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!

Three Albums You Need To Listen To

So when I woke up Friday morning I was admittedly a bit overwhelmed by the amount of great music that had been released over night. I started listening and going through songs and albums and for each one I was thinking, wow I definitely need to write about this one. But since the listening alone will take you quite some time I don’t want to bore you with three elaborate album reviews and instead I’ll present to you the ones that I currently LOVE, short and sweet (in addition to “The Jungle Is The Only Way Out” by Mereba that I have written about in my last post which you can read here).

Solange When I Get Home

I’ll start with the obvious… “When I Get Home” by Solange. If there was a Guggenheim Museum for sound then Solange’s music would have its own exhibition there with her grand music filling the halls. I love that she takes risks, she’s rising her delicate middle finger up towards the mainstream and is dancing on her own little cloud of musical genre. She’s not letting anyone put her in a box and especially not letting anyone limit her to the label of being Beyonce’s sister. “I can’t be a singular expression of myself, there’s too many parts, too many spaces, too many manifestations, too many lines, too many curves, too many troubles, too many journeys, too many mountains, too many rivers”, she says in the second interlude of the album and I’m personally very inspired by that. Just one more side note, do not listen to her album on low volume! Either turn it all the way up or leave it. Anything else will be like turning your back to a sunset to watch it in the reflection of a window.

2Chainz Rap Or Go To The League

Next up is “Rap Or Go To The League” by my dear 2Chainz. This album starts out with a bang featuring the amazing Marsha Ambrosius which I’ve loved since 2010. As always, 2Chainz is coming through with the epic samples like “So Good To Be Alive” by the Truthettes on “Threat 2 Society” and the signature piano keys as on “Statute of Limitations”. In general, I have to say that even though he got quite a few interesting features on this one like Kendrick, Lil Wayne and Chance The Rapper and others, I like the songs without features the best. And I think that just speaks for him and his talent and presence. However, the use of Amerie’s “Why Don’t We Fall In Love” beat on “Rule The World” with Ariana Grande is pretty epic. So yeah an album for the whole family. Alright not quite but I’m extremely pleasantly surprised by 2Chainz shining at his best.

American Love Call

And last but not least is “American Love Call” by a group that I hadn’t heard of before but I am glad I discovered them and am therefore twice as happy to be able to introduce you to them now. They’re called Durand Jones & The Indications and I mean it in the best way possible when I say that they’re music sounds super old!! I was confused when I saw the release date of the album because they sound like they fit right into my “Classy Classics” playlist which features songs by The Temptations, Al Green, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Behind the music are a group of old souls in their twenties (counting in Earth years). Durand Jones, who is the singer, and his 4 friends who make up the group met at Indiana University and released their first project in 2012. Their new album “American Love Call” was recorded at Studio G in Brooklyn, New York and within it is a call to acknowledge the cruel reality of America’s history and at the same time step forward truly united to help create a future that our children will enjoy experiencing. So to describe it in short – this is relevant classic soul.

Watch the video to the first song on the album below, it made me really emotional.
(Oh and shoutout to Solange for making the visual to her album exclusively available on Apple Music…if you happen to know why she didn’t put it on Tidal please enlighten me)

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!