April 2, 2010
New Albums: Usher and Erykah Badu
Usher – Raymond v. Raymond
This album is supposed to be explosive in so many ways. First of all, it is expected to move 300,000-350,000 copies in its first week alone. Wow! It’s also the first album since his 2008 record, Here I Stand. While that album reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, it didn’t quite reach the sales that I’m sure Usher would have wanted, getting only to gold certification.
So Raymond v. Raymond, for some reason, is expected to surpass Here I Stand in just its first few days! I’m sure this one will go platinum, too. It’s a really good album. With fourteen new tracks (four of them featuring other artists such as Ludacris, will.i.am and T.I.), Usher comes back with style. His voice sounds great, he still looks the same (I think he quit aging in 1998), and his career is still on the rise. He’s into singing, dancing, and producing, including the latest sensation, Justin Bieber. Usher and Justin Timberlake actually fought over who would produce the kid; obviously, Usher won that battle.
Anyway, Raymond v. Raymond is another quality album from Usher. You should listen to “She Don’t Know” and “Papers.” Actually and just the rest of the album, too. Check it out now!
Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh
Okay, right of the bat, I have to say how much I love this title. “New Amerykah”?! That’s so clever!
Anyway, Erykah Badu has got this old-world-type voice, don’t you think? It’s like a combination of Eartha Kitt and Billie Holiday–both great artists. Her music is so soulful and smooth that you feel as if you can keep listening to it all day without getting bored. In fact, you may even feel more relaxed.
So this album is part two as a sequel to New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War, which came out in 2008. I still remember her from her 1997 hit, “On and On,” don’t you? But now she’s on her 5th studio album and is still cranking out good music.
She’s actually caused some controversy already with this album, however. On March 13, Badu walked around parts of Dallas without any clothes on (without permission) shooting a video. She went to the place where President Kennedy was assassinated and gave kind a performance, and then simulated an assassination–kind of. People didn’t take it very well and thought of the performance as an act of disrespect. However, Badu made a statement about the video (which turned out to be a music video for a song off the album, entitled “Window Seat“), noting that the entire performance and her conduct was a shot against the controversial group Groupthink. (You should look them up if you don’t know anything about them. They’re craaazy.)
Maybe it was for publicity, but maybe not. I don’t think she needs stunts like that to sell her music, honestly. She’s got a great voice and has a genuine ear for writing music. New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh, is in stores now!
Posted by Shaane at 7:00 am