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Category Archive for 'R&B'

Kelis: Food

“Food sports a cover that doesn’t seem nearly bright or colorful enough to reflect its sound — an eclectic and modern-sounding synthesis of classic pop and rhythm & blues with a lot of friskiness, some funk, and even a little twang.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Michael Jackson: Xscape

“Timbaland and Reid evoke the Michael Jackson we all love and miss, finding songs that are worthy and giving them arrangements that are simultaneously nostalgic and modern. It’s a difficult trick to pull off but they largely succeed, so Xscape is a worthy and memorable coda to Jackson’s career.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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“From the start, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed has specialized in soul like they used to make back in the good old days….Reed remains the same sharp, skillful soulman, one whose good taste and craft are hard to resist.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog Listen Now

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Ledisi: The Truth

“Squarely R&B albums dominated by upbeat, clean, and energetic material seemed like a forgotten art until late 2013 and early 2014….Ledisi continued the upswing with The Truth, her fifth Verve album….Succinct, consistent, vibrant, and all Ledisi all the time — there are no guest appearances — this is one of the singer and songwriter’s best [...]

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“Like Goodfellas and Boogie Nights before it, American Hustle‘s music celebrates the epic feel of ’70s pop, rock, and disco and uses it to give its story extra heft. David O. Russell’s tale of con men, Feds, and the mob has a lighter touch than either of those two movies, however, and this is reflected [...]

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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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