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Tuesday, 17 October 2017



Savage Garden.

Another one for the soul soldier artillery, 'Savage' is exactly that for the strong-armed R&B battalion singer Tank, who has been rolling like a 'One Man', 'Force Of Nature' since his 'Sex, Love & Pain' classic took him from background singer for Ginuwine, all the way to the Grammy family. He successfully sequeled his definitive, groundbreaking classic to begin last year, amid rumors of a breakdown in his three-way supergroup marriage TGT with modern R&B innovator Elgin 'Ginuwine' Lumpkin and singer/actor Tyrese Gibson. The Hollywood star who right now is engaging in a war of beefed up words with 'Fast and Furious' co-star The Rock over some hard place feelings over a Dwyane Johnson 'Hobbs' spin-off with Jason Statham (and possibly according to some Instagram back and forth, Durrell Babbs himself, Tank). Despite being fans of all parties that came together for the classic 'Three Kings' album we would be remiss to not point to reports that the man making the most money from movies didn't want an equal share of a sought after sequel with his big-three band of brothers. Despite producer Tank doing the lions share of these kingsmens work writing and manning the boards on some of this trios biggest hits. Even away from the collaborative classic which we hope one day follows up with another album (we invite you to listen to 'Open Invitation's' standout track, 'Prior To You'). But that's another song, for another album and another story on another day. As inbetween all the work for other artists that Tank's been putting on, not to mention the mixtapes and Valentine and Christmas E.P.'s Tank has being keeping busy on his own solo outings that play not to over inflated ego, but only to his love of soul and dedication to his songwriting craft. For almost a straight decade Tank has been rolling out an amazing album between everything else just less than every other year. There was 'Now Or Never' and then all the work that followed after like it really was. The fresh 'This Is How I Feel'. The Motown 'You're My Star' feeling fuelled 'Stronger'. And then of course 'SLP2' last year in twenty fifthteen. But now this time only a calender and change later Babbs is back as Tank gets really 'Savage' aiming for the head of the R&B throne via the heart.

And of course all that sweet soul for the streets that may be found Isley inspired somewhere between the sheets. "Everybody wanna taste it/You can tell that you my favorite/I give you the gas and/Now you burning up the pavement/If you ever leave/I'ma probably have to chase it/It took too long to make it/And now I can't replace it", Tank cooly croons on the opening self-titled track of the same name. Getting deep, down and dirty and ever so Parental Advisory: Explicit Content sticker stamping slick and leather cool since he got 'Lonely' with frequent 'Shots Fired' collaborater Chris Brown on the opening to 'This Is How I Feel' in 2012. The hard hip-hop R&B R. Kelly like duality to his Babyface ballad atmospheric inspired pure persona continues on 'Everything' where his line rhymes body even those of his guest features of him ten years ago Trey Songz and too 'Fast and Furious' punchline king Ludacris. As Tank raps and waxes lyrical confidence with his "You just want it real and if you/Lookin' I ain't that far/Oooooh Oh, you just want the/Cash and the fast life/Know you see the Lambo' you can/See that I'm the fast type/I can make you famous got the/Cameras and the flashlights" competition crippling couplets. Staying in this same vain fast lane, Tank keeps driving some smooth rides with the burners 'Do For Me' and 'Only One' who on a nightdrive will find themselves tuned into the dials of the radio as the roof on the convertible rolls back as cool as a crisp summer setting night. All before the beautiful 'You Belong To Me' keeps the ballads slow burning on the blacktop as Tank takes it slow between lines like, "We done made some big moves/G-wagon and a Wraith/Bel-Air mansion coming soon/I been down to put the paper down/For anything a lady wanna do/I could let you walk on air". As the Fresh Prince wills his way in a world of music Mr. Smith's to become the one, true, sole heir and king or R&B.

Rhythm and blues. Sex, love and mother####### pain all menage together in the second half of this 'Savage' piece that see his smouldering sensual single 'When We' take center stage like his model wife Zena Foster in the velvet rope smooth and pulling video. As between powerfully provocative lyrics licking "I like it when you lose it/I like it when you go there/I like the way you use it/I like that you don’t play fair/Recipe for a disaster" between X-rated harmonies and melodies your ex wouldn't want to hear that haven't been this racy and raw since Ginuwine hummed ad-libs of 'When We Make Love'. Tank brings many a coupling collaboration to the better half of his jacket diamond grafitti stamped album. 'Good Thing' with Candice Boyd is oh so much more than that. Whilst the complete closer with one of the last young guns with bullets left in his R&B revolver J. Valentine 'Stay Where You Are' keeps us right here in this albums hold. An album that gets 'Sexy' and nasty and horribly hardcore as we 'F It Up'. This is the sexual liberated power of Prince, LeBron muscled up to a baller that wants the crown in a modern day where everyone is going for your dome for their piece. "No use for you to rush perfection" Tank laments as he rhymes with raw reason "We need a camera crew/Cuz I’m ‘bout to get you loose/I’m ‘bout to make ya yell/Like somethin’ was wrong wit’chu/Undo your ponytail/Let all that fall down/Told you I’m gon’ be there/To beat it all down" on another heater on an album so hot summers about to come back before the dark fall. This cohesive set is in a class all in its own aside from Tank's classier numbers, but still it will move millions in behind closed doors unison for that midnite hour love-in as Tank's latest may be darker, but man how it cuts deeper too, going for the jugular. The hardest working man in urban radio, if not mainstream music as a whole may have his head on his hands on his back to us album cover. But this is not out of desperation...not for album sales anyway. Sex sells, but real love wins and Tank's fans continue to stand by him in solidarity despite the lines drawn be enemies whether critical or commercial. Write him out of the pop charts all you like, but he'll stay writing songs on and popping as those not giving him his fair share will finally see real success isn't how much you sell...but how much you don't sell out. Savage? You be the judge, but when it comes to Tank and his guilty, lustful pleasures fleshed out here, in his industry no one has more conviction. And that always makes more than the zeroes after your name. Real music isn't just in the hit-making, but the pen and paper, voice and microphone songwriting beginning. And you best believe the man who started it all has more in the you know what. You can't stop this Tank in an arms war when he keeps reloading like this. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 7 October 2017



From This Moment Now

1.2. 'Now'. She's still the one after all these years. Forever young like Keanu Reeves post-50, Canadian country singer Shania Twain has been through it all and taken a long and winding road just west of Route 66 to get to this point in 2017. From Nashville to taking Dollywood as the best selling female country star of all time in the world, Shania was tailor making pop/country crossover hits that were a little bit rock and roll and moving C.D. copies swiftly years before todays biggest music star that wrote her name in the blank space left when the Twain train stopped at station. But now it's back on it's wheels for the first new album Shania has put down since 2002's three-way, blue, green, red, pop, country and international big 'Up' release that came off the heels and leopard skin catsuit success of her and country music as a whole's most groundbreaking album. One of the biggest diamond albums of the golden era 90's and of all-time, 'Come On Over'. And after the 'From This Moment On' era came to a close, 'Now' finally comes after a decade and a half as Shania has survived bitter betrayal and divorce. Lyme disease. Almost losing her signature sound, let alone tragically her voice as a whole. And not to mention 15 long years that has seen the music industry change and download into a new age of Spotify streaming that even Taylor Swift ended up having to give in to for fear of real 'Bad Blood' with fans and industry heads alike. But despite all this and that in a time where Nashville is a soap opera T.V. show and country music in the modern day is more Lady Antebellum than Johnny Cash, the Canuck that took Tennessee has scored yet another number one album. Shania is still a girl on fire. Man I feel like a comeback. In the words of Lionel Richie on his 'Tuskegee' country album, 'My Precious Love' collabo with Twain, "Welcome Back Shania"! Let's go girl!

'Life's About To Get Good' indeed as is evident on Shania's soaring new life affirming single that is right there with her catchy hallmark 'Man I Feel Like A Woman', 'That Don't Impress Me Much' and 'I'm Gonna Getcha Good' singles that she will roll out in her next Las Vegas residency in tribute to that great, unstoppable town (stay strong, stay praying) and all the country stars and fans who have rocked there. "Oh! Life's about joy/Life's about pain/It's all about forgiving and the will to walk away/I'm ready to be loved/And love the way I should/Life's about/Life's about to get good" Shania sings in chorus for the new post-break-up survivor anthem that's the 'We Will Never Ever Get Back Together' for the millennial parental generation. And if that wasn't enough than the follow up second single and opening first track of the album 'Swingin' With My Eyes Closed' keeps the party going with a reggae flavour that sparks the nostalgia of the international version of 'Up'. "It's in the air we're breathing/Oh can you taste the freedom, oh oh/I'm swinging with my eyes closed/Got my hair down a wide open road/I'm swinging with my eyes closed/Only god knows how far it goes/Fist up in the air/Oh like we don't care/Swinging" Twain traces lyrically in a song and video party fusion laced with sex appeal. As the woman who in stunning portrait black and white still fits and wears the same iconic as Madonna's closet outfit she wore in the 'That Don't Impress Me Much' video shows she's not only still the one, but she's still got it too. 'It' being the appeal of one of the greatest legacy making legends in two diamond dominating genres of music. Brad Pitt!? Captain Kirk?! John Wayne maybe?! Elvis or something?! Not even the King can touch the queen.

But despite a double act of dominating sole standing singles, 'Now' is all about the album as a whole right here and it really is her most cohesive and classic set in terms of ballads in the same 'The Woman In Me' vein. The country strong 'Home Now' confirms her arrival back in her second residence outside of Ontario and in those United States. Whilst the atmospheric 'Light Of My Life' could find itself perfectly between 'I Won't Leave You Lonely' and 'You've Got A Way' as she sings "My little piece of the pie/American beauty/Apple of my eye". But it's the modern maverick 'Poor Me' that would have the Parton and Emmylou Harris raising a glass too in it's clever songwriting skill of lyrical dexterity. As it mixes sorrow on the rocks with a twist as she sings "poor me this/poor me that" and then "pour me...another". 'Whose Gonna Be Your Girl' is a classic 'no need to roam you're love is at home' call and response yearn as she asks her man about the town "whose gonna be your girl/when all your boys are gone". Whilst the catchy chorus vocally and instrumentally of 'More Fun' kisses those Monday blues away to a Friday night live and love for the weekend embrace. And as this deluxe album delves deeper than the studio set tracks like 'I'm Alright' are more than that as the woman who wrote 'Black Eyes, Blue Tears' and 'When' shows she has great love songs growing on trees no matter her songwriter or partner. 'Lets Kiss And Make Up' and 'Where Do You Think You're Going' continues that reconcilliation of love trend and theme. Whilst 'Roll Me On The River' gets the mood back on an upbeat track as she pleads "play my favourites on the ride downtown/'Love Me Tender' on the radio/Turn it louder, kiss me slow". The hand clapping keeps rounding up in applause for the positive reaffirming 'We Got Something They Don't'. Before she finally sits down with her acoustic with the personal beauty we've been waiting for in 'Because Of You' for an inspired interlude as she gets back on her feet and the floor for the take your partner 'You Can't Buy Love'. 'All In All' this is a vast and versatile velvet smooth set that's worth all the years of paid off wait. But it's the heartfelt, soulful 'Soldier' that really is the nation to nation proud standout. "Has anybody seen my soldier/Standing all alone/Has anybody seen my soldier/Just trying to get home" she sings in military tribute testament. As this adopted American from Canada looks to keep those States united in a house of falling cards. Even a trumped up president needs to recognize a queen from another country. They said "I'll bet she'll never make it", but here she is forever and always, more than holding on. Looks like she made it. And that does impress us much. TIM DAVID HARVEY.