Chris Brown'sExclusive starts off very amateurish but does come into its own for the most part. Outside of the go-go inspired Throwed, I think he hesitated a great deal to push the boundaries with this album. Fear of not wanting to alienate his younger fanbase plays a major part I think. As he grows older he also needs to evolve as an artist instead of taking steps backward, which is exactly what I think was the case here. His 2005 debut was cleverly crafted together with fun and catchy R&B. His up-tempo joints on the new cut fail to emphasise the edgy, outstanding rawness that could once be heard in previous hits. If Chris wants to stay in the game for many years to come like his idol Michael Jackson, he can't just put out a mediocre/decent album, he has to put out an outstanding one. Still, you can't forget how he electrified the pop scene two years ago. Chris is young and oozes lots of talent but there's always room for improvement. He's a wonderful performer but he can't rely on a couple of enchanting footwork to pave the way. Musically, he needs to bring the heat.
Vocally, I'm not hearing much advancement. The music just doesn't represent that much maturity (not so much the lyrics but the actually quality). Wall to Wall is so damn cheesy, it practically gives Big Macs a run for its money, although some of his lyrics do have the obvious ripeness regarding sex and relationships. Take You Down being one of them. I practically had a brain orgasm after FINALLY hearing this song in full and high quality. The wait was worthwhile. In fact, if his whole album was mainly based around that vibe, his CD would have been flawless (Mario Barrett is killing the competition on that front). I think Take You Down (as well as You) are brilliant due to the Prince resonance. But I also love the electrified guitar during the breakdown which brings more immensity and greatness to the track. The Stargate-produced With You (which is the next single) is part of the poppy acoustic Beyonce-ala-Irreplaceable poison that's consistently plaguing many of today's R&B singers. How unfortunate. And as generic as some of the songs are, this track certainly didn't need to make the cut.
The album sees many contributions in top producers such as Kanye West, Will.i.am, Timbaland, the Underdogs, and Bryan Michael Cox and your not-so-talented producers such as Stargate and T-Pain. For the most part, Exclusive is pretty heartening once you get stuck in. It's nowhere near as terrible as I expected but it's not all that memorable either. Out of the variety, I'll never understand why they chose to release Wall to Wall as the lead single. Talk about career suicide. Then they tried to play it off as it being just a 'buzz' track with 'Kiss Kiss' being introduced as the official first single. I am glad it's doing extremely well on the charts. It may even have saved the album in fact. My standouts tracks would have to be Take You Down of course, You, Damage and I Wanna Be. Those are getting heavy spins on my part. Exclusive drops next week Tuesday (Nov 6th). If you want to see him do strong numbers in his first week, be sure to cop it.
'Footprints' first premiered on the X-Factor a couple of weeks ago but it was used as a sound-over. Both songs are big balladry slow cuts that could easily have been pulled from Mariah's'Butterfly' album circa 1997. In fact, it only made me dig into my CD collection to pull out that album, when Mariah's music was still flawless. Leona isn't even trying to distinct herself from the Mariah comparisons because she even went ahead and hired Mariah's producer.
MUSIC CAREERS IN JEOPARDY: NICOLE SCHERZINGER & JENNIFER LOPEZ....
Former Pussycat DollNicole Scherzinger's debut CD is being pushed back again to early 2008 DUE to the poor performances of latest singles Whatever You Like and Baby Love. This news was confirmed by Nicole's label Interscope. Both singles have done really badly on both sides of the Atlantic. They were even pressing forward to release Supervillain but it doesn't look like it's going to happen now.
As her songs are failing to reach the top 100, insiders say Scherzinger's team is "rethinking" the roll-out while leaving an option open for more studio time. As I keep saying, her music sucks and that's all it boils down to. Lack of good material. I'd rather see Melody do her thing on the solo front. I bet she's wishing she didn't give up her Pussycat Doll position. I mean, I don't even think much folks were checking for Nicole as a solo act, it was was actually a forcing hand by the record label. I guess we have another Amerie/Mya case on our hands. And we already received the bad news a couple of days ago that Kelis got dropped by Jive due to poor sales.
Another artist whose music career is in jeopardy is Jennifer Lopez. She ALSO faces getting dropped by her label. A source close to Epic Records and Epic's parent company, Sony BMG, says that the label is fed up with Jen's poor sales AND the amount of money it's costing them to promote the diva.
"She costs too much money and doesn't sell enough," says the source, who is familiar with the issue. "Her last album cover alone cost $60,000 in hair and makeup, lighting, photographers, re-touching, etc. The video budget was in the neighborhood of $300,000."
Reportedly, her 'Good Morning America' performance earlier this month were paid for by the label. She was costing them $8,000 per day — for make-up, backup singers, to the rigging, lighting and sound. Well, after selling HALF of Kelly Rowland's numbers this comes as NO surprise. But she's about to become a mother so I doubt Jen cares right about now that she'll be dropped when she'll be dropping babies of her own in the next 4-6 months.
Alicia Keys did a spot of promotion for her forthcoming album As I Am her which drops November 13th. Last night, she did a private showcase at El Colegio de Médicos de Madrid. All images are in HQ:
Alicia has been EVERYWHERE promoting the album. At the showcase she performed a couple of exclusive tracks from the highly anticipated disc. I love her to bits but what would she do without that piano?
On Oct 29th,Ashanti attended the 007 Angel Ball which was hosted by the G&P Foundation at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. All images are in HQ:
She looked nice. Too bad I couldn't say the same about momager.
Who else was at the event? Joss Stone for starters. And she also hung out with American Idol judge Randy Jackson:
As I keep saying, Joss sure does scrub up well.
Ex-Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams attended a special screening of ‘American Gangster’ in Los Angeles:
Someone leaked the movie on the Net. I may check it out tomorrow from the VERY same outlet where I got to watch Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson's'Why Did I Get Married'. The movie has YET to open here in the UK. The Internet has saved me soooo much money on going to the movies or renting a movie from Blockbuster. Anyway, in other Michelle news she is currently working on an 'R&B' album to be released in May 2008. And she's currently in the studio. She is still doing the Color Purple and has recorded a track called CURIOSITY which has been produced by Rodney Jerkins. She says the track is hot. These lil tidbits come from Michelle herself and were written on her official Myspace blog. Are ya'll checking for Michelle?
And speaking of Destiny's Child, Beyonce arrived in Thailand yesterday:
The Beyonce Experience concert is set to kick off once again, if it hasn't already. I totally look forwards to the DVD.
Mariah Carey was spotted out and about in New York City rocking a denim outfit:
Throughout the whole year, I don't think I've seen Mariah dressed up in so much clothes.
Kelis attended and performed at the ‘Yana K’ Runway Collection event in Los Angeles this past weekend:
Kelis remains undeterred even after her record label JIVE did the nastay and dropped that ass. Oh well.
PART 3. Another Ciara birthday bash:
This one took place in Ciara's hometown Atlanta and fellow R&B singers Ne-yo and Bobby Valentino helped her to celebrate. I am quite surprised at seeing those two together considering that Bobby V had some snotty things to say about Ne-yo getting all the favoritism at Def Jam. Stay tuned.
Craig David was on GMTV this morning where he performed his new single Hot Stuff. He wasn't singing live as usual but he looked cute so it didn't matter. We all know he can sing his ass off:
Craig revealed that he is doing very well money wise for his record company and that's why he's been allowed to sample songs from artists he really respects like David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Good for him! His new album Trust Me drops Nov 12.
Keyshia Cole graces the cover of the December issue of Vibe magazine. I never had Keyshia as the topless type to even do a shoot like this. She's never displayed any traits that show off her kind of sexuality. Change is good I guess:
Keyshia Cole also put in an appearance on the Tyra Banks show where she performed her latest new single 'Shoulda Let You Go' and she did a nice job. The song is pure hotness and her album Just Like You has been getting constant spins in my place. And her reality show The Way It Is 2 aired this week. The performance as well as the interview is after the cut.
OMARION & BOW WOW: SLAM & SHE'S LEAVING ME [NEW MUSIC]....
Omarion and Bow Wow are gearing up to release their forthcoming album "Face Off" (out Dec 11th). You can now hear two tracks. Slam, which features Chris Brown, is a very average R&B cut, whilst She's Leaving Me (which I just couldn't be arsed to listen to, is just a snippet):