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From The Vault: Nelly Furtado – ‘Promiscuous’

The year 2006 saw Nelly Furtado leave one-hit-wonder territory and enter superstardom. Inde

ed, with a string of hits each hotter than the previous, the ‘I’m Like A Bird’ singer established herself as a chart force scoring #1s after #1s. The unapologetic ‘Promiscuous’ serves as this week From The Vault pick.

 

Helmed by then “it producer” Timbaland, the tune saw Nelly and Timbo (featured here as a rapper/singer) trading flirtatious lines on a seductive beat. The  songbird exudes confidence and sensuality with her laid-back delivery, while Mr. Mosley is surprisingly pleasing with the “singing thing”.
A global home run, ‘Promiscuous’ reached the top spot of the charts in the US and Nelly’s homeland of Canada, and was a Top
3 single in the UK and Australia. It peaked inside the Top 20 in most of the other countries it was released in.
The Little X directed music video, which famously features cameos by Justin Timberlake and then-newbie Keri Hilson, sees Furtado interacting playfully and features an army dancers grooving at a club. By no means original, yet a visually delicious take
on a well-treaded concept. (Sidenote: just imagine what a Janet, Ciara or old-Britney would have done with that ending breakdown!) 
Fans of the Canadian diva no doubt look back at the ‘Loose’ days as a golden era, for Nelly’s latest ventures can’t seem to match past achievements. And that’s putting it lightly.
With her latest effort, ‘The Spirit Indestructible’, selling 5,700 copies first week in the US while debuting at #79, the days of Top Shot Debut albums and consecutive #1 singles seem to be long gone.
And while we firmly believe it’s a case of being “gone for too long” and serving up wack material upon your return, we want to hear what YOU think:

What went wrong with Nelly Furtado’s career?

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Music

From The Vault: Aaliyah – ‘We Need A Resolution’

Today, From The Vault salutes R&B angel Aaliyah and her smash hit ‘We Need A Resolution’.

Unleashed as the launch single of her 2001 eponymous release, ‘Resolution’ saw the singer collaborating yet again with Pop maestro Timbaland, who – long before sending the likes of Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado to the top of the charts – was a major driving force in the career of his “Baby Girl”

A moderate hit, it still reached the Top 20 of the UK charts and peaked at #15 on the US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop tally. Yet, what the song is most notorious for is its accompanying video, which houses some of the late singer’s most glorious and iconic looks.

From the dangerous dancing with snakes to the glass-bed levitation, the Paul Hunter-directed MV is an incredible reminder of Ms. Haugton’s status as the then-next big superstar. Unfortunately, as we know, things did not pan out that way…

Just like fellow entertainers such as Amy Winehouse and actor James Dean, who also dissapeared at far too young an age, Aaliyah is regarded today as one of the best to ever do, a title that’ll no doubt continue to be reinforced in years to come. Especially with a new generation of starlets citing her as an inspiration.

Still, we want to ask you:

How do you think Aaliyah’s career would have turned out?

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Music

From The Vault: Beyonce – ‘Diva’

This week, That Grape Juice salute a breed that we’re particularly fond of. Without an ounce of doubt we are talking DIVAS {www.SheIsDiva.com}! What better way to honour these iconic figures than to give a nod to today’s most pronounced ambassador of the cause?

Needless to say, today’s From The Vault comes courtesy of the legend-in-the-making Beyonce and her aptly-titled ‘Diva’ release.

Helmed by TGJ favorites Bangladesh and Sean Garrett, the 2008 cut (lifted from the multi-Platinum ‘I Am…’ LP) sees Ms. Knowles’ alter-ego, Sasha Fierce, take center stage for an unapologetic ego-trip. If you didn’t know it before, the then-27 year old left no uncertainty that she was “the number one diva in this game”.

The Hip-Hop soaked cut, which for many was an estrogen equivalent to Lil’ Wayne’s infectuous ‘A Milli’, peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart (sidenote: the single was only sent to Rythmic and Urban radio, a shame if you ask us). Without ever being officially released outside of the US, it still managed to chart at #40 in Australia and #72 in the UK based on downloads alone.

In the black and white music video, directed by longtime collaborator and friend Melina Matsoukas, Sasha amps it up with attitude-filled choreography accompanied by her ever reliable dancers and rocking Thierry Mugler designs with both sass and class.

As Bey drills home in the song, “a diva is a female version of a hustler”. Although we concur with her definition, we definitely feel there more, which begs the question…

What is your definition of a diva?

BONUS: Check out Ms. Knowles blazing the stage at her Revel comeback concert earlier this year below. We can’t wait for the DVD when it arrives this Fall!

(more…)

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Music

From The Vault: Faith Evans – ‘All Night Long’

From The Vault this week journeys back to the very end of the Urban friendly 90’s, precisely 1999 when R&B veteran Faith Evans released the bombastic single ‘All Night Long’.

Serving as the second single from Evans’ sophomore set ‘Keep The Faith’, the track proved to be another smash for the songstress, reaching the Top 10 of the Hot 100 and Hot R&B Hip-Hop tallies following the worldwide monster that was ‘Love Like This’. Similar to its predecessor, ‘Night’ was produced by Faith alongside Mr Sean Combs aka Diddy (or Puff Daddy as he was referred to back then). Of course, true-to-form Combs also had a guest spot on the song.

Directed by the great Paul Hunter, the single’s edgy japanese themed video remains a regular on the few music channels that actually still play…music. And with good reason too; indeed it’s a visual throwback to an era when R&B videos -on mass-had dollars and gloss pumped into them.

On a random note, the clip also serves up the LOL’s in that it’s also a nod to an era which saw Puffy hog up the screen of any song he produced or featured on. And in the case that is was both, it may as well have been his own video. For our younger readers, the mogul’s uncanny talent of putting himself first didn’t just apply to his Making The Band alumni.

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With Faith and her fellow ‘R&B Divas’ riding high on the show’s success, we can’t stress enough how much we are salivating for a new Ms. Evans project. As witnessed by the show, she is still an artist who has much to say and of course that voice is just undeniable.

Let’s Keep The Faith and pray for that album to come out sooner rather than later.

Your thoughts?

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From The Vault: Pussycat Dolls – ‘Buttons (Ft Snoop Dogg)’

With Nicole Scherzinger struggling to secure a solo hit for herself, one has to wonder if she’d have been better off leading the pack over at the Pussycat Dolls.

Dolls, whose scorching ‘Buttons’ will take centre stage at this week’s From The Vault.

Unleashed as the fourth single from the band’s multi-platinum selling debut, the aptly titled ‘PCD’ in Spring 2006, ‘Buttons’ was yet another home run for the girls after the trifecta of smash hits ‘Don’t Cha’, ‘Stickwitu’ & ‘Beep’.

With its infectious production courtesy of Polow Da Don and its lyrics helmed by the mighty Sean Garrett and lead singer Nicole, the track charted at #3 in both the US and the UK and was a solid Top 10 in all the other major markets.

The tune was a worldwide hit for numerous reasons, indeed the single mix featured the big Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion) which judging by his ability to score hits after hits throughout the years and until this day is no mean feat, quite literally. Also, its incendiary video propelled the already fantastic track to a whole other level because of its “fierce” nature.

From the strutting to the sensual – and never tacky – choreography, the vaporous and claustrophobic atmosphere to the burlesque vibe, this visual is definitively one of the most – if not THE most – glorious moment of the girls rather short but memorable stint as a recording band (obviously we are not rating the non-sense that is the new incarnation of the Pussycat Dolls).

Proving Pop tarts can be suggestive while staying all the way classy, the ‘Buttons’ MV stands as one of Pop culture’s sexiest efforts.

Ms. Scherzinger has never been more entertaining an enticing than during her time with the Dolls which is strange as the other girls – bar Ms. Melody Thorton – were clearly just back-up dancers for the ‘Nicole Show’ and she has worked with the same producers and choreographers for her solo endavors.

Maybe its a case of the masses not believing in her hype or maybe the other band members were not that disposable. In any case, we want you to sound off:


Why can’t Nicole Scherzinger catch a break?

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Music

From The Vault: Shakira – ‘Whenever, Wherever’

This week’s From The Vault serves up yet another classic: Shakira‘s first mainstream effort, ‘Whenever, Wherever’.

Serving as the launch single from her premier English language LP ‘Laundry Service’, the track was the first of many blockbuster hits for the Latin stunner.

‘Whenever’, produced by the singer herself and written by her too (alongside Gloria Estefan and Tim Mitchell), was a global phenomenon; smashing world charts starting Fall 2001 until the middle of the subsequent year. It peaked at #6 on the US Hot 100, #2 in the UK, #4 in Canada and reached the top spot in almost every other market it has been released in including France, Australia and her homeland of Columbia.

Unless one had been living under a rock for the entirety of the last decade, they would obviously be ofey  with the single’s accompanying visual, which would best be described as ‘stellar’. Choreographed by dance legend Tina Landon and directed by video-maven Francis Lawrence, the clip was a more than effective introduction to the singer for the world (bar Latin America that is), showcasing an original, stunning, confident and most-importantly seasoned performer. Whether grooving on top of a rock, walking in the desert or belly-dancing in the mud, the video is a highly entertaining one-woman-show thanks to the ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ singer’s energy and agility.

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Shakira-shakira’s last English album, ‘She Wolf’,’ didn’t exactly set the charts ablaze; yet with another on the horizon (backed by Roc Nation), all eyes will be on the 35 year old to see if she can still deliver the goods. In order to do so, she has collaborated with many a chart topper and it-producer. We firmly hope she keeps somewhat of a Latin/ethnic element to her music though. Because, as evidenced with acts such as Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez as well as her own recent hits ‘Waka Waka’ and ‘Loca’, it is it pays -quite literally- to have flavour-filled point of difference.

Your thoughts?

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From The Vault: Janet Jackson Brings ‘Discipline’ To Essence

The Queen of Pop Janet Jackson‘s 2008 ‘Rockwitchu Tour’ was a less-than-royal affair: from so-so ticket sales and  sickness triggered cancellations, the whole episode felt a bit like unfinished business and left her legion of fans frustrated.

Despite its shortcomings, the trek still boasted many a jaw-dropping moment. Case, point, Janet’s not so subtle rendition of the title track of her tenth album, ‘Discipline’. This week’s the From The Vault salutes her 2010 Essence Music Festival rendition of the cut – which was lifted from the tour.

Written by R&B divo Ne-Yo, the vivid track took on a life of its own thanks to creative director Gil Duldalao‘s vision and Ms. Jackson’s phenomenal performing skills. Other Pop stars may talk about ‘S&M’, ‘Erotica’ or getting ‘Dirrty’, yet few have gone to such committed lengths to illustrate such prowess. A whips and chains galore, Damita Jo disciplines a lucky with her unique blend of what is be best described as ‘classy filth’. An interesting juxtaposition to the song’s lyrics which demand that her lover do the same to her.

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With the now 46 year old apparently in the early stages of a new project, we hope she bin her effortless sex-factor, as it is a huge part of her brand. In all fairness, there isn’t justifiable reason she shouldn’t re-explore that angle, given that the Madonna‘s and Tom Jones‘ are playing that card well into their 50’s and 60’s. For, as the video above testifies, Ms. Jackson still oozes sex-appeal in earnest.

Tidbit: Janet was really giving it her all starting at the 5 minutes mark, wasn’t she?

Your thoughts?

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