I can't believe I'm writing this, but I absolutely adore Beyoncé and Lady Gaga's track and video for their collaboration known as "Video Phone." Granted, I haven't liked anything Beyoncé has done since "Me Myself & I," but I did show some love to Lady Gaga's impressive artistic ability not too long ago. Watching this brightly-colored and assertive display of female domination play out on my laptop's screen, I couldn't help but strongly desire plastic undergarments and my own entourage of devoted male dancers, capable of being the human equivalent of a Louis Vuitton bag I crave so much. Remember that feeling you got when you first watched, mouth agape and ass shaking, "Crazy In Love"? It's kind of like that. But with two booty drops instead of one. Take a gander and enter what accounts for contemporary Pop heaven.
I will be the first to admit that I've taken a take-it-or-leave-it approach to most of Alicia Keys' music over the past few years. From "No One" to "It Doesn't Mean Anything," her music has just been aight for me. However, in order to be fair, I also must admit that this has been a good year for AK, proving she has the right touch after writing one of my favorite songs off of Whitney Houston's comeback effort, and her major vocal contributions to New York's new anthem. So, I still give her a chance. Her newest video, for the song "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart," seems to be on that same page, with Alicia possessing super powers and a motorcycle that leaves neon tracks. Sweet. Nope, it doesn't make much sense, but listen... if Ms. Keys wants to touch sick puppies while prancing around in a purple body suit, then we shall let her. OK? Check the clip and hopefully you'll be like me and give Alicia her props for a solid, if not spectacular year. She's earned it. [H/T: RR ]
Unwavering dedication--at the expense of tears, heartache and sanity--throbs in the core of any true "ride or die" type of love. When My Life dropped, Mary J. Blige had become the poster child for tormented souls battered by incredibly flawed love and "No One Else" was her pledge to stay and never stray. Produced by Dalvin DeGrate and Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey of Jodeci, the track was rooted in a sample from Al Green's "Free at Last" and layered with gritty drums and a funky, slap bass to give it that Hip Hop Soul edge. Mary assures K-Ci (let's be real, that was her mega boo at the time) that her heart was his to possess and their "love was meant to be." While her raspy vocals bled with an illogical adoration:
"Can't hide / 'Cause I'm satisfied / Yes, I'm satisfied / Even when I cry / Won't stray / Stray away from you / I would be a fool / You know these words are true."With Slick Rick chanting "There is no competition" in the background, this joint had to be a tremendous ego stroke to K-Ci, who also lent his voice to the song's hook. Mary was indeed that "ride or die" chick and her streetwise monogamy was as real as it gets.
Mary J. Blige: "No One Else"
Tomorrow night, Janet Jackson sits down with Robin Roberts at her Malibu home for her first public interview since brother Michael Jackson's death. The session, called In The Spotlight, was taped a month ago and portions have started to leak in order to whet the public's appetite. The most potentially inflammatory comments come from Janet, directed at Michael's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who she blames for her brother's death. "He was the one that was administering," she tells Roberts. "I think he is responsible."
- Lupe Fiasco sits down with 'The Wikipedia Files' to fact check his own Wikipedia page [RR]
- "Gangsta Killers" Wale, Drake and Kid Cudi are among GQ's Men of the Year [KYU]
- While Oprah has no current plans to launch an "Oprah's Music Club", her influence on music sales is undeniable [VR]
- Spend a couple minutes behind the scenes of Janet Jackson's upcoming "Make Me" video [PBB]
Back when I had never been kissed and dreamt of a world where a fairy prince--who looked oddly like Jermaine Jackson--clothed in white would come and rescue me from the pathetic doldrums known as sixth grade, I always thought that this would be the song to accompany that most noble deed. Alas, this never happened, but no matter. Freddie Jackson's "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" is still one of my Quiet Storm favorites because there's just no escaping that voice. Granted, I was too young to understand why my mother kept saying that the match between Freddie and Michael Michele in the video was improbable. I didn't care. I just knew that at one point there would be someone special enough who would be able to rescue me from pathos and sing this song to me. And you know what? It actually happened. Relive or rewrite your own fantastical storyline set to Freddie's crooning once you press play.
Freddie Jackson: "Have You Ever Loved Somebody"
As another third Wednesday rapidly approaches, NYC Bouncers know what time it is: Sol Village time! That's right, it's about to go down this Wednesday, November 18th at our favorite NYC haunt, S.O.B.'s, for another indie star-studded evening of musical magic hosted by our main man Eric Roberson. We haven't given away Sol Village tix in a few months, so we're making up for lost time and affording four lucky NYC Bouncers the chance to see Joya Bravo, Divine Brown, Collette, Tufli, Kimberly Nicole and Teresa Jenee grace the stage. Sol Village is still the best deal in town, with a $10 cover ($12 day of) to see all this talent. Tickets may be obtained via TicketWeb or at the S.O.B.'s box office, but if you feel like rolling the dice, hit the bounce for details on how to enter.
Though I never lived in the outer boroughs of New York City, I was very familiar with "dollar vans" as they are still affectionately called. Since not everyone can live within reasonable walking distance to a subway station, it only makes sense that this mode of transportation exists. You may or may not be familiar with Dollar Van Demos, which provides under-appreciated artists their time to shine while being whisked around in said van with other likely unsuspecting passengers. It certainly seems that Joya Bravo took at least one passenger by surprise as she let loose her take on "A Milli" whose infectious beat was just about remixed by everyone who had a mic last year. Don't start yawning yet, since Joya's version includes a violin solo. Yes, in the van. She describes her sound as "eclecticism." I just describe it as intriguing. Take a peek below.
I don't pretend to understand K-Os anymore than I can pretend to understand all of the inside jokes on De La Soul's 3 Feet High And Rising. I just know that whatever it is that he does, I invariably find myself right along with him, whether he wants to be a cowboy on the lam or a spaceman as he is in this video. "I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman" features Saukrates and Nelly Furtado and boasts director Lil X at the helm for this far out video. My suggestion: watch it, love it, then cop Yes!, k-os' latest album, dropping November 23rd.
I wish you'd change your ways soon enough/ So we can be together/
You just don't understand good love/ But now all we have is memories...
Finally, we've reached the point where Mary is just about ready to let go. I mean, she has no choice. She's finally getting the fact that her man is gone and not coming back. After all the begging and pleading that apparently fell on deaf ears, she's preparing herself to move on. In time. But not before one last round of "I love you's," one last attempt to set the record straight, to recall the good memories. Which is natural. I mean, understanding that the relationship is past the point of no return is one thing. Actually letting go for your own good is something totally different. But it's happening. Finally. And we love it. The ode to getting over it is backed beautifully by Chucky Thompson, who sampled skillfully from Isaac Hayes' classic track "Ike's Mood." It serves as a perfect backdrop for this overdue Dear John letter. One that will undoubtedly signal a new beginning for our downtrodden diva. Help her get on with her life. Help her to create better spring memories to love.
Mary J. Blige: "I Love You"