It's a slow start for spring in the north east but there's a lot of new music being dropped. Some good. Some bad. Some interesting. So, let's just jump right in and start talking about what's working and what's not….
First up is Rihanna. Many recording artists get to a moment in their career when they have to start growing up and make some serious decisions on where and what their music is going to be. For example Lady GaGa took a bold step with her duets album with Tony Bennett (and also singing a tribute to Julie Andrews at the Oscars). That was truly a sign that she aspires to make her legacy more than a gimmick. Well, Rhi-Rhi recently took a bold turn by recording with legendary Beatle, Paul McCartney. She did the voice of the lead character in an animated film called "Home" (which she also recorded a song called "Dancing In The Dark"). But I also think that she wanted to make sure her original fans knew that she had not forgotten or abandoned them for Disney. So, her first single from her new album is a little ditty called "Bitch Better Have My Money". Kind of a hard lyric for a Disney character to pull off. I listened to it. I was more impressed with her vocals on "FiveFourSeconds". Her voice has definitely gotten stronger and I think she has learned what her range is. It wasn't until I heard the Calvin Vanity vs. Laidback Luke & Tujamo Remix that I began to like the song. This one is a really great Cunty Ballroom Stomp. There's other mixes by Dave Aude, Kat Krazy and Sub Phonix, but the other standout for me is David S Discharge Bootleg. This one has a really nice House production with some full synths and bounce.
And speaking of unlikely combos, Paul McCartney apparently did a few songs with Kanye West on his latest album. Kanye's current single is called "All Day". I guess the thing that puzzles me about this duo is Paul came from the 60s where civil rights and protests were the backdrop for most of the decade. How does he sleep at night with the knowledge that he has played on a song with the word "nigger" in it so many times? Does he now understand the Hip Hop use of it or is he just trying to remain relevant in today's music? "All Day" features Kanye's usual lyrics that talk about "how fly he is" and don't you wish you were me. There's plenty of remixes by Trayze, Brillstein and Jason Nevins, but the one that caught my attention is the Bynon & Reid Stefan Remix (the production has the best bounce and energy for my sets).
I'm sorry but between Kanye's insane rants about being a genius and his media whore wife, I just can't get behind his music. Kanye, let Comedy Central do a roast about you and Kim and I might take you seriously as an artist again instead of just coming off as a douche. Hey..it seems to be working for Justin Bieber and I even like his new track with Jack U called "Where Are U Now".
But I think the most unbelievable recent music marketing trick is by Wale. His latest album, "The Gifted" just knocked Kendrick Lamar out of the #1 spot on the Billboard Album chart. The headlines from CP24.com and other media sites imply the album is by Wale featuring Jerry Seinfeld. Talk about an unlikely pairing! So, I decided to investigate.
The single "Black Heroes" has Jerry as the featured artist. I listened closely and found that Jerry is not even on the actual song. Seinfeld merely does an outro talking about being on the project. What a slimy thing on both their parts! I guess after Jerry's cameo in Chris Rock's "Top Five", he and Wale thought it would be cool to have him on the album. But after Jerry's jab at SNL for hiring a new black female cast member by saying "Funny is funny…no matter what color you are" left me not using his effect very much. This from a guy who employed all of his friends for his sitcom but only had George Wallace (his supposedly best friend) on the show a couple of times. How can you comment on whether Lorne Michael should hire a more diverse cast? Child….go sit you ass down somewhere!
And since we are the subject of the N-word…..I got the chance to listen to the upcoming mixes of Jade Elektra's "Scared Of Evolution". I originally wrote it and performed it at an event called "Pussy Basket (an evening of Bent word)" at Video Fag as a protest spoken word piece against the N-word. Erik Elias has transformed my words into a couple of great club tracks and Cris Is Bliss has reinvented my words into an Acid Jazz Hip Hop masterpiece. "Evolution" is expected to be the follow up single to Jade's upcoming release "Karma" on Ber'lin Records.
Now….for me when an artist comes out of the closet I always try to support their projects. Ricky Martin (above) has been out for a while but has not seemed to reach the top of the charts like he was when he was not out. He did a brilliant cover of Dan Hartman's "Relight My Fire" with the original vocals of Loleatta Holloway back in 2000. And I enjoyed his duets with Joss Stone, Jennifer Lopez and Amerie a few years back. But I am really lovin' his new single with Pitbull, "Mr. Put It Down" (or at least the Riddler Remix - because it mixes well with "Uptown Funk"). And speaking of Pitbull…his new single featuring Chris Brown "Fun" sounds like it is straight out of the 80s Funk category. It reminds me of "All Night Long" by Lionel Richie. It's cute, but I will wait to see what they do with the remixes to decide whether it will be a hit.
The other night my husband and I were having a late night meal at a place called Golden Griddle here in Toronto. The music that was being piped in was obviously from some 70s/80s music service. All these bad FM radio easy listening artists were playing while we were eating. We started talking about all the artists and groups we liked and didn't. My husband brought up Air Supply. He hated them. So, imagine my surprise when I was looking through the new releases and saw their new single called "I Want You". Then imagine my surprise when I read that Tom Stephan remixed it! And imagine how surprised I was when I actually liked the track! There were no high Australian falsettos…..no sappy lyrics. Just some serious grooves and definitely not your grandma's Air Supply!
For the past couple of years I have been complaining about the dip in BPMs for Hip Hop tracks. I mean….how are you supposed to dance to something that's 70 beats per minute? Well, that genre has a name and it is called Trap. Still not a fan, but I gotta play it. OT Genesis is in love with the "CoCo", Nicki Minaj is the "Only" one, and DJ Khaled doesn't want "No New Friends". But I guess the single that I kinda like is "Trap Queen" by Fetty Wap. The best thing about Trap tracks is that they lend themselves to being remixed easily because most are half the speed of club music today. I am especially fond of the Cueheat Jersey Club Mix for "Trap Queen".
A couple other tracks that are at the top of my playlist are Jimmy Sommerville's "Some Wonder" from the album "Homage" and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers' Disco infused "I'll Be There". In today's age of sexually explicit Hip Hop raps and sugary bubblegum Pop, I am really enjoying the retro fused Disco and House tracks. And I guess the track that really puts into words my feelings about this trend is "Missing Disco" (AM2PM Remix) by Therese. And you really should check out the new Giorgio Moroder featuring Kylie Monogue remixes for "Right Here, Right Now".
Someone else who is back to work is Miss Iggy Azalea. Her latest single featuring Jennifer Hudson called "Trouble" just got two new remixes. Kat Krazy gave it a UK Club sound while TC4 stripped the track of Iggy's vocals and made a nice 2 Step version. And Iggy makes a cameo on the new Tinashe single for "All Hands On Deck" and it has been remixed by Craig Welsh & Luciano. I prefer the original Hip Hop version. I'm just glad she has stopped trying to answer her haters on social media unlike Azealia Banks. Ms. Banks is busy doing spreads in Playboy and cover shots for Billboard. The only trouble is that she can't seem to control the diarrhea that runs from her mouth. She keeps spewing more and more venom to alienate what few fans she has left. Crying about Iggy taking her spot in Hip Hop, accusing gay men of being misogynistic, picking fights on social tweets and bragging that she wants to have sex with President Obama is not getting your music out there. I just wanna know who is funding her music videos. Her latest "Ice Princess" is probably the biggest budget that she has worked with. Nice effects and computer animation, but I don't see her winning any Grammys anytime soon. Shut your pie hole and worry about getting a hit record!
Unfortunately for Madonna, her "Rebel Heart" album is not doing as well as she planned. Ticket sales have been slow for her upcoming tour and after listening to the rest of her album I was not impressed. Her latest single is "Ghosttown". The album version is at Trap speed, but doesn't really have a Trap production behind it. The first mix I received was by Craig Vanity vs. Darren Porter…..not impressed. The Don Diablo Remix was more club friendly. Will it be a huge hit? I don't think so.
And last and definitely least…..let's talk about Carly Rae Jepsen's latest assault on Pop music. "I Really Like You" has to be the worst teenage syrup that I have ever sampled! The lyrics are abysmal! The entire concept of the song obviously was made for a children's dance album. There are remixes by Disco Suckz, Dirty Pop, CLX & Funk3d. If you just gotta play this song, I suggest the Ghost Channels Remix. It has a nice House production that drowns out some of the bubblegum production of the original. Unfortunately for Carly, I don't even think an endorsement by Bieber can make this a hit.
Want music? Here's a link to my free mix.