quaint little rutted bucket

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Hello folks. :)

To those who've been reading this thing, well, thanks. As much as I would prefer my thoughts to myself, then again, it wouldn't hurt to share, rightie? Good.

Anyway, things have been busy as a bee's colony lately. Lots of things to do, a ton of requirements to finish and submit. Gee, the term's almost over. Goodie. Oh, by the way, i'm junking my plans to take anmath1 for summer. Sir Joey figured it out for me: I would be shooting myself in the foot if I did that, essentially adding another 3.0 units to my failure accumulation. ;)

On the other hand, the decision whether to shift or not is leaning towards 'shift' already. Maybe I'll slug it out for a term or two with ComSci, and then do it: jump ship to say, education or something related to writing/literature. Or even psychology. I dunno. I'll get my grades up to snuff first before making the final decision.

My MP's looking snappier than ever, thank you, but I'm still lagging behind schedule. Sigh. As much as I dislike programming, I have to do this.

I'm actually practicing things written on Leil Lowndes' book, "How to Make Anyone Like You" on a number of people I'm interested in meeting. So far, it actually seems to work. We'll see if indeed they truly work.

Dad gave me a thousand bucks to spend today, aside from my weekly allowance. He said purchase something for myself. Weird. He never actually did that before. (I was only limited to favors then, but dang, now he's giving me moolah? :) He said it was for the 'rush' work that I did on two of his recent estimates. Cool. So, being the enterprising guy that I am, I decided to go out today and get some CDs.

First up: Harry Connick Jr.'s 'Only You' album.

If you thought Michael Buble should've been with The Rat Pack, then Harry Connick Jr. should even come ahead of Buble in the singing department. That is because Connick's performances even bear more resemblance to the common style and flair The Rat Pack once had back in their heyday.

This album is swing-contemporary jazz kind of music, so if you dig Buble's or Sinatra’s crooning, Connick should also satisfy your taste equally well.

Some of the songs are admittedly revivals, but most of them have been rendered in Connick's own unique and definitive style, bringing much-needed life and a sense of freshness to them easily. (Perhaps the only exception to this is his rendition of 'For Once in My Life', which has been spoilt by obnoxious bass in the accompanying background. And oh, the cliche-ish things he does in that song too. :)

While the album may shun a few listeners away when you first hear it, this album grows on you as you listen to it, much like how other works similar to this do. You may not like it at first, but listening to it repeatedly makes one appreciate both obvious and miniscule details that this album has.

Being the carrier single of this album, Connick's 'Only You' is definitely a class act. Just by listening to the song evokes images of the fifties, along with all the quaint, smoke-filled cafes and brimmed hats of that era. The album is very mellifluous, unlike Buble's debut album, which alternates between several distinct genres of the same period. Most of the songs included in the album follow the 'romantic jazz crooner' style that is reminiscent of a retro Sinatra. His talent should be no surprise then to those who know Connick, being somebody truly raised in the traditions of jazz music, as he is a native of New Orleans, a city which jazz literally built.

Overall, if you like Sinatra and looking to rediscover the almost-distinctive style that his voice evokes, Harry Connick Jr.'s 'Only You' is a top pick. 9/10. Recommended, especially to contemporary jazz aficionados.

- Wonderful crooning voice from a man reminiscent of the classic Sinatra.
- Revival acts put the songs themselves and Connick’s distinct panache under the spotlight. Good exposure, as it opens up new listeners to distinctive classics such as ‘Only You’, ‘More’ and ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’.
- Exquisite album.

- Sometimes, Connick’s style goes overboard on some tracks, ruining the old-fashioned appeal of the songs themselves.
- Costs PhP 425. Still lower than CDs in the US, but still somewhat expensive for my taste.

Norah Jones' homey appeal shines even more this time around

Norah Jones distinctive singing style comes alive again in her second album, aptly titled ‘Feels Like Home.’

While critics continue to deride Ms. Jones’ singing, it’s the accessibility of her music that makes her popular with a significant variety of people. Even if her music doesn’t bring anything new to the table this time around, it’s perhaps the simple fact that she does what she’s extremely good at—singing wonderfully simple yet lovely songs, makes us love her even more.

‘Feels Like Home’ starts off easy with ‘Sunrise’, a country-themed song that runs for around three minutes. It’s a great tune, setting the pace for the rest of the songs in the album as most of the tracks in the album are slow, jazz-flavored country songs. While that may admittedly alienate a few of established Norah Jones fans out there, in fact, this album presents her musical tastes more accurately than her debut album, ‘Come Away With Me’, as most of the songs this time are her personal picks.

Of all the tracks in the album, the only track that ticked me off was ‘Creepin’ In’, which actually forced me to click on the forward/next button as I find it unpleasant. You may or may not like the album, but like what many says, “To each his own”, some may find what this album offers nice or bad. In the end, it’s all a matter of personal taste.

Like her first album, this one also seemingly needs a certain detachment to the things around you to appreciate things fully. The music literally grows on you, with you the listener appreciating her work only after a couple of hours listening to it.

Personally, I find “Feels Like Home” an improvement over what we’ve seen thus far from Miss Jones in her first album, “Come Away With Me”. While some may miss the jazz singer in her, the offerings of this album more than adequately make up for that.

In the end, another excellent addition to my burgeoning collection of albums. 9/10. Recommended.

- Norah Jones, baby! Lovely, lovely singing voice.
- Somewhat an improvement over her earlier works. A sign of good things to come from this lady.
- Overall, a nice easy listening album. Perfect for those slow afternoons or for unwinding after a long day’s work. Or when you’re stuck in Manila’s horrendous traffic. :)

- Country-themed. That may mean well to some, but some may find it equally disappointing. (I’m personally neutral about it.)
- A track or two may not jive well with some listeners.

In the end, I’m not disappointed with my two picks for this week, Norah Jones’ ‘Feels Like Home’ and Harry Connick Jr.’s ‘Only You.’ Both equally appeal to my musical tastes and, for now, has a special place in my heart, joining the ranks of other equally-good acts.


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