- "Sumthin' Wicked This Way Comes" in the form of more tales economic hardship. T-Boz is losing her house, too. [VIBE]
- Andy Samberg has teamed up with Norah Jones, Justin Timberlake, E-40 and others for his forthcoming album Incredibad which will undoubtedly include songs about body parts and fluids, and probably be funny. [MTV]
- Aretha Franklin is of the people and knows we're broke and can't afford concert tickets: she will be giving a free concert for MLK Day at the Kennedy Center. [SJN]
- Congratulations to Usher and Tameka on the birth of their second son! [E!]
I pride myself on being the "old soul" of the SoulBounce staff, which means that any and everything I love musically more than likely has an old school feel to it. Using that as a disclaimer, what made this year special for me was the amount of unsigned, slept-on and independent talent that rose to glory--and onto my main playlists. So just as my partners in soul put you on to their picks, it's now my turn to let you in on what I thought were some standout tracks from the past year. So below and after the bounce--in no particular order--are my ten of my favorites from 2008.
1. Lalah Hathaway: "That Was Then"
I can't help but grin ear to ear when I hear this woman's voice. So when her first album in years, Self Portrait, was released this past June, needless to say I was all over it. The lead single, "Let Go," had me smiling. This ballad, which was never released as a single, had me reminiscing. It was the lyrics, sure, but blended with Lalah's just-about-perfect, soaring voice, what it really did was force me to just close my eyes and smile, realizing that the voice I'd been missing for too long was finally back. And better than ever.
If you have yet add Ledisi's new Christmas album, It's Christmas, to your collection of holiday albums, then what are you waiting on? The big day is officially two weeks away, and trust me when I say that this CD is perfect for giving and for buying and keeping a copy for yourself, too. In case you need anymore incentive to add It's Christmas into rotation immediately, check out Ledisi in the video below. She speaks about the album and why she decided to record it, explains why she included certain holiday standards and expounds on the four original pieces that she co-wrote for the disc. Let Ledisi be the one to bring you joy this Christmas.
Ledisi It's Christmas [Amazon][iTunes]
Many may remember SoCal songstress Havana from her Nicolay-produced single "Shine," which got major burn in 2005. The track was the standout cut on her enjoyable debut album, Life. She's been in the lab working on her sophomore set scheduled for release next year. The album is entitled Entervention and "Nitelife" is a song from the set that has been floating about for the past week. When the Baltimore Club-esque beat drops in, you may find your body involuntarily moving to the music. Whereas the track will grab you, its the lyrics that will really hold your attention. Havana sings about the flip side of stripping and selling your body to the night. Her straight-up-no-chaser version isn't as glamorous as some rappers would lead you to believe in their music and videos. In the midst of rocking to the beat, you'll find yourself feeling sorry for the female subject of the lyrics. This song is deep, and long after it ends you'll be repeating the refrain "she ain't living right" in your head. [H/T: SIS/W$/TCS]
Havana feat. Trackademics: "Nitelife"
The phenom with the enormous vocal range who dominated pop music in the '90s is set to remind us of how and why we came to love her. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago when we could expect Mariah Carey's music to be compelling, led by her powerful voice. Fortunately, a compilation album filled with some of her most known and successful ballads will actually be released in the US on January 20th. Though this isn't exactly breaking news it is still good news. Although any Mariah superfan with their weight in stanship already has all the songs on the track list in their collection, it would be a nice album to have for anyone who doesn't want to do the work of gathering the songs themselves. [SR]
Well, color me surprised. It seems as though Keyshia Cole has teamed up with producer The ARE to create quite a banger of a track. From her new album, A Different Me, not only does this beat fit her voice and doesn't have her relying on abhorrent theatrics, but the track is a nice mid-tempo dance groove that will get dance floors heated at the upcoming bevy of Chrismahannukahkwanzaa and New Years' parties that we'll all be subjected to in the upcoming weeks. Be sure to get your two-step on and lift up your spiked egg nog to this one. [H/T: RIK]
It's all fun and games until someone says something stupid, or continues singing after their brother passes out on stage. Today we're counting down The Top 10 Worst Moments in Black Music, and most of it isn't very funny at all. More like SAD. Perhaps when we do this list next year, we'll all be able to engage in hearty communal schadenfreude instead of our side-eyes doing the jitterbug.
#10: ARETHA FRANKLIN VS. EVERYBODY
2008 was quite the year for this legend wasn't it? I think maybe she released a Christmas album, right? At any rate, Aretha Franklin kept us in stitches not only by somehow murdering "Touch My Body" (which was already D.O.A.), and drawing the ire of PETA (who, admittedly, picks on rich people for GP) but with her well-publicized beef with Beyoncé and Tina Turner. Now we all know how highly Bey regards Tina, so it is without question that she would refer to her as "The Queen". Aretha responded from her Clock Tower in the Haunted Forest that the Grammy writers and Bey were courting controversy, which sounds more like a threat than an observation. Then Beyoncé's father
Joe Jackson Mathew Knowles told Aretha to sit down somewhere, while Tina Turner offered "Oh that crazy ReRe always got jokes!" And then Aretha told Tina to go to Hell, right before pretending Beyoncé didn't exist. Oh, what hell you have wrought, Beyoncé!
- These days, it seems everyone has their own clothing line. Even...Monica's son?!? [C+D]
- Beyoncé has signed on to front the latest rumored remake of A Star is Born. (After that, she'll be starring as all three members of Brownstone for their VH1 Behind the Music special.) [BS]
- Don't all click over at once: Russell Simmons sounds off on dating and race. [NB]
- Umm, ladies and gentlemen. Introducing the Pharrell Williams *cough* candle collection. [WH]
- Before getting their house band on, The Roots are inviting their fans to spend New Year's Eve with them in Miami. [OKP]
Today it's my turn to reveal my Top 10 Songs of 2008, and I have a tough act to follow thanks to ill Mami and nOva bringing their respective year-ending heat, but I'll do my best nonetheless. Examining my list of faves compared to last year, indie artists represented in '08, I was either shaking my groove thang or laying it down, and once again someone with the initials ER is on top. So without further delay, here are my songs of the year ranked in order of how much I loved them.
10. Q-Tip feat. Norah Jones: "Life Is Better"
I first heard this song at the Q-Tip listening party and it was one of many tracks to have me open that night. This is Q-Tip's love song for Hip Hop and Norah's voice floats over the beat. With artists like Tip still going strong and producing relevant, good music, methinks that maybe I do still love H.E.R.