Take 5 Friday: Lauryn Hill + Luke James + South Royston & Marie Dahlstrom + HAIM + Bilal

Friday, August 22, 2014

Reheating leftovers of the week...

Black Rage
As protests and tensions wage on in Ferguson, Missouri, Lauryn Hill came out of her Fortress of Solitude to drop some poignant poetic knowledge, reworking a live staple of hers that is aptly titled, "Black Rage". Always politically on point, Madame Hill weaves a clever racial injustice tome to the melody of Rodgers and Hammerstien's classic Sound Of Music number, "My Favorite Things", evoking some serious Nina Simone discipline. As most of the rap world has been deafeningly silent or deafeningly idiotic (side-eyeing the hell outta you B.o.B....) on the ordeals happening in Ferguson, it's nice to note that there are those like Hill who are using their voices wisely and keeping their fists skyward. [Listen]

Dancing In The Dark
I'm quite glad that the men in R&B have found their voices and their romantic sides again. One of the new breeds, Luke James, is extending his own aural love letters with his latest, "Dancing In The Dark". Not to be confused with Bruce Springsteen's big 1984 hit, Luke James' number is a sultry come-hither that glides on a nighttime '80s soul synth sound that is nice and incredibly swoonworthy. He even busts out with some falsetto timbres, putting him in some dangerously good Maxwell territory. [Listen]

Feel It All
I'll listen to just about anything Marie Dahlstrom laces her vocals with, so you know I gobbled up this guest feature she did on for UK house duo South Royston with the gusto. For "Feel It All For" she's joined by vocalist Ryan Blake, and these two trade vocals over a chugging twilight lounge mix that is severely divine. If you thought Dahlstrom was only interested in doing soulful refixes and slow jams, you'll be charmed over how well her tone melts into a glossy house number. Please, Marie, I'd like some more... [Listen]

Dallas Murphy
Ambitiously derived "My Song 5" is HAIM's latest single and though I'm not that keen on A$AP Ferg being splashed on their for 'cred' sake (the song had enough En Vogue harmony breaks and Janet Jackson Discipline era steeze to absolve any sort of squareness), the visual for this track is a real hoot. The HAIM sisters, along with a few recognizable guests (Ke$ha and Grimes for starters...), take some comedic jabs at the '90s era daytime talk shows and their chuckle-worthy show topics ('frightened by cotton balls', 'sexually attracted to mimes'). As someone who grew up watching a lot of talk shows like Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones, Montel Williams, and yes, even Jerry Springer, this was a nice little kick of nostalgia back to an era where talk shows meant the more zanier, the better. [Watch]

Bilal has been crown prince of surprises lately, as his popping up as Kimbra's duet partner on her The Golden Echo project was a pleasant surprise (more on that at a later date...). Now Bilal is unexpectedly laying down the foundation for his upcoming follow-up to last year's A Love Surreal, with latest sound venture, "Sirens II". Joined with Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, this entrancing number is Bilal at his mystic seer best. If it all sounds familiar to you, then you've turned your think cap on today as "Sirens II" was sampled by Timbaland for Jay Z's "Picasso Baby" from his Holy Magna Carta project. While that's all fine and dandy, I prefer having Bilal being on the block, as "Sirens II" is some real mellow madness through and through. [Listen]

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