Tag Archives: pop

The Top 10 Workout Songs for December 2016

Please enjoy a post from our friends at RunHundred.com.

Dance tracks dominate the proceedings in our monthly workout music recap. While that sounds like the introduction to one-dimensional playlist, the tracks approach the genre from different avenues. Plus, there are a handful of pop singles mixing things up along the way.

The first batch of dance tracks are the remixes—where Top 40 favorites like The Weeknd and clubland stars like Flume both find their recent hits reimagined. Elsewhere, you’ll find David Guetta and Nevada each leading collaborative covers of a pair of ’90s, R&B singles. Finally, you’ve got straightforward pop tunes including a rousing send off to past loves from Little Mix and a contribution to the Singsoundtrack featuring Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande.

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The Record Volume 1: Live Music Collaborations

This is a very specific post. It’s a list of my three favorite male-male live music collaborations, the best performances. I just thought of it while watching YouTube this morning while trying to wake up for the day (we don’t drink coffee). It doesn’t include every performance; it’s the first three that popped into my head but they did for a reason. They are three of my favorite songs of all time, easily top 100 list for each. Potentially top 10 and probably top 20. Here they are, in order, and why.

1. MOBO 2007 – Kano ft. Craig David – This is the Girl: First of all, this is the second most played song of all time on my iTunes, out of well over 8000 songs over the past seven-ish years. Kano is one of the most underrated rappers ever, and in my opinion, the best out of the U.K. Off his London Town album, this track has a great energy to it and I can use it in any workout. Nothing vulgar, not a bad message. It’s classy. And it has Craig David on it, arguably my favorite artist of all time. Born to Do It is my favorite album of all time and was ranked the 2nd best album ever behind Thriller by MTV viewers in a large poll. As for the performance, it’s pretty simple. Some flashy lights and big screens, but mainly these two guys just going at it. No lip syncing, no faking… this is top notch live performing just the way everyone should do it.
2. The King Stays King Sold Out at Madison Square Garden – Romeo Santos ft. Usher – Promise: This 75% Spanish/25% English bachata based love song was my song of the year for 2011 along with the last live performance. It makes sense that they both make the list then, since they are fresh in my mind. Romeo Santos, the lead singer of Aventura (band of Dominican boys from the Bronx), is a large man with a soft delicate voice that comes out of nowhere. He is the king of modern bachata and royalty in New York City. Not everyone can sell out MSG: it’s big, especially in this economy.

Usher can dance and his style and voice fits bachata nice as well. So what makes this performance worthy of the list other than the fact that I like the song. It was at the end of the concert and no one actually knew Usher was coming. Everyone went crazy when he emerged from under the stage. They both brought top notch vocals, the band has great skill and energy, tons of smooth dance moves and the two worked off one another, harmonizing beautifully.  At one point, about four minutes into the over ten minute performance, the band breaks it down and everything melts like butter. One of the best moments in a live performance I have ever seen. Good work, boys, keep making teenage girls across the country happy.

 

3. SBS Inkigayo 2011/10/30 – Tablo ft. Taeyang – Tomorrow: This performance is on the top three list more so because of its significance than anything else. This is one of my favorite songs, and top two from 2011 along with Promise, but this isn’t the best possible performance they could have done. Tablo, the leader of Korea’s “founding” rap group Epik High, had some background tracks running throughout his verses. I did like how they made it seem that Taeyang, Big Bang’s smooth moving and singing heart throb, wasn’t actually there as they were just using the film from the music video. When he came out for the last minute it made it that much better.

This was so exciting because it was Tablo’s first release after signing with YG, my favorite Korean music label. When the two “dapped” (NY’s terminology for the hand shake hug) it signified Tablo’s joining of YG with one of YG’s most popular and marketable artists. Throw a little big of Taeyang’s dancing and vocals in there, along with Tablo’s lyrics and style and this was one great moment on Inkigayo. (Inkigayo is a weekly television show with small audiences that features popular artists and songs in Korea at the time.)

So there you have it, top three live male-male crossover collaborations. I’m not surprised there is an English, Spanish, and Korean song. Maybe if MC Solaar and Garou threw something together there would have been a French one too.

 

Cheers! Listen and love your music and don’t let anyone tell you to stop listening to something you like!

Help! I’ve Been Infected with K-Pop!

This article was planned months ago. I mean it! I say that because since then K-Pop has entered our maintstream culture. Not sure what I’m talking about? Psy’s song “Gangnam Style” (pronounced kang-nam) blew up a few weeks ago. His song is actually a satire of a rich part of Seoul in South Korea, about the rich having an empty lifestyle. No matter, his dance moves and catchy song caught on. He was on SNL, Ellen, and so forth. He signed an American contract (with the same guy that manages Bieber). You can see his video below.

It’s a fun song, and it will become addicting. And always fun to try those dance moves. However, I was converted to this K-Pop (Korean Pop) much earlier than this song came on the air. And I’m guessing you might have an idea you could’ve possibly introduced me to such music…coughChris. Yes, ladies and gents, it was Chris who introduced me to this at-first strange and-then addicting music.

I’m going to focus on BIGBANG, a five-man group that we listen to most. Okay I’ve got to admit, and he knows this, I thought it was the most annoying music at first, lots of tech and pop-yness. Not my favorite thing. But I kept listening as Chris always played it and it slowly grew on me like a strange Korean tree moss or something. I caught myself seeking out the songs that I liked the most and their music videos…wow. Blow our silly American ones out of the water. And they actually have good voices. Weird, right?

So in BIGBANG, we have G-Dragon (the leader), Daesung (we call him the Voice, best voice), T.O.P. (the model, has an awesome deep voice), Taeyang (the dancer), and Seungri (the random one, we say).

From left right: Daesung, G-Dragon, Taeyang, T.O.P., and Seungri

They’re pretty great, always tons of different styles, and they really love each other and have that great chemistry. Chris can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe G-Dragon wouldn’t do one song if their producers didn’t give Seungri a solo album. They’re just great like that. And it’s really interesting, in South Korea, they find these great singers when they’re young and put them into a music-type academy and eventually end up either pairing them together, creating groups, or pushing them out solo. It’s fascinating. 

And they are GREAT workout songs. Seriously, I always get incredibly pumped and end up having a fantastic workout. My personal favorite workout songs are “Still Alive,” “Tonight,” and “Fantastic Baby.” But for you to understand their awesomeness, you need to watch the videos (especially “Fantastic Baby” which by just watching makes you want to get ripped). See them below

Sadly no music video for this yet

Just awesome beats and pump-up song

WATCH THIS ONE! And try not to get pumped up (around when Taeyang starts)

And if you’re like me, it’s annoying when you start listening. But give them a chance, seriously. They’re a great group. And they don’t only do up-beat songs, they have tons of love songs as I’ll share below.

“Blue”

“Monster”

K-Pop is a very strange thing, but it’s turned out to be fun and interesting. Something I now listen to on a regular basis. Enjoy!

Ashton Parson in Artist Spotlight 1

(Foreword: Written as a friend, like an older brother)

I love music, and I have a very very personalized taste in music. Alana has started to get used to it. I’ve assimilated her to K-Pop already! While my favorite genres are probably R&B, k-pop, and soundtracks (video games, anime, and movies) there is tons of other stuff I like to listen to. I have my favorite artists like everybody else and then there are tons of songs that I can just listen to and never need to know the artist, such as all those easy-listening-natural-waves-in-the-background ambiance tracks. Eventually, I’ll do some posts on favorite workout songs and favorite artists in more detail, a introduction to k-pop so that people new to it don’t just associate it with PSY, and who knows what else.

In the meantime, I would like to introduce to you an artist on the rise, a truly talented vocalist whose passion for music cannot easily be matched. When you watch American Idol, X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, or the Voice, you see countless passionate individuals that just unfortunately don’t have the vocal prowess or musical skills to live up to their desire to succeed in the music industry. Nowadays, it’s hard to support yourself as a singer. Even if you have the vocals, the skills, the ability to write, the ability to play an instrument, and even the charisma to get up in front of a crowd… you need a lucky break. There are tons of deserving individuals that are far more talented than successful artists in the industry because they haven’t had that break. And then you have individuals that work endlessly to create their own lucky break. More of less, that is what I see when I think about my friend, Ashton Parson.

Ashton grew up in Cheraw, South Carolina, raised by his absolutely amazing and loving mother. Ashton was born with raw talent in the form of an unexpected voice that you would never see coming. Ashton’s love for music and ability to stand in front of a crowd brought him to various competitions as he grew up in the South. With a vast interest in the music industry and artists from all genres, especially those from Great Britain (Ashton knew who Jessie J and Adele were before anyone else), Ashton sought to live his life doing what he loves.

With that, Ashton came to the Bronx and attended Manhattan College, hoping that being in New York City would lead to his lucky break. While at Manhattan, Ashton’s vocals were featured at countless sporting events, as the school’s go-to-guy for the National Anthem. Ashton sang everywhere, making sure to maintain and improve his ability. Ashton even entertained one of his RAs, me, with some amazing sessions in the residence hall. We spent hours singing, making acoustic versions of every good British and American r&b or pop songs. I felt lucky enough to be able to sing with him, since we were in totally different leagues.

And I knew, that one day, he would be famous. 

Ashton left Manhattan and the Bronx to attend the New School. He found himself in Brooklyn, a great place for aspiring artists. Ashton is one of the most likable people I have ever known, and he used his charm and well-mannered self to gain friendship’s with prominent individuals in the music industry. Nevertheless, Ashton kept grinding, working shows downtown and in the Village, performing every week whenever he could to do what he loved and get his name out there. Ashton started loading his Myspace and YouTube channel with amazing new videos and track recordings. Some tracks, that I thought were pure gold, were never even released. His Twitter never stopped… tweeting.

And finally, I was relieved to find his tracks on iTunes. I have studio versions and raw recordings from our sessions and his professional sessions, but these are mastered and top notch. You can find his first single, Rolling Stone, and his first EP, a four track classic entitled Walk on the Water, on iTunes now. It’s a well spent four dollars. The songs are all different, unlike some of the recent platinum albums that feature recycled beats, like Kanye’s 808&Heartbreaks. His vocals are rich and his range is grand. The lyrics are meaningful and honest, the beats are catchy, and the feeling is good.

He should record the next soundtrack for True Blood. You can feel the South in his music. Hopefully, this album can pick up some steam, months and years after being recorded, like many greats in the past. And hopefully, Ashton can find himself signed to a label that can support him in the near future so that we have the opportunity to listen to his amazing voice.

Please consider watching his YouTube videos and buying his music on iTunes. It’s well worth it, especially compared to the garbage on the radio now.