Concert: Zendaya

Last night, my daughter and I went to the Zendaya concert at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. I was actually quite surprised to see that Zendaya was touring. I didn't even realize she had put out a solo album. Since my daughter likes her music, we bought the album and headed off to the concert. The Keswick is a rather small venue for a concert. It only has about 1300 seats. I believe this makes it the smallest concert my daughter has attended. Thanks to this, we were able to get seats rather close to the stage. We were about six rows from the stage on the left side. The funniest part of the show was the mere fact that there was an MC. Miss Kim came out to introduce the opening act, then she came out when he was finished to plug all of his stuff (website, Facebook, album, blah, blah, blah). After the intermission, she came back out to introduce Zendaya and again at the end to plug her stuff. I've never seen an MC at a concert so it was kinda weird but cute.

Liam Lis was the opening act. He played three or four songs. I liked one. No, I don't even remember the name of it. Liam is a 12-year old boy that looks like he really wants to be Justin Bieber. He came out wearing an oversized parka vest and a stupidly huge truckers hat that read MERCY across the front. He had two male backup dancers and a rap...sidekick, I guess? The whole thing was terribly confusing and looked really out of place for a 12-year old. I wish him well but maybe he should wait a few more years.

Zendaya, meanwhile, was awesome. My daughter and I have seen quite a few "tween" concerts, including Selena Gomez, Victoria Justice, and Miranda Cosgrove. We officially ranked Zendaya second best, just behind Selena Gomez. Zendaya danced all over the stage, interacted with the crowd, and was just a joy to watch. She had four backup dancers (including two poor guys who had to wear the same shirt-dress-things the girls wore except the guys had pants on underneath) and even they were awesome. Everyone looked like they were having the time of their lives. I know it sounds lame but that really does make a concert better.

Not only were they all having fun, but Zendaya can sing. Sure, the other Disney/Nick stars can sing but not nearly as well as Zendaya. Pop is fairly easy. Zendaya has a bit more of an R&B vibe to her voice that just fills a room. I hope that, like Selena Gomez, she can turn this into a real music career so I can see her on stage again. Go Zendaya!

Favorite Friday

Because this week has been absolutely insane, I am going to give you some Favorite Friday videos today. This is a band that actually really exists. For reals. You will wonder when I went insane then you will fall madly in love with them. Today I give you - BABYMETAL

And, as a bonus, here is a recent Fine Brothers production - YouTubers react to BABYMETAL

Favorite...Thursday?

I know I haven't been able to give you a Favorite Friday video in a long time. I am going to try to get that going again soon. In the meantime, here is a Thursday video. I absolutely love this song. It was written (and performed) by Shirota Yu, who apparently goes by U for his singing career. You might recognize him as Tuxedo Mask in the Sailor Moon musicals.

Music review: Ai Kago Meets Jazz ~The first door~

You probably know Ai Kago, nicknamed Aibon, as the former member of Morning Musume, Minimoni, Tanpopo, and W. Just before the third album from W was released in 2006, Aibon was caught in a smoking scandal. At a mere 18 years of age, she was two years too young to legally smoke in Japan. The tabloid Friday was responsible for publishing the pictures of the teen smoking. As a result, Aibon was indefinitely suspended from Hello! Project. A little over a year after her house arrest began, she was back in Tokyo working behind the scenes for Up-Front Works, the agency that runs the Hello! Project family. Less than a month later, Aibon was reportedly in a relationship with a much older man and smoking again. This time she was released from the contract completely.

Now it is 2010. Four years after her big smoking scandal. Aibon has slowly returned to the entertainment industry. On March 31, 2010, she released her first solo album, Ai Kago Meets Jazz ~The first door~. The 11-track album is almost entirely in English, which was very surprising.

After listening to the album multiple times, it is my opinion that Aibon does much better with the faster songs than she does with the slower ones. "Sunny," an up-tempo ditty, is one of the best tracks on the album. On the other hand, "Blue Moon" makes me want to fast forward to the next song. And, of course, there is "Fly Me To The Moon," probably the most overused English song in Japan. Here's a note to any future Japanese jazz singers - Pretend "Fly Me To The Moon" never existed. We would all appreciate it. However, my biggest complaint is the background music. It sounds like she's singing in front of a midi track instead of a live band. I'm not sure if they mixed her voice with older instrumental recordings or if they did, in fact, record the background music just for her. I firmly believe that the bad songs on the album would have been a lot better if the instruments themselves sounded better.

It is impressive that Aibon took on this project. She has said that she's not particularly comfortable with the English language and singing in English can be rather difficult when it's not your first language. As a whole, the album is good. Even the bad tracks aren't completely awful. I hope that Aibon does another project like this. Not necessarily jazz, but something other than pop. Maybe she should try a big band album next!

Not the pretty boys!

I know I haven't posted in awhile. I just don't have anything to talk about. Sorry. Today I will give you an interview with a (supposed) ex-employee of a visual kei record label. It is a very long interview and I'm not really sure how true it is. (I would venture to guess about 50% is true and 50% is made up.) But it is an interesting read anyway. Even if it is all fake. The Long Interview

Music: Hangry & Angry - Top Secret

I fully admit that I loved Hangry & Angry from the very beginning. When they released their first album in November 2009, I was excited. However, I was also worried. Their mini-album was good, but would a full album still have the same sound and the same feel? They did not let me down.

The first single off the album is Top Secret. (See video above.) It is an absolutely amazing song. The techno background and the fairly pop vocal line comes together to sound a bit like a mash-up of two completely different songs. Yet it works. It definitely makes me long to hear more from the duo, which is the point of a single.

On top of that, the pair has a bit of a new look. It's sleeker than the look from Kiss Me Kill Me. Where the old was very punk, the new is very sexy. I love it! I can't wait to hear (and see) more from them.

Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards aired last night on CBS. I normally don't watch award shows, but my husband is a Lady Gaga fan and he wanted to see if she would win anything. Luckily for me, Green Day performed so that made up for having to sit through the lengthiness of an award show. (Seriously - fewer commercial breaks and just shut the hell up.)

I found most of the performances to be rather dull. Mainly because, for some reason, whoever was in charge of mixing the songs decided that the lead vocals weren't nearly as important as the background vocals or the horn sections. I spent half of Beyonce's performance going "What is she singing? I can't hear a word she's saying!" The other half was "Huh. Is she singing an Alanis song?" Green Day's performance had the potential to be amazing, but, yet again, the mixer screwed everything up. Isn't this the reason they have rehearsals?

On the awards side, I was stunned that a country music band (Zac Brown Band) won Best New Artist. They were up against some tough competition. I guess this shows that this particular award was given out on merit instead of popularity. Otherwise one of the pop girls would have been a shoo-in. I was also a little surprised that "Single Ladies" won Song of the Year. It's not really a great song. Sure, it's catchy and it gets stuck in your head, but that doesn't make it great. Ah, well, award show...popularity contest and all that.

So, as usual, I was an unimpressed with the Grammy Awards as I have ever been. Will I watch next year? I don't know. I guess we'll see what rocks the music world this year. Maybe next year will be more interesting.

Music Assignment for YOU!

I am taking a jazz dance class this year, which I absolutely adore. We're currently in the process of looking for our recital song. Here is where I need your help. Since most of my music collection is in Japanese, I am turning to you for suggestions. We are looking for:

* an 80s song (though we will ponder other decades too) * a relatively fast song (so don't be sending me no ballads!) * no Paula Abdul and no Michael Jackson

One of the examples we used in class was Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam.

* Funky is good...think kind of hip pop or something along those lines

Thank you for your help ^_^