Saturday, August 13

Tweet in Real-time

What's not to love about this "Southern Hummingbird?" I was blown away by Tweet's first CD. Musically, she chose lots of airy, acoustic, minimal tracks over which to record. Sophisticated stuff. The writing was hot to death, with out-of-the-box lyrics she penned for Smoking Cigarettes, Drunk, Motel, Beautiful, and Best Friend (w/ Bilal). The exceptional lyrics and free-spirit of many of these songs whispered Prince to me! And then there were her sublime vocals, paving a unique path apart from the middle of the R&B road. So Tweet is an artist parked alone and interestingly where Neo Soul meets Neo Folk, on a steamy R&B night.

That said, it took me a while to purchase her second CD, "It's Me Again." And once I finally bought it, I didn't crack it open... until tonight!

So here we go with Tweet in Real-time... Hold on a sec, I'm putting it in the CD player now...

[ * = Hot ones I'll play in repeat and highly recommend ]
(1. Intro... yadda, yadda...)
* 2. "Turn Da Lights Off" Killer production by Missy Elliott and Kwame', who smash up this wicked-nasty-hip-hop beat! Tweet's soulful harmonies make you want to go seduce somebody. You know, check out the ish she's talking about with those lights turned off.
* 3. "Iceberg" Ballad with a nice Old School/Neo Soul-ish beat (Angie Stone-ish feel, laid waaaaay back in the cut.) Her man's turned "so cold," she repeats. You'd think this girl's twittery butterfly vocals could melt the heart of her Iceberg Slim-ish ex-lover.
4. "Could It Be" Love collabo with male vocalist Rell. Nice and easy with a heavy, walking bass line. Reminiscent of Bobby Womack tunes. Should be popular, just not for me.
5. "You" Due to its sample from "Louis Armstrong's "Stardust," this track has the feel of Dr. Buzzard's Band meets hip-hop with a Big Foot stomp rhythm. Tweet's vocals are so delicate and essential, I can *feel* the little girl she must have been, turning out a Baptist church somewhere. This song ain't about the Lord, though.
* 6. "Cab Ride" Theme from TV show "Taxi" is surprisingly -- but beautifully -- sampled. Now this is the spacy, sweet-sexy stuff Tweet does so well that I play over and over! This is "Smoking Cigarettes" for this CD (which she shouts out mid-song). This is as lacy as "Poetry Man" by the great Phoebe Snow. Sentimental production by the gifted Nisan Stewart.
7. "Things I Don't Mean" A House beat -- you know how she and Missy do that House thing so well together. Smooth as Chaka's "I'm Every Woman," but the message here is clearly "It's Not Over Between You and Me." Smooth, bouncy dance tune. Should be quite popular.
8. "My Man" Another solid, Old School-feeling number. I'm thinking a bit of Rose Royce as I listen to this -- almost like there's live instrumentation here. (But that couldn't be the case, now could it?) Reminds me of back in the day, dancing slow and close in a sweaty basement with a sweaty boy: foreplay for (R&B) lovers.
9. "Sports, Sex & Food" That Missy Elliott is one sick-to-death producer! This beat spazzes out with a dynamic New Orleans-styled Second Line beat -- with bayou/juke joint piano breaks... So this feels like the kind of song your mama and 'nem probably danced to barefoot in the 1950s, with a half-cup of Moonshine sloshing in one hand. That is, until "Shug" showed up in the shack and cleared the dance floor, grinding on Mister! Big fun musically, and the offbeat hook is probably true: "The way to his heart is sports, sex, and food." (I'm making notes...)
* 10. "Small Change" An anthem for the ladies when a man has walked away, leaving her mystified. Recovered and now doing well without him -- thank you very much -- Tweet croons this empowered hook: "You must be sort of deranged. Your worth is less than small change." If you've ever been dumped by a man you cherished, this track magically takes you back to that time -- no matter how long ago it was -- and Tweet gives you the perfect words to tell him off nice-nastily. Chords remind me a bit of the classic "Always There," but slowed down and wonderfully bluesy. I like this one a lot! Sweet guitar work and intense sub-kick by the sonically sound Nisan Stewart.
11. "Two of Us" Hmmmm... A precious mother 'n daughter duet, and Tweet's kid can sing! Sounds just like her mom. Another anthem, this one for single parents who are best friends with their children, and get that adoration right back. Refreshing approach, Tweet. You go, mommie! Makes me a little teary. :-)
* 12. "Where Do We Go" Sweet Tweet is given enormous space for gorgeous vocals and powerful lyrics. A bit on that folksy, harmonic Jhelisa vibe we love. Tight, classy production by Charlie & Kenny Bereal.
13. "Steer" Soulful vocals with Tweet not sure where her relationship is headed. I, on the other hand, am not sure how much air-time this one will get from me. It's okay, but feels a little like "filler" compared to some of the others. Perhaps not as fully inspired.
14. "I'm Done" Stunning piano chords with lush, gospel-ish feel -- but standard issue R&B drum work. So much pain, these lyrics... I'm getting a little worried about girlfriend with all of these unrequited love songs. If I glance at my stereo, I'm afraid I'll see Tweet's tears dripping down the knob panel, rusting up my system!
* 15. "We Don't Need No Water" Turn up the volume and "Let the mother *up* and burn!" when Missy intros this joint. Has to be hot, titled with the party mantra of all time! Has me bumping my butt in the chair!! Check this bananas verse: "Can I ask y'all a question? (Yeah!) Is it gettin' hot up in here? (Yeah!) Can I make a suggestion? (Yeah!) Strip down to your underwear!" (LOL Nellie may not like how close this comes to his "so take off all your clothes," but I've gotta roll with Tweet on this one.) Fierce sub-kick, if you're a bass-head like I am. Report to the dance floor ASAP for this butter-ass party track.
15. "When I Need a Man" Bonus Track buried in the back... Something sort of exotic about it, but!: there's also something a little "snow queen-ish" (i.e., commercial disco) about it to me. This track, I'll not play again. It's nicely produced, but feels out of sync with *everything* else on this CD. They may be testing Tweet's vocal range or something with this one, as she may hit a few highs she normally doesn't. But hey, Tweet, as Billy Joel so aptly wrote/sang it: Don't go changing!
Nice work. Very well produced tracks, and consistenly so. Vocals are delivered with plenty of 1960's throw back attitude, gospel-ish passion, and intimacy that few achieve. These are the talents that distinguish Tweet in Hip-hop! She tells compelling stories (making me wonder if she's studied Country music, which does this so well!) But compared to Tweet's first album, this one's on a bit of a salt-restricted diet. I'd have really enjoyed, say, two more out-of-the-box songs like Motel, Smoking Cigarettes, Drunk, and My Place from her first CD. That said, it you're a Tweet fan, or if you're open to exploring some of the less pedestrian hip-hop talents, I'd definitely recommend it. I hope that next time, she'll freak a little more of that Prince-type vibe that she and Missy churn out like no other!

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like


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