Archive for the R&B/Soul/Funk Category

Cassie – Cassie

Posted in R&B/Soul/Funk on July 17, 2011 by

R&B; 2006


The opening track and most popular song on this album, Me & U, is a profound commentary that understands on a human level (as opposed to the not so human relationships many singers’ lyrics are about) how relationships between two people with different views on the amount of physical intimacy allowable at certain stages of this relationship are able to play out and how the two compromise because of the love they have for each other.

Just kidding, it’s really about how good she sucks dick. I didn’t realize it was something to be skillful at. You wouldn’t expect it to require much more than competence. You do remember this song right? Everyone had heard it when it came out. With its minimalistic production (done by Ryan Leslie, who’s featured in two of the later songs) and perfect harmonizing. Unfortunately, she kind of disappeared after that single. Not many people heard this album, I’d wager. We can blame Diddy and Bad Boy Records for this. Their signees get almost literally 15 minutes of fame and then fall off and don’t make it to a third album. Did you know she has a new album coming up? Yeah, me either, until I heard Me & U being played on the radio at some store I was in and decided to look her up after I realized I loved the song. I’m listening to it in its entirety for the first time as I’m writing this. It’s got all your modern female R&B/Hip-Hop staples. The ballades. Spelling “you” with a single letter for no apparent reason. The song that’s blatantly about sex even though it’s trying it’s hardest to pretend to be a metaphor about sex. The song where she raps a verse. The song where a featured rapper raps a verse that has nothing to do with what the song is about (also Yung Joc rhymes “ish” with “fish” in it). The autotune song. The Latin influence song. The song that sounds like sunshine and happiness. Every song is produced as minimally as the first, maybe because Ryan Leslie is a crappy musician or maybe because he’s got a brilliant ear. None of these songs sound blank. There is space but there is no emptiness.

Obviously she’s no hugely talented singer. She would be just another Bad Boy signee if Me & U wasn’t so freaking amazing. Her second album is coming out and maybe I’ll be one of the few people to care about it. She’s got a good voice and a good producer. I’m worried about her next album because it won’t have Leslie doing every track. Honestly he makes this album more than she does. Also the bass line he wrote for Miss Your Touch is fantastic. I should listen to more of his production.

1. Me & U
2. Long Way 2 Go
3. About Time
4. Kiss Me feat. Ryan Leslie
5. Call U Out feat. Yung Joc
6. Just One Nite feat. Ryan Leslie
7. Hope You’re Behaving (Interlude)
8. Not With You
9. Ditto
10. What Do U Want
11. Miss Your Touch
12. When Your Body Is Talking
13. Can’t Do It Without You

Stand-out tracks:
Me & U
Just One Nite
Miss Your Touch


Funkadelic – Maggot Brain

Posted in R&B/Soul/Funk on February 13, 2011 by

Funk; 1971


“Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time. For ya’ll have knocked her up. I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe. I was not offended. For I knew I had to rise above it all or drown in my own s**t.” The title track opens up the album with a meaningless “rambling” by George Clinton. I decided to see what some other people thought by checking for what people were saying. Only one person offered up any ideas (most of the discussion was about how Eddie Hazel was tripping when he played this) and even he admitted at the end that he might just have been reading into it too much. This 10 minute guitar solo, one of the most influential of all time, will blow your mind. It’s almost not worth listening to the rest of the album after it. Not because it’s a bad album but because Maggot Brain is the highlight of the album. I’d suggest listening to it last. Can You Get to That (which Sleigh Bells samples in their song Rill Rill) would open the album if you follow my advice.

Funkadelic is possibly the most influential Funk band of all time. On, all 7 of the songs on this album are in their top 8 most played songs. So it’s a safe assumption that this is the most influential Funk album of all time. To be honest, I had to expand my definition of Funk to include this album. Before I had listened to much of it (I still haven’t), I envisioned it as being driven by bass lines, nasally singers, and lots of muted strumming on the guitar. It would almost be easy to confuse some of the songs on here for Rock.

I notice heavy cowbell on several songs, particularly where the drummer uses it to count the beat for the ENTIRE song, although near the middle it becomes harder to hear because of a spacey sound effect that’s played over it. It’s been said that cowbell is the epitome of everything Metal but first it was the epitome of everything Funk. And it just sounds better used in Funk (Low Rider, for example.) Wars of Armageddon and Super Stupid also have epic guitar solos but neither of them really live up to the bar set by Maggot Brain, another reason you should listen to it last. I have to admit, the guitar work in Can You Get to That is much more simple but I think I prefer that riff to most of the solos.

1. Maggot Brain
2. Can You Get to That
3. Hit It and Quit It
4. You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks
5. Super Stupid
6. Back in Our Minds
7. Wars of Armageddon

Stand-out tracks:
Maggot Brain
Can You Get to That
Super Stupid


Bill Withers – Still Bill

Posted in R&B/Soul/Funk on October 21, 2010 by

Soul; 1972


Look at those sideburns.

Everybody’s heard Lean on Me. “We all need somebody… to leeeeeeeean ooooon.” Yeah that one. That’s this guy. Apparently another song on this album, Use Me, was also a major hit. Would you believe me if I told you Lean on Me isn’t the best song on this album? It actually ranks fourth in my opinion. This album has mostly really funky, guitar-driven instrumentals with some really cool solos (I love the whistle solo in Kissin’ My Love) and then maybe 2 or 3 of the tracks, including Lean on Me, are really slow more piano or keyboard-driven songs that I don’t feel are as good as the really funky stuff.

I don’t think his voice stands out too much, I wouldn’t say he’s an amazing singer. He has a GREAT voice though. Surprisingly for a Soul album, I think the high point of this album is the compositions, which Withers wrote himself. Every riff on this album is fantastic.

1. Lonely Town, Lonely Street
2. Let Me in Your Life
3. Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?
4. Use Me
5. Lean on Me
6. Kissin’ My Love
7. I Don’t Know
8. Another Day to Run
9. I Don’t Want You on My Mind
10. Take It All in and Check It All Out

Stand-out tracks:
Who Is He
Use Me
I Don’t Want You on My Mind


Paul Dateh – Paul Dateh

Posted in R&B/Soul/Funk on August 15, 2010 by

R&B/Pop/Jazz; 2009

Paul Dateh is known highly as the Hip Hop Virtuoso, he is a violin player that has worked with many Hip Hop acts (most notable: The Grouch, Inverse, People of The Stairs). This album is his first solo album, it shows his Violin, Guitar, Piano, and singing skills off all in most swift motion with this self-titled album. The best way of explaining the overall sound of this album is Jazzy and R&B-ish. He sounds like Jason Mraz, vocally, everything else is what I would love to hear on radio Pop Stations.


1. Be More
2. What I Choose
3. Control
4. Celtic Blue
5. Goes Around
6. Play That Song
7. Strong
8. Untitled #1
9. Who Knew
10. Without You Here (Song For Jessie & Jacob)

Stand-Out Tracks:
“Celtic Blues”
“Goes Around”
“Play That Song”
“Without You Here (Song For Jessie & Jacob)”