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Kelly, Stronger, Better.

I’ve been playing the album tirelessly for weeks. I know, I know – this came out what, like late last year? Maybe because, at last, I got to fully listen to it and read the lyrics to the songs. I tend to get caught up when I do this, it’s like I’m in a zone. And I admit I enjoy singing along to her songs more so, when I understand what they talk about.  I’ve been a big fan all these years ’cause (1) I really like her brand of pop/rock, (2) amidst the antics of most pop stars, she always makes it about the music and (3) do I really need to say this? Her voice is incredible and just awe-inspiring. In fact in choosing my fantasy voice, I’d take hers any day. I’d like to think of myself as more of a rock star (hehe). Stronger, her 5th release, is exactly this compared to All I Ever Wanted and My December. Her strongest, I feel, is still Breakaway. But I’m concerned with her choice of singles and she needs to come up with better music videos too. Anyways, I like all the tracks except maybe 2 out of the 17 but I chose my favorites below:

Let’s start with the upbeat ones: Mr. Know It All, though I have reservations about it being the 1st single, has a catchy, great vibe to it and presents a more subdued Kelly. She didn’t belt out here so it was something new. But come on we like it better when she does so to my relief she followed it up with What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger). Not only that but it’s a power song. If you’re down trust me, these lines will surely change that:

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger/Stand a little taller/Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone/What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter/Footsteps even lighter/Doesn’t mean I’m over cause you’re gone”

I have the same sentiments with Dark Side, I don’t think it’s single-worthy. The chorus saves that song. She could’ve chosen Einstein, the title gets you curious already. The song starts off:

“Simple math/Our love divided by the square root of pride/Multiply your lies plus time/I’m going out of my mind/It was heavy when I finally figured/It out alone”

Or she could’ve gone with Alone. It has that attitude – the signature angst and goes like:

“‘Cause when I’m with you I’m alone/No matter what you say/I hope you know, woah/That I’m alone/You say you’re gonna change/But I know you won’t, woah oh”

You Can’t Win is a great rock out song that plays on the fact that you can’t please everybody. She even talks about her own frustrations with her critics:

“If you’re thin, poor little walking disease/If you’re not, they’re all screaming obese/If you’re straight, why aren’t you married yet?/If you’re gay, why aren’t you waving a flag?”

Now we move on to the nostalgia. You Love Me is a heavy anthem. I love the lines that say:

“You say I’m not good enough, I’m not good enough/But what you really mean is, You’re not good enough, you’re not good enough/You can’t deliver so you turn it around”

And it just gets better from there. Last one is The War Is Over which struck me especially with its refrain that goes:

“All I have to say is you don’t deserve me, you don’t deserve me/I’m finally walking away, ’cause you only hurt me/And you’re not worthy”

Still my favorite American Idol. I hope she keeps making records until she’s 80 or somethin. Until then, I think Imma give it another spin after posting this. Ready your earplugs.

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Beyoncé’s 4 shows growth in her music

I have to admit I wasn’t too excited when Run The World (Girls) came out, that time the title wasn’t even decided yet. Even the blogs I frequent to feels the same way more so having listened to the whole record, pretty much concluded that the album doesn’t contain any worthy singles. I, on the other hand, searched for the lyrics and really let it soak on me and by the time Beyoncé performed on the Billboard Music Awards I was already singing along and feeling like I could run the world. That performance was astounding; there couldn’t have been a more perfect time for her to receive the Millennium Award. She just showed everyone that she deserved that praise. Finally, just mere 2 weeks ago I got a copy of 4 from a record bar. Yes as in the actual CD, she’s one of those artists whose songs I won’t be satisfied by just downloading the mp3’s. Besides it’s a collection of mine.

4, she said, is a very special number because aside from being her 4th solo record it’s the date of her birthday (as well as some of her close friends/family), her wedding date and that eventually it was the title chosen by fans so she stuck with it. The only trouble is you don’t get the slightest idea what the record will be like. After the 1st listen, I knew that the album is unlike anything she released before. It’s ballad-driven, intimate and subtle in terms of production. Run The World kind of misrepresents the record in a way cause it’s the lone up-tempo track (it’s actually the last). Ya, there are the drum and horns-inspired End of Time and Countdown but they’re hardly what you call dance. The album is co-written and produced by B mostly with The-Dream. After countless sound trips, my favorites are of course the love songs: her love is intoxicating. Best Thing I Never Had, the official 2nd single, is like Irreplaceable 2.0 and is co-written by Babyface. B looks beautiful in the video by the way. Love on Top is the one I really enjoy singing to err trying to sing, it makes you feel good. 1+1 is the song she premiered on American Idol and I’m amazed how she and Jay-Z are so much deeper in love than ever. I Care and Start Over characterizes the staple sad songs and really shows B’s vulnerability. Also with the very sentimental I Was Here written by Diane Warren and co-produced by Ryan Tedder (Halo). The deluxe edition includes other mid-tempo tracks: Lay Up Under Me, Schoolin’ Life (like this one) and 3 remixed version of Run The World. She slows it down again with Dance With You.

In my humble opinion, this album depicts Beyoncé’s maturity as an artist. She’s in the stage wherein she can afford to not care about commercial success and just showcase her vocal talent and song-writing skills. The irony is that the album still debuted at no.1 on Billboard so it’s safe to say she once again succeeded in getting her message across. I do miss her butt-shakin’ and finger-pointing dance moves but this risqué release definitely makes me appreciate her more.

Born This Way: Lady Gaga gets deep and personal

We’re past the days of disco sticks and leather studded kisses in the sand. Technically her 3rd album, if you count the re-release of The Fame (Monster) as 2nd, this marks her growth as an artist. You can tell by the tracks that she dug deep into her soul to write this album. Here she sang of social acceptance, family, true love, friendship and even spirituality. The overall ‘feel’ of the album confirms the direction she was going for with FM which is electro pop/rock. Though the album seems serious it’s still pop right to the core. My only hesitation is that the word Jesus gets thrown a lot in the entire thing; a bit off for my liking. But I have to say, this is the most relevant pop record in recent years and not just something to fill your ears.

Off the 17 tracks here are my favourites:

Born This Way – the ultimate anthem of acceptance, I will never get tired of this song! This sealed my love for her

Hair – A song about freedom and being yourself; everyone can relate to this one

Bad Kids – I just love the sentiment especially the line that says: “don’t be insecure if your heart is pure, you’re still good to me if you’re a bad kid baby”

Yoü And I – is the track that is currently on repeat in my iPod. I’m in love with this song… 🙂 I can’t believe I hated it when Hailey Reinhart sang it on AI

Marry The Night – a great first track and really gives you an idea of what to expect for the album

The Edge Of Glory – which is about falling in love and that moment when you’re on the edge with someone ready to fall

Fashion Of His Love – a song about Alexander McQueen and how they were really meant to be

Government Hooker – Very techno-driven sound and I just enjoy singing it!

Scheiße – I like the part with the german lyrics though I don’t know what it means (hehe), they say it’s a curse word

As for the artwork, I wasn’t that excited when I first saw the cover and inside it’s just okay but I love that the first page says: THIS ALBUM IS FOR Ü. (aawwww) And thank goodness for the lyrics! This album is a must-have for a pop fan and of course for her ‘little monsters’.

♥ GLEE!

Glee

Don’t you just wanna be part of McKinley High? Eversince this musical series started last month I’ve juggled my free time between watching this and Gossip Girl with True Blood now and then. 🙂 I really love the music and of course the ensemble. The lovable Spanish teacher, Will (Matthew Morrison) taking over Glee club, the obnoxious but funny head coach of the Cheerios, Sue (Jane Lynch), the lead female vocals of New Directions, Rachel (Lea Michele), of course the hot star quarterback Finn (Cory Monteith) who was blackmailed into joining, the young diva, Mercedes (Amber Riley), the gay fashionista – why does that sound redundant somehow? 😛 , Kurt (Chris Colfer), the stuttering goth student Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), the electric guitar player in wheelchair Artie (Kevin McHale), Puck (Mark Salling) the cougar-loving hunk from the football team, Quinn (Dianna Agron) the head cheerleader and ironically, the president of the Celibacy Club 😀 and Emma (Jayma Mays) the weird big-eyed Guidance Counselor who finds herself falling for Will who is by the way married to Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) the demanding wife, among others. Glee brings me back to the ugly and amazing parts of being in high school, immediately on the pilot episode I felt nostalgic about that time when we were still innocent, or so I think, with less worries. Be sure to catch a glimpse of the show and I’m telling you, you’ll get hooked.

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I’m so excited about the news that they’re actually releasing an album – of course the singles were made available on iTunes, but a compilation is way better. Check out the official cover and track listing after the jump, almost all of my favorites are in so, yey!

Continue reading “♥ GLEE!”

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