Photo courtesy of Michael Halsband/MJJ Music
Men of Vizion create a smooth sound on Personal, their debut album on MJJ Music - Michael Jackson's label.
I'm going to the music store to find out who sings that new slow jam that has been playing nonstop on the radio. Sounds like a pretty simple task, right? Wrong!
Over the last five years or so, the R&B division of music has become ridiculously diluted. Two new additions to the genre are Men of Vizion and Mista.
Personal, the debut album from Men of Vizion, puts to rest any speculation that super-producer Teddy Riley had been putting too much time into the new Blackstreet album. The New-Jack Swingman produced six tracks and co-produced five others on Personal. Although at times they do sound a little too much like Blackstreet, Men Of Vizion definitely have their own sound.
The first single from the album, "Housekeeper," is a story of reversal of the traditional roles that men and women play in relationships. The rest of the album rolls along similarly, with other notables being "Forgive me," "Joyride" and "Do Thangz," a mid-tempo track on which Men Of Vizion pay homage to the females in their lives.
An album of mostly ballads, Personal is for those who appreciate true talent.
Mista, the debut album from the group of the same name, is disappointing considering the power collaborated behind the boards. Organized Noize, a young trio that resides in Atlanta and has produced platinum hits for such artists as T.L.C., Outkast and the Goodie M.O.B., drops the ball on this one.
It may not be entirely their fault, though. The vocal talents of Mista are not quite on par with other teen-age crooners Soul For Real, Immature and Tevin Campbell.
The album opens with "Blackberry Molasses," the first single. Although it does have an interesting guitar intro, "Molasses" becomes irritating as soon as Mista starts singing. The lyrics are very repetitive and the track lingers on way longer than it should, a problem that festers throughout the album.
Not one member of Mista is over 16. As impressive as it may be for these four young men to have an album in stores, they need to hone their vocal talent and seek better production before they measure up to today's vizion.
by Lisa M. Chmiola
The Counting Crows must like big houses on top of hills.
So far, both of its albums, the debut, August and Everything After, and the latest, Recovering the Satellites, were recorded while residing in Hollywood houses.
And once again, being comfortable has led to a sound listeners can feel at home with. The album opens with "Catapult," which begins with organ music to show the group's musical variety.
The next track, the hit "Angels of the Silences," is more upbeat, reminiscent of "Rain King" on the debut. The fast-paced rhythm grabs the listener from the start and doesn't let go until the song is finished. There's no waiting as described in the lyrics ("Waiting for you").
"Have You Seen Me Lately?" is another rockin', bouncy tune, the kind that would definitely get you on your feet if you heard it at a concert.
The group spends some time on the quiet side as well, with the mournful ballad "Miller's Angels." It also gets "back to basics" on the title track, another slow song about lifetime decisions.
The Counting Crows show a folksy side on the acoustic "Walkaways" and the twangy "Daylight Fading." Louisiana flavor is on display in "Goodnight Elisabeth."
Unique to the album are the piano in "A Long December" and the strings in "Another Horsedreamer's Blues," which add to the message of perfection in the songs.
Overall, the album is much like the debut, with a few additions. So if you're "All dressed up/No place to go," this is the perfect way to spend a relaxing evening.
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