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#AwkwardMoments 9.12.12

Sunday Musings: A Chat With a Crooner

Friday I sat down to have an interview with the incredible Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Aaron Camper. He came to our humble radio station dressed casually with his assortment of musical partners and we had some preamble talk before launching into the actual discussion. Aaron somehow
manages to be low key, yet exude a presence in the room. He maintained his 'cool customer' attitude throughout the interview even when I was listing his garden variety of accolades.

We talked about his many musically influences from Marvin Gaye to Jodeci, which in context to his music makes an acute amount of sense. Aaron Camper sonically has a distinct identity: It's a spectrum from sweet R'n'B, My Heart to R'n'B with some subtle trap elements Breaking My Heart (side-note: 'subtle trap influences' no one has ever managed that yet). In My Heart, a personal favorite, there's a flavor of Jodeci, but more notably early Michael Jackson, P.Y.T. The song, and his other released catalog has a degree of polish that is refreshing, especially from an upcoming artist. My Heart is a smooth, hyper polished, crafted piece of pop R'n'B about the whimsy of seeing a beauty across the club. A simple premise that's probably been done several times before, but compared to the songs of late that are about this, it's an uniquely classy version of it.

Due to his impressive repertoire, everyone should give his polished collection of intimate love songs a listen. From the lovelorn to the skeptics of romance will be unconsciously charmed by his mixtape Welcome to My World.

You can reach Aaron on his website:

Post Work No Groceries Playlist: An Ironic Intimate Night in for One

Every Friday comes with the satisfaction and hope that there is less responsibility for you to deal with. People do different things with their weekends. Every Friday I will be posting a playlist for certain situations or themes. You know what... Maybe you weren't feeling this week. This week dragged it's feet across the finish line and you're kind of over it. You're feeling lonely and just want to stay in. I get it, we aren't all blessed with significant others. Don't fret for this week's Post Work we will be listing several songs that will enlighten you to the fact that people in love or looking for love aren't the most part rational. It will give you solace the blessing that is being single.

Ginuwine- Pony
Dishonorable Mentions: Ginuwine- In Those Jeans and Final Warning feat. Aaliyah

Ginuwine is a particularly frustrating artist in that he releases Pony, In Those Jeans, and Final Warning in which he casts himself as a cad who objectifies women and personifies them as mere objects to be kept under his possession so he could do whatever he want (this will be a reoccurring theme in this playlist). He is a willing participant in the societal norm that allows men to stroll the streets in search of sex on their terms, while not allowing the partner a significant say in their preferences or what they would like to do in bed. Sex is a one man show to this archetype of men and
you're just a prop for his release. The frustrating part comes in when he releases songs like Differences, Love You More, and Frozen when he actually takes his partner into consideration. This is maddening for the fact that he already painted himself as a bad guy you shouldn't rely on yet releases three of the best love songs of my generation. Maybe in the grand scheme of things it's true to real life.

Danny Fernandes- Take Me Away
Dishonorable Mentions: Danny Fernandes- Let's Make A Movie

More frustration! Take Me Away is an okay EDM pop song on the surface however the problem starts (like his entire album, AutomaticLUV) when Danny Fernandes begins to sing. He isn't an inherently terrible singer, but on this song he scales up into his higher register to deliver a vocal performance the
likes of Justin Bieber or pick any One Direction member. Again a problem that can be overlooked if it weren't for the awkwardly sweet lyrics. When you sing like that and you're asking some poor girl to be your baby girl all the while asking for her to 'Take me away, To a place I've never been before' than you come off at best a dude with no game, or worst a complete virgin to many aspects of the outside world, including women and sex in general. Of course in true comedic form later in the album there is a sex tape song Let's Make a Movie where he sounds equal parts unsuave and kind of lecherous.

Nivea- Don't Mess With My Man

This song properly articulates how nauseating and territorial couples can get. Nivea, Brandon, or Brian Casey possibly has a case to be made against potential paramours but with lyrics like 'So I'm telling everybody let him be, Cause he's mine and I can't take no pigeons tryna take my baby' you
can't take any party in the situation seriously.

Christina Perri- Jar of Hearts

Normally I am down for a power ballad against cheaters everywhere. I am a fan of Before He Cheats. That's a song about a scorned lover that takes proactive action against a cheater without making the singer sound petty. Christina Perri,  bless her heart, made a similar attempt at a song yet somehow in the end looks far more childish in this mawkish slow power ballad. Her vocals sound great on the song but for next time she might want to aim for emotional complexity than just flaccid proclamations that lead nowhere.

Eamon- F*ck It (I Don't Want You Back)
Dishonorable Mention: Mike Posner- Cheated

Break ups are almost never easy. It's an emotional messy and complicated affair that takes people some time to bounce back from depending on the situation. People do get back up however and it's always great to hear a success story of a person making a recovery from a break up. What isn't palatable to the ears is listening to a man nasally wail about how much of a skank his ex was. Eamon doesn't make the situation any better for himself when he repeatedly says eff you to the ex. For any terrible behavior this mysterious ex may have done to him in the past, now he looks like a butt hurt baby that can't work through his problems. It's actually pretty sad of him. At least he was classier(?) than Mike Posner since he didn't name any names.

R. Kelly- You Remind Me of Something

As if the notion of R. Kelly being anybodies sexual fantasy isn't revolting as is, we have this song to
look back to for reference. The only way anyone anyone can find any merit to this song is to assume that women were only put here for voyeuristic pleasure and to be compared to inanimate objects, like the cars that probably clutter up R. Kelly's garage. If this seems like a gross overstatement let's all look back to the fact that he released a sex tape of him with an underage girl, who probably didn't know any better, performing lewd acts on her.

Carly Simon- That's The Way It Always Should Be

Sometimes interesting topics and/or themes doesn't translate into execution. The overall message of this song is great: Carly Simon is basically having doubts on whether or not her and her spouse should get married based on past experiences, and peer pressure from her friends. It's a fairly nuanced premise yet the execution was off It's a typical sleepy rock ballad that you would hear on insert lite FM radio station. The song pulls punches and instead of landing on any relatable emotional notes it loses it's listener at every listless second. For argument's sake this was her first released song and she does get better at executing themes and concepts like on her songs You're So Vain and Nobody Does It Better which I highly recommend you give a listen.

Robin Thicke- Blurred Lines feat. T.I. And Pharrell Williams

Let me paint you a picture. What woman, who came to the club or party to relax and enjoy
herself, wants to hear a song that basically promotes rape culture and sexual violence. That woman is hearing three men tell her I'm taking you home tonight so we can do what I WANT, and I won't be taking any of your unfounded rejections or protests you silly women love to do. It's patronizing and gross on a base level and reminds the listener that some guys can be the worst sometimes.

We're in it Togther... Mostly

With the rumors of Migos and Bobby Shmurda making a collaborative mixtape that will come to shatter the Brownsville's of the world, I began to think: What makes a good collaborative project? There's several moving parts that go into producing a phenomenal joint song or album. Some of those parts are based on chance alone. Here are some of the collaborations that have contributed great works for pop culture, and some less than successful attempts.

Better Together

Aaliyah & Timbaland/Missy Elliot

This trio has produced some of the most memorable music together. They produced ultra catchy songs like One in a Million, Try Again, Rock the Boat, and countless other high charting songs. These
songs were well known for being silky and smooth pop-R'n'B tracks with Aaliyah's vocals fitting comfortably right in.

Drake & The Weeknd

Separately these artists are very hit and miss for me in terms of quality. However when they come together to produce a song, odds are it is the best track on whatever project they are producing. Songs like Crew Love and Live For are a perfect melding of Drake's tendency to be too precious with his songwriting, and The Weeknd's tendency to over brood on his songs. When the collaboration works, they produce a song that holds a nice amount of emotional weight, yet is also conscious of it's sentiments.

Biggie & Everyone

Biggie has the natural ability to combine with any of his guest artist to produce a song that is a natural melding of both artists' sensibilities. For example F*ck You Tonight feat. R. Kelly doesn't sound like Notorious Thugs feat. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, that doesn't sound like Mo Money, Mo Problems feat. Diddy and Mase. However they all contain a certain essence that categorically make them signature Biggie songs.

Barbra Streisand & Donna Summers

I included them because I am an unabashed disco lover and this disco song, No More Tears, is pure energy. Barbra and Donna refuses the let up on the vocal onslaught even though the song has it's foot firmly pressed on the pedal.

These Also Happened...

Jay-Z and Kanye West

Watch The Throne was not a terrible overall audio experience, however a collaboration of these hip
hop titans should've produced something more than the uninspired pledge of gaudy opulence the album turned out to be.

SZA and Kendrick Lamar

The tragic thing about this collaboration is that neither performer is terrible on the song Babylon. Kendrick is spitting typical fantastic aggressive lyrics. However in the process he upstages SZA's
great understated vocals on her own song. A good collaboration calls for all of the performers to complement each other well.

2 Cellos & Naya Rivera/ Alicia Keys & Jack White

These are examples of songs that are good besides the performers attempt to sink it. I think the kids call it a 'guilty pleasure'. 2 Cellos and Naya Rivera have had a legitimately great song in the cover they did of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. However on their song Supermassive Black Hole the sound is unique enough to keep me hooked, but Naya's screeching on this track is a hard contrast to the powerful steady vocals she displayed on the Smooth Criminal cover.

The same goes for Alicia Keys and Jack White. Their song Another Way to Die for the movie Quantum of Solace is again unique enough to keep the listener interested but Jack's bizarre guitar strumming and their baffling vocal harmonizing doesn't help the song. I suggest giving both songs a listen because they are so unconventional that they may appeal to you.

Lil Wayne & Everyone

Lil Wayne is such an aggressive and obnoxiously loud presence on any song that it's nye impossible to find a complementing voice.

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