Take 5 Friday: Sam Smith + Janet Jackson + JoJo + Denitia & Sene + Cyndi Lauper

Friday, April 4, 2014

Reheating leftovers of the week...

Sam Smith on SNL
Um, let's talk about Sam Smith shall we? If you're hip to not be square, you recognized the name as the driving vocal force that was plastered over Disclosure's fantastic "Latch" from last year. After making quite an impression on SNL this past Saturday, his name should not escape anyone's mind, and after not really checking for him, consider me cashing that check like it's the first of the month. Smith has got quite a peerless vocal on him, and to hear such a poised and crisp serenade on live television (and considering the crappy acoustics of the SNL stage) is true achievement. Which is why I don't blame people for collectively losing their minds over it throughout the week. With current singles, "Stay With Me" and "Lay Me Down", Smith brought chuuuurch to the SNL stage, and that was mighty brave considering how his peers wouldn't (or really couldn't) have exuded raw intimacy like that on a late-night sketch show. Comparisons to Adele are quick to be shouted, but when you're British, have a voice that sounds wiser than your years, have great hair, and aren't model thin, then you'll pretty much be compared to Adele these days, right? Still it's obvious what is happening and well, I guess I'm glad for it, though it'd would've been nice if he sort of cracked a smile and pulled out "Latch" for old time sake. I mean, why so serious, Sam? [Watch 1 / Watch 2

Damita Jo Is 10 Y.O.
In a perfect world, Janet Jackson's 2004 album, Damita Jo, would be a modern classic. Shined with a conclave of producing and writing masterminds from new blood (Kanye West) to reliable standbys (Babyface), and crammed with glossy dancefloor spinners ("R&B Junkie", "Put Your Hands On") and raunchy R&B throwdowns ("Sexhibition", "All Night (Don't Stop)"), Jackson proved on album #8 to find the right wiggle room and balance in a changing R&B and pop landscape. Instead barely anybody saw it that way, as Damita Jo had the unfortunate position to be overshadowed by "the incident that should not be named" a few days prior that painted Jackson with a scarlet letter of "I" for "irrelevant" and the project was plunged into a vortex of misbegotten. Blogging amigo The QHBlend has written a severely honest and factual account of the time when Jackson's once celebrated sexual frankness became the butt of jokes by one unintentional live f*ck-up that tarnished what turned out to be the last solid album of the singer's career. If silver pasties and apology videos were dancing around your head in 2004, give yourself some time to understand Damita Jo in new light. [Read]

Growing Up JoJo
Persistence is definitely JoJo's forte. We all know by now the insanely drawn-out saga of her recording contract mismanagement, but we shouldn't get all teary eyed for her as the near decade-long struggle of paltry promotion has proven to have a silver lining, as it allowed the singer to proceed into a fluid transition from a tween singing machine to a adult songstress in the making. The music speaks for itself, as during the rough patch, JoJo released solid EP after solid EP (and a couple of well-done rare bootlegs swarmed around as well) proving she wasn't going to let some big bad wolf of a record label blow her house down. With the recent news of her signing a lofty deal with Atlantic Records, there is much to celebrate, and much to look forward to. Saint Heron recently sat down with JoJo to discuss what's she batting up against in the coming year, and how she's got both fist raised ready to take all comers, now older and wiser. [Read] [Photo Credit]

Divinely 'Divided' 
Brooklyn cool kids Denitia & Sene have been at the tip of my conscious recently after I finally got around to listening to last year's his and her set. How stupid of me to not jump on such wonderfully hazy and rapturous sonic R&B, but no time like the present (or several months later, I always say) to finally hop aboard the D&S train, and no time sooner as the two are already onto crafting more keen aural treats. Presented for Red Bull's Sound Select collective, the duo deliver more hypnotic goodness on the shiny and new lush lullaby, "Divided", and if you're like me and haven't gotten into them before, then now is your time to start paying attention. [Listen]

Still So Unusual (and Awesome)
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Time After Time. All Through The Night. When You Were Mine. She Bop --- and that's just the half of it. Cyndi Lauper's 1984 debut, She's So Unusual literally played like a greatest hits collective, as it was pop for the boho-punk who liked to color outside the lines and be carefree in the streets. Sure it's a relic of the '80s, but it's a damn good pop album, packed to the gills with hits and attitude, and remains to be one of Lauper's finest. To celebrate 30 years of she bopping, Lauper engages in a one-on-one with Buzzfeed to recall the album that rocketed her to stardom as well as discuss why "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" is much more influential than its synth lines have you to believe. [Read]

Other Diversions Of The Week
*Marsha Ambrosius - Run [Single Review]
*Katy B - Still [Video Review]
*Just A Little Trim: Audio Diva [Design Review] - A BIG thank you once again to Rekita Nicole of Her & Nicole for profiling Audio Diva and helping with the blog's spruce up!

Have a happy weekend everyone!


  1. Loving the new look & thanks for the support. Now you know I got my #20YO write-up coming in 2016, so get ready. That one is really unsung. Q.

    1. Glad you love it! And I can't wait for that write-up...but I guess I will since it'll be two years from now, lol! 20 Y.O. isn't my favorite Janet record, but maybe you can convince me otherwise :-)


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