It is always exciting whenever Ms Blige decides to drop another album. We have all become pretty used to her usual routine of releasing a clubber banger as the opening single followed by a huge ballad (My Life, Share my World, No More Drama, What's the 411)
It's incredible how over the years Ms Blige's authenticity hasn't diminished and she continues to win crowds rather than lose them as her sound evolves.
Growing Pains I must confess creept up on me. The end of last year had been filled with such good debuts that I could happily have not purchased another album for a while.
I sampled this album on my MP3 as I always do - everything sounds better on headphones. The opener 'Work that' is trademark Queen-of-R&B-soul - quick lyrical delivery over Dr Dre-esque production. It certainly is a feel good number.
One of my immediate favourites follows 'Grown Woman' featuring Ludacris, testimony to what's going on in Black music in 2008 - obscure beat programming ridden with speak-style singing. Ludacris' verse is a key highlight "LUDA! I ain't lying, I think I'm in love wit a grown woman/ She stay stunnin' /Got sweet lovin' & home cookin'/ Be known to make'em moan to da break of dawn/ A lil lady in da streets, but at home I give her a grown whoppin/ Yea!/ I hit the jeweler and I make a chain flawless, white diamond and I put that on everything/ Mami stylish she knows how to accessorize and we some stair master i make her get her exercise wit ya sexy thighs body got me memorized/ Lil boys are scared and other guys be putrefied"
"Just Fine" is the feel good single that makes me what to replicate her Micheal Jackson-esque moves in the video. Then suddenly the ballads appear - and you know what - they are very good. They get better with every listen, "Feel like a woman", "Stay down", "Hurt again" are all classic Mary and very reminiscent of the MY LIFE album.
Some incredible vocals are unleashed on "Fade Away" and "What Love is" - these two are the peak of the album. Inspiring words like "And it feels like joy, and it feels like pain/ And it feels like sunshine, feels like rain/ An excuse for dying, reason to live/ And if you don't know, that's what love is/ Love is" are belted out over extremely polished beats.
'GROWING PAINS' exceeds my expectations and it certainly makes 'BREAKTHROUGH' seem like a rushed produce. We don't need to reiterate that Ms. Blige is in a good place as it is written all over the record.
A compelling effort.
Many of us know her as the voice to the iPod nano but I'm not sure enough people know her as the very talented singer songwriter. She has racked up an impressive resume even performing at the recently concluded Grammy awards show.
She is canadian. She performs as a solo artist under the name Feist, and has been a member of the indie rock supergroup Broken Social Scene.
I'm urging us all to go buy her album, Reminder.
I'm reviewing the new "arty" Kanye video for "FLASHING LIGHTS". I can't decide if this is actually credible or over-indulgent.
What do you think?
What do you think?
£2.5 MILLION FOR WEDDING PICTURES OF THESE UGLY MUTTS? I THINK NOT!
IF ANYONE I KNOW BUYS A COPY OF THE PUBLICATION - I WILL NEVER SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN. THAT'S A PROMISE!
Just in case you thought, The Church of Scientology couldn't 'acquire' more weird members. I reveal a pioneer to you all - ISSAC HAYES. Yep!
Has anyone noticed that our dear President can never help himself whenever he hears music. He just has to move his hips, here he is in Kenya- doing the dammmmmn thang!
Will, Will, Will
My love-hate relationship with Will smith has lasted as long as I can remember. I don't know what happened considering I was a huge fan of the Fresh Prince (I'm convinced I'm one of the few that has seen every single episode - no joke!) but as the "movie-star" appeared in the late 90s, something happened to our connection.
I think I blame some movie roles and the over-celebration of Hollywood tagging him as the "acceptable" one and it irritated me that he could command £20m and real black actors like Forest Whiatker - post Oscar, didn't.
Last night, I watched the very very heart-warming, In Pursuit of Happyness. I melted. I melted at the story. I melted at the performance. I melted at the vision of picking on such a strong topic and succeeding at telling the very compelling tale.
I know remembered some of his original roles which myself and my brother loved, Six Degrees of Seperation, etc.
There is no doubt, this man is very talented and more importantly he stands for something much more greater than just an actor and either you love him or loathe him, you can never deny him this.
I was watching my regular dose of American idol and I came across the very talented James Lewis. Please watch, just to think no one encoouraged him to take the world by storm.....how could people be so cruel.
Let my people gooooooooooooooooo!
Let my people gooooooooooooooooo!
Unless you've been living with apes over the past half-decade will you not have encountered the voice of either Akon or his partner/protege T-Pain. These men have become as linked to guest featuring as Pharrell Williams was at the start of the millennium. And they are good infact very good.
I write as I respond to a comment that I heard on hot97 about T-Pain taking over from Akon as he has more diversity in his approach to music. My initial reaction was "...isn't that a bit harsh" considering Akon paved the way for his protege to build a following.
I was watching the new T-Pain promotional video for 'Church' and I satrted to think - the boy is truly talented. He can dance, sing, produce and rumor-has-it, ACT! There is something very engaging about the way he approachs his music and although neither one are particularly remarkable singers - they make up for this with therir charisma. I'm a fan of both men and I don't think we should get involved in the "who's better" debate - especially not from pioneers HOT97.