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Monday, August 29, 2016

Top 10 Rock Songs with Violin

Many times we think of the violin as a good classical instrument.  However, through the decades many bands have proven that the violin can be a great addition to rock n roll. Here are 10 songs that deliver on that.

10.  Yellow Card:  Ocean Avenue

9.  Kansas: Point of Know Return

8.  Dixie Dregs:  Pride O Farm

7.  Charlie Daniels:  The Devil Went Down To Georgia

6.  Gackt:  The End of Silence

5.  Mahavishnu Orchestra:  Lila's Dance    

4.  UK: Alaska/Time To Kill

3.  Papa John Creach:  String Jet Rock

2.  Sugar Cane Harris:  Cup Full Of Dreams

1.  Trans Siberian Orchestra:  Wizards in Winter

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Radwimps Zen Zen Zense Review

     Earlier this year a new anime movie called Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name in English) was shown at Anime Expo and a short time later in Japan.  One of the staples to that movie was the theme song called Zen Zen Zense (Former Front Past) by Radwimps.  Normally I am not a big fan of punk/alternative music but this is one song I can easily make an exception for.
     First of all, the lead guitar in the song is pretty good. Akira Kuwahara who performs lead guitar for this band creates a very catchy intro lead that gets you more curious about the song and makes you want to listen to it longer.  It is not very complex or tricky but it doesn't need to be because as long as it is able to catch your curiosity that is all he needs to do.
     I also find the vocals in this song very interesting as well.  Sung by singer and rhythm guitarist Yojiro Noda, while I don't think he is the greatest singer in the world he does bring a style that works for this song. I found his pronunciations very fun to listen to and again it helped the song to be catchy and keep you interested in it.  I will also say that as far as language goes I actually believe that this is one song that, in my mind, is mean't to sung in Japanese and Japanese alone.  For some reason with this particular song I am having a hard time picturing a good sounding English, Spanish, or any other language cover of this song.
     Now where I do have some problem is in the music video.  At first I liked the video,  I thought the bands look was good and watching them playing in the field and doing the ninja and samurai outfits were not bad.  However, where the video lost me was during the bridge where it showed the band in ape outfits clapping around a fire. I personally think it would have been better if it was just the band in their normal cloths for that scene.  However, aside from the ape outfits the video isn't that bad.
    Now, while I don't think this is one of the greatest songs of all time, I had fun with it and enjoyed listening to it.  It is one of those songs that I can get enjoyment from while on the road or sitting back at home.  Ultimately I will give this song a 3 out of 5.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Marty Friedman Tokyo Jukebox 1 and 2

     Many people who know Marty Friedman recognize him for his work on some of Megadeth's most memorable albums such as Rust In Piece and Countdown to Extinction.  What some people don't know is that after he left Megadeth he moved to Japan and got really entrenched the music scene there. In these 2 album, Tokyo Jukebox 1 and 2 he showcases that by producing instrumental covers of some of Japans most famous pops songs such as Polyrhythm from Perfume and Ai Takatta from AKB48.  
     Now I must say upfront that if you are expecting much Megadeth style metal out of these albums you will be disappointed.  While he will sometimes bust out some riffs that remind you of his Megadeth era the majority of the albums are much more melodic and slower.  Now having said that, it is still metal and rock driven.  Marty Friedman still rocks at playing guitar as you would expect from the man leading to a very awesome and well composed pair of instrumental albums.
    Now I know I said that he was covering Jpop songs earlier but don't let that make you think he himself is going in that direction with these albums.  Even though they are pop songs Marty Friedman truly makes them his own and unless you have listen to the actual songs you will never know that he is covering a pop song.  
    However, if you are a Jpop fan you might have fun listening to these albums as well.  While Marty Friedman does indeed make these songs his own he still keeps the integrity of the original songs and you still get a taste of the songs that you love.  
     Check some of the music shown below and if it suits your taste I highly recommend you get the albums. You can get these albums on Itunes, Amazon, Ebay, and


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Love Planet Five Tenjou wo Kakeru Monotachi (Those That Scale Through Heaven and Earth) Review

I know YouTube is not always the best place to find new music.  However, I believe that you can find all different kinds of music on YouTube if you just look a little bit.  YouTube is how I discovered my current favorite band (The Gazette) and how I have discovered many artists world wide including this group, Love Planet Five.  

Love Planet Five was created back in 2007 by the I've music production company in Japan.  It was a special project where the label brought together five of their most famous artists to make a theme song for the anime Shakugan No Shana (Burning Eyed Shana in English).The single would come to be pretty successful reaching number 12 on the Oricon charts.  Shown below are the members of the group.


Eiko Shimamiya

Mami Kawada


Kaori Utatsuki

I am typically not a big fan of electronic music because a significant amount of the music comes from a machine rather then an actual instrument.  I like the synth in the song and think it works well.  However, you can clearly tell that the drums are programmed in and I personally would rather hear a real drummer then a computer programming.  The vocals on the other hand are a different story.

I like the voices coming from everybody singing in this song.  They sound good, there is a good chemistry among them, and no one is overpowering everyone else.  Kotoko did a great job with the lyric writing in the song, talking about over coming obstacles in your way and finding self confidence.  (The translated lyrics are shown at the end of this post.)  Sometimes bringing a bunch of artists together can come out bad because egos and personal ideas can get in the way and kill the project. Fortunately that doesn't happen here and they deliver a good song.

As for the video I would have done it a little different. I get that the video is trying to fit in with the electronic music playing and for the most part they do a good job.  However, the one element in the video I have no love for is the dancers.  I personally feel that they are an unnecessary addition and are a distraction from what you should be paying attention to which are the singers.  I feel that with all the moving animations they were doing through out the video they could have kept it interesting without the dancers. 

While I have a few minor problems with the song and video I believe that as a whole both are pretty good.  The singers sound great and they deliver a great song making one of the few electronic style songs I love.  With that I give the song a 4 out of 5

Song Lyrics (English)

Thrusting into the silent darkness, my blade screams out
I'm burdened by this crimson flower, my eyes beginning to throb
I chose the path of a distant fate
But the flaming chasm engulfed everything in its path
And I averted my eyes to the dancing of the dying flames

The breath I let out was barely warm
And now I believe that
This is, without a doubt, what it means to "exist"

The time I've been given in this divine place crumbles away
But our encounter broke down the door of my resistant heart
Just like your tears cannot be changed into untold truths
I want to discover within myself a newfound courage
At the ends of this glowing sky

And surely tomorrow, those who come together to destroy the shadows, change nothing
And will merely walk about without hearing the call of life
I had quietly stood by your side since times past
Your smiling face seemed to know it all
But I feigned non-chalance, and turned my back to you

You let out a carefree sigh
And I feel in my heart
That this could possibly be "love"

I embrace you tightly as we're unleashed to the heavens above
My small shoulders tremble like drops of water
But the piercing reality thrusts into my heart
And I want to find my courage, unbroken,
Like a strong wind

Sheltered by the light in the sky, I recover my dreams
And a tiny flame is struck up in the bottom of my heart
Bursting through the barrier
I will become like your wings
I want to find our courage bound strongly together
At the ends of this glowing sky

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Top 10 Video Game Songs

1. The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time : Hyrule Field Theme

2.  Halo:  Truth and Reconciliation

3.   Bioshock: Welcome to Rapture

4. Star Wars Shadows of the Empire:  Xizor's Palace


5.  Mario Bros:  Original Theme

6.  Super Mario 64: Main Title Theme

7.  Dynasty Warriors 8:  Thousand Suns

8.  Batman Arkham City: Main Title Theme 

9.  Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2:  Rangers Lead The Way


10. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: Manaan Theme