Posts tagged ‘Weekly Music Pick’

April 8, 2010

Weekly Music Pick: Stand by Me

This week’s music pick is an oldie from the 60s. Entitled “Stand by Me”, the song was written and performed by Ben E. King in 1961, and not John Lennon, as some claim. Originally written for another group, this song almost never made radioplay if not for the fact that King had some studio time leftover from another project.  Its distinctive jazz chord progression is now known as the 50s progression or also, “Stand by Me” chords.

The lyrics of “Stand by Me” employs subtle metaphors to good effect. The first few lines of the song go as follows:

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March 29, 2010

Weekly Music Pick – 安平追想曲 by Teresa Teng

A classic Hokkien folk song from 1951, sung by the evergreen Teresa Teng. The song title can loosely be translated as Song of Longing, Be in Peace, but the nuances are slightly lost. It describes a wife’s longing for her husband, who went out to sea and has not returned and of the husband’s parents, and the husband’s child/children.

Most people will remember Teresa Teng for her hit “The Moon represents my Heart” (月亮代表我的心), but her repertoire of songs include folk, pop, J-pop and a cover of Tang/Song poems remade into pop songs. Of the covers, 但愿人长久 is the most famous and my favourite. Faye Wong would cover that song in her tribute almost 20 years later.

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March 24, 2010

Weekly Music Pick: Far and Away Theme

Late, but better late than never….

This week’s music pick is from a semi-obscure movie. Called Far and Away, this 1992 movie stars a younger Tom Cruise opposite Nicole Kidman as two Irish migrants trying to make it big in America.

The theme is nameless, and is often simply called “Theme of Far and Away”. There are at least 2 versions, the lighter and more playful version by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, as well as the more formal version, listed below.

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March 8, 2010

Weekly Music: Bokura no Natsu no Yume

This week’s music pick centres around summer. Entitled Bokura no Natsu no Yume by Tatsuro Yamashita, it loosely translates as Our Summer Dream, or more appropriately, Our Dreams of that Summer. The song is the theme/ending song for the anime movie Summer Wars.

Tatsuro Yamashita – Bokura no Natsu no Yume

Considering the unseasonable warmth we are experiencing here, and that the movie was only just recently released in local cinemas, I thought it particularly apt. Trailer for the local release below.

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March 2, 2010

What’s Up People – Many Parodies

For those who don’t recognize the header, it’s the title of Maximum Hormone’s most famous single, What’s Up People. Used as the second opening for the hit anime Death Note, it’s unique for its apologetically hardcore punk sound, rare in a market overflowing with cutesy rabbit-girl-idols and bubblegum pop. The opening itself is inspired, featuring a psychedelic collage of characters, yet using dystopian film noir shadowing techniques to give that dark gritty feel. No one is innocent, with everyone portrayed in shades of gray.

Original Death Note opening video

The madness began with an innocuous trailer for an AMV contest in 2007, featuring a certain famous yellow animal…

2007 AnimeNext AMV Promo clip

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February 21, 2010

Stardust Revue – 木蘭の涙 (木莲的眼泪)

Humans have a peculiar penchant for time-limited offers. Sales, school years, seasons, quarterly reports, all are limited by their duration to lend themselves significance. Given that we all drink water to survive, isn’t it passing strange that no one makes it a point to monitor the price of water everyday? I wonder if it is a failing or a blessing that humans tend to view events as significant only in terms of limited time frames…

Original recording

Anyway, back to the point. I have been posting a “song of the week” on my Facebook since 2009, since a week is not too long that I will forget, yet not too short that I don’t have time to prepare the next song. However,  given how ephemeral Facebook links are (and how underused my blog is), I have decided to move the weekly song pick over to the blog instead which will beef up the content on this blog, and also serve as a more lasting record of my weekly song picks, thus killing two birds with one stone.

This week’s song is called 木蘭の涙 (mokuren no namida), a 1993 ballad by Stardust Revue. Given its age, it’s claim to fame is as the theme for a Nikka Whiskey commercial in 2005. 木蘭, or the magnolia flower, is named after the French botanist Pierre Magnol and is noted for its large flowers. Now given that the song is probably not interested in taxonomic differences, we probably should look into the flower meaning itself. According to one online source, magnolia symbolizes pensive beauty, nobility, splendid beauty, a love of nature and in some states in the US, a harbinger of spring.

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