"GIRL ON FIRE" - ALICIA KEYS
Alicia Keys has recently become a wife and mother, which has unavoidably changed the musician and that is reflected on her fifth studio album, "Girl On Fire". She's ready to explore new sounds as she's taken the classic soul structure that is her claim to fame and mixed in experimental textures that fits in to the alt-r&b movement currently in the works.
While many have responded favorably to this latest recording by Ms Keys but unfortunately I am not one. Although I've warmed up slightly to the title track but otherwise, I'm not really feeling this album and I'm very disappointed to say that as I am a big fan. The singer has once again written songs that are deeply personal and thoughtful but musically, this ballad heavy set fails to - well, catch fire.
This track, "Fire We Make" features Maxwell and while it's fine but when these two powerhouses came together, I expected something with more fireworks:
"Fire We Make" - Alicia Keys Featuring Maxwell
In the video for the title track, Alicia looks absolutely amazing and the more I hear "Girl On Fire", the more I enjoy it:
"UNORTHODOX JUKEBOX" - BRUNO MARS
First, let me say that I think Bruno Mars is a truly gifted talent and he has a long future ahead of him. Now, having said that, I have to admit that I haven't really gotten in to much of his music. That opinion may have changed as the twenty-seven year old Hawaii native has just released his sophomore effort, "Unorthodox Jukebox" and all of the songs (which he co-wrote) on the record certainly reflect that.
The album is an eclectic collection that features touches of all of the different musical styles that the artist likes. The first single, "Locked Out Of Heaven" brings to mind the early songs of The Police while "Treasure" has some nice tasty funk, and "Show Me" features some pretty convincing reggae. I have a feeling we will be hearing plenty of Bruno Mars in 2013.
"Treasure" - Bruno Mars
I love this music video for "Locked Out Of Heaven":
"UNAPOLOGETIC" - RIHANNA
You can probably call pop superstar, Rihanna many things but one thing you can't say is that she's lazy. The singer from Barbados has released a new album every year in November for the past four years with her recent seventh, "Unapologetic", surprisingly, has become the first to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart.
The lead single, "Diamonds" is a smash-hit (that went to number one in fifteen countries) but the rest of the new material while adventurous, feels slightly scattered and unfocused. The usual suspects are on board: David Guetta, Stargate, The Dream along with Australian pop artist, Sia (who co-wrote, "Diamonds") and Chris Brown shows up on a duet so the two can flaunt their "true love" to the world.
After her 777 Tour, where she flew on a Boeing 777 with her hardcore fans and journalists from around the globe to perform in seven different cities, in seven different countries in seven days to promote the album, look for Rihanna on the road next year for her Diamonds World Tour.
This track spells out what Rihanna and Chris Brown wants the world to know about their relationship:
"Nobody's Business" - Rihanna featuring Chris Brown
"KALEIDOSCOPE DREAM" - MIGUEL
Miquel is one of the current artists out there pushing the boundaries of soul music by offering unexpected beats and sounds which he has done on his second studio album, "Kaleidoscope Dream". This confident collection, written and produced by the twenty-seven year old Southern Californian native, has incorporated thoughtful ideas of love and sexuality combined with slinky rhythms of funk, rock, electronica and dub-step.
Just like another member of the alt-r&b movement, Frank Ocean, Miguel has received critical praise and Grammy love by garnering four nominations this year including the prestigious Song Of The Year category for, "Adorn".
Have a listen to the title track:
"Kaleidoscope Dream" - Miguel
"WARRIOR' - KE$HA
When Ke$ha first came on the scene in 2009 with her international smash, "Tik Tok", her rap-pop sound combined with her wild-child, party girl antics was highly entertaining. Now, a few years in and she's (more or less) still doing the same shtick and it has grown a little tiresome.
"Warrior" is her second studio album, following a couple of EPs , and features the same producers (Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Shellback and Benny Blanco) that she has used previously as well as every other current pop star out right now. However, the singer has attempted to freshen her sound by adding some rock elements which has her teaming-up with punk legend, Iggy Pop on the tune, "Dirty Love" as well as contributions from rock bands, The Flaming Lips and The Strokes with the results being semi-successful. She's even covers a track, "Old Flames Can't Hold A Candle To You", which was a number one country hit for Dolly Parton and co-written by her mother, Pebe Sebert. The song is on another EP, "Deconstructed" that features acoustic versions of Ke$ha's songs and only available on her website.
Here is the title track:
"Warrior" - Ke$ha"
After a less than stellar appearance as a judge on the U.S. version of "The X Factor", Britney Spears has returned to music and back to the top of the charts. She provides backing vocals to will i.am's latest tune, "Scream & Shout" and shows up in the music video:
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