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After a 7 year hiatus, Whitney Houston is back with ‘I Look To You’ – an album billed by mentor Clive Davis as ‘the greatest comeback’. Yet with Houston’s personal hardships – which included stints in drug rehab, a messy divorce and dwindling album sales – being played out so publically, the question on everyone’s lips is ‘does Whitney still have ‘it’?’
If this new record is anything to go by, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’.
Exactly three years after release of Mariah Carey’s 2005 smash ‘The Emancipation of Mimi’, the Diva serves up her 11th studio effort in the form of ‘E=MC²’. Billed as the emancipation of the 38 year old superstar ‘to the next power’, the age old adage ‘sequels never top originals’ echoes loudly throughout the set. By no means bad, it’s worse – mediocre; which after associating itself with its career-rivalling predecessor, doesn’t bode well for the record overall.
At one point the standard-bearer for R&B/Hip-Hop, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ Bad Boy Empire has undeniably fallen on hard-times in recent in years. Following the departure of several of the label’s key acts, Bad Boy has been MIA on the charts for longer than their supporters and more so Combs would have liked. Enter Day26; a five-piece consisting of Willie, Qwanell, Robert, Mike and Brian. Formed on the popular MTV show, aptly titled ‘Making The Band’, the guys are part of Combs’ plan to stage a Bad Boy revival of sorts. With this their self-titled debut (out March 25th), Day26 show that there may be hope yet for Diddy’s once-sinking ship.
Within the two years that followed the release of Danity Kane’s self-titled debut, the group – consistent of Dawn, Audrea, Aubrey, Shannon and D. Woods – amassed a legion of loyal fans and experienced Platinum sales. Yet speculation about rifts between the ladies and management, as well as among themselves, threatened to dissolve the group just as quickly as they were formed. Having ironed out their issues, Danity Kane are back with their sophomore effort ‘Welcome To The Dollhouse’ (due March 18th). An eclectic Pop/Urban/Dance fusion, with ‘Dollhouse’ the ladies prove their worth and then some.
After the numerous delays and title-changes, critics and fans alike could be forgiven for believing Kelly Rowland’s sophomore effort ‘Ms Kelly’ would never see the light of day. However, Rowland dispels any notion of ‘doubt’ on what is a highly sassy, confident and, yet, emotionally vulnerable record. With ‘Ms Kelly’, the Destiny’s Child singer firmly establishes her prowess as a solo artist. Ready or otherwise, Kelly Rowland – the solo star – has arrived.
Upon listening to Rihanna’s third album ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ it is immediately apparent that – as the title suggests – the Bajan star has shed her innocent image and replaced it with a more sexed-up/edgier sound. The resulting tracks, however, are an unevenly balanced collection of great songs and tracks that are average-at-best.
Prior to now, I haven’t been feeling much of Amerie’s material. However, after hearing her latest album ‘Because I Love It’, I must say that she really delivered. Many have questioned how good the album would be, seeing as she didn’t work with longtime collaborator Rich Harrison (‘1 Thing’, Why Don’t We Fall In Love’ etc). Yet, by switching things up, Amerie has managed to carve out a great new sound for herself.