Thursday, December 31, 2015

Luella and the Sun - We Got To Meet Death One Day

Happy New Year’s Eve! As this year draws to a close, so does this music blog, which I’ve maintained for a solid 5 years. I think that’s a good number to end on. This song is tonally perfect for Halloween season, but seeing as this is the last post of the music blog there’s no point in saving it until next October. It’s sad to have to end it, but it had to meet its death one day!
Note: The final post has an HD upload!

Luella and the Sun - We Got To Meet Death One Day:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Apocalyptica - In the Hall of the Mountain King

Edvard Grieg’s famous piece could have been posted in its original classical orchestra form, as I like that version too, but I should have posted this Finnish artist more often. Their originals are pretty nice. Alas, we are down to the wire, so I am left with this! I’m not sure why this piece reminds me of winter, but it does.

Apocalyptica - In the Hall of the Mountain King:

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

IU - Cruel Fairy Tale

Sounds like a waltz, I suppose like one would find in a typical fairy tale. People compare it to "Once Upon a December" from Anastasia, which I’ve posted in the past. I heard of this K-pop artist numerous times over the past few years, but none of her songs compelled me as much as this one. What's kinda cool about her, according to what I read, is that she is largely the author of her own music, in both lyrics and production.

IU - Cruel Fairy Tale:

Monday, December 28, 2015

Vidoll - 舞夢 ~マイム~

So weird… A sizeable catalogue of gothic music from this visual kei artist and this chipper-sounding song is the one by them that I end up especially liking. I’m throwing it in here because I noticed that the lyrics mention Christmas. Other than that, it’s not really the theme. In fact, I think the lyrical meaning is neither upbeat nor Christmasy, but rather something to do with a lost love, and from the point of view of a woman.

 Vidoll - 舞夢 ~マイム~ [Maimu - Mime]:

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Loreena McKennitt - Noël Nouvelet!

I grew up listening to this artist, but didn’t have any of her Christmas-themed music. It wasn’t until I looked over her discography that I realized that Christmas was a primary and recurrent theme of her songs. Last night I heard the Irish-imbued instrumentation and dulcet tones of Loreena’s voice drifting from the speakers at a public Christmas display, so it seems I’m not the only one who’s noticed she’s a good go-to for such occasions. Breaking from her tendency toward Gaelic sounds, this song is a cover of a French carol.
Note: It’s HD!

Loreena McKennitt - Noël Nouvelet! [Christmas Comes Anew!]:

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Seo Taiji -

Oh, Seo Taiji. Such an envelope-pusher. Christmas is establishment dictatorship, and Halloween, the holiday for weirdos and freaks, is where freedom is at. I kind of love the creepy keyboardist. This would have been appropriate for October when my posts were all somehow connected to Halloween, but its Christmas-relevance qualifies it for December too I suppose. The lyrics turn common refrains of Christmas (“You better watch out; you better not cry!”) on their head, representing a fascist society. If you think about it, it makes sense: Christmas rhetoric encourages quiet obedience, whereas Halloween encourages nonconformity and rebelliousness.
Note: This is the official music video, and it has HD!

Seo Taiji A.K.A. 서태지 -

Friday, December 25, 2015

BoA - 메리-크리

Years ago, my mom asked for a mixtape from me for Christmas, so in a “be careful what you wish for” move I made a Christmas/winter-themed compilation CD for her that included the Japanese version of this song, as well as other unconventional choices. This artist is a star in both Japan and Korea, with hits in both languages, but Korea is her native country so I went with the Korean version of the song for this post. I just learned that the American band Weezer has a cover of the Japanese version of this song, which I find pretty weird. Merry Christmas!

 BoA - 메리-크리 [Meri-K’euri - Merry Chri]:

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Pentatonix - Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

This a cappella group has had a great year, and I’m pleased to be a somewhat early adopter so I could gleefully watch their recent rise to prominence. Sometimes I think this artist is at their best when they’re getting their creep on. (See their brilliant LIVE cover of Imogen Heap’s “Aha!” for reference.) This song and even more so this video are an example of that. This piece has a special significance to me because it used to be somewhat of a family tradition for my mother to take me to a ballet performance of The Nutcracker around Christmastime. Oh, and Mitch’s high note? That’s real. I’ve heard him do it live a number of times and it’s breathtaking every time.
Note: Bless this video for having HD!

Pentatonix - Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Alina Baraz & Galimatias - Unfold

Sometimes I wake up with a craving for Banks-ish music. This fits the profile! I heard a song by these artists in a boba restaurant a few months ago, where they had a playlist or something of similar music playing.
Note: It’s recent, so it’s HD!

Alina Baraz & Galimatias - Unfold:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Cinematic Orchestra feat. Patrick Watson - To Build a Home

I can’t for the life of me remember where I heard this song first, but I feel pretty certain it was in a commercial or PSA or something. It sounds SO familiar. I’ve been listening to albums by the main artist lately (for the first time) and when this song started I already recognized it. This track sounds to me like Cascadeur.
Note: This upload has HD, so you can ogle the gorgeous picture while you listen!

The Cinematic Orchestra feat. Patrick Watson - To Build a Home:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gilme - Success (Don’t Kill My Vibe)

Uh ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, potential new obsession… The title is a pretty obvious bite off Kendrick, but eh. It’s hop hop; lots of borrowing happens. Another very hip hop thing: obligatory song about loving music. I found this artist through YouTube surfing, but she was a contestant on the reality competition show Unpretty Rap Star, a Korean show featuring all female emcees as competitors. (It sounds awesome, but I barely made it through 15 minutes. It was atrocious.)
Note: This is the official music video, with HD AND English subtitles!

Gilme A.K.A. 길미 - Success (Don’t Kill My Vibe):

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tribalistas - Um a Um

One more from this Brazilian artist! I found many of the songs on their one album write pleasing to the ear, especially because of the interesting way their voices harmonize. This song is one of the best examples of the unique sound, and the disparity between the high and lower registers almost makes it sound a little eerie to me.

 Tribalistas - Um a Um [Separately]:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Röyksopp & Robyn - Monument

Both of these artists are pretty famous, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this song is pretty well-known, but I came across it through YouTube surfing. Neither of them consistently makes a kind of music I’m really into (although I don’t hate it either), but this song I liked from the first listen. It’s just plain aurally pleasing. I like the chilled-out vibe that somehow doesn’t strike me as boring.

Röyksopp & Robyn - Monument:

Friday, December 18, 2015

CunninLynguists feat. Anetra - Brain Cell

Earlier this year, this hip hop song started playing in my head for no apparent reason, and I haven’t even listened to this artist’s excellent album A Piece of Strange in years. I like the various usages of the word “cell” the song refers to. It’s about being trapped at various points in life.
Note: HD listening is available!

CunninLynguists feat. Anetra - Brain Cell:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Joey Yung - 我的驕傲

I’m SO CONFUSED. I could have sworn I posted this song years ago. WTHHHHH? This simple little ditty is not my favorite song by this artist, but it is very likely to have been the first Cantonese song I was exposed to enough to know it. Even though Mandopop is much bigger than Cantopop, I discovered this song around the same time—even the same night—I first discovered Mandarin songs.
Note: Fwahhhh, HD upload!

Joey Yung A.K.A. 容祖兒 - 我的驕傲 [Ngo Dik Kiu Ngou - My Pride]:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Miyavi - 一匹狼論

There is a story behind how I got into this artist’s stuff. Oh yes. One night in 2005 or so I was surfing a message board for Korean pop culture, and saw a banner in someone's profile that had a gothy-looking picture of someone in heavy black makeup and with many-a-facial-piercing, and, being the shallow creature I am, I went, "Ooooh, who's that pretty person!?" So I looked him up and ended up staying up ALL NIGHT listening to his music. I became a fan literally overnight. What can I say? The quirkiness of the music hooked me and has never let go.
Note: Wow, despite how notoriously difficult it is to find Japanese music uploaded in good quality, I found this in HD!
Miyavi A.K.A. 雅 - 一匹狼論 [Ippiki Ookami Ron - The Lone Wolf Theory]:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lascivious Biddies - You Don’t Own Me

I heard this modern-but-retro-sounding cover of Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit on a German soap opera. I searched pretty extensively for this track back in October because I thought it’d make a nice Halloweenish post, but for all my Internet scouring it did not come up. Given that I fruitlessly searched for it a number of times before that over the past few years, I had resigned myself to the probably reality that, like many songs I haven’t been able to find or upload in good quality, I would never be able to post this, but on a whim I decided to briefly check again, and this immediately popped up!
Note: I straight-up GASPED when I saw this song uploaded to YouTube, and in HD no less!

Lascivious Biddies - You Don’t Own Me:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Nitin Sawhney feat. Ojos de Brujo - Shadowland

I think I heard music by this artist at a restaurant and Shazamed it, but I must have heard his music years before that because I watched part of The Namesake, a movie for which he composed the soundtrack. Much of what he makes is classified as world music, which could really mean anything but usually refers to non-Western-sounding music marketed to a Western audience. He also makes some cool trip-hop, which I wish I’d discovered earlier.
Note: Found an upload in HD!

Nitin Sawhney feat. Ojos de Brujo - Shadowland:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Beth Hart - Run

Listen to that gritty voice! Stunning. While I don’t believe this artist was among the ones whose albums my mother owned, songs like this are of the genre that my mother played around the house while I was growing up, so it FEELS familiar even though I don’t think I know this song from back then.

 Beth Hart - Run:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Vitas - Криком журавлиным

I’ve known about this artist a while, but never got around to posting his music or even really delving into it. I’ve seen him in a movie, though (the Chinese, live-action production of Mulan). This speaks to his popularity among the Chinese audience, which for some reason might even match or exceed his popularity among his fellow Russians. His claim to fame is his ability to sing in high registers. If you find the beginning of the song boring, wait until it winds up and you’ll see what people are talking about.
Note: I found a video with HD (and Romanian subtitles, should you desire them).

Vitas A.K.A. Витас - Криком журавлиным [Krikom Zhuravalinym - Crane’s Cry]:

Friday, December 11, 2015

Yuki Kajiura - Gradus Prohibitus

I was just describing this artist’s style to my friend as distinctive and instantly recognizable for a number of reasons, including her tendency to incorporate Middle Eastern influences in her compositions and Latin words into her song titles. Then my friend sent this song to me, which perfectly exemplifies both points I was talking about! When I watched the ultra-popular anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica, whose soundtrack this piece is from, right off the bat I identified the music as the work of the famed anime composer because it had her trademark sounds all over it.

 Yuki Kajiura A.K.A. 梶浦 由記 - Gradus Prohibitus [Forbidden Steps]:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Akdong Musician - 얼음들 (Melted)

I’m positively in love with this song right now. Songs like this help me keep the faith in current Korean music. This artist in particular has songs with meaningful lyrics on top of the sibling duo's beautifully-harmonized voices. The repeated line of English in this one is, “Why are they so cold?” The theme of the track is both a metaphor and a pun, as the Korean word for ice sounds similar to the Korean word for adult—the lyrics question why the world of grown-ups is so lacking in compassion, why people's hearts harden as they age. The music video demonstrates this theme by showing how people can themselves become more jaded and closed off as they grow older and experience the already-cold world around them.
Note: This official music video has HD quality, and true artistry! It's replete with visual metaphors and I'm still newly noticing poetic flourishes in it despite having watched it numerous times already.

Akdong Musician A.K.A. 악동뮤지션 - 얼음들 (Melted) [Eoreumdeul (Melted) - Ice (Melted)]:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Puscifer - Life of Brian (Apparently You Haven't Seen)

*sigh* I grasped what this song is about all too quickly, and related all too well. Like yesterday’s track, this one touches on religious (specifically Christian) themes, as Life of Brian is the name of a comedy movie about Biblical times. I attended the concert of this artist last night, at a majorly sold-out show.
Note: HD upload, boooooooooooom!

Puscifer - Life of Brian (Apparently You Haven't Seen):

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Shawn Mendes - Strings Attached

Dang, those verses! So good. I heard the song by this artist that’s currently a hit a few months ago. I liked it and it led me to look up more music by him, which led me to this. It has style, at least in the verses, although it loses some steam for the chorus. It reminds me of Ed Sheeran, which is a favorable comparison.
Note: This music is fairly new, so it’s uploaded with HD!

Shawn Mendes - Strings Attached:

Monday, December 7, 2015

Raign - Don't Let Me Go

Back into the moody abyss I go! I couldn’t stay away for long. I found this song through YouTube surfing, but I guess it’s been used on some popular TV shows that I’ve never watched.
Note: This song is available in HD!

Raign - Don't Let Me Go:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

K’naan feat. Damian Marley - I Come Prepared

Wow, I have really neglected this hip hop artist in my posts despite liking so many of his songs… This song plays in my head whenever someone uses the phrase spoken in this track’s title. When the emcee boasts of his street cred and compares his background to that of New York, he says “here” to mean Somalia, his home country. The featured artist is the son of reggae legend Bob Marley, so that’s a pretty big “get” for the album. There’s some profanity and allusions to violence.
Note: Hurray, another upload with HD!

K’naan feat. Damian Marley - I Come Prepared:

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Aurora - Runaway

This song has one of those music videos YouTube insisted over and over that I watch (by showcasing it repeatedly in the related videos margin). Not a bad choice, though! The artist is from Norway but there are parts of the track that remind me very much of an Irish folk song. That was the selling feature of this song for me, to be honest.
Note: The track was uploaded in HD!

Aurora - Runaway:

Friday, December 4, 2015

Maverick Sabre - Cold Game

This artist needs WAY more publicity. He has nuanced and varied songs, augmented by wordplay and rhyme schemes. He has a distinct voice and point of view that comes through in his lyrics. It’s almost melodic rap, reminiscent of K-os or reggae artists. He’s got opinions and he lets you know by speaking out in his lyrics on sociopolitical topics, against corruption, police brutality, imperialism, nationalism… I didn’t know all this when I first became deadset on figuring out who he was based on a previous song I posted, the first I heard by him. Funny that I discovered an artist so deep through the lowest brow form of entertainment, a soap opera, where he was a diegetic guest performer.
Note: Bless this HD!

Maverick Sabre - Cold Game:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Kokia feat. Ueno Yoko - Currents

When I first got into the main artist, this is one of the songs I came across initially. It was used in the soundtrack of the video game Genso Suikoden II Orrizonte, which I’m guessing is why it was so easy to find when so much other music by her was not. It was instant bliss! Obviously it spurred me on to continue searching for more music by the main artist. When I only had like two songs of hers, this being the second, and I wasn’t able to find more, I made the most of it by listening to it so much I memorized the lyrics, which I remember to this day!

 Kokia feat. Ueno Yoko A.K.A. 上野 洋子 - Currents:

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Khalil Fong - 蘇麗珍

This artist is so smoooooooth! I can hardly stand it. I was going to go with a song from one of his newer albums for this post for the sake of variety, but I like a LOT of his songs on his first two albums too much to resist resorting back to them. The instrumental for this one is interesting to me because it has a "cuteness" factor. It’s hard for me to find upbeat acoustic music that I genuinely enjoy, but with this guy it works for me. You can feel that there’s a real positive energy behind many of his songs.
Note: HD quality upload!

Khalil Fong A.K.A. 方大同 - 蘇麗珍 [Su Li Zhen - Lady Sue]: