Celebrate ☆ai love music☆’s 100th post with Queensberry!

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Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

It’s the 100th post at ☆ai love music☆! I never thought that I would reach this milestone as I didn’t think I would be continuing to blog after my long hiatus in 2009. It’s all thanks to the readers and my evolving music library both on my computer and in my CD shelves that keeps me going even during difficult times. I hope that I can reach my 200th very soon.

To mark this occasion, I want to use a song that involves the word “celebrate” as this a joyous occasion. I was looking through my iTunes and found a little gem from the German girl pop group Queensberry. The band was formed in 2008 during season 8 of the German version of the hit TV talent show Popstars. The original members were Leonore Bartsch, Gabriella De Almeida Rinne, Antonella Trapani, and Victoria Ulbrich.

Hoping to be as successful as Popstars alumni bands No Angel and Monrose, Queensberry released their debut album, entitled Volume I, in early 2009 with great success. It was certified gold.The group was quick to release singles from the album as well as work on what was supposed to be their US debut album. However, that plan never came about as their contract with Warner Music dissolved at the end of 2009.

What made matters worse was that Antonella and Victoria decided to call it quits by July 2010. Queensberry’s managers were quick to find their replacements, who were Selina Herrero and Ronja Hilbig. Queensberry didn’t release any material, just appeared on a song by rapper KittyKat and did live performances. However, Selina Herrero left the group two years later as she wanted to go back to school.

The group released their last album as a trio in 2012 with little success. Leonore Bartsch decided to leave the group soon after, leaving Queensberry with only Ronja and Gabriella. The group eventually disbanded completely in 2013.

It is currently unknown what the girls are doing now. It is presumed they are either out of show business or focus on their solo careers.

“Celebrate” might feel like a generic synthpop song. It features a high-pitched synthesizer, a clapping machine, and an air drum kit. I think the keys to the song are the vocals and the feel-good meaning behind the lyrics. You can say that the girls vocals are the standard pop vocals you hear from any pop tune. However, I feel like these vocals fit the song perfectly. It isn’t too deep nor high and the vocals are really smooth with a clear tone. They actually make you feel good and relax.

One other thing that makes the listener feel good is the lyrics. Who doesn’t want a friendly reminder like “Celebrate, we made it through the day Celebrate, good times are here to stay Celebrate, dreams come to life today” throughout their day, The song is filled with upbeat lyrics that tell you that you shouldn’t give up because you can celebrate your victories at the end of the day.

My Thoughts on Eurovision Part I

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Eurovision 2016 has already come and go. There were really exceptional acts, good acts, and worst ones. As there were 26 performers for the four hours final, it will take me a while to get through all the acts. So, if I can remind myself to do it, there will be a part two next week to cover the other performances.

There were so many good acts this year. Albeit that most of the acts today sing in primary English. 😦 (It’s not that I don’t oppose singing in English but I rather enjoy each country’s song in that country’s primary language).

The Great

Jamala – 1944

I linked the final performance of “1944” instead of the music video because it was incredible to watch.

If you didn’t read the backstory of the song on sites like Wikipedia or new sites, “1944” is a personal song about Jamala’s great-grandmother and her family getting deported from their homeland of Crimea and sent to live in Central Asia when Stalin was leader of the Soviet Union.[1] Jamala beautifully displays the raw emotions of sadness, despair, hurt, the feeling of being lost, and the emotional pain of being separated from a homeland. You can feel all of these emotions that Jamala passionately displays at the 2:20 mark when she sings in the mugham vocal style. At that moment, I feel like I wanted to cry with Jamala as I can feel the pain and hurt she emits from her singing.

The inclusion of the gorgeous mugham vocal style, the duduk (especially in the beginning), and the chorus in the beautiful Crimean Tatar language makes this a song a treat to those who like ethnic music. However, it’s still modern as it includes elements of house.

Many, including Russians, have argued that song should’ve been banned from Eurovision as the lyrics are an attack on Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea and is politically themed, which a big no-no in this contest. However, I believe that this song is more than a political statement, it’s a story. A story about a broken past of an ostracized ethnic group mixed in with hopes for “peace and love” in the future.[2]

The Good

Hovi Star – Made of Stars

Although Telegraph.co.uk has mentioned a verse from this song made their top 18 worsr and weirdest lyrics from this year’s Eurovision,  I thought most of the lyrics were pretty decent. It might’ve sounded like a generic love song to some, it might’ve been about two friends who are looking for a better future to others. I think it’s a mixture of both.

What I like about “Made of Star”  is Hovi’s impressive vocal range. There isn’t a lot of instrumentation with this song as it just a piano, briefly a guitar, some strings, briefly drums, and maybe a bass to make it seem like a pure mid-tempo pop ballad. However, Hovi’s vocals are warm, rock-oriented, not overbearing, and well-fitted for a song like this.

I really like the simplicity of the song the best. Songs like these ones tell you just need a really good vocalist, like Hovi, and a few basic instruments to make a pop masterpiece.

Gabriela Gunčíková – I Stand

I will admit, I might of placed this song in the good pile because I have a bias for any Czech singers (Go Team Czech Republic, my mother’s family is from there and her family takes lots of pride in their heritage). But, I mainly picked this song because of Gabriela’s incredible vocals. I love how Gabriela creates a mystic yet beautiful reverence when she sings a vocal run in the beginning of the chorus with “I”. Also, her vocals are well grounded with the song as they are rich, strong, and vibrant.

Like Hovi Star’s “Made of Stars”, “I Stand” uses a few instruments and a solid vocalist to create something beautiful.

Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime

Instantly, the song starts on the right foot with the use of a high-pitched synthesized voice to produce those eerie vocal samples. Maybe I am just in love with them because American R&B and electronica trio King recently used them perfectly in my new favorite, “The Right One“. Besides that, I really like the chorus as Poli is able to seamlessly blend Bulgarian and English together with the melody to create something extremely catchy.  I swear I am going to be singing the chorus randomly at work this week, even if I can’t sing Bulgarian well.

I have to say that Poli’s costume is one of the best costumes from this year’s Eurovision. It took me a while to figure out that she was wearing a skin colored dress and she wasn’t just naked with some random leather and LED lights. The LED light pieces was a wonderful addition as it was cool to see Poli “light” up the stage like that.

The Ok

Dami Im – Sound Of Silence

This song isn’t really bad. In fact, it’s pretty decent as it showcases Dami’s incredible vocal skills. However, haven’t we heard something like this before from the likes of Taylor Swift, Adele, or Demi Lovato? I swear the melody could of been a part of a Taylor Swift or Adele song. As for Dami’s vocals, they sound like an alto version of Demi Lovato or some other female pop singer that I heard before but I can’t put a finger on.

Overall, it’s a mediocre song. I give props to Dami’s pipes. However, I am disappointing that it’s not original enough.

The Bad

Jamie-Lee – Ghost

There were a lot going wrong with Germany’s entry for Eurovision this year. The most blaring one was the costume. I understand that the decora kei style might be fashionable and cute to some, I just think it’s a weird mishmash of things that don’t relate to each other well, thus causing confusion. And, “confusion” is the word you would think of when you see Jamie-Lee’s headdress. It’s not cute nor goes well with the song! It’s so bizarre and unflattering to watch her sing in that. If she wanted to pick an appropriate Japanese street fashion to go along with the song, how about picking something with lolita or a kimono-style fashion?

I also think that Jamie-Lee wasn’t really ready for Eurovision. Sure, she is a talented singer however, she isn’t quite there yet with her current skill level as she seemed to be still working on getting her style. Throughout the song, her vocals sounded a little bumpy and her tone wavered. It didn’t make her sound totally off key but you could notice some tiny faltered notes here and there if you listen carefully. Also, at the 2:32 mark, she belts out in a way that seems to be lacking breathe support. I wonder if Jamie-Lee was nervous at all during these live performances?

I think Jamie-Lee should’ve polished her skills and waited a couple more years until she was definitely ready for Eurovision.

What did you think of this year’s Eurovision? What was your favorite acts? What were least favorite?


Source

[1]  “The Dark History Behind Eurovision’s Ukraine Entry.” Time. Time. Web. 15 May 2016. (http://time.com/4329061/eurovision-jamala-russian-ukraine-crimea/?xid=fbshare)

[2] Stephens, Heidi. “Eurovision 2016: Ukraine’s Jamala Wins with Politically Charged 1944.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 2016. Web. 15 May 2016. (http://www.citationmachine.net/bibliographies/101376594?new=true)

Music Rewind: The Mid-Year Review

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I have reached my 50th post with the last post, “Music Reactions: Celebrating the 4th of July by Listening to Oldies“.. By July 5th, 2015, ☆ai love music☆ has had 1,277 views and 721 visitors. I want to say a special and big thank you to each and every one of you guys who have visited this blog. Without you, I would have stopped writing by the second post.

Thanks again! A special thank you for those who commented on an entry! Those comments helped me a lot. Please, if you have a chance to do so, please comment on any entries as I want to know what you guys like and to see if I am any good at writing.

I usually don’t do Music Rewind on WordPress because I usually revisit older blog entries mainly on other social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). However, since this a special post, I want to write one here too.

Today’s Music Rewind is a look back at the five most popular posts on ☆ai love music☆. This idea was inspired by the Japanese music chart Oricon. These charts do a mid-year review of the top 100 singles and albums in Japan.

Without further ado, here they are!

5. A Blast From the Past: The Year of Anime Music [Part 2] {June 28)

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The 90s were all about this woman! You literally could not watch an anime series that did not have Hayashibara Megumi as some sort of character. Being immensely popular in the voice acting world, Hayashibara also enjoyed a successful music career, singing various theme songs to memorable anime series…

Ahhh, “”Rashiku” Ikimasho”. Actually, any Sailor Moon song is always on the top of anison/anime song lists because I loooooooooooooove Sailor Moon. I also loooooooooooooove the song featured today. The ending to the fourth season of the super popular girls’ series “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon”, “”Rashiku” Ikimasho” is a fun, poppy song that fits the character of Sailor Chibi Moon perfectly… [Read More]

4. 11 Years of Thanks (March 6)

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A couple of days ago, one of the longest running idol groups in Japan held their farewell concert at the Nippon Budoukan with thousands of fans attending. Personally, I been a fan since they released their debut single in 2004; watching these once elementary school girls grow into beautiful ladies. During the years, their music even spread across the globe in various places like the USA, France, Thailand, and beyond. [Read More]

3. Remembering a Hidden Talent (January 25)

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There has been a great deal of news, either good or bad, in our lives and around the world in the last week. None more shocking than the death of Russian singer Origa on January 17. A talent that has been heard by less than ten percent of the world’s population but snuffed away too soon. Let’s take a moment to reflect on and remember Origa’s beloved career. [Read More]

2. Live Music Report: LinQ Promotional Event at Aeon Mall Nagoya Dome Mae (May 1, 2015) (May 10)

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LinQ is a Japanese girl “idol” group that has about thirty or more members that are from the Kyushu (or southern Japan) region. They been around for about four years, releasing their first single “Hajimemashite” in the fall of 2011. The group been under three different labels; their own label (2011), Tower Records’ own indies idol label T-Palette (2011-2013), and on the major label Warner Records (2013-now). Even though they been through the whole changing label dance, the group still has kept their original sound; the sugary, popish idol music you usually find in AKB48 and other modern day pop idol groups in Japan. [Read More]

1. Milk & Honey – “Prove Your Love” (January 7)

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We are going to cross the ocean from Mexico to Europe to listen to the distinct sounds of Milk & Honey. Formed in 2006, Milk & Honey is a two-member group from Germany. However, they are quite diverse as they have released material in French, German, Arabic, and English. The members, Anne Ross and Manel Filali, had some entertainment-related experiences before creating Milk & Honey. Anne Ross was a former member of the German girl band Preluders, which was created from contestants on the German edition of Popstars. [Read More]

Let the “Weekend” Never Stop With Mocki

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It’s Sunday once again and it’s almost the end to another beautiful weekend. In about seventeen hours or so (depending on your time zone), many of us will have go back to normal lives; school, work, commute, and so on. We never want our weekend to end. We secretly wish that we could put Sunday/weekend on endless “repeat”. However, the shimmery hope towards the next weekend soon dawns when we go to work on a gloomy Monday. Hopefully, the song that is featured in today’s post can help give you a positive push for that weekend.

Not much is know about Mocki. Is it an artist? Is it a band? What genre? Google doesn’t really have answers. Although, I was able find some information on the sites Earmilk and This Must Be Pop. It was these two sites that introduced me to Mocki’s “Weekend” by featuring it in their daily posts. Thank you!

Mocki is a German three-piece indies band consisting of singer Domino and the producing duo Sister. Their music experiments with mostly dance, punk, and electronica, according to Earmilk.[1] The band released their first album, entitled “Kitsune”, earlier this year. From the album, “Weekend” became the band’s debut single, becoming a semi-popular selection as the music video has over 56,000 views. It got a further push in the limelight when Jai Wolf released a remix of the song a month after.

“Weekend” is a fantastic electronic song when the first beat drops. The synthesized bass beat thumps at the very start, subconsciously making you want to dance instantly. The instrumentation is pretty basic for a club song; just the vocals, a strings kit, and a few synthesizers. Nothing too special. Instead, the vocals fill the void with Domino’s smooth, strong vocals that are manipulated cleverly here and there with the help of a vocoder. Because of this machine, my favorite part of the song is at the chorus’ final, where the instrument takes a brief pause while Domino’s synthesized vocals sing “Yeah Yeah”.

Although Mocki doesn’t have a lot of releases, you should listen to “Weekend” as it is a great song to move to. If you are a fan of Daft Punk’s, Yasutaka Nakata’s, or Towa Tei’s electrical melodies, strong vocals of Debbie Harry, Michiyo Heike, or Donna Summers, or if you like a little punk mixed in your dance music, you should check the video below.

The Single Mix

The Jai Wolf Remix


References

[1] Murray, Peter. “Mocki Gets Wet and Wild in New Video for “Weekend” [Video Premiere].” – EARMILK. 2015. Web. 10 May 2015. .

[2] Jessica. “Song of the Week: Mocki – Weekend.” This Must Be Pop. 27 Apr. 2015. Web. 10 May 2015. .

Four Colourz – “ABCD”

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Long time, no see! I am sorry for not updating for a week or so. I usually curl up next to the space heater after work on very cold winter nights, unexpectedly falling asleep for long periods of time. Lame, isn’t it? This week’s weather is forecasted to be spring-like here in Japan. Maybe I will be lucky and I wouldn’t have to use a heater.

But enough of the excuses, let’s talk more about music! What do you remember about the late 90s and early 2000s in the music world? Do you remember those influx of girl groups and boy bands from every corner of the world? Ok, ok! Maybe not “every corner of the world”, but it did feel like it! With any kind of band coming from Europe, the UK, US, and Canada, you might of have felt a bit overwhelmed when choosing who to follow. I did! I always had to choose between being a Backstreet Boys fan or a *Nsync fan when discussing who my friends and I loved during lunch in middle school. Luckily, I found a loophole and admitted that I loved the bad boys from the UK, 5ive. ❤

Four Colourz is one of those girl groups.. Formed in late 1999, Four Colourz was a quartet with members Kara, Claire, Tierra and Nraca/R-Ca, They started to record their first album, “FourColourz.com”, in the early part of 2000. To promote this album, they were the opening act for the European leg of P. Diddy’s tour while releasing four singles: “Wait”, “Anything”, “ABCD”, and “Dog Me Out”. The girls found minor success in Europe, especially in their home country of Germany. But it wasn’t enough as the girls disappeared off the music radar a year after their debut. It is currently unknown what the girls are up to now; are they still in the entertainment industry or did they retire to a “normal” life?

Luckily, their music is still roaming around the internet for all to enjoy this talented group. You can hear their beautiful yet sassy voices the best in their second single “ABCD”. Although it’s a typical “pop meets R&B from those days”-type of song,  it really does fit the girls’ voice wonderfully. The magic of this song comes from the solo lines, where each girl gets to show off their unique vocals, and in the chorus parts with the girls blending together to create a unified sound. I honestly can’t choose from Claire’s sultry vocals or Tierra’s sweet ones. But, what makes it more memorable is the beat and the melody; creating a high-energy, get up and bounce jam.

If you liked Destiny’s Child, 3LW/Cheetah Girls, or Mis-Teeq, then Four Colourz is for you! With a pinch of sugar, spice, sass, and everything kinda nice, “ABCD” is an unforgettable jam that might have you arbitrary humming parts of the chorus anywhere.

Milk & Honey – “Prove Your Love”

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We are going to cross the ocean from Mexico to Europe to listen to the distinct sounds of Milk & Honey. Formed in 2006, Milk & Honey is a two-member group from Germany. However, they are quite diverse as they have released material in French, German, Arabic, and English. The members, Anne Ross and Manel Filali, had some entertainment-related experiences before creating Milk & Honey. Anne Ross was a former member of the German girl band Preluders, which was created from contestants on the German edition of Popstars. While Milk & Honey was her first musical project, Manel Filali was no stranger to show business as she worked in Hollywood for some time as an assistant. Nevertheless, the group released their first single, entitled “Habibi (Je t’aime)”, on November 10, 2006. Although in French, the single was a success in Germany and Austria, charting #16 and #46 respectively in each country.

“Prove Your Love” is from their 2007 debut album “Elbi”. It’s very colorful with exotic Arabic rhythms and upbeat dance beats. This is the type of song that wants you to get up and try that belly dance you always thought you could never do. Milk & Honey makes the song unique by singing in French and English, with the best part Manel Filali rapping in French! The blend of the French and the unique beats/melodies proves that “Prove Your Love” is a sultry, memorable tune that will make your hips shake immediately,

If you enjoy “Prove Your Love”, you can download their debut album here via Poprush.


Lyrics

Ladies and gentlemen

Wake up to the milk & honey flow (manel)

Mes dames et messieurs avec ma main anna
Tttttake your time

Tttttake your time

Tttttake your time

Tttttake your time

C’mon

Take me here

Take me there

Wanna go shopping everywhere

I need more than a kiss

Do you think you can handle this
Mes dames et messieurs approchez vous vers la vise

Les make you connaissent que je suis materialise la vie est dur so bien pensez au future

C’est ca la raison qui m’a rendu realize

Prove your love is good enough and tough enough for me boy

Show me stuff and prove your love if you wanna be with me

If I like what I see got to take you with me c’est la vie boy

You got to prove your love

Take me here

Take me there

Take me here

Take me here

Wanna go shopping everywhere

Buy me clothes

Buy me rings

All i need a material things

You don’t have to be smart

All you need is a credit card

Mes dames et messieurs approchez vous vers la vise

Les make you connaissent que je suis materialise la vie est dur so bien pensez au future

C’est ca la raison qui m’a rendu realize

Prove your love is good enough and tough enough for me boy

Show me stuff and prove your love if you wanna be with me

If I like what I see got to take you with me c’est la vie boy

You got to prove your love

Prove your love is good enough and tough enough for me boy

Show me stuff and prove your love if you wanna be with me

If I like what I see got to take you with me c’est la vie boy

You got to prove your love

If I like what I see got to take you with me c’est la vie boy

You got to prove your love