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Category: Music

The 2nd Glee Hit List: 25 Of The Best, Season 2…

Let’s just get one thing out of the way. Season 2 of Glee was just a mess.

But still, I keep following every episode like a fool. I still love it like a dumbass. Why? QUINN FABRAY. One, the Quinn+Santana+Brittany trio are surely shaping into a favourite among my female ensemble (still way short of the One Tree Hill trio of Peyton+Haley+Brooke of course). Two, I still cling on to the hope that there will be another good episode since Furt. Three, why, the music obviously. It’s really always the music isn’t it?

It’s time to vote people. If Brittana does not work out…

Would you go for a Quinntana?

Or a Quinntany? Shit that hair is hot.

Answer – neither. I want a threesome in Season 3!

So, Glee has just wrapped up Season 2 with an episode that doesn’t feel like a finale, but I guess it’s Season 1’s fault for setting the bar so high with that climatic combo of New Directions’ Journey medley & Vocal Adrenaline’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”+Quinn’s delivery. Once again however – even with Quinn’s superb hair cut – New Directions lost, this time ranking 12th in the nationals. They blame the kiss, I blame the poor original duet by Rachel & Finn. But hey, just like the lovable (& now, smart?) Brittany said, we have another year together with the people we love, so let’s move on shall we?

Let’s get another thing out of the way. None of the Season 2’s music comes quite close to Season 1’s epicness. Still, music is still music. I’ve done this pointless list for pointlessness for Season 1 (+ 3 songs for Season 2) before here, so in line with that, these are what I personally feel are the best 25 performances in Season 2. Drum rolls…again.

25. “Landslide” by Holly Holiday, Santana & Brittany (S2E15 – Sexy)

My list kicks off with a love-hate song. This quiet, stripped-down performance was gorgeous. The only problem is, what is Gwyneth Paltrow doing barging in the middle annoyingly singing the lead, ruining this..um, “lebanese” love song? This really should have been a Santana-Brittany duet. Ahhhh, the frustration hurts!

24. “One of Us” by New Directions (S2E3 – Grilled Cheesus)

A very very tricky episode on religion was concluded very appropriately with Joan Osborne’s “One Of Us”, reflecting Glee’s tackling of  religion in a gentle & open-minded way. I only wished they made it longer on the show.

23. “Tik Tok” by Brittany & New Directions (S2E14 – Blame It on the Alcohol)

What? Brittany’s vocals were heavily auto-tuned? Sounds exactly the same with Kei-dollarsign-a’s original? I have no idea what you are talking about, my mind went blank the moment my eyes were hypnotized completely by Brittany’s choreography execution. Those shoulder humpings. The split. Everything was sublime…up till the throwing up of course.

22. “Welcome Christmas” by New Directions (S2E10 – A Very Glee Christmas)

So heart-warming, even Sue could not resist. Now that’s saying something. With Becky closing the sequence with some “it’s beaauttifull~” sigh-words, & the surprise gift for Artie, you have yourself a merry episode. Ok I still can’t get over the fact that they intentionally left this song out of the Christmas album, instead selling it as a single. Where’s the spirit of giving eh?

21. “Thriller/Heads Will Roll” by New Directions & McKinley High Titans (S2E11 – The Sue Sylvester Shuffle)

Whoever decided on mashing these two tracks up deserves a colossal hug from Lauren Zizes. Dig the whole costume & performance setup too. Michael wouldn’t have complained for sure.

20. “Isn’t She Lovely” by Artie with Finn, Sam, Puck & Mike (S2E20 – Prom Queen)

So what if this song was about a baby. When sung so sweetly by Artie for a girl so endearing like Brittany, this becomes top 20 material. It gets better when the guys join in to support Artie. This is old-school bro style. Brittany’s smitten reaction sealed this for me.

19. “Get It Right & Loser Like Me” by New Directions (S2E16 – Original Song)

Being Glee’s first foray into their own original music, at a stage like Regionals, it’s an accomplishment enough that the tracks didn’t suck. “Loser Like Me” was harmless bubblegum pop, & in “Get It Right”, you can’t go wrong with a power ballad sung almost too easily by Rachel. The reality is, competition song choices are supposed to blow your mind, not just sound average. Fortunately in some way, after their Nationals originals, you will feel this was way better. However, compared to Rachel’s solo stunner at Sectionals & the epic medley at Regionals last season, this is really miles off. Heck, you know something’s wrong when the best things from this season’s competitions are not the songs, but those enduring moments of Rachel & Kurt supporting each other from the stands for each other’s performances respectively.

18. “Just The Way You Are” by Finn & New Directions (S2E8 – Furt)

This episode was about Finn’s redemption in some ways, & he really shone through with moments like this. An odd choice of song as a dedication to Kurt, but still, who are we to complain when there’s just so much to love about everything in this performance, & episode as a whole, topped off with a special moment when a radiant Rachel pushed Kurt into Finn’s hands.

17. “Telephone” by Sunshine & Rachel (S2E1 – Audition)

The first of many toilet dates/duels between the two, this set the bar really high when Rachel decided to take on Sunshine with a Gaga number. Their facial expressions during the square-off were just top-notch stuff, culminating with Coach Sue storming in to stop everything with a bang…or rather, a “shut up!”.

16. “Stop! In the Name of Love/Free Your Mind” by New Directions Dudes (S2E6 – Never Been Kissed)

I always like it when Glee does mash-ups, & just like in Season 1, the mash-ups by genders did not disappoint (even without any performance-enhancing drugs this time around). The guys however scored big time here – they had every of the girls screaming & Beiste smiling at the end.

15. “Forget You” by Holly Holiday & New Directions (S2E7 – The Substitute)

Ahhhh, Gwyneth Gwyneth. This track made it to 15 simply because she completely surprised me with this. Extra points given because the whole Glee club chipped in to make this an extremely joyful sing-&-dance-along performance. Now if only Gwyneth stuck with this & didn’t continue to sing like another 1000 songs on the show, even daring to attempt Adele along the way.

14. “Raise Your Glass” by The Warblers (S2E16 – Original Song)

They f*cked the whole Kurt-Blaine first duet by choosing Hey Monday’s “Candles” (come on, that is so NOT the song for them!!!). I still cringe at the very thought of the whole fiasco. So, thank God when Blaine kicked The Warblers back into gear with this energetic Pink number. “Teenage Dreams” introduced us to Darren Criss, “Raise Your Glass” confirmed that he is a star.

13. “Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again” by Kurt & Rachel (S2E4 – Duets)

Rachel & Kurt together really is the mother of all duets. They don’t always bounce off each other so effortlessly (listen to their unspectacular “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”), but here, the two were just so natural that I felt like I was just seeing a Lea Michelle & Chris Colfer performance. Shucks, they got carried away with themselves, & yes, I got carried along too.

12. “Don’t You Want Me” by Blaine & Rachel (S2E14 – Blame It on the Alcohol)

Put the lead singers from opposing schools together, & a 80’s track modernized with synthesized beats, & you get a show-stopper. Make Blaine go all drunk & goofy-faced, & have Rachel prancing violently around in a horrendous-looking dress, & you get a surprisingly superb cover. Of course, it also helps that Blaine & Rachel share some awesome chemistry, vocally & physically.

11. “Valerie” by Santana, Brittany, Mike & New Directions (S2E9 – Special Education)

There are 3 things that were truly signified for the rest of the season in this particular number; 1 – Santana owned the season & Winehouse with her vocals. 2 – Brittany owned the season & the stage with her stunning dance moves. & 3 – you can never go wrong with a Mike Chang dance number too. Seeing Brittany & Mike flipping off each other on stage is almost better than a Brittany-Santana sex scene (I said ALMOST), & Santana nailed it with her raspy, edgy chops to save their Sectionals after Sam-Quinn’s feeble opener.

10. “Friday” by Puck, Sam & Artie (S2E20 – Prom Queen)

Now you know what happens when an excruciating, horribly-written song is done by Glee with less sound engineering – a really good song! They actually successfully gave enough credit to Rebecca Black’s original & mocked it simultaneously. It’s so brilliant that you could be forgiven for thinking that Black’s version was a parody of this instead. Besides, there are too many classic, memorable scenes in between this song – Santana’s animated expressions throughout, the crowd doing all the “Yeah!”s, the cute choreography, Brittany dry-humping a shocked Mike – but above all else, Puck’s “Whoa, WTF, seriously?” face expression when Sam sang about “tomorrow is Saturday, & Sunday comes afterwards” just killed it for me.

9. “River Deep, Mountain High” by Mercedes & Santana (S2E4 – Duets)

Santana & Mercedes, now what took them so long to put these two together? The two looked like they were having the f*cking time of their lives, singing the shit out of Ike & Tina Turner’s classic. You’d be left breathless & all sweaty after this fiery performance!

8. “Sing!” by Mike & Tina (S2E4 – Duets)

Mike Chang needs no auto-tune in this, winning everybody’s hearts with such an appropriately honest performance about not being able to sing. Of course, who better to complement him but Tina. Talk about playing to each other’s strengths! Hilarious & sweet at the same time, this was the true winner of the duets competition. This was no. 24 in my previous list.

7. “Sing” by New Directions & Sue Sylvester (S2E13 – Comeback)

I know I’m gonna get some real flak by saying this, but this MCR chorus anthem would have always sounded better with a full choir rather than just Gerard Way’s solo vocals. Glee really nailed this with their blazing energy & effort put into each line, & not even Coach Sue oddly appearing alongside New Directions & a misguided choice of outfits could stop this from becoming the epic anthem that it is. Not with Rachel looking freakishly possessed like that.

6. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by Kurt (S2E3 – Grilled Cheesus)

Tissues out. Beautiful, melancholic, & sensitively performed by Kurt, this could make any grown man tear up. Interface it with flashback scenes of a young Kurt with his dad & at his mom’s funeral & you’ve got one of those rare Glee jackpot moments. I couldn’t believe the young kid in the video was not Chris Colfer as a child! This was Kurt’s Golden Globe moment, & he seized it, & totally owned it.

5. “Teenage Dream” by The Warblers (S2E6 – Never Been Kissed)

The song that introduced us to those way-too-happy-&-gay-looking dudes of Dalton High, & the unstoppable charm of Darren Criss, who’s Blaine is actually that happy & gay. Strangely though, I don’t enjoy the song as much in its full single form compared to their shorter cut in the show. Still, the way they turned Katy Perry’s dull original into a sparkling refreshing cover deserves accolades. Quite the stroke of brilliance, really.

4. “For Good” by Rachel & Kurt (S2E22 – New York)

Can I just state the obvious? The best chance of winning any competition for New Directions is not another bloody Rachel+Finn duet, it’s putting Kurt with Rachel! These two are obviously the best match-up in New Directions! Are they all pucking blind (I mean deaf)?! Anyway, this was the sole winning moment in the season finale. It was just simply great to see Rachel & Kurt singing another Wicked epic, especially on an actual Broadway stage, hinting ever so obviously that the two are destined for so much greater things ahead. The moment Kurt starts singing, I had chills, & the closing was just incredible. This was the closest they ever got to their defining “Defying Gravity” spectacular.

3. “I Feel Pretty/Unpretty” by Quinn & Rachel (S2E18 – Born This Way)

The first duet between Quinn & Rachel turns out to be one heck of a genius stroke. It’s not easy to place Quinn’s vocals, which I call oddly-sweet, while my better half just labels it a stuck-nose voice. But TLC’s number (with a little help from West Side Story) served as the perfect platform suited for Quinn’s understated vocal uniqueness & Rachel’s brilliant restraint on her part. Yes Lea Michelle, I actually prefer you in this controlled, constraint mode; it resulted in the most outstanding duet performance of the season. Well, what are the odds that this is the best mash-up by Glee too, with the song’s lyrics providing personal meaning to Quinn & Rachel’s opposing side of their stories. Quinn’s “oh oh oh ohhh..” in the bridge still gives me goose bumps. FYI this is the most played-&-replayed Glee track on my iTunes. Fact.

2. “Dog Days Are Over” by Tina, Mercedes & New Directions (S2E9 – Special Education)

Glee’s first step into the indie world, & what better choice than Florence & the Machine. There are just so many great things about this performance. I always love it when the solos go to Tina, & she really seized it. Alongside her, Mercedes is as dependable as always. Then you have the whole New Directions crew jumping in & raising the roof with such enthusiastic, energetic, heart-felt singing. Now that’s the truly great thing when these things happen; when New Directions goes berserk & lets everything out – no robotic choreography, no audience being forced to clap, no Finn being forced to dance – just the members joining hands doing what they love most. After all the drama in this episode, the dog days may not have been over for them, but it was just a triumphant way of closing with this exceptional performance.

1. “Marry You” by New Directions (S2E8 – Furt)

This is no.1 simply because there was completely nothing missing in this, everything was perfect to the detail. Every Glee member took turns & had the chance to shine, Quinn outshone everyone with a flawlessly sweet section, the song choice was a fresh Bruno Mars track, the whole dance routine was adorable, the girls looked beyond beautiful in their red dresses, & I just love Kurt’s dad & Finn’s mom. Everyone was jovial & honestly, there was so much drama in Season 2, it’s just a relief that for once we could see New Directions truly having fun while performing a number with no pressure or burden hinging on their shoulders. Indeed, they really did look like they were having a jolly good time didn’t they? This momentous scene in Furt capped their best performance of the season in what was also among the season’s best episode (along with E18 – Born This Way & E20 – Prom Queen). You know they did their job well when you can’t even walk into a wedding without thinking about Glee!

Honourable mentions that didn’t make the cut are the awesome flash mob to the tune of “Barbra Streisand”, & of course, the hilarious but actually brilliant “My Headband”, “My Cup” & “Trouty Mouth”.

To compare this list with KV’s 1st Glee Hit List, click here.

There’s Just Something About The Other Glee Blonde

Hello imaginary people from across the cyberwires, physically or wirelessly. Mr. Fabray here is back with another Glee-raving entry. No, I’m not going to announce another petition for more Quinn screen time & solos. Nor am I going to moan about the complete lack of passion thrown into Sectionals & Regionals, or about the awkward overstay of Gwyneth Paltrow (one shot at Cee-Lo is bearable, but what the hell was she doing barging in between Santana & Brittany’s “Landslide”, or worse, mutilating Adele? Ok stop, I said I wasn’t going to moan…)

Although my preference is & has always been brunettes, everyone knows I’m totally into Quinn. She’s my no.1 blonde, as you can clearly read here in There’s Just Something About Q. In Glee & outside (Amber Heard is a close 2nd at the moment). But while she had a great plot in Season 1, clearly the writers have embarassingly destroyed any character development Quinn had in Season 2 (still goes around the school looking nothing less stunning though). Thankfully, the 2nd blonde in Glee has managed to step up.

Brittany Susan Pierce, you are undisputedly Season 2’s outstanding Glee character. Brittany has had numerous defining moments; from owning the dance floor through Britney’s & Kei$ha’s numbers to being a hottie who shines with superb dressing outfits. However, she will forever be known best for her klutzy, delightful deadpanness & her outrageous WTFF one-liners. There’s never going to be another such a lovable dumb blonde. With that in mind, I’ve compiled 66 of my favourite Brittany lines & moments to date, in no particular order of preference or episode. Get your Santana-WTF face on.

1. “Did you know dolphins are just gay sharks”

2. “I’ve lived my entire life in Britney’s shadow and I will never be as talented or famous. I hope you all respect that I want Glee Club to remain a place where I, Brittany S. Pierce, can escape the torment of Britney Spears.”

3. “I’m pretty sure my cat is reading my diary.”

4. “I’m Mike Chang”

5. “People think I went on vacation, but actually I spent all summer lost in the sewers”

6. “Coach Beiste didn’t touch my boobs. Truth is, I sort of want to touch her boobs.”

7. (After seeing Santana & Quinn fight) “Stop the Violence”

8. Will: “What’s a ballad?” Brittany: “It’s a male duck”

9. “Because my name is also Brittany Spears. My middle name is Susan, my last name is Pierce. That makes me Brittany S. Pierce, Brittany Spears.”

10. (After Rachel uses a metaphor of not strangling a little bird, but letting it fly, to describe her relationship to Finn) “Finn can fly?”


11. “I don’t brush my teeth, I rinse my mouth with soda after I eat. I was pretty sure Dr. Pepper was a dentist.”

12. “I thought heart attacks were from loving too much.”

13. (On Jesse) “Mr.Schue, is he your son?”

14. (To Santana) “I’m mad at you … but you’re still so hot.”

15. (On why she likes Mr. Schue) “Mr. Schue taught me the second half of the alphabet. I stopped after M and N. I thought they sounded too similar and got frustrated.”

16. (Points to breasts, shakes fingers – “no” – at Santana)

17. (Gives a t-shirt to Santana with ‘Lebanese’ written on it – instead of ‘Lesbian’)

18. “If we lose, we should throw possums.”

19. “Puck’s like the dumbest person on the planet, and that’s coming from me.”

20. (Looking at Jacob Ben Israel’s afro) “It looks like a Jewish cloud”

21. Will: “What’s a duet?” Brittany: “It’s a blanket.”

22. “I’m paralyzed with fear. I’ve been here since second period. I really need to pee.”

23. Will: “Who is Christopher Cross?” Brittany: “He discovered America”

24. “The key is to use your curling iron in the bathtub to keep you from being burnt.”

25. “I wore a tank top today because I thought it was summer. Nobody ever taught me how to read a calendar.”

26. (After Brittany announces she’s expecting a baby) Will: “Wait. Brittany have you been to a doctor yet? That’s the only way to be sure.” Brittany: “I don’t need to go to a doctor. I just need to look outside my window. Three days ago, a stork built its nest on top of my garage. I’m not stupid. I’m pretty sure it was getting ready to bring my baby.”

27. (On the counselor) “She is the one they made me talk to when they found out I was keeping the bird in my locker”

28. (Mr Schue writes ‘Love’ on white board) “Ok guys I have one word for you” Brittany: “Is it love? I’m totally gonna graduate now!”

29. “Is God an evil dwarf?”

30. Rachel: “I want my allowance back!” Brittany: “You can’t. My uncle lost his job and he couldn’t afford food for his goat, so I spent the money on it. Well, sorta. The goat just ate the money.”

31. “Sometimes I forget my middle name.”

32. “It’s the Glee club with the football team… it’s like a double rainbow. A zombie double rainbow.”

33. Quinn: “There’s a fair amount of the pot calling the kettle black now.” Brittany: “That’s so racist.”

34. “Did you get a leg transplant?”

35. Will: “What’s a ballad?” Brittany: “It’s a male duck.”

36. (Will then pulls out a hat) Brittany: “I bet the duck’s in the hat.”

37. Brittany: “I really like when we make out and stuff.” Santana: “Which isn’t cheating because?” Brittany: “The plumbing’s different.”

38. “Most teachers think that by cutting class, I might improve my grades.”

39. “Rachel, I’m gonna give you some tough love right now. You’re not a trendsetter. When people look at you, they don’t see what you’re wearing, they see a cat getting its temperature taken, and then they hear it screaming.”

40. Will: “Who can tell us what an anthem is?” Brittany: “The bottom of an ant’s pant.” Will: “So close.”

41. “I don’t wanna die yet. At least not until One Tree Hill gets canceled.”

42. “Remember: even the smallest envelope is heavy for an elf.”

43. “Last year I left my stocking up over Christmas vacation and an entire family of mice starting living in it. Their Christmas gift to each other was rabies.”

44. Artie: “We all know you can do it.” Brittany: “I know that I can’t. Just like I know the cricket that reads to me at night is totally stealing my jewelry.”

45. (On tater tots) “They look like deep fried deep poop.”

46. Kurt: “What are you going as for Halloween?” Brittany: “I’m going as a peanut allergy”

47. Artie: “I thought I was over someone, but I still think I have feelings for them.” Brittany: “The Clintons?”

48. Tina: “Last week we were too sexy, this week we’re too religious — we can’t win.” Brittany: “Now I know how Miley feels like.”

49. “Whenever I pray, I fall asleep.”

50. “Please don’t pull out all my teeth. I’ll look like an adult baby, but with boobs.”

51. Mr. Hummel: “If things get serious, use protection.” Brittany to Kurt: “Does he mean like a burglar alarm?”

52. “You’re pretty much the only guy in this school I haven’t made out with because I thought you were capital G gay. But now that I know you’re not, having a perfect record would mean a lot to me. Let me know if you wanna tap this.”

53. “I’ve been here since first period. I had a cold and I took all my antibiotics at the same time and I forgot how to leave.”

54. “I don’t know how to turn on a computer.”

55. “The way to get a man to follow you forever, take his virginity. Madonna wrote a song about it.”

56. “When I pulled my hamstring, I went to a ‘massage-onist’ (misogynist).”

57. Brittany: “You’re a really good dancer.” Finn: “Thanks, but my feet weren’t really dancing.” Brittany: “That was the best part.”

58. Santana: “Having sex is not dating.” Brittany: “If it were Santana and I would be dating.”

59. Mr. Schue: “Brittany, take it away.” Brittany: “Take what away?”

60. Rachel: “Where’s Quinn?” Brittany: “Probably down at the mall looking for elastic waist pants.”

61. “So, Hairography. It works best when you pretend like you’re getting tasered. So you just move your head around and pretend like you’re spazzing and stuff. You guys, it’s like cool epilepsy.”

62. “Your hands are really soft. Seriously, they feel like a baby. Now I know what it’s like to date a baby.”

63. Carl: “I will put you under anesthesia, you won’t feel a thing.” Brittany: “Like roofies?”

64. “Someday, I’m gonna go to Paris and visit the oeuvre.”

65. Santana: “Everyone knows my job here is to look hot.” Quinn: “My baby hormones make me moody.” Brittany: “There’s so many words!”

66. “I’m more talented than all of you. I see that now. It’s Brittany…(pauses) bitches.”

So if you think reading these make you snort like mad, you should watch her execute those lines in her trademark deadpan nature. Oh don’t we all just looooove her!

References: http://glee.wikia.com/

What I Learned From Sucker Punch: Music Is The Hotter Babe!

Sucker Punch is the movie of the century!

Okay I’m getting way over my head now. It is obviously not. But boy were they not joking when the posters claimed that “you will be unprepared”. If you follow this blog you would know that the author is inherently guilty of excessively-promoting & overly-anticipating this movie since  Gawd-knows-when. Yes, I totally got sucker punched – but even more by its unbelievable soundtrack. But let’s leave that to a later part of this.

PART I: THE MOVIE

Firstly, permit yours truly to just dive in straight to the fact that Sucker-Punch-is-the-most-visually-stunning-gloriously-exploitative-mess-of-a-movie-I’ve-ever-had-the-gleeful-opportunity-to-enjoy. (Breathe, breathe…)

It is every fanboy’s wettest of wet dreams & most fantastic of fantasies. You’ve got 5 women executing sublime moves & blasting bullets in clothes that are barely clothes. You’ve got snarling oversized samurai warriors zombies, dragons straight out of Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire, Nazi cyborgs, a giant Bunny robot driven by an Asian hottie while still chomping on her lollipop, & shiny robot soldiers.

What is there possibly not to salivate over?

This will give your brain & senses an exhilarating yet exhausting endurance run like you probably never quite experienced before. The first 10 minutes feels like a long MTV video with a slick rendition of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”, but it was so engrossing. In fact, the last time I felt this stimulated by a movie opening scene was The Social Network. You are either going to just love it, or completely hate it. But if there’s one thing everyone will agree, it will be about how astonishing the visual thrills are. & nobody’s gonna complain about the girls. These are not your typical bombshells, for there is an enormous amount of talent in the acting arsenal in the likes of Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone & Emily Browning, who were all outstanding. Then you have the veteran, imposing elegance of a Swarovski-earring-wearing Carla Cugino, with Oscar Isaac in excellent bad-ass form as Blue.

Oh, remember the part about what is there possibly not to salivate over? I’ve got one. Vanessa Hudgens. Bleh. She was the sole sore point in this big screen roller-coaster. For that, I’m eternally grateful that they didn’t decide to pollute the soundtrack with her lack-of-vocals.

Now about the plot. Hmmmm, now this is going to be a tricky one. I don’t know whether if this is just me, but all the beautiful, adrenaline-rushing effects didn’t quite hide the fact that the storyline was actually quite deep & emotional! Yes you read me right. Critics will disagree, I’m very sure, but I actually felt there was something in the plot, & emotional (the last word in the dictionary I would have expected to be associated with Sucker Punch) it was! The story was presented amongst sequences of imaginary, completely outrageous, bamboozling action scenes that added no concrete plot value whatsoever, amassing in the most spectacular mess you’ve ever seen. & that’s a good thing by the way.

Leaving me breathless from all the euphoria is one thing, but sticking deep questions into my head is actually flabbergasting. What was real? Was the whole whorehouse world another layer, & the battle scenes a dream within a dream Inception-style? Were the 5 girls just a representation of characters in one single girl? Did Rocket’s death symbolize something deeper that was related to Baby Doll’s sister’s death? Was Baby Doll dancing actually something else in the real world that was more traumatizing? What was Vanessa Hudgens bloody doing in this movie? Why is Rosmah’s hair getting bigger & bigger? Ahhh, questions questions.

My favourite characters: Rocket & Sweet Pea!

I am at a complete loss of superlatives to lavish upon this movie; what I’m gonna say is just dive into the hall & enjoy this entertainment blockbuster, this is 300 with boobs. I’m a fan of Digital 2D now, so I’m going to have to say that it is mandatory for this movie in particular, so you will walk out of the hall like you’ve just got brain-electrocuted & delightfully-lobotomized. Or like you’ve just been force-fed with more weed than you could ever imagine.

PART II: THE MUSIC

This is the part where I got totally sucker punched. In the balls.

I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I declare the 9-song compilation, which is a remix of classics, one of the best soundtrack in the 25 years of my life. & trust me, my ears have heard a lot. You see, film music & soundtracks used to be just a sidekick to the main show. Slowly it became a crucial anatomy of a movie, sometimes even turning out to be bigger than the movie it was supposed to be accompanying. There are soundtracks that go well with the movie, where a good one will remind you of the scenes in the movie, & there are other soundtracks that stand well on its on. Sucker Punch’s is one of those rare gems that does both extraordinarily well.

The director himself has his imprints all over this with the roaring mash-ups & savagely-synthesized rock feel of the tracks. But you know what’s even more astounding? My favourite tracks, 3 of them in fact, were sung by Miss Baby Doll, Emily Browning herself. Now this is beyond spectacular. Kicking the album (& the movie) off is a haunting remix of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” that played throughout the sensational slow-mo opening sequence of the movie, a version I reckon will even send Marilyn Manson to delirium heaven. Having the actual main actress singing melancholics of “Asleep” & “Where is My Mind?” during those more emotional scenes produced results that I’m very sure even director Zack Snyder couldn’t possibly visualize. There I was thinking that there is another indie artist to be discovered, only to read in utter bewilderment the name Emily Browning in the singing credits. While being the most delicate & muted tracks in the album, the enchanting vulnerability Browning gives to “Asleep” & “Where is My Mind” actually produces the most intensely orgasmic results. ORGASMIC, that’s the word!

You also have the haunting vocals of Bjork & Emiliana Torrini, which adds a whole different dimension, & everything culminates quite nicely with “Love is in the Air” by Carla Cugino & Oscar Isaacs, just like in the credits. My favourite track has to be “Where Is My Mind” which pairs Yoav with Browning. Carla Azar’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” is starting to get heavy play on my iTunes as well – the interesting last quarter that hops into symphonic strings before resuming its rock anthem is quite genius.

This is one soundtrack that is destined for greatness. If the movie does not turn out to be a cult classic, this soundtrack will, if, that is, it already hasn’t.

PART III: THE GIRLS, & OTHERS

Now comes an interesting section. We all love the 5 girls – that’s the main 4 with Carla Cugino, not Vanessa Hudgens – keep up with me will you. Did you know that Amanda Seyfried, Emma Stone & Evan Rachel Wood were actually the first choices for the role Baby Doll, Amber & Rocket respectively? Let’s see how they measure up against the final chosen ones.

Baby Doll: Emily Browning vs Amanda Seyfried

Hmmm, both have that big-eyed cute effect. While admittedly, Seyfried has enough curves to make the movie feel like Pamela Anderson directed it, I actually loved the steely vulnerability Browning brought to Baby Doll. But what clearly proved Browning is a clear winner would be the undiscovered talent she had in her stunning vocals. So it’s Browning for me, wise decision Mr. Snyder!

Amber: Jamie Chung vs Emma Stone

Looks vs Zesty Talent. Chung’s Amber had not much to do aside from looking ridiculously hot sucking a lollipop & lording the skies in a bunny robot & big-ass planes, so Jamie Chung for that matter scorched that part. But it’s hard to resist imagining what an always-exciting Emma Stone could have brought to the table, especially after seeing her in Super Bad, Zombieland & her epic turn in Easy A. I think she would have totally evoke a whole different fiery dimension into the role of Amber, so my vote goes to Emma.

Rocket: Jena Malone vs Evan Rachel Wood

Shit, this is the hardest to judge. Malone’s Rocket was my favourite babe among all, she was just so feisty & adorably pixie-ish as the younger sister to Sweet Pea. Evan Rachel Wood on the other hand has one of the sweetest gorgeous characteristics around, & she does seem spot-on as Abbie Cornish’s younger sister. Personally, Rachel Wood is my favourite over Malone. But you know how this could have been perfect? Evan Rachel Wood as Rocket, & since Malone is just so versatile, she would have made a sublime Blondie, simply because Vanessa Hudgens should never have been considered at all.

“Who honors those we love for the very life we live? Who sends monsters to kill us, and at the same time, things that will never die. Who teaches us whats real, and how to laugh at lies. Who decides why we live, and what we’ll die to defend. Who trains us, and who holds the key to set us free. It’s you. You have all the weapons you need. Now fight!”

Never Thought I’d Live To See Hayley on Cosmo

& looking supremely fine.

Boy has she come a long way from the petite girl who appeared on YouTube with a big voice, sitting crossed-legged wrapped around in a blanket, singing “Pressure” by the side of the road.

Skylar Grey@Holly Brook

Wow. Look at her go!

I remember back in 2006, when this blissful, heavenly voice featured in the chorus of Fort Minor’s “Where’d You Go” was first blessed upon my ears, & I went “Who is THAT?”

Fort Minor feat. Holly Brook – Where’d You Go, from the video

Then I heard “What I Wouldn’t Give” on some TV episode. & I went, “it’s gotta be that chick again!”

It soon brought me to Holly Brook Hafermann.

I still remember the conversation I had with Chris that time.

Chris: “If you could download any album now, which would it be?”

KV: “Holly Brook’s.”

Chris: “Really?”

Next day, thanks to him, I had the gloriously poignant, massively under-rated “Like Blood Like Honey” on my iTunes. Do read how I shared the joy in my previous blog here.

4-5 years on & another EP album (“O’ Dark: Thirty”) in 2010, & now she’s everywhere. With a different name.

All her featured & writing credits. Last image above is a video snap of her side project in Deep Deep Sleep’s “Erase You”.

& with a Grammy performance like that with Eminem yesterday, this should be a good year for her. Fan base is already spiking after that stellar show-stealer.

Dear Skylar, I love all this behind-the-scenes-in-the-shadows work. Now, would you please record another solo album for us? I’ve waited too long for another “Like Blood Like Honey”.

A duet with Hayley Williams would be kinda spectacular too, if it’s not asking for too much.

Paramore: Today & The Yesteryears

2004, Purpledoor Festival

2005, when “All We Know is Falling” arrived

2006, slowly their fan base grows bigger with frequent touring

2007, the Riot year

2008, The Final Riot

2009, in the studio

2010, MTV Video Music Awards

Today.

Enough of all the complications & chaos. I love their music, & that’s all that really matters.

So, bye guys!

Things will never be the same, yes. But it’s time to move on.

My Winter Song

This is my winter song.
December never felt so wrong,
cause you’re not where you belong
inside my arms.

This is my winter song to you.
The storm is coming soon
it rolls in from the sea
My love a beacon in the night.
My words will be your light
to carry you to me.

Is love alive?

Is love alive?

“Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson, 2008

Blessed Christmas. A Happy New Year. Peace out all. =)

The Glee Hit List: 25 Of The Best, So Far

Update: The adorable “Marry You” performance from S2E8 storms straight into no. 16 13, kicking out Vocal Adrenaline’s “Rehab” out of the  original 25!

Today finds me sitting wondering what on earth is Glee Season 2 all about. Is there a story somewhere there? Sure, Episode 8 was a refreshing rebound, but still, I think they were supposed to be focusing on seriously winning sectionals & regionals for this season, but guest stars are threatening to take over the show. Not enough with pushing aside the Glee members, they even tried to get the ever-lovely Gwyneth Paltrow to attempt to replace Mr. Schuester! You see, it’s been 8 episodes in so far for Season 2 & not a single background storyline is in sight. Heck, at this point in Season 1, they already reached the point of Quinn’s pregnancy going public dramatically among others.

Greetings earthlings, it’s that time of the month again, no not that time, but the time for me to compile pointless list of my favourite pointless something-somethings for my own pointless personal fun of pointlessness. I think you get my point.

This time it is going to be about Glee. See, what I’m going to do is to share with you’all my personal extremely-biased list of 25 of the best performances from the series to date, which means from Season 1 all the way to one third of Season 2. Drum rolls please.

25. “Loser” by Puck, Finn, Sandy, Howard, Terri & the Sheets-n-Things employees (S1E21 – Funk)

This was so quick but absolutely fun. Face it, Puck rapping with a guitar makes a killer move, & when the whole gang of random people just jumped in for the chorus, it was hilarious!

24. “Sing!” by Mike & Tina (S2E4 – Duets)

Only 3 entries from Season 2 made it into this list thus far, & one of it is this delightful surprise from Mike & Tina. This is what I would call a true duet – bringing out the best through each other’s strengths & weaknesses. The attempt is sweet & an absolute joy to watch. Quinn & Sam’s lovely duet may have been chosen as the winner, but it was Mike & Tina’s episode-stealer that remained most memorable. Loved how it totally caught everyone off guard.

23. “I Say A Little Prayer” by Quinn, Santana & Brittany (S1E2 – Showmance)

There was no way Mr. Schuester could have denied entry to the Glee club for the 3 Cheerios with such a seductive, tantalizing performance like that. The swaying, the oh-so-cute put-on-my-make-up choreography, & with Quinn looking like that…hmm, no way in hell.

22. “Like A Prayer” by New Directions (S1E15 – The Power of Madonna)

This was always going to be a hit episode when the Queen of Pop took center stage (especially channeled hilariously through coach Sue Sylvester), but the closing performance with the whole choir was just tremendous. What was extra special was when the solo batons were passed to Finn, Kurt & Mercedes – it reached heavenly proportions. Okay I admit, Kurt’s small part stole the show.

21. “Alone” by April Rhodes & Will Schuester (S1E5 – The Rhodes Not Taken)

If there was an award for best guest star of Season 1, it would go to Kristin Chenoweth hands-down. She’s like a small ball of boundless zany energy. Besides, if you can pull-off this legendary number by Heart, it was a sure win. Mr. Schuester’s vocals did pretty well to blend in too by the way.

20. “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” by Kurt, Tina, Brittany, & the McKinley High football team (S1E4 – Preggers)

While I almost fell off my chair when this episode started without warning with the sight of Kurt, Tina & Brittany in body-tight suits attempting to pull-off Beyonce’s ball-busting dance moves, I was laughing (in a good way) by the end when the whole football team used these moves to win the game. Hilarious & effective.

19. “Sweet Caroline” by Puck & New Directions (S1E8 – Mash-Up)

I think this was the first solo by Puck, & shit was it a surprise. Not the fact that a Neil Diamond classic is being sung by a mohawk punk, just surprised that it was that good. As previously admitted, the Puck-with-a-guitar angle is a real lady-killer.

18. “Last Name” by April & New Directions (S1E5 – The Rhodes Not Taken)

Here comes Kristin Chenoweth again to save the team after the overbearing Rachel abandoned them for greener pastures. Besides, I like the whole cowboy costume & choreography. I loved this performance more than “Somebody to Love” that followed, especially after they gave Rachel center stage again right after she came back. Bleh.

17. “Teenage Dream” by Dalton Academy (S2E6 – Never Been Kissed)

The 2nd entry from Season 2 is from the Dalton boys & Kurt’s new muse, Blaine. The moves were cute, but the a cappella  (no matter how heavily engineered) arrangement elevated Katy Perry’s dull song to almost-great levels. Loving it!

16. “Keep Holding On” by New Directions (S1E7 – Throwdown)

Who would have ever thought an Avril Lavigne song could be this emotional. With Quinn’s pregnancy blown wide-open to the school, the team rallied behind Quinn through this song. This was the most difficult to place in the list because musically this arrangement was a mess. However, Quinn’s complication that was channeled through the song & the emotions evoked made it perfectly beautiful. Ending the song with Quinn’s literally breathtaking exhales was genius.

15. “Lean On Me” by New Directions (S1E10 – Ballad)

This was a perfect example of exactly what we loved about Glee – when it was still all about heart, the storyline drove & expressed the songs that were performed; not the other way round like in Season 2. After the emotional heart-wrenching scene between Quinn & her parents, fellow Glee members gathered to perform Bill Wither’s uplifting classic to let Quinn & Finn know they always have Glee club to depend on. While musically it was really good, what made it extraordinary was seeing everyone coming together with such passion. Plus, a smiling teary-eyed Quinn never looked more lovely & radiant. Teehee~this list is seriously looking more & more biased!

14. “Gold Digger” by Mr. Schuester & New Directions (S1E2 – Showmance)

Sometimes the best performances are during rehearsals, especially performed with such natural fun. The moment Mercedes kick-started it diva-style, I already had my head bopping to it. Whatever Mr. Schue slightly lacks in rap, he makes it up with his smooth dance moves. Miles better than Kanye’s, not even the awkward gamboling of Finn could distract us from this gem.

13. “Marry You” by New Directions (S2E8 – Furt)

Yes, this is the last-minute addition in this list which forced itself straight into no. 13. This episode was a back-to-form rebound of sorts for Season 2 with some drama substance (Kurt’s bullying, Sue’s mom). Not all was gloomy as the wedding offered the chance for New Directions to remind us they know how to show us a good time. Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” was a refreshing choice as the uplifting walk-down-the-aisle performance, & the whole routine was adorable & zesty! Plus, the girls were alluring in their red dresses – Santana looked dangerously sexy, Quinn’s sweetness was demure, & Rachel for the first time in some time was not annoying & actually looked rather pretty! Overall, this is by far the best performance & the best episode of Season 2 as of now.

12. “Papa Don’t Preach” by Quinn & Puck (S1E11 – Hairography)

Rarely given the chance to shine on her own, the acoustic move pairing Quinn’s rather peculiar-sweet vocals with Puck’s guitar was surprisingly awesome in the most subtle way, but Puck & the 3 horny kids weren’t the only ones who couldn’t take their eyeballs off Quinn’s sexy moves. & to think she can achieve such feverish level of hotness while she was already pregnant & in one of those loose pregnant-women tops. No I’m not as biased as you think I am, this was actually superb. Sing it again!

11. “Poker Face” by Rachel & her mom, Shelby (S1E20 – Theatricality)

The acoustic version done by Gaga on one of her best tracks is covered almost perfectly by Lea Michelle & another good guest star choice, Idina Menzel. The whole Gaga episode was fantastic & this track, done accompanied only by Brad on the piano was a luminous breather. The diva pairing of mom & daughter had just the right amount of sentimentality balanced with vocal prowess.

10. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Vocal Adrenaline (S1E22 – Journey)

We finally arrive at the top 10, & again it kicks off with a competitor. First of all, I utterly can’t stand Jesse’s screeching vocals & his asking-to-be-punched expression. Casting that aside, Vocal Adrenaline performed this was such gusto & elaborate arrangements you could hardly blink. Interlacing the god-like Queen anthem melody & lyrics perfectly with Quinn’s painful baby delivery experience was intense, climatic & exhilarating stuff. Top-notch.

9. “Bad Romance” by New Directions females…& Kurt (S1E20 – Theatricality)

This was easy. The Glee females, all dressed up in Gaga attire, & Kurt team up to cover the definitive Gaga number. Enough said. Nice to see Santana being given the chance to kick some vocal ass too – especially when she totally nailed it.

8. “Take A Bow” by Rachel, Mercedes & Tina (S1E2 – Showmance)

Remember back when Rachel was still not that annoying & we haven’t had the chance to get tired of her? Well, this performance would be the perfect reminder. Lea channeled teenage love & anguish through this number flawlessly, setting this miles above Rihanna’s effort, both emotionally & vocally. You could almost feel the pain Rachel felt after seeing Finn getting back together with Quinn just after he kissed Rachel. Aww, the sweet painful teenage crush.

7.  “Imagine” by New Directions (S1E11 – Hairography)

After the mad “hairography” performance by the “hairy” New Directions members, the deaf glee club members performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” with sign languages & “talking” by the lead. Feeling foolish, Mercedes & New Directions joins in mid-way & together they finish off the song with both singing & sign language. Damn this almost felt like a cheap shot, & you could also view it from another angle where New Directions blatantly butted-in & stole the show, which I’m sure wasn’t the intention of the Glee camp. Anyway, I felt it was poignant & it almost could have left me with a little tingle of tears in me eyes.

6. “Don’t Rain On My Parade” by Rachel (S1E13 – Sectionals)

Just when all hopes were lost, we finally realize how important Rachel is when she steps up to steal the show. Say what you like, her solo performance was more than a kick-off, it was vocally mind-blowing. So much so it totally overwhelmed the whole team’s performance of  “You Can’t Always Get  What You Want” after that. Too bad, it was really like The Rachel Berry Sectionals Show rather than New Directions winning it. Rachel’s star never shined so bright.

5. “The Journey Medley” by New Directions (S1E22 – Journey)

I’m referring to the whole Regionals performance of course, that first had Finn & Rachel doing “Faithfully”, before the whole gang knocked up a couple of gears with the energetic mash-up of “Any Way You Want It” & “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” before ending most appropriately with “Don’t Stop Believin'”, the one that started it all. I loved the fact that they gave Puck & Santana a section of the solos. What sets this apart from Vocal Adrenaline’s more elaborate & choreographed-to-every-detail winning performance was the heart & passion pouring through New Directions as they performed, especially relatable since we have been with them throughout their entire journey till Regionals. Not as great as the the mid-season finale, but still, this was classic Glee stuff.

4. “My Life Would Suck Without You” by New Directions (S1E13 – Sectionals)

What made the mid-season finale the better “finale” was not their Sectionals performance, but this dedication to Mr. Schue from the Glee club members. Performed with amazing exuberance & enthusiasm, the Glee members showed selected sequences of previously performed moves from the first half of the season songs, making this a wonderful half-season recap as much as a show of their love for Mr. Schue. It also reminded us of what a terrific season Glee has been, & a promise of more to come.

3. “True Colours” by New Directions (S1E11 – Hairography)

Episode 11 was a fairly weak episode, but it had 3 outstanding songs, & this was the best of the lot. I loved the sweet simplicity of it, having the members sitting down in plain casual multi-coloured tees, singing about honesty & togetherness in diversity. Especially with so much drama going behind in the story at that point. Besides, Tina gets the solo, which is an extra sweet bonus. Yes, simple is sometimes better.

2. “Defying Gravity” by Kurt & Rachel (S1E9 – Wheels)

The ultimate Glee diva showdown between the unbelievable vocals of Kurt vs the impressive range of Rachel, the song choice could not have been more spot-on. On an emotional level we were definitely rooting for Kurt, but you can’t deny the prowess Rachel had shown. Having Kurt ending by going intentionally off-tune was a real dramatic kick, which left it with a more resonating affecting end.

1. “Don’t Stop Believin'” by New Directions (S1E1 – Pilot)

Well, was there any doubt of which track would reign supreme? It was always going to be very first performance by the  6 original core members of New Directions (don’t forget Artie who was on guitars!) singing in front of an empty auditorium before Mr. Schue came in. It was the perfect song choice about hope & not giving up, just when Glee Club looked doomed from the start & Mr. Schue was on his way out. I don’t care how overplayed it is by now, this is the song started everything, inspired all, & pretty much defined everything Glee was all about.

Pa pa pa pa pa pa pa pa…

The Top Ten Paramore Tracks You Just Gotta Hear LIVE

First of all, let me start by saying that ALL of Paramore tracks sound superb live – make that the highest of superbness.

Since I’m still having massive difficulty overcoming my depression & post-trauma of missing Paramore’s concert that was held at my own backyard-country because I was away at sea (especially after noticing that it looked better & had a longer track list compared to their Singapore gig), I thought it was appropriate to vent out a self-serving pointless (or it may be un-pointless, depending on what & who) Top Ten list of Paramore records that must be heard live. & mind you this list is force-ranked – in case you are clueless, Paramore are phenomenal live, & Hayley – exceptional. But what fun would redundantly listing all their songs be, let me try to squeeze ten out & see how it looks. So here goes.

1. Let The Flames Begin

As if the original song wasn’t already aggressive enough, the live version has the most ridiculously amazing intro & outro. With Josh & Taylor grinding the guitars before Zac hammers his drums for the intro, to Hayley going berserk in the “Father, I am ready” outro, this song could not have been more appropriately titled. This, live, brings you to a whole different dimension. Extraordinary, insane stuff.

2. My Heart

This is the ultimate live acoustic song for true fans that were there from album one – we know it, & we know who we are. When Hayley sings her heart out to us with just acoustic guitars accompanying her, I feel the sincerity & the exclusiveness, something only loyal fans since the early days of their journey (when Hayley still had no make-up but looked ever so sweet, & Josh was still using a Yamaha APX) can relate to. Yup, in other words, harsh as it is, it always sounds like Hayley is not singing to those Post-Twilight fans. Oh, going live means sans the studio screaming is an extra bonus.

3. Brick By Boring Brick

Messy, confusing lyrics & melodies but with power-packed fun layered with some of the most interesting riffs, it’s an extra bonus to see & join Hayley & co to the “bada ba bada ba bada bada ba ba bada ba ba”s, ending with the bang-est of all “ba”!

4. The Only Exception

This song grew on me really really slow, I’d be honest. But in Singapore, this song brought me close to nirvana proportions. The perfect “darken-the-stadium-light-up-your-handphone-and-sneak-a-kiss-on-your-loved-ones” song, this is one live track any fan & non-fan can sing along to. I mean, the chorus lyrics do not get any easier than this. &, it just shows that Hayley does not need to reach for the peak of her vocals all the time to be just as mesmerizing (just like her show-stealing feature in “Airplanes”).

5. Misery Business

I love the lyrics, I love the energy, & I love the adrenaline rush of this, even more live! It’s the track that really got them off anyway, so it would be a sin to not include it here.

6. Crushcrushcrush

This is strangely a little understated rock-wise, & it takes a little time to grow on you, but the bridge is too catchy. Once Hayley starts with the “Let’s see those rock horns!”…euphoria. Goes really well pure acoustic too.

7. When It Rains

This is another track that was just waiting to be done acoustic live. My favourite was one they did at an open park stage, with light-blue-top Hayley on keyboards, Josh on acoustic guitar, with back-up from Jeremy & Taylor halfway. Hayley sang perfectly, & when the video cut to some shots of the couples in the crowd kissing & hugging each other, this became a real classic to me.

8. Pressure

This is pure classic mainstream rock from the very beginnings of Paramore. Heavy enough for the masses, yet brilliant when done amateur acoustic (clue: watch back the video where they recorded just by the street of passing cars)

9. For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic

Probably the track that offers the most catchy melody & chord progressions, & hearing all those delivered live the way Paramore does it is just sublime.

10. That’s What You Get

The last to go into the Top 10 was a hard choice, it was between “All I Wanted”“Careful” & this. But “That’s What You Get” remains one of the best tracks ever recorded from Paramore & is my all-time favourite. You’re gonna have a riot (or hard time) jumping to the  majority of the syncopated rhythm, but the chorus & bridge just screams for a sing-along don’t they?

Okay, I had hoped doing this would make me feel better.

It failed.

I am a Freakin’ PARAWHORE & I am Going to Miss All of This

I am officially depressed.

Gonna scream my lungs & balls off at the sea tonight.

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