R&B Fridays: Episode 105


Being on time is the new being late. Or something like that. Gone with a slightly different approach for this week’s episode, as I sympathise with the mainstream folk who come looking for some party/chart tracks, and leave empty handed. I’ve chucked in a few artists/tracks I don’t particularly like, but will certainly go down well with the mainstreamers, and of course there’s still a healthy dose of music that’s actually good too.

Onto the recap from this week, and three noteworthy posts: Frank Ocean dropped some highly anticipated visuals for Novacane, Katy Perry released an entertaining video for her latest single, and most importantly The Weeknd dropped off some superb new material.

Click on for this week’s punnet of healthy tracks.

Kelly Rowland-Lay It On Me ft. Big Sean
-Very solid pop jam from Rowland to kick things off. An upbeat, midtempo production holds things together, with Rowland supplying some solid, uplifting vocals, particularly in the catchy hook that’ll get some feet moving. Nothing spectacular stylistically, and it is a fairly generic effort, but quite listenable as far as mainstream pop goes. Huge look for Sean here though, grabbing a pop feature that will certainly be a hit, and he gives a solid account of himself on a clear verse with a couple of memorable lines, and hopefully he’ll grab a few more of these features. Will be a bit of a guilty pleasure track for me I expect.

Day26-Let It Go ft. Roscoe Dash
-I like parts of this, but others just don’t work. Roscoe opens the track pretty well, coming through with a fairly uncomplicated verse but working very nicely with this hip-hop/R&B hybrid production, and the hook that follows is again nothing complex, but works well on this sort of production. Unfortunately, the Day26 verses that follow are collectively one of the worst executions of Autotune I’ve ever heard, and just don’t come off at all, each stemming the momentum of the track and leaving you begging for the hook to step back in. Essentially, skip/ignore the last two verses and you’ve got a solid club jam.

Skylar Grey-Invisible
-From her upcoming debut album, Skylar described this as a song she’s kept in reserve for quite some time, and I can see why she’s saved it. Very emotional and memorable performance from Skylar, singing over a relatively minimal production for the that relies heavily (and succesfully) on some pounding drums to emphasise and supplement her vocals. Hovers that pop/alternative line quite well, and though it feels like it’s lacking that one big moment, it’s a sombre yet passionate track that has a good deal of depth.

Soulja Boy-I Love You ft. Nicki Minaj and Bobby Valentino
-…..what can I say though, really? I like Bobby’s contribution at the end, but otherwise this is genuinely awful.

JoJo-Marvin’s Room (Can’t Do Better)
-Got an awful lot of time for this. It’s always good when you get the reverse perspective on tracks, and going for Drake and 40′s great ambient production (albeit a recreated one, it’s not the original beat) was a great choice in adding some atmosphere to JoJo’s vocals. She definitely does justice to the production, and deserves credit for remixing this with some quality.

Pitbull-Shake Senora Remix ft. T-Pain, Ludacris and Sean Paul

-It’s Pitbull, so you know there’s energy and dance-pop, but there’s also a little sprinkling of classic/stereotypical hispanic music with a ‘traditional’ sample in the hook. It doesn’t really fit musically, but inevitably the clubs will eat it right up and it’ll be a huge dancefloor favourite. Solid work from Luda as you’d expect, the others just do whatever it is they do.

K. Michelle-#FreestyleMedley
-The upcoming K. Michelle goes in over some popular R&B/pop production here, picking out some pretty solid beats, including DJ Khaled’s I’m On One. The lyrical work is actually quite interesting too, with the extended ‘dedication’ to Lupe Fiasco being somewhat unexpected, and her frustration at her label situation also making for a good listen. Surprisingly enjoyable.

LMFAO-Take It To The Hole ft. Busta Rhymes

-Yes, it’s about what you think it is. As much as I usually dislike their music/this sort of music, I’m finding it hard to not find this really entertaining. They’re (hopefully) being fairly ironic at times, and lyrically it’ll definitely raise a few smiles, whilst the hypnotising electro-pop production will get you desperate to hit a dancefloor. Whilst their lyrics are rubbish, the flows are pretty addictive too, with Busta naturally cranking things up and dominating that particular aspect. Nothing more than a light-hearted, fun listen!

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