Tag: Contemporary R and B

2017, Music

DAMN. (2017) by Kendrick Lamar

From the moment I heard this had won the Pulitzer, it was inevitable that, when I eventually got to it, I would have expectations, expectations that were not satisfiable. It’s not that the Pulitzer really is much of anything, but it carries a lot of cache with it even though, as with so many awards, …

2016, Music

Lemonade (2016) by Beyoncé

Despite her ubiquity, I have never listened to Beyoncé solo album. Years ago, I listened to two Destiny’s Child albums which were better than I thought they would be. Needless to say, we’re a long way from there. (Obligatory mention of the fact that, if Beyoncé is the age she says she is, we’re exactly …

2001, Music

No More Drama (2001) by Mary J. Blige

So, I basically only know Mary J. Blige from her hits and maybe some guest appearances. I thought I had listened to an album of hers at some point in the past but there are no reviews so I must have decided not to. I’m not really sure why, I guess I decided the combination …

1991, Music

The Comfort Zone (1991) by Vanessa Williams

Who is this for? Some of it feels like it’s for Janet Jackson fans (who have lower standards). But some of this is for your grandma. Well, maybe your parents. Either way, some of this is super cheesy adult contemporary. (Her “signature” song being the most obvious example.) And that leads you to wonder why …

2001, Music

Celebrity (2001) by *NSYNC

Like, what the hell happened? This album is a quantum leap in quality from No Strings Attached. It’s not even remotely close. Some of this is actually…good. And it really makes a case that, at least sometimes, it’s good that the talent take over from the handlers in the manufactured pop music space. Because, well, …

1986, Music

Back in the High Life (1986) by Steve Winwood

Traffic are one of those bands I want to love more than I actually do. They’re one of those bands who might have been All Time great had they just had a great songwriter. There are so many moments in their music that I get really excited about, but then the quality of the songs …

2001, Music

Miss E…So Addictive (2001) by Missy Elliot

I have some vague memory of beginning to listen to an earlier Missy Elliot album and then deciding to stop before my three listens because it didn’t seel enough, the reviews weren’t good enough or I felt I didn’t have enough to say (I do not remember why or even which album it was). But …

2001, Music

Survivor (2001) by Desinty’s Child

I can’t quite get over the congruity (and timelessness!) of writing a song about being an independent woman, while starting off the song referencing the Charlie’s Angels remake. Because, if the idea of Charlie’s Angels was ever feminist, well it’s a pretty dated and dumb version of feminism. (Smart, capable women whose lives are controlled …

1991, Music

Spellbound (1991) by Paula Abdul

I know very little about Paula Abdul. I remember a couple of her songs – and, honestly, remember the video for “Rush Rush” than I do the song – and I remember some vague reason for her being kicked off some talent TV show. That’s it. So I was expecting some kind of early ’90s …

1996, Music

Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite (1996)

So full disclosure: I barely remembered Maxwell’s existence when this anniversary came up. I knew the name but I couldn’t even tell you what kind of R&B he was associated with. I now understand that what he’s doing on this record was distinct from the dominant form of R&B at the time but, all these …

1991, Music

Cooleyhighharmony (1991) by Boyz II Men

I began to mature as a music fan in a world where Boyz II Men were ubiquitous. It felt like you couldn’t avoid them because, unlike so many other artists on the music video channels I watched, they were also played in malls, in doctor’s offices, everywhere.

1981, Music

Street Songs (1981) by Rick James

What I know about Rick James can basically be summed up in two things: “Super Freak” and Chappelle Show. And I really know “U Can’t Touch This” much better than Super Freak. Oh, I know a third thing: he was once in a band with Neil Young. (That’s actually true.) So I had no idea …

1986, Music

Control (1986) by Janet Jackson

I need to preface this by saying that I only know “New Jack Swing” as a name, I don’t really know anything about the genre and its history and have added it as a label to my reviews only when told by someone that “this music is New Jack Swing.” But if it’s true, it’s …

2000, Music

Whoa, Nelly! (2000) by Nelly Furtado

I’ve paid basically no attention to Nelly Furtado. I was aware of her hits – and remember the hits from this record – but was otherwise utterly uninterested. Some of that has to do with my music tastes – specially my tastes when I was 19 – and some of that appears to have to …

1995, Music

Daydream (1995) by Mariah Carey

I’m on my fourth ish Mariah Carey album. And, with listening to her actual albums, I’ve come to believe she may be the most technically gifted female vocalist in pop or R&B. (I might go even further than that.) With every album of hers I listen to, I become more and more convinced that she …