R&B Fridays: Episode 125

A nice, summery picture to further brighten up your surprisingly sunny winter day.

A decent number of posts to catch up on from the week gone by: very enjoyable new visuals from Cherri Prince, an excellent blend of jazz, soul and more from the ReGeneration project, a review of Florence + The Machine’s latest album, and finally two mixtapes from Trey Songz, the first a more hip-hop styled effort, and the other the sequel to his excellent Anticipation R&B mixtape.

Click below for this week’s box of healthy, nutritious musical snacks.

Robin Thicke-Pretty Lil’ Heart ft. Lil’ Wayne
-From his Love After War album, Robin links up with frequent collaborator Lil’ Wayne for a solid effort that floats across a few genres. The production blends jazz, soul and R&B, with a horn section met with soft keys and a slow jam-paced percussion for a mellow yet engaging style that makes for a diverse listen, whilst Robin’s vocals equally blend a few different influences into a performance worthy of the excellent production. It does feel like it’s missing that one real grabbing factor, but it’s undoubtedly a solid listen that will slide onto many playlists.

DNA Music Boyz-Thank You
-Something from an upcoming act for a change, and this is a solid R&B/pop crossover that demonstrates plenty of potential. The group have a nice blend of vocal styles between them, and the combination is an uplifting one that combines with positive lyricism and a simple, bouncy production for a bright burst of music. If you can look past the annoying DJ tags at the start, this is one the mainstream crowd will really enjoy.

Shanell-So Good ft. Drake and Lil’ Wayne
-Much like the above track, there’s a feelgood vibe about this one, though it’s less vocally-driven and instead is anchored by an effervescent production that creates a nice atmosphere on the track. Shanell comes through with an OK performance, though the division between her verse and hook isn’t great as the vocals don’t really adjust enough, though it’s generally a solid showing. Nothing spectacular from her Young Money labelmates Wayne and Drake, with the fairly standard R&B feature verses.

Frank Ocean-Back
-One that leaked some time ago with DJ tags all over it, we’re treated to the cleaned-up version. It’s interesting, as if (as expected) a female vocalist takes this on I’ll struggle to enjoy it, yet Frank’s unique, mesmerising vocals make this relatively pop-based effort a really easy listen. An unobtrusive production saunters along nicely in the background, with soft keys and airy synths combining for a production similar to Lloyd’s excellent selection from 08/09, blending with the vocals for a hypnotising track that will satisfy Frank Ocean fans. Not as ‘edgy’ as some of his better material, but an enjoyable listen for sure.

Jhene Aiko-In Love We Trust ft. Casey Veggies
-Still riding the buzz from her sailing soul(s) project, and she’s already working on her next effort, with Souled Out on the horizon. The first single from it is this effort, which fuses together her usual wintery, atmospheric style with a little urgency for a welcome evolution in style without losing what she’s excellent at doing. Wistful synths, bittersweet lyrics, drifty vocals and thumping percussion meet for a strong blend, and Casey comes through with a decent verse to finish the track off. Solid effort, and I’m looking forward to Souled Out.

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