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Tag Archive 'Contemporary R&B'

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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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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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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Bruno Mars: Unorthodox Jukebox

“Mars’ light vocal delivery and way with a hook is quite appealing. The record sounds good, too, with able production help from heavy hitters like Mark Ronson, Diplo, Emile Haynie, and his own crew, the Smeezingtons.” –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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