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Music

The Best You Never Heard: R. Kelly, Lauryn Hill, JoJo, & Christina Aguilera

best u never 111 The Best You Never Heard: R. Kelly, Lauryn Hill, JoJo, & Christina Aguilera

This week’s  Best You Never Heard features little known gems by R. Kelly, Lauryn Hill, JoJo and Christina Aguilera.

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R. Kelly – ‘U Saved Me’

R&B great R. Kelly enjoys such status not simply because of his vocal prowess. Nor soley his prolific writing ability. Rather, it is the unparalleled versatility which defines the two, which has seen the 44 year old’s name become etched in music history.

Such versatility is perhaps best exemplified in the ‘Sex Me’ singer’s foray into Inspirational / Gospel-tinged territory. While successful releases such as ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and the Kelly-penned Whitney Houston single ‘I Look To You’ provide solid examples of this, I argue lesser known cuts such as 2004’s ‘U Saved Me’ to serve as the best of an impeccable bunch.

Lyrical story-telling at its best, with ‘U Saved Me’, Kelly delivers a triumphant series of narratives centred on hope and defying the odds. Dually engaging and uplifting, one’s spirit can’t help but be joyous upon listening to this one – regardless of the barer of the message. {SAM}

LISTEN:

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Lauryn Hill – ‘I Used To Love Him (ft. Mary J. Blige’

Honest. That is the word that best describes the music of the legendary Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige. The power of their vocal performances stems not from expansive vocal ranges or robust belting but from passion and conviction.

This point is aptly reflected in ‘I Used To Love Him’ which was included on Hill’s iconic ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ album. Written and produced by Hill, the song comprises an ingenious vocal arrangement where both singers engage in well-timed exchanges, expressing the anguish of the lyrics through their equally raspy tones.

It has been almost 13 years since Hill released a new studio album and songs like this exemplify why both critics and fans alike have been calling for her return. Either way, even if she never makes another record, ‘The Miseducation…’ has permanently etched her name into the history books. {TRENT}

LISTEN:

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JoJo – ‘Anything’

While the so-so sales of JoJo‘s 2nd studio album ‘The High Road’ may have left some citing the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’, one spin of the songbird’s 2006 effort quickly dispels any such notion. A solid collection of Pop-tinged R&B, the record boasted many a gem, one of the most notable being ‘Anything’. Quietly released as the project’s final single (with  no accompanying video), the song went criminally unnoticed – amidst the label drama which would see the 20 year old out of action for the next three years.

Still, with its thumping bass-line, soaring vocals, and refreshing faux-intro (courtesy of Toto‘s 1982 hit ‘Africa’), this is a winner and then some. Great track! {SAM}

LISTEN:

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Christina Aguilera – ‘Sex For Breakfast’

Although Christina Aguilera ‘Bionic’ was one of the biggest commercial disappointments of the 2010, the record comprised several incredible moments. One such example is ‘Sex For Breakfast’.

Co-written by Aguilera, Noel Fisher and Bernard Edwards Jr., the song is characterised by simple production, allowing the listeners to appreciate the intricate complexities of her impressive vocal range without the unnecessary distraction of added studio flare.

Perhaps what is most enjoyable about ‘Sex For Breakfast’ is Aguilera’s use of restraint. Utilising fluid melismatic vocal runs and airy falsetto, she captured the sensual mood of the song, a welcome change from her usual throaty screams.

If Aguilera ever decides to focus on the Adult Contemporary market as her main target audience then this is the type of record she needs to create. A voice like hers needs to be heard but only at a lower volume. {TRENT}

LISTEN:

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31 Comments

  1. |
    January 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm
    Pedro KooR says:
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    I Used To Love Him is a classic!

  2. |
    January 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm
    ~BeySoBreezy~ says:
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    You all both did great, I can’t choose :lol:

    “U Saved Me” is a beautiful song. Kellz SANG that with so much passion. This man is truly the King of R&B

    Lauryn Hill=Classic.

    JoJo song is great as well. If her mixtape is somewhat like her album, then she is going to be a force :)

    And you all know Christina is my girl. And this one of her best song. Hands down..

  3. |
    January 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm
    RF says:
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    “s** For Breaksfat” –> missed opportunity! Great video potential.

  4. |
    January 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm
    123456 says:
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    s** was produced by Focus… Thats the name he goes by as a producer.

    It Hurts When by Christina MILian should be next. Her first album had some greta rnb jams. This one is one

  5. |
    January 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm
    Simhanna says:
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    PSHHHH ANYTHING HAS BEEN MY JAM SINCE 09!
    I STAN FOR JOJO!!!!

  6. |
    January 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm
    Dave says:
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    I love all the songs. Chrissy’s slays :), as well as Lauryn Hill. Well they all do. But, I love Chrissy the most :D

  7. |
    January 11, 2011 at 7:25 pm
    IAMWHOIAM says:
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    Kellz is King! U Saved Me will bring a grown man to tears!

  8. |
    January 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm
    OKAYY says:
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    L-Boogie “I used To Love Him” with Mary is a CLASSIC! nothing on top will top that song. My vote is with Trent lol

  9. |
    January 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm
    OKAYY says:
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    L-Boogie “I used To Love Him” with Mary is a CLASSIC! nothing on top will top that song. My vote is with Trent haa

  10. |
    January 11, 2011 at 7:34 pm
    Chile Please! says:
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    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS “s** for Breakfast” I loooooooooooooooooooooooooove that song. That is the hottest song on that album……good choice darling! Kitty Kitty Kat Kat! Meow!

  11. |
    January 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm
    Nichole says:
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    I have to give the other songs a listen, because with the exception of only one, I have not heard the rest.

    I will say this though. Christina’s “s** For Breakfast” is one of the best songs on Bionic.

  12. |
    January 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm
    GURL_BYE says:
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    Great choice by both.

  13. |
    January 11, 2011 at 7:55 pm
    Dunster says:
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    s** for breakfast is classic (you should’ve included the interlude) Its like the Loving me for me that was on stripped for 2010.

    Who can fault the Hill? A legend with one album thats over 10 years old.

    I love jojo, forget Cheryl Cole and Cher Lloyd this is what the U.K needs to looks for, soulful vocals and no gimmicks (you should’ve posted wait a minute, i hope it makes an album)

  14. |
    January 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm
    Serena Williams says:
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    Props for the JoJo post. Honestly, ‘The High Road’ from JoJo is such an underrated RnB/Pop classic. One of my favourite albums OAT.

  15. |
    January 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm
    Rebecca says:
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    I love both guys picks

  16. |
    January 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm
    zeus! says:
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    woow! what a refreshing post……I LOOOVE LAAURYN HILL…..THAT ALBUM……

    I LIKE POSTS LIKE THESE!

  17. |
    January 11, 2011 at 10:50 pm
    CURLY SUE says:
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    s** FOR BREAKFAST IS AWESOME

  18. |
    January 11, 2011 at 11:34 pm
    anonymo says:
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    I like both of your selections. BTW the legend that is MJB turned 40 today. Happy birthday!!!

  19. |
    January 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm
    anonymo says:
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    For those interested Lauryn was meant to be singing about Wyclef Jean in her song – the piece of s*** broke her heart but by doing so did allow Lauryn to produce some timeless classics like this song and Lost Ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76eZd3FVW9Y

  20. |
    January 12, 2011 at 12:10 am
    ChEeRfUl CyNiC XD says:
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    Trent wins that Lauryn Hill song :D if you don’t have the miseducation of Lauryn Hill then u need to get it

  21. |
    January 12, 2011 at 12:40 am
    True Blue says:
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    Miseducation is a classic record. Every song on that album is nothing less than stellar. How many artists can say their DEBUT album has so much of an impact that they could go more than a full decade without ever making a blip on the music scene ever again and go down as legend on the strength on that one album? Miseducation >>>>>>>> all of the discography of today’s mainstream artists.

    And “s** for Breakfast” is one of the few songs off of “Bionic” that I actually like. The album did have a few good songs, of course no one will know that when it got promoted with a shitty lead single and was quickly abandoned altogether after release.

  22. |
    January 12, 2011 at 12:44 am
    Gumaro says:
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    YES! JOJO!! That was one of my instant favorites from that album! I have loved JoJo’s pop/RNB sound since her first album. HUGE FAN HERE. This album was even more of that sound but sleeker more refined and really showed her vocal range. JoJo has a voice and style of music that is just BEYOND. She deserves much more recognition and her second album should have went platinum, not just Gold.

    anyhow, that album was a beast so I hope her 3rd serving is something in the same vein. I would love that!

  23. |
    January 12, 2011 at 1:47 am
    MaZ says:
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    Trent! But only cause “I used to love him” is my favourite track on the miseducation of Lauryn Hill! lol

  24. |
    January 12, 2011 at 2:37 am
    daisy says:
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    Life is so lonely. Why not change it rignt now? :P :P :P

    ———-Bla c k ‘W h it e ‘F li rts. C* 0M———

    a nice place to meet rich guys, ho t babies, Hollywood cel ebrities, who are searching for their special someone. Are you the one?? Come and have a try !!

  25. |
    January 12, 2011 at 3:43 am
    G-Star says:
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    s** FOR BREAKFAST WAS ON REPEAT LAST YEAR *PLAYS NOW*

  26. |
    January 12, 2011 at 6:19 am
    JB says:
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    Just have to stop by and say that “s** for Breakfast” is one of the best songs off of Bionic. So many good songs on that album, it’s such a shame that it underperformed. And the High Road by Jojo really is a great album. I sing songs from that album to this day.

  27. |
    January 12, 2011 at 6:21 am
    JB says:
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    Oh yes, “I Used To Love Him,” is classic! But it’s from Lauryn Hill what do you expect? Lol.

  28. |
    January 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm
    Jennifer says:
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    s** for breakfast! I hope her next album has stuff like this on it!

  29. |
    January 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm
    Blue Kid says:
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    I couldn’t decide I love you both! :)

  30. |
    January 13, 2011 at 6:13 am
    Hudson Morrigan says:
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    Christina is a very overrated singer who strains often and sings off pitch quite a bit live, specially in recent years, her real vocal range where she doesn’t sound like she is in physical pain is very narrow, so for her it’s best to:

    1- Sing easy listening or smooth soul kind of songs where she can sing soft and smooth, quiet storm type of thing
    2- Sing in a narrower vocal range of 1 octave or a little more but not trying to stretch it too much or her low notes are foggy and unsupported and her upper notes are strained and tense.

  31. |
    January 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm
    BEYONSLUT says:
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    I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE BEYONCE IN THIS LIST IN 2012! I’M EXPECTING HER TO TOP THE FORGOTTEN D-LIST SINGERS OF 2012!

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