Rey Of Light.
Violence! Death! Darkness that's 'Maleficent' magnificent! Lana Del has sung about it all. This Rey of illuminating light, so bright it could burn you was born to run with mood music this magical. Nobody does it quite like Lizzy Grant in a modern, mainstream music world dominated by the female form of Taylor Swift playful pop or the bubblegum world of Katy Perry. Nobody brings the smoldering old style of generations gone and decades of decadence from the old fifties and sixties Americana and swinging champagne and cigarette clubs quite like today's "gangster" Nancy Sinatra doing things her way. Yet where's the respect? And how about that 007 theme? Because this shaken but never stirred starlet was born to be a Bond girl singing the hook of the title track. Yet, even without a license she's killing it. Once upon a dream, she's become the soundtrack queen regardless. From everything from Disney to 'The Great Gatsby'. Now at 30 and with three albums under her belt, every fan still loves the still 'Young & Beautiful' singer. Even movie star James Franco has wrote a book about her! Still, it doesn't seem like three years ago that she broke through with 'Born To Die', the title track and the big records like the youtube favorite 'Video Games', the boot-cut 'Blue Jeans', scorchingly somber 'Summertime Sadness', the light of pain 'Dark Paradise' and our new, millennial 'National Anthem'. It does however seem like a much longer time since she released her underrated but undeniable follow-up 'Ultraviolence' with the assist from the Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach. From the outstanding opener 'Cruel World' to the aviator awesome 'Shades Of Cool', coupled by two classic singles in the form of the beautiful and brilliant 'Brooklyn Baby' and the California cool 'West Coast' it's a record so timeless it feels like it's been around for an age, not merely the early months of last year. Now in a slumbering September where most people just want to sleep through 'till October 1st, Lana hits us with a ray out of the blue to begin the weekend. The woman born for the screens or scores of movies releases a new album on the day new films usually come out. But these Friday night lights come in the form of a 'Honeymoon' you just can't wait to get engaged with.
Take a Star Line tour down the California coast with this New York girl and this paradise ride will take you to places you've been before via Hollywood for her homage sound. The opening title-track 'Honeymoon' is her own haunting hallmark. Whilst the follow-up 'Music To Watch Boys To' is eye-to-eye, tongue in Andy Williams cheek as she sings "Velveteen and living single/It never felt that right to me/I know what only the girls know/Lies can buy eternity". Then with a 'Space Oddity' Bowie sampler Del Rey sings 'Terrence Loves You' and lyrical laments like "You are what you are/I don't matter to anyone/But Hollywood legends will never grow old/And all of what's hidden/Well, it will never grow cold/But I lost myself when I lost you/But I still got jazz when I've got those blues/And I lost myself when I lost you/And I still get trashed, darling, when I hear your tunes". Asking Major Tom herself if he can hear her from ground control. The lead single 'High By The Beach' is lead strong too in it's blazing beats and smoky singing that takes you to new highs and places you've never been before as she hurts over pained chords like "Boy look at you, looking at me/I know you don't understand/You could be a bad m###########/But that don't make you a man/Now you're just another one of my problems/Because you got out of hand/We won't survive/We're sinking into the sand". Like seeing the oceans tide on the wet sand morning after morning. No grain is the same. The scope is just as beautiful in it's own new, and individually refreshing way and wave. Del Rey's style and signature is just that original...even when she's paying tribute to her inspirations and muses. Just like the mood mesmerizing musician's take on revolutionary singer Nina Simone's classic 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'. Many people have sampled and covered it...from John Legend to Lil' Wayne, but none quite like Lana. And nobody in today's industry who tries as hard could have the rights to sing this quite like this soul whose intentions are good. Understand?
It's all in how you feel! There are some things you just can't shield your senses from. How the futuristic form of the downtown Los Angeles skyline looks at night. How the sand of Venice Beach feels between your feet like the Pacific sun feels on your face. How a chilled bottle of your favorite beer tastes as you walk the line in the sand. Hand in hand how the perfume of the one you love smells. There's nothing quite like it...just like the sound of Lana Del Rey's voice. It's unmistakable. Nostalgic. Impossible to ignore. Hard to forget. Lord knows you've tried. 'God Knows I've Tried' is an example of that, as Lana longs for the quiet life, away from the strain of fame singing "Sometimes I wake up in the morning/To red, blue, and yellow skies/It's so crazy I could drink it like tequila sunrise/Put on that Hotel California/Dance around like I'm insane/I feel free when I see no one/And nobody knows my name", then switching out the last three bars on verse two for more raw reveals as she harmonizes her hurt with "Wear my blinders in the rain/I've got nothing much to live for/Ever since I found my fame". 'Freak' continues the strange but sublime stylings, before the retro pop of 'Art Deco' keeps the texture of her traditional sound alive. It's so haunting it could rewake the ghost of decades past. The spiritual sound continues on 'Religion' and the Italian for "saviour" 'Salvatore'. Between the grey areas there's more dark depths than the black and white of 'Ultraviolence' on 'The Blackest Day'. Yet it's not all doom and gloom, even if "murder" and "carnage" are on the menu for her thoughts of the day on '24', that conclude with the advice and idea that "If you lie down with dogs, then you'll get fleas/Be careful of the company you keep". Remember don't misunderstand, and on her 'Swan Song' she writes it all out perfectly on white "Put your white tennis shoes on and follow me/Why work so hard when you could just be free?/You got your moment now, you got your legacy/Let's leave the world for the ones who change everything/Nothing could stop the two of us/Let's just get lost, that's what we want". Dreaming of gliding above a Route 66 out of dodge surface that she works so hard for underneath, Vowing to never sing again if her lover no longer needs to work a day in their life. One last ride? Let's hope like the ideas of the last two albums being her last it's not true right now. Even if she's already given us so much already, it's clear to hear there's plenty of classics left for her timeless sound and style in a matrimony of musical marriage that is set to define the generations and time to come. The honeymoon is far from over! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 21 September 2015
Oasis legend Noel Gallagher once said he loved Ryan Adams hauntingly beautiful version of his classic 'Wonderwall' so much so that Ryan could "have the song" as Noel himself started playing Adams acoustic, stripped down version at his own live shows. The High Flying Birds lead even believed he didn't really hear or understand his own song until the former Cardinal and Whiskeytown singer put his own unique genius and signature style stamping on it. Adding, "I think Ryan Adams is the only person who ever got that song right"! But now however Sally can wait. After working with the legendary likes of Norah Jones and Jenny Lewis (for last years stellar, Summer, suit cover vibrant 'The Voyager') it's Taylor whose about to be re-made...swiftly. The country star turned pop sensation is arguably the biggest thing in any music genre right now and had the most successful album of 2014 with '1989' and it's mega-hits 'Blank Space', 'Out Of The Woods', 'Style' and 'Bad Blood'...and it's Kendrick Lamar rap version. But this right here is more than a remix...this is arguably the most anticipated and eagerly awaited album of 2015.'1989'...Ryan's way. Even Taylor herself couldn't contain her excitement as the country star calls the country legend one of the inspirations in shaping her songwriting craft. Now to return the favor, the big, 'Welcome To New York' apple of Adams eye becomes his muse as he takes her songwriting and shapes it in his own Smiths style that will never go out of fashion.
Take two. Armed and amped up with the wood of an acoustic and the steel of a harmonica, Adams want to take this ride to the 1982 feel of Bruce Springsteen's acoustic, winter bleak driven 'Nebraska' and the closest singer/songwriter today to The Boss this fall really is giving modern music a reason to believe taking this all the way to 'Atlantic City'. Following all sorts of releases recently from his Pax Am record label singles and even '1984', along with his self-titled return that remade a name for himself, Ryan Adams with his 15th album in 2015 is remaking himself all over again and Swift's sound with his take on Taylor. The man has been giving us something good for awhile now with long player classics like 'Heartbreaker', 'Gold', 'Jacksonville City Nights', '29', 'Cardinology' and 'Ashes & Fire' to go along with his own group works and epic experimental albums like the metal of 'Orion' has just added another one to rival his best yet under his belt. Making his 40th year one of real celebration for a man whose been in this industry almost as long as Taylor Swift has been alive. One of the best singer/songwriters of all time was peddling records when the best one today was learning to walk. Now with his own take on her Polaroid picture, Adams' re-focused sound on this "eighties" classic has it's own frame with a portrayal that bears more soul. The only song that sounds remotely the same in tone and texture is the 'Welcome To New York' opening. As the man who performed his 2001 classic 'New York, New York' with the World Trace Center in the background a fortnight before the towers fell opens this album and its Big Apple introduction with the sound of the beach birds we can see on the awe inspiring artwork of this classic cover of this covers album. The song itself is the most upbeat and fast-paced this rock version of this pop album gets...but trust us that is a good thing. This one may get you charged, but the chilled introspective feel to the new pop generations biggest influence is inspired. Ryan Adams remakes Taylor Swift's biggest album beautifully for what may just be his with whats yet to come. From the brooding 'All You Had To Do Was Stay' sung with even more longing that if one day a single (for either), could reach out all the way to the pop charts, to the somber 'I Wish You Would' and sweet 'That's How You Get The Girl', Adams makes all these album tracks flow cohesively like we where back in the good old vinyl days of records playing from the minute the needles dropped to the final seconds of the last scratch. 'This Love' is arguably one of Taylor Swift's most beautiful and best hidden gems of personal and powerful songwriting, nothing can truly rival it but Adams comes as close as they come. Just like he does adding more shine to 'Clean' with a shot of whiskey in this town, all whilst taking Taylor back to her country roots with his country strong take on 'I Know Places' that could find itself at home in Nashville, just like it could on any other Jacksonville City night.
Still, it's on the singles where are singer gets stellar on the songwriting of Swift. 'Blank Space' sounds completely different as the biggest single of last year is given a clean slate with what Ryan brings to the table in slow and somber cords that turns a song about replacing lovers with a new wrote down name into a tree engraving of a man going through the motions of looking for love in all the wrong sort of different places. Don't be confused, this isn't for 'Starbucks lovers' and that was never the lyric as Adams pains through lines like "They'll tell you I'm insane" you can really feel the fire of the chorus "So it's gonna be forever/Or it's gonna go down in flames" that teenage girls everywhere are singing into their mirror, like it's the evergreen vocals of the Cash of the Man in Black. Walking the pop culture/modern music line even tighter than a taught rope, Ryan even brings darker depths of brutal beauty to the fun frolics of her lead single 'Shake It Off'. Brushing no dirt of his shoulder as he sends shivers down spines as he brings to reality lines like "I've got nothing on my brain/that's what people say". It goes further into the forest of the nature of meaningful songwriting with his re-invented vision and version on Taylor's deep 'Out Of The Woods' and her diverse, slick 'Style' that brings even more magic to the mid-night hour as (s)he begins with the singing of the line "Midnight/You come and pick me up, no headlights", more rip-roared and rocked here. Oh this album truly is something...on both sides of the coin. Re-waking Taylor's 'Wildest Dreams' from her latest single to this latest album. What started with a sneak peak of a version of one of Taylor Swift's more recent offerings from her outstanding album and lead to more tweets then your latest trend could offer has lead to something truly special and more meaningful. In resetting the tone, Adams could re-set a new one when it comes to releasing covers and different strokes on artists works. The blood running through this is a beautiful bond...nothing bad. Now in a world tour that has seen Taylor Swift bring everyone from Julia Roberts to Kobe Bryant (to present her with her very own victory banner in STAPLES in the same rafters as all those Los Angeles Lakers jerseys and banners) on stage, maybe it's time she welcomed Ryan out for some '1989' duets (or a collabo concert tour) in both styles at her next gig. Taylor Swift may currently have the best album out at the moment still making hits, but does Ryan Adams have the better version of it? That's a blank space for you to write in... TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 18 August 2015
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
C.E.O. Producer. Rapper. D.J. Social Media Entrepreneur? Music mogul Jermaine Dupri is one of this generations most influential people in the entertainment industry. So much so the King of Atlanta is even giving New York Cities Diddy a run for his billion dollar money and enterprise. J.D's iconic record label So So Def may just be the Southern equivalent of Bad Boy Records. Yet the Don Chi Chi is his own man and the creative force has gone beyond producing just for the careers he made of his own homegrown artists like Kriss Kross, Da Brat, Jagged Edge and Bow Wow, but to superstars he helped re-make like Mariah Carey, Usher and Janet Jackson. Jermaine has also proved himself worthy of his own beats and the production of classic albums like Usher's 'Confessions' and Mariah Carey's 'Emancipation Of Mimi', releasing records like 'Life In 1472' and 'Instructions' featuring classics like 'Money 'Aint A Thing' featuring Jay-Z and 'Welcome To Atlanta' featuring Ludacris. Although these timeless tracks still spin today, Dupri is dropping the needle on all sorts of classics in the clubs, all the way to the groove of winning the award for 'Celebrity D.J. Of The Year' this past calendar. If that wasn't enough than the man who has been inspired by hip-hops best to be hip-hops best is now taking influence from the likes Of Mark Zuckerberg by creating his own, unique social media site and experience Global 14. Showcasing not just news and entertainment, but the chance for new artists to share their work and talent. With more developments and even some more music on the way it seems like 2015 is the year Jermaine Dupri takes over the world. Time for him to tell us why...
Jermaine we thank you for your time. We know you're a busy man so we'll get right to it. What's on the schedule this week?
A lot of meetings. A Revolt live taping to drop off my new video, Vegas D.J. performance on Thursday then Friday fly to Atlantic City.
You've just released 'Where You At' amongst other great songs recently. What can you tell us about this material and as a rapper do you feel in the zone again? Can we expect another album soon?
As a music creator, I'm in a great headspace. I wouldn't say I'm in my zone just yet. The music from my new album will reflect how I feel. I feel like everything I've done people always bash it, then three to four months later they do it. With that being said, I got to keep the forward motion that I've always had. There's records with artists that might not be big yet but I believe in them and all the records on this new album will be for the club.
You are also busy on the D.J. and nightclub circuit. Congratulations on winning the 'Celebrity D.J. Of The Year' award. How much does that mean to you, especially with the legacy of some of your peers?
I'm happy I won but I don't care to be called a celebrity DJ. I've been doing this before people knew who I was. It means a lot, but it would mean more to me, if more people knew my true passion for D.J.ing.
Night in and night out what tips could you give to young aspiring record spinners in keeping the crowd and the atmosphere of a club moving?
If you're playing open format, gauge the crowd. Once you get them dancing and having a good time, figure out what you did and hold on to it for as long as you can (laughs).
How does dropping a great beat in the club compare to producing one in the studio?
I would say it's about 60/40, very close. The only difference is, when I DJ they are not all my records.
Are record stores still the best place to get your hands on some precious vinyl as opposed to online?
After bringing Bruno Mars out on New Year at the peak of his 'Uptown Funk' popularity in Vegas do you have something up your sleeve for this December 31st? It's creeping up on us.
Nah I haven't really thought about it. I guess I need to start thinking (laughs).
As a rapper, producer, CEO and D.J. you're a man of many hats but your passion project seems to be your website Global 14. What can you tell us about this movement?
I believe that kids of today are not interested in traditional news and the old ways that we got our information. So I created a destination that would speak to them in a way that they wanna listen and a home for the dream chasers. I have so much passion for this because the ideas are endless, if you can think of it, it can be done when dealing with tech.
What in your mind sets Global 14 apart from the rest of social media for its users?
Going back to music, congratulations on the Jagged Edge sequel record. How did it feel revisiting a classic with four guys from Atlanta who you've been down with since the beginning?
It was great working on that record. It felt like the days of me trying to get in the business. That's a feeling I hadn't felt in along time.
Can you share with us any other projects you're producing at the moment?
I'm in heavy with the new Usher album. I got a group coming out called "The D", the new Bow Wow album and mine 'The Love Award'.
You're beats have given new life to artists like Usher, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson among countless others, can you share with us some of your favourite experiences and relationships in music?
They all have been great experiences, each with different characteristics. I'm just grateful I could be attached to such great artists.
What sets your constant collaboraters and you're in house talent like Da Brat, Bow Wow and J.E. apart from the rest?
Our connection. I have a special connection with each artist I sign.
Who do you like in todays music industry and who inspires you?
Both Drake and The Weeknd are inspiring because it seems like they keep the first thing that comes to their mind and as a writer. I usual go through three to four ideas before I find it. They make me think I'm over thinking (laughs).
If we where to list just a handful of our favourite tracks you've produced could you share your favourite memories and experiences from these classics?
'Sweetheart' was actually Mariah's idea. So it was dope, hearing her tell me that was the song she thought we should do. That meant she put thought into my album.
Money Ain't A Thing...
'Money Ain't A Thang' was the last time I used paper to write after being in the studio with Jay-Z (laughs).
Welcome To Atlanta...
'Welcome to Atlanta' was so automatic . I got the idea for it to with Luda from a floor mat he had in his video. I told him the idea and it all just fell in place.
Hate in your blood was a perfect example of how I hear and see things in my head. Very seldom do I get all the voices I hear when I'm writing and this was the first time.
Lets Get Married and the other Remarqable Remixes'..
Honestly 'Lets Get Married' remix I give to the hands of the music God's because I still can't believe how perfect it was.
We Belong Together...
'We Belong Together' was a perfect example of when collaborators really gel.
'Control Myself' I loved!! It felt like classic LL with a splash of J-Lo.
The 'Comin From Where I'm From' album with Anthony Hamilton and how it changed soul music...
I'm not really sure it changed soul music. It was a incredible album though and the first were I heard the demo and put that out.
Confessions...some of my greatest work!
It must be incredible to have your name and stamp on so many hit records and classics? Can you describe?
It should be incredible but I don't feel people care, so it takes the enjoyment out of it for me. I just go from one project to the next trying to figure out how to change that mindset.
And how did it feel to perform such a historic, classic track to the ATL music scene ('Welcome To Atlanta') with Ludacris at an Atlanta Hawks game when the team was soaring from the best in the season to the playoffs?
Oh that was incredible! That's like one of the only times I felt like the city really loved that song!
How important is it for this great city of Atlanta to have some great sports teams to root for and music to rock with?
It's really important. Sports and music go together.
Going back to your first album 'Life In 1472' its a classic concept album before its time. How important is it for people to make records with specific themes?
I think it's very important for more established artists because it allows us to go elsewhere with our writing at times and the fans not be confused.
'Instructions' is an underrated classic of feel-good, summer music rap. What does this album mean to you?
Nothing! There's a lot of mistakes I made on that record.
So So Def itself is an iconic record label, from the name and logo to the classics its produced. How does it feel to have such a legendary label that's on the level of a Bad Boy or Def Jam?
Once again I don't feel like it's looked at on the same level, so I feel I have so much more work to do.
Thirty plus years in the game, not bad for the kid who danced with Whodini. When you look back at this and all that's followed what's the first thing that comes to your mind?
Belief and no fear.
What's next for Jermaine Dupri...or should we say, music?
To work harder than the young Jermaine and out do him.
Jermaine we thank you for your time and consideration. It is much appreciated. We wish you all the best and every success for the future.
Saturday, 8 August 2015
Straight Outta Detox.
The Doctor will see you now! How long have you been waiting? Around 16 years? Behind the good doctors appointments with patients like 'The Doctors Advocate', The Game and Kendrick Lamar? We do apologise it takes a few sessions 'To Pimp A Butterfly'. Bear with us, we'll get right to you. The waiting room is full now for Andre Young. The Doctor that rarely makes house calls is about to hit every home in every town, in every country in the whole world with his new prescription. And this is just what everybody ordered. Just when you thought there was more chance of the Lakers winning again then the greatest Doc since J returning, Dre is back to look over the whole city and rewrite the Hollywood sign in the name of the town he runs. This is 'California Love' reborn. After the former N.W.A. star passed us 'The Chronic' in the 90's and then took us to the future with '2001' in 1999, with two classics the prolific producer confirmed himself as a real rapper that deserved to be in any head-to-head contest comparison for the best in the game. Peer to peer, Jay-Z and Nas, or Biggie and 2Pac. The man whose first two solo albums where coming out parties for some of today and histories biggest and most recognisable icons, Snoop Dogg and Eminem respectively is now expressing himself first and foremost on another collaborative effort including all of the significant luminaries he has worked with or on, from Xzibit all the way back to Ice Cube. Yep, that's right, the late, great Eazy-E and the rest of the N.W.A. forefathers of gangster rap are finally getting the rep respect from the modern day that they deserve. The Los Angeles Kings are about to low-ride park on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame with the new movie 'Straight Outta Compton' which even stars Ice Cube's son as his pops. All this honour and homage and Dr. Dre has the perfect soundtrack for it, just be the watcher!
'Compton'. This is the 'Detox's' detox now the doctor has confirmed this album that was almost two decades in the waiting making will only see the light of the cutting room floor, THIS is the long awaited album that everybody's been eagerly anticipating. From the epic instrumental intro of classic Dre, news report sampling, the critical state of the Compton community is offset with haunting horror like keyboards and synths that obliterate the concrete under the wheels of a 64 like only a Dre beat can. For the man that sees music this needs to be heard on his billionaire Beats headphone like movies in IMAX need to be felt...and this is no shameless headphones plug. Tune in as it all mixes perfectly into the outstanding opener 'Talk About It' and you know that with the first official track and appearance in a decade and a half, plus a penny change, the doctor and the king is back. Sounding different and fresher than ever and rapping like a young gun and not a veteran of the game. Maybe its just the whole rebirth of this Detoxing Doctor whose been in studio surgery and the lyrical weight room as well as the gym working on that Schwarzenegger, Venice Beach frame. That hilarious, classic Beats commercial with LeBron James and a heckler was wrong, Dre has been working on that album. And now everybody else had to really work on shutting the f### up! This is competition 'Genocide' like the following track and his first of many here with latest protégée Kendrick Lamar and his Floetry soul songstress one Marsha Ambrosius. The good kid from the 'M.A.A.D. City' and his mentor, prove he is the future of rap with what would be his Snoop and Marshall coming out album if he hadn't changed the game and California coast with one West Coast drive in a rented van. The 'Compton' album, is the 'Compton' track on soundboard steroids.
G-funk also makes its return like there's nothing but that signature sound in the same week as Dre's California cousin Warren G sequels his 'Regulator' classic with an epic E.P. 'It's All On Me' is California cool redefined. While 'All In A Days Work' will be a classic in less than 24 hours. Just like the midnight hour oil burning of 'Darkside/Gone', the return of X on the pimped 'Loose Cannons' and the sensational sampling of 'Issues' with an ice cold Ice Cube that's set to ignite like when these guys lit up the Los Angeles night like downtowns futuristic skyline. 'Deep Water' keeps this pure Pacific production flowing, before Doc and the Dogg reunite on 'One Shot, One Kill', were over serious snare, the rhythm and gangster of a rejuvenated and growling Doggy Dogg Snoop is sounding his sinister and serious best since these two guys where rapping about 187's because um, 'Murder Was The Case'. It's even Game time again on the growling raps of 'Just Another Day' which you can add to 'The Documentary'. But can we get more than a milk carton for the critically brilliant but criminally underrated Bishop Lamont? A Game/Eminem, Dre muscle hybrid that needs more than a feature, but an album beyond the mesmerising mixtapes and the hilarious, tongue in cheek, long awaited album names for the former, perfect protégée. 'For The Love Of Money' also cashes in on recent number one album spinner Jill Scott and all her soul as Dre looks set to knock the man that knocked her off the charts Tyrese Gibson with his last 'Black Rose' album with his own final, retiring curtain call release. Dre may have missed a trick by not making a collaborative trip to Watts for 'Compton' ( just like not adding Eve perhaps to the stunning 'Satisfaction') but one things for sure neither of these rap and R&B kings should give up, even if they are going out on the highest of Chronic highs. Doc is a beast on 'Animals' and even brings back his assistant Eminem for 'Medicine Man', although we'd love to have seen more tracks from Slim and none about something as disgusting as rape for a real talent who we know is still swinging sith his 'Southpaw' soundtrack work. Still with the journal and journeys end on 'Talking To My Diary' that's the perfect epic epilogue to this P.W.A's (producer with acclaim) album, it's still all about Dre in the conclusion of this episode. Did you forget? Everybody's celebrating...it's Dre day again! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 12 May 2015
LUDACRIS-LUDAVERSAL: Pumping the nitrus and accelerator on his career vehicle, Chris Bridges has become quite the big bucks movie star. You can thank the runaway 'Fast and Furious' franchise for keeping him on that track. Still changing lanes back to his original game, Luda returns to music to reclaim the rap throne. It sure has been a long time since his last album 'Battle Of The Sexes'. Even longer since his greatest 'Theatre Of The Mind'. With 'Ludaversal' he takes us all around the world however, taking Usher, Monica, John Legend and Rick Ross along for the rolling ride. Standouts include the beat and sample stacks of 'Money', the fresh beat knocking 'This Has Been My World' and the hot lines back and forth on 'Burning Bridges'. It's clear in the game again, Ludacris is back like it was the first time all over again. Nobody is burning Bridges now! Unlike his out the ballpark, fielded new hit 'Grass Is Greener', it appears even with his foray into films, this side is the one that will always bloom. Next to his front lawn lays a 'Fast and Furious' ride that may be parked, but still has plenty more under the hood. 3.5/5
KENDRICK LAMAR-TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY: This good kid has come a long way from that mad city. Looks like there's still a lot of petrol left in this van and you needn't worry about the Dominos. Now pimping on, Dre's protégée floats like a butterfly as this new Ali of the rap rings gets all G-funky on the sort of zoned out, middle of the nights, headphone music. This album isn't a departure from his last classic, its just a down low, chilled out vibe that everyone will feel eventually, from 'U' to 'I' and all the other classic tracks inbetween. The boom beat of 'King Kunta' knocks like the 'zoo, zoop' of a 6'4. The sweet juice of 'The Blacker The Berry' is joined by more poured out liquor tributes to the game on this masterpiece. One that mixed funk and spoken word...and of course jazz. Jazz being the behind the notes art form that encompasses more than what would be the usual restrictions of a genre. A genre that influences and inspires the greatest modern games of basketball and rap. And this pimp is balling, spreading his wings and evolving like a butterfly from a caterpillar. 2Pac. 4/5. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 22 February 2015
BOB DYLAN-SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT: Old Blue Eyes I tell you, the 36th album from the 73 year old just may be one of the American singer/songwriters best. As this time Dylan delves into Sinatra's songbook for some signature styling's from the chairman of the board. To be Frank, Dylan haunts us his way with 'Shadows In The Night', echoing the reflection of his dark, Shakespearian depths on his last 'Tempest' release. Here with some sweet songs, numbered to the days and dates of decades gone, the gruff voice of Bob shows real beauty in the footsteps of Frank. The voice of a man that once proclaimed "I cant sing" (to a kind of a, "well duh!" response) hasn't sounded this grand and great in years. Highlights of this ten track, half hour include, 'The Night We Called It A Day", "Autumn Leaves' and 'Full Moon, Empty Arms", let alone the whole beautiful biopic of an album. Now we just want to hear all 23 Sinatra songs that were recorded in Los Angeles legendary Capitol Records building. How about another night of shadows? 5/5.
DRAKE-IF YOU'RE READING THIS IT'S TOO LATE: Surprise...well not really. A week and change after Drake released his latest offering out of nowhere to Spotify records and incredible iTunes sales, we're the ones that are too late. But if you're reading this, know we love Drake like the part owner of the Toronto Raptors loves his Canadian city...and boy do we do too. The T-Dot's exclamation like a Kyle Lowrey play, Point Guard Quarterbacks the perfect way to buzz bring out a new record in this hype man driven, hip-hop and music as a whole mainstream world. Octobers very own makes February his home and man is it great too. Even if from the legacy making 'Legend' intro to the hallmark '6AM In New York' closer, this grumpy Graham is coarsely trying to convince us he's not the upset makings of the "emo" tagline given to him by critics, but instead a passionate rapper. Brooding over beats a'booming, the follow up to the deep 'Take Care' and dark 'Nothing Was The' same is another chorus barring real rappers delight. The only debate for the critically controversial Canadian now is if this is a mixtape or album? Still if his next release is anything like these 'Jungle', 'Wednesday Night' or 'Madonna' highlights, then this vogue rappers 'Views From The 6' will be greater than those from the CN Tower. 3.5/5.
NE-YO-NON-FICTION: Fact...even after more than 15 years since 'The Matrix', when it comes to R&B music, Ne-Yo is still the one. Non-Fiction....maybe Shania Twain should call him up, because the man whose written for everyone from Mary J. Blige to Marylin Manson proves it with his vivid versatility. Fact...the fact that he's now signed up with the Marvin and Stevie legendary Motown Records is no coincidence. Catching him outside the White House in Washington. D.C. just rehearsing for the Presidents Christmas party just proves this. Non-Fiction...the new album and the follow up to the real 'RED' proves it. Fact...this album is so sick...pun intended! Non-Fiction...just like 'Libra Scale' follows an updated M.J. like storybook theme from the greatest like Mike since Ginuwine and Usher. Fact...especially if you pick up the deluxe edition and its 'Everybody Loves', 'Why' and 'Ballerina' standouts. Non Fiction...but then there's always the likes of 'Run', 'Integrity', the T I. assisted 'One More' and the Jeezy amplified 'Money Can't Buy'. Fact...after classics like 'In My Own Words', 'Because Of You' and 'Year Of The Gentleman' Ne-Yo is back! Non-Fiction is just that truth telling in proving this. FACT! 3.5/5. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 13 February 2015
King Of Hearts.
Lights down low, Tank sets the mood right this February 14th with a new extended play. The R&B general and the genres most genuine talent has been on a roll for a good half decade now as rhythm and blues breadwinner. After the Grammy nominated success of the force of natures, sophomore soaring 'Sex, Love & Pain', acclaimed, absolutely amazing albums like 'Now Or Never' and 'This Is How I Feel' kept his music muscle game in the studio weight room. Then, not two years ago he aligned with a perfect pair of performers in movie star Tyrese and legend Ginuwine for the massive, TGT supergroup album 'Three Kings'. Keeping him crowned on the throne like LeBron James in South Beach. If that wasn't more than epically enough, last year he came back with 'Stronger'. Arguably his strongest and best album to date. Featuring soul heavy hitters like the Motown inspired 'You're My Star' and the everything else inspiring 'Hope That Makes You Love Me'. Following this music master class of 2014 that should have made the Grammy academy, Tank is not resting this year. Not even one week gone after the awards show that should have came with an invite. Even in the face of general discourtesy Tank shows grand generosity with a gift of a 6 track free download to his fans and followers for Valentine's Day. The soundtrack of the weekend 'If You Were Mine'. Now you got to love this...
Forget 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'. This weekend, these six shades of soul are all you need. From the original title track beginning, Tank lays it all down in all his heart and soul on the cuffs of his rolled up sleeves. Singing "I'd love you 'till the time was forced to slow down/I'd make understand love the right way/I'd give you all of me to make you so proud/I'm begging for a shine, that is all I can say", its clear the man who has recently become a father is very much in love. With this ivory strong set, reminiscent of the 'Thanking You' devotion of his last album, Tank plays piano perfectly. Like he did for TGT, or highlights of his career getting his John Legend on. He even covers the 'Ordinary People' singers new most, famous for classic track, in the wedding first dance devoted 'All Of Me' beautifully. All of everybody is going to love all of this version. The rest of this piano pure play also covers some of music's best and most popular from the man who made 'I Can't Make You Love Me' his classic own. Rhythmic soul men Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke get respect paid too them from the master and general commander as he reworks 'End Of Time' and 'Lost Without You' to a tee. Then Babbs swings big, aiming for a mainstream homerun, covering some of pops best and biggest hits, giving them the soul of a smooth reinvention their chords are crying for. First up is Adele's timeless hit for this generation, 'Someone Like You'. Then a terrific take on man of the moment Sam Smith's 'Stay With Me'. Perhaps a tongue in cheek reference response to those saying Smith sounds like him and the fact that the British singer scooped four Grammy awards. Still even though Tank should have had his place at STAPLES like Kobe last week, this weekend and every lover listening knows it belongs to him with this arrow to the heart of red rose, real soul. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
American Hustle/American Dream.
Lets hear it for American sweethearts! In the same week 'American Hustle' star Bradley Cooper and American legend Clint Eastwood release the new 'American Sniper', Oscar bait picture, the former all American, rock star rejects Fall Out Boy are heading for the Grammy's this February armed with a face painted black, Outkast and ASAP Rocky stars and stripes flag. Ready to make movie music to the tune of Kevin Spacey and Christian Bale, 'American Beauty' (like Springsteen's rose petal E.P. last year), 'American Psycho'. America, f### yeah! Your college rock is back...all grown up. No need for nostalgia now. After the Weezer of the last generation (yes you're that old...me? Even older still) started their career off with the bang of the big bucks albums 'Take This To Your Grave, 'Under A Cork Tree', 'Infinity On High' and the 'Dance, Dance', 'This Ain't A Scene, Its An Arms Race' radio repeating, super singles that followed, the signature voice of Patrick Stump and the magazine cover bassist Pete Wentz decided to make a change. A more mature, musical one. All whilst staying true to their original substance and style. The quintessential quality that made them who they are. Just like their career, nu metal contemporaries Linkin Park who really came into their own for die hard fans and not alike last year. More evolution than redemption, but you can call this renaissance a revolution. Rock music was in trouble, but these boys survived the fall out. 'Folie A Deux' was the catalyst change and a fresh hit like their cover of Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' that highlighted their obligatory, middle of the career road 'Greatest Hits' package. Then after saving rock and roll with the likes of Elton John and Big Sean, the former frats of the frets graduated to an even greater musical metamorphism. Now to kick off the year of music what's more distinctly American right now than these beautiful psychos?
Kiss goodbye to those January blues. Its all red, white and all right now, with this summer sound springing into winter warming action off your headphones and speakers. Simply 'Irresistible' like this albums undeniable tip off, this whole thing sounds like a slam dunk. Catchier than flu season or a Bruno Mars trip to the seventies streets of 'Uptown Funk' (check F.O.B's live, bass beautiful cover of this), pop rock has never popped quite like this in a new era where the crossover genre is Taylor Swift shook off cool in this country. There's no band like Fall Out Boy! Who else could rock with The Roots and John Mayer? Release an 11 track with no features and still be the main presentation. The guys with the best song names in the entertainment business can even make 'Uma Thurman' a hit again! Now that's pulp fact. This album is a perfect, clean sweep, 39 minute run through. No skipping or stone in the shoe. Just check 'AB/AP's' lead single 'Centuries'. Its as big as great, grand comeback classics get. From its Suzanne Vega 'Tom's Diner' classic, "du, du, du, du, du, du" samples to its gladiatorial video, this is in a whole different arena altogether for a band who are more suited for a stadium sound now. As Stump sings to be remembered for days and ages, "Mummified my teenage dreams/No, it's nothing wrong with me/The kids are all wrong/The story's all off/heavy metal broke my heart", its clear from great songwriting and making this one man and his band are determined to "go down in history". With this, and the harmony hooks of fellow monster, 'Munster' theme sampling single 'Thurman' (we're not sure of the monster/'Kill Bill' actress connection) and the two tiered album title track the hall is getting Will Hunting buffed for these graduated geniuses who applied the heart paddles to rock and roll.
You can't just single out the radio plays however. The movie buffs references in rock continue with 'The Kids Aren't Alright' as the punk kid of Offspring stay fly like Three Six Mafia. There's plenty of hip-hop influences here too, for a band who once had 2 Chainz flame thrower torching their past long after they brought 'Shock Value' with prolific producer Timbaland. On 'Jet Pack Blues' these kids really take off on soar with their perfect peak still in percussion punctuated sights. 'Novocaine' is a soulful high-five to it with no sputter, before 'Fourth Of July' truly rocks an explosion of fireworks. Big American cities and broadcast networks may want to book them for that celebration now. Even Guy Fawkes couldn't hold a fuse to that basketball arena filler. The whole thing just sounds this comeback confirmed big. From the 'Favourite Record' that plays like exactly that, no matter your jam, to the 'Big Hero 6' hit movie take 'Immortals' that lives on for centuries in this album. It all comes to a checkout in the Sid and Nancy 'Skeleton Key's (Hotel In NYC)' closer that shows these young pistols can light up with the times in Manhattan. This whole album is just something else. A record of the year candidate and January hasn't even fully got out of the gates yet. With epic songs and moving melodies of catchy choruses and lasting lines like "You were the song stuck in my head/Every song I've ever loved/Played again and again and again/And you can get what you want but it’s never enough/And I’ll spin for you like your favorite records used to", every song feels like a new, favourite classic that is nostalgia deceptive like its either been around for ages or "where have you been" missing through your whole playlists life. The band sounds this sensational, amplified by Stump's vocals, a chorus and ring of one of modern music's wonders. Each track bursts like a carbonated drink shook up and twisted open and as these boys go from soda to beer, BOOM! They've just become the best band around of epic, effervescent energy you once thought were a mere guilty pleasure. With new conviction we find these guys guilty of nothing but holding a new court of their own in rock. This is psycho crazy and beautifully bold. Sweethearts this is the American dream...all grown up. TIM DAVID HARVEY.