Before I dive in, I feel like I need to clarify something - just because I write on these albums does NOT mean they are recommendations. I will make it clear at the end if the whole album is worth a listen, and I give my personal favorite track to check out. I am reviewing any and all kinds of music and artists that come across my screen; that doesn't mean I like the whole body of work. Yes, this is foreshadowing.
In addition to Sean, we've got Dawn Richard (originally from Danity Kane) and Kalenna Harper. Naturally, they're signed to Bad Boy. Their goal was a straight-edge group that gave a unique sound (my own take on Diddy's description) (and boy did they ever achieve that..). A new genre was apparently created: "futuristic soul."
Now, look, Puff Daddy is one of my musical idols. I love this guy and the work he puts into the industry. Hell, he can make a new genre and I feel he's totally within his rights! Awesome for him!
This is meant to be a concept album, following Diddy from London to Pairs to regain a lost love. It was the first album Puffy released when he moved Bad Boy from Atlantic to Interscope in 2009. It was an album about 3 years in the making, and there obviously a lot of work that went in, which you'll see in the tracks themselves. Also, about a million people put work into this. Gotta respect collaboration man.
I want to get down to it now - if you stick around through the whole track-by-track, there's a funny little story to share at the end!
We appropriately get an "Intro" to the story we're about to hear. Ooohh, wubwub. Seriously though, okay, cool. There's a, um, techno beat going on? Ladies and gents, this ain't no bad boy anymore. "Sometimes you meet somebody... and they just take your soul."
The first official song is "A** On The Floor" which includes guests Swizz Beatz, and I guess this is where he meets this girl. A marching drum beat kicks things off, and this is most definitely the club number. It's got the right beat for dancing and a few loops overlapping to keep things nice and regular for the clubbers. This was the third single released in the UK, and peaked at 80 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. One thing I have to hand it to this band for is that they managed to make detailed videos for every song. Here it is for this one:
Sorry, sorry. "Yeah Yeah You Would" with Grace Jones is next. I wish I liked this more, mostly because Grace is kind of a cool lady. But they make it apparent in the beginning that this is a brand new sound. I like that there's actual singing involved, but the auto-tune seems excessive and is downright annoying when it's noticeable. The song's when we realize she's left him. He's angry at her at this point.
"I Hate That You Love Me" is next. The beginning of the video released for it is pretty cool:
Feel the bass. "Someone To Love Me" is next, and I'm actually digging this one a lot. I love the old effects on the vocals of the girls. The mix is great, and Puffy's on his game through the verses. Dude is moving on, but knows the pain's all still there either way. Analyzing rap songs for deeper meaning is kind of weird. Anywho's, here's the video, sticking to the simple color schemes they seem to be in to:
Next up is "Your Love" with Trey Songz. I think I may not even be old enough to hear this one. Kidding, kidding. It's not one made for a regular radio single though. Good for the raunchy late night clubs though. (Anyone ever been to the Casbah in AC? It's like that.)
JT!!! Justin Timberlake joins us for the next track, "Shades," but I'm not completely sure of where yet... There's also Bilal, Lil Wayne, and James Fauntleroy. Not enough JT for me personally. It's not horrible, but it's not great. He's basically telling her he'd do anything for her - even take off his sunglasses and stare at the sun. Idiot. Sorry.
"Angels," the next song, was apparently the first single. A previously recorded sample from The Notorious B.I.G. is used (nice to hear him again), along with an appearance by Rick Ross. The song takes a while to get started, and seems more old school compared to the rest of the album, which is almost refreshing. Here's the video they put together for it, nice and B&W. I think maybe they tried a little too hard to make it about a girl but remain an hommage to Biggie:
I got excited and couldn't concentrate because the next track features Usher, who is just beautiful in voice and looks. Get it boy. Time for "Looking For Love." *sigh* Here's the thing though. I don't like Usher's voice on autotune - he does NOT need it - never has, never will - get off the damn bandwagon. And Diddy... you are getting too old for these kind of songs. The guy here is realizing it about her, again, but hey, she's hot, so whatever, right?
"Hello Good Morning" is the next one, with T.I. coming on for it. Rick Ross isn't on the album version, but he's on this video release, or at least one of them. There's two videos for this actually. Instead of showing you either of them, I'm going to share the behind the scenes video! And, from personal experience, EVERY rapper/hip hop artist, no matter how big they actually are, acts like they're the best. It's a confidence = success state of mind.
"Yesterday" is next up, with Chris Brown. Okay, so he's back to missing her terribly. He gave her everything, and now has nothing. Let up off the damn auto-tune button, then build a bridge and get over it.
AHHHHH yay. "Coming Home" is next with Skylar Grey. Let's jump right into the video:
"Loving You No More" finishes us out, with Drake. They finally end once and for all. There's a video for this one as well, but I just need that last one to be our strong ending number. :)
Stuff I Wouldn't Mind Hearing Again:
Clearly, this was not one of my favorite albums. It wasn't as boring as Kevin Hearn's, but not the right kind of weird like The White Stripes. Nothing was meshing with me, and it was a stretch for the ones I did manage to pick out.
The best way I can sum it up is that, if you are looking to hear an album of songs remotely like "Coming Home," you're not going to find it here.
Okay, funny story time.
I live near Atlantic City. My mom was out with some friends one night and on the casino floor, when this guy walks up to her. Sharply dressed guy, with bodyguards. Extremely polite by her account. Yup, P-Diddy walked up to my mother randomly in the casino and started flirting with her.
After a minute or so of her being confused, he asked, in the nicest way possible, if she realized who he was. She didn't have a clue. He asked if she listened to hip hop. No, sorry... "but my daughter probably knows who you are." He took a step back: "Daughter?" She tells him, yeah, my 16-year-old. They had a good laugh, because he thought my mom was in her 20's, but instead found out she was in her 40's with a teenager at home. She still politely declined his offer for a drink, even after he found that out.
Diddy hit on my mom. He could have been my Daddy. Next fall, I saw him pull up to the VMAs with Bruce Willis and Naome Campbell in a giant yacht. All I can say was... that could have been me.
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