Tag Archives: music review

Music Review: Scars On 45 by Scars On 45 (iTunes Deluxe Version)

Title:                                   Scars On 45
Artist:                                 Scars On 45
Genre:                                Indie Rock
Label:                         Atlantic/Chop Shop Records
No. of Tracks:             14 (with iTunes exclusives)
Release Date:               10 April 2012

Official Music Video: Heart On Fire by Scars On 45

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Review In A Nutshell:
For a self-titled debut album, Scars On 45 gives its listeners enough material which are quite something to hold on to and would definitely set their hearts on fire.

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I heard Heart On Fire by Scars On 45 the first time while I was commuting several days ago. Most of my song discoveries are like that; in random places, at unusual times. I was in the middle of reading Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins when the song distracted me that I had to set aside the book to pay attention to the track.  The arrangement was quite catchy but what really hooked me the most were its lyrics which I couldn’t get over with…

When you’re standing on your own
And you feel you’ve got nobody around you
Yeah, you know I’ll be the one who helps you from your knees
My heart’s on fire
“Heart On Fire”, Track No. 3

As soon as I arrived at work, I googled the lyrics and soon learned everything that I needed to know about the artist Scars On 45.

Scars On 45 is a quintet that hails from Leeds, England (Brit act FTW!). The band started in 2007 when its lead vocalist, Danny Bemrose, picked up his father’s guitar out of sadness after suffering a major foot injury during a soccer game. He became “addicted” with it and started writing songs.  Wanting to pursue this new hobby further, he became friends with another ex-football player and current bandmate, Stuart Nichols, and both spent their early years improving their music. When their current pianist/keyboard player David “Nova” Nowakowski joined, the trio started their rounds in the local music scene.

The addition of the other lead vocal, Aimee Driver, was a happy accident. Nova, who happened to be her schoolmate, was visiting her home and started playing The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love to which she gamely sang along. This shocked the pianist/keyboard player and asked… well, pestered her if she would like to join the band since there was a song he felt that she could duet with Danny entitled Insecurity, which she did. Prior to joining Scars On 45, Aimee Driver has never performed in public.  Chris Durling, the band’s drummer, rounded up the quintet after meeting Stuart Nichols who gave him a copy of their CD that he liked a lot and decided to help out on their recordings.

Since the release of their self-titled debut album, the band has been making waves, hitting the 4th spot on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album chart and even performing on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Prior to the launch of their self-titled album, some of their tracks specifically Heart On Fire was first introduced in Grey’s Anatomy Original Soundtrack Vol. 4 after being discovered by Alexandra Patsavas, who had them signed on under her Chop Shop Records label, under Atlantic Records (adding another reason why I envy her :P).

L-R: Stuart Nichols (bass), David “Nova” Nowakowski (piano/keyboards), Danny Bemrose (vocals/guitar), Aimee Driver (vocals), Chris Durling (drums)

As this is my first time to do a full album review, listening to all 14 tracks is not an easy chore. However, my fears were put to rest as it has been such a breeze. I was entertained by each track. Most of the songs’ arrangement had a hint of pop that wasn’t too overwhelming without losing its indie sensibilities. I liked how the piano/keyboard blends well with the drums as it made the songs likable, easy and ear-friendly. Plus, like most of my favorite music acts, I loved a lot of the songs’ lyrics; they were simple yet profound.

Baby please
Don’t say it won’t get better
Don’t say I won’t let you fall down
Don’t say it can’t get better
You scare me out of town
I’m sick of the silence
I shake as I give my point of view
“Don’t Say”, Track No. 4

For a self-titled debut album, Scars On 45 gives its listeners enough material which are quite something to hold on to and would definitely set their hearts on fire. I know I did. 😉

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My Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

My Two Cents:
If you can see a physical copy in your nearest record bar, get one. However, it only has 11 tracks. If you have iTunes though, I highly suggest you get the digital album. It may cost you more than a CD at US$ 11.99 but you get 3 more tracks. I think that’s a steal in my book especially with an artist that’s this good.

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My Favorite Tracks From The Album:
1. Heart On Fire
2. Give Me Something
3. Warning Sign
4. Don’t Say
5. The Way That We Are
6. Tomorrow Won’t Die Too Soon (Bonus Track)
7. Two Way Radio (Bonus Track)

Other Fun Stuff:
– Check out the band’s official website to get updated on their tours and other information
– You can follow them on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, as well as subscribe to their YouTube channel wherein you can check out their official music videos and their tour diaries, Scars & Stripes.

Music Review: It All Belongs To Me by Brandy & Monica


Title:                                   It All Belongs To Me
Artist:                                 Brandy & Monica
Genre:                                R&B
Writer/Producer:     Rico Love
Label:                         RCA Records

Release Date:
The single will be appear in the soon-to-be-released albums of both singers in March 2012.

Track Preview (Courtesy of DailyMusicJamsTV):

Song Lyrics (Painstakingly Transcribed By Moi):

Lovin’ you is hard
I feel like I’m about to hurt myself
And I don’t wanna do it baby

I’m loving you so hard
And the way you’ve acting been no help
No, no, no sugar
Yeah, you got it sweet, don’t you?

You must be glad
You must be dumb
You must be trippin’
You must be crazy
To think that I’mma let you off that easy

I know you’re mad
Can’t take no more
But put that back
That ain’t yours
Have a fit
Slam the door
Don’t leave a mess on the floor
That sh*t belongs to me

Those clothes
Those cars
Those rings
And that Macbook
That sh*t belongs to me
So log off your Facebook
It all belongs to me

All you do is talk
Never knew you to do nothing else
You ain’t good for nothing, baby

It’s like you got no heart
Cold as ice
And nothing can make you melt
No, no, no baby
Hold on one minute baby

You must be glad
You must be dumb
You must be trippin’
You must be crazy
To think that I’mma let you off that easy

I know you’re mad
Can’t take no more
But put that back
That ain’t yours
Have a fit
Slam the door
Don’t leave a mess on the floor
That sh*t belongs to me

Those clothes
Those cars
Those rings
And that Macbook
That sh*t belongs to me
So log off your Facebook
It all belongs to me

Ain’t nothing leaving this house
Unless it’s over my dead body baby
So pack up all the things you came with
‘Cause lovin’ you is just too dangerous

I know you’re mad
Can’t take no more
But put that back
That ain’t yours
Have a fit
Slam the door
Don’t leave a mess on the floor
That sh*t belongs to me

Those clothes
Those cars
Those rings
And that Macbook
That sh*t belongs to me
So log off your Facebook
It all belongs to me
To me

And that belongs to me
To me

It all belongs to me
To me

It all belongs to me

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Review In A Nutshell:
“It All Belongs To Me” is a fairly modern attempt at empowerment, with hints of a scorned woman who is trying to regain herself, but it lacked the elements that I loved so much in their first collaboration.

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This reunion took fourteen years to happen. Fourteen. Long. Years. If you loved The Boy Is Mine like I did, I bet you’ve been itching to hear the duo collaborate again. The big question is: has the wait been worth it?

“It All Belongs To Me” talks about a woman who sends off her good-for-nothing ex-lover to the streets without any of her stuff and making sure of it. It’s a fairly “modern” attempt at women empowerment: modern in the sense of references to a gadget and a social networking site; women empowerment… well, the ex-lover was called “dumb” and “crazy” and was not being let off easy.

“It All Belongs To Me” is a straightforward dumping song but it hints of a scorned woman who is trying to regain herself.  The arrangement is catchy enough, with a few beats here and there, but it sounds more mellow than pop.

Inasmuch as I do not like to compare both collaborations, I miss the cattiness and vocal power of both singers which they showed effortlessly in The Boy Is Mine. While I’m glad “It All Belongs To Me” brought both singers back, it lacked the elements that I loved so much in their first collaboration. I was expecting a lot more, I guess, as there have been a slew of more awesome collaborations from other artists and other songs speaking about women empowerment since then.

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My Rating:
2 out of 5 stars

My Two Cents:
Honestly, I’d just download it. However if you’re fans of Brandy and Monica, do them a favor by picking up a copy of their new albums when these hit the stores in March 2012.

Flashback Alert:
– Official Music Video of The Boy Is Mine

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Source/s:
– News courtesy of Billboard.com
– Image courtesy of Rap-Up.com

Music Review: Hot Couture by Manila Luzon


Title:                                   Hot Couture
Artist:                                 Manila Luzon
Genre:                                Pop/Dance
Label:                                 KNS/Manila
Release Date:                8 November 2011

Review In A Nutshell:
Hot Couture is fun, fabulous and fierce!  It gives a good glimpse of what Manila Luzon wants offer as a recording artist, should she continue down that path.

Official Music Video
(Released 26 January 2012)

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I have a confession to make: I haven’t watched a single episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. I know… I know that it’s a must-see reality show so pretty please don’t kill me, I beg. Despite this, I have heard of Manila Luzon from Ronald, a friend of mine who loves the show. While I still have to find time to catch re-runs of the three seasons, it is really good to know that a Filipino American joined and became the runner up for Season 3! And wow, isn’t she pretty…

Darn it, don't you just envy her legs? Sheesh!

You can imagine my surprise when I learned through my news feeds that she released a single called Hot Couture. And, gauging from the official music video, she had fun, fun, FUN! 😀

Hot Couture is a pretty straightforward pop/dance track: upbeat with catchy (repetitive) lyrics.  I would describe it as an “introduction” or a “here-I-am-so-make-way-for-me” song minus the “in-your-face” factor, which I liked.

Let the streets be my runway tonight
In the fashion show we call life
Got this fire burn… burning inside
And I’m serving… serving…
Hot Couture!

As I listen to the song further, it makes wonder why there is an “explicit” tag to it over at Amazon and iTunes when I only heard one word that would qualify such. Also, some argued in my feed that the word “couture” is so overused and misconstrued. While it is true to some measure, frankly I don’t mind it with this single. That’s the beauty of artistic freedom: whatever floats your boat, go ahead. And Hot Couture is just that: fun, fabulous and fierce!  It gives a good glimpse of what Manila Luzon wants offer as a recording artist, should she continue down that path. 🙂

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My Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

My Two Cents:
Download it! For three minutes of tap-your-Louboutins-to-the-beat fun at $ 0.99, it is worth it.  Click on the following links to buy the single:
Amazon
iTunes

Credit:
Image above c/o Manila Luzon at http://www.manilaluzon.com

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Other Fun Stuff:
– Download the Hot Couture ringtone (mp3 format) here.
– Watch the behind-the-scenes of the music video below: