You Should Hear This: Nikki & Rich
Imagine if Pharrell Williams did an album with Amy Winehouse. That's what you get with Nikki & Rich, an up-and-coming L.A. based duo. Nikki Leonti, a former gospel/Christian-contemporary artist met hip-hop/R&B producer Rich "Rich Skillz" Velonskis in 2007, and it's been sweet, creative honey ever since. Rich's innovative and appealing production combined with Nikki's songwriting and soulful vocals make for some exciting and refreshing music. Check out "Same Kind of Man" and "City Lights" ft. Fabulous below. A 6-track EP is available for free download at nikkiandrich.com
Lady Gaga: Born This Way
Likes: Judas, Edge of Glory, You and I, Bloody Mary, Born this
Dislikes: Hair, Heavy Metal Lover
Overall: Not as catchy as “The
Fame,” but is much more artistically strong and worth the $.
Lady Gaga defied expectation and hardly duplicated her superficial and
easily-commercial debut album, “The Fame,” which is a bloody fantastic change. “The Fame” was catchy, but the lyrics were ridiculously superficial, the vocal arrangements didn’t compliment Gaga’s vocal ability, and the project ultimately undermined her talent. “Born This Way” does Gaga’s ability more justice and is artistically strong. The production is more complex, edgy and makes beautiful use of live instruments and choral voicing. Gaga brilliantly mixes mainstream dance pop with artistically respectable repertoire (ex. “The Queen” transitions from dance pop to a guitar ballad). The lyrical theme of the album addresses young misfit culture; lust, impulsivity, rebellion, self-esteem and the desire to be validated. With a consistent theme, it’s hard for the album to sound shallow; so much to the point that a song about a hookup (“Edge of Glory”) even sounds like a “live life to the fullest” inspirational. The only downside is that the songs aren’t as catchy as those on “The Fame.” I anticipate that her 3rd album will be absolutely perfect. “Born This Way” is solid. An album sampler is below.
Beyonce`: 1+1 Review & Idol Performance “1+1”, the 2nd single from Beyonce’s forthcoming album, “4”, is a definite rebound from the hard-to-sing-along with “Run the World” (review link below). Less is more with the single as it has simple, yet metaphoric lyrics and basic, but beautiful piano/string orchestration. “1+1” is so smooth and romantic; you might end up with your clothes off if you’re near the right person. Beyonce` debuted the song live on American Idol’s finale last night after the finalists performed a medley of her songs. You can watch both performances below. (see review for "Run The World": http://jsays.weebly.com/2/post/2011/04/beyonce-run-the-world-girls.html).
Youtube Talent: Karmin
You've got to check this singer-songwriter duo from Boston out!! Nick and Amy call themselves Karmin and they have plenty to offer. Amy has a goregeous voice and Nick is great musician. Check out their covers of Chris Brown's "Look At Me Now," their funky rendition of Lady Antebellum's "Just a Kiss" and Greyson Chance's below. They also have a number of original songs at karmintube on Youtube. Additional covers can be found at karmincovers.
Like some other Beyonce fans, I didn’t care for “Run The World (Girls)” when I heard it (see song review link below), so I was hoping that the video would be more functional, stunning and entertaining. Initially, it seemed that the video was going to be lots of random shots in which Beyonce` just looks cute and poses, but eventually the video appeased me; it related to song’s concept, the aesthetics were vivid, the fashion was fierce and the choreography was great (Beyonce` shied away from her usual “light and prissy” and went for more active and aggressive, which made the “Single Ladies” choreo delightful). It could've been a little more dramatic, but good go, B. The video is below. (song review link: http://jsays.weebly.com/2/post/2011/04/beyonce-run-the-world-girls.html )
So, I was watching “Dancing with the Stars” (yes, I’m guilty) and this young lady, Delta Goodrem performs with Michael Bolton. Noticing her powerful voice, I immediately took to a computer and checked out her website. Goodrem is an Australian 26-year-old singer/songwriter and pianist who is a vocal blend of Celine Dion and Faith Hill. Her official website is http://deltagoodrem.com/. Below are “Mistaken Identity,” “Almost Here” and a remix of “You Will Only Break My Heart.” Hope you enjoy it. A collection of song samples are available at http://www.bandit.fm/page#breathe/deltagoodrem.
Jennifer Lopez: Love?
Overall: Mediocre, indifferent and not worth the wax it was burned on.
This is the album you listen to when you just want some upbeat background music. Musically, Jennifer Lopez’s “Love?” is catchy enough to bop around to a little, but there isn’t a single track that sticks in your head. This album is forgettable and not needed. You can’t even appreciate the fairly well-written songs (ex. “Until it Beats No More,” “One Love”) because of Lopez’s poor vocals. Other tracks just seem immature on Lopez (the Lady Gaga co-produced “Invading My Mind” sounds like it should have been on Britney Spears’ “Femme Fatale.” Spears is 12 years Lopez’s junior). This record chronically suffers from indifference. Some tracks you can somewhat like (ex. “Run The World”, “Vilian”), but “somewhat” is as far as it goes. This record should’ve been a sinch for Jennifer Lopez, as solid dance tunes with urban flavoring have previously been a part of her repertoire. The only compliment I can give to “Love” is that it has a consistent concept and purpose; at least it wasn’t an entire album of “I’m going to the club to get drunk and screw someone.” Now, I’m going to go listen to Jenny’s previous stuff (turns on “Feelin’ So Good”). An album sampler of “Love?” is below (Note: “Louboutins”, “Everbody’s Girl”, “Greatest Part of Me”, “Story of My Life” and “Fresh Out the Oven” were not included on the final cut of the album).
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