On this day in music history: August 28, 1973 - “Let’s Get It On”, the twelfth album by Marvin Gaye is released. Produced by Marvin Gaye and Ed Townsend, it is recorded at Motown Studio A and Golden World Studios ( Motown Studio B ) in Detroit, MI from June 1, 1970 - April 11, 1972 and Hitsville West Studios in Los Angeles, CA from February 1 - July 26, 1973. Recorded on and off during a period of over three years, during its creation it sees the Motown star struggling with various personal issues including writer’s block and the breakdown of his marriage to Anna Gordy Gaye (sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr.). All of this coincides with Gaye renegotiating his contract with Motown following the success of “What’s Going On”, which make him the highest paid R&B recording artist in the music industry at the time, as well as being guaranteed full creative control of his work. The concept for “Let’s Get It On” is strongly influenced by a young woman named Janis Hunter who Gaye later marries and has two children with her. A huge commercial and critical success upon its release, the album cements his image as a sex symbol. It spins off three singles including “Come Get To This” (#3 R&B, #21 Pop), and the chart topping title track (#1 R&B and Pop). In 2001, Universal Music Group releases a 2CD Deluxe Edition of the album with the first disc containing a remastered version of the original album and outtakes. The second disc features more alternate takes and unreleased material associated with the production of the album. “Let’s Get It On” has been reissued multiple times as a limited release audiophile title. It is released as a DVD-A disc in 2004 by Universal Music Group’s Chronicles reissue division, with a new 5.1 multi-channel surround mix, remixed from the original 16-track multi-track session tapes. In 2008, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissues the album as a high resolution hybrid SACD and 180g audiophile LP. And in 2015, Universal reissues the DVD-A, also making it available as a Blu-ray disc with the 5.1 multi-channel mix. “Let’s Get It On” spends eleven weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, and peak at number two on the Top 200.
We’ve been following along with Los Angeles production talent Elephante for over two years now, and he continues to pleasantly surprise our ears and display astonishing versatility with each new track presented. Tim will be releasing a new EP on September 14th, one that’ll boast nine new tracks, leaving me both immensely excited but also wondering, at what point does an EP become an “LP”? For a ravishing taste from the EP, dive into Elephante’s Hold, which features singer Jessica Jarrell. Hold is certainly not the electro and progressive house Elephante of yore. This is more a future funk and R&B groover that recalls Years and Years fused with The Chainsmokers and some Jack Ü like moombahton. The effervescent frisky, fizzy aerated dance epic is irresistibly infectious. Pre-order Elephante’s I Am The Elephante EP from iTunes. The guest talent studded EP also features previously shared tracks Closer, featuring Bishop, and Catching On, featuring Nevve.
but I get irrationally self conscious and embarrassed about playing my music too loud? like its a social anxiety thing lmaoo but i want to … bcuz potential shawol friends… but i think i’m too weak willed to get myself to do it lool
On this day in music history: August 28, 1970 - “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5 is released. Written by Willie Hutch, Bob West, Hal Davis and Berry Gordy, it is the fourth single for the family vocal group from Gary, IN. After signing The Jackson 5 to Motown Records in March of 1969, label founder Berry Gordy makes a vow to score at least three chart topping singles with the group. Gordy makes good on his promise when The J5’s first three singles on Motown, “I Want You Back”, “ABC” and “The Love You Save” all soar to the top of the pop and R&B singles charts during the first six months of 1970. While searching for their potential fourth single release, initially “Mama’s Pearl” is the earliest contender, being in the same uptempo vein as the previous three hits. But when Gordy isn’t completely satisfied with the song in its initial form, it is removed from consideration. Motown staff songwriter Bob West brings a song to Gordy that he has been working on with fellow staff songwriter Willie Hutch (“The Mack”) titled “I’ll Be There”. After listening to their original draft of the song, Gordy is not entirely impressed with the song, feeling that it has potential, but needs reworking. He then shows the song to producer Hal Davis who collaborates with Hutch and West on a re-write. The trio develops a couple of different concepts in mind for the lyrics, with one being about being there for one’s brother or a “guy-girl relationship”, giving each other moral support and affection. They take aspects of both ideas and combine them into the final lyric. When Berry Gordy hears the reworked version, he approves it and has Davis cut the track right away. The basic track of “I’ll Be There” is recorded at The Sound Factory in Hollywood, CA in June of 1970, featuring Arthur Wright (guitar), Jimmy Bond (bass), Joe Sample (keyboards) and Gene Pello, or James Gadson (drums). The Jackson 5 record their vocals a few days later at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA. The stylistic change up of having the group release a ballad after three uptempo singles in a row, proves to be a brilliant move, further demonstrating The Jackson 5’s musical versatility. An instant smash, the record not only becomes their biggest single ever, “I’ll Be There” become the biggest selling single in the history of Motown Records, selling over four million copies in the US alone, and surpassing the previous record set by Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” in 1968. “I’ll Be There” spend six weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B singles chart and five weeks at number on the Hot 100, making The Jackson 5 the first group in history to have their first four singles reach the top of both charts.
It’s been a long while since we heard from British singer songwriter Dom Rosenfeld, who’s apparently been holed up writing his new Restless EP. Dom reunites with producer ENZ on the first track off that EP, a steamy hot, vibrant pumping burst of soulful future house and jolting garage named Chasin’ much like Years & Years’ R&B slickness gone Disclosure deep and Jack Ü/Bieber vivacious. Snag Chasin’ for free, here, while we await more treats off of Dom Rosenfeld’s forthcoming EP.
Frank Ocean is an enigma. An artist who refuses to explain
himself or his art. He speaks through his art. After a little more than
4 years, and one and a half years after the initial announcement of his third
official album “Boys Don’t Cry” (or whatever it will be called), Frank launched
a mysterious livestream inside a warehouse where he built a staircase to climb
and reach the top by the end of the livestream. He did it for 4 days (starting
August 1st), and then disappeared for 2 weeks, with no explanation,
and no album, even after the New York Times reported the album and the magazine
would be out on August 5th. Two weeks passed until Thursday night
when Frank came back to the livestream and it came to a conclusion and his new 45-minute
visual album “Endless” was released as an Apple Music exclusive.
A very important and key element of this whole
livestream/film was that every day, during the time Frank was working, we would
hear snippets of what appeared to be new music from a boombox inside the
warehouse, in a very minimal manner. We would hear a beautiful acoustic guitar
melody looped for few minutes, then it would cut to a synth melody looped for
another few minutes, so on and so forth. But every day, these sounds became
more developed as more elements were added to them, and on the final day, we
heard the full songs while Frank was finishing the staircase. What I got from
this was Frank showing his creative process in the form of a metaphor (making
the staircase) and when you hear the album, there’s this strange sense of familiarity
and satisfaction at the same time. That the snippets that we heard for 5 days
have actually lead to the full songs (and interludes).
“Endless”, however is not “the” album. It’s the prelude to
the album that is supposed to follow up “Channel Orange”. But if “Endless” is
anything to go by, the forthcoming album is going to be an astonishment to
behold, because “Endless” itself is an all-around great album. It’s bold,
gorgeous, unsettling and confident. With this album, Frank has taken a whole
new path with his music and lyrics. A lot of these songs (18 tracks in total)
have no form or structure. At times they sound as if they were created in one
day as Frank was experimenting with different sounds and vibes with his
producers without any sort of pre-planning or pre-written material. As a
result, the lyrics of this album are like a stream of consciousness, and they
are emotionally unsettling and dark for the most part. An instant highlight of
the album “U-N-I-T-Y” is the first track where Frank legitimately raps in a
very rant-like, confident manner and his compelling flow never lets go of your
attention. You keep trying to understand what he is saying, and his lyrics are
strangely out of character.
“Is you Roger or Novak? You still are no match, you get no
rematch. Boy, you missed your moment.” That’s not a very Frank Ocean-esque line,
is it? Yet it’s pleasantly surprising that Frank delivers interesting lines
like this over a very beautiful, laid-back instrumental consisted of a guitar
and programmed beats (which sound insanely fresh, by the way.) Another very out
of character lyric that is strangely fitting is in the song “Sideways” where
Frank raps “Sucked a dick long, had a swan neck, put some real swans in the
pond then.” The very seamless transition from melodic rapping to singing that
Frank does throughout the album is absolutely incredible. His rapping does not
feel forced at all and shows a different side of his musicality.
The best track of the album, and quite easily
one of Frank’s absolute best songs musically and lyrically is the very somber,
heartbreaking “Rushes To” which is about Frank describing the time he spent/is
spending with his lover. It’s one his ‘narrative’ songs, the more you listen
the more you take out of it. It’s also one of the very few non-rap/beat-oriented
songs of the album all the way through. It’s only consisted of an acoustic
guitar, a bluesy electric guitar and a distant synth line that fades out
quickly. “Saturdays involved making our entrances into life outside” Frank
sings in a very quiet, vulnerable way.
Then the story of the song gets a very dark turn lyrically
as Frank describes the time when he made a sextape with his lover and rewatched
it to recapture the moment they had, but the “only difference is it’s flat.” A
simple yet absolutely crushing line that suggests that intimate moment may
never be recreated through rewatching a sextape. Then few moments later comes
the most stunning vocal range and high notes that Frank has ever delivered. It’s
so incredible. I cannot praise it enough but it’s something that needs to be
experienced rather than read about.
“Endless” is a challenging album because of its unconventional
structure and lyrics. None of the songs have a hook or chorus. They’re not
radio-friendly. The songs are very personal (Frank makes them sound personal even
if they are fiction). The sound of the album is very different than “Channel
Orange”. It’s more electronic and beats-oriented and despite the complexion of
most of the beats (particular “Higgs”) there’s always a sense of “space” in
every song, which adds to the lasting impact of the album long after it’s
finished. Malay, one of Frank’s frequent producers mentioned that the majority
of the album was made with a handheld mic in the control room. So you get a
sense that a lot of these lyrics were most likely sung in the moment, and you
might also notice some human error in the album as well, which makes the album
more human and intimate. Even if Frank doesn’t releases the “official”
follow-up to “Channel Orange” anytime soon, “Endless” once again proves Frank’s
magnificent artistry on all fronts.
On this day in music history: August 28, 1984 - “The Woman In Red - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” by Stevie Wonder is released. Produced by Stevie Wonder, it is recorded at Wonderland Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Townhouse Studios and Roundhouse Studios in London, Marcadet Studios in Paris, France, Far Studios in Frankfurt, Germany, Union Studios in Munich, Germany, Jacob Studios in Surrey, UK, Brunwey Studios in Hamburg, Germany and Dierks Remote Truck in Pulheim, Germany from Early 1984 - Summer 1984. Featuring music from the comedy starring and directed by Gene Wilder (co-starring Kelly LeBrock, Charles Grodin, and Gilda Radner), Wilder asks Wonder if he will write a few songs for his film. Stevie commits to the project, also inviting his friend Dionne Warwick to sing on three songs on the album. The musician works on the film music mostly in between dates on his European tour during the Spring and Summer of 1984. He works on the music right up until the last possible moment, nearly missing the deadline to submit the songs to the films distributor Orion Pictures, who have to hold up the manufacturing of film prints to movie theaters for its August 15, 1984 release date. The soundtrack spins off three singles including “I Just Called To Say I Love You” (#1 Pop and R&B) and “Love Light In Flight” (#4 R&B, #17 Pop). “I Just Called To Say I Love You” wins Wonder an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1985. The duets “It’s You” and “Weakness” featuring Warwick are also included on her album “Finder Of Lost Loves”, released in early 1985. “The Woman In Red” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number four on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.