For all of those who aren't music connoisseurs it seems as if you haven't heard from Amerie since her Sophomore project "Touch", released in 2005 which featured her "signature sound" song "1 Thing". But Amerie recorded 2007's "Because I love It" (which is still in heavy rotation with me) which never saw the light of day in the U.S., but in my opinion her best album to date. In my mind, "Because I Love It" was what "Full Moon" was for Brandy. Go Figure!
I'll admit upon first listen I wasn't grabbed. I was ready to go back two years and leave "Because I Love It" on replay. Many will argue that Amerie isn't a singer - but maybe it's the pseudo gay man that lives in me that makes me live for her! I'll admit that I'm a sucker for a good bass line, something that's gonna make me wanna dance and lyrics that I can relate to. But after a nap and some sunlight, I got what she was doing here.
Her new release "In Love And War" her first Def Jam release follows some of the same formula as her previous albums which always works - horns, strings, heavy drums and funky bass lines minus the strident vocals. Amerie is going for a more edgy sound (imagine Ike telling Tina "ROUGHER ANNA MAE") which works for her. There is a lot more attitude than before, clearly here is a woman that is ready to let go of all the crap that has happened along the road of life and live her life without regrets.
"In Love And War" chronicles the ups and downs of life, love & friendships. It's a nice, funky, crisp, honest, edgy melodic blend of Pop-Funk driven R&B with a few mid-tempo grooves to soothe you on a brisk fall night.
The 14 track set includes duets with Fabolous, Trey Songz (featured on a rip of Mint Condition's 1991 hit "Quit Breakin' My Heart [Pretty Brown Eyes]) and Lil' Wayne
Standout Tracks: Heard 'Em All, Higher, Why R U, Pretty Brown (featuring Trey Songz) & Different People.
Ryan Leslie the musical genius who remained the "it" guy most of 2009 after his self titled release earlier this year is back 8 months later with his sophomore release "Transition". Ryan is such a chilled out guy. There are a few things that I admire about him, the first being his likeable factor. His ability to connect with his fans is priceless! It goes back to the idea if people "like" you they'll support you. What other artist do you know that is so humbled, that he's out meeting his fans randomly? Or so concerned with the well being for everyone, he's giving out financial advice?
In my opinion Ryan is one of the few artists bringing back real music with real instruments. Not only does HE play live instruments on all of his albums, his music has that same feel that classic R&B had, the feeling that stopped in about 90. But remained alive thanks to the "Neo-Soul Movement" whatever that is. Additionally, what other artist has put out two albums with phenomenal material in the same year? Right...
"Transition" is another well crafted CD that can easily warm up this winters cold night and make you reflect on great moments in your life. Put in any Ryan Leslie CD and it will feel like someone is holding down the F5 button while pressing pause on all the bullshit in your life. His music definitely allows you to escape. If you're anything like me, a margarita and a blunt will only enhance what you can experience sober with Ryan Leslie.
"Transition" is the missing piece of the puzzle to his debut effort. That CD left me wanting more - which is why it hasn't left rotation, but today's release was a great conclusion to a great year for Ryan which garnished him an episode of Rising Icons (appropriately so) and a Soul-Train Award nomination.
Ryan always brings a kick-back chill vibe, which is official but unofficial signature sound. The blend of real instruments, honest & relatable lyrics and catchy hooks solidify Ryan's second CD as a blueprint of the phenomenal work that is yet to be seen by him.
"Transition" is a must have CD if you like the kind of music that allows you to clear your mind and put you at ease...something that you no longer get on the radio.
Standout tracks: Never Gonna Break Up, Zodiac, You're Not My Girl, Is It Real Love, To The Top
my only complaint about this CD is that some of the songs we saw him create and or were leaked didn't make it on the CD (Used To Be ft. Fabolous, Taste For Your Love) guess that makes sense right? lol...