Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 8: Melanie Fiona - The Bridge

One of my favorite album's lately has been Melanie Fiona's The Bridge.  After seeing the video and spinning the single "Give It To Me Right" for months, I was psyched about the getting this album. Fiona had been generating quite a bit of buzz, especially after touring as the opening act for Kanye West on his "Glow In The Dark Tour" (in Europe).  With all the buzz, one still wonders why her album was pushed back so many times.  The record had been finished for quite some time (and not to mention it was released in Europe in 2008).  Let me guess - label politics?  But all that aside - the wait was worth it.  Fiona has put together an album that is memorable from start to finish.  It has a vintage feeling yet modern style and sensibilities.  It's soul through and through.  And like Raphael Saadiq's The Way I See It and Solange's Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, it harks back to the old school music of the 60's and 70's without sounding too nostalgic, gimmicky, or unoriginal.  The music, lyrics, and Fiona's rich, smoky voice make The Bridge an album that you can listen to over and over for years to come.  These are tunes all music lovers can enjoy. Aside from the first single, my other favorites include "It Kills Me," "You Stop My Heart," "Teach Him," and "Bang Bang," and "Monday Morning."   Check it out!

Day 7: Sade - Soldier Of Love

The day all Sade fans have been waiting for is coming!  The long-awaiting, highly-anticipated release date for Sade's sixth studio album, Soldier of Love, is February 8, 2010!  Mark your calendars.  Put in your pre-orders. This looks like it could be one of 2010's best releases.  It's been nearly 10 years since the release of Sade's last studio album, Lovers' Rock.  That album was a masterpiece and I'm sure the new album will be as well.  Sade - one of the queen's of the Quiet Storm, the voice of seductive, passionate soul music will be in full effect very soon.  I can't wait.  Real music always prevails.  Need not worry about "singles" or airplay, because artists of this caliber will have a devoted following and will sell regardless.  Looks like I'll be getting a b-day gift a week early.  Yay!  :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 6: Chrisette Michele - One of this Generation's Best Vocalists

I've been loving Chrisette Michele for a few years now.  Her most recent album - Epiphany - stays in rotation.  I play it once and cannot seem to stop playing it again.  The sign of a great album is one that leaves a lasting impression on you.  It moves you.  You can't get the music out of your head.  It just hits the spot (or several spots).   This album, I must say, is one of the best R&B/Soul releases of the year.  While it may have been criticized for not having as many of the jazz-inflected arrangements as her debut, there's no denying the jazzy vocals from this songbird.  Her voice is a mystical, musical instrument with personality, lots of color, varying tones, shades, and timbres, and a wide range.  It's sexy, soulful, and passionate.  And it has a girlish quality that is reminiscent of the late great Ella Fitzgerald (one of her greatest influences - along with Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Natalie Cole to name a few).  She has the innate gift to sing anything and make it believable.  She takes you there.  You're riding with her from beginning to end.  And every song is a performance.  Each one different from the last.  Which also brings to mind another great lady of song - Phyllis Hyman.  Though she sounds nothing like Phyllis Hyman - there's something about the way she delivers a song that reminds me of Phyllis Hyman.  Phyllis Hyman owned her songs.  She commanded the stage.  She took you on a ride.  It didn't matter where she was taking you because you so happy and so moved to go along anyway.  And that's what Chrisette Michele does.  If she continues to grow the way she has been, she will go down as not only one of the best singers of her time but one of the best singers of all time as well.

Day 5: Oprah - The End of One Era, The Beginning of a New Era

 Image courtesy of Parade

In 2011, after 25 seasons, The Oprah Winfrey Show will be saying its last hurrah. This shocking announcement seems to have stunned viewers and the entertainment industry. But Oprah said she knew in her spirit that it was time to say goodbye. It's been a remarkable, historical, uplifting journey for Oprah, the show, her staff, and her viewers. She went on to become the most, if not one of the most powerful women in the entertainment industry. According to Forbes, her net worth is $2.7 billion. I know that amount is astonishing. But what's even more so is that she did it her way. Oprah set out to do what she wanted and she achieved that (and much more). She used her power and influence to bring about good in the world. She overcame obstacles and became an inspiration to millions of fans across world. Though the show is ending, the industry/world is looking to see what she produces on OWN - the Oprah Winfrey Network. Though it's unclear who is the heir apparent, it's clear that Oprah has not finished her work yet. There's still more to do. And the world will be looking forward to her next move. Oprah - an inspiration, a trailblazer, a humanitarian, and a living legend.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 4: The Ever-Dependable Public Transit

I thought this was funny yet so true.  I took this picture while waiting for the bus one morning on my way to work.  Ride On bus runs in Montgomery County, MD.  Not all routes throughout the county are created equally when it comes to convenience and dependability.  If you are trying to get somewhere on time you better leave your house 20-30 minutes earlier than normal (especially if you have to get on the train).  Otherwise you are going to be late.  Sometimes the buses are extremely late and so packed with patrons you can see the people before you actually see the bus.  Or the bus may not show at all.  It can be extremely frustrating, especially when it's freezing outside and all you want to do is go home.  So I can understand why someone would say Ride On "SUCKS".  Now with the American flag on the post, how would you interpret the photo?  Ride On Sucks America?  God Bless Ride On?  Or Only God Can Save Montgomery County Ride On Buses from Sucking?  LOL!

Day 3: Lady GaGa's Latest - "Bad Romance"

Lady GaGa gets more and more intriguing with every release.  I recently saw the video for her latest single, "Bad Romance."  While I don't care for the song (even after several listens), I thoroughly enjoyed the video.  She's a very creative artist who seems to take what she does seriously.   GaGa knows how to get everyone talking with her brand of performance art.  The bold imagery, the haute couture, the intricate choreography, the outlandish, wild wigs and hairpieces, in-your-face attitude, and the unique lyrical content, style and sound of the music - it keeps you glued to the screen.  Her videos and performances seem to be more extraordinary than the music (for example, her video for "Paparazzi" and the performance of the same song on this year's MTV Video Music Awards).  She's stepping out ahead of the class. And if she continues to push the boundaries (like many of those before her) and push herself creatively, the masses will continue to flock to her and follow her.  What's your take?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 2: Autumn Leaves - Everything Must Change

When my bf and I were leaving my mother and my granny's house last weekend, we noticed several leaves that had fallen in the driveway.  Many of these leaves were from two of the four sycamore trees in the yard.  I noticed one particular leaf and was taken by how beautiful it was.  The shape, the color, the stem, the veins - it seemed perfect.  I hadn't seen a leaf quite this beautiful since I used to play with, make art with, and rake them as a child.  Or maybe I simply hadn't taken the time to notice them as I got older.  Something that will never change is my love of autumn leaves (and the season in general).  I can attribute the rich colors of leaves (and autumn) to why I love earth tones.  It's a wonderful, gorgeous time of year.  A sign that things are changing.  All symbolic of the cycle that nature follows every season, every year.  And it brings to mind a favorite standard of mine, "Everything Must Change."  Take a listen to the late, great Walter Jackson with his breathtaking version of this tune.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 1: MJ's This Is It

My bf and I had the privilege of seeing This Is It last month. I have to say that this was one of the best movies I've seen this year. I left with an even greater appreciation for the man behind the music. I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know if it was going to be documentary, a performance film, or a combination of both. It turned out to be a spectacular combination of both. The film told the story of how Michael Jackson and his tour crew prepared for the This Is It shows in London. From the rehearsal of the first song "Wanna Be Startin' Something" to the final, moving performance of the spine-chilling "Man In The Mirror," it was clear to see that Michael Jackson was just as bad as he was in his younger years. Anyone who wondered whether he still had it (not me) would be floored by what they saw. The artistry, the moves, the voice, the stage presence were just as strong as ever. That's the thing about true talent. It never leaves. It never goes away. Regardless of what happened, there's nothing that could take away what was inside of him. And you could eerily feel his presenceso strongwhile watching the film. I cried at least 5 times while watching his performances. Almost didn't think I was going to make it through the film because it was such an emotional experience. Michael Jackson was true genius. He's still missed. With films like This Is It, his legacy will continue to live on.

If There Were No Song

Hello all! It's been awhile - hasn't it? I didn't mean to be away for so long. But I'm back in school now and my schedule is like who done it and why. I'm in the dual IT/MBA degree program. Though the work hasn't been exceptionally difficult - being up late damn near every night of the work week (and weekend) has been kicking me in the butt. I'm so tired and exhausted I'm delirious. I had three online classes this semester. One was a 6-week class. It seemed like I had more assignments and reading in that class than I had in my regular 12-week classes. I was very happy having successfully completed that class and lightening the load (ever so slightly). My grades have been pretty good thus far. At this point - balance is key. Cause working full-time and going to school part-time and not getting adequate sleep is not going work for the duration. I'll get it together though. I have faith. With change comes adjustments. I'll be fine.

Personally things are fine. My bf moved in officially last month. We've taken the next big step. And we seem to have adjusted quite well to this. We haven't killed each other yet or had any blowout bash arguments. If something pops up or pisses us off - we talk about it right then and there. We get it out in the open and try to resolve it as best as we can. Our open-line of communication is one of the reasons why our relationship is so strong. We talk about everything. And we realize that we need to be on the same page if we want to keep things moving in a positive direction... Oh - how I love him! He's been so good to me. He supports me like no other. He has my back. He respects, appreciates, and accepts me - completely. And he's not afraid to go there with me or put me in place when I go off the deep end. And I lovingly, willingly, graciously, freely do the same thing in return.

As of today, I'll be starting a project that I'll call my "101 Days Project"This project will consist of my musings on various things in my everyday life - be it the workday, home life, music, movies, books, quotes, current events... I may be responding to something I saw, heard, or read. My responses may be take shape in the form of poetry, song lyrics, images, drawings, free writing, you name it. Anything is fair game here. It'll be creative but also be a learning experience for me (and maybe you too). And I figured BuddahDesmond's Rapture is the best repository for the project. Another good thing is my "101 Days Project" will get me into the habit of posting on a regular, daily basis (something I have not quite been able to do since starting this blog a little over 5 years ago). So stayed tuned as the project progresses for the next 101 Days.

Life is music. Simple. Complex. And everything in between. We're players in it. Musicians, singers, writers, producers, and executives. Each day is a song. Each has it's own tempo, theme, mood, depth, feeling, subject matter... Some days we're all singing the same song in unison or different keys. Other days we're singing our own uniquely different tunes. They're colorful. They're bombastic. They're jubilant. They're melancholy. They're all this and so much more. If there were no song - could we live? Could we be? If there were no song - I doubt hardly that we'd exist.

Until next time... Have a great weekend!

Now playing: Pitbull - Can't Stop Me Now
via FoxyTunes