Trip to Ventura

The moment I heard Anderson .Paak’s new single “King James”, I knew this album was going to be good. The energy of this song conveyed through soul with soul and a message is both positive and strong. It makes you smile with hope. That’s meaningful and so, so relevant. So when I woke up this morning and listened to the eleven songs of Ventura (don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s eleven by the way) I was surprised by the lightness and playfulness of Paak’s new project.

Starting out with an angelic choir and promising drum roll the first song of the album “Come Home” let’s the listener dive right into the VIBE. “I’m begging you please come home, no one even begs anymore” he sings and André 3000’s eloquent spoken poem is the cherry on top for this Sundae vibe track. Next is “Make It Better” with Smokey Robinson which is about reviving a love that is slowly getting rusty, “and it’s easier to run away than to look for what would make you stay, do you want to make it better, do you want to stay together?”. I feel like this is going to be a hymn of hope for a lot of couples, at least that would be nice. Opposite to this, on “Reaching’ 2 Much” with Lalah Hathaway, Anderson .Paak is giving up hope and talking about walking away from a relationship.

Not limiting himself to one topic, this album feels like lots of different snapshots and stories from his life. Speaking on relationships, struggles, his career and lessons he’s learned like protecting his energy (“Yada Yada”), all in all this album is much lighter than some of his previous projects where he spoke much deeper about his hardships. A feature I was especially pleasantly surprised by, was Brandy on “Jet Black”. Let me tell you, this clap-along song will definitely be played at a lot of rooftop parties this Summer. “Twilight”, produced by the legendary Pharrell Williams, embodies that 90’s vibe by the Neptunes and is a lovely tell of a mutually supportive relationship, “You’re my twilight when it’s awfully dark and I lost my way”. However, the most surprising feature of the album is definitely on the 11th song. Anderson .Paak makes Nate Dogg come back to life on this one through unreleased vocals. Ironically, at the end of the track, you can hear him tell Paak to erase his part. Well we’re glad he didn’t. R.I.P. Nate Dogg.

Fun fact, if you were wondering about the dot in Anderson .Paak’s name, according to him it stands for detail. That’s why I advise you to pay close attention to the details of “Ventura”. This is definitely a piece of work that will reveal new layers of sound and meaning with every new listen. Also, I think it’s very special that Paak used a picture with his son Soul Rasheed as the artwork for this album.

That’s it from me. Enjoy!

The Jungle Is The Only Way Out

Singer, songwriter, producer, poet,…the list goes on. Mereba is what I would call a relevant artist in today’s times. Even though I don’t like categorising anyone I would go as far as to say that she is like the female version of Frank Ocean. And the visuals to her album “The Jungle Is The Only Way Out” are attesting to that.

This album is filled with blooming wisdom carefully woven into the most beautiful soundscapes enlightened by her angelic voice. She really had me with the intro “more” where she lists all the things she (and really each one us us) should do more of like writing, listening to your inner voice, being passionate, giving unconditional love, not caring about what other people say and walking away from everything that’s no longer serving you.

And listening to the album you will realize that every single song contains valuable lessons that Mereba is generously sharing with us. So here’s a list of the songs and contained life lessons.

Kinfolk
The truly important things in life are hidden treasures that can’t be bought with money.

Highway 10 
Know your worth, leave the things behind that don’t serve you on your journey.

Black Truck
The hard times shape you into what you are destined to be. Listen to your intuition.

dodging the evil 
Resist temptation, stay focused on what you want because what you focus on, you become.

Heatwave (feat. 6LACK)
Racism is real.

Get Free
There is a difference between living and truly being alive.

My One 
Don’t let anything take you away from what you’re passionate about.

on the rocks
Nothing really loved is lost. (direct quote)

Planet U
Real love that opens you up to another dimension exists.

Stay Tru
Don’t deceive yourself and don’t let yourself be deceived by anyone else.

Sandstorm (feat. JID)
Relationships should help you grow, not tie you down.

Souvenir 
Time is the most precious thing we have.

Below you find the beautiful visuals, I promise it will be worth the 7 minutes of your day. Enjoy!

 

 

Snoh with the warm feels

Today I got a little beautiful gem for you. Snoh Aalegra just released her new single “I Want You Around” that features one of my favourite artists Leven Kali on the background vocals by the way (read my blog post about him here). And I don’t just want you to listen to the song, I want you to watch the video while listening to it for the first time. I feel like a lot of music videos nowadays fail to fulfil their purpose which is to enhance the song and emphasise its deeper meaning. For me, a great music video is like art. It’s more than just about telling a story, it’s colours, lights, setting, interaction between characters, camera angles, filters and little details that underline metaphors and references.

Now, if you’re thinking that you’ve never heard of Snoh Aalegra before, I can almost definitely tell you that you have because I’m pretty sure you’ve heard Drake’s single “Do Not Disturb” from his More Life album where he sampled Snoh Aalegra’s single “Time“. The original is a very beautiful and deeply emotional song about her father passing away that Drake took out of context in kind of a rude way to be honest. But anyways…Snoh Aalegra is a very special artist, she has this timeless grace and beauty almost like she’s time travelled to the future from another time. I had the chance to see her perform live at a small club, last time I was in Los Angeles and she definitely wowed me.

Enjoy this short little romantic movie. Also, shout out to Snoh for reminding us of the greatness of Stevie Wonder’s “Innervisions” album.