|I just hope everybody had a brilliant Christmas. I know I did. The food was outstanding. The wine was nice and glitzy. My mom also received a Gucci bag (NOT fake but the real deal) and after I begged her if I could have it she finally succumbed to my pleas, so I'm very happy. And well, I just chilled at home with my family. I drank myself into a bit of a frenzy and then slept it off. That's what Christmas is all about, being with loved ones, cherishing the moment, and most importantly, thanking Christ and acknowledging the REAL meaning behind Christmas because you just don't know what the future brings, with the sudden death of Soul legend James Brown who died on Christmas day, you just don't know what life has in store for you. OK, so he was 73 and lived a long life but it's still tragic. May he rest in peace. That said, I'm back, a little earlier than scheduled because I wasn't going to start blogging until the new year but I haven't updated this bitch in like 5 days and I missed it.
After the goss, I took my time in conducting a Best and Worst list of 2006. I have been working on it for the past couple of days just thinking about who should be featured in my top and worse 2006 list. There were times where I would just consistently erase stuff because I kept changing my mind about certain choices. So now that this is over with, I am going to play a touch of catch-up just reporting what I didn't in the event of the Christmas holidays. But first I'm going to report on the more recent stuff and then from here on out, you can pretty much say that updates will resume back from now and the new year. Hurray! I know some of you were missing your R&B fix around these parts. LOL!
This week, my girl Mariah Carey hosted the Niche Media and Hendrix Vodka's Holiday Party at Hotel Jerome in Aspen:
She looks mad cute when she is fully clothed and it makes a stark change from a couple of days ago when Mariah brought out the weirdo-look when she was seen out in Aspen, Colorado for the second time. Apparently, Mariah has been over there on Christmas vacation. She did a spot of skiing and then stopped off at her mothers jewellery store:
I honestly think that Mariah may just have a small dose of eccentricity. Not huge dose like Michael Jackson but the woman has issues. I love her but she looks foolish. The spandex pants, the funky boots, the cardy over her head. I know its freezing but you can still look fashionably admirable in the winter.
Rihanna came home to Barbados for the Christmas holidays, to give those famous pins of hers a rest. We have been subjected to the wide-open-leg posture for the past couple of weeks now. It won't be before long that we are seeing them again. 2007 is going to be an even bigger year for the Bajan beauty:
At least her friends and family were absolutely thrilled to see her when she arrived at Barbados airport. I guess she'll be having a very sunny Christmas. And some folks have all the luck. Grrr.
In the event of the Christmas season, a White Carpet Christmas Celebration event had taken place and as to who was there ...
Michael Jackson's younger brother Randy attended with his daughter, Genevieve. Cute girl, but them Jacksons have some skroooong genes. As usual, layabout Blu Cantrell can just about be seen at every event possible. You can have an event advertising for a product to keep your southern region tidy and well kempt. Of course her ass would be there and this time it would be for all the right reasons. And now it's time to report on the more recent stuff starting with Ms Plastic face:
Celebrity Big Brother is going to kick major ass next year. In another weeks time, the show will kick off LIVE and I can't wait. Mainly because Lil Kim is going in. I guess she is the major star which would explain why channel 4 are going out of their way to give in to her ridiculous demands. She is reportedly having a BIG row with Celebrity Big Brother bosses after demanding HALF A MILLION POUNDS (£500,000) to appear on the show. She was originally offered £255,000 but channel 4 are considering paying her up to £400,000 (they must want her ass on the show really badly but I say eff Lil Kim and draft in Whitney Houston as originally planned). Apparently, her diva-like demands make Mariah's seem timid and harmless. She insists that she has FINAL APPROVAL of all footage of her which is virtually impossible considering that it's a 24-hour-hour-a-day live show. What a dumbass! But it doesn't stop there either. She wants a PERSONAL ASSISTANT with her in the house, plus her own hair and make-up stylist on standby (she must fear that we will see the full extent of her heinous ravished face when she awakes first thing in the morning). She also wants a FIRST CLASS round-trip travel for two from the US and first-class hotel accommodation as well as a HOLIDAY in London for two - two weeks, all expenses paid - at the end of the show. She is not even that big in the UK. I hardly doubt anyone over here cares to see her on TV over here. She is NOT Whitney Houston. I say let her go. The show will survive without her. Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine Jackson is also rumoured to be taking part but we won’t know for certain until next Wednesday when the show kicks off.
Oh My Gaaawdd! ITV2 are already advertising the new series of American Idol. The show doesn't debut until 16th January 2007 in the US and 19th January over here, but it's going to be craaazy good, and as long as we don't have mad ghetto bitches like Rhonetta Johnson, I'm down:
Can anyone actually believe this show put so much time and editing to ensue this fool got her own slot? OK, so white folks may have found her behaviour entertaining but she sure as hell was embarrassing the HELL out of black folks.
In other TV galore, I can't wait for the new series of Lost and 24. February is going to be TV-Spectacular! Then there's Big Brother, and right after American Idol finishes, it's audition time for another batch of the X-Factor. I've been trying to encourage my friend to audition. She has such a great voice and she's mad pretty. Simon would love her, but I guess she doesn't have the confidence and self-esteem to see it through. Oh well.
So that's another year gone - the year that saw Britney Spears shockingly flash her bits and caesarean scar to the whole world (a massive 2006 low point). It was the year that saw Beyonce get drunk as she entered a limo after partying with her fella Jay-Z and pals Chris Martin and Gwen Paltrow in London (a massive 2006 high point). So I'm going to take you through the highs and lows of 2006:
It was the year that saw Rihanna explode into an international superstar after releasing her album A Girl Like Me. It saw Christina Milian get dropped after her album So Amazin' failed to sell. It was widely reported that she shunned LA Reid's idea's to have a mixture of different producers and instead, opted to have the FULL input of her boyfriend Dre who produced the whole album, much to the dismay of LA when the album failed to sell. Unfortunately, this costed her her record deal. Janet Jackson were to follow in the EXACT same footsteps four months later by allowing her man JD to have most control over her new album 20 Years Old, and that failed to sell as well. The power of a woman mesmerized by good penis that it puts a cloud over her career judgements. Me & U was the hottest joint of 2006. The song was contagiously hot and had the type of ominous beat that makes you take notice wherever you are. The funniest part of 2006 for me would be the PETA incident when a PETA woman approached Beyonce about wearing real fur at Nobu. The cat caught its tongue. She looked really frightened and timid and she left mama Tina to curse out the woman instead whilst she just sat there and said nothing. LOL!
2006 saw Janet Jackson's comeback implode with failure. My favourite R&B album of 2006 would have to go to Tamia's Between Friends. As outstanding as it was, it failed to push units. For the life of me, I could never understand why such a talented artist can never sell or get due recognition. There is just no justice and Tamia, being one of my favourite artists, I really felt the agony. Another artist that I admire with all my heart is Shanice who also had a brilliant album earlier this year and just like Tamia, she decided to go independent but dropped harder than a brick.
My highs of 2006 would be Leona Lewis winning this years X-Factor because barriers were broken that night. The first black contestant to win a reality show in Britain, so that was definitely something to rejoice over but it's not just the colour of her skin. The chick is mad talented so regardless of race and colour, she definitely deserved to win without a considerate doubt. Other highlights for me this year was finishing my Sociology degree which was absolutely gratifying. The hard work has definitely paid off and my graduation ceremony takes place 7th February 2007. That is like a couple of weeks away. But I get the feeling that despite my studies coming to an end, 2007 is going to be much more hectic than 2006. I just see a lot of great things happening, and I am confident my novel will get published as well. I've had to put it on the backburner due to being so busy but I started writing again recently and it's really coming together.
A low point would be my old blog getting suspended. This was one of the most heartbreaking moments for me because I'd put so much hard work into it. Apparently, Atlantic records were on their grind after I posted an unofficial Cassie album. And I almost gave up blogging. I was so close to packing it all in. But I decided to start from scratch and I have regained back my visitors and popularity, though I can't post albums like I use to but I do my best to give everyone the lowdown on the R&B world with events and music reviews. I try to incorporate wit and humour into my entries instead of copy 'n' pasting other articles which is the easy route.
Well on the music front, I am going to take you all through my top 5 lists. Hell, everybody else has done one and I thought it would be really insightful to let you guys know what did it for me this year as we approach our last days of 2006.
My top 5 R&B albums:
1. Tamia: Between Friends - Tamia no doubt had the best R&B album of 2006. You can listen to it from beginning to end without skipping any tracks. The album was pure hotness to me. So she definitely snatched the winners award in this category but the competition was strife.
2. Robin Thicke: The Evolution of Robin Thicke - This guy had a very masterful album with good old-skool R&B music. A much more talented Justin Timberlake in my honest opinion. This guy rocks. Loved his debut and I love this joint as well. He should have made more of an impact on the charts, like my girl Tamia.
3. Monica : The Makings of Me - Monica took it back to The Boy Is Mine days with The Makings of Me. This would probably explain why I enjoyed Monica's new album so much because it was as vintage-Monica as we were going to get. And it shows Monica at her vocal best.
4. Justin Timberlake: FutureSex/LoveSounds - Justin's album was different. Very Princesque I must add but different. The retro, futuristic and minor R&B sounds definitely worked up a treat putting together a hot album (though I still prefer Justified). Actually, I was a little sceptical when I discovered there'd be no Neptune's production on this album but I think he successfully pulled it off.
5. Ciara: The Evolution - Ciara's new album is so damn hot you can fry an egg on it. It seems the Prince format was a big thing for this years R&B artists because Cici incorporated his sound into her first single Promise from the new album. In fact, it was reported that Prince loved the song so much that he was interested in collaborating with Cici to do a remix. Now THAT would have been mighty cool.
Below are the R&B albums that I thought were deserving of an honoury mention:
B'Day - Beyonce
Letoya - Letoya
Cassie - Cassie
Kelis - Kelis Was Here
The High Road - Jojo
As for the honourable mentions, though Beyonce's album was rushed and made in two weeks, there were a lot of hot joints on there, a lot of club bangers and the ballads were pretty stimulating with that pop crossover which could be heard in Irreplaceable. Upon hearing that song for the first time, I knew it was going to be a mainstream hit. Loved Deja Vu, hated Ring The Alarm. It was too incongruous. At times, she just seemed all over the place and whilst B'day is one of those albums you just don't take seriously, it was definitely one of those albums that had the fun factor. Kelis had an innovative album. Every song had a fresh sound. None of the beats were recycled. I think when you're lacking in vocals you have to do something to set you apart, to stand out, otherwise you'll just be seen as some boring mediocre singer. Too bad her album didn't do that great because it was one of the most creative albums this year. Cassie, Letoya and Jojo also put out some stunning car-groovy music that makes driving all the more worthwhile. With the next category, I had a really hard time compiling this list because truth and behold, there weren't really that much R&B albums that I considered to be all that atrocious, but you have to admit at least one or two releases were disappointing.
Worst 5 R&B albums of 2006:
1. Rihanna: A Girl Like Me. I am very happy that 2006 was a good year for Rihanna. Other than Sean Paul, we don't have much West Indian people to represent. Her vocals are pretty bad and the album was a no-go. Not enough club bangers to guise out the bad vocals. Too many slow joints to emphasise the fact that she can't really sing. The music was bland and maybe apart from Unfaithful, none of the tracks stood out. SOS was straight corny and annoying. Her debut Music of The Sun was much nicer. Hopefully, she puts out a better album next year.
2. Janet Jackson: 20 Y.O - I didn't hear any of the music that was indicative of the hot material she put out during her 20 year old career, which is what the album title suggests. Call On Me was NOT representative of the classic vintage-Janet we have all grown to love over the years. JD should NEVER have had total control of this album. I keep saying this and will always mean it. She should have left it to her long term collaborators Jam and Lewis. They know what work for her. JD does not, apparently. His work is fantastic with Mariah but he and Janet do not share the same chemistry.
3. Fergie: The Dutchess - I won't lie, when I first heard the album I thought it was pretty good, but then after hearing it a second and third time, I realised that the album wasn't so great after all. It is definitely a knock-off from Gwen Stefani's earlier stuff and it seems she hasn't found her niche yet.
4. Pharrell Williams: In My Mind - A lot of his beats are recycled. I couldn't help but notice a lot of the songs sounded like previous work that he did for other artists. His ass is just too derivative and repetitive for my tastes. Few of the songs had me grooving but the album was pretty boring. He should leave the solo stuff alone and concentrate on producing.
5. Jamelia: Walk With Me - Worst album EVER, and not just because she abandoned 90% of the R&B to do rock, pop and retro stuff but the album was just bad, and then being the motor mouth that she is, she had the sheer audacity to say Beyonce's album wasn't all that great. Even if it wasn't, it sure as hell was MUCH better than this mess.
Best R&B song of 2006:
1. Cassie: Me & U - This song screamed instant hit. With its ominous beat and raw energy, this track had all the right ingredients to be one of the biggest summer jams of 2006 and rightly so.
2. Omarion: Ice Box - This song is another hot one. Actually, one of the best Omarion tracks I have heard. It packs in a lot of punch and it’s groove-tastic but the beat is just contagious.
3. Beyonce: Deja Vu - At first some people were saying that the song was a Michael Jackson knock-off from his Off The Wall days but even so, the song is mad hot and definitely has that old-skool feel which would explain why I love this track. The production was on point.
4. Ciara: Promise - It has that Prince vibe with sultry vocals which gives it that nice sound. It’s smooth and sexy and so unlike anything that Ciara has put out in the past which makes the song extra special. It exudes sexiness to the fullest.
5. Justin Timberlake: My Love - Some people would argue that the only reason why the song is hot is because of T.I's part but the song could have easily carried itself WITHOUT T.I. It would have been hot regardless. Honorable mentions: Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado, Bossy by Kelis and Torn by Letoya.
Worst 5 R&B songs of 2006:
1. Janet Jackson: Call On Me - The song was boring and lacked fire. Not the type of song you listen to whilst taking a bath or driving. You'll probably drift off to the in-depth pits of hell, and then whose ass would you be able to call on then?
2. Beyonce: Ring The Alarm - It may have had that aggressiveness strike which you could put up with Kelis's Caught Out There (I hate You So Much Right Now) but the song was mad annoying with the sirens, and the bridge didn't match the song. It sounded like part of a ballad fused in with an angry and aggressive track and it just sounded odd. Not to mention that the lyrics were mad lame.
3. Christina Milian: Say I - Rumour had it that Christina ditched Rihanna's SOS to put out this corniness but I don't even know which track is cornier. It samples Fiddy's Love It or Hate It, and even then I didn't like the beat to that either.
4. Justin Timberlake: SexyBack - This was definitely some retro garbage and I was beginning to disregard Timbaland as a decent producer (this is the guy who did the damn thang with Aaliyah and Ginuwine and Ginuwine recently called Timbaland a sell-out) but then I listened to the rest of the album, and was like, this is some good stuff!
5. Rihanna: SOS - Not an R&B song but then neither was Justin's SexyBack. Definetely one of the corniest tracks of 2006 but since it was a monster hit for her, my only worry is that they may stick with the same corny formula for the new album which is expected to be released next year.
Best R&B Video
1. Ciara: Promise - The video definitely DID show a lot of promise when she took her dancing to that next level of sexiness combing Janet's Pleasure Principle and Aaliyah's Are You That Somebody together to unleash a masterful but brilliant dance video.
2. Lyfe Jennings: S.E.X - The song had a meaningful message behind it so it was nice that the video had an inspirational concept behind it. Young girls who are virgins should pay attention to the lyrics especially if you're infatuated with a boy who may not even care about you but just want to have sex so he can dump you and then move onto somebody else.
3. Amerie: Take Control - Didn't quite get the concept but the video was colourful and hot to me and she looked gorgeous. I cannot wait for her new album to drop some time next year.
4. Kelis: Blindfold Me - Kelis is a nasty freak. Just by looking at this video you know that her sex life with rapper husband Nas is filthy but hot. I can only imagine what they get up to in the bedroom department, too x-rated for words even.
5. Rihanna: Unfaithful - Good video. Very conceptual. Though she sings: "I don't want to be a murrrdddeeerrreerrr" she really did murder this track which had much potential but the video was a good video so it more than makes up for it.
Worst R&B Video
1. Beyonce: Deja Vu - It was just bad, Jay-Z was ignoring her and their chemistry was just zilch. He looked so uncomfortable. The dancing was too erratic and it made her look like a mad woman. The costumes were disastrous. The shots were changing way too quickly that it made your head go into a spin. I actually know the person who started the petition against it which received worldwide exposure. That person was also contacted by the BBC for an interview.
2. Danity Kane: Ride 4 U - The video of all snoozefest video's. Cheap and low budget. No chemistry with the hunks at the end, and the camera time for each member wasn't equal. Some got more screen time than others. Diddy's group is already on its way to doomsdom.
3. Fergie: London's Bridge - The video just lacked major appeal and wasn't all that interesting as catchy as the song was which was a big disappointment. The song was cool though.
4. Gwen Stefani: Wind It Up - The song is dumb but fun at first. I hate the yodelling. We are all fans of The Sound of Music. At least I am, but this sample should never have been attempted. I went from liking the song to absolutely hating it and the video didn't interest me at all.
5. Cassie: Me & U - Loved the song but the video was a letdown. The chick can't really dance (or sing but we been over that a gazillion times). She is not a fluent mover by any means. Watching her dance was like watching Robocop being controlled. She was very robotic and stiff. Had she moved with ease, the video had the potential to be a hot dance video like Ciara's Promise who executed the microphone scene incredibly. Cassie didn't know what to do with hers. Some would say it's a downgrade version of Janet's Pleasure Principle, not the actual dancing but the setting. I don't really see it though. To me, Cassie was doing Cassie.
Best HipHop/R&B couple:
1. Beyonce & Jay-Z
I didn't like them as a couple at first. When I first heard about them dating four years ago, I was like yuck! What does she see in our real-life Joe Camel? But now I see they are good together and their love is legit with each releasing songs paying ode to the fact that they belong together such as their duets Bonnie and Clyde and Crazy In Love. Beyonce is even starting to open up about her relationship which was something she use to avoid altogether.
2. Ashanti & Nelly
These two are soooo cute together but I often wonder why Ashanti is so reluctant to talk about her relationship or have it on display. I remember when Nelly did that duet with Tim McGraw called Over and Over and there was a picture on the table in the video. Originally, it was Ashanti's picture but all of a sudden it was replaced with Ciara's. I take it Ashanti wasn't happy about their relationship being segmented into the video which I thought were strange because it's only a pic and it's not like to say we haven't seen these two up and personal at events and stuff. Now I am reading reports that they're engaged so if this is true congrats to them.
3. Janet & JD
Never thought they were best suited. JD looks like a troll. But he is such a good man who has stood by Janet throughout her trials and tribulations (the Superbowl incident, the commercial failure of her latest album 20 Years Old). He has done so much for her so though he may not be some oil painting, men like that are a dime a dozen and she should be trying to hang on to him as long as possible.
4. Kelis & Nas
And here's an R&B/Hip Hop couple who finally made it to the alter. Everytime you see them together they seem so infatuated and mesmerised with one another and that is how a couple in love should look. They're not afraid to show off their love to the world and I think the Carmen Bryan tell-all book (Nas's baby mama) will not cause a single dent in their marriage. It will only cause their marriage to be more strongly cemented.
5. Christina Milian & Dre
I think they look good together. They hooked up earlier this year after Dre produced her whole album So Amazin which tanked unfortunately but such failure didn't put their relationship in jeopardy. They still remain stronger than anything, and I just hope he treats her much better than that cornball Nick Cannon who is an idiot for letting such a beautiful girl go.
My top 5 TV drama's of 2006:
1. Prison Break
At first I was mainly into the show because of the highly attractive Wentworth Miller, but as the show has progressed and become an instant hit with TV ratings, the tense plotlines had me hooked. I think this has got to be one of the best prison drama's in the last 10 years. OK, so yes, the plotlines are in fact farfetched but sometimes you just have to push the boat out a little in order to achieve that entertainment value.
So the good ole doctor, Sawyer and Kate are still in reprimand by "The Others" and it was just gripping stuff. I was at the edge of my sofa, wondering if Sawyer has met the end of his days but yet the direction that the show has taken lately asks us if there is ever a glimmer of hope for the plane crash survivors.
Jack Bauer loves to play the hero and always defies orders to suit his own agenda's. If it weren't for the fantastic plotlines I'd have bowled out from watching this a long time ago. A lot of my favourite characters are gone, Tony in particular. I was so sad to see him go but I cannot wait to see season 6 watching Jack foil the attempts of a terrorists plight to bring terror, corrupt and fear into a country at war with terrorism.
Mmmmm, more Jenson Ackles please. If we had more pretty white boys like this on our screens we'd all be suffering from large doses of diabetes. I love the show and being the superstitious person that I am I can so connect with its storylines. For example I always sleep with a tape measure on my door and I always avoid sleeping on my back. I never open up an umbrella inside the house and I try my best not to break mirrors. But seeing Jenson in action with his younger brother tackle evil and spiritual forces and all things connected to the supernatural world is really insightful.
You may think I'm a right saddo for watching this, especially a show which is sponsored by Britney's fragrance Fantasy. But the show is pretty good, though I bet it doesn't half accurately portray the reality of Hollywood movie stars, but since when has these kind of drama’s portrayed reality in an accurate sequence? I just find myself enjoying this the more I tune in moreso to see who will be the guest star of the show each week.
My top 5 Reality shows:
1. The X-Factor
Sparks definitely flew during this series. Some fine, productive talent was seen throughout like Dionne, Robert, Nikitta and the show's winner Leona. I don't think reality show winners should be blackballed just because they got a record deal through performing on a live talent contest. I think they've had to work just as hard as those who had to send in a demo to a record company, except their hard work was seen under the scrutiny of the public eye, which must have been so much harder.
2. American Idol
Pretty much the same as what I said about the X-Factor, except in this case I was NOT happy with the winner OR the runner-up for that matter. Taylor Hicks looks weird and Katherine McPhee, whilst she has the looks she certainly wasn’t the most talented.
Seeing a bunch of bitchy whiny skinny girls compete for a modelling contract makes for brilliant TV. My sister loves this show to the rotten core right a long with me. More please. More more more.
4. Making The Band
Again, another talent contest which saw the making of Danity Kane who will soon become Danity Who? by the time Diddy has aired them out to dry just to cater to his own interests. And now that they’re auditioning for Making The Band 4, I feel sorry for the poor souls who come under his control, or lack of. LOL!
5. Big Brother
Sex. Tit-for-tat games. Bitching. Fighting. Swearing. You can all find the trash on a show like the super trashy Big Brother. I try to avoid these shows because I know for the remaining three-month duration of the show, it would just take over my life. I would find myself just rushing home from wherever I was just to catch it and the first person I will see the next day I will ask them: "Did you watch Big Brother last night?" but seeing people from all walks of life lumped into a house together is really compelling which is great because as its not scripted and the drama that unfolds within the house is spontaneously improvised, we don't have to worry about any nuisance spoilers! BB8 rock on!
I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
Well that's my update. A massive one I know but I guess I was making up for lost time. I'll hook you all up with some new music as soon as it arrives. Stay tuned for more R&B crumbs.
Labels: BEYONCE KNOWLES, BLU CANTRELL, CASSIE, CIARA, JANET JACKSON, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, KELIS, LEONA LEWIS, LETOYA LUCKETT, MARIAH CAREY, MONICA, RIHANNA, ROBIN THICKE, TAMIA
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