Sunday March 27th, 2005

          

New CD's this past week:


- Devoted Spirits - A tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire
- Tweet Ė Itís me again
 


Music news headlines this week:

112 Gets Its Groove Back

R&B quartet 112 sought to "get back to the essence of making great love
songs" on its new album, "Pleasure & Pain," according to group member
Daron. Due Tuesday (March 29) via Def Soul, the album is led by the Sean
Garrett-penned single "U Already Know" featuring Foxy Brown, which is No.
19 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
The new album is the follow-up to 2003's "Hot and Wet," which has sold
380,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan,
compared to the 1.9-million selling 2001 release "Part III."
"'Hot & Wet' wasn't a bad album," Daron says. "But the choice of singles
helped make the album not as successful as it should have been, and some
of the imaging was off." Thus, the new set "is more R&B and heavier on
ballads," Daron offers. "It's a lovemaking album. However, it still has
the hip-hop elements we're known for."
Looking at the success of 112's previous melding of R&B and hip-hop
("Peaches & Cream," "It's Over Now"), Garrett focused on the group's
strong urban appeal by writing "very descriptive" songs, he says. "They're
grown men now; women think they're sexy." Besides Garrett and Daron, the
slate of producers includes Warryn Campbell, Mario Winans and Jermaine
Dupri. Guest performers include Dupri, T.I. and Three 6 Mafia.
Daron and Slim feel the recent surge in R&B's popularity will work in
their favor. "When you listen to this album, it will remind you of our
first [1996's "112"], which had substantial ballads," Slim says. "With the
type of R&B music that's being put out there, we feel like our time is
right now."

 


Whitney Houston Enters Rehab Again

A year after her first reported stay in rehab, Whitney Houston has again
checked into a rehabilitation facility, according to her publicist, who
declined to provide additional details.
In March 2004, Houston checked herself into an undisclosed rehabilitation
center. After years of denying drug use, the pop diva said she had used
cocaine, marijuana and pills in an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC's
"Primetime" in 2002. She has said she was using the power of prayer to
help her get over drugs.
In January 2000, Houston left behind a bag at an airport in Hawaii that
allegedly held less than half an ounce of marijuana and three partially
smoked marijuana cigarettes; a petty misdemeanor drug charge was dismissed
when a counselor said Houston didn't need treatment for substance abuse.
Houston, 41, has been working with longtime producer/mentor Clive Davis on
a new studio album.

 



Motown Classics Get Modern Updates

As first revealed in January, a host of Motown classics have been remixed
for the aptly named "Motown Remixed" compilation, which the label will
release May 24. The 15-track set will be augmented on the same day by
"Motown Unmixed," featuring the original versions of the source material
for the remix project.
Among the notable remixes here are Gladys Knight & the Pips' "I Heard It
Through the Grapevine" by the Roots' ?uestlove and James Poyser (under the
moniker the Randy Watson Experience, named for the hapless singer in
"Coming to America") and the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" by DJ Z-Trip.
"They gave me the masters to use," Z-Trip says. "I was like a kid in a
candy store. My song starts off the album so I feel really good about it.
I love to show people that I'm versatile."
Eminem's DJ Green Lantern remixes Rick James' "Mary Jane," while Groove
Boutique (Rafe Gomez and David Baron) tackles Smokey Robinson's "Quiet
Storm" with assistance from legendary vibes man Roy Ayers. DJ Jazzy Jeff
and Pete Kuzma revamp the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," while
Easy Mo Bee puts his stamp on that group's "Just My Imagination (Running
Away With Me)."
On May 10, the label will issue two vinyl singles with extended mixes: a
"hip-hop" volume with the Jackson 5's "ABC" and "I Want You Back," a
"club" record with "Keep on Truckin'" and "War." There will also be a
"chill" edition with album versions of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," "Let's
Get It On" and "Quiet Storm."
Remix pioneer Tom Moulton had worked on three tracks for the collection:
the Commodores' "Three Times a Lady," the Miracles' "Do It Baby"
(post-Smokey Robinson) and the Supremes' "Stoned Love," but none of them
wound of making the cut for the North American version of the album.
"Tom Moulton and Universal Music Enterprises have a long-standiing
relationship, " said Harry Weinger, VP of A&R for Universal Music
Enterprises. "We're thrilled that his mix of 'Stoned Love" is on the U.K.
version of the album. Tom always does great work and I am confident that a
'Tom Moulton Mix' will be on a future version of 'Motown Remixed.'"
DJ Smash, who remixes Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm
Yours" for the album, will headline the Motown Remixed tour in May and
June. The trek will hit such cities as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago,
Detroit and San Francisco on dates to be announced.

Here is the track list for "Motown Remixed":

"I Want You Back" (Jackson 5), DJ Z-Trip
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (Gladys Knight & the Pips), the Randy
Watson Experience
"Let's Get It On" (Marvin Gaye), DA Producers
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" (Stevie Wonder), DJ Smash
"ABC" (Jackson 5), Salaam Remi
"I Just Want To Celebrate" (Rare Earth), Mocean Worker
"Papa Was a Rolling Stone" (Temptations), DJ Jazzy Jeff & Pete Kuzma
"Quiet Storm" (Smokey Robinson), Groove Boutique featuring Roy Ayers
"My World Is Empty Without You" (Diana Ross & the Supremes), Tranzition
"Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" (Temptations), Easy Mo Bee
"Smiling Faces Sometimes" (Undisputed Truth), Futureshock Entertainment
"The Tears of a Clown" (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles), Hotsnax
"Keep on Truckin'" (Eddie Kendricks), DJ Spinna
"War" (Edwin Starr), King Britt
"Mary Jane" (Rick James), DJ Green Lantern

 



Mariah Carey Feels Truly Emancipated

Mariah Carey says that her upcoming album, The Emancipation of Mimi,
reflects her new sense of being comfortable with herself. Mariah tells
Extra, "I've always felt I had to make excuses for a lot of things. People
have always been, like, 'Are you black? Are you white?' 'are you R&B, are
you pop?' It's always been some type of 'let me explain myself and make
apologies for who I am,' and that's not what it's about. So it's a great
feeling."

 



Paula Abdul Sentenced For Hit-And-Run

Like the lyrics of her most famous song, "Straight Up," American Idol
judge Paula Abdul has been "caught in a hit and run." The petite singer
was sentenced to two years of informal probation after pleading "no
contest" to the misdemeanor crime yesterday (March 24th) in Los Angeles.
Abdul was also ordered to pay about $900 in legal fines and another $775
to the driver of the car she damaged.
According to police, the "minor" incident occurred the morning of December
20th, when Abdul was making a lane change on a Los Angeles freeway, and in
the process, hit a car with her Mercedes-Benz. Abdul didn't stop to
exchange information, but unfortunately for her, the driver of the bumped
vehicle had his camera phone handy and took a picture of her car and
license plate.
Abdul was not in court when her attorney, Neil E. Meyer, entered her plea.
Meyer later said in a statement, "Unbeknownst to Paula, there was some
minor contact between the tire of her car and another vehicle on the
roadway. Paula immediately took full responsibility."
Meyer's statement contradicts several published reports including
Celebrity Justice's claim that the former "Laker Girl" was interviewed by
the California Highway Patrol about the collision and denied any
involvement. The program contends that Abdul told officers that her car
was in the shop at the time of the accident, when in fact, Abdul's car was
taken to a local dealership the day after the fender-bender.

 


Stevie Wonder On 'What The Fussí Single

Stevie Wonder's new single, "What The Fuss," from his forthcoming album, A
Time To Love, is gaining radio play at urban and urban adult stations
across the country. Recently, Wonder explained the origin of the song.
Wonder said: " 'What The Fuss' really came from just, you know, a lot of
things that we know are happening in the world and in this country and
just in society in general."
The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter continued that the song is a
somewhat satirical comment on the times: "You know, if we live in a time
where every nation is fighting around the world and we can't all agree
that peace is the way, then, you know, shame on us. Because ultimately we
will get what we've not paid attention to. So I think really it's a song
that just talks about some things. And sort of a sarcastic song, but then
again not really, it's like, the seriousness of it. But yet, you know, if
it matters to you, to me, to them, to us, then we'll do something about.
And if it doesn't we won't. So what the fuss?"
A Time To Love, which is Wonder's first studio recording in 10 years, is
due May 3rd.

 



Aretha Franklin Set To Release New Album In June

Aretha Franklin will be releasing her next album as the first release on
her own Aretha Records label this June. Rolling Stone reports that the
still-untitled follow-up to 2003's So Damn Happy was co-produced by
Franklin and includes duets with Faith Hill and former Temptations lead
singer Dennis Edwards. Edwards is the only other act signed to Aretha
Records so far.
Franklin explained to Variety why she feels more at home on her own
independent label, saying, "When you're signed to a major label you always
have to give up some creative control. With Aretha Records, I will have
100 percent creative control." Apart from Aretha and Edwards, Aretha's
son, Teddy White Jr., who also plays in her band, might also release his
CD's through the label.
Earlier this month, Playbill reported that Franklin is in negotiations to
play Motormouth Maybelle in the new film adaptation of the musical
Hairspray. No definite casting decisions will be announced until a final
script has been approved. The film is expected to begin shooting in
September.

 


News 2005

News 2004

News 2003

News 2002

News 2001