It’s nearly the end of what has felt like a very long week! Hope everyone has a nice peaceful end to it. One of the features of Spotify I enjoy is the “Daily Mix” playlist. Today’s one for me brought back some memories of some classic throwbacks I thought I’d share with you all based on one of the best Donell Jones. I’m talking about some songs from his second studio album ‘Where I Wanna Be‘ as well as some other songs. I’ve been thinking and I genuinely believe Donell Jones could be considered to be one of the pioneers of R&B. When you read about how he has written music for acts like Usher, it makes so much sense.
Donell Jones – U Know What’s Up (1999)
Possibly one of Donell’s most well known tracks and literally his biggest hit to date. This song has been cemented in slow jam and romantic music history. “Ooh say what, say what, say what…Ooh girl, you know what’s up” are lines I’m sure most music lovers know very well. I can’t even talk too much about this record because the song literally does all the talking. If you somehow weren’t aware of this song, please have a listen. Also check out the remix featuring the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez.
Donell Jones – Where I Wanna Be (2000)
“But when you love someone, you just don’t treat them bad” another classic line from Donell that is reused in many of our songs today. The song itself is quite sad as it can be argued to be a breakup song as he sings “I’m not saying I’m gone, but I have to find what life is like without you”. Throughout the song he explains how much he cares for her and how sad he is that he has to eventually hurt her. The main message is that he is putting himself first and he is being honest about it.
Donell Jones – If U Want Ft. Bun B. (2006)
I’ve previously talked about my love for this song. I feel this is most likely my favourite song from him. The intro rap from Bun B; “Now if your man ain’t lovin’ you right, you need to roll with a ‘G’, get a thug in your life” grabs your attention straight away. The contrast of Bun B’s playful rapping style and Donell’s sweet voice work well. The song gives us the impression Donell is singing to a woman who is currently in an unhappy relationship with another guy. Donell encourages the woman to leave him so he can take car of her. The idea of him repeating the phrase “If u want” indicates that he is making sure she does not feel pressured to do anything. I enjoyed mostly the flow of this song, it’s very upbeat and vibrant.
Donell Jones – This Luv (1999)
This is another song embedded in my personal ‘Slow Jams Mix’. “Do you mind if I take this seat right here cos you’re sitting alone”….fist part of the song is my favourite. Donell has the ability to story tell in a song that just flows with his tone of voice which is so soothing. Something Usher also does so well. I think this is my most preferred love song from this album if I’m honest.
Donell Jones – I Wanna Luv U (1999)
Wow! Another contender in the battle for best Donell Jones love songs This song is so sensual and soft on the ear as Donell pleads how much he wants to love the woman. The lyrics are definitely very love fueled; ” You are the reason why I live, a newfound joy I can’t contain, yeah”. Whew! Love is sweet!!
Here is the album link below;
I could go on all day talking about Donell Jones songs! I will do another post soon with more recent songs of his.
Hello everyone! We’re halfway through the week and nearly at the end of March. I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone tuning into the site and reading my posts this month. I appreciate you all. Today’s post is based a few songs I’ve been playing this week that you should check out!
So I’ve recently stumbled on Kiana Lede and wow her voice is beautiful! Her style is very R&B and she has an EP that was released last year called ‘Selfless (2018)’ which is great! There’s a few songs from it that I’ve had on repeat;
Show Love; In this song, Kiana tells the man in question to show how much he wants to be with her rather than just by words. She sings; “Fight for me baby…if you want time with me baby, got to do more than enough”. This is another way of saying “Actions speak louder than words”.
EX; I think this is one of her more popular songs. The song is based on the idea that she wants to remain friends with her ex despite the break up. She sings in the chorus; “I don’t wanna be your ex, we way too good at being friends” emphasising the fact she didn’t wanna lose her friendship with him after the breakup. Have a listen;
Wicked Games; This is one of my favourite songs on the EP. The song plays on the idea that Kiana is in a relationship with someone who takes advantage of her and her nature; “It’s always later, later, later, later & I let you come back ’cause sticking ’round is in my nature”. She sings throughout the song how the man in question knows that he is her weakness and acts on that. I like the simple production on this song too. Have a listen;
Take It All; This song gives me acoustic vibes. In this song Kiana is singing about a lover that accepts every part of her. She sings; “You be so good to me, even when I don’t say sorry”. Check it out below;
Burna Boy & DJDS- Darko (2019)
Nigerian Prince Burna Boy has returned with a newly released EP with DJDS entitled ‘Steel & Copper’ with 4 songs. ‘Darko’ is my favourite on the project. The song is a chilled, relaxed Burna track and if you a fan of his previous song ‘ Don Gorgon’, you may hear a few references to it! Check out the song below;
Rich The Kid Ft Big Sean & Offset – Two Cups (2019)
Rich The Kid has just released his new album called ‘The World is Yours 2″ and this is one of the songs I like from the album. I’m glad for the return of Big Sean as he’s one of my favourite rappers. I liked his part of his verse where he raps “I go off, go in, go up, but never go back, I know we in a league of our own, bitch, I’m pro-black”. Hopefully we will hear more new music from Big Sean soon. Have a listen to the song below
The Rara – Elegance (2018)
A little bit of bashment for your ears. This song has actually been out a while but recently I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Have a listen below;
Oritse Femi Ft. Burna Boy & Konshens – Play Am (2019
This is what happens when Afrobeats fuses with Bashment! A match made in heaven. All genres compliment eachother so well. Have a listen below;
DC – No Manners (2018)
I mentioned this song on the Instagram account, but I’ve had it on repeat this week. I like the use of wordplays in this song, DC is releasing a new EP this week, so I’ll be sure to check that out. This freestyle sounds like it is played over the Fat Joe “What’s Luv” song so provides a sense of nostalgia for me. Check out the video below.
A review and reflection on the classic album “Confessions” by the one and only Usher.
Hello everyone! Today we are going back to basics. I previously started a theme based on reviews from older albums. Today’s feature is the classic and legendary album from Usher titled ‘Confessions’. I will be referring to the original released version of the album. The album which was released in 2004 and was the fourth studio album by US singer Usher and is possibly one of his most celebrated pieces of work. Timeless music is when regardless of its release date, anytime you listen to it, feels like it’s the first time. This album ticks those boxes. For me this album is my favourite album of all time. It’s an album that I can recite lyrics from every song, an album with a story, an album with everything I love about music. Most importantly, this album provides nostalgic feelings for me that provide me with elements of joy.
As we are all aware I’m sure, the album takes the theme of a series of
confessions as he explains to us in the intro. The album cover
shows Usher in a Confessions booth and throughout the album we are given
reasons why Usher is confessing. As I’ve previously stated, music is considered
therapy for a lot of people and Usher used this album to reveal some of his
darkest and painful secrets making this possibly one of his most personal
albums. I remember reading somewhere that while the album is an R&B album,
he wanted us to also experience a hip-hop vibe which could be argued to be in ‘Yeah!’.
‘Yeah!’ features Lil Jon and Ludacris (who has my favourite verse on the song). Ludacris’ line “We want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed” is probably one of the most memorable lines in the song aside from the chorus. The three of them also have a great collaborative effort on East Side Boyz “Lovers and Friends” which is a favourite of mine.
The third song on the album is “Throwback“. It’s funny because I had the album for a long time before this song stuck with me. “You never miss a good thing ’til it leaves ya & finally, I realised that I need ya, I want you back”. These lines set precedent for the rest of the song. Usher sings about wanting his woman back after she leaves him for admitting his cheating. The whole song is dedicated to his anguish at the fact she has left him and he misses her. On reflection, he regrets all the bad things he did and said. I love the uses of instruments in this song, it would have been great to have heard this song live back in the day.
‘Confessions Interlude/ Part 1‘ and ‘Confessions Part II’ art possibly the most infamous songs on the album. The interlude is Usher preparing his woman and us, the listener for what is to come. Interludes on R&B albums were popular around this time and I like the added touch of them. After a while the interlude was turned into a full fledged song. Part II is Usher outright confessing about his infidelity and expressing his regret. Usher sings “Just when I thought I said all I could say, my chick on the side said she got one on the way” confirming that he has gotten the other woman pregnant.. The song is apparently not exactly true but is based on Usher’s friends similar experiences. The execution however is flawless and you really believe Usher is living this life. Throughout the song we can hear the stress in Usher’s voice as he sings “Man, I’m throwed and I don’t know what to do, I guess I gotta give part two of my confessions” implying that this is the conclusion to this first version and interlude. There’s a part in the song when Usher hits a high note; “I said one second, baby, please hear me“, at a part where he is trying his best to let his girlfriend hear him out. The high note feels like desperation from his part and Usher incorporates it into the story so well. This song told us a story with Usher being the narrator and main character. The song writing, production and vocal performance in this song will forever make it a classic.
‘Burn’ is another R&B hit from Usher. He sings the ballad with such passion. The video for this song is legendary and I can’t think of the song without seeing Usher with trees burning beside him. Verse 2 is my favourite part of the song. The song is based on the conflicting feelings of a breakup. He sings “Cause the feeling ain’t the same, find myself calling her your name“, One one side he is trying to move on but he keeps being reminded. The other feeling is feeling regretful as he sings ” What I gotta do now to get my shorty back? Oh oh oh oh”. The song is one of the best R&B vocal performances on the album and definitely a fan favourite.
‘Caught Up‘ is a more upbeat Usher song as he sings about catching feelings for a woman. The song is Usher singing his confusion as to how the woman “has a hold on him”. My favourite line is when he sings “Her body was so tight, I’m looking for her in the daytime with a flashlight“. What a funny analogy. While the song takes a more upbeat mood, the production does too, there are more uses of drums and brass instruments.
‘Superstar Interlude’ and ‘Superstar‘ are possibly my personal favourite songs on the album. He sings “I won’t stop until I see you sugar”, on the interlude to again prepare us for what is to come on the main song. On ‘Superstar‘ he sings about a woman who he idolises and puts on a pedastool. He has no shame expressing his love; “I’ll be your groupie baby ‘Cause you are my superstar, I’m your number one fan, give me your autograph, Sign it right here on my heart“. The irony of this song is that Usher himself is the Superstar and is used to having fans and groupies who are usually in awe of him however he has found a woman he is in awe of. He uses the metaphors of being a fan he claims to “show you just how I adore you“. He hits the high notes in this song with ease I love how he flips the script throughout to show us his vulnerable side. “Girl you’re one of a kind cos they don’t make em like you anymore”….a beautiful ode.
‘Truth Hurts‘ is another underrated song on the album. The song can be considered karma based on the topic of the beginning of the album. In this song Usher sings about how the woman in the relationship has ruined the relationship due to her “infidelity; “Baby, everything we built on trust, you’re tearing it down“. The irony is that we find out that all of these “fears” are really a projection of how Usher really feels. He confesses he’s only been accusing his girl of cheating due to his guilty conscience. Usher sings “I’ve been blaming you when I’m the one that’s doing wrong” once again admitting he’s the one who’s been unfaithful.
‘Simple Things’ is another one of my personal favourites. I feel this is the song with the most important message from the whole album. It can relate to relationships, love, jobs, family and pretty much life in general. In the song Usher advises us that it’s really the simple things in life we always underestimate. Those are the things that are the most important. The song has incredible advice from the beginning; “Just copped your girl a brand new Rolex but you can never find the time to spend at home“. He proceeds to sing my favourite line; “But you don’t know you’re chasing a dime, losing a treasure” telling us to appreciate what we have already. He advises men to understand that splashing the cash on your woman is great but what is more important to her is you, not the materialistic things. “You hear her talking but don’t hear what she said“, sometimes we hear what we want to hear rather than what the person is trying to say. Usher ends the song by stating “Man, I tell you, cars, clothes, and fancy things don’t mean a damn thing” advising men to give them things money can’t buy, their time, love, appreciation and affection.
‘That’s What it’s Made For’, ‘Can U Handle It?’ and ‘Do it to Me’ are all songs that could be considered slow jams. These songs are classic Usher, stripped back, pure vocals. It can be argued that all songs have the same theme; sex. ‘That’s What it’s Made For’ is Usher singing about his manhood and the use of it, to pleasure women. The song explores how him and a woman are partaking in consensual sexual activity. ‘Can U Handle It?’ is Usher seducing and teasing a woman. ‘Do it to Me’ is another one of my favourites from the album. I don’t think it’s possible to hear this song without feeling the need to move. I like the production on this song. The big Base and what feels like a large bang(drums?) played throughout adds to the intensity. Usher hits the high notes effortlessly as usual and one of my favourite lines; “Squeezing, holding, biting, scratching, spanking, screaming, pulling my hair when you need me” with his high vocals is just 😍. Yeah this song is the one! Whew!‘Follow Me’ is Usher being real. In this song he sings about the fact he’s finally found a woman he can be himself with. “Sometimes I gotta smile (smile) when I don’t feel like smiling”, his lifestyle is tiring but he doesn’t need to pretend with the woman
What an album. I won’t lie, I don’t think since this release there has been
an album that has provided me with so much joy and love. Hopefully real R&B
can be born again because it will be a shame.
I am aware there are more songs after from the special edition version of the album. Songs like “My Boo” which I have reviewed before among a few more. Check out the special edition version below;
Happy Valentines Day everyone Hope you all had wonderful days/nights!!
Just a quick one. Here are 5 of some of my favourite modern love songs. I’ve focussed on the theme of the beginning of the relationship when everything is all rosy and fresh. I have also included my current slow jams and throwbacks Spotify link. I am in the process of filtering out some songs from there and as soon as I have a new an improved slow jams mix you will all know. Have a read and listen below.
1. Fantasia – When I See U (2006)
I’ve written about my love for this song before and boy is it perfect for a day like today. Fantasia sings her heart out in this song and you can’t help but feel the love. The opening verse describes how it feels when you have that crush or first love for someone; “I put your picture on my mirror, start to blush when somebody says your name” a feeling many of us know. The main reason I love this song so much is because of how relatable it is. It’s one of those songs that will have you thinking of a particular person as you belt out her verses. Fantasia’s voice in this song is sensational and the video is just as beautiful. Have a listen and watch below.
2. Beyoncé – Dangerously In Love (2003)
Okay so this is one of my favourite Beyoncé songs of all time. I love the sentiment behind the song and the calming vibe it provides you with. The opening lines “Baby, I love you, you are my life..my happiest moments weren’t complete if you weren’t by my side”, beautifully sung. Beyoncé harmonises with her own voice in this song and I feel like we are intruding on a duet between herself and herself! The lyrics are beautiful in this song.
3. Usher – U got it Bad (2001)
If we’re being honest 99% of Usher’s discography can be featured in this list. I picked this one because it plays on the theme of the beginning of falling in love. The song plays on the idea Usher is ready to leave his player ways as he has found the woman of his dreams. Again, this song focusses on the honeymoon period; “You got, you got it bad. When you’re on the phone, hang up and you call right back”, the beginning of the relationship when you’re in looooooove. Have a listen below.
4. Jennifer Lopez Ft. Fat Joe – Hold U Down (2005)
“You don’t know how much you mean to me, whenever you’re down you know that you can lean on me”, wiser words have never been spoken. I love how wholesome this song makes me feel. The idea that in a relationship you both help and support each other. I like how the partnership is demonstrated with the merging of verses with JLo singing her verse and Fat Joe rapping his but sometimes linking together.
5. Bob Marley & The Wailers Ft. Lauryn Hill -Turn your Lights Down Low (1999)
Last but not least one of the greatest songs from Bob Marley or Lauryn Hill in my opinion. I know I’ve written about this song before but I will always bring it up when talking about love songs! This remix features the two legends’ voices merging like it was meant to be. My favourite lines have to be when Lauryn raps “Loving you is a like a song I replay, every three minutes and thirty seconds of every day”…I mean what better analogy to express love than with music! Haha! Honestly the harmonies in this song are heavenly! Check the song out below.
Can you believe we are already halfway through January!? Before you know it, this week will be over just as it’s beginning! I’ve made a list of 5 songs (old and new) to start off your week. Look out for more posts this week too. Enjoy!
1. Headie One Ft. Dave – 18 HUNNA (Rap)
UK rappers Headie One and Dave unite on their first collaboration to create a new song for the streets. I personally think Dave makes this song and his feature is definitely one of my favourites from him. Have a listen below.
2. Bhad Bhabie Ft Tory Lanez – Babyface Savage (Rap)
I know… I cannot believe I am suggesting a song from Bhad Bhabie either. Surprisingly, this song is hard! I was very very surprised at her flow on this track and the feature from Tory in my opinion has to be one of his best rap features. Opinions for her aside, the song is worth a listen.
3. Benny Blanco Ft. Halsey & Khalid (Dance-Pop)
I’ve been playing this song for a few days. The fuse of voices from Halsey & Khalid is just magic. The song is focused on two people falling in love and reminiscing on their memories together. I like in particular how Halsey and Khalid provide different perspectives but with the same agenda. The song starts off with Khalid singing the verse and chorus before Halsey songs her verse and chorus. The song eventually finalises with both of them singing the chorus together. This demonstrates the narrative that while they both have their own versions, the main idea is that they come together. Such a beautiful song with beautiful voices.
Check out the song below;
4. Trey Songz Ft Ty Dolla & Tory Lanez – Shootin Shots (R&B)
If you’re looking for a nice r&b melody this is the one for you. I mentioned this song on the Instagram page last week but I just want to elaborate on it. Trey Songz is arguably one of the best male r&b singers we have at the moment and this song is one of those that are pleasing to the ear.
5. Rick Ross Ft. Kanye West & Big Sean – Sanctified (Rap)
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this song in the past but I gotta mention it again! One of my favorite songs from Ricky Rozay and the features were spot on. There is no way you wouldn’t know all the words after a few listens.