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Category Archive for 'R&B'

Pharrell Williams: G I R L

“Compared to his albums with N.E.R.D. and In My Mind, this is easily Pharrell’s second most enjoyable album, just behind the original version of In Search Of… from 2001. It’s fun, frivolous, and low on excess.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Ruben Studdard: Unconditional Love

“This is a pleasingly straightforward set, dominated by covers, that plays to Studdard’s strength as a mature, romantic balladeer….An enjoyable, comfortable release from the singer, Unconditional Love is quite possibly his best work yet.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“Usually, a best-of compilation features songs performed by its subject, but as one of America’s most prolific and successful songwriters, Burt Bacharach is able to have an entire two-disc set come out featuring his songs and only appear on it once… showing the versatility and talent that have made Bacharach a pop treasure.” –All Music [...]

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TLC: 20

“[T]his set is a decent introduction to one of the biggest pop groups of the ’90s. Released a week ahead of the film’s premiere, it features all nine of the group’s Hot 100 Top Ten singles….The group made three of the best ’90s pop-R&B albums, and 2002′s 3D was no embarrassment.” –All Music Guide Check [...]

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Jhené Aiko: Sail Out

“Having already made a big impression in 2013 with appearances on singles from Big Sean (‘Beware’) and Drake (‘From Time’), breathy R&B vocalist Jhené Aiko fleshes out her character on Sail Out, a relaxed debut EP that suggests that this girl is on permanent vacation. That’s not a negative, but a positive, as the singer [...]

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“Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings grew into one of the most rock-solid conglomerates of classic soul revivalism, making it look easy as they turned in increasingly exciting albums….These ten songs sound almost designed to be played on repeat, and keep with the always colorful and ecstatically fun sound audiences have come to expect from one [...]

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Sly And The Family Stone: Higher!

“These are grace notes to the band’s enormous legacy, a legacy that is clearly on display throughout Higher!, whether it’s heard on exuberant hits that are pop staples to this day, rhythms that were heavily sampled during the golden age of hip-hop, or a vibrant blurring of boundaries that still sounds visionary. It’s that depth [...]

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Claudia Lennear: Phew!

“Claudia Lennear, who came to fame as a member of the singing and dancing Ikettes, has a unique voice that combines strength and fragility. She can wail and shout with the best of them, but there’s a certain vulnerability that always shines through (that incongruity describes her countenance, as well, which projects joy and sorrow [...]

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“The John Legend-curated soundtrack for director Steve McQueen’s big screen rendering of Solomon Northup’s autobiography 12 Years a Slave features 16 tracks, including two selections (‘Washington’ and ‘Solomon’) from composer Hans Zimmer’s evocative score. Operating under the ‘music from and inspired by’ adage, the 14 remaining cuts explore themes of suffering, redemption, and freedom through [...]

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“The 58-track Never My Love: The Anthology… appeals slightly more to fanatics than it does newcomers….There’s a lot of familiar ground, all of it representative, but many selections differ from the album counterparts….Hopefully an enterprising label has the resources to endure the licensing nightmares required to release a compilation that showcases Hathaway’s work for artists [...]

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R. Kelly: Black Panties

“Occasional resemblances to Drake and the-Dream are as blatant as the Isley Brothers and Michael Jackson exercises of Write Me Back. The similarities are so obvious that it’s tough to discern if Kelly is acknowledging his younger followers, aiming to beat them at their game, or both. Perhaps he’s just a little short on new [...]

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Drake: Nothing Was The Same

“After an EP and two albums that firmly established his moody, introspective style and made him a huge star, Drake’s third album, Nothing Was the Same, isn’t a huge departure but it does take some steps in new directions. Built around sped-up samples and Wu-Tang-inspired, spooky loops, the production retains the same basic style, but [...]

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Thundercat: Apocalypse

“One of the many charms of Thundercat’s first album, The Golden Age of Apocalypse, was the manner in which the supernaturally skilled bassist seemed to wing his way through songwriting — stumbling upon ideas, going with the flow, goofing off — and come up with brilliance. On his sharper, more focused second album, he works [...]

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“Black Joe Lewis’ 2013 studio album, Electric Slave, picks up on the barebones blues and old-school R&B of his 2011 release, Scandalous. As with his previous releases… Lewis favors a shoot-from-the-hip, lo-fi brand of vintage soul….Ultimately, while neither a true blues musician, nor a neo-soul crooner, Black Joe Lewis is pure energy on Electric Slave.” [...]

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Drake: Nothing Was The Same

“[I]t is worth exploring if you’ve been following Drake’s progression up till now….[T]he small changes to the sound and the slightly wider net his lyrics cast make it worthwhile. Plus, there aren’t many other rappers who do gloom as well as Drake and that’s something worth supporting, if only because it’s something different than the [...]

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“I’ll Find a Way was recorded over four days at Vernon’s Wisconsin studio, with arrangements and musical direction from Phil Cook played by a handful of players, and hosting an array of contemporary vocalists including Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), Casey Dienel (White Hinterland), and Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs), among others.” –All Music Guide Check Our [...]

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Ariana Grande: Yours Truly

“The debut album from Ariana Grande, 2013′s Yours Truly, is a surprisingly sophisticated and unique showcase for the Nickelodeon sitcom star’s soulful R&B vocals….Ultimately, cuts like ‘Baby I’ and the jazz-inflected showstopper ‘Almost Is Never Enough,’ featuring the Wanted’s Nathan Sykes, are bravura pop recordings that bring to mind the best of the ’90s and [...]

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Gregory Porter: Liquid Spirit

“A singer whose quicksilver vocal style refuses to be caged by either jazz, gospel, or R&B, his warm, inviting baritone utilizes them all when he wishes to….While his first two recordings revealed a major new talent with their promise, Liquid Spirit is a giant step forward artistically, and for the listener, an exercise in musical [...]

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Janelle Monáe: The Electric Lady

“Equally as detailed and as entertaining as The ArchAndroid….The album is sure to astound Monáe’s sci-fi/theater-geek following. Its second half cannot be denied by those who simply value creative R&B that owes to the past and sounds fresh.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“The very face of classic Southern soul is Otis Redding, whose incendiary and passionate singing and stage presence came as close as anyone’s to transferring the energy, explosiveness, and drive of Southern gospel into the secular pop world of soul….[E]ven played through 21st century sound devices, these mixes are incredible to hear, all power and [...]

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