Tunes Remembered While Tardy

My junior year I decided to take a graphic design class. I was late all the time. It was my first time living on a different part of campus and I couldn’t rely on waking up for class 10 minutes before start time and expect to get there right on time.

Every Monday and Wednesday I rushed to class, walking swiftly- well as swiftly as I could. One thing I couldn’t do was walk to class without a pair of headphones to amp up my walk a bit.

I can’t remember what playlist I listened to at that time, but I remember now song I always listened to every day was Cupid’s Got a Gun by R&B singer, Shanell. The song also featured a rap verse by Nicki Minaj. I’m pretty sure I listened to that song every time I walked to class.

Shannel sang “He told me love was pain.”

More than two years later and I’m now in grad school working on news story about bioscience summer camps in Rochester for my public relations internship. My iPod is on shuffle, and Cupid comes on. I don’t think I’ve heard the song since my junior year, I guess I lost interest a long the way.

It brought back to my mind then. When that song was an everyday thing for me. I was 19 going on 20. I barely knew what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve had so many experiences since then. Some great, some egregious. But I’m just glad, I can look back and know that I’ve grown past who I was back then. Yes, I still have the tendency to run into a room five to ten minutes later than scheduled time, but some things never really change.

Advertisements

That’s So 2012

By Chris McPherson

Yes, it’s been a while since 2012, but I recently had to provide my three favorite songs of 2012 for an internship application and it really got me thinking about my music interests. i figured I’d share my top 3.

 
Rita Ora had an interesting debut in 2012, with the Rihanna comparisons, How We Do’s highly anticipated, and yet moderate success, and let’s not forget her debut album’s lack of release in the United States. With all of this, Radioactive was a gem on her album, Ora. It’s only right that music genius,Sia, co wrote this song, because it puts me on top of the world when it pounds through my headphones. The line Palms to the sky was my anthem near the end of summer 2012. Despite the fact that it was never released in the U.S. and barely promoted in the UK, this song’s potential will forever light up 2012 for me.
 
 
Rihanna made the world dance in 2010 and 2011. We were all relieved that she seemed to be in a better place after dark and gritty, Rated R. But I loved Diamonds because it reminded me that Rihanna has a way of truly pulling in her audience. Yes, We Found Love had me bouncing up and down in the club, but Diamonds meant something more than a nice beat and breathy vocals. Regardless of her relationship status this week, next week, or next month, those lyrics were rock solid emotion. RihGold.
 
 
 
To me, Beez in the Trap wasn’t just a homage to the hypothetical life of a successful and equally ambitious drug trafficker, it was hip hop gold. Crossover appeal for mainstream artists is one of the most coveted things in the pop world, so for Nicki Minaj to release a song like this right after she sang Starships were meant to fly was impressive in my book.

 

Projecting Similarities, Ariana Vs. Jessica

By Chris McPherson

In 2013, it can be quite difficult task to maintain a successful career in music, while also maintaining originality. I mean, with centuries upon centuries of music, is there any melody or technique someone can use that is completely new? But it can get quite awkward when two similarities pop up around the same time. I’m talking about the music videos for young singers, Ariana Grande The Way ft. Mac Miller and Jessica Sanchez Tonight ft. Ne Yo.

If you watch both music videos, you’ll notice that they both feature the singers in front of a projector screen. Now this may not be the first time anyone has ever done this in a music video, and it probably won’t be the last time. But both of these music videos were filmed around the same time and premiered within a week of each other. So is this foul play? Did someone steal the idea from another? Or is it a mere coincidence?

Luckily this should be the least of the both girl’s worries. Grande, who got her start in 2010 on Nickelodeon’s Victorious playing the ditzy Cat Valentine, is ready to release her debut album almost two years after signing with Universal Republic Records. Sanchez on the other hand, just catapulted to fame a year ago as the runner up for 11th season of American Idol.

As far as the actual songs go, I can definitely say I side in favor of Grande. Although Sanchez’ Tonight  is a certified club banger, there isn’t much going on here besides a nice beat, a nice song, and a nice feature from Ne Yo. This comes as a suprise given than it was made by superstar production team of Mikkel Storleer Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen, better known as StarGate. These guys are the reasons for Billboard number ones like Rihanna’s Diamonds, Katy Perry’s Firework,  and Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow along with a wide set of more heavy hitters. I would have liked more.

Grande on the other hand decided to delve in her inner R&B princess. A sample of the late Big Pun’s Still Not a Player,  I dub this song a homerun. It sounds familiar while also so new, and her power house voice steals the show. Who knew a little girl from Nickelodeon could belt some sweet notes like that?

All in all, do you think the similarities are too obvious?

Veronica, Twenty-Four Hours of Twerk

By Chris McPherson

Pop is one of my favorite music genres, but every now and then, a hip hop or R&B tune dramatically grasps my attention and takes over my iPod, a.k.a. my life, then I just can’t get enough. One week, all I could do was rap 2Chainz’ verse to Young Jeezy’s R.I.P.  There are still random moments where I uncontrollably yell, Got a pocket full of dead bread, attached to your girl like a jpeg. Coincidentally, a 2Chainz song has done it again, but this time just his feature to Veronica’s What Happened to Us.

screenshot from video
Screenshot from YouTube video

I didn’t know who Veronica was before her music video popped up on a blog I follow. I was surprised to see her snag a verse from 2Chainz on her song. And with a name that’s solely “Veronica”, searching her can be a rather inundated task. All that I could find was that she may or may not be on Young Money Cash Money Billionaires (YMCMB).

What Happened to Us originally came across as just any other R&B/Hip-Hop debut by another nameless voice that happens to dance seductively to heavily choreographed twerk rhythms. After the first couple of listens, she seemed like a Kelly Rowland reject, which I’m sure many others would perceive her as. As Jessie J is to Katy Perry, and Karmin are to Nicki Minaj, Veronica seemed doomed to live in the shadows of Rowland. The thought of that is quite chuckling, given the fact that Rowland has recently managed to climb from the depths of Queen Bey’s shadow. Would that make Veronica Beyonce’s grand-shadow? Great- shadow? Great grand shadow? Ahh well, moving on…

After almost 24 hours of dozens of on/off listens, I’m hooked to this hood jam. Although I’m a bit turned off by the cliché shower scene of V, the producers and audio engineers for this song did an amazing job of basting her riffs and runs with some down-n-dirty auto tune goodness. Veronica sings Do you love me now?  in the chorus and my body surged with the need to get up and bust a move. And then by the end of the chorus she belts What happened to all the love baby?  where the baby managed to run on for days.

To me, Veronica seems like a product of what a Brandy/ Kelly Rowland hybrid would be. If Brandy’s distinct vocal timbre sat next to Rowland’s attitude and sex appeal on a long bus ride then hopped off the bus as BFFs, it would be called Veronica. It’s been a day since I first heard Veronica, and I hope to see and hear more from her.

Check out the music video and Veronica’s Twitter page @veronicaymcmb