Monday, April 20, 2015

If You Had to Choose 1 Album to Listen to, What Would it be?

boom 99.7's photo. 

This is the question a music lover dreads... their worst nightmare!!!  How can you pick only 1 album out of the many great albums out there that have touched your soul, entertained your listening ears, and made your body move?  After randomly seeing the question posted on boom 99.7's FB page, I shared it with my MusicLifers to see how hard it would be for them to choose an album.  Many tried to cop out and ask if box sets counted or even mentioned a greatest hits album, lol.  In the end, here are some albums that were picked:

  • Butterfly by Mariah Carey
  • Confessions by Usher
  • Miseducation of Lauryn Hill  by Lauryn Hill
  • Enter the Dru by Dru Hill
  • Illmatic by Nas
  • American Gangster by Jay Z
  • Purple Rain Soundtrack by Prince
  • My Life and What's the 411 by Mary J. Blige
  • The Essential Miles Davis by Miles Davis
  • My Favourite Faded Fantasy by Damien Rice
  • The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem

Although albums were eventually picked, it wasn't without experiencing some heartache during this very difficult and painful task.  At the end of the day, I think the overall successful strategy is to either pick an album that has a variety of musical tempos or one that brings back memories as you listen to it.


What album would you choose?

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Recap Report: 4/17/15


The Recap Report:  A feature post that highlights interesting music news collected from the music streets you might have missed


Origin Stories: D’Angelo - Some of D'Angelo's earliest contacts in the music industry and his brother are interviewed to find out about his earliest days in music.

The music industry has hit its rock bottom - Find out the reasons for the huge decline in global recorded music industry revenue.

Why Musicians Want Radio Stations to Start Paying Them - Due to decline in record sales, artists and labels are looking to radio as new revenue stream.

Exclusive NBA Playoffs Playlists - Eastern and Western Conference players share their favorite playoff pump-up jams.



JHud joins James Corden of The Late Late Show in some carpool karaoke that was hilarious!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Voice Season 8: Top 12 Recap


Monday and Tuesday at 8/9c on NBC

I'm a day late but here are my favorite performances from Monday's Top 12 with Reba McEntire as the guest adviser.


Contestant:  Hannah Kirby
Team:  Blake
Song: Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks

This was the first time I could say I loved a performance from her and the song was a perfect choice.


Contestant:  Sawyer Fredericks
Song:  Imagine by John Lennon
Team:  Pharrell

He took a risk to sing such an iconic song but his acoustic interpretation was incredible.


ContestantKimberly Nichole
Song:  House of the Rising Sun
Team:  Christina

SHE SLAYED THIS SONG!!!!!  Like Adam said "WHAAAAAAAAT"


The first time in the history of the instant save, the votes were extremely close as Mia Z, Brian, and Deanna were in the bottom.  Very disappointed that Mia landed in the bottom.  Her Top 12 performance wasn't the best but her others were phenomenal.  In the end, Deanna was saved.  There's just something special about her and her unique voice, I'm glad she's still in the competition!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

A New Era of Releasing & Creating Music is Born


Seems like nowadays artists are taking more non-traditional avenues when it comes to releasing and creating their albums.  Thought I would highlight 2 popular ones in particular:


Surprise Album Drops

Gone are the days when artists would announce way in advance the date of their impending album release.  I remember, marking the date on my calender and counting down the days until the album would drop.  Now, artists are randomly announcing albums, that nobody knew was coming, and making it instantly available.  It could be having the album instantly appear on a user's iTunes (U2), available for download on iTunes (Beyonce) or through a unique app (Jay Z).  One of the reasons artists do this is to be one step ahead of the people who leak albums.

Beyonce wasn't the first to choose this route, but when took to social media to announce the release of her self-titled 5th album in 2013, she started the trend.  To end 2014, D'Angelo followed by dropping his Black Messiah album.  Just recently, Kendrick Lamar released his highly anticipated sophomore album To Pimp a Butterfly a week before schedule.  All artists saw great album sale and chart success.

But not all artists can get away with and have success in dropping a surprise album.  It worked for Bey for several reasons. . .she has already proven herself to be a very successful and established artist that has consistently dropped good music, and she has an insanely dedicated fan base of millions to name only a few.  So it wasn't a surprise that Beyonce was a great piece of work!  D'Angelo's surprise album was a great "welcome back" and made him relevant again because fans were waiting for so long for new material.  However, I think Kendrick took the most risk about TPAB was only his sophomore effort and he hasn't been in the mainstream game for that long.


Other artists who could probably get away with jumping on the surprise album bandwagon would be Maxwell because new material from him is soooooo overdue and Jill Scott, especially after she dropped that great single You Don't Know.


Kickstarter-Funded Albums

Another non-traditional method artists are using is using the crowd-sourcing platform Kickstarter to raise funds to support the creation on an album.  This method received a lot of buzz when in January, TLC asked fans to contribute to their Kickstarter campaign to finance their last album.  For those that contributed, they received a personalized reward from TLC in appreciation.  They ended up exceeding their goal.  Recently, De La Soul turned to Kickstarter to raise funds to create their first album in 11 years.  They reached their goal by double in 2 days!  However, not all artists can get away with this.  Having a strong and devoted fan base for this method is key because an artist is relying solely on their fan base believing it's even worth it to contribute money to fund an album.


Will these new elements entice more artists to jump on board and leave the traditional methods behind?  I guess we will have to wait and see.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Recap Report: 4/10/15


The Recap Report:  A feature post that highlights interesting music news collected from the music streets you might have missed


John Legend Producing Miguel-Starring Musical Romantic Drama - Film is about a former singer who regains his love for music when he coaching an aspiring singer.

Billie Holiday: A Singer Beyond Our Understanding - As it would've been Holiday's 100th birthday this week, article explains why she was ahead of her time.

Bobby Caldwell on Black Radio - Find out how an album cover launched a white R&B singer in the late 70s.

The most famous bassist you've probably never heard of - Learn about bassist Pino Palladino who contributed on D'Angelo's latest and many other popular hits.

Selena Hologram Is Not 'Creepy or Weird,' Says Singer's Sister - Selena's family states hologram will be used to continue her legacy.

John Singleton Exits Tupac Biopic, Plans Competing Film - Singleton exits due to direction of film and states he will do one of his own that represents all aspects of who Tupac was.



Check out this young girls perform the classic Metallic song Enter Sandman.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Analyze This: "Masterpiece (Mona Lisa)" by Jazmine Sullivan


Analyze This:  An in depth look at the lyrical content of a song to provide insight



My eyes ain't used to these rays
I'm feeling exposed, but I hide no more
I can't hide
As the sun shines on all of my glory
My flaws don't look so bad at all
What was I so afraid of?

CHORUS
Every part of me is a vision of a portrait
Of Mona, Mona Lisa
Every part of me is beautiful
And I finally see I'm a work of art
A masterpiece

Who is this I've tried so long fight?
Filling my heads with lies that I'm not good enough
Then I heard something in my ear
Tell I'm perfect, now that I know the truth
Time to show and prove

CHORUS

And now I see the pretty colors on my canvas
I'm a work of art, a Mona Lisa
I'll share my picture with the world
Not afraid to let it show anymore

I can light the night, shine so bright
(Let my colors paint the sky)
I can light the night, shine so bright
(There is beauty in my eyes)
I can light the night, shine so bright
(And I can see it now, I believe it now, I can feel it now)
I can light the night, shine so bright
(Want the world to see, I'm a work of art. I'm a masterpiece)
I can light the night, shine so bright
(I am beautiful)

CHORUS


J9's Analysis:  When I first listened to the album, it was this song that spoke to me loudly.  It came at a time when I just had a conversation with a friend who had battles of her own with beauty insecurities.  What great timing to have this song that Jazmine so beautifully created to serve as a women's anthem to capture the journey of rediscovering a woman's inner and outer beauty.

The song begins as if Jazmine was Sleeping Beauty who had just awakened from a deep sleep of insecurity.  Now awake, she realizes and accepts her true beauty like in the lyric My flaws don't look so bad at all.  I love how she calls herself a masterpiece and compares herself to the Mona Lisa painting, considered the greatest portrait of all time.  What a bold statement to say that it's not perfections but it's her imperfections that make her a masterpiece!

She then attacks the societal norms that for so long dominated her mind, body, and soul determining the definition of her beauty.  But Jazmine's strength shines through as she fights to reclaim that power.  Toward the end, you can feel this crescendo effect of strength, conviction, and self-confidence not only in the music but also in Jazmine's vocal delivery as she continues to discover all of her beauty and is ready to come out of her shell to let the whole world see.

In an interview, Jazmine stated "First of all, Mona Lisa was one of the more personal songs for me. I had been battling with self-love & self-image issues for a long time – as do many women. Being in a society but definitely being in the industry where there are no women who look like me. There are no big and thick girls for me to look too. There are no women who even sound like me with the raspy voice right now.  So I had been dealing with that and it’s still something that I am dealing with. I am still on a personal journey to loving myself fully. . . I was kind of reminding myself to know that wherever I am at, whatever situation I am in, I am beautiful, I am a masterpiece."

Thank you Jazmine for sharing your vulnerabilities with your fans.  Although, this is a continuous battle that we all face, it's nice to have a song to refer to when you feel your insecurities are overpowering you.  Every time I listen to this song, I immediately feel fierce and it reminds me that I too am a work of art. . . A MASTERPIECE!!

Sidenote:  The song and delivery sort of reminds me of the 1989 song by Regina Belle Baby, Come to Me.



Product Details

Masterpiece (Mona Lisa) is off Jazmine's third studio album Reality Show.  Click on the image to buy.

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