This Year in Music: 2014 Favorites

It’s been quite a year in music and for the first time since I’ve started blogging it’s been a slow one. Of course there have been albums released and artists making their way back to the forefront, but it’s been a lackluster year for me which could probably be seen in my reviews. I love to review albums, singles, and videos from artists that I have grown to love over the years. I will not be covering every music accomplishment of the year, just my personal favorites. Also no celeb drama will be included. You can click HERE if interested in what I think about the flood of celeb breakups. Anyway, let’s get into it. As always be sure to click the links as it will lead you to the reviews that I have done. In total I have reviewed 16 albums, 33 singles, and 51 videos; grand total 100. Not to shabby.

Favorite Albums of the Year

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I take my time with album reviews and try to connect and find some meaning to the way the artists have compiled the tracks and the overall sound of the project. Some shined, some disappointed, and some made me fall in love again.

Two albums that I loved this year were Magic!’s, Don’t Kill the Magic and Sia’s, 1000 Forms of FearAs for a soundtrack I LOVED the Think Like a Man Too Soundtrack with 14 original tracks from Mary J. Blige. (I still have yet to see the movie).

While she didn’t release an album this year, JoJo’s Valentine’s Day EP, #LoveJo, can be added to my favs. Her cover of Anita Baker’s, ‘Caught Up In The Rapture’, is one for the books.

sia-chandelier-video-2Video of the Year

Yes I was on a Sia craze this year and her video gets video of the year for my picks goes to her heartfelt ‘Chandelier’ video, As I stated in my review I envisioned an interpretive dance video for the track and I was so happy for that to be the outcome. I absolutely love it and if she didn’t release anything else that entire year that song and video would really suffice. My other two picks are Janelle Monáe’s sorority inspired video, Electric Lady and Queen Bey’s, ‘7.11.’ (Again, click the links!)

1. Sia, ‘Chandelier’

2. Janelle Monáe, ‘Electric Lady’

3. Beyoncè, ‘7/11’

Honorable Mentions – Katy Perry, ‘This Is How We Do’ / Coldplay, ‘Sky Full of Stars’

magicArtists That Didn’t Make It Past Their Lead Single

As I loved both Don’t Kill the Magic and 1000 Forms of Fear, there was nothing played except from the lead singles, Rude’ and ‘Chandelier’, from each compilation respectively. I could see the Issue with Magic! as they released a reggae track yet not much reggae was found on their album. As for Sia, she’s an incognito artist, but her album was absolutely beautiful. Sia is nominated for _ Grammy’s for ‘Chandelier’. Unfortunately ‘Rude’ just might be the greatest thing that happened for Magic! I can’t wait to see them perform in 2015 alongside Maroon 5 on tour.

Songs I Don’t Want to Hear in 2015

The radio has a way of making your ears bleed when they play the same songs on five different stations at the same time in rotation. Two songs that I do NOT want to hear in 2015 are Iggy Azalea’s, ‘Black Widow’, and Ariana Grande’s, ‘Break Free.’ It’s been a great year for those two young ladies, but the radio played out those songs to no end. I thought ‘Fancy’ was bad, but I would rather hear Taylor Swift’, ‘Shake It Off’ followed by ‘Blank Space’ then ‘All About That Bass’ over and over then to hear ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Break Free’.

Artists I Can’t Wait To Hear From in 2015

Well this one is a no brainer, RIHANNA! There were rumors of her releasing her with studio album as a surprise this year, but I pretty much guarantee that she will be releasing one next year. Hopefully we won;t have to endure an entire year without Rihanna music and that it will hit right around Spring, Summer the latest. I absolutely LOVED Unapologetic (Click HERE for that review) and it was one of my favorites last year.

Speaking of Rihanna, how could I forget the return of Adele. It’s been nearly 4 years since the release of her multi-platinum album, 21, and I can’t wait to hear more. There’s been rumors of the album being titled ’25’ which makes sense as both her 1st and 2nd album had numeric significance. I just can’t wait to hear more of her amazing voice.

Lastly,  I’m excited to hear more from is Meghan Trainor. When I first saw her ‘All About That Bass’ video on Facebook I thought it would be just another fad, BUT Meghan has soared to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 and can now add Grammy-award nominee to her list of accomplishments and her debut,, hasn’t even been reeled yet. I loved her EP, Titleand I can’t wait to hear her album.

Albums I Need to Listen to at the Top of 2015

There’s two albums in particular that I didn’t get around to listening to upon their releases and that’s Taylor Swift’s, 1989and J. Cole’s, 2014 Forrest Hills Drive. I’m not sure when I will be doing a review of those too, but expect in sometime in January. Definitely need to give those two a listen. Also congrats to both on their album sales.

Welp, that’s it. It was a long post, but I think I covered my favs. Stay tuned for my follow-up post of some of my favorite songs of 2014. Click HERE if you’re interested in seeing what my non-music favs were of this year and CHEERS to 2015. More reviews to come starting tomorrow.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

MMF Flashback — Ne-Yo, Because of You

Ne-Yo_CD_-_Because_Of_YouIn celebration of Ne-Yo’s 32nd birthday, I thought I’d highlight my favorite album of his, Because of YouThe album was released May 1, 2007 and four singles were released: ‘Because of You’, ‘Do You’, ‘Can We Chill’, and ‘Go On Girl.’ It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and became his second #1 album. In My Own Words debuted at #1 as well. The album sold 251,000 copies in its first week which was about 50,000 less than his debut. The album went on to win Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 2008 Grammy’s.

Out of the 12 tracks my top 5 would be (in no particular order):

  • ‘Because of You’
  • ‘Leaving Tonight’ (feat. Jennifer Hudson)
  • ‘Make It Work’
  • ‘Do You’
  • ‘Say It’
  • BONUS – ‘Go On Girl’

My friend was so obsessed with Ne-Yo that anytime I would be with her this album would be playing in rotation. At the time I was about sick of hearing it, but there’s no denying that this is every bit of R&B classic, to this generation at least. I love an R&B album that does not have many features and this one only features two: ‘Crazy’ with Jay-Z and one of my favorites, ‘Leaving Tonight’, with Jennifer Hudson. The album touches on just about everything and hones on his skillful writing of love songs. There’s the breakup tracks (‘Go On Girl’/’Leaving Tonight’/’Ain’t Thinking Bout You’), let’s hold on tracks (‘Do You’/’Make It Work’/’Angel’), the love songs (‘Crazy’/’Because of You’/’Can We Chill’) and he wouldn’t be an R&B crooner without singing about sex (‘Say It’/’Addicted’/’Sex With My Ex’).

While I’m not the biggest fan of his latest music, this is definitely one for the books and even seven years later I can still listen to it from beginning to end, reverse, and on shuffle. I would love another Ne-Yo album like this. His music stands alone to not have to keep up with what’s currently on the radio.

CLICK HERE to purchase and listen below (via Spotify):

EP Review: Title

meghan-trainor-title-ep-cover-2Meghan Trainor‘s, ‘All About That Bass’ has made it’s way to mainstream and the top of the charts and while her buzz is hot she’s released her EP, Title. The EP was released September 9th via Epic Records and is available on Amazon & iTunes.

From ‘All About That Bass’, it’s clear that Meghan’s music style is that of the 60s; very Doo-Wop. Throughout the four tracks she’s singing about how she shouldn’t have to compromise over her size and how a man should treat her. Track-by-track review shall we:

  • ‘All About That Bass’ – I love the track after first seeing it on Facebook. I will say I thought it was like fan made, rather high quality one, that emphasized the beauty in all sizes. Then I saw it again and again and that’s when I discovered that Meghan Trainor is a signed artist. It’s very catch and the word play is very original. Great intro and at 20 years old it sure does make her friendly among teenagers.
  • ‘Title’ – I could definitely see this as a single because it’s still upbeat like her debut single and again the wordplay works. While she sings about a guy needing to claim her or else he can “kiss her ass goodbye”, lyrically I love that it’s saying what a lot of girls think except without the big words. Also who doesn’t love a rap break – “Look ma, no hands”. Very nice.
  • ‘Dear Future Husband’ – The way the track starts out you might think it’s a ballad. Then bring that beat in. Again with her wordplay it sounds like she’ll be singing so sweet, but she goes in to spill all of her thought to said her future husband. It’s not a male bashing song it’s actually emphasizing all that women do and that this is not old school. They’re both equal and she demands to be treated as such.
  • ‘Close Your Eyes’ – This is the only ballad out the four tracks and it’s very similar to that of ‘All About That Bass’ except with deeper lyrics and a slower beat. After hearing 3 upbeat tracks this might seem off, but it’s a beautiful song. — “Everyone’s born to be different. That’s the one thing that makes us the same.”

Overall I think this is a great introduction to her sound as she stays true and ‘All About That Bass’ is not a phase. She’s really singing about the same thing, but I really enjoyed all four tracks. I can’t wait to see where her career goes.

Listen to the EP below (via Spotify):

Album Review: V (Deluxe Edition)


maroon 5 vMaroon 5 released their 5th studio album, V, September 2nd as the follow-up to their 2012 album, Overexposed (CLICK HERE for that review). features 12 tracks on the standard edition with lead singles: ‘Maps’, ‘Animals’, and ‘It Was Always You’. The deluxe edition features three additional tracks: ‘Shoot Love’, ‘Sex and Candy’, and ‘Lost Stars’ from Begin Again. 

The album is available online via iTunes ($9.99 standard; $12.99 deluxe), Amazon ($11.99; deluxe), and retailers Walmart and Target. There are various Walmart specials one in particular, the V ZinePak ($17.88), features two additional tracks, ‘Maps (Slaptop Remix)’ and ‘Maps (Remix)’ featuring Big Sean. Target retails the album for $19.99, deluxe, and $13.00 for the standard. You can catch them on sale for $14.99 and $9.99, respectively. As always, get the deluxe, it’s more for you buck.

Moving on to the review. I will say after listening to the album in its entirety I love it way more than I did Overexposed. I’ve been a Maroon 5 fan since I first heard ‘Harder to Breathe’. Read my Then & Now Thursday (V.): Maroon 5 for all my thoughts on my favorite band. I wasn’t a fan of Overexposed to be honest. It was just so much on that album that from first listen I could do without. Of course it spawned commercial hits, but that’s just it; Maroon 5 was commercial.

My Top 5:

  • ‘Maps’
  • ‘Animals’
  • ‘Leaving California’
  • ‘New Love’
  • ‘Feelings’

My favorite out of those 5 would have to be ‘Feelings’. I was expecting more of their collab with Gwen Stefani (track 11), ‘My Heart Is Open’. It has grown on me as I’ve listened to the album multiple times, but I was honestly expecting more. I was expecting an upbeat or hard hitting bass track similar to their collab with Chrisitna Aguilera. Not that upbeat, but again not a ballad. It’s not my favorite on the album.

Another track that caught me off guard was ‘Unkiss Me’. The beat reminded me of Usher’s, ‘Love In This Club’. It’s not a song that I would expect on a Maroon 5 album, but as the beat went on I started to get into it. Out of the three bonus tracks, while I do like ‘Lost Stars’ my favorite
is ‘Shoot Love’.

Lyrically the album is like a tit for tat of being in love. One minute he’s trying to get back with her (‘Maps’) then they’re head over heels for each other (‘Animals’) and they cement their love (‘It Was Always You’). Then he’s over the whole relationship (‘Unkiss Me’). So and and so forth. Whether the album was meant to be a story the tracks all connected in someway. Not including the bonus tracks.

Overall I give the album a 4/5. My favorite track from the entire album is ‘Feelings’ and I hope it’s released as a single which of course comes with a visual. I still can’t wait to see the visual for ‘Animals’. Aside from wanting to hear ‘Feelings’ on the radio I could see a push for ‘My Heart Is Open’, although ballads aren’t really played on the radio as much. I would also like to hear ‘New Love’ and ‘In Your Pocket’ (track 7) seems simple enough to be radio friendly.

Stream the album below (via Spotify):

 

EP Review: A Place Like This

MajidJordan304

Canadian duo, Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ulllman, and OVO artist better known as Majid Jordan have released their EP,  A Place Like ThisThis is not the first EP the duo have released as a pair, but it is the first under Majid Jordan. Their first EP, Afterhours, was released on Soundcloud under the name Good People.

I love the feel of this EP. It starts off on this high note an then it gets slower and slower. ‘Forever’ and ‘All I Do’ are the two upbeat tracks and then it gradually gets slower with ‘Her’, ‘U’, and ‘A Place Like This’. I compare this EP to  like running a race. You start off fast and then you slow down once you lose momentum. You don’t stop running everything around you is just like a blur. That’s what this EP reminds me off. When you’re off in a trance and you’re stuck and everything is moving, but you. ‘A Place Like This’ reminds me of elevator music. Actually if you take out the lyrics, instrumentally this whole EP could be elevator music. I really like it and I’m interested in hearing a full length album from this duo. With Drake working on his new album I wonder if there will be another Majid Jordan feature.

Out of the five tracks my top picks are ‘Forever’ and ‘A Place Like This’.

Check out the video for ‘A Place Like This’ below:

Stream the EP below (via Spotify):

MMF Flashback — Destiny’s Child, The Writing’s on the Wall

Welcome to another edition of MMF Flashback. In this series I pay review albums that have been released already from various artist. These albums have reached some type of milestone and are very instrumental in the artists particular growth or debut. Be sure to check out my first two installments:

thewritingsonthewall

In this edition I’ll be reviewing Destiny’s ChildThe Writings on the WallIt was July 28, 1999 when Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LeToya Luckett, and LaTavia Roberson released their sophomore album and follow-up to  their self-titled debut. The album spawned hits: ‘Bills, Bills, Bills’, ‘Bug a Boo’, ‘Say My Name’, and ‘Jumpin’, Jumpin”. It debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 in August of 1999 with 132,000 copies sold in its first week. By the end of the year, less than six months after its release, the album had sold 1.6 million copies. 2000 was a huge year for the album as it went on to sell an additional 3.6 million copies and became the tenth best-selling album of the year. The album went on to spend 99 consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200 from its 1999 release to Spring 2001 and was certified 8x Platinum by the RIAA in November of 2001. To date it has sold over 11 million copies.

The success from the album didn’t stop there as the group went on to win two Grammys, Best R&B Vocal Performance by Duo or Group and Best R&B song, both for ‘Say My Name’. They also won an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo. Although the drama amongst the change in members still lies with the name Destiny’s Child there’s no denying that with an album like this it helped to cement their popularity, gain airplay and chart presence, plus emphasize the vocal ability of Beyoncé.

I wasn’t even a teenager (almost 9) when this album was released, but with my older sister six years older than me this was the music that she listened to in rotation. I remember the ‘commandments’ that was after each track. Listening to it as a young adult the album blends Hip-Hop and R&B very well and is more urban than the direction that the ladies took once they became a trio. The sound of music changes with time and Destiny’s Child has been able to modify their sound to the current sound. In the late 90s, R&B was still relevant and Hip-Hop always found it’s way to the forefront. In fusing those two sounds plus lyrics of wanting no dead beat guy, love, no love, cheating, having fun, etc. each of the 14 songs (excludes into and outro) was great at adding a different element.

If I had to choose JUST one I would have to say my favorite is between ‘Bills, Bills, Bills’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jumpin”. I know, the radio smashes. The album overall is interesting to listen to 15 years later when I have a different sound of music. 

Reminisce and listen to the album below:

Album Review: Trigga (Deluxe Edition)

trigga-cover I’m no stranger to reviewing music from Trey Songz and I’ve decided to do a full out album review for this LP. Be sure to click the links below to check out my reviews to some of Trey’s previous works:

Before I get into the review let’s talk pricing of the album. Of course it’s available in stores and online. Via iTunes you can get the standard or deluxe editions. The standard edition comes with and is $8.99 and the deluxe comes with 17 tracks for $10.99. I will say that for an iTunes copy that’s pretty cheap as albums can value up to nearly $15 upon first release. Over on Amazon it’s the same price the perk is when you buy a hard copy you receive the MP3 right along with it. The Target version features three bonus tracks in addition to those on the deluxe edition: ‘Hard to Walk Away’, ‘Serial’, and ‘Sneaky’. Those three bonus tracks are featured in the two-disc set which values for $14.99. All depends on what you want, I just like giving prices. As always though, I recommend the deluxe, more BANG for your BUCK. Now on to the review. (Be sure to click the links the links above.) As for this album I was very hesitant as to how I would like it.

trey-songz-trigga-tracklisting-ddotomen

I honestly haven’t loved an entire Trey Songz compilation since Ready. When I heard that he’d be titling his sixth album, Trigga, I figured that he’d be rapping all over it being that Trigga is his alter-ego. I’m so glad when listening that the album didn’t consist of all that. Leading up to the album he released singles: Na Na‘, ‘SmartPhones’, ‘What’s Best for You’,  ‘Foreign’ and ‘Change Your Mind’. The five tracks are the perfect example of what the ‘Trey Songz Formula’ consists of. He has the club bangers, the sexual innuendos, the breakup to makeup, and at times not caring if his female interest has a man or not. (Click the track links above for the reviews I’ve already done.)

My Top 5 —

  • ‘Cake’
  • ‘SmartPhones’
  • ‘Foreign’
  • ‘Love Around The World’
  • ‘Y.A.S’

On this album he’s also teamed up with Nicki Minaj, ‘Touchin, Lovin’, and I must say that I like ‘Bottoms Up’ better. This track could easily make its way to the clubs and have some good airplay the song is just not anything spectacular. It sounds like the the current mesh of music on the radio right now like like ‘Loyal’, ‘Don’t Tell Em’ and ‘Main Chick’. There’s nothing really original, but I do appreciate Nicki getting back to basics with her rhymes and actually rapping with thought and Trey plays up the Notorious B.I.G./R. Kelly classic, ‘F*ck You Tonight’. Decent track, not my favorite though.

As for that ‘Foreign (Remix)’ with Justin Bieber, Trey Songz did NOT need to include that. Biebs did not add anything to the track and it’s just a waste. It should’ve been a version leaked or something. It didn’t need to be on the album. His track with Juicy J, ‘Late Niight’, is a banger. I can see it doing well on the radio and once it gets to the clubs it’ll do great there too.

Overall I love this album WAY more than Chapter V. There were just too many songs on Chapter V that I could do without. I really like this one. Is there anything super special or experimental on this album? No. Trey definitely stuck to what he knows, but it turned out great. I’ll be honest. I’m not completely in LOVE, but I do like this one quite a bit. Congrats on having the #1 album in the country. On another note, I would love another Trey Songz mixtape for old times sake.

Take a listen to the album in its entirety below (via Spotify):