Showing posts with label skylar grey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label skylar grey. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - july 29, 2017 (VIDEO)

And this episode took WAY too long to finish... but overall pretty good, I think.

Okay, next review on the way, stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - july 29, 2017

Okay, I'll be very honest: I was not expecting this week to be as chaotic as it was. I expected that Kesha would cross over and we'd maybe get a few tracks from 21 Savage and maybe one or two from Jay-Z - after all, it's not really a radio-friendly record, I didn't see a lot of crossover potential. And boy, was I wrong, because nine out of the ten songs from 4:44 hit the Hot 100 - along with the expected Kesha and 21 Savage, along with singles from Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato and the point is that this week turned out way busier than I expected. I clearly underestimated the still-remaining star power from Jay, because it took out a swathe of the charts - and in the middle of the summer, it'll be fascinating to see what even has a chance of recovering.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - december 6, 2014

For our full-length debut episode of Billboard BREAKDOWN, we actually have a pretty damn busy week on our hands, as it's the start of the Christmas season - which means in addition to our usual chart circulation, we also get a deluge of Christmas songs. Now I normally, by rule, never talk about Christmas music and albums, mostly because it never evolves or changes beyond a very standard formula - until now, mostly because the highest debuting song on the list is a Christmas song - from YouTubers too!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


So, apparently there is this site you can host videos on, and I figured 'why just read my reviews when you can hear them from me in person'!

Yeah, I know the quality isn't great - that's something I'll be working to improve over the next couple of reviews. In any case, from now on I'll be including a video of me reviewing in person along side each text review (probably at the bottom of the post, haven't quite worked that one out yet). As it is, enjoy my video review of Skylar Grey's 'Don't Look Down' - Lord knows you deserve to enjoy something from that album.

album review: 'don't look down' by skylar grey

The more I think about it, the more I believe that being labelled the 'protege' of a popular artist is a lot worse than one might think.

Sure, you get the immediate hype and buzz from association with your more popular and successful mentor, but like all popularity, it can be replaced by backlash the second you make the slightest mistake. And this backlash tends to be harsher than if you struck out on your own, because there is the implication that you had the backing of a great artists and still struck out. Sure, that might be unfair, particularly when the general public doesn't really know how much influence or control said great artist had over your work, but there is a grain of truth to it.

But if even if you succeed and rise to your mentor's level, the comparison with said mentor will always be invited, particularly if there are stylistic similarities. At best you'll be deemed a 'copycat', an act permanently confined to their greater's shadow. At worst you'll be branded a rip-off, a soulless copy of something greater that came before. And even if you manage to surpass your mentor (as I'd argue Drake and Nicki Minaj have occasionally done with Lil Wayne), there will always be that asterisk associated with your work, that it isn't quite entirely your work and thus ever so slightly not as good. 

So it's not entirely surprising that it's fairly rare a protege of a popular musical act rises even close to the level of their mentor. Sure, Justin Bieber might be more popular amongst his fanbase than Usher is right now, but Bieber certainly isn't getting Usher's level of critical acclaim. And even though 50 Cent definitely had his moment in the spotlight in the early 2000s (his publicity heightened even further by his gutting of Ja Rule's career), he has mostly faded from public view in comparison to his 'discoverer', Eminem (which, frankly, is something I'm okay with, because 50 Cent was never that talented anyway).

Now I'll admit right out of the gate that Eminem remains to this day one of my favourite rappers, and I'm definitely looking forward to his new album later this year. That said, I can't help but notice he has a rather poor reputation in recreating his level of success with his collaborators and proteges (outside of 50 Cent, obviously). As much hype as D12 had in the early-to-mid 2000s, the band never took off with the same notoriety as Eminem had, and while his influence has been a boost to Slaughterhouse's careers, they certainly haven't had that mainstream breakthrough to match their critical praise. Even Yelawolf, who was once praised as the 'next' Eminem, hasn't had the nearly same degree of success (then again, that might have something more to do with his bizarre collaborations with Travis Barker and Ed Sheeran (?)).

And I've got to be honest, I was more than a little skeptical when I heard he was the executive producer behind Skylar Grey, a rising female singer who you might recognize as a co-writer behind Eminem and Rihanna's 2010 collaboration 'Love The Way You Lie', a song I really like but don't quite love. in fact, going back through the writing credits and vocal performances of Skylar Grey, I can't exactly say I've been impressed. I'll acknowledge that her touch is recognizable on her featured tracks ('Coming Home' by Diddy, 'I Need A Doctor' by Eminem & Dr. Dre, and 'Words I Never Said' by Lupe Fiasco), but while I like all three of these songs, I don't quite love them. But I'm fairly certain I know why: Skylar Grey, at least on these tracks, has absolutely no vocal personality.

Now that's a steep charge to level, but go back and listen to all of those tracks. Sure, she's an adequate singer, but outside of a harsher, semi-darker vibe, I don't get much idiosyncrasy or force of personality behind them. There's none of Rihanna's sultriness (well, back when she was good), none of the mostly convincing innocence in Taylor Swift or Carly Rae Jepsen, none of Lady Gaga's haughtiness, none of Ke$ha or Pink's brash attitude or Avril Lavigne's brattiness. She doesn't even have the raw energy that can occasionally make Katy Perry tolerable. Basically, if I'm going to draw a comparison to R&B, Skylar Grey reminded me of Keri Hilson: an adequate singer, but devoid of the flash of the visual presentation, not much more.

But I'm always one to be fair here, so I picked up her major label debut Don't Look Down. Did she manage to grow a personality while I wasn't looking?