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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

[OPINION] In Which Mary J. Blige Tries to Dance

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on April 3, 2012


Did Mary’s potentially image-ruining Burger King commercial have you crying fowl? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mary J. Blige, Opinion, R&B, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Britney’s Back – But Will She Return to the Top? [Opinion]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on January 16, 2011


Britney Spears recently released her new single, “Hold It Against Me,” sending the blogosphere into a collective tizzy! “HIAM” is already selling like hotcakes — even the guy with the worst friend-to-follow ratio on Twitter, Kanye West, had to put in his two cents to jump on to the hype bandwagon.

Bold general sentiment is that Britney will de-throne pop’s current queen, Lady Gaga, and will have higher sales numbers than the “Bad Romance” singer when their albums drop in March and May, respectively.

With the sales skyrocketing and pop in a bit of a lull (Lady Gaga, Taio Cruz, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, even Bruno Mars and Rihanna all have albums that have been out for a few to several months — ancient according to the standards of the pop music world), it’s likely that Britney will debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week.

Does she deserve to? One of the few critical reviews of “HIAM” mentioned how Britney seems to follow the same formula, while Christina Aguilera, who tries something a little different with each disc, seems to flop commercially, which may demonstrate the general public’s appreciation of creativity.

Another concern is that Britney has been rewarded over the last three years for mediocre material: Video of the Year at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards for the forgettable “Piece of Me,” and Billboard Hot 100 No. 1’s for the flash-in-the-pan “Womanizer” and the catchy, but “another greatest hits?” included “3.”

“HIAM” is pretty basic in the pop sense, relying on the hottest producers to craft a sure hit, but the song does make you crave another listen and does push Britney into the modern pop music landscape. The song is a bit darker and edgier than the urbantronica that’s been filling the airwaves over the past couple of years. If and only if Britney comes with a hot video — one that displays an intricate and involved “I must learn this” dance routine and/or a story that makes people talk — will we be convinced that the has a chance of competing with a still-red hot Lady Gaga. And once she proves she can, we need a follow-up single to keep that momentum going.

Posted in Britney Spears, Dance, Opinion, Pop | Leave a Comment »

Rogue Bar in New York City [Things We Like]

Posted by j.ly on December 19, 2010

I have a confession, one that isn’t a surprise to those who know me and shouldn’t be one to readers of That’s My Jam: I’m picky when it comes to music at bars and clubs. Seriously, I’ve been at this going out thing for several years and DJed plenty of times to know which songs are relied upon to start a party or excite a crowd. The Rogue Bar in New York City played few of those last night and showed the music videos, too! Attendees of the birthday party I was at very quickly flashed back to the glory days of MTV, when one could sit entranced for hours with the lasted videos and a few oldies thrown in for variety. We saw everything from classics from New Order and Kool & the Gang, to favorites from Jennifer Paige and Jane Child, to modern hits by the likes of Usher and David Guetta. There was no shortage of good tunes, so if you’re looking for music to listen to and watch, Rogue Bar is a great stop in NYC to complement your drinking needs.

Posted in Misc., Opinion | Leave a Comment »

How to Create a Party Playlist [How To …]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on November 21, 2010


At some point in time, a true music aficionado will be asked to make a party playlist. Heck, even rookies or non-knowers may be assigned the task. While this may seem like a burden, it’s one particular job that shouldn’t be hard, but should be fun! And think of it this way: there’s a lot of responsibility attached to being in charge of the music. Feel honored because it is, after all, the single most important factor besides the guests in setting the mood for any function.

Follow these steps to craft the perfect soundtrack that will make the music the life of the party.

1. Get as Much Info as You Can About the Party: Ideally, this information should come from the host. Talk to them about their plans for the party. Is it on a schedule? What activities will take place? Will guests be inside, outside or both? Where will the majority of the partiers congregate? When will they arrive? Is dancing a part of the itinerary? All of these questions will help you determine when to play certain music or determine if it will just be background noise.

2. Get as Much Info as You Can About the Guests: This is perhaps the most important research one can do when creating a playlist. A compilation of the hottest songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 will do you no good if all of the guests are into death metal. If you’re not familiar with a majority of the people invited to a party, ask the host about the attendees. Even if you do know who’s coming, ask them specifically what they want to hear. Reminisce and remember if there are any songs the group collectively has good memories of. Take into consideration the purpose of the party: is it to socialize? Dance? Both? Also take into consideration factors that may influence attendees likes and dislikes, such as regional preferences, education level, race and age. Now, we’re not fans of stereotyping, so tread lightly in this area, but recognize that these could indicate how familiar guests will be with and how open they’ll be to certain styles. Just be careful not to assume too much or to offend.

3. Experiment with Your Sound System: Ever shown up to a party with your carefully crafted playlist on an iPod, only to discover that the host’s sound system is a 5-disc CD changer? Talk to him or her ahead of time to find out what the sound will project through. If you’re not sure, bring backup in the form of burned CDs or a flash drive full of tunes. If time permits, check out the location in advance to test things out, as well as determine how loud the audio will project.

4. Check Out the Charts and Online Stores: Filling out a playlist can be tough, especially if your roster of recent hits or a specific genre is limited. Visit Billboard.com and click under “Charts” to see what’s hot in a number of different styles, including on the Hot 100, which compiles the top hits each week. Also check out iTunes and Amazon to see what recommendations are made for songs and albums that you already own. Naturally, these are often similar in sound to what you already have and make relatively good download-purchase ideas that will spice up a stale set.

5. Throw in a Few Obscurities: Sticking with familiar hits is the snooze-worthy safe route. We recommend tossing in a few non-radio album tracks from currently popular artists, songs that folks forgot about and a little bit of old-school to keep the music interesting. Hardcore aficionados will thank you.

6. Focus On the Flow: It’s easy to set a vibe by playing back-to-back songs that sound the same or are performed by a single artists, but this is also the easiest way to kill a party’s mood. People like a variety. Find a balance that creates a natural flow from one artist or one genre to the next. Thanks to popular music’s many crossover artists, there are plenty of “transition” songs that can take you back-and-forth between styles, but we discourage EVER playing any song more than once!

Good luck building the foundation of your party’s fun!

Posted in How To ..., Opinion | Leave a Comment »

Rare and Obscure Music Blog [Things We Like]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on November 20, 2010


Sometimes, even we at That’s My Jam are reminded of an artist who we forgot about. No matter how far they may have faded into obscurity, the Rare and Obscure Music blog is usually the source of our reminder. Compiling chart and biographical information about dance, pop, R&B and hip-hop artists from the ’80s and ’90s, Rare and Obscure Music links to music videos and is one of the most comprehensives sources of the music we love on the Web.

Posted in Opinion, Rare and Obscure Music | Leave a Comment »

Then, That’s What We Called Music [Reflections]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on November 14, 2010


Ten years ago today (11/14/00), the fifth compilation in the United States’ Now series was released. The fun thing about these CDs is that there are few others that accurately provide a snapshot into what was hot at the time of their release.

For example, the millennium teen pop explosion was still in full effect, with Now 5 featuring contributions from a still-together NSYNC and 98°; a pre-reality show Jessica Simpson; the still-relevant SoulDecision and BBMak; pre-Dancing with the Stars Aaron Carter; the 5-guy version of the Backstreet Boys; a peaking in popularity Britney Spears; and actress/MTV VJ/singer Mandy Moore. Destiny’s Child was still a group, though “Jumpin’, Jumpin'” was the second video featuring the controversial new line-up. Sisqo was the hottest act in R&B, and a post-Xscape and pre-Real Housewives of Atlanta Kandi was making her solo debut. Mya, also prior to her stint on DWTS, found one of her biggest solo hits included on this disc, as did Janet Jackson, who had just starred in the sequel of Eddie Murphy‘s The Nutty Professor.

It’s pretty amazing how many of these artists, either still in groups or as solo stars, are active today. It’s also interesting to note that the bubblegum tone of this disc is still prevalent today, though it has evolved — borrowing from the decade in between in which hip-hop and dance-flavored music rose in popularity, while more middle-of-the-road pop and R&B got pushed aside.

What are your favorites on this disc? What was missing? Share this and other thoughts on music from late 2000 in the comments.

Track List
1. NSYNC – “It’s Gonna Be Me”
2. 98° – “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)”
3. Destiny’s Child – “Jumpin’, Jumpin'”
4. Kandi – “Don’t Think I’m Not”
5. Jessica Simpson – “I Think I’m In Love with You”
6. SoulDecision – “Faded”
7. Mystikal – “Shake It Fast”
8. Mya – “Case of the Ex”
9. Aaron Carter – “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)”
10. Britney Spears – “Lucky”
11. Backstreet Boys – “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely”
12. Sisqo – “Incomplete”
13. Mandy Moore – “I Wanna Be with You”
14. Janet Jackson – “Doesn’t Really Matter”
15. BBMak – “Back Here”
16. Nine Days – “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”
17. 3 Doors Down – “Kryptonite”
18. Everclear – “Wonderful”
19. Bon Jovi – “It’s My Life”

Posted in Dance, Now Series, Opinion, Pop, R&B | Leave a Comment »

Songza.com [Things We Like]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on October 30, 2010


The reason we love Songza is simple: the site allows users to create their own radio stations. But this isn’t like Yahoo’s old model of star-based rankings or Pandora’s often-unpredictable playlists based on genre or artist. Songza differs in that it lets users pick specific songs to add to a station’s playlist. Additionally, creators and fans of the station can vote a song up or down so that it plays more or less, respectively. Songza’s library is growing exponentially, with tons of current and old-school offerings available for adding. That’s My Jam may have been toying with Songza’s capabilities, but you’ll have to wait a bit before we reveal what we’ve created.

Posted in Opinion | Leave a Comment »

Fusion Radio Chicago [Things We Like]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on October 23, 2010


The future of dance is here in the present. Fusion Radio Chicago is one of the top radio stations on the Internet, with a steady diet of tunes from artists such as Kaci Battaglia, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue and many more. Since nearly every city in the United States doesn’t have a dance station, Fusion fills the void. Several new songs are added to its playlist each week, among them many club-heard remixes of pop songs. Fusion also supplies crucial artists names and song titles, so listeners know what to search for and eventually download. The stream also adds some much-needed pep to a bland work day.

Posted in Dance, Fusion Radio Chicago, Opinion | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Stop the Musik Blog [Things We Like]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on October 16, 2010


Love pop, R&B, freestyle, dance, hip-hop and more? Of course you do, that’s why you’re reading That’s My Jam! But so does Rhymez over at Don’t Stop the Musik. The blog is one of the most up-to-date sites we’ve found on the Web, with  Rhymez curating the latest new releases and leaks from big-name and up-and-coming artists. Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Lil Eddie receive lots of love at Don’t Stop the Musik, but so do out-of-the-box acts such as Lady Antebellum and Sky Ferreira, opening up our concept of rhythmic music. If you haven’t yet started, you need to be reading Don’t Stop the Musik!

Posted in Don't Stop the Musik, Opinion | Leave a Comment »

Vevo vs. MTV and the Return of Music Television [Opinion]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on October 3, 2010

VS.

Vevo — “the web’s number one premium music video and entertainment service” — is the product of a partnership among Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and others. It streams thousands of high-quality music videos through YouTube and other online affiliates. If you’ve watched a music video online recently, there’s a good chance it was through an artist’s Vevo channel.

YouTube’s ease and accessibility likely inspired MTV’s creation of the forgotten MTVmusic.com, but Music Television’s relevance seems especially threatened by Vevo. Despite questions of its profitability, Vevo has the big name muscle and talent behind it to compete with MTV’s online presence in a way that no entity has been able to do in its original medium of television (remember CMC?). The labels involved even have the power to affect what MTV.com can feature —and aren’t afraid to exercise it.

Sister network BET seems to recognize this and is reportedly close to a deal with Vevo, but word is that the online network is looking to really cross over into MTV’s territory by starting its own TV station and making its content readily available on other devices.

Since the 1980s, MTV has dominated music programming on television. Its status as the top site on TV should have signaled similar success online as a one-stop destination for all things music. That hasn’t proven to be true, and even as the network makes strides on the Internet, a strained workforce and MTV’s “diversification” left its audience hungry for content. (So hungry, that out of the top 10 most watched clips of all-time on YouTube, seven are music videos.) Is it any wonder that American Idol; Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance; and music-oriented Disney acts have skyrocketed to success without leaning on MTV’s crutch?

That’s why we welcome Vevo’s attempt at competition. It just might lead to the return of a once-traditional method of music discovery. While we love going online (and we love when you go online and visit That’s My Jam!), sometimes, we want to look at a screen bigger than that of a laptop. Sometimes, we want someone else to handle the playlist (we can always fall back on the Internet for search-specific styles and information if we’re not pleased). We also enjoy watching videos with friends and family, and miss this time-honored tradition (unless we were lucky enough to have Fuse) taking place in our homes and on big screens, rather than in our cubicles. Hurry up, Vevo, because we’re eagerly awaiting the return of music television.

Posted in BET, MTV, Opinion, Vevo | 1 Comment »

 
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