September 20, 2003
most anticipated album of 2003 is finally here. Being the most
recognisable face and voice of the super-hit R&B / pop trio
Destiny’s Child, Beyonce was expected to translate this into a huge
solo LP. Beyonce’s new solo work expands the artist’s musical
repertoire significantly. Her tortured lead vocals here roll over slow
bass and improvised lead guitar. Lyrically, the song Me, Myself
& I will ring familiar with Destiny Child’s fans, as it
talks about industrial empowerment. Baby Boy sports the
distinctive reggae of Sean Paul. The sleazy wriggle of Hip Hop Star
sets the right pace for the album, featuring OutKast’s Big Boi and
fellow Dundeon Family member Sleepy Brown’s smooth raps. Crazy In
Love, featuring Jay-Z, is easily the album’s peak with uplifting
chorus and stunning horn bombast. Included as a hidden track, Daddy
is an extraordinary tribute to her father Matthew Knowles, with lyrics
like: "I want my unborn son to be like my daddy/ I want my
husband to be like my daddy." Beyonce once said it and it is
true: She’s a survivor.
The compilation is full of rare gems and outstanding music reminiscent of Fashion TV’s music. The album features such catwalk ready tracks as Color of June by Purple Avenue, Something About U by Eric Paque, Les Reves D’ Alice by DJ Kodi, Life Style performed by David Grumel, 100 Heures by DJ Sonic and Es Vedra by Alchemic Storm, all of which set a lively tone without becoming too busy or fading into musical wallpaper.
Darius — Dive In
The fact that Darius auditioned for Popstars and ranked No. 3, has already made him a household name. Dive In is an album of great maturity for an artist who’s just 22. Colourblind kicks off proceedings in a gentle, poppy guitar-driven sense with easy lyrics and a memorable chorus and turns out to be a tentative test song for what lies ahead. The real surprise comes with the title track, that opens with an irresistible chorus: "Take a long shot and give it all you’ve got / You’ll never know unless you try." Dive In is without a doubt one of the better pop albums released this year. Darius’ honeyed baritone and warm Scottish charm would probably be enough to win the album a fair audience.
Album of the month
Well, we first acquainted ourselves with 50 Cent, when we heard How To Rob and our thoughts about that song was that this guy was the craziest nut in the industry. That was the only thing we had heard from the self-proclaimed "Brooklyn Bad Boy" until the recent 50 Cent mania that has taken the entire music world by storm. Unlike unscathed storytellers, 50 has been a victim of violence himself. He was shot at nine times in 2000 and has been stabbed and beaten repeatedly since then. Last fall, his mentor Run-DMC D.J. Jam Master Jay was killed at his recording studio in Queens. The platinum hit-makers Trackmasters took notice of 50 and signed him to Columbia Records in 1999. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is symbolic of the quality of modern mainstream hip-hop. The album is stocked with spangly, rough beats, arena-sized shouts and 50s’ undeniable vocal skills. 21 Questions is probably going to be one of the most interesting cuts on the album — with free-flowing guitar licks in the background, where 50 asks if he lost his fame and riches would a girl still love him. Though sometimes raw, as he can drop crude lines like "I love you like a fat kid love cake", it’s quite an enjoyable track, enhanced by Nate Dogg on the hook. Like My Style is a livelier stab at luring people onto the dancefloor. Promising an LP of the calibre of rap classics like Ready To Die, Illmatic and Reasonable Doubt, 50 Cent’s debut is all out to set the pace for hip-hop in coming years.
— Saurabh & Gaurav