Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cover vs. Original

A few years ago a dance/techno-based artist known as D.H.T. came on to the scene with a song entitled "Listen to your heart". I didn't pay much attention to it since it was like most dance songs at the time, just bland and forgettable. But one day as I was driving in my car I head the radio announcer mention this song's title and I started to reach of the seek button when I suddenly stopped. This sounded different. It was a piano version of the song. I was blown away by the drastic change in tone and atmosphere the song had taken by simply stripping all the noise away and fell in love with the song. Today I remembered this song and looked it up on Youtube. In the process I learned that "Listen to your heart" was not a D.H.T original song but  written and performed by Roxette back in '89.I listened to it and I have to say it's not that bad either. I decided to listen to them both and compare what works in both songs and what in my opinion could improve.

First for you, the very first version that I fell in love with. The D.H.T. version featuring Edmee on vocals

The intro is quiet and inviting with just simple notes on the piano and then the boom of the lower keys comes in but not too suddenly. When edemme starts singing  it sends a shiver down my spine everytime. So powerful and emotional that before every line is sung, I get torn as if she is talking to me (except for the 'when he's calling for you,: before you tell him goodbye' lines. Obviously this was written for the point of view of a woman). I love how the piano progresses and evolves as the song goes on. The one downfall to me of this song is that it only stays with a piano through it's entirety excluding strings that come in on the chorus. I could see this song turning into a rock ballad by the end of the song with guitar strumming hard on each strong beat in the pianos notes. The build up of each other instrument could sound amazing but they decided to go for a stripped-down, simple version and that's good as well, especially when it moves me as much as this did.

And now for the original version performed by Roxette.

Now I can go ahead and tell you that every instrument sounds incredibly  dated, I mean it is the 80s you know. But there are a few things I hear in this song that I think should have been done in the D.H.T. piano version. How the bass drum's kick hit's at the beginning of this song is great. The chorus is how I imaged the D.H.T. verions should have been done but I don't think it works as well coming in the first chorus like it does in this version. It should be that last big chorus when the song's key changes. I love how the guitar comes in at certain lines of the song are sung as to give a back and forth feeling.  What I don't like about this song....well I said it before, it sounds dated. But I am pleased enough that I will listen to it quite often I'm sure.

Which version is better? As much as I think the D.H.T. version lacks in epic scope musically, it still has more impact in an emotional sense than the Roxette does. So that's my pic for the better of the two songs.
But if we were going by the, um, "original" cover by D.H.T. then I would pick Roxette hands down. Why? well you take a listen to the dance version and I'm sure you will understand. This is slightly different from the version I heard but it's close enough to represent what I'm talking about.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible dance song all together. It's just that it has alot of those sounds and methods that were so cliche in dance music at that time. Sure you can say that alot of the dance music of today that I like follow set cliche's as well but that's besides the point. It just loses all of it's emotion on a stupid party atmosphere.

You cant let me know which version you liked best in the comments below or comment on the link you followed from facebook.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Favorite music video #1 : Run Devil Run

This is a new blog series I randomly decided to start. I love music but I also love a good music video. Sadly most music videos today just don't cut it for me. But there are a few rare gems out there that i think are worth mentioning. Well I hope you enjoy this blog series while it last. Today lets start off with one of my simplest likes as to say the video is more style than substance but still entertaining to watch. This is Run Devil Run by Girls' Generation

Artist Backstory
Girls' Generation (also know as SNSD to some) is a Korean girl group formed by S.M. Entertainment. The story of this group is like most girl acts. The music style was very bubbly and cutesy from the start but as they grew up the music became more mature and sexy. What sets Girl's Generation apart from most girl groups is the vocal performances and near perfect dancing synchronization. Instead of one lead girl singing the song while the other girls perform backup vocals, each individual girl gets her own vocal time on each song. This means the strength of this band is not on just one "star" playing with a bunch of wannabes. 

Thoughts on the Song Itself
The vocal performance is as good as any SNSD song has been. What I really like is how the instruments slowly build from the verse to the pre-chorus and then the climatic chorus. The verse a simple but good beat with a few vocal strikes every so often then the chorus comes in with horns that seem to push the song forward. Very well mixed and performed.

Why I like the video
um...pretty girls? Yeah it seems that is the main reason I first watched this video but there is a reason why this video is so attractive. for starters the choreography is great and at times complex. The change from white to black and back to white is simple but visually effective. And I like how mixed in with the black and white color schemes is the girls with different hairstyles and outfits showing off there individual personalities. Also i like the use of quick shots and fast editing. It keeps your attention and each quick shot leave you wanting a more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bands Approved for Worship At Full Volume 2

manafest (any of his more rock style songs)
mychildren mybride
my heart to fear

Friday, April 1, 2011

Summer Wars Review

Think back to the first movie that made you sit on the edge of your seat. That moment in any great film when the situation suddenly turns dire and the actions of the individuals involved determine the outcome that is to take place in the next few nail-biting minutes. Next, think back to the first movie that presented you with your first taste of "eye-candy". A film with amazing art design and an overwhelming since of creativity. Then, think of the first movie that made you cry. It could have been a movie rich in emotional turmoil from a devastating scenario or the moment of true honor and human spirit displayed as the character finally stands up to face the threat head on. Now, Imagine all of those elements in one movie in which each of those elements are expressed multiple times with, dare I say, perfection. That is Summer Wars in a nutshell.

I can remember when I first saw the trailer for Summer Wars. It starts off with Kenji Koiso, a math wiz who works as tech maintenance for the social-business program known as Oz, The online service used by everyone for games,work, and government procedures. One day  Natsuki Shinohara , a popular school girl and friend of Kenji, rushes to him asking if he'd like to work a job for her helping at her grandmothers birthday celebration. Without question he accepts the offer. But when he gets there, Natsuki throws a curve-ball by introducing Kenji as her fiancĂ©. So as the trailer started I was hooked but only so much. I though to myself "oh, so this will be a pretty good comedy, romance type of film. I can get into that." But then the trailer brought up another scenario that peaked my interest even more. As Kenji is visiting, a program that goes by the name Love Machine has hacked into OZ despite having a highly complex security encryption code. All the computer screens suddenly display the world clocks and change them to a count-down clock starting at 2 hours. Then a character utters the phrase "What happens at Zero?". I knew then that this was a movie I had to see.

Now that you have the "basic plot" presented to you, let me share with you what I got out watching this movie. Hard as it is for me to believe, I was pleasantly surprised by a film I already thought I was going to like. You see, the movie's director had made a previous film called The Girl Who Lept through Time. It was a nice film with great artwork and a decent plot. It wasn't the greatest thing ever but I enjoyed it none the less. Summer Wars  blew that movie away.

I think this movie has the three points in film making that are crucial to a good movie; Character, Spirit, and Heart. Character,as the word implies, is expressed from the cast of individuals in the film. Every thing is important from the way they talk, the way they act, and the way they re-act to what happens around them. What made the most impact for me from these characters is every individual adds at least a small piece to the overall story arch. And I can't really say any moment or scene is wasted with any of these characters. I ,as a viewer, grew into each one and felt as if I was included in this story so much that I shared every emotion each person displayed. The Spirit of this film comes from the inspirational spirit that the characters in this film displayed at each conflict that was presented. When the communications of OZ were suffering at the hands of Love Machince, Natsuki's grandmother got on the phone with several of her family members and friends working in the rescue efforts and sent a wave of motivation helping them to make it through the struggle. And when one character, who seemed to have nothing but bitterness and hatred to everyone else, got world of tragic news he displayed complete shock and emotional impact that showed as his  true nature was revealed.  The last and most important part of this film was the Heart. The movie has several emotions running through it; Sadness, Despair, Hope, Cheerfulness, Excitement, and Pride. And with good characters with tremendous spirit, you tend to feel each emotion that they feel. And boy did I do that. I cried several times and I cheered in victory just as much. That's how much I grew to care for the characters in this film.


The last thing I wanted to point out was the "icing on the cake", the visuals. The Girl Who Lept Through Time was a wonderfully drawn movie and Summer Wars is just as much as a masterpiece. But what sets this movie apart is that it consist of another designed world, the visual representation of Oz. The characters, when interacting with Oz, are shown as their Avatars. Each one is uniquely designed and beautifully vivid as is the world of OZ itself.  And when the characters must battle the threat of Love Machine, it is represented just as so in the world of OZ; A dynamic battle of epic proportions that make your heart skip a beat.

Avatars of Oz

And that's all I can say about this film without giving too much away. I'm not sure what my favorite anime was before but I can say for sure that Summer Wars is now my pick for the best anime movie I've ever seen. I'm hard pressed NOT to call this the greatest movie I've ever seen all of film itself. Maybe that's a little eccentric to say but that's how I feel. So if you see this movie on the self of your local store, I suggest you buy it no matter what the price is. Whatever you pay for it, it will be worth every cent.