Signs of Light

27 Jan
Signs of Light

Brian Atwood peep toe high heels
£670 – net-a-porter.com

Plastic jewelry
$18 – topshop.com

Too Too 50 Ml Edp
$62 – betseyjohnson.com

Metallic Nails In Heart Of Gold
£6 – topshop.com

R.I.P R’n’B

14 Oct

When was the last time you heard a really good R and B song? I personally feel like the last good r ‘n’b album I heard was Trey Songz’ Ready, for a while Trey Songz was the bright spark in the sea of R n B but even that did not last long because he decided to release Pleasure, Passion and Pain (or whatever it was called) and RnB found itself on the gurney to the morgue. Neyo was another artist who revived RnB but his last offering Libra Scale wasn’t up to standard. In my Own Words, Because of You and Year of the Gentleman were albums that truly captured the spirit of RnB. There was rhythm  from the well produced beats and Blues from the poetic lyrics and soulful vocals. Where did all that go? What I saw and heard in Libra Scale was a talented artist who was trying way too hard to be cool. I still have a lot of respect for Ne yo besides that dismal performance and I hope his 2012 release The Cracks of Mr Perfect will revive his career and resurrect R n B.

I’m not trying to say that there are no good RnB artists left. I am quite excited about about Frank Ocean and I think he is one to watch. His music is on a depressing wave length but it’s working for Drake though…I think Ocean is really talented and there is just something about his music that keeps you listening to it. I think this guy will go a long way. Jennifer Hudson’s new album I Remember Me is also a silver lining in this cloud. BUT, the question is: will RnB ever return to the days of Keith Sweat, Boys II Men, Joe Thomas and R.Kelly or Total, SWV and Deborah Cox. I really don’t see it happening anytime soon because right now as we speak RnB is 6 feet under.

When Rock Goes Soft

29 Sep

There is more to being a rock musician than screaming, jumping and headbanging. In my opinion, all those antics come from a softer more vulnerable source. I believe that being a good rocker requires a versatilty that can be seen in your songs, from the loud over-the-top anthems to the softer more soulful tracks which can make any hardened heart melt in an instant. Today’s post is a celebration to the softer side of rock and I will reveal my favourite.

Nothing Else Matters Metallica

“Never opened myself this way;life is ours we live it our way

No lie, this song sends chills down my spine every single time. Most people associate Metallica with their heavy metal sound but trust me, after hearing this track you will look at these guys so differently. This song is so good that it has actually been covered 40 times (!) but none of these covers have done justice to this song. There is haunting quality that it has that just gets to you. James Hetfield aparently wrote it for his girlfriend and you can hear it in lines like “so close no matter how far..” basically talking about their bond that is deep even when he’s on tour. James actually wanted to keep the song private but when Lars Ulrich heard it he recommended it for their album. The song is also a dedication to their fans and many Metallica fans would list this as their favourite Metallica track.

Disappear- Hoobastank

there’s a pain that sleeps inside, it sleeps with just one eye and awakwns the moment that you leave” 

I heard this song only once when I was 13 and for 7 years it stuck in my head as I had no way of downloading it. It is off Hoobastank’s popular album The Reason and although people would say the title track of the album is a much better soft song I will always stand by this song because of the way it just makes me feel calm. The arrangement of it is very simple but it is just such a powerful track. This list would be incomplete without it.

Stranger things have happened-Foo Fighters

“you are not alone dear loneliness, you forgot but I remember this”

I have only known this song for about 5 days but it belongs on this list. I don’t know what it is about this song, maybe its the acoustic guitar melody or the way Dave Grohl sings it but it just calms me and touches my heart. I’m not going to get into the meaning because to be honest I am still figuring it out but it is just a great track that I can  repeat up to 4 times, which makes it pretty strong in my book.

 

The Only Exception-Paramore

“darling you are the only exception

Paramore sometimes seems a bit to commercial and bubblegum for me, but when they make songs like this one they are right up there with my favourites (Incubus, Audioslave etc). I think this one of the most beautiful love songs ever sang. The lyrics are so touching, the vocals very appropriate and the beat so perfect for slow dancing. I especially love the bridge when the song elevates. This is Paramore at their very best.

 

Hello Evanescence

“don’t try to fix me, I’m not broken”

With Amy Lee’s hauntingly beautiful voice any song will have an strong emotional quality. The piano solo also contributes to the song’s strengths. Apparently Amy Lee sang this for her sister who died and you can almost touch the sadness of the song because its that powerful. This track blows me away every single time.

 

 

Blurry Puddle of Mudd

“can you take it all away, this pain you gave to me

This is the song that made me take Puddle of Mudd very seriously and I became a fan. It is such a sad song but at the same time very powerful. Wes Scantlin’s voice has the burnt quality that every rock musician should have. The song is about his son and it’s also about a break up. It’s so personal on the part of Scantlin and his son even appears on the video. It is one of P.O.M most successful songs and you can totally understand why so many peope resonated with it.

 

Saint is a Sinner Too- Slash?Rocco Delucca

“hold my hands down, so they don’t reach for you in case you don’t know a saint is a sinner too”

Slash’s self titled album of 2009 is one of my favourite albums and this is the album’s track. De Leca’s unique voice is part of the reason why this song is so powerful. It has a very simple arrangement but it still manages to pull you in. I just love the lyrics and even the way it is performed. This is a song I actually wish I had written because it is just that good.

 

 

So Far Away  Avenged Sevenfold

“i have so much to say, but u’re so far away”

Like Metallica, this is a band I associate with a heavy metal sound but this song is so different from that vibe. It’s so mellow and the melody is very chilled. A.S really practiced massive restraint in this track with very positive results. The instrumentals take a back seat to the lyrics which are quite sad and vulnerable, but it make this song so perfect.

 

I am The Highway-Audioslave

“I am not your rolling wheel I am the Highway”

With Chris Cornell’s amazing vocals and the instrumental quality of Rage Against the Machine you really can’t go wrong add the lyrics and you have magic. This song is one of the many reasons I love Audioslave. I don’t think rock can get anymore soulful. This song belongs on this list.

 

 

So Far Away Staind

“these are my dreams that I’ve never lived before; somebody shake me coz I must be sleeping

When I listen to Staind songs. I can almost touch lead singer Aaron Lewis’ pain. You don’t get a voice and music like this if you haven’t been through a lot. This song is a more positive song in Staind’s discography and I think it’s about change and opening yourself up.  

 

Jill Scott’s Womanifesto

1 Sep

 Clearly I am not a fat ass
I am active brain
and lip smacking peach deep
sometimes too aggressive in its honesty
and heart sweet
that loves whole-ly and completely
whom it may choose
whom ever it may choose

I am not gonna lie and passify
I am arms to hold
I am lips to speak
I am a muthafucking “G”

Strong legs that stroll off the 33 bus
or out of a money green Phantom confortably
Knees that bend to pray
clean from Ajax washings
hair that is thick and soft
Thigh that be-twixt
an amazing all expense grand prize

I am eyes that sing
smile that brightens
touch that rings
and supply euphoric release
I am a Grand Dame Queen Beast

I am warm
I am peace
From the roads of Botswana to 23rd Street
From the inside third eye
ever watching this wicked wicked system of things
I do see

I am friend to pen
and a lover of strong women
A Diamond to men
I am curious and interested like children
I welcome the wise to teach
appreciator of my culture
Thick not just from bone dense and eat

I have a rhythm in my ways
and a practice in my seek
and yes I do crave the rhythm of my space
with a man that rejoices in God’s Grace

with faith I do hear to listen
two hands that fist
when forced pushes to shove
and your ego won’t submit

I am gifted
I am all of this
and indeed the Shit

Clearly I am not just an ass

Report Card: The Light of the Sun

1 Sep

Track by track review of Jill Scott’s new album

Some people make music and some people make good music and no I don’t mean G.O.O.D music (sorry Kanye). Well Jill Scott makes great music. Shame on you if you’ve never taken the time to listen to her. If you recall, she was on my “Ode to Neo Soul” list of favourite artists and her new album The Light of the Sun proves why. This is her first offering since in 4 years and I am sure all her fans felt that gap because I surely did. But she is back and with a bang. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 135, 000 copies in the first week. The album also goes a long way for Neo Soul and feminism. I thought it would be unfair to just do a general review of the album so this is a special report card and it is a track by track review and rating of the album.

Jill Scott as an artist remains relevant because she has many sides to her. The sides that I see in her are

The sensual soulful singer,

The cheeky, sexy and confident woman who refuses to settle for less 

The feminist

The poet and spoken word artist.

Look out for these when you listen.

STUDENT NAME J.SCOTT

PROJECT: LIGHT OF THE SUN

1. BLESSED Jill opens the album with this upbeat and positive song. She is thankful for her life, her son, her family and music and this is apparent in this album. It is definitely a strong opening.                      (7/10)

2.SO IN LOVE  This is the first single of the album. Scott teams up with the talented Mr Anthony Hamilton for this feel good song about being in love and happy and excited in a relationship. It’s a celebration of love and this song would be right at home on a wedding dancefloor. It’s not as good as Musiq and India Arie’s Chocolate High but still it’s a beautiful track!        (6/10)

3. SHAME This song features Eve and it has this old school, 50s club feel that I found refreshing and interesting, but there is also this hip hop vibe I get from it. It reminds me of Eric B and Rakim’s Paid in Full. I love how she says “I am the magnificent,” and Eve’s verse was appropriate and well done. (7/10)

4. ALL CRIED OUT REDUX The hip hop vibe is also in this. She sings over a human beatbox which makes it very simplistic. Even the piano in the track is so simple and reminiscent of that 50’s club in Shame (6/10)

5. LE BOOM VENT SUITE Okay so I did not like this song, I just found it a bit boring and the way she keeps saying “boom, boom, is really annoying. The beat is actually not bad but I can’t listen to the song that long and mind you this song is 9 minutes long. So this is the low point of the album for me.(4/10)

6. SO GONE (WHAT MIND SAYS) Enter the sensual soulful artist! This song is neo soul at it’s very best. There is something smooth and sensual about it. She delivers one of my favourite lyrics ever when she says “Why does my body ignore what my mind says?” That is something. The track features Paul Wall who surprisingly delivers a verse that goes well with the song (I don’t think much of him). This is one of my favourites it’s actually in my top 3 of the whole album. I can listen to this over and over. A true neo soul masterpiece. (10/10)

7. HEAR MY CALL A song for the heartbroken. In this song you can clearly heal and feel Jill’s belief and faith, but at the same time you can sense the desperation that she’s feeling.  This is a slow and heartfelt track. She says, “God please hear my call, I need your healing.” This is a song about someone who’s lost themself, someone who has been hurt and is feeling alone. The simple piano melody puts the religious lyrics in the forefront of the track. The way Scott sings it remings me of a Disney musical (but in a good way). This song will definitely tug at your heartstrings. (8/10)

8. SOME OTHER TIME From the slow and painful low we feel in Hear my Call, Jill Scott takes us up again. Jill Scott started off as a poet and a spoken word artist and this song is an allusion to it. She sings the chorus but in the verses she’s speaking like she’s speaking to a friend, like the listener is her friend and she’s telling you about a date she went to and how great the guy was. The beat has this chilled vibe to it but its still upbeat. Another notch to the neo soul belt. (7/10)

9. QUICK Everything about this song is quick as the name suggests. It’s short and straight to the point, all 1 minute 50 minutes of it. I think this song is about her divorce and how everything happened. As I mentioned before some of the album is improvised so I think this song is one of these and I must say she is really good, but it makes sense since she is poet. The beat is quick, she sings the song like she’s venting, it is sang very fast. Plus it has a vintage feel it, almost a Ella Fitzgerald vibe which is brilliant. (6/10)

10. MAKING YOU WAIT This song is the feminist, confident woman and the soulful singer all rolled into one. She sings it very well and the lyrics are on point but to me the beat steals the show for me. She of course carries the beat well and the beat goes well with her song. This is actually one of my favourite tracks on the album. I just love the beat and the melody and her subject matter. She’s like “I’m making you wait, I need to know if you’re worthy” This is obviously a message to females.  (9/10)

11. UNTIL THEN (I IMAGINE) Jill the sensual and sexual artist reemerges with this smooth song. The opening line is, “I’m your Kitty cat, love what we do.” You can’t help but wonder who inspired this song because whoever it is a good lover(!) She’s complimenting lover and over a very smooth neo soul beat with a little piano insert that suits the song perfectly and has me pressing repeat on my music player. (10/10)

12. MISSING YOU Finally a ballad-well not really, but it comes quite close. The intro of this song is quite long and because the beat is so relaxing you might be asleep by the time the singing begins, but try not to. Again the good lover is compliment. The song has so many backing vocals but they work well with the way she sings the song and the soulful beat. It’s a good song but I find it too slow but I’m sure in a certain set up… (6/10)

13. WHEN I WAKE UP Mix of spoken word and singing. Again the beat is chilled, soulful with an old school soul feel. It’s a positive song about accepting and celebrating your struggle. It’s about moving forward and living happily and refusing to be defeated by your struggles. “When I wake up everything I went through, will be beautiful” that’s basically it. Then the song ends with an alarm clock ringing. (9/10)

14. WOMANIFESTO Here is the feminist Jill Scott who fully comes out in the last 2 tracks Light of the Sun. It is a beautiful recital about the beauty of woman and all the good things about women. She starts off saying, “clearly I’m not a fat ass, I am an active brain.” This song made me realise that every girl should have her own Womanifesto. As a wannabe feminist, this song really resonates with me and I am sure it has resonated with many other women the world over. I could go on an on about this track because it is good in so many ways but there is one more track… (10/10)

15. ROLLING HILLSThere’s power in them rolling hills,you’re prized possession not everybody’s worthy” This is the song that Scott performed at the BET awards and this was the first track from this album that I heard. There are many reasons why I adore this song, but at the top is that it’s a feminist song. Women are powerful and it’s almost like Jill Scott is trying to educate women why they are so speacial. It’s like she’s drumming it into your brain and saying “Dammit you are fabulous!!! Don’t you know that??” This song is for every girl who has felt inadequate, they need to hear this song. She really ends the album on a high note, this is an incredible song. The beat, lyrics, vocals. Everything.

LYRICAL QUALITY AND CONTENT I have never doubted that this lady is one gifted writer and this album just proves it. Every song is written thoughtfully. This is a powerful album and the lyrics are a big contributer to the power. No word, line or rhyme is out of place and the fact that she touches on feminism gives her full marks. (A+)

PRODUCTION Most of the album was produced by popular soul producer and writer JR Hutson and he produced the tracks well. The beats go well with the lyrics and the vibe of the album. The other names that lent themselves to the project include Warryn Campbell, Dre and Vidal and Kelvin Wooten. Dre and Vidal have worked with Scott on more than 10 other projects. Production also gets top marks. (A+)

VOCAL QUALITY Her voice suits her songs well and she doesn’t screech or shout. so she sang well in my books. (A)

VERDICT All in all this is a good album and I understand how it did well. Considering that soul and r ‘n’ b are not doing so well this album shows why soul is still relavant and that this woman is a titan in this genre. This is a neo soul Masterpiece.

 

 

 

Quote

Quote of the Day

11 Aug

“To be Yourself is all that You can Do”

                                                                                                Audioslave

 

Comeback Season!!

11 Aug

Remember when the Spice Girls had a comeback album a few years ago? I don’t really remember either. What about Mase’s comeback remmber that? Didn’t think so. It’s thin line between good and bad comebacks and this post celebrates the few that I find worth mentioning. These are the comebacks that were worth my listening.

Take That

Did you know that in 1996 the UK government had to start up a hotline to counsel distraught Take That fans, after they learnt of the band’s disbanding?  Or that they are the only boyband to win an Ivor Novello, thanks to Gary Barlow’s songwriting skills. I mean, I love Robbie Williams and all but he really thought Take That were finito without him. After a hiatus we thought they were done but boy did they surprise him and the rest of the world with their smash single “Shine.” This wasn’t just any ordinary comeback this one was one for the books. Did you know that their 2010 album Progress is the fastest selling album of all time in UK and that they are Amazon.com’s highest selling artists. Impressive!! They’ve been around for a while and their still going strong. Robbie rejoined them for Progress and you can also catch them on the X-Men:First Class soundtrack with Love Love one of my favourites.

 

Sade

Before Soldier of Love the last time we had heard form this group was in 2000 with “Lover’s Rock” and they returned with a bang. The UK native’s comeback album didn’t disappoint. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and at number four in the UK, and it also won a Grammy. What I will always admire about these veterans is that they march to the beat of their own drum, stick to their style and resist commercial pressure and it is worth it in the end. Salute to the Soldiers.

Maxwell

Ok so you might have realised that I am a big fan of this dude. He is supertalented with a voice that could make any female faint. After an 8 year hiatus Maxwell came back with a new look and a hit record BLACKsummer’snight in 2009. The record received rave reviews. The album sold 316,000 copies in its first week,debuted at number one on Billboard and won two Grammy’s. It went on to sell over 1 million copies in the US. I don’t think anyone was surprised by this success, I mean I certainly wasn’t. Hats off to a well deserved success!!

 Incubus

2000 was the year I discovered rock music and I’ve never been the same after that. The bands responsible were Limp Bizkit, Puddle of Mudd, Linkin Park, Blink 182 and INCUBUS. Their tracks Drive and Wish you were Here were some of my favourites and then they released Nice to Know You and I was in love and have been ever since. So you can just imagine how excited I was when I learnt of the release of their album, “If Not Now,When?” I am impressed with what I have heard so far. The single Adolescents is also doing pretty well on the charts so I am definitely pleased.

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