R&B Fridays: Episode 39

For the first time in a few weeks, I’m not rushing to get this done. As great as that is for me, for you it means I’ve gathered a great deal of material and carefully sifted through it all to deliver the best stuff. Not only that, but I’ve offered a little more in terms of track reviews than in recent times. I’m alright like that.

Big names, small names, new names and old names contribute as ever to bring your weekly dose of R&B. I don’t see any reason to not grab the vast majority of the 18 tracks on offer, and as quality goes it’s one of the best episodes in recent memory. Click on to inject yourself with the goodness.

Usher-OMG ft. will.i.am
-You’ll recall this song from back in January, as it was one of the highlights of Ep. 30, and I’ve been playing it ever since. This is the official single version, which has a couple of additions to the production and re-sung vocals from will.i.am. I think I preferred the earlier version, but it’s worth getting familiar with this one as this will be getting the airtime as it’s the version set to be released worldwide as a single. Artwork was posted earlier today.

Sterling Simms-My Ego
-If you haven’t already got familiar with Sterling, you really should with this track. It’s a Tim & Bob beat (which as I say every time, means it’s stunning) with typically awesome melodies. Sterling does a fantastic job on this track, both vocally and lyrically. Very good R&B track, and possibly Sterling Simms’ best song to date.

Johnta Austin-Wanted
-Please, please release an album. This Jim Jonsin beat has a lot going on, and most singers would go for a big, energy-filled approach. Does Johnta? Does he hell. He brings those smooth, chilled vocals which juxtapose really nicely with this beat.

Nathan-Do It For You
-Superb track from one of the UK’s finest. Nothing complicated about this: relatively simple production with a piano melody, and some great vocals with a very good chorus. Really good effort, the likes of which are becoming ever-rare from the UK R&B scene.

Jason Derulo-In My Head (Official Remix) ft. Nicki Minaj
-Nice feature for the remix. I enjoyed the original, which seems to have a slightly different production to this version, and this is decent. I prefer the bassier production on the original though, it must be said. Good to see two artists of a similar stature working together, although I hoped for a little more from Nicki’s verse.

-You already know I go nuts for some new Lloyd, and this probably justifies that. His beat selection is up there with the best of them, and he always picks the right beats for his voice. This is that classic Lloyd formula, mixing it up with great vocals, dropping a memorable hook and all over an airy production. Great track.

Christina Milian-Never Mind
-The new Milian music just keeps coming! This is an uptempo effort, with a futuristic production. The chorus is very catchy/explicit, and genuinely made me laugh. You’ll see why when you hear it, not least because it echoes Tempest’s belief that ‘sunglasses raise anyone from a 6/10 to an 8/10′.

Claude Kelly-No Choice
-Alongside Johnta, this songwriter-producer is probably more talented than most R&B artists but is unlikely to release an album. This mid-tempo track is probably a reference for someone, and it’s a really good one. Nice vocals, relatively simple production and generally easy to listen to.

Usher-Hey Daddy (Remix) ft. Cassidy
-Cassidy slides on the rapper’s spot on Usher’s great track. Way better than hearing Plies, although I probably prefer the solo Usher version. Still, means you don’t have to listen to the Plies version and get a new Cass verse. Everybody wins.

Bruno Mars-World Goes On
-Bruno drops a really good uptempo track, produced by the ubiquitous David Guetta. One of his finer productions without question, and is taken on fantastically well by young Bruno. Would be a great club track, with this beat and Bruno’s superb vocals. He’s cementing himself as probably the best upcoming R&B star in my eyes (I’m sure Indi would back me up here) and I hope we keep getting this great material!

Joe-Last Night Home
-This is really, really smooth. A really good, old-school sounding production, and Joe brings some of those buttery vocals to round the track off nicely. Likeable track that doesn’t disappoint on any front, and will slide nicely into any playlist.

Mariah Carey-Ribbon Remix ft.The-Dream & Ludacris
-The buzz for this album has pretty much died, but this track is actually quite good. Mariah’s been far too quiet on this since the Nicki collab, but this will definitely go some way to making some noise. Everyone knows Luda’s credentials on the R&B features, and The-Dream’s credentials on anything need no talking up. Likeable all-round.

Vita Chambers-Young Money
-Apparently, this girl is only 15? Wow. She sounds like a much better version of Ke$ha, and I don’t really mind this track. Hailing from Barbados, she’ll inevitably draw the lazy Rihanna comparison but she’s certainly got a very different sound and has a far better voice. This track is going to be (if it isn’t already) utterly massive, as it’s exactly the sound that’s shaping the charts right now. Mainstream fans would be well-advised to grab this now.

Usher-She Don’t Know ft. Ludacris
-Really like this joint from Ush’s new album. The beat has some pretty cool elements to it, and it’s a really unique track. Definitely a great job from Bangladesh (the producer, not the country) who also helmed Wayne’s A Milli. Luda drops a great verse as ever, with some memorable lines. Something a little different, and I’m enjoying it.

Claude Kelly-All That Matters ft. Ryan Tedder and unknown female
-Claude and the lead singer of OneRepublic hook up for what is certainly going to be a reference track, given that they’re both predominantly songwriters. There’s also an uncredited female on this track: if anyone knows who it is, my iTunes would thank you. Good track though, and mainly a display of superb vocals from all.

Mary J. Blige-Each Tear (Remix) Feat. Jay Sean
-Remix of a track from her album, which is set to be on the UK release of her album. I hadn’t heard the original, but this is a decent pop track and Jay Sean does a nice job with his verse/backing vocals. Might be a hit for MJB over here.

Lloyd-I Need You
-Phew, after that duo of pop tracks I need some solid R&B. Lloyd delivers (when doesn’t he?!) with a really strong, emotional vocal performance on this. His vocals are outstanding on this, and he really pours some genuine passion into his voice for this effort. The driving beat is perfect for it too, and this is a fantastic track from start to finish.

Christina Milian-My Bloody Valentine ft. The-Dream
-More Milian, more husband and wife collabo from these two, more good music. This is really different from their other work together, as it’s really slow and deliberate with a really simple (and almost haunting at times) production. Exceptional display of versatility, and this is a very addictive listen. Christina proves her merits as a vocalist, Dream adds some nice backing vocals to create some atmosphere and it all comes together to provide a fantastic all-rounder.

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