R&B Fridays: Episode 104

The last 48 hours are a bit of a rapid blur, so to me it’s still Friday. Very solid new material this week, with some of the bigger names in the R&B, pop and even hip-hop world making appearances.

Only the three relevant posts to recap on, with the announcement of the Future Hits Live tour, solid new music from Drake, and a brand new EP from the talented Rocki Evans which is probably going to be worth a listen.

Click, read, download, enjoy.

The-Dream-Body Work/F*** My Brains Out
-Two songs in one: Dream is labelling this a ‘double single’, as he blends together two tracks from his upcoming The Love IV (Diary of a Mad Man) for his fans to get a nice taste of what’s to come. The title(s) don’t really leave much left to guesswork with regard to the subject matter, and Dream delivers with both tracks. The first boasts an intense, pounding production that uses sharp cymbal crashes to enhance the memorability of the hook, whilst the second has a quicker tempo, and some very interesting lyricism (including mentions of his ex-no prizes for guessing which one!). Very catchy though, with a similar sort of delivery and production to Fast Car, with a very different subject matter. Both enjoyable, and very much looking forward to that album.

Skylar Grey-Dance Without You
-Very difficult to predict what style she’ll go with for her debut solo album INVINSIBLE, but if this single is anything to go by, we’re in for a hybrid effort that boasts a heavy alternative influence. Lots of spiky guitar work and crashing drums in the hook, with more muted yet somewhat more melodic guitar plucks for the verses, combining to really centre the song around that hook and hence give it a catchy feel. Has a very jagged, rebellious feel that might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but will probably get her some fans she wouldn’t have previously had from the alternative side.

Kelly Rowland-Motivation (Remix) ft. Busta Rhymes, Fabolous & Trey Songz
-Kelly grabs three real heavy-hitters for this remix, with each artist bringing a solid contribution. Busta opens things up with another tongue-twisting verse, whilst Trey follows up with a nice blend of rapping and singing that thankfully leans more toward the singing side of things. Fab grabs the last verse with a decent, if unspectacular verse by his show-stealing standards, but by no means brings the track down and fits in well.

Jackie Boyz-Memory ft. Christina Milian
-The ex Mrs. Dream links up with the Jackie Boyz for a pop-heavy collaboration that will pick up some fans in the younger, mainstream crowd. Anchored around a rousing, emotional hook, it’s nothing revolutionary in terms of sound, style or subject matter, but will be a simple enough pleasure for the mainstream crowd and could be a decent hit if they choose to release it.

Johnta Austin-Just The Way You Are
-Nothing to do with the Bruno Mars track, FYI. Having said that, the subject matter and general vibe of the track is very similar, with an appreciative lyrical approach being the main focus here. Solid enough production to enhance the track and divide the hook/verses up cleanly, but otherwise a relatively average song by his standards.

Beyoncé-Party ft. Andre 3000
-I don’t feel any particular way about Beyoncé’s music in general, but I’ll not deny I was looking forward to hearing this when the tracklist for her album surfaced, and primarily for that rare Andre 3000 appearance. His verse is enjoyable, switching up his flows on an almost line-by-line basis, and exuding that natural smoothness to paper any cracks in the lyrics. Outside of that, it’s not a particularly outstanding track, with paint-by-numbers lyrical work from Beyoncé and a decent enough production that doesn’t quite infuse the track with the energy needed to supplement her vocals.

Jagged Edge-Flow Through My Veins
-Closing off with a real old-school flavour from an old-school group. Feelgood vibe about this smoothed out jam, with a simple, mellow production boasting a real late 90s influence, whilst the boys deliver some nice vocal work to keep things engaging throughout. Funny thing to say, but a real highlight is the manner in which they work off one another with their backing vocals and adlibs, as it does add some melody and chemistry to the track. Good effort.

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