Justin Timberlake - Suit & Tie (feat. Jay-Z)
After enjoying some pretty big success in his acting projects, including some of the hottest movies in the past few years such as The Social Network, Bad Teacher and Friends With Benefits, Mr. Timberlake himself decided to go back to studio recording his third solo studio album and introducing the highly-anticipated first single, “Suit & Tie”.
Justin Timberlake, known for his uptempo Pop & Urban bangers, decides to slow it down and shows off his R&B singing skill in this retro-ish midtempo number with a little
useless help from rapper Jay-Z, who sadly, doesn’t feel like adding anything to the song.
Did the song live up the hype? Nope. Is it a good song? Hell yeah. It’s a really good R&B song features some horns on the background which might remind you to some stuff by fellow Blue-eyed Soul singer, Robin Thicke. Still, this doesn’t scream a ‘comeback’ single for me. It would’ve been a better choice if they had gone with his signature uptempo sound as the first single.
But at least he got something for us, the fans who have been waiting for 6 years for a new music. The album The 20/20 Experience is set to be released later this year.
2012 in Music
Back in 2011, Electropop/Dance music ruled all over the airwaves with hit songs like “We Found Love”, “Party Rock Anthem” and “On The Floor”. Even though we didn’t get to see a huge transition from 2011 to 2012, but we shall say that last year we were able to see more and more non-mainstream acts becoming popular.
“Somebody That I Used To Know” by Australian singers, Gotye and Kimbra and “We Are Young” by Alternative/Rock band fun. and R&B/Soul singer Janelle Monae were two of the year’s biggest hits. I’m not saying that both were pure Indie songs, but at least we got to see more variation on music charts and it would probably help and open the doors for more non-Pop singers to get recognized by the general public.
Oppa Gangnam Style
We were also able to witness several interesting newcomers. Of course we all know the song “Gangnam Stye” by Korean singer, Psy (pictured), which is still one of the hottest songs on the radio right now thanks to its viral video which introduces its signature dance moves to the world. Not to forget Carly Rae Jepsen’s number one hit, “Call Me Maybe”, which has spawned several parodies on YouTube based on the video.
The Rise of R&B
Another notable ‘newcomers’ last year were Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. Along with Miguel (pictured), the three of them popularized a new sound of R&B which is often refered as Alternative R&B, or even some people call it Electrosoul. Basically, we can say that Alternative R&B aims to modernize the sound of R&B by creating a fusion between traditional R&B and Electronic music without losing the soul itself in R&B. “Thinkin Bout You” (Frank Ocean), “Wicked Games” (The Weeknd) and “Adorn” (Miguel) are the perfect examples to describe Alternative R&B. Even, some of the bigger stars had already tried to incorporate this genre onto their sound, for example, “Climax” & “I Care 4 U” by Usher and “I Miss You” by Beyoncé.
Song fact: “Adorn” by Miguel, is currently the longest-running number one single on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Chart, topping the chart for eighteen consecutive weeks so far.
Even though we got to see much improvement in music last year, some singers were still stuck and had not able to move on from the more popular Electropop/Dance sound. Chris Brown (pictured) & Ne-Yo for example, they ruled the charts last year with hit singles including “Turn Up The Music”, “Don’t Wake Me Up and “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)”. But on the other side, they began to lose their core fans who were there for their R&B music, the genre that helped them gaining solid fanbases, which can be seen visibly on their low album sales. The same thing happened to Usher & Nicki Minaj as well, even though looks like Nicki is trying to re-build her Hip Hop fanbase by keep releasing Rap songs in the past couple of months, including “Freedom” and “The Boys”, which features American R&B/Pop songstress, Cassie.
Song fact: “Turn Up The Music” is Chris Brown’s first number single in the UK. He had spawned dozen of top ten hits before including “Run It”, “With You”, “No Air” and “Yeah 3x”.
The Dirty Side of Hip-Hop
Sadly, we didn’t get to see much improvement in Hip-Hop either. Many big Hip-Hop songs were still talking about partying, drinking,
bitches and stuff like that. Yup, we missed the Hip-Hop songs that actually talk about life and well-written with lyrics that can relate to ourselves.
But, indeed, 2012 was a pretty good year for music overall. Of course, we’re looking forward for a better year in 2013, especially with comebacks from several huge names in Pop music such as Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake (yes, he’s releasing a new single next Monday) and Britney Spears. Together, we’re hoping to witness the greatness of music in 2013, amen.
*Images courtesy of indoBOOM, United Virtuoso & Faux Society.
After completing the final exams several days ago, I’m on a very short-but-better-than-nothing holiday right now so let me now bless you all with my posts for a couple of days. Enjoy.
Rihanna - Diamonds
New single from Rihanna “Diamonds” http://smarturl.it/diamondsit
Album Review: Trey Songz - Chapter V
After teasing the fans with the release of Inevitable EP last year - which spawned the hit single “Sex Ain’t Better Than Love” - Trey Songz is back with his fifth studio album, simply entitled Chapter V.
The R&B crooner must be celebrating his success right now, as “Simply Amazing” is currently sitting at number eight on the UK Singles Chart. The soft-rock influenced track is officially becoming his first top ten single in the country. Previously, the smash hit “Bottoms Up” only reached number seventy-four, while “Heart Attack” peaked at number twenty-eight. Stateside, “Heart Attack” and the T.I.-assisted “2 Reasons” still can be found in the top ten of Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
“Heart Attack” - taken as Chapter V’s first single - is definitely one of the finest R&B numbers this year so far as it really shows the different side of Trey’s music and also has the appeals to Pop audience. Unfortunately, that big step-up is then going down again with the release of “2 Reasons”, a club banger in which Trey’s talking about
bitches ladies and the drinks.
Even though this album is said to be ‘a change’ from his previous works, looks like he’s not ready to leave his signature sound yet, baby-making R&B slow jams. The “Neighbors Know My Name“‘s cousin, “Dive In” is climbing up the Urban chart and may have a little competition from another song with the similar title, “Dive” by another hitmaker, Usher. Also, there’s “Panty Wetter” - a song’s title that will make you curious to know what is the song about.
However, there are always several songs on every of his album that actually have some depth and great lyrical content into it. We had “Last Time” from Trey Day, “Can’t Be Friends” from Passion, Pain & Pleasure and this time, we have “Pretty Girl’s Lie”. A vulnerable R&B track where Trey really shines both with his vocals and emotions. Another standout track vocally and lyrically is “Bad Decision”. We also have “Check Me Out” - a collaboration with rappers Meek Mill and Diddy - where the singer is trying to show off his rapping skills, and “Without A Woman” which might remind you of retro jams from R. Kelly or Stevie Wonder back then.
Overall, it does contain several great tracks, but sadly the ‘maturity’ and ‘growth’ of the album are still overshadowed by several meaningless songs including those sex jams and club bangers, which makes it no different from any of his previous records. However, for all the mainstream R&B lovers who may have been disappointed with the latest releases from Usher & Chris Brown, should definitely check this one out.
Favorite tracks: “Heart Attack”, “Pretty Girl’s Lie”, “Check Me Out”, “Without A Woman”
Beyoncé - I Was Here (United Nations World Humanitarian Performance Day Video)
Music video by Beyoncé performing I Was Here. (C) 2012 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment