R&B Fridays: Episode 60

I REALLY need to remember to do these. I prepare them all week, setting up playlists and filtering songs, but come Friday I end up being massively distracted and completely forget all my hard work.

You’ll forgive me after the click though, of that I’m sure. I’ve made sure all the big hitters are involved in this milestone episode. Don’t believe me? Prepare to look (even more) like a fool.

Bruno Mars-Just The Way You Are (Live/Acoustic)
-If you liked the original, you’ll certainly appreciate this version. One of those songs that was always going to sound fantastic in an acoustic set, Bruno proves that he’s one of the most capable vocalists in the game right now with a phenomenal performance of his newest single.

Karina Pasian-Red Light Green Light
-Pasian exhibits a total understanding of traffic lights with the title of this slow R&B number. Good stuff as ever, with a soft set of vocals complimenting this relaxed and understated beat nicely.

Katy Perry-Not Like The Movies
-Another decent one from Perry. She has a habit of exhibiting this really deep/melodic side to her from time-to-time, and frankly I’d love it if she stuck with this sound. A really thoughtful slice of alternative pop that definitely shows her real talent off.

Johnta Austin-Sound of My Broke Heart
-As per every other track he’s made, this is another top effort. Much like the last one I posted, it’s got much more going on in the production than usual and adds a bit of liveliness to the usually-relaxed tracks he makes. It’s a nice switch-up for some variety, especially as Johnta’s vocals and lyrics remain fantastic.

Mayer Hawthorne-I Need You
-Soul heads, unite! I’ve let down my fellow soul fans in recent weeks by not dropping any real soul stuff, so take this Mayer Hawthorne cover as recompense. As ever with Hawthorne, this is that wholesome vintage sound at its finest and definitely one the old-school heads can appreciate.

Ne-Yo-Tear You Down
-Ne-Yo gets on his bragging game with this one, with bedroom antics being the primary focus here. Pretty fun listening, and it’s certainly graphic given that Ne-Yo’s a good writer!

Donell Jones-Love Like This
-Superb track from Donell. Varying between midtempo and slow jam, this one can boast a great production, enjoyable vocals and good lyrics. The beat will catch you off-guard for the first few seconds, but Donell’s vocals tie everything together brilliantly. Unmissable stuff, should be a massive hit but it won’t be.

Mike Posner-Deja Vu ft. Boyz II Men
-What an unexpected collab!! A great one too, with B2M providing some great melodies and backing vocals throughout. Posner does a great job on the lead vocals as ever, and yet again demonstrates his ability to pick the perfect beat for his voice. The beat in question is likeable in its own right, with a nice blend of raw percussion and electro-synths.

Caspa-Love Never Dies ft. Mr Hudson
-Very much a dubstep track, Mr Hudson laces this beat with his unique and memorable set of vocals. I don’t like dubstep, but it has to be said that Hudson makes this pretty bearable and it may be the track to fully unlock dubstep’s potential in the mainstream.

Karina Pasian-Understand Me ft. Trey Songz
-Great collabo, as you’d expect from this duo. Nothing but refined talent on the table here, with awesome vocals from the pair creating a memorable duet. The beat is perfect for this one, with a simple drumline accompanied by occasional licks of acoustic guitar. Really good all-rounder, definitely one to check out.

Nicki Minaj-Your Love Remix ft. Jay Sean
-It seems this is the official remix for Minaj’s smash hit, and it’s decent. Jay Sean adds a lot to the track, both in terms of verses and his backing vocals throughout. Good work from him, although Nicki should have probably done new verses.

Faith Evans-Gone Already
-Faith keeps coming strong with this comeback of hers, and this R&B/soul crossover is very smooth. Her vocals are on absolutely top form and the hook on this one is definitely the highlight, with a step-up in the production helping to elevate it.

Bruno Mars-Nothin’ On You Remix (Live/Acoustic)
-Another one from the same set as the opening track of this week’s episode, but this is probably going to be different to what you expect. As B.o.B wasn’t around, Bruno improvises and adds his own opening verse/outro which are really quite good. A welcome refresh to a heavily-played song.

Dondria-Makin’ Love
-I do like Dondria’s voice. She’s got a great team behind her (which includes Jermaine Dupri and Johnta Austin…I think!) and is definitely holding up her end of the bargain by delivering great vocals. A real soulful feel to this one, the newer soul heads will enjoy this as much as the R&B fans.

R. Kelly-Already Taken
-Remember Trey Songz’s superb single? This would be the original version, with new lyrics and vocals from Kels. I do really enjoy this sort of stuff, whereby you get to hear different artists’ take on the same track and such, as well as seeing how the track has developed. Vocals are great as you’d expect, and despite the DJ tags this is worth checking for.

Katy Perry-Milk Milk Lemonade
-I suppose I had to put something in for those fans after something more poppy/mainstream right? Perry goes in the complete opposite direction to the track posted above and delivers a slice of electro-pop that’s probably going to end up being a big hit. Not my thing, but pop fans will love this.

Frankie J-3rd Chance
-Frankie always seems to end up towards the closing stages of R&B Fridays, and always seems to deliver decent material. This one is a bit of a hybrid, as the vocals and their delivery are fitting for a slow jam, but the beat has some elements that make it a lot edgier and lively than that. It’s a pretty decent mix, although the beat does overshadow the vocals at times.

Karina Pasian-Promise
-This sounds like a live performance, and that raw aspect really adds a lot to this track. It shows in no uncertain terms that Pasian is one gifted artist, and must surely get noticed for her ability sooner rather than later. Fans of Alicia Keys’ early material will really appreciate this one.

Chris Brown-Without You
-A really heartfelt, passionate performance from Chris Brown that will probably win over anyone that hears it. I’m not normally into this sort of R&B/pop but I can’t deny the strength of this effort, as Chris injects some real emotion into his vocals that make this gripping listening. One of those with a progressive production too, which gathers steam as the track develops. Really good stuff.

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