Music: R&B

March 15, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Exclusive Pearl Jam, American Idol, Rise Against, Britney Spears, Travis Barker, Steve Martin

Most new music comes out on Tuesdays, and each week we cull through the mountain of new releases to bring you some of the best from different genres. Click below, or find them in Napster’s New Releases/Featured Music section.

Pearl Jam, Vs./Vitalogy (Deluxe Edition) Pearl Jam, Vs./Vitalogy (Deluxe Edition) (Alternative, Rock): As seen in this week's Best Buy circular, Napster has four exclusive bonus tracks available for streaming as a preview of the combined reissue of Vs. and Vitalogy coming March 29, including new live versions of "Even Flow" and "Daughter."


Various Artists, American Idol 10th Anniversary Various Artists, American Idol: 10th AnniversaryThe Hits, Volume 1 (Pop, Rock, R&B): This compilation of favorites from the most popular Idol competitors includes music from Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and Fantasia as well as David Cook, Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Lee DeWyze.


Rise Against, Endgame Rise Against, Endgame (Rock, Alternative): For their latest set, the Chicago punk rockers continue to develop the approach they took with their last album, Appeal to Reason. Topics like world politics and current events take shape over accessible melodies and riffs, resulting in rockers like first single "Help Is on the Way."


Britney Spears, Till the World Ends Britney Spears, "Till the World Ends" (Pop, Electronica): The second single from Spears' upcoming album, Femme Fatale, was co-written by Ke$ha along with hitmakers Dr. Luke and Max Martin and comes hot on the heels of first single "Hold It Against Me." And like that track, it's another energetic dancefloor filler.


Travis Barker, Give the Drummer Some Travis Barker, Give the Drummer Some (Rock, Hip-Hop): The blink-182 drummer recruited some of the biggest names in hip-hop, rock, and dance music for his "solo" debut — everyone from the RZA to Slash to Steve Aoki. The first single alone ("Can a Drummer Get Some") features Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Swizz Beatz & Game.


Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Rare Bird Alert Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Rare Bird Alert (Americana):  For his second banjo album, Martin chose to record with the excellent band he took on the road with him to support The CrowAs a bonus, Sir Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks each provide lead vocals on a tune apiece.


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March 11, 2011

Kim Kardashian, “Jam (Turn It Up)”

Kim Kardashian, "Jam (Turn It Up)" It’s a fact that many actors have been able to be successful in both movies and music. Jennifer Lopez, Brandy, Jamie Foxx, Miley Cyrus, and Janet Jackson are just a few who have been able to dominate the Pop charts while keeping solid acting careers going. Even Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton were able to find some success in the music business. But not every actor turned singer is so lucky. While Tyra Banks has been a big brand in modeling, TV, and movies, she didn’t find the same success in her attempt to become a pop music star; her entry into music was short-lived after the less-than-stellar response to her debut single, "Shake Ya Body" (click here to refresh your memory). And now, reality star Kim Kardashian is dipping her toe in the pop-star pool with the release of her new single, "Jam (Turn It Up)." The reviews have been mixed, but then she insists her music is only meant to raise money for charity. Anyway, if her pop foray fizzles, she won't be alone: Others who've been there and done that with less than chart ruling results include Wayne Brady, Tony Danza, Joey Lawrence, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Nicole Kidman (to name a few). Do you think these or any other actors going into music should stick to their day jobs?

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March 10, 2011

Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Missy Elliott, More: Napster Playlists Featuring Women

As we continue our celebration of Women's History Month, we thought it would be nice to highlight some of the many Napster playlists focused on music made by women. These are from all different genres and styles, so have a look, click on whatever sounds good to you, and let's hear it from the ladies!

American Women American Women Popular roots music and country hits from some of the top female artists in America. Includes songs from June Carter Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Sheryl Crow.

Hot R&B Female Vocalists Hot R&B: Female Vocalists: Some of the hottest tracks and biggest hits from major stars, including songs from Keyshia Cole, Fantasia, Alicia Keys, and Beyoncé.

Essential Lite Female Vocalists Essential Lite: Female Vocalists: Great soft pop and ballads from many eras, featuring artists such as Peggy Lee, Blossom Dearie, and Roberta Flack.

Women of Comedy Women of Comedy: Hilarious bits from the funniest females in stand-up comedy, including Ellen Degeneres, Sarah Silverman, Sandra Bernhard, and Lisa Lampanelli.

Legendary Ladies of Country Legendary Ladies of Country: Unforgettable female stars of the '60s and '70s who paved the way for today's generations. Includes Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn.

Grrrl Power Grrrl Power: Celebrate the women of alternative rock with a slew of classic tracks from such mainstays as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hole, PJ Harvey, and more.

Pioneering Women of the Blues Pioneering Women of the Blues: Though blues artists tend to be men, a surprising number of women have made a crucial impact, including Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, and Ida Cox.

Pop Divas The '80s Pop Divas: The '80s: A platinum setting of hits from some of the decade's most glittering solo female superstars, including Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Gibson, and more.

Female Jazz Vocalists of Today Female Jazz Vocalists of Today: Music from stellar comtemporary vocalists informed by both traditional and modern jazz. Features Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, and Diana Krall.

Composing Women Composing Women: Works from female composers working in what was once a male-dominated field. Includes Barbara Strozzi, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Meredith Monk.

Women of Contemporary Christian Music Women of Contemporary Christian Music: The most uplifting tracks from female artists leading the way in CCM, featuring Francesca Battistelli, Bethany Dillon, and Heather Hedley.

Ladies First Female MCs Ladies First: Female MCs: Get in touch with the first ladies of hip-hop. But don't expect them to go easy on you—these MCs, including Missy Elliott, Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, are fierce.

Femmes Fatales Femmes Fatales: Devastatingly seductive sounds from the dark side of alternative music, including music by Björk, PJ Harvey, Portishead, Morcheeba, and more.

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March 07, 2011

NAACP Image Awards Music Recap

John Legend, NAACP The 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards took place last Friday to honor, as always, outstanding people of color in film, television, music, and literature. In case you missed the show, here are the deets on the music portion of the show: Pre-teen prodigy/phenom Willow showed exactly why she's a "21st Century Girl" by taking home the Outstanding New Artist Award (beating the likes of B.o.B, Bruno Mars, Jason Derulo, and Nicki Minaj). Although that win may have left some scratching their heads, the following wins were entirely in line with expectations: Usher for Outstanding Male Artist, Mary J. Blige for Outstanding Female Artist, John Legend & The Roots for Outstanding Duo, Group, or Collaboration, Mavis Staples for Outstanding Gospel Album, Fantasia's "Bittersweet" for Outstanding Song, and John Legend & The Roots' Wake Up! for Outstanding Album. For years, the NAACP Image Awards have entertained us while recognizing outstanding talent, and this year did not disappoint.

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March 04, 2011

R&B Hits: Winter 2011 (Napster Playlist)

R&B Hits: Winter 2011 (Napster Playlist) Now that spring will finally be springing in the coming weeks, R&B fans can take a look back and get their last taste of winter's best jams with Napter's "R&B Hits:Winter 2011" playlist. It's packed with the biggest R&B tracks of the past season from artists like Keri Hilson, Trey Songz, Keyshia Cole, R. Kelly, and many more. It's pretty much wall-to-wall hits to get you grooving, and unlike the season this set represents, it won't leave you cold.

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March 01, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Marsha Ambrosius, Foo Fighters, WOW #1s, Take Me Home Tonight Soundtrack

Most new music comes out on Tuesdays, and each week we cull through the mountain of new releases to bring you some of the best from different genres. Click below, or find them in Napster’s New Releases/Featured Music section.

Marsha Ambrosius, Late Nights & Early Mornings Marsha Ambrosius, Late Nights & Early Mornings (R&B): The former Floetry member releases her debut solo album after countless guest appearances on songs by everyone from Michael Jackson to David Banner. The new album features “Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player)” and current single “Far Away.”


Foo Fighters, Rope Foo Fighters, "Rope" (Rock): The new single from Dave Grohl and company is their first new music since two previously unreleased tracks appeared on their Greatest Hits set two years ago.  The Butch Vig-produced track is the first from the upcoming Foo album Wasting Light, scheduled for release on April 12.


Various Artists, WOW #1s Various Artists, WOW #1s (Christian/Gospel): This latest edition of the popular series compiles the latest and greatest in contemporary Christian music. Featured in this collection are hits including “God with Us” by MercyMe, “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns, and “How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin.


Take Me Home Tonight soundtrack Various Artists, Take Me Home Tonight (Soundtracks, Pop): While the tagline for this upcoming retro-comedy is “Best. Night. Ever.”, lovers of ’80s music might very well call the music “Best. Soundtrack. Ever.” Features staples of the decade by artists like The Buggles, Duran Duran, Yaz, Kim Carnes, and Men Without Hats.


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February 24, 2011

Bell Biv Devoe on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

BellBivDevoe1-cropped-proto-custom_31-thumb-350xauto-17493 Please allow the fangirl in me to properly gush: last night's Bell Biv Devoe reunion on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was amazing. The '90s R&B boyband performed two of their classics—the brilliant "Poison" and "Do Me!"—backed by the world's grooviest house band, multiple Grammy award-winning The Roots, and the results were magical. Sure, everyone is older, but they still have the moves, and both Jimmy and the crowd were loving it. Check out the performances, and I dare you to not sing along. It's impossible. And if that gets you in the mood for more classic R&B and hip-hop hits from that era, be sure to check out Napster's "New Jack Swing" playlists, Vols. 1 and 2.

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Chaka Khan, ClassiKhan

Chaka Khan, ClassicKhan Oh boy — this is fun. Chaka Khan is best known for her high-energy R&B numbers like the classic "I Feel for You," but this lady is a masterful vocalist and can bring her skills to bear on a wide range of material, including standards. And that's what makes this 2004 set such a good time: She is more than up to the task of interpreting "Great American Songbook" material, but she does it with signature sass and unmistakable joy (and here with the help of the London Symphony, no less). Speaking of signature sass, maybe that's why she chooses to throw down on "Goldfinger," John Barry's most James Bond of James Bond moments, as well as "Diamonds Are Forever"; clearly she and Shirley Bassey are kindred spirits on some level. Beyond those magic moments, the choice of songs is just wonderful: "Hey Big Spender," "Stormy Weather," "Crazy," "'Round Midnight"? What? Yes. We told you this was fun. Wait 'til you hear it — we're smiling just writing about it.

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February 23, 2011

Artist to Watch 2011: Avery*Sunshine

Avery*Sunshine At a time when indie R&B music is finally being recognized by the masses, Avery*Sunshine is one of the many artists ready to take the music industry by storm. The Atlanta-based soul singer (by way of Chester, Pennsylvania) released her acclaimed album Avery*Sunshine last year, and has not slowed down since. She's currently on a nationwide tour, and I had the pleasure of seeing her in her element at an intimate performance in Los Angeles, where she really energized the crowd. In addition to making her way through her album, she also worked out on a number of R&B hits we’ve all come to love. Avery offers a refreshing taste of good music — no frills, no gimmicks, just good music.

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February 18, 2011

Lenny Kravitz and Rihanna Headline NBA All-Star Entertainment

Lenny Kravitz and Rihanna What would the NBA All-Star game be without major entertainment to liven things up during the game? Rock star Lenny Kravitz and pop diva Rihanna will definitely be livening things up at this year's game, which takes place this Sunday. Kravitz will kick off the game with his new single, "Come on and Get It," while Rihanna will be holding down the halftime show and singing songs from her hit album Loud. Rumor has it that friend and frequent collaborator Kanye West will make a special appearance during Rihanna’s set, and there are murmurs that the two will be performing his new single, "All of the Lights." It'd be an even better surprise if West were to bring out all 12 other artists featured on the song: John Legend, The-Dream, Ryan Leslie, Tony Williams, Charlie Wilson, Elly Jackson (of La Roux), Alicia Keys, Fergie, Kid Cudi, Alvin Fields, Ken Lewis, and Elton John. Now that would be a halftime show! Although further details are still under wraps, I’m sure the show will be entertaining either way. We’ll just have to wait until this Sunday to see exactly how entertaining it will be.

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