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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.