Fantasia, Ugly © RCA

Thoughts: Fantasia, Ugly – Single


Not to relive the American Idol Series finale, but among new singles trapped in an overstuffed two-hour concert was Fantasia’s new single, “Ugly.” Yes, “Ugly” had to compete with a catchier, if ‘soon-to-be-forgotten’ new single from Jennifer Lopez (“Ain’t Your Mama”) among others, but arguably, “Ugly” might be worth a second look, even if it seemed ‘odd’ in the context of the show. In other … Continue reading Thoughts: Fantasia, Ugly – Single

Corinne Bailey Rae, The Heart Speaks in Whispers © Virgin

Quick Thoughts: Corinne Bailey Rae Returns Capably on “Green Aphrodisiac”


She’s back! Who you ask? Corinne Bailey Rae of course – who else? It has been TOO long since the world heard from the Grammy-winning British adult contemporary R&B/neo-soul artist. Finally after a six-year hiatus between albums, Bailey Rae releases her third LP, The Heart Speaks In Whispers via Virgin Records. While we’ll have to wait until May for the album, single “Green Aphrodisiac” is … Continue reading Quick Thoughts: Corinne Bailey Rae Returns Capably on “Green Aphrodisiac”

Justin Bieber, Purpose © Def Jam

Sales Duel – Will Justin Bieber or One Direction Win The Race for No. 1?


November 13 happens to be Friday the 13th. For those who are superstition, Friday the 13th is a nightmare – totally not a good day. For the music industry however, they aren’t the least bit concerned about Friday the 13th. If you naïve of the slate of releases, they include one British boy band sensation and one comeback pop star. That would be One Direction … Continue reading Sales Duel – Will Justin Bieber or One Direction Win The Race for No. 1?

Andy Grammer, Magazines Or Novels © S-Curve

Covers Friday: Watch Musicians & YouTube Cover Andy Grammer’s “Honey, I’m Good.”


One of my personal favorite songs from 2015 is pop musician Andy Grammer’s “Honey, I’m Good,” which actually came out in 2014. Back in 2011, I bought Grammer’s debut album, Andy Grammer, mostly because of a love for single, “Keep Your Head Up.” Did I stick with Grammer when Magazines Or Novels came out in later summer 2014? Well, no, but we all make mistakes, … Continue reading Covers Friday: Watch Musicians & YouTube Cover Andy Grammer’s “Honey, I’m Good.”

Maroon 5, V © Interscope

Maroon 5’s “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt” Is This Summer’s Ultimate Guilty Pleasure


First thing’s first, this guy is a Maroon 5 fan. Yes, since their days singing Songs About Jane, particularly horny “This Love,” Maroon 5 has ranked among not only my personal favorite pop group, but the sentiment has been clear across pop culture itself. However, following the underrated Hands All Over album, specifically upon the release of number one hit single “Moves Like Jagger,” the … Continue reading Maroon 5’s “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt” Is This Summer’s Ultimate Guilty Pleasure

Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea, Pretty Girls © RCA

Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea Misfire On “Pretty Girls”


Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea • Pretty Girls – Single • RCA • Release Date: May 4, 2015 There’s really just one question to ask – have Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea lost their minds? YES (not YAAASS)! Listening to the pair’s corny new single, the question is DEFINITELY a rhetorical. “Pretty Girls” is nothing short of a hot mess – strike that – a … Continue reading Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea Misfire On “Pretty Girls”

Robin Thicke, Paula © Interscope

Robin Thicke’s Up and Down Career


After being on top of the world (and the charts) in 2013, Robin Thicke’s world has come crumbling down in 2014. In other words, it’s been a crappy year for Thicke. Robin Thicke separated from wife/longtime sweetheart Paula Patton and even more shamefully released a lackluster album named Paula to “Get Her Back.” Eyes rolled worldwide, as no one was ‘buying’ Thicke’s tricks, or better … Continue reading Robin Thicke’s Up and Down Career

Sam Smith performs during the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Glasgow Glasgow 05/23/2014 © WENN

Thoughts: Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”


 Sam Smith sets the tone for highly anticipated debut In The Lonely Hour Sam Smith • “Stay With Me” • In The Lonely Hour • Capitol • US Release Date: June 17, 2014 (album) Okay, let’s get this out of the way first; Sam Smith seems to be pop music’s next big thing. The 22-year old is the latest singer from Britain looking to breakthrough … Continue reading Thoughts: Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”

Playlist: Favorite Songs From March Album Releases


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March was a rich month for music releases.  After listening and reviewing multiple albums, it is always fun to pick out one big time standout.  Sometimes it is a difficult choice, while other times it’s the only choice (particularly on a sub-par album).  After looking back through my late-February and March reviews, I’ve compiled a playlist of one favorite from each album.

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Morning”

Beck

From the album Morning Phase 

Note: Morning Phase was a late February release that wasn’t reviewed until March.

becki-20140227-62Folks, Beck is the man.  Morning Phase was yet another stacked album from the hipster with numerous top-notch songs.  A personal favorite was the first full-length track, “Morning” of which I penned the following:

…Constructed with lush strings at its core, “Cycle” foreshadows the electrifying opener, “Morning”.  Sure, “Morning” lacks tempo by all means, opting for balladry, but it’s extremely beautiful and perfectly suits Beck’s unique voice.  Beck breaks enough with the ‘acoustic resolve’ here, with Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. adding some synthesizer color.  The ‘color’ element is something found throughout Morning Phase, even if it is subtle. Lyrically, the entire song is thoughtfully penned, with the chorus standing out tremendously: “This morning / I let down my defenses / this morning / it was just you and me…” Clocking in at over five minutes, “Morning” is no drag by any means.

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“The Purge”

Schoolboy Q featuring Tyler, The Creator & Kurupt

From the album Oxymoron

Note: Oxymoron was a late February release that wasn’t reviewed until March.

Schoolboy Q exhibits grittiness about him throughout the course of Oxymoron, which ultimately proves to be a solid album. It’s not the most pleasant album to listen to in regards to its content mind you, but the quality is there. “The Purge” was among my favorites:

“The Purge” is a beast, produced by and featuring Tyler, The Creator. Again, Schoolboy Q’s daughter establishes the tone: “My daddy said drown, n***a.”  The significance of the line seems to be “the purge” that Schoolboy Q references within the title and song.  “Coming in for yours / n***as got them choppers and they knocking at your door,” Tyler, the Creator spits on the hook. “The sirens getting louder when the bodies hit the floor / why you look confused? Motherf**ker this is war.” Schoolboy Q plays right into the maliciousness, referencing kilos, drug money, and guns. Q’s most notable moment comes during a bridge between verses: “Bust my gun all by myself / rock cocaine all by myself / poured propane all on myself / go so hard might harm myself.”  Oh, and did I mention Kurupt also guests on the third verse? “The Purge” goes hard. 

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“Going To The Ceremony”

Kid Cudi

From the album Satellite Flight: Journey to Mother Moon

 Note: Satellite Flight was a late February release that wasn’t reviewed until March.

Kid Cudi-AES-083737Kid Cudi is an oddball – as left field as they come. This nonconformity is what makes him shine, yet also hurts his overall accessibility to many Earth dwellers. A surprise fourth album in Satellite Flight proves to be as confounding as it is interesting.  Still, “Going To The Ceremony” was a moment where the Kid was at his best/true to himself:

The real heat comes with “Going To The Ceremony”, the first vocal track of Satellite Flight. Opening uniquely itself with spoken word intro (“Now certainly we all recognize the extremely, extremely low probability / of life existing on the moon”), the track dives right into the rock-rap, left-of-center approach that Kid Cudi as well as WZRD has come to be known for.  This includes the typical humming, the repetitive lyrics (“But I don’t know where I’m going / where I’m going, it’s all happening / I’m going, it’s all happening”), as well as the driving, minimalism. “Going To The Moon” is familiar fare for the artist.

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“Digital Witness”

St. Vincent

From the album St. Vincent

Note: St. Vincent was a late February release that wasn’t reviewed until March.

St Vincent-PKE-000036From one oddball to another, it should be noted that St. Vincent once guested on a Kid Cudi album – Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager to be precise.  On her own self-titled album, St. Vincent awes with her incredible songwriting abilities, with none usurping the brilliant “Digital Witness”:

“Digital Witness” is a definitely standout, with its soulful, groove-laden production work. St. Vincent definitely criticizes social media/networking, and how it’s affected traditional social relationships. “People turn the TV on, it looks like a window.” Basically, St. Vincent seems to suggest that real-life interaction has been supplanted with any number apps and social networking avenues. “Digital witnesses / what’s the point of even sleeping,” St. Vincent sings on the chorus. “If I can’t show it if you can’t see me / what’s the point of doing anything?” Does she overreact to the power of social media? Perhaps or perhaps not, but she makes one awesome song in the process.

Continue reading “Playlist: Favorite Songs From March Album Releases”