Artist Recommendation – Tes Swanks

tes-swanksWell, I am back. I gave myself a week, and my first inclination to write was about RnB up-and-comer Toni Swanks, otherwise known as Tes Swanks. Swanks’ presentation as an artist strikes immediate comparisons to Tinashe’s style, especially vocally. Her sound is soulful but catchy, much similar to that sound Beyonce.

The music of Swanks shows great instrumental influence and she finds a way to balance her voice with the beat. The effects production add to her voice are presented well, especially when high notes comes so natural to her.

My favorite songs come from her lone debut album, Heart Stringz. These include “Under The Influence”, “Won’t Turn Down”, and her first recorded song, “Who Am I”. Her music is perfect for any RnB fan and I highly recommend it.

Overall, I would rate her music at:

9.5/10

You can give her music a listen by checking out her bio on MuzicNotez.com by clicking here:

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Thowback Thursday – Chic, “Everybody Dance”

Chic-everybody-danceYou may have killed 10 minutes by listening “Everybody Dance” already, whether it be through its popularity as Chic’s second single from their self-titled debut album, or from the Grand Theft Auto video game series, being a part of The Ballad Of Gay Tony expansion pack. Either way, this song has been stuck in my head for a solid couple of days and I figured I would share my suffering with my whole 20 readers.

The song is surprisingly repetitive for a song at almost 10 minutes in length, but you gotta love that low bass and killer instrumental overall. That is quite a lot of the song, along with the phrase “Everybody dance” whispered enough times so as to convince you that this method could have inspired Nazi Germany to just follow Hitler right away had he whispered it enough in his own disco song.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

7.75/10

The song serves it purpose, it’s mad catchy and makes you want to dance because of its simplicity. It was a great way for Chic to get a following and I’m sure any club-hopping turnt-up adult from the 70’s can half recognize the tune from a drunk night on the town. You can listen to the song below:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Jasmine V ft. Jeremih and Problem, “One Night”

Jasmine-V-One-NightI covered Jasmine V’s debut EP That’s Me Right There months back, but I had to give her first single for her first studio album a write-up as soon as I heard it. The song aims at a more low-key and sensual tone, and Jasmine V pulls it off quite well. Her voice gets low and gives her sound a bit of a Hip-Hop vibe as she requests her man stays “just one night”.

Jeremih finds a suitable spot on the song, and while the build-up for his role makes the listener giddy, his stanza is ultimately underwhelming. Problem is basically non-existent, and the song would have been just as well with only Jasmine’s vocals.

Production does its job of manufacturing the classic “Make this a hit” Hip-Hop beat, though I do find it fitting to Jasmine’s sound. Overall, I would rate the song at:

7.5/10

This is a solid start to Jasmine V’s debut, but some aspects of it just feel forged. The features, the lyrics, all do not feel genuine. That’s Me Right There had a more personal way about it that I hope Jasmine V sticks to, as her voice is able to convey her emotion quite well.

You can check out the new song below and see what you think:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Kid Ink ft. Trey Songz, Juicy J, 2 Chainz, and Chris Brown, “Show Me” (Remix)

show-me-remixIn case the original “Show Me” did not have enough Trey Songz, Juicy J, or 2 Chainz for you, the remix should definitely do its job. I really admire this remix in that it overs a solid rap verse from Juicy J (in fact one of his best), sensual RnB from Trey Songz, and an alternate piece from Kid Ink. Add that with Chris Brown’s already dope role, and subtract a couple of points for 2 Chainz, and you have a remix that gives you everything you may have wanted from the original.

Combining Chris Brown and Trey Songz vocals has proven to be a great thing, but the way that these two overlap on this song turns out incredible. The lyrics feel a bit too raw (and slightly cringeworthy) at times, but these artists are not exactly known for keeping it subtle.

Overall, I would rate the remix at:

8.75/10

You can hear the remix below:

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Hear It First – Tinashe ft. Iggy Azalea, “All Hands On Deck” (Remix)

all-hands-on-deck-remixI actually liked the original “All Hands On Deck”, but Tinashe decided to remind us of the sobering fact that she will be going on tour with Iggy Azalea soon with a perfectly fine song remixed with a rap verse. As Iggy Iggs puts her spin on the song, her role simply gives the song an extra boost in popularity. Sadly, most people did not even consider listening to this song until Iggy was squeezed into 40 seconds of it.

That being said, it may be one of the better contributions by Iggy, so I can’t say she completely ruined it. The remix simply offers nothing more than the original already did. If you’re interested, you can check out the remix below. The original song is still enjoyable, so I recommend looking it up as well. Hear the remix first below:

https://soundcloud.com/tinashenow/all-hands-on-deck-feat-iggy-azalea/s-VDM18

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Favorites Friday – The Weeknd, “Wicked Games”

the-weekndI’ve been away this weekend, and you know what they say about hotel wifi: it sucks. Luckily, we can use our imaginations and act like it is still Friday night. For my next installment of musical favorites, we’ll start with my first song I ever heard by The Weeknd. Of course, I downloaded “Crew Love” on Drake’s Take Care, but I had no real inclination to listen to that song more than a couple of times. It took hearing Abel’s solo work to realize my love for the singer.

I have written about The Weeknd plenty before, and you may know that his “Adaptation” ranks in my Top 50 all-time favorite songs. “Wicked Games” may not be an all-timer, but it still stands as an excellent piece and one of the best songs by The Weeknd. The tune is gritty and unfiltered, releasing an emotional opening-up to Abel’s mistress.

The vocals echo a bit but stay rather pure (oftentimes it sounds almost live, especially on the chorus). The beat is simplistic, but features usage of multiple instruments and is subtle enough to carry along the vocals.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

9/10

You can check out the song below:

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Hear It First – Ty Dolla $ign ft. Charli XCX and Tinashe, “Drop That Kitty”

drop-that-kittyIf you feel uncomfortable with listening to this song due to its title, I don’t blame you. The lyrics’ content isn’t much more gratifying either. Luckily, Tinashe makes this song slightly more bearable and may be the reason I find myself coming back to the song.

The whole thing just tries way too hard to merge Pop, RnB and Hip-Hop and just flops. I can picture listeners enjoying it, just not on this planet. Still, you can check out the new song and hear it first below:

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Favorites Friday – Trey Songz, “Last Time”

Trey-Day“Last Time” has got to be one of my favorite songs by Trey Songz, and ranks up in my favorite all-time RnB songs. Though, it may not be the best song to post on Valentine’s Day.

“Last Time” is incredibly passionate and features a smooth rhythm that feels harmonized all the right ways and is paced quite well. Songz always struck up comparisons to R. Kelly when he first launched his career in music, and while that may no longer apply, Trey Day is a prime example of their similarities.

The biggest reason I love this song oh so much is because of how strikingly soulful it is, lyrically and rhythmically. The vocals are not perfect, but they contain the amount of passion, lust and desire needed to make the song feel meaningful (a subject that Trey Songz is probably experienced at dealing with). The song would end up placing in the Billboard Hot 100 briefly, but never got the attention I feel it quite deserved.

Overall, I would rate this song at:

9.25/10

“Last Time” might be a cheater’s anthem, but at least those bastards have a great taste in music. You may notice the chorus returns quicker than hoped for, but it has such a flow to it that its repetition really is not a bother.

You can check out one of my all-time favorite songs below:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Epic ft. B. Simm, “Hold On”

girl-group-epicWhat is one thing I love more than male RnB groups? The answer is female RnB groups. Female RnB singers always sound appealing to my ears, because of the range and flexibility in their sound. and taking four of them and putting them onto Epic is just an awesome thing. “Hold On” is a great sample of what to expect from this group’s sound and represents what each member has to offer.

A Rap feature never hurt anyone, but I probably would enjoy this song better with B. Simm. While his portion is a great effort, the flow that these girls had just feels interrupted. The upbeat groove shows signs of being managed by producers who helped bring us gifts from groups including TLC and Destiny’s Child. As the music industry looks for the next big RnB girl group, Epic provides their case with such a catchy song.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.75/10

I will definitely keep an eye on this group and see how they follow up “Hold On”, but in the meantime you can check out the song and its corresponding music video below (Song starts around 1:22):

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Music Recommendation – Single – Lloyd ft. Trey Songz and Young Jeezy, “Be The One”

LloydLloyd’s “Be The One” is everything you can expect from his most recent album to date, King of Hearts: Great rhythm, sensual vibes and quality singing draped over sub-par lyricism. However, back when I first heard this later in 2011, this song was my jam. Of course, the biggest reason I discovered it was from the massive success that Lloyd found with (the clean version of) “Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)”.

Lloyd has always been an underrated part of RnB, and for me his general absence from music has been disappointing. His music on King of Hearts was intriguing, but “Be The One” is probably the best song on the album. Having Trey Songz helps the cause quite a bit, and Jeezy’s verse is some of his best to me. Then again, a rap stanza is needed to make an RnB song actually popular. Meanwhile, production is complex and, though not incredibly original, gives the song an easy rhythm to it.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.75/10

“Be The One” is a killer RnB hit, save for the songwriting, which feels sloppy and a bit cringeworthy. The pieces are there to make this song great, and that is the biggest failure. I still highly recommend this song, which has been a favorite of mine for a good while, making it an all-timer on my list. You can hear it below:

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