Janet Jackson, Unbreakable © Rhythm Nation / BMG

25 Chart Takeaways: Janet Jackson Takes ‘Unbreakable’ To No. 1  


  Was there ever any doubt that Janet Jackson would debut atop the Billboard 200 with her comeback album? Nah! Janet Jackson is the main attraction, but there are more takeaways to be taken from this week’s chart! Here goes nothing! 1) Janet Jackson scored a seventh number one album with Unbreakable. Sure, the numbers don’t compare to her past triumphs, but Jackson still sold … Continue reading 25 Chart Takeaways: Janet Jackson Takes ‘Unbreakable’ To No. 1  

Tamar Braxton, Calling All Lovers © Epic

Tamar Braxton, ‘Calling All Lovers’ – Review (Short Take)


Braxton Shows Off Mad Pipes Throughout ‘Calling All Lovers’  Tamar Braxton • Calling All Lovers • Epic • Release Date: October 2, 2015 Let’s keep this one short and sweet – Tamar Braxton steps up her game on her third LP Calling All Lovers. The once delayed album is quite impressive and goes to show that prejudging an album is a bad choice. Here are … Continue reading Tamar Braxton, ‘Calling All Lovers’ – Review (Short Take)

R&B: The Good & Bad Takeaways So Far in 2014


2014 has been a mixed year for R&B.  There’s been some good and there has also been so bad.  Even though R&B is still struggling, 2014 has allowed for R&B to have its moments.  Then again, it’s also had its bombs…big time bombs.  The Good Beyoncé gave R&B a shot in the… well she gave it a shot of commercial relevance with her ‘visual album’ … Continue reading R&B: The Good & Bad Takeaways So Far in 2014

The 100 Best Songs of 2013: Complete!


Juicy J-WBU-019355

After a year filled with numerous albums and even more songs, choosing 100 of the best is an incredibly difficult task.  Like with the best albums of 2013, there will be surprises as well as snubs.  Sometimes the snubs are oversights while at other items there are just so many notable songs that some just get lost in the mix.  Regardless, here are 100 songs I found to be notable in 2013.

100

“I Luv This Sh*t”

August Alsina featuring Trinidad James

From album: Downtown: Life Under the Gun

August Alsina has one foul mouth on him, but his real talk mixed with the slower, horn-accentuated production is a match made in heaven, if a blasphemous one (see the hook).

99

“Cabaret”

Alice Smith

From album: She

According to highly underrated alt-R&B musician Alice Smith, Hollywood isn’t very kind: “I see no reason for chasing / in Hollywood, got to lose my patience / want this life to be a cabaret…” Hollywood may not be for the ‘faint of heart’, but “Cabaret” it self is brilliant.

98

“Every Man Should Know”

Harry Connick, Jr.

From album: Every Man Should Know

Sometimes the simplest, and most important life lessons to become a gentleman are best conveyed through song, preferably a mix between traditional pop, jazz, and country.

97

“Sophomore”

Ciara

From album: Ciara

http://rd.io/x/QUKSLjderx_Z/

Judging by this track, Ciara is far from being a ‘freshman’… definitely. “I ain’t no amateur / baby I know how to handle ya / If you ready for this ride, get your saddle up / I need a boy with some stamina…”

 96

“Golden Salvation (Jesus Piece)”

Wale

From album: The Gifted

We expect nothing less than Wale’s clever wordplay between “piece” and “peace”, particularly on an album titled The Gifted.  Specifically, Wale informs us that too many people don’t want to hear about Jesus or his ‘peaceful’, Christian approach; they’re more concerned about the bling-bling (aka Jesus piece).

95

“Holy Grail”

Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake

From album: Magna Carta…Holy Grail

Magna Carta…Holy Grail certainly left plenty to be desired, but few can deny that Jay-Z is one of the kings – all hail, “Holy Grail”!

94

“Unf**kwittable”

Kid Cudi

From album: Indicud 

http://rd.io/x/QUKSLjdem6WN/

Basically, Cudi is saying you can’t mess with him… he’s unbreakable… or something like that.

93

“Let Us Move On”

Dido featuring Kendrick Lamar

From album: Girl Who Got Away

Even English singer/songwriter Dido had to get Kendrick Lamar on the track… can’t blame her.  “Let Us Move On” is arguably the best moment from an underrated album nobody bought.   Well, I bought it to be fair.

92

“Vegas Girl”

Conor Maynard

From album: Contrast

The video is a trip…‘course the song is too.  Conor may still have some ‘schmaltz’ about him, but he also has some swag.  Swag on brother – swag on!

91

“Pusher Lover Girl”

Justin Timberlake

From album: The 20/20 Experience

Love and sex have been compared and likened to everything at this point (thanks R. Kelly).  JT decides to make his lady like a drug dealer, only she deals love instead of say cocaine.  What’s shocking is that this album opener works triumphantly.

90

“Clappers”

Wale featuring Juicy J Nicki Minaj

From album: The Gifted

What does one learn from the ‘cellulite anthem’ “Clappers”? That “Shawty got a big ole butt…OH YEAHHHHHH!!!”

89

“Heart Attack”

Demi Lovato

From album: Demi 

I’m not going to front, I’ve been listening to Demi put her “defenses up” all summer…  I don’t think she could really survive the number of heart attacks she’d receive at the hands of my playlist on repeat though…

88

“The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”

Alice In Chains

From album: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

While the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs (at least that I can remember off the top of my head), I’m not so sure Satan created them… Regardless, this title track from Alice In Chains’ most recent album was among the best hard rock performances of the year, potential misconceptions and all.

87

“While I’m Alive”

STRFKR

From album: Miracle Mile

While I’m Alive” sports an irresistible, danceable groove; Electronic cues further sweeten things while the soulful guitar is the ‘cherry on top’.  Well written, the theme of “While I’m Alive” is getting past the past, broken relationships, and living ‘while I’m alive.’

86

“Bandz A Make Her Dance

Juicy J featuring 2 Chainz Lil Wayne

From album: Stay Trippy

Everyone needs a good stripper anthem in his (or her) lives, right? On the raunchy “Bandz A Make Her Dance”, Juicy J spits: “Bands a make her dance, bands a maker her dance / All these chicks poppin’ p***y, I’m just poppin’ bands…”

85

“Body Party”

Ciara

From album: Ciara

Just when ‘the art of making love’ was getting boring… Ciara’s here to spice things up!

84

“Her Favorite Song”

Mayer Hawthorne

From album: Where Does This Door Go

Yeah, the accompanying music video is weird, even if the ‘dogs’ are meant to represent guys that are dogs (in theory), but the song is brilliant.  “But when she gets home, she puts her headphones on / she plays her favorite song and fades away…” I do the same thing… well not quite in the same context though…

83

“Brave”

Sara Bareilles

From album: The Blessed Unrest

Here’s the gist of the song: STAND UP AND BE A MAN!!!  $%^!

82

“Trojans”

Atlas Genius

From album: When It Was Now

I promise this song is not about a popular brand of condoms or making love… really:  “Take a picture you could never recreate / write a song / make a note / for the lump that sits inside your throat…” I promise!

81

Forbidden Fruit

J. Cole featuring Kendrick Lamar

From album: Born Sinner

I know, I know – I somehow missed this gem on my “50 Best Rap Songs”, but the atonement is on this broader list.  The one-two punch of J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar is nothing short of fire, period.

80

“Love Me”

Lil Wayne featuring Future Drake

From Album: I Am Not A Human Being II

“Love Me” may have been a shallow as everything else was on I Am Not A Human Being II, but at least it was enjoyably shallow.  “Long as my b*****s love me / I can give a f**k ‘bout no hater…”

 79

“Angel”

Depeche Mode

From album: Delta Machine

Sure, this track is titled “Angel”, but it surely must be representing a dark angel… Mysterious, chilling, and ‘bothered’, “Angel” finds Depeche Mode doing what they do best.

78

“Nosetalgia”

Pusha T featuring Kendrick Lamar

From album: My Name Is My Name

The rap IQ on “Nosetalgia” is off the charts, particularly with Kendrick Lamar collaborating with Pusha.   Pusha T proclaims himself the “Black Ferris Bueller, cutting school with his jewels on…what I sell for pain in the hood, I’m a doctor…” while Kendrick Lamar’s slaughtering verse is capped off with “Go figure mother f**ker, every verse is a brick.” True.

77

“Ain’t It Fun”

Paramore

From album: Paramore 

Ain’t It Fun” may be Paramore’s best track EVER.  Driven by a funky groove, the band goes ‘big’ with a gargantuan bass line, full-force punk-laden guitars, and gospel vocals.  ‘ain’t it fun’? – Definitely!

76

“Pop That”

French Montana featuring Rick Ross, Drake & Lil Wayne

From album: Excuse My French

The raunchiest track from French Montana’s debut album is the best.  It’s all about popping… and I’ll leave it at that!

Continue reading “The 100 Best Songs of 2013: Complete!”

The 100 Best Songs of 2013: Part 2 (#75 – 51)


After a year filled with numerous albums and even more songs, choosing 100 of the best is an incredibly difficult task.  Like with the best albums of 2013, there will be surprises as well as snubs.  Sometimes the snubs are oversights while at other items there are just so many notable songs that some just get lost in the mix.  Regardless, here are 100 songs … Continue reading The 100 Best Songs of 2013: Part 2 (#75 – 51)

25 Best R&B Albums of 2013


It truly saddens me to see R&B, a personal favorite style of music, in a state of uncertainty.  2013 found the numbers of R&B down considerably, a trend that is consistent year in and year out. Save for a select few commercial bright spots (led by an unexpected Beyoncé album), R&B only dented the charts.   Even so, finding 25 albums with some significance wasn’t difficult … Continue reading 25 Best R&B Albums of 2013

‘Way Too Early’ 56th Annual Grammy Winner Predictions


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

41FJb1q2VyL._SL500_AA280_“Get Lucky”, Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams

“Radioactive”, Imagine Dragons

“Royals”, Lorde

“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

41FJb1q2VyL._SL500_AA280_The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles

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

41XAtgtU1xL._SL500_AA280_“Just Give Me The Reason” (Pink featuring Nate Ruess)

“Locked Out of Heaven” (Bruno Mars)

“Roar” (Katy Perry)

“Royals” (Lorde)

“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

“Royals” (Lorde)

Best New Artist

51BomNkKT2LJames Blake

Kendrick Lamar

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Kacey Musgraves

Ed Sheeran

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 OvergrownI’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

 Kendrick Lamar

Continue reading “‘Way Too Early’ 56th Annual Grammy Winner Predictions”

Playlist: A ‘Relationship’ Soundtrack for 2013 (Or Something Like That)


Love songs can be so touching and certainly can propel any relationship (and in some cases hookups…).  I have constructed a list of 12 ‘love’ songs that have the emotional and physical connection between lovers in mind… or something like that!  I attempted to make some narrative, but like most soundtracks, they’re all over the place anyways! Track 1 Raheem DeVaughn, “Complicated” (A Place Called … Continue reading Playlist: A ‘Relationship’ Soundtrack for 2013 (Or Something Like That)

Playlist: September 2013 Jams To Lead Into October


It’s that time… for me to list songs that made me over the past month.  14 of ‘em baby, get ready! Katy Perry,”Roar”  PRISM You knew it would take some mega force to unseat Robin Thicke from the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 with the ubiquitous smash “Blurred Lines”.  That force came via everyone’s favorite pop star Katy Perry, who shocked with her … Continue reading Playlist: September 2013 Jams To Lead Into October