Tamar Braxton: The One
Sigh. Oh, Tamar. Those of us who love Tamar’s voice were elated to see her single “Love & War” do so well because it gave hope that a great (and well-performing) album might be ahead. As hype over “War” started to cool, fans anxiously waited for a proceeding single, namely “Hot Sugar,” the bouncy, sexy track we heard on Braxton’s reality WEtv series “Tamar & Vince.” No such luck. A 2nd single came, but it wasn’t “Sugar.” What we received was “The One;” a song that sounds like it came straight from the Keyshia Cole factory. “War’s” similarities to the Cole track “Trust & Believe” were tolerated because the resemblance seem to only lie within the composition (boo on producer DJ Camper for recycling), but everything on “One,” from the sampling of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” to the vocal delivery, are taken directly from Cole. This is beyond aggravating to hear, as Braxton should have her own sound and her voice is far more developed and sophisticated than Cole’s. Whoever is handling the production & creative direction of Braxton’s forthcoming album needs to either re-evaluate or be fired. Listen to “The One” here.
Mariah Carey: Beautiful ft. Miguel
If you don’t know already, music icon and “American Idol” judge, Mariah Carey, is in the studio working on her follow-up to 2009’s “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel.” “Triumphant,” her 1st attempt at releasing new music, proved to be less than so with a lukewarm response from fans and critics alike. Unlike “Triumphant,” the new “Beautiful,” featuring the ever-sexy vocals of R&B’s Miguel, lives up to its title. Musically have a breezy, classic, old-school feel (I suspect it may be a sample), the track has a very golden warmth that makes it perfect for a summer playlist. Lyrically, it’s a different situation. Some might appreciate the whimsical, teenage-love likeness of it all, but coming from Mariah Carey (especially since it’s been 4 years) and a singer-songwriter like Miguel, you want to hear some lyrical profundity. The song fails to tell even the simplest of a story. My other issue with the single is that Miguel has the 1st verse. This was the problem with “Triumphant;” the featured rappers almost overpowered Carey and it was her own song. That aside, “Beautiful” is a promising tune and I look forward to seeing how Carey’s new project unfolds. Listen here.