Category Archives: Dance

Not Sure What’s Happening to Me…


I had a very strange experience this week. I legitimately BOUGHT an entire album (on iTunes). This literally hasn’t happened to me in years. And even more strange…it was a RIHANNA album. I NEVER thought that would EVER happen in my life.

So here’s the backstory – I went to a SoulCycle class for the first time this week where they were celebrating Rihanna’s album release so all of the music in this particular class was from Rihanna’s new album Unapologetic. I’m thinking it must have been the combination of the awesome dark candlelit ambiance in the class paired with the swaggerific instructor who had us working out really hard on those bikes while GETTING IT to Rihanna’s album. But afterwards, I was hooked…both to SoulCycle (I definitely recommend it! But make sure your pockets are deep enough…) and – almost – to Unapologetic.

So after coming home from SoulCycle, naturally I went to look for the album on Spotify, but it wasn’t there. So I decided to wait a couple days, knowing that albums will sometimes show up on Spotify a few days after they’re released. A few days passed, & still no album on Spotify. At this point, I got so desperate to hear the music & remember my awesome SoulCycle experience, that I went on iTunes & BOUGHT the album. I was actually a little concerned that I would have wasted my money on something that wasn’t really that great but just sounded wonderful at the time because I was loving my SoulCycle experience. But very luckily – and to my surprise – that wasn’t at all the case.

Generally, I’m really not a Rihanna fan. She has a couple songs that I really enjoy, but for the most part, I don’t think she’s talented enough to deserve all the hype she gets. So when I heard this album, I was really SHOCKED at how much I LOVED it. That’s right – LOVED it. And what’s even more surprising is that I actually really enjoy the majority of the songs. This album is almost a straight-through no skipping listener for me. Anyway, here’s my review of my favorite tracks (which again, is most of them – I’m not even including every one that I enjoy just to spare you guys from a never-ending post lol):

  • Phresh Out the Runway” – just a good dance track & strong intro I think! I believe this was also the first song in our SoulCycle class…which def got me really hype lol
  • Diamonds” – welp, didn’t like this one at all when I first heard it outside the context of this album, but I’ve now been sold on this song.
  • Numb” – ok so this one’s sound kinda blew me away when I first heard it…& then I heard Eminem…& he just topped it all off with his reference to their last major hit at 2:25 ;). This addictive beat has def been played a lot more than the others.
  • Jump” – another one that blew me away…first I was drawn in by the building intro, then I was loving that cool groovy beat that dropped, then “Pony” snuck in & grabbed me by surprise, and just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore, that dub-step just came in & closed the deal!! Such a banger to me! (Note: this YouTube version is a little fast-pitched, I couldn’t find one that was exactly the same pitch as the album version but I think the faster pitch is a much better experience than the slower-pitched ones I found…I think they’d probably speed it up for the club anyway πŸ™‚ )
  • Right Now” – like so many of these, I could see this being a really successful dance single, especially with David Guetta’s help. (Also a little sped up pitch-wise, but same deal I think this represents the song better than the slower pitch versions)
  • Nobody’s Business” – say what you will about RiRi & Breezy (I personally think they’re doing the most), but I really like this song with Breezy’s tryna-sound-like-MJ self πŸ™‚ (Not sure what’s going on with the pitch on these YouTube videos but they don’t really sound that much like Justin Bieber chipmunks on the real version lol)
  • Get It Over With” – actually feeling the lyrics on this emo one.
  • Lost In Paradise” – Another one similar to “Jump” that starts off kind of chill but loving how the energy builds & maintains with that driving beat throughout the rest of the song.
  • Half of Me” – probably so good because it was co-written by Emeli Sande…and it def has Sande written all over it.
  • Diamonds (Gregor Salto Downtempo Remix)” – really just like this version even better than the original, it was the last song in our SoulCycle class & such a great finale!

More broadly, being the music industry junkie nerd that I am, this really made me think about consumer behavior when it comes to buying music. We all know record & album sales have been suffering badly for a while, but I would like to know what Rihanna’s people’s rationale was for not putting her album on Spotify. I didn’t really try very hard to find it elsewhere on the internet, but it just generally seemed less available to me than most albums (correct me if I’m mistaken). But just based on my case study of myself this week (lol), I think that if music is actually good and you make it available to people for free for a limited time (like streaming or even a live listening party) or attach it to some awesomely positive experience (like my SoulCycle class!), it seems like there’s a good chance they’ll buy it to continue listening to it if they have no other easy option…? I mean I know that artists make royalties from Spotify too, but not sure long-term what would be more lucrative for an artist. Just writing stream-of-consciousness here, but I find it all very interesting.

All in all, I guess I’m a RiRi fan (for) now…? Sigh lol

New Discoveries: October 2012

Hi everyone!

Here are my favorite songs that I’ve just discovered in October (as usual, I know I’m late on some of them lol). Full Spotify playlist below & YouTube links for those who don’t have Spotify πŸ™‚

Hello Mello

  • Let Me Be Him” – Hot Chip
  • Running” – Jessie Ware (kinda reminds me of a cross between Goapele & Kimbra…?)
  • Night Light” – Jessie Ware (love those slightly ominous strings in this song, & such an artistic video! Love the modern / lyrical dancing which I could never master lol)
  • Pink Blue Hotel” – Loopless
  • At The River” – Groove Armada (so late on this one it’s pretty embarrassing)
  • My Friend” – Groove Armada (late on this too, but do you recognize the original basis for the vocals? Here’s a hint…)
  • Fly Me To The Moon” – Groove Armada (I love this slightly soulful instrumental version of the classic made popular by Frank Sinatra :))
  • New Life (Perseus Edit)” – Jeremy Glenn

Simply Smooth (R&B)

  • Where’s The Fun In Forever” – Miguel (do you hear Alicia back there?)
  • The Only One” – Stacy Barthe (ok, so I know I’m SUPER late on her, but I seriously LOVE this woman’s music! I knew she sounded familiar…)
  • Cold Hands Warm Heart” – Rudy Currence (HANDS DOWN my FAVORITE on this list!! I could literally listen to this on repeat…all the time…lol)
  • You Are My World” – R. Kelly (ummm…he is CLEARLY channeling MJ in this song. Those ad-libs at the end are almost IDENTICAL to MJ’s ad-libs in “Remember the Time“…it’s amazing how well R. Kelly is able to imitate him! After further research it actually seems like this was originally recorded as a demo for MJ that he never released…totally makes sense lol)

Dance Dance!

Rock On Mayne

  • Hold On You” – Ponderosa (pretty late on this too, but really feeling the Southern Rock-Soul in this song)

Let’s Get a Little Classy (Classical)

  • Prelude” – Muse (so taken out of context because Muse is not at all a classical group lol…but I just think this song is so beautiful, like it could be used in a ballet! This could also be totally unoriginal to Muse so if it’s “stolen” from an original classical piece please let me know lol)

Hope you enjoy until next time!

Brandy is Back

After four years and a brief stint as Bran’Nu, Brandy is back with her 6th and most recent studio album Two Eleven, released on October 12, 2012. I had a chance to listen and compare to her previous albums (I admit I hadn’t listened to a full Brandy album since Full Moon…) and here are my thoughts:

Overall I thought the album as a whole was actually quite similar to Full Moon. Originally I was kind of disappointed, thinking that Brandy hadn’t really diversified her sound since her last album, but then I realized she had 2 albums in between that I hadn’t listened to yet πŸ™‚ Having now listened to Afrodisiac and Human Nature, I definitely see a pretty large difference between all 4 of her most recent albums. However, this latest one still reminds me of the heavy electronic influences that Darkchild brought to the majority of Full Moon (which is interesting considering Brandy’s split with him to work with a diverse group of producers after the their experience with Human).

My highlights / favorites on the album (as well as the full thing on Spotify) are below, hope you enjoy!

Favorites:

  • Put It Down” – Well since it was the lead single, I’ll start with it first. I thought this was such a nice reintroduction to Brandy (I didn’t even realize it was her when I first heard it)! And Chris Breezy was a welcome addition in my opinion πŸ™‚ That heavy bass line is kind of addictive to me and the two of them are so cute in the video!
  • Do You Know What You Have” – Definitely one of my top three on this album. This is that classic 90’s R&B that I LOVE…and this sounds like the older-school Brandy that I remember & love.
  • Wish Your Love Away” – Pretty sad, but I think her lower range flows across those beats really well.
  • Paint this House” – This track DEFINITELY makes my top three on this album too. I love the combination of her soft relaxing background vocals with the ambient foundation of the song…I could listen to it all night!
  • Music” – I think this is a pretty cute piece & I really like the lyrics and smooth easy beat, it also for some reason feels like to me like it could have fit very well on her first album πŸ™‚

Secondary Favorites:

  • Wildest Dreams” – Second single & for some reason I think it’s very well placed as the first full song on the album.
  • Without You” – I think this one actually showcases her range pretty well.
  • Hardly Breathing” – Kinda reminds me of Breezy & Jordin Sparks “No Air” (don’t play me, I LOVE that song & am not ashamed to say so haha)
  • Scared of Beautiful” – I think this is a beautifully written piece very characteristic of emotional & introspective Frank Ocean, although it’s not my favorite instrumentally…

And just as a last note, the Intro / Outro sound to me like they could be used on a dramatic BET commercial…maybe she should license it to them & get some royalties!

5 Videos for Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!! If you’re on the East Coast and in the path of Frankenstorm Sandy, I hope you’re all safe!! But if you’re stuck inside like most people I know over here, hopefully these videos will help you pass at least some time and bring back some entertaining Halloween memories…

5. Backstreet Boys “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”
LOL I had to do it!! Hahahaha…don’t tell me y’all didn’t jam to this song back in the day?!

4. Missy Elliott “Get Ur Freak On”
Ummm…this video was pretty weird right?? I was always pretty freaked out when her head snaked off like that lol…

3. Michael Jackson “Ghost”
MJ always had such an interesting affinity to ghosts, monsters, zombies & the like…I love it when that skeleton starts GETTING IT like MJ!! Haha

2. Busta Rhymes “Gimme Some More”
This video always scared me so much!! And it didn’t help that it sampled the theme from Psycho…but I always loved this song πŸ™‚

1. Michael Jackson “Thriller”
Of course no surprise here, one of the most GENIUS & influential videos from the King of Pop himself!

So, what are your other favorite scary / videos songs that I missed??

Glooorious

So Martha Munizzi was a guest worship leader at the church I visited in Brooklyn (Christian Cultural Center) last weekend, and she performed this song that I heard for the first time, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since! Just can’t help but want to dance & groove along with this piece that I think is amazing both musically and lyrically (Lyrics below the video) – The music essentially makes you want to do what the lyrics are saying! πŸ™‚ That background harmony that comes in around 2:52 is especially killer to me…Enjoy!!

Glorious Lyrics

[Verse:]
When you come into His presence,
lifting up the name of Jesus
and you hear the music playin’
and you see the people praising;
just forget about your worries,
let your troubles fall behind you,
don’t you wait another minute,
just get up and on your feet and…

[Chorus 1:]
Get to dancing, singing, jumping, leaping,
get to shouting, make it loud, and make it glorious.
Start rejoicing, praising, lifting, raising,
get to shouting, make it loud,
and make His praise glorious, glorious.

[Verse]

[Chorus 2:]
Get to dancing, singing, jumping, leaping,
get to shouting, make it loud, and make it glorious.
Start rejoicing, praising, lifting, raising,
get to shouting, make it loud,
and make His praise…

Get to dancing, singing, jumping, leaping,
get to shouting, make it loud, and make it glorious.
Start rejoicing, praising, lifting, raising,
get to shouting, make it loud,
and make His praise glorious, glorious.

[Vamp:]
I was created to make Your praise glorious.
I was created to make Your praise glorious,Β glorious,
Yes, I was, yes, I was.

[Ending:]
I was created to make Your praise glorious.

New Discoveries: September 2012

Hola my peeps,

Here are my favorite songs that I’ve first heard this month (admittedly late on some of them). Full Spotify playlist below & YouTube links for those who don’t have Spotify πŸ™‚

Simply Smooth (R&B)

  • Enough of No Love” – Keyshia Cole & Weezy (this sounds like it belongs back in 2006 – 2007 for some reason…maybe I like it b/c it sounds so familiar to me…)
  • Black Gold” – Esperanza Spalding & Algebra Blessett (great video!)

Dance Dance!

  • Pantera” – Kartell (probably my favorite on this list because of what happens at 0:30-0:31…keep listening if you don’t catch it πŸ™‚ )
  • In & Out” – Marcus Canty f/Wale (took a while for this one to grow on me but I really like the hook & I love my X Factor favorite!)

PRAISE

It’s Countray

  • Storm Warning” – Hunter Hayes (I’m hoping to do a full post on this guy…love his music!)

MJ Bad 25:

Ok, so I thought this deserved a section on it’s own. Epic, Legacy & MJJ Productions re-released Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album this month on its 25th anniversary. It includes remastered versions of his old well-known hits, but also quite a few songs that I had never heard before (which I thiink is saying a lot because I like to think I’m a pretty huge & knowledgeable MJ fan!) Anyway, my favorites from that 25th Anniversary album are below:

  • Price of Fame” (previously unreleased)
  • Streetwalker” (ok, so there’s basically NO excuse for me not to have heard this before. Without a doubt my favorite!! And so good to finally know where the beginning of “The Way You Make Me Feel” live comes from! at least I think so…lol)
  • Fly Away” (also not really sure why I hadn’t heard this before…but really pretty I think!)
  • Bad” – Remix by Afrojack f/Pitbull (surprised I actually like this version but I think I could dance to it in the club!)

Annd lastly as an extra side bonus (completely unrelated to this post) while we’re on the subject of MJ 25th Anniversary albums, this is probably my FAVORITE MJ remix of all time, off his Thriller 25 Album. Enjoy & until next time! πŸ™‚

New Discoveries: January – August 2012

Hey everyone, here’s a collection of songs that I’ve heard that have really caught my ear this year so far. I find that very often it’s difficult for me to keep up with & remember ALL of the new music I find out about & enjoy – from Shazam to recommendations to live shows, etc, so this is my attempt to document & save everything that I really enjoy – so that I’m always able to go back and listen later. Be forewarned that this is quite a long, VERY random list (genres across the board – it also includes some of my favorites from popular new(-ish) albums that have been in my rotation a lot this year), but I hope to continue to do this monthly going forward so that each list will be a little more manageable. I also recognize that I’m probably very late to the game for a lot of these songs. But for now, here’s what I’ve got for this year so far…and you may see extended features on some of these artists in the future! Β Check back at the end of next month & hopefully you’ll find a new list from September!

Some highlights / favorites along with the playlist below –

Chillin in the Lounge (or at Home) Music:

Dance!

  • Two Up” – Diggy
  • No Sugar” – Joey Negro, Gramophonedzie, Shea Soul (I love this video…the dancing is so cute!)
  • Clocks” – Rhythms Del Mundo & Coldplay (THIS IS AN AMAZING MIX!!)
  • Warrior” – Kimbra
  • She’s Bad” – Bad Rabbits

Lovey-Dovey AND/OR Emo:

Simply Smooth πŸ™‚ (R&B / Jazz)

  • Selfish Love” – Bertell
  • Daydreaming” – David Sanborn
  • Believe In Us” – Mint Condition
  • Sweet Life” – Frank Ocean (ARGUABLY MY FAVORITE SONG ON THIS WHOLE LIST!!…The version in this video is a liiitle high-pitched but still sounds great IMO…)
  • Let Me In” – Anthony David
  • I Don’t Care” – Elle Varner
  • Leaf” – Elle Varner
  • Lately” – Anita Baker (I still like Tyrese’s version better but I LOVE how Anita was able to make this her own! It sounds so smooth & jazzy, if you didn’t know better you’d think it was an old school song that Tyrese did a cover of!)
  • Feel The Same” – Reggie Watts