Blue-eyed soul diva ZZ Ward is in possession of some powerful pipes. Coming closest to being Adele’s biggest stateside threat, Ward is the complete package. Not only did she write (or co-write) all 13 tunes on her debut disc Til the Casket Drops (Hollywood), but Ward also sings the heck out of them. The title cut sets the mood, but it’s the thumping second number “Put the Gun Down” that blows the lid off the party. What’s important here is that Ward doesn’t come off as just another Adele adherent. She demonstrates that she has her own perspective, which comes through clearly on “Cryin Wolf” (which features Kendrick Lamar), the retro ring of “Save My Life,” the acoustic “Last Love Song,” the stomp and shake of “Move Like U Stole It” and the golden blues of “Charlie Ain’t Home.”
Disco doesn’t still suck if you don’t call it disco. If you call it EDM (aka electronic dance music) you make it safe for straight people and their gay friends (who have been dancing to it for years). But there are traces of disco everywhere, including a renewed interest in disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder, who was rediscovered by EDM gods Daft Punk and embraced by their legion of fans. However, as the homophobia-laced Disco Demolition in Chicago (of course) approached its 34th anniversary, the three-day Wavefront Music Festival, featuring Diplo, Timo Maas, Holy Ghost, Frankie Knuckles, staked its claim in the Windy City, while electronic music fests were held around the globe.
When you think about it, it wasn’t all that surprising that Gary Numan has toured with Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails, most recently during the summer of 2013. First of all, both men have a fondness for kohl and dark eyeliner. Secondly, their musical styles have a chilly, manufactured, atmospheric similarities. Third, both men take personal and creative eccentricity to new and exciting levels.
Not entirely abandoning the Brian Wilson influence, and kissing everything with Flaming Lips-style flair, Dale Earnhardt Jr. revs up the EDM (electronic dance music) effects on the aptly titled The Speed of Things (WB). Restarting their engines and driving in the electro lane, DEJJ leaves others in its dust on dazzling dance tracks such as “Run,” “Mesopotamia,” “War Zone,” and, of course, “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor).” Speed kills!
For someone with a track record as a sexual predator, you’d think R. Kelly would find something else to sing about on his new album Black Panties (RCA). But, as you might conjecture from the title, the sexually obsessed R&B legend seems to have only one thing on his mind. Black Panties is so explicit, a parental advisory simply isn’t sufficient. Black Panties ought to come with an Oraquick home HIV testing kit, a Gardisil patch, a cum rag, and step-by-step instructions on how to take a Silkwood shower.
Obvious as a boner in silk boxers, Kelly doesn’t mince words. But he’s so busy pushing the erotic envelope that he forgot to write memorable and distinctive melodies to accompany the lascivious lyrics. There are a couple exceptions, including “Crazy Sex” (a showcase for Kelly’s sense of humor) and the bragging broadcast of “My Story” (featuring 2Chainz). If Kelly is looking for enlightening topics for future releases, he might want to consider protecting a woman’s right to choose, the benefits of higher education and homophobia in the Black church.
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