R&B Fridays: Episode 66


Full of big names this week, with contributions from Trey Songz , the new single from Akon and more. You already know what’s coming next…let’s recap on the last week:

A great new track from Gyptian, visuals from Rydaz-N-Rtist, a snippet of Chris Brown’s upcoming work, Kelly Rowland’s latest video, and finally a raft of performances from the VMAs.

I’m very proud of this episode. I’m pretty happy with almost every track, and as a result it’s reduced down to around 15 tracks. Very digestable, and hence easy for you to give most of it a shot. Click on and agree with me, all of you. Thanks.


Trey Songz-Love Me Better
-If you’ve got your hands on the album, you’ll be partly familiar with this track: it’s the complete version of the 40 second intro. Pretty cool idea, as many interludes/intros tend to be really good (looking at you Mike Posner) but far too short. This is a great track though, with an upbeat and positive vibe that allows Trey to express himself in a different light. Solid production too, with what seems like a sample of Run This Town.

Mayer Hawthorne-No Strings
-It makes me incredibly happy that you R&B Friday fans are taking to this guy. As I’ve said before, he makes soul very accessible for today’s generation by applying rich productions and an addictive vocal style. This is no different, and probably stands out as one of his more mainstream sounding tracks. The production is somewhere between pop, R&B and alternative, whilst Mayer’s delivery and lyrics add that delicious soul flavour. Great music.

Tank-Emergency
-Slowing things down with veteran Tank’s latest effort. Fantastic slow jam too, and anyone after a good bit of bedroom music would be hard-pressed to find anything better than this. A surprisingly diverse production set on this one, as whilst it comes across as fairly simple it switches up really well within the verses, as well as for the hook. Tank’s vocals are impressive as ever, and blend a relaxing feel with the dash of urgency the title suggests.

R. Kelly-Can You Feel It
-Another one from that upcoming Epic album, Kelly once again sticks true to that title with this one. It’s incredible how he’s clearly found a formula to make the kind of track that artists can generally only make once in a lifetime, and you have to respect the ability to make an entire album of songs that genuinely feel big. As with all of his tracks in this style, it’s motivational, uplifting and very positive music that is difficult to dislike.

Jagged Edge-Switch ft. Yung Joc
-I’m not absolutely convinced that this is Jagged Edge, but it might just be the autotune throwing me off. Either way, it’s pretty decent midtempo music that works as catchy club music or a chillout track. The best part has to be the lyrics, which made me laugh on first listen-I’m pretty sure it’s about swapping girlfriends.

New Boyz-Spot Right There ft. Teairra Mari
-Surprising one. After doing You’re A Jerk, I didn’t expect this sort of listenable R&B from New Boyz, though it’s undeniably Teairra Mari that steals the show with a superb hook. The verses are pretty standard mainstream fare, and massively rip off Lil’ Wayne’s style, but it’s generally inoffensive, listenable mainstream music.

Akon-Angel
-The official single from his upcoming Stadium album, it comes as no surprise that Akon has gone with the dance-infused style for this. All credit to him though, as he had the foresight to really open things up in 2009 with the Guetta collaboration. This doesn’t go for overkill with the dance influence which is a good thing, and retains a degree of the pop/R&B influence that distiniguished Akon initially. Will undoubtedly be an absolutely massive track on radio and in clubs.

Melody Thornton-Love Gun
-The perenially-underrated one from Pussycat Dolls kicks her career off with this very likeable track. There are a ton of influences in this one, with a very soul/jazz feel to the production and vocal style. Forgive me for the lazy comparison, but there are definitely hints of Amy Winehouse here, though with a stronger lean towards R&B and less towards drugs. One of those tracks that could either be huge for its originality, or unnoticed for being too different.

Marques Houston-Explosion
-Another one from Mattress Music, and probably the strongest leak to date. A slow jam that just sticks to the basics and gets them all right-driving bass, unfussy production melodies and well-delivered vocals. A simple hook caps things off nicely.

Keri Hilson-Lil’ Somethin’
-Chilled-out vibes make a nice change of pace for Keri, with an easygoing feel to the track making for likeable listening. Soft percussion and drifty production elements intertwine with Keri’s relaxed vocals to make an understated yet superb all-round track. As with all of her tracks, it’s not lacking lyrically either, with a memorable message conveyed throughout.

Brandy-Lifeguard
-Similar production to the above track, but upscaled somewhat to be a little sharper and less chillout. The guitar melodies in the verses are good, and set you up for the explosive hook which will definitely catch you off-guard. The massive jump in production from verse to hook will disorient you initially, but does add to the track positively after a couple of listens, especially as the hook is a good one.

Trey Songz-Panty Droppa
-Another interlude/intro that’s been extended, though this one is from his previous album Ready. I did really like the original interlude, and I’m delighted there’s now an extended version. A great slow jam, and like the track posted earlier in this episode, is definitely good enough to make anyone’s album.

Tank-Celebration ft. Drake
-Another slower one from Tank, this time grabbing Drake in for a verse. It’s a decent all-round effort, with lots going on in the production and Tank bringing plenty of variety of his own in the vocals. Fairly standard Drake verse, his fans will definitely enjoy it, though he’d be better off singing on this type of track for me.

R. Kelly-Victory
-Yep, another epic from Epic. However, this one feels a little more listenable outside of epic, motivational circumstances. Whilst it boasts a similar style of production, it’s Kelly’s singing that has a more personal feel and hence delivers as both a big, powerful track and one to enjoy individually.

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