Friday, June 22, 2007

Guess Who's Bi-zack!?

Besides me, of course, (I haven't written in ages) but my loves, MAROON 5, are back! Who else can put out 3 albums in 5 years with the exact same tracks and each one be incredible, forcing me to forget the fact that there was still no sophomore release from my boys. Between 2002 and today, Maroon 5’s debut album, Songs About Jane, has gone quadruple platinum and they followed it up with and acoustic version of the same album and a live performance CD and DVD. Only maroon 5 can make 3 albums with different versions of same songs and each be the hotness! If you have never heard of them, you are certainly missing out. If you have, I know you’re a fan. Like me, I know you remember the moment when they won the well-deserved Grammy for Best New Artist….and you rejoiced in the moment you heard about their newest single “Makes Me Wonder,” even if I am the first to tell you. I am certainly not Maroon 5’s publicist here to promote their new single and album, It Wont Be Soon before Long, but I had to share the love!!! Get the album - it's a new style for Maroon 5, but it is nothing short of fantastic!

Hear the song on their official website now and see the video.

Welcome to my MUSIC ISSUE!

Over the last couple months, among other things, I have “discovered” a great new group, uncovered a guilty pleasure in a certain Akon protégé, and delved into some gross details about one artist I am compelled not to live without.

As all my friends know, when I get up in the morning, I don’t turn on the radio or the news – I watch music videos. Thank God for VH1 Soul, MTV Jams, MTV Hits, and yes, even TR3 (MTV's Spanish music videos channel). Several mornings I caught this really cool video from a band called Gym Class Heroes with 2 little dancing cupids. You know how entertaining it is when artists find uninhibited young kids who can break it down and drop it like it’s hot (think Missy's videos), but in a cute way (how corny do I sound)? The name of the song is “Cupid’s Chokehold and, in addition to the two cool cupids, the song was hot, the video was creative and the lead singer, Travis McCoy, had such an intriguing look that the song became one of my hits of the spring.

I did a little research on the group, downloaded, I mean bought, their album As Cruel As Schoolchildren where I found another cool single and video, “The Queen and I.” One weekend, I happened to turn on the radio (which I never do) and I caught the end of Ryan Seacrest’s top 40 hits of the week and “Cupid’s Chokehold” was #1! Can I pick ‘em or what?

See the Gym Class Heroes “Cupid’s Chokehold” video here.

My guilty pleasure is an artist whose songs, originally, made no logical sense to me, his musical style displaying no talent, clear studio distortion, and useless, racy lyrics. Under Akon’s label Konvict Muzic and with hit’s like “I’m in Luv (Wit A Stripper)” and “I’m Sprung,” while catchy, I didn’t take T. Pain very seriously….until now. With my newfound ability to put ringtones on my cell phone, I thought it would be funny to hear “I’m in Love (Wit A Stripper),” when my sister or mom calls, and hilarious it is! I love people's reactions when they hear the song and they I answer, "mom."

Of course, it started as just a joke until I found myself lost in R. Kelly’s “I’m A Flirt” Remix featuring T. Pain (and the always satisfying T.I.). I find myself singing his verse, “When I pull up to the club, all the shawty’s be like, damn, 28s/ And I be like, Girl you know just who I am, Don’t hate!” Why? I don’t know! Something about that Roger and Zapp-type sound entertains me, but I am ok, right? Well, I thought so….but then there was Bow Wow’s “Outta My System” featuring Johnta Austin (whom I love) and T. Pain, and that song was HOT. And finally, “Can I Buy U A Drank,” T. Pain’s latest collaboration featuring Young Joc. The hotness!! I had heard it maybe once before when I went to Miami in April and heard it again in the club (another place I go, like, never) and something about stunning in the club to the beat under T. Pain and Joc just put me over. I was officially a fan. To my credit, T. Pain is also a dedicated producer, having created his own studio in his Florida bedroom at the age of ten (according to Wikipedia). So he is more than just a robot sounding hip hopper with crazy lyrics about liquor and ladies.

View the “Buy U A Drank” video with a cameo from Jay Z, here.

Kudos to Vibe Magazine

Obviously, it’s easy to be banging a song on your ipod or car stereo and overlook some of the ho’s, b!tch*s, and some other words. We, as a music loving culture, have been able to ignore certain language when we are feeling the beat or the melody of the hook. But what acts aren’t forgivable? I love R. Kelly’s music. I loved TP2, TP2 Reloaded, TP3, and several tracks and collaborations in between. His blunt and overtly sexual lyrics creatively entertain me, his voice is appealing, and he is a brilliant producer and a hit-making writer. And it’s not just me. The man’s songs blow the charts, his albums are several times platinum, and he doesn’t stop. I know it’s not just me. So, I recently wondered why we don’t seem to care that he is facing child pornography charges. Many of us even rushed out to watch the tape and with a laugh declared, “Yeah that’s definitely him.”

Kells was on my mind because with the “Make It Rain” and “I’m A Flirt” remixes in heavy rotation (and bustin speakers in my car), I felt a sort of guilt finding such joy in his music. Apparently, Vibe felt the same way because their May cover featured R. accompanied by a detailed timeline of his criminal charges (orinigally filed 5 years ago) and recording history. There was coverage from his estranged wife to his lawyers and colleagues. I never saw the famous sex tape, but Vibe's play by play was more than enough for me to visualize the grotesque behavior. I have to admit, just one paragraph made my stomach turn and for a moment, I wasn't sure if I could ever listen his voice again - for a moment. Then, of all people, Wendy Williams brought me some insight. She was disturbed by his alleged behavior as well as the paradox of celebrating this artist who she describes as having some very serious issues. Wendy says, "I love the music, but the man is disgusting." I never thought I would be quoting Wendy Williams, but she has a point.

I typically don't read Vibe Magazine, not for any reason other than the fact that I prefer not to read about music, but to listen to it. I am also totally overwhelmed with fabulous fashion magazines, but I read this particular issue from cover to cover as well as their new mag Vibe Vixen with Janet Jackson on the cover. That's a hot little magazine. They've had covers from Kelis to Tracee Ellis Ross to Kelly Rowland and, currently, Mya (not my favorite). Inside, you'll find useful beauty and lifestyle tips designed for black woman with a colorful and playful layout I adore. I am very proud of Vibe's new, feminine spin-off, so I wanted to give them a loud congratulations for their new success (in my eyes).