Justin Timberlake: Suit and Tie

justin timberlake suit and tie

Justin Timberlake’s new single, “Suit and Tie”, which is from his new album 20/20 Experience, is a catchy pop tune that will do extremely well on pop radio, despite his long hiatus since FutureSex/Love Sounds in 2006.  His light falsetto range displays his mastery of what makes a good pop song, as he pulls you in and invites you to crank up your stereo, roll the windows down, and share the song with the cars sitting next to you at the stop light. While the intro to the song takes a while to pick up, at the forty-five second mark the song kicks into high gear, bringing in a mixture of electronic sounds and a hip hop influenced drum track that brings color and energy to the track. Justin’s voice is also strong, while being sultry and incredibly soulful.

An appearance by Jay Z adds a little something extra to the song, as it all leads back to the influences and sounds of his time with N’Sync and his solo career, which is a healthy dose of R&B, with some Michael Jackson thrown in, all making it an irresistible pop song that will lead to the repeat button on your stereo being permanently stuck. While the song has great musical quality, the lyrics however are shallow, demonstrating a lack of depth, “And as long as I’ve got my suit and tie/ I’m a leave it all on the floor tonight/And you got fixed up to the nines/Let me show you a few things/All pressed up in black and white/And you’re dressed in that dress I like. This seems to be the least of Timberlake’s worries, as the song has proven to be catchy enough to top the Billboard Charts at number 4, which is good news for Timberlake’s music career since he has not released any new material for almost six years. 20/20 Experience will be released in March of 2013.

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manteye’s Soundcloud Demos

manteye

manteye is an independent artist from Toronto, Canada. While listening to his numerous recordings on Soundcloud.com, I was taken by his casual sound and its potential widespread appeal. Band leader Mark Manthei and his quasi-namesake band had a short burst of success in Canada, Europe, and the United States in the 1990’s. Today, his newer tunes sound fresh and vibrant, unlike he is trying to replicate his sound of the past.

The first track, “Kill The Music,” opens with piano builds with electronic drums and a flute. Adding to the ambient atmosphere are Manthei’s vocals, which are comparable to Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October. Throughout the song, a female vocalist adds a subtle beauty, though her voice comes through weaker than the lead. A Soundcloud comment on this song describes it as “soft, soulful, and rich,” which is spot on. This song is perfect to listen to on a rainy day, when there is not much going on, as it allows you to slip away into your own thoughts.

“Pray For Rain” is a pop acoustic song featuring the same rough vocals—another perfect companion to “Kill The Music.” Acoustic music fans take note: manteye fits your record collection perfectly. He is quiet, unpretentious, and refreshing to listen to. It seems as though the intent of his music is to take the listener away.

“Long After John Lennon” is more upbeat and slightly more 80’s and early 90’s influenced, reminiscent of manteye’s successful years in Canada. Almost an arena rock hit, this song sounds like it wants to explode out of the speakers.

Overall, manteye is talented. After reading that the band had only limited success in Canada, the U.S., and Europe, it makes one wonder if he could have had more success outside those territories, perhaps with just a wider distribution and promotion. Such success might have been, given Mark’s well-crafted songs blend together such a vast array of compelling sounds.

Chords of Truth

Chords of Truth promotional photo

Chords of Truth promotional photo

Chords of Truth’s EP Reflections of Reality is a solid set of acoustic folk songs that contain powerful lyrics and wonderful vocal abilities which suit the serious-but-fun mood that the band is trying to express. While the guitar parts are pretty straightforward, songwriter and lead singer Jason Garriotte has the vocal and lyrical abilities to stand out amongst the crowd.

The first song, “Tune Your Mind,” has a simplistic guitar part that displays Jason’s influences, Simon and Garfunkel and Peter, Paul, and Mary. The lyrics make this song. The song opens “Throughout history there has been ideas about how it all began/ What plane we have all come from/ And our existence from now on.” As the song plays on, it seems that Jason has taken tremendous care to ensure that his listeners get something out of the song, perhaps a reflective nature.

“Pop or Soda” is a fun song, allowing the listener to take a breather from the serious nature of the first half of the EP. This song displays one of the more complex guitar parts of all of the songs, allowing Garriotte’s playing to shine.

The EP ends with “What Life Is About.” The beautiful intro shows the talent and depth of Jason’s guitar playing. This song is probably the best song on the album, and deserves earlier placement on the record to mix things up a bit more.

Jason Garriotte’s Chords of Truth allows a singer/songwriter to shine. Catch Jason on tour starting in March of 2013, when he will release multiple remix albums of Reflections of Reality.