Saturday, January 1, 2011

And this time I'm here to stay!  

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In My Opinion...

With the small amount of talent this season possesses, I had a really hard time picking out a favorite. By the time the entire group of Top 24 had performed in there first week of LIVE! showcasing, I had my favorites picked. Though some like Lily Scott, Alex Lambert and Katelyn Epperly have been eliminated, I still have a couple of favorites hanging around. I'm siding with four, but I'm sure about only three of them.

Starting my list is the 24 year old single mom, Crystal Bowersox, from Ohio. Crystal tore herself away and ahead of the pack early on with performances that bring to mind the likes of Janis Joplin, Alanis Morisette and Sheryl Crow. She can not only sing, but sing really well. Along with the guitar and dread-locks, she was misjudged earlier as the hippie chick. But as time has gone by, she has proved that not only does she have the goods but she also knows how to use them right. She's the one I'm rooting for before everyone else.

The sad thing about her is that she doesn't have that wholesome appeal the American Idol wants, and that just may cost her gold. But even if she doesn't win, if left to her true artistic nature and not mold her into cookie-cutter pop, she can carve out her own Grammy.

Second in the list is the 23 year old rocker from Illinois, Lee DeWyze. Lee is the under-dog of the season, having being pimped next-to-nothing and coming across the camera first-time in the second solo round of Hollywood when he sang 'You Found Me'. His raspy vocals exude a grunge-like feel that remind me very much of the Season 7 winner, David Cook.

While he is still ahead of the pack simply because of his vocals, he needs to give us a taste of his artistic ability. He needs to pick up a song and completely switch it up. If not, then he should cover bands like Kings of Leon, My Chemical Romance, Creed and Radioplay. But I'm still on the option of changing up a song and making it up his own.
Third on the list is the 16 year old Aaron Kelly from Pennsylvania who happens to share the same birthday as Lee. Okay, don't give me those looks, it's a piece of trivia that my sister has stumbled upon and is not letting go.

Aaron here is extremely commercial and also pretty talented. What puts him on spot 3, is that he lacks the experience which Lee and Crystal have. That is what puts them ahead of him in the competition. Sailing on the common roads of Pop & Country, this kid is going straight ahead. Right now he's sweeping the grand-ma votes all over America. I'm expecting him to go smooth till Top 7 at least and then maybe fall into a rough spot. But like I said, he's extremely commercial so he's got the nod from the judges. He's yet to mess up, his song choices are spot on. This kid is in it to give some mean competition.

Now I'm completely sure about these three, but about the next one I'm not so sure. Siobhan Magnus, the 20 year old screecher from Massachusetts. Now if you notice the picture on the right, can you guess what she's doing?

You're probably guessing she is screaming, screeching, hitting a high note or something along the same lines. And this is what has dropped her to the lowest spot on the list of my favorites. These high notes are getting on my nerves, no doubt they are her best assets. But right now she's exploiting them to the point that they are becoming a concussive blows to her image. She needs to go lower in her register and gives us some artistic insight, so that we have an idea what kind of album she will be putting out if she wins. I'm hoping she gets back on the train that's going ahead. If she does, she definitely has a spot in the Top 6.

About the rest, they haven't wowed me much yet. I'm getting abit of the winner's vibe from Casey James, but nothing from the rest. They're above average at best!

Who are you rooting for?

Monday, March 29, 2010

American Idol Top 11; Miley Cyrus Mentors!

Top 11 week was clouded with mysteries. The most important being where did all the talent go?! Seriously, is this the bunch that has to compete as the next-big thing in the entertainment industry. Season 9 is turning out to be a huge disappointment and I'm really sad at that. At such a crucial night when the people making it to the American Idol LIVE! Summer Tour were supposed to be decided, majority of the contestants delivered lackluster performances that show cased absolutely nothing. The only two managed who managed to save themselves some dignity were Cyrstal Bowersox and Aaron Kelly. Otherwise everyone fell flat on their pretty faces.

Last week they announced the theme as Teen Idol with a mystery mentor. There were speculations of Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus taking the stage. The odds were stacked equally on both sides due to Swift's recent Grammy shower and Cyrus's soon-to-be-released movie; The Last Song. A few days later Team Cyrus won the war much to my disappointment. Firstly because she's older than only two of the contestants present and she doens't have that much experience.

Her advice did work in the areas of making a mark, but artistically speaking she couldn't offer much. Truly speaking, it isn't her fault. She still has much to learn. Paige Miles was eliminated, along with Tim Urban and Katie Stevens in the Bottom 3. The thing that is the real issue here is Tim Urban, scrapping just enough votes to be one slot above Paige. If this keeps going on, Tim just might go further and eliminate some of the contestants than have more potential talent. And no offense to the Urban clan, but that is really going to suck.

Next week the Top 11 tackle R&B palette, with Usher mentoring. I'm interested in seeing how Crystal and Casey perform, because these two are treading a most unfriendly turf with this genre.

Till next week, guys!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Erik Hassle; Erik Hassle

It's been quite sometime since I have put up an album review on my blog, so I decided to tell you guys about an artist I discovered sometime back. Erik Hassle is a 21 year old Swedish singer and composer who released his debut album Pieces recently. Given that it's a swedish product, I'm surprised from the content. It's a simple direct pop record, nothing fancy. And frankly speaking, it works quite well for him. I'm actually love this album alot.

The tracklisting is as follows;
  1. Bump In The Road
  2. Hurtful
  3. Don't Bring Flowers
  4. Isn't It Obvious
  5. The Thanks I Get
  6. Wanna Be Loved
  7. First Time
  8. Love Me To Pieces
  9. Bitter End
  10. All That I Wanted Was You
  11. Back To Bed
  12. Make It In Time
Like I mentioned about it being a genuine pop record, there is a wide-spread pop feel to the album. Even though you do get the dance feel on some tracks and the catchy tracks are pretty much genius lyrics. My favorites are 'Hurtful', 'Isn't It Obvious', 'Wanna Be Loved', 'First Time' and 'Love Me To Pieces'. These tracks are somewhat quick paced, but what really draws me into them are the lyrics. I'm completely in awe of the lyrics, the 21 year old Erik has definitely made his mark on me as a lyricist. Simple, smooth flowing, well crafted, meaningful; that's what comes to my mind when I listen to his song. The beats are nothing to bleh about either. I'd recommend that you definitely listen to these five tracks.

'Bump In The Road' is a really good track to start of the record, after struggling nearly 5 years in the music industry this track definitely tells us that it's worth not giving up. Once again, the lyrics are meaningful and they literally self-draw a mental picture in your brain. Excellent way to start off an album.

'Don't Bring Flowers' is another cool number, and also the second single. I'm not entirely feeling this track, but it's a hit amongst my friends so I'm guessing there is something to it. It's good, but not great. 'The Thanks I Get', 'Bitter End' and 'Make It In Time' also get the same treatment from me. I feel that if he had possibly made them some more upbeat, they could have had alot more oomph in them.

'All That I Wanted' and 'Back To Bed' do absolutely nothing for me. And these tracks are the only ones that leave me disappointed big time, I feel they're alot more R&B than pop and that is why they don't seem to be making their points as much as the others.

The album was recently released in UK under the title of 'Pieces' with one track completely replaced and some of the track re-arranged. 'Hurtful' which was the first single to be released, was re-released with a new video. You can check it out here!

Copyright © Saad Khan 2009 (Karachi, Pakistan;

Sunday, March 21, 2010

American Idol Top 12; It Was a Good Night!

The Top 12 took the stage this week with the songbook of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, that's right people! The Rolling Stones were at their mercy, or was it the other way round?!

At any rate, the Idols did a respectable job. There were some clear stand-outs, and one contestant definitely came under my spotlight this week. Starting off with my eternal favorite Crystal Bowersox, who was the last to go, kicked it out of the hall once again. I loved her bluesy country-vibe infused 'You Can't Always Get What You Want', I absolutely loved it. I'm really rooting for her to win this season. Idol needs another wholesome kick-ass wonder, like Carrie Underwood. Siobhan Magnus performed 'Paint It Black', though very predictable. But she still wowed me, alot. The falsetto note at the end simply left me breathless. This girl has her highs and lows all in the right places. And I do agree with Simon that she doesn't have to scream at the end of every performance. But I love her. Love her!!

As I mentioned there was a limelight shift, and for the first time since Hollywood Week I noticed Didi Benami. I loved her. Her phrasing was exquisite and that slight 'Don't-mess-with-me' tone in her voice was very much necessary  Because people were starting to think she was just another Brooke White, though that was a compliment. But she needs to make her own ground now and she did just that this week. Lee also broke into his own, but I don't seem him making a pop-rock record. He's got that gruff grunge vibe to him. He needs to pick David Cook's book and take a few pages from it. Aaron and Cassie also did a commendable job.

Big Mike took on 'Miss You', and while it was good. He needs to loosen up his 'likable' act, he's naturally appeasing. He's like a warm fuzzy bear, so he needs to drop it. It's coming off as desperate and possibly even irritating. Another one who needs to shake it loose is Andrew Garcia. While this week he gave me some star quality, he needs to bring it week to week. Lacey did a respectable job, but her performance was dull. I expected she would be in danger, along with Tim and Paige. Tim, the VFTW Golden Boy, possibly gave the worst ever performance this week. He's in close competition with Paige from last week. Katie Griffins, eh...plain and boring. I'm still sad that she got into Top 12 instead of Lily Scott.

I expected Tim, Paige and Lacey to be in bottom three, with Paige going home. But I was only half right. Lacey went home.

David Cook, Orianthi and Ke$ha took the stage on result's night. David Cook was amazing, as usual. But I can't say the same for the latest princess of pop, Ke$ha. She so can't perform LIVE! and the song 'Blah Blah Blah' is so freak'in annoying.

Next week the Top 11 take on the Billboard Number 1 with a surprise mentor, I'm all excited. I'm hoping Paige does some R&B, because I feel that is where she could really shine.

Till next week, take care peeps!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

American Idol Top 16; You Have To Be Kidding Me!!!

So the Top 16 took the stage this week and they gave us a couple of real good performances. Back on schedule, the girls took the stage on Tuesday night. As usual Crystal Bowersox and Lilly Scott were complete stand-outs. They were clearly leading the pack, and as the show goes on I getting the feel that Siobhan Magnus is also in their league. Last week she blew us away with her pipes singing 'Think', this week she gave us a haunting but devoted rendition of 'House of Rising Sun'. I'm beginning to like her more and more. Katelyn also gave us a rather entertaining performance.

Katie and Paige completely fell off the track. During Hollywood week there was a scene of Kara saying that Katie might win this season. Seriously? And Simon keeps mentioning what an amazing voice Paige has. Seriously? I haven't seen any of these two ladies give something that will wow me. Didi took a step front this week along with Lacey. The girls fared well.

Wednesday night, the guys took the stage. I absolutely loved Lee's take on Owl City's 'Fireflies', I loved how he took that complete pop song and turned it into some more alternative. This guy is so giving me the David Cook vibe. I'm waiting for him to pull a 'Billie Jean' or 'Always Be My Baby', and it's not even funny. Alex also appealed to me this week. I'm totally not digging Andrew Garcia or Todrick for that matter, Andrew is turning everything acoustic. The judges loved Big Mike's 'A Woman Work', but I really don't see the hype about him either. Is he likeable? Yes, he is. But I see him as another Ruben Studdard, and we don't need another Ruben Studdard.

This week the Top 12 were also to be revealed and believe me, the elimination was a shocker. Todrick, Alex, Katelyn and Lilly went home. To be honest, I really didn't care about Todrick and was expecting him to go home. He had lost momentum ever since Hollywood Round, just like Andrew Garcia.

But the other three?!

I'm completely shocked over the elimination of Alex and Lilly. I was expecting Tim or Aaron to get the boot for Alex. And same for Lily. I thought Paige, Lacey or Katie would be going home instead of her and Katelyn. I'm seriously feeling the loose of these three amazing contestants. Had they survived, I'm sure we would have seen some amazing performances.

Alex Lambert had one of the most recording friendly voices I have ever heard. Katelyn had that pop commercial vibe. Given a selection of the right songs, this girl could be an amazing artist.

And Lily! My favorite girl after Crystal. I loved her quirkiness. And best yet, she had talent. Her indie-jazz styling was something Idol had never experienced before. She was indeed one-of-a-kind.

I'm hoping these three get record deals and someday I write their album review on the Soul Board. So the Top 12 were revealed and I'm disappointed. I've got my favorites picked and I doubt that I'll be changing any of them any time soon.

So peeps, who's your favorite?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

American Idol Top 20; Finally Something!

Second week into the competition and now I feel that American Idol has really started. There was a marked improvement collectively speaking since last week and the eliminations were mostly fair. Last week the girls had proved they were somewhat better than the guys, and it was still the girls in the lead.

Tuesday Night the girls were supposed to take the stage, however Crystal Bowersox's health gave them one more day to prepare and the guys were put on for the night. There were better song choices and they appeared more comfortable and confident as well. Lee DeWyze is my favorite amongst the guys, that grunge feel in his voice is very David Cook. But the dude who really took the spotlight this week was 19 year old Alex Lambert. Last week he sucked big time.But all that changed this week with a much better song choice, 'Everybody Knows'. Aaron Kelly was also a stand-out, however I imagine him more as a Country Pop Artist rather than an R&B artist, it would be better if he sticks to the advice Kara gave. And the Justin Bieber comment was completely idiotic. Why, Simon?! Why?

Andrew had set the bar really high with 'Straight Up' during Hollywood week and as a consequence, he is not able to match up to it. However I'm sure he will be in Top 12. Along with Casey James and Michael Lynch. People I am expecting to go home next week are Todrick Hall and possibly, Tim Urban. Check out VFTW Campaign to keep him in. Hilarious!

Wednesday Night the girls were back on track and I was so relieved to see Crystal Bowersox performing. And yes, she was completely amazing. I'm so glad she didn't pull the sympathy act and Simon said that he had underestimated her. Hell yeah!!

I liked Haeley's arrangement on 'The Climb', it seemed alot more Country than the original version. However the vocals didn't please me that much. And it was sad to see her go, cuz an African American Country artist is a big big thing. But I get it. I do wish her luck!

We also said good-bye to Michelle Delamor, and she made a completely wrong choice of song. 'With Arms Wide Open' by Creed, it was a risk but it didn't prove to work for her. Last week her rendition of 'Fallin' of Alica Keys was good. This week not so much. Had she chosen a different song, I'm pretty darn sure we would have said good-bye to Lacey Brown this week. She wasn't good at all!

The extremely pimped Katie Stevens also hasn't managed to wow me yet. But I guarantee that she will be in Top 12. Idol always has that one 'cute-as-a-button' girl, ALWAYS!

Two other female contestants that I'm rooting for are Katelyn Eperly and Lilly Scott. Lilly is officially the coolest contestant this year, right after Crystal Bowersox. I love that urban-indie vibe from her. Plus she's a complete stand-out from the pack. Didi is another Brooke White, however not as lovable as her. Sorry, Didi!

The two guys who went home were Jermaine Sellers and John Parks. Not surprised and satisfied. They both had not given anything to wow me yet. And they both don't see as vocally good as the rest of the guys. One week more and then America get's it Top 12. I'm excited. What about you?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Complete Me; Frankmusik

Over the past one year I've started listening to alot of English musician, it's not just the likes of Leona Lewis, Adele and Duffy that have grown on me. Some of their dance influenced acts have also established themselves firmly in my playlist. One of the act I'll be telling you about today is the 24 year old British Electropop act, Vincent Frank aka Frankmusik.

He debuted in 2008 with the song 'In Step' and it was soon followed by another song '3 Little Words', both tracks made it to the debut disc that was released in 2009. The record Complete Me, which has been grown extremely successful in dance clubs is definitely one of the catchiest album I've heard for quite some time.

The song have been written and produced entirely by Frankmusik himself. Given that he has remixed several of the current act tracks, he had a good idea of what will the public like to hear. The result was a creative one man show pop record. I'm completely in love with it. And for about the past week, I've been listening to nothing but a mix play list of Frankmusik and Alphabeats.

The track listing is as follows;
  1. In Step
  2. Better Off As Two
  3. Gotta Boyfriend?
  4. Confusion Girl (Shame Shame Shame)
  5. Your Boy
  6. When You're Around
  7. 3 Little Words
  8. Wonder Woman
  9. Complete Me
  10. Vacant Heart
  11. Time Will Tell
  12. Done Done
  13. Run Away from Trouble
  14. Olivia (Bonus Track)
Complete Me reached number 13 spot on the UK Charts and 88 on Irish. It also earned Frankmusik a position of BBC Sounds of 2009 list, which had Little Boots on the first place. Over all, I'd give this record 8 out of 10. Being a expert on the electric keyboard and piano, the influence of these instruments can be clearly noticed on the tracks. Plus his music videos are really cool. They remind me off the Robbie Williams during his early solo years

I'm either in love with or liking every track off the record. The only two tracks I can't digest are 'Done Done' and 'Run Away from Trouble'. 'Done Done' is very much annoying with it's constant repetitive lyrics and 'Run Away from Trouble' puts me to sleep.

'In Step', 'Gotta Boyfriend', 'Vacant Hearts', 'Your Boy', 'Time Will Tell' and 'Better Off As Two' are my favorites. There is so much dance in this music that it is unbelievable. 'Gotta Boyfriend' and 'Time Will Tell' are complete dance anthems, and I am really surprised that they weren't chosen as singles. They could have done really well, especially the former.

'Vacant Hearts' and 'Your Boy' display the softer side of the singer and is much more refined in terms of vocals, where it's just Frankmusik and the music completely stripped down off any crazy sound effects. The song 'Confusion Girl (Shame Shame Shame)' is also a favorite of mine. It's catchy and it's good, but not as much as the ones I have mentioned previously.

'When You're Around' is another shining track. As mentioned earlier, it's a dance album so it's no surprise that this is another dance number. I would have excluded this in favor of another slow ballad type song, but I can see that why Frankmusik included it in the final cut. His comfort zone is dance, however he has taken risk with this track as it has a certain disco feel to it. 'Wonder Woman' is also nice, but it's very similar to the rest.

'Complete Me' is something that is reminiscent of a ballad, it's good but 'Your Boy' and 'Vacant Heart' are much better than it. 'Olivia' is most definitely the only track which seems to be sung by a British, there is a very Adele type feel to it. It's cool, but I'm not finding the falsetto very appealing. Especially around the parts when he stretches the notes, for a bonus track it's not as good as it should be. If you can't get it, believe me you're not missing out anything epic.

Saving the best for the last is the track 'In Step', which is also the first single off the record. Off the whole pack, it is the most catchy and it was indeed a wise track to start his musical journey.

Frankmusik will be releasing his sophomore effort later this year, it's titled 'Follow the Leader' and it definitely has me excited to see what kind of music that he will be coming up with. Listen and enjoy!

Copyright © Saad Khan 2009 (Karachi, Pakistan;

Saturday, February 27, 2010

American Idol Top 24 Wind-Up


I'm mega-late on posting the Top 24 Finalists on the current season of American Idol. I'm pretty sure those of you who are following the current season are well aware of all these people. We just had the first elimination the day before yesterday and now it's down to the Top 20.
Frankly speaking, I'm not impressed with this bunch. I feel the Season 8 and most definitely Season 7, had a far more talented group collectively speaking. However one thing I do have to say, that this time round there is more variety. I don't think there has been a indie singer on Idol ever before. Nor do I think there has ever been an African American Country Singer. Collectively speaking, it's an average group. However as they continue to progress(Those who progress that is), will hopefully improve as they rack up their skills on charisma, stage presence, vocals, audience interaction and the whole slew of skills needed to be an artist.

One thing I do however have to complain about is that several contestants who have reached Top 24, I feel shouldn't have been there. The two contestants who's exit surprised me greatly was the 29 year old Jazz styled, Angela Martin and the soulful 16 year old, Thaddeus Johnsson. These two people had me completely bowled over with their superb vocals. Angela's rendition of Estelle's 'American Boy'.You can check it out here

Things however didn't turn out to be all that bad for her in the end. Ellen DeGeneres, the newly instated American Idol judge, invited Angela on her show and told her that Kara Dioguardi will be writing a song for her and she will help her in scoring a record deal. Way to go, Angela! And yeah, way to go Ellen!

Those of you interested in that announcement, can check it out here. Also watch Angela perform 'Superwoman' by Alicia Keys. 

Thaddeus Johnsson was the bigger upset for me, especially since after Chris Golightly was disqualified for some contracts he avoided mentioning. So anyhow, long story short, Chris was cast out and was replaced by the 20 year old college student, Tim Urban.
The camera time Chris Golightly got in Hollywood Round couldn't have been more than 15 seconds. So I have no idea how much credible of a singer he was and whether his original placing in the Top 24 was just because of his camera ready story of being an orphan since birth and the sad fact of never having a family to spend Christmas with. Thaddeus who had clearly won over with his rendition of Michael Jackson's 'Man in the Mirror'. He clearly could have been a front runner in the competition and I so badly wanted to support him. But instead we got Tim Urban, who has yet to prove himself and personally speaking, I believe his casting is just because of his good looks. They needed something the tweens could gush over. Bah, Idol producers are douche bags.

Who are my favorites?!

I do have my eyes on a couple of contestants, but I'll be revealing them later. And yes, Tyler Grady's elimination was a complete shocker. I was expecting Jermaine Sellers or Alex Lambert to go and I sincerely hope that next week they do. 
What do you guys have to say?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Alphabeat Put A Spell On Me

I recently discovered a Danish pop band on one of the best music blogs present. I had not heard of them before but I'm completely digging their sound now. I downloaded their new album on Sunday and I've been listening to it non-stop for the past two days. It's completely awesome.

They go by the name of Alphabeats, their songs are mostly dance tracks with influence of Euro-pop. It also has kind of a discotheque feel of the 80s as well. If anyone of you happen to have mad love for dance anthems, then you need to listen to their album. I'll be putting up a review of their album really soon. I don't seem to have much time to blog nowadays because my wards are keeping me freaking busy.

I'm leaving you with their latest music video from their song 'The Spell'. This track is super catchy and super addictive. Check it out below;

If you like it, then I would suggest you to check out their other new single as well 'Hole In My Heart'. I can't seem to pick a favorite of the two, or a matter of fact the whole album.

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