With April being the fourth month of the year, it situates itself as the the conclusion of the first quarter. While January, and parts of February, may be a little slow with releases, April rounds out the first quarter, and we can see artists releasing more music in preparation for the summer months (tours, festivals, etc.). And April did not disappoint! Anderson .Paak released his second project in 5-months, jam packed with much of the compositions, vocals, and instrumentation that we’ve come to love him for. Beyoncé released her live album from her incredible performance at Coachella, recalling a tradition that seems to have faded away — the live album! Beyoncé’s live album is a reminder of the hard work, meticulous planning, and skill that’s needed for a live show. Computers and technology can do a lot, but they can’t “make” you a better performer. Beyoncé’s album is a reminder of that. April also featured some exciting releases from artists like, Devin Morrison, GMJR, and Mel Smith. It’s been a good month all around!
Below are some of our favorite songs from the month and a bit about why we love them. Side A, songs 1-11, were selected by Kevin, and Side B, songs 12-21, were selected by me, Stanley. We hope that you enjoy the playlist, find a song you like, and dive into an entire album!
Stanley: Devin Morrison — With You (Featuring Joyce Wrice)
Devin Morrison’s Bussin’ has been one of the more pleasant surprises for me, given I didn’t know who he was before a couple of weeks ago. An avid fan of Commissioned, the gospel group that featured both Fred Hammond and Marvin Sapp, Morrison’s music is a throwback to ‘90s R&B and Gospel. In particular, With You, features a duet between Joyce Wrice and Morrison, whose voices contrast each other’s in the best way imaginable, creating euphoric-like harmonies.
Stanley: Anderson .Paak — Reachin’ 2 Much (Featuring Lalah Hathaway)
Reachin’ 2 Much is probably my favorite song from the album (at least for this week). The opening drum fill immediately places you in the groove. The bass line, played by Kelsey González, is reminiscent of James Jamerson’s legendary Motown sound. And, Lalah Hathaway’s scat solo recalls the great, Ella Fitzgerald. It’s just an all around incredible song.
GMJR’s Congratulations is a fabulous slow burning R&B composition, with hard bass slaps on the 2 and 4. As the drums lock into a tight groove, you can feel the song build momentum, but never too much. While set up by great instrumentation, the power of the song comes from the story that’s told. Mel Smith’s vocal performance places the listener at the heart of R&B, and lyrically Congratulations reminds us that the “B” in R&B stands for Blues, as the song reflects on heartbreak and flat out getting played.