Dancehall Riddim of the Moment: “Overproof” (2011)

December 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

2011 has been an amazing year for Dancehall music, so I always get excited whenever a new riddim drops. The “Overproof” riddim has been on constant replay for me ever since it was released in August.

The riddim has a fun and flirty vibe that is perfect for those last steamy nights of summer, yet it had the staying quality to last throughout the rest of the due to the many solid tracks on the riddim.

“Overproof Riddim”, produced by JA Production, has a massive selection of Dancehall, Reggae, Soca and Pop songs which makes it suitable for everyone.

It’s difficult to choose, but my favorite tracks on the riddim are:

1. Mavado – “Settle Down”

2. Aidonia – “Caribbean Girl”

3. Navino – “Chilling Time”

Read on after the jump to listen to the full riddim and get the tracklist!

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Rihanna To Release 6th Album in November: Is It Too Soon?

September 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

On November 12, 2010 Pop sensation Rihanna released Loud, an incredibly successful album that dominated the charts for almost an entire year! Boosting seven chart-topping singles, with Cheers still holding its position at number 8 on Billboard, this album proved itself to be a force in the music industry. Skip to eight months later, and Rihanna has already dropped a new single We Found Love from her 6th upcoming album! While I am an avid fan of Rihanna and support her musical venture, I have to ask: Is it too soon?

I always hope for my favorite artists to create quality music and not rush into things without thinking, so I questioned Rihanna’s sudden release of a new album. I still have Loud on repeat; I wasn’t expecting a new record yet! I know dozens of artists (Rihanna included) who find inspiration on tour and create some amazing music that could potentially give birth to a new album. But after listening to We Found Love about 12 times back to back, I don’t think it was necessary for Rihanna to drop another record.

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My Top 20: The Albums That Have Influenced My Life

July 6, 2011 § 4 Comments

Whenever I speak about music, it is usually from a critical standpoint. I stray away from putting my personal thoughts about music into my writing because I look for a more objective approach. It wasn’t until today, as Britney Spears lyrics ran through my mind, where I realized how greatly music has impacted my life. As a nod to my age (I turn 20 in September) I’ve round up the top 20 albums that have had the most influence throughout my life. They represent specific stages in my life so far, as well showing my growth as a Pop music enthusiast. I think it’s important to note that I actually own hard copies of all these CD’s; most of them are cracked and scratched due to constant overplay. While these albums don’t necessarily reflect my musical taste as a whole (my iTunes library suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder) they are the basis of how I understand, interpret, and love music. Here we go!

20. Mavado: Gangsta for Life (2007)

I grew up with Dancehall & Reggae in my household, so I’ve always had a deep love for listening and supporting Jamaican music. I have a soft spot for Dancehall music, especially from the 90’s, but when Mavado’s debut album dropped in 2007 I was ecstatic. He provided a new sound to Dancehall; his pain-inflicted voice and violent, unforgiving lyrics were a mix that I have never heard before. Mavado is not the typical Jamaican artist; the combination of gun songs, party songs, gospel-influenced songs of this album gave Mavado the perfect stepping stone in becoming one of the greatest Jamaican entertainers of my generation.

Favorite Tracks: Don’t Cry, Amazing Grace, Me & My Dogs

19. Gwen Stefani: Love.Angel.Music.Baby (2004)

As a young kid I always thought No Doubt was a cool band, so when Gwen Stefani released her first solo album I knew it was going to be something special. The album released when I was in 8th grade, a time period where I was beginning to search for the types of music I like. Love.Angel.Music.Baby was a breakthrough for me because I was never exposed to such an eclectic sound before. The album is very 80’s kitsch synth-pop driven; a sound that I’ve grown to love.

Favorite Tracks: Bubble Pop Electric, Danger Zone, Crash

18. Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)

I was first introduced to the Arctic Monkeys in the summer of 2006 at Exeter’s summer program; I remember the exhilarating moment like it was yesterday. I was in a friend’s dorm room and we were chatting as her music played. But then this schizophrenic clash of rushing guitar & drums came on, and my ears were immediately intrigued.

I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor was such a different sound for me. I was exposed to alternative/indie rock before, but this was something completely fresh; it was British rock. The album gave me a taste of the British youth: the way they spoke, danced, acted, drank, etc. After hearing WPSIA,IAN, I began to research other modern British bands & fell in love. Now, in 2011, I’m an avid British rock fan 🙂

Favorite Tracks: When the Sun Goes Down, Mardy Bum, Riot Van

17. Ashlee Simpson: Autobiography (2004)

Back in 2004 (when MTV actually cared about music) I watched “The Ashlee Simpson Show”. During the short-lived reality series, Ashlee created her debut album. I was already a fan of the show, so when Autobiography dropped, I quickly bought it. I think I related to her album at the time because it covered themes of pain, yearning for attention, puppy love, finding oneself, etc. At age 12, the year when pre-teens think no one “gets” them, I totally connected to the lyrics of the songs. While I don’t listen to Autobiography as much as I used to, it truly does represent my angst-y stage as I transitioned from kid to teenager.

Favorite Tracks: Love Me For Me, Nothing New, Autobiography

16. Kings of Leon: Aha Shake Heartbreak (2005)

I remember when I first heard Kings of Leon. I was watching the FUSE channel when their video for “Four Kicks” came on. The record was so energetic, bad-ass, and new. In 2005, I was so used to metal and emo-core. So when I stumbled across the Southern band, it came as a breath of fresh air. After hearing the record, I searched for more of the band’s music and fell in love with everything I heard. After six years, I’m still a dedicated fan of the band.

Favorite Tracks: Soft, Four Kicks, Razz

15. Michael Jackson: Bad (1987):

I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan (I mean, who isn’t?) & I love all of his albums (I mean, who doesn’t?), but I believe I gravitated towards Bad because it found MJ delving more into a rockier, edgier sound. Every single song on this album is distinctive, gritty, fun, intriguing, and timeless. What I love most about the songs is the way that MJ’s vocal range mimic the guitar riffs, the drum beats, and the piano notes. The album highlights his artistry more than any other album, simply because the dirty/glam rock references have more of a capacity to play with than a soulful Motown beat. I know that I’ll be listening to Bad for years to come!

Favorite Tracks: Bad, Another Part of Me, Smooth Criminal

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Lady Gaga- Born This Way: Album Review

May 25, 2011 § 3 Comments

On May 23rd, 2011, Mother Monster unleashed to the world a record intent on shattering musical taboos and praising uniqueness. That record is Born This Way. An album created solely for her fans, Lady Gaga poured her soul into making a solid Pop album. Before the album release, Lady Gaga flooded our ears with 5 singles that gave us an insight to her supposed masterpiece. Interestingly enough, the strongest songs on the album are the ones that have not been released to the public. Don’t let the Photoshop 101 album cover deceive you, Born This Way is a decent record.

The album opens with the stunning “Marry The Night”, a true dedication to Pop music. Gaga’s voice is clear and confident, with a hint of glam metal flair. With its thumping bass and ecstatic electric guitar, the track is ready for the dance floor. “Born This Way” released in February 2011, is a song that I never enjoyed. The “Gay Anthem” concept is over-thought and over-used; many people felt that it was too Madonna circa “Express Yourself”, which I completely agree with.

Nevertheless, the songs on Born This Way highlight topics that only Gaga would be brave enough to speak about. “Government Hooker”, a story about a girl who lives the life of a prostitute, sounds like it would be a tragic ballad. But remember, this is Lady Gaga we are talking about. This song, which I’ve been dying to listen to since I heard the title back in March, is a sex-filled tease. With its references to the late JFK and Gaga’s raunchy wails, this song will make you want to do naughty things.

“Judas”, another song that touches on controversy, is solid track off the album. When the song was released last month, I couldn’t bring myself to like it. But this song grew on me like no other; I even found myself humming the rhythm in the shower. What captivated me the most was that damn electronic synth; I’ve never heard something more energizing in my life. That distinct sound, combined with Gaga’s accented dictation, makes “Judas” a showstopper. “Scheibe” is one of the weirder songs on the album, but it in the best way possible. Never has the German language sounded so sexy. The song is pure Euro-trash, and it works.

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Song of the Moment: “Up N’ Down”

May 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

If you follow this blog, it should come as no surprise that I am a HUGE Britney Spears fan. I listen to all of her albums religiously, and there are always certain songs that are on constant rotation. This time, the chosen song is off the pop star’s current album Femme Fatale. The deluxe edition track, titled “Up N’ Down”, is steadily becoming one of my favorite songs of the moment! Every year there are a handful of songs that I normally choose as “Songs of the Summer”, and this bumping dance track is definitely holding on strong.

“Up N’ Down” is so incredibly catchy; it makes you want to give it your all on the dancefloor. The track opens with some intense 90’s-feeling techno chords which completely electrifies the body & soul, gearing it up to fist pump, shake your booty, break dance, etc. The lyrics, while a bit cheesy (“I know you want me like kids want candy”), are effective, taunting, to the point, and seductive in a way that only Britney Spears could master. Combine that with a great techno-driven rhythm, and you have a perfect Pop formula for a hit. In short, it’s a freaking SOLID dance-pop track. Why it didn’t make the official Femme Fatale album beats me. But look out for “Up n’ Down” in the upcoming summer months, it’ll become your new go-to party song!

Jennifer Lopez- Love? Album Review

May 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

After being pushed back for over a year, Jennifer Lopez’s Love? finally dropped this Tuesday to much anticipation. Shifting to a new record label, Island Records, the Pop Diva found herself playing around with new Euro-driven sounds and fun lyrics. With the birth of her twins and her busy job as judge on American Idol, Jennifer Lopez’s presence within the music scene was minute. But with Love?, Lopez wanted to come back with a bang. But the album is more of a sizzle.

Love? is based on Euro-dance Pop, a sound that we are all used to in the year 2011. Instead of setting herself apart from the sea of female Pop artists dominating the industry, Lopez sinks with a robotic fervor. “Good Hit” transforms the 41-year old entertainer into a try-hard tween, with its screeching auto-tune and standard rhythmic production. Lopez returns back to her Latin roots with “Papi”, a bass-thumping dance track that gets you into the mood to shake what you got.

The singer isn’t known for her powerful ballads, yet they are still present on Love? “Until It Beats No More” is a dull record about heartbreak and resurrection. Unfortunately, the production is too high for Lopez’s tight vocal range; the singer strains to reach notes that she cannot pull off. Lopez’s vocal range is pushed into the Justin Bieber category with “One Love”, a mid-tempo ballad that would be better suited for the 17-year old popstar. “Villian”, a track that oozes sensuality and mystery is quite strong. But once again, the breathy vocals and edgy-techn0 beat would fit Britney Spears, not Jennifer Lopez.

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