It took me weeks to get through this whole CD because I just didn't want to stop playing number one "Boys 'Round Here" or number two "Sure Be Cool If You Did." Both songs are complete opposites, and what's so great about them is Blake is as impressive doing a slower song as he is doing up-tempo. I am crazy about his sense of humor on "The Voice," but my first introduction to him was on "Chelsea Lately," which is a show I barely can stomach. I was flicking through channels. He was on. And he gave her a run for her money. I kept hearing about the bromance between him and Adam Levine,* but since I was so adamant about not checking out who Maroon 5 was, I ignored it. (Just because someone's favorite color is maroon and she's been calling herself Maroonsista for over a decade does not mean she'll like every group with "maroon" in its name. I kept hearing those recommendations...nonstop!) However, again, flicking through stations, I caught an interview with Adam Levine talking about Blake smelling like liquor. It was so funny that I tried to figure out who he was talking about. And that was my introduction to one of my new favorite country artists.
What does this have to do with anything? It takes me back to the reason I love these two songs. What other country artist would sing about doing the Dougie? The beginning of the song was just sing-songy rap (think Drake but with a southern accent and much better tone). When he got to the chorus, then we got the grit.
On "Sure Be Cool If You Did," women wondered why he had to get married. No disrespect to Miranda, but Blake can be all kinds of sexy. My favorite line is "You can't shoot me down/'Cause you've already knocked me dead." Game!
I haven't done a music review in awhile because there are so few artists that make me want to buy their entire CDs, but I've been listening to Brad Paisley consistently for the past year or so. And considering I just got into a debate on some random hip-hop site about "Django
," this seemed like the perfect time to review this album. I can't figure out how someone could love "Django
" but then wag a finger at L.L. Cool J for doing "Accidental Racist
." My thoughts on that song are here
. The rest of the review will focus on the rest of the album.
I couldn't be more baffled by folks who enjoyed that horrific movie "Django
" but are mad at L.L. Cool J. One completely rewrote history and did a terrible job of it. The other actually acknowledged our history but wants to get past the finger pointing. You want to see a film that's accurate and amazing? See "42,
" or "Queen
I bought Brad Paisley's CD and it came yesterday. I listened to this song nonstop the whole way home. I still stand by the blog I wrote below, but I do understand the venom coming at L.L. Cool J. I think if he'd have challenged himself to not do end rhyme and revert back to '80s and '90s rap, his point would've been much better. I also think that another hip-hop artist should've done the track. Anybody seen Yasiin Bey? But I just can't see being more mad about someone justifying wearing a Confederate flag than I can see Nas and Kelis walking around with outfits on that say "nigga" or Ludacris in a full Confederate flag outfit, and we're just cool with it. I'm still amazed at the amount of people I have to check for thinking I'm going to be cool with you calling someone a nigga. It's never cool. If we want to honor history, then we're all equally responsible.
But giving rappers poetic license and defending them for Freedom of Speech but then lambasting another artist for the same thing? I can't agree to it. And at least these two guys' messages was to come together and try to unite regardless of our ugly history. Some of the songs I've heard on the radio over the years have been nothing but ratchet lyrics doing their best to make sure we
hate ourselves and everybody else
. I'm still sticking to my guns on being a Brad Paisley fan. L.L.? I really wish you'd do a remix and rewrite all of your lyrics, especially the "iron chain" verse. As far as Brad Paisley, the 13th Amendment passed, but that didn't stop Jim Crow, racial profiling, police brutality, Black Wall Street destruction, projects construction and then deconstruction, gentrification, etc. But on that same note, I'm not about to blame everybody by complexion shade for the actions of those who are primarily long gone. I still say the song had very good intentions. It just needed a workshop group to say, "Good idea but get back to the writing board."Original blog starts here:
Yesterday was my first introduction to "Accidental Racist
" by Brad Paisley, but I've been a fan of his music for a couple years now. I've heard every song he's released since "Who Needs Pictures
" and a bunch of his songs are on my Pinterest "Songs I'll Never Get Tired Of
" folder. So when I heard about a "racist" "failure" song he put out, I was thinking, "Are we talking about the same country artist who made 'Welcome to the Future'
and sang for Pres. Obama at the White House?" Hell, the last time I heard an artist reference Rosa Parks in a song, it was Outkast and she was a bit annoyed about it. (I love Outkast, by the way.) All the videos for the song had been taken down so I read the lyrics of the song repeatedly trying to find the part that was so offensive. I was never offended. Then today I jump on Twitter and saw another rampage going on about the song and how L.L. is rapping about how we should forget the history of slavery. I won't lie to you. I'm not a fan of the song. The beat is a bit clumsy. The chorus could use some work. The lyrics definitely required a completely rewrite. But you and I both know the theme of the song was to not judge people solely based on looks. We can dissect all the lyrics, but you knew that's the goal both artists were going for.
Now they knew the song would be controversial and judging from their interview on "Good Morning America
" they were prepared for a bit of a backlash, but what blows me away is not the song but too many people who are mad at the song. Here's why.
I didn't initially think that I'd gain more interest in artists from rating music on Slice the Pie
, but one week all of her songs from her latest album were featured on there and the more I listened to them, the more I wanted to purchase the album. Considering the whole point of the site is to give your opinion, there were some songs from Rihanna that I just didn't care for when I heard them. I'm a fan of both Chris Brown and Rihanna but I thought "Ain't Nobody's Business" was too happy-go-lucky pop and should've been harder considering the topic. The chorus for "Diamonds" seemed a bit elementary.
She yanked Ginuwine's lyrics from "Pony
" on "Jump
" and it didn't do much for the song.I could've done without her using the n-word on the CD (and Twitter). I just wasn't impressed. But then I heard songs like "Fresh Off the Runway
" and Future comically crooning on "Loveeeeeee Song
," and I thought, "Well, maybe the CD will be okay" so I bought it. And she did exactly what Chris Brown and Jamie Foxx do on their own CDs. She'll trick you into liking a song you initially didn't care for.
Ne-Yo's CDs are fun to listen to because there is always that one song that I can't get enough of.
On "In My Own Words
," it was "Stay
." (This is still my favorite Ne-Yo song no matter what he puts out.)
On "Because of You
," it was a tie between "Addicted
" and (if I had to pick a favorite between the two) "Say It
On "Year of the Gentleman
," it was a tie between "Miss Independent
" and (he sounded so much like Michael Jackson) "Lie to Me
," although I loved "She Got Her Own
" more than both. However, that single was on Jamie Foxx's CD, not Ne-Yo's. On "Libra Scale," it was "Crazy Love," although "Know Your Name" is a close second.On "R.E.D.,"
the first song that grabbed my attention was "Don't Make Em Like You
." I remembered his comment about Trey Songz on Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club
. I stopped being a fan of Trey as soon as he made "Two Things
." But I'm really disappointed about that because I've been a loyal Trey Songz fan since he first came out. I saw him perform at my alma mater before anybody knew who he was and came to see Young Dro (apparently now 3Krazy). He was my first choice for a Black Music Month series I wrote for Yahoo! Contributor Network
. He's incredibly nice in person
. I didn't (and still don't) understand why Trey had to take it there. So I understood Ne-Yo's perspective on Trey Songz's direction in R&B. While Trey is rapping about how he goes to clubs for the bitches and the drinks, Ne-Yo is applauding women who know how to take care of themselves while in those clubs on my favorite song from this album. Ladies, I really think you need to take notes on this track. How about being this
lady and don't go out like the ones Trey is talking about? Please. With that said, let's get into the rest of the CD.
I still remember Macy Gray being a little wacky at the Taste of Chicago a few years back (she kept walking off the stage and coming back like she didn't realize she was the star attraction), but her music always trumps the strange antics. "Talking Book
" is a prime example of that. Just listening to her chant "your baby" on "Maybe Your Baby" is a prime example of that. She brings the funk on every single song she sings, whether it's her own or someone else's.
The guitar and the hand clap instrumental compliment the track even more.
I will admit that I'm not a Stevie Wonder fan (saw him at the Taste of Chicago, too, so I didn't even realize these were all his songs until I compared them to the originals. Some Stevie fans are going to be mad at me, but I like her versions better. There's something about her voice that just makes these songs sound so much better.
With songs like Steve Wonder's "Superstition
," originally I would think, "Why remake a song that's already a classic to so many?" There are very few artists who can sing a song quite like the original, but I like Macy Gray's version. It's a little more mysterious, a little grimy, a little bluesy, just a great rendition of the same words. The strongest example of this is on "Big Brother." The instrumental in the background has a folksy feel to it, with the drums and what sounds like a tambourine. That's my favorite song on here.
On his version, he just sounds bored. On hers, she sounds completely aggravated by politicians who only show up on Election Day and all of the other instances of being used. There's something about that gutter feel that can make a song become more soulful, and she does it every time.
I saw a Craigslist posting about this site and was skeptical at first. There are so many scam sites so I wasn't sure if people would legitimately be paid for rating music, but it caught my interest. In high school, my first part-time job was at a radio research firm where we would call people and ask them to rate songs and say whether you were tired of hearing the song on your favorite radio stations. I liked the side money to pay for prom and graduation and plenty of Harold's (back when I ate meat), but I used to want to be on the other side of the phone. I listened to such a massive amount of music from genres I wouldn't have paid much attention to if not for working for that company. And I was "tired or not tired" of plenty of the music. As you can tell from my blog, I genuinely enjoy rating music, especially genres I like. Get paid to review new music on Slicethepie http://www.slicethepie.com?wyd=483331What I like about Slice the Pie is that I can hear a lot of songs I would've never known about because radio stations I sparingly listen to play the same songs over and over again from the same genres. That gets old very quickly, which is the reason I don't go anywhere in my car without a collection of CDs. If you know people on Twitter or MySpace who send you random follows, DMs or Mentions asking you to rate their music, send them to Slice the Pie. The artists get free reviews. The reviewers get paid to rate the music (so far I've seen it range from $0.05 to $0.17 per song). It's a win/win for both. Get paid to review new music on Slicethepie http://www.slicethepie.com?wyd=483331
Don't think that's enough payment? Quite honestly if you're on Slice the Pie to get rich, it probably won't happen. But if you really enjoy music and love to give your opinion on everything as much as I do, it's a fun hobby and reasonable side money. They actually do pay you, too. That I can confirm as of last week. My referral link: Join today!Get paid to review new music on Slicethepie http://www.slicethepie.com?wyd=483331
I don't know what I expected Meek Mill's CD to sound like, but it definitely wasn't what I heard on AOL's Listening Party
. I saw him performing on the "BET Hip-Hop Awards
" and fast forwarded straight through it on my TIVO. This CD makes me want to go back and keep my eyes on him a bit longer. I remember hearing "Amen
" on Power 105.1's "The Breakfast Club
" and liking the song (yes, I know the religious controversy but since I'm agnostic it doesn't bother me). I couldn't figure out whether I liked it because of Meek Mill or was it because I'm such a huge and unapologetic
Drake fan. I don't give a damn who doesn't like Drake. I DO! But on this CD, it was Meek Mill that gave me the "Yeah, I might be an unapologetic fan of him, too" look on my face. This CD certainly had a nice balance of impressive beats and wordplay, and better than that, he's actually talking about some topics that matter. I could definitely do without the "bitches" and the n-word, but that's a battle I tend to hold tight to when listening to hip-hop that I'm probably going to lose (minus underground artists). Before I go into that though, I want to send best wishes to his family during Storm Sandy. I just read this LA Times article about him being arrested and his views on cops and the storm. Hope it all works out and he is able to enjoy his new release.A few of my favorite lines from the CD:
"When it's beef I turn my enemies to memories
" (He probably meant it the fatal way. Not sure. But I translated it as removing yourself from your enemies' social circle. All you have left is memories.)"If you in school, n---a, stay in school. If you got a job, stay at work. If you a family man, be with your motherf----g family, n---a 'cause this s---t ain't made for everybody
." (Why do I like this? Because too many artists try to discourage folks from staying in school or being with family or having a honest job. I applauded him for not just talking about how real it is in the streets but telling folks to stay in their lanes.)
I said this while reviewing "Afrodisiac,"
but I'll say it again. I fell off as a music fan of hers after "Never Say Never,
" but I don't have a clue why. I watched "Moesha
" loyally from '96 to '01 and loved her as an actress, and somehow I focused on that instead. It took me resubscribing to Rhapsody after hearing her songs with Monica ("It All Belongs to Me
") and Chris ("Put It Down
") to finally start going through her CDs to see which ones I wanted and hadn't heard.
I'm still bumping "Afrodisiac
" heavy (got it a week ago), and now I have another CD of hers that I can listen to without pressing "next." She outdid herself on "Two Eleven
." Some of her CDs can be ballad heavy and then dance heavy and then pop heavy, but this one had a great mix of it all. She's gone through some grown woman relationships that women like myself can relate to. From second guessing why you're in a relationship to why you keep giving so many second chances to appreciating the guy you're with and being happy as hell to be with him, she did it all. It wasn't one big sob story about men (I can't stand those CDs!) but it wasn't so delusional that you'd believe men walk on water either.
I like CDs with ups and downs because you can just skip to those songs depending on how you're feeling and who you're dating at the time, but quite honestly, even her angry or sad songs got me dancing. I don't think I've ever bobbed around so much to somebody sing-complaining about a breakup. All of her songs had impressive beats, and there are only a handful of R&B artists out to date who are touching Brandy vocally. Truth be told, none of them could outdo her a capella in a bathroom! None, do you hear me? Well, Jennifer Hudson has equal pipes on her, too, but I prefer artists who don't give me 50 million runs before getting to the next verse. (But both are great singers.) I just love Brandy's voice. She doesn't have to go over the top to sing a song. She's just got that natural funk and soul in every syllable. I went through the whole CD and can't find a favorite song because every
song is a favorite. Eventually I may weed some out but for now it's a perfect album.I'd strongly recommend getting this CD today.Update 10/22:12: After listening to the CD several times, my favorite songs are "Let Me Go," "Slower," "Put it Down" (obviously, and why is it that no matter what dance move Chris Brown is doing, he always looks like he's doing it better than 96 percent of everybody else who can dance?), "Can You Hear Me Now" (love the instrumental, sexy song) and "What You Need" (the beat when she says "Baby, I got what you need"
is the BEST ever). Anybody who drives next to me while I'm listening to these songs in my car is in for a full-fledged car-dance performance!
Where did the time go? I still remember Brandy singing "Sunny Day
" and "I Wanna Be Down
," pretty much wanted to date all of her boyfriends on "Moesha
" and loved "Brandy & Ray J.: A Family Business
." But I fell off as a music fan. I'm not sure why, but when I saw her YouTube videos of her singing in the bathroom, I wondered why in the world I don't own more of her music. I bought "Full Moon
," didn't like it and bailed. What a disloyal fan! While she said some people made fun of her for singing in the bathroom (she explained the acoustics and I thought it was logical), singing songs like "A Change is Gonna Come
" made me want to hear more from her, outside of her Sam Cooke
rendition. (I like her version of "At Last
" more than Beyonce's, too, but I'm a fan of both women.) And I know this CD is an older one but while I was listening to those videos and watching her on "Behind the Music
," I realized how much I needed to get back to her music and went through all of her latest CDs to see which one I liked the most. I have no idea why I didn't buy this album. It's hot from beginning to end. My only excuse was that I graduated the same year so I may have been too distracted with college to check in on this one. Doesn't matter. I own it now!