November 2010: A Month to Remember
With today being the last day of the 11th month, I’d like to take this moment to reflect on all that’s happened over the past 30 days. The year 2010, to the untrained ear, is just another example of the downward spiral that’s become music. However, if you look closely, that hasn’t completely been the truth. Case in point: November of 2010 has been witnessed to some of the most anticipated, promise-fulfilling major label album releases of the year:
11/2 – Nothing – N.E.R.D.
Pharrell, Chad and Shae hit the public hard with their music politically biting, musically satisfying disc, including club anthems “Hot N Fun” and “Party People,” the Doors inspired “Help Me,” and explosively brooding funk, like “God Bless Us All.”
11/9 – The Lady Killer – Cee Lo Green
The Goodie Mob MC and Gnarls Barkley frontman took a page out of Raphael Saadiq’s book and dropped a LP full of traditional soul, gentlemanly hedonism, and infectious humor. His smash “Fuck You” was just the tip of the ice berg; Songs like “Bodies,” “Fool For You” and “Bright Lights Bigger City” are equally catchy and timeless.
11/22 – Libra Scale – Ne-Yo
The fourth CD by this singer/songwriter is his best. Ne-Yo recorded a concept piece that on the surface is a comic book tale told in song, but just underneath the surface is a arc of a free wheeling batchelor finding love, but ultimately changing his object of desire for the worse. Tracks like “Cause I Said So,” “Crazy Love” and “What Have I Done” make this his most cohesive album to date.
11/22 – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
What hasn’t been said about this album and this man already? To keep it simple, Kanye took the best elements from each of his previous albums and threw them into this calderon of ambition, insanity, and excitement. Highlights are the lead single “Power,” “Devil in a New Dress” and “Lost in the World.”
In addition to a great output from mainstream releases, artists have been stepping it up on the small screen this month as well. Highlighted by N.E.R.D.’s late night performances on Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno respectively; Sunday, 11/28, featured a strongly rebounding Soul Train Awards capped by a genius affirming medley of old and new classics from R. Kelly; Perhaps my favorite TV music moment of the year came in November, on the BET Black Girls Rock special and the four-voiced monster of Jill Scott, Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius and Ledisi covering Nina Simone’s “Four Women” (see my blog entry https://bklynbywaycuse.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/music-revolution-2010-four-women-one-moment/).
On so, on the last day, November closed with the releases of El Debarge’s Second Chance, Jazmine Sullivan’s Love Me Back and Chrisette Michele’s Let Freedom Reign. If December produces half as many great musical moments as November, 2010 is going to end on an excellent note.