Music Revolution 2011: May Releases – Week 1
Good morn’ or evening, friends! Yes, it’s finally May, a month when we can anticipate flowers rising, cherry blossoms blooming and the temperature raising. Paralleling the rite of spring is a month full of outstanding releases from great artists. Yes, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV is dropping; Yes Lady Gaga is coming out (with a new record, that is), but the Well-Dressed Headphone Addict would like to highlight some of most interesting releases this month, whether from notorious artists or not. Just like November 2010 saw the releases of landmark albums like Cee Lo Green’s The Lady Killer, N.E.R.D.’s Nothing, Ne-Yo’s Libra Scale and Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, May 2010 promises to pack a potent punch as well. It was hoped that since last November, music would continue to flourish… and it has! Over the last seven months, we’ve seen some high quality albums and mixtapes released from R. Kelly, Adele, Pete Rock, Charles Bradley, Marcus Miller and others. Since there are so many this month, each week there will be a post previewing that week’s hot releases. All through May, WDHA will preview the albums of artists ranging from legendary (Aretha Franklin, Booker T. Jones) revolutionary (Blitz the Ambassador, Tyler, The Creator) and multi-talented (Raphael Saadiq). Big record sales or no, quality music will have the final word and you’ll be hearing some quality over the next four weeks. And so, today we start with May 3rd (tomorrow).
A Woman Falling Out of Love, Aretha Franklin
Aretha gave us all quite the scare last year. Going to the hospital and having surgery for a still unconfirmed treatment and emerging as a thinner Queen of Soul, Ms. Franklin got us all talking about her again, just in time for her new release, available exclusively at Walmart, entitled A Woman Falling Out of Love. Featuring songs written and produced herself, including the first single “How Long I’ve Waited,” Aretha is just going about her business: exposing her unparalleled voice and songwriting prowess to the masses.
Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, Beastie Boys
The Beastie Boys were delayed two years due to MCA’s bout with cancer, but now their back, healthy and ready show the world that there’s nobody quite like them. As always, this album follows no trends, no gimmicks, no fads. They explore their horizons, exude their humor and spread the word on great Hip Hop, all of which is included on the first single, “Make Some Noise.”
MusiqInTheMagiq, Musiq Soulchild
The Philadelphia crooner is now six albums deep into a decade long career, with four of those albums going gold or platinum and all previous five reaching the top five in the Billboard R&B Album charts. Musiq is giving his fans just what they expect from him: instantly catchy hooks, infectious melodies and earnest lyrics of love and respect. Just like usual, he’s working with long time collaborator Calvin Haggins, along with notorious hitmakers like Swizz Beats and Jerry Wonda. He’s second single, “Yes,” should join past hits like “Love,” “halfcrazy,” “dontchange” and “ifuleave” as classic Musiq cuts.
The Ultimate Collection, Sade
Yes, the platinum selling band and their gorgeous leader already released a greatest hits compilation back in 1994, but this is truly a definitive collection of hits for new fans and old alike; a double disc of classics like “Smooth Operator,” “Paradise” and “No Ordinary Love,” as well as new hits like “By Your Side,” “King of Sorrow,” “Soldier of Love” and “Babyfather.” But the ready treat here are the three unreleased songs and two remixes, which undoubtedly continue the legacy of Sade. The best of the bunch is “Love is Found,” which expands on the dense percussions, along with sintilating Spanish symphonic sound, that made Soldier of Love their six consecutive platinum album.
Kelly, Kelly Price
Be prepared, for the big voice is back! Fresh off her latest Grammy nod for 2010’s “Tired, ” four time Grammy nominee Kelly Price is dropping her fifth studio, Kelly. The Queens native is well known for her gospel leanings mixed with her tales of heartbreak and the realities of relationships. Kelly is no different, starting off with a bang thanks to the first single, “Not My Daddy,” a hot duet with Mint Condition frontman/drummer Stokley.
Native Son, Blitz the Ambassador
The Ghanian MC and Brooklyn resident is representing African Hip Hop better than anyone else right now. Last year’s Stereotype attacked the monotonous, money-hungry trends of mainstream artists and record companies, along with many other social issues. His new album, Native Son is set to enhance that reputation, and after one listen of the first single, “Best I Can,” it’s quite clear it will.
Stay tuned for for May 10th previews.
Thanks for listening, and remember, African-Americans may only take up one tenth of the population, but that tenth is talented.