Silk Rhodes

Text by KralTunes

***Opinions expressed in this article are not endorsed nor representative of Tonight At Dawn***

Baltimore’s Sasha Desree and Michael Collins pay homage to the soulful funk of the late 70’s in their self-titled release, SILK RHODES. The intro (aptly dubbed INTRO) serves up some funky R&B instrumentals that segue into the lead single. Ultimately, “Pains” serves as a precursor for the entire album; it imbibes slinky and simplistic beats with grooves that encompass Desree’s sultry, falsetto lyrics.

Still the duo veers away from straight R&B at times and makes a satisfying hard left into a funk, with tracks like “Face to Face” and “Reeltime”.  Then the album takes a smooth right into the slow, booty bumping instrumental “Personal Use” before easing into drone-funk. Each of these sparsely laid tracks feature one specific instrument that is accompanied by the bedrock bass/drum combo.

Although a formula of limited instrumentation can drag along like a monotonous landscape, Desree and Collins do a fine job of shifting gears just enough to make the trip enjoyable (it also helps that the whole album clocks out at 30 minutes).

Still, the interludes are hit or miss; the 30 second “Horizon Line” may exceed the useless “Laurie’s Machine” by miles, it is still unnecessary.  Armed with a nice looping groove, “Group 1987” is the best of these scenic overlooks.

Its ultra mellow lounge act may be more BEE GEES than COMMODORES for my taste, but SILK ROHDES still has the charm of taking you back to the music you heard while buckled (or not) into the backseat of the family car.

Silk Rhodes

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Ariana Grande- My Everything (My Jumping The Shark Moment)

Written by Joe K.

This is a test……this is only a test.

Ever since I started writing music reviews, I have stuck to music genres within my realm of interest. So in an attempt to spread my wings, I decided to write about something not in my wheelhouse. (If I am anything, it’s adventurous..just ask my boss @tonight at dawn). Today’s poor victim, aside from the readers, is Ariana Grande.

Ariana Grande’s name has been almost everywhere this past summer, which made me at least strangely curious.  Knowing full well what her musical type was, I decided to listen.  While I am not the biggest pop fan in existence, there are some songs from pop artists that I would actually say I like, but never an entire album. {OK, deep breath, Joe…you can do this}.

First, the positives (or near-positives):

1- This girl can sing really well.  She certainly can hold her own against a Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, or any others in that field.  This ballad heavy album showcases her singing abilities.

2- Hip-hop, R&B, dance and pop, are all well represented here.  If you like this type of music, there is plenty for you to enjoy; “Hands On Me” and “Break Free” comes to mind {Oh boy, might as well turn in your MAN CARD, big guy..}

3- The lyrics here are not terrible. Sure, they touch on all the anticipated notes (love lost, love found, breaking away from that loser of a boyfriend, and then falling right back into his arms), but it’s not downright bad.

4- {WAY too many positives here, Joe, someone might think you like this…} I do like the first single, “Problem“.  Sure, its predictable and comes complete with the typical candy coated rap verse center, but its fun. {Ignore that light-headedness for a few more minutes, champ…you’re doing God’s work}

Having said all that…

It is just sooooo damn formulaic! {You sound surprised, pal}.   I could have pulled out a pop album checklist and have all the boxes filled in by track 4. Such as…

1. Half of the tracks have a featured hip-hop artist. By the way, can any rapper start their verses without calling out “Uh”, or “Yeah”?  (Check)

2. Other than some ‘sexed-up’ moments, everything on this album screams “SAFE,”-not that I expected anything daring. (Check)

3. Stellar production that rings empty of any real artistic merits (Check)

4. Single-driven tracks. Half of these songs are unnecessary..I don’t even know why pop starts make full albums anymore. (Check)

I could go on about how the constant genre jumping from track-to-track impacts the flow of the album, or how the noticeable lack of more upbeat, danceable tracks also slows this album down way too much, but let’s not be too picky 😉

And with that, you have a standard middle of the road pop album that legions of young girls will undoubtedly buy and worship for approximately 5 minutes before the next big thing arrives.

And breathe….

twitter: @KralTunes