Archive for R & B

Michael Jackson / Blood On The Dancefloor : HIStory In The Mix

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 130000008-04:00 12 by marky7235

Blood on the Dance Floor: History in the Mix

Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix is a remix album by Michael Jackson. The album is made up of eight remixes from Jackson’s previous studio album HIStory, and five new songs. Jackson was heavily involved with the production of the new material while the remixes were produced by other artists. The new material dealt with themes such as drug addiction, women and paranoia.

The album received minimal promotion by Jackson’s standards, particularly in the US. Still, a film, two singles (“Blood on the Dance Floor” and “HIStory/Ghosts“) and three music videos were issued as promotion. Reviews at the time of release were largely mixed, some critics felt that Jackson had already explored these musical themes while others criticized what they perceived as weak vocals. Other critics were favorable, with praise issued for similarities to the music of Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor.

Worldwide sales stand at six million copies as of 2009, making it the best selling remix album ever released. Several contemporary critics view the material in an increasingly favorable light and believe the album could have been more successful—commentators argue that certain sections of the world took interest in tabloid stories about the singer’s personal life over his musical career.

The Analysis:

Blood On The Dancefloor—-Delivered with the expected funk and beat flavor, Jackson sounds a bit muted on this track. this almost sounds like a re-tread of many Janet songs that you have heard in the past. I’m not sure why the vocal is pushed so far to the back of the mix…..none the less…this is history and the song is pretty damn addictive!

Morphine—-Beginning with a low hum and some hi-fi sound effects, the song builds rather slowly but has all the elements of a classic Jackson track. This is rather telling…now that the future has taken place…although the song is upbeat…it still leaves me feeling a bit dark. Jackson delivers a pretty aggressive vocal for him….but mellows for the chorus. This is another of those remarkably addictive tracks!

Superfly Sister—-With familiar falsetto and a funkier back beat, this still falls a bit flat for me. This sounds rather forced and reminds me more of Prince than Michael. Not to say that this is a bad track, I just question the sincerity of it all.

Ghosts—-This has a long rather static introduction…when Jackson finally enters the fray he sounds breathless and pushed to the back of the instrumentation. This is less than inspiring for me…the machine beat is too mundane and predictable….leaving me a bit empty. this is ok, but this is by no means classic Jackson!

Is It Scary?—-Fulfilling the need for the quintessential Jackson ballad, this is the filler that is required on any Jackson release. The track….has a rather damn catchy melody….and the sentiment seems real….this is a standout track for me….simply for the swelling of the music and the emotional quality of it all.

Scream Louder [Flyte Tyme Remix]—-Beginning rather sedate, but coming alive within the first bar…there is a funk delivery to this that is priceless. Jackson is so vocally aggressive…recorded with his sister during his angry period, the remix keeps that emotion well in tact. This is huge, overblown but true to the original. I like this!

Money [Fire Island Radio Edit]—-With a nice rap intro, this is refreshing to hear….how did I miss the original version of this song? This is fresh, filled with a great 90’s style dance floor beat and a melody that is irresistible. I love the interludes of spoken/rap vocal. This is fantastic!

2 Bad [Remix]—-This is ok….not quite what i expected from the onset. I love the Chic style guitars and the Wyclef influence. This is nice…but this is not what you expect. I love the aggressive vocal…once again…this is full of anger. When the Refugee Camp joins in on the song. it gives it a whole new sound…I like this!

Stranger In Moscow [Tee’s In-House Remix]—-This is dance floor ready from the very first strain of the song. Jackson is almost his old self with his vocal on this track and the HUGE electronic backdrop is incredible. This is fantastic….the breaks are fantastic and the vocal goes back and forth…from shouting to a slight croon….sucking me right into the heart of the remix! Fantastic…..

This Time Around [Remix]—-Another track that is instantly dance floor ready, this has the classic elements of dance remixes…lots of loops and a fantastic bass back beat. I love this. The vocal is fantastic and the dance oriented organ that runs through the song is classic remix elements. One of my favorites on here.

Earth Song [Hani’s Club Experience]—-This has a nice deep Ambient sound that rather appeals to me…it’s been quite sometime since i have listened to straight up Dance Music…I’ve been caught up in the whole black Metal thing…it is nice to know that it still appeals to me. This is remarkable…the emotion that is delivered from the music alone os outstanding. I really like this….it goes on a bit too long…but what remix doesn’t?

You Are Not Alone [Remix]—-although this remix contains many of the elements of the original track, this is a tremendous re-working of this song. Not nearly sedate as the original, this takes the track to a whole new level…almost filling me with a danceable joy that I had forgotten I had., This is fantastic…I prefer this version over the more sedate original….wonderful!!!

History [Tony Moran’s History Lesson Remix]—-This is fun….right from the onset. The danceable beat is so addictive….the sounds…all the little blips and beeps are incredible. This goes on forever…but is still remarkably fun. I love the loop that builds and builds…leavin my brain in a frenzy……this is a great end to a classic release…reminding me why I loved the 90’s!!!

****1/2 out of 5



Lupe Fiasco / Lasers

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 260000003-04:00 12 by marky7235


Wasalu Muhammad Jaco (born February 16, 1982), better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco (pronounced /ˈluːpeɪ/ LOO-pay), is an American rapper, artist, producer and CEO of 1st and 15th Entertainment. He rose to fame in 2006 following the success of his critically acclaimed debut album, Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor. He also performs as the frontman of post punk band Japanese Cartoon under his real name.[1]

Raised in Chicago, Fiasco developed an interest in hip-hop after initially disliking the genre for its use of vulgarity. He adopted the name Lupe Fiasco and began recording songs in his father’s basement, and joined a group called Da Pak. The group disbanded shortly after its inception, and Fiasco soon met rapper Jay-Z who helped him sign a record deal with Atlantic Records. In 2006, Fiasco released his debut album Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor on the label, to commercial and critical acclaim. He then released his second album, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool, in December 2007. The single “Superstar” became a hit, peaking at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] His latest album, Lasers, was released on March 8, 2011 after several release date delays.

In addition to music, Fiasco has pursued other business ventures, including fashion. He runs two clothing lines, “Righteous Kung-Fu” and “Trilly & Truly”; he has also designed sneakers for Reebok. He has also been involved with charitable activities throughout his career, including the Summit on the Summit expedition, and in 2010 he recorded a benefit single for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

The Analysis:

Letting Go—-The release begins with a nice landscape of sounds…..and a hook that is almost magical from the very first listen. Reminding me of Superstar a great deal, Fiasco enters with his vocal in a slight distorted manner. The lyrics are heavy and laden with images of the poor and the difficult parts of life…but that hook comes back and grabs you…allowing to bounce yourself through the gritty tale. Just fantastic!

Words I Never Said—-Still delivering a bit of a distorted vocal, the piano that leads off this track is almost beautiful. the bass hits and takes the song to that next level. Lupe enters with his vocal and the sound is clear and concise as he extolls his beliefs about 9/11 and the government involvement. This is fantastic…the song has a huge sound to it…the finesse that Fiasco delivers his raps with are exquisite…hard to believe this is only release #3. The chorus is as you would expect…huge and contagious as hell….another definite winner that shows a hook and intelligence that is rare these days.

Till I Get There—-Returning to a more relaxed sound that reminds me of the very first release, this is calm but still laden with lyrics that will cause you to pause and think. The jaunty sound of the music is incredible…the chorus is another sing a long type affair that lands in your brain and refuses to leave. I just love this guy!!!

I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now—-Wow….this was a surprise for me…the song has a nice electro feel to it that I never expected to hear from Lupe. The delivery is much faster than anything he has ever done…but it works so well…it takes a few listens for you to really catch every word that is being delivered. Of course the chorus is a huge affair that almost borders on Emo-Rap….just masterful!!! This is a must have!!!

Out Of My Head—-Beginning with the hook right from the onset, the song becomes addictive from the very first listen. The hyper…ever-rising style music is addictive as hell. The vocal that delivers the sung chorus is fantastic and almost takes away from the entire body of the song. This is brilliant…the track is delivered with a feeling of urgency and need. I just love this!!!

The Show Goes On—-Again….the chorus deliveries on this release are just huge….I would love to see Lupe play the Vans tour!!! This is nice….the verses are classic Fiasco, but the chorus takes this to a whole new level…delivering a melody line that is more addictive than the best drug on the face of the earth. This is just stellar!!!

Beautiful Laser [2 Ways]—-With a huge auto-tune chorus, this is another keeper. The sound of the song is rather dark and has a nice Alternative sound…this guy is a master of rap that will please anyone. This is styled much like some of the songs from the first release…but is delivered with a better punch and an almost hypnotic melody line that sucks you in from the very first listen…this will be in rotation for me for quite sometime!!!

Coming Up—-With a nice piano style intro that still delivers a nice hype feel, Fiasco delivers a vocal that is set to music that makes you think of classic Tupac!!! This is California rap…delivered with a handclap that makes the track huge, a chorus that makes it addictive and a piano underneath it all that makes it accessible as hell. This is just incredible!!!

State Run Radio—-Lupe delivers another pseudo-political song that makes you really pay attention to the lyrics, although it is rather difficult with the hype that is accompanied in the song. The verses are full of words and sentences that makes you think about the state of the world for African-Americans. The chorus comes in and almost wipes out the powerful nature of the verses. All in all though, this is stellar…an incredible delivery of political, consciousness raising words!

Break The Chain—-Perhaps my favorite track on this release…the song has a huge chorus…a music delivers that builds at times almost like a rave classic and a vocal that is delivered so fast it is almost impossible to keep up with the words that are being spit at you. Just when your ears become exhausted, the chorus comes back and sucks you in and allows you to relax once more. This is stellar…really one of the best tracks on this release!!!!

All Black Everything—-Beginning in a rather sedate manner, the track really becomes alive. Fiasco delivers line after line of idea oriented lyrics that make you really think about what the country would be like if it was really all black, all the time. This is an interesting concept and a huge undertaking for a three-minute song, but fiasco manages to deliver with no problem. This is really a though inducing song…making you process the words and the idea. This is fantastic……imagine if everything were reversed? Wow!!!

Never Forget You—-Ending the release as relaxed as it began, you have time to digest everything in the middle as if at a feast!!! The chorus is not nearly as powerful as some, but the laid back and throw back sound is monumental…the deep bass line, the sharp high hat that catches your ear…this is just fantastic!!! Fiasco may very well be the future…but for me…he is very here and now!!!!

****3/4 out of 5

Cee-Lo Green / The Lady Killer

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 280000001-04:00 12 by marky7235

The Lady Killer

Thomas DeCarlo Callaway (born May 30, 1974),[1] better known by his stage name Cee-Lo Green or simply Cee-Lo, is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He originally came to prominence as a member of the southern hip-hop group Goodie Mob, later launching a critically acclaimed solo career[2] and forming Gnarls Barkley with DJ/producer Danger Mouse.

Among Cee-Lo’s hits are the singles “Closet Freak” (2002); “I’ll Be Around” (2003), produced by Timbaland; “Crazy” (2006), by Gnarls Barkley; and “Fuck You” (aka “Forget You”) (2010).

The Analysis:

The Lady Killer Theme—-Clocking in at just a minute and a half, this kind of sets your mind right for the entire release that is about to unfold. Cee-Lo manages to deliver lines and a voice that is seductive and fueled by a nice blues piano…leading you into….

Bright Lights Bigger City—-Call this as you will….is it R N’ B, is if Funk, is it Progressive Dance….shit I call it New millennium Disco!!! This is flavored and almost devoured with a throwback Motown sound that is only rescued by the remarkable vocal that this guy is able to deliver. This is huge fun….danceable, groove-able and damn pleasant. This is Gnarls Barkley X 3000!!!

Fuck You—-How audacious to title a song this…how even more incredible for it to become a radio hit. It seems that there is little that Green can do wrong. This has a piano line that runs through it that rivals the best 70’s Elton John and a soulful vocal delivery that rivals even Sam Cooke. This is played on the dance floor and in the dark and dank clubs at  3 in the A.M…..can you say classic?

Wildflower—-From the very first strains of this track, you know that you are in for a treat. Green manages to conjure up his inner romantic freak on this song…leading you down a pebbly path that is remarkably smooth and clean. The voice is just incredible…he never loses a note and delivers every line in a tone that really makes you feel every bit of emotion…this is very danceable, but has an incredible dark feel to it as well…damn near genius!

Bodies—-Every track on this release has that swirling Disco sound that anyone who was around in the 70’s finds instantly recognizable. This track…although it begins in a rather odd fashion, is missing that sound a bit. This is much darker and reminds me of some of the earliest Green material. the voice is incredible…I just can’t believe he hits some of the notes that he does…this is brilliant…I much prefer this over some of the other stuff on here…falling back on my darker side I guess.

Love Gun—-Now, this is Funk…..delivered with gasoline!!! I love this stuff…I love all of the little sounds that go on in the back drop of the song…headphones bring them right to the forefront of your brain. The female vocal…I should know who this is…only adds to the versatility of the track. Green enters with his clear and concise voice and makes the track a huge dark sex romp…could you ever ask for more?

Satisfied—-Returning to that Disco fueled, horn driven funk sound that was huge in the 70’s, Green also adds a chorus that is so damn catchy you will secretly be singing this song for days. This is one of those huge, fun guilty pleasures that you won’t admit you love but sing at the top of your lungs in the shower. Delivered with a nice dance beat…and enough funk to energize you for days…this is a favorite!

I Want You—-From the opening strains of the song you think back to old groups like Blue Magic….when the vocal and the horns enter you think of Mark Ronson and Danger Mouse. This is damn near genius…who would ever imagine such romantic, funky sex appeal from Cee-Lo back in the Goodie Mob days?

Cry Baby—-This is another huge horns influenced R N’ B track that has enough back drop vocals to remind you of those huge hits from the emerging black Radio hits of the late 60’s. This is throwback but comes across remarkably fresh and magnetic….I won’t stop listening to this for quite sometime…no wonder everyone has been telling me to get this CD!

Fool For You—-Building and building until the track breaks wide open, this is another of those songs where you can picture Green in your mind’s eye with his dark shades open on a stage singing to a backing track at a talent show and bringing down the house with his emotional delivery. The notes this guy manages to hit are incredible…you would never, ever imagine his look with his vocal delivery…this takes you to a different place that is wonderfully fun and sexy!

It’s OK—-Beginning with an organ sound that transports you back to much easier days, this is energetic and fun. This is PURE Motown funk that is delivered with purity and a remarkably fresh approach. I am just amazed by how well Green manages to transport a sound that was so big so long ago and makes it sound fresh and updated. This is just pure delicious.

Old Fashioned—-Full of Doo-Wop sounds that bring a smile to my face every single time i hear it, this is an incredible track. I love this stuff…Green delivers a vocal that is much deeper at times and a bit of a surprise…almost bordering on a Gospel delivery. This is brilliant…like he is in a Church full of hat wearing women getting ready to throw down for the Lord…..BRILLIANT!!!

No One’s Gonna Love You—-Still a bit slow and driven by a Gospel tinge, this CD might be about two tracks too long, but I’m already salivating for another release from this guy. There are some real high points to this track…Green sings in a much more natural voice and it is so damn pleasing and full that you almost melt!!! This is wonderful, soft, emotional and full of all kinds of shattering emotions. Just Wonderful!!! Ok, never mind….my favorite song on this whole release!!!!

The Lady Killer Theme—-Ending the release much as it began….big surprise…but at least consistent….the joy of a CD… can listen to this 100,000 times….and I promise you I will!!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

CeCe Peniston / The Millenium Collection

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 190000001-04:00 12 by marky7235

20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of CeCe Peniston

CeCe Peniston (born Cecilia Veronica Peniston; September 6, 1969 in Dayton, Ohio, USA) is an African-American recording artist and former beauty queen. At the beginning of the nineties, she was considered to be one of the most successful dance club artists in the history of the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play, scoring five major number one hits in the chart within three years.[1] Her signature song “Finally” became one of the biggest dance singles, selling 3 million copies worldwide.[2]

Among those who personally requested Peniston at private engagements are Aretha Franklin at her private birthday party in Detroit, Michigan, the Pope John Paul II in Rome at the Vatican (as a member of the gospel band Sisters of Glory) and a former, the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, during both of his inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C.[3] After the abolition of apartheid, Peniston became the first female entertainer ever to visit and perform in South Africa (before incorrectly denoted Whitney Houston),[4][5] and she was crowned Miss Black Arizona in 1989[6] and Miss Galaxy in 1990.[7]

Apart from being a Soul Train Music Award-nominee in 1993, Peniston won two Billboard Music Awards, three ASCAP Awards, three Annual Winter Music Conference Awards, and one BMI Urban Award of Achievement (all for her debut album Finally released in 1992).

The Analysis:

Finally—-One of the best-selling Dance Singles in the US, this song still manages to sound surprisingly fresh and electric all of these years later…it is all because of the magnificent vocal delivery of Peniston. there is a certain vocal phrasing that elevates this track higher than anything that was released before or since. Peniston manages to draw out certain words while singing that made her unique and allowed her to sound like no one else at the time…combine that with a house piano sound and you have a bona fide hit that still manages to live…remarkable.

We Got A Love Thing—-Really never one of my favorite CeCe songs, there are some remixes of this track that I still adore. This release came at a time when the airwaves were full of studio bands that all sounded the same and unfortunately, Peniston tried to be one of them and the song fell a bit flat for me…none the less, this is high energy Dance music that still plays very well and can still be heard at Clubs everywhere on a good Sat. Nite!!!

Keep On Walkin’—-Besides the unique and remarkable phrasing from CeCe, this song has a nice lazy funk bass that runs through the backdrop that makes this track even more masterful. The voice behind all of the processed music is so strong, that I naturally assume this woman could sing just about anything. This is stellar.

Inside That I Cried—-Slowing things down a bit, Peniston still managed a top ten hit with something that was less than dance floor friendly…proving the power of the voice and the vocal emotion could carry her through to the Contemporary charts. This is a nice strong track…delivered with a certain pain, loneliness and sincerity that makes the song wonderfully believable!

Crazy Love—-This is another of those tracks that delivers a nice lazy funk feel that takes Peniston back to her Gospel roots. The voice is a bit removed from this song…which is a bit odd…it seems like the rhythm section of the song is pushed way to the front of the mix…but this is still fantastic…reminding me so much of classic Jody Whately!

I’m In The Mood—-Perhaps one of my favorite songs from this Diva, the song really showcases that lazy drawl that she sings with…set to a high-powered dance sound that makes the track irresistible even today. This hit smack dab in the middle of the House movement of the 90’s and the bars were pounding this song off the walls when it was released…this has a nice shuffling beat that will stick in your brain forever…it is still pounding away in mine….fantastic!

I’m Not Over You—-This is another of those piano heavy Chicago House tracks that allow CeCe to really showcase her vocal to the optimum. This woman has a great range….able to belt out great notes and then dig deep into her belly and deliver those deeper tones that really belie her origins. this is a fantastic track…you could not ask for more…it is full of emotion, plus you can dance your ass off to it.

Hit By Love—-Again, delivering that Chicago house Sound that reminds me of the C+C and Black Box days, this is a floor burner and a Drag Queen favorite even today. the voice is remarkable….the mood is something we can all relate to…full of that tingle of first love and hopeful anticipation. this is a feel good song if there ever was one…combine this with the voice and you can never go wrong!!! Classic stuff…..

Movin’ On—-This is slowed down a bit but still delivered with that almost trademark shuffling beat that made so much of the music behind Peniston’s remarkable voice so important. Never fear, the voice is well intact and back in the front of the mix where it belongs…the backdrop singers only add to the song and make it a huge LaBelle style ballad that manages to make me smile despite the concept. this is stellar…not to be confused with the song by M People!!!

Before I Lay [You Drive Me Crazy]—-This is freakin’ fantastic….I have never heard this song before [?]! This is crazy….this is delivered much more in the late 90’s R & B ballad style…Peniston delivers line after line that is full of a slight sexiness and a desperate plea for much more than that. This is stellar…I really have to investigate some of the later stuff from CeCe…I’m not sure who the male is signing this with her, but it is so damn familiar…this is incredible!

House Party—-This track also has a later 90’s feel to it, although that shuffling bass beat and vocal slowly begins to emerge as the song develops. This is one of those jams that are built for a slow groove Dance Floor but still has a party atmosphere….besides, how can you go wrong with that voice…right? This is nice!

Finally [Remix]—-This is great, although it offers little new from the remixes that I already have.  The main point of the song is the House piano that runs underneath the dance floor delivery. This is hi-NRG at it’s best and will never really fall of the map of great Floor fillers. This is a classic and still manages to sound remarkably fresh to me…just tremendous!

**** 1/4 out of 5

Kanye West / My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 50000001-04:00 12 by marky7235

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the fifth studio album by American hip hop artist Kanye West, released November 22, 2010 on Roc-A-Fella Records. Recording sessions for the album took place primarily at Avex Recording Studio in Honolulu, Hawaii during 2009 to 2010. Production was handled by West and several other record producers, including Jeff Bhasker, The RZA, No I.D., and Mike Dean, among others. Following a hiatus from his music career, West worked on the album through a communal development that involved him and various other musicians and producers contributing collectively to the album’s music.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 496,000 copies in its first week in the United States. It achieved respectable international charting and produced three singles that attained chart success, including US Billboard hits “Power“, “Monster“, and “Runaway“. Upon its release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy received general acclaim from music critics, earning praise for its varied musical style, opulent production quality, and West’s dichotomous lyrical themes.

The Analysis:

Dark Fantasy—-Really, from the onset, this is classic Kanye….building on atmospheric beats, huge catchy vocal interludes and a delivery from West that almost seems possessed. The soundbites and chorus choirs on this song are almost overwhelming…planting themselves in your brain and threatening to live there forever. West delivers rhyme after rhyme that leads you to believe he is alienated, pissed off and a bit fed up with the public perception. this has a shine and a gloss that makes me smile…this is fantastic!

Gorgeous—-Featuring both Kid Cudi and Raekwon, from the very onset this track has a throwback soul sound that again just makes me smile. This is deep and dark…delivered with a beat that is less than acceptable in today’s Rap world but somehow seems to work under West’s delivery. The vocal is a bit distorted at the onset…Raekwon always hides behind the microphone. The chorus is another huge affair that promises to lie in your brain forever. Another classic! “What’s a black Beatle anyways….a fucking roach?’….brilliant!!!

POWER—-From the very first strains of the song, you know that you are again in for another treat. West has not seemed this driven since his very first release. The beats that drive the song are aggressive as hell…the heaviness of the bass almost threatens to drown out the voice from Kanye. The words come at you fast and furious and the chorus is a huge affair of Rap/Rock that leaves you exhausted by the end of the song. This is freakin’ stellar!!!

All Of The Lights [Interlude]—-This is just a slight build-up for the song that actually is formed from all of these sounds…prepare yourself for….beautiful arrangements, instrumentation and a love for the finer things in life.

All Of The Lights—-With a huge vocal from Rihanna, this song is damn noisy at times, and full of wonderful instrumentation at others. It cracks me up that West would refer to MJ as a N***a…..he was anything but. This is surprising to me because of the aggression alone. the beats are hard and LOUD…almost drowning out everything else. West tells tales that you can believe in and follows it up with a chorus that lives in your brain and wakes you from a sound sleep….masterful…for me, this is the best release from West yet!

Monster—-This is perhaps one of the oddest tracks from the onset that I have ever heard, but as it develops this is incredibly incredible!!! Featuring cameos from Jay Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Indie God Bon Iver, this is a tour-de-force of sound like no other. The beats on this track are powerful as hell…the underlying bass just drives the thing right into your forehead. There is nothing else like this out there these days…and you could never ask for more. Kanye sounds like a beast…and all of the guest seems as driven as he is to deliver a masterpiece of a classic song. Well, they far surpass their own expectations…even Jay sounds fresh and new. This is perhaps…brilliant!!! And Minaj…..well WOW!!!

So Appalled—-Again full of cameos, the song features RZA, Pusha T, Swiss Beatz and Jay-Z….not that West needed any kind of help on this record. None the less, RZA delivers lines sounding better and more refreshed than he has in years. West has no problem matching line for line with seasoned veterans….proving that he is of the same class as some of the legends. this is stellar…West refers to his fashion sense as well as his underlying anger all in one sentence…making you wonder how the hell he comes up with this stuff. This is incredible…beat after beat, line after line that will live with you forever!!!

Devil In A New Dress—-With a nice cameo from Rick Ross, from the very onset this has one of those female vocals running through the backdrop that takes another little spot in the brain cells that you have floating around in there…decreasing your internal memory just a bit more. West has a magical way with words…making you listen closer and closer each time you hear the song…trying to figure out exactly what his purpose is with each word placement. This is stellar stuff….don’t tell him, but West borders on genius!!!

Runaway—-Beginning with a lone and annoying piano key that slowly develops as the song takes shape, this will stay in your head just because of the slight annoyance. When the track really opens up and the rhythmic beats take full effect, you are again wrapped in a warm blanket of funk and rap that takes over the center of your brain. Perhaps this was written for Taylor Swift…to me, this is a track for us everyday joes…we all do stupid shit everyday…just not on national TV. this is fantastic…although i much prefer West rapping and not singing!

Hell Of A Life—-This has such a nice ‘machine’ element to it…I fell in love with this track the first time I heard it. This would have fit perfectly on 808 but managed to land here…but i ain’t mad about that. This is aggressive…but the best part of the song is that huge dark hum that runs through the lower part of the song. Not to mention that the song really references, musically, Black Sabbath… much more alternative can you get? Freakin’ Stellar!!!!

Blame Game—-Featuring John Legend, as you would expect, this is piano based and a bit more mellow than most of the stuff on the rest of this record. But there is a metallic edge that runs underneath the edge of the song that reminds you that you are listening to a record released by someone who is frustrated and pissed off with the press, god, the public and everyone else who even comes close. This is a song that is at times stark, at times beautiful, at times disturbing but always full of a certain realness. This is Kanye! Just Incredible!!!

Lost In The World—-Again featuring Bon Iver, a combination which I find bizarre but works all over the record! All I can say….is wow!!! Kanye is a freakin genius…who ever thought he would reach out to the Indie circle to further his career…but he did and it works like the best magic trick never known to man. When this tracks kicks into high gear you will be laid out flat on the floor. This is energetic, bombastic and full of an infectious groove that will never escape your brain. this is a magical moment caught in time…am I gushing? you should be too!!!

Who Will Survive In America—-What a great question……not many of us will….this makes me think of Public Enemy…this has a message that everyone should take a listen to and pay huge amounts of attention to. This is Kanye…painting the American Dream!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

Rihanna / Rated R: Remixed

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 300000010-04:00 12 by marky7235

Rated R: Remixed

Robyn Rihanna Fenty (born February 20, 1988), better known as simply Rihanna (pronounced /riˈɑːnə/ ree-YAH-na), is a Barbadian R&B recording artist and songwriter.[2] Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers. She subsequently signed a contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for then-label head Jay-Z.[3]

In 2005, Rihanna released her debut studio album, Music of the Sun, which peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and features the Billboard Hot 100 hit single “Pon de Replay“. Less than a year later, she released her second studio album, A Girl Like Me (2006), which peaked within the top five of the Billboard albums chart, and produced her first US number one hit single, “SOS“, as well as Billboard Hot 100 top ten entries “Unfaithful” and “Break It Off“. Rihanna’s third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), peaking at number two on the Billboard 200, featured five top ten hits including three US number one hit singles—”Umbrella“, “Take a Bow” and “Disturbia“—and the worldwide hit “Don’t Stop the Music“. The album was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Umbrella,” which features Jay-Z.[4][5] Her fourth studio album, Rated R, was released in November 2009, and peaked at number four on the Billboard 200. Its first three singles, “Russian Roulette“, “Hard” and “Rude Boy” peaked within the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, with “Rude Boy” peaking at number one. She will release her fifth studio album, Loud, in November 2010, which features the lead single “Only Girl (In the World)“.

Rihanna has achieved seven number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 since first appearing on the chart on June 11, 2005, which is the most by any artist during that time span.[6] As of July 23, 2010, Rihanna has sold approximately 5,563,000 album units in the US.[7] She has received several accolades, including the 2007 World Music Awards for World’s Best-Selling Pop Female Artist and Female Entertainer of the Year, as well as the 2008 American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist and Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist.[8][9] She serves as one of Barbados’s honorary cultural ambassadors.[10] In January 2010, Rihanna received two Grammy Awards for Jay-Z‘s 2009 single “Run This Town“.

The Analysis:

Mad House [Straight Jacket Mix]—-Musically, this is a nice track…full of blips and bleeps but featuring little to none of the vocal on it. This only serves as a brief warm-up and lead in to…

Russian Roulette [Black Russian Mix]—- Bass heavy from the onset and delivered with some pretty great synth lines, this is tailored made for the dance floor…hands down. The swirls and the atmosphere provide a build-up that will leave you a bit frenzied as you wait and wait for the vocal to enter. Once Rihanna begins to deliver her vocal you are at once comfortable and finding a smile on your face…this is a huge track…loaded with those extended interludes that takes a fantastic song and gives it even more muscle.

Rockstar 101 [Teacher’s Pet Mix]—-Rihanna delivers her vocal from the very first beat of the song….the huge chorus put on a continuous loop that repeats over and over  and over until the heavier bass kicks in and delivers a bit of exctasy…making a dance floor go crazy. I love the attitude of this mix…taking the smart ass vocal of Rihanna and allowing it to be delivered with even more attitude. when the vocals overlay each other, you are whipped into a frenzy….this is a keeper!!

Wait Your Turn [Can’t Wait Mix]—-This has that huge 90’s dance floor sound…the bass smacks you upside the head and the gentle synth swirls are a bit slow to come but the build-up is worth the wait. This is a great song in its original form…this remix only makes it even larger and more forceful…this is a masterful mix…I prefer this over the original…I love the phrasing and the way the vocal is drawn out…just wonderful!!!

Photographs [35mm Mix]—-Beginning with a synth beat that is so Go-Go’s inspired, this track which features Will.I.Am is a rather large one. Delivered with enough staccato beats and heavy synth to keep the dance floor flooded, this is pretty much true to the original…despite a bit of vocal manipulation. This is one huge dance track!!

Rude Boy [Vitamin S Mix]—-This is fantastic….the track builds and builds giving you a frenzied feel…until the bass beats from your speakers and sets you down heavy in Rihanna land. This has just enough of a stop and start kind of synth that makes you live for the chorus…the refrains are pretty true to form, but the middle of the song is an explosion of feel good synths that will have you sweating and begging for more.

Hard [Granite Mix]—-Featuring Young Jeezy, this mix begins with that familiar dance floor sound that the 90’s made so huge with countless remixes of about every single released during the decade. This is full of that progressive techno beat that builds and builds….it’s main purpose to drive people into a frenzy. I love the chorus of this song…the way Ri-Ri draws out her vocal and the entrance of Jeezy serves to beef up the song and give it even more credibility. This is my favorite from this release.

G4L [Guns In The Air Mix]—-This is pretty awesome as well….kind of tying the place for my favorite track on this remix release…the vocal is trance inspired and the music serves to only beef up that feeling. This has a nice progressive beat that leaves me with a huge smile on my face. This is energetic and manipulates the vocal just enough to keep you interested and from becoming bored. This is choice!!

Fire Bomb [Molotov Mix]—-Building and building behind some heavy bass and literally swirling synths, you feel a sense of relief once the track finally kicks into high gear. This is stellar as well…leaving you flat on your back after the ecstatic mix that is loaded with energy and attitude. This is great!

Stupid In Love [Small Room Mix]—-This has that nice house piano sound that again was a shining light in the 90’s remix world. Rihanna enters with a much more tender vocal…the song really deserves a much more gentle treatment and looses some of its intensity in the reconstruction.

****out of 4

12 Inch Wonders Of The World/Vol. 17

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20000008-04:00 12 by marky7235

Short Circuit  [Daft Punk]—-Daft Punk has a way with landscaping music that appeals to everyone in the Dance scene. this is a nice blend of trance and electro that energizes and makes you feel hyper driven. The beats are modern, while the synths remind you of millions of great songs from the past. combining new with old, the band has created a special experimental niche that is timeless. I love this track!

Lady Marmalade [LaBelle]—-Clawing back in time into the decadent 70’s, LaBelle created a timeless track that even though was masterfully remade years later cannot  even come close to the brilliance of the original. This has a remarkable funk that was only apparent in the 70’s dance/disco scene. this is pure energy and abandon delivered to the dance floor…allowing you to lose yourself in the energy of 70’s club life where Blacks and Whites commingle with no problem…where Gays and Straights danced with abandon and the world found a new life in free love music. This is a true piece of history.

If You Don’t Know Me By Now/Live [Patti LaBelle]—-Patti delivers a soul-stirring rendition of this timeless classic….allowing the saxophone to lead the pace of the song…the audience..eating up every little vocal ministration that LaBelle so masterfully delivers. this is intense, emotional and only bolstered by the bevy of backdrop singers bolstering the emotional aspects of the song. This is freakin’ grand….you feel drained by the end of the track…the emotions will come right out of your pores. Wonderful!

If Only You Knew [Patti LaBelle]—-Perhaps my personal favorite track from Patti, this is also a drag Queen standby that you are bound to hear in any given club on any given saturday evening in Drag Land. This is full of emotion, the tears always pop out in my eyes every time I hear this. this is masterful human emotion that is laid open and bare…exposing all of your feelings for the world to see. This is wonderful!

Dance [Disco Heat] [Sylvester]—-The original Disco Diva delivers a soul-stirring, booty shaking classic that contains every 70’s sound all wrapped up in one huge masterful dance floor romp. It rarely got better than this…Sylvester never shied away from who or what he was…he instead delivered great music and allowed it to speak for him…this is timeless….this will be played forever in select clubs…keeping it alive long after we are all gone. We miss you Sylvester!

Do You Wanna Funk/Remix [Sylvester]—-My favorite Sylvester track of all time, this combined all of the classic synths of the disco movement with the Urban sounds that were quickly emerging at the time. although i never really heard this until around 1983, from the first listen, i knew that this was the one for me. The synth lines are masterful…Patrick had a way with song construction that was incredible..combined with the vocal of sylvester…how could this not be huge?

On My Own [Patti LaBelle with Michael McDonald]—-A huge song for both of these artists, this only served as a wonderful outlet that allowed LaBelle to emerge from the Urban scene into top 40 and allowed McDonald to further his career with his soulful vocal that appealed to all cross sections of music listeners. The arrangement is lush and full…full of emotional synths and light guitars that spelled top 40 heaven. This is wonderful!

Studio 54 Funk [Sylvester]—-Really, this differs from the countless other remixes that i have of this song…but as I collector, i try to gather as much stuff as I can. There does remain a fresh energy to the synth line that brings out an even larger euphoric feeling while listening to this. The track makes you yearn for the masterful days of spinning strobe lights, packed dance floors full of sweaty bodies, the gentle waft of poppers and the decadence. This remains my way of gently reliving the glory days of a youth past. I miss the good old days…when the faces never wore the tell-tale signs of AIDS…when friends didn’t disappear every week to cemeteries…when every one was free and liberated. What the hell happened?

You Are My Friend [Sylvester]—-This is a wonderful cover of a LaBelle tune that Sylvester did live and created a show stopping crescendo of emotion and joy. This has been reviewed before…there is little I can say except that if you get a chance to experience this recording, grab it and hang on to it. This is Sylvester and Co. in their element…the fans eat it up and you will be drained by the end. This is incredible!

**** out of 5