Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jameerah - All Eyes On Me

~Pop Song of the Day #16~

Meet Jameerah, an international girlband in every sense of the word. All four of the girls come from different countries, and they are international celebrities. Three of them have previously won "Miss" competitions in their respective countries, and the fourth is a singer/model. The group is comprised of Jasmine Sendar (The Netherlands), Elisa Guarraci (Belgium/Italy), Tanja Dexters (Belgium), and Nelly Marie Bojahr (Germany). All Eyes On Me is their debut single, and it was just released this year. The video is of the dance remix, because in my opinion, it is much better than the original. The opening chords at the beginning are really really good, and the chorus lives up to the hype. They could have done without the flirting in the video though. Take a listen for yourself =D

Click HERE to visit Jameerah's Myspace & listen to some of their songs.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Natasha Bedingfield - If You're Gonna

~Pop Song of the Day #15~

Meet Natasha Bedingfield, a 28 year-old Grammy award-nominated British pop singer and songwriter. You may remember her from her hit single "Unwritten", which peaked at number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 2006. I have both of her US albums, and she definitely knows how to write a good pop song. "If You're Gonna" is one of the songs off her debut album, and although it was not released as a single, it is still very catchy =D It has a little more rock in it than the rest of her songs, and I remember thinking that it was the best song on the album (with the possible exception of Unwritten) when I first heard it.

Click HERE to visit Natasha Bedingfield's Myspace & listen to some of her songs.

Why I Love #4: Redbox

So I know what you're thinking... why would I <3 redboxes? I mean, they're cheap, dirty, and red DVD rental machines! What could possibly be lovable about them?! Well, to answer your questions, I only need one word: convenience. They are most convenient thing ever! I don't know if there are any where you live, but in case you don't know what they are, they can basically be summarized as "DVD rental machines". Basically, you pay $1 to rent a DVD for a night, and when you return, you can rent another DVD for the next night for... $1. Yeah. So the concept is pretty simple, but whoever thought of them is a genius. No longer do you have to buy the DVD in order to view it, or waste time in theatres, or pay Blockbuster ridiculous amounts of money in order to rent them for a week. (Who needs a week to watch a single DVD anyway?) I live right by a Redbox, so whenever I want to watch a movie that just came out, all I have to pay is $1. Seriously, I <3 Redboxes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hilary Duff - Holiday

~Pop Song of the Day #14~

If you were born in my generation, then I'm pretty sure you know who Hilary Duff is. She is best-known for starring in the Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire as a teenager, and she has lately been seen on Gossip Girl. She's also a pop music artist, with three RIAA-certified platinum albums. Her last album, Dignity, was a more grown-up venture into dance/pop music, which is much better than the teen bubblegum pop music of her previous two albums. I've been a fan of hers for a long time now, and I'm looking forward to new music from her. If you don't like Hilary Duff, don't dismiss this song! Holiday was one of the two new songs on her latest "Best Of" compilation album, and in my opinion, it might be her best song yet =D

Click HERE to visit Hilary Duff's Myspace & listen to some of her songs.

Why I Love #3: School breaks

Seriously, who doesn't love school breaks? I mean, if you're like me, you've worked hard on projects, regular homework, studying for tests, etc. Whenever a schedule school break comes along, I always feel like "I deserve this." LOL if you want. I've spent many sleepless nights finishing homework for teachers, and I think that I deserve all the breaks that I can get. So... it's not spring/summer break like in the picture obviously. And it's freezing cold outside, but still. A break is a break. Enjoy it while it lasts. (In my opinion, breaks always go by too fast- like the current one.) I always plan all these big things that I'm going to do during the breaks, but I almost never finish all of them, and I'm left doing some homework that I wish I had done earlier the night before I go back to school. Hopefully that won't happen this time lol. I have "school" things to do this break- including science projects, research papers, studying for SAT's. But I also have "me" things to do- like writing a bunch of poems so I can enter more poetry contests, keeping this blog up to date, and working on my itunes. Note: despite the huge amount of music on my laptop, I cannot seem to find time to put it all into itunes & sync it onto my ipod. In fact, my ipod is basically empty when compared to the music on my laptop. Anyway, back to the topic. So yeah, I <3 school breaks. There's not much to explain actually... I'm sure you all love school breaks, too =D

Photo credit: Ouran High School Host Club anime

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love

~Pop Song of the Day #13~

Meet Cheryl Cole, a British singer, song-writer,dancer, fashion designer, author, and celebrity. She is most known in the UK as a member of the ultra-successful pop group, Girls Aloud. (You must be living outside of the UK if you have never heard of them... they had 20 consecutive Top 10 singles on the UK charts since their debut, which is a completely amazing feat by itself.) Fight For This Love is Cheryl's first solo single, and it was the fastest- selling single of 2009 when it entered the UK and Irish Singles Charts at number 1. I couldn't find a regular version of the song to embed, so below is the Moto Blanco remix of the song. In my opinion, Fight For This Love is an awesome pop song.

Click HERE to visit Cheryl Cole's Myspace & listen to some of her songs.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tiffany Giardina - Hurry Up and Save Me

~Pop Song of the Day #12~

Meet Tiffany Giardina, a 16 year-old singer/song-writer from New York, who achieved limited success among the tween demographic with her album, No Average Angel, which was released in 2009. She is most known for having her singles, No Average Angel and Hurry Up and Save Me, on the Another Cinderella Story soundtrack. She started singing at a young age at various venues and continues to this day. I wish her luck, because her album definitely showed promise. While I didn't enjoy every single song on the CD, some tracks (like the one below) are insanely super-catchy. Take a listen for yourself =D

Click HERE to visit Tiffany Giardina's Myspace & listen to some of her songs.

Emily the Strange: The Lost Days by Rob Reger

~Book Review #3~

Before I read this book, I knew little to nothing about Emily Strange. Sure, I had seen the usual franchise items: comic books, wallets, clothes, etc. But since I had never bothered to look up Emily's back-story, I was very much clueless when I started reading this book.

The plot of this book revolves around Emily who wakes up one day with no memory of who she is. At once, I felt that the premise of the book was interesting. The book is written in diary form, and as you read it, you start to realize just what kind of character that Emily Strange is. The plot is very, very interesting once you get into it. There are many strange happenings and characters in this book, and you get to experience all of them through Emily's eyes- and through illustrations that are characteristic of Emily Strange's gothic style.

At one point near the beginning, I began to feel bored with the book, and wondered if I should continue reading. This was because I had absolutely no idea what the book was going to be about or how it was going to end. The summaries of the book were very vague, and I did not want to spend days reading a 264-page (though easily readable) book if the ending was not borderline satisfying. Well, to put a long story short, I am very glad that I continued reading. The book is perfect if you're into mysteries, diaries, suspense, humor, or teen fantasy fiction- like me. Although there are no out-right supernatural elements, there are still a few fantastical characters/events that cause you to wonder.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has ever wondered about the real story behind Emily Strange. I have a feeling that the book is aimed to tweens more than young adults, since there is nothing that I can recall that would be inappropriate for a 9 or 10-year old. If you like gothic settings, semi-snarky heroines, reading diaries, mysteries, and long lists, then you should definitely check this book out!!

Recommended. 4 out of 5 stars.

Click HERE to purchase the book off of Amazon.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Britney Spears- Lucky

~Pop Song of the Day #11~

I'm pretty sure you all know who Britney Spears is... usually, I won't feature a well-known, famous pop music artist like her on my blog, but this song has been stuck in my head lately. I'm more of a fan of her newer / more recent songs than some of her earlier stuff, but Lucky is one of the exceptions. It's really a very sad song, but uplifting at the same time. I wasn't a pop music fan when it came out, so it doesn't bring back feelings of nostalgia for me. However, maybe you will feel differently and enjoy the song as you remember the early years of this decade.

Click HERE to visit Britney Spear's Myspace & listen to some of her songs.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas, everyone!! =D

I hope you all enjoy a happy winter break, no matter what holiday you celebrate.. and as always, thank you for reading my blog!

Avril Lavigne feat. Lil Mama - Girlfriend

~Pop Song of the Day #10~

Today's very special pop song is, in my opinion, one of the best cross-genre collaborations of all time!! Avril Lavigne (one of my favorite singers ever!) is a 25 year-old Canadian pop/rock singer-songwriter, fashion designer, and actress. She's known for her worldwide hits "Complicated", "My Happy Ending", and of course, "Girlfriend". Avril's also currently one of the top-selling pop music artists of the decade in the US. You must be living under a rock if you haven't heard of her, lol. Lil Mama AKA Niatia Kirkland is a 20 year-old American rapper, singer-songwriter, and dancer who was recently released from Jive Records due to low album sales. I think that the remix version with the both of them is totally better than the original. It's definitely one of my favorite songs of all time!! =D

Click HERE to visit Avril Lavigne's Myspace.

Click HERE to visit Lil Mama's Myspace.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hey Monday - Homecoming

~Pop Song of the Day #9~

Meet Hey Monday, an American four-piece band from West Palm Beach, Florida that was formed in 2008. The band is fronted by lead singer, Cassadee Pope, and their debut album, Hold on Tight, was released in 2008. Homecoming was their first single, and one of their best songs in my opinion. Fans of other female-fronted pop/punk bands, like Paramore, should definitely listen to this band if they haven't already.

Click HERE to visit Hey Monday's Myspace & listen to some of their songs.

Note to My Readers

Hello!! =D If you're reading this note right now, you might be one of my regular readers, or you might have just stumbled onto my blog. The truth is, this blog was started less than a month ago... this is my 14th post. The reason for this post is to let my readers know what to expect from this blog. Now that I have been blogging for almost a month now, I think I know what I'm going to be doing:

1) Pop Songs of the Day: these are going to be Youtube music videos that I will post (hopefully) daily. So if you want some good pop songs to wake up or relax to, just view my blog. These songs will all be pretty recent (all from this decade), and they're all from artists/bands that I truly love. My goal is to introduce new/unknown pop music artists to my readers, so currently popular songs will only be featured if they're really really good. Take a look at my previously posted songs to see what to expect. Yesterday, I went through my music files on my computer & picked out around 150 pop songs from different artists that I will feature on the blog at some point during 2010. By the time I run out, I'll hopefully have reached my goal of posting a full "year" of pop music.

2) Book Reviews: I am an avid reader of teen fantasy books, so I will post reviews of books that I like. I will grade them on a 5-star rating system, so if you think that you will enjoy a book based on my review, then I encourage you to read it. Occasionally, I will review books that are not in the genre of teen fantasy.

3) Why I Love's: These posts will be random things that I love. Whether they're cliches, facebook groups, cute stuff, or inspiring things, they will all be things that I love. These posts will definitely be more personal than my music and book posts, so I hope you enjoy them!!

Thanks for reading!! =D Please add my blog to your favorites if you haven't already, and send the link to all of your friends who you think will enjoy reading it..

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Moonbaby - Here We Go

~Pop Song of the Day #8~

Meet Moonbaby AKA Miranda Cooper, a British singer and song-writer who is currently a member of the UK-based songwriting and music production team Xenomania. She was around 25 years old when this music video was released in 2000. Here We Go was the only single that she released. After it failed on the UK charts, her album was dropped from the release schedules. This song has been covered many times (by artists such as Lene, Girls Aloud, etc.) and a modified version was used as the theme song for the cartoon, Totally Spies. That's where I heard and loved it for the first time, actually; and personally, I can't see why this song wasn't a hit =D

Thirst: The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike

~Book Review #2~

Thirst: Vol. 1 is definitely one of the most interesting vampire books that I have ever read. Although many people would compare it to Twilight (just because both books are about vampires), Thirst is about as far from Twilight as you could possibly get in a genre. While Twilight is a romance at its heart, the story of Thirst contains romantic plotlines that are second to the action scenes.

(Note: Thirst: Vol. 1 is another of those "3-in-1" books that Simon & Schuster has been putting on shelves at an increasing rate recently. To learn more about these type of books and my thoughts on them, read my review of "Dark Visions" by L.J. Smith.)

The plot of Thirst (or the Last Vampire series, as they were originally published as in the 90's) revolves around the character of Alisa Perne, a 5,000 year-old vampire who looks like an average teenager. In the three books included in Vol. 1 (624 pages on total), Alisa gets hunted down by the person who made her into a vampire, finds true love, and becomes the last vampire. There's also a huge twist at the end of the third book that I won't spoil for you. The story contains a lot of action and violence. The author is also very skilled at including many philosophical thoughts that will make the reader think while reading the book. (Don't think of it as akin to "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho though- a book that I was assigned to read in high school. I didn't like that book much at all.) Instead, think of the issues presented as the same as those in "Skinned" by Robin Wasserman- a book that I liked much better. Overall, this was a very enjoyable read; though if you don't like violence and can't handle a bit of gore, then you should not bother going through the 600+ pages. There's more than a "little bit" of violence (much more than Twilight actually) and some scenes would be better suited toward a 16+ age group of readers. Be on the look-out for Vol. 2 of the Thirst series, which will conclude the series, and becomes available in the US next month. Personally, I can't wait to read the ending!! =D

Recommended. 4 out of 5 stars.

Click HERE to buy the book off of Amazon.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shanadoo - Love Space Ship

~Pop Song of the Day #7~

Meet Shanadoo, a Japanese Eurodance girl group produced in Germany. The group, composed of Junko Fukuda, Chika Shibuya, Marina Genda and Manami Fuku, has been active since 2006. The majority of their songs were Japanese covers of the German dance act, E-Rotic, until recently. I have listened to a few of their English songs, but I was never really a fan until I heard this song. Love Space Ship is their latest single, and it is sung entirely in Japanese. However, the melody is super-happy, and when I listened to it for the first time, it reminded me why I love pop music. Not many songs can do that for me =D

Why I Love #2: When It Gets Dark at 5:00

So I know there's apparently a whole facebook group that's dedicated to "hating when it gets dark at 5:00". However, I actually LOVE when the days start getting darker. I don't actually have a reason for this. Maybe it's because there's a certain feeling that you get when you think "oh, it's getting dark soon... I have to hurry home". By having a longer night (that is darker and scarier) to contrast with, it makes the thought of home a lot more comforting. There's also that thrill that you get when you're with friends at night & you know that you'll be safe as long as you stay together. Often, when I am outside alone at night, it feels very romantic and inspiring- although I always wish that I had a friend with me. Watch Avril Lavigne's "I'm With You" or Queensberry's "I Can't Stop Feeling" music videos if you want to understand what feeling I'm talking about. Maybe I should feature them as Pop Songs of the Day later =D Overall, I love when it gets dark at 5:00; although come summer, I will probably like the longer days.

Photo credit: Nicolas Perriault's Flickr.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Saturdays - Ego

~Pop Song of the Day #6~

Meet The Saturdays, a British girl group (comparable to Girls Aloud) formed in 2007 & made up of Una Healy, Mollie King, Frankie Sandford, Rochelle Wiseman and Vanessa White. Their debut album, Chasing Lights, produced four Top 10 UK singles, and they have just released their second album recently. Ego is their 2nd single from their 2nd album, and it might be their most catchiest song yet. The theme of the music video is all about superheroes. It's a great song, so be sure to take a listen to what the US is missing out on.

Click HERE to visit the Saturdays's Myspace & listen to some of their songs.

Friday, December 18, 2009

HAM - T.T Dance

~Pop Song of the Day #5~

Meet HAM, one of the new Korean girlbands that just debuted this year. In case you haven't been keeping up with the K-pop music world lately, new girl group after girl group has debuted this year. Perhaps music executives want to catch onto the trend of successful girl groups such as Wonder Girls and Girl's Generation. This has resulted in a multitude of new K-pop girlband songs of varying qualities. T.T Dance is definitely one of the best K-pop songs out there, since it mixes rock/pop/rap into an awesome song with a super-catchy chorus.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Clique Girlz - Never Gonna Fly

~Pop Song of the Day #4~

Meet the Clique Girlz, an American girl group composed of sisters Destinee and Paris Monroe. At the height of their popularity, they had released several EP's and had several songs on different soundtracks (See: Bratz movie soundtrack, The Clique soundtrack). Apparently, the original lineup (with Ariel Moore) had already recorded an album, Incredible, which has been pushed back many times. It has leaked online, along with many other songs that the girls recorded. Don't think of them as just another Radio Disney / pop girlband, because their songs are catchy and amazing. The two sisters are currently recording songs for a new album.

Click HERE to visit the Clique Girlz's Myspace & listen to some of their songs.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why I Love #1: Tamora Pierce's books

I am a huge Tamora Pierce fan. I read a lot of her books during my middle school years, and I am proud to say that I have read every single one of her books except the recent ones (like Melting Stones and Bloodhound). Like with most of the books/authors that I will feature on this blog, Tamora Pierce generally writes young adult or teen fantasy. Don't think of her as another Twiilight rip-off though.. Tamora Pierce is an actual accomplished writer, and her books are amazing.

The first book that I read by Tamora Pierce was Alanna: The First Adventure, which was amazing. The most memorable thing about Tamora Pierce's books are her characters. I was able to picture exactly how every single character looked in all of her books, and I'm sure that any other reader will be able to, too. Her characters have very distinct names, appearances, and personalities, and they actually sound like real characters. Forget about flat characters with stereotypical personalities. After you read one of Ms. Pierce's books, it'll seem you've known the characters forever.

Another thing that I noticed as I read her other books (See: the Circle of Magic series, the Trickster series, etc.) was that Tamora Pierce is a very good storyteller. The plotlines are amazing, and their genre can range from romantic, action, mystery, and fantasy, to anything. None of the storylines were predictable, but every time I finished a book, I remember a feeling of satisfaction- like a "that was exactly how the story was supposed to end" feeling.

Thus, the storylines are perfect, the characters are amazing.. what more could you want from a book? The books are also very good because they are fantasy. I think that every book features magic, spells, or some figment of imagination of some sort. The fantasy element adds much to each book, and you will often be entertained by some event that could not possibly have happened in the real world. Although the Song of the Lioness quartet holds a special place in my heart (being the first series that I read by Tamora Pierce), my favorite is Terrier from the Beka Cooper series. It's the most recent book that I've read by her, and I remember reading it like it was yesterday. As with all of her books, the storyline and characters were perfect, and I remember thinking that the fantasy elements in that story were cooler than usual. So... what are you waiting for? =D

Click HERE to visit Tamora Pierce's official website.

Ke$ha - Backstabber

~Pop Song of the Day #3~

Meet Ke$ha, a 22 year-old American singer who has been in the music industry since a very young age. Proof of this can be seen in the plethora of Ke$ha songs & demos that can be found on Youtube. You may have first heard her vocals in the Flo Rida hit song "Right Round", but her debut single "Tik Tok" is steadily climbing the charts & is proving that she has what it takes to deliver a hit. It is no wonder though, since Ke$ha has such a unique voice that is complemented by catchy beats and electro-pop music. "Backstabber" is my favorite song of hers that I have heard (besides Tik Tok, of course), and it has been re-recorded in order to make the lyrics more radio-friendly. This song definitely has single potential. Take a listen for yourself =D

Click HERE to visit Ke$ha's official website & listen to some of her music.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dark Visions by L. J. Smith

~Book Review #1~

Dark Visions is one of the best books that I have ever read. If you're an L.J. Smith (Vampire Diaries and Night World) fan, then you'll definitely love this. I previously read the Night World series before reading this book, and this was infinitely better. Think Twilight, but with a little X-Men thrown in.

(Note: Dark Visions is another one of those "3-in-1" books that Simon & Schuster has been putting on shelves at an increasing rate recently. In a desperate attempt to engage the Twilight audience, a supposed group of teenagers who read super-thick books in the fantasy genre, the publishers have apparently decided to print three "average-sized" books from the 90's into one omnibus that is Twilight-sized. See: Thirst series, Kissed by an Angel series, etc. Not only does this make the books worth your money by including a couple hundred extra pages, the publishing companies also save the money that they would used paying an author to write a 500+ page book. Smart move, Simon & Schuster =D

The plot revolves around Kaitlyn Fairchild, a girl with psychic powers who is misunderstood in her hometown. She moves to the Zetes Institute in order to participate in a study with other psychic teens. Throughout the books, Kaitlyn makes friends with the other teens, who all have very real albeit stereotypical personalities, and together they have several adventures in which they try to stop the bad guys from taking over the world (I don't want to give too much away here). And of course, along the way, she also finds true love. It's actually a much better read than it sounds.

I am very glad that I was able to read this book. At 752 pages, it is a touch read for even the most seasoned young adult reader, but it is definitely worth it. The book can be funny, serious, terrifying, and touching at times. The romance parts reminded me of Twilight (she has to choose between two guys), and there were also several action parts that kept my eyes glued to the pages. The Zetes Institute also reminded me of X-Men. This is a definitely a must-read if you like reading teen fantasy books like I do <3

Completely recommended. 5 out of 5 stars.

Click HERE to buy the book off of Amazon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nikki 16 - Come and Get Me

~Pop Song of the Day #2~

Meet Nikki 16, a new American girlband made up of three girls: Alexandria, Rashe, and Christina. According to their Myspace, they were put together by the long time Director of A&R for Bad Boy Records, Shannon "Slam" Lawrence. "Come and Get Me" is their first video, and I hear traces of both Pop and R&B genres. The result is an awesome song that has nice lyrics and a seriously catchy hook. Recommended if you like Electrik Red or Richgirl.

Click HERE to visit Nikki 16's Myspace page & listen to some of their demos.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Vita Chambers - Young Money

~Pop Song of the Day #1~

Meet Vita Chambers, a 15 year-old up-and-coming singer from Barbados. Her songs are in the pop/rock genre, and she is currently recording her debut album for SRP/Motown Universal Records. The music video debuted just today, so I thought it was an appropriate way to start off the blog. This song is seriously catchy, and it reminds me of other new electro-pop artists like Ke$ha and Lolene. It totally sounds like a hit song... take a listen for yourself!! =D

Click HERE to visit Vita's Myspace page & listen to some of her demos.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Year of Teen Fantasy Books and Pop Music

~First blog post!!~

My name is Leighton, and I am starting this blog today in order to share my love of teen fantasy books and pop music. Although I am no expert, I know a lot about these topics, as well as others. You may occasionally see posts on other topics, such as anything that is either awesome or cute. I am going to work hard to update weekly in order to tell you "what new pop music you should listen to", "what recent teen fantasy books you should read", etc. I am also open to promotions: if you want me to review something, just comment and I will do my best to help you.

Please continue to read this blog, and I hope you enjoy it!! =D

**This is a legal download-free music blog. I do not post links for readers to download music, and any pictures that are posted are for promotion purposes only. To my readers, comments are apreciated, but please do not spam.**