Dawn Richard - Pretty Wicked Things

Dawn Richard, formerly of Dirty Money, formerly of Danity Kane, is back and she’s going hard!  Earlier this month Dawn announced her upcoming album Goldenheart along with the album’s first single, Pretty Wicked Things.  Goldenheart is set to be released on October 16th of this year, until then I know I’ll personally be blasting Pretty Wicked Things every time I get into my car.

The song starts out slow with mainly Dawn’s vocals leading into the beat and the chorus with the song gradually building within the chorus.  The song uses more auto tune than I would have liked from someone with Dawn’s vocals, however, if you’re not paying much attention to it you probably won’t even notice.

Dawn explains that Pretty Wicked Things is about, “the story of the beautiful things in life that get ruined by the wicked.”  This is definitely evident when listening to the lyrics of the song, such as, “I found the love from him don’t feel right.  Kinda felt like thunder.  Kinda felt like rain.  Kinda felt like him and the storm was the same.”  I’ve always been a fan of Dawn’s since she appeared on Diddy’s MTV show where Danity Kane was formed.  I’m glad to see she’s making her own solo music and look forward to hearing more from her.  I think this song is a great start her solo career.

You can purchase Pretty Wicked Things on Amazon or iTunes.

Alanis Morissette - Guardian

Alanis Morissette has just released her music video for her first single, Guardian, off of her upcoming album Havoc and Bright Lights.  For those of you not familiar with Alanis, she is a Canadian singer who became popular in the mid 90s with her album Jagged Little Pill, this album became the best selling album by a female artist until Shania Twain broke the record two years later in 1997 with her album Come On Over.  JLP is still the second best selling album by a female artist behind to date.  JLP's sales were helped primarily by the singles You Oughta Know, Ironic, and You Learn, all of which peaked in the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Havoc and Bright Lights will be her 7th studio album (5th album to be released outside of Canada).  Guardian is an uplifting song written by Alanis for her recently born son.  The song talks about being there to serve as a protector, being the person who will commit to watching over you to make sure everything is all right.  The video opens to Alanis writing on a sheet of paper, “I’ll be your keeper for life”.  The video is primarily shot in black and white showing Alanis perched at the top of a building watching people walking around in the city below dealing with various issues.  When the chorus comes in the video switches to color and shows Alanis and her band performing the song.

This video, unlike a lot of other videos recently released, has a meaning behind it and is intended to serve as inspiration to people who may feel as if they’re alone.  In the video, Alanis is portraying a guardian angel for the people below, and while she never directly steps in to help them with their issues, she’s still there making sure everything is okay.  I feel that the video leaves it open for people to determine who they’re own guardian is, if you’re a spiritual or religious person you can take the video more literally and see a devine being as your guardian.  If you’re neither of those, you can see it as your own inner strength, I think this is the message given at the end of the video when each person is shown changing from black and white to color.

Check out the video above and look for Alanis’ album to be released on August 28th.

New Video - Jennifer Lopez - Goin’ In

Jennifer Lopez recently released her music video for the first single off of the new Step Up Revolution soundtrack.  The song serves two purposes, promote the new Step Up movie as well as J Lo’s new greatest hits album which was released within the last week.

Goin’ In is definitely Pop at it’s finest.  It features Flo Rida with a small cameo from Lil Jon who doesn’t receive credit for his part on the track.  The song is all about the beat and perfect for the new Step Up movie.  The song will allow people to focus on the dancing and not get lost in the lyrics of the song, the lyrics are very basic, in my opinion; “It’s go time, press my button, yeah blow the stage… grenade”.  I think it’s awkward when singers/song writers try to incorporate lyrics into their songs similar to the rap lyrics of Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.  I didn’t like it when Beyonce did it in her song Countdown, “I’m all up under him like it’s cold… winter time.  All up in the kitchen in my heels… dinnertime.” and I definitely don’t like it in this song.

The music video focuses on vibrant colors, opening to J Lo’s pink, bedazzled lips wearing a fuchsia colored cape that’s blowing in all directions with white wolves in front of her.  The video continues with scenes of J Lo showing off her fit body and scenes of dancers from the Step Up movie.  The video is all about the dancing and serves as a great promoter for the movie by showing people exactly what they should expect with yet another dance movie.  There’s nothing special beyond the dancing and colors in this video, however, when listening to the song the video is for, that’s all you really need.  The dancing is great and while J Lo’s dancing isn’t anywhere close to what it used to be when she first started her career, she’s still a very solid dancer and has an amazing body to show off.

If you’re interested in seeing another Step Up movie, maybe the first three weren’t enough for you, the movie opens in theaters today (Friday, July 27th).

Jason Aldean - Take a Little Ride

The iTunes top 10 hasn’t changed much since the last time I reviewed it, in fact, all of the songs are the same except for one.  Gotye’s Someone That I Used to Know has moved out and Jason Aldean’s Take a Little Ride has moved in.  Jason Aldean released this song as of the 16th of July and has enjoyed having it top the iTunes top 10 soon after that.  Currently, the song is sitting in the number 4 position.

Aldean’s current position should mean a good debut for him on the Billboard Hot 100, if this single continues at this pace he may even obtain his second Hot 100 top 10.  The only time Aldean had a song in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 was with his Dirt Road Anthem released in April of 2011 which he later re-mixed with Ludacris.  Dirt Road Anthem peaked at number 7 in the Hot 100. 

Take a Little Ride has potential to be a great summer country song.  Like most country songs, this song tells a story, this one tells a story of taking a nice ride with a beautiful woman on a warm summer day.  This song is no where close to being a pop crossover song like most of the songs Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood have become known for, it’s a classic country song which should say a lot for how well it’s currently selling.  I am personally more of a fan of the pop crossover songs than the pure country tracks, so this song isn’t going to be playing through my car speakers anytime soon.  However, I’m glad to see something different in iTunes’ top 10 other than the catchy pop songs we’ve heard so much of lately.

If you’re interested in hearing the song, you can find the full track on Youtube or purchase the track from Amazon MP3 or iTunes.

Ne-Yo - Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)

Ne-Yo recently released the music video for the second single off of his upcoming album R.E.D. (Realizing Every Dream).  I’m not a huge fan of Ne-Yo, his voice can become annoying to me after listening to it for so long and a lot of his songs begin to sound like he’s whining about something, with that said, I like this song.  

Ne-Yo is known for his R&B songs So Sick, Because of You, and most recently Closer and Miss Independent.  I think this song sees Ne-Yo balancing the line between R&B and Pop like so many other male R&B singers are doing right now.  While I like the song and think it’s a huge improvement from the singles he released for his album Libra Scale, I think he may be alienating a lot of his fans by making a song that sounds like what’s hot right now.  Libra Scale was not a commercial success for him and he risks repeating what happened with that album with this one is he can’t connect reconnect with his fan base.  His first single, Lazy Love, was closer to the R&B Ne-Yo is known for but may have missed the mark lyrically.  The lyrics didn’t flow for me and failed to create a good melody.

The new video shows clips of Ne-Yo singing mixed with clips of a beautiful woman standing on the beach with the wond blowing in her hair.  During the chorus you’ll go back and forth between clips of the two of them sensually touching and kissing and Ne-Yo dancing.  There’s nothing too spectacular about the video, it’s a lot of what we’ve come to expect from Ne-Yo; beautiful woman, him shirtless, and dancing.

I’m curious to hear how this album will sound.  Here’s to hoping he’ll stick with more R&B than Pop. In My Own Words is still my favorite album of his.

iTunes Top Ten - July 14, 2012

When you think of paid music downloads very few places might come to mind.  The first place for many people, no matter what service is used, is most likely iTunes.  Of course there are other places, my favorite place to purchase digital music is AmazonMP3 and every now and then Google Play will have a deal on music that can’t be passed. However, with Apple devices being the world’s most popular digital media playing devices, even if people aren’t purchasing their music from iTunes, it’s almost a given that they’ve heard of it and a great chance that the software is downloaded on their computer.

With that said, if you’re looking to see what music is hot at that exact moment in time, a quick glance at iTunes’ Top Charts will do the trick. 

Here’s a review of the current top 10 iTunes Songs:

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Frank Ocean - Channel Orange Review

 

Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” quickly became one of the most anticipated albums of the year in the matter of a few days.  Luckily, that anticipation didn’t have too much time to build before fans and others curious about what the album would hold were rewarded with an early release on iTunes.

For those of you who aren’t aware of who Frank Ocean is and where he came from, Frank Ocean accumulated a following after the release of his critically acclaimed mix-tape, Nostalgia ULTRA in 2011.  This mix-tape helped him catch the eye of big names in the music industry, most notably the power couple Jay Z and Beyonce, along with Kanye West.  This has led to him providing his creative ideas to both Beyonce’s album “4” and Jay Z and Kanye’s “Watch the Throne”.  Ocean is also known for his involvement in the Hip Hop group Odd Future, led by Tyler, The Creator, where he provides his R&B vocals to tracks in addition to contributing his writing and production skills to the album.  Odd Future has released a couple of mix-tapes leading to their debut album which debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 5.

Channel Orange isn’t like any other R&B album released this year, I would even go further and say it isn’t like any other R&B album released in the past few years.  In my opinion, this album is by far the best album of the year across all genres, solely based on the creativity behind the album as well as the album’s uniqueness.  “Channel Orange” tells a story, at times, the story can be a bit cryptic and focus can easily stray from the lyrics and story of a song to the underlying beat, however, the story remains and is fairly consistent throughout the album.  You could choose to listen to the album by skipping through songs or playing it on shuffle, but you would lose out on the experience and probably create some confusing moments for yourself.

Time to take a look at each track in 160 characters of less:

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Chris Brown - Fortune Review

No matter who you are, you’ve heard the name Chris Brown.  Ever since his domestic violence incident in 2009 the general public has been split on whether they like him or not.  There are people who feel there is no coming back from what he’s done, while his loyal fans will argue that no one is perfect and everyone deserves forgiveness.  Then there are people like me, I personally don’t care for Chris Brown and feel that he has stopped maturing the moment people in his life stopped giving him direction and turned into “Yes” men.  I feel that Brown deserves to be forgiven for his actions like all people do, however, I also feel that forgiveness comes once you’ve proven you’re no longer the same person that did those actions.  Chris Brown has not proven that and is constantly finding himself in situations where he’s proving he’s still more of a child than a man.

With that said, I believe in separating a person’s personal life and actions from their music or art.  I believe that if we knew everything there were to know about every celebrity there would be plenty of individuals that we would find personally revolting.  Some people are just better at keeping their personal lives and beliefs away from their fans than others. While I don’t care for Brown, I do enjoy his music and look forward to hearing new material from him.

This leads me to Fortune, Chris Brown’s newest album of work, the follow-up to 2011’s F.A.M.E.  Fortune is Brown’s fifth album overall and looks to be his second consecutive number one on the Billboard 200 (for those who are not familiar with the Billboard 200, it is a weekly chart that lists the top 200 best selling albums in order of most units sold).  While first week sales are projected to be half of what F.A.M.E. sold during it’s first week, it still looks to be a commercial success for Brown.  Fortune definitely continues the vibe F.A.M.E. started.  Brown continues to play with different styles ranging from R&B, Hip Hop, and Dance Pop.  These styles were present in F.A.M.E. but I feel he’s found more control over each style on Fortune. 

Let’s look at the album song-by-song in 160 characters or less:

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