On the first single for her third album, La Bella Mafia, Lil’ Kim rapped “I’ve been gone for a minute, now I’m back with the jump-off”. It’s been a minute (or two) but I’m back. In between finishing grad-school, the holidaze, and a trip to Mexico to start the new year, I’ve been all over the map and too far removed to focus on the music. Yes, I was focusing on life. But now… back to the music.
This is a round-up of recent New Music Fridays; therefore, the best of the past month.
Fleur East – Favourite Thing
Fleur had a rough go of it. After the massive success Sax, her debut single, achieved upon its release the pressure mounted and future releases didn’t rise to the occasion. After leaving Syco, Simon Cowell’s label, she went independent and is now focusing on producing music she loves. Favorite Thing is our first taste and it is definitely one of my favorites. Frankly, it’s my first favorite song of the new year. Inspired by her African roots, the massive tune focuses on the strength of her vocals and excellent production. The chorus doesn’t provide much – but remains extremely effective. The video matches the heat the song brings. Yes, word on the street is Cheryl is quite jealous.
Jojo – The First & Second Albums
JoJo’s gumption made an appearance and Joanna Noëlle “JoJo” Levesque has gone and re-recorded her debut and sophomore albums (JoJo and The High Road). Blackground/Universal, her label for the release of these two albums truly have been the content of any artist’s nightmare. They been removed from iTunes and access to the original albums and compositions is virtually nonexistent. Though both albums brought her much success and critical acclaim upon their respective release, JoJo faced and waged battles with Blackground, which led to subsequent court hearings and JoJo finally being released from the contract. Drama aside, both albums include her signature singles Leave (Get Out) and Too Little Too Late. They also feature strong album tracks, including Breezy, Baby It’s You, Anything, and This Time. Sonically, the songs are very similar to the originals, but it is most interesting to hear the mature voice JoJo has nurtured over the years. Her vocal abilities remain intact, and the material holds up even after all this time.
Dido – Friends
Dido released another album track to be featured on her upcoming release Still on My Mind, Friends. Friends reminds me of End of Night off Girl Who Got Away. Both songs discuss the similar topic of friends who weren’t really friends at all or are no more. Friends; however, is the stronger and more entertaining version of End of Night. The first single is yet to be released; however, everything I’ve heard so far is strong and engaging.
Monica – Commitment
Monica and Brandy have always been two favorite and consistent R&B ladies on rotation on my iTunes library. After a 4 year pause on the music, Monica is back with a song that is sonically modern and engaging, but classically Monica. The chorus is truly what reels you in with lyrics that are alluring and hypnotic; they instantly find a way into the deep layers of your conscious. Monica’s vocals remain strong even after being 20 years in the game. I would say this is a grand return from a consistent R&B artist.
Lizzo – Juice
Lizzo has been a favorite of mine. When I saw her open for HAIM in 2018, her effervescent spirit captured my attention and I’ve been a believer ever since. Juice is consistent with the charismatic songs she has consistently been delivering since her introduction as an artist. This feel good jam is an ode to having a good time, loving yourself and shining because of how fabulous you are (whether other assholes see it or not).