Groove Line

Wed. June 25, 2008 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

You Really Are Gay
Katy Perry has already gained a loyal following in the past year with her wildly popular single "Ur So Gay," and so it will come as no surprise to me if her recently released debut album, ONE OF THE BOYS (Capitol), leads to her becoming one of the year's breakout music stars. The 23-year-old Californian has a big, strong voice that delivers marvelously on this well-produced album that will have her name mentioned in the same sentence as Natasha, Leona, Gwen, and Avril.

R&B Goodies
There are two new releases on the R&B front that deserve your attention. The sexy U.K. star Craig David is back with a funk-laden long-player called TRUST ME (Warner Bros) and it is simply a fantastic album. From beginning to end, this CD is loaded with strong song after strong song. And while many seem pre-occupied with Danity Kane, the all-girl R&B group banner is being better held aloft by Cherish, the quartet that just released their sophomore effort THE TRUTH (Capitol). Not quite ready to be placed on the same level as TLC or Destiny's Child, this new album shows that Cherish's present is good and that their future is indeed bright.

Continuing British Invasion
The first time I heard Duffy, who hails from Wales in the western part of England, perform on the "Regis and Kelly" TV show, I became instantly intrigued. After her debut CD, ROCKFERRY (Mercury), arrived in my mailbox a few days later and I listened to it, I instantly became a big fan. The U.K. has had an impressive track record of your soulful sirens – Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Corrine Bailey Rae – and Duffy holds her own with a deep and powerful voice that has been favorably compared to Dusty Springfield. Thankfully avoiding the pitfalls of too much production, ROCKFERRY 's ten tracks first and foremost highlight Duffy's captivating vocal abilities, which is sure to earn her a large global following. She's really that good and so is this album.

Soul To Keep
Despite the tendency of many in the music industry to keep things simple and straight-forward, it's refreshing when an artist such as soulstress Lalah Hathaway acknowledges that her music is "textured and layered." She also uses the word "three-dimensional" and that's exactly what you get from her latest album SELF-PORTRAIT (Stax/Concord Music). The daughter of Donny Hathaway, one of the most influential soul artists of the eighties, Ms. Hathaway has produced a 12-track album that will undoubtedly lead to talk of her being one of the most influential soul artists of the new millennium. No reliance on thunderous bass thumps or wickedly funky hip-hop beats here, just Hathaway's silky strong voice gliding uxoriously and effortlessly over the well-produced tracks on SELF-PORTRAIT . While Hathaway may not be as well known as Mary J. Blige, Angie Stone, Jill Scott, and others – and really that's a shame – this album proves that her importance to, and influence on, the R&B/soul music genre is deservedly significant.

Still Going Strong
I would venture to guess that despite her burst onto the music scene back some 25 years ago, many would not have predicted that Cyndi Lauper would still be going as strong as she is here in 2008. Yet, after more than 25 million records sold during her career, Lauper is set to add another million or two to that figure with BRING YA TO THE BRINK (Epic), her new 12-track album. On one hand this new effort is a dance record with infectious rhythms and beats and catchy hooks that would make even Madonna and Janet envious. And on the other hand, in keeping with Lauper's oft-overlooked serious side, the lyrical content of the album is strong, deep and meaningful. For Lauper, dressing up her poetry in the vibrant threads of dance music was logical. She said, "I liked the contrast of music that could be celebratory, and even pretty, against words that are sometimes a little intense." Thanks to tracks such as "High & Mighty," "Rocking Chair," and "Same Ol' Story," Lauper surely has a huge hit of an album on her hands that is indicative of her enduring and impressive strength as an artist.