Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gabe Bondoc- You Got It

Have you ever been asked why you are attracted to someone and didn’t know how to explain? Well, Gabe doesn’t have this problem. He’s found a woman that he deems worthy and will gladly tell everyone why he loves this woman…. in detail.
In the chorus he gives the answer that most of us would; which is, I don’t know, but  s/he’s (enter person’s name here). It’s somewhat like the moment that someone asks you what you enjoy? You know exactly what you enjoy, but the question is so vague that we often sputter and reply something unintelligible.
But, after he’s calmed down and thought about the question a bit he can give his real answer. Every line gives a new reason for his infatuation with her.
The reason why I love this song is the sound. He uses a guitar throughout, and it gets its own solo. There is another instrument used that I don’t know the name of. There is also a sound that is used effectively. It’s the sound you’d hear if you were playing a game and waved a magic wand (yes, an odd comparison, but you’ll understand when you listen). Everything is played softly which adds to the ambiance. 5/5

What is he doing now?
This song is from his album Timing that he released a few years ago.

Gabe Bondock just released his new LP Honestly last month. So if you like this one, you should probably check it out. He’s active on his YouTube and Twitter accounts if you’d like to follow him.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Missy & Nicole- Almost is Never Enough (cover)

This a cover of Ariana Grande’s version. I have to be honest, I was a bit skeptical because this song is my favorite track on Yours Truly and it requires vocal range that many singers don’t have.

She inherited a lot of expectations, but did she deliver?

I’m glad to report that she managed to impress me. She showed more range than I believed she had and sounds eerily similar to Grande at points. It’s not a full cover and I found myself wanting more.  I would love a full cover. 
The duo has some raw talent and will only get better with time. These girls are officially on my radar. 4/5     

What are they doing now?

Missy and Nicole are sisters that share a passion for singing. They perform covers on YouTube and are active on Twitter, so follow them if you like this offering.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Justin Timberlake- The 20/20 Experience (2013)

Why did I review the album?  Love JT
Did I like it? Yes…eventually
Will I listen again? Yes
I didn’t like this album at first, in fact, I hated it. But, that’s why I listen to albums at least two times before I start writing reviews. My first impressions of music is usually harsh because I’m exposing myself to the music for the first time, so I do not notice the nuggets of brilliance in songs.
My main problem is the track length. The songs are too long. They did not hold my interest as much as the tracks on FutureSex/LoveSsounds (FSLS). I felt the songs on FSLS were long with a purpose whereas 20/20 Pt.1 relied upon catchy production and charm to elongate the songs. In short there is a bit less substance than I’d like.
For Instance, on FSLS “What Goes Around Comes Around” turns a common phrase into the basis for a song. Also, it’s essentially the meaning of karma. Through the lyrics he is able to weave in a story about betrayal and the results of the betrayal (Karma). Add an interesting beat to tie it together and the song explodes with content and sound.  All of that is explored in 7:30,every bit was needed to fully explore the ideas he examined in the song.  
20/20 matches the production level of its predecessor but severely lacks the lyrical depth found on JT’s previous LP’s. Because of that, I originally found the songs boring and drawn out. 
The album excels at merging and concocting sounds and is carried by the charm and allure of JT
Although I did eventually find endearing qualities in the songs, I still believe it’s his weakest work to date. After a seven year absence I was expecting a bit more
My Favs
3. Spaceship Coupe
2. Strawberry Bubblegum
1. That Girl
Overall Rating: 73 with a recommendation to Listen then decide

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Goapele- Closer to My Dreams

I didn’t know Drake was sampling this in his cover, but I’m happy I discovered this version. What I admire about both versions is the free flowing nature. Drake’s originates from his signature flow, but Goapele’s arrives from matching the atmosphere creates from the beat. For me, the beat has a pretty albeit dragging sound. She delivers in a matching style and creates a soothing song. 4/5

What is she doing now?
She signed with Eric Benet label, Jordan House in 2014 and is making new content.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

John Legend- Love In TheFuture (2013)

Why did I review the album? John Legend is one of my favorite singers (second to JT)
Did I like it? Yes
Will I listen again?  Yes, to some tracks

Love in the Future offers an artist that is honing his craft instead of branching out.  The albums plays like something from a lounge performer. It has a smooth and intimate feel that I loved. I think it works because each person can bring his experience with relationships and through that have his own experience with this album.
In fairness to John Legend, I do not think he did anything wrong with this album, but I entered this album with expectations concerning the content of the album that did not match his intentions.  After about three to four albums I expected him to start toying with his music a bit more. Change his subject matter (a bit), the sound, or the delivery. Something that would indicate him expanding as an artist. Instead I received 15 songs of John Legend belting out nice soulful tracks, and that’s fine, but I already knew he could do that. Couples that have been together for long enough to endure road bumps in their relationship will adore this album, but I’m curious to hear what everyone else has to say.

Is it what I wanted? Not quite
Is it great considering his intentions? Yes

My Favs
3. Who Do We Think We Are
2. We Loved It
1. All of Me
Overall Rating: 75 with a recommendation to listen then decide

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Scavenger Hunt- Dreamers

I know I said I like songs that tell a story, but I also said there’s room for fun if done right. Well this one impressed me. It’s got a lighthearted 80’s feel that naturally disarmed me. Perhaps it’s because of the harsh winter we've had, but this song reminds me of a perfect summer hit. Behind its playfulness it has a message about living free and enjoying life.4.5/5  

What Are They Doing Now?
They have just released a self-titled EP and are signed to Rock Nation. So give it a try if you like this track. If you'd like to learn more about the group follow them on twitter @ScvnrHnt

Rae Morris- Grow

My sister compared her to Lorde, but said that at certain junctures she doesn't sound like her at all. I completely understand the Lorde comparison. But that's the intrigue of artist like these. They have bits and pieces of so many people and genres, but don't quite fit into any of them. I think she sounds most like Lorde in the chorus. The beat for this song matches the lyrics PERFECTLY. It foreboding and suspenseful but in some instances calming at the same time. I experienced many emotions from the beat alone. The lyrics are just as wild. The only thing i can compare it to is Lightning Strike by Snow Patrol.  It seems like the girl is extremely self-aware, but extremely scared and vulnerable at the same time. And because of that she doesn't know what to do and runs away from her problems. 5/5

What is she doing now?
She is signed to Atlantic records and has an EP scheduled for release in May. If you'd like to know more, follow her on Twitter @raemorrismusic

Alex G - Find You (Original Song)

I like when singers use simple beats because it allows the voice and lyrics (if it’s good enough) to take center stage. As much as I like her I think the boy did an equally phenomenal job and he's not even credited. The two of them together sound great together because the sing the same way and at the same octaves. It’s like two sides of the same coin except one is female and the others male. It even has somewhat of a country song to it, but that didn't even bother me and I give her credit for pulling that off. My only doubt with her is that it seems like she only has one range and she doesn't deviate from it, so I wonder what would happen if you asked her to go lower or higher. But, the song itself is flawless 5/5

What is she doing now?
She's in the process of putting together an album, but has performed many covers of famous songs. If you'd like to know more subscribe to her channel on YouTube

New Area in blog- Discover Music

I’ve decided to add this part of my blog because there are certain songs that I hear and think are worth sharing, but since I only do reviews of whole albums, I never get to talk about. This solves that problem.
I’m not sure how I’d like to schedule adding content for this part. So, right now I’ll update it as I see fit until I find a better system.
The music on this part of the blog has no bounds. I can be a new song, but it can also be a song from 1993 that I’ve heard for the first time. It might not even be R&B or Hip-Hop based.
My hope is that it will turn to a place where we can share music we like and help others discover new music. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Drake- Nothing Was The Same (2013)

Why did I review the album? I like Drake
Did I like it?  Yes, but it has a major flaw
Will I listen again?  To some tracks
I was going to review this album a while ago, but I couldn’t sort my feelings. I knew I liked the album, but I also knew there was something wrong. I didn’t like the songs as much as I should. After listening to this album 5 times I finally sorted my thoughts.
In my Yeezus review I complained that Kanye changed too much of his formula at once. And, I said that changing the formula works best when an artist changes one aspect and leaves the rest the same. In this case, Drake changes his delivery and leaves other variables constant.
Now, here’s the problem with that. For me, the delivery is the most important part of a rappers formula.  Delivery can turn stupid lyrics into passable ones, and passible ones into great lyrics. Essentially it can revert attention away from what is said and focuses on how it is said. In this album I found that drake disrupted his flow and delivery in order to make room for content.
So, why do I like this album? The beats are still classic Drake and 40 collabos that I fell in love with long ago. Also, if you strip away the (sometimes) lackluster delivery, there are some gold mines and hints of pre LP Drake that allowed him to explode onto the scene five years ago.
For me, the good outweighs the bad. It goes back to what I said about changing the formula. Experimentation with music works best when the artist changes one thing from his/her repertoire. This formula works because it fosters innovation, but keeps enough features consistent to avoid alienating the audience. Even if the person does not like the element the artist changed, there is still enough of the original artist in the song that the person will still like the song. At worst, the person would notice the attempt to try something new and not like the song, but appreciate the effort.
He did a dangerous thing toying with his delivery, but there are still enough elements of the old Drake for me to appreciate.
My Favs
3. Pound Cake/ Paris Morton Music 2
2.  From Time
1. Tuscan Leather

Overall Rating: 70 with a recommendation to listen then decide