Flashback Friday: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

August 29, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

This week is the tenth anniversary of Lauryn Hill’s solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Back in 1998, Hill’s career looked promising. While hers was one of the most critically acclaimed debuts in recent history, somewhere down the line something went wrong and Lauryn Hill faded into obscurity, leaving fans wondering what it the world went wrong.

The truth is that everyone knows what happened. While the album was a huge group effort, Ms. Hill took all the credit and was sued by those she had worked with. Bridges were burned and Lauryn Hill’s breakout success soon seemed like an aberration.

A few years back, there was talk several years back about the possibility of a Fugees reunion, however in an exclusive in Essence, Hill was sited as taking diva to new heights. Over the course of the article, Hill came off as unhinged, egotistical and bitter, claiming that the hardened persona was a result of being taken advantage of by her inner circle.

Read more

Dido Returns: Life For Rent

August 27, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

Five years after the release of her sophomore LP - Life For Rent - Dido is finally putting out a third album, entitled Safe Trip Home.

Scheduled for release on November 4th, the album features the first unofficial single “Look no Further” which the British chanteuse is giving away on her website. You’ll have to get it soon, because the free mp3 will only be available until Sept. 7.

The song starts out rather starkly and expands with swelling strings and a twinkling piano melody. Check it out:

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Keep an eye on www.didomusic.com/ for the official single “Don’t Believe in Love,” which will be made available both digitally and in hard copy.

[source]

Technorati Tags: Up-coming releases,new music

Demi Lovato Makes Her Video Debut: "Get Back"

August 25, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

Demi Lovato - of Disney’s Camp Rock fame - is making the rounds promoting her debut album, Don’t Forget, which is scheduled for release on September 23rd. A week after a live performance on on Good Morning, and a few days after her sweet 16, Lovato made her video debut with the her first single, “Get Back.”

A fun, infectious, pop-rock tune about wanting to get back with the ex, “Get Back” is sure to find it’s way to the top of the charts to in no time. Watch out Rihanna and Katy Perry!  

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That cutsy face she’s making at the beginning is a little irritating but as she shakes off the nerves and gets more into the video, she really rocks it. Her voice has a lovely and soulful crystal clarity to it and she sounds like she has a little bit of range too.

Demi Lovato is currently touring with the Jonas Brothers; see her website for tour dates near you.

HT  

Brandy Back on the Scene: Human

August 24, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

After four years after her last release, Brandy is making her return to music this fall with a new album entitled Human.

According to Brandy, Human is her most personal album yet and in a behind the scenes interview with MTV, on the set of the video for her latest single “Right Here (Departed), Brandy she is happy to be back on the scene.

” … I went through a struggle, and I really needed to get myself together and connect with my purpose, which is music. Music is all I know how to do, so to be on this set today, I feel really blessed for the second chance and for the opportunity … and for everybody here just showing me so much love and support. … It just feels good to be back, and I never want to leave again for that long!” [source]

“Right Here (Departed)” finds Brandy working with producers Rodney Jerkins, from whom she had been estranged for nearly 6 years, and Darkchild. You can check out the single on Brandy’s official website.

Oprah will be hosting Brandy’s official re-launch into music on November 10th, followed by the official release of Human on November 11.

Image credit: Nino Munoz via official Brandy website

Technorati Tags: New Music,R&B

New Pink: "So What"

August 24, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

Pink has a great voice and a knack for creating kitchy pop-rock. She’s scheduled to release her fifth studio album, entitled Funhouse, on October 28th. “So What,” the first single from the album, made it’s debut on FNMTV Friday.

“So What” is a more pop than rock break-up song with nursery rhyme verses and an almost venomous self-affirming chorus. So what she just lost her man, she’s still a hot lady rocker…Except that the song doesn’t quite rock hard enough. The video is replete with Pink attacking newlyweds and chopping down a tree while her neighbor runs for cover.

The song is fun enough, but it is lacking a certain edginess that would separate it from the myriad of other pop songs. No doubt “So What” will get plenty of radio spins and the kiddies will pogo to the song at Pink concert. If the song were a little bit harder, it would rock, but as it stands, “So What” just feels uninspired and almost empty.

Fighting words? So what.

Technorati Tags: Videos,New music

Jennifer Lopez Defends Her 2006 VMA Outfit

August 22, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

We all know that as the September 7th date for the the 2008 Video Music Awards nears, MTV is going to sure enough begin playing reruns, highlights and bloopers in marathons.

One of these filler reels is a show called “Step & Repeat: The Best and Worst VMA Fashion” in which, celebs are praised for making good fashion decisions and roasted offered the opportunity to defend other, fashion blunders.

What did Jennifer Lopez have to say when one brave staff writer from MTV asked her what she was thinking when she chose the “infamous Gloria Swanson-inspired turban ensemble” for the 2006 VMAs?

 

You must love how confident and unapologetic Lopez is, even when her taste is in question. That’s right; who cares if no one else likes it, as long as you feel good in it, J-Lo!

“Step & Repeat” airs this Sunday at 1:00 PM EST, on MTV.

[source]

Technorati Tags: celebrities,gossip,VMAs,fashion

Flashback Friday: Fiona Apple “Sleep To Dream”

August 22, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

The first time I heard a Fiona Apple song was while watching music videos on MTV. I had the song stuck in my head for weeks and when I saw the CD in the store later, I begged my mom to buy it for me. I don’t think I took that CD out of my Discman for a month.

“Sleep to Dream” was the track song on Apples debut LP and a anthem for all the angsty, adolescent, infatuation scorned, girls. It was poetic, aggressive, and so perfect for the teen-aged emotional climate of the time. Every generation has it’s group of disillusioned, rebellious, slightly militant, socio-politically conscious, artsy types (or do they?). “Sleep to Dream” gave voice to so much of what we were feeling.

I’ve got my feet on the ground
And I don’t go to sleep to dream
You’ve got your head in the clouds
You’re not at all what you seem
This mind this body and this voice
Can not be stifled
By your deviant ways
So don’t forget what I told you
Don’t come around
I’ve my own hell to raise.

The sang the words with a powerful and throaty voice, over symphonic bass drums, dazzling piano melody and chorus swelling strings. They may have been intended for the man who violated her, but the words spoke to so many of us on so many levels. Imagine the Freedom Writers all excited and on our way to the Washington D.C. and when this song comes on, we get quiet and pensive before we begin discussing the meaning of the lyrics, talking about how we too have decided not to let our voices be stifled. As you can imagine, it was a very powerful moment, and I have been a fan since the very first listen.

It’s been a few years since Fiona Apple’s last album and I’ve found myself wondering where she is, especially since her last release - Extraordinary Machine - had been released under duress, following a prolonged disagreement between Apple and Epic/Sony BMG. No worries, while we muse, we can at least take a look at one of the videos and reflect with nostalgia.

Up-and-Coming: Janelle Monáe

August 21, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

If you haven’t heard, there is a soul revival happening around the world. Sweden has Kissey Asplund and in the UK there’s Amy Winehouse, Corinne Bailey Rae and Leona Lewis. Here in the US we still have Erykah Badu hanging on, seemingly the lone woman standing from the neo-soul era.

This is great news for Janelle Monáe whose soulfully futuristic style is earning her comparisons to Prince, James Brown and, her mentors, Outkast. She is arguably the most unique and creative of today’s emerging R&B artists and even drew The Purple One himself, to hold court in his limo after Monáe’s show at the Viper Room last night.

Monáe’s debut EP -  Metropolis Suite 1: The Chase - is the first in a series of four sets of futuristic sexy siren songs, accounting the life and times of an love struck android. Read more

Madonna: Effortlessly Fabulous at 50

August 21, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

On Saturday, Madonna celebrated the big 50 and everybody has been doing retrospectives on her career, and the journey from Material Girl to reigning Queen of Pop. Madge may have gone through many a transition, but she has found a way to stay on top for nearly two decades when so many of her peers have fallen by the wayside. More amazing, is looking back and realizing that she didn’t even envision herself sustaining her music career as long as she has. Watch her try to check John Norris when he brought that up in a recent interview, and Norris goes and pulls the tape. I love it!

Growing up, I was not all that into Madonna; her music, that is. I’ve never been a huge fan of 80s pop, and on top of that, my mom was rather strict about the music I was allowed to listen to; Madonna was a bit too racy. I was able to listen to the radio and watched music videos when mom wasn’t home. Too young to actually remember Madonna’s debut, the VMA “Like a Virgin” performance became a part of the modern pop-culture cannon, and something my friends and I reenacted mockingly in middle school. My early experiences with the Material Girl were through movies; Dick Tracy was one of my favorites as a kid. It wasn’t until the release of Bedtime Stories - already a decade into her career mind you -that I actually began to appreciate Madonna’s music.

What I have found profoundly interesting, is watching Madonna go through all of these transitions. She literally grew up before our eyes; from writhing on the stage at the 1984 VMAs to one of the most respected and powerful women in entertainment. Not only has  Madonna managed to adapt with each paradigm shift in the entertainment industry, she contends with and out performs her younger peers, the most promising of whom probably won’t make it to 30, according to NY Daily music critic Jim Farber.

The achievements of Madonna and her equals feel particularly poignant and meaningful at a time when it looks doubtful that the current crop of music stars will make it to 30 alive, let alone to 50 and thriving.

Can you see Amy Winehouse wheezing on this Earth much longer? And if Britney does survive, do you see her having a vibrant career five years on?

The continued energy of Madonna and Prince is mirrored in their still-smashing looks. The two appear especially spry when compared to their predecessors, the pop gods of the ’60s and ’70s, who date from the drug culture and therefore have, in some cases, aged to an especially alarming degree. [source]

Madonna: philanthropist, movie producer, author, business woman, wife mother, and international pop star. She’s is fabulous, living proof that women can age beautifully in the spotlight and still maintain an edge without making it all seem effortless.

Image via Newscom

Technorati Tags: pop,celebrities,birthdays

Lily Allen Album Delayed; Held Hostage?

August 20, 2008 by Kimberlee Morrison  

Is Lily Allen’s sophomore album being held hostage? Sounds like this may be the case.

According to various sources, Allen completed the album some time ago and is not quite sure what the hold up is. In fact, Allen made a statement via MySpace pointing to a company take-over, industry politics, and the possibility that the folks she’s been working may be part of the jockeying.

Now , the album . it has been finished for a while now , I don’t really know whats going on with it . The record industry is a very political place at the moment and I am on EMI records , lots of people have been fired or have taken redundancy recently as the company was taken over by a private equity firm called Terra Firma . Many of these people were people assigned to my projects and now i don’t quite know whats going on . I’m sure everyone will find their feet soon enough and i’ll be able to put the album out soon .

While Lily Allen and her record label sort out the details of getting the album released, a song from the embattled LP has been leaked. “Fuck You Very Much” is venom cloaked in a fun, bubble gum pop song. Check it out while you can:

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[source]

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