R&B Fridays: Episode 52

18 tracks from 18 artists this week, with a bunch of the biggest names in R&B/pop/soul making the cut.

As per recent routines, I’d recommend checking over the R&B posts from the week gone by: Dirty Money want your love, Trey Songz is already taken, Lloyd has dropped 3 guest features this week, and Ciara recruited Andre 3000 for a Ride remix.

Next stop of the tour: click below.

Chris Brown-Talk That Shit
-The song doesn’t quite reflect the title, in the sense that it’s a slow ballad and not an angsty affair. Really good stuff too, and the ‘bedroom music’ lane is one that Chris doesn’t do often enough. Very good track, and a worthy opening for this episode.

-I knew nothing about this lady until I stumbled across this soulful effort, and I’m impressed. Smooth as anything you’ll hear, both the production and her voice lend themselves to a superb bit of chillout soul. Hopefully, we’ll get more from her soon.

Sean Kingston-Dutty Dutty ft. Nicki Minaj
-It’s no secret that I don’t like Sean Kingston. So, imagine my surprise when I heard this and thoroughly enjoyed it! It’s actually really good, with a catchy hook and superb beat (that is very similar to Rihanna’s Rude Boy). Summer vibes coarsing through this one, and I’ve got no reservations about calling this his best song to date.

Dru Hill-Sexual
-An unfinished version it seems (the vocals aren’t quite mastered right) but huge potential here. The beat is simple, driving and would work brilliantly with the style that these guys often go for with the vocals. Looking forward to that final version.

Riz-Flyest Thing
-You’d be mistaken for thinking this was Taio Cruz. The vocals and beat sound identical to a Taio-type track, but it works well enough for Riz. There’s a Middle Eastern feel about the beat, which when tied to the uptempo nature of the whole thing makes for a likeable track.

Flo Rida-Club Can’t Handle Me ft. David Guetta
-Mainstream club music overload! Having either of these guys on a track usually gives you an indication of what to expect, so putting them together creates absolutely no doubt-this is an uptempo, unlyrical affair that will do well in the charts. Nothing you haven’t heard before, you surely know what to expect here.

Johnta Austin-This Night
-Thankfully for me, Johnta cools everything down with his typically smoothed out, lyrical R&B. Probably the only R&B artist right now that makes the beat borderline irrelevant, as you’re always captivated by his voice and what lyrical direction he’ll take next. Great stuff.

Usher-Love ‘Em All
-Love this one an awful lot. This should have been on the album without question, as everything works perfectly for an Usher track-a slow, winding beat, good verses and a fantastic hook to cap it all off. Great vocals throughout as ever, and this is as strong as unreleased Usher material can get.

Alexandra Burke-Start Without You
-Don’t really know what to make of this one. Parts of it sound fairly unique and a little different to her usual (rubbish) stuff, but others just sound like typical ‘let’s try and make something kids will like’ mainstream stuff. The beat is the same, being half-decent and disorienting in equal measure.

Tank-Sex Music
-Veteran singer Tank releases his new single, and delivers exactly what the title suggests. Sounds much like some of Jamie Foxx’s recent material, and for newcomers to Tank that should give you a good indication on what to expect. Particularly liking the hook on this one.

Jeremih-I Like ft. Ludacris
-Another new single. The beat is suspiciously familiar to Birthday Sex (almost worryingly), and so is Jeremih’s flow/delivery. Depending on where you lie on this sort of thing, that’s either a good or a bad thing. It’s a decent track,  don’t get me wrong, but sticking with the same formula might not cut it everytime. Ludacris destroys his verse as ever.

R. Kelly-I Don’t Care
-Really enjoying this. All of Kels’ unreleased stuff is of a good standard, and this sits up there with the best of them. That classic Kelly sound is alive and well throughout this one, with a hint of his newer stuff thrown in. A slower track with those arrogant lyrics makes for a nice contrast.

Faith Evans-Way You Move ft. Snoop Dogg
-The first couple of seconds you hear of this beat give you an instant throwback feel. Faith capitalises on it with some old-school style in her vocals, and this is a strong choice for her new single.

Bobby Valentino-Altered Ego
-Big, booming beat on this one, and the whole track just smells of R. Kelly. I’ve not really heard Bobby V on this sort of tip, and it does take a little getting used to. It’s a good thing though, as switching up the style is always worth a shot.

-A rare appearance from a homegrown UK artist, McLean is probably the best doing it in the UK R&B scene at the moment (which sadly isn’t saying a lot). As with the above track, I’ve not heard this guy on this sort of beat/style before: however, this seems to immediately suit McLean down to the ground, with the dance-infused beat providing a lively backdrop to his more than capable vocal set.

Ne-Yo-Champagne Life
-The second single from Libra Scale, I’m enjoying this one more than the first. This has a much more classic Ne-Yo feel to it, but with a slight hip-hop tint on the production. Those classic Ne-Yo vocals remain the same though, as evidenced on the memorable hook.

Novel-State of Loneliness
-I didn’t forget the old-school soul heads, don’t worry! We’re a growing bunch! Novel channels Maxwell for this one, with a very stripped-down track that emphasises Novel’s voice, and creates a really raw and primal effect to the track. Definitely one for the seasoned soul fans, as the newcomers may find this a little difficult to get into.

Kelly Rowland-Grown Woman
-Since her ‘reinvention’ as a dance-pop artist, we’ve not really heard any of her older pop-R&B style. That changes with this track, that could quite easily be a Destiny’s Child (hell, even a solo Beyonce) track. An uplifting one for the ladies, Rowland brings some defiant lyrics with a progressive production to remind us of her capabilities in this lane.

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