Music: Classixx - "Pleasure Principle (@Classixx Recovery Mix)"

Typically, I don't really post individual tracks here - that was back in the old days of my now defunct Beats, Eats and Reads, but I plan to change that every now and then. Wanted to post this new song that I'm in love with by Los Angeles-based Classixx.  

For whatever reason, whenever I heard a Janet Jackson cover of some sort or remix I always tend to love it. I think it helps me remember how much I actually enjoy Janet's music. With that being said, here is a great take on Janet's classic "Pleasure Principle" by Classixx. On their SoundCloud the group says this is their Valentine's gift as they are busy at work on their second album.  

Can't wait to hear what they have cooking. Listen to the song below. It makes me swoon, hopefully it does the same for you. 

SoundCloud Binge #6 - Ivan Ave, Elhae and more.

Turn up for consistency--or don't. Nonetheless, I am back with another post in the same day this time with my weekly SoundCloud Binge. 

For this week's binge I have some pretty good tunes that I would love to share. The first track is the new single from Norway-based Ivan Ave and to say I'm in love with it would be an understatement. If you're not familiar with Ivan Ave - I think you should do that ASAP as his Low Jams EP with producer mndsgn is easily one of my favorite projects released last year.  This track is produced by Fred Fades and shines a light to the new music Ivan has coming out this year in conjunction with Jakarta Records. 

Check out the other tracks on this project including Elhae, a great mix and more. 

January's Reads: Four Books to Read, or Pass on this Month!

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more productive and more proactive. As everyone knows, I love books. This is something that’s been an innate characteristic of mine from growing up as an only child. I would read all the time, write my own books, and throw temper tantrums when my parents didn't fuel my desire to journey out of my body to the lives of others like Addy my American Girl, or Goosebumps trilogies.

That being said, in the need to become more productive and proactive this year, one of the things on my list was to finally stop bullshitting and actually start my new book club. With this, obviously is an assortment of books to read and discuss in the venue you wish - us, we discuss over brunch #booksandbrunch. The first book we read was Jeff Hobbs’ The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. After reading that book which stirred up some emotional feelings in my soul, I continued my month of reading with four other books, which I will document here as well as what my list for this month. Also, since everything I read wasn’t technically good, I decided to group them in books I enjoyed and those I didn’t.   

Also since I've been somewhat busy, I thought why not do something different (for this month only) and put the description of the book from the publisher with my own review. 

Enjoyed:

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace 
By Jeff Hobbs 


Publishers description: A heartfelt, and riveting biography of the short life of a talented young African-American man who escapes the slums of Newark for Yale University only to succumb to the dangers of the streets—and of one’s own nature—when he returns home.

When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, “fronting” in Yale, and at home.

Through an honest rendering of Robert’s relationships—with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends and fellow drug dealers—The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace encompasses the most enduring conflicts in America: race, class, drugs, community, imprisonment, education, family, friendship, and love. It’s about the collision of two fiercely insular worlds—the ivy-covered campus of Yale University and Newark, New Jersey, and the difficulty of going from one to the other and then back again. It’s about poverty, the challenges of single motherhood, and the struggle to find male role models in a community where a man is more likely to go to prison than to college. It’s about reaching one’s greatest potential and taking responsibility for your family no matter the cost. It’s about trying to live a decent life in America. But most all the story is about the tragic life of one singular brilliant young man. His end, a violent one, is heartbreaking and powerful and unforgettable. 

My description: This was the first book we read for my book club and it provoked a great description. In my recent reading life, I can honestly say, this is one of the first books I have read that stirred up crazy emotions in me. I found myself getting angry, sad, and confused several different times during reading this book so much to the point that at the actual book club meeting, I wasn't 100% how to capture or summarize my feelings. 

Let me explain, the book tells the story of Robert Peace or "Shaun" as some of his friends called him. Robert grew up in a gritty part of New Jersey which in my head looked somewhat like Baltimore and The Wire. Robert was the child of a hardworking mother who would do anything to provide and give her son a great life, as well as a father - a drug dealer, who was convicted of a terrible crime and later paid is life for a crime that he may or may not have committed. 

During the book, we see that Robert is smart - he nearly had a perfect score on his SAT. He was always one of the top students in his class which also led him on his journey to Yale where he met the author of the book Jeff Hobbs, who was his roommate. 

Sadly, however, the very things that Robert's mom tried to keep her son out of - drugs, and crime, were the things that turned his life upside down - ultimately leading to the title of this book. I've read some people had an issue with this book because the author, Jeff, was white and from a good upbringing. They said that his upbringing at times made it seem as if he was placing judgement on Robert - this is not something I got. I think being that they were friends it kind of gave this story more of a personal feel to me. I will say however, at times Jeff lost me because he was being overly visual and driving home facts and points that I could really care less about.

I would definitely recommend this book though. It was good - but makes you angry. Also, due to the title of the book, I felt at many times I was waiting to see when Robert would die because I knew it would be happening at some point.

Meh: 

Yes, Chef 
Marcus Samuelsson with Veronica Chambers

Publishers Review: “One of the great culinary stories of our time.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations. Yes, Chef chronicles Samuelsson’s journey, from his grandmother’s kitchen to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of chasing flavors had only just begun—in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs, and, most important, the opening of Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fulfilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, and bus drivers. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home.

My Review: Since I can remember, I’ve liked Marcus Samuelsson. Not only do we have the Ethiopian connection, he’s always very sharp and polished--his food also always looks amazing. One of my last trips to New York, I went to his restaurant Red Rooster over excited and found that all though the exterior was beautiful, I was quite disappointed. This however, doesn’t really have a reflection on him - or does it?

I digress. When I went to the bookstore to get my book club book, I saw his face on the book and thought why not give this book a chance but reading it I was a little meh. Don’t get me wrong, his upbringing being adopted was very interesting. I liked reading about his new adoptive family and the idea of two mothers that he talks about in the beginning of the book - the mother he doesn't remember very well, the young Ethiopian girl, and the adoptive mother that raised him.   

The book was a rather short read about his upbringing and eventually his career path that we are all familiar with, but the book just didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.

 

Enjoyed: 

A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story 
By Elaine Brown


Publishers description: Brown's account of her life at the highest levels of the Black Panther party's hierarchy. More than a journey through a turbulent time in American history, this is the story of a black woman's battle to define herself. 

My review: As a product of Oakland California, I’ve always found myself ultra fascinated by the Black Panther Party. There was a period of time in my life where I heavily studied the Panthers, and felt that a lot of the ideals they set up and followed are things that would help our community today -- this is actually something I still believe especially in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter.

When I had the opportunity to read Elaine’s book, I was very excited. I’ve actually read this book now three different times but the first two times I read too fast once and too slow another time that I missed a lot of the value in this book. When I read it again this month for the third time, I read it consistently for a few days so I could really soak in everything that she was saying and can I just say how powerful this book was? It was moving full of layers of misogyny, relationships, sex, and interesting early years.

Through this book, readers have a look into Elaine’s life from her childhood in Philadelphia where although she grew up with poverty, her mother made sure she had a great education even if it meant she was surrounded by children of the upper class. Oddly enough, before become a Panther, Elaine worked in a Strip Club in Los Angeles, and eventually became a Black Panther first in Los Angeles and then in their Oakland Chapter. She was also Huey Newton’s lover.  As a Panther, we see her going through the ranks and even seeing the and what she had to go through as a female in the Panther party.

This book taught me a lot about Elaine, but also a lot about the Panther Party and information I didn’t necessarily know. At times, I remember reading this book and thinking man - this is crazy, yet sad. Part of what made me really sad while reading this book was Huey Newton. He’s always been fascinating to me - in part because even growing up, I always found him to be attractive (come on, my first crush was Martin Luther King Jr) but I also found him to be extremely intelligent, bright with ideas that I myself believed in. This book shows him as this figure--inspiring and brilliant even, however, as we know, that on the same streets he reigned in were also the same streets he died in due to drugs and somewhat a little too much power.

I also liked that this book spoke to females in the party, giving a different perspective somewhat like one of my favorite books of all time ‘The Autobiography of Assata Shakur.’It’s captivating the way it is written and really pulls you in. Would definitely suggest this to anyone.  

Hated

It was Me All Along: A Memoir 
By Andie Mitchell
Description: A heartbreakingly honest, endearing memoir of incredible weight loss by a young food blogger who battles body image issues and overcomes food addiction to find self-acceptance.
 
All her life, Andie Mitchell had eaten lustily and mindlessly. Food was her babysitter, her best friend, her confidant, and it provided a refuge from her fractured family. But when she stepped on the scale on her twentieth birthday and it registered a shocking 268 pounds, she knew she had to change the way she thought about food and herself; that her life was at stake. 

It Was Me All Along takes Andie from working class Boston to the romantic streets of Rome, from morbidly obese to half her size, from seeking comfort in anything that came cream-filled and two-to-a-pack to finding balance in exquisite (but modest) bowls of handmade pasta. This story is about much more than a woman who loves food and abhors her body. It is about someone who made changes when her situation seemed too far gone and how she discovered balance in an off-kilter world. More than anything, though, it is the story of her finding beauty in acceptance and learning to love all parts of herself. 

My Description: Currently, this book is a New York Times bestseller and I can say honestly I understand why. For one, people want to read something where they can connect with the narrator and with this book Andie, the author, is a narrator who takes you on a journey through her life and her battles with weight and essentially overcoming her weight obstacles. The second reason people enjoy this book or buy this book rather is because let's face it, America is obsessed with weight. There are countless blogs exposing the weight of celebrities and their "bloated-size two" frame. Weight loss is something the resonates with everyone especially women who due to cycles fluctuate often in weight.  
Food-Blogger Andie connects with the weight loss phenomena through her book and even opens the book with a scene about eating a massive cake on her birthday. We see how her weight was a hindrance to her at different times, and you actually do feel sad for her at times within the book. But I will say, to me - this book was a snooze festival with NO funnel cake and broken down rides. I found the relationship with Andie and her first love to be beautiful and heart warming even, but as a whole, I found her to be super annoying. So annoying in fact that I may or may not have missed a lot of the point with the book. 

Like i mentioned, I'm a woman, and I have the body of a goddess - just playing, but I have womanly parts you know which means I've struggled with weight my whole life. I know I will never be a size 2 - nor would I want to ( I have a big head so I'm pretty sure at a size 2 I'd look like a caricature or a bobble head) but I also don't find pitty in my weight either so I can't say that it's interesting to read about someone who does. 

I don't know. I wasn't stimulated and or moved to say the least. 

February Reading List

  • Finishing Wild by Cheryl Strayed

  • We Need New Names by Dinaw Mengestu 

  • 40 Days of Dating by Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman

  • Ella Fitzgerald biography by Stuart Nicholson

 

Valentine's Playlist x Bay Social

Can you believe, I am actually keeping the motion and actually am on my fifth SoundCloud Binge? Well this time, it’s not necessarily a binge - it’s a playlist to get you in the mood of love.  I compiled a list of some of my favorite tracks that make me feel in love for my friend and I’s newsletter, Bay Social.

Hopefully, you dig the playlist. If you don’t, that’s fine too.  

Happy early Valentine’s Day.

SoundCloud Binge #3 featuring: @ELHAE, Tuxedo, The Internet & More

Here’s my third SoundCloud binge, and I feel like I should be congratulated for my consistency with this *pats self on back.* For this binge, something really, really great happened--let me explain. I’m not sure if you caught my previous binge with a playlist from my Girl Crush Hannah Faith of Soulection, but she made this incredible mix with this song that I loved. The song has a crazy Michael Jackson “Rock With You” sample, and great production and a really tight rapper flowing all over the track. It’s one of those songs that makes you want to two-step sensually with your boo, bae, or love whatever your preference. I was like man, this is my shit, however, I couldn't find the name of the track for NOTHING in my life.

But bruh.

Today I found it and I lowkey want to cry.

Patience is a virtue.

Be patient young grasshopper.

I’m hella dramatic, but I’m pretty pumped up like Joe (get it?)

But that’s what happened with ELHAE “Halfway Love.” I love, love this song.

Listen to the binge below, and make sure to check the other ones here and here. I will post another one next Tuesday.


Get Productive With These Apps

Again for a productivity post--as we know, many people are attached to their phones. People are constantly playing with their phones, checking email, taking photos, texting, and etc with their phones. Although I’m one of those people who tries to detach myself from my phone by taking off all notifications and having my phone on silent 24/7, I still use my phone for some organizing + managing.  Below, are some of my favorite productivity apps. Hopefully, you’ll find some to be useful. Also, if you have some apps that you love, please feel free to put them below in the comment section as well.

 

Any.Do
Any.Do is one of my personal favorite apps because it’s pretty, and has a nice sleek interface. This app has great functions like a daily planner for everyday use that syncs with every device you have--computer, phone, or tablet. The app also allows you to create lists and subtasks for every area that you may need to focus on. For me, I have subtasks categories for all of my work functions, plus blogging, writing and even a grocery list. You can also set up reminders and notifications for this app, as well as recurring tasks which is a function that I really like.

Cal
To go along with Any.Do, why not try out Cal? Made by the same company as Any.Do, Cal is my favorite calendar app. I will admit, the new calendar app on iOS is great, but this app is better because it’s more visual. You can add events for you and friends, and their photo will show up as well as any notes or directions to where you guys are meeting. I once I had an interview in the city and I was lost. I used the Cal app to collect the address, and directions there as well. Also, anything you have yet to complete from your Any.Do will be added to Cal so these are a great duo pair.

Postmates
I have to blame my friend Teresa for getting me hooked on this app. If you are planning an event, setting up a meeting and/or just lazy and don’t feel like going out to get a bite to eat, Postmates is the perfect app for you. This app allows you to request a courier for anything you may or may not (Papalote’s Fried Chicken Burrito which I really, really wanted) need. I used this app for work for our Adopt-a-Family gift delivery and it went by really easily. Just love this app.

HotelTonight
The other apps I mentioned on this list are very specific and geared towards professional needs and this app really isn’t. But, if you’re a person like me, traveling is a form of productivity. Whenever I take a trip, I meet new people which improves my writings, change my surroundings which helps my writing and sparks my creativity, and I’m more productive when I return back. Last summer, this app was so clutch for my travels in New York. My friends and I did an AirBnB in Bed Stuy and sadly, the adorable home that we scouted months prior had violent and quite abrasive cockroaches so sadly we had to leave quick fast and in a hurry. A friend of mine Jas (HAY GIRL HAY), told me she planned her trip via HotelTonight so we did this too which is how we were able to get a hotel room for a cheaper rate. The productive kicker for this would possibly be that I got to meet/drink and celebrate the birthday of Lianne La Havas with Lianne La Havas in the flesh and her posse.  

Evernote
Evernote will always be on the list of productive apps, and now with the updates it’s definitely going  to always have a home in my heart. This app, is a great way to organize you to do list, as well as make separate notebooks for whatever it is that you nee to do. There are also additional sections and attachments on Evernote that are great “Evernote Hello” which helps you store contacts that you meet. I use this function/app to store contacts I meet who I want to keep in contact with and/or send an email to keep a conversation with this person going. There’s also “Evernote Food” which I want to dabble and play with a little bit more. Both Hello and Food, sync with the actual Evernote app which is great.  

Google Drive
uh. Google Drive is my most favorite app and/or website. I’ve been going little crazy on Google Drive and making lots of spreadsheets--color coding turn up. I don’t have much to say about this app, but it’s great to say the least. I use it on the computer and on my phone and iPad.

To-do List
Again with to-do list apps is an app with a title that complete alludes to its function. This app has a nice and sleek interface and lets you collaborate and assign tasks to multiple members in your team. You will get notifications on your phone when tasks have been added to the list or comments on collaborative lists. A cool extension to this app is To-Do List Karma which has a graph to show you how productive you and your tasks have been. Pretty cool app. I could be wrong, but I think this app is made by the same creators of Any.Do and Cal--they have a similar style, and function.

Mint
If you’re trying to get your finances in order like myself, Mint is a great app. With this app you setup your accounts and can easily check and see where you are spending most of your money. I even put cash in this app to see how much I’ve spent at certain places. In 2014, a lot of my spending went to Starbucks or Peets. Now however, since I am no longer a coffee drinker (16 days strong with no headaches) I’d be very interested to see where my money is going. For more financial apps and information, my friend made a great post on her new blog that you should check out here

SoundCloud Binge Number Two

As promised, I'm back with my second SoundCloud binge. Today's installment once again includes a mix by Hannah Faith of Soulection - I'm pretty sure she's my "Girl Crush." The mix also includes some other jams that you should check out, one of which happens to be my favorite song from Jazmine Sullivan's new album Reality Show, which is out today.  

Also as an added bonus, if you're my friend on Twitter/Facebook I made a post of my super tight (toots my own horn) playlist. You can check it out and/or subscribe here


SoundCloud Binge Number One

I saw a friend of mine post on Facebook about how music these days is terrible. Although I agree with her to extent because a lot of music is trivial these days to me, I can not say that I wholeheartedly agree.  

In previous decades, I think the foundation of music was a little different. Instead of attempting to ride the wave of popularity it seemed like a lot of the artists were trying to create timeless music--music that you can listen to decades down the line and it still would make sense. With artists like some of my favorites: The Isley Brothers, Frank Beverly & Maze, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Wee, Roy Ayers and more, music was crafted to speak to you whether it was through lyrics, instrumentation or overall feeling and emotion. 

These days, that's a little rare but there are definitely artists who live and breathe this today: John Legend, Jazmine Sullivan (has pipes look here), Emeli Sande, Lianne La Havas, I could go on. Also, let us not forget, D'Angelo just released Black Messiah, at the end of 2014 which oozes with all of the necessary timeless elements - lyrics on point, instrumentation beautiful, overall feeling, beautiful ("Another Life"- chills).  

That being said, to show her that she was being overly dramatic, I thought why not start this new weekly project--a Soundcloud binge. I've been on Soundcloud consistently for the last few weeks and finding some really great music and if you are my friend there (shameless plug @bellametaphor) I apologize. I'm going to do a post weekly documenting my ten favorite finds for the week. Hopefully, I can put you on to some gems and hopefully, you can help me out too. 

There are some pretty good tunes here like Tuexedo's AR Mix. If you're unfamiliar, Tuxedo is comprised of producer Jake One and singer/songwriter Mayer Hawthorne. Last year, the pairing released their self-titled three track EP which featured some gems that I still enjoy today. On March 3rd, they will be releasing their debut album via Stones Throw and let us just say, I am overly excited. In the meantime, I spotted this gem on their Soundcloud and BRUH, it jams so hard. This mix is comprised of classic soul and is easily something you can play from start to finish. Another song on this mix is one of my favorite tracks for the last few weeks, Nao's "Adore You." Everything about this song is perfect in my opinion: the production. Listen below, the tracklisting comes via SoundCloud. 


34 Books to Read in 2015

34 Books to Read in 2015

 

Happy new year everyone. It’s a trip, it seems like it was just a few months ago that I was counting down the days until my 26 birthday (I was doing that) and now, it’s a brand new year. Hopefully, you have a good grasp on some of the things you want to do in the new year, I know for me it would have to be - more traveling, building more connections, and stop procrastinating. Also, after my new year’s aftermath, I’m doing a 100% alcohol detox (never drank that much, but going to be more conscious of that in the new year).  

 

I did a lot of reading in 2014 - some of the books I read were good and some were bad, but in 2015 I want to do way more reading for sure. I’ve made a vow courtesy Goodreads to try to read 60 books in 2015. I also finally started a book club combining two of my favorite things: books and brunch. If you’re in the Bay Area and would love to attend our meetings, please message me. Also, if you’re not in the Bay Area, let me know as well - I can invite you to our group on Facebook as I plan on incorporating Google+ or Skype in the near future.  

 

Below are the books I plan to read in 2015, perhaps you should read them too. The first book is the book we are currently reading for the book club, others are some that I want to read. Also, some of the books are books that I have read but didn’t really understand or find interesting want to give them another go around.  

I’ll add this as a PDF at some point as well, so never fear.

Book List 2015

  1. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

  2. Happiness, Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta

  3. Love is Power, or Something Like That by Igoni Barrett

  4. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

  5. I Loves Yous Are For White People - Lac Su

  6. When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories From a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintrauth

  7. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

  8. Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson

  9. Manchild In The Promiseland by Claude Brown

  10. Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black by Bell Hooks

  11. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Alborn

  12. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer

  13. NW by Zadie Smith

  14. The Cross of Redemption by James Baldwin

  15. Far from The Tree: Parents, Children and Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

  16. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

  17. Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair

  18. Nigger by Dick Gregory

  19. Jesus Land by Julia Scheeros

  20. The City of Devi by Manil Suri

  21. A Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate

  22. They Poured Fire on Us From The Sky by Benjamin Ajak

  23. Dark at The Roots by Sarah Thyre

  24. Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer

  25. I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone

  26. Fairyland by Alysia Abbott

  27. The Love-Charm of Bombs by Lara Feigel

  28. All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu

  29. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

  30. The Narrow Road to The Deep North by Richard Flanagan

  31. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

  32. Driving The King by Ravi Howard

  33. Butterflies in November by Audrava Olafsdohir

  34. God Loves Haiti by Dimitry Elias Leger

 

Gorgon City Lets You 'Go All Night' with New Mix #GoAllNightPartySoundtrack

In October, Gorgon City released their mainstream debut and LP Sirens. The project, for me, is still steady in rotation as it’s a combination of soul, and house - two of my favorite things. The album featured not only great production, but also great features one of which came courtesy the powerhouse singer Jennifer Hudson in the form of “Go All Night.” 

In my review of the album which you can read in it’s entirety here, I described the song as an epic dance-floor banger.  

As soon as the song begins with minimal production, Jennifer’s voice commands full attention. As the song continues and the beat develops, Gorgon City create a song complete with traces of the legendary Cece Peniston in her heydey. This is a song that will easily be an anthem in gay clubs or House music parties around the world and for good reason - it captures a feeling and makes you dance uncontrollably (I have a little sweat forming as I write listening to this song for the sixth time in a row). 

The pairing recently released the video for the song, and now, to celebrate the official release of the single Gorgon City created this bomb 1-hour playlist, ‘Go All Night’ mix. It will be the perfect addition to any holiday party or just if you want to turn up at your desk, which I am currently doing. 

Also, Gorgon City will begin their tour soon check the dates here. I saw them in San Francisco earlier this year - I danced so hard, and met some really cool people.  If you want to purchase Gorgon City’s LP Sirens, purchase the album here via iTunes

Tinashe's Debut Album, Stellar Effort or?

As a woman, I make mistakes and I am woman enough to admit to those very mistakes. One of those errors of judgement came on October 7th – the day that R&B singer Tinashe released her debut album Aquarius. I wrote a tweet about how great her album was – I don’t know the exact verbiage I used and I assume since it was Twitter I could find the information out by looking at my timeline, but I am lazy, distracted and eating Tater Tots with Fish with an excessive amount of Hot Sauce and a side of Lemonade – digression. But yes, I prematurely said that I loved the Tinashe album in so many characters when realistically, that’s not the truth. The album which Tinashe herself is the executive producer of, features production from Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), DJ Mustard and Mike WilL Made It, just to name a few.Aquarius has it’s high points but on the sixth full listen, I realized that the album became background music.

Tinashe has a good voice especially in the sea of autotuned non-singers or oversexualized singers with repetitive subject contents. But for me, what those albums have that Tinashe’s album lacks is the ability to keep listeners invested (kind of like the J.Cole syndrome). At times, I forgot that I was actually listening to the album perhaps because the lush, sex music vibes doesn’t captivate my short attention span. Also, aside from the lead single “2 On” featuring Schoolboy Q, the album production wise doesn’t really change up – everything is slow, saucy and cuddly.

That being said, as a whole Tinashe’s debut is leaps and bounds better than I expected. The songs on the album really allow Tinashe’s voice to play the lead role as she seamlessly goes between FKA Twigs-ish vibes on certain songs, and Janet Jackson in others.

Highlights on the album come in the form of the Future assisted “How Many Times.” Although Future kind of messes up his main part with a series of tribal chants that sound more Tourette like than necessary, this is subjectively speaking, the album’s best song.  For the song, Tinashe flips the classic Janet Jackson track, “Funny How Time Flies” from her 1986 classic Control, and makes it contemporary and sensual. “Cold Sweat” follows in terms of highlights as Tinashe sings about friends, foes and all things that are synonymous with becoming a star. This song also shines a light on one of Tinashe’s strengths – her vocal versatility.

Overall, the Tinashe album is a nice debut album. I wouldn’t say that it is something that I will consistently play, but it was leaps better than I expected – just not gas-worthy like I said.