Archive for May, 2009

Incubus: They aren´t kids anymore…

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Incubus is no longer a new band. This is the fact they had to come to terms with as they sifted through more than a decade´s worth of playing, six studio albums, 12 top 10 hits including four #1 spots on the Billboard charts and an abundance of pirated audio and visual candy, as they prepared to release their career marking greatest hits album, Monuments and Melodies.

 

In an interview with LiveDaily, frontman Brandon Boyd detailed the process of ¨dealing¨ with creating the difficult undergoing of what is greatest hits album. ¨I'm coming to terms with it daily,¨ Boyd said, expressing what seems a late coming realization that Incubus is no longer a new band. ¨It's slightly humbling. I allowed the humbling process to take place and then I decided to get excited about the fact that we've been a band for almost 20 years and none of us have tried to kill each other yet.¨

 

 

In the end, it seems Incubus decided to take advantage of the originally less than thrilling opportunity of fulfilling what guitarist Michael Einzinger described to Billboard as a ¨contractual obligation.¨ But, things change. ¨It was almost like we were trying to come up with an excuse to go on a tour for the summer,¨ Einzinger explains, ¨we started thinking about a the idea of putting out a greatest hits album and having that as the excuse to accompany the tour we were planning.¨

 

As difficult as it may be to face the fact that they´re nearly middle aged rockers with more than enough material under their belts to undertake such an effort, Boyd does realize the timing is right for this kind of album. ¨It's appropriate for us to create this benchmark, as it were, a way for us to signify that this is what we've done thus far.¨

 

 

Einzinger also talks about the band coming around after making the decision. ¨It became really obvious that greatest hits records are really important to the legacy of any band… so we began realizing that it's in fact really an honor to be able to put together a greatest hits package.¨

 

 

The 2 disc album´s name, Monuments and Melodies, was even affected by the bands general hesitance at creating an ¨Incubus: Greatest Hits,¨ and their desire of not having to ¨subscribe completely to the notion that it was a greatest hits record.¨ After going through a few ideas and digging through some older music, Boyd says, ¨Monuments and Melodies sort of arose and the lyric on it… that refers to where one has been and where one is going, and being sort of in praise of the process of growth. It just seemed like an appropriate title.¨

 

Monuments and Melodies, also available in a special 4 disc LP, is comprised of some of Incubus´ most well known hits including Pardon Me, Wish you were here and Drive. There are also some brand new goodies, including 2 singles, Black Heart Inertia which was released on April 16th, and Midnight Swim, not to mention some fun covers like Prince´s Let´s go crazy. Each CD will also contain a special code which fans can use to access The Vault, a new area on the enjoyincubus.com website, full of never seen or heard before treasures that are bound to be ripped off and spread all over the web soon enough.

Duets Over Distance: Collab and Create

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Without a doubt, one of the biggest joys of Red Karaoke is the creativity and spirit of the users. We all have good days and bad days, we all sometimes cooperate and sometimes disagree - heck, we are all human. But, when users take the time to create something truly unique, fun and challenging and then share it with the rest of Red Karaoke, I feel the goal of this site, to build a community of singers having a good time doing what they love, has been achieved.

 


Indian Lake - Vote for my rendition!

 

I´m talking about a group effort between three of our very active members, Colonelmac, Barraba and Misty4you. Colonelmac, taking advantage of all we have to offer here at Red Karaoke, uploaded his own .kar file of Indian Lake, a song by a group named The Cowsills in 1968. Colonelmac describes them as a ¨family group from Newport, R.I. and model after which The Partridge Family was made.¨ He then contacted the users Barraba from Singapore, and Misty4you from Spain to help him turn this into a group rendition. The song is just as he described it, ¨lively¨, and shows a collaboration which we love to see here at Red Karaoke.

 

Duets over distance are a great way for users to work together and make something really fun for everyone to enjoy. While they may not be the easiest efforts to pull off, our Duets over Distance Tutorial gives a pretty great outline on how to go about making your own duet. But if that isn´t enough for you, plenty of other Red Karaoke members have made some impressive duets to use as guides or examples, like users Lavinik and Barraba´s version of Endless Love.

 


Endless Love - Vote for my rendition!

 

There are plenty of other duets to be awed by, like these renditions of Cuando Cuando originally by Michael Buble and Only the lonely originally by Roy Orbinson. Check them out, read the Duets over distance tutorial, and go to the forum and ask around about how to make your own duet or group karaoke.

 

Need some recommendations? Karaokes which I challenge users to give their hand at are Elton John´s Don´t go breaking my heart, Moon River by Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand (all time favorite song of mine, so be careful!), Beauty and the beast from the Disney sountrack performed by Celine Dion, and finally, Shania Twain´s From this moment.  Don´t like those picks? Check out all the duets we have available here on Red Karaoke.

 

The E.N.D. is Near

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Soon enough, the world can welcome The E.N.D. of The Black Eyed Peas. The Energy Never Dies, the groups much anticipated fifth studio album is set to drop June 9th, and if the success of their first single off the album, Boom Boom Pow is any measure, the Black Eyed Peas may top the fame achieved by their multiplatinum albums Monkey Business and the breakout disc Elephunk.

 

 

The hip hops group upcoming album has been described by Will.i.am, the mastermind of the Black Eyed Peas, as a ¨high intensity dance get on the floor sound.¨ In an interview with Billboard, he said he was inspired by the electro dance and house scene in Sydney, where he partied while filming for his first movie role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. ¨I came back just buzzing,¨ he said, recounting the inspiration he got from the pumping environment of the youth clubs there.

While the group wanted to get back to the dance sound that made them famous, the Black Eyed Peas also wanted to turn the album into an ¨artistic factory¨ as Fergie describes it. ¨We don't just sit down. We jump from room to room, all of us adding ideas to the recipe. If you get burnt out on one idea or your ears get tired, you walk to another room and step into a whole fresh creative zone for more ideas.¨ Thus the feeling of the new album is a fresh mix of old soul, hip hop and funk with new age techno and synth beats to bring Black Eyed Peas fans into the future.

 

Even though the full 16 track album won´t be available until June 9th, Will.i.am and the group have been using technology as an advantage to give their fans a taste of the high energy club album by releasing one single a week for the last few weeks. The first official single, Boom Boom Pow, had been their first single ever to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard charts, and stayed strong there for over 7 weeks. Some of the other singles released, including Imma Be and I Got a Feeling are just as successful in the Black Eyed Peas goal ¨to make people move and escape.¨ And though Alive, their single released on May 26th slows things down just a bit, the song is sure to become an obsession.

 

 

You can catch the Black Eyed Peas on the Late Show with David Letterman the same date as The E.N.D. drop, June 9th. Until then, enjoy some of our Black Eyed Peas Karaokes and don´t miss the next single release, Meet Me Halfway.

Kylie Minogue is stateside this summer

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Kylie Minogue has given the U.S. one more thing to be excited about this summer. That´s right, the international sensation who has barely infiltrated the pop scene in America, save for a few hit singles that put just one of her albums at a worthy spot on the Billboard Top 200, has announced her first US Tour. Minogue will be hitting up six separate locations with her world famous concerts and may finally break through whatever barrier which has so far blocked her superstar status from spreading to us yanks.

  

  

Sure, most of us have heard of the leggy Aussie and yes her singles Love at first sight and Can´t get you out of my head were certainly songs we couldn´t get out of our heads, or off the radio for that matter. Hey, Minogue even won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording with Come into my world in 2004, finally getting a little love from this side of the Atlantic. But considering Minogue is an artist, better yet, a global force, who has sold over 40 million records, had over 50 hit singles internationally, and in my opinion reigns far above Madonna or any other contenders as the Princess of Pop and Queen of the club… why haven´t we gotten to know Minogue and her work a little better? And why is this her first US tour since she debuted in the 80s?

 

In an interview with the Associated Press, Kylie attributed her lack of success so far in the states to just not having a large enough fan base for her kind of music. Not to mention, she admitted, ¨You need to be here… to bring your music to the people and I haven´t really done that.¨ Why is she changing her tune? ¨I've wanted to for ages, for the longest time, and it just never was feasible to do it. And I was tired of hearing myself say that…¨ Way to go Kylie! Now we will all get to experience the mythic-ness of what exactly is a Kylie Minogue concert.

 

 

What to expect? Easily one of the best theatrical pop tours you´ve ever seen. That´s right, eat your heart out Madonna and Madonna fans, ´cause Kylie can blow you out of the water with her elaborate staging and choreography. Kylie expects that people going to the concert will know her usual work, and she is ¨hoping to do a ´best of´ different tours that [she´s] done.¨ Sounds promising, to say the least.

 

So far all you Kylie fans that are jumping out of your skin in anticipation, or those of you who haven´t heard enough of this beautiful lady´s music, check out Kylie Minogue´s karaokes we have here on Red Karaoke and get yourself familiar before the sensation lands stateside.

The guy next door versus the guyliner

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Last night the world had the chance to experience one of the most exciting finale performances of American Idol history with, as Ryan Seacrest so flawlessly described the finalists, ¨the guy next door versus the guyliner.¨

 

Overall, American Idol Season 8 has been quite an exciting ride with a lot of new twists thrown into the show. With intricacies we haven´t seen before such as the final 13, an ever expanding (and continuously bickering) judges panel, a wild card round, and a judges save, it´s hard to believe it can get any better. However, America has been treated to even more thrills after last night´s final showdown between the favorite Adam Lambert and the slow riser Kris Allen who both delivered smashing performances, leaving barely any room to know who is going to be announced the new Idol.

 

 

Lambert, who Rolling Stone says, ¨single handedly save idol¨, has been the season´s most favorite performer with his way over the top, I´m-already-a-star type routines. He´s barely suffered any criticism from the judges and already has a huge following whether he wins or not, cutely dubbed ¨Glamberts¨. Lambert also had the most buzzed about performance, maybe in American Idol History, with his incredible rendition of Mad World, which he revisited last night on the finale, blowing away the judges yet again. Basically, this guy has left no room for failure, owning his style and voice and bringing it at every performance.

 

Still, Kris Allen may have given Lambert a run for his money, even though he hasn´t quite matched his big show flair. He may have started out as the judges´ personal punching bag, but over the season, but Allen has wowed them and America by breaking out his talented guitar and piano skills, turning each performances into an intimate, I´m singing to you and you alone piece and topping it all off with a daring and perfect rendition of Kanye West´s Heartless. Last night, Allen did it again with his masterful version of ¨Ain´t no sunshine¨, looking like a superstar and winning Simon Cowell´s approval for the first round of the finale and for being there in the first place.

 

 

The final performance show, which ended with Idol superstar Carrie Underwood singing Motley Crue´s Home Sweet Home, has left us all on the edge of our seat, wondering, ¨Is Lambert the sure bet, or is Allen´s acoustic talent really gonna steal the flamboyant glam star´s thunder?¨

 

Either way, this exhilarating season of American Idol wants a finale to match it tonight. The list of artists to appear on tonight´s show include the Black Eyed Peas, Lionel Richie, Cyndi Lauper, Queen Latifah, Keith Urban, last year´s winner David Cook, Jason Mraz and there have even been rumors that the Idol exec´s got David Bowie to sign on. So weather the boy next door wins over the glamour king or not, America can expect results finale that will knock their socks off.

RK´s Top 5 Karaokes of the Summer

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

It´s that time again. Final exams are over and students are finally giving that skin that has turned a bluish pale from too many cram sessions in the library a taste of the sun. People who have spent months watching the cost of airline tickets roller coaster are marking off their calendars as they count down the days until that dream vacation they scored at a ridiculously low price. Pools are opening and soon it will be impossible to find an empty spot on the deck where you can roast yourself like a chicken to achieve that perfect summer glow. Coastal towns are preparing for the hoards of rowdy teens, city folks and annoying tourists that will soon be invading their laid back bars and beaches. And teen girls are dreaming of romance as they pack their flip flops and terrycloth dresses for what they hope will be the most unforgettable few weeks of their life.

 

Yes, its summertime.

 

And in honor of this incredible season full of blazing sun, bathing suits, baseball and awkward family vacations, here are what I consider five of the top summer songs on Red Karaoke.

 

 

Whenever I think of summer songs, the first one that always comes to mind is without a doubt, Bryan Adam´s cheesy, but oh so exactly how it feels classic, Summer of ´69. The song, which peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985, is simply one of those feel good, reminiscent description of ¨the best days of my life¨ that can appeal to anyone who ever had a summer that felt like endless fun, when anything was possible and you were still young enough to feel invincible.

 

A completely different kind of nostalgia about summer comes in the form of Don Henley´s 1984 single, Boys of Summer. What a great incarnation of a middle-aged guy´s trip down memory lane. Summer love, lost forever. The slow passing of time and deep regret, but still that little bit of hope that maybe, no matter how old you are, you can get back to that time of your restless youth. It´s all there in the haunting rhythm as Henley sings, /A little voice inside my head said/ don´t look back, You can never look back/I thought I knew what love was/What did I know/Those days are gone forever/I should just let them go/. Note to self: Cherish every moment of this summer. Thanks, Henley, for the valuable lesson.

 

 

My third choice is a bit of a blast from the past. Back in the 70´s a popular British band, Mungo Jerry, recorded what would become one of the highest selling singles of all time at 23 million copies, In the Summertime. The song is a true embodiment of the feeling of summer; light hearted and carefree, not taking itself too seriously and having a good time. It was the band´s biggest success, spending 7 weeks at #1 on the UK charts, and also reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. Jamaican artist Shaggy covered the song in the 90´s, but in my opinion without any of the soul of the original record.

 

I´ve always found Kid Rock to be my personal guilty pleasure. I won´t lie, I´ve been a secret fan of his cocky attitude and style of mixing rap and country since Cowboy was released in 1999. When All Summer Long dropped in 2008, I was instantly obsessed, though I wasn´t the only one. The single, which heavily sampled Lynyrd Skynyrd´s Sweet Home Alabama and Warren Zevon´s Werewolves of London, had tremendous airplay in the summer of 2008, making it without a doubt the season´s anthem, and helping it arrive to the 18th spot on Rolling Stone´s Top 100 Songs of 2008. The song is yet another fun little trip down memory lane, as Kid recall´s his own summer love and dancing on the beach to Sweet Home Alabama.

 

 

My last choice is something I selected from the musical genre, and no, I´m not talking about the severely over karaoke-d duet Summer Nights from Grease. I´m actually referring to Our Last Summer, a sweet little diddy that I first heard in one of my favorite musicals, Mamma Mia! The song, which was written by Abba members Benny Andersson and Bjön Ulvaes, is a recollection of one summer Ulvaes spent as a teenager in Paris falling in love, and actually inspired the character Harry from the musical. Maybe it’s the sweet melody, or the fact that I too spent a summer studying abroad and falling in love, but this is one song I love to hear in the summer.

 

So, there you have my top five summer songs here on Red Karaoke, completely biased and based on no professional opinion at all. Agree with me? Think there are better choices? Tell me about it in our Summer Chat forum. Or, better yet, go sing your own summer karaoke and start celebrating the season.

Bob Dylan´s Together Through Life

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Veteran musician Bob Dylan made his fifth appearance at Billboard´s number one spot last week with his new album Together Through Life.

 

The album, Dylan´s 33rd studio effort in his career, overwhelmingly beat out Hannah Montana: The Movie in sales, finally giving everyone with more refined tastes in music something to be happy about in the pop charts. Unlike Dylan´s 2006 album, Modern Times, which had the fortunate benefit of an ad campaign with Apple´s iTunes to help it reach number one, Together Through Life got there completely without the aid of a multi-billion dollar company´s marketing.

 

 

Together Through Life, which started simply from a request that Dylan write a song for the movie My Own Love Song, is decidedly a record about love, and painful love at that. Echa Gunderson from USA Today describes it as ¨a raffish riff on romance… yarns wry and real of ordinary folks in the grip of lust, longing and heartache.¨ In an interview with MTV producer Bill Flanagan, Dylan expresses that necessity in his songs. ¨Pain, sex, murder, family, it goes way back. Kindness, honor, charity… you have to tie all that in.¨

 

The album has been well received, obviously, with number one spots on charts all over the world, though the American legend has never shown much care for the reactions of critics or regard for trends of the moment. Dylan is and always has been a low-key, private kind of guy (almost to the point that you could call him a recluse), who seems more about playing his music than getting any attention for it. Dylan himself once said, ¨Being noticed can be a burden. Jesus got himself crucified because he got himself noticed.¨ He has constantly reinvented his sound and self and has continued his usual life-long refusal to be labeled with Together Through Life.

 

In his interview with Flanagan, Dylan describes other artists of his generation who ended up playing ¨the same songs the same way for 30 years¨ as guys who started out anti-establishment and now they are in charge of the world.¨ Why didn´t he do it their way? ¨They made perfect records so they have to play them perfectly… my records were never perfect. So there is no point in trying to duplicate them… I´m no mainstream artist.¨

 

 

For someone who isn´t mainstream and doesn´t give a lick what the critics think, Dylan has had quite a taste of mainstream success. Besides the already mentioned honor of having five albums reach number one on the Billboard charts, he also has a handful of grammys and inductions into every other hall of fame to his name.  But the real success may be in his name itself, which is often connected with such descriptions such as ¨voice of a generation¨, ¨American legend¨, and ¨most influential songwriter of the 20th century.¨

 

Dylan is touring right now in Europe and will begin his US summer tour on July 1st in Milwaukee. Try imitating the delivery of his rich lyrics here on Red Karaoke with any one of the 342 songs we have!

Pink and T-Mobile Bring Karaoke to the Streets of London

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

The power of karaoke to bring people together was proven last week as 13,000 people gathered in London´s Trafalgar Square to have their voices heard. As if turning part of London into a massive karaoke bar wasn´t enough fun on its own, Pink showed up as a special surprise to help lead the singers.

 

The event was hosted by Vernon Kay and was a follow up to T-Mobile´s Dance advert, another ¨flash mob¨ event that was filmed in January. The Dance advert involved 350 people breaking out in choreographed dance in London´s Liverpool Street Station while cameras recorded passerby´s reactions.

 

 

¨Dance was always going to be a hard act to follow,¨ Lysa Hardy, head of brand and communications at T-Mobile, was quoted when asked about the new commerical. ¨But we think we´ve a created a worthy sequel with sing along.¨ Um… I think so!

 

After a handful of teasers enticing people to see what might be going down in Trafalgar Square on April 30th, more than 13,000 people showed up to do just that.  Over 2000 mikes were handed out so that the thousands of singers could belt out tunes from Britney Spears Baby One More Time to classics like Summer Nights from Grease.

 

To top it all off, Pink suddenly joined in the mobs´ rendition of Piece of My Heart, an exciting surprise. Pink enjoyed it as much as everyone else, describing it as ¨a fantastic appearance¨ and ¨incredible¨ to have everyone singing along together in the middle of London. She went on to gush that she was, ¨thrilled to be part of such an amazing event and to share it with so many people.¨

 

 

Pink led the group in several songs including her own hit, So What. The advert, however, only features The Beatles hit Hey Jude, giving the song its first appearance in any advertising in the UK. The commercial was aired on May 2nd during Britain´s Got Talent, and though there may not be a single Susan Boyle in the crowd, the crowd´s enthusiasm and joy in the whole affair were more than enough to bring about a few smiles, and probably (T-Mobile hopes) sell a few phones.

Daughtry is Back on American Idol

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Chris Daughtry will be returning to American Idol this Thursday, May 6th, to treat his fans to a preview of the first single from the band´s upcoming album, expected July 14th.

 

Daughtry considers the single, No Surpise, a gift for his American Idol fans who ¨have been so loyal to this band, we wanted to give them the first listen to our single.¨ If loyalty has anything to do with it, the fans are well deserving of reward from Daughtry since the mind reeling success of their self titled debut album dropped in 2006.

 

 

The first single from their first album, It´s Not Over, was monumental for Daughtry, who says he was simply writing about ¨subject matter that moved him.¨ Well, it ended up moving millions. The single become the most played song –of any format- in 2007, hitting number one on lists like the Adult Top 40 and the Billboard Top 100 Singles.  The public couldn´t get enough of the video for It´s Not Over either, helping it reach two months on VH1´d Top 20 countdown. Throw in a couple of grammy nominations for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a group, and it´s clear that Daughtry´s idea of ¨extending boundries¨ by not limiting his music to one genre or style wasn´t a bad one to follow.

 

But Daughtry didn´t stop there. The fans just couldn´t get enough of Home, the second single off the album, making it the 10th most played song of 2007, and earning it honors such as the number five spot on the Billboard Top 100, a grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Group, and a People´s Choice Award for Favorite Rock Song. Its success was followed by that of Over You, the third biggest single off the album, giving Daughtry its third top twenty hit on the Billboard Top 100 and its third top three hit on the Adult Top 40.

 

 

Considering the album Daughtry has been in the Billboard´s Top 200 Albums chart since its release, it´s no wonder the band wants to give a little back to the fans. The question is, will it be impossible to escape Daughtry and their new single No Surprise on the radio this summer? Or will Daughtry´s follow up album fail to reach the same heights as their first? Looks like their performance on American Idol will be a nice little foretelling of what´s to come. In the meantime, why don´t you take a go at some of Daughtry´s other hit songs including Feels Like Tonight, What About Now and Crash.