Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best Music List of 2009 Part 2

The Top Ten

As previously mentioned, it's an almost all-British affair for the top 10, save for a new act from Melbourne. This list is updated once per day until 2010 comes in.


10. Athlete - Superhuman Touch
Athlete leaves behind its melancholy wares and trades it in for a little playful synthesizer. Their 4th studio album, Black Swan Song, interestingly improves on their already rich discography.

9. Snow Patrol - Set Down Your Glass
and I'm shaken, and I'm still
when your eyes meet mine, I lose simple skills

Not an official single per se, but there is something calming, yet disarming about this song. I hope nobody steals this song for his/her wedding, I'm saving this one for mine.

8. Stars - 14 Forever
10000 drunken kids on field can't be wrong
the song must've been beautiful or they wouldn't sing along

This one played to my nostalgia of youth and one thing I missed out on: music festivals. Take me to Coachella, Glastonbury, Burning Man! Wish I had done that when I was young though, and as the song says, this song is indeed beautiful.

7. Coldplay - Lovers In Japan
This year's most spirited song; totally soaring Coldplay and salvaging an otherwise forgettable album. Brilliant seen live, with paper butterflies.

6. Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition
To be honest, the placement of the song in the movie didn't help, but they were fantastic taken independently. Best soundtrack of the year, and this is it's crown offering.

5. Frankmusik - Better Off As 2
This year's most deserving new artist, and one of the most played in my walkman. This song tells all the electro-pop ladies that men can sing-dance-remix this genre too.

4. Frankmusik - 3 Little Words
A little Tom Hanks tribute in the video, a little ode to A-Ha in the music, and whole lot of 80s lighted the major music trend of 2009. Check out the debut album - it comes in 3 flavors: orginal, remix and acoustic.

3. Johnny Foreigner - Salt, Peppa and Spinderella
Rockout/headbang song of the year. Starts quiet, finishes with a bang. Remember being all heady for a night out in town? This is the anthem to start your night right.

2. Snow Patrol - Crack The Shutters
The powerful yet comforting voice from Snow Patrol is complemented by their awesome songwriting skills. Here, they paint a heartwarming picture of being in bed, waking up beside the one you love.

1. Friendly Fires - Skeleton Boy
A gooey beat, a strange electro-shoegaze feel, and an kickass performance seen at Battersea Power Station. Most played and most loved song of the year indeed!
Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Music List of 2009 Part 1

This year has been one of the strongest years in music by a considerable margin. 2009's crop was definitely littered with powerful performances with the following highlights: strong 80s revival, neon techno, and a lot of emphasis on indie and well crafted lyrics.

Something in it for everyone, whether it's reliable Athlete or Jack's Mannequin, or emo favorites Dashboard Confessional, pop favorites Katy Perry (heck there's even Lady Gaga on this list!), I'm sure you're going to love this rundown.

Top ten recap to be released tomorrow, and let it be known, that no US artist made it to elite status.


11 Asher Roth - I Love College
12 Cobra Starship featuring Leighton Meester - Good Girls Go Bad
13 Black Eyed Peas - I Got A Feeling
14 Owl City - The Saltwater Room
15 Florence And The Machine - Dog Days Are Over
16 Kids In Glass Houses - Easy Tiger
17 Alphabeat - Fascination
18 Passion Pit - Little Secrets
19 Red Light Company - Arts And Crafts
20 Calvin Harris - I'm Not Alone
21 The Limousines - Very Busy People
22 Anberlin - Retrace
23 Jack's Mannequin - The Resolution
24 Hockey - Song Away
25 Pez - The Festival Song
26 Dashboard Confessional - Belle Of The Boulevard
27 Empire Of The Sun - Walking On A Dream
28 Phoenix - 1901
29 Just Jack - The Day I Died
30 Ladyhawke - Back Of The Van
31 La Roux - Bulletproof
32 Matt Nathanson - Come On Get Higher
33 Kids In Glass Houses - Give Me What I Want
34 Jack's Mannequin - Spinning
35 Passion Pit - Sleepyhead
36 FM Static - Take Me As I Am
37 Katy Perry - Waking Up In Vegas
38 Sam Sparro - 21st Century Life
39 Phoenix - Lisztomania
40 James Morrison - Please Don't Stop The Rain
41 The Raveonettes - Last Dance
42 All American Rejects - I Wanna
43 Little Boots - Remedy
44 Army Navy - Silvery Sleds
45 Paramore - I Caught Myself
46 The Fray - Never Say Never
47 We Are Scientists - After Hours
48 Athlete - Rubik's Cube
49 Train - Hey Soul Sister
50 Friendly Fires - Relationships
51 Lady Gaga - Just Dance
52 Shakira - She Wolf
53 Empire Of The Sun - Half Mast
54 The Virgins - Rich Girls/Teen Lovers
55 Imogen Heap - First Train Home
56 Howie Day - Be There
57 Arctic Monkeys - Crying Lightning
58 Jesse McCartney featuring Ludacris - How Do You Sleep
59 Yeah Yeah Yeah - Zero
60 Two Door Cinema Club - Something Good Can Work
Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Holy Grail Of Tennis

Yup, after a long rainy day, frustrating train rides (the London undergound has routine maintenance service on the weekends, upgrading their facilities in time for 2012 - the Olympics, not the end of the world), I made it to SW19. In more simple terms, I finally got my arse over to Wimbledon.

Warning - Wimbledon is some 30+ minutes southwest of central London, and do not get off the Wimbledon stations. You hop off Southfields, and take a long-ish walk to The All England Lawn Tennis Club. It's a bit of a walk, and you can only imagine how massive the queues here during competition week.

That's Sharapova right there

The visit was a short one, as I spent the morning coasting around rainy London, and daylight was definitely fading. AELTC upped their tennis museum, showing the winners' trophies and the apparel worn during the tournaments. There's not a lot on offer with the museum, but there's a 200-degree theatre showcasing the science of tennis (Sharapova is athlete specimen), a 3d rendition of McEnroe, and video highlights from the singles finals from the last 30 years or so, with matching Rolex-style display boards.

To cap that little trip, here's a not so awesome view of Centre Court, with the roof.

too dark

well at least there was still enough light for this photo
Friday, December 04, 2009

The British Museum

My first reaction upon entering the British Museum was: Aha, Norman Foster! In reference to the brocaded circular roof radiating from the center court of the museum.

Norman Foster giving ancient civilisation a modern home

The second? "Ah, no wonder Egypt and Greece are so mad at the British Museum" The exhibits on displays were massive - as big as houses, and makes me wonder on how the transported and installed them. Starting off from walls and walls of Assyrian statues (got to love the beard), the gigantic bust of Ramesses, the Parthenon marbles, and ruins from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.

That's one big horse!

This is my favorite museum so far - whilst antiquities and ancient civilisations are definitely not my strongest suit, this vast array on display is meant to wow any regular museum goer. Did I mention that this museum is free?

Lord Elgin's big marbles. If lost, return them to Greece!
Tuesday, December 01, 2009

London Museums

Everybody says it, London is expensive. However, people fail to highlight that most of London's museums are free. Bundle that with the abundance of parks (London is the greenest city on the planet - more space dedicated to parks and trees than anywhere else), you can fill in itinerary for three full days on the cheap.

Intense colours at St. James Park

Since my days were limited, I had to play my cards right and skip the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum as they were on the other side of town. Same fate went to Tate Gallery , as most of the sights I focused on were on the eastern bit.

A slapdash tour of The National Gallery on my last night in London was greeted by street performers, and the gallery I first entered hit the spot: Impressionism. At least half a day is needed to appreciate the masterpieces of Degas, Renoir, and Monet. There's a whole section for Titian, Italian Renaissance paintings, and other vast artworks in the massive building located on Trafalgar Square.

Steps leading to The National Gallery

I also managed to go into the Tate Modern, which houses the best collection of modern art I've seen so far. Beating out GOMA in Brisbane, Powerhouse in Sydney and Centre Pompidou in Paris (MOMA NYC, your fate will have to wait). Picasso, Lichtenstein, Mondrian are some of the work you'll find inside.

Last for this entry is the Westminster Abbey, which isn't technically a museum (duh, it's an abbey), but it's actually closer to a crypt. It's not free, but for 15 GBP, you get the tombs of English royalty while being assisted by Sir Jeremy Irons on the audio guide. Tombs of Elizabeth I sit side by side with her sister Mary I, and right across is her main rival, Mary Queen of Scots, her cousin. Also of note is the Poet's Corner, where tombs of Charles Dickens, Geofrrey Chaucer, Robert Browning, among others lay.

Westminster Abbey