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Tag Archive 'Contemporary R&B'

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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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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“Along with co-producer Jerome ‘J-Roc’ Harmon and fellow songwriter James Fauntleroy, the Tims have made a refined and distended follow-up to FutureSex/LoveSounds… [A] pleasant and grown release from a charismatic entertainer.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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José James: No Beginning No End

“The dozen songs on offer here continually contrast aspects of James’ seemingly limitless musical persona: from funky neo-soul to elegant balladry to adventurous pop and R&B… Here he not only blurs the boundaries of the various genres he examines, but extends them; in the process, he creates a beguiling, sophisticated, important music that is his [...]

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2013 Grammy Nominees

“A 22-track summary of recordings nominated for the 2013 Grammy awards, this was released a couple weeks prior to the ceremony and doubles as a decent sampling of 2012′s popular music.” –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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Rihanna: Unapologetic

“Not only is Unapologetic just as varied as Rihanna’s past albums — it’s another timely refresh of contemporary pop music — but it’s a little more exploratory and a whole lot deeper, too.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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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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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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Ne-Yo: In My Own Words

“Ne-Yo is a real talent as a songwriter, and as a vocalist he is unmistakably more concerned with serving the song than his ego. He’s not the flashiest vocalist, but he’s able to put across contrasting emotions with slight adjustments, and he balances toughness with tenderness exceptionally well — all of which are uncommon traits [...]

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