Monday, September 20, 2010

Faith Evans - Gone Already

Two words - CAN'T WAIT!!! Faith Evans is one of my favorite singers, and I'm super excited that she's finally coming out with a new album after 5 years!  Her first single, "Gone Already," from her sixth studio album, Something About Faith, showcases her shimmering voice and her undeniable talent. 

The song is on a more solemn note than I would expect for her first single in such a long time.  But I'm happy to know that she hasn't lost her touch.  Lady can still caress a melody and those keys were sounding nice!  I'm sure that Something About Faith will consist of music that I can really get into.  So I can't wait for October 5 - I'm expecting greatness.  This sad, but beautiful song encourages me to keep the faith!

Also, check out Faith Evans' "Way You Move," featuring Snoop Dogg - it has a smooth vibe, it's more upbeat and fun, and it's catchy!  Find it on my iPod on the sidebar >>>

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Concha Buika - Soledad

No, no comprendo español mucho.  Especially when it is sung.  But that's not going to stop me from wrapping my ears around the luscious sounds of Concha Buika's rendition of "Soledad" (originally by Chavela Vargas.  I don't understand many of the words, but I can sense the emotion behind each syllable.  The tone of her voice is like a wooden fire crackling and cinders glowing - sigh... Jason, one of my classmates stated that "Buika sounds like she's 120 years old!"  He's right!! (that's a good thing in this case.)  Her voice is so rich and sultry.  And it is full, so her songs don't need much instrumentation.

However, the jazz piano on this track fits like a key in a lock.  Well-loved jazz musician, Chucho Valdés, graces this song with his piano magic.  He waltzes with Buika's vocals - they move hand in hand and float atop the sound waves of pure soul!

I'm so glad that Professor Ouellette had us listen to "Soledad" in class today; when I got home, I streamed all of her albums via Zune.  I marvelled at more songs from El Ultimo Trago, and I am now listening to "Love," from the album Mi niña Lola.  Do yourself a favor, and take a listen!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ne-Yo - One in a Million

Watch out Usher!! Ne-Yo's back!  You could check out his Michael Jackson-like track "Beautiful Monster," or you could listen the charming, "One in a Million," in which Mr. GQ pursues a lady who could obviously care less for him.  Ladies, Ne-Yo starts dancing in the streets!  Guess Ne-Yo snagged Columbus Short when Chris was becoming a gangsta! One thing I really like about this song is that Ne-Yo has maintained his artistry.  He has taken great care to perfect the lyrics, the music, and the performance.  Overall, he delivers.

R. Kelly - When a Woman Loves

This is old soul for real!
X Lyrics on point
X Vocals beyond compare
X Feel it in my soul
X Wholesome
You go R. Kelly!!

Chrisette Michele - I'm a Star

For the first few seconds of this song, I'm thinkin "yes, this is gonna be tough!" I was kinda wrong though.  This song is quite soft and sweet.  Is Chrisette going for a more pop feel on this upcoming album?  Well this new single, "I'm a Star," leads me to believe so.  The lyrics are cool and the music is nice.  Actually the song has some great musical elements - the intro, the "seen it, done it" part and her vocals, of course. But I'm expecting Chrisette to pour more soul into the mix on the other songs from her currently untitled album.

I REALLY hope Chrisette doesn't pull an Alicia Keys on us - by that I mean trade in her jazzy, gritty sound for a polished, more mainstream sound.  Her old world vocals are what captivated me - I first heard her sing the hook on Nas's "Can't Forget About You."  I was like, "Whoa!! Who's that singing?!"

I eventually listened to both of her studio albums.  I absolutely love all of the songs on Chrisette Michele's I Am, especially "Love is You," "Your Joy," "Like a Dream," and "Let's Rock."  I liked the majority of songs on Epiphany - "What You Do" is still stuck in my head.  Hopefully, she reverses her minimally declining track record with the upcoming album.

I recently saw Chrisette, along with Tamia, Mario, Salt, and Rick Ross, perform at Summerstage at Central Park on August 28, 2010.  Seeing and hearing...scratch that...EXPERIENCING Chrisette live is truly a delicacy.  Its yummy to the senses>>hearing her do all this crazy vocal work, seeing way she moves her hands, squints her eyes, bends down as she belts out - her mannerisms remind me of Etta James, whom she has studied.

Watching a lady with such prowess and passion is awe-inspiring.  I'm looking forward to hearing more from Chrisette and experiencing her in concert again.  I believe that she is a legend in the making.  As long as she keeps her focus and remains true to her soul [music].

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Willow Smith - Whip My Hair

Hmmm...well I'm a little puzzled. This 9 year old girl is talking about her haters while she should be playing with her barbies (or whatever celebrity kids play with), and she dresses like someone twice her age (and we wonder why so many perverts are out there). But this critique from here forth is strictly about the song!

The hook is repetitive but very catchy - it will probably be stuck in my head for a while =).  Willow isn't an AMAZING singer, at least not yet. But she's good...good enough, apparently, for Jay-Z to sign her to his Roc Nation label.  The first person who comes to mind when I hear this song is Rihanna.  Willow sounds very much like Rihanna, vocally.  And her fashion style is undoubtedly influenced by Rihanna as well.  But thankfully, Willow keeps it kid-friendly! The message of the song is be yourself despite what anyone says or thinks.  I'm impressed that this young lady seems to be so self-assured.  Her delivery is pretty convincing.  Will and Jada Smith are definitely raising some driven kids!  But is Willow actually talented? Listen to the song and decide for yourself.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lyfe Jennings - Statistics

Wow - must say I'm pleasantly surprised with Lyfe Jennings' single "Statistics."  I shouldn't be so surprised, because "Must be Nice" was of similar nature, in that it was distinct.  But I haven't listened to his other music, until now.  I guess I was expecting "Statistics" to be a song in which Jennings flaunts his money, cars, and women...I must listen to way too much Hip-Hop! =)  However, the album title track of his new album gives statistics regarding men.  For example, what percentage of men practice safe sex, grew up without a father, and have cheated on their mate. He is dropping knowledge to the ladies about the statistics of our prospects. The guys may be a bit averse to this song, but it's something to think about for the ladies. I must say, it's definately a breath of fresh air from the norm of male R&B.

Now I'm listening to another song from the album Statistics, "It Could've Been Worse."  Again, I'm so impressed that Jennings chooses to sing about matters that actually matter.  He begins the song with, "Embrace your struggle, 'cause no matter what, it could've been worse." This is so true - I'm automatically putting a heart by this song.  From what I'm hearing so far, the tracks aren't too complex, as far as instrumentation/ arrangement.  You can tell that the vocals are the focal point of the songs.  And the vocals are so raw and genuine - "Done Cryin" is a good example of how a simple song can be so beautiful.  (The Deluxe Edition includes an acoustic version of this song which is so good to just vibe to.) 

Statistics is a compilation of real life issues, love, and spirituality.  Lyfe Jennings makes it so very personal with "I Still Believe" and especially,"Learn from This," and "If Tomorrow Never Comes."  He truly open his heart and soul to his audience.  I would recommend giving this album a good listen.