I won't say I was amped, but I've anticipated today for a few weeks now, especially since one of my season 5 American Idol favorites, Elliott Yamin was releasing his CD today, along with my future ex-husband in my head, Marques Houston. I think this year is off to a bleak start in music. I must say that I am enjoying the already 5,000+ plus songs on my I-pod versus the new ones that have just joined the ranks within the last few weeks. I think the best CD released in the last two years has to go to Mariah Carey when she emancipated "MiMi."
If you remember Elliott Yamin from American Idol season five, you'll remember the white boy, who looked a little trailer-parkish that sang like a black boy in a brooklyn project...or what Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross were at the pinnacle of their careers. There is no doubt that the boy can sing. In the age of Justin Timberfake and Robin Thicke finally getting his due, Elliott can join the ranks of the WBWS Clique (White Boys With Soul) along with Jon B, Remy Shand (remember him?) Justin and Robin. All can sing and have their own element, Robin gets to keep the real crown, while Justin can bask in his mainstream success - Elliott can make his mark and overthrow popular Justin quickly, if he finds his niche and the right producers that can give him the material he needs to make his voice standout. With Elliott, he isn't a bad looking boy, but his voice will make up for anything he lacks - but what will his songs sound like? While I wasn't impressed with his debut effort, it was like listening to a never ending soundtrack to Dawson's Creek (isn't that show canceled?) but he did redeem himself with his debut single, Movin' On, Alright and his okay rendition of Donny Hathaway's A Song For You (Christina Aguilera's sounds better - no shade.) If his entire CD gave me the sound that protruded on the Alright and Movin' On tracks (In which Elliott clearly felt at home...cause you can tell when an artist is enjoying the song...), I would have been calling his name in a masturbation sequence at night. But since this album was clearly geared towards 12 year old girls in Idaho, Trent Jackson is good. I'll wait for the next one.
Standout Tracks: Movin' On, Trainwreck, Free, Alright & One Word
We all remember him in Immature, then IMX, then Roger on Sister, Sister - then out of nowhere he pops up in his D'Angelo like video that made all of the versatile bottoms grab their anal beads in an haste to achieve orgasm, but if you were paying attention, he was there before then too. It was a great gimmick for Marques, but it was also an exceptional CD (Naked). Anyone who has followed his solo career, from his self titled debut in 2003 knows that Marques puts it down. He's the leader of the under-rated, quasi-popular, young R&B he's like the Keith Sweat of the new millennium, minus the wining and all that craziness. He provides solid, groove, chill music -without all of the overproduction of his counterparts, Mario, Omarion, Lloyd and Ray-J. Veteran is the appropriate title. He's going for the mature, grown and sexy sound with that teenage appeal that he inconspicuously slides into his music - and it works. Veteran solidifies his status and it lets you know that he'll be making music, whether they're hits or not, until he's 50, wearing leather pants in the summertime, gyrating his pelvis to 80 year old women who have been following him since now. He's not the best singer, but he's not straining for every note like Miss. Ray J-Houston on 'One Wish.' Marques displays his maturity. He provides a good balance of dance beats, mellow and mid-tempo ballads that you can play all year round. I'm not just saying that cause he's cute - all of his CD's are good, trust me on that. I give Mr. Houston the TRENT JACKSON SEAL OF APPROVAL and heavy rotation in my I-Pod. The CD also has duets with Young Joc, Mya & Shawnna
Standout Tracks: Always & Forever, Favorite Girl, Wonderful, So Right For Me & How You Just Gonna, Kimberly (Very Prince like...)
Next we have Joss "Fuckin' For Tracks" Stone. In the midst of her dating Raphael Saadiq (Rumored) and Dallas Austin running off his coke mouth about her snatch, we're all left to think is any of this gimmick to pass us another white girl knock off of Aretha Franklin, Vesta and Alicia Keys rolled into one? Didn't we get that with Anastasia? That didn't work...Even though I'm not fond of Joss, I have to give credit where credit is due. She can sing - I give her that...her production was hot, should Elliott Yamin start fuckin' for tracks too? Cause whatever lining Joss' has in her coochie, you get tracks like Headturner (is she trying to tell us something?), Tell Me Bout It (is this what Dallas did?) and a slew of other old-school sounding R&B that makes you want to light the candles, get the red wine and let her voice vibrate and set the backdrop to a romantic evening. While I knew her CD was coming, I wasn't enthused - I was like who cares, but this CD, "Introducing Joss Stone," makes me want to revisit her prior work, I have no choice but to give Joss the Trent Jackson Stamp and give her dedicated time to my I-Pod rotation. She'll be on my playlist all too soon.
Standout Tracks: Headturner, Tell Me Bout It, Arms Of My Baby, Bad Habit, Proper Nice, Bruised But Not Broken and What Were Thinking.
I didn't catch it last week - but my honorable mentions for last week are:
Lloyd, "Street Love". A CD from another R&B star on the come up that should be watched. His 15 track set boasts tracks like: Want You (Lead Single), Get It Shawty & One for me. It's a solid CD, if you're a fan of Omarion, Chris Brown and Mario, Lloyd is a good buy. His style is sincere and isn't gimmicked like his counterparts. He has a nice balance of street-urban tracks and some sample, infused tracks that are perfect for the late night cruise or mellow weekend days in the house. I like him because he's trying to breakout of the pack that he's in - but he just like I haven't figured out what it is that separates him from the other cute little boys that need to be locked away until they have facial hair.
Musiq is back with his latest effort, "Luvanmusiq" I wish he would stop with the jamming of the words together. This is like his 25th CD, but for some reason I don't feel like I'm the only one who has slept on his later releases. I think this is similar to Lauryn Hill's situation, we want to remember them for what they were. Although his last efforts prior to this were solid, looks like they didn't promote him like they did when he came out the gate. But all that changes with this CD! He comes back and comes back hard, he continues with what he started, going back and staying true to his NeoSoul roots that make us love him for who he is. This is a complete play through CD, one track will not be skipped. He gives it to us like never before and does exactly what one should do when they have flops in between, pull a Mariah Carey like comeback and tell the haters to shake it off!