Tuesday, October 9, 2007

J. Holiday - Back of My 'Lac

Just the name of this CD screams classic R&B – doesn’t it?
[note the sarcasm]
Though I wasn’t thoroughly impressed by J. Holiday’s first major burst onto the scene with his single “Bed”, I could not deny he had an awesome voice compared to the mediocrity we call musical talent nowadays. I had to check out the CD and you know … still not all that impressed. Great vocals, banging beats but everything else just fell flat – mainly the attempt to be hood and sincerely sensual through amazingly cliché lyrics.
Here’s my track by track run down of J. Holiday’s debut album, Back of My ‘Lac:

Back of My ‘Lac – First off I LOVE the intro of he song. Cruising is my fav Smokey song. His vocals are polished and sound awesome, I can tap feet and bob my head to the beat but this is where I can unfortunately tell everything going to be incredibly repetitive. I was with him until the 10th time he repeated “Sitin In The Back Of My Lac Smokin My Dro Sippin My Yack” We get it J.

Ghetto – To any of you hardcore 90’s R&B heads this is very reminiscent of Christion's In the Ghetto(Do What Ya Gotta Do). Now, again he sounds good and I find myself bobbing to the music but his is where I got a bit confused. I love the message behind the song but it does seem a bit contradictory when he says, “and all we investing in is Hydro and liquor stores SS 4 doors and 24's”. Then he continues on about getting tired of the same thing we do as a people in the ghetto when in the song before he was in the back of his ‘lac smoking dro and sipping yak. But obvious hypocrisy aside I do love what the song is about and glad it isn’t glorifying the hood like so many urban artists seem to do for some stupid attempt at street cred.

Thug Commandments – And again totally straying from the subject matter of the previous song. Now don’t get me wrong I like this song too – it makes me laugh because I know people who live just like this. My problem is he was so tired of people smoking and drinking in the hood but his first two lines of the song are "Don't Choke On That Homeboy Blow It Out/Don't Sip On That Drink Pour A Little Out”. Hmmm? Are you condoning this lifestyle or do you want people to quit and get their priorities straight? Whatever. And again adding to the utter lyrical confusion in “Ghetto” he stated he’d never been a thug but the very next song is “Thug Commandments”. So you’re a thug but not really? Come on Mr. Holiday, help a sista out. Clarify some things for me please.

Bed – And the moment I’m sure you were all waiting for, J. Holiday’s explosive single. Now I will be the first to admit I hated the song upon my first listen but now it’s in constant rotation on my iPod. It’s a sexy little number and I will admit that his vocals does give a tiny chill when I hear this. There’s really not much to say about this song. No matter what he wants his mom to believe, there’s no denying what this song is really about. I love it.

Betcha Never Had - Probably my LEAST favorite track. He doesn’t sound as good as in other songs. And I really just don’t like it. Nice beat but again not my fav. It’s a really simplistic way of telling a girl he can screw her better than the other guy. Not cliché at all. [note the sarcasm]

Laa Laa - I take it back, this might be my least favorite song. Well, it comes at a close 2nd. The beat saves it. It’s a really chill, laid-back and so much more could have been done with it lyrically. I love the flow of it but again with the confusion of what he really want to stand for. It’s a song about smoking “drug paraphernalia”. Can you guess what it is? And after smoking he “puts it down” then they smoke again.

Come Here – Ok so maybe the CD just sucks for me after Bed. He sounds ok but for the most part this track is just filler. It looked nice on the track list.

Be With Me – J. Holiday’s first attempt at a single which failed – horribly. It’s a typical Darkchild production. Heavy on the drum machine with a few bells and chimes thrown in. Can’t say I’m surprised that it bombed.

Suffocate – Here’s Holiday’s new single. It’s a cute little song and a nice choice of follow up from Bed. I totally see the video for this. Basically, he needs his woman and can’t breathe without her which would lead to “suffocating”. It’s only logical right?

Fatal - I really like this song. It’s like Suffocate part 2 - almost. I really think this would be a better choice of single than Suffocate. It’s a nice little ballad that has his trying to make amends with the girl that he has done wrong.

Without You – Another Darkchild beat but despite it’s generic-ness (I do realize that’s not a word but it’s my review damnit) I actually like it. I really like it. It’s part of what I like to call the “Don’t leave me, Baby. I’m sorry. I really do love you” trifecta (Suffocate, Fatal, Without You)

Pimp in Me – I sort of hate this song. No. Yeah, I do. I hate this song. He sounds really good, in fact I love the way it sounds but as soon as he gets to the chorus, the song for me just died. If this is his attempt to woo a female and prove her importance, he must hang around a lot of strip clubs. Well, that would make sense since he literally compared her to a call girl. Come on now J. Holiday – where’s the sexy in that?

Thank You – Don’t let the title fool you. This is not a dedication song – unless it’s for the chick who wagged him off before he wrote this song. Again, a potentially awesome song, were it not for the somewhat sleazy lyrics.

Fallin’ – I ADORE this song. It’s my absolute favorite on the whole album. It might be because my girl Claudette Ortiz helped pen this one. It’s the most sincere sounding lost love song. This is a song that will stay on repeat in iTunes for me. The guitar break down towards the end is absolutely beautiful. This is what saved the CD for me. These producers are crafty. Leave the very best song at the end so that we forget all that filler and foolishness they tossed in earlier. Tricky-tricky you guys.

Overall, Back of My ‘Lac is not a horrible CD but it’s not amazing or anywhere near bringing back old school R&B like so many people claim.
On the Brown Sugar Sunshine scale of 1 – 5, J. Holiday gets a solid 3.

= Groovable

Grab A Listen:

And that was my first written music review. Questions, comments, concerns? I want to hear them so please leave a comment. Whether you liked it or you didn't.

Coming up:

My review of souljaboytellem.com - brace yourselves

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