BlinkkBeats: Aaliyah – “I Can Be”

SnapTrakks, Soundtrek

Aaliyah would have been 32 today; so, in light of the modern-iconic urban songstress’ birthday let’s snap back to a classic track from her unforgettable 2001 release, Aaliyah. Press play, and rewind to a finer time… relax, and think back to all the things Babygirl could have grown up to be – but more importantly, the lasting impression of her current legacy: happy birthday Aaliyah.

The subterranean silk sleeper swag comes through best in the bombastic “I Can Be.” Beautiful, minimalistic piano plays off of Aaliyah’s lyrical sighs and echos before the raw industrial beat drops. Synths and guitars conversing like a 21st century futuristic dialogue between Charlie Brown’s wahh-wahh teacher’s bipolar selves, heavy deliberate bass beneath the precisely calculated snare and rasp of the delayed hi-hat, all building around the airy one minute/definitive the next vocals; all building to a subtly superlative peak before the track cuts.

Dime Dailies: New Music Monday Melange – May 24, 2010

Pop Culture, Soundtrek, Uncategorized

Ello, ello! (Baby you called I can’t hear a thing…) It’s been awhile (read: far too long) since I’ve posted a sampler smattering of what I’m listening to, but today I felt particularly inspired. So, here goes: a… sampler smattering of what I’m listening to today.

“Toxic” (Britney Spears Cover) (16 Bit Dubstep Remix) – Yael Naim

This remix is by no means new, but it is the definition of fresh. We all know and love the original. Hopefully a lot of you have been enjoying Yael Naim’s sugary cover for years now. But now, 16 Bit have brought it home. Their dubstep remix adds layers of sound that accent Naim’s already fragile-sounding voice, making the cover sound like a music box that could break at any moment. We pray it won’t, and the suspense is half the fun.

Courtesy of Pretty Much Amazing

“Unforgettable” ft. Young Jeezy – Wheelchair Jimmy

DimePieces: In Case You Missed It – 2000: “Try Again”

Pop Culture, Uncategorized

It being the last month of the decade everyone’s dropping their recaps of the 2000s thus far – Y2K bug, artists of the decade, monumental moments, etc. – but when I think of the decade in Pop I think back to the subtle moments – easily missed – that set the tone for everything that followed.

In case you missed it: Aaliyah’s “Try Again” was the decade’s first Female Video of the Year – a most apropos harbinger to the next 10 years of female pop and, oddly enough, politics as well.

“If at first you don’t succeed…”

“If you’re lookin’ for trouble, you came to the right place,” trouble: check; YouTube resolution as blurry as Brit’s that night: check.

Unforgettable, Vol. 7: Aaliyah – Aaliyah

Pop Culture, Soundtrek

Age ain’t nothin’ but a number, gettin’ down ain’t nothin but a thang…

so simple, so straight-forward, so smooth –– so very extra smooth. At 14, Aaliyah set the foundation for a theme that would resonate through her career. Aaliyah was (forgive the overused terminology, but) subterranean silk sleeper swag: well-versed within the R&B/Hip-Hop arenas –– though never breaking to Beyonce or Alicia Keys status (which added to her persona –– she wasn’t a diva, she was fierce just being Babygirl), enlisting on the likes of two unknowns: Missy Elliott and Tim Mosely (Google them, I think they’ve got some independent tracks on YouTube) after working with the 90s R&B staple, R. Kelly, smooth vocals –– not overbearing but instrumental in her signature harmonies –– and so incredibly laid back in a take-it-or-leave-it way.

Her classic “street but sweet” aura personified the era of urban contemporary music. Forever under the lingering shadow of controversial marriage rumors, her age was nothin’ but a number indeed; and forever in the midst of an unfaltering ability to effortlessly exude –– and be the essence of –– urban contemporary culture meant gettin’ down (and making music for you to get down to) was nothin’ but a thang.

Throwback Thursday: May 7th


So I’m spring cleaning in prep for graduation/22nd bday weekend, and iTunes/iPod compiled quite a brilliant playlist I must say — although it’s not too tough a task with my exceptionally brilliant library, but that’s neither here nor there.

Point is: in the midst of the final days of my undergrad career, I’m throwing back to my music mode from the first days of my highschool career.

Hands down the soundtrack of my Summer/Fall 2001 was Aaliyah‘s Aaliyah. Timbaland and Static integrated electronic, r&b, industrial, jazz, pop, latin, and hip-hop to produce a futuristic urban pop album — easily one of the best of the era.

It was apparent from the jump, We Need a Resolution, that Timbaland went hard for his muse as always…

Classic Timbaland (before he was “Timbaland”) — the human drum machine: deep heartbeat-like kick drum, intermitten claps playing off the snare, inhale/exhale undertone like a hi-hat ; distorted solo string set underscoring the vocals; low-riding piano clips … all in a in a constant multilayered stacatto sonicscape — like a running set of mini-chord progressions, with a smattering of Pharrell-esque Moet chimes to boot.

Good times. Bittersweet nostalgia.

Aaliyah propelled Aaliyah to the forefront of young hot hip-hop, and for good reason, it was stunningly solid —  and it didn’t hurt to have Dame Dash in the pocket either (side thought: if Aaliyah and Dame panned out, how crazy could the Roc la Familia Dynasty have been with them and Jayonce?)

Bittersweetly, the album cemented Aaliyah’s potential — what she could have been — as it was her last.

Long story short: the album was as fresh as I was in ninth grade, and the sound is relevant now — I’m sure there’s a parallel to my equal abstract relevance somewhere in there …

If you don’t have it, get it … if only for good Spring cleaning music. It is also eerily perma-contemporary.

Second opinion:

Still solid.