Beyoncé - “Mirrors” (2013 Pepsi Commercial)
O.K., so I saw B’s teaser yesterday and I, like everyone else on the planet, assumed she was debuting new music—- perhaps the official lead single from her upcoming album perfectly timed with the buzz successfully achieved from “Bow Down/I Been On”. It turns out the hype was for a new Pepsi commercial in which Mrs. Carter indulges in the pop diva tradition of revisiting iconic looks from her career. While it’s cool to see her Austin Powers, “Crazy In Love” and, of course, “Single Ladies” incarnations coming together for an All-Bey Destiny’s Child line-up, I was kinda hoping that we could finally stop playin’ around and get down to the business of hearing new music to justify her “hottest in the game” status.
P.S. Is the tune in the background the new single? It sounds like a Timbaland production reminiscent of the joint he did for Jamie Foxx a few years ago.
Snoop Lion featuring Miley Cyrus - “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks”
Come again? The Artists Formally Known As “Snoop Dogg” and “Hannah Montana” got together for a reggae track? Ol’ Snoop had to be lifted on that good good when he agreed to this, right? We’re already a few singles deep into Snoop uh… Lion’s bid to become a new age Marley, but this collabo with Billy Ray’s daughter raises the eyebrow nearer to hairline territory as the duo gets their buzz on and reminisce about their dead ‘n’ gone homies. While it sounds crazy on paper, the track actually works though if “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks” becomes a hit, Gwen Stefani and the rest of No Doubt have every reason to be pissed cuz this is exactly the kind of Major Lazer-helmed reggae-pop (who also produced “Ashtrays…”) that was widely ignored by pop radio last summer. Put ya lighters up, former Disney tweens!
Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell - “Blurred Lines” (Video)
I know this has been out for a week or two, but the latest from Robby Rob still deserves a mention considering it arrives hot on the heels of JT’s very Thicke-esque “Suit and Tie” shenanigans. Over what sounds like a chopped up Marvin Gaye/“Got To Give It Up” sample, Rob dons a suit sans tie and pals around with T.I. and Pharrell while chasing after a handful of models. My first reaction was “Woulda been nice if they had cast a few more black girls” but with Alan’s boy singing lyrics like “...you the hottest b*tch in this place”, I think a potential racially tinged media kerfuffle was avoided. Party on, fellas.
Shadows On Stars - “Little Bit”
Is it that I didn’t get the memo about the apparent Ghostown DJs revival? It was only a few weeks ago that Ciara dropped “Body Party”, a slow jam that interpolates Da Ghosts’ ‘96 classic “My Boo”, and now comes yet another track that again suggests that “Boo” is the new black. Although “Little Bit” is primarily a cover of Scandinavian pop sprite Lykke Li’s hit from a few years ago, Portland duo Shadows On Stars cleverly work in a few “Boo” bars and cooks up something that should please both the indie pop hipsters and the Team 90s crowd.
Cassie featuring Rick Ross - “Numb” (Video)
Much like Ciara and Ashanti, Cassie seems to be a member of the “Little R&B Engine That Could” Club in that she stays releasing singles/videos though only a handful of people seem to care. Who is funding their projects? And would it help if these ladies adopted last names? Ponder those questions while you get into the latest from Cass who teams up with date rape enthusiast Rick Ross for a track that, as the lyrics accurately suggests, aims to “numb your brain.” That’s certainly not a diss as the song has a vibe-able “bump this in the middle of the night and zone out” appeal to it though it will probably, like her other material, fall victim to the unfortunate plight affecting her career otherwise known as “It’s Aiiight, But It Ain’t ‘Me & U’” Syndrome.
Lady - “Get Ready” (Video)
Wonder no more if thoughts of “Whatever happened to Nicole ‘Make It Hot’ Wray?” have been the cause of many sleepless nights for you. After getting a promising start in the late 90s under the guiding bedazzled Kangol of Missy Elliott, Wray fell victim to label politics ‘n’ B.S. during the early 00s and was promptly inducted into the One Hit Wonder Hall of Fame. The Nic’ster is now on her grown woman ish teaming up with Teri Walker and aiming to bring back the female duo thang—- shoutout to Zhané and Changing Faces!—- with the bluesy/soul joint “Get Ready”—- I’m feelin’ it.
P.S. Checking out the “Make It Hot” video again after all these years made me realize Wray had that Rapunzel weave thing on lock long before Azealia Banks!
MKS - “Lay Down In Swimming Pools”
This is the second time that I found myself preferring a cover version of a Kendrick Lamar original. Sure, KenDrizzy’s “Swimming Pools” is dope as is, but MKS (Mutya, Keisha, Siobhan) takes it to a whole ‘nother level of sexy with those R&B harmonies. Followers of the high drama that has been the line-up changes (documented here in this “vintage” Qs Views post) of U.K. girl group Sugababes also know that the original, 1.0 version of the trio reunited having all been kicked out over the course of the Suga’s decade-plus history. Given that the group’s fans were probably expecting an update of SB’s guitar-fueled jingles of the past, it’s interesting that the former ‘Babes are teasing their new project with a buzz track that is decidedly more hip hop and less britpop.
You can click here to visit (or re-visit) past posts on the videos and various incarnations of La ‘Babes.
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