Music Monday: Absolute Favourites

If you’ve read the blog or have known me long enough, you probably have a good idea at who my most favourite music artists are – Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Britney Spears, Kyle Riabko, and Delta Goodrem. I could go into detail about why I love them so much, but the simple and vague answer is that, there’s just something about who they are and their music that I connect with. There are also a bunch of other artists whom I am a big fan of and really love – Sara Bareilles, Matt Nathanson, Gavin DeGraw, Christina Aguilera, Kris Allen, The Script, Tyler Hilton, James Morrison, Michelle Branch – though not quite at the same level as the other six. That’s not to mention my love of Vietnamese music as well. For this week’s Music Monday, I share with you my favourite songs from my favourite artists (limited to 3 songs each), plus some additional songs I absolutely love (not including any Vietnamese songs in this playlist though, that’ll be for another day/post).

 

Advertisements

Music Monday: Old Favourites (AKA When Music Was Awesome)

Pop music has been sort of my bread and butter. It’s pretty much what I grew up on, between my dad listening to ABBA and the Bee Gees; my sister  listening to New Kids on the Block, Debbie Gibson, Madonna, George Michael; and the modern Vietnamese music I gravitated towards – pop music was in me from the get-go. Once I hit the all important tween years (before it was really even called that) in the late 90s, the pop music scene was reaching a whole new level. MTV was still playing music videos and the prevalence of TRL certainly helped elevate the status of pop stars (and other artists) to what we remember. The songs were infectious and well-crafted, which also applies to the R&B music of the time. Maybe it’s a sense of nostalgia when I hear them, but 10-15 years later, I feel like a lot of the songs held up incredibly well; there was something about the music in the late 90s/early 00s that had such an appeal. So with that being said, I give you a rather comprehensive playlist of some of my favourites from back in the day.

Throwback Thursday: Pop Culture Things Turn 15

Last week, there was mention of the fact that Britney Spears’ song “Oops! I Did It Again” was released 15 years ago. The week before that, it was the 15th anniversary of *NSYNC’s record-breaking “No Strings Attached” album. Obviously, the news of these anniversaries made me feel old. After the news of the former, I had joked on Twitter that someone should just do an all-encompassing 15th anniversary post of (almost) all the things I had apparently loved as a kid and which now makes me feel old. LIGHTBULB! I might as well do it for the blog! So without further ado, here are some notable releases at the turn of the new millennium and turns 15 years old this year.

[Disclaimer: This obviously isn’t a fully comprehensive list of EVERYTHING that was released or debuted in 2000. It’s strictly the stuff I watched and listened to in the year 2000.]

ALBUMS

  1. NSYNC – No Strings Attached  (Mar. 21)
  2. Pink’s debut – Can’t Take Me Home (Apr. 4)
  3. Britney Spears – Oops! I Did It Again (May 3)
  4. Nelly – Country Grammar (Jun. 27)
  5. Coldplay’s debut – Parachutes (Jul. 10, Nov. 7)
  6. Nelly Furtado’s debut – Whoa Nelly! (Oct. 24)
  7. U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind (Oct. 30)
  8. Backstreet Boys – Black and Blue (Nov. 21)

SONGS

*Besides any of those included in the above albums, because, obviously*

 

MOVIES

  1. Center Stage
  2. Whatever It Takes
  3. Where the Heart Is
  4. Gone in 60 Seconds
  5. Mission: Impossible II
  6. Boys and Girls
  7. X-Men
  8. What Lies Beneath
  9. Coyote Ugly
  10. Bring It On
  11. Remember the Titans
  12. Meet the Parents
  13. Charlie’s Angels
  14. Dude, Where’s My Car?
  15. Miss Congeniality

TV SHOWS

  1. Survivor
  2. Even Stevens
  3. Big Brother
  4. Dark Angel
  5. Gilmore Girls
  6. Boston Public
  7. Boy Meets World (Finale)
  8. Beverly Hills 90210 (Finale)
  9. The 10th Kingdom (Miniseries)

 

5 Fandom Friday: Songs That Changed My Life

fandom.5.friday

Music has always been such a huge part of my life. I can’t do anything without having music on in the background. Music has this way of making you feel things: joy, sadness, anger, nostalgia – in a lot of ways, it’s very therapeutic. In any case, this week’s Fandom 5 was a simultaneously fun and daunting task. How am I supposed to pick FIVE songs that changed my life, in any way shape or form? And what songs should I pick? Well, here it goes.

1. Bao Han & Don Ho, Lien Khuc Thien Dang Ai An

Vietnamese music was my gateway to all music and in particular, pop music. As a first generation Vietnamese-Canadian, one of the ways that my parents used to make sure I still knew my Vietnamese background was through Paris By Night. I feel like this was one of the first songs that I actually remember listening to when I was a kid and both of these singers became my favourite Vietnamese singers. Because of my early exposure to it, I still listen to Vietnamese music regularly, which I can’t say the same for a lot of other people my age.

2. Britney Spears, Baby One More Time

It seems a little funny to be including this song, but it did impact my life. Growing up, obviously I listened to music but it was more passively than anything, I feel. Then Britney got introduced to the pop music world, with this song and things changed. 1999 was the height of teen pop music, with NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, among others all making their marks on the scene. With Britney and this song, I became a whole-hearted fan of someone/something.

3. Christina Aguilera, Fighter

For the longest time I was Team Britney all the way. But then I saw Christina Aguilera in concert (when she did the Justified and Stripped tour with Justin Timberlake) and I became a fan with no allegiance to one particular “pop princess”. This song was what turned me into a fan, with its rock-infused pop that makes it a great song to let off some steam. It’s an anthem for all of us, to not let anyone get us down and keep fighting. The sheer power of Christina’s voice mixed with the rock sound of the song is what makes it so amazing, and even more-so when you hear her perform it live.

4. Kelly Clarkson, Because of You

Kelly singing “Without You” on American Idol sealed it for me as a fan. Post-Idol though, I loved her debut album, Thankful, but I think we can all agree that Breakaway, her 2nd album, was a turning point. There was just so much honesty and truths in this album that I could relate to on some level. But with this song, I attached my own experiences at that point in my life to it, and it grew into this big emotional song for me. Honestly, I can’t even hear this song without tearing up, and it gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME.

5. Maroon 5, This Love

This song made me a fan for life, from the very moment I watched them perform this on TRL (hey, remember TRL?) At the time, it was everything I didn’t know I wanted from pop music: the fusion of pop, rock, soul in a completely different way from that of JT or Kelly Clarkson. It’s a definitive M5 sound that’s been an inspiration to other pop/rock bands.

6. Justin Timberlake, Like I Love You

Ok, so I’m cheating a little by adding one more song but I can’t help it! JT made a seamless transition from a member of NSYNC to a solo artist with this song. For me, this song will always hold a special place in my heart because it marked the beginning of my life in high school and my Dance Crew life. As it was, I was already learning the choreography from the music video, and then when I tried out for Dance Crew, as luck would have it, they taught a combo to this song. After that, I spent the remainder of my four years being a part of Dance Crew, who became my second family. All the good and bad memories from my high school years started with this song.

 

“Baby One More Time” Turns 16

Here’s something to make you feel old if you’re around the same age as me: Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” was released 16 years ago today. 16 YEARS. Meaning it is the same age Britney was when she released the song in 1998. I was 10.

Honestly, I didn’t even realize it until I saw this article from Billboard wherein they include 5 great performances of the song. Naturally, it got me thinking: for a total “POP” song, the one that catapulted Britney’s career and really is one of the defining pop songs of the late 90s, it has been done/redone/remixed so many ways by Britney herself (as evidenced by the Billboard article), but has also been covered a lot by other artists, some in very unexpected ways.

So to supplement the Billboard article (check out the videos they have there!), I present you with some more versions of “Baby One More Time,” by Britney and others. Two things of note: 1) Watching the early Britney performances makes you realize that she tried to sing live at times; 2) It’s interesting that most of the covers of this song are all by male artists.