Twenty years ago today on August 6, R. Kelly gave the world a new subtle way to tell booty calls everywhere you want to do it with his release “Sex Me” (parts I and II, thank you) – the first single from his debut solo album 12 Play. Fact: no one has come close to recreating such a soulful, and provocative, ode to intimacy in the last two decades. Read more…
It’s been over fifty years since R&B legend Ronald Isley first made folks wanna shout with a string of hits that remain guaranteed dance-floor fillers. Alongside his soul-brethren in the Isley Brothers, he gave us “Shout,” “Twist and Shout,” “This Old Heart Of Mine,” “It’s Your Thing,” and tons more funky classics, before finding new life in the ’90s as the collaborator/musical rival of R. Kellyon an unforgettable series of storytelling tracks. And now Isley’s busting out his trademark falsetto once again for some all new songs!
In two weeks’ time, American Idol will crown a new winner and three of the final four ladies in the competition will be losers. At this point in the competition, all of the remaining contestants —Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Amber Holcomb, and Angie Miller— are capable of winning. They each have a beautiful, big voice. They each have cultivated a distinct “brand” with an eager fan base. And they each have multiple opportunities to mess up big time.
It’s not about the talent anymore. It’s about the song choices.
After dominating music in 2012 the Brits reign has crept into the new year. It’s a British family affair with Paul McCartney and Mumford & Sons headlining Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival this summer. Hopefully Manchester, TN can handle all that bloody talent at once. Read more…
It will never not be sad remembering the great Aaliyah whose life was taken far too soon in the tragic plane crash in 2001. Today the R&B singer with such an angelic voice would’ve turned 34. VH1 re-aired Aaliyah’s 2001 Behind The Music with new interviews including her dear friend Missy Elliott. During the hour special you’re reminded why her life and music touched people in the way it did. Aaliyah was the voice of a new generation of women while not alienating men. Read more…
Baby boy ain’t doing so tough, and so R. Kelly is doing what he can to provide some comfort to Newtown in the wake of last month’s terrible tragedy. The “World’s Greatest” wrote and wrangled a full choir to sing an uplifting song called “I Know You Are Hurting (Tribute To The Newtown, Ct. Kids),” which is now available for purchase from iTunes with all proceeds going to benefit the victims’ families.
The tribute begins with a children’s choir singing heartbreak-y things like “we need your love” and “we need some answers.” We would love to say that Kells then swoops in on one of those epic runs, so great and so sweet, with all the asked upon love and answers, but unfortunately he does not. He doesn’t really sing all, actually. Rather he just sort of coos along agreeing while an adult choir offers well wishes like “I know you’re hurting, I hear your crying/ But come tomorrow, there is a place you can go to find blue sky,” ceding the spotlight to the kids. But as Newtown’s students returned to school for the first time yesterday after last month’s tragedy, it’s hard to deny the gesture. Thanks, Kels.
Contrary to popular belief, the music most celebrated on the charts isn’t always the best. Okay, that was sarcasm. But even artists with hits on the charts have a slew of singles that fall by the wayside. Not every album is a Katy Perry string of #1s. Thus, here is a list of artists whose albums were certainly recognized, but had singles that didn’t quite get the attention they deserved.
Rye Rye’s delayed and delayed album Go! Pop! Bang! finally came out in May of this year–and is really fantastic. An upbeat, eletro-pop banger that not only samples the Vengaboys‘ “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom”, but also elevates Rye Rye’s signature sound. Unfortunately, it didn’t do so well on the charts, only hitting #9 on Dance Songs.
Blasphemy! But someone had to do it. Everyone calm down, I’m not saying that you can’t play Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” until your iPod breaks. All I’m saying is that there is so much more out there in terms of cheerful spirited holiday-themed music that is both modern and mostly listenable.
Let’s put aside our differences and agree that lists are fun. They are also only definite if you actually add them to your holiday playlist. SO: WILL YOU?
He sat on this throne for only (part of) one song. The man has stamina.
It’s been a big week for R. Kelly and me. Well, maybe just me. It just so happened that this year’s Thanksgiving fell on the same week I attended Kells’ “Trapped in the Closet” premiere–and a chance question submission got him to tell me he loved me. Then the night before Thanksgiving I pushed my bus reservation back a day to attend the Single Ladies tour at Madison Square Garden. A Thanksgiving miracle, you could say. (Proving that miracles aren’t just for Christmas, especially if you’re a Jew.) I was again closer to Kells than ever before, and the man didn’t let down, putting on one hell of a show. Can you imagine him performing “Real Talk” live? I now can. I was so floored, in fact, that I proceeded to miss my early bus home the next morning. And while I’m also thankful that my hungry family waited to carve the turkey while I sat in traffic on a later bus, I can’t say it was all worth it. (Please don’t tell them that.)
This was after Kells personally counted the number of single ladies in the theater.
You see, for quite a while now, R. Kelly has managed to effectively combine everything I love about pop: music, theatrics, humor and camp. Kells’ overt sexuality mixed with his ability to churn out catchy hooks while also having an absurdest sense of humor about the entire thing? That’s rare. He’s able to produce emotion (“I Believe I Can Fly”, “I Wish”, “Relief”), awe (“Exit”, “When A Woman Loves”, “The World’s Greatest”), dance (“Step In The Name Of Love”, “Fiesta”, “Ignition Remix”), and laughs (“Sex In The Kitchen”, “Sex Weed”, “Sex Planet”) across his lengthy career span. And he’s not even finished: Let’s not even get into Trapped in the Closet. Because if we did, I would spend eons of words describing how Kells’ hip-hop Telenovela-meets-musical-meets-farce breaks new ground with every chapter R. releases. (Meanwhile, there are 85 apparently to come and a possible musical adaptation. Amen.)
Surreal, that all my greatest Kells moments would happen to land on Thanksgiving week. I guess, this year, that signals that I’ve found something to be thankful for. I mean, aside from the love of family and friends along with the fortune to have a platform on which to “Share My Love” (get it?) for Kells. That too.
R. Kelly told me he loved me last night. He told me through his art and he also told me face-to-face. Well, he had sunglasses on but myself and the packed room of journalists and fans could also feel the emotion in his voice. His extremely beautiful voice, one that sang not only once but three (3) times during a post-Trapped In The Closet premiere Q&A–including hits such as “Bump ‘N Grind” (He sang this one as an impromptu duet with a fan) and “I Believe I Can Fly” (This one was as a finale duet with the entire audience).
He told me he loved me directly after I submitted a question (OK, I totally stuffed the ballot box) to his Q&A and it was chosen. It read as follows: