Tag Archives: Joi Gilliam

My Own Hurt Tape

Sister Toldja, one of my favorite writers, wrote a post today in which she lists five songs that are her essential heartbreak songs.  It’s a very good list.

I wanted to do my own little list because though I’m sorta known for my adulation of singledom, my disdain for marriage (eff gay marriage, we should just abolish ALL marriage), and my general frustration with how we make love and relationships harder than they really need to be, my favorite kind of song is actually the sad love song. My mother says it’s because I have an old soul.  I like to think it’s because I just love the blues.

Either way, here are seven of my essential heartbreak songs after the jump.

 

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Best Songs of 2010 (6-1)

We've reached the end of my Best Songs of 2010. I hope you've enjoyed this little exercise, picked up a few new songs for your ipod, or shit, even got pissed off because you have no idea why I chose any of this shit. LOL. Either way, thanks for reading.

Top six songs of the year after the jump.

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Tigger’s 25 Best Albums of the Aughts (00s), Part 1

The thing that is interesting to me about all the lists I’ve read about music in the Aughts is how little the lists reflect the impact of the internet.  Reading most lists, you wouldn’t think that the industry changed as much as it did.  You’d also think that, reading other lists, that the industry figured out the internet immediately and it became just another promotional tool for them to give you whatever it is they’ve decided is hot music.

Napster started in June 1999, just six months before the new millennium and the music industry has never been the same.  Illegal downloading meant that people could hear an artist’s work before it was done.  They could hear songs that artists never intended for them to hear.  And they could hear multiple versions of a song that ultimately went to another artist (how many people downloaded Posh Spice’s version of Beyonce’s Resentment?).

What this meant is that the single had even less meaning than it did in the past, though the industry and your favorite artist will never tell you that.  Indeed, the minute that iTunes and other online music services offered you the ability to pick which song you want to own, singles just became different animals.  Oh sure, we still had huge singles in the decade that everyone bought and then couldn’t escape for years – Yeah!, Crazy In Love, and Hey Ya come to mind – but the point is, how the consumer interacts with an artist shifted completely.  Many artists began to release as singles album tracks that were buzzworthy on the internet in hopes of increasing sales (Mariah Carey seems to live and die by her message boards, which explains the yo-yoing of her career of late).

It also meant that the industry’s devaluation of the album was complete.  Oh sure, people still buy albums, but with the ability to pick and choose what you want, there was even less incentive for the biggest artists to make albums a complete experience.  More then ever, what we got from corporate artists were three or four “radio singles” and a bunch of lamentable album tracks (you know, the ones that artists like Britney, Rihanna and nem point to as evidence of their “growth” because the songs might have an actual bridge or something).

For me, as a music lover, it was a wonderful time to discover music online I might not otherwise have heard.  I was able to follow the rise of homo hop, get copies of shelved albums by artists like Joi Gilliam and Nicole Wray, get obscure albums by Ricky Bell, LaTocha Scott, and Mark Middleton, and find artists who had been discarded by the industry but were making music on their own terms (Shanice, Smoke E. Digglera and Digital Black from Playa).  And let’s not forget how R&B artists have embraced the “mixtape” concept as a way to put out music that perhaps the label didn’t want you to hear or just to keep their names in your mind (Teedra Moses, Trey Songz, Amerie).

What this meant was that I had something else to compare to whatever it was the industry was throwing at me.  It meant that I didn’t have to fall for the othering of British “phenoms” who were ripping off American Black music unconvincingly.  It meant that I didn’t have to be mired in the industry’s mistaken belief that artists were only as good as the song Rich Harrison, Timbaland, Pharrell, Rodney Jerkins, or whoever gave them.  It meant that what I listened to was more driven by me than the industry.  Great as the 90s were, I was largely at the mercy of the industry.  That is simply not the case anymore – even for consumers (and artists) who live and die by the Billboard charts.

I say all this to say that my list reflects very much my experience with black music in the Aughts.  It is not a list that is designed to rank the biggest commercial albums of the decade and then find creative ways of equating art and commerce.  Which is not to say that there aren’t some obvious choices on here.  But this is my list, not a list that necessarily reflects the perspective of the average music consumer.

You been warned.

NOTE – The list is long, so its broken into two parts.  This post has the first 13 albums.

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Best of the Rest: Shanice’s Don’t Break My Heart

 

Shanice94 Shanice is among a generation of singers that never quite found a suitable home in the industry because the music industry has never quite known what to do with vocalists who can pretty much do anything (see Melba Moore, Phyllis Hyman, Joi Gilliam, Betty Davis, Vesta, Stephanie Mills, and Minnie Ripperton, to name just a few).  Often they get saddled with schlock, as Shanice often was, or they waste their skills on whichever power ballad or trendy-jocking sound they can ride to stardom (see Whitney and Mariah).

This song is more or less a power ballad, written by ‘Face collaborator Daryl Simmons, who doesn’t overdue the sentiment here.  Shanice elevates the song effortlessly.  Great vocalists make the best of power ballads, which tend to be driven more by overblown orchestration than melody or emotion. If you listen, her singing is strong and her phrasing more than does the job of injecting the requisite emotion into the song.  Her gifts have rarely been so well-utilized.

More:
Best of the Rest – Full List
Best of the Rest – Explained

Hot Videos VII


Janelle Monae, Many Moons

I just finished listening to Janelle Monae’s EP a bunch of times. I kinda love it. This video works for me though. I think though that there is nothing electronic about her music (as it has been described to me), this feels very psychadelic P-Funk to me. Very Sleepy Brown. Very Cee-Lo Green. It’s nice to have a sister in the mix. Oh wait – we have had Joi Gilliam for over 14 years.  Silly Americans, how easily soon we forget.


Q-Tip, Gettin Up

Tip is back y’all! I tend to prefer minimalist videos a lot. They allow an artist’s natural charisma and the song to grab you. That is what is at work here. So glad to have the Abstract back in the game.


Usher, Trading Places

I’m endlessly fascinated that Usher’s career hangs in the balance because his legion of black female fans so vehemently hate his wife. What does that even mean? It’s so crazy to me! Here I Stand is the best black pop album of the year, hands down.

That said, this video is just classic, classy ass Usher at his best. It’s tasteful and sexy. And it showcases just how beautifully this man sings. That vamp at the end is breathtaking. Don’t sleep because you don’t like Tameka.