Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Top 15 Albums of January 2014 - Part 1

Hello fellow Music Lovers! I'm finally getting started on 2014's Music! Before we get into the nitty-gritty of it, just a side note. I just noticed the last post was my 50th! And it was the top 10! If only I noticed before! Anyway, I just wanted to thank those few that have been with me pretty much from the start!

Now on to music related things. I have finally came to a decision on how to do countdowns for the smaller amounts of time. I will be doing the top 15 for every month, top 25 for every quarter (three months), top 30 for half years, and top 50 for the entire years (like previously). If you're curious, I just figure I could go through and figure out how I want to split the posts up within the rankings, and it looks like we'll go with two a month, three every three months and six months, and five to close out the year! Yeah, so now it's solidified, lets get started with January!

And as per usual, the link to the videos in playlist form on YouTube here!

| Part 1 | Part 2

15. Kiss&Cry - Domino Game [60 Points] Released: January 24, 2014 
Domino Game is the debut song of a new four member girl group known as Kiss&Cry. Oh my goodness do these girls have some vocal power. For being a new group, most of the members have previous debuts and have done work in previous groups or as a soloist. They're concept is also more sexier for their debut, and it didn't feel as forced as others tend to be. I am so impressed by this new group and can't wait to see what else they do in the future. They are also pretty good live, so definitely watch it if you enjoy live shows! As for the song itself, it has a really fun and funky Latin vibe with trumpets galore. It's one of those songs where I just sing and dance along while folding my laundry. It's just got a fun beat! 

14. A-Prince - Yes Or No [61 Points] Released: January 15, 2014 
Mid January newer boy band A-Prince released the single Yes Or No. This is a more normal dance pop Kpop song, and my favorite of A-Prince's. I especially really like the chorus. It's so much fun to sing along too! As for the music video, they are a new band and not from one of the top production companies. It's a little disappointing, but they do upload their music videos with English subtitles which it nice to see for international fans. The music video, just seems like a B-movie. But, if anything just focus on the lyrics. The song is really solid and one of my favorites of 2014 so far! 

13. GaIn - Fxxk U [64 Points] Released: January 27, 2014 
News of GaIn's impending comeback came out in January along with a risque and sexy teaser for a pre-release single. Now, for those of you who know me personally know that I'm not very fond of cussing and very rarely do so myself. I just find it a turn off a lot of the time. However, there are times where I've seen where those types of words are needed to get across a certain message. I think that this song is one of those few cases. Going into the lyrics, Fxxk U tells the story of a couple (played by Gain and actor Joo Ji Hoon [I love him]) that in a relationship that is intense, rocky, and both physically and emotionally abusive. It has such a strong message, which is something I really respect about Gain, and Brown Eyed Girls in general. When songs like this come out, I really am grateful to those artists (no matter where they are) for trying to bring to light issues that plague humanity. Yeah, so going back to something a little more light hearted, Bumkey features in this song (he has a really good R&B voice). I will post the music video below, but just be warned that it could be a little graphic at times. 

12. Ailee - Singing Got Better [68 Points] Released: January 6, 2014 
Ailee cameback in early January with her third digital single, Singing Got Better. Singing Got Better is more of a Rock Ballad that really shows off Ailee's power voice once again. Everything I hear from her just has such power to her vocals. And live, she's incredible. I would love to see Ailee in concert one day. As for the music video, it's in a flashback format. We have Ailee famous and reflecting on a previous relationship that ended badly when she was still training. Lee Joon from MBLAQ plays her opposite. Yes, the song is a little slower, but it just has so much power. If you've enjoyed previous works of Ailee I've posted, definitely check this out as well if you haven't! 

11. Got7 - Got It? [78 Points] Released: January 20, 2014
January brought JYP Entertainment's new boy band's debut, GOT7. The promotional song for their debut album is Girls Girls Girls. It's a hip hop style song produced by JYP (because that's a surprise XP) and is said to have JYP's style of Swag. I enjoyed the song, although the lyrics are pretty cocky. But hey, it fits the concept they were going for. The dancing is pretty awesome and fun. Here's a practice video to show more of the dance that also has large name tags! I also really like the editing with the different split screens. I really like what JYP Entertainment does with their music videos, and this one is another on that very long list. For my readers out their more into hip hop, definitely check out Girls Girls Girls (and let me know what you think). Plus we also get Sohee (from Wonder Girls) famous "Omana" featured throughout the song. Back to the album, I also really liked Like Oh

10. Royal Pirates - Drawing the Line [81 Points] Released: January 15, 2014 
Finally mid-January we got the first extended play (EP) from Royal Pirates, Drawing the Line! Royal Pirates is a Korean-American indie rock band that have been pretty big on YouTube for a while and I'm glad they have finally officially debuted. The title song is Drawing the Line, and the EP contained two versions, one in Korean and one in English! The official music video is in Korean (obviously), but here is a link to the English version as well! I love the fun song and music video, and really enjoy the flavor of rock music that Royal Pirates produces! I can't wait to see what they'll release next! 

09. DBSK - Tense [82 Points] Released: January 6, 2014 
Early January we saw DBSK's seventh album release Tense. This album was also in celebration of their 10th year anniversary, which occurred December 26th. The title song is Something and has a big band and swing jazz feel to it that really struck a cord with me. For those that aren't aware, if I were to pick my favorite singer of all time, my number one has been Frank Sinatra for years and I grew up with my dad singing his songs all the time. But back to DBSK, talking album wise, I just wasn't as grabbed as I was with Something. Something has the most plays, with the second most only being played three times. I feel bad, but as an entire album, it just didn't grab me at this time in life. Who knows though, maybe three years down the road it'll be exactly what I need to listen to. But back to Something, the music video was true to SM's style, but the dance was pretty nifty with all of the string work. I really liked the little shuffle step during the chorus as well. And oh my goodness! Look at all those foreigners! XD 

08. K-Much - Beyond the Ocean [86 Points] Released: January 7, 2014
January 7th saw the debut of a new five member boy band, known as K-Much internationally. Their debut album is Beyond the Ocean, with the promotion song Good to Go. Having only three songs (as well as the instrumental versions) made their first foray small, but impressive. I enjoy all three of the songs, my favorite is either Good to Go or I'm Sorry; but I also really like What Should I Do? Anyway, I'm pretty impressed with their first album and look forward to what else they'll release!

06. J-Min - Cross the Border [91 Points] Released: January 22, 2014
J-Min is a Korean singer-songwriter under SM, but she's mainly active in Japan. She covers a bunch of genres, most of them fitting into what I would call feel good pop rock. She's released a few singles and mini-albums before, but Cross the Border is her first Studio Album. It has a few of the songs she previously released, as well as two from a single that was cancelled. I love a lot of the songs, but since there's no official promotion song (that I could find), I'll be posting one of the music videos from one of her previous singles that is included on the album. It's called If You Want. She also has a video for Heart Theater. As for the rest of the album, my favorite song is Earth-aholic followed closely by Knock the Walls Down and Song On My Guitar.

06. Girl's Day - Everyday III [91 Points] Released: January 3, 2014
Early 2014 brought about Girl's Day's release of their third mini-album. The promotion song selected was Something, a slower but more sultry song. Girl's Day amped up their sex appeal as they get older and I think they did it well without seeming to off or just wrong with this dance and music video. I still prefer their more pop songs though. As for the rest of the album, I also really enjoyed their song Whistle

Alright, well there is Part 1! Stay tuned for the top 5 albums of January (hopefully will go out sometime this week)! As always, stay jamming! Once again here is the videos in a YouTube Playlist. Comments are always loved and answered!

Stasi ♫

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Top 50 Albums of 2013: 10-01

Finally, we are finishing the countdown of 2013! I'll save my thoughts until it's actually over (the end of the post), so let's get started with the final ten albums! And as always, here is the link to my Youtube playlist!

| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

10. U-Kiss - Inside of Me [257 Points] Released: July 24, 2013 
In 2013 Kiss Me's (U-Kiss' fanclub name) were graced with U-Kiss' second full Japanese album. Beside adding several of their previously released single songs, the album used it's namesake song for promotions. The way I feel about Inside of Me is that it's a good, but interesting mix of pop and ballad styles. Just listening to the instrumental track, it could be a superb pop song, especially if we kick the bpm up a little. However the music is paired with U-Kiss singing more in a ballad style that gives it a nice song that can fit in both of my slow and pop playlists. Even the rap is a little more slowed down to match the overall feel that just the lyrics give. The music video is fairly straight forward, with U-Kiss belting it out in various dimly lit rooms and giving sad yet hopeful faces. Plus we get AJ since he was on a break from Columbia University! I love the black and white clothing choices, especially in the apocalypse room. Except for Hoon. Poor Hoon looks like he got attacked by zombies, so they used someone's pants to make a giant chest bandage for him. (Oh, and side note, U-Kiss, you're doing it wrong. If you are going to board up the windows, don't use such flimsy boards and leave more than enough holes for the zombies to come through. Just saying.) Back to the album, it generally has a more ballad feel to it, besides the singles that were compiled into the album that I love (Alone anyone?), I also really like Play Back (more pop-rock) and The Only One. Also, I just want to point out that the Intro and Interlude songs that U-Kiss usually have are really good and sometimes I find myself listening to them more than the actually songs. Don't know why, but I guess they do them right! (Especially in their latest Japanese Album!) Alright, I think that's enough ranting for now, because I could go on more, but I don't want to bore you! If you made it this far (I know it's just the first one), thank you! Without further ado, here is the PV for Inside of Me (yes it's the short version; Why Japan, WHY?). 

09. Kerli - Utopia [264 Points] Released: March 19, 2013 
I was super excited before 2013 even rolled around knowing that Kerli was planning on releasing a full album in early 2013. I stumbled across Kerli when her first album came out in 2008. I stumbled across one of the songs on YouTube while at work in the basement of Candelaria. After that I was hooked. I googled her and looked up everything she had done before that point. I was such a fan of Kerli because her first few singles and album were super unique and so original compared to anything I had heard before. So this led to my excitement for her next album. I will say however that my first impression of Utopia was fairly bad. Most of the songs fit into the European Electronica genre and felt like it was missing the certain uniqueness I was expecting based off of her previous songs. After not listening to it after a week or so and sitting down to listen to it with a fresh mind, I liked it a lot more knowing what to expect musically. I once again enjoy 90% of the album, with two songs not necessarily fitting my tastes. And a few of her songs actually have some uniqueness, just not of the same variety from before. Since I love almost all of the songs, I could post links to all of them, but I think I'll just post a select few. Okay, this will be tough, I should try to do this objectively. So the songs I am going to share with you are Sugar (not as electronica and more similar to her previous unique songs), Last Breath (my favorite song off the album and my most played), and Chemical (a more acoustic feeling ballad). Also on the album is Zero Gravity, one of my favorite Kerli songs of all time and one that was previously released as a single. If you haven't listened to any of Kerli's stuff before and you are interested in more Indie, feel-good, pop/folk, weirdness, please click here and at least check out her Music Videos (there are four more that have been shared in this post, one from the Tim Burton's remake of Alice in Wonderland!). Side note, she also have really fun and quirky fashion!

08. Super Junior-M - Breakdown [288 Points] Released: January 7, 2013 
The first week into 2013, started one of my favorite Kpop boy bands' sub-unit released a new album! This is their second album and was a comeback for the unit, after not released anything since Perfection in 2011. I was super excited (as one can expect) and totally love Breakdown (the promotion single). It is one of those songs that just gets me nodding my head and singing along (in nowhere near correct Chinese). They released two version, one in Korean and one in Chinese. For those that do not know, Super Junior-M is a sub-unit of Super Junior that mainly promotes in China; the M standing for Mandarin. Besides Breakdown, my favorite song is It's You and has the same amount of plays as Breakdown (+/-1). As for the MV, I have embedded the Chinese version below, but if you would rather watch the Korean one, here is the link! Both versions are pretty much the same, just with different audio. It's also a classic Super Junior music video, with the group just dancing in oddly lit rooms interspersed with singing close-ups and the members getting attacked by feathers. Also, I just want to point out that Siwon is wearing a fuzzy hat, and that is odd, and that is all. 

07. Gackt - Best of the Best: Mild & Wild [309 Points] Released: July 3, 2013 
In the summer of 2013, Japanese star Gackt released a compilation album split into two CDs. Mild contains more of his pop and ballad songs, while Wild tends to have more of his rock songs. I love this compilation album. It's always been on my list to go through and see what I'm missing from Gackt's discography that I love, but now I don't necessarily have to anymore! Also each version has one new song, Mild's being Sakura, Chiru... and Wild's being Claymore. My favorite of the two is definitely Claymore. This album just has A LOT of good songs, and all of my favorite Gackt songs. Looking at the Mild version, my favorite is definitely Ghost and has been my favorite Gackt song of all time since it's release in 2010. Seriously click the link to watch the PV, it has really cool choreography and is an awesome song (and has clips from The Sarah Connor Chronicles since it was used as a promo song for the show in Japan)! As for the rest of the Mild version, I also really like Missing, Vanilla, and Dispar. Even though I tend to choose rock over pop most of the time, I definitely listen to the Mild version more than the Wild. Wild still has some great songs on it. We have the new song Claymore (the PV below), Jesus (one of my favorite Gack PVs after Ghost), and Ever.  To try to keep this short (we aren't even half way done), here is the PV for Claymore. Definitely check out the other links above, at the very least Ghost. Trust me, you won't regret it! 

06. Lunafly - Fly to Love [330 Points] Released: April 3, 2013 
Oh my goodness. Lunafly is so awesome. They are a very talented trio that debuted in September of 2012. Fly to Love is their first full album and chalked full of feel good music. Lunafly has an acoustic type feel to their music that I absolutely love and cannot get enough of. Plus, the leader Sam is from England, so a good chunk of their songs are also released with English versions. If you look at their YouTube, they also have a lot of really good covers. I particularly like the more acoustic versions of their own songs. Maybe one day they'll release an acoustic album. One can hope. Anyways, back to the album at hand. The album was split into two discs, pretty much an English and Korean version each. This may be weird, but there are some songs I prefer in Korean, and some in English. Don't know why, but some of them just sound weird in a different language. The promotion song for the album, is once again its namesake, Fly to Love. This is actually a weird one for me, because I prefer both versions equally. Fly to Love is just a great, feel good song with a fun upbeat melody. I'll have the English version below, so if you would like to view the Korean version, just click here! Here is the link to a live version as well (the singing starts around 1:10)! A good chunk of the songs we actually previously released, just not with an English version as well. Here is the rundown of my favorite songs. I prefer the Korean version of Super Hero, the English versions of One More Step and What's Your Name?, and both versions of You Got That Something I Need. Trying to cut back, if you enjoy acoustic, feel good music without a lot of bells and whistles, definitely check out Lunafly! 

05. Fall Out Boy - Save Rock & Roll [397 Points] Released: April 12, 2013 
Number Five! And look at that point jump! So it is all thanks to my little sister Ariel that this album is on this countdown. During our road trip back from Arizona (after picking her up from college for the summer), she had us listen to Fall Out Boy's new album. My Mom and I completely latched on this was one of the albums that all three of us listened to a bunch that summer and fall. As for MVs, they are doing an entire series, where each song off of the album has its own music video and they all are telling one story. WARNING: Before you watch them, they are very graphic in a violent, bloody, gross way, but extremely interesting and I can't wait for them to finish releasing them. Currently 9 out of 11 have been released, with the latest just coming out March 6th. So back to this album, it is freaking AMAZING. I love or really like all of the songs. There is only one song that I don't listen to as much and it still has 16 plays. My favorite song actually has over 60! Since they are doing something for their videos, all videos that are in this rant block are not going to be the actual music videos so nobody watches them out of order or gets really confused. However you could just watch the entire series so far! So the favorites of my favorites are Where Did the Party Go?, Death Valley, Young Volcanoes, and Rat a Tat. Actually, I just love all of the songs, and my least favorite is the last, Save Rock and Roll. It's just a slow finish to a superb album. Seriously, if you enjoy Rock, or Alternative, or Punk, or whatever, just listen to the songs. IT'S SOOOOO GOOD! Trust me! Without anything further, I bring you the first video of The Young Blood Chronicles

04. Shinee - Misconceptions of You [408 Points] Released: February 19, April 26, & August 8, 2013 
So I did a little weird thing here with Shinee's album Misconceptions of You. The way that Misconceptions was released is Chapter 1: Dream Girl was released in February, Chapter 2: Why So Serious? was released in April, and then they were combined into one album and released with two tracks. So to make to easier, I just combined the plays and points from all three releases into one! We'll start with Chapter 1 first. Chapter 1 is Dream Girl and the music video I'm placing below because I like it a little more than Why So Serious? and it was released first. Dream Girl was a fun, quirky, Shinee-esque song with a really fun microphone stand dance. I also really enjoyed Hitchhiking, Beautiful, and Dynamite. Chapter 2 had the promotion song of Why So Serious?. I really enjoyed Why So Serious? and it has probably my favorite lyrics of any Shinee song. I just love how fun it is, and I love the zombie dance. From Chapter 2 I also really like SHINe (Medusa I) and Evil (EVIL!(my Mom's nickname...and she's a shawol...just saying! XD). As for the two new songs from the combined version, they are two pretty ballads (and Shinee does good ballads as some don't know from their dance pop promotions), but I wasn't as excited for them as other songs. So in trying to keep things short, here are the Dance Version MV of Dream Girl, and a live version of Why So Serious? with English subtitles (so you can see the dance and see the lyrics)! 

03. VIXX - Hyde and Jekyll (Repackage) [410 Points] Released: May 20, 2013 
WARNING: I will try to keep from fangirling too much, but seriously, it's Vixx's Hyde & Repackage Jekyll. Rounding out at number three we have Vixx's first mini-album Hyde and the repackaged version called Jekyll. Now if I didn't have a point system here, this album would be tied for first with the album that is first on this list. That is how much I love this album. A good chunk of the songs are still on my everyday playlist, and it has almost been a year. On & On really put VIXX on the map for me, but Hyde really nailed it in place. VIXX is now number three on my list of favorite Kpop boy bands and probably won't be going anywhere anytime soon. As I stated before, I love that they do things a little bit darker and Hyde is currently (as of this moment) the most listened to song in my iTunes (over 150 plays), that was released in 2013, plus it's just my favorite song of 2013. I just can't even properly express how much I love this song. So I'll just pepper you with a live video, a dance practice video, and the music video below! As for the rest of the album, I also really enjoyed Light Me Up and CHAOS. As for the repackage song G.R.8.U., VIXX went with the more cutesy style, as most Kpop groups do. However, there was something different about the way they did it. It wasn't over the top with aegyo (the cutesy stuff) and the music video had a really cool start with everything in reverse followed my newspaper stop-motion and a fun dance (that has a Hyde flashback). As for the repackage songs there were only two more besides G.R.8.U., and one of them is my favorite VIXX non-promotional song, and definitely in the top 5 of my favorite VIXX songs. It's called What To Do. It's just a fun feel good song, and you just have to listen to it yourself. So once again, I leave you with a few more links; G.R.8.U dance practice video and a live version with English subtitles! 

02. Kim Jaejoong - WWW [506 Points] Released: October 29, 2013 
Another big point jump! October brought many wonderful things, my favorite holiday and Kim Jaejoong's (of JYJ) first full solo album. After his solo debut earlier in the year, I super excited to see what he was bringing us again, especially since he was continuing his foray into the Rock genre. The title song is Just Another Girl, and good rock song to kick off the album's tone. Before the album was officially released, two songs were pre-released; Sunny Day a ballad featuring Lee Sang Gon of ballad group Noel, and the rock hit Butterfly. Side note, Butterfly is still my ringtone. I was pleased with both, and even more pleased with the entire album. The night it was released (night for me here in America) I immediately got it and listened to it. I was so impressed with all of the songs and that most of them were rocks songs. There are a couple ballads and more mainstream pop songs, but overall the album was very well rounded and one of my favorite albums of the year. (And will pop up in future ratings as well since the repackage came out in 2014.) As for other songs, I have to narrow it down (and not include the ones already linked above XD). Okay, I am going to go with my favorite of all of Jaejoong's ballads (and the song I was listening to when I got in my big accident - but it didn't ruin the song for me) Paradise, Rotten Love, and Don't Walk Away featuring Young Junhyung the rapper of B2ST. As a last note, I also would like to add that Jaejoong did lyrics for 10 of the 13 songs, as well as composed four of them! I love it when artists take part in writing their own songs! 

01. Kim Jaejoong - I and Y [773 Points] Released: January 17, 2013 
The final album, and my top ranked album of 2013. I bring you another large point jump and Kim Jaejoong's solo debut Mini-album I and the repackage, Y. For I I was super duper excited when Jaejoong released not only that he was doing a solo album, but it would be rock. Mine is the promotion song, a fun rock song with a lot of meaning and wonderful cinematography. It totally blew me away, and I immediately latched onto the song. When the rest of the album came out, I was a little disappointed the rest were more ballad and pop songs, but boy are they still some of my favorite songs. Of the seven songs of both the normal and repackage versions, Jaejoong wrote the lyrics for six and composed four again. My favorite song off of the album is definitely Mine (with over 120 plays), but I loved them all, including the two repackage songs. And since there are only seven songs and this is the number one album of 2013, I'll list them all! :) We have One Kiss, Healing For Myself, You Fill Me Up, and my favorite of the ballads All Alone. The repackage has two songs featuring Flowsik (who I am a big fan of, especially when paired with JYJ), Kiss B (my favorite of the two) and Only Love. And without further ado, I bring you the last music video of my 2013 countdown, Kim Jaejoong's Mine. 

Well that wraps up my countdown of the top 50 albums of 2013. Stay tuned for the first few posts of 2014! I hope you enjoyed going through some of last years best music with me! If you have any comments or thoughts please actually comment! I look forward to seeing you all in the 2014 rankings! Keep on rocking! 

Stasi ♫