Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Musiq - OnMyRadio Review

What do you do when your first two albums (Aijuswanaseing, Juslisen) go Platinum and your next two (Soulstar, LuvanMusiq) only go gold? If you’re Musiq Soulchild you keep it moving and create a new album on Atlantic Records, Onmyradio. This is actually an appropriate title for the album because he knows that it’s the radio listener that will purchase (hopefully not from the CD man) his album and grant him the Platinum status that he’s chasing. To achieve this goal, he leads the charge with Radio. This is the essential club track most albums have nowadays. Although it may bring affright to the most loyal Musiq fan, conjuring thoughts of Musiq growing locks, sporting a pimp chalice and renaming himself Lil or Young Musiq; it’s not a bad club track. Radio was quickly followed by Ifuleave which sounds eerily alot like Teachme. Teachme was the single from Luvanmusiq that reached #2 on the US charts. If Teachme was one of his most successful radio singles, then Ifuleave is a radio single on steroids. It’s like Kool-Aid. Hey, everyone already likes water (Teachme), so let’s add sugar, artificial flavoring and dye (Mary J. Blige) and VOILA, radio gold (hopefully Platinum)!

There are few standout tracks on the album but more songs that seem formulaic. Specifically, Deserveumore and Loveofmylife, which leave me wondering if I’ve heard them before on previous Musiq albums. Others, such as Iwannabe and Moneyright, make me believe he’s trying too hard. The effort is appreciated but the songs are lackluster versions of reggae and current rap/dance/soul hybrids (read: Green Light). Others left me scratching my head... Until; it’s actually not a bad song but the vocals in the background are distracting and ultimately aggravating. It reminds me of drawing before Photoshop was released. You'll have a good picture and you keep adding to it and then suddenly, YOU’VE DONE TOO MUCH. Those haunting vocals in the background are TOO MUCH. Can we get a version sans irritating background vocals Musiq? Come on man, It’s me Rahdu…(lol).

I feel Musiq excels when he remains in his comfort zone. The songs that are a return to his hip hop & soul sensibilities are where Onmyradio shines. Musiq, if you didn't know, honed his chops beatboxing for MCs and singing on the streets of Philadelphia while practically homeless. Special and Sobeautiful are epitomes of these sensibilities and are my favorites for opposing reasons. I’ll begin with Sobeautiful. He stays true to form and creates the best song on the album. Sobeautiful contains all the elements that we look forward to from Musiq. He sings this one in a range higher than he usually does, but to great effect. I had this one on repeat. Secondly, Special; this is where he gambles and wins with the most progressive (for Musiq) track on the album. Quirky production and great harmonies pervade and commands the immediate headnod that’s a prerequisite for great music. Back Again is one of the few songs that are truly reminiscent of his debut project, containing a hip hop backbeat, sparse keys and passionate vocals. It’s a great opening track, as it immediately grabs the attention and gets you in the mood for Onmyradio.
Overall I give this album 5 out of 7 headnods. Musiq delivers but you can tell that he’s struggling to find his place in today’s musical landscape. He does just enough to entertain current fans while largely trying to recruit new ones. Unfortunately, the chasm is deep and wide and if he continues to try to play both sides against the middle his career may end up inside of it.

*Head Nod Scale
1=Don't waste your time like I did mine.
2=Waste your time like I did mine but I dare you to disagree.
3=Well, there was the single.
4=If it were a hand in spades there's "two and a possible".
5=It's a "good" album. Meaning at least 3 or 4 solid songs.
6=Really Good Project. Has the "Rewind Factor" more than once.
7=The number of completion. Great Album. Instant Classic.


Blogger ChocLitLuvJoi said...

When a friend of mine 1st let me listen to that Radio track and told me to guess, I just knew it was Omarion or one of those kids. Granted ‘twas the 1st 30seconds of the song, but either way, I’m still in a state of shock. Now this is gonna Completely contradict my Kanye post, but I just am not really feeling this “new” Musiq @ all. It’s not that I want him to stay in his babyfro, vulnerable, acousticKy state, but I don’t think this is an evolution. It’s more so a digression, or just plain being stagnant; in my book. I’ve seen him in concert and listened to his past stuff, I Love him! But, I think in an effort to stay current, he’s doing what most artists do. They drop their real fans to appeal to a new base, often times younger and lamer. [sorry kids]Lol. While the “real” fan base continues to grow, yearning for that Guud music. He’s cheating on me dammit!

Anywho, to not completely make this a negative post, I will say I do like a few tracks on the album... I do like Deserveumore. The first 20seconds of a song can make it or break it for me. I was captivated; I turned it up, and restarted it. I think the echo-E vocals are beAutiful, as are the finger snappy percussions.

Interludes, I always listen to. I like to hear what people have to say. So when Dearjohn came on my interest was piqued. I thought the words were sincere, but was more so carried away by the keys. It caused a subconscious sway as I did whatever the crap I was doing @ the time. Nice song

Iwannabe, I like this one. Not b/c of the Marley effect though, it can actually do w/o him. I love the feel good, red stripe drinking, fog horn blaring, dancing-on-the-beach-in-a tube-top-and-long-skirt vibe I get from it. It just feels Irie and No Problem-E. What can I say… *giggle*

Sobeautiful is very nice, very serene. I do like This “new” Musiq. See, here he’s testing himself vocally. I can appreciate that. This kind of branching out, I’m w/ it. All that other synthesized stuff gives me a slow headache that I realize four hours after my brain’s been faintly throbbing. I like the light tapping of the cymbals and horns. Very nicely done. I must go now.
~PeAce Out

Oh! Clearly by the song count, it’s a 5/7 for Me! Toodles

December 9, 2008 at 6:43 PM  

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