“free wired” album review

It’s been a very long time since I last wrote up any sort of review. What used to be a staple of my blogs back in the AsianAvenue, Xanga and Livejournal eras slowly faded out since I moved my blog here. To re-introduce it, I thought it only made sense to set it off with Far East Movement’s new album, “Free Wired”.

Now before I begin, let me just make it clear that I acknowledge everyone is entitled to their own opinions, so this review is strictly my personal opinion. Before you agree or disagree with me, drop by your local record store to pick up your copy of “Free Wired” and have a good listen…then we’ll talk ;)

Overview A lot of people only recognize FM by their success of “Like a G6” and don’t realize they’ve been around for a long time. Unless you’re familiar with their previous work, it’s natural to expect Free Wired to be an album full of dance tracks that have the same kind of impact as G6. You’d be surprised to learn that isn’t the case. Free Wired offers quite a variety of teasers for your ears. It’s feel good music that just…well, makes you feel good.

[1] Girls On the Dance Floor I’m glad they put this track on the album because it’s a song that’s extremely significant to their success. It’s been around for a while already so I’m not going to spend too much time talking about it.

[2] Like a G6 Another song that’s been around; it’s one I’ve listened to repeatedly for almost a year now. What can I say…it’s only gone platinum and #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100! If you haven’t heard it yet, you must be living in a cave.

[3] Rocketeer I had seen a small clip of them recording this song in the studio earlier in the year, and just from hearing “up up here we go” I said I had to hear this song. Sure enough, it’s become one of my favourite songs on the album. Different from your typical uptempo FM style, it’s a nice “love song” that’s a bit out of the norm. I like the fact that the lyrics are well written and easy to understand.

[4] If I Was You (OMG) When I first heard the name of this song, I was worried that it was going to be somewhat of a knock off of Usher’s “OMG” (I was never crazy about it). Once I heard it, I breathed a sigh of relief. The beat was definitely more FM style. And the wonderful thing about this track is not only did they get Snoop Dogg on it, but they actually have him singing!

[5] She Owns the Night I quite like this song. For once I just can’t seem to put my finger on why I like it though.

[6] So What? To be honest, I didn’t like this song during my first listen. When I failed to skip it while playing the whole album a few times over, it started to grow on me. The beat is catchy, though not quite the same way as G6.

[7] Don’t Look Now I LOVE this song! I can literally play it repeatedly for hours and still not get sick of it. When I first heard about a collabo with Keri Hilson, I was skeptical. I’ve been a fan of Keri’s and the music on her album was great. But all the collaborations that weren’t on her album led to disappointment (at least for me) so I was fairly worried that this one wasn’t going to work out either. Luckily it turned out nicely and, judging by the feedback, it looks like a lot of people are bumpin’ this track. I really like FM’s playful lyrics and I think Keri’s voice worked perfectly on this easy-going tune.

[8] Fighting for Air A mellow track, but it just has this way of capturing your attention. It has more of a melody compared to the other tracks. The only thing that bothers me a bit is the panning at the beginning of the song (where the sound is juggled between the left and right speakers). I like how the idea was used, but the execution of it just feels a tiny bit off to me. Unless you’re listening to it with headphones though, it’s barely noticeable.

[9] White Flag This song didn’t do much for me at first, but again it grew on me with time. For some strange reason, it reminds me of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”. I’m not too crazy about it, but it’s easy listening.

[10] 2gether I prefer to hear this song performed on stage with all the high energy and excitement, as opposed to through my headphones.

Overall I give it 8.5/10. Anyone who is newly introduced to FM should be able to easily enjoy it. I think the eclectic mix of sounds on the album allows everyone to find at least one song that they like. As for those who have been following FM over the years like myself, you’ll like it regardless. I loved their “Animal” album (it’s still my ALL-TIME favourite cd) because I liked every single track on there, so that’s pretty hard to top. But once I learned to approach Free Wired with an open mind, everything was A-OK.

There’s nothing I really dislike about the album, but I will admit that I do kinda miss the old FM sound. Songs like Get That Money, Fetish, and Lowridin’ were among my ultimate favourites from their “Animal” album. And if we go further back, I’m still listening to songs like Knock Knock, Boomshake, For the City, and Sapphire Blue. I’ve included them on the playlist below if you want to check them out.

quick update with exciting news

Exciting news #1: Far East Movement has officially hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 with their single Like a G6!! Not to mention the single also went platinum the day their album was released. Huge congratulations to FM! Extremely proud to be reppin’ them :)

Exciting news #2: For all you Russell Peters fans, he will be at our store for a book signing and to promote his soon-to-be-released book, Call me Russell.

Wednesday, October 27th @ 7pm Chapters John & Richmond…see you there!

far east movement touch down in tdot

The later half of my crazy week wasn’t quite as eventful as the first half – I didn’t exactly have to bail anyone out of jail again or anything. BUT there was ONE exciting event that tops everything else, and that was seeing FAR EAST MOVEMENT!!!

I think I was just as excited about seeing them live this time as I was the first time they came to Toronto. It’s just too bad that I was in the midst of crazy busy weeks both times I went to see them perform. First it was having to work through the G20, and this time it’s just a long restless week that spans 14 days. Although my memory of that night is a bit hazy, I do remember having an amazing time. FM killed it on stage (like always) and had everyone screaming. I took close to 300 pictures, but the majority of them turned out blurry. One of these days I will learn to enjoy the show instead of focusing on taking pictures. …Nah, that’s never going to happen lol

Late into Posner’s set, the home boy Danny and I went over to meet FM hoping to get our cds signed. I hadn’t been feeling well that day, and with everything that had gone on all week I just had a bad feeling that things weren’t going to work out. I guess that’s why I was extremely surprised when Kev Nish spotted me and recognized me while I was standing ’round waiting for everyone else to be done with them. I assume he recognized me from Facebook? lol

Funny thing is my intention on tagging the FM guys in pictures on Facebook had always been to let the people looking at the pictures know who these awesome guys were by linking to them. They’re busy people and, with thousands of fans, I just didn’t expect them to ever remember me. Thus, you can imagine how completely surprised I was when Kev Nish not only recognized me but also brought up the fact that I had picked up 10 cds and thanked me for it. By the time he mentioned my blogging about them, I was thoroughly impressed.

The fact that it was Kev who remembered me made it even more special because he has always been my favourite; for years I have always thought he had a natural talent for writing rhymes (he’s got the creative hands). I also think he has a unique voice that suits the stereo well. And from the many videos of FM I have watched on YouTube, he seems extremely passionate about his music which is something I really admire.

To my surprise he autographed my cd to my alias “Franny”, when not once had I mentioned my name in our brief exchange of words. It was nice that he actually remembered me…well, maybe the online me. But anyway, all 4 of them are cool. They took the time to sign a couple cds for me, which I was very thankful for. It was one of those moments in life where you can catch yourself smiling inside and just think WOW, this can’t be for real! That was definitely the highlight of my long and tiring week.

Things are finally starting to slow down a bit so I can catch my breath. I’ll be running on low battery until my day off on Thursday, which will be used entirely to recharge. And when I say low battery, I mean “with the red light flashing” type of low battery. I know I’m coming down with something, but I must say my body’s pretty good at suppressing colds until I actually have the time to be sick. Here’s hoping I make it through the next two days at work.

mid way through an epic week

This has been a crazy EPIC week. Let’s see…in the past 5 days I’ve been to 2 live music shows, helped bail someone out of jail for domestic assault, loaded up on the newly released Far East Movement album, and enjoyed two lunches with two of my friends. That’s all mixed among work. But we’re not done yet. I’ve still got Mike Posner’s gig tomorrow night (with Far East Movement opening for Posner), as well as my friend’s birthday dinner on Saturday. Eventful week indeed.

On Monday night, my homie Danny and I went to see David Choi at the El Mocambo. We’d been waiting for this show for months so we were pretty stoked about it. We didn’t get there super early to line up like some of the other kids did, but I wasn’t going to sweat it. Usually I like to be early in order to get a good spot at the front near the stage. This time though, it wasn’t about the pictures. I just wanted to enjoy David Choi’s live performance because he is such a great musician. There was a lot of tip-toeing involved where random Asians in the crowd who were particularly tall would get in the way of my view. But aside from that, I had a really good time just letting my soul drift away with David’s voice and guitar for a full 2 hours. I LOVE his music and his sense of humour.

He ended his set with my two favourite songs. The whole crowd was singing along with him to “That Girl”. Then he got a bit emotional mid way into singing “By My Side” and couldn’t finish the song, so the crowd sang it to him. It was one of those moments where you just want to run up to him and give him a big hug. But like he said, “Men don’t cry…unless you’re alone…or your dog dies.”

After the show, we waited in line for close to an hour and were one of the last ones to meet David Choi. I shook his hand, told him he was awesome, asked him to sign my cd to my name, and then took a picture with him. The woman who took the picture for us snapped it super close. Even David said, “WOW, that was REALLY close!” haha But we were only allowed one picture each so I couldn’t re-take it. Oh well. It was good times nonetheless, and he seems happy in the picture :)

Tuesday was a VERY BIG day. It was the day of Far East Movements “Free Wired” album release. I popped over to HMV during my break in the morning to grab myself two copies. Even though I had heard most of the songs before and had already been playing them for a while, I had to show some physical support by picking up a few copies of the disc. I’ve already picked up 10 copies as of this afternoon. The tracks on the album are pretty [damn] good. I’ll do a review next week when I have more time.

sometimes i like to feel pretty

My body is thoroughly exhausted and every single inch of me is aching. But besides that, I’m feeling GREAT! It’s unusual for me to be saying that; I’m almost always stressed or worrying. This week has been really good though. I think it has something to do with the change in work environment. I’ve very quickly adapted to the new store and I’m enjoying it a lot. Perhaps I should give credit to a book I read and highly recommended years ago called Who Moved My Cheese.

Or maybe it’s the big windows and the high ceilings. I find that watching the sun light up the city right in the core of downtown Toronto gives me a really nice feeling inside and it starts my day off right. I’m eating a bit more regularly now too! Even though my days at work are often physically draining, I find that I always leave work feeling happy. And that’s exactly how I like it.

It seems I’ve been spending my days either working or sleeping at home. Occasionally I’ll meet up with a friend or two, but squeezing in that “me” time is also really important. I like to pamper myself to relax, so I usually do my nails with a cup of tea next to me. Recently, my friend Anna recommended this nail polish to me and ever since I tried it I’ve been IN LOVE with it. It’s the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure collection. The brush is wonderful and helps the polish glide on smoothly. It dries quickly and has a nice shiny finish. At $8.99, it’s a bit cheaper than some of the other ones I’ve used in the past (i.e. OPI, Chanel, MAC, essie). Shoppers had them on sale this week for $4.99 so I picked up the 3 shown in the picture below. From left to right: Raisin the Bar (320), Shell We Dance? (160), and Purple Pulse (470).

So my eventful week of MUSIC is arriving very soon. It kicks off on Saturday with my friend’s gig at the Hard Rock Cafe. You may remember him from a previous post of mine. Paul goes by the alias, The Identity Crisis. If any of you are going to be downtown on Saturday night, swing by and check him out! He’s quite the entertainer! hahaha

letting go is the hardest part

I’m a very dedicated person. When I like something, love someone or enjoy doing an activity, I always give it my all. Often times, if I’ve chosen to dedicate my time and effort to something, it’s because I know it’s what I want to have or want to do. You can say I have a very strong connection with my heart in that I always (well, almost always) know what I want.

Chapters Bayview was a big part of me. To me, it was never just a place that I went to work and got paid. I had established a connection with it. In my early days at the store, I was at a point in my life when I was extremely unhappy. The store provided me with an escape. Working would take my mind off of school and my misery at home. It was a place I could run to where I genuinely enjoyed my work and could forget about everything in my life. It gave me what I wanted most, and that was happiness.

My first day at the new store was not as great as I thought it would be. From being one of the oldest employees at one store, I became the newest employee at another. I had to rediscover where everything was placed and learn a new way of doing things. There were new faces to remember, new rules to get used to. And even though the work was generally the same, it was also very different. I couldn’t understand why I felt so unhappy because these were all things I was excited for. Then I realized that above all else, I missed the people I worked with at Bayview immensely. The sense of sadness had overshadowed all the excitement, and I couldn’t help but wonder why I made the decision to leave the place I was happy at.

The truth was, when I decided to leave Bayview I wasn’t happy. I wanted challenges, but all it gave me was frustration. I wasn’t satisfied with my performance anymore. It had come to a point where I did my work so well I didn’t even need to think about it everyday at work. I was constantly on auto-pilot. If the opportunity for a change didn’t arise, I probably would have stayed just because I enjoyed the company of my friends at work. But the opportunity was there. I didn’t want to turn it down. When I realized I was only remembering the good times and forgetting about the bad, I told myself I had to let go. Let go of everything I had at Bayview and start creating a new life here. I had to…there was no turning back.

By the end of my second day, things had already gotten better. I had gained my pace and was starting to become familiar with everything at the new store. The people were welcoming; I didn’t feel out of place anymore. I had even started to enjoy what I thought I would dread most – the extended morning commute. It’s actually quite soothing to sit on the train in the early hours of the day. I’ve even started to enjoy my walk from the station to the store.

Perhaps the hardest part is already behind me, but I know inevitably there will be times when it will be tough and I will once again question why the decision was made. The important part is knowing that no matter how you look at it, it was the right decision and there is more good than there is bad.

I feel like once again, I’m in a happy place.