The Majak Mixtape - New Tunes Tuesday

Twas 10 days before Christmas and all through the blog, this creature was stirring, slamming down hella amounts of nog. What is the what what, everybody! Welcome to another flawless, stunning, amazing, slaying your favorites, etc., edition of the New Tunes Tuesday. We've shoveled the snow, hung the stockings, and caked the fruit in anticipation of Christmas and record companies are continuing to drop bountiful amounts of new CDs in this fourth quarter to help make up the most money they can to offset some of the flops they've had to shoulder (LOOKING AT YOU BIONIC).

In today's edition, we take on Zombie!Michael Jackson's new album of material from ~beyond the grave~, American Idol's runner-up Crystal Bowersox and her attempt to pretend that the year is 1974 with her debut album, R.Kelly takes a break from sex scandals and trapping folks in closet to make an album of oldies and dusties sound alike while Diddy introduces the world to future bankruptcy-filers Dirty Money on their new joint album. And bringing up the rear, as always, is one of favorite singers of basic quality who drops an album of such "basicness" it even has the word basic in its title.

We hope you're ready because:

Let us begin with the King of Pop and his "new" "album" simply titled "Michael."

We're not even going to tackle the fact of the cover, Michael does not appear to be anywhere close to the skin tone he was when he died BUT whatever, when you're busily rummaging through the vaults of the dead King of Pop for some crumbs to squeeze out an album to quickly make some cash from you don't really think of little things like Photoshopped pigmentation.

When we heard that Sony Music was going to cash in on Michael's legendarily extensive backlog of songs that didn't make albums, we knew that this was going to be a trainwreck. And as soon as the song "Breaking News" hit the Internet, squabbles immediately began between the Sony camp and the Jackson camp over the authenticity of the voice.

His mother Katharine immediately came out and said that it wasn't Michael's voice while producer Teddy Riley of Blackstreet fame said that it was in fact Michael's voice but just heavily processed. This was all happening in the midst of rumors that Jackson family members were not allowed in the studio during the putting together of this album. The whole debacle is worthy of its own sequel to "The Jacksons: An American Dream."

Anyway, now the album has finally hit the shelves and the best we can say is that it's not nearly as awful as we thought it was going to be. To be frank, a lot of the album is culled from sessions from around either "Invincible" or "Dangerous," neither of which were Michael at his height in terms of creativity outside of his ever inventive ways to write about wanting to be left alone. If this had been album of leftovers from "Off the Wall" recording sessions, we would have been all over this was the enthusiasm as the Jackson family at a plastic surgeon appointment.

Producer Will.I.Am. has come out and attacked the project because he thinks it is not fair for Michael to have unfinished material out. It's, in his words, disrespectful. Frankly, it's no more disrespectful than what Will.I.Am did to "PYT."

Next up we switch focus to American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox and her new album titled "Farmer's Daughter."

Ooo weee, what would you call that font? Singer-songwriter? Soulful strummer? Carole King? Whatever the name of it is, that and the whole look of the album cover gives all you need to know about the contents of the album. If you loved "Tapestry," you'll probably hate it because it tries too hard to replicate that bygone era of the AM radio pop in a lot of ways while marrying it with sub-Janis Joplin vocals. And if you hated "Tapestry," you checked out of this overview of the album the moment you saw the album cover so we're pretty much just talking to ourselves at this point. Anyway, it's unfortunate since Bowersox does have a lot of talent, writing the bulk of the tunes on her album, but she will most likely be set adrift in memory bliss due to her being part of the epic fail that was the last year of Simon being on "American Idol." Below, we remember fonder times with the Bowersox as she does a great performance of "Midnight Train to Georgia."

Speaking of a retro spin, R.Kelly decides to pretend it's the 1960s, because that's the most original idea in pop music, and put together a collection of tunes called "Love Letter."

We love the utterly shameless way his cover mimics the posters for "Ray."

We have to say that we appreciate R.Kelly when he isn't talking about feeling on a girl's booty or lovingly comparing her to a Jeep. He knows his way around a good chorus, can sing with a large amount of passion and has a charisma devoid of the try-hardness that just oozes from the pores of R.Kelly wannabe Trey Songz. Below is a clip from R.Kelly opening the 2010 Soul Train Awards with a medley of some of hits as well as a doo-wop remix of the first single off "Love Letter" titled "When a Woman Loves."

Frankie Lymon would be proud no doubt.

Next up, Diddy and his group Dirty Money put together an album titled "Last Train to Paris." We really want to know how much Diddy paid some stoned first year art major to sit around, Netflix some Truffaut films and pull this piece of artwork out at the last second.

Every few years, Diddy likes to remind us that he isn't just a professional spokesman for vodka but at one time was a music mogul. Sure, Bad Boy Records is craving a hit like Lindsay Lohan at a rehab clinic but that doesn't mean Diddy can't assemble a bunch of his friends to make an album that pretty much just serves as an excuse to throw yet ANOTHER party in his honor.

According to liner notes, the album is supposed to be a concept album about love or something thereof. We're pretty the basic concept is Diddy's love for himself which has been the concept of every one of his albums. Anyway, Diddy gathered a wide spectrum of guests from Justin Timberlake and T.I. to the original pop star provocateur Grace Jones. Below, Diddy and Dirty Money team up with Dido sound-alike Skylar Grey on "Coming Home."

This pretty much sounds like something that would have underscored super!serious!moments! on "The Hills."

Next, we come for the wig of one of our favorite targets of this blog. Some call her CiCi. Some call her the Princess of Crunk. Others maintain she should be renamed C-Error after the flop that was "Fantasy Ride." But for the time being, we're just going to call her by her God given name, Ciara.

Shirley from "Community" expresses are genuine feeling about this "era" of Ciara.

Here's the thing. Looking back at Ciara's career, she was basic from the jump. When she was rocking the copper hair and singing about her "Goodies," she was touted as the new Aaliyah.

Then she switched the lacefront up on "The Evolution," she tried to mold herself into the new Janet Jackson.

After that album, she tried to make a grab towards supreme pop land and ended up being a failed Beyonce clone with her "Fantasy Ride" album. 

Below, Queen Bee's response when we asked if Ciara could ever take her spot:

You know when you're in trouble in your career? When even your producers are talking about how this is your last shot album.  In an interview published in "Parlour," super producer The-Dream, who worked on "Basic Instinct" summed up his feelings about Ciara's chances by saying:

Speaking of producing you’ve got a track on Drake’s “Thank Me Later” LP called “Shut It Down” and you’ve just finished writing Ciara’s entire new album too. Is this really her last shot at pop stardom?

I think so. You only get so many times to, and I won’t say fail, but not achieve. There’s an expectation of where Ciara should be in her career. To others, she’s achieved but not to us, because we saw where her career was headed. But now she’s back on the horse. When she first came out I, like Lil Jon and Jazee Pha, understood exactly who she was. It was that whole Atlanta vibe because if i’m not Atlanta, no one is. I knew if I had a chance to get with her creatively, there’s a specific type of swagger that she’s got. Tricky and I did her whole album, but it’s not all shallow songs like “Ride.” There’s play time but there’s substance too, it’s a great listen.
Girl, these are the people ROOTING for your success. If that wasn't bad enough, our personal daytime TV goddess Wendy Williams had you on and point blank said that this album is pretty much your last shot at the brass ring of superstardom. Needless to say, your promo tour has been a mess as you couldn't land the main stage of the VMAs, nothing on the American Music Awards and even with the bar lowered to the point that even Paramore and Keri Hilson were allowed, you and your management didn't seem to find a way to get onto VH-1's Divas Live.

We won't say that the whole album is a flop. The-Dream did a better job of production than with Mariah Carey's "Memoirs of an Imperfect Album" disaster that was a mid-tempo nightmare. Ciara can still serve up a hot slice of audio deliciousness:

Get 'em Cici.

Lastly we tackle "Real Housewives of Atlanta" co-star and former member of Xscape Kandi and her new album "Kandi Koated."

Holy recession budget, Kandi. We don't quite know how we should feel about Kandi using her former fiance AJ, who was murdered after the filming of season 2 of "Real Housewives of Atlanta," as part of your promotion for your album. On one hand, it's a lovely tribute. On the other, it's sort of crass, particularly showing photos of yourself and daughter en route to or from the funeral is a bit much. But whatever, the more music videos you are making to promote this album, no matter their taste level, the lest time you can be doing that god awful Internet program "Kandi Koated Nights" where you once exalted the virtues of women putting sugar in their own bowls. If you know what I mean. And I think you do. We're sure that lovely tidbit has led to the following uncomfortable conversation:

And with that, we bring this New Tunes Tuesday to a completely classy end. As always, we wish you love, peace and downloads! Bring on the dancers!

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