Music Week

Music for under the covers… or wherever

Thanks for a great Music Week here on BnB. What a great response! Most pageviews this week ever in BnB's history! Thanks to all the regulars who showed support, all the newbies who popped in and even ya'll somtimey lurkers – welcome all! Let's put Music Week to bed… literally.

Some off ya'll are just all out there in the open with your freakiness. Yeah, this list may not be for you. This list is more making love in the rain than a hit-it-n-quit-it in the office mailroom, ya dig? This list is more Brian McKnight and less Luda. So here is some "Baby Come to Bed" music that ya'll may don't know about or haven't thought about it a while. And again, I'm not talking about Lub in da Club, Do Me Baby or any of R. Kelly's tunes about hotel lobby afterparties. Since we all know Marvin's Let's Get It On and Luther's Love Won't Let me Wait, what do you know about these? Here are ten deep cuts you should have on hand to "take it to the next level":

  1. Float by Anthony Hamilton: his voice is very gravelly and sexy and then he kind of breaks it on down in this song.
  2. Blue Horizons by Maysa: very sweet, seductive, love on the beach tune [Blogger's Note: boo to Amazon for not having a clip for me to share]
  3. Cross My Mind by Jill Scott: classic Jilly from Philly. It's kind of a "I remember us like this" song, very sultry.
  4. Fall Again by Glenn Lewis: Little known cut from the Maid in Manhattan soundtrack, this is mellow-smooth at its finest.
  5. Teach Me Tonight the Al Jarreau version: not subtle at all but says what needs to be said.
  6. Spend the Night by Rahsaan Patterson: Very well done borderline-begging song that draws you in with the vocal arrangement over soft guitar.
  7. Crave by Incognito: One of my exes hipped me to this group and every song is a portrait of a mood. This mood speaks for itself.
  8. Get next to you by Jamie Hawkins: Slept on cat. Son of gospel greats Walter and Tremaine Hawkins, I found this song from a love scene on Showime's Series "Soul Food". So hard to find, I couldn't even find a sample of this song to share with you.
  9. It's on Tonight by Brian Culbertson and Will Downing: Did I say Will Downing… nuff said.
  10. This Day, This Minute, Right Now by Mint Condition: It's musical intercourse on vinyl (or whatever they use now).
  11. Bonus Cut – Yes by Anthony David: combination of acoustic guitar and silky baritone wins every time.
  12. Extra Bonus Cut – Rush Over by Me'Shell Ndegeocello: From the Love Jones soundtrack, her alto with Marcus Miller on bass. Please hydrate & stretch properly prior to playing.

Now I know dear readers, ya'll have some favorite "quality time" cuts. And let me stop a few of you right here (you know who you are), H-Town's Knocking the Boots is not a good look. Again, that's freaky-sneaky, this list is for the seductive and sexy. Think Moet, chocolate covered strawberries and Egyptian cotton sheets, not a 40 ounce, bag of nacho-flavored Doritos and somebody's back seat. That there is a whole different list. Maybe next Music Week? (or not) M'kay? Thank you… do share what are your best "bedroom game is tight" tunes?

Music Week Sleeper Pick: Whatcha know about Rahsaan Patterson?

So by now you've figured out that while I'm a girl who wears many musical hats, Neo-Soul is my fallback position. Whenever I just need something "good" - I go Neo. It's the closest thing we've got to pure R&B these days. I discovered Rahsaan Patterson quite by accident. I was in a music store searching for I-don't-even-remember-what-now and ended up tossing Rahsaan's first self-titled CD into my basket. Getting home, I vividly recall wondering – who is this guy? I slid the CD in and went about doing some housework. It wasn't until I was boogieing with the mop that I realized this guy was good. His CD was one of those rare creations that you could put on and play straight through without skipping songs in between because they were clearly only there for filler. Literally, the entire CD was lovable.

It was a few years before I caught him in concert at an outdoor pavilion in California. Thanks to my date, we were hecka-late and had to sit way back on the lawn. This little guy came out in a hat with just a couple of musicians and a microphone and I thought another warm-up act was about to play. Without any accompaniment, this little dude ripped off the first verse of his single Stop By and then paused. The place was dead silent and then went wild. Little Dude can Sang. Not sing. But Sang! I was informed that he used to be "the kid" from Kids Incorporated but all that went right over my head. I love a real musician. He has four albums and a holiday record out. His album Wine and Spirits came out two years ago and still gets regular iPod rotation. Here is his video of Feels Good:

Last time I caught him in concert, he was with Lalah Hathaway and Angie Stone… it was Neo-Soul heaven. Quick Amazon playlist of some of his tunes, hope you enjoy!

Music that’s actually OLD school

My girl ASmith sent a chilling tweet the other day. She tweeted that someone considered Eminem to be "old school." What the devil? Well, let's take a look: technically, old school is anything that is from an earlier era and looked upon with high regard or respect, including music, clothing and language. –From Wikipedia. But in reality, old school should be at least generational. A generation is usually from parent to child and considered an average of 20 years. Eminem's first album came out in 1998… not so old school.

An old school joint is one that you can play in front of your mother, grandmother, cousin Ray-Ray with his bad-ass kids and everybody sings along, hops up to cut a rug or nods and says, "That's a classic right there." So when I say old school, I'm talking about a classic that has (and will continue) to stand the test of time. My old school cuts came out over 20 years ago and I ain't shamed to play them in mixed race/sex/generational company. Here are a few favorites (and yes, I had to cut this off):

  1. The Entire Motown Songbook. I can't pick one but I will give special mention to Marvin Gaye's What's Going on and his duet with Tammi Terrell You're All I Need to Get By. Just let me mention Stevie with his prolific brilliance. He kicked out about six brilliant albums with multiple amazing singles in a row. I'll just mention As for one and Hotter than July as one that still makes the summer picnic. And the Jackson 5's I Want You Back, Smokey Robinson's Tears of a Clown is immortal, The Commodores – I have a personal weakness for Zoom. And the Tempts! My Girl! Alright, I REALLY did mean the entire songbook, too many to name.
  2. All of Anita Baker's stuff. Hurts me a little to think that Giving You the Best That I Got came out in 1988.
  3. Everybody gets up the minute Flashlight and Atomic Dog come on. You cannot get mad at George Clinton, Parliament, Funkadelic, Bootsy and the gang. Ooh, speaking of gangs - Kool and the Gang - Ladies Night.
  4. Speaking of funky: all of Earth Wind and Fire's singles. Would You Mind is an all time slow jam.
  5. Since MJ is gone (RIP King of Pop!) we'll just put all his stuff into the classic old school bucket. I can't pick a favorite but Man in the Mirror is genius. How many times has Human Nature been sampled now?
  6. Prince's narrow little behind has way too much good music out there so I'll cut off his "old school classics" with Purple Rain. Okay, I would not play Darling Nikki in front of BougieMom but Let's go Crazy gets everybody moving.
  7. Reppin' for "Adult Contemporary Rock" I'll go with: The Eagles- Take It to The Limit, Journey – Lights, The Police – Wrapped Around your Finger, Hall & Oates – Sara Smile
  8. Back, back, back in the day classics. BougieDad taught me about these: Duke Ellington – Sophisticated Lady, Nat King Cole – Mood Indigo, Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna come, Dean Martin – Kick in the Head, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong– Let's Call the Whole Thing Off.
  9. Precursors to the Hip-Hop Revolution: Whodini – Freaks Come out at Night, Cameo – Candy, Guy – I Like, Grandmaster Flash - The Message
  10. Boy Bands (before Boy Bands went crazy): early Boyz II Men - MotownPhilly, New Edition – If it isn't Love, After 7 – Ready or Not.
  11. R&B classics: All them early LaFace Groups, h/t to Babyface – Whip Appeal. All them early Terry Lewis/Jimmy Jam tunes – Karyn White, where ya at? Minnie Ripperton – Memory Lane, Aretha Franklin – EVERYTHING but special shout out for Natural Woman, Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack – Where is the Love?
  12. Early Rap Classics: Craig Mack – Flava in Yo Ear, LL Cool J – Can't live without my Radio, Run DMX – It's Tricky

Okay, I stopped before I listed an entire catalog's worth of music. What songs/group do you consider to be "old school classics"? Be forewarned, if you respond with some nonsense like 98 degrees, prepared to be ridiculed. Comment at your own risk (ha!).

Bougie Movie Review: This Is It (mild spoiler)

Hold on, I'm still catching my breath. Let me put the Kleenex down too. Uh-oh, I almost sprained something trying to do my Smooth Criminal move on the hardwoods. [ALERT: Bougie down, Annie is not okay. OXYGEN needed!] Sitting my old ass down. Alright, I've collected myself. A few bullet points on This Is It:

  • Elvis fans – shoot yourself now. There is only one King and his name was Michael Joseph Jackson. He ETHERS all competition, there has been nor ever will be anyone like him. What This Is It shows you is pure artistic genius. This is an artist who knows what he wants and how to do it from lyrical intonation, to choreography, to film, to stage design. This man looked at a stage full of dancers and was able to say "She's the one." When a musician moved a nano-second too quickly from chord to chord, Michael stopped him and said, "Not so fast, you have to let it simmer. It needs to be bathed in moonlight." My creative heart just fluttered. Bathed in moonlight (stealing it).
  • I embarrassed BougieMom… just a little bit. From after the opening segment through the end credits, I (and most of the audience) sang, danced, clapped, and cheered. At one point I attempted to get up to do the Thriller dance and she cut me an indulgent but definite side-eye. I eased back into the seat. To compound issues, we were in a theater that served food and drinks and yes, I ordered the gigantic Long Island Iced Tea. Since I hadn't eaten since breakfast by four sips in, I was feeling every bit of the groove. More than once I let, "Get it Michael, you go boy!" fall right out of my mouth.

  • I won't spoil which songs he sings or what the overall show feels like except to say that it's an extravaganza for the senses. From start to close, it showcases amazing talent, dedication and attention to detail. Honestly, his rehearsal footage was better than most live performances I've been to. As we are all sadly aware, most of today's "marquee" singers can't hold a note without production help and autotune. This dude not only breaks off acapella riffs, he mimics instruments with his voice to let the musician know how it's supposed to sound.

  • His doctor deserves to be shot. It comes to you about midway through the movie that this is a guy FULL of life and focused on the future. If he was some sort of doped-up druggie, he hid it amazingly well. Hell, I was tired just watching him move around. I really had to make a conscious decision to enjoy the feeling and the music and not dwell on the grief. But it was very hard to reconcile this vibrant live wire of an entertainer with someone who is no longer with us. You look at him up there larger than life and cannot comprehend how he ended up dead. If the jury for Dr. Caribbean Kevorkian's trial sees this movie, he's going under the jail.

  • My favorite quote that I will be stealing and using immediately: Michael is gently yet sharply correcting the crew on something and after he makes his point he says, "This is said with all love. L-O-V-E." I immediately said, "I'm stealing that." BougieMom sighed, "I know baby, it sounded like you."

  • Final note: No one wanted to leave the theater. Literally, the credits were nearing the end and everyone was still lingering. It was like leaving the theater was severing our last connection with him.

What else can I tell you except go see this film? Seriously. Now. Stop what you are doing and go see it this instant. Even if you weren't a Michael Jackson fan (what's WRONG with you), this is a film worth seeing. I'm in humbled awe after witnessing greatness. Really, just go see it. Even if you don't get all emotionally giddy like I did, it's a great entertainment. I give it five purple boots.

Music to kick start the revolution

Let's take a darker turn on BnB Music Week.

Every mood needs music to match. And speaking of matches, sometimes you just gotta set it off. Whether it's getting in a workout or getting your head right before work, every now and then you need some music that says I have a gallon of gas and a Bic lighter… try me. Personally, I can't work out to passive music. I need a banging angry beat to match my mood (hate working out!). I mean, I don't need to Cardio-Box to Maxwell.

Sometimes your environment sets your musical taste. There was one entire year that I drove to work at a job I hated with my fist balled up and teeth on perma-clench. [Blogger's Note: It's not a good idea to listen to P.E.'s Can't Truss It on repeat on your way to the Paycheck Plantation. You spend all day daring somebody with your eyes to say something stupid… anything.] Moving on, these songs aren't necessarily about positivity. A good revolutionary "might catch a case today" anthem is angry, has a beat you can punch repetitively to and a chorus that you can mutter under your breath or scream at the top of your lungs. So I present in no particular order some tunes from my Set It Off playlist:

  1. Made You Look by Nas: Any song with gunplay in the chorus is a guaranteed firestarter
  2. Uptown Anthem by Naughty by Nature: This song breaking, bashing and smashing things, nuff said.
  3. Enter Sandman by Metallica: Scary song. This band is the devil disguised as musicians. But this song rocks.
  4. Public Enemy (defy you to pick only one or two): Fight the Power and 911 is a Joke to start and the list goes on
  5. Up in Here by DMX: Just burn your office down now. (unless you work at home, in which case go with the neighbor whose dog can't find their lawn – their house will do)
  6. Slap by Ludacris: It's a slower tune but how can you go wrong with a chorus like, "I feeling like slapping somebody today?"
  7. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana: The only grunge song that was 100% okay by me
  8. I don't give a/Only God can judge me by 2Pac: Pac was a revolutionary, it's only fair he kick start the revolution
  9. Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit: All in the title
  10. Rising Up by the Roots featuring Chrisette Michele: I almost twisted something jammin' to this yesterday. Damn those Roots can play!
  11. Rompe by Daddy Yankee: Rompe means Break in English, say no more
  12. NWA/Dre/Ice Cube there are enough songs to fill box sets for the revolution
  13. We Takin' Over/Out Here Grindin' by DJ Khaled: Yes, my bougie butt loves songs about folks hustlin' in the streets. Probably cuz I ain't out there with 'em
  14. Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n Roses: Monster guitar riffs and crazy vocals keep this perennial stadium banger on my list
  15. Bring 'em Out by T.I.: Dirty South rappin' about mayhem and mischief making, what's not to love?
  16. Just to Get By by Talib Kweli: I spent a year wearing this song out. Listening to it again right, makes you want to Just.Do.Better.
  17. Steady Bounce by KRS One: Deep Cut, if you don't know… ask somebody
  18. Green Day – pick a song, any song, they pretty much own the rock anthem these days, the first sixteen bars of Holiday are enough to start a riot
  19. Can I get a by Jay-Z: Get your bounce on!
  20. B.O.B. (Bombs over Baghdad) by Outkast: Frenetic beat with lyrics to match, this one makes me weary trying to keep up on the treadmill

And for my femme anthems, these still make me want to kick some a! but with pumps on:

  1. Fighter by Christina Aquilera
  2. Latifah's had it up to here by Queen La
  3. You Oughta Know by Alanis Morrissette
  4. Karma (the Reggaeton Remix) by Alicia Keys
  5. Just a Girl by No Doubt

Okay, let's hear it… what song makes you want to go all Rock-Star-In-the-Four-Seasons and tear a place apart? If the revolution starts tomorrow, what's on the playlist? What songs do you work out to? What the heck is Convict Music? And after reading this post are you worried that I'm going to set something aflame? Hey, no one said Bougie can't be a little militant.

Music to say “I’m done, son!”

Next up on BnB Music week: it's the break up song, otherwise known as "pack yo' sh!t" music. To be an effective break-up song, the tune needs to be crisp, concise, clear and not open to interpretation. When you put this song on repeat and put your hand out for the key, the scene should really sing, you know? When you blare this from the speakers while tossing clothes out the window, the song (and shoes whizzing by the ears) should really say it all. When my niece was walking around with her fist balled up singing JoJo's Leave (Get Out) I thought, aw – another generation learns. Music so often has the ability to say exactly what you would if you had a bank of writers scripting your life. I recall a girlfriend of mine getting a letter from her boyfriend. He started with, "Basically, gurl: my love has left." Yeah, next time, son just send a mixtape! So, in no particular order, here are 25 songs from my iPod Playlist called "Deuces!"

  1. After the Love Has Gone by Earth, Wind and Fire
  2. Walk on By by Dionne Warwick
  3. Consider Me Gone by Sting
  4. Moving Out by Billy Joel
  5. There you go/So What by Pink
  6. I've gotta move on/Separate Ways by Lalah Hathaway
  7. Epiphany (I'm leaving) by Chrisette Michele
  8. Call Tyrone by Erykah Badu
  9. My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne
  10. Breakin' the habit by Linkin Park
  11. Don't Speak/Ex-Girlfriend by No Doubt
  12. Irreplaceable by Beyonce
  13. Been Loving you (a little too long) by Otis Redding
  14. You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi
  15. Too much, too little, too late Johnny Mathis w/ Deniece Williams
  16. I used to love him/Ex-Factor by Lauryn Hill
  17. I fall to Pieces by Patsy Cline
  18. Bye, Bye, Bye by NSYNC
  19. Cry me a River by Harry Connick Jr (h/t to Justin Timberlake tune by same name)
  20. F.O.D. (F! off and Die) by Green Day
  21. Goodbye Girl by Go West
  22. Goodbye to You by Michelle Branch
  23. He Wasn't Man Enough for me by Toni Braxton
  24. Hit em Up style by Blu Cantrell
  25. Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles

I'm also going to go Honorable Mention for those songs that are about a break-up coming but you still wanna stop it before it happens:

  1. I Try by Will Downing
  2. Neither one of us by Gladys Knight and the Pips
  3. Don't Leave me Girl by Guy
  4. Don't you want me by Human League
  5. Don't Leave me this way by Thelma Houston
  6. 50 ways to leave your lover by Paul Simon
  7. Ain't gonna let you (break my heart again) by Bonnie Raitt
  8. Careless Whisper by Wham!
  9. Never Loved a Man by Aretha Franklin
  10. Mr Wrong by Sade

In my mind, my life is a great movie with a soundtrack to match. Next time I throw up the peace sign and moonwalk backwards out of some dude's life (cue the wind machine for my hair and roll the smoky mist in from the left), I need my tunes right. So BougieLand, whatcha got? What is the greatest break-up song EVER? What is your favorite break up tune?

Music for couples counseling

First up on BnB Music Week – songs that don't reflect well on your relationship. Yes, we're talking Dysfunctional Relationship Songs. Awhile ago I'm driving in the car with a girlfriend of mine and we are singing along to some tunes. One song comes on and she gets all teary-eyed, "Ah, that used to be our song." Swear to you, I almost wrecked the car. We were listening to Puddle of Mudd: Control. For those of you not up on your alternative anthems, here are some of the lyrics:

I love the way you rake my skin, I feel the hate you place inside, I need to get your voice out of my head, cause I'm that guy you'll never find
I think you know all of the rules, there's no expression on your face, I'm hope that someday you will let me go, release me from my dirty cage
I need to feel you, you need to feel me, I can't control you, you're not the one for me, no
I can't control you, you can't control me, I need to feel you, so why's there even you and me?

In case ya'll don't know – that's not a love song. If this is you and your boo's "song"… ya'll got some issues. I am talking super-serious 'check in with your parole officer' issues. Your relationship song should say something about you and yours like 1) We love each other or 2) We have a lot of sex or even 3)We go through some things but still love each other and have a lot of sex. Those are sentiments we get. But if one of the following is your song, we'd like to suggest some couples counseling… post haste:

  1. Love is Stronger than Pride by Sade: One of the prettiest songs ever written but truly heart-breaking if you take a listen: I won't pretend that I intend to stop living. I won't pretend I'm good at forgiving. But I can't hate you, although I have tried. I still really really love you. Love is stronger than pride. I still really really love you. Basically old girl is saying that she cannot stand you or the crazy sh!t you do but dammit she loves you anyway. For something different, check out Rahsaan Patterson's version of this song.

  2. I Can't Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt: It's in the title people – one person doesn't love the other. How is this your song? Peep a verse: Cause I can't make you love me if you don't. I'll close my eyes, then I won't see the love you don't feel when you're holdin' me. Mornin' will come and I'll do what's right, just give me till then to give up this fight. She wants one more night before she admits that the relationship is d-e-a-d. Death of relationship should not be ya'lls song. Another great version of this song is done by Will Downing.

  3. Every Breath You Take by the Police: Sting recently came out in an interview and said how horrified he was that this was people's wedding song. He wrote the song in a kind of jealous stalker hateration rage and never intended for it to be a love song. Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I'll be watching you. Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, every night you stay, I'll be watching you. I only have one thing to say to this: Security! If you want a haunting, lyrical Police song that actually speaks to love, give Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic a shot.

  4. Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin by Journey: Yeah um – this song is not about what you think it is. Check out a verse: You make me weep and wanna die just when you said we'd try lovin', touchin', squeezin' each other. When I'm alone all by myself, you're out with someone else lovin', touchin', squeezin' each other. It won't be long, yes till you're alone. When your lover, oh, he has'nt come home cause he's lovin' oh, he's touchin', he's squeezin' another. This is more of a cheating redemption anthem than a love song. If you want a great Journey love song, go for Faithfully.

I'm just saying, your relationship song should be a bit more meaningful than Blame it (on the Alcohol), say more than Birthday Sex and be something you aren't ashamed to listen to in the future (The Thong Song?). My last "relationship song" was You by Raheem DeVaughn. Probably should have been Bad Habits by Maxwell. Such is life.

Got a relationship song to share? What is the most inappropriate relationship song ever (besides Roxanne)?

Music Week Sleeper Pick: Whatcha know about Lalah Hathaway?

Lalah Hathaway (daughter of the late, great Donny) is one of the most slept on artists of our time. She has a sultry alto/contralto voice that when paired with her meaningful lyrics and artful arrangements set a mood and tone that should not be missed. Her music is a blend of old school soul, neo-soul and jazzy R&B. Recently asked about why she is not more of a powerhouse in the music industry, Lalah replied that she doesn't want to fit into the music industry's current standards. Lalah stated, "I don't necessarily want to fit into what's happening now, but I want to stand with it, doing my own thing. I would really love it if people need the record. I put a lot of myself into this album, so I hope people can hear me and understand who I am."

Her debut album, Lalah Hathaway, (singles Baby Don't Cry, Somethin' and Heaven Knows) came out in 1990. Her fifth studio album Self Portrait came out in 2008. In between she has done some amazing work, a few of my favorites being Love Like This (with Grover Washington, Jr), Forever, For Always, For Love (from the Luther Vandross Tribute album for which she was nominated for a Grammy) and a deep hard to find cut Summertime (with Marcus Miller). She has made over 25 featured appearances on other artists' albums and her voice is a distinctive jewel that rides a melody. If you get a chance to see her live, do not miss the opportunity. Her live performances are always extended cuts of her album versions in a way that less talented performers cannot pull off. Here she is performing Forever, For Always, For Love live (deepest darkest regrets and apologies for the BET Mo'Nique show, I couldn't find clearer video), enjoy:

Up this week on BnB: Music Week!

I've always been a mixtape girl. I have always been the girl whose friends said, "Burn me a copy of that!" Back in my dual cassette days, my mixes were the hotness. My poor exes have been the recipients of more middle-of-the-night message music CDs than you can imagine. In the words of one ex-SO, "Damn, you mad, huh?" Why yes, yes I was. And since talking wasn't getting my point across, I burned fourteen songs on a CD and tossed it at him as he walked out the door. Hey, getting a mix-CD from me meant I cared enough to research songs and put them in a specific order.

Now, with the progression of digital downloading, music sharing and the like, I don't even have to burn the CD. I can email folks a "listen and weep" playlist, I can gift an entire "so over this" iTunes mix and know they take my meaning.

Music has always been a big part of the BougieHousehold. I've been fortunate enough to be exposed to all types of music from opera to country to metal to hip hop. I've found something to like in just about every genre. Back in the day, I winced at BougieDad with the reggae and the calypso but now I love some Bob Marley and can appreciate a Harry Belafonte tune. BougieOlderBro terrorized us with Isley Brothers all day every day to the point that it took me ten years to listen to them again. BougieYoungerBro spent an entire summer with A Tribe Called Quest on repeat (long live Q-Tip). BougieSis would listen to Harry Connick Jr and Michael Bublé all day if allowed. I've found something to like in just about every genre.

At any rate, this week I'll just pick some themes and talk about a few favorites. We're going to explore some messages in the music. I'm giving the side-eye to couples whose "song" has me sliding them a relationship counselor's card. We're going to take some polls and debate some slept on artists. Come by to check it out and bring a friend.