Take 5 Friday: Running With Scissors, Muhsinah & Remembering Vesta

Friday, January 6, 2012

Reheating leftovers of the week...


1. How Does It Feel (Jumping The Gun): It's official. We D'Angelo fans are hard-up. So hard-up that one listen to a new "demo" called "Black Hole Sun" caused a myriad of actions to take place----hands clutched hearts, "he's back!" rolled off of tongues, breaths were unbreathed, praying shrines were abandoned. I knew better. I knew that the word "demo" and "new D'Angelo song" meant some sick twisted joke that would, in the end, make me cry on command like Viola Davis. So I just sat back and chewed on some popcorn and watched when everyone was proven wrong by Questlove---who concluded that this was a Soundgarden cover, and D recorded this about close to a decade ago. Ah, well, it's still worth several listens. Not too crazy about the high-pitched vocals, but it's dirty, raw and a funky spin on the original---and ain't nothin' wrong with that. So back to the praying shrine we go, as once again there are mumbles of D working on new material and that 2012 might be the year we get to hear it. Still, I'm not waiting for this pot of water to boil.....



2. Stop!: It's hard not to gush about Muhsinah's Gone EP. Anybody who has downloaded it and heard it knows that it was possibly one of the best EP's of the year (well, in my little world it was). Good news is that the' Golden Girl' is set to re-package Gone into a deluxe edition with even more electronic soul-punk goodies to gobble up. But first, dig if you will this pictorial of Muhsinah as she plows through the bleachy guitar bliss of "Stop!" that highlights stop-motion and about 20,000 pictures of the singer herself. Instagram has nothing on this.




3. We Are Young: Here's another 'relic' from 2011 that was overlooked by me. It's no secret that Janelle Monae is checking her 'soul clock' as she'll be releasing two albums this year, so we should be well-prepared (and ecstatic!!) for this intergalactic funk dame to spice up this year. 2011 wasn't all too shabby for Janelle as she toured extensively, gave a wonderful performance at the Nobel Peace Prize concert, and had a prominent guest-spot alongside group, Fun. for their beer-bottle-to-the-sky single, "We Are Young". The song has been picking up some steam, especially since it's food fight visual extravaganza dropped earlier this week. The real treat is actually the acoustic version where the talent really shines. All the glitz n' synthy glam is scrubbed off and actually this song feels more like the anthem this track strives and succeeds to be.






4. Shady Identity: Not sure. Not sure at all. Usually I love the Scissor Sisters for being the campy, ear dessert (that sounds gross---but work with me) in my music collection, but this new collaboration with Krystal Pepsy (the cute nostalgic name of singer, Azealia Banks) leaves me a bit cold---also somewhat befuddled (love that word). After the glorious Night Work from 2010 with its shimmering first single, "Invisible Light" , you'd think the quartet from NYC would build from there, but "Shady Love" is kind of sophomoric, right down to the goofy raps (rhyming Madonna with Barack Obama---come on) and clunky generic beat this side of something that girl with the $ in her name might try to shill. Maybe it's the bizzaro music video that kind of has me tasting something tart. If the point of the vid was to make me have nightmarish flashbacks of my grade school pageants, then hats off to the Sisters for succeeding. This is just merely round one for what is to come from SS's upcoming album, so I'll chalk this up as 'strike one' and hope for a homer later.





5. Something About You: TVOne's Unsung opened the new year with a bangin' new season and they've got an impressive line-up (Bobby Womack, Millie Jackson, Atlantic Starr, Ray Parker Jr.David Ruffin, Freddie Jackson, Sheila E., Full ForceWhodini) in store. This week, the late Vesta Williams' life was put in the spotlight and,once again, it's riveting viewing to find out the what lies beneath all the chart-topping black wax. Williams' found success with singles "Once Bitten Twice Shy", "Don't Blow A Good Thang", and "Congratulations" in the late 80's as well as earned the reputation for being an electric live performer. Amid these successes Vesta struggled with drugs and weight issues, the latter being a reason why her career stalled, as we all know how the music industry can be about image. Last year, Williams sadly passed away, and since this is the last interview she did, this episode has an eerie air hanging over it. Still, if you watch, Vesta managed get her weight under control, wrangle her drug habit, and find peace within herself, all while the music kept playing---and that is something you have to give applause for. You can watch the full episode here, especially if you're like me and your janky ass cable provider doesn't offer TVOne. Get your music history lesson.

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