R&B Fridays: Episode 85


To me, any time between midnight and 4am counts as the ‘night before’, so by my reckoning this is still a Friday night and hence on time. Don’t question it, just embrace it.

Short recap this week, with just the three noteworthy and relevant posts from the R&B/pop world: Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding’s collaboration got some visuals, a pretty interesting electro remix of Diddy-Dirty Money’s I Hate That You Love Me was liberated, and finally Musiq Soulchild came through with one of the better tracks of January, with his first single from his upcoming sixth album.

Formalities are now dealt with, commence your clicking as of right…now.


Jazmine Sullivan-Anything To Have
-Despite her ‘retirement’, music keeps springing out of her vault and this one is a surprisingly uptempo jam that has a really different style to her usual, more soulful fare. Attention-grabbing synths work well with a high-tempo percussion, though the lyrics get a little repetitive as they consist largely of a few words reeeaalllly streeeeettttccchheeeed ouuuuuutt. Can’t fault the vocals though.

Nicole Scherzinger-Guns and Roses
-A song that starts with a lot of potential, and depending on what you’re into it either delivers or it isn’t. It kicks off with an edgy guitar riff that suggests to me we were in for an alternative-tinted, more mature affair: instead, it descends into a fairly run-of-the-mill pop tracks with the typical production lull for the verses and huge upscaling for the hook. Vocals and lyrics are very mainstream too, and in honesty don’t really sound any different to any other uptempo pop. To me, it’s a bad thing, but to many of you it’ll be really enjoyable.

London-Paradise
-One of those artists I really do rate highly, but is far too intermittent with his music for someone of his ‘upcomer’ status. Tracks like this showcase his talent, as he comes through with decent vocals that have a very captivating, memorable quality. His beat selection is on point again, with soft melodies coupled with a lively percussion line that offers a production that doesn’t lull or get boring. Catchy hook caps this one off nicely, and this good all-rounder displays just why he needs to come through more often.

Dondria-Fall For Your Type Remix ft. Jamie Foxx and Drake

-From her upcoming mixtape Dondria Duets 2, this is really quite a good remix. Jamie’s great opening verse is left in, and Dondria follows it up with a very well delivered verse of her own, delivering some honest lyricism and capping it off well with a passionate rendition of the hook.

Lee Carr-Fall For Your Type Remix ft. Jamie Foxx and Drake
-Yup, another one. Lee Carr is next up on the superb R&B track, and admirably switches up the lyrical content with very good results. Retaining the same structure and melodies, he’s twisted the first verse and hook into a more serenading style, and definitely offers a unique perspective on the track.

Jay Sean-Freeze Time
-From his upcoming album of the same name, Jay Sean comes through with one of his more pop-centric tracks to date. Hence, I’m naturally not going to gravitate to this, but I can certainly see how this will appeal to the core mainstream crowd, with a speedy percussion and easy, catchy vocals giving this the right ingredients to be a hit.

Omarion-Forgot About Love
-Pretty unique and enjoyable track here from Omarion. Straddling those seemingly opposed lines of club music and chillout, Omarion delivers some really relaxed vocals over a laidback electronic beat in the verses, and switches it up appropriately for a clap-heavy hook that goes with a more pop style of production. Quite a contrasting mix, but it certainly works in a very original way.

Lonny Bereal-Don’t Play Wit It ft. Chris Brown and Busta Rhymes

-Jason Derulo part 2. They couldn’t be any more similar (especially with the lashings of Autotune) with Lonny’s unnecessarily-accentuated words and nasal delivery, and you’d be forgiven for getting the two mixed up.The mainstream heads will this lap up, but the others may want to give this a go too: the urgent, pulsating beat is pretty good and Busta continues his recent form with another good verse.

Tank-When It All Goes Down
-After hearing a manufactured track like the one above, there’s little better than coming back to a raw, human Tank track. Odd thing is, this really isn’t anything like his material over the last 6-8 months, as he goes with a beat that throws you off slightly. It’s not a bad beat by any means, but is far darker and more ‘hip-hop’ than his usual slow piano style, and does make for an interesting test on his vocals. Naturally, he passes with flying colours, and manages to make the beat work well with that passionate voice. Probably a demo.

Keri Hilson-Drippin’
-Not as rude as it sounds. Instead, it’s another one of those bragging-style tracks from Keri, and certainly oen that’s targeted entirely at the female audience. Can’t really say much about this for that reason, but it’s a relatively catchy pop-R&B track with that defiant edge that is ever-present in Keri’s lyricism.

Sean Kingston-Hope Is A River ft. B.o.B
-On the fence here. It’s far, far better than his usual stuff, with a relaxed vibe that owes a great deal to an atmospheric, laidback production. It makes his voice much more bearable, though I still can’t totally come to enjoy his vocals, especially when the lyrics are pretty corny. Clearly targeted at a young audience though, so that’s maybe criticising the lyrics is a little harsh.

Bobby Valentino-All Alone
-From his upcoming 60 More Minutes mixtape, this is a very good midtempo jam with a fantastically catchy hook. The verses have that far-off, airy quality whilst the hook steps things up with attention-grabbing drum hits and a memorable upscale in Bobby’s vocals. It’s a superb blend, and makes for a solid experience throughout the track. One of those that gets better with every listen.

Mya-Dime Struck

-Great beat selection here, and one that would be absolutely ideal for the man in the track above this one. Don’t really know where to start on it, as everything about the production comes together superbly: the melodies are well-chosen, the drums are urgent and driving, and even the ‘star wipes’ are useful in adding to the exotic feel of the beat. Decent vocals too, with Mya’s relaxed style fitting well with the beat.

Lloyd-Things I Like About You
-Not sure if this is set for King of Hearts, but it’s certainly got the quality to make any/all of his albums. That trademark wispy, drifty style of Lloyd’s vocals is on full effect here, and when thrown in alongside his more passionate and intense bursts, you’re treated to another fine all-round performance. The production does its job in embellishing Lloyd in the right places, and keeps things suitably simple for Lloyd’s lyrical dedication to shine. Great effort.

Dondria-No Bullshit Remix ft. Chris Brown
-The original may not be an obvious one: it’s actually from Chris’ In My Zone mixtape that was released just over a year ago. It was a very solid track, and Dondria most definitely improves it with some sultry vocals of her own. Chris’ lyrical approach on the original was true to the track’s title, and Dondria keeps the theme going with some open, honest bedroom lyricism that gives the track an enjoyable continuity.

Nicole Scherzinger-Cold
-Now this is better. The production is superb here, and has a thoughtful intensity that suits Nicole’s vocals fantastically, stepping up with a little more energy for the hook. Her vocals are on top form too, as she conveys her emotions in a more deliberate, mature and considerably less pop style than I’ve ever heard her come with: all superlatives that carry over to her lyricism here too, with some genuine quality on the writing. It’s got that rare blend of being meaningful but also one that could comfortably set things off in a club, and is probably the best song she’s ever made in truth. I’ll be surprised if she ever tops this, a genuinely superb effort.

Jazmine Sullivan-Take Over You

-Closing things out with yet another unreleased Jazmine track, this time going back to her usual soulful style. Very easygoing, unfussy production that keeps things minimal to maximise the impact of Jazmine’s voice, particularly in the final third. Passionate vocals as ever, and when combined with the smooth production you’ve got something that can slide onto a playlist easily.

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