Soundwaves

Angie Stone, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, and Jazzanova

by Doug Rule
Published on July 8, 2004, 12:00am | Comments


Angie Stone: Stone Love

POP PROGNOSIS: GOOD… Don't let anybody tell you otherwise, but right now the prognosis for pop music is good. That is, if female R&B singer/songwriters are your standards of measurement -- and particularly in Clubland and Gayville, they are. Over the past few years quality neo-soul and thoughtful R&B has been steadily gaining steam in the mainstream. Just this week, Angie Stone returned to form with her third album, Stone Love, an appealing album demonstrating her penchant for upbeat mid-tempo balladry. The album balances modern hip-hop breezy beats with old-school soul humidity. Stone doesn't offer, yet again, true dance-pop here. But a remix of her jamming first single, “I Wanna Thank Ya” with Snoop Dogg, is forthcoming. Let's hope it's as sharp as Hex Hector and Mac Quayle's remix of Stone's “Wish I Didn't Miss You”…


Jill Scot: Vol 1

BEAUTIFUL WORDS & SOUNDS… It Stone's fellow Philly neo-soul singer/songwriter Jill Scott that is the season's most hotly anticipated comeback. Scott's 2000 double-platinum debut, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds, Vol. 1 featured several of the best songs of any genre composed in at least a decade. She made deft yet sparing use of jazz, blues and world-pop to color her brand of upbeat, midtempo neo-soul, making it exhilarating. But it was her supreme confidence with words and wordplay that made her deeply poetic tracks soar as classics, including “A Long Walk” and especially “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat),” our nominee for best pop love song ever written. Expect much the same when Scott releases her sophomore studio set, Beautifully Human, Words and Sounds, Vol. 2, at the end of August. She described the album to the Associated Press as "warm, like a hug, like a first kiss, like a kitten purring next to you." Before its release, Scott will perform in D.C., July 23 and 24, at the 9:30 Club. The lively performer has a large fan base here, where she once cut a live album. D.C.'s quintessential music sound, go-go, gave her hit “It's Love” its infectious party beat…


Diary of Alicia Keys

MEMOIRS OF A 23-YEAR-OLD… Another neo-soul singer/songwriter released her sophomore album late last year and has plans to branch out beyond writing music this year and next. Alicia Keys is the most commercially successful of the lot, the most boisterous and rebellious and the youngest. We didn't find her music terribly appealing on her first go-round, the Grammy-winning Songs in A Minor, but The Diary of Alicia Keys is far and away better than her debut, showing greater control over her nasal-inflected voice and a more mature, artful mixing of music from yesterday and today. Now that the she's firmed up her music, Keys is ready to branch out, like any precocious star at the top of her game. Keys will release in November a book, called Songbook, featuring nothing more than her poems and lyrics, and then, next fall, a memoir. A memoir at only 23 years of age? Strange as it sounds, yes. It shouldn't be too thick, as she recounts growing up in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen and her early musical training…


Mariah Carey: Remixes

MARIAH CAREY CARRIES ON… And last and definitely least, Mariah Carey also plans to write a book. Carey, however, will steer clear of memoir land -- at least for now, as the dust settles on her very-public emotional breakdown a few years back. Instead, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Carey will pen an illustrated children's book about a biracial orphan girl with the aim of turning it into an animated series. Her agent, as quoted in the paper, sounded a note or two defensive: “"The children's [project] is a very natural step. It's something she's worked on without the help of ghostwriters. She has a whole idea based on her biracial heritage; she thinks there is a huge audience." 

Meanwhile, Carey hasn't given up on recording, and her next album will be out later this year. And then -- yes, there's more -- Carey will take to the stage next year in London, in a play named, no joke, “The Prince and the Showgirl”…


Jazzanova: Mixes

DANCEFLOOR JAZZ COMES TO TOWN…A funked-up remix of Jill Scott's “A Long Walk” kicks off in grand fashion Jazzanova's first official mixed CD. After several years of creating music that straddles the line between jazz and dance-pop, this six-piece German DJ collective has just-released a carefully plotted eighty-minute journey distinctive from most dance compilations, yet completely at home in the club. To celebrate, they'll spin live this Saturday, July 10, at Club Five. The group veers a little too closely to smooth jazz sonics, or tripped-out acid jazz on their album …mixing. But it only works to highlight the sizzlers contained within…


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