Wednesday, 30 March 2016

300th Post Special: Music to paint & draw to

Do forgive me for this vanity post. I never truly expected to last this long in the blogosphere, so I figured I'm overdue one self-serving piece. Regardless, I hope this post might still do some good by getting you interested in music that on the off chance you may not have heard before. Here then is my Top 10 music to paint/draw to - a list that isn't by all means exhaustive but is a fair representation of the type of music I love - arranged by artist plus two of my favourite songs from each of them.

No.1 - Eric Clapton

Blues has become my undisputed favourite genre/form of music. And Eric Clapton is the main reason why I gravitated towards this genre, either through his original blues rock pieces such as Bell Bottom Blues or from his Robert Johnson covers like Me and the Devil Blues.With the local airwaves devoid of any blues music of note, it took a great album - Eric Clapton Unplugged (1992) - to introduce me to this form of music. Many Clapton albums/songs as above later and I was well and truly hooked.

No.2 - AC/DC

More widely known as a hard rock band, AC/DC is actually also a blues rock band with lots of its music heavily influenced by the blues. While the band's current lead singer Brian Johnson has his moments, I generally prefer AC/DC during their Bon Scott years. His vocals and Angus Young's guitar licks were a match made in heaven. That means my favourite Angus/Bon Scott moments predated the Back in Black album i.e. Highway to Hell and The Jack (the naughty live version).   

No.3 - Elton John

Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long, Long Time) for me, in my humble opinion, is the quintessential song of science fiction. It's the song I would play were I an astronaut out in deep space heading to heaven knows where. And as for Tiny Dancer, it's a song that has come to represent one of my favourite movies of all time - Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous. An interesting trivia - like me, the first time David Grohl (lead singer for Foo Fighters) heard the latter song was in the movie.

No.4 - Paramore

Paramore is the music I play when I just want to flash the middle finger at the world. Yes the band has amazing ballads like The Only Exception but lead singer Hayley Williams puts in a lot of attitude into her other songs e.g. the hugely underrated Playing God which is a great in-your-face song. Frenetic beats tend to pseudo-mask what are essentially very melodic songs and it's that strange hybrid that makes me keep coming back for more and more, and more. 

No.5 - Norah Jones

At the most stressful time of my working life, there was Norah Jones. Her debut album Come Away With Me single-handedly took me through some dark times. Her single also titled Come Away With Me just melted all those stress away and mellowed me out like no song ever did. Together with Diana Krall (another jazz singer who didn't make the list), Norah made jazz more mainstream. Another song I like a lot is What Am I To You? from her even better sophomore album Feels Like Home

No.6 - John Mayer

Yet another artist whose work is heavily influenced by the blues. Granted a lot of his early work was pop-rock but then came his third studio album Continuum. It incorporated more blues elements and deservedly won Best Album in the Grammy Awards. For me, Slow Dancing In A Burning Room was the highlight of that album. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate his more commercially driven pop-rock stuff. Music is music and Why Georgia? from his debut album sounds great regardless.

No.7 - Dido

I first heard Dido in an Eminem song featuring a track from her song Thank You. She is one of the very few straight-up pop artists that I follow. Another Dido song that stands out for me is Life For Rent though to be honest it's hard to pick just two out from her entire repertoire.   

No.8 - Adele

In the past decade, no new artists have held my attention for long, except for Adele that is. Her amazing voice punched through my wall of cynicism regarding present day music that seems preoccupied with dances moves and video imagery. For Adele, practically every song is about a simple thing called vocals as it should be. From the live version of her classic Someone Like You to the latest When We Were Young, I am in awe of her ability to sing a story.

No.9 - Abba

What can I say. This was the music of my youth. An the age of four going on five all I ever played on cassette tape was ABBA, ABBA and more ABBA. Oddly enough, 40 years later ABBA's music still sounds great to me. It might be uncool to like ABBA but I don't care. From their breakthrough Waterloo to their most popular song Dancing Queen, ABBA was unquestionably 1970s pop.

No.10 - Foo Fighters

David Grohl must be one of the few singers who can shout out a song and still sound good. Case in point is Best of You and The Pretender from their In Your Honour and Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace albums respectively. Something good did come out of the ashes of Nirvana.

Other great music that didn't make the list
It's impossible to chose a Top Ten. There are so much great music which didn't make it ... where do I even begin: Star Wars Original Trilogy Musical Score (John Williams), Get Back (Beatles), Stay (Sugarland), Man of Constant Sorrow (Alison Krauss & Union Station), Sweet Virginia (Rolling Stone), Muddy Water (Free), Waiting for the Bus (ZZ Top), I Loved Another Woman (Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac), Don't Stop Me Now (Queen), Roll With It (Oasis), Night Moves (Bob Seger), At Last (Etta James), I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor), Battery (Metallica), Come As You Are (Nirvana), Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix), Still Got The Blues For You (Gary Moore) ... and the list goes on and on.

Well, enough of  the music I paint and draw to. Normal service resumes in the next post with new updates on my Bandai 1/144 Millennium Falcon project. Until then, stay safe and be happy.


  1. 300 posts is no mean feat, any blogger can tell that ! Congrats to you !

    I really do like John Mayer and the foo fighters too and I'm a real fan of early ZZ top (5 first albums or so, the real heavy blues one).
    I need music with a little energy to keep my painting mojo to its top, ballads and all tend to make me want to lie in the grass and look at the sky (which is cool but not helping to paint).

    Here's to another 300 !

    1. Thank you man! ZZTop's first album is great blues rock. Ballads are ok, but only if they are the rip your heart out and spit on it kind LOL :)

  2. A very interesting selection my Dear FeM ^^

    Your tastes are very various (ABBA ? Seriously ? ^^)

    Norah Jones is a perfect choice when you feel very bad !!


  3. Congrats on your 300th Post!!!
    I'd usually listen to whatever is on Rock FM (Via Astro)
    Otherwise I'd go for Linkin Park, Queen or The Who

    1. Linkin Park is good group too whose lead singer can shout louder than David Grohl :)
      And as for Queen - great choice. I love that song Don't Stop Me Now in addition to all their other classics.

  4. Very many congratulations on this wonderful milestone and what a great post to commemorate it - cracking stuff Sir.

  5. Congratulations on the milestone, Kuan. Many happy returns.

  6. Well done and great music!
    i' ll wait for many other wonderful posts!

  7. Congratulations Kuan dude! Here's to many more!

    1. Thank you very much Bob! :) And it looks like Glenn is finally meeting his comic fate :(

  8. Congrats for reaching 300 posts! Now on to the next 300!


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