Tuesday, January 11, 2011


This week’s Best You Never Heard features little known gems by R. Kelly, Lauryn Hill, JoJo and Christina Aguilera.

R. Kelly – ‘U Saved Me’

R&B great R. Kelly enjoys such status not simply because of his vocal prowess. Nor soley his prolific writing ability. Rather, it is the unparalleled versatility which defines the two, which has seen the 44 year old’s name become etched in music history.

Such versatility is perhaps best exemplified in the ‘Sex Me’ singer’s foray into Inspirational / Gospel-tinged territory. While successful releases such as ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and the Kelly-penned Whitney Houston single ‘I Look To You’ provide solid examples of this, I argue lesser known cuts such as 2004’s ‘U Saved Me’ to serve as the best of an impeccable bunch.

Lyrical story-telling at its best, with ‘U Saved Me’, Kelly delivers a triumphant series of narratives centred on hope and defying the odds. Dually engaging and uplifting, one’s spirit can’t help but be joyous upon listening to this one – regardless of the barer of the message. {SAM}



Lauryn Hill – ‘I Used To Love Him (ft. Mary J. Blige’

Honest. That is the word that best describes the music of the legendary Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige. The power of their vocal performances stems not from expansive vocal ranges or robust belting but from passion and conviction.

This point is aptly reflected in ‘I Used To Love Him’ which was included on Hill’s iconic ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ album. Written and produced by Hill, the song comprises an ingenious vocal arrangement where both singers engage in well-timed exchanges, expressing the anguish of the lyrics through their equally raspy tones.

It has been almost 13 years since Hill released a new studio album and songs like this exemplify why both critics and fans alike have been calling for her return. Either way, even if she never makes another record, ‘The Miseducation…’ has permanently etched her name into the history books. {TRENT}



JoJo – ‘Anything’

While the so-so sales of JoJo’s 2nd studio album ‘The High Road’ may have left some citing the dreaded ’sophomore slump’, one spin of the songbird’s 2006 effort quickly dispels any such notion. A solid collection of Pop-tinged R&B, the record boasted many a gem, one of the most notable being ‘Anything’. Quietly released as the project’s final single (with no accompanying video), the song went criminally unnoticed - amidst the label drama which would see the 20 year old out of action for the next three years.

Still, with its thumping bass-line, soaring vocals, and refreshing faux-intro (courtesy of Toto’s 1982 hit ‘Africa’), this is a winner and then some. Great track! {SAM}



Christina Aguilera – ‘Sex For Breakfast’

Although Christina Aguilera ‘Bionic’ was one of the biggest commercial disappointments of the 2010, the record comprised several incredible moments. One such example is ‘Sex For Breakfast’.

Co-written by Aguilera, Noel Fisher and Bernard Edwards Jr., the song is characterised by simple production, allowing the listeners to appreciate the intricate complexities of her impressive vocal range without the unnecessary distraction of added studio flare.

Perhaps what is most enjoyable about ‘Sex For Breakfast’ is Aguilera’s use of restraint. Utilising fluid melismatic vocal runs and airy falsetto, she captured the sensual mood of the song, a welcome change from her usual throaty screams.

If Aguilera ever decides to focus on the Adult Contemporary market as her main target audience then this is the type of record she needs to create. A voice like hers needs to be heard but only at a lower volume. {TRENT}


Source: The Grape Juice

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