MUSIC REVIEWS
by: Francis Tanneur
Opinions expressed are those of the individual writer for informational purpose
only. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or viewpoints of
Freestyle Music.Com.

Contact Francis Tanneur at:francistanneur@hotmail.com

MUSIC REVIEWS # 22
(March / April / May 2003)

Score:
No Stars: Useless
1 star: Poor
2 stars: Average
3 stars: Good
4 stars: Excellent
5 stars: Masterpiece 

A-JAY: “Candy coated luv” (CD single) SLAMMIN’ ENTERTAINMENT  [USA]
Score: No stars

It's been a while since Slammin’ Sam (Maxion) hasn’t produced anything new in Freestyle music. This is not with this single that he risks doing sparkles, he is obstinate, and he persists in the same kind of music: Progressive Freestyle. Once again, this is really boring and unbearable.

That is extremely distressing, (can I say pathetic!), that he doesn’t try to propose us something new. A-Jay, a young American Pilipino teen is simply a pale copycat of Joey Acuna. He is also from the Bay Area, he is practically the same age, and the music is the same. “Candy coated luv” is a kind of unsuccessful imitation of the track “If this is love” (1998) from Joey Acuna.

The two other Progressive Freestyle versions from Lenny “Linus” Douglas don't really diverge. They appear nevertheless a little more melodious and better worked than those from Sam Maxion, but just a little to tell you the truth.

This single is clearly doomed to failure and to general indifference. Do you wanna bet?

 

ANGELINA: “Love ain’t here no more” (CD album) UPSTAIRS RECORDS  [USA]
Score: No stars

Even if I’m not a big supporter of Angelina, what stirred up my curiosity, was the fact that her name was associated with such a few prestigious names as Tolga Katas and Charlie “Babie” Rosario. So, I bought this third full-length album.

What a stupid and bad idea! It would have been even better to throw my money out of the window. Her album is simply disconcerting. It has also been a real burden to listen to it. This is incontestably her worst album, worse than the last one “Ven a mi” which already excelled into mediocrity. This is too bad because Angelina possesses a pretty nice voice, the only positive note I could write about her pitiful album.

There are in truth only 3 Freestyle tracks plus one which could be (maybe) considered as Freestyle music. The 1st title “We can't go on” is produced by Noel Saucedo (Haus-A-Holics) and remains once again in the Freestyle Progressive genre, it’s insipid; The second one “Old School sound” by Tolga Katas is limp and it seriously lacks originality, it’s not lively; the third track “Can’t say goodbye” is oriented to the Old School Freestyle with Latin influences, and finally the fourth song “Summer rain” was produced by Manny Mohr and is a kind of sleepy Freestyle ballad.

If you have to listen to the rest of the album (that means 13 other songs), I will only tell you one thing: “Good luck”. You risk having a heavy headache if you are listen to the insignificant Dance/Latino House tracks, or have a snooze with her 5 ballads sung prosaically, I mean too plainly and boringly.We can only have a grouse against this kind of depressing and empty album. Apparently, some producers are not afraid of being ridiculous, and Angelina isn’t scared of heaping opprobrium on herself. So, everybody should be satisfied, am I right? It's a shame!

 

AYNA: “Aunque sea la ultima vez” (Promo CD single) E.L.I. RECORDS  [USA]
(CD received courtesy from Ayna)

Score: 3 stars
 

This single was officially out during the summer 2002, but however I absolutely want to talk about it because unfortunately it didn’t receive the attention it deserved.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Ayna signs with “Aunque sea la ultima vez” (“Even if it's the last time”) a first enthusiastic single. This song is interpreted in Spanish, and Ayna is quite convincing thanks especially to her seducing and flowing way of singing. Her singing manner could appear very particular and weird at first. Personally, at the beginning I had this kind of feelings about her voice. But after a few listening, I have to confess, I finally cracked! The vocals backup of Fernanda (a.k.a. Cheree) also helped the song, she did a great job in the chorus.

The Old School Freestyle rhythm beat is percussive, it does the rest of the job.

You have 6 versions to get a definitive opinion about this title: the “Estilo libre” & the “Radio” (two sung versions), “La bateria” & the “Instrumental” (two instrumental versions), the “Original version” (a kind of New School Freestyle genre) and of course the “Acapella”.

Even if she changed the spelling, Ayna is described in the Bible as a mirror or a reflection. We hope that from this mirror will always reflect the human and artistic authenticities who already characterize her.

 

BAD BOY JOE PRESENTS THE BEST OF FREESTYLE MEGAMIX VOL.3 (2 CDs medley) WHAT IF PRODUCTIONS  [USA]
Score: 3 stars

Once again, this new CD from Joe Marcano, is quite successful and should entertain a bunch of Freestyle and non Freestyle (those who don’t listen to our music regularly) amateurs. A little innovation, a supplementary non-mixed CD is offered as a bonus. If you want to know more, just read the following lines… For his third edition in a series of medleys, Bad Boy Joe and his producer and accomplice Gene Rombola saw things bigger, for the greatest respect of the Freestyle buffs. Two CDs for the price of one!

Inside the first CD, Bad Boy Joe concocted a quite brilliantly edited medley (only between the tracks). It contains 14 Old School Freestyle classics which are a must (George Lamond: “Without you” [2002 remake], Stevie B: “Dreaming of love”, Judy Torres: “Love you will you love me”, Tonasia: “Wondering”, Laissez Faire: “In paradise”, Eileen Flores: “Touch me with your heart”, Johnny O: “Highways of love”, Leather and Lace Feat. Arlene: “Tender heart (do what’s right for me)”, TKA: “Louder than love”, Stevie B: “Party your body”, Cynthia: “Love me tonight”, Nyasia: “Who’s got your love”, Laura Enea: “This is the last time” & Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Force: “Planet Rock”) and 3 not extraordinary Latin House titles (Rare Arts: “Boriqua Posse” and Two Without Hats: “The Breeze” & “Try yaz”).

While the second CD entitled “Freestyle New Generation”, Bad Boy Joe didn’t offer any medley (except for the “Radio edit” as an intro) but he decided to select some New School tracks and more or less new artists/bands that got for most of them only the honors of compilations and albums or that were simply never released before. This “second chance” should permit some fans and occasional amateurs of Freestyle to discover them because the two first editions of this series encountered a huge success in the States. Here is the “line-up”: Luie lowe: “Don’t turn away”, Asley: “When’s it all gonna end”, Synthia Figueroa: “Touch me”, Aby: “Sometimes”, Rafael Ramos: “You make me want to cry”, Willie Valentin: “In my heart”, Nina Martinez: “Gimme just 1 night”, Tony Moran: “On the edge”, Luis Damõn: “Time and time again”, 301 East: “Latin love 2K1”, Philllip Anthony: “All out of love”, Alvendia: “Daydreaming”, David Mykl: “Why can’t we be”, Malyssa: “Reminisce”, Synthia Figueroa: “Dreaming”, Jenae: “Loving you from a distance”, Zoe: “This isn’t love anymore”, Greg Elyea [formely known as Amante]: “Let’s get it on”, Nick Colon: “Careless” and an exclusive remixed version of “Tears in my eyes” by Nu Image.

Throughout those 20 titles from different musical horizons (Old School & New School Freestyle and West Coast Freestyle), you will be able to make your own opinion about this “New generation” of artists. Some of these singers or bands are more Old School than New School ones as for instance Tony Moran and Luis Damõn. Of course, it’s just my opinion! The majority of the tunes are good, and for some them excellent. Only a few artists and songs suffer from an undeniable lack of originality and interest and especially concerning their voice (for those songs) as for instance: Rafael Ramos, David Mykl, Jenae and Zoe. Maybe as far as concerns the upcoming songs, they will propose something better? We whish them to!

It’s practically sure; this new production from Bad Boy Joe will get a huge success. We can only support it because this kind of successful CD will irremediably help our music gain more and new supporters of the genre.

 

CONNIE: “The best of Connie” (CD compilation) THUMP RECORDS  [USA]
Score: No stars

Ha ha ha ha…sorry, sometimes it’s so good to laugh like this! If as myself, you have had the bad luck to listen to this compilation, you roared with laughter! This is the kind of CD which provokes hilarity and should be prescribed by every doctor in your moments of moroseness. Take care of the secondary effects…as for instance a big headache.

We first assist to an anthology of particularly useless non Freestyle songs as “The power of love”, “Spinning”, “Feel the beat” and “Experience” whom two awful 2-Step/Rap remixes of “Funky little beat”. If these tracks didn’t deafen you, you may listen to 4 Trinere’s reprises (“How can be wrong”, “All night”, “When I hear music” and “Lookout weekend”). And if after that, you are still full of courage, you will listen to some Freestyle tracks from Connie: “Funky little beat”, “Rock me” and “Your eyes”. Some effects, vocals and music are very funny and old-fashioned.

I will be honest with you I couldn’t get over it yet…I still have very important stomach cramps due to these numerous moments of laughs.

The more the merrier… Not this time! Believe me, this is the kind of compilations that spoils the Freestyle genre and which will piss you off.

 

JUDY TORRES: “The greatest hits” (CD compilation) EMPIRE MUSIC WERKS / HOT JWP MUSIC / BMG DISTRIBUTION  [USA]
Score: No stars

We would love to have the same smile (of satisfaction) which brightens Judy Torres on the cover of her “Greatest hits”, unfortunately it won’t happen! On the contrary, you will be thoroughly annoyed. A musical abomination that it is necessary to forget quickly.

For those who didn’t listen to the original versions of her wonderful hits as “Love you will you love me”, “Come into your arms”, “No reason to cry”, “Love story”, “Every little lie” and “Holding on”, etc. Maybe they could content themselves of these remixes. I’m not sure that it will be the same with the Old School Freestylers, personally I found them extremely depressing and mediocre.

Mr. Adam Marano, it’s not because you reworked the songs by adding new keys (sometimes horrible and coarse) and new rhythm beats, or because you re-recorded the voices of some titles, etc. that you will create an interest! You mostly need an ounce of inspiration and also you mainly need to privilege the artistic part of the job to the detriment of the financial aspect! C’mon, be serious for one second, what could be the purpose of such a CD if not the money!

I’m sure that the original authors (Mickey Garcia & Elvin Molina) have torn their hair out when they listened to those pitiful and exasperating mixes. Frankly, this is incomprehensible to do this kind of stupid things especially when we know the quality of the originals.

Judy Torres, I really love you, but this artistic fault of taste is difficult to accept. It’s difficult to understand that you participated in a such distressing and miserable project.

 

MALYSSA: “Reminisce” (CD album) RHYTHM DRIVE RECORDS  [USA]
Score: 2 stars

Malyssa convinced many Freestylers last year with her Freestyle hit “Reminisce”. The West Coast Freestyle amateurs heard this track that has been played a lot of times in the clubs and radio stations mainly in the Bay Area, in Hawaii and in Texas.

This young artist was selected for some compilations (“Import Jams” on 888 Records and “Vicious V. presents Freestyle Plus” on Silent Partner Records) and she raised slowly but surely in the Bay Area’s charts and Record pools thanks to “Reminisce” but also thanks to the Dance tune “Tonight”, and now to the second single “By my side”.

After those local successes, it was foreseeable that she do her first album. It’s done now on her new Californian label owned by Reno Ursal (and “backed up” by Daric Bergeson from Silent Partner/Metro Records & Bayside)..

Born to a Native American & French father and Thaï & Chinese mother, this beautiful and seducing young artist of 22, still lives in the Bay Area. It is normal that this album reflects the sonorities and musical genres from this area, and it vocally eyes to some singers as M:G & Jocelyn Enriquez especially.

Finally, her album contains more ballads than Freestyle tracks, but also a few Dance songs. We could talk more about a Dance album than a Freestyle album.

What remains from this album is a strong feeling of disappointment and bothering. We are disappointed because the musical & vocal style of Malyssa is too much similar to some other artists who abound in the Bay area. Even if I enjoy some Freestyle and non-Freestyle tracks, we can notice quickly that her style is not very exciting. She uses the same style of voice timbre whatever the musical style. It changes rarely, so in the end, it provokes irremediably a certain lassitude, and it becomes boring. And it’s too bad because some of the tracks are sometimes attractive as the successful Dance track “Tonight”; one or two ballads are quite likeable too. As far as concerns Freestyle music, on the contrary, there are only a few enjoyable songs as her hit “Reminisce” and the song “Crazy”. Otherwise, the songs “By my side”, “Forever more” and “Be my side” (the “Wildstyle mix”) are not very interesting; some fair Progressive Freestyle and West Coast productions.

Sincerely, we can’t say that this album is fundamentally poor, but it’s too common and not very original, we can notice of a creative deficiency. And as for Freestyle music, we could hope something better…much better.

 

NYASIA: “If I could see you now” (Promo CD single) LUFRE RECORDS / E.L.I. RECORDS  [USA]
Score : 2 stars

This new single from Nyasia is certainly the less successful from the Diva, but is nevertheless interesting thanks to her voice which is still convincing and pleasant to listen to. Also, I don’t think that the use of the slow and staccato beat which mixes a New School Freestyle and Tribal beat, doesn’t manage to give this song a better attraction. Hopefully, the single is saved by a beautiful vocal interpretation of Nyasia. In fact, the rhythm beat is very weird, and goes in the wrong way (rhythmically speaking) with Nyasia’s interpretation.

The single flirts constantly between Freestyle and Tribal sound. It’s flagrant with the use of Congas, and especially on the last version of the CD single (the “Melocappella”).

It remains simply fair. Too bad.

 

N.Y. CITY BEATS: “The N.Y. City beats Freestyle Megamix” / ANTHONY MORRIS : “Freestyle megamix” [Bonus] (CD single) MNF RECORDS / ZYX MUSIC  [Germany]
Score: 2 stars

After Anthony Norris’s megamix (the original radio version is also available on this CD single), here is the one from N.Y. City Beats. But what is the relation between these two bands you could ask me? Well, this is also the producer Marco Sandler who is also behind this project, assisted this time by N.Y. City Beats’s producer: Heinz Drexel.

So? You want me to come to the point?

As you could maybe guess by yourself, the musical style isn’t very different from a group to another; it’s the same Planet Rock beat, the same sort of keys and melodies).

Otherwise, contrarily to Anthony Norris, this band (N.Y. City Beats) plebiscites (for the moment) the reprises of famous Pop and New Wave hits from the 80s. Vocally, the style is very close from American groups as A.K.A. or Information Society. The style is not unpleasant, but it appears a quite redundant and a little bit boring especially after a few listening. An advice: don’t abuse it!

 

100% FREESTYLE VOL. 3 (Compilation) MIAMI BASS RECORDS / DMG / SONY MUSIC  [Germany]
Score: 1 star

We can notice a serious fall of quality in the last volume of this series; this new edition confirms my words unfortunately!

Over the 19 titles, there are only a few tracks that will get your attention as “Still I cry” by Lil Suzy, “I just called (to say I love you)” by the ex-vocal leader of The Underdog Project, Mr. Summerjam, “Your love (feels so good)” by Danielle Martinez, “Give me tonight” by Ceres, “One on one” by Five Of Ten, “You are the one” by VLA and “No more waiting” by Bobby Leal/Chako Beilin.

The problem with this compilation is to understand why it possesses such of quantity of off-key artists (T.I.M, Andre, Gabriel, Maureen, The Unit, LFG, Dolo & Bass Booty)? It’s terrible to listen to… really! Their way of “singing” is particularly dreadful, besides the songs, becomes rapidly alarming and sometimes funny. And most of the songs sound the same.

To sum up, this third volume is a big disappointment.

 

PHILIP D.: “The robots” (CD single) ZYX MUSIC  [Germany]
Score: 2 stars

This single is a quite interesting compromise between the Electro genre (including some vocoders, of course) from the 80s and the commercial Trance.

Philip Dirix seems to enjoy associating these two styles with a certain efficacy. You have 4 versions (+ a vocodorized acapella) to have an idea of the style. But honestly, you could talk about the Electro mixes or about the Trance versions, there are almost similar; too much identical in my opinion. We would love to see, for instance into the 2 Electro versions, that he put in exergue only the Electro beat with the vocoders and add more Trance keys, melodies and strings, and not only a too omnipresent Trance/Techno beat. The four versions of this single don’t really differ even if the 2 Trance versions favor all the sonorities and rhythmic of this genre, but with nevertheless, one or two sessions of Electro beat and vocoders.

In the end, even if it’s not particular innovative and interesting (many European Trance productions already include an Electro or Breakbeat session in their versions), this single doesn’t deserve to be ignored. This is the kind of jam that nevertheless will make night clubbers dance without any doubt. It’s party time…take care of Philip D’s robots, their music is not especially original but undeniably communicative!

 

SHANNON: “Megamix EP” (CD single) ZYX MUSIC  [Germany]
Score: No stars

This CD is a joke…you just have to know it!

How could it be possible to use the word “medley”? There is no mix… not even between the tracks! Apparently, this CD single didn’t get the same honors as Shannon’s other medley out practically at the same time; the other megamix was remixed by Thunderpuss and it contains only Dance tracks.

By the way, if there is a DJ/mixer behind this megamix, ZYX Music has to introduce him to us, because he needs to take some serious mixing lessons!!!

I also need to warn you that this Freestyle medley is not totally…Freestyle. It also contains Dance titles as “Follow your heart” & “Believe in me” and a House remix of “Give me tonight”. The Freestyle versions of “Give me tonight”, “Let the music play” and of “The best is yet to come” are the same as the album. Cool, what a mix!!!

Can somebody explain me the interest of this kind of crap? Something is sure, it’s a rip-off.

Alarmingly stupid!

 

SHARYN MACEREN: “When the record spins” / “Rainbow” (12” single) PLANET HYPE RECORDS  [USA]
Score: 3 stars

This is the second extract from her excellent album “Always dreamin’”. After the Old school Freestyle style of her last single “In just one night”, this new song goes to a more apathetic West Coast genre that still remain convincing.

On the A side, in fact, the “Avid mix” is the only extended version of this vinyl (length: 8’42) that is split up into two parts. In the first part of this mix (the first four minutes) you will listen to a slow West Coast beat to finally end with a very pleasant, more Dance and Groovy rhythm beat. The musical style gives the occasion to Sharyn Maceren to affirm her “vocal charms” because once again she sings with a rare sensuality. For this title it’s glaringly obvious than on “In just one night”, it’s undeniably an asset and it also makes the interest and the charm of this beautiful and talented singer.

On the B side, you will find an acapella of “When the record spins” and an extended version (the “Kissing mix”) of the album’s track “Rainbow” which appears not very different from the album.

How could you resist to this new single? You simply can’t. This is once more very original and thrilling. This is the kind of records which is played on heavy rotation by the radio stations and the DJs. When Sharyn Maceren’s record spins, you just listen to it and dance on it at the same time! A pure pleasure.

 

STEVIE B VS DJ DIAVOLO: “Freestyle explosion 2003” (CD single) MIAMI BASS RECORDS / DMG / SONY MUSIC  [Germany]
Score: 1 star

Even if Stevie B hasn’t released anything new since more than 2 years, this popular artist continues to arouse the professionals and more particularly the German ones keenly.

He is undeniably the most famous Freestyle American singer out there. But in Germany, he has always been the subject of a bigger attention. Since 1998, I have listed seven official medleys.

This new medley remixed this time by DJ Diavolo (which is his first incursion as a remixer in Stevie B musical world) doesn’t bring anything new to those that already exist. He just gathered some tracks time and time again present in other medleys (“Young girl”, “It's so good”, “You are the one”, “Baila (Dance with me)”, “If you leave me now”, etc.). And the poor auto-promotional jingles and a few rare and flavorless edits, don't make things better.

Just another medley that will finish in the oubliette…neither more nor less…as the 6 other megamixes moreover!

 

My Top 5
(12” & CD singles)

1] Nu Image: “I’ll always love you” (Multi Edit) Aria Records [USA]

2] Christina Marie: “Beautiful night” (Moox’s darkgroove mix) Vazram records [USA]

3] Joey Altura Featuring Poze: “You are the only one” State Of Mass Entertainment [USA]

4] Sharyn Maceren: “In just one night” (Extended mix) Planet Hype [USA]

5] Kathy Phillips: “I wish” (Freestyle club) Robbins Entertainment LLC / BMG Distribution [USA]

My Top 5
(Compilations & medleys)

1] Evolution of dance (compilation) Big Time Entertainment [USA]

2] Bad Boy Joe Presents The Best Of Freestyle Megamix vol.3 (medley) What If Productions LLC [USA]

3] NONE

4] NONE

5] NONE

 

My Top 5
(Albums)

1] Aby: “The Greatest hits” Empire Music Werks / Hot JWP Music [USA]

2] Christina Marie: “Turn the lights down low” Vazram Records [USA]

3] Sharyn Maceren: “Always dreamin’” Planet Hype [USA]

4] Lil Suzy: “The greatest hits” Empire Music Werks / Hot JWP Music / BMG Music [USA]

[5] Ceres: “Deep from my heart” Flic Flac Records / DMG / Sony Music [German

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