Love You Like a Love Song: 8 of the Most Romantic Ballads Ever


Cover of "Wicked Game"

If there was something I definitely could not live without, it would be music (also, lotion — really neurotic about this, but I’ll save it for another post…) — it keeps me going for almost every minute of everyday: getting ready in the mornings, on my way to work, at work, shopping, on the way home from work — and even as I write this post. Music is the spark that keeps my embers burning. For me, it’s more than a distraction from the incessant buzz of the outside world; its words, a hypnotic beat — a mantra, even, (if it’s that type of day) pulsating through my body, creating an unbroken connection between the music and me. The song doesn’t have to be deep for the connection to happen, but this is what music is for me.

Given that deep down I’m just a hopeless romantic like any starry-eyed girl out there, there are a handful of love songs that I’ve come to really love over the years. You know, the type of songs that when you hear, you can’t help but just melt a little because they make your heart flutter a bit?

I should warn you, they’re not all happy love songs — but no less, they’re pretty romantic — I promise! Here are my picks for the most heart-clenching, romantic love songs:

1. “Push” — Sarah McLachlan

Okay, I know Sarah McLachlan gets a lot of bad rep for being the woman who makes people think of homeless and sick animals, but forget (the also beautiful song) “Angel” if you can for a moment, and listen to this song. It’s probably my favorite on the list, and the lyrics paired with Sarah McLachlan’s soulful vocals makes for a simply beautiful ballad that couldn’t be more romantic — and happy, for that matter, aka completely opposite of “Angel.”

2. “Back at One” — Brian McKnight

Oh, whatever happened to men like Brian McKnight? This guy was a staple in the 90’s and early 2000’s, and his smooth voice and sweet lyrics make me melt every time. (I’m a sap — told you.) Plus, who can resist a man playing the piano? I’d have to argue that R&B music of this era was the best, and Brian McKnight was in the throne, leading the realm with this sweet melody…

3. “Wicked Game” — Chris Isaak

I’d probably seen the episode of Friends when Ross and Rachel have their first date and get frisky in the planetarium about a million time before I finally got hold of this song. (Yes, that’s where you’ve heard it.) More than this song is romantic, it’s incredibly sensual — can you honestly resist that voice?! But once you listen to the song, you’ll be hooked to the music, lyrics — everything! It’s a one for the books, I promise. This is a song that rarely, if ever, gets skipped on my iPod/iTunes when it’s on shuffle.

4.  “Forever and For Always” — Shania Twain

There’s got to be something said about a country gal singin’ a love song — there’s nothing like it (unless you’re a country fella). Shania Twain is not only beautiful, but her music is timeless country-pop music, and just like this song — it always makes you feel good — and that impresses me much!

5. “Broken” — Lifehouse

Ah, here is one of those sad love songs I was talking about, but I couldn’t resist because it’s a great song, and the lead singer’s voice is irresistible. The song is relatable to a lot of people in one way or another, and you don’t have to be in a million pieces to think it’s a great tune!

6. “Halo” — Beyonce´

You didn’t honestly expect a list of the most romantic love songs and this song not be on there, right? Beyonce´ singing OneRepublic front man Ryan Tedder’s lyrics would have made for one helluva amazing love song by itself, but the music production behind this composition was also ingenious. Who expected the piano, drums and synths combo? The song was a little over-played for a while, but you have to admit — it is one. great. love song.

7. “A Thousand Years” — Christina Perri

Yes, it was Edward and Bella’s wedding song, but I promise that had nothing to do with its place on the list. I don’t even remember the song in the movie (yes, I’ve read and watched all the books/movie — guilty, as charged!), and heard this beautiful ballad for the first time when Christina Perri performed it live on Ellen. Forget the Twilight mumbo-jumbo, and take a chance — her voice, the lyrics, the piano — it’s all very sweet!

8. “Ancient Love” — Anoushka Sharma

To round out the list, I picked a song most of you have probably have never heard of and by an artist that is a favorite of mine. This one also has no words — surprise! There is something very sensual and romantic about the snaky flutes, slow sitar picks and tabla beats that I absolutely love about this piece. If you’ve never heard of Anoushka Sharma’s music, today might be the day. Maybe you’ve heard of her famous family: dad and famous Indian classical musician Ravi Shankar, or her well-known half-sister and blues singer Norah Jones?

What did you think of my picks? Leave me a comment and let me know, and tell me what your favorite love songs are!

Advertisements

Feel the Fusion


Those of us who have passionately followed Oscar-winning music composer A.R. Rahman since his early days of composing Bollywood film scores weren’t a bit surprised when he took the West by storm too. The score to 2008’s top winner, “Slumdog Millionaire” was a huge step for Indian-inspired beats to join the top dog music genres in the West. Perhaps even more so, though,  it was a (excuse the cliché) a giant leap for a new breed of fusion tunes to burgeon and bloom.

A conglomeration of earthy drums and Indian classical melodies mixed with electronic synths and hip-hop beats were laced through hard rhymes and throaty ragas. The result: a mind-blowing, gives-you-goosebumps soundtrack that had you tripping, moving, and meditating at once.

As much as Rahman’s God-given musical talents were behind the making of the edgy score, other artists have been in the field to mix the various genres for years and have received much less attention. It would be unfair to compare them to Rahman who has a track record of being the modern-day Indian Beethoven, but kudos is well in order for these brilliant musicians.

If you enjoyed tracks like “Liquid Dance” and “O…Saya” from the Slumdog album or have any passion for Indian folk-inspired music and/or electronica, check out some of my absolute favorite tracks by artists like Bombay Dub Orchestra, Midival Punditz, Anoushka Shankar, and Karsh Kale.

As always, let me know what you think!


(Couldn’t upload these to the player, but they are incredibly noteworthy. Listen to them through YouTube!)

“Slither” by Anoushka Shankar & Karsh Kale (Breathing Under Water)

“Abyss” by Anoushka Shankar & Karsh Kale (Breathing Under Water)

Jay Sean & Joe Jonas Upcoming Tour


Hey you crazy cats,  those dreams of joining a British-Indian bad boy and approximately 1/3 of the Jonas clan weren’t farfetched at all. Two men who fit this bizarre criteria almost exactly (imagine that) have announced plans to launch a nationwide tour this fall.

Jay Sean, best known for radio hits as “Down” and “Do You Remember?” and Joe Jonas of the tween heartthrob boy band, The Jonas Brothers, announced to EW.com that they would be performing together in 19 cities beginning Sept. 6. First stop: House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jonas will be performing music off of his debut album, FastLife, which hits stores Oct. 11, while Jay belts out some new tunes from his fourth album, Freeze Time.

Tickets go on sale August 19 and can be purchased on both artists’ websites and TicketMaster.com.

Tour Dates & Cities

6-Sep Boston, MA // House Of Blues

7-Sep Philadelphia, PA // Theatre of Living Arts

10-Sep Toronto, ON // The Sound Academy

11-Sep Cleveland, OH // House of Blues

12-Sep Chicago, IL // House Of Blues

15-Sep Minneapolis, MN // First Avenue

17-Sep Denver, CO // Fillmore

19-Sep San Francisco, CA // Warfield

20-Sep Los Angeles, CA // The Wiltern

26-Sep Houston, TX // House Of Blues

28-Sep Austin, TX // ACL Live

29-Sep Dallas, TX // House Of Blues

1-Oct Tampa, FL // TBD

2-Oct Lake Buena Vista, FL // House Of Blues

3-Oct Atlanta, GA // Tabernacle

5-Oct Silver Spring, MD (DC) // Fillmore Silver Spring

6-Oct New York, NY // Best Buy Theater

 

Worst Commercial Ever: 2011 Education Connection TV Ad


It’s unfortunate when risky ventures go southward, but understandably this is bound to happen sometimes. What is difficult to understand is when people venture into an area in which they should’ve known  was just NOT their place to be. Now, if you’ve got a big name, a fabulous stylist and brilliant designers, putting out your own fashion line is leaping onto a cushion: it’s only slight risky, and you’ll probably be just fine.

But when actors attempt music careers or vice versa, it’s like grabbing for the other swing during a trapeze act: if you don’t catch it, you’ll still land on the safety net, but everyone will remember your pathetic, little fall.  So, there is definitely an amount of due commendation for the risk takers in the world, who are simply chasing after a dream. But at the same time, you can’t help but wonder for some — what were they thinking?!

Recently, I’ve had the misfortune of  (repeatedly) catching an awful commercial on TV that simply makes me cringe. The ad is for the company EducationConnection.com, a resource for those looking to be matched with an online college meeting their needs. Let’s take a look back where the company should’ve stopped while they were ahe — um..while they stagnant and standing.

Originally, the brand attempted to attract youth with a teeny-bopper actress dressed in her oh-so-cute pajamas and fuzzy slippers exclaiming the convenience of attending college in her sleep time ware.

With an air of forced “cool factor”, the commercial was at least instructive and did its job to market the company’s services. Not my favorite, but not the worst.

Then, Education Connection attempted to grab one too many cookies out of the cookie jar: they made a music video.

Oh. God. No.

Enter: Bad Hillary Swank look-alike working at a corn-dog stand (in a fair?), who clearly should be focused on getting a record deal than her four-year degree…[insert sardonic cough].

With her first belted note, my eyes can’t leave her vicious haircut that unfortunately just looks like a wig that was on its way to becoming a mullet for an ’80s movie (or parody, anyway). Streaked with bad highlights, it doesn’t even seem to have individually moving strands.

Then she begins to bop to the beat. Oh, she’s rockin’ now — to an awful tune that you know will be stuck in your head all day. What is this commercial?! For an awful minute and half, my mind is so completely consumed by the atrociousness of this ad, that even if I had been looking for an online college, I wouldn’t have made the connection to the commercial.

Even worse to realize was that this “song” was created by an actual music producer, Anthony Falcone. He produces actual music — that’s pretty good! Yet, this commercial is listed on his resume on his Facebook page. Rethink this Falcone, rethink it!

Who really is to blame for this monstrous flop though? The company for hiring the ad execs, the execs for hiring this girl, or Falcone for the cheesy track?

Either way, here is the commercial. What do you think?

Soul Awakening Music


It is truly amazing how the five senses human beings are blessed with can put us in touch with senses that reach further out and deeper within our very bodies. Even more phenomenal is how the senses can interlock, and help you to experience sensations that are even beyond touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste – to a realm so far removed from the physical being that it can only be felt with your soul.

Some find this sort of depth through prayer; some through drugs, even; and some through music. It’s indescribable how the unique combination of the vibrations enlightening and awakening the inner being can begin singularly through the ear and reverberate through every fiber of the body.

For me, there are two specific pieces that truly take me beyond my body- so much so that they have become a form of unique meditation for me.

 

“Abyss” – Anoushka Shankar & Karsh Kale

Daughter of world-renowned Indian classical musician, Ravi Shankar and half-sister to equally gifted sister, Norah Jones, Anoushka Shankar creates beautiful music similar to that of her father’s. Anoushka’s signature sound almost always involves the sound of the sitar, but her venture into a genre of Indian Classical-Electronica Fusion with mastermind producers like Karsh Kale couldn’t have created more beautiful sound.

My personal favorite is wrongfully named “Abyss” (from the album, “Breathing Under Water”) suggesting of darkness, endlessness, hopelessness. More appropriately, it should’ve been named “Awakening” because it is exactly how I feel when I hear it. You’ll be reminded of God’s splendor on Earth, that gives rise to life everyday no matter what darkness befalls our world. There are specific moments that the rise and fall of the song even leave me breathless. The juxtaposition of old and new; modern and classical are brilliant, and that holds true for the voices of Karsh Kale and Qawwali vocalist Vishal Vaid that seamlessly complement one another on this track.

 

“Om Namah Shivaya” – Sonicjoy

A group that identifies with the Electronica genre, Sonicjoy pairs a hypnotic and edgy beat with the raw sound of the classic Hindu mantra. The combination has an unexpected result in calming the mind, and easing it into a state of enchantment. The mantra doesn’t lose any of its spiritual powers by being encased in electronic beats, and the snaky song, with its tablas and synths,  is one that I always turn to in form of both prayer and meditation.

OneRepublic’s “Waking Up”: Must-Buy Summer CD, On Sale


“Apologize” had us hooked (and a bit haunted); “Stop and Stare” kept us singing non-stop, and now “The Good Life” couldn’t have us feeling better. The multi-faceted rock/alternative/pop/call-them-whatever-you-want men of OneRepublic have produced hit after hit — and never without a surprise: add a cello here and a snare drum there, and we’re addicted to their unique sound.

Their new CD, “Waking Up” is gold, and will get your brow furrowing, heart thumping, tears flowing and lips whistling nonstop. OneRepublic’s album is truly music to your ears — and soul.

You’ll have heard their chart-topping singles, “Secrets,” “All the Right Moves, and “The Good Life” blasting from your favorite radio stations, but my personal favorite has yet to be mainstreamed. A song for the days when you’re in the lowest low or just need a pick-me-up, “Marchin’ On” will make your heart swell and feet stomp to the beat of a soft march. Truth be told, it could carry the album on its own, but every song on “Waking Up” is noteworthy.

Right now, you can get their album for only $5.00 on Amazon — so you really have no reason to pass up such a fantastic album!

Watch the video to “Marchin’ On” and keep on keepin’ on!

Party Like It’s the 1990’s


It’s been said before and I’ll say it again – the 90’s were the time to live. Those of us who had the privilege of growing up during the 90’s got to experience the best of television, music, and overall pop culture. Times were simpler; the economy was kickin’; kids played outside; life was good.

Nothing brings me back to me my childhood like good ole 90’s jam. It was cheesy on so many levels, and yet music has never been so good as it was in the 90’s. (This is debatable, I know, but for the fact that it’s attached to memories of my childhood I am biased.)

Below I’ve included 5 songs that epitomize 90’s music in every way. If they don’t make you want to go and put on your baggy overalls and give yourself bad highlights and rock out – you’re not really a 90’s kid. It’s pretty much that simple.

“Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” — C&C Music Factory

The only thing better than this in-your-face jam session is the half-naked running-man dance moves in the video. This song will indeed get everybody to dance now…

“Miami” — Will Smith

Will Smith got us gettin’ jiggy with it his velvet blazer and overly puffy jacket and then took us for a sexy trip to Florida’s hottest party spot. Plus, Eva Mendes’s cameo makes the video all that much better…

“Fly” — Sugar Ray

Who can forget Sugar Ray and his ‘stylishly’  frosted hair? This song speaks of simple dreams and makes you want to kick back with a lemonade in the delicious summer heat and remember what it felt like to be carefree. What could be better than that?

“Livin’ La Vida Loca” — Ricky Martin

When this song by Ricky Martin hit the charts, you couldn’t find a woman who didn’t swoon over they way this loco Latin swayed his hips round and round. The 90’s were, indeed, a great time for friendly international relations…

‘Tearin’ Up My Heart” — *Nsync

The 90’s really wouldn’t be the same without the explosion of the teeny boppers and the boy bands who were cute and heart-melting at the same time. Boys and girls were gaga over these 5 guys, and really, who wouldn’t be with those sexy dance moves and poetic songs? Not to mention that wardrobe…