Jesse McCartney continues where he left off with 2008 effort Departure
Jesse McCartney • In Technicolor (Part I) • EightOEight • US Release Date: December 10, 2013
After five years, actor/sometimes pop star Jesse McCartney finally makes his return to music (notice ‘finally’ is underlined). The looming question is what took so freaking long? Those who followed McCartney’s career know that he was set to release his fourth studio album, Have It All back in 2011. Well, Have It All never came through – only single “Shake” hails from the unreleased effort. Bummer things turned out that way as McCartney was on a roll (contextually) once he finally embraced his more ‘urban’ pop roots on 2008 album Departure. Maybe Departure wasn’t a classic, but it did yield two notable singles – no. 10 pop hit “Leavin’” and the Ludacris assisted remix of “How Do You Sleep?”, a top 40 pop single itself. Thankfully on his new EP of new material, In Technicolor (Part I), McCartney keeps the ‘Justin Timberlake’ swag going.
So how much analysis and criticism can be made of a four-song, 12-minute EP? Well if you know Brent Faulkner, he can nitpick at anything – really! The good news for my homeboy is, well In Technicolor (Part I) tickles my fancy. Why? Well, McCartney has ‘old-school’ in mind here. Rather than thinking contemporary-electro pop/R&B, McCartney hearkens back to feel-good music from the seventies. He doesn’t do so anachronistically – he still has that twenty-something swagger. But unlike many artists his age, he seems to understand that the ‘bread is buttered’ with classic sounds and influences.
“In Technicolor (Part I)” doesn’t even clock in at two minutes, but manages to pack a punch regardless. McCartney’s vocals are clear as a bell; they’re most distinct when he infuses upmost emotion and a dash of falsetto. On the catchy chorus (“Technicolor / waiting for that…searching for that…”), McCartney is assisted by soundly arranged backing vocals, further sweetening the track as a whole. Ultimately, “In Technicolor” suits McCartney’s sensibilities – straddling the pop and soul world much like JT.
As good as an under-two minute opener may be, “Back Together” stands out even more. From the title, you’d correctly assume this is all about rekindling a broken romance. Slickly produced with a taste of funk and those retro-soul/pop cues in play, “Back Together” feels good, a similar sentiment that McCartney tries to convey within the writing. Speaking of the songwriting, it’s strong and further strengthened by sensible structure and form. A favorite lyric hails from the first verse: “Lipstick on my cigarette, how you used to hog the bed / the little sh*t that I can’t forget…” It doesn’t end there as the pre-chorus serves as masterful, poetic segue to the chorus (“I reminisce with the stars tonight/ and think of how we knew them all by name / but they don’t shine half as bright / ever since you walked away…”). Cheers to “the little sh*t” which McCartney refers to as it works out well for him.
I’m a single guy and I’ll readily admit I’m not ready to concede my ‘singlehood’ for commitment, but I definitely appreciate McCartney’s openness for marriage on the chivalrous “Tie the Knot.” Burst of horns add a little extra spice on top of this romantic gem, something that is certainly the antithesis of much of urban music, which relies too heavily on sex and the shock value of being overt rather than subtle. McCartney realizes something else that many artists don’t – subtlety can carry as much if not more weight than brashness. Take R. Kelly’s Black Panties for example – the veteran totally strips romance in favor of emotionless sex. “Tie The Knot” is drenched in emotion, without being a ‘bump-n-grind’ ballad.
Closer “Checkmate” is the most contemporary track on In Technicolor, firmly planted in contemporary, modern R&B. Like the previous three tracks, McCartney is in exceptional voice. What is different is that McCartney clings to his lower register more, further crafting another winning performance. If he’s more restrained on the verses, McCartney makes up for it on the bridge, which is more excitable and contrasts the rest of the song. The chorus rocks lyrically as McCartney tells her “…girl you will always lose when you choose to make the moves that you make…” CHECKMATE!
Honestly, there is little to denounce about In Technicolor (Part I). 12 minutes may not provide a full picture of what McCartney has up his sleeves, but it certainly at least gives the listener a worthwhile hint. The biggest quibble ultimately is that there is only 12-minutes of music and McCartney has been gone for five years! But, if it is indeed “the little sh*t”, well this little album is pretty enjoyable.
“Back Together” and “Tie The Knot”
- Jesse McCartney – AMAs 2013 Red Carpet (justjared.com)
- New Tunes Tues: 5 Songs To Know This Week From Jesse McCartney, Rebecca Black’s “Saturday” (!!!) And More (okmagazine.com)
- Throwback Thursday: Jesse McCartney (apekejoy.wordpress.com)
Ah, there is always plenty to write about the music industry and the number of trends that come and go, as well as those remaining constant. 2013 was another interesting year, whether merely for its pleasant surprises or its disappointments. Many observations will and can be made of the year musically and pop-culturally in regards to its artists. While my inner musical nerdy side wishes that I could nitpick and analyze every facet microscopically, I’ll rely on a Childish Gambino rhyme to express why that’s not possible: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” What I do have time for is to share five takeaways I gathered from music in 2013.
Pop music was ‘down’ overall, but had its moments…
Maybe I’ll be stoned (not that I care), but I wouldn’t consider 2013 a particularly great year for ‘pop music’, at least how most year’s are traditionally evaluated. Sure, Justin Timberlake carried the torch single-handedly with his surprise comeback The 20/20 Experience (both albums debuted at no. 1 with 968,000 and 350,000 copies respectively) until things percolated with releases from Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Lorde, and One Direction, but generally, pop’s impact seemed slower than usual. Other than big-time late pushes, who else was there to help a brother out? I mean John Mayer seems to have lost his swagger – Paradise Valley didn’t have a great footing, bowing modestly at no. 2 with 144,000 copies. Yeah 144,000 copies would be great for most, but not considering Mayer’s track record. Pop/R&B starlet Ariana Grande was impressive on Yours Truly, bowing at no. 1 and selling an impressive enough 138,000 copies, but the album hasn’t had sustainable success per se.
R&B music continued to limp commercially compared to other genres.
This isn’t news, but R&B hasn’t been nearly as competitive as it was, say, five years ago. This year, the genre’s artists continue the uphill struggle for commercial footing. The fortunes haven’t improved, with most of the genre’s stars settling for sub 100,000 copies selling bows. It’s sad because there were some exceptional releases courtesy of Fantasia, John Legend, Chrisette Michele, TGT, K. Michele, and Jaheim amongst them. All sold < than 100,000 their debut week with only Fantasia coming close (91,000 sold of Side Effects of You). Still, a few artists got a sound start. Tamar Braxton’s Love and War sold 114,000 copies its first week out while Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines moved 177,000 copies. Take the victories when and where you can get them I guess.
Country wasn’t nearly as dominant or relevant as it’s been in the past…
I’ll admit I slept on country music throughout the year, but can you blame me? There was once a time where new releases from Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, and Toby Keith were among the most anticipated releases regardless of genre. All these folks released albums in 2013, but who’s talking about ‘em? Alan Jackson even managed to release two! Country still managed to have its bright spots with the likes of Blake Shelton and a rising Luke Bryan holding down the fort, but others dropped the ball. The Band Perry didn’t have the commercial impact that I’d have predicted, while Lady Antebellum’s Golden was about as much fun as watching paint dry when compared to previous albums. Then there’s the newbies, who I can’t personally keep up with, mainly because they’re impact is quite minimal commercially.
Rock/alternative delivered some of the years most sensational albums.
Rock and alternative music had a much more triumphant 2013 than other genres from my perspective. That doesn’t mean they were necessarily commercial powerhouses, but they did deliver some knockout punches critically. Black Sabbath’s 13 and Queens of the Stone Age’s …Like Clockwork both outperformed expectations commercially, not to mention how awesome both albums were in regards to the material. Vampire Weekend (Modern Vampires of the City), The National (Trouble Will Find Me), and Arcade Fire (Reflektor) delivered exceptional efforts that also put up respectable chart numbers in the alt department. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Push the Sky Away), certainly no household name to most, STRFKR (Miracle Mile), and Atlas Genius (When It Was Now) were among other alt bright spots failing to receive big-time commercial recognition, but definitely were critically praised for exceptional studio releases. There were others as well.
Like rock, hip-hop/rap was a bright spot in 2013.
You know, for a while, it seemed that it was a popular sentiment to consider hip-hop as being “dead”. Perhaps hip-hop was dead briefly, but 2013 has shown no death or funeral for the genre, which had some gargantuan commercial impacts on the music industry. Big sales from Eminem, Drake, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and J. Cole definitely pumped some meds into a sagging musical economy (792K, 658K, 528K, 327K, and 297K debuts), not to mention had us head-nodding, LOL. Other hip-hop albums also captivated us with solid 100,000+ starts, including Kid Cudi’s Indicud (no. 2, 136,000 copies), A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live ASAP (no. 1, 139,000 copies), and Mac Miller’s Watching Movies With the Sound Off (no. 3, 102,000 copies). Others fell below that ‘threshold of success’, but gained our attention nonetheless: Tyler, the Creator (Wolf, no. 3, 80,000 copies), Earl Sweatshirt (Doris, no. 5, 49,000 copies), and A$AP Ferg (Trap Lord, no. 9, 32,000 copies). “Hip-hop don’t stop.”
Of course there are plenty more takeaways…there’s always more takeaways. Lady Gaga’s underwhelming showing would be worth noting, while Miley Cyrus definitely deserves a headline all by herself. Daft Punk and the successes of electronic music itself are quite notable, but I’ll save those for a later time. Enough analysis and opining for one post!
- Comparing Five R&B Artist’s First Week Sales in 2013 to Their Previous Effort (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Thoughts on the 56th Annual Grammy Nominations (brentmusicreviews.com)
You know, after ‘working’ so hard, Britney Spears had the most lackadaisical sales week of her lengthy career. Sure, there are artists who would salivate over the 107,000 copies Ms. Spears moved with Britney Jean, but if you look contextually, you’ll see ole girl had a tepid showing on the sales front. 107,000 copies in a more robust December would barely give Spears a top ten bow. She manages to land at no. 4, preserving her run of top four bows. Still, 107,000 copies is a very small ceiling for Spears, or any artist.
But the headline is not Britney Spears – it’s Garth Brooks. After debuting at no. 3 with Blame it All On My Roots, he ascends to no. 1 moving nearly as many copies… whoa! After selling a strong 164,000 copies last week for a no. 3 bow, Brooks sells 146,000 more copies, a very small percentage drop. Brooks’ continued success is definitely a bright spot for country music, who save for a few artists/albums (Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton namely) hasn’t had its greatest showing in 2013.
Other than Britney and Garth, things are relatively boring. One Direction plummets in sales after moving a robust 546,000 copies of Midnight Memories its first week. 117,000 copies is the grand total within the second week, but it’s enough to hold off Britney and just slip one spot to no. 2. Kelly Clarkson also managed to scoot ahead of Britney Jean, just compounding Britney’s not-so-good week. No, there’s no animosity between the pop stars, but Clarkson’s album has now been out for several weeks and is a Christmas album (Wrapped in Red).
With holdovers playing their usual role within the top ten, the most notable movements worth mentioning are the ascent of Pentatonix (PTXmas) at no. 7, the re-entrance of Michael Buble (Christmas) at no. 8, and an ascent by Mary J. Blige (A Mary Christmas) at no. 10. Blige’s sales increases are likely attributed to not only the holiday, but also quite possibly the $3.99 amazon.com deal going on with the mp3 version of the effort.
After a return to the summit of the Billboard Hot 100, Miley Cyrus is once more dethroned, but not by Lorde. After several weeks of hovering near the top, Eminem and his favorite female collaborator, Rihanna crown the singles chart with “The Monster”. Does Em have another “Love the Way You Lie” on his hands? We’ll see!
Whose got next? Good question. R. Kelly (Black Panties) and Childish Gambino (Because the Internet) were the two most notable releases of the week, but contextually, I’m not sure that that means much. R. Kelly would be a lock for a no. 1 years back, but his sales have dwindled tremendously in recent times. As for Childish Gambino, I’m curious to see what the sales figures are like. I hope he over-performs, but who knows. I expect a holdover will top the chart.
- On the Charts: Like Old Times for Britney and Garth (rollingstone.com)
- ‘Britney Jean’ nets Britney Spears her worst opening week ever; Garth Brooks and Duck Dynasty carry on (music-mix.ew.com)
- One Direction Claim Yet Another No. 1 With ‘Midnight Memories’ (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Britney Spears Scores Worst Debut Yet With Britney Jean (Roll Call) – ARTICLE (entertainably.com)
- Oops … The Album ‘Bombed!’ Britney Spears’ New Album Set To Debut At #4 With Her Worst-Ever First Week Sales (radaronline.com)
So the Grammy nominations just came out, and guess who is already putting his two cents in about who’s gonna win? This guy is! Yep it is technically ‘way too early’, but who cares? How about some December predictions for what’s gonna go down in January?
The Big Four
Record of the Year
“Radioactive”, Imagine Dragons
“Locked Out of Heaven”, Bruno Mars
“Blurred Lines”, Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell
This is one of the most competitive categories, period. All five of these are worthy records, which isn’t always true. If one feels like it’s out of place, it is Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven”, mostly because it is the ‘oldest’ of the bunch.
Both “Blurred Lines” and “Royals” are deserving of love based on their impact, but just because you ruled the Hot 100 certainly doesn’t equate to a Grammy. If one of these two wins, I’d give the edge to Lorde, who doesn’t have various controversies on her back. Still, rock would get a huge recognition if Imagine Dragons’ mammoth hit “Radioactive” was awarded here. Still, doesn’t Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” seem unavoidable here, particularly if the duo is victorious in the Album of the Year category?
Way Too Early Pick:
Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky”
Album of the Year
Random Access Memories, Daft Punk
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, Kendrick Lamar
The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Red, Taylor Swift
I’m not even going to curb my biases – I’m rooting for Kendrick Lamar’s rap opus Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. But I won’t even begin to act like it has a shot after hip-hop has been avoided like a plague in this coveted category; its only been a decade since OutKast’s undeniable masterpiece Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was awarded AOTY. But Kendrick also has killer competition within his own genre with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ breakthrough The Heist, which is certainly considered more ‘friendly’ hip-hop. I think both cancel each other out, which leaves Sara Bareilles, Taylor Swift, and Daft Punk. As good as Red is, Taylor Swift has already won for her career-breakthrough, Fearless. Sara Bareilles’ inclusion over bigger pop albums is shocking, but never count out the surprise nominee… sometimes that’s the album that wins. Personally, I think Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories is the frontrunner.
Way Too Early Pick:
Random Access Memories, Daft Punk
Song of the Year
“Locked Out of Heaven” (Bruno Mars)
“Roar” (Katy Perry)
“Same Love” (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert)
Another big-time category, my goodness! All of the nominees here should be jumping for joy that “Get Lucky” wasn’t nominated in this category. Again, I’m going to eliminate “Locked Out Of Heaven”, no matter how good it is; I don’t think it’s Bruno’s year. While I love Pink and approved of “Just Give Me The Reason” (with Nate Ruess of fun.), I’m not sure the no. 1 hit is the best song of the year. If the voters want to go bold (and political), they vote for the fine “Same Love”, courtesy of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert. If they don’t, they’re left with the inspirational breakthrough “Roar” and the ubiquitous “Royals”. If Katy Perry was ever to win a Grammy, “Royals” would be the perfect song. However, that “Royals” is one unique song contrasting its fellow nominees.
Way Too Early Pick
Best New Artist
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Another category where I’m biased to one artist – Kendrick Lamar! Again though, Lamar is up against heavyweights Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Kacey Musgraves unapologetic brand of country is notable from what I heard, but I’m not sure she outpaces the huge hip-hop nominees. Ed Sheeran feels either a year late or a year early, depending on your perspective, but could certainly play spoils. James Blake’s nod is a ‘trap’ for the hip-hop favorites, amplified by his Mercury Prize victory for superb sophomore album Overgrown. I’m truly torn here, so I’ll go with who I think is most deserving, even if it doesn’t come to pass.
Way Too Early Pick
Justin Bieber • “Confident” – Single • Island • US Release Date: December 9, 2013
Justin Biebers’ Music Mondays is the gift that keeps on giving to Beliebers, pop-cultural buffs, and music journalists alike. I mean, I thought Kanye West had something good going with Good Fridays back-when, but my boy Biebz just keeps on surprising and outperforming expectations. The blogosphere goes ape-sh*t with each new excerpt from JB’s ‘journals’. Speaking of those journals, it was recently reported on billboard.com the Justin Bieber will be packaging his Music Mondays releases temporarily as an iTunes only set called Journals beginning on December 16th, 2013. Basically, the teen-pop star is rolling in the dough, and will likely continue to roll with the singles growing more mature. His latest track, “Confident”, definitely shakes off any remnants that might’ve remained from “Baby” or dare I say “One Time”. Chance the Rapper matches his collaboration with R. Kelly (“PYD”), definitely ‘keepin’ it one hunna’.
So how confident is “Confident”? Well, let’s say the self-esteem and self-efficacy are top-notch for sure. Bieber isn’t referring to his own confidence or swagger (for once), but rather the hot lady’s confidence that he’s got his eye on. Throughout, Bieber’s hormones are going crazy evidenced by lyrical moments such as “Then she started dancing, sexual romancing / nasty but she fancy, lipstick on my satin sheets / what’s your nationality / I wonder if there’s more of you” or the later “She said it’s her first time / I think she might have lied…I’m addicted, something like an addict / got me twisted, but I still gotta have it…” Sure, Bieber doesn’t come right out and say it in R. Kelly fashion, but like “PYD”, the suggestiveness is steered more towards sex than not, a clear change of pace in Bieber’s career.
Serving as the confirmation to the newfound adult themes is Chance the Rapper, who basically does the ‘dirty work’ for Bieber lyrically on his guest verse. “She the first mate wanna rock the boat / she never forget to ride like a bicycle,” certainly would’ve received some flack had Bieber delivered such suggestive slang. Even so, “Confident” seems like an eye-freak sort of a track if I ever heard one. Ultimately, I’m pretty confident that Bieber’s artistic direction is on an upswing – yep, I really just said that.
- Bieber Strikes Gold on Surprising “PYD” (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Justin Bieber Will Release His #MusicMondays Songs As an Album (celebuzz.com)
- #HYPE Justin Bieber F. Chance The Rapper “Confident” (omitlimitation.com)
- Listen to Justin Bieber’s Collaboration With Chance The Rapper “Confident” (complex.com)
- Justin Bieber ft. Chance the Rapper – “Confident” [LISTEN] (hiphopwired.com)
- Justin Bieber teams up with Chance the Rapper for New Jam ‘Confident’ (news.radio.com)
R. Kelly sounds exceptionally vocally on Black Panties, goes overboard sensually
R. Kelly • Black Panties • RCA • US Release Date: December 10, 2013
R. Kelly has a compelling argument for the title of the “King of R&B”, easily. For years and years, the sensually driven R&B singer has captivated audiences with his R- (and sometimes X-) rated brand of contemporary soul, ultimately epitomizing the urban sound.
So some things went down in music this past weekend, as they always do. But being December, it’s naturally busier within the holiday season, with more ‘hustle and bustling’ happening. Some of the hustling and bustling was just too colorful not to mention, so watch me ‘go to work’ folks!
Selena Gomez’s Bad Night
Friday, December 6, 2013
Apparently, Selena Gomez got incredibly frustrated on stage at the Jingle Ball 2013 and left her set early after microphone issues. According the Us Weekly, this involved a colorful f-word many frequent during those rebellious teen and collegiate years. Ultimately, from what I gather, didn’t seem like the greatest moment for the young star… I wouldn’t have wanted to “Come & Get It” anyways – remember my review of Stars Dance? Just saying!
Does Carrie Underwood Have an Even Worse One?
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Carrie Underwood apparently didn’t do The Sound of Music justice, or at least the critics give it the big thumbs down. Actually, no only was it the critics, but also one of the original cast members, Kym Karath. I mean, all I have to do is do a Google search of “Carrie Underwood Sound of Music” and the links of reviews and buzz are infinite. USA Today features an article entitled Carrie Underwood ‘proud’ of ‘Sound of Music’, certainly a defense from the country superstar to the critical panning. An obvious sign of frustration from the usually cool, collected singer? Killing ‘em with Jesus via tweet:
Plain and simple: Mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight… 1 Peter 2:1-25—
Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) December 07, 2013
Personally, I enjoy Carrie Underwood, but one of her shortcomings for me is how her personality translates artistically. She definitely has a voice on her, but few could also be a credible replacement for Julie Andrews. Classics are difficult to remake for a reason –their classics. I was not privy to the NBC performance, however it didn’t sound like a good idea when I heard it was going to occur.
The Grammy Nominations Are In…
Friday, December 6, 2013
On Friday night, the Grammy nominations were announced at the annual Grammy Nomination Concert. This was the first concert I missed and for two reasons – (1) I forgot and (2) I was more focused on watching my Kentucky Wildcats play a basketball game versus Baylor, which they dropped 67-62. Oh well, at least the nominations were much more up my alley than they have been in previous years, which is shocking. Among the nods that most pleased me were big time nominations for Kendrick Lamar (Good Kid M.A.A.D. City), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Thrift Shop), Daft Punk (Random Access Memories), and Lorde (“Royals”). Among puzzlements were an album of the year nomination for Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest and Justin Timberlake’s snubs in the biggest categories of record, album, and song of the year. Sigh, you win some, you lose some I guess. By the way, Billboard has an interesting read on Grammy Nominations Concert: Things You Didn’t See on TV.
Robin Thicke Gets Support from Soul Vet in Defense of “Blurred Lines”
Saturday, December 7, 2003
There’s been a ton of controversy surrounding “Blurred Lines” despite its monstrous popularity. Before the cool “Royals” came along and dominated the single headlines, there was “Blurred Lines” which just kept on going and going and going – yeah sorta like the Energizer Bunny. Anyways, with a lawsuit pending over whether Thicke ‘lifted’ “Blurred Lines” from Marvin Gaye’s classic “Got to Give It Up”, Earth Wind & Fire’s Verdine White provided his two cents, defending the same point that I made that Thicke did not ‘cop’ “Blurred Lines”. I’ve always said the inspiration was there, but there are differences where the music theory is concerned between both songs.
Disappointing Pending Album Sales for Britney Spears?
Friday, December 6, 2013
Britney Spears’ new effort Britney Jean hasn’t exactly been a critical smash (see Metacritic), but does that always matter if you can offset the bashing with album sales? Why Of course not as money is money! The problem is, Britney Jean’s pending numbers are looking pretty skinny. And we thought that Lady Gaga had a bad week contextually with ARTPOP. According to billboard.com, Spears is expected to sell between 115,000 and 120,000 copies of her latest. While there are artists who’d kill for those numbers, they don’t match the singers past triumphs and may hold her from no. 1. Going back to the critical thing, well, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with Britney Jean, but it had its moments. Single “Work B**ch” was among ‘em.
Joe Jonas’ Confessions
December 1, 2013
So Joe Jonas has revealed he is “not that innocent” this past week via a New York Magazine article, Joe Jonas: My Life As a Jonas Brother. Someone get Usher’s 2004 Confessions album cued up, will ya? What is more surprising is just how rebellious the former Disney star has been considering the façade being ‘put on’. Sure, if any other 20 year old discussed losing his virginity it wouldn’t be shocking (probably just another notch on the belt as they say), but it becomes sensational news with a Jo Bro. I mean, did were we ready for such a brash tone from Joe throughout the article? While Jonas’ sexual history is ultimately his business, perhaps it was his Miley Cyrus / Demi Lovato marijuana dare that is more troubling, considering they are couple of years younger than Jonas and at the time of the great ‘lighting up’, they would’ve been like 14… Hmm. The Hollywood Reporter did a fine job of summing up the confessions.
As far as the reactions, well they range as to be expeced. Dylan Sprouse and Zendaya, both of Disney fame had reactions (Former Disney Stars Respond To Joe Jonas’ Confessional). Personally, I’m both interested yet apathetic. It is interesting to find out that Joe Jonas was more like your normal young adult than Disney wanted to present, but the other side of that is, so what?
- NBC’s “The Sound Of Music” – Starring Carrie Underwood – Is a Massive Rating Success (roughstock.com)
- Carrie Underwood ‘Proud’ Of ‘Sound Of Music Live!’ Performance After Original Star Blasts Her (contactmusic.com)
- Who the Von Trapps Wish Could Replace Carrie Underwood in ‘The Sound of Music Live’ (abcnews.go.com)
- In Defense of Carrie Underwood (entertainment.time.com)
- ‘Sound of Music’ — and Underwood — largely a success (newsday.com)
Call Me Crazy, But… is a good start for Sevyn, but not without flaws
Sevyn Streeter • Call Me Crazy, But… • Atlantic • US Release Date: December 3, 2013
Getting into the R&B game as a solo artist these days is tricky. It seems so many newbies have nothing short of an uphill battle just to earn some notoriety, which doesn’t even necessarily include or translate into commercial success. Singer/songwriter Amber “Sevyn” Streeter seems hungry to be R&B’s next star, but despite her impressive resumé, she’s not necessarily in advantageous position to do so. Barriers aside (given a cooling genre), Streeter sports a superb voice and has some skill with her pen. Call Me Crazy, But… is a good start for Sevyn, but isn’t absent of flaws.
“Come On Over” matches up well with today’s current generation, which appreciates a sizable amount of suggestiveness. Sevyn takes numerous lyrical opportunities to convey both his and her sensual endeavors. Among the most notable hails from verse two as Streeter sings “Sent me a message / you don’t usually text me / say you want me for breakfast…” Innocent it may sound out of context, but the chorus confirms Streeter is playing up double meanings with one meaning likely being her aim: “I’ve been thinking ‘bout you / can’t get you off my mind / and if I gave it to you / why didn’t you love me right? / But I won’t have to wonder / if you’ll just come all over…” The opener is all about doing the do.
“It Won’t Stop” follows up “Come On Over” in a chill, cool fashion. Where “Come On Over” embraced overtness, “It Won’t Stop” may not percolate enough. That is surprising considering Chris Brown guests here and usually provides an energetic lift collaboratively. Sure Streeter and Brown mesh well on this duet, but instead of being a dynamic collaboration, its more mellow. Overall, it’s pleasant and enjoyable, though not the ‘second coming’. “Sex on the Ceiling” atones, finding Streeter once more relying on sex as fuel for the fire. It works, even if Streeter exaggerates just how good it is. Still, she’s really into it and into him: “Take me hard yeah…switch it up one time / want you to drive me crazy / baby we gon’ have sex on the ceiling / I don’t ever want to come down boy / and I have you stand up when I’m around boy… we gon’ have sex on the ceiling.”
Title track “Call Me Crazy” follows up “Sex on the Ceiling” exceptionally, characterized by sound production work, some memorable lyrics, and a solid performance by Streeter. Basically, Streeter is really, REALLY high on her man, period. On verse two, an infatuated Streeter asks her man to “Lock me up in your arms forever / and never set me free, no free, throw away the key / damn right I be on that obsessive sh*t.” Obsessive indeed, Streeter vows on the chorus “I ain’t going nowhere, you’re my life apart / call me crazy…” Following that dedication, Streeter then delivers “B.A.N.S.”, which stands for b**ch @$$ n***as. O.M.G.! Streeter regrets giving herself to ‘him’, and spends the whole song venting: “I should’ve never offered it / but he made me feel like this could be forever / never thought he gon’ run off with it / but that don’t make it no better…” She comes to the conclusion that “N***as be on that bullsh*t / acting like they don’t do sh*t…” As the soul classic goes, “It’s the same old song…”
“Shattered” is more subtle than the angry “B.A.N.S.”, but doesn’t quite reach the levels of the best tracks of the EP. Still, the lyrics are nice, particularly the tail-end of the chorus: “It’s like we’re throwing stones at a glass house / and it shatters.” Closer “nEXT” is arguably the set’s strongest track for several reasons. The theme is traditional, as is the overall songwriting approach. The production embodies the cool, modern R&B sound, which is tasteful and not overproduced by any means. Essentially, Streeter wants her ex back, without the rifts within the relationship (“How can my ex boyfriend be my next boyfriend…”). She cites the issues within the ailing relationship throughout the song, including “Together, forever / I would never, never let you go / see now soon as we say that, we at war…” (verse one) or “Every time we break up / we turn around and we make up / momma wonder when I’m goin’ wake up…” (verse two). I’m sorry Streeter is having relationship issues, but “nEXT” is certainly the gem of Call Me Crazy, But….
How does Call Me Crazy, But… stack up? Overall, it is a good start for Streeter. It’s not the most memorable collection of seven songs I’ve ever heard, but it has some notable songs and specific moments. My hope for Streeter is that her full-length album has more memorability and distinction. I also hope Streeter has another “nEXT” in her arsenal.
“Come on Over”; “Sex on the Ceiling”; “Call Me Crazy”; “nEXT”
- Video: Sevyn Streeter Talks her EP “Call Me Crazy” (getmybuzzup.com)
- [Watch] Sevyn Streeter Tells Whether She is Cool with Rihanna or Karrueche on The Breakfast Club (getmybuzzup.com)
- 7 Sexy pics of singer Sevyn Streeter (rollingout.com)
- New Music To Know: Sevyn Streeter Proves She’s More Than Just a Hit Songwriter on Debut EP (923now.cbslocal.com)
- Review: Sevyn Streeter – “Call Me Crazy, But…” EP (theuptownlounge.com)