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Category Archive for 'R&B'

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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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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