Morning Musume / Pepper Keibu & Romance: It's always exciting when a new Morning Musume single is released, and I had lots of fun watching the excellent music video over and over! This cover of the classic Pink Lady hit is really cool (especially since Sayumi finally gets a line again, plus the super-cute final "Pepper Keibu yo!"), but I was even more impressed with Romance, which has fantastic emotional lyrics and a heart-wrenching melody! I think this is definitely one of their best singles in a while, and I'm really looking forward to their complete album of cover tunes.
The Brilliant Green / Complete Single Collection '97-'08: I first heard The Brilliant Green on a mix MD that my pal Matt made for me years ago, which prompted me to listen to some of their recent singles like Stand By Me and Ash Like Snow. After I heard those, I knew I had to get this CD, since their sound is full of great guitars (so unlike the usual synth-heavy Jpop). Nearly every song here is incredible, with amazing chord progressions (Hello Another Way is one of the best!), and I even bought the DVD with all of the music videos, since Tomoko always looks like she just woke up!
mc chris / mc chris is dead: I've been an mc chris fan since the Aqua Teen days - even though Hip Hop and Rap are pretty far off my musical radar, Nerdcore is awesome! His latest CD has some of his coolest music yet with some really mind-blowing rhymes, even though they aren't quite as hilarious as his previous work (it seems like he's traded imaginary sexual bravado for singing about pizza and Reese's Pieces!). The title track is pretty incredible, and Hoodie Ninja is also amazing, so this CD definitely gets lots of play time in my car!
Ben Folds / Way to Normal: I've been a Ben Folds fan for a long time, so I bought his latest CD without thinking twice. Although overall it's not one of the best, this is still a solid group of great songs - I'm always impressed with Ben's piano prowess and lyrical genius. Some of the tunes use intentional distortion that I find annoying, but most of the songs are really nice, with a good mix of emotion and hilariously clever lyrics. No matter how goofy it is, Bitch Went Nuts is a blast to sing in the car!
High School Musical 2 / Original Soundtrack: Since I really enjoyed the first soundtrack album, I decided to get this CD to get ready for High School Musical 3! This second soundtrack isn't quite as good as the first, but it still has some great moments. I thought Bet On It was an awesome performance in the movie, and the energy still comes across on the CD. Unfortunately some of the other songs aren't so exciting (I Don't Dance is a little boring), and I'm always going to skip Sharpay's crazy Hawaiian song, but generally this CD is fun and uplifting as expected, and now I need to get the third soundtrack!