Admittedly, I was not a Mariah Carey fan during the span between her debut album, its follow-up Emotions or her acclaimed MTV Unplugged EP. I more than compensated in later years and now hold the two real albums in high regard among her catalog. But, at the time, I couldn't deal with what I deemed bombastic screaming and just didn't appreciate her ability to hit five octaves. Despite possessing that talent, it was less present (on purpose?) on 1993's Music Box, which was -- arguably -- Mariah's last true pop album. Gone were the wails, not yet present were the hip-hop melodies, and in their place were subtle whispers, more control and plain old singing. It was the best invitation possible and a proper introduction to the pop-R&B powerhouse.
Mack Wilds is coming home for the holidays, which is good news for NYC Bouncers. The actor-turnt-singer who hails from Staten Island is spending Christmas in NYC and sharing his musical gifts with his fans on Monday, December 23rd when he hits the concert stage at S.O.B.'s. Not only will Mack be celebrating the season at the show, but he'll be celebrating his first GRAMMY nomination for his debut album New York: A Love Story. If you'd like to come out to congratulate Mack and get your groove on at the same time, then buy your tickets now at the box office or online at TicketWeb. Our S.O.B.'s fam has also given us a pair to give away, so enter to win now and you might just find these tickets in your stocking.
Disclosure's rebooted and remixed version of their debut album Settle is available now in their native UK and will drop in the US at the stroke of midnight. Those who've already heard the project can attest that this collection of remixes (with two new tracks added for good measure) is a winning companion to the original set. Some heavy hitters have been brought in to add their touch to the songs from Settle, and one of the most impressive names on the list is that of Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers. Any house head worth a soul clap will recognize Heard as one of the pioneers of house music whose "Can You Feel It" is one of the greatest house songs of all time. "Can You Feel It" will still to this day set a party off. Larry brings a bit of that deep house vibe to his "Chillout Mix" of Disclosure's "Help Me Lose My Mind" featuring London Grammar. Instead of setting off a five-alarm fire like he did on his house classic, however, he keeps his remix in the chilled out vein of the original and adds his signature piano and synth work to complement Hannah Reid's sublime vocals. The combination of Heard, Disclosure and London Grammar on this remix brings to mind the compilations that the Naked Music label released at the turn of the millennium that introduced many to the sonic magic of Blue Six, Lisa Shaw, Aya, Gaelle and so many more. This could easily fit onto a volume of Nude Dimensions or Carte Blanche. Clocking in at over eight minutes long, this is a remix that you will easily get lost in and enjoy every minute.
Now that his "Blurred Lines" has went from the song of the summer to the song that everybody loves to hate (despite landing the singer a few GRAMMY nominations), Robin Thicke is on to pushing the next single from his latest effort. He's already performed his new single "Feel Good" on NBC's The Voice, and he takes the motif from that performance a step further in the visuals for the song. Playing what appears to be a Vegas performer, he's once again sitting behind the mirrored piano and crooning. What's interesting, though, is that while he is once again surrounded by beautiful women (though they are much more clothed than in "Blurred Lines") he seems a bit world-weary here. A drink is constantly in his hand throughout the clip, and during the song's break down it seems like the singer is, well, breaking down (turning the refrain "Does it feel good?" into a rather ominous question). But soon it's back to light shows, showgirls and glitter, with that melancholy section pushed aside. What exactly is the message here? I guess that's up to interpretation. Still, this is perhaps the most thoughtful video to come from Blurred Lines the album, even if unintentionally.
As I've said time and time again, I kinda hate Christmas music. Not to say that there aren't a few yuletide selections that slip past my radar (in fact, it seems to be a yearly occurrence at this rate -- maybe my Grinch-like heart is softening after all). Jermaine "Hardsoul" Mobley and frequent collaborator Eric Roberson have created this year's entry on my "Christmas Songs I Don't Hate" list with their simply titled "Merry Christmas." Instead of focusing on the holiday, however, they make the refrain a romantic ode to a special lady. Inviting D. Scott along for the sleigh ride, the track is full of R&B grooves as Eric, Jermaine and D. Scott switch off on the verses and provide silky smooth, almost Boyz II Men-like harmonies during the chorus. And, as if their vocals weren't enough to make you feel warm and fuzzy, the soundbed spices up the typical sleigh bells and piano of the season with a warm bass and percussion reminiscent of the best mid-'90s R&B slow jams. If you wanna make this soulful cut a part of your holiday, you can pick it up right now on iTunes. But before you do, pour up some egg nog and have a listen right here.
File this under Best News Ever: Eric Roberson and Phonte have announced that they will be recording a joint album together. Two SoulBounce faves on one entire album? You already know we are all for this. The soon-to-be duo (no word on if they'll perform under a different name yet or not) announced the project on Instagram over the weekend with a brief video where they made a "verbal agreement" to fans that "in 2015 there will be Phonte/Eric Roberson album." Those words came right out of Erro's mouth while he was in the driver's seat with Tay riding shotgun and co-signing. This album is a SoulBouncer's dream come true (at least this SoulBouncer!) with the frequent collaborators finally committing to working on a full-length project.
With the holidays nearing, I'm sure some of you may be wondering what to get that special music lover on your Christmas list or perhaps looking for something to help you entertain during the many holiday parties that are surely over taking your calendar. Something that meets both those criteria is a good speaker, especially one that can switch between your library or a streaming music service seamlessly. Lucky for you, such a thing actually exists: The Sonos PLAY:1. But, though the PLAY:1 boasts some impressive features, is it everything it's cracked up to be? Just sit right back while I tell you why the PLAY:1 is on the money.
The more the snow falls in my neck of the woods, the more I realize Christmas is right around the corner. As a fan of anything Christmas from Motown, Luther Vandross, Donny Hathaway and Mariah Carey, I can't get enough Christmas music, but the one song that always perplexed me is "Wonderful Christmas Time" by Sir Paul McCartney. I'm not disparaging one of the greatest artists of all time, but I have never been able to connect with this Christmas standard until now. Anthony David has given us a real treat by putting an R&B/soul/hip-hop twist on the song. David brings along friends Carmen Rodgers, Avery Sunshine and Victor Jackson for this treatment that gets the head and shoulders moving, keeping the essence of the song and adding his own ingredients like flourishes of '90s hip-hop soul hits by artists like Mary J. Blige. This makes the song sounds familiar but different at the same time. McCartney should thank Anthony for bringing this classic to a whole new audience. Invite the talented Anthony David into your home over these next couple weeks for a new spin on an old classic.
Unless you were living under a rock on Friday, you know that Beyoncé pretty much brought most office productivity to a standstill by dropping a surprise cd in the middle of the night. Whether you were brought to tears or was only able to muster up mild interest, there's a 99.9999% chance that you had at least one conversation at the water cooler about it. While the Beyhive was busy losing their collective shit on "Beyoncé the 13th", singer Carmen Rodgers also surprised her fans with an unexpected treat for their ears by releasing her single "Make a Way" three weeks early. The track, produced by Caleb of SKP Productions and S1 (who incidentally has also worked with Bey), the song is the first single from Rodgers' upcoming release Stargazer, due out 2014. The nice midtempo groove finds the Atlanta-based singer, who recently hit the road with Zo! and The Foreign Exchange, waxing poetic about love finding her when she least expected it. Check out last Friday's other exciting release right now. And if you're in the Atlanta area, then be sure to check out her upcoming Holiday show on December 21st.
- Analysts predict Beyoncé's visual album could sell nearly 600,000 in its first week of sales, guaranteeing Queen Bey the number one spot. [THR]
- In Remembering Michael Jackson, Paris Jackson, Prince Michael and Prince Michael II shared how the loss of their father impacted their lives beyond the headlines. [DM]
- If Jay Z and Beyoncé are an example, maybe the Mega Millions lottery number to focus on is 4. [PM]
- Amber Rose revealed her post baby body, ten months following the birth of her son with Wiz Khalifa. [NYDN]
- How did Columbia manage to keep Beyoncé's album a secret? [BB]
pulled a Kanye andblew up at a magazine writer after being omitted from Complex's 50 Best Albums of 2013. [BB]
- The stealth release of Beyonce's album shattered the way an album is supposed to drop -- but is it for the better? [HP]