Album missing key notes


POSTED: Friday, March 26, 2010

'Island Love: Favorite Love Songs of Hawai'i'

Various Artists
(Mountain Apple)

; Some people come to Hawaii with a list of things they “;must”; buy.

Matching aloha shirts and muumuus? Check! Macadamia nuts? Check! An album of “;native”; music? Check!

This low-budget recycling project must be intended for them. The cover is pretty, but with no annotation it wastes another opportunity to share the culture of Hawaii.

With even minimal annotation buyers could learn the story of “;Ka Ipo Lei Manu,”; written by Queen Kapiolani for her husband, King Kalakaua, while he was on the mainland; knowing the story would make the song much more meaningful. There are interesting stories for most of the other songs, too. And who is the uncredited male vocalist heard singing with Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom?

Lastly, strange but true, “;Island Love,”; the Peter Moon Band's breakthrough hit in 1979, is not included in this collection of “;favorite”; island love songs.

;» ”;Ka Pilina”;
;» ”;Ka Pili Oha”;
;» ”;Aia I Ola'a Ku'u Aloha”;

'Respect My Pride'

(Verse One)

; Sudden Rush gave Hawaii a template for bilingual, hapa-haole hip-hop with “;Ku'e”; in 1997. Several other resident hip-hop artists have kept the concept alive with tracks in English about life in Hawaii. Mic3 now makes a significant contribution by performing in English and Tagalog.

The arrangements are mainstream and the presentation is fresh for Hawaii. Mic3 describes his search for cultural knowledge as a “;Philippine representer”; and salutes the men who fought to free the Philippines from Spain and then from the United States. The use of Filipino recordings in several mixes further distinguishes Mic3 as unique in Hawaii; however, his producers should have done the right thing and identified the songs and artists in the album's credits.

The focus shifts to Hawaii as Mic3 describes island living with “;Shaka at Ya Boi”; and taps universal themes recalling the fashions and fads of the 1980s with “;80's Baby.”;

There's also plenty of sexual material—some of it hard core and some of it witty. Mic3's sense of humor percolates through several other cuts.

Combining English and Tagalog is basic stuff in the Philippines, but Mic3 sets an example for Hawaii that resident artists of all ethnicities should build on.

;» ”;When We Ride”;
;» ”;Tribal Accent”;
;» ”;Isa Dalawan Tatlo, I.D.T.”;

'Jobob Taeleifi'

Jobob Taeleifi
(no label)

; Jobob Taeleifi is not a Hawaii resident, and his debut album doesn't contain anything that could be considered Hawaiian or hapa haole, but since Johnny Kai has chosen him as the winner of Best New Artist at the 2010 Hawaii Music Awards, here's a look at it.

Taeleifi opens with “;New Generation,”; an edgy, up-tempo pop-rock anthem for teens itching to bust out and grab some gusto. Fans of Disney-style pop should embrace Taeleifi. He's got the sound down and has the clean-cut look as well.

“;Not Another Cheesy Old Love Song (NACOLS)”; builds on the ironic premise of a guy saying that the one thing he is not going to do to show the girl how much he loves her is “;write another cheesy old love song.”; With “;Worth the Wait,”; Taeleifi shows his command of wistful subject matter in describing the pain of wanting someone who isn't ready for a relationship. It's easy to imagine these songs in a 'tween-oriented movie about a sensitive but oh-so-cute guy who overcomes all the standard 'tween movie obstacles to get the girl of his dreams.

Give him credit for being more than another flavor-of-the-month pretty face for 'tweens to dream about. The songs are originals, and while most 'tween idols have a shelf life that's measured in months, Taeleifi has the right stuff to be one of the survivors.

;» ”;New Generation”;
;» ”;Not Another Cheesy Old Love Song (NACOLS)”;
;» ”;Heartbreak Queen”;