R&B Fridays: Episode 61

Fingers crossed, this week’s R&B Friday will actually reach you on time!

A really diverse episode awaits you this week, with both an interesting mixture of tracks and a range of well-known artists making the cut this week. Plenty of content with over 20 tracks making up this instalment, you should have enough to see you through the next week.

Hit that red line below and eat as much as you like. Go on, go crazy. No-one’s watching.

Sean Garrett-She Don’t Know (Usher Demo)
-Kicking things off with an interesting look at the making of Usher’s track, in the form of the original Sean Garrett demo. I like the beat on this, and it’s been a bit overlooked seeing as it leaked at around the same time OMG started blowing up.

Katy Perry-Circle The Drain
-I wanted to save this for later in the ep but I really can’t, as this is going to be a massive talking point. It’s quite clearly aimed at ex-boyfriend Travie McCoy, resulting in a scathing, brutally honest and angsty track that really shows Perry in a new light. It’s rock-driven, which musically speaking is definitely a good fit for Perry, and as I said last week she’s much better when she’s actually trying to make decent music. Regardless of that though, you absolutely need to get this track for the lyrics-it’ll make you look at McCoy in a much different light!

Dawn Richard-Bottles ft. Trina
-I’d be surprised if this wasn’t a demo for the entire Dirty Money crew, as this definitely sounds like something they’d put out. As 1/3 of the group, it probably makes sense that Dawn is doing demos for them. Anyway, this is a fairly decent effort that will definitely sit well with those enjoying the Dirty Money tracks.

Karina Pasian-In My Hood
-Enjoying the lyrical message in this one. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a decent storytelling piece of R&B, and Pasian enhances her growing reputation with this captivating effort. Despite being R&B, I think a lot of hip-hop fans will appreciate the messages here.

Nelly-Tippin’ In Da Club
-From his upcoming album Nelly 5.0, Nelly returns with another club banger. He’s definitely got a track record of making party anthems, and this is definitely one to add to that list. As with most of his music, it’s nothing lyrically new  (although better than the Guccis and Wakas of this world) but has a real nice beat that will definitely get you bouncing.

Ne-Yo-No More Tears
-A demo for a female artist, and yet another that Ne-Yo delivers fantastically well. The fact he can make female demos says a lot about his vocal ability, and it’s pretty evident here with a great performance that makes you wonder which female artist can top it.

Sean Garrett-Ain’t Mine
-It’s almost like the songwriters episode this week, with another track that is probably a demo. Another decent one though, with a pretty simple, perky beat and Garrett mixing it up with his deliveries.

Natasha Bedingfield-D.I.Y.
-Very enjoyable stuff here from Bedingfield, with a pretty chilled out feel running through it. The hook will definitely grab you in, being very well delivered and having that air of defiance that always accompanies her music. Good all-round track, one that can slide effortlessly onto a playlist.

Sean Paul-Turn Me On
-You probably know what to expect here. Pop-dancehall sounds from Sean Paul, although he’s lost his knack for a catchy hook a little on this one. That’s not to say it’s a bad hook, but it seems to represent a move toward a better hook rather than a catchy one.

Usher-Pay Me
-Not set to be on either of his upcoming projects (the Versus EP and the Raymond vs. Raymond deluxe), this one is an uptempo track that has some growing potential. It’ll take a couple of listens to get accustomed to, but after that an appreciation develops and it’s a well-produced track that could have been a decent hit.

Sean Garrett-What She Doing
-If you like Sean’s recent hip-hop/pop/R&B hybrid material, you’ll like this one. It’s no secret that I’ve not been a fan of his change in musical style, so I’ll not say too much about this one besides that.

Ray Lavender-I Love It
-I’ve always had an appreciation for this guy’s voice, and the reasoning for that is evident in patches of this track. However, the rest of it is very Jason Derulo-sounding, which doesn’t really work for me but will work for many of you. The verses are good, but the hook is just jacking Derulo too closely for me.

Dondria-No More
-When hip-hop heads hear this sample, they’re either going to love it or hate it. Jermaine Dupri samples 50 Cent’s classic 21 Questions for the main melody on this one, and in my opinion it works pretty well. It definitely fits with her voice and the general feel of the track, but it is hard to shake the association with such a timeless track. If you can isolate it from the original, you’ll really enjoy it.

Baby Bash-Good For My Money ft. Lloyd
-Remember Baby Bash? I don’t blame you if not. Probably goes without saying that the highlight of this track is the Lloyd hook, as he comes through with yet another great one that will get stuck in your head. It’s definitely nothing complicated, but if you like simple R&B/pop-hip hop you’ll like this.

Wyclef Jean-Delilah ft. Barrington Levy
-I’ve got nothing for the soul heads this week, so I’m gonna take care of another of my favourite under-served groups: how you doing reggae heads! Wyclef and Barrington hook up for a taste of vintage, laid-back reggae vibes that will definitely spark up your summer playlist and keep the heads going for a little while.

Sean Garrett-Strobelight
-Pretty nice track here from Garrett. Loving this production, with its deep, bassy feel and the uptempo flavour the percussion brings, it’s definitely one that could give anyone a pretty big hit. Garrett delivers some capable vocals, and there’s a missing verse on the end so I’m looking forward to a final version.

-Decent track here from Dream. Could have quite comfortably fitted onto his brilliant Love King album, and boasts those classic Dream vocals with a slightly off-beat production that works nicely with the lyrics.

-Great track from Ne-Yo, and quite different to his usual fare. The production is a lot more organic, and has a very slight hint of indie-acoustic about it, whilst remaining dominantly R&B/pop. Couldn’t tell you if this was going to be on Libra Scale, but it would certainly be a good addition to any album.

Bobby Valentino-Stop 4 A Second
-A decent enough effort from Bobby V, although not as strong as other leaks of his in recent times. Having said that, fans of Bobby’s older stuff will absolutely love this track as it definitely has that first album feel about it. Worth checking out to see where you stand.

Usher-Mayday ft. Sean Garrett
-Ush is missing a trick if he doesn’t do something with this track. It’s got a really different sound to other uptempo R&B, having a likeable oddness about its production and an urgency running throughout that stays true to the title of the track. Usher even brings a bit of hip-hop flavour to the second verse, keeping things even more diverse. A real energy builder, and something a little different that works really well for me.

Sean Garrett-OMG
-It’s only right to end a Sean Garrett-heavy episode with a true display of the man’s ability. This one is definitely not a demo as he self-references in the lyrics, and makes a track that finally displays the R&B ability I try so hard to convince you that he has. A slow jam of the highest order, the simple production allows the spotlight to hone on Garrett’s lyrics, which is no problem for a man nicknamed ‘The Pen’.

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