This is a mini review* post of the music my eardrums have been joyfully absorbing for the past few days.
I have shamelessly been over-playing most all of the songs found on these albums, and would love to share them with you because, what would ‘Songstress A’ be without a little musical coverage here and there?
My Selected Albums:
1. John Legend — Love In the Future (August 30th, 2013)
Favorite Songs: All of Me, Angel of Mine (Cover), Aim High.
2. Ariana Grande — Yours Truly (August 30th, 2013)
Favorite Songs: Honeymoon Avenue, Lovin’ It, You’ll Never Know, Tattooed Heart.
3. Janelle Monae — The Electric Lady (September 6th, 2013)
Favorite Songs: Every song on the album; boundless greatness contained in each song.
4. Tamar Braxton — Love and War (September 3rd, 2013)
Favorite Songs: All The Way Home, Pieces, Prettiest Girl, The One.
John Legend — Love In the Future
1.) Being a pretty huge fan, I was expecting a bit more from John Legend as a whole on the album. “The list of producers alone includes Hit-Boy, Bink, 88 Keys, the Runners, Doc McKinney, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Kanye West, and Dave Tozer pile on as co-producers and co-executive producers. Perhaps they ensured that the whole album would have its dramatic, slightly eerie tone; even the covers of Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes” and Anita Baker’s “Angel” are a little uneasy. That level of sonic indulgence seems like it should be incompatible with an artist who is, essentially, a piano man.” However, the slow songs are magic. Every single one of them. For the most part I felt the songs were well composed and through headphones sounds dually-well-mastered. (3.5/5)
Ariana Grande — Yours Truly
2.) Quite honestly, Ariana Grande’s album is one of the most well produced albums I’ve heard in a while. Of course, you’re going to hear some major similarities in terms of Mariah Carey’s sound when listening to Grande’s ‘Yours Truly.’ Why you ask? Because BabyFace (Kenneth Edmonds) put his seal of approval on every single track, along with Antonio Dixon; both fantastic writers and industry producers. ” Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of Ariana Grande. She’s a genuinely gifted teen singer with an incredible Mariah Carey-esque voice and a bubbly, charming personality to match. The main problem I have with her pop music, though, is that it all just sounds the same. I’m not talking about her voice, specifically, but her material. Nearly every song she sings strictly focuses on being head over heels in love, which is evidently the central theme of her debut album. Sure, there’s the one exception of “Popular Song,” but for the most part, this record seems to lack any lyrical variety. As a fan, I’m still willing to give it benefit of the doubt, but I’m not truly sure if this is the right direction Grande should be heading in musically. Her voice is full of so much potential, but these repetitive love songs seem to be holding her back. Either way, I’m still hoping for the best.” (4.5/5)
Janelle Monae — Electric Lady
3. Janelle Monae. Standing ovation! Obviously. This woman and her team of engineers, producers and writers are all perfectionist, and this album will show you that time and time again. “Attention to detail is nothing new for the admittedly obsessive Monáe, but man, there are some knockout details here: the rusty poking bedspring of a guitar that powers “Q.U.E.E.N.”; the percussion loops on “Electric Lady”; the manic clean-toned jazz guitar skittering behind the vocal breakdown on “Ghetto Woman”. The strings carry some of the most heart-tugging melodies, and the most beautiful moments come when songs melt from an amped-up funk groove into a glimmering, soul-revue orchestra, like “We Were Rock and Roll”, “Give Em What You Love”, and “Q.U.E.E.N”. Gorgeous soul ballads like “Can’t Live Without Your Love” are built on the kind of rich, finely managed melodies and jazzy modulations that haven’t been the sound of the radio since the late 70s.” Another brilliant, thought provoking, substance filled masterpiece for the glorious Janelle Monae. (5/5)
Tamar Braxton — Love and War
4. Tamar Braxton’s Love and War album was a pretty well arranged album. However, for me there are only two types of songs on the album. A “turn-up” geared song, or a ballad. Tamar Braxton is a talented artist and has pipes for days. Nevertheless, while some may appreciate her more up-tempo tracks, I have so much more of a deeper appreciation for her ballads. “Slower, more atmospheric productions like “Stay and Fight,” “All the Way Home,” and “Sound of Love” suit her the best and display her considerable skill — by now, given some of the artists who have come and gone since 2000, she should have at least four albums in her past.” The woman can SING a ballad, and this album shows where her strength lies in being able to carry out a well production of slow jams. (4/5)
*Mini Reviews are analysis based off of an album, prize or product as a whole; each attributing piece making up the grade of the product; not to be confused with a Full Review.