Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yeah! Here is to 20 000 and beyond!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christina Aguilera - Lotus

Xtina has never been without controversy. Never. Just think back to her cross over from bubblegum pop tartlet to barely there chaps wearing vixen! Throughout her career however, Xtina’s talent as the voice of her generation has never and can certainly never be disputed.  The woman will sing anybody in the game today under the table. Well this certainly was the consensus until 2010 when Xtina offered to the world her 4th studio album “Bionic”. An album that left even die hard Xtina fans asking WTF? In interviews following the album's release and with RCA being clearly aware of the record's obvious status of bargain bin CD deal, Ms Aguilera offered an explanation that Bionic was simply just ahead of its time. I have two problems with this: 1 – Why the hell release something that you “know” will not be well received during this era and 2- why exactly is it that uninspired, crass and inane lyrics coupled with a mechanical robust beats equate to supposed futuristic sound? No Chrissy, if the music purportedly awaiting us in the future is even remotely similar to what Bionic offered then the Mayans should take us right now. No need to wait for December 21st! I digress however as this post is about Lotus and I think we should all put Bionic aside and wait for 20never when the CD will almost certainly dominate the charts. *cough cough*

Lotus, as the name suggests, candidly tells the world that Xtina is as indestructible as the flower. The ‘fighter’ songstress has had to endure a bitter divorce, a commercial and critical flop of an album and a rear end expanding quicker than the hole in the ozone layer. It certainly does not help that Burlesque was given the thumbs down by most critics.  There there Xtina!
Unlike its predecessor, Lotus sees Xtina return to her element with radio friendly pop and classic piano ballads. The debut and until now only single Your body had as all running for cover as we downloaded the song only to hear Aguilera declare that all she wants to do is F#@k your body! All the excruciating memories surrounding Bionic appeared to have returned to haunt us all over again. Alas. Not! Yes it probably wasn’t necessary to curse to that extent but Your Body was actually a return to form for the singer. Making a respectable placing at no.34 on the Hot 100 and a decent impact on stateside radio it seemed that the stars were aligning for Xtina’s triumphant return. …! 

Sadly little to no promotion of the single was done save for an appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show. This is a situation which still boggles my tiny little mind. It begs the question of what is actually going on over at RCA? My guess, and this is perhaps overly optimistic, but considering that she is finishing her stint on The Voice there were some contractual obligations preventing an aggressive promotional stance. The American Music Awards performance was somewhat ill planned as Chrissy didnt perform either her currnent single nor her intended second single. I maintain, RCA wtf?

The album largely has one basic theme “YOU WONT BREAK ME”. She occasionally deviates from this on cuts like Red Hot Kinda Love and Your Body where Xtina channels sex vixen like only he can. The standout ballads are Sing For Me and Blank Page, the latter being probably the most emotionally connected we have heard Christina since Beautiful. True to Bionic form Xtina cusses out her detractors of Shut Up and Circles, going as far as telling them to “spin around in circles on my middle finger”. Classy Chrissy, classy. I joke. Circles I must add is an album gem! The arrangement leaves you enthralled from start to finish as the song morphs genres and singing styles like we have not seen Aguilera do before. Unlike with Bionic these songs do not convey the same unnecessary crassness Bionic did. Well actually they do, however now her listeners can actually relate to her having reasons to strike out at her proverbial "haters". 

The two artist features on the album are both single worthy tracks featuring Cee-Lo (Make The World Move) and the Blake Shelton assited Just A Fool. My only criticism would be that Christina needs to realise that The Voice judging panel does not represent the entire music artist registry. Where is my Dirrty? My Redman? 

The only track the should never have left the producers mixing desk is Cease Fire. The track is all over the place and seems to a build up to climax that is simply never reached. Your ears will have you asking for a Cease Fire before the song is finished! *sigh*

All in all Lotus is far more cohesive in sound and direction than its predecessor. Whilst the theme may be repetitive at least it exists right?

The album debuted at a disappointing 7 on the Billboard albums chart and encountered the most lack luster sales of Aguilera’s career. 73k first week *gasp*. The prognosis is not all bad I think. With The Voice wrapping up I am sure the album promotion will move up a gear or 3! A tour could also save this album and will give Xtina a chance to reconnect with her fans and hopefully recruit a million of 5 new ones.

Stonewinner Entertainment gives Lotus 8 out of 10!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ready or Not- The Fray ft Stacie Orrico

Real good music does still exist people! One of the best collaborations I have heard in a long damn time!

Lifted off The Frays's new album titled Scars and Stories finally see's Miss Orrico return to the music world, an absence I for one feel has been rather unnecessary. In any event this song is pure awesomeness.

Get into it below:

Im sure the Fugees would be proud, well that or either too high to notice!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

American Idol- Joshua Ledet

I have been rather quiet about the latest season of American Idol mostly because I promised myself that I was finished with that show. Lets be honest, the last real star worthy idol the show actually produced was Carrie Underwood. So, against my better wishes and as a result of an internet frenzy about some girls performance of "I Will Always Love You" I finally checked in on AI season 11. Some girl turned out to be 16 year old Jessica Sanchez, a girl possessing vocal chops way beyond her years and with enough stage presence to see her through to the finale. Save however to say that StonewinnerEntertainement fully backs Jessica for a win, much like we did Melanie "its the real Melanie" Amaro, this post is actually about another contestant.

Joshua Ledet, this seasons slightly less gay and certainly less plumb Jacob Lusk. He is the seasons soulful crooner yet he just does not ever hit the right marks with me. I have been subject to criticism that "I just dont like soulful music" ridic right? So once again this week with the singers tackling the 80's I paid particular attention to Mr Ledet as he sang Simply Red's "If You Dont Know Me By Now".

Once again he nailed it! really he did, but he left me wondering why every week although singing a different song Mr Ledet just sounds exactly the same. Each and every performance is exactly the same, and until that changes Josh i am just about ready to bid you farewell. Take a page out of Jessica's books and note how to give songs your own original spin.

Peep both contenders performances below:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

All that Sparkles is not Whitney ...

It has been almost two months since Whitney Houstons untimely passing and true to industry form the producers of Whitney's last motion picture "Sparkle"have just released the official trailer to the movie which is only set for US release in August.

The movie, if the trailer is anything to go by, seems! It will no doubt do amazingly at the box office world wide however, mostly due it being crazed fans last glimpse into the life of their ever iconic diva before she really and truly is gone. It also stars idol winner Jordin Sparks and Cee-Lo.

While she was still alive, many a music site and blog raved about Whitney's rendition of the classic gospel ballad "His eye is on the sparrow" but do not be mislead folks, her version is about as dry as they come. The undisputed best version of the song still remains Lauryn Hill's cover  and you would do well to give her version a listen instead.

Have a listen to Whitney's take:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Emeli Sande- Next To me

Featured Artist- Emeli Sande

Finally a talent worth mentioning after some time. Another British export possessing heaps of talent much like Adele. She is signed to Virgin records and most people by now should be familiar with her debut single "Heaven" off her debut masterpiece off an album "Our Version of Events".

The album has already received critical and commercial success in the UK debuting at number 1 and being named the fastest selling album of the year. Not only is she a talented vocalist in her own right but she has also penned lyrics for some of the UK's biggest names including Susan Boyle and Leona Lewis.

In a recent interview she said the key to good song writing is "honesty" and "raw emotion" and these are exactly the words that describe her debut album. From start to finish the album is a stonewinner and each and every track is amazing in its own right. There are seldom albums that one can listen to without skipping the odd track along the way but "Our Version of Events" is certainly an exception. The stand out tracks include "Clown", "Hope"  and "River". She possess the vocal ability that many of today's pop tarts lack but does not feel the need to belt out songs for the sake of it but opts rather to connect with the lyrics and deliver a truly refreshing and authentic performance.

I do not know about you guys but I am just about done with Adele's 21, which no doubt was epic, but its time to retire from its year long chart domination.

I am sure we can expect big things from Ms Sande in the future.

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