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Category Archive for 'R&B'

“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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ZZ Ward: Til The Casket Drops

“[S]he developed a style that’s a winning combination of blues, hip-hop, rock, R&B, and pop. Her influences all come together on her debut, a collection that should make her a star if there’s any justice in the world. Ward has a wonderfully flexible voice, she can croon like a pop singer, growl like a blues [...]

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Kelly Rowland: Talk A Good Game

“Kelly Rowland had moderate early success as a solo artist, but her releases seemed reactive to the climate of contemporary R&B — like she was either struggling to find her own voice, or was stifled by the industry. Just as it seemed like she might be neglected for good, the Top 20 Hot 100 hit [...]

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Charles Bradley: Victim of Love

“The shimmering guitars, vibes, and slippery, funky snare, frame the horns which in turn accent Bradley’s absolute conviction that he’s come through the worst. Victim of Love showcases growth…while not straying from the gritty soul that established the singer; it is every bit as strong as its predecessor and more diverse. You just can’t get [...]

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“Adrian Younge conceived ‘Turn Down the Sound,’ one of the highlights from Venice Dawn’s Something About April, as an imagined RZA-produced ’60s Delfonics cut. Shortly after the release of that cinematic, psychedelic soul masterpiece, a fan put Younge in touch with the Delfonics’ William Hart. The meeting led to this, the best Delfonics album since [...]

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Brian McKnight: More Than Words

“McKnight’s first album since 2011, More Than Words is filled with references to late-’70s and early-’80s R&B and soft rock… This is McKnight’s most enjoyable album since 2006′s Ten. It would be his weirdest release even if it didn’t feature him swapping lead vocals with sons Brian Jr. and Niko on songs titled ‘Ididntreallymeantoturnuout’ and [...]

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Bilal: A Love Surreal

“A Love Surreal is kicked back — lighter, slower, and steamier, more about flirting and lusting than personal and societal turmoil… ['Butterfly'] deserves to circulate as much Herbie Hancock’s similarly lissome composition of the same title. As a producer and songwriter, Bilal has stepped up. As a vocalist, he remains supernaturally skilled and creative — [...]

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Alice Smith: She

“Two of her first album’s many attractive attributes were the subtle and surprising twists in song structure and seamless genre fusions. They’re in steady supply here… She has enough skill and character to leave one hanging on her every note.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Boz Scaggs: Memphis

“On Memphis, Boz Scaggs pays tribute to the city’s magnificent soul tradition, Al Green, and producer Willie Mitchell and his Royal Recordings studio, whose location and personnel were used to cut it in three days… This set is a stunner. Scaggs is in full possession of that iconic voice; he delivers songs with an endemic [...]

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