Michael Kiwanuka – “Bones” [Video]

Michael Kiwanuka is known as Britain’s Otis Redding, and rightfully so. The acoustic soul man who is the son of Ugandan refugees developed his folk-soul sound while growing up in London and listening to the likes of Bill Withers, Otis Redding and more. The winner of BBC Sound of 2012 released his debut album, Home Again, in the Spring but laid low on the promotion for a while until he started touring, which brings me to his latest offering. Kiwanuka released the video for a single entitled
“Bones,” which is a compilation of grainy footage from his recent tour in Asia. The song is a 60s-inspired tune where he’s yearning for the woman he loves. His soulful tenor belts out lyrics like, “I guess I will leave this world alone, without you I’m just bones,” as the background vocalists repeat his every word in harmony. If you like this song then you will love you some Michael Kiwanuka.

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Tamia – “Still” (Acoustic Version)

Songbird Tamia has re-released “Still” a popular song from her 2004 album, More, which was originally produced by Jermaine Dupri. For this version, Tamia teamed up with songwriter Claude Kelly, to revamp it with an alternative twist. This new version can be found on her forthcoming album, Beautiful Surprise. “Still” is a tribute to her husband Grant Hill, and the family they’ve built. The song contains the same lyrics that fans of the original version have grown to love but the redone music is acoustic, instead of R&B. Beautiful Surprise will be in stores on August 28th.

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Nelly Furtado – “Parking Lot“

When it comes to Nelly Furtado, you either love or hate her signature nasally alto. Admittedly, I love it. I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s the melodies; she’s good at creating them. Enter “Parking Lot,” the latest offering from her forthcoming album, The Spirit Indestructible, scheduled for release on September 18th. The beat is a relatively simple and monotonous synth clapping underneath what sounds like a tuba loop while Furtado sings “na na na nas” and other hooks about parking lot pimping.

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R&B Divas – “Lovin Me”

Faith Evans, Keke Wyatt, Syleena Johnson, Monifah and Nicci Gilbert have collaborated for a classy effort that tells their critics exactly where to go. “Lovin Me,” is self-explanatory. Each of these soulful ladies sings her heart out over a 60s inspired R&B groove about her personal trials and tribulations in the music industry and how she has managed to overcome it and love herself. Faith details her weight struggles, “They said my voice was right but my curves were wrong,” she belts, as Syleena Johnson talks about reclaiming the power she gave away. You get the idea. This comes just in time for the premiere of their TVOne reality show aptly titled, R&B Divas, which embodies the essence of the song—fallen divas trying to get back on top—no shade. It’s nice to hear these women sanging and reclaiming their victories. They even get listeners involved at the end of the song when they start chant singing, “Let me see you put your hands in the air if you love yourself.” This is definitely a feel good anthem.

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DJ Khaled x Mavado “Suicidal Thoughts” – Khaled’s Kiss the Ring

DJ Khaled tapped dancehall don Mavado to lend his vocals to “Suicidal Thoughts.” The song, which will be featured on Khaled’s latest compilation, Kiss the Ring, which just dropped today. Imagine a traditional drum set being beat to death as a melancholy organ plays in the distance as Mavado’s vocals add the finishing touch. That’s pretty much “Suicidal Thoughts.” It’s a sullen tale about the struggles that “gangsters” go through and how the life can make someone suicidal. I wouldn’t know anything about that but there’s something about the song that reminds me of a movie, think Shottas. Eventually, the song flips the script at the end for a more upbeat and traditional dancehall tune where Mavado is rapping about—you guessed it—the “action packed” side of the gangster life, gunshots included.

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