Pharoahe’s Dark Side, DMB, Beyonce Runs The World [SONGS OF THE WEEK]

What’s the good word, COED Nation! Hope this was a good week for all. We are finally getting closer to the official start of the summer season. I can feel it! I am more than ready for a climate change. Normally when the weather gets warmer, the beats get hotter. Expect a lot of artists to drop their summer releases in the next couple of weeks, just in time to jump-start the summer concert series. Although most of May on the east coast has been a downer weather-wise, hopefully these 5 songs will turn any frown upside down. I now present my Songs of the Week.

“Black Hand Side” by Pharoahe Monch feat. Styles P & Phonte

When Pharoahe Monch dropped the hip hop classic, “Simon Says” back in 1999, you knew that the hip hop world was about to be blessed with a new, rugged sound, that was unlike any of the mainstream emcees out in the game. Pharoahe had the delivery, the smarts, and the swagger to become a breakthrough in the underground hip-hop scene. “Simon Says” took Pharoahe to that place. But after the success of that “Internal Affairs,” Monch’s first album, he quietly disappeared.

Luckily Monch has returned in 2011, with a strong comeback to the game. “W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)” is Monch’s return to the microphone, and with this album he comes correct. “Black Hand Side” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Produced by Mike Loe, Monch trades verses with fellow guests Styles P & Phonte on this up-tempo, pre-summer banger. This song is definitely worth a couple of spins on rotation on your ipods.

“The Birds” by Elbow

The British invasion continues with the alternative rock band Elbow. The band has just released their fifth album, “Build a Rocket Boys!” It is one of my favorite albums on 2011 thus far. Elbow creates intriguing, complex sounds on their latest LP. One of the singles that immediately caught my ear was “The Birds.”

“The Birds” is the first track on the album, and takes you to another place instantly. The song is extremely melodic and incorporates many different sounds. The song has such a smooth flow and groove to it, that you can close your eyes, and get lost in lead singer, Guy Garvey’s vocals. Elbow sounds nothing like anything that is on the radio today. This album is a must get!

“Destiny” by Zero 7

Whenever I hear Zero 7, I feel like I am having a Zen moment. They almost have that “Sade-esque” quality to them, where everything sounds just too good. Their music is almost too perfect. Zero 7 are masters of sultry, seductive, experimental music. The instrumentation is always multi-layered and accompanied by beautiful voices to create 4-5 minute musical paradises.

“Destiny” is a prime example of what I am talking about. The amazing Sia, who is part of Zero 7, takes over the reigns on this standout track off their 2001 debut, “Simple Things.” If you are a fan of lounges, there is a good chance you have heard a Zero 7 track before. “Destiny” is one that you’ll want to hear over and over again.

“Run the World (GIRLS)” by Beyonce

Beyonce continues to be one of the gold standards in pop music. There really is nothing that she can’t do. She’s incredibly talented, extremely humble, breath-taking gorgeous, intelligent, relevant, and is a global icon. Beyonce has been around the music game since she was very young. She was a member of the very successful girl group, Destiny’s Child and has parlayed that into multi-platinum level success as a solo artist with three chart toping albums.

She is set to release her next album, “4,” this June. The lead single off the album is another foray into the dance world for lady B with “Run the World (Girls).” The up-tempo club banger is produced by one of the hottest new producers in urban music, Switch. “Run the World” follows Beyonce’s trend of empowering females. The beat will keep you moving, craving for more. I expect Beyonce to have another huge year, and if her new album packs as much flavor as “Run the World (Girls)” does, than we’re all in for a treat.

“Don’t Drink the Water” by Dave Matthews Band

In my era of music, one of the most well-known, well-respected, impressive and consistent live acts has been the Dave Matthews Band. Led by singer/songwriter Dave Matthews, his band is made up of top-notch, top quality musicians who have blended all of their talents together to create some of the best music that’s been around over the past fifteen years. When I was in college, DMB was really at the top of their game.

In 1998, the Dave Matthews Band released their third studio album, “Before These Crowded Streets.” Produced by Steve Lilywhite, “Before These Crowded Streets” became one of Dab’s most successful albums. “Don’t Drink the Water” was the lead single off the album and really pacts a forceful punch every time I hear it. It’s aggressive. Dave really fills the sound in with a wide assortment of instruments. This song is a staple at a DMB concert. Alanis Morisette even lent her vocals to this track. “Don’t Drink the Water” is about apartheid in South Africa. Never one to shy away from his political beliefs, Dave Matthews created a powerful statement with this oldie but definitely goodie.

Be sure to vote for you favorite song of the week and follow me on Twitter! (@aljonesy) Let’s talk music! Keep your mind right and your heads up, COED Nation!

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