Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sungha Jung and his Amazing Guitar Licks

I'm not sure where I've been for the past two years but Korean preteen Sungha Jung has been on YouTube showing off some of the most wicked guitar work I've ever seen.

Clearly a guitar prodigy, Jung has made quite a reputation for himself playing striking arrangements of pop hits playing both the rhythm and the melody through his one guitar - even if the song was originally meant for two guitars and a singer.

It's truly hard to pick a favorite as each piece is not only ridiculously skillfully played, but also very thoughtfully arranged. His steady "California Dreamin'", his re-imagining of "No Woman No Cry" from 2007 and his perfect reproduction of "The Boxer" from 2008 have been among my favorites. His latest video, an amazingly intricate picking of "Isn't She Lovely" immediately rose to the near top of the list however my favorite video still has to be his 2007 video of "All Along the Watchtower". Enjoy:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Farewell Myspace Music, We Knew Thee... Kind Of

According to TechCrunch the free streaming service Myspace Music will soon be heading for a pay model.

I'll be honest here, before I read this story I'd never even heard of Myspace Music and had no idea what it was. I hadn't touched my Myspace profile in years. It seems that the service is little more than a year old and, at least at first, sported some very ambitious ideas. It was to be a cross between imeem and the iTunes music store in that people could make playlists and stream any number of major label music tracks and while users could pay per download to purchase the songs the lion's share of revenue was to come from advertising. The problem lay in the fact that Myspace Music is bleeding money in the form of royalties to the major music labels and its ad revenue, due to the fact that nobody uses Myspace anymore, is not sufficient to keep the service afloat. It's hard to believe that a paid subscription model will save the offshoot as having to pay for something doesn't seem like it would attract a userbase that is already fleeing.

On the bright side, this probably won't affect the streaming on normal Myspace profiles, contrary to Prefix's misreading of the situation. Any band that wants to put their own music on the site will still be able to do so, and people will be able to listen to it for free. Really, this is the only thing that makes Myspace worthwhile at all.

Wyclef Jean Returns to the Streets

In a recent interview on Prefix 'Clef expounds on how his new album, From the Hut, to the Projects, to the Mansions will return to his roots:

It comes from the era when I was coming up, and the mixtape was how music got out there. From the Hut, to the Projects, to the Mansions is recorded in that style. It’s beat driven with pure spitting over it.

Interestingly enough, part of the inspiration for the back-to-rapping feel of the record was a fan approaching him on the street and being disappointed he wasn't of the Black Eyed Peas - ironically another musician who has gotten away from songs that are, well, good.

The first video from the record, "Streets Pronounce Me Dead", highlights the central theme of the album: 'Clef resurrecting the style from his earlier music after "the streets" claim he's grown too far from where he started. The song is very reminiscent of Lupe Fiasco's The Cool with spare, steady beats over a husky, coarse, straightforward delivery. Check it:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chamillionaire Strikes Back at Haters

Though it remains to be seen who is actually worse off after listening to the song - the haters or the innocent bystanders that had the misfortune of listening to it. The video itself is interesting enough, with little pop-ups highlighting the spoils of his career, showing off his "bling" and letting everyone know how "balla" he is.

The song, however, is crap. You have to be pretty cheeky to sample Tom Petty at all, let alone his most notable work, "Free Fallin". I mean, seriously, this is one of the most beloved songs in American rock music. If you're going to drop a beat onto it, it'd better be good. Chamillionaire, however, brings weak sauce and the lyrics he spits over top aren't much better, all corn and cheese. Ironically I guess this post makes me a hater, and as such this song was meant for me. So take a listen as Chamillionaire tells me good morning and smiles his way to the bank.