i’m gonna live my life…

website metricsI know we’ve got a lot of catching up to do since I’ve neglected this blog for a while. I’ve been working a ridiculous amount this month and have been getting sick a lot. Had I not been sick for a few days, I would have only had 3 days off in the month of February. Besides work and being sick, I’ve also been focusing on writing for my new blog. Here is the link to Her Story if you are interested.

So February is what I call Winterlicious month. This year, I was only able to make it to two restaurants. My first Winterlicious dinner was at a restaurant in Yorkville called Crème Brasserie. The food was good, but the service we had could have been better. There were 5 of us and they pretty much mixed up what each of us were having every single time our food arrived at the table. Considering it wasn’t very busy at the time, I didn’t think that was acceptable. With that said, I wouldn’t mind going back there some day simply for their food so long as the service improves.

I had the Roast Cornish Hen with confit pork belly, caramelized onion, fennel, spaghetti squash, walnut and cranberry wine jus. Not the best cornish hen I’ve had, but it wasn’t bad. For dessert, I went with the Chocolate Crepe filled with strawberries, bannanas, and caramel. It’s rare to see crepes on the dessert menu for Winterlicious, so I had to try it.

My second Winterlicious restaurant this year was one that I had been to many times before. Jump, located at Commerce Court, is actually one of my favourite restaurants in the city. I love the atmosphere there and the service is very consistent.

Due to my love for crab cakes, I had to have the Canadian Rock Crab Cake as my appetizer. Served with fennel & watercress slaw, honey mustard dressing & chipotle remoulade, it did not disappoint.

As for entree, I had the Ontario Lamb Cacciatore with cipollini onions, tomato, butter beans & Parmigiano-Reggiano crusted polenta. It wasn’t amazing, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

My friend, Tommy, had the Grilled True North Atlantic Salmon with warm spinach, organic sprouted grains & mushroom salad, potato crisps & lemon aioli. Upon trying a piece of that salmon, I would have to say it was better than my lamb.

Another highlight of February was cooking pho with my friends Adrienne & Robin, as well as their friends Andrew & Vince. I’ve always known how to make pho but never actually took part in making it. This was my first time. After hours and hours of cooking and waiting for the broth to be ready, we were finally able to sit down for dinner at half past midnight. Considering pho is not easy to make, I think we still have a lot of room for improvement, and it will probably take a few more tries to perfect. However, our combined efforts definitely deserves extra points :)

While we waited for the broth to cook, we watched a movie to kill time. I was quite pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie “50/50″. Initially, I thought a movie about a guy getting cancer would be a bit depressing to watch, but it turned out to be quite a comedy. The fact that Seth Rogan is in the movie should have given that away. I liked the fact that the movie moved at a quick pace and there was rarely a dull moment. There were a few scenes where it reminded me very much of how I felt when I had a tumor scare two years ago. I recall what it felt like going for my MRI and waiting to get results. Even the doctor in the movie was very much like my neurologist; he also spoke very quickly into a recorder at the beginning of my session. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this movie if you haven’t yet seen it.

Last but not least, I want to share this new Far East Movement song with you all. Released today on iTunes, “Live My Life” is an up-beat track that saw my favourite music group, Far East Movement, collaborating with the infamous Justin Bieber. I don’t particularly care for Bieber’s vocals on this track, but I must admit that this is possibly the best collaboration that FM has done if looked at from a marketing standpoint. Check it out and see what you think!

time to catch up

I’m back!

First and foremost, thank you everyone for your birthday wishes. As you may have noticed, I’ve been on a blog hiatus for nearly 3 months. Been working like a mad woman while riding a crazy emotional roller coaster all summer. What I’ve been dealing with has inspired me to write about some things that come from a deeper, and possibly darker, part of me. You can expect to see some of that in the upcoming months. For now I’m just going to do a quick photo blog of the past 3 months and share a few songs that I’ve been bumpin’ recently.

I remember when I was young, we used to have a lot of family get togethers. As I got older and my extended family grew bigger, it seemed like those get togethers became more of a rarity; we would see each other either at a cousin’s wedding or a funeral of a family member.

Going along with that trend, our family came together for the first time this year at my cousin Jennifer’s wedding. It was a really beautiful wedding. That’s some of the family (from my mom’s side) in the above picture. Most of the kids are missing from it, but I’m sure you can already tell how big the family is. I had a lot of fun dancing with the whole family at the end of the night, especially when “Like a G6″ came on and everyone on the dance floor was singing to it :)

Click here for the full album from the wedding.

Later in July, my uncle from Hong Kong came to visit for a few days. While he was in town, I took the family to Big Daddy’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar. It was my first time there, but I’d heard great feedback about the place and have wanted to try them out for a long time. Now that I’ve been there, I can HIGHLY recommend Big Daddy’s both for its food and service.

We all ordered from the 3-course prix-fixe menu and were quite satisfied with our selections. I had the Seafood Gumbo to start and the Seafood Fettuccine. Both were pretty good. I think it was my parents’ Big Daddy Seafood Salad that stole the show though. It not only looked good but tasted good too. I think I’ll be trying that next time I’m there.

My uncle loves oysters so we had two orders of them. They were also really good, and I absolutely LOVED having the tray of 6 different house-made sauces to choose from.

While my friend Charmaine was back in town from Vancouver, we managed to make time for a nice dinner on the patio of Joey Grill & Lounge. We had wanted to go there last year when she was here visiting, but Joey’s was pretty new at the time and the wait was an hour long. Thus, we ended up at Glow instead. Since we were there this time on a weeknight, we didn’t have to wait at all. It was really nice catching up with Charmaine and my brother, Edison.

As for the food…the set of Sushi Cones were filled with tempura prawn, avocado, spicy mayo and cucumber.

The Beach Salad consists of mixed greens, quinoa, fresh strawberries, avocado, candied pecans, goat cheese & lemon poppyseed dressing with grilled chicken breast. I HIGHLY recommend this salad because it is tasty, healthy and refreshing. It might actually top my favourite salad in Toronto, which is the Grilled Tiger Shrimp Salad at Joe Mama’s.

This was Chinese dessert night with Adrienne and Robin. We had driven around uptown looking for a place for a durian shake (which we eventually did find at First Markham Place), and then came here for dessert. Mmmm…black sesame paste dessert :)

I talked a bit about seeing family at the beginning of this post. Well, I guess we did pretty good this year because we actually had a gathering outside of a wedding/funeral. It was a good turn out for a BBQ at my cousin Louis’ place. There was plenty of food and definitely good times spent with family.

My cousin Lisa brought her dog, Milton, which everyone absolutely adores.

Tropical fruit platters to top it off!

To be honest, I didn’t have very much time to spend catching up with friends this summer due to the amount of time I was scheduled to work. Perhaps the only time I did get to kick back and chill was in mid August, when Anna and I went over to Kat’s after work one day to catch up and celebrate her birthday. Girl’s night began with cheese…

…then steak with veggies…

…and a yummy Dufflet Hazelnut Cakelet to finish the night. If you’re into cakes, definitely give this a try. We picked this one up from Loblaws, but I’m sure you can find them at other supermarkets as well. Dufflet does not disappoint.

So you all know I love Far East Movement. Obviously I knew they were in town opening for Lil Wayne’s concert back in August. I also made sure to catch their performance on Much Music’s New Music Live, which saw them doing awesome reflips. Since I was in the middle of a crazy work week at the time, I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the show to physically see them perform. I was all set on NOT seeing them while they were in town this time when a funny thing happened.

I was at work the afternoon before their show when I happened to look out our store window just as the guys of Far East Movement were getting into their ride outside our hotel! I literally jumped up from my seat and ran to the window when I saw them. What were the chances that they’d be staying in our hotel of all places?! And what were the chances I’d happen to look out the window just in time to see them?! Crazy.

I later heard from a bellman that he was there when the guys and their entourage checked in the night before. He said he wasn’t sure if they were FM, but knew they were artists because a photographer was taking pictures of a guy who was leaning against the wall texting. Normal people don’t have pictures of them taken while they’re texting, right? lol I giggled when Kev Nish later uploaded the above picture onto his Facebook :D

Alright, enough typing for one night. On to the music…


oh blissful days

As mentioned in my previous post, May was an extremely stressful month for me. On a few occasions I actually thought I was going to lose my sanity. Luckily I have some really good friends who never fail in picking me back up when I’ve fallen. Thanks to them, I’m able to slowly regain my pace.

One of my favourite things to do in the summer is go for walks along the lake and watch the airplanes take off and land at Billy Bishop. Wednesday afternoon saw me doing exactly that. After work, I went for a long walk to the lake with my co-worker friend, Steve. He is like my shrink most of my the time, so it was nice being able to sit under the sun and just get out a lot of the things that have been stressing me. However, I did go home with a sunburn on one arm, one side of my neck and both legs. Reminder to self: WEAR SUNSCREEN NEXT TIME!

I’ve always said that my friends are very important to me, so being able to spend time with them is crucial to my well-being. Since I’ve been fairly busy over the past 2 months, I haven’t had much time to see my friends. I’m glad I was able to finally do some catching up with some good friends over the course of this past week, like lunch with Edison & Kevin last Saturday, dinner @ Moxies with my Bayview friends on Tuesday, and a fantastic night out with my good buddies on Friday.

My plans for dinner with Adrienne, Robin and Danny on Friday night were quite last minute, and I was surprised that we all happened to be free that night for what seemed like an overdue dinner. I think the last time all four of us hung out was for Winterlicious back in February (Summerlicious is just a month away!). We wanted to get in some patio time since it was so nice outside, so we met up at 10 Dundas East and winged it from there.

Considering it was a Friday night, we figured patios everywhere would be packed. The battle was between Milestones (est. 25-30 minute wait) and Jack Astor’s (no given wait time); we waited to see which would have a table for us first. Milestones ended up beating JA by about 5 minutes, with the wait being about 20 minutes. Not too bad for a Friday night, eh? The patio at Milestones was alright. Its view is nothing compared to what Jack Astor’s has to offer, but the company more than made up for it :)

After some catching up over dinner, we walked up the street to Bar + Karaoke Lounge near Yonge & Gerrard. It is possibly one of the best karaoke bars in downtown Toronto, at least from my knowledge. The rooms are surprisingly clean and they have a good selection of songs. We spent 4 hours there singing our hearts out. By the time I got home, it was 5am. The last time I got home THAT late (or early, depending on how you want to look at it) was last June when Far East Movement was in town for the very first time. Yeeeeah, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a good night out :p

Speaking of Far East Movement, it has been confirmed that they will be in town again to perform at this year’s MMVAs! Ha, didn’t I call that one in this post? It’s going to be a crazy amazing MMVA. They’ve got FM and Bruno Mars in their line up! You know I’m going to be glued to my tv on the night of June 19th :D

fm x cooking x bm

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about Far East Movement (or blogged in general) so I’m going to start off with them. They were in town for a few days prior to their gig on Tuesday, which I thought was interesting that they happen to be playing at Kool Haus. When I met them last June during their first visit to Toronto, we were chatting with Kev after their show at Tattoo and he had asked if artists usually play at clubs like that one. We told him some artists play at clubs; those who’ve gained more popularity will hit up Kool Haus. At the time, not too many people in Toronto had heard about FM yet. In fact, I think it was shortly after that night when “Like a G6″ blew up on the radio and everyone here started bumpin’ their music.

It’s evident how far they’ve gotten since my conversation with them 10 months ago. They were guests on MuchMusic’s New.Music.Live (formerly known as Much On Demand) yesterday. It’s funny ‘cuz I remember my one and only time on that show was during the summer of ’09. It was Keri Hilson’s first visit to MuchMusic, so of course I wanted to be there. I actually remember sitting in the audience and thinking…”Far East Movement’s going to be here getting interviewed one day. I can feel it. It’s just a matter of time.” And now look! I really regret not being able to be on the show to witness that moment in history, especially considering I worked literally half a block away from the building just hours ago. But there wasn’t much I could do about being 2 years over the age limit to be in the audience of NML. Boooooo to that! Seeing FM’s success with their Free Wired album, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they return to Toronto again in a few weeks for the 2011 MMVA. Hopefully I’ll catch them next time they’re in town.

Be sure to check out FM’s video to their new single. I would, if I was you…O.M.G.

So how did everyone enjoy their long weekend? I had a full 4 days off which is practically unheard of in my world. After working 40 hours in 4 days last week, I really needed some time to catch up on some sleep and rest. However, I did spend my Saturday afternoon grocery shopping and cooking for my family. Even though it’s rare to see me cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I actually quite enjoy cooking when I get the chance to. It’d been over a year since I last cooked so I was feeling a bit rusty. Besides accidentally pouring in too much basil into the pasta, I think my rather simple meal turned out okay.

I used a recipe that my co-worker gave me to make a Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes, and I used another recipe from another co-worker for my favourite Cranberry BBQ Sauce Meatballs. Of course we had to have some veggies, so I steamed up some broccoli and carrots. Voila!

For dessert, my cousin and I enjoyed one of my favourite Italian desserts: tartufo. Although it was store-bought, it was still quite heavenly.

I’ll admit most of my long weekend was spent sleeping and lazing around. I truly believe those lazy days are (sometimes) necessary. And the perfect song to play on one of those days is… lol

*Beauty product review post will be coming soon. I’m sorry for the delay!

the best (and worst) of 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I don’t know about you but I am SO excited that 2011 is here! 2010 was such a crappy year for me that I couldn’t wait for it to be over. And when I say crappy, I MEAN crappy! Lest we forget those two months I spent at home in bed with a left eye that suddenly stopped moving. Becoming extremely unhappy with work forced me to make changes. Then just as I was getting all excited for my first trip to California, the plans tanked because of passport issues. It was supposed to happen later this month, and would have saw me visiting places like San Jose, San Francisco, the Grand Canyon, Vegas, and LA. To end my year on an even crappier note, my parents were in a car accident 2 days before Christmas and our car was totaled (damn that b!tch for running a red). But I probably took the greatest hit when I lost two very important friendships that left me distraught for a while. In hindsight it did make me realize who my true friends are.

To be fair though, there were some pretty great times too. A quick look back at the highlights of 2010 for me:

Being invited to my first basketball game ever by Pacers’ head coach, Jim O’Brien, was probably a sign that I would meet a series of interesting and inspiring people in 2010.

I had only met him once when he came into my store. We’d had a great conversation about China and exchanged a few emails after that. What a pleasant surprise it was when Nicholas Cords (violist of Brooklyn Rider & member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble) emailed me a year later to invite me to a Brooklyn Rider show at the Glenn Gould studio. I was surprised that he remembered me at all and was thankful that he gave me the chance to attend my first classical music event.

After two months of being forced to stay home to deal with my eye crisis, I managed to plan and pull off an awesome baby shower for my dearest Anasha. That’s with the help of the greatest hostess on earth, Kat, of course ;)

Then on June 5th, 2010, my god daughter Kalani was born!! :D

In that same week, I also saw the birth of Mr. McGuinty’s book, Trashed.

While Toronto witnessed the smashing of store windows and the burning of cop cars during the G20, I experienced something totally different inside Fortress Toronto. In the most calm and contained environment, I saw the Presidents of China & South Korea, as well as the Prime Minister of Britain.

Despite all the riots and chaos caused by the G20, my home boy Danny and I made it out to see Far East Movement at their first show ever in Toronto. It was a HUGE day for me because I’ve been a fan of theirs for so long and had waited years for them to do a show in my city. I don’t think I’ve ever been or ever will be THAT excited about seeing a musical act again.

It was the absolute perfect night because it was just before their hit “Like a G6″ blew up on the radio, so it was a small intimate show that wasn’t overcrowded with people. It felt unreal being able to stand inches away from the stage where my favourite group was bouncin’ to my favourite songs with super high energy. I had watched many Youtube videos on FM and had loved them for not only their music but also their humbleness and sincerity to give back to the community. Meeting them in person proved that they were genuinely nice people.

The single best moment of 2010 for me happened that night when I got to meet and talk to my long-time idol, Kev Nish. I have always really liked his rhymes and tone of voice in their songs, as well as his use of words and sense of humour during interviews. To be able to meet and converse with the person I admired was a total dream come true. If there was only thing I could be happy about in 2010, that would have been it.

A nice late summer dinner at Glow with the lovely Charmaine whom I hadn’t seen since she moved to Vancouver. And of course, the god brother Edison.

Victoria’s Secret opened in Toronto!!! That was HUGE to me…HUGE!! lol I heart VS :)

Leaving Chapters Bayview and transferring to John & Richmond was the biggest change for me this year (and perhaps the best decision I’d made all year). It took a lot for me to take that step to leave the place I’d been working at for the past 8 years. Not being able to see my friends everyday at work felt odd at first, but the new people I met made the transition extremely easily and I am thankful for that. Not only do I still make plans to see my old co-workers regularly, I’ve made new friends at the new store and I’m learning a lot from them.

Aside from Far East Movement, I got to see another California-reppin’ musician this year – David Choi. Seeing DC live was fulfilling. He is such a talented musician (he’s up there with Bruno Mars on my charts). Got to meet him after the show and he was very nice.

October 12th, 2010 was a big day. It was the day that Far East Movement’s debut album was released. I remember running down the street to HMV during my break at work just to get my hands on copies of Free Wired at 10am when the store opened. Knowing that the guys I’ve been listening to and have believed in over the past years is finally getting their start at where they want to go, it’s a lot like witnessing a dream come true. Their hard work and perseverance has become such a big inspiration to me.

Literally 3 days later, FM was in town opening for Mike Posner’s “Up in the Air Tour”.

Met them after the show and was surprised that Kev Nish recognized me; he remembered I had picked up 10 copies of their album, as well as my blogging about them. Unexpected and impressive!

Totally unplanned, it was definitely quite the experience meeting Russell Peters. He came to our store for a book signing and my boss managed to get me into the green room to meet the comedian. His last words to me? Stay Brown. LOL

Just 3 years late but I made sure to go see Wicked the Musical when it came back to Toronto (I didn’t get to see it on Broadway 3 years ago due to the screen writers’ strike).

Now that I’m done recapping 2010, I can get my new year started! :)

>> Next post: My New Year’s Resolutions for 2011

sorry, just a quickie

It just occurred to me that I haven’t blogged in a week, so I’m thinking I should at least do a quick update before heading off to bed.

I don’t have much to write about this week because I’ve been consumed by work for the past 7 days. It’s been really tiring, but it’s also been an extremely productive week at work. That makes me super happy. (Who else feels that way when they’re productive?) I’ve been working 7 – 9.5 hour days and then going home to do more research for work. It’s really a great way to keep myself distracted from unnecessary thoughts. And what makes it even better is I’ve been researching books on fashion, beauty, art, and oh yes…naked people! I’m seriously not kidding here. I’ll explain what this is for in a few weeks ;)

Another thing that made me really happy earlier this week – Far East Movement won the MAMA 2010 award for Best International Artist! Huge congratulations to them for another great achievement. It is so good to see that their hard work is paying off and their music is being recognized by so many people now. I’m sure I’m not the only one who continues to be inspired by them.

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i met russell peters!!!

It’s that time of the year again, when the leaves turn red and start falling to the ground. It’s inevitable. Thus, I’ve been keeping myself busy to fend off what will likely become the winter blues. The past two weeks can be summed up by this simple equation: Russell Peters + Wicked + food + music = JOY!

I’ve got quite a bit to get through, so let’s start with the recap:

[ Tuesday, October 26, 2010 ] My co-worker, Shila, invited me over for dinner and she made me this Mediterranean dish called Dajaj Salona. Her husband didn’t like it because it was spicy, but I thought it was great. Her little pomeranian was SO CUTE! While we were working on the computer, he kept putting his paw on my arm to get my attention. So cute! Makes me want a puppy too.

[ Wednesday, October 27, 2010 ] I had been craving wings for a while and my co-worker had recommended this place called Puck ‘N Wings, so I met up with Aaron before the Russell Peters event to try it out. I got a pound of their Creamy Parm Wings and it was absolutely DELISH! The wings were big and the flavour was extremely rich. I felt sinful after devouring them all. Will definitely want to go back to try out some of their other flavours.

After a very satisfying meal, Aaron and I went over to Chapters to check out the book signing. I had only wanted to go catch a glimpse of Russell Peters and had no intentions of actually meeting him. But when I ran into my manager, Geoffrey, outside the store and he asked if I wanted to meet the man, I thought…why not! The awesome G man pulled a few strings and next thing I knew, I was in the tiny “green room”.

Geoffrey walked through the gathering of people (which included managers, 2 cops, a cameraman, some bodyguards, PR reps and a family of 4) and said with a smile on his face, “Russell, I’d like you to meet this wonderful young lady. She works with us at this store.” Russell Peters then walked over to me, shook my hand, and said…”What are you?” lol Half shocked and half star-struck, I kind of stared blankly at him as he said, “That guy’s Korean. This guy’s Chinese but looks Japanese. So what are you?” At that point I giggled a little and responded with “Why don’t you tell me what I am.”

I had no doubt that the infamous comedian would instantly guess that I’m Chinese. What I didn’t expect was when I asked him why, he said it was because I’m pale. haha Jokes aside, Russell Peters was a wonderful guy. I thought he was going to be a dick, but he turned out to be quite nice. He took the time to exchange a few words with me and then he offered to sign his book to my name (which Geoffrey spelled for him). And before I left the room, he told me to “stay brown”. lol Yup, that’s Russell Peters for you!

[ Sunday, October 31, 2010 ] I didn’t really do much for Halloween. After work, I went over to Kat’s place for a small get together with some old old old co-workers. While we waited for people to arrive, I helped Kat in the kitchen. The cutting and chopping is my favourite part of cooking, so I dealt with that while Kat made the meatballs. MY GOD…those meatballs were SO GOOD! It was a lovely evening spent chatting about old times and as usual, Kat was a great hostess.

[ Wednesday, November 3, 2010 ] It’s not often that I do things on a whim, but I’ve waited so long for Wicked the Musical to come back to Toronto that I decided to go by myself to see a matinee show. Given the short notice, I figured it would be easier to find a single seat AND I wouldn’t have to deal with working out schedules or anything. I bought my ticket on Monday and went all out by getting a premium seat (Orchestra A Seat #31). It came up to $135, but I figured it would’ve cost me more if I had seen the show on Broadway 3 years ago, so I was able to justify it. (I had tickets to see Wicked on Broadway right after my cruise 3 years ago, but the screenwriters went on strike that very morning so our tickets were refunded.) I was quite happy with my seat. I was about the 9th row from the stage and just barely off center, so I was the perfect distance away from the orchestra but close enough to see the expressions on the actors/actresses faces.

The show was amazing. I LOVED IT! The story, the costumes, the music…it was just great. Even though one of the main characters (Elphaba) was substituted by an understudy, I think she did a fantastic job (maybe even better than the actress who played the other main character). I would’ve really liked to have seen the show with the original cast, because I think Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth were so perfect for their roles. But obviously that could never happen again so I tried not to compare it too much. I would highly recommend this musical AND I would recommend getting tickets soon. It seems the prices have gone up. I don’t know if it’s due to demand. I wouldn’t be surprised.

Last but not least, Far East Movement was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night. These guys were fly! I totally loved the colour coordination of their outfits. Notice how Kev is completely decked out in my colours? And by MY colours, I mean…well, look at the colours of the font on this page. lol Do you see it now? :)

“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.