♪ mn music wonderland

Nov 24

Special - Quiet Moments

There’s this voice saying - calm down calm down… Here’s a collection of 7 calm down songs.

Maria Mena - This Too Shall Pass, Homeless

Gorgeous ballads. “This Too Shall Pass” is bright and little uplifting while “Homless” is down right heartfelt, good song before dream, amazing vocals too.

genre: pop, folk, contemporary 
rating: 4/5 stars (both)

James Vincent McMorrow - We Don’t EatHigher Love

Haunting and beautiful. Something just swirl into your heart - chilly but pretty. Coincidentally, just like Maria, ”We Don’t Eat” is on the brighter side, with higher spirit while the cover song “Higher Love” (Steve Winwood) is cold yet emotional and touching, and only left you craving for more.

genre: folk, acoustic 
rating: 4/5 stars (both)

Lana Del Rey - Video Games

This is massive. Would you expect something this beautiful from a song titled “Video Games”? lol… Amazing vocal, beautiful melody suitably matched with a bare/minimum/subtle arrangement. Watch out for this girl, she’s gonna be big. Song of the year contender. 

genre: indie pop
rating: 4.5/5 stars

Charlene Soraia - Wherever You Will Go

Um… slightly cheesy, but I have a soft spot for this, nice cover (The Calling). Lovely voice with slight vulnerability, not bad at all.

genre: pop
rating: 3.5/5 stars


Rebecca Ferguson - Nothing’s Real But Love 

Soulful pop, simple and heart warming, heartfelt. The focus is on the vocal and nothing else is important. 

genre: soul, pop, blues
rating: 3.5/5 stars

Oct 24

Alex Winston - Locomotive, Velvet Elvis

Alex Winston - Locomotive, Velvet Elvis

After the delightful and highly catchy “Sister Wife”, I’m in love with 2 more Alex Winston singles. Her voice and music are very unique, a mix of bits of eerie, weird, vintage and sweet? Deep impression after first listen! “Locomotive” is actually a single prior to “Sister Wife”, light and very catchy too. “Velvet Elvis” is even more upbeat and teasing, but just what is “objectum sexuality”? Um, very interesting… All in all these are surely some of the best indie pop ever heard in recent years. 

genre: indie pop rock, indie pop, soul
rating: L: 4/5 stars, VE: 4/5 stars 

Sep 05

James Blake & Bon Iver - Fall Creek Boys Choir

James Blake & Bon Iver - Fall Creek Boys Choir

Instantly gained my attention and very moving. This time the repeating issue seems doesn’t really bother me, and the prettiness is still pretty there. I’m just greatly impressed and touched. What a clever use of vocal processing, it makes his vocal so affectionate, full of emotion and powerful, good job!!

genre: electronic, post-dubstep, soul, folk, indie
rating: 4/5 stars

Sep 05

Special: Similar & Different - Olly Murs, Will Young

They both return, they have something in common and they have something different from.

Similarity: I think I had once mistaken an Olly Murs song as a new Will Young song or was it the other way round? I mean the vocals, I think many agree, they’re quite similar, at least on the surface. And they are both from tv singing competitions, one winner (Pop Idol), and one runner-up (X-factor). Difference: While they both sing pop music, their styles are different. Olly Murs music often reminds me of summer while Will Young music sometimes reminds me of autumn. This time, Olly continues and intensifies his cheeky reggae pop with some hip hop elements, while Will is taking his adult soul pop to a light dance direction:

Olly Murs feat. Rizzle Kicks - Heart Skips A Beat

I don’t know but Olly Murs music is playing magic on me, I think I have played his debut album an incredible amount of times. And this new single once again gained my attention immediately. It’s so catchy and yes, official forth summer tune this year. He gained one last year, scored another this year, will he continue next year?

genre: pop, reggae-fusion, hip hop, soul
rating: 4/5 stars

Will Young - Jealously, The Way I See

He’s on fire and jealous, these could be good signs ‘cos these two new songs are superb. I was very impressed with “History”, his collaboration with Groove Armanda. And I’ve always like to hear him in dance beats. And he’s finally doing it, I couldn’t be more excited. However, the dance direction taken on “Jealously” is light and is not instantly catchy, but a grower, give it some time and you can really start to get into the mood and groove. The dance feel on bonus track “The Way I See” is much more heavier and could be probably considered a dance-floor banger. I really like the arrangements here, it’s wonderful and delightful. 

genre: dance-pop
rating: J: 4/5 stars; TWIS: 4/5 stars


Aug 21

Revisited Special: An Amy Winehouse Special

We have to admit we’ve lost a great talent, and it’s time to remember some of her best moments. Amy only has 2 albums, while I think “Frank (2003)” is a great jazz/soul album, to be frank, um, my favorites all lie in “Back to Black (2006)”. Here are my 3 favorite Amy Winehouse singles:

You Know I’m no Good (feat. Ghostface Killah)

I surely love the album version but this remix version is just ace. It’s powerful, it’s fierce and more street, not necessary more street is great, but in this case, it’s wonderful.

genre: soul, jazz, r&b, alternative hip-hop
rating: 4/5 stars 

Tears Dry on Their Own

The title seems sad, but oh my dear, this is like spring, it’s beautiful and shiny all over the song you can feel it, the “sha-la-la” ending just confirms it! A very interesting and sturdy number and the video is interesting too, look at Amy in there, it’s quite funny, lol.

genre: soul, r&b 
rating: 4/5 stars

Love is a Losing Game

It’s dreamy and slightly sad. It’s also very soft, soothing. Despite the title, it actually doesn’t feel that bad after hearing it. And the flow is very good. Outstanding track.

genre: r&b, soul, doo-wop, jazz 
rating: 4/5 stars  

It’s probably Amy’s bad habits that took Amy’s life, but Amy’s an undeniably talented artist, let’s learn from her good but not her bad. I think she’ll be holding a place in many music lovers’ heart forever. 

M.I.A.’s tribute - 27

M.I.A. had made a song for her pal, it’s kind of typical M.I.A., I like it, have a listen. And the lyrics are kind of intriguing, have a look below.

27 by _M_I_A_

said your all mouth and no brains 
all rock stars go to heaven 
you said you’ll be dead at 27 
when we drunk in a English tavern 
the owner poured you the Bourbon 
and you drunk your self so rotten 
he got so rich he bought a Bentley 
and moved himself to Devon

you started dirty dancing 
and you bar tended a dozen 
i took you to the clinic 
to get you clean but you couldn’t 
said in 2 days ur 27 and and ur destiny was comin 
and ur papa passed so sudden 
and left you with lil somin

you blew that money on a mountain of drugs 
and staged your self a bedin 
a month later when i popped in 
your still high but the winter set in 
i bought you a coffee and a muffin 
and you quoted me some Lenin 
i wished i was that clever 
but thats what kept me coming 
your friendship did mean somin 
but you left me for nothin 
when i left, you befriended a rope 
and i found you both were hanging. 

Jun 18

Erykah Badu - Out My Mind, Just In Time

Erykah Badu - Out My Mind, Just In Time

The video features the first part of the song, and the whole thing is quite epic. The first part is this little charming but sad, soulful piano number that is ok easy on ear. However the whole song takes a little bit more patience to appreciate. It may seem long and dull but pay more attention, the song wraps itself up beautifully and closes with a beautiful paino ending, and look back, the whole thing starts to make sense and then you may fall in love. According to Erykah, it’s a “3 movements” song. It’s fragile when you fall so deep in love I can understand. She presents many frustrated feelings in a relationship really well here. And I like her solo dance in the video too - lovely.

genre: soul, neo soul, r&b
rating: 4/5 stars

Jun 18

James Blake - Lindisfarne/ Unluck

James Blake - Lindisfarne*/ Unluck

Oh yeah, double A side, the one problem I have with his record is that it’s a little bit too repetitive for me, sometimes. I mean I don’t mind all the challenges he set up for his listeners, it’s just when you go to the center, you’re greeted with all these small, pretty but repetitive vocals. For times, I think I don’t mind to be brainwashed by them since they are pretty sweet and em, pretty, but other times, I still have doubts. But generally this is still an challenging but enjoyable album. Lindisfarne on the album is an two parts affair, this single is a combined edit of the two. It’s mild, it’s warm, but maybe a little bit nothingness-like for me, pardon for my cheesiness. Unluck on the other hand is an instant like though, yeah catchy enough for me, lol. I think “dubstep” is a little bit debatable, let’s just say it’s minimalist electronica to a new height.

* I have to warn you about the video for Lindisfarne, if you’re ok for some unpleasant, even disgusting visuals, then proceed…

genre: electronica, minimal, alternative, experimental, soul, dubstep
rating: Lindisfarne: 3.5/5 stars Unluck: 4/5 stars

Mar 01

Revisited: Macy Gray - I Try

Macy Gray - I Try (1999)

I miss her weird weird voice and I really dig her debut album. There’s so many wonderful funky soulful tunes there. This being the most commercial one is still hugely likable and long lasting. I miss.

genre: soul
rating: 4.5/5 stars

Jan 24

Jamie Woon - Night Air

Jamie Woon - Night Air

This song has grown so much on me! I love that it’s so atmospheric and beautiful. Just like the song title, yes, it’s dark, but it’s breezy, gives out a weirdly pleasant feeling, his singing voice doesn’t even suggest that, but it has this feel. This is very elegantly done.

genre: dubstep, ambient, electronic, electronica, soul

rating: 4/5 stars

Dec 17

Adele - Rolling in the Deep

Adele - Rolling in the Deep

My wonderful soul girl is back with this great new offer! It’s still a little dark, still Adele, but surprisingly upbeat and exciting!! Retain the good old stuff, bring in some great new stuff, great great great, now all I have to say is clever!! ;D

genre: soul, pop
rating: 4/5 stars