Currently Tuned In To: KAI, Allison Iraheta, BIA, Toshifumi Hinata & More
Written by Leslie Campos on January 30, 2021
Hello everyone, this is a segment called “Currently Tuned In To” where I post the songs and pieces that I’m really feeling and vibing with at a certain time. Just a fair warning my tastes have been described as a bit eclectic but I hope that you resonate with at least one song and that I can put you on to new things! So check ’em out below!
Disclaimer – Some of this material contains mature content and explicit language.
*It’s been somewhere around a year or more since I’ve last published. The pandemic has been hard for many of us to deal with. Here are some songs that have been getting me through. By the way, I’m totally using these songs to fuel me through the semester. Wishing all of us luck as we continue to get through this! :)*
Jeanette – “El Muchacho de los Ojos Tristes”
I know what you’re thinking. And yes, this is my second Jeanette song to make an appearance on ‘CTIT’ but cut me some slack! Within the past three years or so I’ve definitely developed a soft spot for Spanish 80’s hits and this is another one of those.
The 1981 song, “El Muchacho de los Ojos Tristes” or “The Boy with the Sad Eyes”, has been on constant rotation for the past couple of weeks for me. There are so many elements I love about this song, from the instrumentation of Spanish guitars, orchestral strings, hints of a marimba, and the iconic opening of a classic 80’s synth keyboard to the super dreamy and ethereal vocals.
Then once we move past the sound of the song we can dig into the lyrics. The song is about finding the boy with the sad eyes and giving onto him, love so immense that it changes his gaze. The only catch is that she (Jeanette) hasn’t found him yet but that doesn’t stop their adoration for each other. And while I do tend to stray away from things like romantic movies and tv shows, I am a sucker for a good love song. The lyrics to the song are particularly touching.
The lyrics read,
“Ni su nombre conoczco, Y ya quiero volver a encontrármelo a solas”
“Yo pretendo saber por qué extraña razón hoy sus ojos no ríen, Yo pretendo lograr con ternura y amor ver sus ojos felices”
Which translates to,
“I don’t even know his name but I want to find him and be alone with him again”
“I intend to know the strange reason why his eyes don’t laugh today, I intend to accomplish with love and tenderness seeing his happy eyes”
Though relationships are never substitutions for therapy, it is sometimes nice to romanticize a love so warm that it puts color back into a black and white world.
Lildeath – “Moment”
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know very much about Electro-pop or the entire entity that is electronic music. That being said I love this song. This song heavily samples Imogen Heap‘s “A New Kind of Love”, which I’ll also attach down below. Both are futuristic and otherworldly sounding. The one you choose to listen to just depends on the vibe you want. “Moment” is very quick and makes it feel like you’re rushing through life, or like life is passing you by. When you listen to this song you are somehow zooming past everything and everyone while sitting still. While Imogen’s original gives a much more chill vibe and puts you in almost trance-like state. The song describes wanting to get a piece of the feeling of someone falling in love.
KAI 가이 – “Mmmh 음”
If you don’t know Kai, get to know him. This is his solo debut after his work with his main group EXO. The only way to describe this song and its entire atmosphere is sexy. The light and seductive vocals over the slow boom claps of the track, then add the visuals of an amazing choreography made up of quick and precise hits paired with smooth body rolls. Long time fans know that Kai was able to put his whole essence into this powerful debut. The song is not overbearing in any way, making it easy to keep it playing over and over again. This quickly became a favorite of mine.
Allison Iraheta – “Friday I’ll Be Over U”
Yes, this song was featured on the children’s fantasy show Monster High. I don’t care, it doesn’t change the quality of the song. I can’t make the track not hit. If someone is playing with your heart and you’ve had enough of the situation then this is the song that needs to be playing in the background as your soundtrack. Let me personally recommend flat out screaming from the bridge into the last verse. Belting out Allison‘s bends and harmonies is very therapeutic (totally know this from personal experience). Allison has a really cool and more traditional rockstar voice, it’s perfectly raspy and strong. The opinions of 13-year-old me doesn’t differ much from 23-year-old me in that I really do think Allison Irahetra sounds and looks really badass in this song. I think it’s especially awesome that she is Latinx, specifically first-generation Salvadorean-American. It’s encouraging to see alt-latinx musicians. I thoroughly enjoy and still jam to this song. It’s never coming off the playlist!
TWICE – “I CAN’T STOP ME”
I don’t know what Twice puts in their songs to make them so good but they’ve never missed, not once. And especially not with “I CAN’T STOP ME“. The song was released late last year and currently, K-Pop is in this phase of revisiting 80’s pop. With this musical trend that we’re seeing, I think Twice did so well at channeling the older style and making it sound fresh and palatable to modern audiences. The group has super catchy choruses and part of the reason is how they showcase their strong vocalists, in this song the chorus dances between Nayeon and Jihyo. I’ll be completely honest and say I think Twice is truly Korea’s best performing girl group. Save your arguments, I’m biased! I decided to put in the choreography version because it’s K-Pop, why would you miss out on half of the intended delivery? Also, a running joke on TikTok is that the choreography quite literally fits any song it’s set to. Go check it out!
BIA – “SKATE”
BIA is criminally underrated. Doesn’t matter if she’s on a reggaeton or trap beat, if she’s singing in English or Spanish, she’s killing it and making it her own. She’s the type of artist where if she’s featuring on a track then she’s going to make everyone else sound like they’re the guest. This east coast afro-latina boricua has been overlooked for too long! “SKATE” was released late last year, and is a super vibey track. BIA is good for pre-gaming or the party itself. This is the type of song you put on while you’re doing your makeup to ensure nobody messes with you that night. The track talks about how people are constantly switching it up on you, so you have to make sure that you’re self-made and giving gratitude for how far you’ve already made it. I love how soft yet aggressive BIA‘s voice and delivery is. She is an artist with so much potential and she keeps giving. Y’all better stop sleeping on her!
Megan Thee Stallion Feat. Lil Durk – “Movie”
Last year we received Megan‘s debut album! It was definitely Good News to every H-Town hottie. Okay too cheesy? Sorry. Moving on, on the album, there were lots of tracks I really liked and enjoyed and “Movie” happened to be one of my favorites. Something I didn’t know I needed was the combination of Megan and Lil Durk‘s voices together, their synergy is undeniable. This song is super easy to bump and dance to. If only we weren’t in a pandemic, I’d love to see everyone going crazy to this at a club. I have repeatedly confessed my love and adoration for Megan and I’ll shamelessly do it again! I love her energy and attitude and am even more impressed by how well she carries herself despite the multitude of difficult situations she’s faced and had to overcome over recent years. Here’s to more happy moments and continued success for Megan and Lil Durk alike. 🙂
Toshifumi Hinata – “Reflections”
I am slowly getting back into a classical music phase. I recently came across this piece entitled “Reflections” by Japanese composer Toshifumi Hinata from his 1986 album, ひとつぼの海 aka Reality In Love. The piece is a simple duet between a violin and piano. If I were to describe the emotions that are evoked then I’d say it makes me feel bittersweet, maybe even a little more on the melancholy side. I think “Reflections” is a very appropriate name for the piece. It feels like one is reflecting on the past, on places and people; events and relationships. Things that didn’t seem to work out and that you may still be hoping for. The piece is short, sweet, and simple but leaves so much for internal interpretation. I highly recommend you take a listen!
Todd Goodman Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra: I. Promenade Comique
Anyone in my personal life that’s known me for more than like 4 years knows that I used to be in band for a very long time, I occasionally played clarinet but my real love that I played much more often was the bass clarinet. Growing up, there was a scarce availability of repertoire for the instrument in general and there was even less of one where the instrument was the main star.
However, one of the first few works that I ever remember listening to was the Goodman Concerto, specifically this one performed by Calvin Falwell with the University of South Florida Symphony Orchestra. This piece holds a special place in my heart and I will never stop listening to it. The reason I think this piece is so good is because you really get to experience the full extent of the instrument, in terms of not just technical but also emotional range.
You start the piece with a march, the bass clarinet being mischievous and jumping around, almost teasing the orchestra. Then at a climax, the entire mood shifts at measure 62, giving us a more emotional piece. With the entrance of the bass clarinet back at measure 77, it feels as though we’re witnessing an entirely new character come out of the instrument. It shifts from crazy 32nd note quintuplets in the beginning to soft and sustained legato notes in the middle of the piece. However, come measure 102, we start playing cantabile and the playfulness is back. Measure 120 and we’re back for a reprise on the march at the beginning but with the bass seemingly cooperating more. Lastly, we finish the piece with a quick and clean little display of the bass clarinet before a cute stinger.