R&B Fridays: Episode 87


Is it me, or is it taking pretty long to get to episode 100?! I feel like we’ve been in the 80s forever!

Either way, the R&B/pop keeps coming thick and fast with another well-proportioned episode for you this week. Four R&B-related OTU items for you from the week gone by: the latest video from the Dirty Money trio, the first mixtape offering from Dirty Money’s Dawn Richard, visuals for Sean Garrett and J. Cole’s collaboration, and finally the official remix of Chipmunk and Chris Brown’s collab, also featuring J. Cole.

Click on for music and a whole pile of related text.

Nicole Scherzinger-Club Banger Nation
-Title probably says more than I could. It’s a…club banger, and a slightly corny one at that, as the title would also suggest. Production is fairly solid, and doesn’t really stray too far from the dance-infused style sweeping mainstream music, though does deserve credit for some thumping drum work. Solid vocals as usual, and it’s one that’ll be easily digested by the mainstream fans.

Erin Christine-Naked
-This one isn’t new, but came about after a little recent research into Erin. I hugely enjoyed Say, so went hunting for some more material and came back with some absolute gold. This track has many similar qualities to Say, with a longing feel on the vocals and a production predominantly comprised of work on the keys, though switches the general vibe to a slightly more upbeat and driving style. Very, very good hook caps this one off brilliantly, and I’d certainly give this a listen no matter what you came in here for.

T-Pain-Seperated

-Possibly from that upcoming Revolver album, Pain slows things down with a ballad-style track. He’s surprisingly good at these (check out the Epiphany album for some examples), and is about the only person I’ll tolerate Autotuning on slow jams as he has a great ear for production: here he picks a piano-based effort that upscales in short bursts, and winds along with his vocals nicely. Strong work from Pain, glad to hear him back on this style.

R. Kelly-Doin’ Dishes
-Unlikely to be on his upcoming sequel to 12 Play, this is still a fairly decent effort from Kelly. It’s another one with a fairly minimal, key-heavy production, though it steps up a little more toward the last third. Not his best material by a long shot, but it’s an OK pop-R&B track that might find a home with the younger crowd.

Mya-Love Is The Answer
-Right, time to get back to the uptempo tracks. Another one that is a tad corny lyrically (but then, what mainstream track isn’t?), but has a pretty solid production to fall back on. Very heavy with the dance influence here, as the beat is ripped straight out of the dancefloor playbook, peaking into a synth frenzy on the hook. First time I’ve heard Mya on this style of production, and it works fairly well.

Stephen Marley-No Cigarette Smokin’ ft. Melanie Fiona
-Another fantastic reggae track from Stephen. Those smooth guitar licks bounce this track along softly, whilst his vocals retain the relaxing, laidback style, giving this one a lazy summer vibe that is desperately needed in the dark days of winter. Melanie’s vocals slide in comfortably too, retaining the buttery quality of the track nicely and showing she isn’t limited to the ‘powerful’ style of delivery.

Cee-Lo-Fool For You ft. Melanie Fiona
-Why not double up on the MF features eh? This one is considerably different to the above track, coming through on a vintage soul tip that suits both artists down to the ground. Very solid track too, as they trade verses nicely and come together for some strong duet work in the final third. Backed by horn blasts and not much else, this is one that pushes both sets of distinctive vocals forward, and makes for a nice bit of variety.

Jagged Edge-My Veins
-A more conventional R&B slow jam from the veteran group. A dedication to their significant other (as most slow jams are!), this one comes through with a solid hook and some enjoyable work with the songwriting. The vocals get a little bit off-beat at times, which actually makes for good listening in a non-conformist, ‘expressing yourself’ sort of way. Decent effort.

Kelly Rowland-Just Whisper
-A powerful pop track from Kelly, as she delivers a very mainstream targeted effort. It seems to draw on a few influences, with the vocals in particular having similarities echoed, grand style of Leona Lewis (though obviously without the vocal quality), whilst adding in a richer production than you tend to find on Leona’s tracks. Nice blend of a few styles, and should be a big hit if officially released.

Miguel-Come Back Home
-A very unique track. The production will catch your ear immediately, with its futuristic and electronic melodies being a little unusual for the percussion tempo they’re set to. It settles fairly quickly though, and makes for an almost hypnotising listen, embellished by a confident vocal performance from Miguel. Worth a listen just for how original it is.

Akon-Wanna Rock ft. Rock City
-Another one with a fairly unique production, though the application of it isn’t as enjoyable as the above for me. It seems here they’ve gone for the easier option of turning this hip-hop influenced production into a Black Eyed Peas-style track, which is never going to win any points with me. However, I’m aware many of you love the BEP, so you’ll really enjoy this.

Ciara-Love’s Funny
-Something a bit different from Ciara, venturing into the slow jam territory we almost never hear her in. Very minimal production to begin with, which upscales throughout and builds to a few big hits of percussion, synth and background vocals towards the last third. Certainly works with the pattern of her vocals, as she tells the standard love story message throughout. Ballad fans will eat this up.

Ray Lavender-Love In Rain
-See, I like the theory here: it’s bedroom music, and it’s over 7 minutes long. Most tracks of this style tend to be short, which doesn’t really say much of the artist’s expectations of the listeners (I surely don’t need to explain that joke), and Lavender flips that on its head with a very strong effort here. Impressed that he manages to keep it interesting for so long (easy sailor), and even though the last 2/3 minutes are just instrumental, it’s more than acceptable as a smooth, chilled-out beat.

Nicole Scherzinger-Killer Love
-Another uptempo jam from Nicole, and a little less corny than the earlier track. It boasts another good production too (I think they’re both RedOne beats), with that thumping percussion work being the highlight once again. Probably prefer the vocals on this track, coming across as a little more ‘atmospheric’.

T-Pain-Best Luv Song ft. Chris Brown

-These guys tend to have good chemistry, and this track continues their decent run of form as a collaborative unit. It’s very different to their more high-octane stuff, having a much more love centric message and hence coming through with a slower, more pop style. It comes off as a tad cheesy at times, but works as a possible chart hit for sure by virtue of having a very strong singalong quality.

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