‘4’-telling

In her latest, Beyonce tries on new hats while relying on old tricks

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

…………………..

3 out of 5 stars
“4”
Beyonce
Columbia Records

…………………..

Fans might be scratching their heads with Beyonce’s new album, 4. Where is the explosive power? What is it with all these ballads? But she might be having the last laugh. Her fourth solo album (duh) might not have as many potential hit singles, but by dabbling with different formulas she delivers a respectable package — or at least a fascinating one.
Beyonce has proved she can churn out major pop and R&B hits that are smart, fun and have a certain sass, but she holds back big time on 4, setting a mellower tone with a collection of slower tempo tunes.

She croons old-school on the opener “1+1,” her foray into deeper soul. The song is elegant and a surprise, but the second track, “I Care,” makes a far stronger impression. The more mid-tempo ballad is restrained in her verses, but goes way lush in her chorus. The build-up to an emotive guitar solo feels a tad Michael Bolton-ish, but pulls back to a definitive groove.

DROP DEAD DIVA | Beyonce channels ‘80s adult contemporary in ‘4,’ but delivers impressive surprises.

Beyonce slyly fuses her R&B vocals over an ambient electronica beat on “I Miss You.” Is it weird this recalls Haddaway’s 1993 song by the same name? She smartly works with the tune to offer the song as a package rather than showing off her voice and results in a lovely moment. Why she has to rhyme I miss you/like every day/wanna be wichu/but you’re away is beyond me. We get it, B — you’re street and glam.

We’re already getting the impression that she’s given the album a top-heavy atmosphere of ballads that might lose listeners, then comes “Best Thing I Never Had,” co-written by Babyface, which doesn’t dispel this. The pace is picked up slightly but the song recalls those overly polished ‘80s “soul” hits found on lite radio stations (echoed later with “Rather Die Young” and “Love on Top”). She’s channeling her Patti Austin-Regina Belle with cheesy background choruses and keyboards. Let’s not discuss the Dianne Warren penned “I Was Here,” which is ready for movie montages and hackneyed trailers.

Sometimes I wondered if Beyonce was trying to get into some serious soul a la Leela James or Sharon Jones, but kept missing the mark with these smoothed-out tunes that don’t lend much to her attempts. With previous ballads like “Halo,” “Listen” or “Irreplaceable,” we could hear her distinct voice — literally and figuratively. Here, she gets lost and although she’s co-written most of her songs, there’s not a unique sense of the diva.

As if she realized that, she pumps up the jam in the final quarter of the 12-song collection. There’s a relief when the beat-heavy “Countdown” hits at track no. 9. Although disjointed, it’s a welcome reprieve from all her emoting. She does far better with her immediate follow-up “End of Time,” by which time she seems obsessed with drumline beats. She’s pulled it since Destiny’s Child with “Breathe” and most recently with “Single Ladies,” but the horns and that Beyonce swagger we’re used to recall the infectious sounds of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

She weirdly placed “I Was Here” in between the happening upbeat songs and kills the mood. But she closes out with her misfired hit “Run the World (Girls).” Again with the military beats, the song didn’t take the world by storm like she probably hoped, but it puts the energy of the album in overload. I couldn’t stand hearing it at award shows or Oprah’s farewell, but after mellowing out for over half an hour, the song saves the album, ending it with a bang. The girl-power message seems passé but that doesn’t make it less fun.
I applaud Beyonce’s efforts not to deliver the obvious. Face it: We all want another “Crazy in Love,” but instead, she opted to stick to her guns and try something new, even if some of it sounded like it was three decades old. Despite its stumbles and confusing paths, 4 could be the one album we look to as her most daring.   •

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 8, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Concert Notice: South Side Music Hall announces Robyn coming to town in February

The peeps at Gilley’s Music Complex scored a sweet show for their mid-size venue, the South Side Music Hall. They just announced that pop singer Robyn will perform at SSMH Feb. 18. So glad it’s in this room because it’s big enough to be a fab dance party, but not too big that you couldn’t see her up close. OK, if you’re in the waaay back, then it’s a bit far.

If you’ve been paying attention to Robyn, she’s finishing a trilogy of releases over the year with today’s release of Body Talk Pt. 3 or the kinda culminating full-length Body Talk. She released Body Talk Pt. 1 back in June and followed with  Pt. 2 in September. The first yielded the smash hit “Dancing On My Own,” which I’d dare to say is dance/pop at some of its smartest. The rest of the EP follows suit, especially after the bold opener “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do.”  The entire album was an impressive display of writing and music that’s been a Euro-alternative to American pop princesses over the years from Britney to Beyonce to Gaga.

Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 at the door and go on sale Friday.

—  Rich Lopez

Reba McEntire Covers Beyonce

I really like this. Stand by for the remixes.

(Via – Buzzfeed)

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Cazwell brings his ‘Ice Cream Truck’ to Station 4

Cazwell is serious about his music … even if he is a club diva

CazwellIn this week’s issue, Cazwell talked with the Dallas Voice about his approach to music. Just because he’s all about beefcake and sexy, funny lyrics doesn’t mean you should take him less seriously as a musician. He’ll tell you why.

The last time we saw Cazwell in town was at the now-defunct minc in Exposition Park. Then he was first touted as the gay Eminem, but he’s really in his own league layering outrageous raps over dance music. He’s more fun than Eminem with songs like “I Seen Beyonce at Burger King” and “All Over Your Face” from his 2009 album Watch My Mouth. The rapper-singer’s newest hit, “Ice Cream Truck,” is big on the dance floor which I’m sure has nothing to do with the video.

He performs an 18-and-up show at S4 on Sept. 30 at midnight. After his performance, he’s gonna stick around for a Meet and Greet. Maybe he’ll have a Bomb Pop just for you.

DEETS: Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. Sept. 30 at midnight. Doors at 9 p.m. $15. Caven.com.

—  Rich Lopez

REVIEW: Semi Precious Weapons at The Loft, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings at the Palladium

Justin Tranter
FOR MORE PICS OF THE SHOW, GO HERE.

Suffice it to say, I did not see Semi Precious Weapons go on stage. I was downstairs in the Palladium Showroom catching Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings do their thing. But more on that later. Walking upstairs into The Loft, I could immediately hear the band jamming out its punk glam rock to a raucous crowd.

Sure enough, a tight crowd pressed against each other and the stage with hands in the air like they just didn’t care. Although SPW is a band, the show is really about its frontman Justin Tranter. Perhaps he’s waiting for his Beyonce moment to break away from the band and become the star he should be. Tranter owned both the band and the crowd. His presence is huge with his mop top of blond hair and heavy eye make-up, but also with his inherent diva qualities. With fey hand gestures and funny “fuck yous” to the crowd, he actually bonds with his audience. It’s all so punk rock.

SPW’s fans are a breed unto themselves. They knew every word to the songs and responded with haste when Tranter commanded them to. When he told people to take off their clothes, garments immediately started flying to the stage. His antics made for a worthy show. He made sure everyone was “Sticky With Champagne” as he pretty much jacked off a bottle and sprayed the bubbly load all over the audience. He then bore his ass, and one guy suggested there might have been balls involved. I missed that photo opp. Maybe it was a good thing. He promised sexual favors if the crowd bought his merch and a spray of water was a cool bath amid the sweaty hot crowd.

Sharon Jones

Just don’t think he’s all shock value and schtick. The band (especially the guitars) was sharp and each instrument came off lush but sharp and beautifully loud. The music was matched by Tranter’s strong voice — especially in “Fucking Gorgeous” — which at times was reminiscent of The Clash’s Joe Strummer — powerful with the slightest tint of delicacy that gave him extra pizzazz. Tranter also didn’t sacrifice his voice for an outlandish rock persona. He belted out a few vocal runs complete with vibrato but kept it under the cheesy radar.

The energy SPW had here to a crowd of maybe 150 was exponentially better than their opening gig at Lady Gaga this summer. I almost would hate for them to get bigger because SPW was on top of their game and clearly at home in a tinier venue like The Loft.

Downstairs in the Palladium Showroom, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings was performing her soulful gig. And just like Tranter, Jones captivated with frantic dancing and those beautifully rich and gritty vocal chords — that is when you could hear her.

I’m not sure how this worked, but being up close, I could barely hear a word she said, much less sang. The Dap-Kings however were crisp and clear — especially the horn section. I had to leave for SPW and then came back and from the rear of the standing audience, Jones was a whole lot clearer.

Jones has unique appeal. The gays weren’t out in force but a few were in the audience grooving along with the mostly 20-something hipsters who seemed to have genuine appreciation for her music rather than just jumping on some nostalgic trend recycling its way through. And regardless of who was in the audience, young or old, Jones and the Kings had the crowd dancing, which was kind of a shocker in Dallas. Audiences here tend to just watch. It’s weird. But last night, this Dallas crowd grooved, shimmied and shook through each song.

I do wish they had peppered more ballads in. Jones’ voice is something to behold but it seemed like 95 percent of the show was overly upbeat. That’s never a bad thing but heck, we needed a break, too! Regardless, Jones and her very able Dap Kings gave one of the most satisfying shows of the year so far.

Grace Potter and the NocturnalsFans of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals should have been equally satisfied if not ass-kicked. Despite opener status for Jones, Potter and the gang went for broke with her raucous performance. Her dirty roots rock pretty much tsunami-ed the room. To top it off, she went from guitars to piano to tambourine and struck a pose each time. Drag queens should look her up as influence, if she hasn’t already done that vice versa for her onstage presence. In an almost peek-a-boo short, shimmery dress, she was feminine but rocked out like many a male rocker from the hair-teased 80s. Her set began to go just a little too long, mostly because it felt the energy in the room was buzzing for Jones. But Potter played like she would for a sold-out crowd at the Cotton Bowl and it ruled.

So, all in all, it was a pretty good night for a concert — even two.

—  Rich Lopez

Concert Notice: Homo hip-hopper Cazwell will bring his ‘Ice Cream Truck’ to S4 on Sept. 30

Caven has just announced that the “Ice Cream Truck” is heading to Station 4 next month. And by that, I mean hip-pop homo hottie Cazwell is coming to town. The last time we saw Cazwell in town was at the now-defunct minc in Exposition Park. The rapper-singer’s hit is big on the dance floor which I’m sure has NOTHING to do with the above video.

He was first touted as the gay Eminem, but instead I think he’s in his own league layering outrageous raps over dance music. He’s more fun than Eminem with other songs like “I Seen Beyonce at Burger King” and “All Over Your Face” from his 2009 album Watch My Mouth.

He performs an 18-and-up show at S4 on Sept. 30 at midnight. After his performance, he’s gonna stick around for a Meet and Greet. Maybe he’ll have a Bomb Pop just for you.

Cazwell

—  Rich Lopez

"Telephone" — The Afghanistan remake

Found this online and just had to share.

It’s a remake of Lady Gaga’s and Beyonce’s “Telephone” video. Well, looks more like a re-interpretation than remake. But either way, it’s a blast.

mobile games rpg onlineпродвижение бренда компании

—  admin

Lady Gaga's new video is epic, just not great

I hadn’t heard this much buzz about a music video since Michael Jackson was releasing his mini-movies back in his Bad and Dangerous days. But the Web was abuzz with pics and gossip about Lady Gaga’s premiere of her latest video, “Telephone.” Coming off a fairly brilliant video for “Bad Romance” and the featured role of Beyonce in this song, anticipation seemed to be off the charts for her newest. I kept hearing stuff like “Paparazzi sequel,” “Tarantino-esque” and yes, “epic.”

Buuuuut, after watching it’s premiere on E! last night, I wasn’t that overwhelmed. I can appreciate the efforts behind the nine-minute vid, but by the end, I just had a big question mark over my head. It’s fun in its homage to women’s prison movies and Kill Bill. The subtextual love affair between Gaga and Beyonce is somewhat priceless, but if she wants to make a tiny movie, nine minutes isn’t enough for a choppy narrative and disjointed music delivery. I think I’d be more interested to watch it’s edited down version just to hear the song.

I think Gaga missed the mark in matching her great club song to the video’s intentions — whatever they were.game angry racerпродвижение сайта интернет

—  Rich Lopez

Beyonce has 'Fever' and it's not good

Beyonce’s career has suffered from very few missteps, if any, but this new recording may be a big one. I just listened to her cover of Peggy Lee’s classic “Fever” released today. Although, I haven’t heard  if this is a single for a new album or just a random single to keep her in the spotlight.

Can’t say I’m buying this all that much. Her deep voice is a bit forced and because of that, she loses the right sex appeal needed for the song. It’s a miss and a mess. You can listen to a snippet of it here.

оптимизация сайта продвижение сайтов цены

—  Rich Lopez

Grammys Live Blog: Swift wins big and Beyonce waves her hair

Best Country Album: Taylor Swift clutches her pearls and slackjaws for her award.  Great dress though.

Is Simon Baker wearing Avatar 3-D glasses?

Beyonce’s crotch grab made me a little uncomfortable. But digging the “Rhythm Nation” back-up dancers although why exactly were they there?определить уникальность контентасервис проверки позиций сайта

—  Rich Lopez