The Mic Check

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Archive for the month “May, 2011”

Joonie: “Acoustic Love,” an album that will leave you yearning for love

When listening to “Acoustic Love” by crooner Joonie, there is a sense of warmth, love, happiness, and beauty.  This cd is definitely a gem that needs to be appreciated and cherished.  From beginning to end, every song is personal and exudes a sense of connection between Joonie and the songs.  Joonie is the perfect example of an artist who is musically deionized, void of all the impurities that hinder many artists today.  He stays true to who he is and it resonates throughout every song.

For someone who originally didn’t get into the business to sing, his voice is as comforting as a lullaby, mesmerizing and breathtaking.  While his voice and musical capabilities shine through, the lyrics are what really draw you in, causing you to meditate on love and life.

The song “Love you more” is the epitome of a love song.  Stripped from everything superficial, Joonie sings about being in love with a woman.  With her “beauty flowing inside and out,” it’s evident that he is experiencing pure, unadulterated love.  Diamond rings and all of the other material things do not matter to him.  All he wants to do is love her more and more.

Another breathtaking song on the album is “Just the way you are.”  On this song there is nothing but Joonie and a piano.  With each chord you are drawn in more and more.  The song is about accepting a person you love for who they really are.  Their imperfections are what make you love them.  “When you think of love just think of me cuz I’m not going anywhere.”  This would be the perfect song to serenade your significant other with.

The song “Stalker” is different from “Love you more” and “Just the way you are.”  It features a nice beat that will have you bobbing your head.  While the beat is nice, it’s not overpowering and it doesn’t take away from the singing.

Overall, this album is just amazing!  Joonie has totally shown how diverse he is.  There is no reason why a Joonie song is not on the radio.  Frederick Delius said it best, “Music is an outburst of the soul.”  Joonie has poured out his heart and soul on “Acoustic Love.”  There isn’t a label that could describe this album.  It’s not R&B, Pop, or Soul, it’s just great music.

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Tyler, the Creator: “Goblin”

*Disclaimer: Please be advised that this artist is NOT for everyone!* 

Tyler, The Creator; a shock rapper and leader of the Hip-Hop group Odd Future or OFWGKTA (short for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) is known for his dark, demented, offensive, and mind blowing lyrics that will leave you speechless.  After all, what can you say after listening to a seven minute song that repeats, “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school” for majority of the song.  However, Tyler does have a disclaimer at the beginning of the song, Radicals, “Hey, don’t do anything that I say in this song, okay?It’s fuckin’ fiction If anything happens, don’t fuckin’ blame me, white America, fuck Bill O’Reilly.”  Yes, this was shocking and blatantly offensive, but it’s known that Bill O’Reilly is an uptight conservative who would argue that Tyler is detrimental to society for spewing venom and hatred.

The self proclaimed cry baby released his second studio album “Goblin” earlier this month and sold roughly 45K albums its first week.  Wholly embodying the traits of a legendary Goblin, this album is definitely mind-numbingly frightening and lyrically repulsing, yet enthralling.  His delivery and rhetoric is very impressive.  However, his talent is overshadowed by his nauseating lyrics.

“Yonkers,” the first single from the album, caused a lot of drama when he expressed how he wanted to kill rapper B.o.b. and singer Bruno Mars. “I’ll crash that fuckin’ airplane that that faggot nigga B.o.b. is in and stab Bruno Mars in his goddamn esophagus and won’t stop until the cops come in.”  Looking beneath the surface, Tyler was not primarily talking about the overly played song “Nothin on you” by B.o.b featuring Bruno Mars, but also rise of this Pop infused Hip-Hop that has become extremely popular.  B.o.b. then retaliated by releasing a diss track entitled, “No Future.”

Satanist, devil worshipper, and manic have all been used described to Tyler.  “She,” the second single off Goblin, features Odd Future member Frank Ocean.  He describes a girl who is so “gawgeous” that he stalks her.  “The blinds wide open so he can see you in the dark when you’re sleepin’.  Think about it, fresh out the shower, you touch yourself after hours.  Ain’t no man allowed in your bedroom.  You’re sleeping alone in your bed, but check your window; he’s at your window.”  As crazy as it sounds, the soothing sound of Frank Ocean draws you in with each word.

In the midst of the controversy, Goblin was deemed “album of the year” by music journalist and culture virtuoso Toure’.  While the album is very impressive, calling it album of the year is a little premature.  Especially since the best song on the album is the single.  The remainder of the album is good, but falls short when compared to “Yonkers.”

Tyler has a way with words that compels the listener to press replay with the intention of comprehending his rhetoric.   There is nothing fettered or sugar-coated about him.  He says what he wants and does not care what anyone thinks.  You probably will never hear one of his songs on the radio.  It would be pointless to try and censor any of his songs.  You would be left with nothing but repetitive beats and the residue of the song it use to be.

Adele “21:” heartfelt, sultry, and moving

British singer Adele is back with her sophomore album “21.”  When you think of Adele you can’t help but to think of great music.  Her voice is soulful and hearty.  She sings from a place that is sometimes void in today’s music, the heart.  After the success of her 2x platinum debut album “19”, Adele is back and better than ever.

The first single from the album is “Rolling in the deep.”  The pulsating drum line and the sultry melody coming from Adele’s voice are just AMAZING!  The song takes you to church at one point.  All of the instruments drop out except for the drums.  Insert the clapping and you have a very religious experience.  Chronicling the relationship between ex lovers, Adele sings about being played and heartbroken.  The tears are “rolling in the deep” as they stream down her face.  Their relationship had so much promise but instead they decided to play her like it was the ninth inning.  STRIKE OUT!

The second single from the album “Someone like you” is about a lost love.  Being happy for them with their new relationship but knowing that your relationship could have never worked.  While it hurts to see them with someone else, you still manage to muster up“congratulation” on their new courtship.  With nothing but a piano, Adele manages to draw you in with every tickle of an ivory.

Overall, “21” is a great album!  Adele’s voice is nothing but powerful and manages to pull you in like a gravitational pull.  From the first to the last song Adele proves why she is a force to be reckoned with.  It’s very rare that you see such artistry and substance flowing from a current singer.  She is definitely a rare music gem.

*Hope Today Magazine March 2011*

REVIEW: “An Evening with Dave Grusin.”

Pianist, composer and 12 time Grammy Award winner Dave Grusin is amazing when it comes to pure artistry.  Having a career that spans over four decades, his music has managed to touch and inspire many generations.  “Selena” and “The Firm” are two of many movies he’s composed and won prestigious awards for.  With the release of his live CD, “An Evening with Dave Grusin,” he proves why he has sustained a career for almost forty years.

This musical masterpiece features songs by Grusin, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin and Henry Mancini. Guest performers include Jon Secada, Patti Austin, Monica Mancini, Gary Burton, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres and Sammy Figueroa.  After all, who wouldn’t love hearing Patti Austin sing about making whoopi?  This cd is nothing less than superb with a hint of awesome.

The one thing that stands out the most about this cd is the 75 piece Henry Mancini Orchestra accompanying Grusin on the album.  There is nothing more heavenly than the sound of a angelic symphony.  The technique and skill required to play instruments similar to what’s on this cd is unimaginable.  This cd is definitely something a classical music lover would value.

REVIEW: Gail Holmes, “I receive your love”

With the release of her debut album “I Receive Your Love,” singer Gail Holmes has the perfect blend of Contemporary, Praise and Worship, and Gospel.   While these genres have been used to describe her music, there isn’t a particular genre that can be attached to this album.

The first single from the album is entitled “Whatever it is.”  This song talks about going to God with your problems.  Have you ever felt that there wasn’t anyone you could turn to?  Did you ever feel like Job when everything was being taken away from you?  “Whatever it is let it go, give it to God and he will show that he can make your life brand new.  He will see you through.”  The song features a contemporary beat that will have you bobbing your head while reflecting on your life.  Remember that no matter what, he is right there and will see you through.

There is one word to describe her voice, pure.  She sings with emotion that free and conviction that is captivating.  She’s devoid of the superfluous vocal runs that tend to linger throughout Gospel music.  There isn’t a hint of overzealous singing on the album.  The versatility displayed throughout this album is amazing and will allow her to cross many cultures and religious denominations. 

It’s evident through the unfettered emotion evoked in her singing that she is connected to her songs and believes what she is singing.  There is consistency and cohesion as the album progresses.  Overall, there is a song for everyone on this album. “It is my desire to provide an outpouring of God’s love to inspire others of all cultures and generations to seek after and experience that love.”-Gail Holmes

*Hope Today Magazine March 2011*

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