28 November 2014

Theme: 1980s (rock edition)

It is time for my first theme post. And the theme is music from the 1980s. While I was planning this post, I started listing songs I would like to write about and the list got quite long, since I really love '80s music. So there is eventually sequels to come.

Some time ago I wrote on Twitter that I've been listening to a lot of music from the 80s. I usually get periods of time when I really get into certain type of music and now it was the 80s. The song that got me into listening 80s music this time was actually from the 1970s. From that song I moved to this:



British Bonnie Tyler. I've been loving Holding Out For A Hero (1984) for many, many years. It must be one of my ultimate favourite songs of the 80s. It's just so dramatic and I like the lyrics a lot. But now comes a little confession: Total Eclipse Of The Heart (1983) is probably Bonnie's best-known song, or at least I kept coming across it's name all the time, but I hadn't heard it until very recently. Which is actually a shame since I really love it.




Another artist whose songs from the 80s I've been listening lately is Canadian Bryan Adams. I don't remember exactly when I first heard these songs, but I a long time ago. And I've been loving them ever since then. I doubt these two need any introduction since they are so famous: Summer Of '69 (1985) and Heaven (1985).






One more of my favourite 80s songs is How Soon Is Now? (1985) by a British band The Smiths. This song too I've been loving for ages. I find the lyrics very meaningful and touching on a personal level. And the music is awesome. This song is quite a bit darker than the type of songs people usually associate with the 1980s.




From my experiences, the first thing that comes to people's mind from the 80s music is the over the top cheerfulness and craziness, plus bright colours. But rock music too was hugely popular in the 80s, wasn't it? Quite interesting that two so different types of music were so popular at the same time.

And since this post seems to be only about rock songs, maybe my next 80s post (whenever that will be out) should be about those overly happy songs, which are so symbolic for the 80s.

24 November 2014

Sex & crime: Colombia #1

Today's post's music comes from Colombia.

At first, I'd like to comment the title of this post: Sex and crime. Those two words are the ones that come first into my head when thinking about Colombian music, or particularly Colombian music videos. Well, sex is pretty common theme in music videos, especially in western world, but in this context I was more of meaning prostitution. Because with Colombian music I keep coming across to music videos that have a theme of prostitution and/or crime. Maybe this could be same thing as with Ukraine and I just happen to come across this type of videos, or maybe these theme selections tell something about the culture of Colombia?

I don't want to get too deep in this blog, so let's get to the music now... Starting with a classic song that a Colombian post must have:



It is Shakira, of course. I think I can safely say that Whenever, Wherever is the first Colombian song I ever heard and it's the same case for many others too. It is probably one of the best known Colombian songs around the world. For me this song is a classic that brings a lot of memories.

But my favourite Shakira song is Las De La Intuición. I think I overall prefer her Spanish songs over her English songs. Her voice goes so well with Spanish.



Next up comes a song that I heard on a telenovela called "Sin Tetas No Hay Paraíso". According to Wikipedia, the title of the show translates into "Without Tits There Is No Paradise" and it's about prostitution (back to the subject, it seems...). This song's music video is sort of dark, maybe that's at least partly because of the telenovela (this was the theme song). This song is called Agujero and it translates into "Hole", and it is performed by Jox. I really love this song and I also recommend the telenovela if you ever get a chance to watch it.


Here is also a link to the version that was on the telenovela: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz36pP0T6zQ

The last songs of this post come from Naty Botero. She is a newer find for me. Even though I find her songs a bit weird, I still think they are awesome. And her videos are even weirder. The first song is called Te Quiero Mucho ("I Love You A Lot") and second DINOSAURIO ("Dinosaur", obviously).

Since I don't understand Spanish enough, I don't know exactly what she sings about. I just feel that the name of the first song doesn't go along with the theme of the music video (crime and prostitution, for a change). And what does a dinosaur have to do with the second song since she seems to sing something about Cuba and Marijuana? Of course I could read the translated lyrics, but I always fear that it would ruin the song for me. So, I think I'll stay in this interesting state of uncertainty.

Here we go with two of the weirdest (weird doesn't equal bad) music videos I've seen in a while:





21 November 2014

First European country: Ukraine #1

Today we are heading to Ukraine. Not because it is a current topic at the moment, but because I've been lately drawn to Ukrainian music (or maybe that's because it is a current topic?).

First of, an artist who presented Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013: Zlata Ognevich. Her Eurovision song was called Gravity and she placed third in the final.



I liked Gravity a lot, so I looked for more songs of her. And was not disappointed. She has many good songs, from which I like the most a song called Kukushka, КУКУШКА in Ukrainian. Google translate tells that the title translates into "Cuckoo", which explains those cuckoo sounds in the song (which I BTW like a lot).




Next up is a band called Nu Virgos, also known by name VIA Gra, ВИА Гра in Ukrainian. As you can guess from the names, this band's style a bit, or a bit more, raunchy. On a side note, I wonder, are most of Ukrainian music videos really this much sexually explicit or have I just happened to come across mostly this kind of videos? Anyways...

My favourite song from the band is called Potselui, Поцелуи in Ukrainian. It translates into "Kisses" and Wikipedia tells that this song charted number one in Ukraine and Russia, number two in Latvia. This was actually one of my favourite songs last year (this song was released in 2007, but I first heard it last year).



One other song I like from them is called Brillianty, Бриллианты in Ukrainian. It translates into "Diamonds", as you could guess from the video. Nu Virgos has actually had bunch of different line-ups, so only one of the women seen in this video is same as in Potselui.



Some of the many members of Nu Virgos have gone into having successful solo careers. One of these is Vera Brezhneva. She is one of the women in Brillianty. I think her songs, at least those I have heard, have kinda exotic, not very Ukrainian sound. I like her song Lyubov' spaset mir, Любовь спасет мир in Ukrainian. Which means "Love will save the world" in English.



16 November 2014

J-pop & I

After my latest post, I felt it was a good idea to write more about my relationship with J-pop (Japanese pop music) since that is the genre I will probably end up writing the most about.

To start with here's a random song that was one of the first Japanese songs (if not the first) I heard besides Ayumi Hamasaki. It's a bit weird, but cute. Asuka Hinoi:



In my previous post (which you can read here), I told how I came across Ayumi Hamasaki and became a huge fan. For quite few years she was the only Japanese (or non-Western on that matter) artist I listened to. During that time I listened to some random Japanese songs, from which the song above is the only one I can remember, but not much and never became a fan.

That changed in 2010. I loved Japanese music (aka Ayumi back then) and I loved girl groups (have ever since I was little), so I thought I must "superlove" Japanese girl groups. Well, I was right. I googled for Japanese girl groups and first one I came across to was Morning Musume. I will eventually write more specifically about this in a Morning Musume post, so now let's just say that this is where my Asian girl group obsession began.

Here's the first Morning Musume song I heard:



After Morning Musume I went on to find more Japanese groups and also solo artists to listen to. It opened a whole new world for me; From Japanese I expanded on Korean, Taiwanese, Thai... From Japanese music I mostly listen to J-pop, but sometimes also other genres like J-rock and J-rap.

So, that's the story how I fell in love with J-pop. By itself this post may not seem that important, but it is an important part of the background story of this blog, since J-pop was the first step on my "journey around the world with music". And it may be relevant for me to link back to this post in my future J-pop posts.


[The songs chosen for this post are just songs that were somehow related to this post. They don't mean to represent the entire genre of J-pop, which is very extensive with all kinds of different songs form über-cute bubblegum pop to dark, nearly rock, kind of pop.]

13 November 2014

Favourite artists: Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan #1

It's time for my first favourite artists post. And we are heading to Japan.

This post's artist is Ayumi Hamasaki. Whose fan I have been for almost ten years, if not already ten years. I remember coming across some of her songs through a online forum, if memory serves someone used them as theme music for her/his fan fiction story/stories. I fell in love immediately. I don't remember exactly which song was first, but I believe it was either evolution or GAME. [Note the Japanese way to randomly capitalize or lowercase words/letters. Which doesn't seem so common anymore.]

[Unfortunately, some Japanese record labels don't release full music videos online and get the ones uploaded by users removed, so these are only short clips.]




GAME is actually still my favourite song of hers. After these songs, I obviously had to hear more and eventually she became my favourite singer. She was only Japanese artist I listened back then, so she really stood out. I still love her music and count her amongst my ultimate favourites. Even though I tend to prefer her older songs, maybe for nostalgic reasons.





It was pretty hard to choose songs for this post since she has so many (her first actual singles were released 1998) and my favourites keep changing. These are few of my top favourites.

Ayumi was the reason why I got into Japanese music and from there into other East Asian music. And also led me to find out about music beyond the usual popular songs in Europe. So, she is a huge musical influence for me, and also for this blog.



09 November 2014

Starting point: Vanuatu #1

When I thought about what I should write my first actual music post about, I felt that I should write about something meaningful. And I felt that these couple of songs fit that purpose.

Few years ago I wanted to find music from somewhere more random. Back then I pretty much listened to just music from western countries and couple East Asian countries. So there were lots of countries so choose from. I decided I wanted to pick some singer from a small African or Oceanian country because those regions I was not familiar with (besides Australia). I don't remember how I exactly ended up picking Vanuatu. I googled for artists from Vanuatu and come across this one, Vanessa Quai.

These are the two songs I first heard from her:




I usually don't listen to this kind of music, but I really like these. I listened these many times back then, but then forgot about them (as it usually happens with songs after a while). Now this blog reminded me about these and I listened to these again and they maybe sound even better than few years ago. And I even found brand new music of hers:


Other pages say she is a reggae artist, others say gospel, so I'm not sure. I personally don't recognize genres from each other since I don't care what they are. I just know these songs sound really good. Here's one more song, which is in other language than English. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what language this is; Maybe Bislama or French? They are the other official languages of Vanuatu, though in my opinion it doesn't sound like French.


It's a good thing I found these songs again. I'd say this was the starting point from where I got into finding music from all around the world and to eventually start this blog. So a perfect starting point to this blog.

05 November 2014

Blog plans

I wanted to write a short post about how I have planned to write this blog. Obviously plans can change and most likely will, but this is as for now.

So far I have planned three different types of blog posts. First (and foremost) are the country-specific posts. Since I started this blog to write about music from different countries, I think most of my post will be these. One post will consist of average 2-5 songs from a certain country, from (one or) multiple artists. These songs may have some common theme, like genre, but they can also be just random songs from that country. I will number these post with # (i.e. Finland #1).

Other type of post will be favourite artist posts. This simply means that I will dedicate the post for a certain singer or band. I'll tell why I like them and post few songs by them. These usually count towards the country-specific posts too. And lastly, theme posts. These posts will have different music-related themes, in example music from movies or Christmas music. These usually won't be limited on just one country.

In short, that's what I have planned. Hopefully this made even some sense. I will put a YouTube or such video about the songs I write, but it is possible that those get removed. If there is any links or embedded videos that don't work, I will change them when I notice, so I'll appreciate if anyone finding those could notify me. All suggestions for this blog are also highly appreciated!

01 November 2014

Starting a music blog

Hello world! (Wow, maybe a bit too cliché start for my liking...)

I am here to finally start a blog. Or actually I am starting TWO blogs. My other blog is sort of a lifestyle blog, but this one, as you can guess by its name, is music related blog.

WHY A MUSIC BLOG?

I have wanted a blog for years, mainly to record and share my experiences, but it took me this long to finally start. When I was planning my blog some time ago, I came across an important question: What will be my blog's niche? I read many comments and articles saying that every blog should have a niche. I was planning to start a blog that really didn't have a niche, but the things I read got me wondering; Maybe I should have a niche?

This got me questioning my blog for a long time. What would my niche be? I am horrible at make-up. I have no interest in fashion. I am not that good at making up recipes. I am not a mother. All the usual blog ideas just weren't for me. Am I really not good at anything blog-worthy? Then I came across an article or something telling people to blog about what they are passion about. My thoughts went something like this: "What am I passion about? Music. But you can't blog about music. ... Actually, why not? Of course you can! There are probably lots of music blogs out there. ... !!!". And so I had my niche.

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC WILL I WRITE ABOUT?

All kinds of! Like the blog's name states: music from all around the world. I love finding new songs and artists that I like. In recent years I have gotten more and more interested on finding music from new countries. I wish to explore what kinds of music they make in all parts of this planet. I wish to go beyond charts and gossip magazine fame. I want to find good music, whether it comes from a big music industry country or a tiny country that most haven't even heard of, or anything between and beyond those. And then share my findings in this blog in hopes that somebody will hear something they like!

I am not limited by a genre or a language. If a song is good then it it good. I currently listen mostly western and far eastern music with a slight obsession with J-pop and K-pop. A big percent of what I listen to consists of far eastern girl groups, but even if you're not a fan of this kind of music I wouldn't be put off by this: I have favourites in all genres from rap to opera, from heavy rock to bubblegum pop. And since this blog is about all kinds of music, I want to write as extensively as possibly.


I face all music open-minded and am not afraid to like or write about songs/artists that some might find embarrassing or stupid. I very happily receive song/artist recommendations, so feel free to send those to me through comments or Twitter!