R&B Fridays: Episode 121

A shorter episode this time around, but more than counterbalanced by the glut of R&B, pop and soul material released throughout the week.

Two doses of The Weeknd were made available, the first an official collaboration with Florence + The Machine, and the second some brand new material expected to find a home on his Echoes of Silence project. In addition, Marsha Ambrosius released a new mixtape of rarities and remixes, upcoming UK producers Star One dropped off their new EP, and finally a great slice of soul from the talented Rob Murat.

Click below for the rest of this week’s R&B and pop provisions.

Kevin McCall-Goodbye
-Opening things with an enjoyable slow jam from Chris Brown’s running mate. A strong, simple production backs this one well with a combination of light piano melody, laidback percussion and a few additional elements that create a smooth ambience, whilst McCall’s vocals are nice and consistent throughout. One of the better tracks he’s released.

Trey Songz-Top of the World
-Last week we had an effort from the upcoming #lemmeholdatbeat 2 that I wasn’t impressed with, but this one comes from the (also upcoming) Anticipation 2 mixtape, and is much more like it. The original Anticipation still remains one of my favourite Songz projects to date, and the signs for its sequel are positive with this wintery effort harking back to the highlights of its predeccesor. The atmospheric production blends well with Trey’s vocals, whilst a wailing guitar riff works to add a little intensity and passion to the hook, contrasting nicely with the verses. Definitely worth grabbing, and I’m looking forward to that mixtape.

Jesse Boykins III-B4 The Night Is Thru (Syd the Kyd Remix)
-The original was an excellent track, and Odd Future’s Syd makes her second consecutive R&BF appearance with a refix of the production. Jesse’s vocals on the track lend themselves to a variety of styles, and whilst the original had a power and verve about it, Syd manages to skilfully utilise the natural mellow quality of the vocals and layers them over an ambient, ethereal production that has a fantastically relaxing quality. Undoubtedly a track that will get a lot of plays on those cold, winter nights, hopefully more Syd productions of this ilk make their way to us.

Ne-Yo-Strip Club
-A marked change from the two laidback tracks above, Ne-Yo brings a little bounce and liveliness to this one with a jovial production alongside some singalong vocals. Though it sounds a little unfinished, it’s clear that there’s a lot of energy in this one, and when coupled with the mainstream-friendly lyricism, a finished version could prove a hit with the chart fans.

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