Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Got tracks 5, 6, and 7 today: "Come to My Door," "Heaven On the Ground (ft Emily King)," and "Do You Feel." Today's on the slower side, which is rather appropriate for the raining weather Valencia has given me today. I don't know where I've heard the chord progression in "Come to My Door" before, but I definitely have somewhere. It's a decent groove, I like it much better once the drums and bass come in - they keep it from feeling corny. Something about José's tone doesn't really mix the groove for me, but I don't think he sounds bad. You need a sappy love song every now and then, I just think this songs needs a little something extra. Decent tune. So nice to hear Emily King back on the blog. She co-wrote "Heaven On the Ground," and you can definitely hear her touch on this one. Something about it reminds me a lot of "Every Part" off of Seven, but that makes sense. She definitely has a style, that's for sure. I really like the concept of "heaven on the ground" - it's very sweet, and makes me wanna cuddle up with someone. They've both got similar smokey tones, so they blend together very nicely. Definitely a sweet tune for all you coupled up peoples. "Do You Feel" has a nice old school feel to it that I like. The piano part actually reminds me a lot of the piano in Aretha's "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman," which I love. I'm glad that it switches up in the B section - it's got a nice build up both instrumentally and vocally - and the piano solo is on point, but at 7:36, I think the song runs a little long. Granted, the different sections provide a nice extra, but I don't think it's enough to carry the weight of the song. I also wish the melody was doing a little more, but James is definitely singing his little heart out, and that's nice to hear. He just has such a soft tone, it's hard to really get a lot of build from him, but he brings a little more on this track, which is cool.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
First four songs on deck for review today: "It's All Over Your Body," "Sword + Gun (ft Hindi Zahra)," "Trouble," and "Vangaurd." "It's All Over Your Body" is a great way to start off an album for Mr. James - it's a clear representation of what he's all about. This track has a solid neyo-soul/jazz feel - it's nice and soft, but everything is super tight. I particularly love the horns on this one and how they go from short and forceful, to soft and sweet. I'm such a sucker for horns. The softness of James' voice works perfect with the instrumentation as well. I really dig the play with "it's all over, it's all over... your body" - mad sexy. The way everything smooths out at the end is super cool. Definitely a good way to start things off. I really like "Sword + Gun," but I think the groove overshadows the vocals on this one. That's not the worst thing though, because the groove is sick. I dig the Latin/Mediterranean feel it's got goin on in the guitar and keys (a little phrygian, for all you music nerds), and the percussion is super cool. Everything is upfront, and both James and Zahra have very soft voices, which I feel get a little overshadowed in the process. You can barely hear Zahra's part. I also think a little more could have been going on melodically, the track would have really shined with that extra umph. I had heard "Trouble" prior to buying the album, as it was the first single released off the album. Definitely another solid neyo-soul groove going on here. The hook is definitely catchy, and I dig the groove going on during it - sweet chord progression. Man, Glasper and that Rhodes... mmmm. Horns, I will always love you, and you do me no wrong on this song. I really like how sparse they are - it's a nice little treat whenever they resurface. I wish there was a little more pick up, by both the groove and James (I think that has to do with how soft his voice is naturally), but otherwise, it's a pretty solid tune. "Vangaurad" is a pretty decent tune. It reminds me a lot of Glasper's Black Radio, but that's gonna happen when you have him as a collaborator and co-writer. I really like that the keys and vocal melody mirror one another - it gives the groove a cool feel. Chris Dave is doin his thang on the drums, as to be expected, and I love every last bit of it. This is a solid tune, doesn't blow me out of the water, but definitely something sweet to chill to.
Monday, February 25, 2013
I've known about Jose James for a couple years now, as my brother, Taylor, produced a song off his second album Blackmagic called "Love Conversation." I saw him in New York a year ago, and it was pretty dope. He just released this album a couple weeks ago, and it's gotten some good buzz, coupled by some dope videos, so I'm looking forward to listening to the full album. Need me some good man music ;)
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Lianne La Havas is my new shit. Well, her and Emily King. I've been talking both of them up so much since listening to their albums. I really love Lianne's voice, it's super fresh and has such a great tone to it. After "Age" I knew I was going to like her, and it was great to hear that this album justified my prediction. Like most albums, I felt the first half was better than the second. "Don't Wake Me Up" is one of the dopest opening tracks I've heard in a while, and followed by tracks like "Is Your Love Big Enough," "Au Cinéma," and "Forget," there was no stopping this lady! She has such a great style, both musically and in terms of fashion, and I just love everything she's bringing to the table. I was a little disappointed with the end of the album, but only because the beginning had been such a knockout. I'm definitely going to be checking up on this chick plenty, because she's about to be hot shit. Man, I really hope this is the direction popular music is about to go in. Please.
Final tracks up for review: "Everything Everything," "Gone," "Tease Me," and "They Could Be Wrong." Unfortunately, this is probably my least favorite collective group of songs I've reviewed off the album, but no fear, that doesn't really mean much considering how bomb the rest has been. And when it gets down to it, it's only not my favorite because there's too much similarity. "Everything Everything" is probably my least favorite song on the album. It's got a darkness to it that is haunting (in a good way), and you can hear the emotion in her voice so vividly, but the song doesn't grab me too much. There's something about the hook that I don't particularly like, but I can't pinpoint it. Something gets corny, or predictable, not sure what it is. The slight build is nice, and I really dig the guitar part, but I think it could have used a little umph. The thing I find slightly funny about "Gone" (which is in no way a funny song) is the fact that it reminds me of something off the Spring Awakening soundtrack. Now, don't get me wrong, that is in no way an insult seeing as I listened to that soundtrack for a month straight after I saw the musical, I just find the parallel amusing. I like that this track is just piano and vocal, but the tone of this song is too similar to the previous track for me to appreciate it as much as I would like. Lianne sounds pretty fucking angry though, and I like that she portrayed that in a softer song. "Don't wait for me, I'll be gone," sing it girl. I just wish there was a buffer between the two songs. "Tease Me," now this song right here is fucking dope. I love that this is her playing the guitar, because this progression is, again, fucking dope. Another track that seems to read me perfectly (gotta love how music does that). "I hate the way you tease me/ I am not lonely, I'm alright/ But you sure don't make it easy to show my hand and say 'goodnight'." Damn, girl. Get it. The vibe to this whole song is just super cool, and I love the way she sounds on it. Definitely gonna be on repeat tonight. "They Could Be Wrong" is a pretty cool way to take things out. I especially dig when the chorus comes in and it's just vocals and drums and everything else fades in - super cool. The drums are the only thing I'm not crazy about in this song. I think they're too straight ahead the whole time, and I would have preferred that to be the groove in the chorus, with some difference in the verses. They overpower the groove a little bit for me. Aside from that, this has got some great stuff going on, and is a chill, yet upbeat way to take the album out.