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Sunday, July 21, 2019

New Edition's Top 50 Songs Ranked (Disc Five)

Stop. Check discs one and two and three and four first.

10. Bobby Brown, "Rock Wit’cha" (1988) 8.9/10
Hold up! The girl on the phone is "Janet?" This song's about Janet emmeeffin Jackson!

9. New Edition, "Mr. Telephone Man" (1984) 9.0/10 
Many thought Bobby should be the lead; so did Bobby. And it's all because of this song.

8. New Edition, "Hot 2Nite" (2004) 9.01/10
Over two decades after "Candy Girl," "Hot 2Nite" was nominated for best R&B single. They lost to Usher . . . who was a toddler during their early years.

7. Bobby Brown, "Every Little Step" (1988) 9.05/10
King of stage, Robert Barisford Brown.

6. Bobby Brown, "Roni" (1988) 9.06/10
Thirty years later and we all still want a Roni.

5. New Edition, "Lost in Love" (1984) 9.1/10
As beautiful and pure as music gets.

4. New Edition, "Candy Girl" (1983) 9.5/10
No one imagined in 1983 that this would spawn eight additional acts (composed of NE members) and almost four decades of music. It may be the most important song in the history of R&B and "boy bands."

3. New Edition, "N.E. Heartbreak" (1988) 9.53/10
It's the flyest sh1t ever. Introduced the cameo. Introduced the interlude. Title of their top album obviously alludes to this track. Then, a decade later, Jagged Edge straight up stole it. Everyone got a verse. They showed their entire black behinds in this video, and in the best way possible. But the song is great because it's so vivid. We finally understood life on the road, and under the lights--the pressure. Beware.

2. New Edition, "If It Isn’t Love" (1988) 9.55/10
When people first saw this, they said things like, "they practice?!?!" and "who's that mean guy yelling at my babies?!" It's the song that should have catapulted Ralph into super-stardom. And it's the best song from the best album.

1. New Edition, "Cool it Now" (1984)  9.6/10
Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike--the most famous sequence of names in the history of entertainment. (And now they're touring as RBRM) 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

New Edition's Top 50 Songs Ranked (Disc Four)

Stop. Check discs one and two and three first.

20. New Edition, "Competition" (1988) 8.39/10
Ok, so maybe it's the best album in the history of R&B--check the chorus.

19. New Edition, "I'm Coming Home" (1988) 8.39/10
1988 must have been one helluva year.

18. New Edition, "One More Day" (1996) 8.4/10
"N.E. harmonize . . . "

17. New Edition, "You're Not My Kind of Girl" (1988) 8.4/10
Here, they're just showing off. Check out the stutter.

16. Ralph Tresvant, "Sensitivity" (1990) 8.41/10
Sexy, sensitive, and sweet.

15. Bobby Brown, "Good Enough" (1992) 8.42/10
You're right. He doesn't get enough credit.

14. Bobby Brown, "Don’t Be Cruel" (1988) 8.43/10
Title track that led one of the best albums ever and isn't close to the album's best track.

13. New Edition, "My Secret" (1984) 8.44/10
One of few R&B groups that earned real respect in rap circles.

12. Bell Biv DeVoe, "Poison" (1990) 8.45/10
The only real banger on the list. And it still bangs.

11. Bobby Brown, "My Prerogative" 8.5/10
You can't be mad at Bobby B. He already told you what he was gonna do. He put it on wax in one of the greatest songs of all time . . . that is somehow only 11th here . . . .

Friday, July 19, 2019

New Edition's Top 50 Songs Ranked (Disc Three)

Stop. Check discs one and two first.

30. New Edition, "Leave Me" (2004) 7.9/10
The best albums tell a story--beginning, middle, and ending. NE is the best at that, and "Leave Me" is their second best ending.

29. New Edition, "I’m Still In Love With You" (1996) 7.9/10
When you return, after an eight year hiatus, you have to bring it . . . .

28. Johnny Gill, "This One’s for Me and You" (2016) 8.0/10

27. New Edition, "All on You" (2004) 8.05/10
If there's one thing that the band and the fans get wrong . . . Puff Daddy didn't ruin N.E. Diddy did an unimaginable job of making them relevant in the 2000s, while also keeping the core together. It's a New Edition album, but here, the sound is BBD.

26. New Edition, "Home Again" (1996) 8.1/10
All SIX get a lead. Bobby B sangs. It's another perfect ending.

25. New Edition, "Give Love on Christmas Day" (1985) 8.15/10
Everyone gets a Christmas album, but only a few of them actually matter.

24. Johnny Gill, "My, My, My" (1990) 8.35/10
Think he Luther outchea.

23. New Edition, "You Don’t Have to Worry" (2006) 8.37/10
THIS should have been the lead single.

22. Bobby Brown, "On Our Own" (1989) 8.38/10
Best thing about that terrible movie.

21. New Edition, "Count Me Out" (1985) 8.38/10

New Edition's Top 50 Songs Ranked (Disc Two)

Stop. Go check Disc One first.

40. New Edition, "A Little Bit of Love" (1985) 6.95/10

39. New Edition, "Re-Write the Memories" (2004) 6.97/10
Updated, and somehow never outdated.

38. Bobby Brown, "Get Away" (1992) 6.99/10
When you can pull off alluding to your song, in your other song, you are the King of RnB.

37. New Edition, "Is this the End" (1983) 7.0/10
Their most obvious sonic connection to The Jackson Five.

36. New Edition, "That’s Why I Lied" (2004) 7.3/10
The most distinct song in their catalog.

35. Bel Biv Devoe, "Something in Your Eyes" (1993) 7.38/10
The definitive sound of early 90s R&B.

34. Bel Biv Devoe, "When Will I see You Smile Again" (1993) 7.4/10

33. Bobby Brown, "Something in Common" (1992) 7.41/10
Eternally underrated because everything about this is perfect. And if you know the story, and can watch the ending without crying, how are you living with no heart?

32. New Edition, "Popcorn Love" (1983) 7.45/10
Check out them fresh threads!

31. New Edition, "Can You Stand the Rain" (1988) 7.5/10
Your favorite NE song.

New Edition's Top 50 Songs Ranked (Disc One)

50. Ralph Tresvant, "Money Can't Buy You Love" (1992) 6.3/10 
His solo career should have been better  . . . or bigger . . . or longer . . . or something.

49. Bell Biv Devoe, "Run" (2016) 6.39/10
This song is less than two years old. They're 50+.

48. New Edition, "Boys to Men" (1988) 6.4/10
Yep, this is where those "Boys" were born. And introducing Johnny Gill.

47. New Edition, "How Do You Like Your Love Served" (1996) 6.45/10
Listen, for this, near the end, "give you all the things you need, you don't have to beg or plead . . ."

46. New Edition, "Jealous Girl" (1983) 6.46/10 
But Diddy did it better.

45. New Edition, "I’m Leaving You Again" (1984) 6.47/10
Yep, Bow Wow's best song is a New Edition classic.

44. New Edition, "Crucial" (1988) 6.5/10
If you were a 16-year-old boy in 1989, this was the hardest R&B song ever. It was the Suge Knight killed Tupac with a diamond and titanium-plated gun that fired platinum bullets of love songs. But seriously, check out my guys dancing!

42. New Edition, "Hit Me Off" (1996) 6.7/10
I'm so confused. So Stefan and Steve were two different people?!? He cloned himself?!?! I thought he just took off his glasses and acted cool . . . .

42. New Edition, "Something About You" (1996) 6.9/10
"country western funk folk meets N.E."

41. Bobby Brown, "Girlfriend" (1986) 6.91/10
They kicked Bobby out and Bobby was like, "aight lemme get dem solo checks den."

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Midsommar Shortie

A shortie but goodie.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Indie Music: Lucinda Belle "Think Big Like Me"

by Germar Derron
For years, I believed that THIS died with Amy in 2011. Since that time, I've mourned her life, and that sound. I was wrong. That sound, or feeling, didn't die. I can only compare Think Big Like Me to Amy Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. And please, understand the gravity of that statement: those albums rank third and fourth on my all-time list. Here, all of the adjectives are appropriate--retro, unparalleled, polished, pristine . . . perfect.

"Think" tells a familiar story, but in a better form, and for at least one distinct reason: it's guilt-free listening. Much of the best music comes from the darkest places. You hear the artist's pain. Subsequently, you feel immense guilt while deriving so must joy from an individual's most severe sorrow. "Think" may capture Lucinda Belle's heartache and sorrow, but it's comfortably relatable. The audience is allowed to commiserate, with a smile, and without heeding a call to action. 

Maybe a better current musical comp is Meghan Trainor, but with grit, nuance, and a "classically"-based musicianship that's more tightly tethered to the many genres from which Belle borrows.

Typically, here, in most reviews, I spend time critiquing the mix, the arrangement, the vocal treatment, etc. But I only know one way to spell p-e-r-f-e-c-t-i-o-n. If this typifies today's independent music, what are the majors doing? 

The project is perfectly paced, with songs perfectly placed. Like all of the best albums, all of the pieces fit snugly and easily. It tells a story--with a beginning, middle, and end--without the contrivance of actually telling a story.

I won't mention all of her many awards, honors, or groundbreaking performance, and recording, techniques. 

This is the best album of 2019 and, no, it doesn't matter that it's only July. If I still did star ratings, Think Big Like Me would receive 7 out of 5. But I don't do that anymore. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Strange Spider Things Man

In Episode 438, Germar provides the best opinions on Spider-Man: Far From Home and Stranger Things 3. But first, it's more of the same anti-adulting whining. And it's a D.S.E. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron. Today's episode is sponsored by

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Rankings: The Spidey Movies that Matter [Updated 7/6/19]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the SEVEN live-action Spidey movies released after the world ended in 2000. You're in the matrix dude.

7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 4.5/10 I had high hopes. I was wrong. I've never felt so little for characters, superheroes, villains. The weird Russian? robot rhinoceros was weird. The crowds watching bullets fly from the sideline was dumb. And Jamie Foxx made one of Marvel's most powerful B-list super-villains into a powerful punchline. Ouch.

6. The Amazing Spider-Man 6.4/10 The film never quite got over the tall hurdle set up by Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire. It wasn't bad. It was just more of the same. Tobey, Franco, et al were still fresh. The origin story and villain arc in Amazing matched the story and arc from the 00s version. The movie didn't deliver on what the trailers promised (deep story about the spy parents). Garfield may be a better Spider-Man, but he doesn't work at all as Peter.

5.  Spider-Man: Homecoming 6.5/10 Maybe I just hit that age where cutesy teen movies lose their charm. If I have, this is a sad sad time for me. Michael Keaton can do no wrong. And Marvel's actually inspired inspiring casting excites me--sexually (so many shades of brown). This version of Spidey is the most realistic, which often means boring. Tobey > Tom > Andrew

4. Spider-Man 3 6.7/10 I know why no one liked it . . . because people are wrong about things. Superhero movies are very formulaic. Spider-mans 1, 2, and Amazing are essentially the same film. Raimi and the cast couldn't make the same film for a third time. They colored a little outside of the lines and you all went bat-sh!7. No, I don't know why Peter went emo or learned to play jazz piano or dance poorly. But otherwise this has some amazing moments, and is far superior to the Amazing series, while remaining true to the worlds setup in one and two. 

 3. Spider-Man 7.5/10 It no longer holds up. But this movie, more so than X-men or Blade (Superman or Batman), put superheroes on the movie map. The mask was dumb, but ultimately inconsequential. This was the first time anyone accurately depicted the struggle, sacrifice, and constant danger of life as Peter Parker and Spider-man--outside of a printed page.

2. Spider-Man: Far From Home 7.6/10 All of that Spidey building in Captain America, The Avengers, and that awful first movie finally really paid off. This is fun and MCU connective and logical and different from the other twenty something films. If you know Mysterio, then you knew the story. Still, the spectacle, the possibilities, and the performances made it all worthwhile anyway,

1. Spider-Man 2 8/10 At the time, critics called it the best superhero film of all time. I didn't get it. On repeated viewings, I did. They did all the things, and with all the best performances. The train scene, support from civilians, the Christ-like sacrifice and posing--it's everything a superhero film should be. "He's just a kid."

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The 2019 Basketball Edition

Gregory Shamus - Getty Images
In Episode 437, THE Jessica Slate is BACK!!! Jessica and Germar discuss all things NBA--the finals, the Lakers, the Celtics, the Pelicans, ZION, the draft, Kawhi, AND the world-beater-Phoenix Suns! Follow them both, everywhere, @GermarDerron and @thejslate.

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