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?

Advertisements

The Truth Sinks In, Toni Braxton

By Chris McPherson

For some time now, I’ve tried to act like it didn’t effect. Like I’ve never spent evenings laying on the my living floor listening to Spanish Guitar after popping the CD in the stereo system. Like I don’t want to sway across the room when Breathe Again comes on. Or that Braxton Family Values is not only a show, but a popular search term in my YouTube account. I’m going to miss music from Toni Braxton.

Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Yes, she recently announced that she won’t be releasing new music, and that she just doesn’t feel the same way about it anymore, but I just feel so cheated, and this feeling has just started to sink in. The songstress that was once making me high, is now making me sad. Toni was an icon for not only people around my mother’s age cough cough – old. But she was a gem of 90s R&B music. And it wasn’t until recently that I went back into the vault of her era that I understood how much of a star she was.

Of course those money issues she ran into a number of times were somewhat embarrassing, but she came back with a dance hit this summer, I Heart You, that went number one on US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard). The fact that she wrote and produced such a great song independently without much promotion truly convinced me that she was going to reemerge and let these young gals know she can still deliver. But no. She said bye bye.

This may be a delayed reaction, but I have noticed that it tends to take a while for me to truly understand the gravity of some celebrity news when they occur. In fact, it wasn’t until this past December that Whitney Houston’s death really started to hit me.

The only bright side from all of this is that she is still set to release her eight studio album, Chapter VIII: The Encore of a Gemstone, this year. But after that, she plans to retire from music.

Here’s her first song to reach Billboard number 1.

American Idol’s Amber Holcomb dominates Sudden Death Week

By Chris McPherson

With week two of sudden deaths on American Idol underway, the top spot is officially open again. It seems like this season is slowly coming into it’s own. The focus has moved from the Nicki and Mariah feud and more about the actual contestants. And it seems like these two divas have decided to officially leave the drama behind.

20130225-150304.jpg
Image Credit: Michael Becker/Fox

I must say, it was refreshing to see Ryan Seacrest host the live shows again. His presence was missed this fall while I watched X Factor. Khloe Kardashian really wasn’t doing it for me.

The first round of sudden death-women, started off really slow last Wednesday. It was almost halfway through the show and nothing had captured my attention yet. I even stopped watching. After the first three lackluster performances, I started browsing the net on my laptop with the television playing in the background.

Then Amber Holcomb came out of nowhere and took my breath away with My Funny Valentine. Holcomb belted notes so effortlessly, I hopped out my bed to watch her even closer. And let’s not get started on her vocal runs. They were like hot oil slipping off a pan of sizzling bacon. Her performance was on fire, yet silky smooth as she sang with a smile. She was what I was waiting for and they saved the best for last.


Judges’ Comments: 

Keith: Nice breath control. It could have come off fashioned, but she made it timeless

Nicki: Legs for days pretty little dimples. A+++ Top of the class vocal

Randy: Made the most important [vocal] runs the best.
Mariah: Wanted to smack her (in a good way) Loved her interpretation

Overall, I’m loving the way the show is headed. I must say Mariah often seems nervous when it’s her turn to speak. And sometimes her comments tend to ramble on, but judging in front of a live audience could possibly be just as nerve racking for the judges as it is for the contestants.