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Monday, September 28, 2009

Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel - Mariah Carey

(((Rating: 4)))

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'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 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!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Blueprint 3 - Jay-Z

(((Rating: 4.5)))

(((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.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lady Love - LeToya Luckett

(((Rating: 3)))

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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Turn Me Loose - Ledisi

(((Rating: 4.5)))

(((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."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

BLACKsummer's night - Maxwell

(((Rating: 5)))

Bangers: Bad Habits, Pretty Wings (Uncut), Stop the World, Fistful of Tears

Perhaps I wasn't as musically astute as I am now, when Maxwell first hit the scene with his debut album Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite in 1996. Now, some odd years later after releasing 3 platinum albums and one gold, MTV Unplugged, he has returned with his silk voice and satin lyrics. Has our BLACKsummer's knight come to capture us all again?

Bad Habits - As Maxwell described, the rhythm is that of a windshield wiper, and not that of a melody you would usually hear. He uses his vocals in a falsetto that is sure to make love to many listeners. "This is the highest cost, take you and make you off, love you and leave you lost....will you forgive me?" Maxwell proves here, quickly that he will be the Bad Habit, if only for 8 more songs. Repeat.

Cold - Funky. Horns. More horns. There's a type of syncopation here in the rhythm. You can catch it and then you lose it. "How can you be so colddddd....?" Definitely danceable if you can find your rhythm.

Pretty Wings (Uncut) - If there was ever a song to perfectly describe finding the person perfect at the most inopportune time, this song would be the epitome of such encounter. The lyrics are lovely to say the least and the melody is close to a lullaby as Maxwell sings, "pretty wings, pret-ty wings..." Excellent first single choice.

Help Somebody - When I hear this song, it honestly makes me want to help someone. I can envision this song during the climax of a movie. It is very dramatic, involved and intense with live instruments being played throughout. Repeat. "Help somebody, help somebody, show em what it is, give a little bit morreeee..." Awesome song.

Stop The World - "Someone stop the stop, yeaa, seems like a moment has come and I'm gonna get you girl..." Maxwell croons in a mid-tone and mid-falsetto melody here and it is truly beautiful as he explains his needs for a lady. This is definitely a song for the lovemakers. Kiss. Make Love. Repeat as needed.

Love You - This song is on a mission, as it sounds like Maxwell and every instrument playng alongside him, is running. "I can be everything you want me to be, I just want to love you." Nice.

Fistful of Tears
- I fell in love with this song upon first listen and it is very old Prince-esque musically and innovatively written. The piano and drum beat is stellar. "Feels just like a weight has been lifted, how can I repay you, help me understand currency, a fistful of tears, I can afford...time will reveal, all along you're the one who's losing."

Playing Possum - Very mellow. Interesting to say the least. "Speak your regrets, baby call out my name..." Maxwell sings along to an acoustic guitar as he calls out his lover and pleads for her to stop "possum playing". Lovely.

Phoenix Rise - Synths. Various live instruments seem to vibe off one another in a experimental jazz-fusion kind of way. Instrumental all the way through as Maxwells vocals aren't heard one time but his essence is everywhere in throughout the song.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Deeper Than Rap - Rick Ross

(((Rating: 3)))

Bangers: Maybach Music 2, Magnificent, Usual Suspects, Rich Off Cocaine, Bossy Lady, Face

This may be a bit tardy but better late than never right? Anyhow, Rick Ross is one of those artists where he catches you off guard and you find yourself wanting to hear more and more of what he does. However, let's be honest, is it his content or is it merely the music he selects? Most will either love his style or hate it...but does it get any deeper than this? Let's see...

Mafia Music - Dramatic and dark but laid-back. Ross raps with finesse and ease as if he has a glass of cognac and a cigar burning in an ashtray. Very nice introduction to a luxurious hood story.

Maybach Music 2 - Justice League does it again with this one and believe it or not T-Pain doesn't sound half bad on this as he sings the hook, "Listen to my Maybach mussiiicc...". Kanye and Lil' Wayne are also featured on this track. However, nothing beats the original song Maybach Music feat Jay-Z.

Magnificient - If you can picture women, champagne, yachts, and luxury, this song completely embodies that essence. It's the epitome of grown and yes, sexy. Drop the tops on this one as John Legend croons, "Swimming in women, champagne sipping..."! YES!

Yacht Club - I'm starting to feel Justice League has definitely been on to something with their use of samples and production. While this isn't a favorite, it's definitely a song you may play all the way thru. Magazeen is also featured here on the hook!

Usual Suspects - "Getting rich in a rush...usual suspects..." Rick and Nas take this finger-snapping/head-bobbing song to good heights.

All I Really Want - Another sexually charged Dream production that can be skipped with the slight techno-ish beat. Not bad but definitely not a favorite.

Rich Off Cocaine - Roll down your windows. Light whatever it is you smoke. Recline your seats...YES! "All that living fast, it aint got to last....cause I'm sitting on top of the world and I'm not coming down." Ross releases alot of steam here when you listen closely. Me likey alot! Rewind this one.

Lay Back - "If you came to get the party started, girl just say...", Robin Thicke sings over a highly synthed, heavy bassed track. A fresh kinda sexy look for Rick and Robin.

Murda Mami - Foxy B. is back on the track with Ricky Ross in a track that makes me think of Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek circa Jay-Z Vol. 2/3 era. Definitely something for hip-hop heads who appreciates vintage Fox.

Gunplay - Rick opens this one up and channels a bit of Jeezy and Jay-Z's Blueprint here although the only guest appearance is Gunplay. Very nice track and Rick's lyrics are very aggressive here as he rides the beat pretty easy.

Bossy Lady - If the lyrics and Ne-Yo's voice doesn't capture your ear, the heavy bass and seductive chimes surely will. This song is the also the epitome of sexy! Repeat x3! "Baby you, you shine just like I do..."!

Face - Trina is raunchy, raw and real! She holds not a punch here as she opens the equally aggressive and hard-hitting track with, "I fuck em once, I fuck em twice, I fuck em three times, then I change ur life..." Ross takes charge here too which balances Trina's in your face persona. One of my favs! "I'm gettin faced..." YES!

Valley of Death - Very laid-back and classic as Rick raps as though he is writing in a musical diary. "If I could leave this place, with a smile on my face..." Wonderful.

In Cold Blood - Pretty dramatic track laced with horns and a nice drum beat. Ross raps about hits and women and Louis Vuitton and of course money but most importantly the man who has underestimated and also embarassed Ross, 50 Cent. He sends a strong message here. We're listening Ross but is 50?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Epiphany - Chrisette Michele

(((Rating: 4.5)))

Bangers: Epiphany, What You Do, Blame It On Me, Another One, I'm Okay, All I Ever Think About

Fresh on the scene in 2007 with her unique vocals and beautifully written words and harmonies, Chrisette Michele is back and better than ever. Epiphany shows Chrisette in a different but welcome tune, leaning towards more urban melodies and expanding her production to the likes of fellow pop star and genius producer Ne-Yo. Could this be an epiphany?...

Epiphany - Hard-hitting with pleading piano keys. "It's over, it's over." Excellent choice for a first single. This is the anthem for every young lady who has ever been hurt or cheated on, dissed or forgotten.

Notebook - Any girl who has ever kept a journal or doodled in her lifetime can relate to this one. "Write in my notebook, x's and o's beside your name...only my notebook knows how I feel, my heart is on every page". Nice r&b melodies and Chrisette sings as though she has surely been here.

What You Do - "Say it with ur actions..." Yes! This rhythm and its harmonies has Ne-Yo's charm written all over it but in a good way. Chrisette's voice mixes very well. A definite summer hit! :)

Blame It On Me - Begins with a simple kick drum and synth that leads into a progressive and looped piano backing. "You can say whatever you'd likeeee, as long as we just say goodbyeeee...." Extremely heartfelt and the type of song that helps you get past a certain exhaustion in love. Very triumphant and sincere.

All I Ever Think About - Thumping with intermittent piano and guitar winds throughout the song. While the hooks aren't my fav, Chrisette sings the shit out of the verses in a sultry, woman loves her man type of way. Repeat.

Playing Our Song - Definitely not a favourite, as the beat sounds as if it had been recycled or is very random. Very poppish. Next.

Another One - Looped guitars, Ne-Yo-esque feel, nice drum beats... it will put you in the mind of "Irreplaceable" but in a good way actually. A fresher way. "I'm so over wondering what you've done, 'bout to be on to another one..." Very well done.

On My Own - Very mellow as though you are floating thru rooms in a house. This is a fresher, crisper Chrisette and much needed.

Fragile - Mechanical and unique beat and almost Amy Winehouse-ish. Anyone who knows Amy knows, she has some of the best production. Chrisette hollers and sings here..."boy don't tell me noooo, ooh my heart is fragile..."! Me likey.

Mr. Right - The intro here is beautiful and leads into a very classic, Motown feel. "You are my Mr. Right...(I can't move, I can't think, I can't speak)." Classic in a Lauryn Hill kinda way.

Porcelain Doll - Very triumphant and progressive piano and drum beat. "If you wanna cradle me like a little girl and lock me down, I'm not your possession, I'm a full grown woman. I am not your porcelain doll." Another anthem for the ladies.

I'm Okay - "Time don't stop and wait for pain, pain does fade away in time..." Very dramatic and dark and heartfelt and will bring you to tears if you're unstable. Should be the backing to a scene in a movie. She is singing "I'm okay" but clearly trying to convince herself as she sings the snot out of this one as well. Awesome song! Damn, Chrisette!

If you are looking for real music, look no further! :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In A Perfect World... - Keri Hilson

(((Rating: 2)))

Bangers: Turnin' Me On, Knock You Down, Slow Dance, Make Love, Energy

Keri Hilson has been on her grind for a while, being that she has written numerous tracks for big name stars like Beyonce, Ciara and Pussycat Dolls, just to name a few. Her highly-anticipated album has finally been released, after waiting a little over a year and having most of the albums tracks leaked. Is this a perfect album? ...

Intro - Very Timbaland-ish and a little predictable as Keri sings in her high pitched airy tone. The beat bumps kinda hard but it's nothing special here. "Oooh we bout to get it poppin..."

Turnin' Me On -Hard-hitting and seriously bass-heavy as Keri comes in swaggerifficly (if that's a word), "Fly as hell, swagger right, Brown skin...". This is surely a club hit. "Dime diva's give it to me!" Lil' Wayne makes an appearance here as well but it's nothing spectacular.

Get Your Money Up - While this song seems that it was set to be a woman's anthem for independence and instructions for men to get right, it slightly misses the mark for me. Keyshia Cole also sings here as well as Trina and her "baddest chick" persona. Pass.

Return The Favor - Sexy and definitely a mix of Timbaland's work. The beat has a nice change of pace during the hook but it's the type of track you could tire of. Good try.

Knock You Down - Steady beat and synths. Kanye Wests' lyrical charm. Keri rides the beat very well with lovely melodies. Ne-Yo's voice is also very smooth and a welcome surprise. Repeat. "Sometimes love comes around and it knocks you down, just get back up. when it knocks ya down..." Well produced Danja! :)

Slow Dance - "Come here baby. Sometimes I just wanna dance witchu..." Sultry and sexy. High synths and a slow grinding beat. Repeat.

Make Love - Easily the best song on the album. This song puts you in the mind of Alicia Keys "Like You'll Never See Me Again" trance type of synths and intro. "I'm gonna wait on you hand and foot, like the king you are baby..." Definitely repeat. Keri's voice is absolutely beautiful and effortless as she shows off her skills, which has otherwise been hidden beneath over-active tracks.

Intuition - Sigh. This is where we wish Timbaland/Danja hadn't reused beats on such interesting lyrics. Keri's lyrics are backed by what sounds like a looped Indian flute while she sings, "I got this crazy feeling, I'm gon' be single again...I know you gon' mess up." Ok Keri.

How Does It Feel - Another Timbaland production. Horns. Banging beat. While the song gets you hype, it's a bit forgettable. "You can keep on feeling yaself, Imma be with somebody else..."! May wanna give it a second listen. The hook is truly the best part of the song.

Alienated - A bit reminiscent of a Janet Jackson song. Nevertheless a bit forgettable. Heavy synths once again and an over-active track filled with random sound effects. "Can't get you outta my system."

Tell Him The Truth - "If you thought that I was perfect boy, you were wrong..." Slow, sensual beat with snaps and random synths. Nice song.

Change Me - This beat is honestly hot, but overall the song in itself is just too much. Vocals everywhere throughout the song. However, "Miss Keri, baby" sings her ass off in this song surprisingly. Akon is featured here and this is when the song should be cut off.

Energy - Nice mid-tempo track and Keri's first single produced by The Runaways and very well done. Definitely one of the best simply because it's different from the rest of the album. Wonderful lyrics as well. Repeat. "I wish I could rip out a page of my memory, cause I put to much energy in him and me...".

Where Did He Go - Another recycled beat by Timbaland/Danja. "Can you tell me where did he go?" Perhaps they are speaking on a certain fellow called "creativity".

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blow Your Mind - Rico Law - 10 Questions

I remember first hearing Rico Law's song "Blow Your Mind" in the car and being literally blown away by his smooth yet refreshing voice and seductive, mellow lyrics. He is undeniably sexy and very talented. I have probably listened to this song over 30 times already. I'm absolutely honored that he has allowed me to pick his brain, so as he says, "let's get it"!

SincerelyMusic: Ok, first question! Give me 5 words to describe yourself.

Rico Law: Confident, Smooth, Edgy, Blunt, Lover

SM: Ok, now 5 words to describe your music.

RL: Exciting, Stimulating, Sexual, Swag, Uplifting.

SM: I agree. So what's the theme of your album?

RL: I'm currently just working on making good music. I really haven't come up with a final theme for the album yet.

SM: What was the inspiration in creating "Blow Your Mind"?

RL: The inspiration for "Blow Your Mind" came in the studio like, "Damn I can't wait 'til we become wealthy." We were talking about all the things we wanted to do like invest, travel and take our girl's with us and "BLOW THEIR MINDS" lol.

SM: I can see that. lol. What do you envision when you hear the song?

RL: I envision Dubai when I listen to the song.. That's the first exotic vacation I'll be taking.

SM: Wow, that sounds pretty interesting and Dubai is beautiful. So, what time of day are you most creative?

RL: Me, personally, I like to create at night."THE FREAKS COME OUT AT NIGHT" is what they say right? lol

SM: Haha! We learned something new about Mr. Law! What do you do when you get random spurts of inspiration for songs?

RL: Whenever I get a random idea for a song, I just record it. If I'm not at the studio, I jot it down in my iPhone.

SM: What's your next single and when can we expect to hear it?

RL: I haven't really decided what my next single will be. Me and my staff will make that decision soon after "Blow Your Mind" gets to the level it needs to be.

SM: Good, I'm sure it will definitely go far. I truly love the song. Are you currently working with any other artists?

RL: Yes, right now we (The Council) have a single being pushed on a Jive/Hitz Committee artist named K. Michelle called "Self Made" Ft. Trina. We also have two joints on Fabolous' album coming out this year and One on Sharefa's as well.

SM: Wow, very impressive! Good luck! So finally how can any followers, fans, groupies lol, keep up with you?

RL: Anybody interested into stepping into The World Of Rico Law can check me out at or follow me on twitter at and facebook !

Thank You to Rico Law!!! Keep the jams coming! :)

To Download Rico Law's song "Blow Your Mind" click here:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Love vs. Money - The Dream

(((Rating: 3)))

Bangers: Rockin' That Shit, Walkin On The Moon, My Love, Love vs Money Pt 2, Fancy

The Dream has put us in a consistent trance with not only the multitude of songs he has produced and penned but with his own off-the-cuff music and extremely catchy hooks from his debut album, Love vs. Hate. He is now back with his second installment Love vs. Money. Who will win?

Money Intro - Sounds of a bill pressing machine.

Rockin' That Shit - The horn-like synths and rhythm of this song makes for an instant club banger. "There's nothing left to say cause she rockin' that shit like..." The snap beat towards the bridge is what makes this song even more incredible. Excellent first single material for Dream.

Walkin' On The Moon - "Welcome 2085..." This track certainly catches you by surprise as Dream states, as the trance beats come prancing in and slows during the latter part of his verses. It was a natural choice to feature Kanye's clever and ingenious rap here as well.

My Love - "Radio Killa...I'm her baby, she my shorty, ooo we rockin"! This song, upon first listen put me in the mind of an old Mariah song, so what better decision than to have her sing on it. Mariah glides easily over the music in her usual laid-backness, if that's a word. A fav.

Put It Down - The second installment of Dream's first hit "Falsetto" but more so suited as an excotic dance song. Also, very reminiscent of an R. Kelly track. "He put it down, put it down, put it down..."!

Sweat It Out - "Call LaTisha, your beautician. Cause ur hair is gon' need fixin'..." While Dream's lyrics are sometimes comedic, there is nothing funny about the sexual beating he put on this song. "I told you once we finish, I'm gon' get your shit fixed..." Wow.

Take You Home 2 My Mama - "I'm tryna get a 10 or u betta be the shit..." This song is skippable as he narrarates his trip to the club and gets enthralled with a girl dropping it to the floor hence why he waits to take her home to his mama.

Love vs Money - Gun cocks. Fast synths and drama. "Anything she wanted, I bought it...Instead of loving you, I was making it rain." Dream manipulates his voice and the beat with undeniable skill. Interesting song.

Love vs Money Pt 2 - The beat sounds like he turned the previous song inside out and added an ATL snap beat to it. We feel more of his confliction as he sings, "You can't say that I really didn't love ya, there's a new Louis bag for everytime I touched ya..." and "When love is your problem, nothing can solve it..."!

Fancy - Undeniably the best song on the entire album and possibly in Dreams' repetoire thus far. He sings simply on the women who are enticed by jewels and money and the fancy life. "She wants to live fancy...", he sings as a looped piano track plays behind him. The track finally builds into something as it ends and Dream sings/raps faster. A true spark of genius here.

Right Side of My Brain - Dreams sings with the vulnerability of a torn, broken and confused lover as he spews, "you love me baby, then you unlove me baby...". Interesting concept and music here although not completely original.

Mr. Yeah - "R&B Gorilla....Dream don' put it down, again..." he sings comedicly aroggant. Slightly catchy but not really a fav.

Kellys 12 Play - "I'm lookin' for the white cover, the name's in red letters. Can't wait to pop it in my place and put our bodies together." Leave it to no one but Dream to make a song about a song but cleverly he pulls it off.

Let Me See The Booty (Bonus) - ATL snap beat. Lil Jon. Slightly catchy. Need I say more?

Round 2 - J. Holiday

(((Rating: 3.5)))

I Tried, Fall, Make That Sound, Sing 2 U

When J. Holiday first stepped on the scene he put us all to Bed (you saw that coming huh) but in a good way. Be With Me his first single wasn't a hit on every R&B radio station but it was extremely catchy. Now, that he is back in the game with Round 2, I will explore if he is in it to win it or TKO'd! Let's get ready to rumbbbllllleeee...

Intro - J. sings a medley and reminds us of all his hits on his previous album.

It's Yours - Very reminiscent and produced by the same producers of Lloyd's "Please Have My Baby", this song lacks in originality but isn't all that skippable either.

Fall - I'm sure plenty of people can relate to the lyrics of falling for someone they hadn't originally planned on loving. "She was s'posed to be another game to play...she made me fall, fall, fall..." The melody of the piano laced throughout the background makes this song easily enjoyable.

Don't Go - It begins a bit cheesy with corny synths and a familiar drumbeat, however I was still curious to see what he would sing as J.'s voice chimes in. He pleads with his lover, "don't go..."!

Wrong Lover - This song certainly puts me in the mind of Jaheim with its very laid-back rhythm and feel. This is definitely riding music and Rick Ross's sultry swag is certainly welcome on the track.

Run Into My Arms - The song while very relaxing is skippable. Holiday's voice doesn't come across very convincing here as he pleads to be "her knight in shining armour". Moreso, just another filler track.

Sing 2 U - Jodeci. H-Town. Holiday gives a cutty track worth adding to your next bedroom mixtape. The slinky beat and his vocals mix perfectly here which makes it easily a favorite. Repeat.

Lights Go Out - It seems Holiday excels in the romantic arena of music. "Wait until the lights go out..." His falsetto here is unmistakably seductive.

Make That Sound - "You can call me Holiday..." Once again he continues to inspire the lovemaking here and tells his lover, "you can yell as loud as you want, when you make that sound girl...". Turn up the radio.

Forever Aint Enough - Holiday sings with frailty in his voice as he reaches higher notes lead by a dainty piano. As we continue, the beat grows to be more dramatic with strings and drums and we hear stronger notes. While not a favorite, his effort is definitely commendable. Well-produced.

Fly - Light synths and airy drums in the verses make this a very interesting song as its speeds up a bit near the chorus. "so fly, fly, fly..."

Homeless - While certainly beautiful in concept and theme as he explores homelessness and the selfishness of humanity, the music here shines thru a bit brighter with an electric guitar and catchy rhythm. "Imagine if it was you..."

I Tried - Electric guitar and kick drums has you wondering why he would save this one for last and not as an intro. "Girl I tried...but it wasn't enough for you..." He saved the best for last.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ryan Leslie - Ryan Leslie

(((Rating: 3.5)))

Bangers: Diamond Girl, You're Fly, Valentine, How It Was Supposed to Be, I-R-I-N-A, Gibberish

R-Les aka Ryan Leslie aka the extraordinarily talented and skilled producer behind most of Cassie's music and of course his own. He is back with a long-long-overdue album rightly self-titled, Ryan Leslie. So allow me to introduce my review on an beautifully produced album...

Diamond Girl - The synths bang heavy here with Ryan's simple and infectious lyrics and head-bobbing music. Excellent first single material! "You're my diammmond girl"!

Addiction - No one does simplicity like Ryan Leslie and then creates an unforgettable beat. "I'm addicted to you..."! And indeed I am to this song. Fabulous is also featured here as he rides the beat like a pro!

You're Fly - You have to love how Ryan opens a track with his clever rhymes and then comes in singing with the beat following right behind. He speaks on friends turned friends with benefits. "Baby you're fly..."

Quicksand - This will definitely make your head move as do most of his songs. However it's the catchy hook that may be a better delivery throughout the song.

Valentine - The slap-back beat and quirky notes make this song absolutely lovable. Ryan sings in a perfect falsetto and then grooves into his more natural key towards the hook. "I know you're not my girlfriend, but I swear that I love you." Repeat. :)

Just Right - Something about this beat makes me think back to an old D'Angelo/Musiq track. Ryan talk/sings here and while the track isn't a fav, I wouldn't skip it either.

How It Was Supposed 2 Be - Very catchy, especially when the beat builds and is fully exposed. This is where a true fan, falls right back in love with Ryan's skill. "And I wonder if we'll ever find out how it was supposed to beeee baby" Repeat!

I-R-I-N-A - Ryan plays the piano very beautifully here and sings a mid-tempo ballad that you could definitely enjoy on a breezy day. "I wanna be your future, forget about your past..."! Repeat.

Out of the Blue - When you think the album can get any better, he gives us this song full of robotic synths and mellow beats. You feel his pain as he explores being left by his lover "out of the blue."

Shouldn't Have to Wait - Well produced. Well sang. He mixes melodies beautifully here as well. Any follower of his YouTube channel will hear the infamous mini-horn throughout the song.

Wanna Be Good - Mellow. Nice tempo. Classic Ryan rock to it. Definitely dance music. You may catch yourself singing the hook randomly, "I just wanna be good to you"!

Gibberish - Although, I cannot be sure of a word in this song, the melody and key Ryan, well auto tune, sings in is lovely. We hear the fav mini-horn again and fall in love with this odd but lovable song. This is definitely a favorite. " know I won't you right there...."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 - Jill Scott

(((Rating: 4)))

Bangers: Hate On Me, Crown Royal, Epiphany, Insomnia, All I

I know I'm late on this review (a year late) but this album couldn't have come sooner and at a better time when it was released in September 2007. It's the kind of album that you want to forget and then find again to be reminded of what real music and sincere lyrics, feel and sound like. In Vol. 3, Jill gives us what we need once again. On to the review...

Let It Be - I love the eery sounds and xylophone in this song. As Jill speaks on "whatever it is, let it be...". The drums remind you of a solo out of a marching band. I love the crispness of her voice.

The Real Thing - You will love the electric guitar loop in this song. Jill preaches in this one about being the real thing..."in stereo". Like Cleopatra Jones, she can set ya free and she is more than a toy for your satisfaction! Preach! This is a really liberating and empowering song for women.

Hate On Me - Horns. Horns. And more horns...This is truly one that speaks to the soul. Hate on haters cause Jill is definitely back on this one.

Come See Me - The horns glide in on this song perfectly with "passion and desire baby..." Jill seduces her lover as she beckons him to come see about her.
Crown Royal - Seductive and sensual. A joint that makes you want to see what the fuss is about, "crown royal on iceee". Repeatable and cutty list.

Epiphany - If ever sex were spoken word, these would be the words. Jill tells a story like no other to a basic drum beat. "He plows inside as if he's making beats..."

My Love - To every woman who has ever been baffled a mans decision in another woman. Jill speaks on being overlooked and even compares her love to the other woman's. "...didn't you know this or didn't you notice..."

Insomnia - The jazz-fusion sounds and melodies between Jill singing and speaking is perfect. She speaks on her man not wanting her and being turned "from a woman of substance" to pretty much a woman of desperation.

How It Make You Feel - How would a world less black women be? "No more chocolate kisses, no more nappy dug out everrrr...." This song speaks on it. Not a favorite but an interesting concept.

Only You - Mellow beat and almost ghostly sounds. Dark and deep as Jill speaks to a man who can only make her leave the key and never come back. "Only youuuuu...." Puts me in the mind of Sade's mystique and level of mellow. Repeatable.

Celibacy Blues - While the bass guitar in this song isn't very favorable, it gets the point across very well as Jill caresses notes wonderfully.

All I - Goodie-Two-Shoes meets Nasty Girl. Repeatable and cutty list acceptable. "Hope you want me in the same wayyy..."!

Wanna Be Loved - This is the anthem for ladies everywhere who "just wanna be loved like everybody else does". Feel good anthem.

Breathe - Good closer to the album as she speaks poetic melodies and spoken word. Not a fav.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

808's & Heartbreak - Kanye West

(((Rating: 4)))

Bangers: Heartless, Amazing, See U In My Nightmares

I will be honest and say that Graduation was the first Kanye album I have bought. I'm not ashamed to say it may not be the last while I teeter on the edge of buying his most current album, 808's & Heartbreak. When Kanye first introduced us to Love Lockdown, we knew he had taken a different route from the tenatively titled album, Good Ass Job. Nevertheless, this album was received with closed fist and open hands just the same. You will either hate a Kanye album or love it. Here goes my review....

Say You Will - Kanye is dramatic and simple here as we hear a skeleton-like drum and simple synth and what sounds like voices in the background. Kanye says some of the most interesting things like, "When I grab your neck, I touch your soul. Take off your kewl, then lose control." He then let's the beat ride out until the end with the choir like voices...."don't say you will, unless you will".

Welcome to Heartbreak - I love how this song builds with heavy drum and a piano. Kanye speaks on how he only has the material things to brag about where his friends are finding happiness in family. "And my head keeps spinnin, can't keep having these visions, I gotta get with it..." Very good song.

Heartless - This has to be the catchiest, upbeat heartbreak song out right now. Once again we hear the 808's and Kanye raps about how he lost his soul to a woman so heartless. Definitely repeatable.

Amazing - Kanye uses his auto-tune and vocoder here as he sing/raps over drums and other synths. Jeezy is also a welcome feature on here, as he is on most songs. "I'm amazing, yea I'm all that. If I aint on my grind, then what u call that?" Repeatable.

Love Lockdown - I didn't like this song when it was aired and I still don't like it. Although, I will not overlook Kanye's ability to introduce a new sound and flair in music. He literally uses a simple duh duh duh doom 808 beat, piano, and animal effects throughout the song. Not a fav.

Paranoid - Seems Kanye started off playing on this song and it turned into something good enough to put on the album. The song is comprised mainly of synths. He tells his girl, "baybay don't be so paranoid, you worry bout the wrong thangs...". Very fun song overall.

RoboCop - The strings in the song are pretty interesting. Makes me envision a fun scene in a movie with the robotic sound effects and all. He also states here, how his girl is acting like a robocop.

Street Lights - This may be the most awkwardly dramatic song on the album. "I know my destination, I'm just not there..." My sentiments exactly.

Bad News - This is another simple kickdrum beat. Skippable. "I just heard some real bad news..."

See You In My Nightmare - My favorite song on the album! Lil Wayne's voice mixes perfectly with the eery synths and drums. Kanye then chimes in with his most arrogantly vulnerable voice, "Tell errbody DAT ya know...that I don't love you no mo". This song is perfectly haunting as the strings compliment the ending. "And that's one thing DAT ya know..." Perfect!

Coldest Winter - This song is very somber as Kanye speaks on his mothers death. "Goodbye my friend, will I ever love again. Memories made in the coldest winter." Damn. The music definitely completes his mood with hard hitting drum and melancholy synths.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Evolution of Robin Thicke - Robin Thicke

(((Rating: 5)))

Bangers: Every song is exceptional in it's own right.

Robin Thicke, simply known as Thicke previously on his debut album A Beautiful World, changed up his style and delivered a classic and gorgeous album. While this review is late, I still wanted to give props to a very talented artist. On this album he delivers stellar vocals, arrangements, and harmonies. He also plays the guitar and piano on alot of the songs as well as wrote most if not all of them. A true artist indeed.

Got 2 Be Down - This song starts with such a Marvin Gaye-esque feel to it and Faith's voice is more than welcomed on this track. Robin sings in a mid range tone and a falsetto as he sings, "I got 2 be down....we gotta get it together"! Definitely a lovely opener.

Complicated - "I wish I could change..." The live bass and piano and cymbal taps compliments Robin voice sweetly as he sings until the beat finally drops in. Very nice jazzy melody as the instruments work well with another.

Would That Make U Love Me - We hear Robin's many tones hear as he begs the question, "Would that make you love me?" The beat is extremely simplistic with the primary instruments being a guitar, nice 1,2 beat and synths throughout the song and also what seems to be an organ.

Lost Without U - This had to be one of Robin's biggest hits and understandably so. The song come in with a hand drum and very relaxed guitar riffs and snaps with a random triangle hit. He sings to his wife, "tell me how you love me more and how you think I'm sexy baby..."! This one is surely for the couple. Wonderful song. :)

Ask Myself - Nice claps. Guitar riff. Heavy bass. "I gotta ask myself what's it gon' be baby..." Very nice dance or driving song.

All Night Long - This song makes me feel, especially with Lil' Wayne's appearance, that it wad intended for the club. While not a bad song, it lacks. Not entirely skippable but surely not a favorite.

Everything I Can't Have - Very big band and spanish-ish. Very different. We hear bass, trumpets, drums, piano, sambas, and other instruments. Very interesting song.

Teach U A Lesson - Very mellow and calm song. Robin sings to his lover, "U've been a bad girl, Someone's gonna have to teach ya..." I would say this is surely a calm seduction. :) One of my favs.

I Need love - While someone strums an electric guitar, we get a glimpse of Robins seductiveness as his voice goes from high to low to lower and high again and he then croons, "Settle down love for a minute..." This is definitely a cutty song as Robin says, "I can do better than make love to you, better than make you say my name...please, please, please..." A truly beautiful song as the it continues into the reprise and we hear more or Robin's gorgeous harmonies and musical melodies with the piano. One of the best songs on the album.

Wanna Love U Girl - When I first heard this song, something was off to me and maybe because I wasn't used to this Robin. Although, slowly but surely this has become a definite banger to me. "oh, oh , oh oh oh..." lol

Can U Believe - Robin plays the piano beautifully here as he is accompanied by a simple drum beat and vocal harmonies. He sings and asks, "When your down at the bottom can you believe in love...when all that you've got is God?" Incredible lyrics and Robin gives us amazing vocals once again as the song hits the bridge and he sings, "If nobody's watching, you will never know..."! Also we hear a very aggressive electric guitar riff. Awesome song.

Shooter - While Lil' Wayne doesn't massacre the song, I prefer Robin original version from his previous album A Beautiful World.

Cocaine - The heavy beat and guitar and Robin's falsetto makes this song really thump as it should as he croons about his environment. This song sounds a little vintage as well.

2 the Sky - This is an eerily touching song as Robin sings with depletion as he asks the questions that we all ask in life. "Will I be rich?" But he reminds us readily, the only truth is in the sky referring to God. The song takes a very dramatic turn as he an electric guitar falls in and Robin yells out, "Take me, take the sky." Then as in an almost reprise style again, Robin hits with a lovely piano solo and croons, "when you ask yourself, why me, why not me, when ur down on ur knees, just look to the sky"! Amen Robin! Preach! OUTSTANDING vocals, harmonies, musical melodies....stellar!

Lonely World - Melodramatic and piano-driven. Reminiscent of Michael Jackson.

Angels - Simply Robin and his piano as he sings in a beautiful falsetto about his angels. :) Wonderful closer to an outstanding album.

Here I Stand - Usher

(((Rating: 4)))

Bangers: Here I Stand, Love in this Club, Trading Places, Love You Gently & Before I Met You

Usher has been one of my favorite artists since I was about 10. I remember seeing him perform with Janet Jackson and R. Kelly on tour and having his posters plastered on my walls. He has been on the scene since he was 13 and he debuted his album Here I Stand in May 2008 for our listening pleasures. In my musical opinion, this was one of his most slept on and mature albums thus far. So I will provide a review of the album.

Intro - The intro seems as though he is taking his first step into REAL manhood and maturity. As he speaks of his loneliness and then finding love, it makes the listener really want to take the journey with him. To hear the full song, google "Forever Young".

Love In This Club - The garage band Polow Da Don produced track is certainly good material for a 1st single and Usher spared no expense in giving us the "sexy". Young Jeezy is featured here and is quite welcomed with his rugged but smooth rap lyrics and persona. "If we close our eyes, it could just be me and you..."! Definitely a banger that I still listen to!

This Aint Sex - "All ladies report to the dance floor..." This song possesses true Usher charm and maturity as he makes the listener sway, snap fingers and raise an arm or two! The snap back beat makes for good dancing and Usher croons and slides over the beat easily.

Trading Places - This song is definitely on the cutty list for me. From the animalistic drum beat, to the skeleton piano keys, and Ushers voice caressing each verse seductively, this song proves that he hasn't gone anywhere and doesn't plan on leaving soon. It is sure to make you bop your head and call your lover. "Now put it on me baby till I say oooh wee..."....yesss! The guitar towards the end is undeniably the climax instrument of choice.

Moving Mountains - While not a favorite of mine, I cannot deny the vulnerability in Usher's voice as he pleads for a love lost. "I know sorry just wouldn't do it, my heart is obliterated, I'm tryna travel through it..." The songs strong synths, piano cascades, and drums make for a very dramatic song.

What's Your Name - Heavy synths and hard-hitting beats make this one also a very danceable track. Usher says throughout the entire song about finding out someones name. Will.I.Am is also featured as both producer and artist. The bridge has to be a fav as the beat speeds up and becomes a more trance/fantasy song.

Prayer For You (Interlude) - This is the most touching song on his album by far as we hear the song start with Cinco (his son) cooing into the mic. He sings in a lullaby-ish way to his song but in fact it's a prayer. The harp and piano and light synths compliment Ushers voice nicely.

Something Special - This song honestly puts me in the mind of Robin Thicke's second album. The acoustic guitar and Usher's voice mesh well together as he speaks on his love and asking for patience. "I think we've got something special..." Nice track but not a favorite.

Love You Gently - This is definitely for the lovemakers as the beat drops slowly and dramaticly into the song and Usher sings in his trademarked falsetto. "Light as a feather but hard as a rock." If this one doesn't set the mood, something is wrong. Repeatable and cutty list material.

Best Thing - Honestly, while this isn't a bad track, it does come off a bit dated with the looped beat and piano. Jay-Z's verse is sub-par at best on this track. Skippable.

Before I Met You - This is another one of my favorites based on lyrical content alone. Usher sings, "I was a hustla and a player girl (before I met you)..." over a semi-dramatic heavy beat and synths. Very good song especially for the transformed players and those looking towards changing. :)

His Mistakes - This song is unfortunately a bit forgettable although extremely laid back. Usher sings about reminding a lover of a past pain and speaks on not being accountable for 'his mistakes'. While not a fav, it's not too skippable either.

Appetite - This has the be the most honest account of Usher's experience with another woman since he was married. He sings aggressively, "Tempted I must confess, but I better not make a mess, better give my girl my best, get my BS under arrest..."! :)

What's A Man to Do - Acoustic guitars and a nice relaxing beat accompanies Usher on his journey as he sings to his woman how his heart is in 2 different places. Whats a man to do? lol.

Lifetime - This beat is definitely a zone-out and drive type of song. He basically sings about how he will be around for a lifetime. Wonderful song. Repeatable. "Some only come in your life for a season..."

Here I Stand - This is one of the most beautiful songs I have heard in a long time. The simplistic live kick drum and piano give the feel of an old classic song. Lyrics like, "I know it's gets hard when I'm moving in and out of state, but I promised my heart for you I would save" and "you're the blessing I never thought I would get, and to the Lord I humbly bow my head"-prove just how serious Usher is about his growth and maturity in love and music. This is a song I'm sure I will hear at weddings. Absolutely a beautiful song and Usher's voice is pure and amazing in the chorus..."Forever yours, Here I Stand..."!

Overall, this album is a very good and solid album and based off Here I Stand alone...he gets an A + from me! :) Go buy it!

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Am...Sasha Fierce - Beyonce

(((Rating: 3)))

Bangers: Disappear, Broken-Hearted Girl, Smash Into You, Video Phone & Ego

Beyonce has been running the airwaves , magazine covers, commercials and music blogs since she stepped on the scene. Now with her latest album, she is back again...but I beg the question: Is it for better or worse this time?

If I Were A Boy - However annoying it may be to keep hearing the song, I cannot deny its catchy-ness and Beyonce's vocal vulnerability here. Nice track and good 1st single material.

Halo - Synths. Drama. Drums. Piano melodies. Strings. Hand claps. Very nice song that was originally intended for Leona Lewis (bore queen). Beyonce handles this one very well. Although single is written all over it. "I can feel ur halo, halo, halo..." !!!

Disappear - "If I begged and if I cried, would it change this guy tonight..." Beautiful words and piano melody as Beyonce truly pleads for another chance with the love of her life. "I try to reach you, I can almost feel you, you're nearly disappear". I often repeat this one. Very lullaby-ish.

Broken-Hearted Girl - Lovely piano and strings. Begins slowly and going into the second verse speeds up just a little with a nice thumping drum beat. I bop by head everytime to this one as she pleads, " I don't wanna play the broken-hearted girl." Repeatable.

Ave Maria - Acoustic guitar and piano laced track as Beyonce sings vulnerably once again. While her voice is absolutely beautiful, the track is skippable.

Smash Into You - This song grew on me and is now, undeniably my favorite. Starts off with acoustic guitars and a simple kick-drum while the piano slowly eases into the track. "And I'm soaked in your love....and me and you belong." Beyonce comes with vocals and notes we haven't heard previously! Awesome song!

Satellites - A lullaby that will truly put you to sleep. Skippable.

Single Ladies - Beyonce comes with another dance hit. While it isn't a fav of mine, I find myself getting caught up and dancing to this one and singing the catchy hook. "If ya like it, then ya shoulda put a ring on it..." Uh uh!

Radio - Euro-synths and pop beats. A little catchy but not a favorite in the least bit. She sings about how she fell in love with the radio.

Diva - "Nah Nah Nah, Diva is a female version of the hustla..." She clearly claims her spot on this track although the beat is recycled from Lil Wayne's "A Milli".

Sweet Dreams - Euro-pop. Nice dance track but definitely skippable.

Video Phone - "Dem hustlas keep on talkin..." I have to say the beat is hot and she has undeniable swag in this song. This song makes me dance every single time I hear it. Enjoyable!

Hello - Heavy piano and drums. I love the lyrics and the fast-paced way Beyonce sings the song. "You had me at heee-lloooww..." I think we have all felt this way before.

Ego - Horns. Organ and a piano. Then the beat thumps in and Beyonce sings with a boss-swag as she says, "I walk like this cause I can back it up..." "He gotta big ego..." ! On repeat! :)

Scared of Lonely - Nice catchy beat and lyrics and synths throughout the track. Not a fav but not skippable.

Overall, this album isn't bad at all and to be honest it got more plays than Brandys highly-anticipated comeback album. Beyonce surprised me this time around after the disappointment that was B'Day.

Jennifer Hudson - Jennifer Hudson

(((Rating: 3)))

Bangers: Spotlight, If This Isn't Love, We Gon' Fight

Jennifer Hudson made waves in the world of entertainment first being booted from American Idol then landing a role in Dream Girls and winning her first Oscar. She also released an album that I felt would be underwhelming but surprisingly had some good songs. Let me review it! ...

Spotlight - "Whoo, whoo..." If you haven't heard this in a club or on the radio, you are living under a rock. This isn't a fav of mine but enjoyable nonetheless with its piano melody and thumping beat. Good single choice! :)

If This Isn't Love - A slowed thumping beat and piano melody but Jennifer sings this one well too. Easily one of my favs as she sings, "If this isn't love, then tell me what it is..."! I hear this will be the 2nd single and also a great choice! :)

Pocketbook - Instantly recognizable as Timbaland beatboxes and breathes heavily making most of the beat. Jen sings effortlessly over the catchy beat, "dont make me hit you with my pocketbook...". A head-bobber! Luda comes in with his trademarked vocal style.

Giving Myself - Power Ballad. While nicely sang, it is also easily skippable.

What's Wrong (Go Away) - Vocoder/auto-tune and T-Pain. Why? While these seem to be ingredients made for a disaster the song isn't that bad. Nice heavy beat and synths but the lyrics are a little off.

My Heart - Nice piano melody plays in back of heavy drums. Jen sings nicely but this track is a not a standout honestly.

You Pulled Me Through - Power ballad.

I'm His Only Woman - A 2008 "Woman 2 Woman". This song is pretty entertaining but a scream-fest between the powerhouse vocals of Jennifer and Fantasia. I love Fantasia's ad-libs and runs on this song.

Can't Stop the Rain - Nice mellow track. Jen sings this one with ease also. Nice kick drums. Skippable lol.

We Gon' Fight - "Hands up..." When I say Jen sings the shit out of this song, she sings the shit out of it! Very dramatic drum roll type beat. She sings, "Like gangstas we gon' strap up for this warrrrr..." Yes! LOL. Definitely a fav of mine! "holla if ya hear me..."

Invisible - Starts slow and if you stick around until the hook, the songs speeds up and is quite enjoyable actually. "I'm invisible for the last time...."

And I'm Telling U - I hate this song actually. Nevertheless, she does it justice.

Overall, very solid album and nice produced.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Different Me - Keyshia Cole

(((Rating: 3)))

Bangers: Intro & Outro, Please Don't Stop, Erotic, Oh-Oh, Yeah-Yeah, Thought U Should Know

This album has been on repeat for me along with Musiq and Anthony Hamilton. On Keyshia's first album we heard her rugged struggle with a street type of love. Then on "Just Like You" we heard a more polished but yet rugged and real Keyshia. Now we hear, "A Different Me" and she is definitely coming with bangers, dance tracks and a very polished and more mature Keyshia. Keep it up! :)

A Different Me (Intro) - Pure hotness and Keyshia lets us know that this time around we are seeing a different her. She sings, "I would like to introduce a sexier side of me." Hey... lol.

Make Me Over - She borrows from Tina Turner on this one as she sings she wants to be made over on a jazzy, rnb-ish track produced by Polow Da Don and Ron Fair. A very good rendition for 2008/2009. Definitely a track to make you move.

Please Don't Stop - "Please don't stopppp..." An instant favorite for me and any other freestyle dancers out there. Very upbeat and instant mood lifter! Towards the end Keyshia intro's her sexier side by slowing the track down. Good record overall! :)

Erotic - Starts in a very erotic way. The beat is a laid-back dance number that is sure to make you want to hip roll or something close. Keyshia sings very seductively here as we hear dramatic strings and a hypnotizing beat.

You Complete Me - Keyshia speaks on love on this and while the track has its slap-back type beats and synthesizers and EP Piano, it's not a favorite. I often skip this one. :(

No Other - Spanish guitar. Snaps. Nice dance track. Although skippable especially the rap part.

Oh-Oh, Yeah-Yeah - Can I say that this track starts off an instant banger? Well, it does. Keyshia sings, "Did you know that I meant what I said when I told you I love you, loved you...", over looped strings and heavy drums. Nas comes in flawlessly on the track as well. My favorite.

Playa Cardz Right - Snaps. Piano. Mellow beat. Tupac. Although this is a very nice song, it shouldn't have been a first single. Easily a jam as well.

Brand New - The music and words put me in the mind of Janet Jackson as Keyshia asks a man to let her show him something "Brand New". She asks, "Whats on your mind?" Very mellow.

Trust - Dialogue ensues between Monica, who is featured, and Keyshia about a man's trust. Very nice duet although quite simple in lyrics and it is very apparent that Monica owns this song like it's hers! :)

Thought U Should Know - Produced by Tank. So automatically I knew this would be a nice song because he writes very well. Keyshia sings over mellow synths and kick drums. Nice lounge music.

This Is Us - Definitely an acoustic pop ballad. Not a favorite but I can definitely respect the route she goes with this song because it would get airplay on pop stations.

Where This Love Could End Up - Up. up. up. Up....A nice laid-back song. The music is definitely catchy!

Beautiful Music - First thing that came to my is another damn hustle song for Detroit. LOL! Very danceable song. I wouldn't necessarily say skip this one but I wouldn't turn to it either.

Outro - As hot as the intro! She sings, "Thank you for hanging with the sexier side of me..." Nice outro! :)

Overall, this is a very well-produced album, as every track was extremely detailed and Ron Fair surely took his time with most of them. Would I buy it? Yes I have! :)