Change for the Better

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Well, today’s the day! If you haven’t already, stand up and be counted. Don’t sit back and let others decide for you. Get up, be proactive and let your voice be heard. I had an easier time getting to work this morning so I’m guessing a lot of folks are standing in line at the polls right now. I’m definitely glad I had the opportunity to vote early because with the rain coming down today, it won’t be all that pleasant waiting in line. but don’t let the long lines or bad weather stop you! Take along your iPod and let this song inspire you -

Down the lowest I can go with no one left to turn
On the edge, I lose control before I crash and burn
Can I turn around, slow it down, oh

Hold on, we’ve still got living to do
So far gone, see life for someone like you
In your eyes you showed me reasons to live
Take time, the time it takes to forgive

It’s my life, it’ll change for the better
I’ve faced the light, it’s worth the fight
See a new day, start a new way
Get it straight, make it change for the better

I was dying, a drowning man and I wish you well
Pull me from the darkness and save me from myself

Wake up, shake it off, let go
What I’m pretending to be
I know, I’m still the man I could be, yeah

It’s my life, it’ll change for the better
I’ve faced the light, it’s worth the fight
See a new day, start a new way
Get it straight, make it change for the better

I’m waking up to find a different state of mind
There was a new place, I’m okay
I’ve changed for the better

I’ve opened up my eyes, I’m glad to be alive
It’s never too late to cheat fate
Changed for the better

And now then there is no hope
Until we are faced without
We can never fall in love
Until we learn to live without
In our love we can’t find peace
Without conflict in our lives
And the healing will begin, oh, ’til we open up our eyes

It’s my life, it’ll change for the better
I’ve faced the light, it’s worth the fight
See a new day, start a new way
Get it straight, It all comes together

Made my mind up, there’s still time enough
I’m all right, made a change for the better!

- Change for the Better by Journey
[note: download available for a limited time. enjoy!]

Kimya Dawson - Alphabutt

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I recently found the most annoying children’s album. It’s Kimya Dawson’s Alphabutt. Yes, this is the same Kimya Dawson that was featured on the Juno soundtrack. If you’re familiar with any of her work then Dawson releasing a children’s album would come as no surprise. Her simple chord progressions and cute/funny lyrics are tailor-made for kids music. But after listening to her new album, I’ve decide to ban it from the family minivan. Yes, it’s a kids’ album but Dawson unwisely chose to include a slew of fart jokes, a reference to pubic hair and the word “sucks” on this album. Oh and the words “poop” and “pee-pee” come up a lot as well. As a parent, I’m trying to teach my kids to refrain from saying stuff like “poop” and “sucks” so to listen to those words in song is a big no-no in my book. Dawson is known for recording her songs at home in rough form and Alphabutt is no exception. The songs are very “demo-ish” with minimal instrumentation and almost seem off-the-cuff. To compound the annoyance factor, Dawson included some obnoxious sounding kids that sound like rejects from those god-awful Kidz Bop recordings. So with the combination of the lo-fi recording techniques, primative chord progressions and kids singing off-key, there isn’t a lot of replay value here. Well, unless you have a need to annoy the fellow passengers in your car. And now that I think about it, the album could be pretty effective as some sort of aural torture device.

Alphabutt Track List:
1 Little Monster Babies (Dawson) 1:27
2 Alphabutt (Carmer, Dawson) 0:55
3 Bobby-O (Carmer, Dawson) 1:50
4 Louie (Dawson) 2:25
5 Smoothie (Dawson) 2:13
6 I Like Bears (Dawson) 1:09
7 Seven Hungry Tigers (Dawson) 1:59
8 Happy Home (Keep on Writing) (Dawson) 3:34
9 Wiggle My Tooth (Shea) 1:37
10 I Love You Sweet Baby (Dawson) 2:02
11 Pee-Pee in the Potty (Dawson) 0:29
12 Uncle Hukee’s House (Dawson) 0:54
13 We’re All Animals (Dawson) 2:22
14 Little Panda Bear (Dawson) 1:00
15 Sunbeams and Some Beans (Dawson) 3:45

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White Man

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As a follow up to my previous post, I’d like to add that we did indeed contact the school about our son’s situation. The wife and I weren’t really impressed with the response we got from his teacher. We got the feeling that he thought that we’re overreacting or something. But what do you expect from a white man? Obviously the white staff members will “protect” their own and not reprimand the boys. But we’re not going to let this go. We will continue to monitor our boy’s situation very closely from now on. They better watch it because the haters will get what’s coming to them, mark my words.

God is not a man, God is not a white man
God is not a man sitting on a cloud
God cannot be bought, God will not be boxed in
God will not be owned by religion

But God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone
God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone

God is not a man, God is not an old man
God does not belong to Republicans
God is not a flag, not even American
And God does not depend on a government

But God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone
God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone

Atheists and Charlatans and Communists and Lesbians
And even old Pat Robertson, oh God He loves us all
Catholic or Protestant, Terrorist or President
Everybody, everybody, love, love, love, love, love

Yeah, I say God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone
Stop the hating, please just stop the hating now cause God is love

White Man written by Michael Gungor and Lisa Gungor
from the album Ancient Skies by the Michael Gungor Band

how dare they target my son just for being asian? As you can see from this song, “racists” aren’t included in the list of the ones God loves. God ain’t got love for racists who hate on asians. :P
Hear me now, I’m going against the asian stereotype and no longer will be SILENT!
As Billy Joel always says at his shows - I ain’t taking shit from nobody.

Cheap Trick, Heart and Journey last night

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Well, I took my 11-year old to go see his first real live rock concert last night. That’s right - the biggest “oldies” rock tour of the summer: Cheap Trick, Heart and Journey. we had a blast. plus the weather was unusually cool for an august night which definitely helps when you’re at an outdoor amphitheater all night. I was generally happy with where we were sitting except for the fact that we were located right next to the VIP section. So as you can imagine, we had to sit next to the “privileged” folks who got served food and beer all throughout the night. Not really sure if their primary interest was to socialize/eat/drink at the venue or to actually watch the bands? well, I guess the fact that these VIPs were no where to be found by 3/4 of the way through Journey’s set kinda answers my question. ..anyway, on to the bands.

cheap trick in raleigh
Cheap Trick kicked off the night by rocking hard and loud. highlights were of course - “I Want You to Want Me”, “Surrender” and “Dream Police”. The only downer was that their mix was pretty muddy.

Heart live at walnut creek
The sound mix improved dramatically once Heart got on stage. man, I bet Ann Wilson can shatter glass with that mega voice of hers. wow! They opened with one of my favorites “Wild Child” and proceeded to slay the audience with amazing renditions of “Barracuda”, “Crazy on You” and “Alone”.

Journey at walnut creek
As for Journey. what can I say. Neal, Jon, Ross and Deen are simply phenomenal musicians. I am in total awe of the way their play together as a band. Neal is a monster on guitar. although I have to say that I thought I heard some flubs on some of his leads last night but b/c of the loud & dense mix from the house speakers it could have been my ears playing tricks on me.

Arnel Pineda at Walnut Creek in Raleigh
It was great seeing Arnel Pineda singing for Journey. The man held his own which says a lot especially when you’re having to always be compared to Steve “The Voice” Perry. Needless to say Pineda did us Asians proud!

I was hoping they’d play two personal favorites off their new record Revelation “Where Did I lose Your Love” and “Turn Down the World Tonight” but unfortunately they basically stuck to their tried and true set list. highlights from last night’s set include: “Any Way You Want It”, “Don’t Stop Believin”, “Ask the Lonely” and “Separate Ways”.
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just say NO to NickelBack

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listeners surveyI’m on one of those listener advisory teams for a local radio station. I’m sure some of you have participated in these online surveys before. every couple of weeks you get a list of songs that are currently on rotation and you are supposed to rate each of them by how much you like them (or don’t) and if you’re tired of hearing the song. well going by the overall results from the past few surveys, it seems that my preferences are overruled by countless tin-eared dimwits around here. how many more times can I tell them to STOP playing Rob Thomas, Michael Buble and NickelBack before they’ll listen!??! come on, shouldn’t my vote count a bit more than some of these other idiots! I’ve got taste, damn it! ..oh gaw, no more NickelBack, please. who are these nincompoops voting for NickelBack????

people, throw away those corporate ass-kissers and listen to these genuine artists instead:

Journey tickets!

it's all about me!!, music 2 Comments »

legendary rock group Journey will be coming to town in august and ticketmaster had their pre-sale for the Raleigh show today. and as you may have guessed, I just got two tickets. I’m planning on taking my ten year old to the show - his first rock concert. I think it’ll be fun for him. the added bonus is to be able to see and support asian lead singer Arnel Pineda fronting Journey. I don’t know of any other mainstream rock band that features an asian frontman so this will be unique and exciting to see. there has been some great buzz from their initial shows in Chile and Las Vegas so I’m looking forward to the show. I wasn’t that thrilled with the ticket prices (plus all the extra ticketmaster surcharges!!) but what can ya do? I guess they can justify the price b/c this is a packaged tour. yup, Cheap Trick and Heart are also on the bill. boy, my ten year old’s first concert. If I remember correctly, my first concert happened way back in high school when a friend of mine’s dad was the head of security at a local university and he got us free VIP box seats to see none other than… *wait for it* … The Monkees. ha! It makes me laugh just thinking about it. it was their reunion tour back in ‘86 I think and they were packaged with Herman’s Hermits and Gary Puckett. but alas it wasn’t a *true* Monkees reunion since they were missing Mike Nesmith. ahh, memories…

check out Journey (with Arnel Pineda) performing Separate Ways live in Chile:

Journey’s brand new album, Revelation, will be released June 3rd exclusively through Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.

All I Need is Here

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The new album by the Michael Gungor Band titled All I Need Is Here is probably the best praise and worship album that I’ve heard in the last year or so. Michael Gungor shined bright a few years ago with his debut album Bigger Than My Imagination that featured the P&W favorite “Friend of God”. The debut album was produced by Israel Houghton and had his fingerprints all over the album- from the pristine studio sound to cowriting songs with Gungor. On All I Need is Here, Gungor’s sonic palette has evolved to a more brit-rock-ColdPlay sound that’s just *so ready* to get young worshippers pogo-ing to these songs in their respective churches across the nation. As I’ve said countless of times in the past about praise and worship music, it’s tough to be creative and fresh when you’re working within the boundaries of congregational music. the songs need to be accessible and easy to sing along to but then again, not too bland and by-the-numbers to where people simply lose interest. Gungor succeeds here in creating new music that is simple enough to present in front of a congregation but also interesting enough to also work as a stand-alone listening experience. songs like Heaven’s Song, Be Praised and Never Stop are driving arena-sized anthems that are ready-made to excite all those mega-church-goers to a frenzy. The highlight for me on this CD is the 1-2-3 punch of Ancient Skies/Prodigal/Grace for Me. the songs are heartfelt and the choruses are bigger-than-life. the contrast between the acoustic based Grace for Me and the more dynamic Ancient Skies/Prodigal bring the lyrics to the forefront like: Valleys come and tears are drying, there are things I don’t yet see but I’ll rejoice in spite of hardship, You’ll watch over me, You’re grace for me is all I need and all I need is here… the interesting thing to see here is that Gungor humbly places himself within the band format and keeps the guitar solos to a minimum. I was actually hoping to hear more of his skillful guitar playing on the album but Gungor obviously wants the lyrics and the songs to be the focus here. and that’s truly commendable.
..but if I had to nitpick I’d have to say that the sound mix is a bit disappointing. the album is a step down from the studio quality sound of his debut. The album has “pro-tools” written all over it which is a shame because the songs deserve more. the dynamics are squashed with heavy compression and there are tell-tale signs that the dreaded “auto-tune” was used on some of the vocals. I guess it has more to do with budget limitations than actual artistic choice but fortunately the great songwriting and performances shine through despite the muddy, brick-walled mix.
michael gungor band
1 Be Praised
2 Giving It All
3 Never Stop
4 Ancient Skies
5 Prodigal
6 Grace for Me
7 Fly
8 You Alone
9 Spotless
10 Heaven’s Song
11 Glory Is Here/Song for My Family

Listen to Heaven’s Song by the Michael Gungor Band:

Shure E3c

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I’ve had my trusty ol’Shure E3c Sound Isolating Earphones for a couple years now. I’m on my second pair. the first pair got ruined after heavy use during my days in the worship band. Now, I mainly use these in-ears for listening to my portable music player. these Shure earphones sound fantastic. The only thing I don’t like about them are the yellow foam inserts that I’ve been using with the E3c phones. they get worn out and look a bit unappealing especially since they’re yellow which may appear to some as earwax buildup unfortunately. I recently ordered some Shure Triple Flange replacement inserts to see if these would work better with my E3c earphones. they look a bit funky but at least they can’t be mistaken for yellow earwax. after testing them out the other day, I had some difficulty getting them to fit properly in my ears. you see, these Shure in-ears work best when they fit tightly inside the ear canal. if they don’t seal properly, the sound is very tinny with absolutely no bass. but once they are in the ear good and snug, the sound is probably the best you can buy (within the $100-200 range). after researching these Triple Flange sleeves, I found out that you can cut the flange at the tip with some scissors to get them to fit better. and after doing just that, the new sleeves work perfectly. So I guess these Triple Flange replacement sleeves aren’t exactly one size fits all. thankfully there was someone out there that shared that little tidbit about cutting the last flange or I suppose these inserts would have ended up in the trash.

Hillsong - Saviour King

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When I think of Hillsong Music, terms like - cookie-cutter and predictable come to mind. It’s a bit sad but true, fans pretty much know what to expect when picking up the latest Hillsong CD. Their albums don’t really sound all that much different from each other. In fact, you can probably toss the tracks from their last five releases up in the air and randomly re-assemble them and no one listening would be the wiser. But I have to say, it’s sort of tough picking on artists in the praise and worship genre. the artists/songwriters are producing music specifically for the church. so essentially they’re restricted in a sense to keep the song structures simple and the melodies easy to sing along to. it’s pretty much a catch-22. So, I’m not going to bash on Hillsong too much. Their latest CD, Saviour King is more of the same. let’s get the Hillsong standard checklist out: upbeat electric guitar based rockers, check. broad, arena-sized ballads, check. redundant Hillsong United remakes, check. and lots of bland, non-descript mid-tempo fillers, check. yup, that’s a Hillsong CD for ya. The only thing I look forward to these days in terms of Hillsong releases are the tracks originating from Hillsong United and songs by Brooke Fraser. their songs - Break Free, Lord of Lords, Hosanna and Saviour King are the highlights of the CD. Other than those tracks (along with I’m Not Ashamed and You Are Faithful), it’s pretty much bland-orama. But what can ya do? With the millions of dollars pouring into the Hillsong Church through their music ministry every year, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be changing their ways anytime soon…

Track Listing
1. I’m Not Ashamed
2. Break Free
3. In Your Freedom
4. You Are My Strength
5. Lord of Lords
6. One Thing
7. To Know Your Name
8. God of Ages
9. In the Mystery
10. You Saw Me
11. Hosanna
12. Here in My Life
13. You Are Faithful
14. Saviour King

Watch Brooke Fraser sing Lord of Lords on Youtube -

Purchase Saviour King at

If Not For Your Grace

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For today’s Song of the Day, I thought I’d share one of the highlights off of Israel Houghton’s latest release A Deeper Level. The track is called If Not For Your Grace. The album as a whole is a bit disappointing. I tend to expect a lot more from Israel and New Breed. The material is simply subpar when compared to their past efforts. It just seems like Houghton is just going through the motions this time. a lot of recycled themes and by-the-numbers chord progressions. well, except for If Not For Your Grace. This song is just phenomenal. You can tell from the live recording that the song just takes the band, the vocalists and the congregation to a whole another level. If you’re gonna buy the CD, you’ll be buying it JUST for this one song.

Where would I be if not for your grace
Carrying me through every season
Where would I be if not for Your grace
Came to rescue me and I want to thank You for Your grace

Grace that restores, grace that redeems
Grace that releases me to worship
Grace that repairs visions and dreams
Grace that releases miracles!

Listen to If Not For Your Grace

SOTD: Old Love

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DLee - Song of the Day
i love listening to the live version of Eric Clapton’s Old Love. the guitar solo is so expressive and dynamic. plus the arrangement is ten times better than the original studio version. i guess the band had time to play around with the feel and the various individual parts in the song during the tour b/c the live recorded version is totally smokin’. love it. it’s the song of the day. enjoy.

download: Eric Clapton - Old Love (live)

purchase Eric Clapton: 24 Nights at

SOTD: The Classic

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DLee - Song of the Day
for the song of the day, i thought i’d share the main love theme from one of my all time favorite korean movies - The Classic.
if you’ve seen the movie then you would surely recognize today’s song of the day since in typical korean drama fashion, the director chose to play the main theme over and over and over again throughout the movie. i didn’t mind so much since the song was pretty good.

More Love (love theme from The Classic)

At the Riverside (instrumental of love theme)

..and The DVD can be purchase over at Amazon: The Classic a.k.a Love Story DVD

Friday Free for All: Winter Sonata

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It’s the Friday Free for All!!

today, since i’m currently watching the kdrama, i thought i’d share some highlights from the Winter Sonata Soundtrack.


From the Beginning Until Now performed by Ryu

My Memory (piano version)

Only You performed by Ryu

Missing You (violin version)

Tears in Your Eyes (instrumental)

happy friday!

SOTD: You are the Only One to..

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Neil Finn is such an amazing songwriter. he effortlessly conveys mood, emotions and magnificent imagery through his three minute masterpieces. This song from the latest Crowded House CD gets to me every time i hear it. listen to Finn’s emotional vocal performance. it simply blows me away…
DLee - Song of the Day
Who’ll face the tide and take their chances will fasten the lights to broken branches
Adrift on the ocean in wild winter storms I have to imagine things to keep myself warm

The night closing in but not to worry told everyone I know that I was sorry
But I heard them all singing for comfort and peace and in my confusion here I still believe

You were the one to make me cry, you were the one to take me home
Of all the people in my life my thoughts keep returning to you
But consciousness is fading fast..

Surrounded by sights that go on living make circles in time the spider web spinning
Well I have no illusions of where I am now I’ll let this wave take me and pour me down

You were the one to make me cry, you were the one to take me home
Of all the stories in my life only good things return to you
If I could only say the words if you could hear me cry for help
But I’d lift my head up to the sky and the planes that were circling now have gone..

-Neil Finn

You Are the Only One to make Me Cry by Crowded House

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