Entries in new album (6)
I was invited to review the group Zipsquad’s Lifestyle EP. Since I never review anything really from unsigned artists, I thought I would give a go and review this.
I’ll begin with this, if you have a project with 10 tracks or less, don’t have skits. I saw an interlude on the tracklisting and was like what??? I also almost gave up on the album from the get go, cause there was some talking going on the first track for like 40 seconds over the first track!!! Which would of been cool for like 20 seconds, but this is an EP, and I don’t know who you are, and you want to talk for forty-plus seconds of what is suppose to be a rap album? “Bad form Peter(That’s Hook reference for you young’ns)”. The artist themselves aren’t bad though, as far as constructed rhyme patterns and technique go, they definitely have skills. The problem is that that most of the time they are wasted on cliche’ topics of gettin money and bitches unfortunately. Which wouldn’t be a problem if it was done in a somewhat interesting way.
As far as the production goes, most is forgettable except for the track Long Nights, Cold Champaigne & Weed Smoke which flips a sample quite nicely. Think the guys need to gravitate a little more towards this type of sound next go around, it goes with their styles a lot better than the Celly Cel/90’s Bay Era synths that tend to litter this EP instead. While the dudes are cool on the mic, there is nothing that warrants any further listens of this. There definitely is potential for the guys though, the guys have technique just need some better ideas as well as production to go along with and I think we might have something to talk more about next time.
Beyonce Knowles has been in the game a minute now. I remember back when in was in high school and she was in Destiny's Child(original line-up) and you weren't even checking for her and her group. Then that No, No, No Wyclef Jean remix basically saved the group's career and the rest as they say is history.
(side note: The irony in the situation is that it was a remix to a Fugess single on their first album that basically saved their career as well. All comes full circle.)
Well, she has come a long way since then with multiple successes and millions in album sales, yet since she took off as a solo artist I don't really think she has been able to live up to the amazing artist-tag that most would proclaim her to be. I still think that Me, Myself, and I is a classic song from her first album, the second album Deja Vu had a lot of good songs but nothing too standout, and that lets be honest that Sasha Fierce double EP/LP was not the bizness. Put A Ring On It Single Ladies will forever live on being the official bonquet toss song at a weddings, while the real standout If I Were A Boy didn't get the props it deserved. The Dream and Trikey Stewert crafted a great ballad and it was among her best work , It just happened to be on her last album that was anything but standout.
So now here we are with her 4th album 4(see what she did there?) and honestly I didn't exactly have high expectations. Though I heard it was said that “she is creating a whole new genre” somewhere, I was like with what? More male bashing ballads and singles I'll forget next year?
(side note: I was informed after writing this that 4 is both of Carters B'days, as well as the date they got married on)
Well upon the hearing the second single 1+1 another collab with The Dream and Tricky Stewart I wasn't quite thrilled. Which is why sometimes you got to give music a second go or too to really get it. It really is a great throwback single when you look at it in context. Sam Cooke would be thrilled to hear something like this on radio now. In the context of the album it actually fits better than the first single which I can't stand at all Girls Rule The World, which on the other hand was her trying to fit into today's electro fad and not the other way around. Which is the problem with being on top at times. You really have to continue to push yourself to not conform, but rather evolve with your music. The first single was a bad indicator of this not being the case.
Yet when you listen to this album, it sounds nothing like that. It is a R&B album. Yes a genuine no strings attached tribute to the days of old. If you grew up listening to 80/90's R&B you will definitely catch the traces from the genres glory days on this one. You have some great mid-tempo songs such as Love On Top which is a great 80's styled jam. I could see Patti Labelle or Whitney Houston rocking over this track, or maybe even see Maurice White's name attached to the production credits. Party also falls in the 80's mid-tempo selection featuring Andre 3000 isn't stand out, but also fits nicely in this in the sequencing. Aside from Kanye's cringe worthy first line about “having so much swag, you should call it swagu?”(Nexxxxt!) I am ok with the song overall. Countdown is a modern 90's update on the New Jack Swing of old kind of which samples Boyz II Men, a great club jam. The slow jams are amongst some of her finest since her first album. Rather Die Young would have Prince clapping for a encore for sure. It's ridiculously good, it's 80's R&B electro/synth slow jam hits you right away. Her vocals have never sounded as great as this. It truly is the standout of her career. It has the umph and emotion that is missing in the genre today. I Miss You co-written by the Odd Future local R&B resident, is also great song as well. More mid tempo than the aforementioned, but still pays homage to the glory songs past. This one is more 90's, but not that bad 90's Milli Vanilli, more En Vogue I would say than anything else.
What am I surprised about most with this album is the consistency displayed throughout. Besides the two ballads(Best Thing I Never Had, Start Over) and a aforementioned lead single, nothing on here really has me pushing the skip button. Which isn't bad being that one of those ballads(BTINH) is a at a stalemate really(not too bad, but can't listen to it all the time). If you include the deluxe edition tracks as well which are just as standouts as well. Especially the MJ Off The Wall influenced Lay Up Under me. Which will have many grooving along to for sure.
The maturity by Mrs Carter on display here. Approaching her 30's now and happily married to the one of the “best rappers alive” and being on top of the music/entertainment world, she is happy and no longer feels the need to try to fit in. This is the album that I would expect her to make. I think she took a cue from little sis Solange(whose sophomore album is severely under appreciated ) and basically had a lot more fun and let loose with this one. There is little male-bashing to be found on here and instead we find her celebrating the joys of a committed relationship. Which I am not mad at the least.
This might be the best pop albums this year that I have heard so far. I can see a lot of people enjoying this one.Especially those who grew up on a healthy dose of classic R&B music. I definitely recommend that most at the least take a listen to this album. I commend Beyonce on what might not result in her biggest album sales, but what might be her most creative and brilliant album yet.
I am turning over a new leaf on this site. Instead of just hating on all the bad music that comes out every week, I will devote my words to the good stuff weekly.
This week I am going recommend Panic at the Disco "Pretty Odd". Now I have read a number of reviews criticizing the originality of the record namely that is a too similar to The Beatles. Which is true, but the Beatles also borrowed a lot of ideas from other groups of their era also, sooo whats the big deal? Anyways this record is great, these guys are one of the definite leaders of the genre. Whats so refreshing about this record is the return of melody in rock. Honestly it reminds me more of Chicago then Beatle's. Anyways I like it, and most adults whose parents filled the house with sounds of Chicago, Rod Stewart, Elton John, or other rock contemporaries the 80's. Support this record!