Album Review: Monica ‘New Life’

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Without a doubt, Monica is one of my favourite female R&B singers. If you’re not familiar with the quote “kick down your doors and smack your chick!” then you’ve been missing out;  as that quote comes from Monica’s best album of her career thus far; ‘After The Storm’. A lot of people are waiting for Monica to release a project superior to the latter. With her new album ‘New Life’ being released earlier this week, could Monica outshine her 2003 album? It’s very unlikely.

As I carried on listening to the project, I became very reckless and frustrated; ‘New Life’ is very dull!

Monica’s ‘New Life’ hasn’t been easy, the album was pushed back numerous amount of times just so they could reconstruct the project. The track ‘Anything (To Find You)’ was released on 2nd August 2011, the record features the oversized rapper, Rick Ross. However, how many of you were aware that Monica originally wanted Lil’ Kim to be on the record? As you’ve probably gathered, Lil’ Kim didn’t make the final cut of the record because of sampling issues, which left Monica releasing the track with just Rick Ross. The track climbed to #25 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and is featured on the deluxe edition of the album. Have you seen the video to ‘Anything (To Find You)’ video? Watch it below:

Have you heard ‘Anything (To Find You) featuring Rick Ross & Lil’ Kim? Listen to it here:

Monica then released the cut ‘Until Its Gone’ on September 27th 2011. This track got lost in the wind with Monica’s label issue’s and had less to nothing promotion. However, regardless of the wondering single, Monica still released a video for the record. Watch the video for ‘Until Its Gone’ below:

The album has no spark and it is very disheartening! I cannot stress how underwhelming this album is.

Despite the statistics for these records, I took a liking to both tracks. However, I lost all excitement for ‘New Life’ when Monica decided to reunite with her old friend, Brandy. The lasttime we heard from this duo was 14 years ago when they released Grammy Nominated, ‘The Boy Is Mine’. Trying to gain another hit, Monica & Brandy released ‘It All Belongs to Me’, which unfortunately, is underwhelming! The Rico Love cut see’s these ladies claiming back their “Macbook’s” and telling their partner’s to “lock off” their Facebook because all of these things belong to them.  Have you seen the video to ‘It All Belongs to Me’? Watch it below:

Now that we’ve got the singles out of the way, it’s time to discuss the project. ‘New Life’ opens up with an intro that feature’s Mary J. Blige. The Intro consists of Monica “Packing up her yesterday’s” and Blige comparing Monica’s old life to her present, through a phone conversation. I think the intro is very unnecessary and tacky. Monica could’ve scrapped up a better intro than the latter. As I carried on listening to the project, I became very reckless and frustrated; ‘New Life’ is very dull!

I found ‘New Life’ very frustrating because; I was expecting Monica to bring the fire back in R&B. Let’s create a scenario; you give someone the Olympic torch, and they run with it recklessly, drop it and out the fire. That’s how I feel when it comes to ‘New Life’.There was a buzz for R&B at the start of 2012. A lot of people were anticipating that Monica and Brandy, along with other artists, were going to bring back the fire in R&B. So far, Monica hasn’t brought anything towards the genre. The album has no spark and it is very disheartening! I cannot stress how underwhelming this album is. I was expecting Monica to really deliver on this album; instead she gave me music that I can tap my foot to whilst on public transport.  I really wish I can pin-point specific tracks that were outstanding on her album, but they all pretty much sound the same. However, one track that really stood out to me was ‘Time to Move On’. This track reminded me of ‘Misty Blue’ on Monica’s sophomore album ‘The Boy Is Mine’. The latter has a Gospel vibe to it, and has to be the most eccentric thing Monica has done with this album.

Furthermore, Monica really needs to let go of her past. She spoke about it on her previous album ‘Still Standing’ and she is still on the same bandwagon. Same album, different CD. I’ll forgive Monica for the lack of enthusiasm in this album as she has been going through a transition with her record label, but I advise her to get back into the studio and start putting the fire back; not only in R&B but also in her music!

Finally, if this project is a representation of Monica’s New Life then it must be very boring, and inevitable.

Brandy, you’re next.

Worth Listening To:

  • Daddy’s Good Girl
  • Until It’s Gone
  • Amazing
  • Cry
  • Time to Move On
  • Anything (To Find You) (feat. Rick Ross)

Album Review: Nicki Minaj – ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’

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This “rapper” became one of my favourite artist’s when I discovered her mixtapes and her debut album. You cannot deny that Nicki Minaj, at one point in your life was one of your favourite female rappers to listen to. Her debut album, ‘Pink Friday’, was a huge success, it went platinum after a month of its release. We all thought that Minaj was going to be a dominant female in Hip-Hop. I wrote a review on her debut album when it was released. Just like Melanie Fiona’s debut album, ‘Pink Friday’ was one of my most played albums in 2010. Minaj has now released the follow-up to her debut album titled ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’. However, will I be playing this album continuously as I did with her previous album?

When Minaj started off this era I was very confused. A track titled ‘Roman in Moscow’ surfaced on the internet, which had everyone questioning how this album would sound; as ‘Roman in Moscow’ was appalling! After ‘Roman in Moscow’, she announced the first single off the album, ‘Stupid Hoe’. The dislikes on YouTube speaks for the song itself. The music video for the latter currently has 506,263 dislikes and has 233,642 likes. For those who have no mathematical intellect, the music video has more dislikes than likes. So, as nobody was dazzled by ‘Roman in Moscow’ or ‘Stupid Hoe’, what was next for Minaj? She releases a dance record, ‘Starships’. Which if you’re a fan of Minaj for her Rapping skill’s you would’ve been highly disappointed by ‘Starships’. ‘Starships’ is very pop-culture which is the definition of this album.

The opening of the album is defiantly the highlight of the record, especially for the Hip-Hop fans, or should I say “for the people that know quality music!”

The album opens up with the track ‘Roman Holiday’, which Minaj performed at the 2012 Grammy Awards. This track most certainly makes me laugh. Why, you ask? Because I was sitting there questioning Minaj’s writing skills! In the middle of the track Minaj starts mumbling lyrics, not only that but you have lyrics such as: “Witch………… Twitch……………. Bitch” When I heard these lyrics I couldn’t help but laugh. However, I did enjoy the track. Call me deluded, but I enjoy it when Minaj spazzes out. Maybe I have a personality disorder like Minaj? Only time will tell. Have you seen Minaj perform ‘Roman Holiday’ at the Grammy Awards? Watch it below:

Minaj then carries on the Hip-Hop vibe throughout the opening of the album. Can’t forget to mention, ‘Come on a Cone’ where Minaj breaks out singing about putting a dick in somebody’s face. The opening of the album is definitely the highlight of the record, especially for the Hip-Hop fans, or should I say “for the people that know quality music!” ‘I Am Your Leader’ we hear from absent rapper Cam’ron and the jelly-belly rapper Rick Ross. ‘I Am Your Leader’ is said to be a huge fan-favourite on the album. However, I only like the chorus; the track doesn’t appeal to me at all. On the other hand, I definitely took a liking to the track ‘Hov Lane’, ‘Beez in the Trap’ which features 2-Chainz and ‘Roman Reloaded’ which features label mate Lil’ Wayne. Unfortunately, after these tracks I started to lose interest in the album. Even the track ‘Right by My Side’, which features my favourite male artist, Chris Brown, couldn’t bring back my interest for the album.

If Minaj wants to be successful in Pop-culture she needs to have a look at Missy Elliott’s career.

As previously stated, I lost interest in the album after specific tracks. The reason behind this is because the album went from Hip-Hop to Pop. Minaj didn’t waste any time with the transition of genres on the record. After the track ‘Sex in the Lounge’ which features Bobby Valentino and Lil’ Wayne the album just becomes a David Guetta project. I became so disappointed in Minaj, I understand that as an artist you must experiment with different sounds, and I understand that she wants to have a lasting career. However, Minaj must realise that she cannot sing, and her singing all over these dance tracks is not acceptable! I could understand if Minaj rapped over these dance tracks like she did with David Guetta’s ‘Where Them Girls At’ but Minaj is just singing and dropping weak verses here and there and it’s disappointing!

When it comes to the “Pink Friday: David Guetta Reloaded” side of the album the only tracks I enjoyed were ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘Young Forever’. However, the deluxe edition track ‘Va Va Voom’ might grow on me; It is very smooth and I have a weakness for smooth tracks.

Overall, I am very disappointed in this album. Minaj’s debut album was a SOLID record and I was hoping she would continue to release good hip-hop music. She has just proven that she gave me false hope. Minaj’s excuse for this unpleasant music is because she is a “Business Woman”. Lately I have noticed that when artists claim they are a ‘Business person’ it means that they are looking for a hit, something that will boost the zeros in their bank balance. Point out all the artists that say they are a ‘Musician’ and point out the artists that say they are ‘Business people’, compare their music and you have a sociology theory. If Minaj wants to be successful in Pop-culture she needs to have a look at Missy Elliott’s career. Elliott has done dance/pop tracks; however, the reason why Elliott was able to crossover is because she brought “hip-pop” into the industry. Elliott kept it very hip-hop when she crossed over and that is what Minaj needs to do!

Outstanding Tracks

  • Roman Holiday
  • Come On a Cone
  • Beez in the Trap (Feat. 2-Chainz)
  • Hov Lane
  • Roman Reloaded (Feat. Lil’ Wanye)
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Young Forever

Minaj has recently released the video to her upcoming single ‘Beez in the Trap (feat. 2-Chainz)’. Watch it below:

Album Review: Melanie Fiona – The MF Life

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Her debut album was one of my most played albums of 2009. It was very refreshing to hear a fresh female singer that has soul and emotion. ‘The Bridge’ surely impressed me. So, when it came down to her sophomore album I was hoping that Melanie Fiona wouldn’t lose my interest, and thankfully she didn’t!

‘The MF Life’ started off rather rocky. ‘Gone and Never Coming Back’ was the first single to be released off the album. Which didn’t do so well in the Billboard charts, however, the track was a fan favourite. Every time BET 106 & Park played the video on their countdown she would trend on Twitter. The next single to be lifted off the project was ‘4am’. Unfortunately, I didn’t warm to this track first hand. Regardless of me not liking the track first hand, I didn’t give up on ‘4am’ and after a while I got into the concept and it became one of those tracks that I found myself repeating.

I’m telling you, when you hear this song, it will take your breath away…

‘The MF Life’ is very different. Melanie spoke about her love life in interviews before the album dropped, she informed interviewees that she has been broken hearted and she will be speaking about the heartbreak within the project. Automatically, I was excited to hear the album. Give me a heartbreak album over an album talking about “you a stupid hoe, you a stupid hoe, you a stupid hoe (stupid, stupid, stupid)” any day!  However, what I’ve learnt from ‘The MF Life’ is that when an artist say’s that the album is going to be about “Heartbreak” it doesn’t mean that it will be full of ballads. That’s defiantly something that I’ve learnt by listening to ‘The MF Life’.

Melanie opens up the album with the track ‘This Time’ which features Label band mate J. Cole. This track you hear Melanie singing about what she will do this time around now that Love has come. It has an appealing beat and will surely do well on urban radio stations.

 

‘The MF Life’ had to grow on me…

‘Wrong Side Of A Love Song’. Every time I hear this song, I go into a moment of silence. ‘Wrong Side of A Love Song’ is everything that the title says. However, you must reverse it around to a real life situation. Melanie states in the chorus “How did I end up of a long song?” Have you ever felt like you’re on the wrong side of life? Have you ever felt like this is not the life you’re meant to be living? Have you ever felt like you’re on the WRONG SIDE OF LOVE!? ‘Wrong Side of a Love Song’ will breakdown your feelings. Melanie opens up the song with “Where were you, when I needed a friend?” I’m telling you, when you hear this song, it will take your breath away. Not only with the lyrics but with Melanie’s vocals!

As I’ve previously stated, the album is not about ballads, and this next track proves my point. ‘Change The Record’ features rapper B.o.B.  I didn’t understand the track during my first listen of ‘The MF Life’. ‘Change the Record’ evaluates when you have someone in your life that is playing the same old games and it’s time for them to change the record. This track will defiantly appeal to the mainstream crowd and surely will do well on the charts if released as a single. With the catch phrase “I hear ya DJ, I hear ya DJ!” surely Melanie has a hit on her hands if she releases ‘Change the Record’ as a single.

Another track that will surely appeal to the mainstream crowd is the mash-up track ‘6AM’ which features T-Pain and remixes his track ‘5am’ and Melanie’s ‘4AM’.

In conclusion if you think ‘The MF Life’ is all about Ballad’s, you’d be mistaken. One thing I must congratulate Melanie about with this album is the fact that I never lost interest whilst listening to it. Whilst listening to albums you can get very bored of listening to the same topic throughout the record, Melanie didn’t do that with ‘The MF Life’, the album is very diverse. One track that shows her diversity is ‘Watch Me Work’. Melanie leaves the heartbreak alone on this track and starts to show off. In comparison to her previous album ‘Watch Me Work’ is very much like ‘Ay Yo’.

However, I must state that ‘The MF Life’ had to grow on me. I didn’t like the album at first because I was expecting ballads; I was shocked by the diversity of the album. Regardless, I didn’t give up on the album because it isn’t a terrible project, I just had to understand the concept of the album. I will surely recommend this album to anybody of any age, specifically a younger audience. I can see a little girl dancing in front of her mirror whilst listening to this project.

Out-standing tracks

  1. This Time (feat. J. Cole)
  2. 4AM
  3. Break Down These Walls
  4. Wrong Side Of A Love Song
  5. Running (feat. Nas)
  6. Change The Record (feat. B.O.B)
  7. Gone and Never Coming Back
  8. Can’t Say I Never Loved You
  9. 6AM (Feat. T-Pain)
  10. Gone (La, Da, Di) (feat. Snoop Dogg)
  11. Can’t Do This Anymore
  12. What Am I To Do

12/18 tracks