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Category Archive for 'R&B'

“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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“Few artists are as tough to pin down as Me’Shell Ndegéocello. Throughout her career she has continually thwarted attempts by industry forces who would attempt to define her. She’s a master bassist and a poignant, restless songwriter….Pour Une Âme Souveraine is the best kind of dedication to Simone: it invokes her inspiration rather than attempting [...]

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Now That’s What I Call Music! 43

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The Heavy: The Glorious Dead

“The Heavy’s third studio album, 2012′s The Glorious Dead is a bombastic acid rock, funk, and blues-soaked album that sounds like the illegitimate offspring of the Black Keys and Gnarls Barkley… The Heavy delve into various punk, dance, and blues-influenced sounds including the manic garage rock meets mariachi band anthem ‘Just My Luck’ and ‘What [...]

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Aaron Neville: My True Story

“My True Story is a smooth, mostly laid-back, and soulful recording by Neville. He provides a healthy — sometimes overly — reverential respect for the original material. Coupled with his vocals, these restrained yet imaginative arrangements offer some surprising twists and turns.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is

“An advantage Keyshia Cole has over a lot of her young contemporaries is experience. As a foster child growing up in Oakland, she went through a lot of downs, and from the sounds of The Way It Is, her first album, she’s had her share of complex relationships… Cole’s voice is sweet and ringing, like [...]

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“Black Radio creates an entirely new context for popular music in its near erasure of boundaries. It is the sound of the future — even if no one knows it yet.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Jessie Ware: Devotion

“If this isn’t the album of the year, it’s at least the art-pop album of the year, or the neo-sophisti-pop album of the year, or — beside Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange — the alternative R&B album of the year. As far as ‘proper music’ from the U.K. is considered, it belongs in a class with [...]

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The Weeknd: Trilogy

“Modern R&B is, no doubt, in the midst of an experimental renaissance — artists like Frank Ocean, Drake, the-Dream, and even Usher are expanding the genre’s sonic playbook by going darker and weirder, incorporating elements of dance-pop, trip-hop, and warped indie rock. Toronto youngster Abel Tesfaye (a/k/a the Weeknd) may not be the most visible [...]

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Alicia Keys: Girl on Fire

“Keys has rarely ever sounded so at ease, so downright sensual, as she does as her latest. It’s her first record since giving birth to her son, Egypt, and the newfound emphasis on looking inward recalls the mood of Beyoncé’s ’4.’ …[Y]ou can’t divert your ears from the magic Keys conjures on her own at [...]

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Miguel: Kaleidoscope Dream

“Kaleidoscope Dream sounds, at its utmost, natural and easy, an artist set free to do what he wants and proving himself every bit the unique voice his debut seemed to deny. It’s respectful of tradition, quietly ambitious, and deeply personal, a wonderfully considered album from an artist who was starting to seem a lot like [...]

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Brandy: Two Eleven

“Brandy could have released another adult contemporary-oriented set, or linked with the dance-pop producers who have boosted many of her fellow artists. Instead, she made a modern R&B album. …Months after scores of music fans went bananas over an opportunistic resuscitation of a deceased peer’s studio scraps, Brandy, a superior vocalist ignored or disregarded by [...]

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“Born to Sing: No Plan B is Van Morrison’s first studio offering in four years and his second for Blue Note. …Uncharacteristically, he recorded the set in his hometown of Belfast with a crack sextet that includes a three-piece horn section with an alto saxophone. …Born to Sing: No Plan B is more jazz-centric, but [...]

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Elle Varner: Perfectly Imperfect

“It would be restrictive to compare Elle Varner to Chrisette Michele and Jazmine Sullivan, but the parallels are inescapable. As with her predecessors’ debuts, Perfectly Imperfect sounds like the assured work of a singer and songwriter — one who co-composes and co-produces her material — who is on her third or fourth album….Varner’s delivery is [...]

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Bee Gees: Greatest

“[A] perfect distillation of the sound that had put the Bee Gees on top of the pop music world from 1975 onward….On that basis alone, beyond the appeal of the songs (which is massive), this collection still exerts a strong pull. In fact, just about the only better way to recall the era is to [...]

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Michael Kiwanuka: Home Again

“Michael Kiwanuka is the promising British singer/songwriter who won the BBC Sound of 2012 poll. Home Again is his full-length debut… Home Again is a promising debut by an artist who will no doubt deliver big…” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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