It’s been nearly six years since Bad Boy Records songstress Cassie first burst into the music scene with the platinum-selling “Me & U,” a spine-tingling slice of icy electro-R&B minimalism that rocketed to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006.
While she’s released several songs over the past few years since her debut record, including “Official Girl (feat. Lil Wayne)” in 2008 and “Let’s Get Crazy (feat. Akon)” in 2009, the singer’s had a slow start-up for her sophomore attempt (which was at one time titled Electro Love), stalled by push-backs, delays and of course, the search for the right sound.
And then came “King of Hearts” in early February, a storming, tranced-out production filled with pulsating Ibiza jungle rhythms and haunting, chilly vocals a la “Me & U.” It was the perfect blend of futuristic dance production and Cassie’s signature delivery–the “it” sound that Cassie says will thread itself throughout her upcoming record.
Finally, the R&B songstress is now preparing to release her long-awaited follow-up in 2012.
I got the opportunity to speak with the Connecticutian chanteuse last week while she was promoting “King of Hearts” across the country. (She’s now popping bottles and getting merry in France for Paris Fashion Week–c’est bon, la vie!)
We spoke about the video for “King Of Hearts,” her producers, her sound and her fashion. Plus, she even hinted at what I can only assume to be my new personal anthem off the upcoming record: “Lonely Disco Ball.”
She’s a complete sweetheart, and one of the flyest chicks in the business: And now, an interview with Queen Cassie.
WHY LOOK: IT’S KELIS IN SPACE!
As suggested in the behind-the-scenes video, the video clip for Benny Benassi‘s latest single is a whole lot of CGI-tastic, intergalactic goodness. It’s very Alien meets Star Trek meets every sci-fi production ever.
That is all.
To preview and purchase the single on iTunes, click here.
If you can somehow find a minute in between the ceaseless repeat listening sessions of Kylie Minogue‘s Aphrodite this weekend (HOW COULD YOU?), take note: Other artists are still making music.
Take for instance one of my favorite DJ/House artists, Benny Benassi. His latest single, “Spaceship” features Kelis, the Black Eyed Peas‘ Apl.de.ap, and Jean Baptiste. It is very, very good, mainly as a result of Kelis’ repetitive chorus of “So get high. Get high. Get high.”
Above is the behind-the-scenes clip for the song’s video shoot. As you can tell, it will look quite spacey when all is said and done. Hooray for technology! The video will premiere on June 28 (Monday).
The upcoming “Spaceship” remix package will include mixes by Fedde Le Grand and EDX amongst others, but you can already purchase the single itself on iTunes now.
Thank you for your time. You may now return to “Cupid Boy.”
MuuMuse Approved Tracks for the Week of May 23, 2010
5. Christina Aguilera – Lift Me Up
While the Sia ballads on the album are the most masterful, this Linda Perry-penned torch track is a ballad for the ages (that may well go unappreciated).
4. Uffie – Pop The Glock
It’s not a new song by any means, but hearing it all over again after the album leak has reminded me why the chick Ke$ha jacked her swagga from is so, so much more fun. I’m always ready to Uff!
3. Christina Aguilera – Vanity
This song may feature more cocky boasts than my irony meter can handle (“Let us not forget who owns the throne”), but I’ll be damned if this deluded exercise in self-celebration isn’t deliciously sassy. If the shoe fits…wear it, bitch.
2. Benny Benassi – Spaceship (ft. Kelis, Apl.De.Ap, and Jean-Baptiste)
Benassi never fails, as with this “Rocket In The Sky”-esque stomping delight meant to set the dance floor ablaze. Deeply wish the Black Eyed Peas rap nonsense was out of the picture, though.
1. Alicia Keys – Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)
Alicia coos across an absolutely luscious, slinky groove about getting it on. I die every time. So happy to hear about the baby in waiting…Congratulations!
Known for providing some of the most innovative, genre-bending dance-turned-R&B-turned-rock ‘n’ roll tracks of the 21st century, Kelis has always been known to be a formative, if not consistently underestimated figure in the music industry.
With “Acapella,” the singer’s colossal first single from Flesh Tone, it was clear that the singer was by all intents and purposes ‘back’ after a four year hiatus from the industry. The song, which would eventually hit #1 on the Billboard Dance/Club Play charts, doubled as a successful re-introduction into the scene and provided a perfect showcase of the album’s major themes: carnal beats, soaring vocals, and an emphasis on forward-thinking electronica.
But while all signs pointed to promising results, it’s hard to say if anyone could have expected this album; one that could easily be declared the best albums of the year thus far. Yet that’s exactly what we’ve been given.
Flesh Tone is only a nine-track album, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. Each track seamlessly feeds into the next thanks to a series of transitions, resulting in a non-stop primal party mix that holds true to Kelis’ initial hopes for the album. “Itâ€™s an album you can get sweaty to,” Kelis explained to Rap-Up early into the promotional campaign for Flesh Tone. She wasn’t kidding.
With opening tracks “22nd Century” and “4th of July (Fireworks),” Kelis immediately builds a case for her complex new sound. Both songs are structured more like ten different tracks being played at once, transitioning into new bridges and alternating melodies and dance breaks.
Soon after comes the lonesome sounding “Home,” which sounds like one thing and expresses quite another: “The lights are shining, I’m already home,” Kelis croons above scorching synthesizers and a blaring beat. The pulsations are bold and vibrant, even if her voice remains mournful.
There’s also “Emancipate,” which may well be the “Vogue” or “Express Yourself” of 2010. “Let me tell you what love is,” Kelis announces like a proper disco diva at the start of the song. “It’s about meeting each other half way…I’m in route.” What follows can be described only as a modern re-imagining of Erotica-era Madonna, as the mantra “Emancipate yourself” repeats again and again on top of strut-and-pose synthesizers. It’s an instant, undeniable gay anthem for the next generation.
The David Guetta-produced “Scream” is another major moment for the singer, as Kelis finds herself getting even more comfy in her new role as commander of the dance floor. “You’ll never know if you don’t let it out/ You have enough, they’ll call your bluff” Kelis announces as the song dives into the chorus. Here, the synthesizers flare like smoke pouring from the speakers while the frantic electronic noises begin to dissipate, making each repeat of the chorus sound not unlike a rocket launching from Earth.
The true triumph, however, would be the final moments of the record with the Benny Benassi-produced “Brave.” The song is the most personal of the bunch (aside from the final ode to her newborn son, Knight, entitled “Song for The Baby”), which finds Kelis taking on her divorce, pregnancy, and various other inner demons in a rave-happy, carnal explosion of noisy synthesizers and grinding electronica. “It was crazy. Had a baby, he’s amazing,” she croons across the song’s first verse, “He saved me. And this time, it’s just us.”
An immediate favorite from the get-go, “Brave” is truly what brings Flesh Tone from greatness to the upper echelons of incredible.
The brilliance with Flesh Tone is that Kelis has taken very Top 40 production value (Jean Baptiste, for instance, often works with the Black Eyed Peas) and transformed it into complex, next level electronica with multiple layers and dimension. These aren’t simply three minute dance tracks with catchy, radio-ready choruses, they’re part of a complete album experience providing the soundtrack to a host of stories and emotions.
In short, the best way I can describe this album is to declare it a kind of Confessions on a Dance Floor of the new decade. And that, my friends, speaks volumes.