31 January 2015

Russia #1: Five touching songs

"Music does bring people together; it allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same." - John Denver

Wikipedia: Russia

In this post I will feature two Russian female singers, that I really like. One of them I have liked for couple of years already, other one is a newer finding. Let's go...

The first one is Pavla (Павла in Russian). Unfortunately there is not much information online about her. Or might be in Russian, but I can't understand it. So I'll assume (along with her YouTube video views) that she is not very famous. Which is a shame, since at least I like her a lot. She has been fast trying to rise to be my favourite Russian artist. Currently she is number two on my list.

The song above is called не успела /Ne Uspela, which translates something along the words I Didn't Have Time. I first heard this song maybe two or three years ago and I have loved it ever since. I have listened to this song quite a lot. It just keeps remaining good.

Obviously since I do not speak Russian, I do not understand the lyrics. But I have found this song touching whatsoever. I now translated the chorus with Google Translate and it seems she is singing that she did not have time to confess she loved this person and this person fell in love with somebody else. It does go along with the video nicely. The music and her singing make a surprisingly beautiful atmosphere. I especially like the chorus (as usual).

And I also really like the music video. The storyline is good and I like the scarf is used such a symbolic way. I find it beautiful. Though Pavla could do with less eye make-up.

Other touching song by Pavla. This one is called Будь Со Мной /Bud' So Mnoy, which translates (according to Google Translate) Be With Me. There is also a English version called One Million Butterflies with which Pavla competed to represent Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012. (See her performance here.) She wasn't successful, but for me this was the best song at that Russian national final.

Kinda funny story: When I first heard Ne Uspela, I thought there was something familiar in her, but I couldn't make out what. It took me couple years until I figured out that she was the singer of One Million Butterflies. Obviously wouldn't normally be such a big deal since I listen to so much music, but the thing was that I actually had these two songs almost in a row on my YouTube playlist (three songs in between of them)! I wonder how it took me so long to notice...

Anyways, about the song. This song gives me goosebumps, especially when she first starts singing. There is something creepy in the music. But it actually is beautiful too. I don't know what the Russian lyrics are about, but I find it touching. Since I first heard the English version, it probably created this image of the song for me. But I love both of these versions a lot.

One more song from Pavla. It is called Навсегда /Navsegda, which means Forevermore. I only recently came across this one, even though it has been released already in 2011. I wish I had heard this song already before, since it is so good.

The previous two songs from Pavla had a sad atmosphere and theme. But Navsegda is a positive song. Or at least I think so. I don't understand the lyrics (and I often prefer not to), but the song gives out a positive feeling. My guess is that it is a love song, though could be something else positive too.

There is something touching in this song too. I believe it comes from the music. The beat is good, but there is something kinda magical in the slower parts. The way Pavla sings during those adds up to the feeling. The music video is a bit too simple for my liking, but I think the futuristic look goes well with the music. There is something futuristic in the music too.

Since it has been impossible for me to find any useful information about Pavla, I am not able to list where these songs are available (in which albums, I mean).

The other artist for this post is Zara (Зара in Russian). To her music I came across only recently. But I started to like her immediately. Zara is from Armenian Kurdish origin. The info I am able to find on her on English is limited, but from her Russian Wikipedia page I get that she released her first album already in 1999. And that she has had decent success in the charts.

The song above is called Недолюбила /Ne Do Lyubila (or Nedolyubila?) and it translates into Not To Love. I find the music on this song brilliant. I am not usually a big fan of guitar, but here it sound very good (or at least I think it is a guitar). The sound is somewhat classical and the instruments are strong. And she sings nicely too, but the music is definitely the best part here.

The song sounds very beautiful and there is something touching in it. I have read a translation of the lyrics and they actually are beautiful (though I can't remember exactly what the song is about). And in my opinion there is also something very Russian in it too.

I actually like the music video too, though they could have taken more out of the storyline. I think the scenery goes very well with the song. The story adds an interesting feeling to the song.

The other song from Zara is called Для неё /Dlya Neyo, which means For Her. I find the emotion of this song very sad. She sings very touchingly and the music is beautiful too. And you don't need to understand the lyrics in order to be affected by this song. The music and the singing are enough. I think her voice is just brilliant for this kind of song.

The music video really adds emotion to the song. The storyline idea of the video is brilliant and the execution has been done very well. It is very sad and touching, such like the song. I always like when there is some sort of meaningful symbolic thing in a video, like the glass wall in this (and like the scarf on the first Pavla video of this post).

Для неё /Dlya Neyo is the title song of Zara's album Для неё, which was released in 2009. Недолюбила /Ne Do Lyubila is also part of this album.

27 January 2015

Mexico #1: Different styles

Moving just a little bit to north-west from the destination of my previous post. It is time for music from Mexico. No pun was intended with the title... Or maybe was...

Wikipedia: Mexico
Sometime last year I was listening for music from Spain, looking for songs for a blog post. Somehow I unknowingly ended up in Mexico. Only later on I figured out I had listened to many Mexican songs instead of Spanish ones. But it ended up being only a good as I found so many amazing songs. Here's few of them...

Gloria Trevi. She seems to be very famous in Mexico. Her first album was released already in 1989 and most of her albums have ranked number one in Mexican charts. She has also had success beyond her native land. Wikipedia describes her style as pop-rock.

Gloria's song No Querías Lastimarme was probably the first ever Mexican song I heard. And it was love at the first listen. I don't need to understand the lyrics in order to feel a lot of emotion in this song. She sings so amazingly. And the music is brilliant; It is both dramatic and beautiful. I believe there is a big orchestra playing. I am usually not a huge fan of instrumental parts, but I could also listen to just the music of this song. But the singing ups it to a even higher level.

The title means You Didn't Want To Hurt Me. Reading a translation of the lyrics, I learn that at the end of the chorus she actually sings: "You didn't want to hurt me. You wanted to kill me." So the lyrics are actually fairly dark. Maybe still not quite as dark as the music video. Which I actually like a lot. Even though it sets up very bad example of what to do if you have burglars in your house. My tip in case of burglars: Do not let them know you know they are there and do not find out their identities. You might have better fate than Gloria did...

Moving onto more happier topics. Or more happier songs by Gloria Trevi, I mean. Cinco Minutos was released in 2008. Well, the lyrics of this song are not actually that happy, but a lot more positive than No Querías Lastimarme's lyrics. And in my opinion the overall feeling of this song is quite positive. The music especially.

I really like the strong pop-rock sound in this song. The music and singing give out a really strong feeling. The lyrics give out an impression of a strong independent woman. I don't know why but I really like the very start of the song and the countdown in the end. I really like the entire song, but those parts especially stand out. Cinco Minutos means Five Minutes. And since I find the ending nice/fun: She countdowns from five to one and then tells the person (who she is singing to) to get out.

The two previous Gloria songs were quite different from each other, and this one is even more different. It is called 20 Segundos, which means 20 Seconds. There seems to be some sorta time theme going on here. And the time is decreasing: In 2008 she had 5 minutes, but in 2014 only 20 seconds. Maybe she got tired of giving guys so much time? I could not find a translation of the lyrics, so I go on assuming weird stuff of the lyrics...

Well, maybe the lyrics are actually weird. At least the music is a bit weird. It is very electronic and (I believe) Gloria's voice has been altered a lot. When I first started listening this song, I was worried it would be too electronic or something, but it is actually a lot of fun. Though I prefer her natural voice, I actually really like how her voice sounds here. And the music is fun too. Overall I like this song a lot and it makes me smile.

No Querías Lastimarme can be found on Gloria's most recent album De Película, which was released in 2013. Cinco Minutos is on her 2007 album Una Rosa Blu. 20 Segundos is her most recent single, released in November 2014, and it is not yet part of any album.

One of the other great Mexican songs I have found (so far) is Ya Te Olvidé by Yuridia. Yuridia became famous after participating Mexican talent show La Academia in 2005. Since then she has had a very successful career with many number ones in Mexico.

I must admit that I usually find this type of songs a bit boring. But there is something in this song that makes me feel differently this time. Maybe it is her voice. The music also is good; Even though I don't know what exactly it is, but something in the music stands out for me. Overall the song is actually very beautiful with a hint of drama in it. Ya Te Olvidé means something along the words I Have Forgotten You.

However I must say that the music video is one of the most boring ones I have ever seen. I do find it somehow fitting that is is shot in a forest, but otherwise it is just so plain. This song is definitely better by just listening to it.

Ya Te Olvidé was released on Yuridia's album Para Mi in 2011.

Last up is Different by Ximena Sariñana. Ximena sings in both Spanish and English. She has been acting since she was little and started releasing music in 2008. Since then she has had success in her career, including a number two spot in Mexican charts for her debut album and Grammy nominations.

Different was released in 2011. Maybe the music video affects, but I find this song somewhat summery. I like especially about the music and the lyrics. The music is actually very funny and catchy. The lyrics I actually find on most parts personally fitting for me. The song is very positive and lots of fun, but there is something deeper in the lyrics too. That actually describes very well my favourite type of songs: fun, but meaningful.

And since I seem to comment on the music videos too: I really like this music video. It is so my style. If I were a singer, I could make something similar to this. And it is honestly funny too. Me and the director clearly have similar styles.

Different was released on Ximena's self-titled, mostly English album Ximena Sariñana, which was released in 2011.

24 January 2015

Venezuela #1: Songs from a telenovela and beyond

It is time for the second South American country featured in this blog. And it is Venezuela.

Wikipedia: Venezuela

For me Venezuela is THE land of telenovelas. Technically you could say telenovelas are Spanish soap operas, but telenovela is a popular type of shows beyond Spanish-speaking countries too. I love telenovelas (unfortunately I have not seen too many since they are hard to come by here) and my ultimate favourite is a show called Mi Gorda Bella (My Fat Beauty as translated, the English title is My Sweet Fat Valentina). Artists featured in this post and some of these songs I found from this telenovela.

First up is Jeremías. He was born in London, but is from Venezuelan origin and has lived there since he was little. He got known for making the theme song for the telenovela Mi Gorda Bella in 2003 and has had success in Spanish-speaking world. Unfortunately I can't find any actual info about what he has been up to in recent years.

The song above is called La Cita, which translates into date/appointment. This was a theme song for one of the couples in that telenovela. Honestly, I did not like this song while watching the show (any of the times watching it). I never disliked it, just didn't pay much attention to it. Then I listened to it completely and I absolutely loved it!

During this January I have actually been listening this song a lot and it is one of my favourite songs this month. I like the softness of this song and the rhythm is awesome. There is something very latino in it and it is highly dancy song (not in the way I usually mean, but rather in a partner dance way).

Other song from Jeremías that was featured in Mi Gorda Bella. This was the theme song of the show and its main couple. The name of the song, Poco A Poco, means Little By Little. This song always throws me back into memories of the show (during the beginning I always get the show's opening running in me head), so it is a very nostalgic song for me.

I find this song very happy. The music and the beat are very uplifting. Jeremías' style of singing in this makes it even more cheerful. It is a love song and the lyrics are quite nice too. But I don't think it is necessary to understand the lyrics to enjoy this song. It is just so amazing. I always go back to this song and love it as much as the first time I heard it (which I believe was in 2006).

Jeremías has so many awesome songs. It probably is partly due to his voice, which I really like. It has a nice edge in it. Picking out a third song from Jeremías was the hardest decision I have made so far in this blog. I just love so many is his songs! The winner ended up being a song called Uno Y Uno Es Igual A Tres, because I have been listening to it a lot lately.

You might be able to translate the title even without knowledge in Spanish: One And One Equals Three. And no, it is not a beautiful song about having a baby. Instead, as you can tell by the music video, it is about cheating. This song is very catchy. I find to beat and his singing quite cheerful even when the lyrics are not (there is a pistol involved...). Interesting contrast and I love it.

La Cita and Poco A Poco were released in Jeremías' self-titled album Jeremías in 2003. Uno Y Uno Es Igual A Tres is part of his second album Ese Que Va Por Ahí, which was released in 2006.

A boy band from Venezuela: A.5, which is pronounced as A Punto Cinco (A Dot Five). Unfortunately I am not able to find information on them online. Or actually I can find info, but I just do not understand it since my Spanish skills suck. (Actually I can understand surprisingly much even though I haven't studied Spanish at all. Thanks to telenovelas.) But I believe this group doesn't make music anymore. Though I have been able to find some solo music from some of them.

The song above is called Supervisor De Tus Sueños, which means Supervisor Of Your Dreams. The song was featured in the Mi Gorda Bella telenovela as the theme song of my favourite couple. I have loved this song ever since I first heard it. I find it incredibly beautiful. One of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, definitely.

I am actually not a romantic person and usually not much into romantic lyrics and such. But these lyrics are just so beautiful. You can read the lyrics and English translation here: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/supervisor-de-tus-suenos-supervisor-your-dreams.html. I find them somehow personally touching, which rarely happens with love songs. Besides the lyrics, the music and the way the boys sing the song just make it even more beautiful. So wonderful.

This was actually the 100th song I featured in my blog. An excellent choice for this small milestone.

A.5 has also other great songs. One of them is Solo Con Mirarte. Google Translate says that the title means Just By Looking At You. I have not read the lyrics, but I assume this is a love song. At least it sounds like so.

I have noticed that quite many of A.5 songs (of those I have heard obviously) are fairly similar in style. I guess this is their trademark sound. And I do like it. This something soft in their voices and music. Their songs are easy to listen to and they are usually touching. At least Solo Con Mirarte manages to touch me with just the music and singing. It sounds very beautiful. The chorus especially is brilliant.

Supervisor De Tus Sueños is found on the album of the same name, which was released in 2004. I was not able to find out when Solo Con Mirarte was released.

20 January 2015

Opinion: Haters and hating in music

In my previous blog post (which you can read here), I mentioned I'd be writing this post. At the end of that post, there is a good example of what I am writing about today.

Photo source

So, the subject I want to comment on today is the hating done by some fans. What I mean is that the fans of a certain artist hate on some other artist(s). The phenomenon is hard not to notice if you follow a little of what is going on in YouTube and social media.

In example, there are few quite well-known American and British artists whose fans like to spread their hate on social media (two come in mind particularly, but I am not pointing out anyone specifically). Other type of hating is that some people obsessively support their favourite singer/band and dis pretty much all others. I have noticed that i.e. certain South Korean groups have very obsessive fans, but this matter is quite common all around the world.

This hating includes writing mean comments to the artist(s) and their fans. It can go even further and include in example spreading disrespectful false rumors of an artist.  Sometimes people go so over the board with their hating that they even start to harass an artist in real life, which is obviously a crime. The latter is luckily not that common around the world, but in South Korea it is a quite major problem.

So, what starts the hate? To me it sometimes seems like there is no actual reason; People just want to hate on something. Often the hate is directed towards an artist or a group of similar style than who the haters love. Like in the case I mentioned in my previous blog post, fans of a certain group felt that this other group's song was similar to their group's music (which I still say is nonsense) and attacked the other group. This other group got so much hate, that it seems that they disbanded because of this.

When I was younger I use to listen to certain two British girl groups that were highly popular at that time. Then it was quite common that the fans of the other group dissed the other group. It almost felt like it was unacceptable for me to like both of these groups. But I have always failed to see the reasons behind these kind of logics...

I mean, if you find an artist with similar music than your favourite, then why not try to like this artist too instead of going on full rage mode? You could find some amazing songs. I personally like to listen to a lot of different kinds of music, so I don't just get that well the idea of sticking with just one singer/band... For me it is like: if I like an artist, I am eager to listen to other similar artists because there is a high chance of me liking them.

Hating on an artist because they sound/look similar to your favourite is one of the most pointless things ever; How many singers/bands are there that do not sound at all like some other artist? I bet none. Artists are always inspired by others. Saying someone is copying someone, especially if it is a highly common genre, is stupid. It is impossible to do anything 100% original with so many songs out there. And the hater's favourites surely sound like some other artists too.

Other thing that makes me wonder is the time these haters spend spreading mean words and such. Some can post A LOT of mean comments during the day and have long fights on Twitter or YouTube in example. Seriously, what is the point here? Nobody gains anything from this so why waste your time? I know, I would much rather spend my time doing something useful. If I don't like something, I simply move on and go to listen to something I like.

Only reason I can think of is that these haters are (as cliché as this might sound) so miserable with their lives that they need to try make others miserable too. Instead of feeling better, this is sure to make them even more miserable since they are bathing in their hate all the time. So, why not focus on your favourite artists instead of spreading the hate? It would make the haters feel much better, I'm sure.

Well, I hope this post makes even a bit sense. This is just a one thing that always manages to bemuse me. I just don't get why some people want to waste their time like this... My tip for haters:  Enjoy the music you like and let others enjoy what they like! Everyone is a lot happier that way.

[ps. I want to keep my blog a happy place and I gain nothing from insulting artists, so I won't be writing about songs I don't like or go bashing anyone. Nobody should be offended by what I write here.]

19 January 2015

Taiwan #1: The beautiful and the powerful

Today's music comes from Taiwan.

Wikipedia: Taiwan

Without any further introduction, let's get to the music. First up is...

a girl group called S.H.E. The group has had a successful career in Taiwan and beyond since their debut in 2001. They sing mostly in Mandarin Chinese and their main genre is Mandopop (Mandarin pop music). For me personally, they are my top favourite Taiwanese group.

The song above is called 愛就對了 (Ai Jiu Dui Le), which means Love So Right in English. This song is actually a Chinese version of a song called Angel by an American singer Kate Voegele (Which I find great too. You can listen to it here.). S.H.E's version is fairly different from Kate's version, especially from the lyrics. S.H.E sings that love can be hard and cause you suffering, but it is worth it all to love.

This was the first S.H.E song I heard and I loved it immediately. It still remains as my favourite song from the group. I like how it has a pop rock shade while still being a pop song (I believe, but knowing my genre knowledge I could be wrong). The lyrics are good, and I actually already liked the Chinese lyrics without even speaking Mandarin. The words just sound so nice here. I especially like the very last line and the way they sing it: It leaves me with an interesting feeling and a yearning to listen to the song again.

SHERO is another great track by S.H.E. I like how the beat kicks in at the start and immediately hooks you on. This song is very rock-like and has a strong sound to it. It is kinda different from the usual sound of S.H.E, which mostly constructs of fairly slow songs like ballads and acoustic songs.

As you might be able to tell by the title, the lyrics of this song tell women that they can do things by themselves and be their own heroes: sheroes (she+hero, obviously). The song has a nice powerful message accompanied by a powerful music. I really love the music and the members have some interesting vocals here. A very strong song.

One more song from S.H.E. This one is called 我愛雨夜花 (Wo Ai Yu Ye Hua), which according to Wikipedia, means I Love Rainy Night Flower. The title sounds quite mysterious, doesn't it? In my opinion, the song does in fact have a mysterious feeling to it. But without being cold or dark.

I actually have not read the lyrics, but the feeling I get from this song is that is warm and earthy. I especially love how the rap parts combine with the rest of this song; Such an interesting combination. For me this is a natural sounding song that gets me to think about the world (the lyrics could be something totally different, but what does that matter anyway?). I feel there is something deep to it.

All of these three songs are from S.H.E's album SHERO. The album was released in 2010. And, by the way, I did not purposely pick all the songs from the same album. These just happen to my favourites. And there are other great songs on this album too!

Moving on...

Angela Zhang, also written as Angela Chang, with her song 其實很愛你 (Qi Shi Hen Ai Ni), which Google Translate translates into In fact, I Love You. I am usually not very into ballads, but this song managed to make me fall in love with immediately. This song and artist are fairly new findings for me (though the song was released already in 2007 and Angela debuted in 2000), but I like her already.

Qi Shi Hen Ai Ni (pardon me, if there are any mistakes translating these names) is a very pretty song. I do not know what she sings about, but the music and her voice make the song very touching. She has a quite interesting voice. I like the chorus the most, but overall it is a very beautiful song. And like I have said before: It takes a lot for me to like a ballad. And this one is nearly perfect.

The song was released in Angela's 2007 album Flower In The Wonderland (Chinese title: 夢裡花).

Last up is another girl group, this time a bit different in style. Super 7 is the name of this group. Unfortunately it is hard to find almost any info on them online and it seems that they only released couple of songs (maybe due to the fact I am getting soon). That doesn't stop me from loving this song.

The song is called 麥囉嗦, which romanizes into Mai Luo Suo, but I am not sure if I should trust the Google Translate translation of the title, so let's leave it out. I do not usually like repetitive choruses, but this song is just so highly catchy! The music just works amazingly here. It is a bit electronic and very dancy song. Only minus in my opinion are the unnecessary male rap parts, but otherwise I find this song great. Catchy and dancy: my favourite kind of music.

If you go to the YouTube video, you can see there is a lot dislike and hateful comments on this video. This is due to the song/video/I-have-not-figured-out-exactly-what being, supposedly, similar to something done by a Korean girl group Girls' Generation (aka SNSD). Even though I am not a huge fan of Girls' Generation, I have heard fairly many songs from them, and I have not heard anything like this Super 7 song. Besides, this is a very common style for a song. This matter actually inspires me to write a whole another post on it (since my opinion is too long the include in this one), so I will not get too into it in here. Now I am just saying that all the hate this song gets is just so stupid and unfortunately it seems that it caused this band not to release more songs. Such a shame...

15 January 2015

Canada #1: Some classics and more

Today it is turn for the first country post from Canada.

When I started planning for Canada posts, I knew there were couple songs I just must feature in the first one. It would feel like a sin not to. They are quite well known songs...

(Wikipedia: Canada)

Let's start with my ultimate favourite song from a Canadian artist:

My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion. I know a lot of other people love this song too and it feels a bit cliché to say I love it, but I can't help it: the song is just so amazing. The single was released in 1997 and it is best known as the theme song for the movie Titanic. I personally do not remember did I see the movie or heard to song first, since they were both very popular when I was a child. It probably was the song as they played it in every school disco and events.

I loved this song already when I was a child, but when I got older I started to understand the lyrics better, which obviously made it even more amazing since a big part of the beauty of this song comes from the lyrics. But Celine's vocals have always been my favourite thing about this song.

Other song from Celine Dion: Taking Chances. This song was released almost exactly ten years after My Heart Will Go On, in 2007. It had success in many countries' charts, like so many others of Celine's singles.

The most famous songs from Celine tend to be ballads, so this is a bit different. The song starts as a slow ballad, but builds up towards to end into a more up-beat kinda rockish song. The lyrics are my favourite part; I guess I can connect with them on a personal level. I have been listening Taking Chances and My Heart Will Go On a lot during the past months. I don't know why exactly, but they have fit my mood so well recently.

My Heart Will Go On was originally released in Celine's album Let's Talk About Love and the soundtrack Titanic: Music From The Motion Picture. I believe it can also be found on all her collection albums released after 1997. Taking Chances was the title-single from the album Taking Chances and can also be found at least from the collection album My Love: Essential Collection.

Moving on...

Another Canadian classic: You're Still The One by Shania Twain. Obviously not comparable with the success of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On, but this song has had it's share of success too. It was released in 1998. I believe it is partly a country and partly a pop ballad.

The lyrics are quite usual for a love song, but still very beautiful. But what makes this song so brilliant, are the music and the vocals. I like the nuance Shania has in her voice. When I first heard this song, I did not like love songs much (I sometimes have phases when I don't like songs of certain type or genre), but I still fell in love with this song. So there must be something special in it.

Up! is another great song from Shania Twain. It was released in 2003/2004. Being inspired by You're Still The One back when, I had to listen to more of Shania's songs. Form her Greatest Hits album this song especially stood out for me.

The lyrics have the usual theme of things going wrong, but Shania reminding that things will get better. Somehow the lyrics mange to make something special about this theme. I at least like the lyrics a lot. It is highly catchy and the music is cheerful without being overly happy. For me it works to get me into a more positive spirit.

You're Still The One was released in Shania's album called Come On Over and Up! in an album of the same name, namely Up!. Both are also available on her Greatest Hits album.

The last song is...

Ironic by Alanis Morissette. This song is pretty iconic and the lyrics have become quite well known. It was released in 1996 (Is it just me or were there a lot of great songs from Canadian singers towards the end of the 1990s?).

The music and Alanis' singing style are very good, but the lyrics are the best part of this song. I find them actually a bit depressing. But it is not such a depressing song; The end and the upbeat music make sure of that. I personally wouldn't mind a rain on my wedding day, since I actually like rain (just not on winter...), but the other stuff range from mildly annoying to pretty horrible.

Amongst many, Ironic can be found at least on Alanis' album Jagged Little Pill and her collection album The Collection.

[Yeah, I changed the order of words in the title. From now on the country comes first and the additional title(s) after that. At least for the country posts. I still haven't decided how I'll title the rest.]

10 January 2015

Strong pop beats: Estonia #1

Now it is time for the second European country of this week. And it is Estonia.

Wikipedia: Estonia

All of the songs I have chosen for this post are by female artists (as per usual...) and unfortunately in English. I have heard bunch of Estonian songs, but I have not liked them much. Maybe this is because they have mostly been ballads and I am not a big fan of those. Or maybe because Estonian language is so similar to Finnish that I do not find it very pretty. Who knows... But whatever the language, I really like these songs.

So lets start...

Tanja, also known as Tanja Mihhailova. She has been active in Estonian music scene since 2001 and has had success in Baltic states. For wider audience she is known for representing Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest last year. Her Eurovision song was the song above, Amazing.

I first heard Amazing during the Eesti Laul 2014 and liked it immediately. Since then the song has actually grown on me more and I have started liking it even better. I listened to this quite lot during the last months of 2014. It is fairly simple in the end, but still catchy. I already like the music a lot, but put in Tanja's vocals and it becomes great. I like the edge she has in her voice.

Her Eurovision performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi9Q1ufjooE.

Another song from Tanja, called Forevermore. Even though the song is very summery and was released in July, I obviously heard it for the first time in October of November (which counts as winter in here). Summer song or not, it is great.

I like the music of this song too a lot. Especially during the chorus and the sound that possible comes from some instrument (trust me not to recognize any instruments besides piano, and maybe not that either). Tanja's vocals are great too. I like that the song sounds so positive and fresh. Perfect for summer, but works other times too.

Both of these two Tanja's songs have been released as singles and Amazing also as an EP. They are fairly recent songs, so they are not part of any of her albums, but I'd assume they will be on her next one.

Next up is Elina Born. She is fairly new artist, releasing her first single in 2013. She has not published many songs, but that does not stop me liking her.

Mystery was released in last August. I first heard this song sometime during autumn. It is that kind of song that I usually tend to like, which was the case this time too. I like the strong beat it has and the way Elina sings the chorus. I am not too keen on this kind of lyrics, but since the song is otherwise great I don't mind. Those "um la la la" (or whatever syllables she sings) bits add something special to this song.

So far Elina has released only three singles. But I think she has lots of potential, so I'll curiously wait to hear more music from her. She is competing in this year's Eesti Laul.

Probably one of the best known (or the best?) Estonian singers beyond Estonia: Kerli. She is currently under an American record label and her songs have had success in the USA and Europe. Her first official single Walking On Air was released in 2008 and it charted decently in many countries. I believe it is her best known song.

I came across Walking On Air when it was popular back in 2008. I liked it and some other Kerli song. Then times went on and I forgot about it. Searching music for this blog entry couple months ago I came across her name. I remembered listening to her, but couldn't remember the song. I just remembered her style from the music video because it is kinda memorable.

Obviously I had to listen to this song again. I did like it in 2008, but in six years my taste has changed and now I liked this song a lot more! Maybe it is because now I could understand the lyrics better, which adds a lot to this song. This type of music stands out from the mass and is nice change for the usually charters. What makes this song great is that it is meaningful. Don't let the theme and story fool you, it is deeper than that. Though I believe a big part of Kerli's appeal comes from the way she dresses and the music videos.

Since 2008 Kerli has releases more music and I of course had to listen to more of her songs after I was reunited with Walking On Air. One song that stood out for me as even better than Walking On Air was Zero Gravity.

I like the music a lot. There are softer parts and parts with heavy beat, and all these match together nicely. Kerli sings quite differently here compared to Walking On Air, and I personally prefer this style. And I like the lyrics a lot. I have had this song stuck in my head quite many times during the past months. Overall I love this song a lot.

Walking On Air is available in her album Love Is Dead, which was released in 2008. Zero Gravity is not part of any album, but was released as a single in 2012.

07 January 2015

Strong female vocals: Spain #1

This week this blog is heading to Europe with songs from two new countries. So far the blog has been surprisingly lacking European music, so lets fix it now.

Today's country is Spain. The following artists are, as far as I have understood, pretty well-known and popular in their homeland. And I can definitely see why.

(Wikipedia: Spain)

Lets start with...

Edurne. My favourite Spanish singer. I do not remember exactly when I heard her song Soy Como Soy for the first time. But it was already few years ago and the single was released in 2010, so I most likely heard it in 2010/2011. If I remember correctly, I first heard some cover version (or English version maybe?) of the song. I did not like that version very much, but luckily I still went to listen to the original song. Because I absolutely love this song.

I find Soy Como Soy (which translates into I am what/who I am) very catchy. I like the beat of this song especially during the chorus. But I also like the music during the verses a lot. Overall great music, but the vocals are what makes it even better. I really like Edurne's voice and it goes well with this type of music. And the way she sings the chorus is what makes it so catchy.

Another song from Edurne, called Oigo Mi Corazón (I hear my heart, in English). Soy Como Soy is kinda heavy and has a strong beat. This song instead is soft and kinda cute. Fairly simple song, but there is still something about it... I am not usually very big fan of "ba ba ba", "da da da", "la la la" and so forth parts, but I really like how Edurne's voice sounds in the repetitive part of this song. It really softens this song in a nice way.

I do not know what the lyrics are about, but I like to imagine that they are something sweet (with the little Spanish I know, it doesn't sound very rough). Well, at least the song sounds sweet, but still manages to be very catchy. And it is very easy to listen to without being boring.

Both Soy Como Soy and Oigo Mi Corazón were released as a single from Edurne's fourth studio album Nueva Piel, which was released in 2010.

Next up is Pastora Soler. She has had a long successful career with her first album being released already 20 years ago. Right now she is taking a break for health reasons.

I have heard some of Pastora's songs in the past, but honestly I did not like any of those much. Then, fairly recently, I heard Te Despertaré (which according to Google Translate translates into I will wake). It was love at the first listen. I never disliked Pastora's voice, but I simply did not like her songs. Now that I found a song I liked, everything just fell perfectly together: the vocals, the music, the overall atmosphere of the song... This song is purely great and Pastora's strong vocals make it touching even though I have no idea what she sings about.

Inspired by Te Despertaré I dared to search for more music from Pastora. I have not become a huge fan of hers, but I found some nice songs and another song that I absolutely love: Vive (Lives in English). Pretty much all of the songs I had so far heard from Pastora had been ballads, so this one really stood out.

I really like the sound of this song. There is something classical, but also something modern in it. It has a positive atmosphere without being overly happy. Pastora's vocals make an impression in this song too. It is surprisingly catchy, as I am use to this type of music not being that catchy. A great song in a simple way.

Vive and Te Despertaré are available on Pastora's newest album Conóceme, which was released in 2013. I think I really need to get this album, since I love these two songs so much.

One more song, which is Mira Lo Que Te Has Perdió by Diana Navarro. Google Translate doesn't give a good translation, so I go assuming that the title of this song means Look What You Have Lost. Don't quote me on that. This is how Wikipedia describes her music: "Her songs usually mix genres like copla and flamenco with different rhythms like Arabic or classical music." Sound highly interesting, doesn't it?

Mira Lo Que Te Has Perdió is quite theatrical in my opinion. In a good way of course (because theatrical does not automatically mean it is good). It is dramatic and there is something creepy in it, which is a plus in my books. Some of the parts in this song, particularly the chorus, remind me of opera. And I love opera. The song is quite complex, which makes it interesting, but without being confusing. A very interesting style definitely.

This song can be found on Diana's 2012 album Género Chica and also on her 2013 collection album La Esencia.

05 January 2015

Blog plans 2015

I was not originally planning on doing this kind of post, but for past couple of days these ideas have been going around in my head and I felt like writing down them. This post can serve as a sort of guide to anyone coming across my blog wondering what to expect from this blog. This is what I have been planning for this newly started year...

- So far I have written quite lot theme/special/series posts. From here on, I want to focus more on country specific posts as they are what I like the most and what I originally started this blog for. There is still going to be many other types of posts, but the main focus will be on the country posts. I have lots and lots of theme and series posts planned too. More about my blog post types you can read here.

- I have a highly interesting blog series planned! These posts will take more effort to write, so I can't say anything about how many I will write. But I am kinda excited! This series will kick off in March or April.

- I will have my last school exams at the end of March, so after that I will have a lot more time for my blogs. The posting pace may fasten then, at least until autumn. I also will continue to study music technology and else, which hopefully adds something to this blog.

- For the reason mentioned in the previous paragraph, I will have more time, so I can finally give this blog a makeover it deserves. I will try to learn editing and make this blog it's own background, header, etc.. I already know what I would like my blog to visually look like.

- Other visual change is already noticeable in my previous post. From now on I'll be adding a photo for (most of) my blog posts, so they will look better in Blogger reader and such.

- I will start promoting my blog. I know I keep saying that, but I swear I will!

I believe that's it in a nutshell. Almost like New Year's promises for my blog. For me it feels like that 2014 was a warm-up (I only blogged for two months) and now I am starting for real. In my opinion, my blog posts have been getting better, or at least longer. I will try to keep at it!

(I just ask you to be polite and not to troll; I want to keep this blog a positive place.) Or if you want to just chat, you can comment on my other blog: Mariya's Road. I like meeting new people, so see ya!

02 January 2015

Original & Covers: CAT'S EYE

I already wrote a post somewhat related to my 2014 for New Years (read here), but I felt like writing another. This post is also second one in my Original & Covers series.

The song of this post is called CAT'S EYE or キャッツ・アイ in Japanese.

And if you wonder how does this relate to my year of 2014: one of these versions is in my top3 of most listened songs in 2014 (I have no idea which song is the most listened).

(photo source)

Let's start:


by Japanese singer ANRI (杏里). The original version of this song was released in 1983. It was the theme song of Japanese anime series (which originally was also a manga series) of the same name (stylized as CAT'S♥EYE in English). I haven't seen the anime or read the manga, but the storyline sounds quite interesting, so maybe one day I'll check it out.

But the song I love. This original version especially has an "anime sound" to it. Especially in the chorus: it is fast paced and catchy. I like the music, but even more I like the way ANRI sings: her voice is fairly steady and easy-going with a nice shade to it. The music and ANRI's voice make an interesting combination, that's easy to listen to, but still highly catchy.


Cover version by a Japanese girl group called MAX. This group has been highly successful since their debut in 1990s and is the second highest selling female group in Japan (according to Wikipedia). MAX's style differs from the usual Japanese girl group style by being more adult, especially now when the members are already quite bit older than most members in popular Japanese girl groups. You can notice this in their music video for CAT'S EYE, which is far from the usual cute and girly style.

Their version of the song was released in 2010 as a lead single from their album which included covers of (quote from Wikipedia) "80s and 90s classics and anime songs". Wikipedia also states that the cover is in eurobeat genre. There is almost 30 years in between the release dates of this and the original.

MAX's versions does sound quite similar to ANRI's version, but more modern and more dance/disco style (eurobeat, I suppose). I already liked the original version, but with the changes they have made in this version, I absolutely love this song. This type of music is so much my style. And I also love how MAX's members' voices fit into this song. They add a lot of edge into it. Compared to the original, this version is heavier and rougher, which fits perfectly.

I mentioned that one of these versions was within my most listened songs in 2014; This was it. This song is also amongst my ultimate favourite Japanese songs. I honestly can listen to it multiple times in a row without getting a bit bored. I simply love it.


The second cover is by a special group formed from the members of Japanese girl groups Berryz工房 (Berryz Kobo) and ℃-ute. (I write the next out of memory, so my apologies if I remember incorrectly) These members performed in a theater version of the CAT'S EYE anime/manga. This song was released to promote this theater show. It was released in 2012.

This was the first version that I heard of this song. As these groups are within my top most favourite groups, I obviously knew of this song when it was released and of course had to listen to it. After I really liked this version, I needed to listen to other versions too.

This version does have the same main beat and lyrics (mostly), but otherwise it is very different, from the original especially. It is more "electric" (I know there is an actual term for it, but I suck with terms). Quite different from the roughness of MAX's version and simplicity of ANRI's, but it actually fits this song surprisingly well. There is always a high risk of going overboard with this type of music, but here everything works. It makes into an interesting version.