Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vancouver Olympics Nickelback Rocked It

Hey Everyone,

Not sure how many caught the closing ceremonies of this year's 2010 Vancouver Olympics but the last 30 minutes or so was a concert with a few major acts. I hope my memory gets them all in the right order ...

- Nickelback
- Avril Lavign
- Alanis Morissette
- Simple Plan
- Hedley
- Marie Mai
- K-Os

There was one big problem with the line up in my opinion and it was that they shoved Nickelback first. Now I know they are the band people love to hate but I will still share my musical taste and personal opinion with you (as always). Nickelback rocks. I'm now an even a bigger fan. Chad can sing like a machine. Every live concert I've seen and television clip has him singing like the record and on pitch at all times, and the band is tight as hell. Tonight was just adding to the list of their practically perfect performances.

Now I know that they had the opening advantage where as the sound was probably set up just right and the following acts had to deal with on the fly adjustments, but still, they are the type of band that even a soundman out of college could make sound good as everything and ever member individually rocks. You'd have to botch your job up pretty good to make them look bad. Plus you had their usual pyro with things blowing up everywhere. What a hell of a kick start.

It was followed by Avril lavign who I think stayed within a 2 foot radious at all times. Come on Avril. Move a little. Now I went to go see her in Montreal a littleo ver a year ago and remember being very dissapointed. Seeing her tonight standing like a pogo stick didn't help. Going after the tightest live band and a solid singer like Chad didn't help her cause either. She did well, but she should have gone earlier in the line up.

Alanis was up next. Great vocals. I'm a big fan of Jagged Little Pill but she sang something newer. Great song but which it was some of the older music.

Simple Plan sounded like they had a bigger french accent than usual and the sound wasn't incredible for them so it kind of hurt their performance a little, but catchy song, still very solid.

Hedley ... I'm also a big fan. Saw these guys at Metropolis in Montreal and I was blown away by the singer from stage performance to vocal performance. The olympic closing ceremonies did not give the band justice to me. I know they can rock a stage. Felt like something was missing but still a very good performance. My second favorite of the evening.

For Marie Mai. I'm a little bias as my band is signed to the same publishing company and we're all very big fans of her music but as usual, she rocked it out. Her latest CD is amazing overall. I'm usually not a big fan of french artists (though I'm from Montreal myself), but she is one of the only ones that I could listen to over and over again, and who I really enjoy watching live. Great energy. Awesome vocals.

K-Os didn't do it for me. I didn't see it as a closing act. It felt like the order was all wrong for the evening. As I said and the post title suggests, Nickelback by far was the tightest and most impressive act of the evening. They should have closed off the ceremonies and it would have all made a little more sense to me. Aside frome that, it was entertaining, kept me wanting to see who was up next, and the artist selection prooved to be interesting and easily enjoyable.

Good job Vancouver.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

iTunes Sells 10 Billion Songs

What a milestone ...

We want to send out our congrats to iTunes, selling it's 10 billionth song download on Wednesday (February 24, 2010). Got to figure, they only started their music download service in 2003.

For anyone curious, the actual song downloaded was Johnny Cash's "Guess Things Happen That Way" by 71 year old Louie Sulcer from Woodstock. To mark the event and as a special bonus to Louie for helping crack the 11 digit total download mark, he received a $10,000 gift card. Not so bad though anyone doing the math could get a quick glimpse that at $1 a download (and now up to $1.29), even if the artist gets a good chunk, iTunes probably has very deep pockets and couldn't care less about $10,000 and the publicity over the achievement and gesture sure brought them a heck of a lot of positive press worth many times that.

Got to say, good job to iTunes for keeping legal music downloads alive and well. Just goes to show not everyone is downloading music for free. If you're reading this and still using torrents or another method of stealing music, quit it. Artists need to get paid for their work like you need to get paid for going in to the office or anything else. No one would ask you to work for free or make a product to simply give it away.

If you are interested in legal music downloads, check out our site where we compare only the best music download sites out there, reviewing and rating each. We even have an iTunes Review for those interested.

Keep up the good work iTunes!

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Songs to Discover : Paramore - Decoy

Songs to Discover

Paramore - Decoy

Last week's "Songs to Discover" was Missy Higgins, "Where I Stood" which is probably one of my favorite songs of all time from a song writting prespective. This week, I wanted to spread the variety and genre a little to one of my favorite feel good songs, more from a music a driving perspective than a lyrical one. The type that you are waiting for at a concert that can get the place moving and you'd want to learn on guitar just cause it's a catchy riff. This week's blog is dedicated to Paramore's "Decoy".

For starters, I'm a huge fan of the band. I paid $100 to see them open for No Doubt in Montreal where they played a 25 minute set and I felt it was worth it. It's too bad I wasn't into No Doubt cause they played for what felt like hours. I don't know, Gwen wasn't doing it for me that evening. Everything felt too routine. It's fine if it is, but don't make it seem like it. Now back to Paramore.

The girl can sing and live has the cardio of a marathon running which really makes a difference in their live performance. Can't stand the pogo stick rock bands that come on and seem to have an invisible cage around them stopping any type of stage performance.

"Decoy" is off of their very successful "Riot" album but only on certain extended versions of it. For some reason, I couldn't find it through Amazon so I included the regular "Riot" album with samples at the bottom of this post as the whole album is awesome (stay tuned for a review). There are so many on there that I'd like to mention but keeping with the theme of songs to discover, "Decoy" was the non radio hit that really got me after a listen and had me looping it for a while.

I'd usually go into the "My Interpretation" section about here but honestly, I don't find it very deep lyrically especially next to some of the past "Songs to Discover". It has a great melody, guitar riff, and overall production with a catchiness factor through the roof.

I'll go back to a song with deeper lyrical meaning for the next entry I promise but sometimes, you need that song to get the blood flowing without the brain thinking. There is quite a good batch out there that aren't too well known that I'll be throwing in from time to time. For now, relax a little, clear your thoughts, don't think too hard on this one and just let the music do the talking.


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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Songs to Discover : Missy Higgins - Where I Stood

Songs to Discover

Missy Higgins - Where I Stood

You guys seem to be enjoying the "Songs to Discover" thing so I'll keep going on it. This blog is going to Missy Higgins' "Where I Stood", one of the strongest songs lyrically I've come across that accomplishes bringing out an incredible amount of emotion through such simple text.

While finding lyric version of the song on YouTube for you guys, I also landed on the following live version. Just when I thought I couldn't love this song any more and then an incredible live performance. Writting this blog brought me another favorite live clip from YouTube so thanks guys for reading these and letting me discover more because of them along the way:

Listening to the album version first may make you appreciate the live version a little more actually but you owe it to yourself to check both out.

I honestly first heard this song when I walked into a room and someone was watching "Smallville" at my place. There was a scene going on with this song playing in the background. Now I don't particularly like sitting in front of the television but I heard a part of this song, stopped in my footsteps, and sat in front to listen and watch the scene. Incredible song.

This is another song that around my area never really hit radio very much but holy crap, such a powerful song. The vocal performance on the album version is intense. I don't think you could pin point even a word of it that isn't perfect vocally. The production of it is simple and a perfect fit as well.

My Interpretation

"Where I Stood" is one of those songs that are an easy listen. So strong lyrically, but so simple that you don't have to put a puzzle together. In a first listen, even tuning in and out of the song, you'll still understand it quite well and catching a few key lines will make you want to re-listen to catch the rest.

As always, lyrics are very open to interpretation so I simply share what I hear. I'll quit saying this line after a few more posts :)

This song is of a woman in a heavy relationship with someone she loves. Though she loves him, she has to let him go cause she knows deep down it's not right and they aren't right for each other which takes more guts and a very strong person as oppossed to someone who would have been in the same situation and perhaps drag it out, or even stick around for the conviniance of it all.

In the song, she goes through with the break up which is hard on both of them. Even he is telling her to stay which doesn't make things easier obviously, but she trusts herself enough to still go through with it. You can see she is doing it for the right reasons though as she does give many compliments to the relationship, examples of how she's learned from it, and as the love was genuine, even says that she'll always be close by if ever he needs anything.

The strongest lines are in the chorus though:

'Cos I dont know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should
And I don't know if I could stand another hand upon you
All I know is that I should
'Cos she will love you more than I could
She who dares to stand where I stood

Feel free to share your thoughts on the song but either way take a listen. You owe it to yourself to hear this one as a music lover, songwriter, singer, anyone really.

Here are some samples from the entire CD which hold other great songs, but none topping "Where I Stood".


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Friday, February 12, 2010

Songs to Discover : Shinedown - What a Shame

Songs to Discover

Shinedown - What a Shame

Keeping on with the "Songs to Discover", this blog is dedicated to one of my favorite artists, Shinedown, and to my favorite "underground" song of theirs; What a Shame.

First off, to me, the singer (Brent Smith) has one of the best modern rock vocals out there. The vocal performances in general on each of their albums is amazing. He has an insane range staying with his full voice (not falsetto), really pushing it to the max on the album tracks, and you get a good idea of it with this song.

Shinedown has quite a few hits. The weren't the biggest band around in my area but I have always been a fan ever since one of their first hits here, "45". The track I'm showing you guys today though is off of their more recent "Sound of Madness" album which is starting to have a few radio singles from but this song is not one of them yet, at least here.

My Interpretation

"What a Shame" has a great build up and story line lyrically. To each their own interpretation but for me, I see it as someone who has lost a friend who's relatively close. As they were good friends, the character knew him very well and saw sides of him others may not have seen where as he was a loving and caring soul but had his troubles in life as in general, things along the way, or people along the way made it hard for him and in turn, made him seem like bitter person around others who didn't know him as well. After this person passed away, the character in the song is singing his letter to God, trying to convince him that regardless what a lot of others may have seen, this was a good man so please "give this man his wings" ... let him go to heaven.

You may disagree. Feel free to share your thoughts or at the least, take a listen to the song. If you like rock in general, I'd be surprised after a few listens that you don't enjoy this one. Either way, you can check out samples below of all their songs from their latest album "Sound of Madness" which is overall a great album. Keep an eye for an upcoming review on it.

For now, take in the samples and take in the song. It's a great one to discover if you've never heard it before.


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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Songs to Discover : Flyleaf - Circles

Songs to Discover

Flyleaf - Circles

Flyleaf had a few hit songs and music videos that got some airplay in the last few years but this one was not one of them (yet).

After listening to their new album Memento Mori which is overall a pretty descent album (I'll keep my full comments for an eventual full review of the album), this song in particular, Circles, was the one that I was repeating in my car quite a few times and still am loving it every time it plays.

The story makes for a great build up, the emotion in the vocal take, and the killer bridge both musicially and lyrically towards the end tops it off making this a simply great song to discover that I wanted to share with you guys.

A full review will be coming for this and many other albums so subscribe to our blog, follow us on twitter, and all that good stuff. For now, here are music samples of all the songs off of Memento.


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Sunday, February 7, 2010

YouTube Vevo Music Videos Inflate Plays

YouTube Vevo Music Videos Inflate Plays

This is not a fact, I am simply sharing my observation with you ...

I landed on the above music video from Bullet For My Valentine which plays through Vevo on YouTube. Side note, the song didn't really hit radio where I live but I absolutely love this song and the band. Lyrics are a little weaker than the music I find, but overall very rocking. Now back to the reason for the post.

The video today showed over 20,000,000 views with roughly 1,100 star ratings. That means only 1 rating came for every roughly 18,000 views. I found that rediculously low so I went to compare with the first video that popped in my head that I knew wouldn't be under Vevo and would probably have some what 'honest' stats:

The above video is of a song I discovered last year and couldn't stop listening to. I even wrote a whole blog on these guys - People in Planes.

In any case, today the music video has roughly only 48,000 views and 218 ratings meaning 1 rating for every 220 views! Compared to 1 in 18,000, talk about a difference.

All that to say, with this quick observation along with a few others I've made of music videos not on Vevo, I am personally under the assumption that most videos under Vevo ('major' acts) have inflated plays / views which in turn produces these low rating to view ratios. Even if we consider people can view Vevo videos at now, still, the video in my example with 20 million views was favorited only 120 times at Vevo with a single page of comments so I don't see that angle accounting for millions of plays.

You make your own conclusion but I found it interesting. At the same time I understand for any music label to want to give the impression of having their new music videos played millions of times even if it's only a front as it's more impressive to users than an honest 48,000 plays right.

Nothing new here though, just another example that it's all for show. Marketing wise, I agree with them. Why do you think commercials still use the '2,000,000 satisfied customers to date!' type of lines? I guess if people feel millions before them thought a product was worth spending money on, must mean it's good and you wouldn't be a crazy person if you did too? As a consumer though, hearing these types of lines makes me do a little more research before jumping in.

I put this blog together to simply put out a possibility so that if any of you judge a song even slightly before listening to it by looking at stats, quit it! If you have to, listen to the song first, see what you think about it, then take a look at the plays out of curiosity so it won't influence you before even taking an ear to something. Be open to new music regardless if the band is backed by a huge record company that has bots inflating plays or just a starter band as you may pass up discovering those hundreds and thousands of really rocking smaller bands with only 10,000 views but some of the greatest music you'll ever hear.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beyonce Grammy Performance 2010

Beyonce Grammy Performance 2010

Thinking back at the Grammy awards this year, there were so many that were singing off key and just didn't grab my attention so I felt for the few that did do an awesome job, why not show some support and share with you their great performances.

Earlier this week, I posted up a blog on Lady Gaga and Elton John's Grammy Performance which was easily the best of the evening so today, a look at Beyonce's grammy performance.

Things have really kicked up a notch as far as entertainment these past few years with larger set ups, bigger stages, and more back up dancers / singers. Beyonce made great use of all of it this year putting on a killer performance.

"Halo" is a great song to begin with but they made it interesting from the start with an awesome solo piano part, the horn and much more orchestral section right after, continuous alterations and dynamics throughout, then cutting into Alanis Mroissette's "You Oughta Know", and back to finish "Halo".

Another impressive part was the stage show she gave, running around like crazy, moving like an animal and singing in key without giving us the feeling at any point of being out of breathe or it being hard for her.

Beyonce, just want to say bravo! It's too bad we don't have more "real" entertainers around at shows like these that can pull off every angle of a performance as well as she did.

To everyone else, practice more. You're up against some serious competition so no singing off key dammit and give us a show will you. Don't be lazy.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Lady Gage and Elton John Best Grammy Performance

Lada Gaga and Elton John Best Grammy Performance

So I took a look at all of the grammy performances. I may comment on a few but I wanted to at least put this blog together dedicated to the best musical performance of the night in my opinion. Lady Gage and Elton John. Absolutely amazing.

We may think Lada Gaga tries a little too hard at times with her over the top outfits but put that aside for a second. This girl can sing and entertain and you're either a fool or have very particular taste if you disagree. She may not have the biggest or best voice even in comparison to the other perofmers that night, but at the least, man is she on and that's way more than I can say about Taylor Swift for example who took home quite a few awards but when it came time to perform, I practically changed the channel cause her singing was so off key. Given, Lady Gaga went on first so chances are the sound was set just right before the show started and then as it's live, you do the best you can so it's very possible Taylor Swift couldn't hear a thing she sang. Don't know, maybe she has hundreds of live clips where she is rocking it out and the music and vocals are on but I'm only going by that evening for this blog.

Ok, back to Lady Gaga. Even the stage set up, the narrator between her performace of the 2 songs, the dark look, double piano with arms coming out of it, the whole thing oozes entertainment and she sang very well, kicking off the show with one of the biggest songs of last year.

To top it, you have Elton John singing with her for the second half which holy crap, can this guy be any better vocally? Everytime I heard anything he did live, it could be an album take and would rock. Props to Elton John, it just goes to show how a pro who's been around does it and how he can put practically all the singers that night to shame pitch wise at least.

By far, this was my favorite musical performance of the evening.

Enjoy the clip!

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