R&B Fridays: Episode 88

A few interesting remixes this week, with over a third of this week’s tracks being of the remix variety. Other great tracks in there too, making this an R&B Friday that you’ll forgive for being a little late to the party.

Unlike recent weeks, there’s a pretty big recap on this week’s notable R&B/pop events: Yasmin previewed her new single, Tank came through with a new video, Timbaland’s #TimboThursdays rolled on, Trey Songz released the Love Faces video,  Miguel and Gilbere Forte combined for a fantastic effort, Diddy’s Dirty Money trio released an official mixtape, last week’s notable Grammy performances, Bruno Mars’ Grenade getting the Lil’ Wayne remix, and finally Erin Christine’s fantastic performance of Naked. All worth checking out, and more worth your time after the click below.

Justin Bieber-Runaway Love Remix ft. Kanye West and Raekwon

-A version of this was a part of Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Fridays series, and has since been retooled into this version for Bieber’s remix project. Thankfully (for the hip-hop fans!), the Wu-Tang sample has been dropped and replaced with a fairly generic R&B-style beat. In honesty, it fits the track considerably better and actually suits Raekwon’s flow on this track perfectly.

Marsha Ambrosius-Why Did I Fall In Love
-Very enjoyable soul/R&B crossover jam from Marsha. Defiance and confidence in the songwriting is ably backed by Marsha’s ever-likeable vocals, whilst the production boasts a strong hip-hop influence that keeps this interesting for a pretty wide range of listeners. Good work all-round.

Mario-That Shit
-One of Mario’s best tracks. Here he goes with the perspective of a man who’s being questioned by his girlfriend, and is sick of the accusations. I’m sure many people have been in that scenario, and it makes for a very refreshing subject matter, as so often we hear female songs with the opposite perspective. Solid production throughout, but this is one for the lyrics.

Katy Perry-E.T. Remix ft. Kanye West
-To my knowledge, this is the first time they’ve worked together, though it was just a matter of time. Their debut collaboration is for a new version of Perry’s track from her recent Teenage Dream album, and is actually a pretty solid track. As I said in a previous review, it has ‘an anthemic pop-rock feel that suits Perry’s voice much better than the squeaky-clean style of her usual fare’. Throw in some edgy Kanye verses (including the use of the term ‘alien sex’), and you’ve got a surprisingly enjoyable track. Tinie Tempah’s remix is here.

Novel-Hood Chick ft. Rapper Big Pooh
-From his upcoming Calligraphy album, this is a smoothed-out jam that has a warming positive tint. Lyrically, it’s the fairly standard R&B style but the relaxed, easygoing production and sharp yet smooth vocals seperate this out as a more soulful, mature track. Worth a listen, and looking forward to that album.

J. Holiday-What’s Your Name
-A marked change from Holiday’s usual beat selection, as he goes with a very uptempo, synth-heavy production that might surprise you. He makes it work very well though, and whilst most artists would turn this into a fairly generic pop/pop-R&B track, he doesn’t sacrifice his vocal style at all. Hence, that keeps the R&B sensibility on the track, making this a nice blend of soulful vocals and upbeat production.

Crystal Renee-Crazy ft. Wale
-Bit on the fence here. I think the mainstream/pop heads will absolutely love this, but once again this minimalistic production style just really puts me off. Can’t deny that she’s got quite a funky, edgy vibe to her voice though, and Wale does a great job on this beat. One for the chart music fans.

-Now this is a rich production. Polow Da Don and Lloyd seem to have some serious chemistry, and the diversity of this production is not to be sniffed at. The melodies are pretty light and pop-R&B based, but those bass hits are positively ridiculous, adding a thudding hip-hop flavour to the track. Lloyd’s vocals are as great as ever, delivering a typically passionate performance that makes the most of this production. The intro and the bridge are great too, and should really be tacked onto some kind of club track! From that upcoming King of Hearts album, coming soon.

Kanye West-Runaway (Remix) ft. Erin Christine and Pusha T
-Last week my research brought you the fantastic Naked, and this week we’ve got a remix of Kanye West’s Runaway that is probably the best version (outside of the original) I’ve heard to date. This beat was begging for a good pop/R&B act to sing on, and Erin comes through with some great vocal work that switches the entire feel of the track (for her parts at least), and really leaves you wishing she’d remixed the whole track.

-A soft guitar laced-production makes for a smooth backdrop, whilst Mya brings a more emotional and passionate style of vocal/lyrical work that adds yet another style to her catalogue. Feels like the kind of track we don’t really see any more, with this pop effort being reminiscent of the early 00′s style, and hence works as a refreshing listen.

The-Dream-Power’s Out

-Fresh off announcing his new album The Love IV is due in the summer, Dream comes through with some new material that keeps his incredibly high level of consistency going. His last album was comfortably the best R&B album of 2010 (I don’t think any other comes close), and here we’re treated to something a little different to the feel of that album, combining ambient verses with a synth-heavy hook for an all-round track that’s surprisingly difficult to define. I’m a huge fan of the raw, emotional style of his voice and whilst he may not be the purist’s choice as a ‘perfect vocalist’, he’s once again demonstrated that he’s incredibly captivating and has a superb ear for a beat.

Cee-Lo Green-Robot Sex
-Whatever floats your boat there Cee-Lo. Despite the very odd title, this is a fantastically bouncy track that can be accurately described in one word: FUNK. The retro guitar stylings add a catchy urgency that compliments the pounding percussion work brilliantly, whilst Cee-Lo’s vocals capitalise on that synergy with an epic, grand feel that gives this track a fantastic pay-off in the hooks. From the outro, it sounds like this is one that didn’t make his last album, and though I’ve not listened to it yet it seems like that was a mistake: this is great!

Justin Bieber-Up Remix ft. Chris Brown
-Say what you want about Bieber, but you cannot deny the boy has a cracking set of vocals. There seems to be an added maturity too, and his beat selection here is prime late 90′s R&B material, with winding synths and slow percussion that makes this a pretty textbook slow jam production. Combine all of that with a great contribution from Chris Brown (arguably, this track would have been better off in his hands), and you’ve got a Bieber track that’s actually quite good. Yeah, I said it. Did I just lose all credibility?

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