Hiba Tawaji Wins & Advances To The Final Stages Of France’s The Voice

Hiba Tawaji has won her part of the knockout stages (epreuve ultime) in France’s The Voice – the last of the previously taped segments of the show – and has advanced to the finals of the show, the live shows.

Starting next week, Hiba along with 3 other candidates in her team, will perform a song of their choice to the public live after which audiences will get a chance to vote for all candidates, making sure one of them proceeds to the following week in the progress while the coach chooses who of the other candidates remains and one is eliminated.

If the hype is to be believed, Tawaji has a good chance at advancing in the live shows. Her performances are reportedly among the most watched of the show (her audition has over 1 million hits on YouTube and over 600,000 on TF1’s website, well ahead of all auditions of the show).

In the knockout stage, Tawaji performed Christina Aguilera’s signature song “Fighter.” She did well, but was criticized for her song choice as the coaches felt it didn’t suit her quite well. It’s telling, in my opinion, when an artist as good as Hiba Tawaji has trouble with song selection. It goes to show how far our artists are sheltered, maybe even left without artistic freedom, in their careers.

Either way, French audiences were very receptive of the song.

 

This is a video of the performance courtesy of my blog’s Facebook page (click).

It is worth noting that part of Mika’s team for the live shows includes an Israeli, named Sharon Lalom. For the upcoming live shows, Hiba Tawaji will be battling it out with Sharon for people’s votes and Mika’s favor. She may end up finding herself in a picture with her, in the same television frame as her or whatnot. Let us do our best as Lebanese not to fall into the traps of accusing her of treason for participating.

This is our chance to show that, at a simple ultimately useless talent show, we can take the higher road and “resist” by actually winning, showing that the talents of our country are great enough on their own merit and can kick anyone’s ass, Israeli or not.

Good luck to her!

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Top 13 Songs of 2012

As the year ends, I’ll be making countdowns of my favorite things of this past year. The first list is for songs. The rules for this list are simple: 13 songs by 13 different artists that I’ve enjoyed the most over this past year. The song doesn’t necessarily have to be a 2012 year but it needs to have gotten to its maximal reach during this past year. The songs also cannot be album tracks that never became singles – yet.

Without further ado, we begin.

13 – Home – Phillip Phillips 

An guitar driving a feel good simple lyric – and yet the overall result is effective enough for Home to be one of 2012’s best songs.

[Listen here]

12 – Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men

A newcomer band with a niche sound that makes them stand out from the first note that gets played. Little Talks is one of the highlights off their album My Head Is an Animal.

[Listen here]

11 – Madness – Muse

Many people didn’t like Muse’s newest offering. I have to disagree. It may not be a typical Muse song but Madness is really, really good. At least to me.

[Listen here]

10 – Drunk On You – Luke Bryan

Some of its lyrics may be cheesy but Drunk On You’s hook line is gold: “I’m a little drunk on you and high on summertime.”

[Listen here]

9 – Pontoon – Little Big Town

This summer anthem has a quirky melody to it that takes some time to get used to. But once it sticks, it’s mmm, motorboatin’.

[Listen here]

8 – The A Team – Ed Sheeran

This well-written song about a crackhead is bound to hit a nerve somewhere.

[Listen here]

7 – Merry Go ‘Round – Kacey Musgraves

An extremely well-written song about life in a small town where God, family and country always have to come first, limiting your prospects and what you can be. “If you ain’t got two kids by 21, you’re probably gonna die alone. At least that’s what tradition told you.”

[Listen here]

6 – I Drive Your Truck – Lee Brice

A country song about a truck? How original. Guess again.

[Listen here]

5 – Charlie Brown – Coldplay

The third single off Mylo Xyloto is a song that makes me happy whenever I listen to it. It’s not necessarily a feel-good song, it just has this feel to it that puts it high up my top songs list.

[Listen here]

4 – Never Let Me Go – Florence + The Machine

2012 has been a good year for Florence + The Machine. They’ve had big hits with Calvin Harris remixes. But this ballad remains one of the highlights off Ceremonials and a definite highlight of 2012.

[Listen here]

3 – I Knew You Were Trouble. – Taylor Swift

This dubstep-influenced song is all over the place. In a good way. It might prove polarizing at first but you will soon find it stuck in your head, refusing to let go. Trouble, trouble, trouble.

[Listen here]

2 – Springsteen – Eric Church

A mellow song of a young love set to a backdrop of The Boss’ most famous tunes. What more can you ask for?

[Listen here]

1 – Blown Away – Carrie Underwood

I’m sure none of you expected otherwise. This song about a daughter’s vengeance is dark and mesmerizing. One of the year’s best written-songs and most multi-layered productions that give the song depth beyond the words and sound, not to mention the spot-on vocal delivery.

[Listen here]

The Evanescence Concert in Lebanon

I had a few friends go to the Evanescence concert which took place yesterday at Beirut’s new Waterfront so for those of you who couldn’t go, this is how the concert went.

It was very crowded and the crowds were so energetic that Amy Lee, Evanescence’s lead singer, was impressed and apologized to the Lebanese crowd for not coming sooner.

It’s not like they would have come before when they were much bigger and Lebanon was an irrelevant speck on their radar. But whatever, right?

The concert took around 80 minutes, which wasn’t much according to many concert goers, although that’s pretty much around the average for a set by an American band.

The setlist was the following:

– What You Want,

– Going Under,

– The Other Side,

– Made of Stone,

– Lost in Paradise,

– My Heart is Broken,

– Lithium,

– Sick,

– The Change,

– Call Me When You’re Sober,

– Imaginary,

– Bring Me To Life,

– Swimming Home,

– My Immortal

Amy Lee was apparently top-notch vocally as well.
Here are some of the concert’s pictures:

By MixFM

By MixFM

By MixFM

By MixFM

Following the concert, Amy Lee tweeted this:
And this is My Immortal at the concert:

Evanescence Coming To Lebanon on June 23rd

 

It seems this summer is all about rock. Joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Within Temptations and other rock bands, Evanescence are coming to Lebanon for a concert next month, according to Evention, on Saturday June 23rd.

Tickets will be available from all Virgin Megastore branches on May 8th (this Tuesday) and prices will be as follows:

– Standing: $45

– Seated: starting $50

– Golden Circle: standing $100

My favorite Evanescence songs are ImaginaryMy Immortal, Bring Me to Life and Everybody’s Fool off their debut album. Almost everything they put out after that wasn’t as good as their debut.

Either way, I’m sure they have enough fans in Lebanon to fill the concert.

Here’s hoping next summer will be all about country music. No, I’m not kidding. I’m tired of feeling not involved with all these events :p

Red Hot Chili Peppers Coming to Lebanon for Concert on September 6th

Mix FM just announced that rock band Red Hot Chilly Peppers will be coming to Lebanon for a concert on September 6th at Beirut’s new Waterfront.

Tickets will be available from Wednesday April 11th, starting 60$ at Virgin Megastores. I’m pretty sure they’ll run out fast so if you’re a fan of the band, I suggest you get on it quickly.

Red Hot Chilly Peppers will perform their greatest hits at the concert, such as “Californication, Scar Tissue, Give It Away, By The Way, Otherside, Dani California” as well as their new hits like: “Adventures of Raindance Maggie, Monarchy Of Roses and Look Around” – all part of their I’m With You World Tour.

Will you be going?

 

Carrie Underwood & Steven Tyler Rocking CMT Crossroads

For those who thought Carrie Underwood didn’t have it in her, she just proved you wrong. Carrie Underwood not only shone next to Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, she also gave him a run for his money. Not only was the CMT Crossroads featuring both stars spectacular, it was also very rocking.

Prior to the show, Steven Tyler had said Carrie Underwood was the reason he joined the American Idol judging panel:

“You were why I took judging for ‘Idol,’ you are exactly why. Not only could you sing good, but you adapted to this…it’s a pit! It’s a deep, dark, ominous pit. And you get out there on-stage at night with that band, that great band you’ve got and you make people feel happy, first and foremost. All the rest, if people knew what we went through to get out on that stage… you have gotten past that and not a lot of people do – they have to get through drugs and alcohol, booze and divorces and even those didn’t make it. You were a natural at it.”

Carrie, in her turn, replied that Tyler was one of her inspirations growing up:

“I remember as a very small child, I could pick your voice out. Even then, you know that it’s different, you know that it’s special and can pick it out from a million other voices. You were definitely part of what gave me that musical, laid-back, in-the-pocket sensibility on albums and stuff like that.”

So without further ado, the videos:

Cryin’:

Dream On/Just a Dream:

Before He Cheats:

Undo It/Walk This Way:

 

 

Monster (Single Review) – Paramore

Monster is the new single by Paramore that will serve as the lead single of their upcoming album as well as the single off the new Transformers movie.

It is also the first single by Paramore since the group’s founders, the Faro brothers, decided to leave them due to “irreconcilable differences” with lead vocalist Hayley Williams. And the song is all about that.

The Faro brothers have had many statements issued regarding their departures, portraying Hayley Williams as a person who made the whole band revolve around her and turning their sound into a music label product. Monster is Hayley’s way of firing back. And she is firing with an automatic.

The song opens up: “You were my conscience, so solid, now you’re like water” to set the tone for the dying relationship before she ends the first verse with “I let my heart go…. But I’ll get a new one and come back for the hope that you’ve stolen.”

And then she starts singing the chorus:

“I’ll stop the whole world, I’ll stop the whole world
From turning into a monster and eating us alive
Don’t you ever wonder how we survive?
Well now that you’re gone, the world is ours”

And in case the previous lyrics were not enough, the second verse is only there to let the doubters know that this, in fact, is Hayley’s manifesto against the Faro brothers: “I’m only human, I’ve got a skeleton in me
but I’m not the villain, despite what you’re always preaching.”

I have found the song to be absolutely brilliant. You can’t even discern the fact that Paramore are two members less when you hear the scorching electric guitar on some parts of the song. And since the lyrics are so personal to her, Hayley’s delivery is impeccable. I have always been a fan of her vocals and this song only fortifies that. Monster is the song that you’d expect from Paramore as their lead single: guitars and drums and the rock style they’ve come to be known for. Some people are saying that their isn’t much innovation in their sound with their song. And I agree. But the question is: does an artist constantly need to innovate to stay relevant? Absolutely not. That doesn’t mean that an artist should rehash the same stuff that made him/her popular in the first place, but that doesn’t mean that whenever an artist becomes popular, he’s not allowed to follow the formula of what caused that popularity in the first place. Besides, it’s not like Paramore have singles constantly being overplayed on radio for them to establish a “sound” that becomes glued to listeners’ ear. Yes, I’m looking at you Ke$ha.

Paramore is a band that will have the stigma of being a “teenager” punk-rock band, constantly stuck with it. Why? because that is how it started. Monster is the first step in the direction of them going the more “adult” route because the topic being discussed, while applicable to teenagers and their lives (the song is about love and loss after all), is quite mature. And not only is Monster a great leading single with meaning, but it’s also insanely catchy. Try not to get the line “I’ll stop the whole world from turning into a monster” stuck in your head and then get back to me.

All in all, I absolutely love this. Call it guilty pleasure or simply music that I like, but Paramore is one of those rare bands whose songs just click for me, without being grating on my nerves. And Monster is a good, very good song.

Listen up: