Music Review: Alejandra O’Leary

Goodies from friends (L-R): Craig Lancaster's short stories, Rita Chu's plushies & Alejandra O'Leary's album

What a refreshing voice to listen to; Alejandra O’ Leary is a Michigan-based artist with musical influences from the Beatles. I’m sure there are other artists that influence her style, but, as I listen to her album, “Broken Mirror Baby”, I get the Beatles vibe.

“Broken Mirror Baby” was released in September 2011 and is Alejandra’s second album. I had the pleasure to interact with her a lot via Twitter, so I know she is a hard-working and sweet person.
Below are my album notes:
1. @ the club – The song starts out innocently enough with Alejandra’s crisp vocals; in fact, the song almost appears like a happy one. Listen to the lyrics and you’ll realize the sad theme of a man cheating on his girlfriend.
2. K.Y.O. – I wondered what the title of the song meant, since I hadn’t seen that acronym before. The song starts off with a nostalgic guitar medley, making me think about 1960s rock bands. As the song’s chorus comes along, you’ll discover what K.Y.O. means. Clever!
3. When Will They Learn? – This song is a little more laid-back/casual from the first two. Sounds like a song from the 1980s, which I like.
4. On Your Dime – First Beatles-reminiscient song of the album. A little sunshine, a little melancholy.
5. Connect with Me – Also Beatles-reminiscient. Love the casual ballad feeling of the song & the guitar solo in the middle (this part DEFINITELY made me think of the Beatles). A little sad to realize the woman is an alcoholic.
6. Broken Mirror Baby – LOVE THIS SONG. It is my favorite of the album; a good mix of retro and modern feel. The bridge really keeps me hanging onto the rest of the song. This song is good for when you’re angry with a significant other or ex.
7. Horses – Synthesizers, commence! You might think it’s a completely synthesized song, but Alejandra and her band jump right in after the opening. I like how she incorporates “hold your horses” into the chorus.
8. The Habit – Upbeat and blunt ending to the album. “You’re not fooling no one!”
Although the album is short and sweet, I love it: just the right number of songs to enjoy. Would like to see a few more songs on the next album, if time permits!
Overall, I love Alejandra and her songs. I look forward to seeing her career blossom and hopefully meeting her in-person one day.
For more information & free song samples, visit Alejandra’s website: alejandraoleary.com

Equation: Music + Writing = Focus

Since I have been working on essays lately (for graduate school applications), I have found myself only able to focus when I listen to certain albums on my iTunes. In general, these albums are all-around good for writing of any sort (my novels, short stories, and essays):

1) Dir en grey – Withering to death.
2) Dir en grey – UROBOROS
3) Dir en grey – VULGAR
4) Lady GaGa – The Fame
5) Drip – Identity Theft
6) La Roux – La Roux

I’m most able to concentrate and get my work done with Dir en grey albums, though. I can’t quite explain it, but I’m under the impression that there’s some sort of algorithm that they use in their album track lists to make people zone in (or zone out). I’ve found that the three albums listed above have served best in my writing endeavors, though.

For the longest time, I thought I could only focus on writing/doing work with classical music on. Guess I was wrong!

Unexplainable: Michael Jackson-related incident

It’s been a couple days since Michael Jackson passed away, and all the world/blogosphere is still buzzing away about the death. It’s still very hard for me to believe that the man died at the still-young age of 50; I remember growing up listening to his music and watching old music videos of the Jackson 5 on VH1. My siblings and I used to aspire to learn all the dance moves and found ourselves garbling together the lyrics of songs such as “Dancing Machine” and “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”.

The point of this entry is not simply to remember Jackson, but to also present a strange incident that occurred to me on the morning of the 25th:

It was just a normal Thursday morning for me; hopped onto the bus, took my 40-minute commute downtown. I crossed Market Street and was walking towards the office building when, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a character dressed up strangely: the man was wearing a Michael Jackson-esque outfit, similar to what Jackson wore for his “Thriller” video. At first, I thought the guy was just dressed up weirdly and I shrugged it off as being “Oh, this is San Francisco; I’ve seen weird characters before.” But then, I studied the man’s outfit a little longer, and I realized that, in fact, he was intentionally dressing up as Michael Jackson, with the single white glove and everything. I didn’t study the man’s face too long; this whole little incident only took probably a minute out of my time that morning. It was 8 AM PST.

Michael Jackson was taken to the hospital around 12 PM PST. He died around 3 PM PST.

So, then, how did that man know? What was the purpose of that man dressing up as Michael Jackson so early in the morning? Did he somehow know? Was he deemed a “crazy man” but, in actuality, has psychic powers?

I hadn’t even thought much of that morning incident until the news broke of Jackson’s death and then, suddenly, that image of the man from the morning came back to me, and I felt myself growing spooked.

I don’t know if I’ll ever know what that man had meant by the outfit, but it sure gave me something unexpected to ponder upon.

Toy Soldiers Music Video

Tonight was an interesting night; my friend’s friend invited us along to participate in the filming of indies band Toy Soldiers’ newest music video.

I am probably not allowed to reveal too much from the video, but in short, we were dancing on an old, decorate school bus and just having a good time. I wish I had dressed up a bit more, but then again, I was not even aware of participating in the video until 15 minutes before the filming began.

The filming took a total of two hours or so; the song was pretty cool to listen to, even after a billion times of playbacks. Hope to see the finished work sometime!

KDFC World Tour 2008

Lately I have been listening to the local classical radio station, KDFC. This week seems to be the “World Tour 2008”, where they pay three pieces either from or about a certain country/landmark/area. The program has been fun to listen to, since they include sounds of landing at an airport or arriving by sea. It certainly does make me want to travel again….

Anyway, while they run this program during the day, there are three chances to call in and name three locations to win a dinner and enter to get a chance to win airfare to the destination of the winner’s choice–anywhere in the world. I had been trying to call in yesterday and today, but I kept getting the busy signal. I would love to win the airfare to travel wherever I want to go…I would really like to go to Brazil or Wales or Germany right now to meet some friends.

I guess there’s still a chance over the next couple of days to call in since this program lasts until Friday. How do I get through to become the twelfth caller though….