Feb 16 2022

Album Review: Aaliyah – One In A Million (#MWE)

With just the right combo of suave, sophisticated, and a little weird, Aaliyah’s second album showcased the maturity, growth, and strength she brought to her music. In the aftermath of a split from future convicted sex offender R. Kelly and Jive Records, Aaliyah did a full 180 and transformed her sound into something simpler and more sensual. The results were legend-making.

The superstar duo Missy Elliott and Timbaland open the proceedings with just a taste of what they were cooking up for the following year’s Supa Dupa Fly. The pair continue setting the vibe with “Hot Like Fire,” a smooth funk track designed for Aaliyah’s charismatic vocals to glide over. In fact, Elliott and Timbaland have co-write credits all over the album, with the latter behind the boards for a majority of the album’s 70-minute runtime. This gives One In A Million a sophisticated, yet slightly off-kilter mood throughout. This is perhaps best embodied in the album’s title track; laid-back synths accompany skittering, but subtle percussion, never upstaging the understated, coy declaration of romantic contentment from Aaliyah.

The vibe pivots slightly when Naughty By Nature’s Treach shows up for a feature on “A Girl Like You,” featuring a pleasant boom-bap that doesn’t bang too hard; the song reveals Aaliyah’s versatility and ability to switch up her flow. We hear other transitions, from her take on an Isley Brothers slow jam, to a “Billie Jean” sampling Marvin Gaye cover with Slick Rick in tow, to the streetwise swagger of “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” to the Jermaine Dupri-produced “I Gotcha Back.” In all of these, Aaliyah remains poised, her voice leading the presentation without missing a beat.

The long duration of One In a Million, with a fair share of filler, is really the only thing that hampers the overall experience. Aaliyah’s sophomore effort, as a whole, is a measured, enjoyable piece of 90s R&B from a formidable artist who was just beginning to find her footing after a tumultuous entrance into the industry. She rebounded from the drama quickly and let the music do the talking. And before she left us too soon, she would change the conversation again.

Score: 7/10


Dec 24 2011

The Top 20 Remixes of 2011

Compared to the past couple of years, I was underwhelmed with the number of awesome remixes I heard in 2011. Not that they weren’t out there, I just didn’t mosey upon them. So if by chance you don’t see one of your favorites listed here, send it my way or comment, by all means.

Regular readers will not be surprised to find a plethora of Star Slinger on here; he’s one of my favorite current producers. There are others here as well, and he doesn’t get the top spot. Also it should be noted, for those uninitiated, that I’m a big club and house fan, so other styles are likely under-represented here. I enjoy dance music, but I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about it. Like most of my year-end lists, this is basically just a ranked list of remixes I heard that I enjoyed. YouTube links are provided, and listening to these tracks loudly is highly encouraged.

20. Star Slinger – Dumbin’ (Diplo Remix)

19. The Rapture – How Deep Is Your Love (A-Trak Dub aka Dub For Mehdi)

18. Escort – Cameleon Chameleon (Club Remix)

17.

      1. Trombone Shorty - Do To You (Star Slinger Remix)

16. Jamie Woon – Lady Luck (Hudson Mohawke’s Schmink-Wolf Refix)

15. XV – Swervin’ (Clams Casino Remix)

14. Tyson – Out of My Mind (Star Slinger Remix)

13. Star Slinger – How Will I Copulate (Moranis Mashup feat. Whitney Houston)

12. Aaliyah – Are You That Somebody (Hudson Mohawke Remix)

11. James Vincent McMorrow – If I Had a Boat (Star Slinger’s R ‘n’ B Thug Mix)

10. Gold Panda – Marriage (Star Slinger Remix)

9. Ra Ra Riot – Too Dramatic (The Kids Are Radioactive Remix)

8. Pony Pony Run Run – Hey You (Star Slinger Remix)

7. Alex Winston – Sister Wife (Star Slinger Remix)

6. The Go! Team – Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger Remix)

5. Rizzle Kicks – Down With the Trumpets (Star Slinger Remix)

4. Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall (Swedish House Mafia Remix)

3. Childish Gambino – Freaks and Geeks (Star Slinger Remix)

2. Bingo Players – Cry (Just a Little) (Kids at the Bar Bootleg Remix)

1. The Joy Formidable – Whirring (Innerpartysystem Remix)


Oct 3 2011

Quarterly Review – July-September 2011

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

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Sep 10 2011

Culture Greyhound Podcast 9/10/11

Every Saturday, I post a 15-20 minute podcast featuring some tracks I’ve been jamming the previous week, as well as some commentary and random musings from yours truly. Enjoy!

Tracklist:

Aaliyah – (Are You That) Somebody (Hudson Mohawke Remix)
Purity Ring – Belispeak
All Pigs Must Die – The Blessed Void
Junior Boys – Banana Ripple (2 Bears Remix)