Sunday, April 30, 2006

Janet's surprise

Hi all, it's been a while since I last blogged. But I got to share with you an exciting thing that's going to happen very soon. On 1 May 2006, Janet will be unveiling a surprise on her website. Click here to get to Miss Janet's website.

The countdown clock has been running for the past 9 days already, and for Singapore users, the clock will hit zero at 12 noon on 1 May. I'll be there at 12 noon sharp tomorrow for sure.

There have been fans speculating what the surprise will be and most of them predict that Janet will be unveiling her new single on the website. As you might have known, Janet is releasing a new album this year, due around September. It's tentatively titled 20 Years Old, in commemoration of the release of her breakthrough album, Control, 20 years ago.

I feel that it's quite a tacky title, but hope it will be a solid album. Longtime collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis will be producing this album, as well as Janet's beau, Jermaine Dupri. JD, of course, is the one responsible for some of the biggest hits of late, such as Usher and Alicia Keys' My Boo, Usher's Confessions Part II and Burn, Mariah Carey's Shake It Off, We Belong Together and It's Like That. Hope JD can work his magic with Janet once again.

Anyway, stay tuned for the surprise tomorrow. Hope it's something good.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Collectibles #7: Grease OST 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

This is the 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the Grease OST, and it comes with a bonus CD containing some exclusive tracks such as the Grease Megamix, unreleased remixes and instrumental tracks to some of the songs. The CD booklet also contains the lyrics to all the songs in the album.

The added feaures on the bonus CD do not provide much incentive to buy the album, but you MUST still get this album anyway. It ranks among my top 5 favourite albums of all time, and I'll be hard pressed to find another album where I like EVERY track on the album.

Starting with the title track, the album sets off with a bang as Frankie Valli coolly nails the song to perfection, exuding both charm and class in the Barry Gibb-penned song. It is followed by Summer Nights, a duet between the two main characters in the show, Sandy and Danny (played by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta respectively). The bass riff is so distinct such that everyone can identify the song just by listening to the opening 3 bass notes straight away.

The other hits from the album are You're The One That I Want and We Go Together, the latter of which features some funny tongue-twisting rap at the end. You should try that out. It's great fun.

The two lead stars also take centrestage on solo tracks and I must say they did quite a good job, particularly Olivia Newton-John with Hopelessly Devoted To You. Cover band Sha Na Na also brings the album much fun with their very respectable covers of Elvis Presley's Hound Dog and Blue Moon.

And who can forget the one of the most famous scenes in the movie, the car repair scene, set to the song Greased Lightning? And also Born To Hand Jive, where the prom students do the crazy series of hand actions in time to the song.

There is also Those Magic Changes, my mum's favourite song. In fact, it is the first I ever sang with a band in front of an audience, and I dedicated that performance to her.

The movie and the OST is inseparable and what made Grease so successful was the strength of the musical numbers. It is one of the biggest-selling soundtracks ever, second only to perhaps Saturday Night Fever, which coincidentally or not, also starred John Travolta.

Grease is about pure old-school fun and it is one of the most well-loved musical movies of all time. I'll be catching the stage production of Grease next month when it rolls into Singapore, and I'm hoping to recapture the feeling live. In the meantime...Grease is still the word!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Collectibles #6: Nine Inch Nails With Teeth (2005)

Bought this album for some time now but only started spinning it more recently. Partly due to the fact that the third single, Every Day Is Exactly The Same just topped the Billboard Modern Rock charts a couple of weeks ago.

I'm not a big fan of NIN but I was introduced to them because of Dave Grohl's guest appearance on this album. While it is not exactly known which tracks feature Grohl on the drums, I take it that he did contribute a large part to this album.

The aforementioned new single is really growing on me, as are some of the other tracks. Second single, Only, is also getting me really hooked, and then there's the ferocious double pedal work on You Know What You Are that's getting me worked up as well. The Collector is one of those weird songs with irregular 5/8 timings but it's still quite catchy.

The Hand That Feeds, the first single, was my favourite song of 2005, so I need not say anything more about it. Getting Smaller is one song that I would love to jam. I assume that Dave Grohl did the drum track here and I think it's marvellous. He's tight as hell.

With Teeth is said to be NIN's most accessible work so far, yet it is better to take it with a pinch of salt. It's really not that accessible, as most of the songs are quite dark and angsty. But the production values are top notch and you can tell that a lot of time was spent engineering this album.

This is one of the albums that you'll listen to when you don't give a f*ck about the world, and just indulge in your own world. You and your headphones and NIN.

This Limited Tour Edition comes with a bonus DVD containing the entire album in 5.1 surround sound, a bonus CD track Home, as well as he video for The Hand That Feeds. Good intentions, but most of us don't have a 5.1 surround system so we won't be able to appreciate the "surround sound" effect. But maybe one day I'll have a nice home with these swanky speakers. One day.