Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Despair

Posted: October 31, 2012 in Drawing, Journals, Music
Tags: , , ,

I really love the new Batman movie  especially it’s music, you know the loud and powerful thing in there. So good I even bought the album. Hail Hans Zimmer! The Oscar judges must be deaf should they ignore you once again.  And in that soundtrack, there’s one particular track I’m fascinated about; Track #9: Despair. The one used in the official trailers. It should sound bad news for Gotham and our cape crusader, click the video below to know.

 

Despair. What a word to describe and pinpoint my exact location in this life’s journey. Despair. Four weeks to go, and I seem to get worst in capturing faces. Despair. I have the money and energy yet no time to resurrect a star by my hands, but ends up paying pay someone else to do most of the dirty job.

 

Featured art works by MLSart, Nat Morley and ArtworByGabrielle.

 

Advertisements

 I’m not really a fan of musical or movies with lots of music in it but there are a few really good ones I love such as Secret and Rent. But one of the benefits of having good friends online is the chance to encounter movie suggestions. Yes I’m talking to you Miss Addie of Betwixt and Between, I really love your movie suggestions and I hope you to enjoyed mine. Because of her I got to see this special and wonderful film called ‘Once’, a 2006 Irish film that though very small in size but very big in appeal.

The story is about an unnamed thirty-something Irish street musician named ahm.. oh wait he’s unnamed who also sidelines with his father’s vacuum cleaner repair shop. One day he met this beautiful young Czech immigrant named.. oh wait she’s unnamed too, who took good notice of his music. The two were introduce primarily because of the vacuüm cleaner but eventually it was their shared passion for music that got them closer. They started seeing each other by listening to their music. Through his broken guitar he captured her heart, through her piano he found a reason to forget his loneliness. And together they will not only write their songs but also the road map of each other’s path back to happiness.

Once’ is part a romance film, part musical and part documentary. Romantic because these two unnamed lost souls made a good onscreen chemistry as two people trying to move on and willing to give love another shot. It’s like a reminiscence of the Jesse-Celine love affair in Before Sunset not only because of their chemistry but also because of the bitter circumstances they’ve been through. It’s a better love story than Twilight, that I can vouch my hard drive with. But what makes this film intimate is its documentary-like feel as if we are peaking exclusively into the lives of two struggling artists as they create those good songs which are soulful, intimate, sometimes poignant, sometimes funny but altogether brilliant. You may not want their lovestory, but you can never resist the charms of their relationship bounded by the song they sings. The songs will tend to catch you off guard if you’re not expecting anyting special like I did. And they compeletely blew me away.

Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard playing the main characters in the movie

But great music need great artists to express them as much as great films needs great actors to portray the characters. And the two leads, Glen Hansard and Merkita Irglova, delivered a superb and natural performances in both aspects. It’s hard to tell if they are actors who did their music assignments (like Tom Cruise in Rock of Ages) or professional musicians who just venture into acting. And it’s a big surprise that both Glen and Merkita are indeed real-life musicians with no prior acting experiences. They both wrote the songs. They are good.

Here’s another bomb, the movie was shot with a $160,000 budget and with all sort of production nightmares.  Their initial lead was Cillian Murphy (the Scarecrow in Batman Begins) but dropped out because he doesn’t feel like working with a very young and unknown Markita and his voice can’t reach the high notes. The director, John Carney, contributed personal money  to the fund and practically worked for free. They have to convert their houses into sets, and shoot street scenes with no permits. The Irish Film Board too was a mess during those years putting the film on a production hell. But against all odds, the filmmakers did a superb job in delivering the great story giving us a heartfelt view of Dublin through the lives of the two talented artists. This how they make cheap but great movies.

with a rock bottom budget, I wonder whose artist/filmmaker this room belongs to.

It’s so amazing to know how this movie came into light against all odds. It simply speaks of the filmmakers’ desire to tell their story and let the world hear their music. Through music we get to hear the heart and soul of the characters, and perhaps a lesson or two from them about pursuing our dreams and going to the rightful place where our hearts is.

Secret (2007, Taiwan) – Jay Chou

In every interests in life there are elusive things that no matter how hard you try somehow it always slips out of your grasp. For an athlete it might be that elusive championship trophy, for a writer a cover feature in a newspaper, for an artist that rare wave of inspiration to create a masterpiece and for a movie fan it can be that movie you waited and searched so long to watch. I have these dilemmas and maybe to almost everyone else because we all want something in this life, only not all the time that fate is on our side. That elusive movie on my part is the ‘Secret’.

Prolougue: SECRET is a 2007 Taiwanese film starring the talented Jay Chou, who also debuted as a writer and director for the film. It’s a simple but very beautiful story that transcends time, music, teenage dream, and LOVE. Jay plays a talented piano major student who just transferred into a prestigious Art School. On the first day he met Rain, who is also a piano major and a classmate. From there they developed a special relationship that’s been clouded with mystery because there are things Rain kept from Jay. The good thing is they both leave those secrets as it is and let them unravel in their own terms which allowed their relationship blossom.  “Let’s just cherish the moment that we are together.”

First half: For the first part of the movie viewers are immersed into a sweet love story one would come to expect from great Korean or Asian movies. You can’t help but like Jay and Rain’s chemistry; he lacking that passionate emotion but makes up by impressing everyone with his savvy piano skills and that Kaede Rukawa personna – the silent type, good-looking and insanely talented guy –  she on the other hand is this mysterious girl popping in and out of the story. These two make an unlikely romantic pair that successfully conveyed the sweet innocence of a  fist love and that first love kiss (nevermind if both actors are already in their mid-20’s portraying high schoolers).

I know I sound  a lil’ bit cheesy but the movie is something much better, it’s just the only way I could describe their beautiful romance. Strong point is its simplicity and the story’s ability to convey emotions not just thru character interactions between the lead characters but also with the movie’s overwhelming music display. You rarely see a movie using music, classical music , as its main element and not a background. There’s a piano battle scene between Jay and a character called the Prince of Piano, it was so intense and so fun to watch, err hear. Also one major highlight for the movie is the sweet piano collaboration from Jay and Rain, it was so magical, never seen anything like it since the Ice Dance scene in Edward Scissorhands. Hat’s off to the music.

Second half: In most Asian romance stories, the first half serves as the sweet icing in the cake setting up for the real deal of the story in the second half – where things got a lot serious, sometimes out of hand, and emotionally heavy as the story progress. It’s also the case for Secret, the second half is where you stop liking the story and move on to actually fall in love with the story. There the plot got thicker, the characters turned into lost souls and the tensions got going in its rightful cinematic place. And that’s when viewers get glued to their seats for good. ‘Secret’ is a classic case of Cinematic 101.

The twist came in sooner and downright unexpected at the pivotal one hour mark. I was surprised on how the story moved into a different direction as Rain’s ‘secret’ starts to unravel. I cannot divulge any plot details without spoiling the future viewers of this movie, but let’s just say Jay Chou made a ‘Midnight in Paris’ magic in his very first directorial début. This guy is one heck of a talent.

The Search: As I have said I was searching for this movie for two years. I spent a lot of hours by the Manong Dibidi stands of Quiapo, Binondo, Divisoria and Legarda in Manila, in Colon in Cebu, in the slums Ilo-ilo, and in the heart of Southern Leyte. I was even ready to buy an original DVD copy in major  video dealers, tried it in almost every mall I’ve been to. And I wasn’t stupid not to look for a digital copy on the internet. I did, I really did tried to browse on dozens of English language sites… blogs, mediafire, fileserve, media upload and finally torrents. Yeah, this movie is a pain in the ass to find: there are online streams with no subtitles, torrents without subtitles or no sounds at all,  zipped files divided into broken links and everything nastiness. That and more in two frustrating years of searching and I did it all for the love of a woman.

CLOSURE: Now that I’ve finally downloaded the movie into my notebook it’s when I lose her. RC and I planned on watching this movie two years ago after I recommended her “Cape No. 7” which was a fantastic movie too. And if you search for Cape No. 7, changes are  “Secret” comes into picture. My only regret is I couldn’t find it sooner for her. She’s gone now.  She would have loved seeing this movie, I could feel her giggle and amazement as Jay and Rain played together the piano. I can guess she’d cry somewhere in the movie, and I wish I could tease her for that. But hey I cannot turn back time and undo the bad things that fell. I cannot even tell a piano to take me into a place where I could meet her in a younger and healthier state. My only closure is that maybe in a different life, in a world where cancer is curable and all babies are born normal, I’d meet her, fall in love again and perhaps we’ll watch this movie together.

Earlier today the world was shocked to hear the news of the death of the beloved american diva Whitney Houston. She passed away at the age of 48, a lot younger than I thought since she’s one of my earliest memories when it comes to music. She’s already been there since I can remember with great songs after great song regularly playing on the air. For me, her greatest song would be “The Greatest Love of All“, it’s a family favorite. My father loves to sing that song in karaoke because of the very personal and lovely message of the lyrics. It’s one of the most unforgettable lyrics there is, and definitely it will stay personal and cherished in the family.

 

“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way 
Show them all the beauty they possess inside 
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier 
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be..”

However, there is one story I really wanted to share but somehow backed out because I don’t feel myself capable of pulling the story off, and to be honest I still can’t it’s too emotional for me to get deep into the story to breathe a life in my writing. I guess Whitney Houston’s death gives me some guts to post it anyway. I’ve read it in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last December (click here to read the article), the story’s about a teenage girl who chose to forego her chemotherapy so that she could give birth to her baby.

The girl’s name was Jennifer Michelle Lake, she was just sixteen when she was diagnosed stage three astrocytoma, a type of brain tumor. In simple words cancer, and its a rare one. Basing on the symptoms and her experience, I think Jenni and my friend RC who also passed away on the very same month  last year shared the same type of cancer. It just add to the pain I’ve experience that time reading Jenni’s story. Upon diagnose the doctors found three tumors on her brain and later another three on her spine. Her chances of survival was 30% she would make in 2 years. Instead of breaking down  and cry over the situation, she chose to fight and kept a positive outlook towards life. She got herself a decent boyfriend, and even worked as an intern for a tattoo shop. Bad-ass. She spent more than a year of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation until  she found out she was pregnant. Jenni was seventeen and finally she cried.

Jenni had always wanted to be a mom and was very determined to keep the baby when she went to see her oncologist, Dr. David Ririe.

“He told us that if she’s pregnant, she can’t continue the treatments,” Phillips said. “So she would either have to terminate the pregnancy and continue the treatments, or stop the treatments, knowing that it could continue to grow again.”

She chose her baby’s life over hers. The chemo stopped, her body grew weaker as the days went by and she was starting to lose her sight. And finally she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, they named him Chad Michael after Jenni’s and her boyfriend’s fathers. Twelve days later cancer took it toll, Jenni’s gone.

29_jenni.jpg (600×450)

Jenni Lake and her baby.

Jenni never have any regrets about her decision. A life was lost, another reason for one to live. Its just so remarkable what a mother’s love would do just to keep her baby safe and alive even if it costs her her life.

My siblings and I are indeed very fortunate to have a set of  very loving parents who did everything in that song and a lot more to raise us up to whoever we are today. Both of them are the best parent a child could ever wished for, and they will always love to sing “The Greatest Love of All”  at any given chance.  That song is for me the most enduring legacy of Whitney Houston.

Rest in peace RC, Jenni and Whitney. May angels lead you in..

It’s already the half-time show for this month. I only posted two articles, two depressing articles to be exact. I wish I wasn’t too busy with work or too occupied with thing beyond my control. I have to admit there were a lot of exciting ideas and inspiration to write a post under normal circumstances. RC-san’s departure was such a big blow to anyone who’ve known her, and to me it looks like the old man continues to live and the young girl leaves. That’s not a fair deal to me. So wakey wakey, and starting blogging like a mad man for the second half of action, because instead of going deep into the dark, I think it would be much better to come out and celebrate love.

This is the first post of the many many post that will come out within the next two weeks. Let’s start with songs that made a lot of sounds in my life this year.

Number 1: Hear You Me  by Jimmy Eat World

There’s no other song that have captured all of the emotions I’ve felt the past couple of weeks. You know the pain of losing a good friend, how all the people miss her, and that nagging “sayang di ko man lang nasabi sa kanya” (things I never said drama stuffs…). The lyrics simply says it all. And you’ve got to love the way these guys sang the music in an effortless showcase of soulful acoustic.

The song was written and released by the band in their album “Bleed American” way back in 2001 just before the 9/11 attack, that’s a full decade ago. And I only recently heard the song well, one month ago after hearing Ashley Gosiengfiao’s cover of this song on her tumbr blog. Ashley’s version was also very very nice, all the more reason to love the G sisters indeed.

Number 2. Jet Lag (french version) – Simple Plan feat. Marie-Mai

Simple plan is back! And this time they’re bringing some French lovin’ in the air. The last I saw MYX Daily Top 10 was way back last year so I have no idea if the song even landed, but chances are it did. The official video was the one with the English lyrics featuring Natasha Bedingfield, but man I so freakin’ love the French version. It’s a perfect fusion of punk rock and pop songs, sing it on the most beautiful language on earth and there you have one bad-ass melody playing on  your mind over and over and over again. There came a day where I played the song all day long.

By the way, the music video of the French and English version are almost the same, Natasha and Marie-Mai just took turns on shooting the same scenes. To Pierre, WT? two ladies loving you? I knew you’re a  two timer. Bad-ass.

Number 3: Rolling in the Deep – by Adele

This song probably saved the music industry this year. With massive decline of albums sales and the rise of digital downloads (on pirate bay) the past couple of years, 2011 was considered the year to be forgotten but not before this young British singer showed up bringing a fresh powerful voice in this epic song. Adele’s album 21 (because she’s  21) is already breaking up records this year and many would consider the album of the year. Rolling in the Deep of course are likely to become the single of the year, not just because it sells millions but also reminds us that one doesn’t have to have a great body and and reach extremely high notes to become a diva.

Number 4: Super Bass – cover by Ashley Gosiengfiao

click on the photo to see the video, (di ko ma.attach eh)

Super Bass

Fore me that big hit from Nicki Minaj of the same title is one of the most annoying thing to come out this year, because its like a combination of bad rapping and a false sense of retro pop resurrection. But a cute hyperactive British girl named Sophia Grace brownlee sang it on youtube, and the world found one of the most promising natural talent. Then came the younger sister of Alodia, the Cosplay goddess/crush ko last summer, and completely blow me off my feet. My God, its the best cover of the song and I dont have to endure it, in fact I love it. But you know what, I have a secret desire to dance with it. hahaha.

Number 5: Celebrate Love by Jordan Pruit

Since its Christmas I am obliged to put a Christmas song in this list, and what an opportunity! Lovely lyrics, soulful notes and beautiful beautiful voice from Jordan Fruit. Napapaiyak talaga ako minsan if naririnig ko to sa Playlist ko, hahaha lumalambot din pala ako. It’s one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time, and I wont be surprised if you guys haven’t heard this one. It’s a part of the Christmas album released by Disney Channel in 2007 titled “Disney Channel Holiday“, that’s the album featuring an innocent Miley Cyrus and then unknown Jonas Brothers (trust me, they just made that great album look bad rather than sell it).

Ok, that’s all folks.

Some great men have humble beginnings, and some humble men are entitled for some luxury. My roommate is a humble guy: he runs with me in the beach, he does serious graphic designing/video editing as a hobby, he sings Gospel music, he works as a store supervisor  and, to my greatest envy (tulo laway), he’s got an iPad Nano. Man I have to hide my cute little devil (a yellow mp3 player made in China bought in Recto St. for P900) whenever he flash it forward.

But as a consolation what matters is not the outside appearance, but what’s inside the heart. So let me introduce to the inside of my cheap device. Another note: I prefer to download albums not single tracks hit after hit like most does, what’s d use of the radio? And I solemnly admit that I am guilty of downloading illegally on the internet – just like all the millions of people around.

Yeah including you! hahaha

(500) Days of Summer Soundtrackthis is a story of a boy meets girl, but you should know up front that this is not a love story. The movie was a great one, a contemporary masterpiece in love story films (didn’t he just tell it is not a love story?) and the soundtrack is a great compliment to that. Armed with classic hits from The Smiths to the modern invasion of diva Regina Spektor, the soundtrack album stands itself as a solid record with the need of the movie’s success.

[tracks to listen: every one of them, especially the French one]

 

 

Adele – 21 – In speaking of divas making serious noise at the bill board is Adele with her raging song Rolling in the Deep. Adele displays her great vocal prowess with much effect on her sophomore album 21 (her first album is 19, she loves number). She’s got a really powerful voice that compliments with the powerful to mellowl ballad tracks on the album with themes ranging from anger, dismay, brokenness and falling in love.  21 is an outstanding record display for a talented singer like Adele.

[tracks to listen: Rolling in the Deep, Turning Table, Don’t You Remember, Someone Like You]

 

 

Lenka – Two – another album using numbers as title is the much awaited follow-up album of Australian actress turned singer-songwriter Lenka after her self-titled debut in 2009. Two is a feel good album it feels like eating marshmallows and licking candies. Thanks God there are some female artists who is not into screaming punk rock and catchy hip-hops, Lenka is now the ultimate poster-girl for easy listening experience. I love Lenka because she’s lovely and I like her cute Australian accent.

[tracks to listen: End of the World, Sad Song, Here to Stay, Everything at Once]

 

 

Rascal Flatts – Nothing Like This – The demigods of country music is back with their latest album Nothing Like This. Fans of Rascal Flatts and country music will surely enjoy this vintage sound of the group. The album is reinforced with blazing guitar solos and bad-ass country music vibes and the vocalist’s lore for intimate ballads and rock and roll that makes the band a standout.

 

 

 

 

 

Hillsong – Faith + Hope + Love – there’s always a place for God and worship my mp3 player is of not an exception. Hillsong’s 2009 live album performance Faith + Hope + Love is by far my favorite if not the best album I’ve heard from a long list of Hillsong and Christian music library. One worshipper can never turn down the album’s intimate and soulful atmosphere from songs that range from the smooth and intimate to catchy rock tunes. This album is a complete package for a great worship experience.

[tracks to listen: For Your Name, and all of them]

 

 

So there you have it my top 5 albums in my pirated Mp3 player. Enjoy listening guys.

All pictures courtesy of americanidol.com.

The American Idol has been on top of television ratings for the past decade now. We are talking about a franchise so popular and influential it redefined American and global television, not to mention its impact on the music industry. In the past nine seasons the show produced a handful of successful recording artists and countless albums and a string of concert tours after every season.

American Idol is simply American Dollars.

On its tenth season the franchise suddenly faced struggles. Resident evil judge Simon Cowell left after the 8th season, and merciful Paulo Abdul left last year. The game show also suffered a steady decline on viewership patronage marking the 9th season the worst ever. Sponsors left. The winners of the ninth season were as unpopular to make an impact like the previous batches. And with survival is on the line AI put on two simple solutions to the problem: hire Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler as new judges, and bring down the age limit to 15.

The guys of the top 13 finalists with their Tom Jones medley.

The way I see it on the 10th Season Finale, that move worked big time.

The tenth season was so good it converted me into a fan. Yes it took me ten long years  to get hooked with the show (long after Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, David Archuleta, David Cook, Adam Lambert made their mark on the hitcharts, sucker).  And I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good if I don’t follow the next season, and the next one, and the next yatata yatata. I love J. Lo.

Family Affair: Jennifer Lopez while husband Mark Anthony sings.

The season 10 finale was really good, yeah I’ve watched it on replay during my graveyard shift (please don’t tell my manager!). It kept me glued and alive through the night without coffee. Oh, I love J. Lo.  The finale featured a matchup between a 17 year old country music (potential) heartbreaker Scotty McCreery and a 16 year old country music darling Lauren Alaina. It was like seeing a teen version of Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. If they didn’t dropped the age limit we sure won’t see these school children beat up the older contestants’ a$$*$ .

 

Scotty McCreery, of course, won the title. I love this guy. He’s always the favorite, never faced elimination night. Lauren you know I like you very much I’ll take you dinner anytime you want, and you probably won that finale slug-off but this season belong to Scotty. This boy got this very deep voice that contrast his age. It’s unbelievable to see him perform. His deep blue eyes and that wicked goofy grin are a winner. And to make matters worse for the other contestants he got this confidence issues. He carries himself as if nobody can beat him, like Tiger Woods used to have, like Manny Pacquiao always has. Suddenly the world has seen a superstar make its grand entrance to mainstream American Dollar industry.

Scotty McCreery performs during the American Idol season 10 finale.

Spectacular is an understatement to describe the finale show. The production was fantastic and the star lined up to perform (err to endorse), legends suddenly flocked the backstage, even the judges joined in. And the finalists (the alive and the beaten ups) we magnificent in their numbers. It was a show of epic proportions. The fans who voted amounted to a staggering a quarter of a billion. Please don’t ask me how many have watched it, because I haven’t read the papers. Hey who the hell stole mine? C’mon people, give it back to the sacred Auditor’s Table.

Crazy guys Jack Black and Casey Abrams.

Here’s a quick recap of the night’s highlight.

  1. Fellow judge Steven Tyler belts out his hit “Sing for the moment”. Man that was an emphatic performance. Love his jumpsuit, he really is stylish.
  2. Jack Black was there to endorse his new movie Kung Fu Panda 2 and at the same time made a crazy duet with equally crazy finalist Casey Abrams. Are they brothers? They look funny.
  3. Lady Gaga mesmerizes the crowd with her new single “Edge of Glory”. It was a behave kind of song, no crazy lyrics, but when will she ever behave when it comes to her outfits?
  4. Beyonce performed twice! First with the ladies of the Top13 finalist and the second to sing her new boring single. It sounded like this… make love to me♫♪.
  5. Bono and The Edge sang the broadway soundtrack of Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. Even Spiderman himself can’t help but perform his areal stunts during the song (is he that same guy who fell one time?)
  6. Idols performs with their idols. The top 2 finalist had the chance to perform with the singers they grew up idolizing with. Scotty McCreery performed “Live Like You Were Dying” with country music superstar Tim McGraw. While Carrie Underwood returned to Idol to sing “Before He Cheats” with Lauren Alaina.
  7. The boys of the Top13 finalist groove their way in the dance floor with a wonderful medley of Tom Jones’ timeless hits. Those guys were so adorable out there, they make all the K-pop boybands look like $h!t. The big surprise turn out Tom Jones himself singing with them!
  8. J. Lo and Mark Anthony performed on stage. J.Lo dancing shaking that immortal booty while husband Mark sings. Lovely. At least we know what they do at home, said host Ryan Seacrest.

 

Lauren with her idol Carrie Underwood.

 

Scotty with country music legend Tim McGraw

I think it’s safe to say that finale ranks one of the best shows I’ve seen on television in a long long time. American Idol is once again on a bright clear path and promises to offer greater stuff for next year, and the next, and the next.. And I’ll be there for the love of J. Lo. , okay  I mean for the show.

Congratulations to the fans of Scotty and thanks for voting on my behalf.