The Old and The Independent: Songs I Listen To

Well, I’m not really rebelling against mainstream music nowadays (although there are really several reasons to do otherwise). I still listen to Maroon 5, Adele, Drake, Sara Bareilles, Coldplay, Jason Mraz, to name a few. It’s just that I realized that there were and are better options out there, music being an infinite ocean of possibilities and genres. So I figured, if my generation serves me types of music I don’t really like, might as well go sail on oceans previously sailed on, and oceans rarely navigated on.

So with a little help of curiosity and flaky internet connection and some help from some people, I can say that I have set sail successfully on some new and some old oceans of music.


Justin Vernon, vocalist of Bon Iver has a very distinct style and sound to back his good lyrics. And among his songs – Holocene, For Emma, Forever Ago and his rendition of I Can’t Make You Love Me- Skinny Love is probably the catchiest. Vernon’s ball breaking falsetto and it’s very catchy chorus made Skinny Love a song that is hard not to like.

(Singer Birdy made a piano cover of this song, making it less ball breaking, more heart breaking.)


I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind

THE BRIGHTEST LIGHTS – King Charles feat. Mumford & Sons

This collaboration between London artists, indie musician King Charles and my favorite Mumford & Sons is a pleasantly written piece with influences of folk. King Charles has a lot of nice, indie sounding songs such as Love Lust and Ivory Road. Had I not seen Mumford on this track, I wouldn’t have checked it out. But, man, I was glad I did.


The brightest lights
Cast the darkest shadows,
And that’s where I’ll be found,
For what’s hiding by the morning
Will be chased by daylight’s hounds.


This track is part of the folk rock band’s yet to be released second album, Babel. Staying loyal to the band’s repertoire, this song is really raw and very well written. Also included in their sophomore record is the carrier single I Will Wait, which has an alternate version entitled Nothing Is Written.


So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
Cause oh that gave me such a fright
But I will hold on as long as you like
Just promise me that we’ll be alright

LEGO HOUSE – Ed Sheeran

Lego House is Ed Sheeran’s second big single following his emotional and well-written hit, The A Team. Although I sometimes find some parts of his songs a bit off, he has a knack for writing good lyrics. Save for the rap-like parts, Lego House is a pretty catchy love song.


I’m out of touch, I’m out of love
I’ll pick you up when you’re getting down
And out of all these things I’ve done I think I love you better now

WE DON’T EAT – James Vincent McMorrow

A beautifully written piece, especially the chorus, We Don’t Eat is one of indie singer James Vincent Mcmorrow’s better songs. Like most indie artists, McMorrow writes good lyrics and has a distinct sound and vibe. Like Bon Iver’s Vernon, he uses his falsetto.  Also notable is McMorrow’s most successful hit to date, Higher Love.


That we don’t eat until your father’s at the table
We don’t drink until the devil’s turned to dust
Never once has any man I’ve met been able to love
So if I were you, I’d have a little trust

BOY WITH A COIN – Iron & Wine

Samuel Beam, or Iron & Wine, has been around for a while, having released several records and compilations. The only song I know by him, Boy With a Coin has a very catchy tune and a very interesting MV.


A boy with a coin he crammed in his jeans
Then making a wish he tossed in the sea
Walked to a town that all of us burn
When God left the ground to circle the world


A song from the Scottish indie-rock band’s debut record, Costello Music, Whistle For the Choir is the band’s third single. The song is a very fun to listen to, very apt for a serenade, track about finding an irresistible girl. Also among the band’s songs I like are  Ole Black and Blue Eyes and the catchy Chelsea Dagger.


So if you’re lonely why’d you say you’re not lonely
Oh you’re a silly girl, I know I hurt it so
It’s just like you to come
And go you know me no you don’t even know me
You’re so sweet to try, oh my, you caught my eye,
A girl like you’s just irresistible

ADDICTED TO LOVE – Robert Palmer

This is Palmer’s most successful hit, with good lyrics and melody. Several artists have covered the song. Among them are Tina Turner, Westlife, and most recently, Florence and The Machine.


You like to think that you’re immune to the stuff…oh yeah
It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough
You know you’re gonna have to face it
You’re addicted to love

SUMMER OF ’69 – Bryan Adams

The only Bryan Adams song I really know is his 1985 hit ‘Heaven’. It turns out that ‘Summer of ’69’ is the single following ‘Heaven’, both from his fourth album ‘Reckless’. If not for the MTV Unplugged CD lying around our house, I wouldn’t have discovered this very easy-to-listen-to song.


Standin’ on your mama’s porch
You told me that you’d wait forever
Oh and when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

BRICK – Ben Folds Five

The 1998 hit of the now defunct Ben Folds Five band was actually about the band’s front man’s girlfriend and the abortion they had to do way back. With its sad  lyrics and melody and a very catchy chorus, ‘Brick’ is the bands biggest hit.


She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly
Off the coast and I’m headed nowhere
She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly

RICH GIRL – Hall & Oates

I know Daryl Hall and John Oates had quite a big following back in the day, and I might even be a part of it. Rich Girl is the duo’s first number 1 single back in 1977. The song is very catchy and straightforward, with a very endearing chorus. ‘Maneater’ and ‘You Make My Dreams’ are among my favorite Hall & Oates tracks.


High and dry, out of the rain
It’s so easy to hurt others when you can’t feel pain
And don’t you know that a love can’t grow
‘Cause there’s too much to give, ’cause you’d rather live
For the thrill of it all, oh

I’m ‘aaaarggh’ Pirate: The Good, The Bad, and The TV Shows I Watch

The past few weeks, I’ve been contemplating on the lack of so-called material to write about. Unlike before where I have several photos to post or I am enthusiastically reviewing FHM, I now am in a slump where I am not confident enough to blog about the things occupying my ever free life.

Then I remembered, there is something I really enjoy doing these past few months. I really enjoy this activity that I can spend hours and hours just doing this. And hey, I’m not even talking about being awesome, or being delusional. I’m referring to my love for watching TV series on DVD. Pirated, that is.

I know, as illegal as it is, there’s just too much to love about American TV series on boot-legged copies. And I also know that originals are better: with highly functional features, proper subtitles and 100% complete episodes. But dealing with life as it is, it definitely is quantity over quality.

Of course, I go for the sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory (covered all seasons, save for some episodes on the fourth as my copy got lost. like thieves crossing a pirate. Despicable), Modern Family (definitely funny to the core, especially Sofia Vergara and everybody else. Only thing funnier is me missing the 2nd season), and most recently, New Girl (I would also say 2 Broke Girls but I have no DVD for that. And I actually watched both series on TV. So…). And also, I watch shows in other genre like The Walking Dead and Falling Skies.

But other than those aforementioned famed TV shows, I also go for less generic, but definitely not of lesser quality, series. And I think that’s what I wanna talk about. TV series, what I like and don’t like about them. (I know I just sounded like a person on a children’s show, stating the obvious and shit)

1. Off the Map

No. of Episodes: 13

Off the Map is a medical drama set in the jungles of  South America. It’s actually my first try on watching a medical drama (no Grey’s Anatomy for me).  I never really considered it, since I have very low tolerance on gore, but I figured seeing internal organs, blood and different body parts in various levels of destruction isn’t that gory if it’s done with substance (sorry, Saw and Final Destination).

The Good: The South American jungle (which they shot in Hawaii), relate-able and well done characterizations, medical practice on its core (medicinal plants), Mamie Gummer, Rachel Lefevre, Español


2. The River

No. of Episodes: 8

The River is an American paranormal/action/horror/found-footage television series, according to Wikipedia. That’s too many a slash for such a short TV series. I was mislead buying this series. I thought this is going to be a scientific, biological shizz. Well, it’s from the creators of Paranormal Activity, hence the same treatment they did.  It showed promise on the first few episodes, but went from ok to bad as the episodes unfold. The scare tactics they used are just too overpowering that the plot got lost along their Amazon tour.

The Good: Puerto Rico and Hawaii (the filming locations), Paulina Gaitan, Episode 2, Amazon cultural and ethnic traditions and rituals

The Bad: taboo and cliche scare tactics (read: zombie breakout in the jungle), Amazon cultural and ethnic traditions and rituals bastardized

3. Once Upon A Time

No. of Episodes: 22 (S1)

It’s your fairy tales living and breathing the present, without knowing they were from the books. Set in fictional Storybrooke, where these characters were stuck after evil queen/mayor cursed Snow White.  Then comes along Snow White’s daughter, the savior, with her son she gave away for adoption, to bring hope to the whole town.

It’s a pretty interesting series, especially seeing the twists on the back stories of some well-loved characters.

The Good: Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White, Little Red Riding hood’s story, Rumpletstiltskin

The Bad: Too dragging for 22 episodes

4. Grimm

No. of Episodes: 22 (S1)

It’s a police drama with the usual suspects turn out to be creatures called Wesens, character’s from Grimm Fairytales. Lead guy Nick is a Grimm, hunter of Wesens. The series is really captivating on the get go, with a quick but not steep development on the first episode. It’s action, fantasy, supernatural and suspense in a not so generic way.

The DVD I got only has the first 14 episodes, with the remaining 8 episodes I try catching on Chase.

The Good: Monroe, the ‘creatures’ of Grimm, Portland, Oregon

The Bad: Somewhere mid-series, the plot got lost among cases.

5. Mike and Molly

No. of Episodes: 24 (S1), 47 (total)

Mike and Molly is a sitcom about two overweight lovers dealing with life with sarcasm, self-deprecating humor, wit and food. Well, if those don’t hit home for me, then I don’t know what would. The wit and the abrasiveness of both Mike and Molly really takes this show a notch nearer my probably fat covered heart.

The Good: More than Mike and Molly, supporting characters loud-mouth Carl, sarcastic Samuel and dimwitted, pothead Victoria add so much more to the dynamics.

The Bad: Mike Biggs’ thick accent, and, let’s admit it, the downsides of being heavy

6. Game of Thrones

No. of Episodes: 20 (S1-2)

Well, Game of Thrones is Game of Thrones. Medieval and fantasy and geeky… with knights and kings and wars and castles and incest and dragons and blood and nudity. Can’t get any better.

We’ll, my fascination came around during the second season. With the first being too distracting for my taste.

The Good:  Medieval and fantasy and geeky… with knights and kings and wars and castles and incest and dragons and nudity.

The Bad: The books the series was based from are slowly attracting me, and I still have yet to buy.

Well, there are real good things to get from illegal stuff, but on the flip side are really unsatisfying things (Like how the DVD copy of the series Touch has only 5 out of the 12 episodes). I just hope my pirate friends here can sail higher seas and have copies of Awake, Suits and Persons Unknown to trade with me soon.