June’s Diary – L.A.N.C.E.

Miss Kelly Rowland has succeeded, thanks to the Chasing Destiny reality show, to set up a new, strong, R&B girl group that could somehow become the new Destiny’s Child. Such a hard challenge. But at the end of the show, I have to admit, Kelly has chosen five really good girls, both vocally and stylistically speaking. The formation, composed by Brienna, Ashly, Kristal, Gabby, and Shyann, has finally unveiled the group’s name which is June’s Diary.

The 5 girls just signed a contract with LA Reid‘s EPIC records. A strange choice to me since now the label has to promote two very similar girl groups: June’s Diary, and LA‘s flagship product…Fifth Harmony! According to some rumors, the latter, is about to break up, despite the tremendous success of the Work From Home. But in the end this is a good news for the 5 Kelly‘s pupils. More focus on them.

June’s Diary surely can sing and have what it takes to find their spot in the international market, but the musical direction that they will take is crucial. That’s why their clear urban sound shall inevitably fuse with today’s pop trend. Anyway I trust Kelly‘s mentor abilities and I am sure that June’s Diary will match the great expectations that the market is putting on them. For now enjoy their first buzz single L.A.N.C.E.. A good track, nothing special but good enough to relish the potential of these five gorgeous girls.

Rihanna – Sledgehammer

Powerful. That’s what I will tell if somebody would ask me what I think of Rihanna. I think she is one of the most authentic music personalities on the scene. Plus when she gives her word, she always keeps it. And that’s what happened after the release of the highly anticipated ANTI album. RiRi said the surprises were not finished yet. And she was right,

After working with Calvin Harris in This Is What You Came For and Nothing’s Promised with Mike Will Made-It, now it’s the turn for the release of her original track Sledgehammer which will be used as the main theme for the new Star Trek Beyond movie.

The track, written by Sia, is simply epic. It is about empowerment, the one that we get after a bad break up. In the lyrics Rihanna feels greater than ever singing I hit a wall, I never felt so low, so low / Like a waterfall, my tears dropped to the floor (the floor…) / They left a swimming pool of salted crimes, crimes / (Ohh) what could I do to change your mind? / Nothing!…I hit a wall, I thought that I would hurt myself… But I hit a wall, I hit ’em all, watch the fall …/ You’re just another brick and I’m a sledgehammer…

Sledgehammer is a monumental downtempo with fantastic traits, perfect for a soundtrack. The style of Sia is crystal clear and even though Rihanna does not seem to add big differences to the vocal setting of the Australian songwriter, she manages to pack a majestic track. Simply love it. Enjoy Rihanna hitting wall like a Sledgehammer!

Nicole Scherzinger & Todrick Hall – Papi

The times when music alone could shake souls are (unfortunately) gone. Right now singers need to be also actors and dancers in order to take a spot in the Olympus of the international music biz. And the ex Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger has truly what it takes to hold her deserved success.

After quite some time now, Nicole tries to hit again the charts with a new song called Papi in collaboration with broadway singer Todrick Hall. Surely not an original title, but don’t be fooled by the cover. The song is good and it is a spellbinding pop up time with tiny veins of latin production, a track that victoriously blends acoustic and electronic guitar in a truly effective rhythm, totally immersed in the typical Broadway musical style.

I am quite sure that Papi will not be fully supported by the radios because of its structure, but I have to say that the vocal interpretation of Nicole and Todrick is immense. Especially the former Pussycat Doll roars like a lioness in this track, but praises also to Todrick who can easily stand the great voice of Nicole that shines in tracks like this one.

A+ for this musical couple. Enjoy Papi and its hot(!) video.

Beyoncé – Sorry

While the sleeper hit Formation directly debuted at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, Beyoncé has already prepared her second bomb ready to explode from her last crazy album Lemonade. I do say it is crazy because the disc is so insanely beautiful, full of tracks played with live instruments. t would have been quite an obvious choice then to choose one of these as a second single that’s why our Honey Bey loves to amaze us and that’s why she opted for an insane urban track.

The track is titled Sorry and it’s a dramatic song about betrayal. And yes, if Mrs. Knowles has been betrayed I can only imagine what we all have been through. In the lyrics Bey refers to an imaginary (?) Jay-Z lover called by the nickname of Becky, but more in general Sorry is a song intended for those who have suffered betrayal, encouraging them to move forward in rebuilding their lives, not to ruin their happiness because of some jerk passing around. Amen Honey Bey.

From a purely stylistic terms Sorry is very far from the whole Lemonade mood, but in any case it is a very nice rhythmic urban track accompanied by the great R&B singing of lady Beyoncé which teams up also with Serena Williams in the video, who twerks like hell. Excellent. Enjoy Sorry.

Birdy – Words

The young British singer and songwriter Birdy is surely a talent. After the release of leading single Keeping Your Head Up and Wild Horses, it’s now the turn of Words, third single extracted from the wonderful album Beautiful Lies. It is really one of the album that everyone should have at home because is one of the most versatile ones musically speaking.

In fact, while the first singles sound very pop, Words is perfectly in line with the Birdy we all know, introspective, gloomy and melancholy. That’s for sure a very risky commercial choice for this 2016 summer which is finally showing itself.

Anyway, Words is a very simple but exquisite down tempo track. Deep in its simplicity Words valorizes the intensity of Birdy‘s voice, free from many musical constructions and modifications. Words is about love, painful love. And the video also shows this pain with cold atmospheres, winter colors, and places shrouded in smoke.

I agree with all the critics that, commercially speaking, say this track doesn’t fit to the typical summer and careless mood. But you know what? For once it’d be better to put money behind music and enjoy the talent of talented artist such as Birdy and her wonderful Words. Love it.

 

Leona Lewis – We Are All Looking For Home

Music talent shows created so many stars globally. But in my opinion the brightest, and also the humblest, of them is British singer Leona Lewis who won the UK X Factor edition back in 2006. Ten years have passed, but Leona never lost her romantic and socially involved personality.

Among all the charity initiatives, the one that is probably the most important for Leona is the prevention of dogs’ abuses round the world. In order to sustain even harder this cause and raise up funds, she teamed up with the prolific author Diane Warren and together they created the wonderful ballad We Are All Looking For Home.

I just have one word to describe the track. Wow. Leona‘s voice is so naturally beautiful and passionate, that you just can’t help but to fall in love with the song. Plus the cause for which this song has been written is so important. Think that the Daily Mail reported that China’s annual Yulin dog meat festival sees hundred of dogs and cats crammed into rusty cages and then sold to be skinned, boiled and then eaten. How can such a cruelty still exist in 2016?

Enjoy the wonderful hymn of Leona to protect our beautiful furry friends. Enjoy We Are Looking For Home.

 

MAGIC! – Red Dress

When summer hits the road, reggae makes hits the road as well. After Ariana Grande‘s reggae-ish style Side To Side, today it’s the turn of MAGIC!, who just released their new infectious single titled Red Dress, in which they’re as charming as ever.

The Canadian reggae fusion band, who shook the industry with their massive hit Rude in 2014, is so proud of their new Red Dress track which celebrates women of all shapes, colors and sizes. Indeed the track opens with the words, “What is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it“.

Call me naive, but I love genuineness in all its shapes, especially in music. And I find that celebrating common women with all their flaws, but still shining in their everyday life, is the smartest move that MAGIC! did by releasing Red Dress. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and all the girls of the video reflect that.

Red Dress is the perfect relaxing summer song to hear, possibly on a sunny beach. MAGIC! reproduced the lucky Rude formula, and I think that it will work once again. Enjoy the thoughtless Red Dress.

Christina Aguilera – Change

Christina Aguilera’s comeback is finally reality! Four years have passed after the release of Lotus, and all Xtina’s fans were quite exhausted from all this waiting, claiming for the return of one of the music’s most talented divas that the industry has ever seen.

But despite all the expectations that would figured out a powerful and brave return of Christina with a smashing hit in perfect Ain’t No Other Man style, her new song, called Change, is on the contrary pure musical delicacy. Change is about equality and respect for the others. That’s why Christina dedicated the whole track to the memory of Orlando victims.

I am not really into emotional songs, but I have to admit that Change let me shed a tear. Christina’s voice is perfect for this type of poignant ballads and thanks to her amazing vocals, the song never teeters to the overly dramatic. Sincere, that is how I would describe the track.

Who you love or the color of your skin, or the place that you were born and grew up in, shouldn’t decide how you will be treated.” Enjoy Change in the beloved memory of all the victims of Orlando’s tragedy.

Dawn Richard – Not Above That

Albeit coming from the almost immense universe of R&B music, Dawn Richard perfectly knows how to play with other genres. It’s been quite a while since she started showing us how versatile her talent is. And moreover it seems that from the break up of Danity Kane, Dawn has sharpened her desire to show her limitless musical abilities, leaving far behind all her former colleagues.

After the release of the beautiful Dance, this time Dawn veers to a totally different sound. The new song is pure electronic, and probably at a first listening it may seem kinda weird…while I was listening to it I thought “Hey what the hell am I listening to?“. But I guarantee that after hearing two or three times Not Above That, that’s how the song is titled, you really can’t get enough of this Dawn‘s performance.

The track is the new single from her forthcoming album RED*emp*tion, and it’s a special mid tempo in which Dawn‘s voice is absolutely magical and graceful, leaving us spellbound with her undeniable elegance despite the hard electro beats that may disappoint at a first superficial listening.

Dawn Richard confirms to be one of the most talented and eclectic artist on the music scene. She’s a complex singer and she knows that her music is not mainstream at all. But what I like the most from this beautiful woman is the coherence with her musical ethics. Dawn just makes Dawn’s music. Hate it or love it. Enjoy the stunning Not Above That and his 3D video!

Justin Timberlake – Battle Of The SeXXXes

While Can’t Stop Feeling keeps on inflaming the international charts (and could easily turn into his most successfull song of all times), Justin Timberlake releases online a totally new track, a song that, by listening to its sound and lyrics, seems to have been created to be part of his 2006 masterpiece Future Sex/Love Sounds.

The song, in fact, is titled Battle Of The SeXXXes, a title that clearly evokes hot (so hot!) atmospheres…rated R everybody. In the track JT proposes the phenomenal mix between urban and electro that, thanks also to the help of his good friend Timbaland, made a mark in the mid 2000s. Even though the beat is chaotic and somehow confusing, and Justin‘s voice is quite often overwhelmed by a really heavy autotune, the rhythm is OH MY GOD…I can already see all of you dancing to it in some urban clubs.

In my opinion JT was perfect for this kind of sound. Don’t get me wrong anyway. The new pop-ish Justin is good as well, but nothing could compare that period when the star triangle of JT, Nelly Furtado and Timbaland revolutionized the concept of R&B. Enjoy the hot Battle Of The SeXXXes.