Whether you’ve been a fan since she was a finalist on Nashville Star, or know her from her appearances with husband Blake Shelton, there’s no doubt Miranda Lambert is one of country music’s most riveting stars. She’s traditional enough to keep the traditionalists happy but not afraid to sing about women’s issues and deliver ‘em with a dash of attitude. With a run of #1 albums and hit singles in her wake, she’s now poised to release another country blockbuster, her new album Platinum, and you can preview 8 full songs from it right now at mirandalambert.cmt.com.
Actually, scratch that. Rihanna‘s new record, Talk That Talk, is the dirtiest “pop” record we have ever heard. We listened to the entirety of the 11-song album, which will hit stores on Monday, November 21, earlier this afternoon here at our Times Square headquarters and can confirm that everyone in attendance left the room with flushed cheeks after experiencing extensive periods of blushing.
Now, this is not to say that Rihanna has gone out and recorded the female As Nasty As They Wanna Be; it’s not simply a sexually-explicit affair (although, at one point during The-Dream produced track “Birthday Cake,” she does proclaim “I wanna f*** you right now”). Rather, Talk That Talk continues the conversation that Rihanna began with her single “S&M” (off Loud) and, if you’ll pardon the Spinal Tap reference, turns it up to 11. Rihanna and her chief partner-in-crime, songwriter Ester Dean (who either wrote or co-wrote at least six songs on the LP), have put together a record that not only oozes sex, but also revolves almost exclusively around it.
The Force is strong with J. Cole. I first witnessed this during a performance in a small auditorium at New York University?s Kimmel Center in August of ?09, when tangible sincerity radiated off of Jay-Z?s first Roc Nation signee and alleged prot?g?. I?d become familiar with his mixtapes prior to the show and, like the NYU students, curious industry onlookers, and countless others who weren?t present, had started to believe in the young Jedi?s potential to herd hip-hop into the next golden era.
Fast forward to last night at Roc The Mic Studios in Manhattan where a tiny group of music writers gathered in the very same room where Cole recorded his ?A Star Is Born? verse for Hov’s Blueprint 3, where Beyoncé and her husband (no pressure!) stood by watching. It was the second of two intimate listening sessions for the North Carolina-bred rapper/producer?s first full-length album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, and (Jermaine) Cole was present to walk us through the sixteen tracks and single skit on his highly-anticipated September 27th release. Less nervous than he was for the first group of critics because the ice had now been broken, he made the disclaimer that he wouldn?t play songs we?d already heard (including Drake-featured ?In The Morning,? the album’s first single ?Workout,? or the song that got him signed, ?Lights Please?), but we?d get to hear everything else. While song titles and the track order may still change before Cole turns-in the final product, Jay-Z has already dubbed Cole World a ?classic.?