February 26, 2011

Music Is... Plan B - Welcome To Hell (Live concert footage)

Yes, very clearly I've taken a strong liking to this talented UK singer. Seems like I've been attracted to quite a few singers of United Kingdom decent.

What I wanted though, was a real, live recording of how he sounds live. I posted a snippet of 'Love Goes Down' he sang on a radio show a few days ago. I liked it, but I wanted something you could sink your teeth into. After looking around a bit, I came across this footage taken by YouTuber The Concert King 69. Here he is performing at the Brixton Academy, officially known as the O2 Academy, Brixton located in London. Not to be confused with the O2 Arena which is much larger with a capacity of 23,000 alson in London. Brixton has a maximum attendance of 4,921 taking into account those standing and seated on the upper and lower levels.

Looks like he may have been on the upper level. Anyway, this footage is credited again to The Concert King 69.


February 24, 2011

Music Is... My Zune HD

There is no better feeling than being able to take my music with me. There is no better feeling than knowing if I have to wait in an auto shop for my moms car to get fixed, instead of watching the same channel for 20 some minutes, I can pull out the Zune and chill. There is no better feeling than knowing that no matter where I am, I can pull my ear-buds and the Zune and zone out....Well, I suppose there are better feelings, but when it comes to my tunage, nothing can compare.

I have wanted one of these since they first debut around 2006 or so. At the time I wasn't too tech savvy so I didn't know what was better, worse or in-between. All I knew was I wanted an mp3 player that sounded nice and looked good. The first glimpse I had of the Zune series was of these 3 models right here, more often I saw the red one. For some reason or another, I don't think the concept of watching videos on a player like these or the iPod had really sunken in just yet. Therefore, when I learned that you could achieve this magnificent feat *smiles*, I wanted one even more. Now as I mentioned earlier, at that point, technology wasn't necissarily my strong point. I wasn't completely out of the loop though. As I said, I knew of the iPod, I was also aware of Sony, Phillips, Sansa and others. When I first entered high-school, just about everybody had an iPod. Sounds goofy I know, but that made me feel like I was behind in a way. However as time went on I could have cared less. What began to matter most is everyone else has something to listen to during lunch, in art class (MY FAVORITE), or when tests where finished and I didn't. Well, eventually in late 07' my mom purchased for me a Phillips GoGear.
It's a cylindrical shape. Small rectangular screen. Mic. It's somewhere in the house and I have to find it. I love that thing. Moving ahead, when I graduated in 08' one of my presents was an iPod nano. There wasn't a place I went that it didn't follow. Its metallic purple with all the core features we've come to know. Next, I purchased a Sony Walkman. Mmhmm, that one right there. First one in my possession with audio and video capabilities. I put it through quite a bit but it plays the same and isn't as scratched up as I thought it would be. I can't leave out that my mom got me two portable CD players too. Two brands that I don't even remember but I still have. I'll have to dig them up one day.

Yea I can say that I've been through a bit of players and headphones/ear-buds. Needless to say I'll be using this one for quite a while. Its sleek, thin, very light weight to my surprise and has a very clear LCD screen. I haven't plugged into the wireless features. I don't have any apps or internet. My main thing is the music. It holds 16 GB which is good enough for me. I know there are those that hold 32, 64, 120 GB and probably higher but I'm not too sure. It has the touch screen feature, very easy navigation, wonderful sound quality and sizable, clear font. I'm not here to make comparisons or put one on top of the other. You make that decision for yourself.

Something about buying an item or items for yourself makes it that much more personal. This is my Zune HD, and I love it.

Get It

February 17, 2011

Music Is... Wish - Suga Daddy

I hope to find more info on this artists.
As usual, my YouTube browsing landed me here. Had to post for the sake of something new for me.

What do you think?

Music Is...The Times


You may be wondering why I have this notorious logo placed above this post. Reason being that just as Time Magazine reflects whatever important or popular topics are being discussed at that point in time in the form of print, so does music address certain subject matter, veiws and whatever issues going on in the life or lives of people in the structure of sound. In this post, I want to address songs from different time periods that reflect the times and always, the sound. I won't get into extreme detail because I feel the music speaks for itself better than I could ever explain. 
I might skip around on my time periods so bare with me a bit.

  • 1970 - Edwin Star: 'War' - With the Vietnam War already waged, beginning in the 1940's, this "anthem" in a way, reflected the views of many regarding an event that lasted almost 20 years.
  • 1983 - Grandmaster Melle Mel: 'White Lines (Don't Do It)' - The name speaks loud and clear, a song encouraging the strength to step away from its influence. White lines being the usage of cocaine among many during this time. That substance was both a profit and downfall for most individuals. 
  • 1960's - Not speaking on a single event, but during this time there was an emergence of music that contained melodies that we'll never forget. The progression of rock music was branching out into many different forms like psychedelic rock and blues rock. Performers like The Jackson 5, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes and countless other greats were really further proving themselves.
  • 1971 - In my opinion this year was the rise of one of the most recognizable syndicated music variety shows in history: Soul Train. Primarily suited to a African audience, it became a platform for many other genres and became enjoyed by many ethnicities.
  • 1990's - This saw the growth and expansion of many music genres; pop, country, alternative rock, punk, hip hop, electronic music, Rn'B and so on. Examples include Savage Garden, Nirvana, Mariah Carey, Kenny Chesney, Nine Inch Nails, Marylin Manson, Bel  Biv Devoe, Tony! Toni! Toné!, Toni Braxton, Baby Face, Spice Girls, Shakira and so many more. 
  • 2000's - Many would consider the early 2000's a somewhat dead period in music. I for one am not one way or the other. I hear what I hear and either it attracts me or it doesn't. On the other hand I think a hoard of talented artists emerged; Adele, Jenniffer Hudson, Estele, Trey Songz etc.

As the times continue to change so will our opinions, outlook, and of course the music. You never know what the next day holds, so keep on jammin. 

February 15, 2011

Music Is... Plan B - Love Goes Down (Live Jo Whiley, Live Lounge)

As I usually do, I was looking around YouTube for a live version (any to be honest) of Plan B's 'Love Goes Down'. I found this right here and I really like it. Those ladies in the background have their harmonies on point. Ben Drew, his name, has a fantastic voice something I stressed when I reviewed "The Defamation Of Strickland Banks". From observing the video he appears to be singing at a BBC radio station.

Nice sound. Again this was a random find, I hope you enjoy it though.

YouTubers channel: FagundesMolko

*prices may vary*

February 14, 2011

Music Is... Dawen - Jamie Foxx - Fall For Your Type ft. Drake (cover)

Once again, Dawen has created another solid cover of a good hit. Every instrument is played by him; acoustic guitar, keyboard. It's  solely him singing. I gotta say that I love the harmony. He is very in tune, timing is on point and he sounds very comfortable with the set up he has. Nothing feels strained or forced, just very smooth and fluid.

Job well done

His official site: http://www.dawen.us/, check him out.

February 11, 2011

Music Is... Emma Gillespie - Emma's Imagination: Stand Still

Born in 1983, a 27 year old native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Emma Gillespie has her head on straight for herself, in regards to her career and what she wants to project to others. Although she's been accustomed to the guitar and singing for a while, performing in front of a crowd of thousands can still feel like a daunting task as I'm sure it did as she recently performed live at Wembley Stadium located in London, England. She seemed to come out of the middle of nowhere as she is new to me. Not too long ago she was making her way by busking in Glasgow, Scotland. Not knowing what would come out of it, curiosity took over as she made her way into a local audition spot held by Sky One talent show 'Must Be The Music' and from then on her popularity soared.

From what I've learned, she is no stranger to working an array of jobs. Once teaching circus skills, plastering for a friend, labored on a pearl fishing boat and herded cattle with a motorbike to name a few. During this time she always kept her guitar with her as a means of relaxation and to remind her that music was always apart of her. She first picked up the guitar in her teen years, writing poetry and putting it to music. Backing up a bit when her dad was in the army, her family was always on the move, relocating all over Europe and the UK. Her parents weren't all into music a great deal but she was much to the contrary. As a child she picked up a ragedy keyboard and began playing tunes she heard on the radio. Continuing forward, throughout her various occupations and moving, she continued to write,sing and perform.
“I’m very much self-taught, and there wasn’t much outside influence on what I was writing and playing. It was always just me, on my own, playing what sounded good to me.”
I'm not sure if this is a random performance, a gig or at Wembley
At one point at the end of 04' she was in Adaman's, a barely known set of islands were once in the Indian Ocean. During Boxing Day ( known mainly as a shopping day in most Commonwealth Nations), the major tsunami hit the Neil Islands where she was staying just a little while after she left. Needless to say what may have happened had she stayed. For her, that was a wakeup call, letting her know that music was at the forefront and she did something about it. With the help of a friend, Lachlan, living in Brooklyn, NY, she began performing at underground jam sessions. Later returning to the UK, she  focused more intently on her music, playing gigs, still busking and built up a larger fan base. While going over names with her producers, one asked her where her inspiration comes from. She replied her imagination and from there gave birth to her performance name: Emma's Imagination.

Her debut album "Stand Still" consists of songs she'd been writing for the past 10 years of her life. At 10 songs, I'd say that's a solid start. In listening to the samples, its more than obvious that the guitar is her main thing; she plays it on just about all the tracks. None of the songs are overdone whatsoever, they're clean and crisp. I think they are simplified but maintain something to hold onto. If I'm right, all the songs are live recordings, not much artificial stuff clouding it up. Making a comparison I would say she reminds me of singer Jewel. Emma has a folk/pop sound to her music, but really that's up to your interpretation. Songs I've already gravitated towards are 'This Day', 'Focus' and 'Falling Slowly', not to say I dislike the others, just that these catch my attention more so.

Yup, yet another UK artists reviewed. I enjoy it. It's cool hearing new things and I hope you like this one.

February 10, 2011

Music Is... Random: Beyonce - Why Don't You Love Me (single)

I just like it.

I'm guessing she's following the theme of this famous poster:

Music Is... What's New To You

It's amazing to me how things travel. Different information distributed by various forms of media/mediums: Newspaper, magazine, radio, television, e-mail, internet, and snail-mail. By the time something reaches you, it could be days, weeks, months or possibly even years old. You decide to discuss, what's new information to you, and the person you're talking to mentions that he/she heard of it a while ago. Music undoubtedly falls in this category. I think about bands like The Beatles, who initially achieved mainstream UK success for 2-3 years before truly "crossing the pond". Rod Stewart also reached his first taste of success in the United Kingdom as part of the band The Faces. Further down the road, Girl's Tyme, (later to be Destiny's Child) consisting of Beyoncé Knowles, LaTivia Roberson, Kelly Rowland, Tamar Davis, Nikki and Nina Davis were already well known in Houston, Texas before branching out across the states. 

What I'm getting at basically, is that there are plenty of artists recently and of the past who had already gained popularity within their hometown or state, then because of being guided by certain management and labels they gain more national notoriety. So as I've been saying the whole time, whats new to you, is just that in terms of it being your first glimpse of  that artist/group. 

Music Is... Elbow: Build A Rocket Boys! - Neat Little Rows (single)

Ahh, yet another new band and sound to listen to. Elbow, consisting of band members Guy Garvey, Mark Potter, Cragi Potter, Pete Turner and Richard Jupp are a Brittish based alternative rock band. Interesting, from what I could find the band derived their name from a BBC drama titled The Singing Detective. A character in the seies (Phillip Marlowe) says the word "elbow" is the most sensuous word in the English language. Not for its definition, but how it feels to say it. Hmm, I don't know about you but I've never thought about that. Their history also includes four studio albums: "Asleep In The Back"(2001), "Cast Of Thousands"(2003), "Leaders Of The Free World"(2005), and "The Seldom Seen Kid"(2008), all charting within the top 20 UK charts for their year. Forming in England they initially called themselves "Mr. Soft", changing it later to "Soft" and by 1997 they changed the name to its current title. Elbow have been associated with various labels over years, from independent label Ugly Man, to highly documented labels such as V2, and Fiction Records all of which are based or were created in the United Kingdom. I'm not sure if their were anymore labels but these days they continue on with V2 and Fiction Records. Quite a bit of awards have been bestowed upon them throughout their continuous span, among them the Brit Award and the Ivo Novello award. The later of the awards is named after Cardiff, Wales born entertainer Ivo Novello, presented yearly in London by BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters Composers and Authors).

This group has opened up for various acts and covered a good bit of songs. Regarding this album, I haven't seen but one video and heard the same song 'Neat Little Rows'. What attracts me towards this song primarily is the offset feel of the beat. The drums and guitar don't sound in sync initially but you quickly realize they are. It's a nice pattern and in a way reminds me of Cold Play's 'Viva La Vida', as far as drum pattern. Another nice ingredient to this track is the spacey, far-out effect the keyboard gives to the background. Makes the song feel as though it has literal depth and mass. I like tracks like that. Gives you the feeling that they're playing right in your face, much appreciated. I haven't grasped the meaning of this one yet. I'm sure it's something pretty symbolic, if not to others, at least to them, but I'd still like to figure it out. I haven't found a lyrics sheet either so I'll have to listen closely.

Congrats on a new find if this is the first time you've heard of these guys like it is for me. Check their single out, you're sure to dig it.

    "Asleep In The Back"
"Leaders Of The Free World"
"The Seldom Seen Kid"

February 09, 2011

Music Is... Jamie Scott & The Town: Park Bench Theories

I love hearing new music, learning about current or pasts artists/musicians and albums. Prior to today, I have never heard of this guy. I don't much info regarding him other than what I've read on his site so I'll tell you as much as I can, infusing my opinions also. As you can see from the album title his name is Jamie Scott and he was born in the UK. In reading his bio, something I find interesting but not too uncommon is that his musical roots weren't solely based upon his homeland.
 "At school, mates would be talking about bands like Bon Jovi and I didn't have a clue who they were talking about as I didn't start listen to pop radio till I was 15."
 His mother provided him an early  introduction to talented artists such as James Taylor, Carole King, and Cat Stevens. His father subjected to him soulful music, that of The Flamingos, Donnie Hathaway,Wilson Pickett and those of the like. From my standpoint, with a musical upbringing like that you can't possibly go wrong. While in college, he formed a couplet with a friend and played live shows in London. From then on he wrote his own music and played records. His career started by his pursuit of writing music for others to sing. After sending his demo tapes to publishers, Sony Music caught wind of him and he signed a contract in 2002. Soon after he teamed with former Jamiroquai keyboardist Toby Smith to work on his full length album which was then titled "Soul Searching". Early 05' was the release date but Sony merging with BMG prolonged production. He is currently signed to UK label Polydor Records. I can't find any samples of that unreleased work but judging from this album I'll let you draw your own conclusions.  As of 2008 till now, he has been working with UK producer TommyD creating work that became Graffiti6.

"Park Bench Theories" is very easily listening. Jamie has a contemporary, smooth, melodic tone that makes for instant relaxation. He has the sound of a current James T., playing acoustic guitar on the majority of the tracks with piano, drums, bass guitar or other instruments as the main accompaniment. The two longest songs on the album are 'Shadows'(5:28) and 'Weeping Willow'(5:21). I look forward to songs that stretch a little longer than the standard 3:30-4 minute range because at times it means there's an instrumental section, and I love that. I haven't heard any of these tracks on mainstream radio though I believe if they were, it would be a pleasant insert to whats on today. Not a dis by any means, I just like variety. A's across the board for this one and hopefully more to come.

Track listing:
1. Runaway Train
2. When Will I See Your Face Again
3. London Town
4. Changes
5. Shadows
6. Standing In The Rain
7. Love Song To Remember
8. Weeping Willow
9. Two Men
10. Rise Up
11. Hey You
12. Lady West

Link to his official site HERE (for copy and paste: http://www.jamiescottandthetown.com/)

February 07, 2011

Music Is... Monica - If You Were My Man

As of the past roughly three years, I have become an 80's music nut. Something about that sound attracts me to the fullest extent. That leads me to this song. From her 2010 album "Still Standing", I was listening to it yesterday morning getting ready for work and my mom told me to turn it up a bit so I did. Having the musical knowledge that she does, she told me that the song was a remake/sample of Evelyn "Champagne" King's 1982' record 'Betctha She Don't Love You'. I told her she always knows something (laughs) and she does. Getting back, the track was initially titled 'Betcha' from the sample but was then changed to 'If You Were My Man'. I looked up the responses that critics gave and they were generally mixed. In short some doted on it, some didn't, I don't have to go into detail on that. Personally I love it. This song is completely suited up in the style of the 80's. It's got heavy bass, synthesizers used nicely and overall rich sound. Monica's voice bounces along smoothly with the beat creating a pleasing parallel. Missy Elliot adds some colorful commentary to this piece, livening it more than it already was.Of course the lyrics are different but her version sticks to the same blueprint for the most part.

Tight track, hopefully you'll give it a try if you haven't already.

Get It

February 05, 2011

Music Is... Rolling Stone Magazine

Rolling Stone magazine is one of the single most infamous mediums of our time, addressing many aspects of the world ranging from movies/acting, to pop culture, to music, to politics. My favorite subject, though, is obviously the music and musicians. From the late 1960's, throughout the many decades of the life of this magazine, one of the various mainstays that has been an essential ingredient to it's popularity has been the cover alone. Obviously the first thing you see when you pick it up is the outside. The bold print, bright colors, contrasting tones, and especially the face or faces, that's what will attract you initially. Though the appearance of the Rolling Stone trademark itself has changed a few times through the years, we've all come to recognize the thick lettering, retro/calligraphy type print and that the words themselves have never changed. It's solidified itself as a reflector of whats going on.

There are 100's if not a few thousand of different covers that have made their way from magazine-stands, to the scanner, to your hands. As I said earlier my favorite covers are those of musicians. Whether it reflects what's happening currently with that artist, or in times pasts, what I appreciate most is that the Rolling Stone has always allowed the front page to do just about all the talking. Hear are a few of my picks that just carry a real nostalgia with them.

February 04, 2011

Music Is... Instrumentals

It's my opinion that instrumentals play just as much a key role in the music world as the the song as a whole. It's pretty much a fact that the lyrics and the tune go hand in hand. But, when you can strip down the track to the beat alone, it leads to a whole other venture for me. Personally on any given day I can come up with tons of different beats, in my head at least. I have the software to put it down, but that's pretty hard to do when you're listening to music at the same time. I guess my problem has an easy solution: don't listen to other things. I can't help it though. As soon as I get a tune in my head, I try and get it down, but then the silence bugs me a bit and I have to play some music to get the vibe right. I suppose I try to have my cake and eat it too, I don't know. I just love a nice instrumental to help me mellow out to, get some house work done, or freestyle to (I'm not all that good, but it's a good laugh). Getting back to the subject, I think that instrumentals give the listener a chance to interpret the tone the way they want to. The lyrics already solidified by the artists give the beat a singular definition. However like I mentioned earlier, when you can create your own vision, it automatically creates a personal portrayal.

These are some of my favorite beats:

Average White Band - "Overture"
Jay Z - "Allure"
Ice Cube - "It Was A Good Day"
Letoya Luckett - "She Don't"
Mc Lyte "10% Dis"
Superstar - "Lupe Fiasco"
OK Go - "Get Over It"
New Birth - "Been Such A Long Time"
Aaliyah - "4 Page Letter"
En Vogue - "Free Your Mind"
Queen Latifah - "U.N.I.T.Y"
Seals and Crofts - "Summer Breeze"

One for the choosing

February 03, 2011

Music Is... James Blake - Limit To Your Love

There isn't much I know about this 22 year old guy except I like what I've heard thus far. His self titled album is due to drop February 7th if I'm correct, and I haven't been able to find any samples from his track listing. That lists includes:

The Wilhelm Scream
I Never Learnt To Share  
Lindisfarne I
Lindisfarne II
Limit To Your Love
Give Me My Month
To Care (Like You)
Why Don't You Call Me?
I Mind

However, the single 'Limit To Your Love' gives me a strong outlook towards his career. He is taking a huge step in the British based musical movement of dubstep, which consists of staggering bass and opaque vocals. This track starts off with a soulful piano intro. Then at roughly 1 minute, it dives into a vibrating bass you can feel in your feet, back to piano momentarily then back to that super low, pulsating pitch. What I believe to be a key contributor to this rich sound is the lack of "colorful" instrumentation or sounds. The contrast between his voice and the depth of the beat creates for me a unique asymmetric sound that truly works. Not only that, but the man can sing and that's probably what I'm pulled toward more than anything.

"Here's looking at you, kid"

James Blake

Mickey Mouse

Not exactly music I know, but I couldn't help myself on this one. Created by Andy Warhol, a substantial figure in the pop art movement, this piece attracts me in a major way. Mickey Mouse is my favorite character in all the animated world, not just Disney. I appreciate not just this picture but nearly all of his artwork for it's boldness, crispness and simplicity. Warhol is a major inspiration for many divisions of art and I'm sure he'll continue to be just that for a long time.

February 02, 2011

Music Is... Dreamgirls Soundtrack

In speaking about this soundtrack its inevitable that I'll venture into describing the film itself, I can't help it. It's just who I is. Anytime a musical comes along I can't help but in the back of my mind compare it to the Roger and Hammerstein classic: The Sound Of Music. I compare them in terms of quality, production, sound and other elements as well. Though I've never seen the original stage-play, I have to say that if this is any indication of what was, it must have been excellent. 

The movie centers around an up and coming female group based in Detroit during the 1960's. When car salesman Curtis Jr. breaks into the music business, he gets them the job of backing singer James Early. Soon after, he has Deena Jones replace Effie as lead singer and renames the group from the Dreamettes to the Dreams. He then fires Effie, forcing her into hardship, taking the Dreams higher. Curtis soon gets whats coming to him in the end however. I know that by now I've seen this movie at least 5 times, and each time it grows on me more and more. I'll admit that when I initially heard about it, I wasn't too interested. I got wind of some of the cast members (Jamie Foxx, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose) which I thought was a good group, it's just that the plot didn't grab me. It turned out to be contrary to what I thought yet what I expected at the same time. What I'm saying is, I expect there to singing throughout most of the dialog, but I thought it would sound kind of cheesy ya know. Nothing like that. In my opinion the singing weaved its way in at the right times. One particular song that I like is 'When I First Saw You' performed by Jamie Foxx. This track is derived from the scene where he takes Deena aside and tells her that she was his "dream" so to speak. One aspect I feel kept the movie in line was that the singing didn't detract anything. Every song was parallel to the plot and allowed each charter to display their emotions instead of just speaking to one another. Another thing I have to mention is Ms. Hudson. That woman can blow. If you didn't know it way back on American Idol, you surely had to know then. She pummeled every track she sang. Seriously. She didn't sound as though she was screaming either, I'm talking real singing. My favorite piece is probably her version of 'One Night Only'. It's a slower track but very sultry.

Their appeared to be no animosity on the set. The cast seemed to have a genuine respect for one another and I didn't see any harsh competition going on. The entire soundtrack to the film is definantly worth it from start to finish. Go on, give it a 'Listen'. 


Jamie Foxx - Curtis Taylor, Jr.
Beyonce Knowles - Deena Jones
Eddie Murphy - James "Thunder" Early (Jimmy)
Jennifer Hudson - Effie White
Anika Noni Rose - Lorrell Robinson
Danny Glover - Marty Madison
Kieth Robinson - C.C. White
Sharon Leal - Michelle Morris
Hinton Battle - Wayne

Mariah I. Wilson - Magic (Effie's daughter)
Yvette Cason - May Jones (Deena's mother)
Ken Page - Max Washington
Alexander Folk - Ronald White

John Lithgow, John Krasinski - film producer and writer/director
Jaleel White - talent booker at Detroit Theater
Dawn Lewis - Melba Early (Jimmy's wife)
Loretta Devine - Jazz singer
Laura Bell Bundy - sweetheart in Cadillac Car reprise

February 01, 2011

Music Is... Jamiroquai: Traveling Without Moving

I'm sure plenty of people recognize that name as part of the soundtrack to "Napoleon Dynamite" for the song 'Canned Heat'. Personally my first time hearing anything from this man was somewhere between 2001-2003. From hearing the samples, yes, just the samples alone I have completely fallen in love with this album. Really, it's hard for me to immediately gravitate toward a piece of work from an initial listen, so it truly has to capture my attention. That's just what this did. Just so I can give you an idea of the ingredients mixed in this cooking pot of a record, I'll say that it's not necessarily genre specific. He has an RnB/soul/rock/dance/reggae vibe going on. Whats nice is that every song is so relaxing and mellow that your could just put the whole CD on repeat and not have to skip around just trying to find one that you like. In my opinion for this to have been released ca. 96', I feel that it could most definitely stand tall with anything in today's market, I mean ANYTHING. Though I mentioned earlier the meld of different sounds, the one that stands prominent for me is soul. Not only because of the beat, but because he seems to be speaking from his heart and honestly. I know what this reminds me of, released in 2000 Erykah Badu: "Mamas Gun" in that it's very fluid. An additional positive to this one is the smooth balance of tempos. What I mean is that even though it consists of upbeat tracks, their are songs that give the album a nice change of pace. There are some songs that have an almost dreamy, "sparkling wine" type intro. Then others just get right down to it. One track I find pretty cool is 'Drifting Along'. It consists of percussion, drumming and some horns. On this one he speaks figuratively of an unknown destination, while trying to avoid obstacles as well.

All in all I have to give Jamiroquai an A+ and a job well done. If by chance you've never heard this album, by all means pick it up. Trust me, it's well worth it.

*On Amazon,this one can get a bit pricey, so check extensively, still worth it..

Music Is...Toni Braxton - Self titled


If memory serves me correctly, "Toni Braxton" is her first release back in 1993. Fast-forward 7 or 8 years, and my ears are very pleased. I didn't know who she was (at first), what she looked like, I didn't even know her name. What I did know, is that I loved what I heard and I didn't mind listening to it another 100 times.  Fast-forward and play at 20 years old and I fully understand to a greater degree why I gravitated towards this album in the first place. Toni Braxton has a beautiful, vibrant, full tone to her voice that I rarely hear nowadays. She can get deep without sounding out of tune. I mean she has a very nice range that can't be duplicated. I don't know what particular order to go in here so I'll start with the first song just to kick this off.  

Yes, track 1, 'Another Sad Love Song'. FYI, the first time I heard this song that first kick wasn't something I expected right off the bat. My shoulders are the first thing to start bouncing, then I'm bobbing my head from side to side like I have no sense. I can't help it. The song talks about that one love song that comes on the radio that gets you thinking about the one you had and how it stirs those feelings up again, yet here I am dancing to it. Go figure. The second track 'Breath Again' also speaks on the subject of love in a similar perspective. The tempo is slowed a bit so the vibe isn't offset too much. 'Breath' discusses feelings so intense, passion and the way things used to be, that if the two should somehow part from each other she'll cease to exist. Like the lyrics say, "...Please understand if love ends Then I promise you, I promise you That, that I shall never breathe again". A very self explanatory song. Skipping to number 4 on the track list, we have the song 'Love Affair'. This one has a fairly heavier bass than the rest but I feel it complements her voice as opposed to taking over. Again, it continues to talk about relationships, however expressing the need to remain loyal to a man she's already with instead of taking part in a 'Love Affair' with what seems to be a good looking guy as you can gather from the song. Sends a good message, she "...aint down with O.P.P". Continuing the theme of love and connection, I had to save my favorite for last: 'Seven Whole Days'. Although the entire album showcases that natural bass in her singing voice, I feel this to be a prime example of that facet. Considering the subject matter she's singing about, I think that allows her to dig deeper into various ranges. Out of the entire song, one word repeated once drives me crazy: baby (in the second verse). I have no idea  why. I suppose its because of the way it seems to bounce and echo. 

Something I've come to notice about Toni B, is that she has this signature style of putting a "whooo" somewhere in the song. Hope she doesn't change that. I know I stared and flipped through the booklet for almost 20 minutes one day, just sitting there looking through it. Wondering what I would look like if  my hair was that cut, if I had a black leather jacket, a white tank-top, tight light blue denim jeans and a chain belt. Boy, you couldn't tell me nothin'. Seriously, I do like the cover just the same. The cover is one aspect I've always favored and look forward to. To me, it can say a lot without being to busy. Then again it depends on what you want to say. It's all like a domino effect in a way. In this case, all the dominoes fell in the right place pushing one after the other at just the right pace.

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