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Category Archive for 'R&B'

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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Etta Britt: Out Of The Shadows

“New Nashville label Wrinkled Records makes an impressive maiden voyage with the launch of Etta Britt’s CD, ‘Out Of The Shadows.’ The music veteran with a thirty-plus year career as a sought-after session and touring background vocalist debuts here as a solo artist, picking all the right material to showcase her mature, soulful R&B sound.” [...]

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John Legend: Love In The Future

“This is John Legend’s first solo studio album since 2008′s Evolver….Love in the Future is among Legend’s best work, made for couples who are into one another for the long term while feeling a little daring and crazy.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Solange: True

“[T]he songs have a diaphanous new wave via synth funk sound that is much closer to Little Dragon than the Dap-Kings. The lyrics detail a busted relationship and provide aching, wistful, and frustrated contrast to the animated and slowly swaying backdrops….This is a promising prelude to Solange’s third proper album.” –All Music Guide Check Our [...]

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“Made Up Mind is tight; it maintains the gritty, steamy, Southern heart displayed on Revelator, but the growth in songwriting, arrangement, and production is immeasurable. Everything these players have assimilated throughout their individual careers is filtered through a group consciousness. When it expresses itself musically, historical and cultural lineages are questioned and answered incessantly in [...]

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Josh Krajcik: Blindly, Lonely, Lovely

“Josh Krajcik’s major-label debut, Blindly, Lonely, Lovely showcases the soulful talent that helped the vocalist nab the runner-up slot on the 2011 season of FOX’s The X-Factor vocal competition….Ultimately, Blindly, Lonely, Lovely showcases a passionate singer with a knack for mixing a vintage soul sound with a contemporary pop aesthetic.” –All Music Guide Check Our [...]

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Frank Ocean: Channel Orange

“One listen to Channel Orange makes it obvious that he is as free as an artist as he is as a man. The album doesn’t have as many slyly powerful hooks as Nostalgia, Ultra, but Ocean’s descriptive and subtle storytelling is taken to a higher level.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines

“When Marvin Gaye was pressured to make a commercial dance record, the singer responded with ‘Got to Give It Up,’ which went to the top of the Hot 100. Thirty-five years later, Robin Thicke — he of the perpetual Marvin fixation — offhandedly recorded ‘Blurred Lines,’ musically based on that 1977 hit, with producer Pharrell.” [...]

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Ciara: Ciara

“At her best, Ciara comes on less as a full-blooded personality or even an object of desire and more as a glamorous big sister, the one you want to be when you grow up, who knows all the right moves on the dancefloor and in life. Complexity and personal drama ain’t in it: Ciara holds [...]

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Fantasia: Side Effects of You

“Nearly a decade removed from her nationally televised triumph, Fantasia’s not only contributing significantly to the songwriting process, she continues to draw top-rank, well-matched collaborators such as songwriter and producer Harmony Samuels (Keyshia Cole’s ‘Enough of No Love,’ Ariana Grande’s ‘The Way’), who had a hand in each song….Seven or eight years after she was [...]

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India.Arie: Songversation

“Largely a low-key, gently uplifting affair with a soft, warm glow, 11 of its 16 tracks are enhanced with assistance from several Turkish musicians — including percussionists, horn players, an oudist, and the Istanbul Strings….Everything… transmits positivity….It’s evident that Arie’s in a good place, both creatively and personally, yet SongVersation is not about self-satisfaction. She [...]

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Mavis Staples: One True Vine

“Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy proved to be such a good match on You Are Not Alone — the album won a Grammy in the category of Best Americana Album — that the two opted to do it again.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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