Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Fantasia was featured on VH1's Behind The Music the night of her Back To Me album release & although it had been completed prior to Fantasia's suicide attempt, the special was updated in time to include a new interview with the singer regarding the incident, making this a must-see. Between her tool of a father, being raped at 14, & getting tumors on her vocal chords, Fantasia has been through a lot. She sure is one talented lady though & I pray that she stays strong from here on out!
Monday, August 30, 2010
UPDATE: Brandy's partner is... Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who's had successful runs on the show in the past with the likes of Mel B & Laila Ali.
"Holding You Down (Goin' In Circles)" is the first single off Jazmine Sullivan's upcoming sophomore album Love Me Back (October 5th). This video came out at the perfect time because I'm currently transitioning from liking this song to loving it! I love this woman & everything she does, this retro video & all!
On the seventh season finale of HBO's Entourage, airing September 12th, Christina Aguilera will be serving as a guest star & you can get a short glimpse (just don't blink!) at her in the episode above. Word is that she'll be singing too, so don't miss it! Also, since I'm sure you already have, don't forget that Christina's new album Bionic is out now.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
"Love 'Em All": I know I've had time to get used to Usher returning to his man-whorish ways, but it's not just for that reason that I like this song better than just about every song with the same subject matter from Raymond Vs. Raymond. Here, he gives us a solid R&B song with some rockin' vocals! 4/5
"DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" (ft. Pitbull): Lord knows Mr. Raymond has no business recording with Max Martin, but this is certainly a step up from that bang-my-head-against-the-wall trash "OMG". 3.5/5
"Hot Tottie" (ft. Jay-Z): As this is another Polow Da Don joint (see: "Lil' Freak"), it shouldn't surprise anyone that it's my favorite track. It's too bad that Ciara wasn't able to top this song off perfectly, but that's my only complaint. Even Jay's verse is hot. 4.5/5
"Lay You Down": A decent R&B slow jam, if not the best; another nice vocal display. 3.5/5
"Lingerie": Again, not his absolute best work, but a solid uptempo nonetheless. 3.5/5
(I'm omitting "There Goes My Baby" here because I've already shared my thoughts on it.)
"Get In My Car" (ft. Bun B): On the surface, it's not too bad... but is this not about prostitutes?! Regardless, it's nothing special. 2/5
"Somebody To Love (Remix)" (ft. Justin Bieber): This particular version features more vocals from Usher than the remix that has a video (although less than the leaked solo version) & for that reason, in addition to the fact that I like this mix better, I like it--despite Justin's presence. 3/5
"Stranger": Usher bookends this set nicely because this is a really good R&B slow jam. 4/5
Versus is unmistakably an extension of Raymond Vs. Raymond, but weeding out some of the trash seems to work for Usher, as he certainly has a split personality--just not the one he thinks he does--trying to please both his R&B & pop fans. That said, artists take note: 9-track "albums" by themselves is not gonna cut it. There's not enough material in that short of a span to fully convey the creative message that albums are supposed to. And although I'm sure it won't happen, my hope is that Usher takes the R&B skills we know he has, & that he shows glimpses of here, & fully develops them creatively on his next (full-length) album.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
David Archuleta performed his first single "Something 'Bout Love" off The Other Side Of Down (October 5th) as-recorded for the first time on (national!) television during this year's Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, which kicks off the US Open. Dunno how you can sing so well while jumping up & down, but nice job, David!
Sean Kingston's at it again with his "street cred" videos, this one being for "Follow Me (Twitter Song)", which will be featured on his upcoming mixtape King Of All Kings.
Apparently, one of Beyonce's dancers from her "I Am..." tour posted this footage of the "Video Phone" performance from the tour. Despite the poster claiming that this clip isn't from the rumored upcoming DVD of the show, the performance is in fact HQ. It's a shame that Beyonce doesn't sing the song, but it sure is a sight to see nonetheless!
Saturday, August 28, 2010
"I'm Doin' Me": Anyone who's seen how Fantasia has taken on the role of caretaker for her entire family on her reality show knows the significance of this song. You can really feel Fantasia on this one, which naturally sets the mood for the record quite nicely. 4.5/5
"Bittersweet": The lead single off Back To Me is the definition of soulful, which is undoubtedly Fantasia's 'sweet' spot. 4.5/5
"Man Of The House": I'm not gonna lie: I think this kinda pales in comparison to the ghetto-fab uptempos on Fantasia, but I do like it. 4/5
"Who's Been Lovin' You": Another excellent offering of soul from 'Tasia. 4.5/5
"Collard Greens & Cornbread": Best song on the album, hands down. I would even go as far as to say that this old school joint is one of her best tracks to date. 5/5
"Teach Me": This laid back song features some pretty incredible vocals! 4.5/5
"Move On Me": I don't know why the label had a hard time considering this one for the album's first single because it offers the same soulful vibe as "Bittersweet", but is just more lively. 4.5/5
"Trust Him": This track may not stick out in particular, but it's a solid one with some great vocals that helps maintain the tone of the album. 4.5/5
"The Thrill Is Gone" (ft. Cee-Lo): Fantasia goes IN on this song, there's no denying it. In addition, it's meaning has obviously become enhanced due to recent events. And, although I'm not usually one for "slam poetry" or what have you, I find Mr. Green's part a welcome addition to the track. 5/5
"Falling In Love Tonight": I kinda consider this one album filler, although there's nothing really wrong with it. I really like the instrumental outro actually. 4/5
"Even Angels": I've loved this one ever since they previewed it on Fantasia For Real. She turns what could be considered run-of-the-mill production & turns it into somewhat of a masterpiece! 5/5
"I'm Here": I'm super thankful that they included a recording of her character's signature tune from "The Color Purple" here at the end. As we've seen in previous performances, it's simply breathtaking! 5/5
So, as you can see, Back To Me is one heck of a solid album. Now, I wish they had included "The Worst Part Is Over" because that's one of my favs from this era... & why they didn't include "Overhead" (leaked or not) is a mystery to me, considering how relevant its subject matter is... but at least we have them! For me personally, Fantasia had a lot to live up to with this record because I adore her self-titled album. However, I think she did a fine job with it--& not only that, but the fact that she succeeded (...duh...) at a retro-soul album when she did current/trendy so well back in '06 just goes to prove that she can, in fact, sing anything!
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Jazmine Sullivan recently shot the video for "Holding You Down (Goin' In Circles)", her first single off Love Me Back (October 5th). The retro song got an equally throwback concept for its accompanying video, which features cameos from a number of '90s stars, including the song's producer Missy Elliott. In related news, you gotta check out the single's brand new Swizz Beatz-helmed remix:
Alexis Jordan performed an acoustic version of her debut single "Happiness" on Good Day New York following a short interview about her background. I'd never seen Alexis sing live, so it was nice to see that she's the real deal. I also like this "unplugged" version of the song as well.
Fantasia visited the offices of VH1, the network that airs her reality show, to sing for the staff (I see you, Jim Cantiello!) in conjunction with the release of her third album Back To Me. The first video they have released of her performance--with more to follow next week--is of the singer gettin' it to the title track of her debut album, "Free Yourself". Hands down, one of the best live performers out there right now vocally.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
David Archuleta stopped by Good Day New York to give the first televised performance of his first single "Something 'Bout Love" off his upcoming sophomore album The Other Side Of Down (October 5th), as featured in the clip above, which has more to offer than meets the eye! Before he gave his wonderful, albeit shortened, performance, David offered up a sneak peek at a new song called "Elevator" that will almost surely make his new album. Then, during the brief interview before his performance, Dave revealed that he wrote 10 out of the 12 songs on The Other Side Of Down. Pretty cool, huh? As for his acoustic rendition of "Something 'Bout Love", I like it & WOW at him hitting all those high notes! I know I shouldn't be surprised at this point, but I can't think of anybody else who could hit notes like that live so easily.
"Man Of The House"
Fantasia tore the Lopez Tonight house down with a performance of her latest single "Man Of The House" off her new album Back To Me after sitting down for a heart-to-heart with host George Lopez. He seems like such a genuine guy! I think this promo round actually came at the perfect time for 'Tasia because it allows her to release through her performances & see all the love that her fans have for her.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
"DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love", featuring Pitbull, is the first single lifted from Usher's new release Versus. Although I'm already getting tired of the song & despite the fact that it is a club video, I like the whole slo-mo effect. So, not bad.
Check out this odd, yet creative new video for Kelis' latest single "4th Of July (Fireworks)", the second off her new album Flesh Tone. This special edition features every tweet that included the words "4th of July" that was tweeted on July 4th, 2010. I'm pretty sure everybody has moved past Independence Day by now, but hopefully this will get "tongues wagging" as they say nonetheless.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
"Even Angels", "Bittersweet", & "Man Of The House"
"When I See U" & "Free Yourself"
In her first live appearance & interview since her suicide attempt, Fantasia showed her human side--& that talent we all know & love--on Good Morning America. Now that it's clear that Fantasia's recent actions were intentional, above all--even her questionable wardrobe choice, I'm just glad to have her here. She is far from perfect, but she is certainly right about one thing: Let's keep the focus on her talent from now on, people! Well, that & belated congratulations, 'Tasia, for graduating from high school! Her new album Back To Me is in stores now.
UPDATE: Fantasia also performed "Man Of The House" while she was there:
Sunday, August 22, 2010
"You're The One": Her hit first single is a retro-tinged ballad that properly introduced us to those powerful pipes of hers. 4.5/5
"Saving Myself": This slow jam doesn't pop quite as much as its preceding track, but is still nice. I like the message as well, contradictory as it may be (but that's JD for ya). 4/5
"Shawty Wus Up" (ft. Johnta Austin & Diamond): Although Dondria doesn't get to show off her vocals as much on this one, I must say that I enjoy listening to her tone on the track. We don't get to hear much of her though, as Johnta the manwhore (who doesn't sound half bad, I'll admit) had to take up half the song. I did kinda like the rap though. 4/5
"Making Love": Another solid cut that has Dondria showin' off that voice! 4.5/5
"Can You Help Me": And now, the album REALLY begins! One of my favorites, this song is straight-up R&B right out of the '90s. Love me them "oh"s! 5/5
"Where Did We Go Wrong": (I'm always trying to get this one confused with the previous track, as she says "where did we go wrong" in the chorus of it. lol) Pretty sure this is everyone's favorite track, & rightfully so. Veterans, take note: This is how you do a slow jam. 2:07, baby! 5/5
"No More": What can I say? Life! She rides the sample (50 Cent's "21 Questions", I believe) exquisitely. 5/5
"Still Be With Me": She doesn't go in quite as much on this one, but who says you have to be wailing all the time? This is a gorgeous song & she sings it beautifully. 5/5
"You're The One (JD's Jeep Mix)": I'm not gonna say that I like this version better than the original... but I don't like it any less. It reminds me of the good ol' days! 4.5/5
"Believer": I love the vibe of this song! It's laid back &... what other song is like this?! Plus, her vocals are on-point as always. 4.5/5
"Kissed By The Sun": Lovely way to cap off the album. Wonderful vocal display from Dondria & beautiful piano playing from B. Cox. 4.5/5
Dondria ain't playin' around with her debut. She sings her butt off & we thank her for it. It sounds like she's found a lane that works for her, if more people would just get behind her.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Saturday, August 21, 2010
As with Fantasy Ride, Ciara has begun releasing webisodes to promote her forthcoming album Basic Instinct (October 5th) & this one focuses on her trip to Dallas for this year's K104 Summer Jam. I see you, CiCi, performing my jam "Get It Girl"! This was beautifully shot & is definitely a worthwhile watch.
"DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" & "OMG"
Interview (Pt. 1)
Interview (Pt. 2)
Usher kick-started promo for his upcoming Versus (August 24th) with the first performance of "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" as well as another for "OMG" on Good Morning America. I'm not gonna lie: He can put on a show as good as ever. Do I think HE should be working with Max Martin? No. But is "DJ" > "OMG"? Yes.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Free Yourself, When I See U, & Summertime
Hood Boy & Bittersweet
Fantasia went IN during this concert in Washington D.C. that Walmart Soundcheck, luckily enough, was able to capture. The whole thing is great & definitely worth watching, but make sure you check out the end of "Bittersweet"! I do kinda wish 'Tasia had performed more new material from her third album Back To Me (August 24th), but this'll certainly do!
Jordin Sparks stopped by Live With Regis & Kelly the morning of her Broadway debut to perform "Breathe", one of her character Nina's big numbers from "In The Heights". Kiiinda sounds like she was born to do Broadway, huh? I do really wish I could see the show, but Jordy better not ditch recording for the stage!
Keri Hilson joined T.I. again to perform their collaboration "Got Your Back" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! I'm sorry that I'm bringing this up here, as Keri kills her part on this song, but are you noticing how rap songs with singers doing the hook are taking over the world? I was talking to someone recently & they told me they liked some godawful song on the radio, & I got to thinking & asked them if they liked the song or the chorus. Turns out, nobody likes all these rappers or their verses on their songs--they just like the catchy choruses! How sad is that? I think singers with rap features can be brilliant, but it's just a mess the other way around. I know it makes hit songs, but then again, so can a few bored kids with a silly news report & a little autotune... One more thing: Listen to T.I. during this performance as if you've never heard him before (close your eyes if it helps) & TELL me he doesn't sound, err, mentally challenged?! And I don't even hate him...
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Here's our first look at the video for Usher's "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love", the first single lifted from his upcoming album/EP thingy Versus (August 24th). !@#$%^&*() NOT ANOTHER CLUB VIDEO!!! *RUNS AWAY SCREAMING*
It's different! I like it. Keri's 'bout to have me pullin' out the SERIOUS headphones! Man, I really like the creative place so many of these artists are in right now. As for the blonde hair, it was only a matter of time. I've seen better, I've seen worse--& both on her--so... I'll just leave it at that.
Marques Houston gives us a peek at the making of the video for his latest single "Noize" off the forthcoming album Mattress Music (September 14th). Looks like another classy one from the former(?) Immature singer.
"The idea behind the song is that in her lifetime, she's lived four or five different lives. She's been all these different people [&] the only way she can remember who she is is that she still has the same hands & the same eyes & the same feet."
Super interesting concept! In addition, Missy Elliott tweeted moments ago that she is finishing up a track for J-Hud, so we have that collabo to look forward to as well. Finally, with some of these talents coming back onto the scene, Jennifer would really round out the pack with her return!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Nicki Minaj saves Mr. S...keleton's new video for "Bottoms Up", which Trey claims is innovative or whatever, but this Anthony Mandler creation looks like every single one of his other videos. Concentrating on Nicki's part AKA the only section I didn't find myself staring at the ceiling during, my only complaint is that internet streaming (In 2010? Really?!) just can't keep up with HB!
The gorgeous Ciara, who can do no wrong in my book, has recorded her own cover of Young Jeezy's "Lose My Mind" (Teairra Mari recently covered "Lose My Mind" on her Point Of No Return mixtape) for her upcoming Basic Instinct mixtape, which looks like it just might see the light of day after all! I get so ridiculously hyped when CiCi is preparing to release a new album... I listened to Ciara: The Evolution today for the first time in forever. Phenomenal record! Basic Instinct hits stores on
today :'( October 5th. Note: I know that when Ciara posts these tracks, they are usually accompanied by a new photo, but this one just has the picture with the A hanging out of her mouth & 'August 17th' badly photoshopped off, so I thought I'd share the "Ride" single cover photos instead. Props for overthinking! :)
UPDATE: Check out Ciara's solo version of her other second single, "Speechless", & its accompanying cover art below:
Rihanna is set to bring her "Last Girl On Earth" tour to Australia next year & to promote the outing, she is starring in a new commercial--alongside penguins!--for the Australian phone service Optus through which fans can purchase tickets to her show. Come to think of it, this commercial doesn't make an ounce of sense! But, it's cool. Hehe. RiRi's latest album Rated R is out now.
"The Truth", featuring Train's Pat Monahan, is the *whopping* second single off Kris Allen's self-titled debut album. Jive's certainly been on top of keeping him relevent--I didn't forget he existed AT ALL. -_- The video's pretty... the chandeliers are kinda weird... as is Pat Monahan, both visually & audibly... but I think I'll give his album another listen (my first since... my first, in November).
Teairra Mari Sincerely Yours (Digital EP) BUY
Monday, August 16, 2010
- Tuesday, August 24th: Good Morning America
- Wednesday, August 25th: Lopez Tonight
- Thursday, September 9th: Live With Regis & Kelly, 106 & Park
- Friday, September 10th: The Wendy Williams Show
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Check out this new footage of Brandy in the studio recording a song called "I Don't Care" alongside Stacy Barthe & Corey Chorus for a forthcoming compilation. Sounds amazing! Brandy really needs to get a single out by around the time her reality show's second season premieres because
I can't wait any longer it would be awesome promotion.
2. Pullin' On Her Hair (ft. Rick Ross)
3. Kickin' & Screamin'
6. Swag Sex (ft. Soulja Boy Tell 'Em)
7. He Ain't Me
8. High Notes
9. Ghetto Angel
Here's the second of Pink's Freakshow Theater videos, this one being for "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" from her fourth album I'm Not Dead. Love it!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Ciara is killin' me 'em in this pair of new promotional photos for her fourth album Basic Instinct (October 5th). It's decided: I'm puttin' a ring on it!
UPDATE: In the spirit of Basic Instinct promo garb, Ciara recently tweeted a single cover for her new single "Gimmie Dat" (see: below, right)... then tweeted a revised one (see: below, left). She looks HOT on both & since they're so different, I can't choose, but the new one is a better fit for the song. I wonder if she's shot the video yet...
Nicki Minaj travels the world with Jay Sean in the video for his obnoxious new single "2012 (It Ain't The End)". She kills it! I just never get to hear her verse because I'm not willing to sit through the rest of the song. If you, however, can manage to make it through the video, keep an eye out for cameos from Jay's boss Birdman & Mel B.
Friday, August 13, 2010
#2) Polow Da Don: Since Polow hopped on the scene in the mid-2000s, he has carved a path all his own with his hard-hitting R&B jams, so much so that I can tell you as soon as a song starts if he produced it--& in this case, that's a good thing! From his impressive early work with Ciara on "Promise" & Mario on "Crying Out For Me", both of which have a depth that was sorely missing in R&B before he came along, to his excellent recent cuts on Keri Hilson's In A Perfect World... album & with Usher, like "Lil' Freak" & "Hot Tottie", Polow has been a leader in trying to keep a strong presence of REAL R&B on the airwaves.
#4) Danja: Gaining fame as Timbaland's protege, Danja created his own sound & made it known through pure brilliance such as Fantasia's "Uneligible" (OK, not PURE brilliance, but that's not his fault lol...I think), Ciara's "Echo", & his own work on Keri Hilson's In A Perfect World..., keeping himself more relevant & less dated than his mentor. But, speaking of Britney Spears, it was his pairing with the superstar on her Blackout LP that will forever embed him in the hearts of both pop & urban fans alike. Easily Spears' best effort to date, which pretty much anyone who's ever heard it will attest to, Blackout featured a fresh Britney who seemed to mesh & flow with Danja's beats effortlessly.
#5) Tricky Stewart: Having only earned his first #1 hit in 2007 with Rihanna's "Umbrella", Tricky hasn't regressed like many of his peers, but has instead only gotten better & more creative with each project he dives into. Not only was he behind Usher's best vocal performance since Confessions, "Moving Mountains", Stewart produced Beyonce's chart-topper "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" & Mariah Carey's #1 hit "Touch My Body", which led to him almost entirely producing the latter's 2009 album Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel, at least one of Mariah's best albums to date. And, if leaks are any indication, with the help of Tricky, upcoming projects from Ciara (Basic Instinct) & *crosses fingers* Christina Milian (Elope) could potentially be the best of both their careers.
#1) will.i.am: As if the all-too over-exposed music of The Black-Eyed Peas wasn't damaging urban music enough, will.i.am has even taken the likes of Usher, who himself has claimed that R&B music has gone to pot, over to the dark side with the bloody awful "OMG". R&B is NOT mediocre dance music! When will the madness end!!
#2) David Guetta: Speaking of The Black-Eyed Peas' insanely overrated music, does the fact that the Guetta-produced "I Gotta Feeling" is the #1 digital single of all time not scare the living daylights out of everyone else, if not simply for the sake of the quality of music?! The only reason David isn't at the top of this list is because when considered dance, his music might be slightly above mediocre... &, well, I do quite like Kelly Rowland's "Commander", but that has NOTHING to do with him because the urban remix is >>>!