Hello and Happy June(and crab szn ♋) everyone!!!!!!
I hope everyone is doing well! I can’t believe it’s been five years since I started this blog…..Wow I was 19(going on 20) when I started this blog out of boredom. Fun Fact: One of my poetry class assignments was to have our own work portfolio and it was one of the reasons I decided to start this blog. Another was my desire to have a space and hub where I could fully express myself through my creativity and my love for popular culture and I did it! I’m grateful for all of you and I’m so sorry I left you hanging for so long.
2021 has been a very hectic rollercoaster ride…… I have so many ideas for this blog but I never get around to excuting them and I need to work on that because I love it here and I feel like I’ve abandoned apart of myself(and all of you). Mental health is still a struggle for me and I’m extremely hard on myself and that affects how and when I release content. So……..Hi let me reintroduce myself…… I can not promise a perfect timeline for my content but more content is in the works. Once again, thank you, thank you and thank you!
Whitney Houston’s voice was versatile. She was excellent at demonstrating vocal power and emotional conviction when she delivered a ballad and brought vitality and energy to up-tempo tunes. One of Whitney’s most memorable tunes is the number one guitar solo driven hit “So Emotional.” Listening to this song puts me in such a euphoric mood and the production makes me feel like I can take on the world. I also love how the song showcases the agility in Houston’s voice and her usage of her iconic falsetto and head voice. What a song!
“Conga” is the breakout signature 80s Pop hit from Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. “Conga” sounds just as vibrant, lively, captivating and fresh as it did 35 years ago! I fell in love with this song as a child who grew up on oldies radio and I loved it so much that I used for a project in one of my Spanish courses in college. I am forever indebted to this song.
“I Wonder If I Take You Home” is a freestyle staple and classic. When I think about the genre, this is one of the first songs that come to mind. Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam are pioneers in this genre and they deserve every bit of their flowers. I learned more about the group and their story via their episode on TVone’s documentary series Unsung. When I was in college, I used to strut to class with this song in my ears like I was Lisa Lisa in the 1985 video clip. I really thought I was doing something.
“my hair” is undeniably my favorite song from Grande’s current album positions. “my hair” is a groovy 70s R&B/Jazz track that sees the protagonist letting her hair down and allowing herself to vulnerable and intimate with her lover. The production is heavenly and I love the fact that Grande sings the last phrase in her whistle register. “positions” beautifully showcases Grande’s artistic maturity in a relaxed and soulful way, making it one of the most notable releases of the year.
Another standout from Ariana Grande’s “positions” is the closing track, “pov.” I feel like a lot of us relate to the feeling of wanting to see ourselves the way others do, especially when we may not see the good qualities that they do. I feel like being in a relationship with someone that shines a light on things within ourselves that we don’t appreciate or recognize enough is so important because it facilitates our own individual growth. What a wonderful way to close the album!
Christmas season is here! One of my favorite Christmas tunes is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The original version of “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas” was recorded by Judy Garland for the movie Meet Me in St. Louis. Garland’s classic version is magical and poignant. Her voice takes me to another place and a voice like hers is irreplaceable. One of my favorite versions is by The Carpenters from their 1978 album Christmas Portrait. I love their version because it just sounds like how a perfect Christmas should feel. Richard’s production, musicianship and Karen’s legendary voice are just genius on this version. The entire Christmas Portrait album is genius honestly. My new favorite version of this song is found on JoJo’s recent Christmas album “December Baby.” I cannot stop listening to her rendition because I am just so blown away by her dynamic vocal performance and fresh take on the Christmas classic.
Speaking of JoJo, one of my new favorite Christmas songs is “Wishlist” a gorgeous duet with the multifaceted PJ Morton. Morton and JoJo are no stranger to duets, they are known for their Grammy award-winning duet “Say So” from Morton’s “Paul” album. JoJo and Morton are match made in duet heaven and their voices soar on this Christmas ballad. “Wishlist” is a future Christmas classic and deserves its flowers this Christmas season.
OK, yes I listen to December Baby every day. It is currently my favorite Christmas album and I will not apologize for it. December Baby is actually one of my favorite Christmas albums of the past five years. You can tell that so much precision, passion and love was put into this project. Another one of my favorite songs from this album is “Wrap Me Up” a 90s inspired R&B festive track that gives me a Mariah Carey circa Daydream vibe and I love that.
Speaking of The Queen of Christmas, we don’t talk about the festive, magical and immaculate “Christmastime is in the Air Again,” enough. Yes I know this is “All I Want For Christmas is You” season but this song deserves the same amount of recognition. “Christmastime is in the Air Again” sounds like it belongs in a Christmas movie musical. The song leaves me simultaneously comforted and speechless after every listen. Wow, just wow.
“Duele” is a Latin Pop masterpiece and no, I’m not joking. “Duele” is one of the best songs released this year. I love the way the song opens with tango and then the beat drops and goes into the chorus. I love the way John C’s verse flows so beautifully with the rest of the song. A flawless and extremely catchy track, honestly. Tini is one to watch.
“All Blue” was the first song I thought of when the U.S. election results were announced(don’t ask me why) I actually heard the song for the first time on a Jade Novah live stream over the summer. “All Blue” has been on repeat since the summer. The song is meant to make you think and it is definitely a song you have to listen to more than once. Jade Novah is a singer and actress known for her brilliant work on YouTube, Instagram and the widely popular Tik Tok. Novah is known for eerily spot on celebrity impressions, her own one of a kind singing voice and artistry and just being a brilliant entertainer in general.
Ok, so recently Mariah did a holiday themed “Song Association” with Elle and the word “Cold” came up and she sung a few seconds of this hidden gem from “Emotions.” I actually audibly gasped when she said she didn’t like the song anymore(I hope it was a joke) because “You’re So Cold” is one of my favorite songs. I mean the beginning deserves every musical accolade, Carey almost effortlessly glides through four octaves, the piano riff, and then BOOM the song takes off. When I think about fall and winter, this is actually one of the first songs that comes to mind. Honestly the song is breathtaking and it one of the many highlights of Carey’s classic Emotions album.
Like “All I Want For Christmas is You” Boys II Men and Brian McKnight sets the tone for the Christmas season for me. When this song comes on, I know that the Christmas season is here and I really feel the Christmas spirit. “Let It Snow” is a modern classic R&B holiday staple and I have to play it every year. The harmonies and soulful VOCALS get me everytime. It is not Christmas to me without hearing this song.
I know you don’t want to hear me say that another song is “underrated” or it “deserves its flowers” but you know what? YES, I know that this song peaked at #3 on the UK official charts but in the pantheon of modern Christmas classics, “One More Sleep” still deserves WAY more love than it gets. Leona Lewis literally made one of the best Christmas songs of the past decade and of all time. I love the timeless 60s feel that a lot of festive holiday classics have and Lewis’s vocal agility really shines here. A 100/10 song. Stream it this holiday season!
When I think about childhood around the turn of the millennium, “Try Again” is one of the first songs that comes to mind. “Try Again” is tied to so many early 00s childhood memories and it has become a personal anthem of mine(even though it’s about the protagonist encouraging her suitor to continuously pursue her). The song still sounds ahead of it’s time! I still can’t believe the song was released 20 years ago! The song is arguably Aaliyah’s signature and is the first song to go #1 solely based on airplay.
The Maria’s stole my heart a little over a year when I discovered their unique take on the Britney Spears signature hit “Hit Me Baby One More Time” I also enjoy their song “Ruthless” (I literally played it non-stop last summer). I stumbled across “We’re The Lucky Ones” when I was looking for new Christmas music on Spotify and I have to say, when I listened to this song it left me speechless and it nearly moved me to tears. One of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard in my life and this is no exaggeration.
Billie Eilish is a superstar and her single releases don’t miss at all. I honestly feel like “therefore I am” might see “bad guy” level success. The song is already peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and honestly I feel like it will rise. I mean the song has genius production, the hook is everything and the music video is iconic.
You know what I said about “One More Sleep?” I feel the exact same way about “Underneath The Tree” by Kelly Clarkson. Simply put, this song is literally on “All I Want for Christmas is You” level and no I’m not joking at all. Clarkson’s vocals SOAR, the iconic 60s wall of sound production shines and the lyrics are a delight. Yes, please add this to the pantheon of modern Christmas classics.
Yes, you read that right. I would be lying to myself if I didn’t say that this wasn’t one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time and I’ve loved this song since childhood. I was always enamored, intrigued and puzzled by her request for Hippopotamus for Christmas and this outlandish request is what makes this song interesting. The bewilderment is what draws you in but you stay for festive production and Gayla’s lovely voice(she still sounds the same).
Like “All I Want for Christmas is You” and “Let It Snow,” “This Christmas” is another song that gets me in the Christmas spirit. Hathaway soulfully sings his heart out, the production makes me want to dance and the lyrics are Christmas classic perfection. I will never stop loving this song. Let’s put some respect on Donny Hathaway’s legendary name and legacy.
When Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco performed this song on SNL it took my breath away. The song details Bieber’s feelings behind his rise to fame as a child star and how it still affects him today. The authenticity, the raw lyrical content, Blanco’s beautiful piano playing and the sincerity in Bieber’s vocals make this song and performance a solid 10/10 and one of the best songs of the year in my opinion.
“Sweet Melody” is the third single and track three from Little Mix’s celebratory sixth album Confetti. “Sweet Melody” is my favorite single from Confetti so far. “Sweet Melody” has the most complex harmonies and production out of the singles making it one of the standouts on the album. I love that the video is dark and edgy just in time for Halloween. If you haven’t watched their show stopping performance at this year’s MTV EMAs, I suggest you do.
The incorporation of the Spanish guitar was a common practice and in late 90s-early 00s Pop and R&B. Popular songs that utilize this include “My All” by Mariah Carey, “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” by Bryan Addams and “Spanish Guitar” by Toni Braxton. “Loving You Still” is an underrated R&B track from Tamia’s self-titled debut album that also incorporates this popular and aesthetically pleasing instrument. The album is known for its singles “Imagination” and the widely popular and sampled “So Into You.” I actually almost forgot that this was the third single from this album because I feel like it still doesn’t get the respect it deserves. The song sees the protagonist grieving the loss of a relationship and wishing he could be there to see how she feels. After listening to this album a few times “Loving You Still” is still my favorite song from this album.
The chemistry between Maroon 5 and Rihanna is off the charts in the song and its accompanying video. The collaboration sounded good on paper and it proved successful. Both artists were at the beginning of the respective peaks and pop dominance. The song is groovy, edgy and one of the best releases of that year.
Recently, Adele served as host of episode four of the current season of SNL and reminded the world of her talent. The “Bachelor” skit was the standout sketch of that episode, which finds Adele singing her hits every five seconds to woo the eligible TV bachelor. After that episode, I revisited some of Adele’s catalogue and I came across the gem “A Million Years Ago” from her monster smash 25 and it stopped me in my tracks. “A Million Years Ago” is one of my favorite Adele songs of all time. The song is a guitar driven ballad that sees Adele reflecting and lamenting on the fact that she misses her old life and who she was before fame. When she goes back home she feels like a bit of stranger to people and she feels intimidating because of her fame. Adele bares her soul in this song and you can really hear in her lyrical content and vocal delivery.
The Full Moon era and album was ahead of it’s time and it is some of Brandy’s best work. The album is noted for its futuristic production, Brandy’s vocal experimentation and layering. The album is known for “What About Us?”, the title track and the song “He is” I grew up listening to this album and all of its tracks remind me of my childhood. “Anybody” is one of those songs for me and for me it is more than the track that comes after “What About Us?” The song is so overlooked, I mean it encompasses everything that makes the album iconic in one song, the futuristic production, the vocal layering and the audience hearing new sides, textures and tones in Brandy’s voice. My favorite vocal moment is Brandy’s C3(someone correct me if that is wrong) at the end on the word “Know.” I mean that C3 is just one of the best low notes I’ve ever heard.
RILEY is one of a kind and one of the best vocalists of her time. We see the singer and actress really come into her own on her first EP. I can play the entire thing from start to finish with no skips. One of my personal favorites from the six track project, is the extremely brief ballad “Temporary.” In the song, RILEY makes it clear what she wants while questioning the state of her relationship. Her vocals SOAR and her lyrics tug at your heartstrings. I look forward to hearing more music from RILEY in the future.
“Barracuda” is a song I’ve loved since I was a child. I was so enamored by the instrumentation and Ann Wilson’s vocal range and I still am. I appreciate the song even more now that I know where the anger in this song stems from. Basically, fake rumors about the Wilson sisters prompted Heart to write this classic. The song demands your attention from the minute you hear the iconic guitar riff. Also, if your looking for excellent covers of this song I would suggest looking up Gretchen Wilson and Alice in Chains version of this song at the 2007 VH1 Rock Honors, it is so accurate that I had to question if Gretchen was Ann herself.
I was so surprised to learn that Heart’s version of this song is a COVER. The song was originally recorded by musical duo i-Ten in 1983. I felt that same shock and awe when I learned that Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” was also a COVER. Heart OWNS this song, yes it’s not theirs but this cover is what a cover is suppose to be. You are supposed to make a cover your own, for me it’s more than just doing it justice. When I think about 80s Rock power ballad, this is one of the first songs that automatically comes to my mind. Alone hit #1 on the Hot 100 in the summer of 1987.
“Be My Eyes” is the second single from Pentatonix’s upcoming February album The Lucky Ones. When I heard the 80s Pop inspired track it made me thoroughly excited for the album and I still am! The song is lyrically and vocally sublime. I consider of their strongest singles and I’m looking forward to hearing more singles and tracks from this album in the future. “Be My Eyes” is definitely an artistic leap forward for the quintet.
The first Nationals episode(S2, E22) is still one of my favorite Glee episodes. I mean I hate the fact that New Directions lost but the episode was still pretty excellent. One of favorite numbers in this episode is their mashup of “I Love New York/New York, York.” The cast’s take on this is lively, captivating and hopeful. I do get a little emotional at the fact that Cory Monteith and Naya Rivera open the song and the significance of that is not lost on me at all.
The Rarities is one of the best compliation albums I’ve heard in a while and no I’m not saying that because Mariah is my favorite artist( but I think you guys should know that by now). I love how the album is the perfect companion to Mariah’s number NYT best selling memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey. “Can You Hear Me” an outtake from 1991’s Emotions feels like it was ripped out from one of the pages of one of the earlier chapters of Carey’s memoir as the lyrics detail the protagonist’s desire to be heard and loved. Carey’s vocals are searing with raw emotion here. Nearly every track from the first half of this album should have been singles and this is one of them.
The wait is over. We finally get to hear the original audio of Carey’s 2001 #2 hit “Loverboy.” The single we’ve known for almost 20 years enlists the use of a Cameo sample but the newly released original audio uses a sample from Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Firecracker” and it almost sounds like a completely different song. I love this version! This version is playful, fun and fresh and I’m upset that this version wasn’t released first but oh well…..we can enjoy it now.
Voyage to India is an album I often find myself coming back to when I need a spiritual recharge. The truths and perspectives found in the lyrical content serve as guide to me to this day and also the album is in my opinion, one of the best Neo-Soul albums ever, I actually think it is so excellent that it transcends the genre. One of the standout tracks from the album is the raw, harmonic and melodious “Complicated Melody.” The song appears like a simple but effective song at the surface but it is not, the melody and the harmony is delicately intricate thus enhancing the beauty of the song.
I can breathe,
I can smile,
I haven't smiled like this in a while.
I couldn't take the wait....
Did it raise my blood pressure?
I felt it on Wednesday.
I knew it.
God's presence was in my car as I drove away,
He guided me home before the moon came out.
I can't contain this unspeakable joy.
My spirit is reenergized and the color is golden.
I had to stop watching the TV......
I tried to dance the anxiety away and it worked for a while,
I want this to be over,
I want it figured out.
I felt amazing yesterday,
There was hope in the air,
I felt the wind through hair.
I felt free.....
Maybe God was trying to tell me something.
I went home and I couldn't sleep,
This mix of joy and anxiety is getting to me.
I told Santa what I wanted for Christmas...
I was good this year.
I feel like a kid on Christmas eve.
I prayed to Jesus,
I asked him for healing and restoration.
I hope he heard my prayer.
The aftermath from the sleepless night won't subside,
I can't hide this anxiety,
It feels like it's consuming me.
I never used to take this seriously,
I want to believe in my country,
I want to believe that it's not going to fail me.
I did my part and I find solace in that.
I can cheer you on,
It comes easy to me.......
I go above and beyond for everyone else,
So much that I often forget to leave some for myself.
I consider this is a gift,
A jewel in my crown but why am I so quick to tear myself down?
She never left,
She's in your heart.
She's still holding you.
Her arms are around you.
She sees you,
She knows that you are hurting.
You will get the life you deserve,
I know this hurts and living with it will not be easy.
She sees you,
She never left.
I'm not where I expected to be but I'm loving the things that are happening to me.
I'm not where I need to be but I'm growing....
I feel freer and I know that I will eventually be okay,
I will find happiness and I will find my peace,
Knowing this is what gets me through the day.
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