Live Like We’re Dying, so I expect more of the same in his album, and from the sampler, I just couldn’t find one.

However, sampler and the real thing is a really different thing. Having given it a first listen, the album sounds great, if not awesome. Every song in the album is a strong candidate for the next single. There are up-tempo Before We Come Undone, Maroon-5-esque Can’t Stay Away, awesome ballads The Truth and Bring It Back, another The Script’s cover Written All Over My Face, Kris’ self-penned track Red Guitar, poppy acoustic Alright With Me, or the massive album closer I Need To Know. All of them have the potential to be the next single.

Kris’ strong point in this album is he stays true to his music, which is soft pop rock. All of the songs, except the ridiculously-arranged Heartless can be played with a guitar or piano, which suits him really well. Not to mention his great vocal. And mind you, Live Like We’re Dying is quite a difficult song to pull off because of the long consecutive chorus, and if you’re not impressed with how he copes with the song brilliantly when he sings it live, I don’t know anymore what you’re looking for in a singer.

There are drawbacks in the album, inevitably. Heartless should be left acoustic, Is It Over sounds like a bland rock song. The bridge of Lifetime is brilliant with “Living doesn't come first try, It takes a lifetime getting it right”, I just don’t understand why they chose to write the ridiculous cliché line “It takes a lifetime to learn how to sing, To find my place in the world symphony, To become the melody, The man I know I could be”.

Early predictions predict his album will sell 75-85K a week, making him the lowest selling Idol winner. The number is quite good considering the massive competition in the release date, though I start to doubt if his album will crack even 500K mark.

Final Verdict : A slow burner, give it a couple of listens to make it grow into you.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

iTunes Chart as of November 18th, 2009

Up till now, I have just reviewed one album of November, which is Carrie Underwood's Play On, which spends two weeks on top of Billboard chart. That's because I somewhat wanna see US (and UK) market reaction to the competition. There are some surprises but the result is quite as expected.

I know it's only one day, so the chart will still fluctuate. But seeing John Mayer at top is not a surprising thing, as I said that his Battle Studies is one of the most anticipated albums in 2009. What's surprising is how well Kris Allen does in the chart. He's holding on against Leona Lewis' Echo and Justin Bieber's My World. I hope his album does well, since it's quite good.

What's surprising is there's no OneRepublic's Waking Up in top 10! This is quite surprising to me, because Waking Up is a massive album. In my opinion, it's even better than Battle Studies. In fact, it only appears in Germany chart (charts at #7) and Switzerland (#10). I hope it will enter top 10 in the coming days. I really hope they'll do well.

That's it. I'm gonna try to write reviews of those albums. Tough job since there are lots of them, but I'll still try to do it.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mark Read - Peace At Last

Peace At Last [2009]

Possibly the RAREST album in 2009! I can't find it anywhere even though it's released 5 months ago! Credit to Pop Idol Music 2.0 : Reloaded !

01. Peace At Last
02. Cat Out Of The Bag
03. Lie To You
04. Cold
05. Your World Moves Faster
06. Fallen From Grace
07. Make Sense Of It All
08. Wide Open Spaces
09. Last Kiss
10. She'll Never Know
11. Better Where I Am
12. Here And Now
13. Owe It All To You
14. Greatest Lady

Please support the artist by buying your copy if you can afford it.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Carrie Underwood - Play On Music Review

Carrie Underwood - Play On
Track List:
1. Cowboy Casanova
2. Quitter
3. Mama's Song
4. Change
5. Undo It
6. Someday When I Stop Loving You
7. Songs Like This
8. Temporary Home
9. This Time
10. Look At Me
11. Unapologize
12. What Can I Say
13. Play On

I'm not really a country music fan. However, since winning AmIdol 4, Carrie Underwood has grown to be one of my favourite female artists of all time, and she's a country artist! Possibly because she realizes that to be mainstream / commercial, country music must blend with a little pop, and that's exactly what she's been doing for her first two albums.

After the first listen, I have to say that this album is somehow slightly below her second album's, Carnival Ride, quality. This set of tracks lacks the oomph of All American Girl and Last Name, which are by far the most powerful songs ever done by Carrie. But I gave it more listen. And I have to change my initial judgement. This album is at least as good as Carnival Ride - which is a great accomplishment, since Carnival Ride is a highly critically acclaimed album - just in a slightly different direction.

Cowboy Casanova, Undo It, and Songs Like This are Carrie's songs ala Last Name. Though not as powerful as Last Name, they are hell catchy, with Undo It becomes my favourite of this album. I love the stuttering un- un- un- un- do it! part.

Quitter, This Time, Unapologize, and Play On come as another group. These are pop-country songs. Quitter and Unapologize are great songs, but I find This Time a little bit weak. Play On is just a so-so song, but good enough as album closer.

Mama's Song, Change, Someday When I Stop Loving You, Temporary Home, Look At Me, What Can I Say are ballads. Temporary Home is a massive song, will do really good if released as a single. Look At Me sounds like a filler in the midst of these good ballads.

Overall, this album will not disappoint Carrie's fans. This is a good album, but not really great in my opinion. It's a nice opener and sets the bar high for upcoming albums which will be released in November.


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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

November Music Battlefield

It's almost November, and November has, in my opinion, the fiercest competition for bands/artists because a lot of artists will release their albums in November. After the jump, I'm gonna review and make a prediction of how well they will fare.

Below is the list of release date:
1. Carrie Underwood - Play On (Nov 3)
2. Dashboard Confessional - After The Ending ( Nov 10 )
3. Switchfoot - Hello Hurricane ( Nov 10 )
4. Jamie Cullum - The Pursuit ( Nov 9 )
5. Kris Allen - Kris Allen ( Nov 17 )
6. Leona Lewis - Echo ( Nov 13 )
7. One Republic - Waking Up ( Nov 17 )
8. John Mayer - Battle Studies ( Nov 17 )
9. Boyz II Men - Love ( Nov 17 )
10. Adam Lambert - For Your Entertainment ( Nov 23 )
11. Rihanna - Rated R ( Nov 23 )
12. Jay Sean - All Or Nothing (Nov 23)
13. Timbaland - Shock Value Volume 2 (Nov 23)
14. Britney Spears - The Single Collection ( Nov 24 )
15. Lady Gaga - The Fame: Monster ( Nov 24 )
16. Westlife - Where We Are (Nov 30)

Whew, what a long list. There are a couple of albums that I can't find the cover. Sorry about that.

Anyway, let's start with my review. Note that I'll only review albums of artists that I do listen.

Carrie Underwood cleverly avoided competition by releasing her "Play On" on November 3rd. Her first single, "Cowboy Casanova" is quite a hit in Billboard chart, peaking at #11, and based on her previous albums, she never disappointed. So I'd say, she will set the bar for other albums after hers, and a high one, I'm sure.

I never listen to Dashboard Confessional, Switchfoot, and Jamie Cullum, but I know that they have their own market. I can't comment about the music, but I guess it'll be hard for them to compete with Underwood.

Leona Lewis' Echo will be released on Nov 13, trying to catch an early start, 4 days prior to a heavyweight date. It is reasonable, sine her first single off Echo, Happy, peaks only at #50, quite a disappointment in my opinion. Despite that, based on the songs that leaked for months, I think this is an awesome album, better than her first album. So, no sophomore slump for her, though I'm sure it won't sell as much as her first one, due to fierce competition.

Then comes Nov 17. At that day, Kris Allen, OneRepublic, John Mayer and Boyz II Men will release their albums at the same time. It's a tough competition, since Allen is AmIdol recent winner, OneRepublic is quite popular due to the success of Dreaming Out Loud, Mayer is a top-list artist since his first three albums gain consecutive multi-platinum. I don't know about Boyz II Men right now, but they are quite popular years ago.

In my opinion, Mayer will debut on No. 1 spot that week, with OneRepublic trailing on No.2. Where Allen will place is still arguable. Though he's the winner, there's no doubt that Adam Lambert is the more popular figure post Idol. Plus, his first single, Live Like You're Dying, though very good, only peaks at disappointing #89 in Billboard chart. It is unusual, because previous AmIdol winners' debut singles always reach top 40. Though I'm sure his album will be in Top 10, I don't think it will do very well, which is a shame, since he's very good.

Nov 23/24. The second music battlefield. This time, Adam Lambert, Rihanna, Timbaland, Jay Sean, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga will compete. Now this is much fiercer than Nov 17. Lambert is a very popular AmIdol runner up, Rihanna's last album was very successful, as with Timbaland's Shock Value Vol 1. Jay Sean's single "Down" tops the Billboard chart in the moment. Spears' Greatest Hits Collection might not compete for top spot but will be fan favorite for sure. And Lady Gaga is hugely popular right now, so re-release with 8 new tracks will be like a completely new album.

I can't predict this one. Lambert, Rihanna, Timbaland, and Lady Gaga will compete for top spot. Sean might be the black horse here. Add to previous contenders -Mayer, OneRepublic, and Allen- we might have these 8 in top 10! Not to mention Underwood's Play On which I'm sure will stay long enough in top 10. Lewis' Echo can potentially surprise too.

Lastly, Westlife's Where We Are on Nov 30. Though this will not be released in the US, it's worth to mention since almost all the albums above will be released in the UK at the same release date in the US. Due to their huge fan base, this will be another #1 for them. Though their first single, Chris Daughtry's cover "What About Now" is not really that different from Daughtry's version, their popularity will do them well.

I don't know if this is the label's strategy, but I think pinning these hugely popular artists to compete seem like a great idea to lower their sales number.


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I'm on yet another crossroad of my life. Should I take risks and go to Oz to make a better living? Or not? I can't choose for now, both have their own pluses and minuses.

Going abroad means living in a new environment, a fresh air, actually, for me who is getting bored with life in Indonesia. No offense, but I'm just bored. Normal. However, going abroad also means living people who have stood beside you for so long, your friends and family. This is actually one of my considerations. There's no problem in communications, since there's Facebook, YM, email, etc. I just know that if I do go abroad, our relationship will never be the same, ever again. I don't know, I just know. Maybe I'm just being evasive and paranoid, but that's who I am. I know I'm gonna make new friends there, but it's never nice to lose touch with your old friends.

Other issues are money. To go there, I will need at least 7000-8000 AU$, for all the fees and living costs for first couples of months. That's a lot of money all right... It will kinda burden me on my life there, because that's not my money I'm using. Not sure if I'm gonna be able to handle the pressure.

Anyway, this will be a one-way road. If I go forward, there's no way to go back again. Making vital decisions is one of my weaknesses, and choices like these are the most difficult for me. I'd rather do maths, lol.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Taylor Swift Fearless Platinum Edition New Songs

Fans of Taylor Swift, you know what's coming up. Taylor will release the platinum edition of her hugely successful sophomore, Fearless. This album is coming out October 26th and will contain 6 new songs.

The 6 new tracks are as follow:

1. Jump Then Fall
2. Untouchable
3. Forever & Always (Piano Version)
4. Come In With The Rain
5. SuperStar
6. The Other Side Of The Door

The new tracks are all mellow but excellent songs. Be sure to check it out!


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Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United

Liverpool escaped 5 losses in a row by beating Manchester United, who play below-par (again), by 2-0, scored by Torres and David Ngog. This match is also noted for the red cards given to Nemanja Vidic and Javier Mascherano. This is the third time Vidic got sent off against Liverpool and Mascherano's second against United.

United, unsurprisingly, played 4-4-2 and started well. However, the match soon became all Liverpool throughout first half, but the score remained intact 0-0. Second half, Liverpool started brilliantly, and United counter attacked occasionally. However, the game changed when Torres managed to hold off Ferdinand and scored a goal in 65 minutes. Soon, the game became all United as they searched for the equaliser.

Michael Owen and Nani came on for Berbatov and Scholes in 72 minutes. United began their flurry attacks but to no avail. The situation became worse when Vidic got red card in injury time.
Although Mascherano got red card too a couple of minutes later, a counter attack by Liverpool sent David Ngog through and he comfortably beat van der Saar to kill the game.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Finally! Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 Review

My second most anticipated game of the year! Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 is released and I tried it straight away. This will be a quick review because I've just played it recently, but so far I like the improvement in general gameplay over the past installment.

The gameplay is a bit slow-paced compared to 2009, but it is to my liking. I somehow am annoyed with how 2009 strayed away from realism, since using Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi will almost always guarantee you a win. You can just zap your way with those players and tried outrageous shots that will more likely than not hit the back of the net.

However, that thing is fixed in 2010. No longer Ronaldo nor Messi be able to dance their way through the defence as they see fit. They still can do it, because of the abundance of skills and techniques they have, but not that easily anymore. I'd say, 7 out of 10 times the defence will be able to block them or steal their ball, just like in real life. That's a plus for me.

Some issues still are not fixed, like tackling a player just after he passes the ball won't generate a foul. This is quite a blunder by Konami in 2009 and still isn't fixed in 2010, but it's not really a fatal flaw that marred the gameplay.

I don't want to write a really long review, since I just got into this game, but I'd give it a nice 8.5/10. Not perfect yet, but slowly getting there. Konami should listen to fans' feedback more.

Okay, one week to go. My most anticipated game of the year...


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Owl City - Fireflies

At first, I don't know who Owl City is. But after I decided to give it a listen, I'm amazed. This is a relaxing song, but actually can be listened to whenever you want. A great song, no wonder it peaks at #7 in Billboard Top 100 Chart.


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

CSKA Moscow 0 - 1 Manchester United

Manchester United maintained a perfect record in Champions League after defeating CSKA Moscow 1-0, thanks to Antonio Valencia's second goal in 2 matches 4 minutes from full time. United now leads Group B with 9 points in 3 games.

In truth, it was a boring match, since United played 4-5-1 with Berbatov as a lone striker. That's a first, and probably the last, since Berbatov was really isolated throughout the match, and only played better once Owen was introduced after 70 minutes.

The defensive duo, Ferdinand and Vidic, returned to partner with Edwin van der Sar, but early errors seemed to shake the English champions a bit. Fortunately, CSKA was playing below par, too.

Throughout the first half, it was a match with few moments, the best was Scholes' speculative rocket shot from thirty yards which Akinfeev succeeded to turn away.

Second half was another story, though. CSKA suddenly disappeared as United took control of the match. Fortunately for CSKA, Akinfeev was in mood to impress his possibly future employer. He kept his goal clean from a lot of United efforts, the best was when he turned away Nani diving header, but had little to do when Berbatov flicked the ball for Valencia to blast in a far-post shot 4 minutes from time.

Owen had 20 minutes to impress, but missed half a chance. World Cup 2010 dream looked quite bleak day by day, unless Ferguson did his best to bring out the best of Owen.

With O'shea and Scholes as anchor midfielders, Anderson should've been the man to turn to in every United attack. Sadly, he seemed incapable of doing that role. He seemed busy in the field, but truthfully, it was an awful performance of trying to impersonate the man he's supposed to replace in the future, Paul Scholes.

Anyway, a good win but boring match. Next match, Liverpool in Anfield.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

John Mayer - Who Says

John Mayer also will release his new album, wonderfully titled Battle Studies, on November 17. This is one of the most anticipated album of the year. Be sure to check it out! For now, check out the single, Who Says. This song is magnificent. Using only acoustic guitar, Mayer delivers possibly the most relaxing and laid-back song of the year.

Download Link Removed

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OneRepublic - All The Right Moves

Here is the first single from OneRepublic for their upcoming album, Waking Up. This is a really great song. I'm sure the album will be as awesome as, if not better, than their previous album. Definitely 5 stars for me.

Apparently, I was warned by Google so I have to remove the download link. Sorry.

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OneRepublic New Single - Everybody Loves Me

Wow, it's been more than a year since my last post! Well, it's not that I stopped blogging. I'd just been busy with my jobs and other stuffs.

Anyway, here we go again. For now, I'll try to post new songs from artists I love routinely.

For starter, here is OneRepublic's new single, Everybody Loves Me. Their new album, Waking Up will be released on November 17, 2009.

Sorry, Google warned me, so no download link for this.

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