Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ingrid Michaelson - Parachute

~Pop Song of the Day #73~

Meet Ingrid Michaelson, a 31 year-old New York-based indie-pop singer-songwriter. She is best known for her debut single "The Way I Am"- which was featured in a Macy's ad campaign. Her music has been featured in episodes of several popular television shows, and subsequent singles like "Be OK" and "Maybe" have garnered some radio play. Many of you may have heard "Parachute" already on Cheryl Cole's debut album, 3 Words. (Cheryl Cole is the only former Girls Aloud member with a successful solo career while the group is in indefinite hiatus.) Well, Ingrid was actually one of the co-writers of "Parachute", and after the song's success in the UK, she decided to release it as her new single in the US. I can't decide which version I like better...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Victoria Justice - Freak the Freak Out

~Pop Song of the Day #72~

Meet Victoria Justice, a 17 year-old American singer and actress who is most well-known for her roles on the Nickelodeon TV shows, Victorious and Zoey 101. There's an expectation that all teenage Nick and Disney stars have to sing in addition to acting and whatever else they do. So I wasn't surprised when I heard that Victoria had a couple of songs out & had sung the theme song to her own TV show (sort of like Miranda Cosgrove and Jamie Lynn Spears before her). In many ways, this song is just another teen pop song. There's not anything special about it, and the video feels too short. However, the song was stuck in my head for weeks when I first listened to it. Overall, it's actually a good song and I <3 it, but it's not the most amazing song out there.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

SoundGirl - I'm the Fool

~Pop Song of the Day #71~

Meet SoundGirl, an up-and-coming UK girl group composed of Little Nikki, Izzy B, and Olivia. I actually featured SoundGirl last post- along with a bunch of other girl groups that are up-and-coming in the UK. I really like this song (obviously), because SoundGirl sounds like they really have their own distinct style. If you want to hear more, there are a couple of more full songs posted on their Youtube page (Walking on Air and the Game). Personally, I love all three of the songs that they've posted so far, and can't wait till their debut album comes out. Go check them out! (Sorry this post is short, but being a new group, their official page & Myspace don't give a lot of info yet.)

Wonderland by Tommy Kovac and Sonny Liew

~Book Review #7~

Well, it's been a while since the last book review. And with this blog getting off-hiatus, I decided that it was time to post a new one. In the several months since the last review, I've read many books that will be the subject of future posts. However, I actually just finished a graphic novel today that completely took me by surprise and overall exceeded my expectations.

When I first started reading this book, I judged it by its cover (Yes, I know the expression...) I presumed that it was simply another retelling of the age-old classic, Alice in Wonderland. I thought that it would simply be a graphic novel with new illustrations / a new story adaption. Plus, considering that it is published by Disney, it wouldn't have any major story changes and would remain true to the original source material.

In short, I was dead wrong. Wonderland was the most amazing graphic novel I've read in recent weeks. The story is NOT an adaptation at all. Instead, it is a completely original take on the story of Mary Ann (the White Rabbit's housemaid in Lewis Carroll's original books) and set in Wonderland. Mary Ann- who was merely a minor character who is mistaken for Alice in the books- is the main character in this six-issue, award-winning miniseries. It was pure genius and creativity that caused the creators of this series to share her story.

The story / plotline was spectacular. We're introduced to new characters (such as the Queen of Spades) and old ones (the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit are all present). And the writer actually stayed true to Lewis Carroll's "nonsense" world. There were clever puns throughout the book, and there was a perfect balance between having a plotline that moved forward splendidly and a world that did not make any sense in reality. The art was just as amazing. The characters were all drawn very cutely- with cartoon-like expressions. However, there was much detail put into the backgrounds of the comic and such. I could tell that the artist labored over every single panel. Each page looks like it could be hung on a wall or displayed on an art museum.

Overall, if you're a fan of the original Alice in Wonderland, this book is a must-have! I admit I don't follow the comics world as much as I used to, but I really should have heard of this book before!

5 out of 5 Stars. Completely Recommended!!

Photo Credit: Cover of Wonderland by Disney Press / SLG Publishing company.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Upcoming Girl Groups of 2011!

~Pop Song of the Day #70~

This is actually my 100th post on this blog. Whoo!

So to celebrate, I decided that I wouldn't just post one song this time. I found this great Youtube video that showcases a few of the new up-and-coming girl groups in the UK with their debut singles. With the Girls Aloud members going off on their own solo projects, it's time for a new girl group to take charge! Needless to say, these songs sound amazing. (Unfortunately, while girl groups have found much lasting sucess in the UK and Asia- to name a few places- the fall of PCD and Danity Kane in the US does not bode well for future girl groups here.) It's such a shame. Hopefully, some of the more sucessful girl groups in other countries (like 2NE1 or the Saturdays, for example) will cross-over to the US soon.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Avril Lavigne - What the H*ll

~Pop Song of the Day #69~

You have to know who Avril is. She was my favorite singer before Ke$ha came along. I have all 3 of her albums, and love almost all of her songs- even though she changed genres from punk-rock to pop-rock. It was the longest wait ever for new music from her... she's literally been working on her new album for 2 years. I hear that it's going to be very acoustic, so this single is probably the only mainstream song on it. Her label definitely wants at least one chart-topper, since it is unlikely that the other songs on the album will chart high since they won't be pop-rock. But hey, you never know. This song is absolutely amazing. There are literally no words to describe how awesome it is. I've been listening to it on repeat every since it premiered on New Year's, and can't wait till her new album comes out. Whatever genre she's doing now, I'm sure that it will be awesome. Enjoy! :D

Why I Love #11: Pretty Little Liars vs Gossip Girl

In my time zone, tonight was the season 2 premiere of Pretty Little Liars- a typical teen drama show that won many fans last year (summer 2010) when it debuted. I'm not to lie... this has been my favorite show ever since Dollhouse on Syfy was canceled. (By the way, I will probably post a review of Dollhouse sometime in the coming month.) Anyway, I am completely convinced that Pretty Little Liars is the best show on television right now. Granted, I don't watch that much television. I think the only currently running shows that I am watching right now besides this one is Glee, Young Justice (series premiere on Friday!), and sometimes Gossip Girl.

Believe it or not, when I first started high school (3 - 4 years ago), Gossip Girl was at the height of its popularity. It used to be my favorite show actually. I mean, there was the concept of a hidden blogger called "Gossip Girl" who would talk about the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite. It sounded cool, and it was... for a while. I basically stopped watching this season. The reason is- the show is no longer as fun as it used to be. The first season was undoubtedly best SPOILERS. I will undoubtedly remember Serena whispering to Blair "I killed someone." right before the season finale for a while to come. Who could forget the creepy, eerie music that followed that statement either?

That first season was awesome. Unfortunately, it went downhill after that. I hated how the writers felt the need to pair every character on the show with every other character. I mean love triangles are fine, but sometimes, it felt like the writers at the studio were just picking names out of a hat and then make them into couples. After a while, the story no longer interested me either. Unlike other teen dramas, Gossip Girl literally has no drama. The most that happens is Georgina Sparks swoops in for a season finale and then takes off again. Ugh. Her character is so awesome, too. The most dramatic thing that happened last season was Chuck's death... and he didn't even really die! Hilary Duff brightened things up for a while (I'm a huge fan of hers), but ultimately, this show just lost it sparkle.

On the other hand, getting back to topic, Pretty Little Liars is chock-full of drama. NO SPOILERS HERE. The basic premise is that there were 5 best friends, but the Queen Bee- so to speak- gets murdered! (Right there, that's more of a plotline than an entire Gossip Girl season.) It turns out she was keeping a secret, since one year later, the other 4 best friends start getting dangerous texts from a person named A. And this mysterious person just starts to ruin their lives. It's not that difficult since all 4 of the girls have their own secrets to hide. I never read the books, so I can't compare the TV show to them; but I absolutely love the TV show! Every episode has a lot of "scary", suspenseful moments, and the plotlines/characters are amazing. Meanwhile, the mystery behind it all will leave you wondering "Who is A?!" Overall, if you haven't seen the show already, then what are you waiting for? :D

Five Stars. Completely Recommended.

Photo Credit: Pretty Little Liars advertisement by ABC Entertainment company