Monday, January 29, 2007

New Amy and Kelis singles

Right now is an exciting time for two of my favorite artists, Amy Winehouse and Kelis. Their current singles are prime examples of why I consider them amongst my current faves. With Winehouse's second UK single, "You Know I'm No Good", produced by Mark Ronson, we see that Amy's still been a bad girl, but one who never lacks inner reflection. What has always separated Amy from most R&B singers is not only her hazy gin and tonic laced voice, but her content has always been unique and uncompromising. Where "I Heard Love Is Blind" from her debut, Frank, was a delicately crafted, but comical justification of her infidelity, "You Know I'm No Good" covers somewhat similar territory, but is all warning and regret over hard-hitting Golden Age breaks. While this version is great too, the remix with Ghostface is even more stellar, although Amy is only relegated to just the chorus. With the remix being the only time I've heard Amy's voice in small increments on a song, I never realized how classic it sounded before. If I had no idea who she was, you would swear that it was a sample of an old 70's record. It honestly made me appreciate her more, even though she's on the song less. And how can you not love a girl who has the freedom to drop a line like "Hand me your Stella and fly"?

I'm even more excited for Kelis since "Lil' Star" is the first time she's had a third single and video in the U.S., which shows that someone in charge still believes in her. "Lil' Star" is an odd choice for a single, considering that the first two, "Bossy" and "Blindfold Me" were straight bangers and were easily accessible for mainstream ears. Kelis Was Here still dabbled in some club courting, but in an infinitely better fashion than Tasty, but it was also a return to some of Kelis' more vibrant and diverse side, which Tasty also lacked as well. "Lil' Star" is remniscent of the potential that Kelis showed on her earlier albums, but this same adventurous apporach caused her first album to sell poorly and for her second album to not even get a domestic U.S. release, which is why its such an unusual choice for a single, given how difficult it is for songs that think outside the box to become hits in this current climate. But damn the fools who hear this soulful number or see its extraordinarily styled video and fail to fall in love with it. "Lil' Star" has to be one of the best odes to longing for stardom. Even more beautiful is when Cee-Lo appears on the chorus and lends some comforting vocal Kleenex to dry up Kelis' tears and to show some support. You'll want to console her too after the first line, "There is nothing special about me/I am just a lil' star" because you know in your heart it's not true.

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