Results for Alicia Keys

interviews

Seinabo Sey

Swedish artist Seinabo Sey may be a bit of an old soul, but her music is breaking new ground. This week, Greg and Jim chat with pop/neo soul singer Seinabo Sey, who just released her debut album Pretend. Sey was raised in Sweden, born to a Swedish mother and a Gambian father (musician Maudo Sey), but growing up, she idolized American pop & R&B stars like Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and Alicia Keys, which is evident in her sound.

A few years ago, she teamed up with Magnus Lidehäll, an accomplished producer who has worked with Katy Perry, David Guetta, Avicii and more. The result really lets Sey's authetic voice shine through.

Go to episode 545
reviews
As I AmAs I Am available on iTunes

Alicia Keys As I Am

Alicia Keys has a record out this week that's poised to be #1. Keys has been groomed by Clive Davis in the old school star-making machine, and has become one of the biggest recording artists of this decade. Jim has never been overly impressed by Keys' style which is part polished R&B, part gritty hip hop. But, As I Am is so campy and over the top, that he found himself enjoying the record…even the John Mayer duet. Like a bag of candy, Jim knows it's not good for him, but he gives the record a Buy It. Greg wants to like Keys a lot more; she's obviously got real talent. But, he thinks her lyrics are nothing but a string of clichés. He also wishes she wasn't so bogged down by the over-production. He gives As I Am a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 103
The Element of Freedom (Deluxe Version)The Element of Freedom available on iTunes

Alicia Keys The Element of Freedom

Pop and R&B singer Alicia Keys also has a new album out this week called The Element of Freedom. This is the 4th record from one of the biggest artists of the last decade, and according to Greg, she's being more conservative and less gimmicky. The album is therefore more consistent, but lacks the rough edges you can hear in a song like "Love is My Disease." He wishes she'd let lose more and gives the record a Burn It rating. Jim is able to overlook Keys‘ horrible lyrics, but can’t get over the hair metal production. He thinks these songs fit better in the hands of Jon Bon Jovi and gives The Element of Freedom a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 215
Girl On FireGirl on Fire available on iTunes

Alicia Keys Girl on Fire

Since sweeping the Grammys in 2002 with her debut album, Songs in A Minor, some things have changed for piano pop star Alicia Keys. She's married to producer Swizz Beatz and has a young son named Egypt. Alicia might be a“Brand New Me,”but on her fifth studio album, Girl on Fire, she's out to convince us that she's still“red hot.”Does she succeed? Unfortunately, Greg says there's no spark here. While there's no questions Keys has chops, and she's heavily involved in the songwriting, album number five still doesn't let us in on who this pop diva really is. He adds that Alicia reminds him of a talented pro-athlete who, when faced with an interviewer, spouts mindless clich'es. Jim agrees-there's no soul here. Girl on Fire is a piece of pop product circa 2012, and it gets a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 369
Thank Me LaterThank Me Later available on iTunes

Drake Thank Me Later

Thank Me Later, the debut album from rapper Drake, went to #1 this week, and Jim and Greg have no doubt that the young Toronto artist has a long career ahead of him. Previously best known as the wheelchair-bound Jimmy on the teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation, Drake and his MC skills caught the attention of Lil Wayne. Wayne, along with Kanye West, Alicia Keys and a number of other heavy hitters join Drake on Thank Me Later, but it's a testament to his strength as a performer that he's not overshadowed by any of the guest stars, according to Jim. He presents a thoughtful album that focuses on hip hop's latest drug–celebrity. Jim calls the record introspective and brilliantly minimalistic and gives it a Buy It. Greg agrees, noting that Drake lacks the typical rap bravado. It's fascinating, but also monochromatic, meaning you'll need to sit and live with the record for a while. Thank Me Later gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 239
The Breakthrough (Bonus Tracks)Mary available on iTunes

Mary J. Blige Mary

Jim and Greg next review the latest release from reigning R&B queen Mary J. Blige. Blige is an artist who has been put through the ringer, but things were a lot more stable during the making of The Breakthrough. This didn‘t affect Blige’s sound, however, which is as gritty as ever. While Jim and Greg prefer the singer live, they agree that this is Blige's best album since 1992's What's the 411. (Sound Opinions H.Q. also recommends her 1999 release Mary). Our hosts are especially impressed with how Blige manages not to be overshined by the presence of so many star producers like Dr. Dre, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Will.i.am, nor star guests like Jay-Z, Raphael Saadiq and Nina Simone (from the beyond). Fellow divas Beyoncé Knowles and Alicia Keys can't always say that.

JimGreg
Go to episode 6
I Look to YouI Look To You available on iTunes

Whitney Houston I Look To You

She was the queen of pop in the '80s and '90s, but for the past few years she's mostly been a punchline. Now Whitney Houston is back with a new record called I Look To You. Clive Davis has spared no expense on this comeback effort-pulling in big names like Swizz Beats, Alicia Keys and Diane Warren. Greg wishes those big names brought something bigger to the table. With the exception of "Million Dollar Bill," the one track where Greg hears Whitney getting“frisky,”she's mostly straight-jacketed and robotic. Greg gives the album a Trash It. Jim actually likes that the production keeps things focused on her voice. And he finds that voice still powerful and full of emotion. He gives I Look to You a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 196
Juno (Music from the Motion Picture)Juno available on iTunes

Kimya Dawson Juno

Before Jim and Greg launch into their discussion of the best movie soundtracks of all time, they review the soundtrack that's currently getting the most buzz. Juno, the little movie that could, is not only a success at the box office, but with music consumers as well. The soundtrack became the first Rhino record to hit #1 on the Billboard chart, and it was even able to topple Alicia Keys' recent release. The success of the Juno soundtrack is surprising considering how obscure many of the songs are. The album is dominated by tracks from The Moldy Peaches and its former lead singer Kimya Dawson. The success is also surprising to Jim because, well… he hates it. He's gone on record as not liking the movie, but Jim also thinks the album is completely unsuccessful. He finds Dawson's songwriting amateurish and childish gives the soundtrack a big Trash It. Greg agrees, explaining that it doesn't seem like Dawson knows the difference between childlike and childish, or between cute and cloying. He says Juno is really tough to listen to and also gives the soundtrack a Trash It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 116
lists

The Best Songs of 2007 - Mixtapes

Jim and Greg present their Mixtapes for 2007. Check out the track listing below.

Go to episode 109

Musical Road Trip

It's summer time, which means for many of us that road trips are on the horizon. Jim and Greg highlight some of their favorite songs about American cities, states, and regions, from Boston and New York in the east, all the way to California in the west. Of course, they also stop by the Great Plains and the south on the way.

Go to episode 603
news

Music News

Legendary hit-maker and label head Clive Davis announced that he'll be stepping down from his post at Sony BMG. He'll remain on as“chief creative officer,”but this is definitely a demotion for the man who broke the careers of Whitney Houston, Aerosmith, Alicia Keys, and most recently, Leona Lewis. With Lewis on the path towards diva-dom, why's Davis being pushed out now? Jim and Greg surmise that the music mogul just became too expensive for Sony? Davis is perhaps the perfect representation of the old way of doing business in the music industry. But with album sales down, music videos gone and music radio on the way out, it may be time for the old guard to change.

Fans of print music journalism will be disheartened by the next news item. According to recent reports, ad revenues for major music magazines like Rolling Stone, Vibe and Blender are significantly down this quarter. Only Spin is experiencing growth, but that's after a dismal couple of years. This comes after the news of smaller titles like Harp and No Depression closing up shop. Jim and Greg speak with No Depression co-editor and co-founder Peter Blackstock about the magazine's decision to cease publication. Blackstock sees this trend as evidence that there's been a devaluation of the written word in our culture. But, he's hopeful that the long-time alt-country title will be able to thrive on the web and in longer magazine/book form.

Go to episode 126

Music News

The music industry's transition into a digital economy has not been the smoothest. But, in England, artists are banding together to make sure their voices will be heard in this revolution. British musicians including Radiohead, Billy Bragg and Robbie Williams have formed the Featured Artists' Coalition to insure that they can maintain the rights to their music and have more say about distribution in the future. Artists have traditionally been“abused”by big music corporations, and Jim and Greg think the changing landscape of music gives musicians the perfect opportunity to get more rights. Hopefully musicians in the States can follow suit.

Filmgoers are eagerly anticipating the release of the next James Bond film. For now they'll have to settle for the new opening theme recorded by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Traditionally each Bond movie is accompanied by an original song, making it one of the biggest song franchises in history. Some were hits, and others were big misses. Neither Jim nor Greg think that the White/Keys collaboration ranks up there with great Bond tracks like "Goldfinger", "Nobody Does it Better", or "You Only Live Twice". They'd put it in the“misses”category with "The Living Daylights".

Go to episode 150

Music News

Jay Z just launched his music streaming service, Tidal, to the public. Kanye West, Madonna and Daft Punk were just a few of the artists who attended a press conference to announce their support for the service. According to emphatic speaker Alicia Keys, Tidal's mission is to give artists more control over how their music is distributed while taking some of the authority out of the hands of tech companies. The basic monthly fee is $9.99, while the premium, hi-fi subscription is $19.99. It will be interesting to see how the service will compete with giants like Spotify and Beats, or fellow artist Garth Brooks' brand Ghost Tunes.

This year Lollapalooza Festival is being anchored by a Beatle. Paul McCartney is one of the Lolla 2015 headliners, which also includes Metallica, Florence + the Machine, Sam Smith, Alabama Shakes and The Weeknd. This will be McCartney's first stint at Lollapalooza, though he previously played at Bonnaroo in 2013.

In other festival news, if you're planning on getting a pass, don't bring your selfie stick. Lollapalooza and Coachella have banned the photographic aids from the grounds as the monopods often block the views of other concertgoers and could be potentially dangerous. However rest assured, you can still take pictures and selfies as long as you use your arms like a normal person.

Go to episode 488