I Fight Dragons: Kaboom! Review

This is only the second album that I’ve officially reviewed and by that I mean, listening to each song in repetition as well as spreading its songs throughout my day.  Of course, I also happen to be on a flight from JFK to San Diego on jetBlue using my wife’s MacBook Air paired with her Lady Gaga Beats Headphones.  Not the best listening setup as compared to my review of Justin Bieber’s latest album, but it’s what I have. So here goes. p.s. I’m also thinking about changing the format for reviews to be more like a simpler general review, but tell me your thoughts.


  1. Fanfare
    1. basic intro with all the video game sound effects you can expect from an intro when popping in your 8-bit NES cartridge --> excitement
  2. KABOOM!
    1. the title track starts off with a very fast upbeat drum line and mixes in more sound effects that help out transitions between the chorus.
  3. Save World Get Girl
    1. deep bass line intro, you’d never think it’d be fast paced.  Bottom line, it’s a great pick me up type song reassuring you always get the girl when you save the world.
  4. cRaZie$
    1. definitely a slower tempo that realigns the feel of the album a third through mixed in with multiple harmonies.
  5. Gloria (Interlude)
    1. A perfect throwback to a text and graphic transition from a frightful world to much calmer one.
  6. My Way
    1. Happy.  There’s clapping and “la la la’s” all around.  This is where the album actually starts to incorporate more game like midi files and sound effects.  It’s definitely calmer than the rest.
  7. With You
    1. one of the biggest changes of pace especially with guest Kina Grannis dropping in with a great harmony.  I almost thought that it was Incubus on the album.  This is a sweet song and is cute.  Probably could have been on an RPG of sorts.  Definitely an easy favorite to chill to and completely unexpected.  Probably my favorite on the track.
  8. Fight For You
    1. I’ll fight for you if you care about me.  I guess you can say we’re in it together.
  9. The Geeks Will Inherit The Earth
    1. the understanding and old adage of geeks being the losers of high school and the winners in the end. the song itself is a little geeky with robotic speak and spell coming at you.  they have funny lines such as “we need some sun” make the song entertaining.  I guess it’s almost like telling an old crush, we’re awesome now!
  10. Disaster Hearts
    1. A very slow song bringing you back down to earth and reality.  About getting over a dramatic life changing event its proves to be a sad song.  A very emo themed Death Cab kind of song.  Good but just a little too different in the mix.
  11. Don’t You?
    1. Partying after a disaster to get over things.  the guitar rift is pretty sweet beginning at 2:00.  that definitely brought the song back from the dead.
  12. Working
    1. it’s not working for me that’s what the song says and I agree.  it’s just too different.
  13. Before I Wake
    1. a charming song that might have sounded better as an acoustic solo
  14. Suburban Doxology
    1. a song that concludes the album well.  it’s almost like the end of a movie


It’s a great alternative album along the lines of a sub par Green Day mix.  Honestly, that might be a little bit of an overshoot, but that’s what it happened to remind of.  Fun throughout and the 8 bit anecdotes sprinkled within the tracks are honestly perfect.  Download the free tracks here or buy the album and support the group!!!

Justin Bieber: Believe Deluxe Edition Review

Disclaimer: This was originally meant to be posted on June 28th, but I was simply embarrassed.  But here it is with my name posted to it.  Have at it! Yes, I’m serious that I’m reviewing his new album Boyfriend.  Why?  Because Justin Bieber is without a doubt one of the internet’s biggest names and he is a social media monger!  Take my word for it, once you start following him on twitter, your feed will blow up with his retweets and messages leaving you with a daunting task of filtering out your friends’ news.  This is my first album review so here goes.  Oh yeah, I forgot to add, I’m listening to each song at least once and then again on repeat.  Yes, that’s at at least twice, maybe three time but it's so I can give each song an honest live review followed by multiple revisits.  By the way, I’m using Adelle’s Lady Gaga Beats headphones paried with my JDS Labs c421 headphone amplifier.  Just think of it as flowing commentary.

  1. All Around the World (featuring Ludacris)
    1. opening up the album is a deep bass dance hit.  it’s catchy yes especially with Ludacris inserting his few lines (2:34) creating the bridge.  either than that, its’ nothing special or different from a traditional dance song.  I’ll bet we’ll be hearing it soon at a club near by.  Mixed with the fast then slow down rhythm, its a hit.
  2. Boyfriend
    1. its been on the radio for at least the past month as his hit single.  everyone that has heard it mistakes it for Justin Timberlake as his falsetto hits key notes during the lead in.  am I tired of it, maybe just a touch but its still a hit as iTunes will tell you.
  3. As Long As You Love Me (featuring Big Sean)
    1. boring.  its tries to be an interlude reminiscent of maybe a dru hill era but its confusing and too edited.  there’s a limit to how much you can post produce a song and this one is over the top.  I’m not impressed by Big Sean (2:03) either.  “I don’t know if this makes sense...” yeah, it doesn’t really.  The lyrics are okay at best.  “But the grass ain’t always greener on the other side, its’ green where you water it...but i’d rather work on this with you than go ahead and start with someone new as long as you love me.”  To me, it’s just talk.  It just tries too hard.
  4. Catching Feelings
    1. a great acoustic intro and different than the three previous songs.  It’s a welcome change of pace.  It’s a great love song.  Shoot, i think it’ll be great on piano and better as an acoustic solo.  Bieber actually sings on this track which is a nice surprise.
  5. Take You
    1. Bass is back and Justin’s voice is deeper.  =)  He’s a little more serious.  It almost feels like the third song song especially with the dance beat.  I was about to skip ahead about a minute and half into it.  It’s just boring.
  6. Right Here (featuring Drake)
    1. Electronic again but its expected right?  a slower beat, a duet mix makes this track different.  Drake opens up and Justin flows in and out as they complete each other’s sentences.  Justin says “Right Here” 35 times in 204 seconds.
    2. :44, :49, :54, :59, 1:00, 1:02, 1:03, 1:07, 1:09, 1:12, 1:14, 1:48, 1:52, 1:57, 2:02, 2:03, 2:05, 2:06, 2:10, 2:11, 2:15, 2:17, 2:39, 2:44, 2:49, 2:54, 2:55, 2:57, 2:58, 3:02, 3:03, 3:07, 3:09, 3:13, 3:14,
  7. Fall
    1. Acoustic again, thank you.  It sounds almost like a musical play coming to an end.  Its celebratory.  I’m guessing it’s suppose to bring you an uplifting feeling.  Positive.
  8. Die In Your Arms
    1. Gospel?  I like the snapping.  He even has an aside and talks in various parts of the song.  It’s almost Jackson 5 like.  Okay, that might be too crazy of a compliment, but I’m moving my head and jamming at the same time.  I like the track.  I might not listen to it ALL the time, but it’s nice.
  9. Thought of You
    1. Clapping this time.  the Chorus isn’t exciting.  The you-whos are okay to say the least but it does border annoying.  Justin is now trying too hard to be gospel / up beat but its not horrible.
  10. Beauty and a Beat (featuring Nicki Minaj)
    1. partying like 3012?  that’s just absurd.  What finer things are you going to be able to show her then than what you can in 2012?  It’s going to take you 1000 years to convince her you’re good enough. “All I need is a beauty and a beat who can make my life complete?”  I mean, it’s cute but just silly.  The bass lines and electronica are annoying especially the popping.  This could have been a better song with it.
    2. Nicki Minaj (2:29) doesn’t make sense until around... yeah never.  Calling Selena, “Selener” to make a rhyme, that’s just silly.  That’s taking it a little too far in my amateur book.
  11.   One Love
    1. quick percussion, warm organ, it’s a dreamer song.  mediocre again, nothing that exciting or different.  gets a little long
  12. Be Alright
    1. I’m starting to get the feeling that I prefer the acoustic songs a lot better.  It’s a ballad and you once again get the opportunity to hear Justin as is.  It’s pleasant and he communicates the lyrics well reassuring me that “everything’s going to alright.” =P
  13. Believe
    1. the title track to the album, this should be it right?!  It’s an admission to Justin’s life and a thank you to all his fans and those that supported his throughout his career.   It’s a great acknowledgement and welcoming.  It fits the bill as a Broadway musical song.  A moving chorus, gospel for the bridge, its definitely a celebration of awesomeness.
  14. Out of Town Girl
    1. I don’t know where the start.  It’s not catchy or exciting.  Almost Ginuwine.  Come in and ride up on it.  My Pony.  Skip it.
  15. She Don’t Like the Lights
    1. the sound of a camera shutter rewinding and shooting over and over.  great... apparently Selena doesn’t like the lights.  stay away and give us some privacy please.  Got it.  She wants the Biebs for herself apparently.
  16. Maria
    1. I love how Justin Bieber calls out his stalker.  Its a little long and by the end, we get the point.  Did she deserver her own track?  Well, I guess that’s her “reward.”  Michael Jackson inspired without question.  You can figure out that one for yourself as it mimics
  17. Love Me Like You Do
    1. Robin Thicke but worse.

I guess you can follow that as the album progressed, I got tired of the album but it does have its highlights if few.  Sure, Justin Bieber is able to compose a full album with only a few fillers and sure his songs are hits.  Luckily, its sprinkled with his talent and I’lll even go as far as saying his guests weren’t needed.   a solid B-  

What kind of music are you listening to?

Lately, more often than not, you can find me navigating through both of NPR's amazing iOS applications, (NPR: News / NPR: Music).  This morning, I discovered "First Listen: Michael Jackson, 'Immortal'" by Ann Powers.  Whether you listen to the entire soundtrack of the up and coming Cirque du Soleil production or chose an individual song, it provides yet another way of enjoying the king of pop's msuic.  As Ms. Powers so cleverly puts it, "...it gives your ears a slap and reminds you how fresh these great songs sounded when you first discovered them." But, I digress. The real reason I wanted to write is to introduce you to an amazing compilation that includes world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolinist Chris Thile and fiddler Stuart Duncan.  Entitled, The Goat Rodeo Sessions, it marks his second forray into the Americana genre with his first album dating back over 15 years ago dubbed Appalachia Waltz.  If you're into exciting, new and different, I can assure you that your ears will be pleased.  It's also great writing music!



The Arts: Sleeping Beauty Wakes

It's been around eight years or so since my wife and I have attended a play/musical at the renowned La Jolla Playhouse. I can't even remember which one it was it's been far too long?! I guess you can say that we've taken it for granted but we've gone out to see other plays/musicals at Balboa Park's Old Globe and the San Diego Civic Center so we're not entirely out of the scene. Just a week ago on July 19th, a new play debuted at the La Jolla Playhouse and what a better way to get back into the arts by starting off with the new hit, Sleeping Beauty Wakes. Due to our overly conflicting schedules, we won't be able to catch a showing until August 5th, but if you're interested in coming along, hit us up! Drinks, dinner, and a play?!?!!? So much better than a movie! Here's a synopsis followed by the trailer.

When a father brings his sleeping daughter in to a sleep disorder clinic, staff and patients mysteriously find themselves sharing the same dream. With beguiling characters, hypnotic lyrics, and a rocking score from GrooveLily, this musical about a father, a daughter and an unlikely suitor dives into the magical space between dreaming and waking.

If that's not enough, listen to the wonderfully composed music.

You can always hit up www.lajollaplayhouse.org for more information.

Sleeping Beauty Wakes at La Jolla Playhouse Performances start July 19 Book by Rachel Sheinkin Music by Brendan Milburn Lyrics by Valerie Vigoda Directed by Rebecca Taichman Co-production with McCarter Theatre Center

Video Friday!!! By My Side - David Choi

I know it's been a while since the last update, but over the past couple of days, I've been missing my other half a little too much. Perfect timing as David Choi's awesome new music video just hit the interwebs! Produced by the amazing Wong Fu Productions, check out the video below! Now only if I could play the guitar like him.

Review: iTunes Ping

So i downloaded iTunes 10 last night to play with the social networking component Ping. I didn't listen to the Apple Press Event yesterday so I didn't know what to think. I had this grand idea that it would integrate with all the other social networking sites that I frequent (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.). I also though that it was kind of weird since there are existing online music sites that have integrated social networking and have a very mature model, like LastFM. I also thought to myself that this could be something huge with the 100 Million worldwide users of iTunes. That's a huge user base to start with! With that being said, there is a very high bar for Ping to at least get close to. In the few hours that I've had to play with Ping I have to say, I don't get it. What is the point to Ping? Upon activating Ping to my iTunes account the options are very rudimentary. Basic stuff about you and what picture you want to use as your avatar is available to you. If you have an acccount, you've been asked this a Million times over.

You are then asked a simple set of questions to gauge your musical tastes. Strike 1: I can only choose 3 genres of music I like.  I"m very eclectic with my choice in music. This does not set well with me.  Strike 2: When asked what albums to represent the music I like, I'm limited to 10 items. This DOES allow me to get past the 3 genres failure, but I'm going to need more than a couple minutes to define myself with 10 albums. To some audiophiles, this is going to take more than a couple minutes.

Getting past the account creation part, I'm still confused by the use. In my opinion there aren't enough people that are registered on the site to get any value. I THINK the point is to find like minded people who are making reviews on the music they purchase via iTunes and befriend them because they have similar musical tastes as I do. Since the release last night, none of my Real Life friends are not on. I value their input 1st before some random person I met on the interwebs.

Getting past the Friend finder, I attempt to register for a couple artists that I want to follow. I start off with their suggestion for Dave Mathews Band. Hey, Under The Table Dreaming, was like the anthem to my 1995. My knee-jerk response is, this has potential. I can see some simple posts by the band about Tours, Music, and Videos from the band and comments from their fans. Honestly, most of the posts are pictures from their current tour. OK, this is starting to look like all the other social networking sites now.  It even has it's own comment bombers that want to peddle their get-rich-quick schemes. I followed Jack Johnson as Ping suggested and I see several comments to his posts about how to get a free iPhone.

In my few hours of exposure to this feature of iTunes, I'm at a lose of how they are going to bring something new to the social networking environment. As I mentioned before there are several existing behemoths that do this job well. I'm reminded of LastFM and their format. They allow their users to discover new music, follow the artists tour schedules and even has a wiki like interface for fans to dump their knowledge about the band. LastFM also allows the users to listen for free. Apple, why didn't you just partner with them? There's an existing user base with lots of content?

That brings me to my point; this experiment into social networking via iTunes brings no value add for me. I've already spent the time on other sites like Facebook's Liked pages, MySpace Music, and LastFM to want to recreate in Ping. The current Ping user base is not very helpful and the artists that are using it are few. I think Ping might have some growing up to do before it becomes useful. I think I"ll let it sit for a month and come back to it and see what it's become.

Additional Links:

iTunes Ping: http://www.apple.com/itunes/ping/

LastFM: http://www.last.fm/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/

MySpace Music: http://www.myspace.com/music

Twitter: http://twitter.com/

Dave Mathews Band: http://www.davematthewsband.com/

Jack Johnson: http://jackjohnsonmusic.com/