New York R&B singer Jasmine Jordan returns this week with her new single and video “Smile”, her first new music since her debut EP Time Travel. Continuing in the same direction as the EP—putting a contemporary spin on classic, vibrant 1970s urban soul—the track and video focuses more on the ebullience of the music, making for an upbeat, effervescent track.
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Steve Horowitz: This track is crammed. The lines range from everything from the biographical (“You want to know me I put my life in a song”) to the existential (“No love in the land of the lazy”) to the mundane (“I like rice, Basmati”) without ever dropping the beat or straying from the icy landscape of the sonic construction. There’s something happening here. Resolution may not be reached, but it’s a step. No wonder it ends with a sour vocal. Growth is painful. [7/10]
Adrien Begrand: The UK hip-hop great’s new single is so simple in approach—a murky, nasty dub groove that creeps along menacingly—but it gives Rodney Smith ample room to deliver a pointed diatribe against the allure of money and society’s (music especially) perpetual willingness to bleed people dry. “How could we hate the Queen, when the social bill seems so obscene and it helped to create the scene that put the people where the people be here?” It’s food for thought. [7/10]
Steve Horowitz: Justin has got him self a nice little pop song here. If one doesn’t listen too carefully, the carefree spirit takes the listener on a joy ride. The narrator wants to be wanted, but then again, he’s not sure. He likes the game of the relationship, the push and pull of attraction. The Brad Furman video nicely captures the ambiguity well and carefully pulls back before ever getting too serious. The roll of cash, the cigarette lighter, the scary masks set the atmosphere without taking things too far. It may be a little dumb, but that fits the lightness of the material. [8/10]
Paul Duffus: Only two original members left, but the fire remains undimmed. “Cast the First Stone” is relatively mid-tempo for these heroic warlocks. Over the years they have been up, they have been down, but they have never backed off. And so it continues. This compares favourably with their past. [8/10]