Tag Archives: July

Strung Words: Another Sea

“There is plenty of fish in the sea.”

“Yeah, I know, ahah.”

But

after

you?

– I think I need another sea.

 

>> Previous Post On This Category: What Makes You Happy

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New Music Fridays: 28 July ’17

>> About New Music Fridays

More fresh tunes are released every Friday than on any other day of the week by artists all over the world, and I’m here to offer some insights on a selected few. Whether it’s Justin Bieber, a local artist I haven’t heard of, or a breakthrough artist releasing his/her first single, feel free to leave comments with any music release you’d like me to keep tabs on.

>> Spotlight Reviews: New songs I particularly enjoyed today

Sober by Cheat Codes & Nicky Romero

Click to listen on Spotify.

  • Lyrics
  • American DJ trio Cheat Codes collaborated with Dutch DJ Romero on this techno pop track about finally realising one’s true feelings when drunk. As the chorus puts it, “I wouldn’t say it sober / But the truth is coming out / I didn’t miss you until now, until now.” The lyrics overall are simple and straightforward, grounded on the relatable human experience of being unable to entirely shake off a person from one’s mind. The high-pitched, autotuned singing sounds haunting yet tormented, as if it’s a symbolism for the way the speaker is haunted by the memories of the person he/she is trying to forget. This is illustrated by lyrics like “God, he almost looks like you in the dark”, “he’s looking at me but he doesn’t have your eyes”, and many more. The drop after the chorus is pretty generic for techno pop songs, and although I can hear a hint of Cheat Codes’ signature remix style, it’s barely enough to truly stand out. Frankly, I think they should’ve sampled and experimented with more adventurous, quirky sounds. That being said, the lyrics and beat come together very nicely to create a strong flow, making this track immediate radio material.

Streets Of Gold by Isaiah

Click to listen on Spotify.

  • Lyrics
  • After representing Australia in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest last May, we haven’t heard much from Isaiah Firebrace this year. That is, until today. This winner of The X Factor Australia released an acoustic pop single titled Streets of Gold, which revolves around yearning the presence of that special someone who feels like home. Lyrics-wise, I love the few juxtapositions in diction found within the song, such as in phrases like “it’s like a dream, but I’m wide awake” and “on a road with no destination.” The repetition of “you” also underlines the tone of longing the lyrics is based on. Furthermore, I think the decision to primarily rely on the plucking of an acoustic guitar to grace Isaiah’s vocals is a brilliant one. With its David-Archuleta-like texture, Isaiah’s voice is very dynamic and pleasant that I reckon I’d be happy just listening to him a cappella. On top of this, the instruments and his voice are so well-integrated that it allows the entire song to sound easy-going and flow rather smoothly; I particularly like the seemingly effortless transition into the chorus. This makes it easy for listeners to lose themselves in the song, as if they themselves are “walking through the streets of gold.”

>> Honourable Mentions: Other great songs released during the week that I wish I have time to review

>> Previous Post On This Category: New Music Fridays: 21 July ’17

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Food & Dining Review: Pippo Senayan City

>> At A Glance

* Restaurant name: Pippo

* Cuisine: Italian

* Address: Senayan City Mall, Jl. Asia Afrika No.19, RT.1/RW.3, Gelora, Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta City, Jakarta 10270

* Opening times: Everyday 10.00 – 24.00

* Phone: +622172781089

* Social media: Facebook, Instagram

>> Ratings

* Overall flavour: 3.5

* Price for portion: 2.5

Definitely on the expensive side for the flavour and portion being offered. Some dishes are more suitably priced than others. For example, I can still consider 95k IDR for a smoked beef pizza reasonable, but 75k IDR for a relatively small raviolini in brodo or 55k IDR for two small scoops of ice cream are arguably extortionate. I would agree with the current pricing if the flavour was truly unique and dynamic, but unfortunately this is not the case for many of the dish I tasted.

* Service: 4

Service went smoothly for the most part. The waitresses are well-trained and knowledgeable about the menu (i.e. they were able to answer questions about ingredients and provide recommendations). All the dishes were served promptly, with a reasonable waiting time of 10 to 15 minutes. Nevertheless, I would appreciate it if all the staff were friendlier and more approachable, particularly the front-of-house waitresses. I understand that the restaurant has bookings, but there are better ways of letting guests know than simply saying “we can accommodate you, but we need you to finish eating by 7 pm” as soon as we request for a table. That being said, for a restaurant that has only been open for a few weeks, I’m thoroughly impressed by how much the waitresses know about the dishes.

* Venue / ambiance: 5

Hands down, the venue/ambiance of this restaurant is truly top-notch and perfect for gatherings. The dim lighting, transparent windows, elegant decorations, and overall layout of the restaurant establish a charismatic, high-class feel to the venue. The bar area is also a nice touch to the atmosphere.

* X factor: Amazing venue/ambiance

* Overall experience: 4

>> Dish By Dish Review

* Smoked Beef Pizza for 95k IDR: 4.5

Certainly one of the best pizzas I’ve tasted in Jakarta! The thickness of the dough is just right and it’s baked to perfection. The combination of thoroughly melted cheese, tomato, and oil tastes absolutely amazing and satisfying. If this is the standard for all of Pippo’s pizzas, then they will undoubtedly stand out overtime. An improvement that’ll make this dish perfect would be to have more smoked beef bits, because some slices just taste like margherita instead of smoked beef pizza.

* Raviolini In Brodo for 75k IDR: 4

Don’t let the broth’s lack of colour fool you, the opaque soup is rich in flavour and truly delightful. When you bite into the perfect-sized raviolini, be prepared for a burst of flavour as you taste their cheese filling. The cheese complements the broth rather well, making the dish very well-balanced in flavour. For a 75k IDR dish, however, I would like to have more than eight raviolini.

* Angel Hair Aglio Olio E Peperoncino for 95k IDR: 4.5

It’s evident that the seasoning of this dish has been adjusted to suit an Asian palette, and honestly, I see no reason to complain. The soft, springy angel hair pasta is decorated with tomato, chilli, parsley, and cheese flakes that are mixed well together. I love how this dish isn’t too oily whilst still maintaining the characteristic aglio olio taste. I’d love to see an improvement presentation-wise, maybe add some garnish to create a more aesthetically pleasing finish.

* Black Ink Tagliolini for 145k IDR: 3.5

This is the first time I’ve tried a black ink tagliolini dish and it was overall okay, but not necessarily mind-blowing. I couldn’t really taste the black ink, because it was mixed with so much cream. The taste of the parsley flakes unfortunately didn’t come through either. The only upside I can think of is the fact that the tagliolini was soft, tender, and clearly well-made. However, I think the creaminess hinders most of the flavour profile intended for this dish.

* Kiwi Fresh Juice for 45k IDR: 4.5

The kiwi juice is refreshing and light, making it suitable for accompanying heavy pasta dishes. I personally enjoy the grainy, rough texture, but some people might find it too scratchy. It would be good to have the skin of the kiwi slice peeled off so guests can eat it easily.

* Stracciatella & Dark Chocolate Gelato for 55k IDR: 4

Stracciatella and dark chocolate make a great combination, and this gelato is proof. The gelato is smooth, soft, and milky, great for ending a meal centred around pizza and pasta. The price for portion ratio could be made better: reduce the price and/or make each scoop bigger. Either way, a sweet and simple way to end your meal at Pippo!

>> Other Opinions

* Various reviews on Zomato (in Indonesian and English)

>> Previous Post On This Category: Zeo’s Caramel, Coconut & Passion Fruit Soft Drink

Leave a comment below with restaurants you’d like me to review next! 

Are you affiliated with Pippo? Reach out (christyzee98@gmail.com) and let me know if you’d like me to come back or review any new dishes!

Disclaimer For Reviews

New Music Fridays: 21 July ’17

>> About New Music Fridays

More fresh tunes are released every Friday than on any other day of the week by artists all over the world, and I’m here to offer some insights on a selected few. Whether it’s Justin Bieber, a local artist I haven’t heard of, or a breakthrough artist releasing his/her first single, feel free to leave comments with any music release you’d like me to keep tabs on.

>> Spotlight Reviews: New songs I particularly enjoyed today

Back To You by Louis Tomlinson, Bebe Rexha & Digital Farm Animals (explicit)

Click to listen on Spotify.

  • Lyrics
  • Not going to lie, it took a few repeats before this song really catches on for me, but once it does, the rest is history. This is the second single by Tomlinson as a solo artist, and this time, he delivers a techno pop track about loving and hating a person at the same time. This love-hate theme is made evident by lyrics such as, “I love it, I hate it, and I can’t take it / But I keep coming back to you.” Having Rexha on this song is a brilliant decision, not only because her voice complements Tomlinson’s really well, but also because the man-woman contrast makes it sound as if both parties are taunted by the drug-like compulsion of the relationship (or as the lyrics put it, “addicted to the drama”). Rexha’s voice gives the track a strong start, and her signature falsetto as well as texture inject it with unique sounds throughout. Additionally, it still surprises me how nice it is to listen to Tomlinson’s vocals alone after trying to distinguish it from four to five others for the past five years. His voice has such a defining David Archuleta-like characteristic that makes it instantly recognisable. I think the equaliser and filter applied to Tomlinson’s vocals during the bridge is a nice touch, because the resulting megaphone-like effect underlines the conflicted tone. Furthermore, having only vocals and piano at the start of the last chorus run makes both singers sound all the more bothered and contemplative. Melody-wise, this song gives off clear pop vibes, and the verses somehow sound like a slowed down version of Liam Payne’s Strip That Down. I’m not saying that this is bad, because most of pop music is recycled melodies anyway, but as Tomlinson and Payne are former bandmates, it’s reasonable that they’re drawn to similar melodies. Lastly, I love the variety of diction used in the verses and pre-choruses to reiterate the overarching love-hate feel; this highlights the frustration that comes with being in the troubling relationship.

She’s On My Mind by JP Cooper

Click to listen on Spotify.

  • Lyrics
  • Yet another lovely tropical house/pop/reggae tune from the English singer-songwriter JP Cooper! His songs are always so likeable and playful to listen to, and this one’s no exception. With She’s On My Mind, Cooper sings about being unable to shake off an ex, as exemplified by these lyrics from verse two: “My friends say that she’s a keeper / But I let her go / Didn’t know how much I need her / ‘Til I was on my own.” I tend to find excessive repetition of phrases in a song tedious and uninspired, but that’s not at all the case with this song. The repetition of “she’s on my mind” is catchy and persistent, as if it symbolises the pressing and recurring nature of the thoughts about the ex. Having the voice of a woman on the intro and interlude also helps represent this, because it illustrates that this ex is on the forefront of the speaker’s mind. Vocally, Cooper’s voice is so distinctive and pleasant to the ear that listening to his songs is honestly always a treat. The lyrics of this song is also well-written; I especially like the rhymes on the verses. Accompanying Cooper’s vocals only with the plucking of an acoustic guitar at the start of the bridge is a delicate touch that makes his voice more heart-wrenching and the lyrics more personal. Finally, it’s easy to just end the song by repeating “she’s on my mind” four times again, but Cooper added two concluding lines about why this is. “I can’t sleep at night / ‘Cause she ain’t by my side” leaves the song on a confessional yet helpless tone, implying that the speaker just has to weather the storm until he/she gets over the ex.

Drowning by KREAM & Clara Mae

Click to listen on Spotify.

  • Lyrics
  • I almost didn’t want to write a spotlight review for this song because I was running out of time. Almost. But I enjoyed the song so much that I just had to write a quick review! Right off the bat, I love Mae’s voice. I think it’s absolutely beautiful and having it on a dance pop track such as this one is really fitting. The lyrics and drop of the chorus are rather catchy, especially the part that says, “We’re drowning out / And you know I’ve been thirsty for a while now / Drowning out / But you won’t taste a drop with your mouth.” Prior to this song, the brother DJ duo KREAM have previously collaborated with Mae on another dance pop hit song called Taped Up Heart. In fact, I think I like Drowning because it’s similar to Taped Up Heart in many ways. The techno tune created by KREAM and the Rihanna-meets-Ellie-Goulding quality to Mae’s vocals prove to be a powerful combo for both Taped Up Heart and Drowning, and something tells me this is not the last of it.

>> Honourable Mentions: Other great songs released during the week that I wish I have time to review

>> Previous Post On This Category: New Music Fridays: 14 July ’17

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Photographs: Manmadesthics #1

Introducing the first update about my new photography collection, Manmadesthics. Through this project, I hope to capture aesthetically pleasing patterns that are created by humans (hence the title of this collection). Stay tuned for more updates in the future!

Taken in Hong Kong with an iPhone 5s. Not retouched or edited. Click to enlarge.

Taken in Cibubur, Indonesia with an iPhone 5. Not retouched or edited. Click to enlarge.

Taken at University College London, London with an iPhone 5. Not retouched or edited. Click to enlarge.

>> Previous Post On This Category: Cityscapes of Jakarta 

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Strung Words: What Makes You Happy

Focus on doing

what makes you

happy,

not what makes others

impressed.

– But what if trying to impress makes you happy?

 

>> Previous Post On This Category: Myths

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New Music Fridays: 14 July ’17

>> About New Music Fridays

More fresh tunes are released every Friday than on any other day of the week by artists all over the world, and I’m here to offer some insights on a selected few. Whether it’s Justin Bieber, a local artist I haven’t heard of, or a breakthrough artist releasing his/her first single, feel free to leave comments with any music release you’d like me to keep tabs on.

>> Spotlight Reviews: New songs I particularly enjoyed today

Same To You by The Vamps

Click to listen on Spotify.

  • Lyrics
  • British pop rock band The Vamps released their third studio album today titled Night & Day (Night Edition). This ten-track record features hit singles such as Middle Of The Night (ft. Martin Jensen) and All Night (ft. Matoma), and is the first album of the two-part Night & Day project, with the Day Edition album scheduled to be released this coming December. The fourth song on the record, Same To You, is a post-breakup tune that calls out one’s ex and questions whether she has truly moved on. The repetitiveness of the melody creates a much-needed daunting and confrontational feel to the song, yet the vocals sound conversational due to lyrics like “Hey girl, what’s up? What’s on your mind?” The lyrics are pretty generic, but the catchiness of the chorus is undeniable and I feel like the generic diction helps in this case. Notably, I love the lyrical transition between the first verse and the bridge, where it starts off from being about the other person in the break up to being about oneself. For example, verse one says, “I know you can’t sleep, it’s past three, and you’re still up,” whereas the bridge says, “Now it’s past three and I’m still up.” I love the parallels drawn by this transition technique as it makes the narrative come full circle. Furthermore, it also adds a layer to the song, because now in addition to being confrontational, the song is also confessional. Overall, I’d say Same To You is a great post-breakup anthem with high commercial potential; it’s relatable, simple, and catchy – what more do you really need?

Goodbye by Echosmith

Click to listen on Spotify.

  • Lyrics
  • After three years of hiatus from releasing originals following lead guitarist/oldest brother Jamie Sierota’s departure from the band of siblings, Echosmith is finally back with an upcoming sophomore album on the horizon called Inside A DreamGoodbye is a single on the record and the first look into how the sound of the band has transformed. The inviting acoustic guitar melody, coupled with Sidney’s characteristic voice, make for an enticing opening, and it’s as if they’re easing us into a new phase in their growth as band. When the drums become more prominent in the chorus, the shade-throwing vibe is instantly amplified and it’s such a pleasant surprise. Lyrics-wise, the verses have a delicate air around them and are absolutely beautifully written. To give you a glimpse, the first verse says, “Try not to let the burn become a scar / What’s left of me is only broken parts / You take the pretty and colour it dark / My only grievance is a broken heart.” Moreover, phrases such as “you cover up the poison with poetry” truly made the song sound honest, poetic, and original. The chorus is simple and repetitive, but this strongly highlights the unsettling request of the words. That being said, the track itself is easy to listen to, which ultimately creates the feel that we’re the ones saying goodbye and we’re chill about it. As the last “goodbye” is sung and the melody ends, the song lives up to its name by giving listeners a definitive ending. If this song is a testament to Echosmith’s transformed sound, then we should expect less electric-guitar-centred alt-pop, and more songs involving synths and drums, and honestly, I see no reason to complain.

>> Honourable Mentions: Other great songs released during the week that I wish I have time to review

>> Previous Post On This Category: New Music Fridays: 7 July ’17

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