The Soundtrack of My Life

the music that keeps me going…

My Favorite Albums of 2012

happy new year!

Since I didn’t do any “Whats in my Earbuds” posts throughout my musical adventures I figured I’d kinda recap the year in terms of new music that I’ve been listening to, and my personal favorites. Now this isn’t a “best of” because  I just like what I like, and… of course you can tell ME what you think is best but that doesn’t mean I’ll agree, or vice versa. I mean, I’m not an authority. Just a girl with an opinion.

There was a LOT of decent material to hit the streets in 2012. And to be clear, by decent I mean it didn’t absolutely suck. Pretty low bar set there right? Catchy tunes full of popular catchphrases, clever wordplay, solid vocals and/or lyrics. The issue at hand is that, most of it isn’t very memorable.

This is the first time I’ve noticed  that as music consumers, we listen to an album the entire leak week: the 4 or 5 days or so before it’s in store release, maybe throughout the official release week, and by the time 15 days or so if that long have passed, we’re off it. On to the next! This is a horrible for music consumption! But who’s to blame? Maybe us fans for having short attention spans? But HOW did this happen? Has to be the ease of access via technology. We no longer have to WAIT to release day and go to a brick and mortar record store. EYE still buy CDs from time to time, but it’s usually a purchase among other purchases at Target or Best Buy. Rarely do we make specific trips for albums anymore.  I also blame artists for making such disposable music;  for making mixtapes better than their actual studio albums, but that’s another topic. Just save that material and put it on the album–I KNOW THATS SOOOO EASIER SAID THAN DONE, BUT LET ME VENT. Record labels should allow artist to be their creative selves and put out the music they REALLY want on their albums so they don’t NEED  mixtapes to do that. But I’m old and maybe I just don’t want to accept this is the new way of life for artists. I don’t need all these “mixtapes” though. I really don’t.

Also, it must be noted that Spotify really got its burn in my life in 2012.  I’m not so quick to download new projects anymore before previewing them on Spotify first. A couple artists don’t want us to be great with Spotify–I’m looking at you Rihanna and Taylor Swift (yes I was curious to hear what the hype was about, not enough to dl or pay for it though 😛 )– and want to force you to buy their music–or you know, just not stream it. WHATEVS.

One of the highly anticipated releases in 2012 was Frank Ocean’s Channel ORANGE. I had been a fan of his since Nostalgia/Ultra and wanted to catch him live in DC this year –but his show sold out in less than 48 hours. I wasn’t very moved with his features on WTT to be honest. But I liked the previous “album” and the songs I’ve heard under his former moniker Lonny Breaux, so I definitely was looking forward to Channel ORANGE. “Thinking Bout You” was a song I immediately liked. I listen to albums in tracklisting order and on shuffle. I need to know if the music flows  as formatted and if it also sounds good in the mix of their other projects and my other randomness. One thing about me when I love an album–I listen to it so much and its seems like every couple days or so I discover a new “favorite” song. My favorites on this album went in this order: Thinking Bout You, Sweet Life, Pilot Jones, Pyramids. I think I tweeted last week sometime how “Pyramids” still does it for me, well actually the whole album does. I’m not hyping him because its the “in” thing to do, but rather because I still listen to this album and rarely skip a song when they come on shuffle. Its solidified its place on my list.

Emile Sande:  Our Version of Events

I have to thank a couple of my fellow musical girlfriends for putting me on to Emile. Its very rare that I just buy an album off iTunes willy nilly but I heard one song of hers and did that. That song was “Hope.” I wanted more. I really really felt drawn to her vocals and at the time of this release it was all I listened to. Even now, when my music shuffles to any of these songs I don’t hesitate to take them in. I also love “Clown” “Maybe” and  “Breaking the Law”

Nas: Life Is Good

Oh Nasir, my homie, lover friend (in my head). We didn’t think you could do it. Well, true fans KNEW you COULD, but we didn’t think you would. You made a solid album with production that truly matched the lyricism. You made an album with just the right amount of features, allowing us to remember what we love about you, yet staying relevant. 2012 was definitely your year, sir. I actually regret not buying a ticket to see you in DC. Or going to stand with the groupies when you performed at The Park. Okay not really but I heard you were worth the price of admission at DAR Constitution Hall. Nas “The Don” “Bye Baby” ” Black Bond” “Cherry Wine” obvious radio Swizz Beat joint “Summer on Smash” and all. I LOVE THIS ALBUM. whew!

Miguel: Kaleidoscope Dream 

It began with the first Art Dealer Chic. As soon as I heard “Adorn” I knew it was a hit. Unfortunately its been played soooo much on radio, I’ve long been over it. I’m not sure if Miguel knew this would happen but I’m glad it’s the first track on the album so you can skip it and move on with your life lol. When I heard “Use Me” on the Water Preview I knew then that Miguel was not playing around!  “…All” reminds me of someone special and just the whimsical yet simple view of doing whatever makes you happy. Like the Frank Ocean album, this one provided weekly favorites. Without even listening to the album in its entirety, “Arch & Point” was my first fave–and actually the last song I blogged about before my hiatus. other favorites are “The Thrill” “Where’s the Fun in Forever” and “Do You.”  Actually there is not a song I don’t like…and while it has not topped his debut in my affinity, it lends nicely to his musical catalog.

Joss Stone: The Soul Sessions Vol. 2

This is a cover album like her 2003 debut. When I tell you the very first time I queued this up in Spotify I PARTIED at my desk at work. Classic soul jams by a SANGER. If you love classic music you’ll love this album, I mean there is no way around it. Instant mood lifter! “The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind)” is my favorite. I don’t have much to say because it’s not original music but that doesn’t mean it’s not great.

Kendrick Lamar: good kid MAAD City

I really wasn’t checking for KDot much. I kinda explain that reasoning regarding new rappers later in the post but I heard Section80 and even though I enjoyed it, it wasn’t like WOW he’s my new favorite person. That is NOT to say it’s not good, it’s just that at the time I wasn’t really in a space to really appreciate it. I’m moody with music as I am with life and maybe I was in a deep soul music mood. I can’t call it. So when GKMC came out I’ll admit I really hopped on it purely because of the buzz. And then I loved it!! It immediately gave me an Outkast ATLiens vibe. I appreciate the cohesiveness of the tracks and the story its telling. I actually felt like I KNEW Kendrick because of this. Concept albums aren’t for everyone, and actually aren’t always done well but I liked this a lot. Of course “Poetic Justice” was an immediate banger to me, sample alone. and yall know I “do” Drizzy. “Backseat Freestyle” “Sing About Me”  “Swimming Pools” (a great lead single, btw) and “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” round out my favorites.

Brandy: Two Eleven.

Miss Norwood came back on the scene with a banger! “Put it Down” was a bubble gum pop song that I didn’t think suited her OR MY age– but I must admit in true radio spin fashion, it grew on me. Hands down my favorite single on the album is “Wildest Dreams.” considering she just got engaged I’m gonna assume this song was written about her Beau. I’m happy for her like she’s my big sis that after many ups and downs in love found the real thing. Other favorites include “Music” “Do You Know What You Have Here” “What You Need” and “Slower”. The auto-tunesy vocals aren’t really my thing, I wish she’d sang full out more on this album but I do appreciate the writing and production. very well done.

Honorable Mentions:

Keyshia Cole: Woman to Woman

you didn’t expect this right? ha! me neither. Really, I’ve been down for Keyshia since she was singing she “changed her mind” with Kanye West. What can I say, I needed me a hood R&B chick to sice my life and she did it. Keyshia Cole is the kind of artist if you loved her first album, or even the second you kinda hoped she’d continue to put out quality R&B gems, and then she didn’t. We were more familiar with her for her family drama and tv antics than her music. Her third album was actually pretty good to me, but I may be the only one that thinks so. The fourth? lets forget that exists. She became real sporadic giving in to typical features for radio spins but nothing really meaty enough or catchy or inspiring. And lets not make any mistake, Keysh is not a power vocal singer but she doesn’t have to be. She just has to give me some gems that make me want to sing along to in the car. As soon as I heard “Trust and Believe” I knew she accomplished that. The album flows well and is typical relationship ups and downs but like I said, thats all I need from my homegirl. You also have to be impressed with her vocal improvement, well at least I am.Other  favorites include:  “I Choose You”  “Wonderland” “Stubborn” and “Zero”

Melanie Fiona: The MF LIfe

So many people either really like Mel or really are indifferent. I like her. I enjoyed her debut and when MF Life came out I listened to it constantly. Then… I stopped. not sure why. Probably just going through the rigmarole of previewing new music and didn’t come back to it. Mel can sing, and while I’m still not sure why she doesn’t get the shine she deserves or isnt’ marketed that well, this is a solid album. Every time I hear “Bones” I get chills. “Rock Paper Scissors” “The Wrong Side of a Love Song”  and “I Been That Girl” yesss ma’am! I used to think Mel was boring until I saw her perform live. Now I know she’s got the skills she just needs to work on her packaging.

Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio was really really good. Because of the R&B and hip hop features, I think it can be included in the genre. It’s not an album I listened to much in recent months as it was released earlier in the year, but I have revisit it from time to time, and unlike many of the others mentioned, the music is timeless. I adore the cover of “Cherish The Day” by Lalah Hathaway which I was initially iffy on. Another favorite is “Ah Yea” with Chrisette Michelle and Musiq. I REALLY wanted a special appearance by one or both of these artist at the Glasper show I went to JUST to hear this song. ah well.

I pretty much listened to most if not all of the mainstream R&B and hip hop releases this year. I’ve heard Elle, Rozay, Usher, Alicia Keys, Lupe, Meek Mill, GOOD Music, etc. but none of these got super replay value in my life.  Okay the first two have, but just not enough to be favorites. I have favorite SONGS on those albums, like “I Don’t Care” is theeee best Elle Varner song to me. I enjoyed her album and her earlier mixtape Conversational Lush a lot. Her voice starts to grate on my nerves though. I appreciate her music more on shuffle, lol. Rick Ross isn’t a favorite– not because it’s not good, but because it sounds like everything else he’s done and Teflon Don is the only album I’ll claim as a favorite of his in my life. People are also telling me this Rihanna album is dope but eh… they all have started to run together too me. A new album every 9-10 months is WAY TOO MUCH. “Power it Up” knocks in the club though.

I admit that I stay in a particular lane with my regular spins just based on whats on my iPhone/iPod/iTunes, but this year I did branch out into other genres thanks to Spotify. Some days you just want to mix it up a bit and get out of the R&B or Rap lane. It wasn’t all released in 2012 but I listened to A LOT of Quadron, Lana Del Rey, Kimbra, Gotye, Allen Stone, Gary Clark Jr. to name a few. And I’m still discovering more. My ears need something fresh and I’m enjoying the process.

This was also the year of the EP it seems like. I love any good music so I’ll take it I guess, but 5-7 songs just don’t do it for me! However a couple favorites were Solange’s True  and Daley’s Alone Together. His cover of “Love is a Losing Game” is everything.

I will also admit I don’t really listen to many “underground” rappers because… well I don’t know why. This year has just been as I said before full of listenable but not memorable music. I lose interest quickly with rappers unless it’s just remarkable to my ears. And I’m kinda lazy too. So unless someone (some of you?) drops a link directly on me I prob won’t know where to look. or care to. I did recently listen to the latest Action Bronson joint though…  and I checked out Dom Kennedy’s Yellow Album and Long Live ASAP (both which I liked) and the latest offering from Pac Div. so that’s something!

For 2013 off the top of my head I’m looking forward to the new projects from J. Cole, Jhene Aiko,  Alice Smith, Justin Timberlake (a girl can dream right? I heard he’s recording!) and actually The Dream. I think he has something coming out this year. I love that bitter black man music. lawd knows I do!

I know this was long. I’m sorry. I’ve had a lot to say, it been awhile. 🙂

What are your favorites from 2012? I listed studio albums but you can share mixtapes/EPs as well. What are you looking forward to this year?

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2012: What a Year!

Happy Holidays friends!

its been awhile I know, no need to dwell on that. I’ve been around…

I just wanted to take a few moments to talk about how great this year was for me. One thing I MAY love just as much as cooked food, is live music. And in 2012, I absolutely set a record in my life for live music.  Outdoor festivals, intimate dinner shows, club performances, and concert arenas!!! I did it all. Warning this post is kinda long–there is a lot to cover.

Since my birthday is in the fall, I spent the majority of 2012 commemorating the changing of the guard: I turned 30. and while it didn’t seem that major to me at the time, upon reflecting on this year I can say I’ve had wayyyyy more good times, great times even than bad and I’m gonna just go ahead and make the correlation there–the 30s have been good to me thus far. Now 31 years old, I’ve continued to learn more about myself, and I just really have to look back and reflect on all the awesome moments. Epic memories that will be treasured. I’m not totally where I want to be but I’m on my way! and I’ve had a great time on the journey thus far.  This blog is my way of capturing some of it, the musical moments at least.

I started off 2012, January 1st to be specific at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD to see Wale. Now there was a time that this dude was my FAVORITE new rapper–somewhere around 2009. In 2011 I saw him at Merriweather Post Pavilion as an act for Lupe Fiasco’s LASERS tour. I dug his show so I was curious to see him solo. I was surprised to see all the hipsters and teens in the crowd but I guess I shouldn’t have, huh? The Ambition album had been out awhile and he did a good mix of songs from that, his studio debut as well as his mixtapes (read: his better material). The events that took place at this show with my girl and I cannot be exposed (lol) but just know it was a wild, humorous day, that lended to a great concert going experience and we had a ball.

This blog would be incomplete if I did not include the numerous performances of DC’s own Black Alley. I moved to this area late 2010 and got put on to them in 2011. Going to see Black Alley perform is one of my regular highlights in 2012 whether it be Stadium on Wednesdays, Bar 7 on Thursdays, or Indulj on Fridays we were in the place jamming to this soul garage band. I really was pressed to buy their CD Soul Swagger Rock Sneakers. It was sold out at EVERY show I went to. I eventually copped it on iTunes and it did NOT disappoint. In addition to their weekly club gigs, I saw Black Alley perform at the NY Ave Beach Bar and on the Navy Pier for an All White Party in the summer among other local bands. great times. One of my absolute favorite songs that Black Alley covers is Katy Perry’s “ET.”  In my opinion its better than the original. I also like their cover of FUN’s “We Are Young”.

The spring was pretty ho hum but ooooh we turned it up in May at Drake’s Club Paradise tour at the Verizon Center. This show had a full cast of all the hot rappers and while we didn’t get there in time to see 2Chainz, we saw performances by Meek Mill, Waka Flocka Flame, J. Cole, and “Mr. Marvin’s Room” himself, Aubrey Graham aka Drake. He did not disappoint. He also brought out these artists during his set to do various collabos such as “Amen”  “Round of Applause” and “No Lie”. I was totally miffed that J. Cole and Drake did NOT perform “In the Morning” together, that made no sense to me. Cole had a pretty high energy set (I was surprised) and he did that song solo. errr. why?  I am not a  Waka fan so while he has party jams they didn’t really translate well live to me. So yea, that was my cue to sit down and rest my feet before the party really got live. All in all people seem to really love or hate Drake and I lean on the love side. He did a great job of making it feel like “a club” and I mean dude has party anthems–how can you NOT party? I danced and totally felt the vibe. great show.

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In August I attended the annual Summer Spirit Festival that takes place at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. I missed this show last year because they cancelled it for some reason so I was excited to go this year. A plus was that it fell on my boo TT’s birthday so this wrapped up her bday festivities. its a outdoor lawn concert in the heart of summer so… it was HOT!! scorching even. And I decided to wear a black tshirt–what was I thinking?? smh. I had fun though. Acts included Eric Roberson (I had seen better sets of his); Estelle– a REALLY good set! and she sounded SUPERB LIVE. I was impressed; Chuck Brown Tribute Band (they were soooo dope! and you know the dc area crowd favorites); Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings — LISTEN. my first time seeing them live and jeez! that Sharon Jones ROCKED. ROCKED I SAY! she was having a full on party on that stage by herself. The Dap Kings provided great musicianship that really epitomized what I love about live music. Common performed also and he was his usual fahn self.

The headliner was no other than my boo thang Erykah Badu. *sigh* she hurt my heart yall. She performed like what 5, 6 songs? changed the melody up on too many of them and just didn’t seem into it. and didn’t even perform her best hits. I went home and immediately played Mama’s Gun to keep her in good standing in my life cuz I wanted to quit her that day. I’ve seen her do much better before so I’ma just let this go…

Labor Day weekend we redeemed ourselves missing 2Chainz at Club Paradise when we caught his show at the 9:30 Club in DC. Now, I admit I was not the biggest Tity Boi fan until he put out “Spend It” and got on a few features this year but hey. This was definitely his year and his show was high energy from beginning to end. It was also my first time in the 9:30 Club. His album hadn’t even been out a solid week I don’t think and he performed ALL THE SONGS, and the crowd knew them all (including me, lol). He definitely turned up and I had a great time. I think this had a lot to do with the timing of me seeing this show. He’s not the kind of artist with timeless music that you’d want to hear live over and over but I enjoyed myself in that moment.

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Later in September I visited the Howard Theatre in DC to see Miguel. Howard Theatre was recently renovated and reopened earlier this year I believe, and they  have some great shows!!! If I was rich I’d just post up there daily. I mean, they ALWAYS have someone good coming there, and the prices are pretty reasonable–anywhere from $20-50 bucks. If you are in the area I definitely recommend you peruse their website and attend a show or two, or three. lol. I thought the theater was beautiful and while this show was standing room like many of the others, its visually gorgeous not a hole in the wall.

Now, I can admit that am an official Miguel stan. I wasn’t before this show–ok yes I was. His first album was R&B perfection to me.  I also saw him for the first time during the LASERS show and I knew he could rock. But THIS SHOW??  This show was about a week or so before his sophormore album came out and I am not lying I ran to the stores to buy it after seeing him live. He WOWED ME. I had previously heard most of the tracks due to the preview EPs he put out but yea, hearing them performed live sold it for me. His voice sounds just like the cd’s, his guitarist was dope sauce and just! AMAZING SHOW. lots of fun. Miguel is like a young Prince–he blends genres, he’s kinda androgynous, he’s sexy in a weird way… I dig him. A LOT. I’ve anticipated and enjoyed every single thing he’s put out and I can only hope for more greatness in him.

In October just a couple days after my bday, I met friends at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA to see the Robert Glasper Experiment. If you haven’t heard their latest album Black Radio please check it out! It was a tad disappointing they didn’t have any special guests to sing their songs (they are a eclectic jazz band that incorporates all genres; Glasper is a pianist) but it was quite an enjoyable show. The music is just so intoxicating. He recently released a Black Radio Remix EP but I haven’t yet checked it out.

090412-music-stevie-wonder

In November I got the opportunity to go see MR. STEVIE WONDER at the Norfolk Scope for an Obama campaign rally. Listen. I drove from Maryland that same afternoon and went back the next day, it was that serious to go see that living legend Stevie. We rocked out too! Even though Stevie likes to remix his songs (to my chagrin) changing the lyrics to make them relevant to the situation, I enjoyed myself. and it was free! gotta love free.

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3 days later I went with a girlfriend to The Hamilton to see Alice Smith. I wrote a blog about her not a couple years ago wondering where she had been so of COURSE I had to go see her. It was my first time seeing her live and SHE DID NOT DISAPPOINT. That woman can SANG! Now I am not gay but I was so close to the stage and she was so gorgeous and awesome and I’m not lying I kinda fell in love with her there. yea. She said she has a new album coming out in February and I sincerely hope so because I need more of her in my life. After that show I listened to her 2006 debut daily for about a week afterwards. Yes, she did that. I love when an artist moves you like that. She and Miguel are my top shows this year.

So after that great show we immediately found out Emily King was also coming to The Hamilton. What a coinkydink she was also in that same blog post!!! Her 2007 debut East Side Story was one I played TO DEATH. She also put out an EP last year, and a single here and there so I was curious to see her live. She played the guitar along with many of the songs, and it was just a very mellow show. She did a couple covers but mostly performed songs from the Seven EP. Good times! The Hamilton has become my fave venue in the DC area so far and I look forward to more shows in such a visually pleasing, intimate setting.  I also have enjoyed experiencing up and coming artists that open in these smaller venues. I haven’t spent much time discovering new artists but as a soul music lover its good to know so many people are still out here grinding and dedicated to sharing great music with the world!

So that’s my year. as it wraps up, I look forward to ending it in true music lover fashion: on December 31st I will be back at the Fillmore to see THE LEGENDARY ROOTS CREW. I saw them in December last year and they never disappoint so this is the perfect way for me, to end such an awesome year. I now know where all my money has been going. lol. And on shoes, can’t forget the shoes. 🙂

This post was long, but it was overdue! Happy holidays music lovers. Maybe this post will inspire you to check out more live music in your area, discover some new artists, or revisit some old favorites. Here’s to more great times in 2013. Maybe I’ll be inspired to blog about them, or not. But don’t give up on ya girl!!   🙂

Did you attend any awesome concerts this year? discover any new artists? let me know!! 

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We Can Skip Dinner Head Straight For Dessert…

…when it feels so good then it just comes natural…

hey yall.

just came out of hiatus to show yall  the visual for my favorite song at the moment… enjoy.  the best songs are always TOO SHORT!!! this song has seriously been listened to on repeat and every day since I downloaded the Art Dealer Chic Vol. 2. Miguel is everything to me. I haven’t been disappointed with anything he’s released…

baby arch your back…and point your toes…

happy freaky friday 🙂

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I Will Always Love You…

So. on Saturday we lost Nippy. I still can’t really believe it. I happened to be out with friends and therefore a bit out of touch with my lifeline known as Twitter. I got a text, and so did another friend so we passed the info around the table. Then the waitress came over and asked us if we had heard. We pulled out our fancy smartphones; facebook and twitter had the internet going nuts. WHITNEY HOUSTON DIED?!

Wait a minute. Not my Whitney that I just had an 80s pop dance party in my office last week? She and Madonna (affectionately known as Madge for those that are familiar) ARE 80s and 90s popular music– ASK SOMEBODY! These women sang ANTHEMS. And Nippy? voice of an angel.

As an 80s baby, I have very fond memories of listening to Whitney growing up. One of the albums I remember being played in our house, when I mentally recollect my Mom’s LP collection I always think of is Whitney Houston. The salmon colored case, her tall slender body in a swimsuit on the back I believe. Its an image engrained into my mind, it is MY CHILDHOOD.

I can honestly say, her music continues to be a part of my life’s soundtrack. I have never stopped listening. A couple years ago I downloaded what I consider to be her best albums: the debut, Whitney, and I’m Your Baby Tonight. These three represent the greatness of ’85-’90. I was barely school age when these released, but they have proven to lyrically and sonically stand the test of time.

Now, some of my favorites by the Icon, Ms. Houston.

You Give Good Love” MY personal favorite. This is my singalong song right here!!!  Being the hopeful romantic I am, this song represents what I only hope to have one day. I’ve said several times I will sing this to my future husband, horrible vocals and all. I’ll have the track in the background to help me along… She looks absolutely beautiful in this video. *sigh*

Count on Me” this is a great song, one of my favorite duets. It makes me think of my sorority sisters when I hear it 🙂

Greatest Love of All” this song makes me think of assemblies in elementary school for some reason. I’m pretty sure we sang this or heard this in music class or something. Hearing this song is when I knew Whitney had a voice that is unparalleled and unmatched. “I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows…”  this is a motivation song. let me add this to my theme songs playlist right now!!!!!

^^ FIERCE.

Heartbreak Hotel” one of her late 90s R&B hits that will never get old. Nippy, Kelly and Faith! great vocals. Can’t go wrong with a woman scorned song…

Saving All My Love For You“:  The “I’m in love with a taken man”song. Excellent vocals. “no OTHER woman, is gonna love you more!!!!” This is the stuff great pop songs are made of…

All the Man that I Need“: I really just had church playing this song over and over.

Why Does it Hurt So Bad” ok, yall know Waiting to Exhale had to be represented on this here list!!! “when I think of all the pain you put me through, leaving you was the best thing for me!” this song, this song…

I Wanna Dance with Somebody“: this is little skinny Reecie dancing around the house full of energy watching videos on MTV. I ain’t know nothing about “feeling the heat” with somebody, I just wanted to dance…

and lastly, of course the song that catapulted Whitney into Icon status. You know you’re a bad chick when you make someone else’s song your own!! Dolly Parton can not deny!!!!! She’s eating well off of Whitney’s cover right here. I promise as soon as “iiiiiiiiiif I…” hits my ears, the tears swell in my eyes.

Rest in Paradise Whitney, we miss you already. Thank you for sharing your God-given gift with us. You were cherished your time on this earth and your music will live forever.

Love a lifetime loyal fan.

What are your favorite Whitney Houston songs?

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I may be young in age…

…But I know I’m in love
I don’t care what they say
They don’t know a thing about us
Cause you’ve got my back and I’ve got your trust
I’m not trying to see you without…

I can’t see me without you
I can’t see no you without me
That’s something
I can’t conceive
Cause there’s no me without you

this song came on as I stepped off the train to head my way home and I got filled up! filled up with that great extraordinary feeling  that comes with a song you can’t help but exude good memories, good vibes, just a GOOD MOOD! There are some songs that just DO IT for me, another I featured awhile back  includes “Stay” by Ne-Yo. no matter how I’m feeling in my present moment, it just makes me happy and hopeful and epitomizes what life is about—those joyful, fun moments.

Ain’t no you without me
And that’s for real baby
And ain’t no you without you
So what’s the deal baby
And I got five little fellas trying to talk to me (say what)
But see my mind is on you so it don’t matter to me

This lil rap verse by Missy was so “young” but I love it though. lol

This song featured I actually have mentioned on a throwback thursday post before with a few others. It deserves a solo post today because it actually is the song I designated as “our song” for myself and my high school boyfriend wayyyyyy long time ago. *giggle* Back then, I had Nicole’s debut CD Make it Hot on repeat. Released in 1998, she was one of the many protege’s of Missy Elliott which was enough for her to get a purchase from me–plus back then I was in BMG and Columbia House music club heaven. While this song was never a super popular single, it was one of my favorites immediately. *sigh*  The lyrics, however simple, still express some 13 years later a great sentiment.  I have listened to this song non stop since I’ve gotten home as I write this post. I LOVE THIS SONG! I have no idea if I ever even told my then bf if this was “our song” and as time has gone on, it doesn’t even so much remind me of the relationship, as it does my youth, my hopeless romantic spirit, and just happiness.

I can’t see, I can’t see, nobody but you and me… 

What about you: do you have a song that reminds you of  your “puppy” love? A song that no matter how you’re feeling, fills you up and takes you to that place?

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And deep in my heart…

The answer, it was in me …

 

 

 

My world it moves so fast today 
The past it seems so far away, 
And life, squeezes so tight that i can’t breathe
And every time i’ve tried to be
What someone else thought of me 
So caught up, i wasnt able to acheive

I look at my environment, 
And wonder where the fire went, 
What happened to everything we used to be?

I hear so many cry for help,
Searching outside of themselves
Now I know that His strength is within me

And deep in my heart 
The answer, it was in me 
And I made up my mind 
To define my own destiny

And deep in my heart 
The answer, it was in me 
And I made up my mind 
To define my own destiny

I’ve featured Ms. Hill on quite a few posts before, and I don’t really have much to say except this song felt right to share today. the lyrics speak for themselves. This album continues to influence my life. This song in particular, well Lauryn’s vocals are flawless. The crispness of the audio recording just adds to an excellently crafted song. Very worthy of the being the title track. I’m revisiting The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill today for no other reason than it felt right.

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You Should Be Stronger Than Me…

We lost Amy Winehouse over the weekend. she was/is one of my favorite soul singers and even though we knew she was troubled and had an addiction problem, at 27 years old I still feel so bad that her life and her light was cut so short. I’ve seen mention of the “27 club” and of them all the only that passed away in my lifetime was Kurt Cobain. I remember his death vividly, but as a very young person, I wasn’t able to really feel the depth of his mortality as I do with Amy. I am OLDER than Amy and I never really thought about that before. She looked much older than she was–no doubt from her hard living. It was just recently revealed the night she died she binged on ecstasy, alcohol and cocaine.

I’ve written before about how much I missed her and another post highlighting my favorites by her, and I like many was hoping she’d pull herself though and make more music. I hope she’s at peace now.

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Sounds So Soulful…

don’t you agree? 

**listen here**

I made Jesus walks so never going to hell
Couture level flow its never going on sale
Luxury rap, the Hermes of verses
Sophisticated ignorance
Write my curses in cursive
I get it custom
You a customer
You aint accustomed to going through customs
You aint been nowhere huh?
And all the ladies in the house got them showing off
I’m done I hit ya up, manana!

I’m digging “Otis”, firstly for the sample, and secondly for how Ye set that shit off! all three verses,  Kanye wins. I listened to this song about 10 times in a row to try to catch it all. I have to say his wordplay had a more lasting impression on me. Only thing that bothers me is the placement of that “wailing” it just really does nothing for the track. its also pretty short so I’m not sure if the album version will include a hook of some sort, but it doesn’t need one IMO.

You already know how I feel about these guys. Anxiously awaiting Watch The Throne. If you haven’t yet peeped Hov’s lifestyle blog Life & Times (linked above), please check that out as well, some interesting stuff is on there.

I buy all Jay CDs so on the strength I gotta add this to my collection, probably the Deluxe Editioin even though yall know I’m gonna peep the leak too.

What yall think? hate it or love it? indifferent? 

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So Much I Wanna Show You…

… I’ll take you high.

I’ve got something new for you
when it gets you wont know what to do
relax, let me move you
don’t resist it’s in the air
just one taste will take you there
let it flow right through you
I know your getting tired of the same ole thing
Imma break the rules gonna change the game
You’ll be screaming my name
and imma take you places you neva seen
you couldnt picture this in your wildest dreams
Don’t fear you’re here with me

YES. When John Legend’s first CD came out I was such a huge fan! This song is one of my favorites. It just “lifts” my spirits and puts me in this mellow yet cheerful mood like some other things. It doesn’t do too much. The song is sexual, but  not overtly so… JUST ENOUGH.

Once you take a hit of this
you won’t ever wanna quit
you’ll be so addicted
said I’ll have you spinning round and round
crazy, making freaky sounds
you won’t want to come down
And I’ll have you seeing things and hallucinating
even walking funny cuz ur legs are shaking
All night we’ll be blazin’

I’ll take you for a walk to the other side
we can get high and enjoy the ride…
Hold tight we’ll be alright…

I was an immediate fan of his voice and what I like so much about the Get Lifted CD is that it tells a story from beginning to end. The courtship, the cheating, the drama, the breakup…the story of a relationship.

I can’t say that I love any other John Legend CDs as much as this one. It came out when I was finishing up grad school and I spent a lot of time writing and writing and writing.  And listening to music. As a gift to myself the next winter, I purchased my iPod (approaching 6 years still going strong!) and I just remember playing the CD until it scratched, then uploading all the songs to my iTunes, only to continue to play over and over. Also, John Legend performed at the spring homecoming concert and seeing him perform the songs live just rejuvenated something in me. I was a hard core fan! Now there were quite a few songs I enjoyed on Once Again, but he lost me on Evolver.  So my fandom kinda died down and that’s that.

Anyway, Get Lifted holds a special place in my heart. Here a few more of my faves from the CD.

I had no idea there was a video for So High. Or maybe I forgot. But I always thought it was a beautiful song.

this song was played out ad nauseum. I actually haven’t listened to it in its entirety in YEARS before today. I mean it was just worn out soooooo much. but it really is a great song about real life love situations.

this song is grimey when you think about the lyrics, but y’all should know I love my sad songs and I love my grimey songs. lol “Hold up, I know you got a man but I’m tore up, and I don’t even care if he roll up with something to say, you better tell him he don’t want it with me, it’s alright…” These words aren’t even really believable coming from JL to me, but I dig it nonetheless.

ahh, the baby baby please song. and with Snoop on the track, it just works. After “Number One” where he pretty much said look, this is who I am he realized that wasn’t working for his girl so he hits her with the “I Can Change” but its like dude, you’re a manwhore. There aint no changing that. lol

and my favorite of all is probably the last song on the CD. “Live it Up.” I wrote about this one when in the beginning stages the blog which seems so long ago–reading about my situation in life then, but the sentiment remains. I do feel finally on my way, and I’m still living it up!

Are you a John Legend fan? Casual listener? What are you favorite songs? Do you agree that Get Lifted was his best CD?

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Thoughts on Fearing God

so in my last In My Earbuds post, I mentioned I was checkin for “My God” by the homie Pusha T. @milesfan79 is the one that put me on–as he usually does 😉 and since this mixtape was highly anticipated by him, as well as many other Clipse fans, I agreed to let him pen his thoughts on it.

like to read it? here it go:


If you were over the age of 13 in the summer of 2002, I’m 99.9% sure you bumped/heard  the Clipse  song “Grindin” that summer.  When “Grindin” dropped you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing it, that summer introduced Pusha T and Malice to the world.

Being that I was raised in same area they were from, I was 1st introduced to them in 1999 when they released “The Funeral”, check it out if you are not familiar with it.

Since “Grindin” released Clipse have dropped a few respected albums and have earned their respect as hip-hop group/duo.  However, over the years many have wondered when they (mainly Pusha) would do solo projects, but no solo projects have ever happened.  Back at the beginning of the summer is was rumored that Pusha would be featured on Kanye’s new album and curiosity of Pusha solo projects once again arose.  Finally in late summer/early fall it was announced Pusha signed solo deal to Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label and Fear of God was also announced.  Being the fan that I am, FOG has been marked on my calendar since its announcement in the fall.

Pusha is coming off of being featured on MBDTF, which in my opinion was the best (hip-hop) album of 2010 and was the last good hip-hop project to drop.  The hip-hop world has been pretty dormant the last few months, not many exciting or memorable albums/projects/songs have dropped since MBDTF. Thankfully FOG is being released just in time for beginning of spring and to revive a dormant hip-hop world with something fresh and new. (Sidebar: I really thought Lupe’s LASERS was going be first hip-hop project to revive hip-hop world, but I was WRONG!!)

Reecie Note: I agree with the disappointment in LASERS, but on a few more listens it really wasn’t THAT bad; but no Food & Liquor. I do agree that I had such high hopes for that CD though, and really expected it to be my spring soundtrack.

I have given FOG several thorough listens and would like to offer my review of it.

What I loved about “Fear of God”:

Intro track: I have always believed an intro track can make or break an album/mixtape.  “My God” is a great track to start things off with and was perfect pick for the intro track.  Pusha’s does what he does best, paints a mental pictures with clever word play and the beat is also powerful.  “My God” is a very memorable track and perfect for FOG intro.

I don’t think many would dispute the fact that Pusha was the better half of the Clipse, I got love for Malice but Pusha is the better rapper. Prior to FOG, Pusha was always featured artist on someone else’s project.  Now Pusha finally has a chance to stand on his own and display his lyrical abilities without sharing spotlight with his older brother.

Outro track:  Most rappers have strong intro tracks but many fail to remember the ending of an album is just as important as the beginning.  Pusha executed a perfect outro with “Alone in Vegas”.  It was another great memorable track with wonderful beat and clever word play but in a semi-melancholy tone.  I hope other rappers are inspired to focus more on their outro track after hearing FOG.

Reecie Note: hmm good point. I honestly never really think about outro tracks. I just like for a CD to flow all the way through. as long as the end doesn’t leave me like “huh?” I don’t really pay attention to it.

What could have been better:

I can honestly say there wasn’t anything I hated about FOG but there were things that could have been improved:

Middle passage/track selection:  FOG started strong and ended strong, but the middle portion of FOG was “hit or miss”.  A few tracks were decent and a few tracks left me wanting more or feeling they lacked something.  The tracks aren’t awful but they are not great either; on one track Pusha chose to use a soulja boy beat, when I heard it I had a “WTF is this?” moment.  Most of the tracks are listenable tracks but not very memorable, I just wish there were one or two more memorable tracks.

Reecie Note: I happen to like his take on Speakers Going Hammer! lol. I also like “Blow/Funk Freestyle”, “Can I Live Freestyle” (I will never tire of that beat), and “Touch It.”

Features: I’m not a fan of feature heavy projects, but I did expect Malice and Kanye to be featured: “you ain’t got no Yeezy nigga?” Well, Kanye is featured but he only sings the hook on the track #kanyeshrug.  Rick Ross and 50 cent were featured and did their thing but I still would have liked to see Malice and Kanye(rapping) contribute verses.

Reused material: a few of the songs contained verses that I had previously heard and one of the tracks was a “leftover” kanye track, so I was a bit disappointed. I Think I would have preferred more new content.

Note: I check/read various hip-hop blogs daily, so some of the verses and the leftover Kanye beat were previously posted on various hip-hop blogs and are “reused” to me.   So I realize this is probably a biased opinion of FOG based on fact I check/read hip-hop blogs more than the average person/fan, so for novice listener the verses and beat will be new to you**)

Concerns:

While Pusha is a good rapper, I can’t help but be a little concerned/question the direction of his solo career.  The Clipse have widely been known for their “cocaine” rap style,  on FOG Pusha seems to be carry-on the Thornton family tradition.  While I like his “hustler” stories, I still find myself wondering, “When are you going rap about something else?”  He now rolls with Kanye, performing at bigger venues and awards shows, so I seriously doubt he is still slanging “powder” by the kilograms anymore.  I’d like to see him change up his subject matter and expand his horizon a little more.  As a fan I would hate for him to continue being a rapper that just raps about dope, money and cars, we already have Rick Ross for that.

Reecie Note: I agree, but the same with Young Jeezy–who has really been on the decline lately–I mean we know you are a trap star, what else? I guess to me since Pusha is such a technically dope rapper, I would and will listen to him flow about anything. I’m not sure he will change up his subject matter, but it would be nice to see.

Overall, I would give FOG a solid B, its not perfect but is above average.  FOG proves Pusha can hold his own without his older brother and is a very solid solo project; it is decent listen with strong beginning and ending.  It also arrives at the perfect time, springtime, this is definitely #springtimeridingmusic that anyone could enjoy and recommend you download it when you get a chance.

Reecie Note: Also, I think its interesting that you–and most people consider Pusha the best of the duo. I do as well, but Pusha himself seems to disagree. I recently watched this interview with Miss Info where he discusses his brothers inspiration for the mixtape as well as his absence, Malice’s book and future projects together.

I was glad to hear that Clipse will be doing more albums together. I thought Malice had “retired.”

What do you think of FOG?  What you think of Pusha as a solo artist?

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