(erykah badu, corinne bailey rae, janelle monae)
I’m so excited about the music that’s dropping in 2010! I really feel like, more so now than ever, the ladies are going to smash this year wide open, which after Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, I couldn’t be more pleased.
The Grammy’s, even though promoted as a Ladies Night, really played strongly for the fellas. Maxwell and Eminem ripped that sucka silly on just some old school sangin’ and rhyming. Although he was hoarse and obviously nervous, Maxwell was sincerely steeped in some soulful ish and Em just spat for Detroit, for hiphop, for breath. Now I will give it to Pink for having the fortitude to sing beautifully while twirling in mid-air and for being punk enough to spin water droplets on glammed up Grammified folk below. She rocked it, but I’ve seen her do that routine already (AMA’s?) so now it’s just becoming routine. Lady Gaga and Beyonce, as much as I love them, they totally under whelmed me. Like major yawn! Ironically in terms of sound and performance, Michael Jackson’s pleading vocals on his “Earth Song” were so badass that I would’ve been cool if I never heard Usher or Celine sing a lick of it. And I do agree with Thembisa and Solange. Taylor Swift robbed Bey and Gaga for Best Album, but that’s what happens when a mouthy Black rapper snubs a young, sweet, blond country singer. She becomes RIAA’s darling. The whole affair reminded me of Desifeminista’s tweet early on during the broadcast: “Getting older means watching everything you know and love be destroyed in front of your eyes. #grammys”
But all is not lost in Gaga and Elton John’s dust, dirt and ash. Musically speaking, 2010 really promises to be The Year of The Woman. With releases from Sade, Erykah Badu, Corinne Bailey Rae, Jean Grae, Janelle Monae, Santigold, Goapele, Nneka, Tamar-kali, Sia and Tweet, I’m thinking I’ll see less leotards and a little more musicality and depth this year.
My friend Greg– a hard hittin music critic– was privileged to hear the new Janelle Monae record and exclaimed, “It’s stellar. 21st century black pop music with tight lyrics and vocals, multiple chord changes and modern rhythms. Thought I’d never hear it again.”
Folks that went to Erykah Badu’s listening party in December at Chung King Studios are saying the Control Freaq’s got her Baduizm back and is kicking vocals ala “On & On” on her upcoming New Amerykah, Part II (Return of the Ankh), due out Feb. 23, 2010. Yippeee!
UPDATE!!! Erykah’s new single Window Seat
Last week, Corinne Bailey Rae, after dealing with the sudden death of her husband, dropped The Sea, the follow-up to her debut smash. I’ve just heard the single “I’d Do It All Again,” which is a departure from the blissed-out, catchy-soul of “Put Your Records On.” But it’s a great song filled with the murky melancholy of loss love and grief and the video is just as wonderful and somber.
And I’m already loving newcomer Nneka’s Concrete Jungle, especially the cuts “Uncomfortable Truth” and “Heartbeat.” Even though folks are quick to compare her to Lauryn Hill, I’m not. Whereas L-Boogie dipped into her Newark/ S. Orange pot for ghetto flavor, Nneka’s spooning juices from Africa and Europe. Check her performance on David Letterman last night and see for yourself.
Back in ’03 I couldn’t get enough of Oakland native, Goapele, and her independently released Closer. I realize artists have their whole lives to create their first record and so the next record, usually rushed and composed under all kinds of pressure and expectation usually falls short. I’m thinking that’s what happened with 2005′s Change It All. But I love Goapele’s energy and think her voice is pretty damn special and so I’m crazy pulling for her as she releases her third record (officially fourth after reworking Closer), Milk & Honey. Here she talks about the process and inspirations behind the album.
Word has it that even Tweet is working on a comeback. And even though I’m not feeling this new song, I’m still holding out hope because her debut, although totally slept on, was a stunner. Beyond her sexed-up pop hit– “Oops (Oh My)”, Southern Hummingbird was so much more. She had such incredibly well written songs about love and relationships. That joint still gets spins in my house. Love, love, love it!
2010 is all about the ladies! Still not convinced? Well Lilith Fair is back and the line-up is mighty. So ready or not, here we come!