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Tag Archive 'Contemporary R&B'

Various: 2015 Grammy Nominees

“Issued by RCA three weeks prior to the 57th Annual Grammy Awards telecast, 2015 Grammy Nominees, like yearly releases before it, emphasizes the ‘big four’ categories. Since four of the nominees for Record of the Year (namely ‘Chandelier,’ ‘Stay with Me,’ ‘Shake It Off,’ and ‘All About That Bass’ — were also up for Song [...]

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Ne-Yo: Non-fiction

“Patched together and sprawling even in standard form — it’s the television edit compared to the director’s cut deluxe edition — Non-Fiction nonetheless contains more standouts than any Ne-Yo album since Because of You. There’s some frivolous content, such as the fireside acoustic number ‘Story Time’ and rote EDM squib ‘Who’s Taking You Home.’ Beyond [...]

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K Michelle: Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart

“In 2014, K. Michelle issued a mixtape, turned her debut album into an Idris Elba-directed musical, maintained her presence on the VH1 network with K. Michelle: My Life, and was plotting a number of other moves. A slip in quality control would have been understandable, but there is no indication on Anybody Wanna Buy a [...]

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Tinashe: Aquarius

” Compared to Christina Aguilera, another mentioned inspiration, Tinashe’s voice is almost always quiet and soft, yet her ability is considerable, and she packs a wide variety of approaches. Another indicator of potential here is that she is listed first as the co-writer of all but one of the songs.” -allmusic Check our Catalog

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Mary J Blige: The London Sessions

” The London Sessions just happens to have her best round of songs, productions, and performances since The Breakthrough, the 2005 album Smith references in one of several unnecessary testimonials and interview snippets placed throughout the sequence of songs. A couple moments are stilted and there’s some substandard songwriting, such as the woeful “I’ll keep [...]

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Sam Smith: In the Lonely Hour

“Disclosure’s loping dance-pop single ‘Latch,’ a number 11 U.K. hit in 2012, introduced Sam Smith, a London-born vocalist with a deeply emotive voice….This is an understated and promising first step from an unpredictable and distinctive talent.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog Listen Now

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Joe: Bridges

“Joe is engaging from beginning to end without sounding as if he’s trying particularly hard….Overall, this is more finely detailed than the majority of adult contemporary R&B, and there’s a little more rhythmic bite through some deft dancefloor-aimed material….It all adds up to one of the singer, songwriter, and producer’s best albums.” –All Music Guide [...]

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Aloe Blacc: Lift Your Spirit

“Retro soulman Aloe Blacc seems to have his sights set on the big time. After co-writing and lending his vocal to EDM producer Avicii’s 2013 hit Wake Me Up, Blacc’s third solo album sits firmly in poppy, ready-to-chart R&B territory….Blacc’s gravelly, expressive voice sounds terrific throughout, his trills and melodies indebted to Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers.” –The [...]

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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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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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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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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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“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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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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Booker T: Sound The Alarm

“Booker T. Jones has certainly put his mark on modern pop music. As part of the legendary group Booker T. & the MG’s, Memphis’ first integrated band, and the house band at Stax Records in the 1960s, he pretty much was in at the ground floor of the invention of soul, backing classic soul hits [...]

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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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“Just before the release of The 20/20 Experience, the Roots’ Questlove, who opened as a DJ for Justin Timberlake’s SXSW festival appearance, announced that there would be a sequel. A little more than six months later, it was released, consisting of more recordings from Timberlake’s May-June 2012 sessions with friend Timbaland, Jerome Harmon, and James [...]

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