This week, I caught up on some albums that I needed to finish listening to. So far I finished Take Care by Drake and Our Version of Events by Emeli Sandé. I still Born to Die, Watch the Throne and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy left to listen to through.
Take Care by Drake
So, Drake’s album Take Care was pretty fascinating I must say. The sonic sounds, smooth feel, and chill production gave the album a very downtempo feel. I really appreciate the almost retro-sounding feel because it is such a change from the hardcore beats that usually go with rap. And his lyrics: though they venture into the usual indulgence prominent in rap (money, sex, drugs) they have a listlessness associated with them. And when they’re not rapping about those topics, it’s usually about different aspects of a relationship. Drake’s voice along with all these factors create an album perfect for a rainy day or bad mood. It’s soothing enough to get you out of a horrible mood. Though sometimes Drake’s voice starts to feels a little drone-y and the tracks drag on, it’s still quite a smooth experience and very reminiscent of R&B.
Favorite Track: Take Care
Recommended Tracks: Shot for Me, Headlines, Lord Knows, Cameras / Good Ones Go, Doing It Right
Our Version of Events by Emeli Sandé
I caught wind of this girl through the BRIT Awards and I’m so glad I did because her album is quite amazing. Though the production is never too imaginative, usually consisting in the softly strummed guitars and a soft drum beat typical of R&B, the imagination comes in the lyrics. Emeli has a way of approaching the rollercoaster of emotions that is love in a very interesting manner. Whether it’s dying as you watch your lover move out (“Suitcase”), mull over the comfort felt with a lover (“Where I Sleep”) or divulge the feeling of under-appreciation (“My Kind of Love”) Emeli is able to single out the emotion perfectly to the point where it’s uncanny. The first part of the album does a fantastic job at this. Unfortunately once it hits “Rivers” the album starts to feel a bit too long. But, I still recommend this album fully. You’ll be able to find at least one song that you can relate to.
Favorite Track: My Kind of Love
Recommended Tracks: Heaven, Where I Sleep, Mountains, Clown, Suitcase, Breaking the Law, Next to Me
Why are people equating not speaking with not acting? Jean Dujardin did a fantastic job and I’m glad he won. Brad was my 2nd choice but Jean deserved it. And I wish Viola would have won for The Help since it’s fairly difficult for a black actress to win and she was phenomenal but go Meryl. 17 nominations with only 2 wins was completely unfair.
It’s funny to see the Harry Potter fans get so mad about the fact that the series didn’t win an Oscar this year or that Alan Rickman wasn’t nominated. Don’t get me wrong I’m a Harry Potter fan. But, did y’all actually watch the other films? Do you know anything about film or award shows? Lord have mercy.
In a way, I kinda am too, but this is her first song from the album I legitimately dislike. “Starships” is fun, “Holiday” is dramatic but I still love it. “Stupid Hoe” is ridiculous but I still enjoy it and “Moscow” is pretty hardcore, but way better than this track. But, “Reloaded” is awful. It kinda gave me a headache haha.
"Paris Nights / New York Mornings" - Corinne Bailey Rae
So this week R&B made its impact on my iPod. I was watching the BRIT Awards and they announced the nominees for Best British Breakthrough Act. And I only caught a snippet of Emeli Sandé’s “Heaven” but it sounded good enough for me to download the album, Our Version of Events. I recommend listening to it because it’s a beautiful album. “My Kind of Love” with its stormy dramatics pins down that feeling of unrequited love perfectly. “Clown” meanwhile tackles the same topic but in the sense that the singer herself feels foolish. They’re both impressive tracks on an outstanding album.
4 does a pretty outstanding job of revisiting R&B of the 80’s and 90’s. “Party” especially does a good job of this. It has smooth synths in the background, a chorus chant and easygoing lyrics and vocals.
What more can I say about “Staships?” It’s still really fun to listen to.
Robyn and Diplo’s collaboration “Dancehall Queen” is not an R&B track, but the dancehall influence gives it a pretty fun, dancey yet easygoing vibe. Such a fun song from Body Talk.
"Rumour Has It" was the track that got me hooked on Adele’s 21. With it’s combination of bluesy strings and drums and clapping beat, it’s oddly catchy for such an emotional and angry song.
"Diggin’ on You" is still the de jure TLC song for me.
My friend actually introduced me to “Me, Myself and I” from Beyoncé’s Dangerously in Love and thank goodness that he did. Beyoncé has the ability to take any song and portray the emotion perfectly for the listener. Because of that we get to hear the resent, hopelessness, regret and sadness behind the words: “Me, myself and I, that’s all I got in the end.”
"Wade in the Water" sees Eva Cassidy tackling a spiritual and she does it complete justice. The gospel voice, the chorus and light beat give the song an easy-listening feel to it.
Finally, “Paris Nights / New York Mornings” from Corinne Bailey Rae’s The Sea. Corinne’s 2nd album is a stark change from the first as it tackles alternative pop/rock as opposed to R&B and I really like appreciate this shift. “Paris Nights / New York Mornings” is such a smooth alternative track it makes it perfect for winding down.
What the fuck. Chris Brown? Really? You’re going to let a woman-beater back into your life without having so much as addressed what he did to you? I’m sorry but I can’t support you any longer. Sorry RiRi but I’m no longer a fan of yours.
"Love Shack (Glee Cast Version)" - Darren Criss, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Dianna Agron, Lea Michele & Chris Colfer
"Radio" - Beyoncé
"When Love Takes Over" - David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland
"Stupid Hoe" - Nicki Minaj
"The Night Last Night" - Mark Ronson feat. Rose Elinor Dougall & Alex Greenwald
"National Anthem" - Lana del Rey
"Back to Manhattan" - Norah Jones
"Only Girl (In the World)" - Rihanna
Nicki Minaj is dominating my iPod right now. I’m a bit miffed about all the criticism she is getting though. Regarding people who want the gangster side of Nicki, do we really need another female rapper to engage in gangsta rap? We have Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliot, Lil’ Mama and right now we have Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea. The quirky voices and odd rap style may not be as “hardcore” but I prefer the theatrics and wackiness. It’s fun and original. As for the people who say she’s too pop, then why do songs like “Stupid Hoe” and “Roman Holiday” get extremely criticized then? Those were pretty far removed from pop. Either way, I love her. I think “Starships” is a fun song which was her intention and I’m fine with that. “Roman Holiday” lets us experience a more hardcore and theatrical side. Having both on Roman Reloaded makes me pretty excited.
I love the B-52’s and “Love Shack” is one of my all-time favorite songs. Chris Colfer is not Fred Schneider but goodness, their version adds so much fun, quirkiness and glee (excuse the pun) to it.
I Am… Sasha Fierce was a bit of a disappointment to me. But, “Radio” had to be one of the better songs on the album. Beyoncé doing electro was an interesting change and it paid off. With its intense synth work and clever lyrics it was a pretty delightful and smart club-banger.
What can I say about “When Love Takes Over” besides that the sweeping instrumental and beat make you really feel as though love is really taking over. Combined with Kelly’s magnificent vocals it truly is one of my favorite David Guetta songs.
Mark Ronson goes on enormously under-appreciated. Record Collection saw Ronson delving into a odd mix of 80’s electro, soul, dance and pop. I don’t really know what it is about “The Night Last Night” that I love so much. It may be the eerie layered vocals on Mr. Greenwald’s part of maybe the retro-sounding instrumental. Rose Dougall’s vocals are gorgeous on the track and with its lush lyricism it truly was a standout on the album for me.
I feel like I may have addressed Lana already. Either way, “National Anthem” is still dominating my iPod and I have no problem with that.
I spent an entire evening listening to Norah Jones’ last album The Fall. I really enjoy her jazz/pop music, but it’s nothing new. This album was such a change because there was influence from progressive and art rock. Combined with her smoky voice, the album overall had a very dreamy feel to it. “Back to Manhattan” was the quiet culmination of this.
Finally, “Only Girl (In the World)” by Rihanna. With its catchy lyrics and Rihanna’s soaring voice it’s no wonder why it was so popular.
P.S. STARSHIPS WERE MEANT TO FLYYYYYY. HANDS UP AND TOUCH THE SKY. CAN’T STOP ‘CUZ WE’RE SO HIGH. LET’S DO THIS ONE MORE TIME.
Lady Gaga already has 5 Grammys to her name, and if you honestly thought anything other than Adele was going to win, you’re just dumb. 21 was the album of the year, whether you’re a fan or not. Get over it. They both have amazing careers and talent, omg Gaga didn’t win a Grammy this year; big deal. Their lives and careers don’t revolve around shiny trophies, I’m sure she’s still extremely proud and doing just fine with the five she already has.
I’m a huge Lady Gaga and Adele fan. That being said this wasn’t Lady Gaga’s year and I agree. Born This Way was a beast of an album. It was epic. A masterpiece. But, so was 21 by Adele. And she deserved the win. The powerful songwriting and voice. There’s no disputing it. It garnered critical acclaim that Lady Gaga just didn’t get herself. While I would’ve like to have seen Lady Gaga pick up something she just couldn’t compete with the tour-de-force that is Adele. I’m glad that she did so well and Lady Gaga will get plenty of more chances. The thing is that the trend right now is for more simple music. Theatrics are still appreciated but the trend has become soul, indie, jazz, alternative and Adele fits this perfectly.
Overall, I liked this year’s Grammys. Adele swept with 6 wins followed by Kanye West who won four. The only Grammys I seriously had problems with Skrillex picking up so many especially since I feel like Robyn got snubbed. Yes, dubstep is the trend but honestly, I feel like his music is completely overrated and someone (Robyn) got overlooked because of this trend. And then Chris Brown’s win bothered me. He was completely undeserving of it for so many reasons. The performances were a bit bland but here’s a countdown of my top 5 favorite Grammy performances and my top 5 least favorite.
Top Favorite Performances:
"Roman Holiday" - Nicki Minaj
"Runaway Baby" - Bruno Mars
"Rolling in the Deep" - Adele
"I Can Only Imagine" - David Guetta, Chris Brown & Lil’ Wayne
"Surfer Girl" / "Wouldn’t It Be Nice" - Maroon 5 & Foster the People
Least Favorite Performances:
"Beautiful People" - Chris Brown
"Walk" - The Foo Fighters
"Rope" - The Foo Fighters
"Rhinestone Cowboy" - Glen Campbell
"We Take Care of Our Own" - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
"It Had to Be You" - Tony Bennett & Carrie Underwood: Carrie did such a good job! The song was fantastic and their vocals were wonderful. Loved it.
"I Will Always Love You" - Jennifer Hudson: Perfect. Just perfection. Jennifer Hudson was restrained enough to not overdo the song (a problem which comes frequently with the song). It was a touching rendition of it and the perfect way to honor her.
"I Can Only Imagine" / "Rope" / "Raise Your Weapon" - David Guetta, Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne, The Foo Fighters & deadmau5: Okay, so this was a fantastic performance from Chris Brown. But, I seriously think David Guetta deserves the attention because the beat was sick and turned the song into one of the better performances of the night. The Foo Fighters bored me once again. deadmau5 put together a pretty fantastic track. I’m not a fan of dupstep but that was still awesome.
"Roman Holiday" - Nicki Minaj: Holy. Shit. So over-the-top. Magnificent in its melodrama. Spectacular. It was eye-candy. Theatrics. The song was top-notch. The rap - amazing. The prelude film and inclusion of “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story was ingenious and unique. Everything about this was fantastic. I just loved it. It was really odd but I appreciate it for that reason.
Nicki wins. I’m so glad that they saved “Roman Holiday” for last. Literally, the most over-the-top, spectacular performance I’ve ever seen. And I loved every second of it. Can’t wait ‘til Roman Reloaded comes out.
Where is the Amy Winehouse tribute? Or can someone at least mention her? I mean she picked up a Grammy since she won with Tony Bennett for “Body and Soul”
EDIT: Finally. But, there seriously should’ve been a tribute. She single-handedly reintroduced soul and jazz music into the mainstream. Because of her people like Duffy, Corinne Bailey Rae, Adele and Florence and the Machine had an easier time breaking into the mainstream.
"Surfer Girl" / "Wouldn’t It Be Nice" / "Good Vibrations" - Maroon 5, Foster the People & Beach Boys: So, the first part of the mash-up sung by Maroon 5 and Foster the People was cute and a perfect tribute. I really enjoyed the whole thing. It slowed down considerably once The Beach Boys joined them, but it was still one of the better performances.
"My Valentine" - Paul McCartney with Diane Krall and Joe Walsh: A nice, little stripped-down performance by Paul. It was a bit boring for me especially coming off of the Beach Boys’ performance, but it was still a little nice jazz piece.
"Barton Hollow" - The Civil Wars: My only complaint was that it was so short! It was so good. A sweet, little folk piece. One of my favorites so far. If only it was longer.
"Mean" - Taylor Swift: I’m not a Taylor Swift by any means and the only song I can stand to hear by her is “Safe & Sound.” But, “Mean” wasn’t too bad. I liked the nice folk influence in her voice and instrumental. It was enjoyable enough. The lyrics were juvenile but still enjoyable.
"E.T." / "Part of Me" - Katy Perry: Thank goodness Katy Perry finally made it to the stage because there was a serious need for an upbeat song to give us a break from the country/folk music. “E.T.” was a good performance by Katy. I’m a bit surprised that she chose this song, yet the performance was pretty fantastic. But, how did she make it to that platform so quickly? “Part of Me” is a bit plain to me but the performance made it more enjoyable. Overall it was a good performance by Katy.
"Rolling in the Deep" - Adele: Adele’s grand comeback was flawless. Stunning. Loved it. I wish it would’ve incorporated “Someone Like You” and/or “Set Fire to the Rain” somehow but it was still a magnificient performance from Adele. She’s on her way to becoming one of the greatest performers of this century.
"Gentle On My Mind" / "Southern Nights" / "Rhinestone Cowboy" - The Band Perry, Blake Shelton & Glen Campbell: I really enjoyed this country mash-up. It was fun, perky, a nice picker-upper after “Rolling in the Deep.” The vocals were spot on and overall, it was great.
Okay, again, I don’t like Chris Brown. I think he’s a whiny bitch that should’ve gotten tossed in jail for his crimes. And no, Chris, we aren’t giving you too much. You beat a woman senseless and you deserve the fault.
Regardless, that Grammy does not belong to you. Critically, his album received the lowest score out of all the other nominees, according to Metacritic.
F.A.M.E. by Chris Brown - 52%
Second Chance by El Debarge - 82%
Love Letter by R. Kelly - 79%
Pieces of Me by Ledisi - 75%
Kelly by Kelly Price - Unavailable.
Secondly, is his album really R&B? “Look at Me Now” one of the more popular tracks is hip-hop and “Beautiful People,” the song he performed tonight, was a bland dance track.
And honestly, if he could’ve been in this category then why wasn’t Beyonce’s 4 eligible?
"We Take Care of Our Own" - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: So, the opening performance. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. It was alright. Not the best song to open the night with. Bruce is a talented performer and the vocals were on point but it was kinda boring honestly.
"Runaway Baby" - Bruno Mars: I don’t really like Bruno Mars. His songs make me wanna gag. That being said….holy shit. I had to download that song immediately but I don’t think it can measure up to the live performance of it. Pretty much my favorite performance so far.
"A Sunday Kind of Love" - Alicia Keys & Bonnie Raitt: Flawless. Gorgeous. Loved it. A perfect tribute to Etta James. Simple and not overdone at all. I enjoyed it.
"Beautiful People" - Chris Brown: Okay, so I don’t like Chris Brown. I’ll admit it. After the whole Rihanna incident, honestly, how could I? Regardless, this is what I’ll say…..dude, what the fuck? The dancing was pretty amazing. But, past that. The vocals were pretty boring. The song, generic. Nothing stood out.
"Don’t You Wanna Stay" - Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson: It was a pretty cute duet. They’re both immensely talented singers. I was kinda hoping that Kelly would perform “Stronger” but of course, she’d perform her Grammy-nominated song. And I was pretty pleased with it.
"Walk" - The Foo Fighters: Honestly, fewer fucks couldn’t have been given. It was extremely boring and felt like it went on forever. Moving on.
"We Found Love" / "Princess of China" / "Paradise" - Rihanna & Coldplay: “We Found Love” was one of Rihanna’s better performances. Her dancing and vocals need work but I love the song and she did a decent job. “Princess of China” was kinda awful. The vocals were spotty and I didn’t really like the stripped-down rendition and the transition was kinda awkward. “Paradise” was like halfway-decent and halfway-awful. Again, the vocals were a bit spotty but better than “Princess of China.” Not my favorite and a bit odd, but good enough.
"Give Me All Your Luvin’" by Madonna feat. Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.
"Good Intent" by Kimbra
"Stupid Hoe" by Nicki Minaj
"Soon We’ll Be Found" by Sia
"You Love Me" by Kelly Clarkson
"Never Can Say Goodbye (Glee Cast Version)" by Dianna Agron
"National Anthem" by Lana del Rey
"Locked Inside" by Janelle Monáe
"Do Somethin’" by Britney Spears
I feel like besides “Bad Girls” and “Give Me All Your Luvin’” for the most part I just revisited a bunch of my old favorites.
"Bad Girls" honestly just has so much swag and is such a bad ass song, how could anyone not enjoy it? Maya is a bad bitch and she has no trouble reminding us.
Madonna has been rubbing me the wrong way with the “reductive” comment and all. But, regardless, this song is amazing. It sounds like vintage Madonna and I love Nicki’s verse.
Kimbra is continuing to dominate my iPod. I went from “Call Me” back to “Good Intent.” But, honestly, I would just recommend the whole album. It’s superb.
I really am enjoying Nicki’s latest singles and “Stupid Hoe” is no exception. As insipid as it may sound, it’s so catchy and wacky that I just can’t help but love it. Can’t wait until “Starships” and “Roman Holiday” drop.
"Soon We’ll Be Found" is one of my favorite songs ever and that’s not going to change any time soon.
I’m happy that Kelly Clarkson is finding so much success with her latest album and I’m so glad that “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” is doing so well. That being said, I’m a little disappointed in her choice for the next single as I was hoping “You Love Me” would be the next one. That or “Honestly.” But, I still wish her the best.
I love Glee and I feel like the cast is very talented. I also feel that Dianna Agron has a very thin voice sometimes. But, that fragility really adds a lot to the cover of the Jackson 5 classic “Never Can Say Goodbye.” One of my favorite songs from the Michael Jackson tribute episode. So beautiful.
I think that Lana del Rey has a very unique voice and I have no problems with it. Whatever. I listened to the demo of “National Anthem” and I was really loving the hip-hop vibe of the track. The actual album version though is perfect. With its grand chorus, sweeping strings and ambience, it really does sound like a national anthem.
I don’t know how I could possibly forget about Janelle Monáe’s genius. With her flexible voice and incredible imagination, she really is one of the more impressive artists of our generation. The ArchAndroid with its 13 minute intro, which consists of an overture and three other songs, is quite impressive. “Locked Inside,” which is the last song in that sequence, is definitely one of my favorite tracks.
I kind of forgot about this song, but I heard it on my way to class today and oh goodness, it’s pretty freaking fun. “Do Somethin’” is sassy, fun, delightful. Just the perfect song to get you pumped.