Tag Archives: Michael Jackson

Most Influential Albums

I haven’t written in this blog for a hot minute. Been busy starting my business and also performing around LA. I had a gig last night at the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood and I’m performing Friday, October 7th at El Cid, 9pm, near Silverlake. So, things are picking up, but still working on things.

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a couple of days, and I thought I should write this out. There are some albums that really had an impact on my life. I wanted to write about my favorite albums, but that was tough, because what I like keeps changing, so I thought some of these top albums are actually the most influential albums, the albums that came into my life at an important time in my life that I cannot forget.

So, here goes!

First off, Madonna’s Ray of Light album.

This album came out in 1998, over a decade ago. This album came after Evita and Madonna’s first child, Lola. Giving up her weights for yoga, Madonna changed her beliefs and this album is her most spiritual yet. The album won four Grammys and launched a comeback touring career in 2001 with the Drowned World Tour (in which I happily attended).

I remember when this album came out, on VH1 (when they actually showed music!) They had a massive, I mean massive video documentary on Madonna’s music career, hours of showing her music videos and chronicling her life. After that, I was a bonafied fan. I loved the Frozen music video, I loved the messages and this album also came out the year my mother passed away. This album means a lot to me, it launched my Madonna obsession, and it’s a beautiful, classic album that still holds up beautifully today, and still today, nothing really can compare or sounds similar to this album.

Next up for me is Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Album.

I know, I know, what about Thriller? Off the Wall? Bad? He had way better albums. Yes, but Dangerous came out in the 90s when I was growing up, and to me, it just blew me away with the timing, rhythm and production. Yes, I’m gonna be the cheese standing alone, but I liked this album. I wanted to sing and dance like Michael Jackson. It was like flying. I started twirling and I taught myself how to dance. “Who is It”, the syncopation and rhythm is ridiculous, one of my top MJ songs of all time. Also, the music video releases of “Black or White” and “Remember the Time” were huge. I remember waiting by the TV, watching MTV WAITING for the release of the music video. That JUST doesn’t happen anymore. Those were huge music videos. I wanted to create music like that, music that inspired people, that made people excited. I wanted to fly like Michael.

Aaliyah’s last studio album has a special place in my heart. That album is true soul and R&B and those songs talk about domestic abuse, being the other woman, and other topics that I still don’t hear about. A very soulful album, from the late Aaliyah, she proved that she had more soul crooning a note than a diva belting out her heart. It wasn’t about being a complicated singer, her voice was smooth and wiser beyond her years. I love this album and I pull it out from time to time. The production still holds up to today and her voice was one of a kind.

Alanis Morissette with Jagged Little Pill did things with lyrics that’s hard to say anyone else has done. Her syllables were all over the place and she made things work and broke the rules in song writing that not only was catchy, but started a mini-revolution of girl power. Her angst-ridden songs let women be pissed off at their exes, in a way that really doesn’t get talked about at all. Usually break up songs are sad, with a lonely feel, Morissette was like, dude, you screwed me over and you’re gonna hear about it! It was one of my first albums I ever bought and I remember lying in bed with my walkman waking up in the morning to this album, listening to it over and over. What a great first album to buy and get hooked into. I feel sorry for people that buy whatever pop fluff is out now.

Another album, I actually don’t really listen to much anymore, but has made an effect on me, was TLC’s Fanmail. I travelled to Paris and Spain and I remember listening to this album while driving around Europe. This was a great power group, and this album was awesome with “Scrubs” Yes! A song about these loser guys that we’re sick of! I gotta remind myself of that song more often. There were song great songs and productions on this album. Sometimes I’ll hear a female R&B singer copy what TLC has done with their sultry voices and melodies, but it’s not the same.

Please don’t shoot me for this next selection, but Ace of Base’s The Bridge was an awesome Pop album, and if you listen to it, you’ll definitely see where Lady Gaga has gotten a lot of her inspiration. The Bridge pushed the boundaries with Pop music and synths. The melodies and lyrics are great, they sing about different kinds of topics, and it would be awesome to hear a modern day version of this album. Ace of Base is bomb, and I always come back to this album. I heard “Beautiful Life” on an airplane and instantly loved it.

And I’m going to have to stop for now. I’m missing albums of course, there are so many albums that have influenced me, but this is a pretty good start. As you can see, I love 90s pop and rhythm.

What are your most influential albums? Please write a blog and post a link to your list in my comments section. 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Chris Brown feat. Justin Bieber “Next to You”

What happens when two Pop Boy Idols come together to make a music video?

Armageddon, apparently.

In this mini Armageddon movie, Chris Brown comes back as a blond with Justin Bieber in tow. They each have their love interests, and declare their undying love.

I think this is an excellent collaboration. Brown and Bieber’s voices compliment each other. Bieber’s high voice against Brown’s sultry voice combines together quite well. They should consider a boy band or more collaborations together.

Chris Brown shows off his latest dance moves, a la Michael Jackson. He definitely has Michael Jackson as an influence, he also executes the Usher glide flawlessly. In the end, I believe he is wacking. Wacking is a type of dance movie, I believe, correct me if I’m wrong if he’s doing another type of dance move. Wacking is an eccentric New York style of dance, that is a combination of Voguing and it almost looks like you’re dancing off beat, but you’re not.

Bieber doesn’t dance, which is a shame, because I think Usher has taught him some moves, so Bieber and Brown should have danced together a little more. I think teenage girls all over the nation are freaking out over this video. Personally, I like the song a lot. Kind of reminds me of the Backstreet Boy days I grew up in as a teenager (yes, I’m feeling quite old now).

As for Brown’s career, he has been making a comeback with songs like “Deuces” and “YeahX3”. I think “Next to You” will be one of his biggest comeback songs. Pairing with Bieber is a very smart move. Although, I still can’t get that picture of bruised Rihanna out of my head when I think of Chris Brown, I think he needs to work a bit more to completely win the public back.

I feel like both of these artists are just on the cusp of their prime. Bieber is growing up, very noticably in this music video. He’s taller, face is leaner. He really has a long musical career ahead of him if he’s smart and continues to grow as an artist. Brown’s voice and dance moves continue to impress, and I think the difficulties he’s had in life might push him to be an even better artist. I think these two will really blow up in the next five years, again, if they both play their cards right and continue blossoming as artists.

1 Comment

Filed under New Music

Michael Jackson “Behind the Mask Project” Fan Made Video

A fan made music video for one of Michael Jackson’s last releases is now on the singer’s Facebook page through Vevo.

Click here to view the video on Michael Jackson’s Facebook page.

Not one of my favorite MJ songs, but I like the idea of the fan made video. There are Michael Jackson impersonators, dancers and people singing into the web cameras, tattoos and a lot of moon walking.

I think it’s a nice tribute to the King of Pop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under New Music

Blast from the Past Fridays- Janet Jackson “The Pleasure Principle”

I can’t believe it’s already Friday. Sorry for not writing yesterday. Oops. I’ll make it up to you, I promise. I have to do a follow-up on Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” music video critique quite soon for you.

It was a tough decision deciding this week’s “Blast from the Past“. I’ve been in quite an 80s mood lately, so possibly the rest of the month will have more 80s gems every Friday. We’ll see if you’re THAT lucky…

This week, I’m going to have to go with “The Pleasure Principle” by Janet Jackson.

This music video is special to me because when I was a little girl, I saw this video and it was the first time I ever saw a girl dance like that. It made me want to dance on chairs, and have that confidence. Now I am a dancer, thanks to Janet & Michael Jackson. But this video, was the first time I saw that women could do these things.

So, enjoy this week’s “Blast from the Past“…

2 Comments

Filed under Blast from the Past

“Michael” MJ’s Final Triumph?

The proclaimed last album from Michael Jackson,  Michael released last week.

Being an MJ fan, (the King and Queen of Pop will always be MJ and Madonna for me) I wanted to see if Michael had any of the magic we’ve all come to expect from the King of Pop.

Scandals circulated this album, crying that this wasn’t what Michael would have wanted, to release an album without his approval, and that it wasn’t even his voice. This album would have come out regardless if he would have wanted it or not, and it did. I’m sure Tupac will have new songs coming out in the next few years as well. After death, these icons don’t have a say what will be released. Is this right or wrong? Can’t really say, but I think it’s important to remember from which context this album came out of.

I don’t know if this album will cure the insatiable need of MJ music the public has been digesting since his passing. I think it will please the die-hard fans, and for the rest of the public? I think they will buy it to complete albums and only a few songs will somewhat come close the the collection of classics MJ has accumulated over his 45 year career.

Now, for the songs.

The single released, “Hold My Hand” is your typical slow jam, uplifting song. In that respect, the song is good, tolerable. The title, “Hold my Hand” sounds like an afterthought tribute to the King. Written before he passed, but after his passing, the song has a reminiscent feel, as if MJ wrote it for his fans. It’s a great tribute song that wasn’t originally written to be a tribute song.

As pretty and light as the song is, I’m disappointed to hear Akon all over the song. I know it’s a duet, but I really don’t want to her Akon in one of his typical songs. Akon makes the song forgettable. I rather hear Michael sing the whole song in its entirety.

Next is “Hollywood. “Hollywood” seems to be a theme in the ‘album’ (I don’t even know if these collection of songs were meant to be released together in the same album). The intro is slightly reminiscent of the Dangerous album, “Who is It” (one of my favorite MJ tracks). I’m not too thrilled with this song. It’s ok, the chorus is catchy, but nothing ground breaking here. Also, in the more upbeat songs, for some reason, MJ’s voice is lowered and the production made louder. It just sounds like MJ’s voice is compressed with a reverb to give it a slight retro feel to it. I rather hear MJ’s voice loud and clear. I’m just not sold on the production at all.

With “Keep your Head Up”, “(I Like) The Way You Love Me” and “Best of Joy” these three are the slow songs, we can hear MJ’s voice more clearly, as it should be. These songs will please fans of “You Are Not Alone”, “Childhood” and “The Lost Children”. These songs are for those who are fans of the slower MJ ballads. These songs aren’t classics, but for fans of the genre, it will suffice. “(I Like) The Way You Love Me”, is probably the best out of the slow songs. Uplifting and cute.

“Monster” comes in to shake things up a bit. The album placement is a little weird, between all the slow songs, this should have been after “Breaking News”. Anyways, this is my favorite track on the album. This song reminds me of the Blood on the Dance Floor album with almost an 80s touch to it. After “Thriller” MJ was one of the only artists that I know that wrote about scary themes. MJ explains the scary theme in Blood on the Dance Floor and Invincible albums with songs like “Blood on the Dance Floor”, “Ghost”, “Is it Scary”, “Scream Louder”, “Morphine” and “Threatened”. “Monster” is one of the many sequels to “Thriller”. The verses have enough breathing room and the pre-chorus with the chorus vocals are a very good build-up to the chorus. 50 Cents’ rap, eh, it’s fine. Again, sounds like the Invincible album and “Jam” with raps inserted within the song.

Next comes “Breaking News”, this one when I first heard it, was boring. It’s kind of growing on me. The song doesn’t really pick up until 2 minutes at the chorus. This song follows a theme MJ has been touting since 1989’s “Leave Me Alone”, with other songs with the exact same theme of being tabloid fodder in “Tabloid Junkie”, “Why You Wanna Trip on Me”, “Privacy” and I’m sure I’m missing something else. Michael Jackson, as everyone knows, has had mostly a hate relationship with the media. Although, MJ is one of the only artists that actually addresses how they feel about the media. Even after death, his life is still making news. His life was “on display” as his lyrics explain, and this was definitely something Michael had to battle for the majority of his life.

“(I Can’t Make it) Another Day” with Lenny Kravitz, is when the album finally starts to pick up. This one is catchy, something I can imagine on the radio, and Lenny Kravitz is a great artist for MJ to collaborate with. A little “Dirty Diana” feel to it. Just a little.

“Behind the Mask” has a very nice saxophone jazz intro to the song. The synths sound 80s. I think it works. At first it sounds a little old. This song literally sounds like it could have come off of the Bad album. The post chorus has a 70s robot reverb going on. Man, if you like MJ’s 80s songs, this song will fit right in seemlessly.

The album ends with “Much too Soon” This one is a classic. Very fitting and sad.

The best singles off of this album:

Monster, Behind the Mask, Much Too Soon, (I Can’t Make It) Another Day, (I Like) The Way You Love Me.

This album definitely needs time to grow on you. It needs room to breathe and settle in. At first glance, I wasn’t liking it. It’s growing on me, the only classic, would be “Much Too Soon”. “Monster” is my favorite track and over time, I’m interested to hear how this album will be revered by the public.

Leave a comment

Filed under Album Reviews

Changing Musical Tastes

My musical tastes have changed gradually lately. I go in and out from pop music, dance music, some rock, R&B and trance music.

I feel what your emotions are, how you’re feeling, how open you are, is revealed in the music you listen to. Right now I’m listening to alternative rock. Not really a genre I say I’m familiar in. I’ve dabbled in just about every genre, not really becoming a master of all genres, but more like sampling a little bit of everything.

I’ve really dove into pop music most of my life. Madonna, Michael Jackson, some of the top hits on the radio and on iTunes usually makes it’s way into my iPod, and just as fast as fast food is made and consumed, I’m onto finding the next song to get a high from.

For a minute, I thought I was going to go back into a classical phase, listening to “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” by J.S. Bach, and then I started to listening to One Republic’s “Secrets” and Muse’s “Undisclosed Desires”, then got inspired by Journey’s “Separate Ways”.

And then, hearing a Diet Coke commercial, I got into The Temper Trap, “Sweet Disposition”. It was previously in the movie, 500 Days of Summer, but I didn’t really notice it until I heard that Diet Coke commercial. I had to have it and the song really puts me at ease.

And I decided that I didn’t have enough of the The Temper Trap (which is rare, because I usually just jump to the next artist/song that gives me a high) so I went to iTunes to download some more songs and I got “Love Lost” and “Down River” and then I saw Miike Snow.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of people mention Miike Snow, and I didn’t realize that I’ve heard a Tiesto remix of “Silvia” by Miike Snow.

(Song doesn’t really start until 1:04 minutes)

Anyways, I downloaded “Burial” while I was at it. I’ve heard “Animal” probably in other T.V. shows, when I heard the sample I was instantly familiar with the song, not even knowing who the artist was.

That happens a lot. I’ll know a lot of songs, but not know who or what the song is.

Other artists I would go to in this mellow, want to chill out and de-stress mode would be John Mayer, something from the Eclipse soundtrack, like “Let’s Get Lost” by Beck and Bat for Lashes.  Maybe some Frou Frou, Florence + The Machine or maybe even some R&B.

R&B isn’t doing it for me lately though. Bruno Mars is really good. But I dunno, I try not to let musician’s personal lives not taint my listener’s ear, but the whole cocaine charge he was going through kind of turned me off to the reliability of his music. It’s kind of a turn off if you suspect written lyrics are a complete hack. Maybe I’m thinking too deep into it, or not deeply enough, but I’m just turned off and I don’t want to buy “Grenade” or at least not yet.

So, leading back to this alternative rock state. What does this mean that I’m feeling? Wanting an escape, really wanting to de-stress, wanting to chill out amongst all the things going on in my life. There’s a rush to do a lot of things, a lot of important things, but there’s this never ending deadline, and I think this kind of mellow music helps me chill out, enough for the moment and stop time for a minute… or three.

I still listen to my dance music, when I want to dance. And was just dancing to DJ Enferno’s Madonna mix that’s available on his twitter @djenferno. A good “Like a Prayer” remix.

My musical tastes have been changing so much, that it’s hard to keep a track of what’s going on. Kind of like what’s going on in my life. One minute I’m listening to Taylor Swift’s “Innocent” and reliving the experience seeing her live at the VMA’s and contemplating my personal meaning of the song, then I’m dancing to Kaskade’s remix of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”. Which is better than the original song in my opinion.

Yes, the music is all over the place in this blog, and it’s noteworthy to find a trend in this mellow alternative rock phase that I’m going through. The music I’m writing on my guitar is like this as well.

And it’s pretty late now… and I should jump into bed where it’s warm.

Good night.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music I'm Listening To