Bangers:Betcha Gon Know, H.A.T.E.U., Candy Bling, The Impossible, Angels Cry
No introduction needed as Mariah Carey stands on her own and has since she first debuted. The album is likened to reading MC's diary entries or having a very personal conversation with her. Nevertheless, enjoy my review.
Betcha Gon' Know - "Welcome to a day of my life...the memoirs of an imperfect angel"...he first song on the album properly introduces the theme of the album as MC explores pain, love lost and love found. She sings to a dark drum beat and piano melodies behind a simple rhythm.
Obsessed - The lead single from the album stands along on its own merit. It may not be the most ground-breaking effort but it packs thump and clever lyrics, allegedly targeted towards rapper Eminem. "You're delusional boy you're losing your mind..." and the most sing-songy hook "Why you so obsessed with me"?
H.A.T.E.U. - Fairytale, airy vocals grace the songs' intro as a piano loop play over MC. "Why is it so hard to say goodbye?"...Anyone who has ever had to let go of a lost love or been heartbroken could easily relate to "Having A Typical Emotional Upset". It's like reading a letter never sent to an old lover as she tries to really free herself from his firm hold on her heart. Don't we all hate wayward loves? Repeat only as needed. Sigh...
Candy Bling - "I still remember, that hazy September..." MC sings as sweetly as the songs' title as she reminisces on a love long expired over a sweeter snap beat. Mariah sings, "Back in the day we were in love, but we're not in love anymore", am borrowed melody from 90's rapper Ahmad in "Back in da Day". YES! Repeat.
Ribbon - "You got me wrapped up, locked up, ribbon with a bow on it..." Heavy hitting beat with MC's signature soft vocals and reminiscent lyrics make this song one to remember with Dreams' all too familiar Radio Killa production.
Inseparable - "Baby call my phone, I'll be waiting to hear ur ringtone..." A cute song in which MC recalls how inseparable her lost love used to be. High notes and powerful notes. Very nice song. "One of us just gotta pick the phone up..." YES!
Standing O - "Your kisses told me oh so many lies..." Nice dramatic effects and piano loops, and hooks. MC shares another heartbreak story about someones misleading touches, kisses and words. "Cheers, toast, bravo, cause ur the man of the hour...here's your standing O(vation) ..."! Not a fav but not skippable.
It's A Wrap - Cleverly entrancing with high hitting notes and old 90's girl group harmonies, MC definitely sets the stage for a love story that goes, unfortunately wrong, again. MC sings this song like nobody's business and makes no mistake in telling him, "It's a wrap"! YES!
Up Out My Face - "It's not chipped, we're not cracked, ohhh we're shattered..." I have little to say about this one besides MC has really broken out of this perfect facade on this album. A perfect tune to empower women who have finally broken from a less than ideal situation. Repeat. "When I break, I break, up out my face boy..."
Up Out My Face (Reprise) - A marching band rendition interlude to the previous song. Skip.
More Than Just Friends - This song is definitely the song you'd want to play if you're trying to move into a romantic zone with a friend but in a subtle, dance track way. Cute but forgettable.
The Impossible - Bedroom song #1, a tribal beat and soft guitar loop with hand claps. "You did the impossible..." Very nice love song with school girl lyrics and charming comparisons. "Love ya like shooting stars, love ya like a muscle car...you did the impossible." Close the bedroom door and repeat as needed. Very intimate song.
The Impossible (The Reprise) - Instrumental, soft vocals and auto-tune. Very seductive. "Love ya like a freeze pop..." Nice.
Angel (Prelude) - MC hits some very interesting high melodies in this prelude to one of the most powerful songs on the album.
Angels Cry - MC sings in what I consider the most sincere tone I've heard on the album. Beautiful harmonies and very honest lyrics, lace the simple melody and piano driven track. Gorgeous! "Lightning don't strike the same place, when you and I said goodbye, I felt the angels cry..." Repeat if you can handle it. I feel like I'm peering into her diary.
Languishing (The Interlude) - Very dark, ghostly, almost with beautiful lyrics and MC singing in her lower register.
I Want To Know What Love Is - A remake of Foreigners song, powerfully sang by MC in higher registers and notes only dogs could hear. Unbelievable!!
(((Bangers: D.O.A., Empire State of Mind, Already Home, Reminder, So Ambitious)
No introduction necessary. Jay-Z, Blueprint 3, enough said. Enjoy.
What We Talkin' About (Feat. Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun) - Intense. Action. Jay-Z makes a fierce introduction as he dares to ask the question "What we talking about?" He boasts he no longer runs rap, but he runs the map. He settles a few misunderstanding here as well.
Thank You - This song has a nice big band type of flow to it as Jay's no stranger to flows and riding a nice beat and not letting it outshine him. "I'm cut from a different cloth, I'm just who the shoe fits."
D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune) - Drunken horns, drums and an amazing guitar riff, nevertheless, the man of the hour comes and take charges as only a few greats could. "This is death of auto-tune, moment of silence..." YES! Definite head-bobber! Repeat.
Run This Town (Feat. Rihanna & Kanye West) - This song wouldn't be half bad if Rihanna's voice wasn't featured on it. Her voice sounds like a wounded alley cat at best. She breaks more than rules and dishes, more like eardrums. Other than that, apparently Kanye has put his stamp of excellence on the production of this track. Kanye and Jay's verses are subpar here as Kanye uses word pronunciaton as only he can. (i. e. "stun-ting"). Eh.
Empire State Of Mind (Feat. Alicia Keys) - This has got to be one of the best tracks on the album. Oh, Miss Keys puts her melodic and strong voice on the hook and it becomes the greatest inspiration and pays amazing homage to New York! Jay's word play in this ode to the Big Apple is unmistakable behind a dramatic piano chord and old-skool drum beat. "There's nothing you can't do, out here in the New York." REPEAT!
Real as It Gets (Feat. Young Jeezy) - Finally we get to hear Jeezy's grittiness and Jay's polishes verses combine on something that becomes a dream come true for genuine Jay and Jeezy fans. Definitely one to ride with.
On to the Next One (Feat. Swizz Beatz) - This may be one of the only, if not the only Swizz Beatz produced song, that I actually enjoyed. With overactive, chorus vocals, 808's, and a nice drum loops and synths of course, Jay and Swizz make this song a bit fly.
Off That (Feat. Drake) - There's honestly no doubt in my mind that this song is produced by none other than Timbaland with its trance style beat and hand claps and what sounds likeTim's unmistakeable voice throughout the track. Jay takes stabs at political commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and the outspoken Bill O'Reily. Who cares if I spelled their names right or wrong? This one is a bit skippable.
A Star Is Born (Feat. J. Cole) - This one is quite skippable as the beat is doing a bit much. However, Jay pays unbiased homage to rappers who are currently in the game and gives a piece of his mind to their successes by saying in the hook "clap for em, clap for em" behind a clap effect. Yea ok Jay.
Venus vs. Mars - The song is pretty clever as he compares men vs women, hence, the title of the song, venus vs. mars. Interesting to listen to and the voice sounds very close to Beyonce's. Hmm.
Already Home (Feat. Kid Cudi) - "Gotta love me or leave me alone" we hear a sample used in the beginning of the song as then Kid Cudi comes on the track singing, "Oh they want me to fall, fall from the top, they want me to drop...I'm already home". Jay speaks on how rappers want him to leave the game but states he has already left and he's already home. He teaches an important lesson on originality in this one. We're listening.
Hate (Feat. Kanye West) - This Kanye produced track sounds very robotish as him and Jay boast on having "haters". Clever wording and bragging pretty much takes over the track.
Reminder - I feel like Jay has just gained his street cred back here as the eery sounds of a broken harpischord plays over the dark track. He sends everyone who has ever forgotten his success a nice "reminder" in this horror laced beat. Nice.
So Ambitious (Feat. Pharrell) - Boy oh boy, Pharrell does it again on the production. Definitely a ride out, windows down kind of song. I'm very inspired as Jay remembers everyone and everything that threatened his success and how he overcame and remained "so ambitious". "Hey if you can believe it, then you can conceive it." YES! Repeat, especially for anyone who has doubted themselves!
Young Forever (Feat. Mr. Hudson) - Very nice Coldplay-ish, Chris Martin-inspired song. Jay reminisces and shares some stories from filth to fame. Nicely done.
Bangers: Lazy, Good to Me, Regret, Take Away Love, After Party, Tears
Letoya Luckett, back with her sophmore album Lady Love, reveals a more personal and sincere experience from bass-heavy thumping beats to extremely laid-back synths and playful hooks. Will we fall in love with this lady?
Lady Love - Heavy pop synths and charming vocals instantly boasts a certain playfulness. "Come here baby, hop in my Mercedes", she sings in a teasing way. Nice club banger.
She Aint Got - "Swing batter, batter, batter"! Very rock-n-roll influenced with heavy drums and synths makes this one fun and sexy as Letoya inquires about who's stealing her man. Nice 2nd single choice and dance number.
Not Anymore - While this is a mediocre RnB song, Letoyas' vocals and lyrics are very honest and sincere about encouraging women who are in less than great relationships to say "I don't want it anymore". Good first single to let her fan base know she's back and it leaves us longing for more.
Lazy - A nice mellow rhythm and catchy melodies makes this song quite enjoyable. Heavy drumming and layered vocals sing, "u gotta forgive me I know it might sound crazy but right now my hearts a little lazy...I don't feel like loving you no more". Nice!
Good to Me - Sensual. Laid-back. Dedicated to the "good man" as Letoya states in the song as she asks him, "just be goooood to me, cuz I don't think I'm asking too much". A nice piano loop plays in the background. Nice ode to any good man out there.
Over - Very nice simple RnB song about quitting a relationship based upon "what if's" and how she would leave him and it would be "overrrr".
Regret - Ludracis is featured here and a very welcome addition as well. "I made u cool, you wasn't that dude, until I started fuuucking with u" Letoya croons on top of an Underdogs/Tank produced melody of snap-beats, a piano, and low synths. "You must regret the day that u left me." YES! Repeat.
I Need A U - We see Letoya in a way we haven't seen her before. Very sexual and slow. Very nice bedroom song. " I need a u."
Take Away Love - Easily a favorite track here with a feature from Estelle. Very synth and drum-driven with a very mellow, ride out, slow trance sound. "If I take away love, if I take away us...would that be enough?" Repeat. Ryan Leslie shows his ass on this one.
After Party - Definitely a dance track as we see Letoya take a much needed and very welcomed direction as a whole on this song. This makes me want to get up out of my seat! "Keep it movin' to the after party...." YES!
Drained - Very upbeat song about heartbreak and breaking a relationship and being drained in it. Forgettable.
Tears - This sounds very Brandy-ish circa Afrodisiac. "When you find the right spot and take control...I want more and more and more." Very nice bedroom song.
Matter - Toya compares herself to her love interests' current woman that she plans to try and replace, of course. Another "She Don't". While the beat and melodies are nice, the song is a bit mediocre.
Love Rollercoaster - This one features rapper Mims, who is certainly very forgettable with his elementary rhymes on the track. Another mediocre R&B song about playing love games.
Don't Need U - Definitely a good anthem for women who have realized their worth and is now realizing that they no longer need a loser boyfriend.
(((Bangers:Higher Than This, Alone, Love Never Changes, Say No, Goin' Thru Changes, I Need Love)))
Soul, funk and grace are words that can easily describe Ledisi's style and voice. Her vocal ability is matched only by a select few in the industry. She's a Grammy-nominated R&B/jazz songstress that seems to be determined to make it to the top with her 4th album "Turn Me Loose". So as we embark on this musical journey, I beg the question, is she still confined or has she been set loose? Let' go...
Runnin' - "I confess, I'm a mess..." Rock. Jazz. Fusion. Soul. Ledisi gives a very asserted introduction on how she wants to run and searches for freedom both vocally and physically. Nice introduction.
Everything Changes - The old-school kick drum beat and sample used here is a very new thing for Ledisi and a welcome change. "Everything changes..." She becomes very honest in speaking of change and independence.
Turn Me Loose - Very bluesy and southern inspired. It's reminiscent of an old juke joint with a modern twist. Naturally we notice here Ledisi has taken a different turn this time around. "Aint no use in trying to stay, if you gon' turn me loose."
Higher Than This - Ledisi croons gracefully in this instant R&B classic song. We hear a piano loop melody that lingers in the background with soft synths and a nice drum beat, as she asks, "what can be higher than this?"
Alone - Light-hearted to sincere to sensual synths, guitar riffs and kick drums make this song an undeniably catchy and honest song. Ledisi begs, "please say what's on your mind, so we don't waste time.../...please won't you tell me the truth instead of just leaving me alone." Repeat.
Love Never Changes - Instant vintage soul. Ledisi sings beautifully, "love it will never go, love even when you go, it never leaves, love never changes...". Gorgeous.
Please Stay - Entering a wah-wah guitar and funk. Ledisi chimes in, "you aint gotta go please stay with me" in her natural tone. This reminds of a family gathering song although she speaks of a love never leaving. "C'mon let's be real, you want me too."
Knockin' - Rock. Roll. Funk. Soul. Ledisi. She touches down and turns things loose here. If freedom was the goal, she reached it as she hollers soulfully, "I hear you knockin but you can't come in/I hear you knockin but you aint gon' win."
Say No - "C'mon we can do whatever you want...I'm not gonna say no, not tonight." I ab-soul-utely love this. Very rhythmic and free flowing. Excellent live concert song. Repeat.
Goin' thru Changes -Very melodic with its piano-driven sound. Very simple beat but Ledisi's voice is charming, gorgeous and honest. "I wish that I could stay, but staying, it confuses me more...I'm going thru changes." YES! Easily a favorite and excellent single choice. Repeat a few times.
I Need Love - Drama. Piano. Synths. Love. "Love, you said you'd never go away/ But you're gone and/I'm right back where I used to be/Wondering if you really work for me..." This song is outstanding and the dramatic synths, Ledisi's vocal layers and big drums make for an incredible experience. She kills it towards the bridge and if you were ever in doubt of her vocals, she proves herself here.
Trippin' - "You can do what you want, be how you be, but I gotta fall back baby, cause I aint trippin over you." This is the anthem for every woman who's fed up over a no-good man or his no-good ways. While not a favorite musically, the lyrics aren't too bad. Pass.
The Answer to Why - A nice calm ballad where Ledisi sings purely to soft guitar melodies and strings and a quiet drum. Not a favorite but beautifully sang.
Them Changes - Very rock n roll and motown-inspired. Ledisi sangs, and yes I mean sangs to trumpets and holds her own against guitar riffs and drums. "When my mind is going thru them changes/I'm about to commit a crime/Everytime you see me going somewhere/I'm going outta my mind."