This year, the singer known as the “vocal Bible” steps out from under the dark clouds that long plagued her career. This month’s B7 is a reintroduction, Brandy’s finest work in well over a decade. Working with the late Daniels and New Jersey writer and producer Darhyl “DJ” Camper, Jr. (Big Sean’s “Guap,” Mary J. Blige’s hip-hop soul comeback singles “Love Yourself” and “Thick of It”), Brandy proves she can hang with the gauzy, nostalgic sounds of 2020 R&B. “Guilt dealt me tragedy inside, ate me alive,” she sings on “Lucid Dreams,” a swell of pillowy low end and flowing water. “I wanted to die.” Opener “Saving All My Love” cries out for peace: “Long time, I was brokenhearted/ Heartache, I’m guarded/ A target, goddamn/ Can we let me live?” B7 imagines what that unburdened life might look like, from “Rather Be,” a breathy … [Read more...] about Brandy Remains a True Rarity
Crossword quiz pop culture level 3
If you’re mainly interested in seeing Elvis’s psychology, personal biography, and feelings explored in detail, this documentary won’t do much for you. Mythically powerful signposts and totems, such as the impact of Elvis’s twin brother dying at birth, get glossed over. Standard opinions are trotted out again, like the belief that Elvis’s movie output was mostly pointless, except for a couple of the early ones — a statement that people who obsess over how he moved, and how Hollywood struggled to reconcile its need for safety with Elvis’s sexual dangerousness, would dispute. Unsavory and depressing aspects of the King’s later years, such as his drug addiction and paranoia, his increasingly erratic and even violent behavior, and his symbiotic relationship with hangers-on, are barely addressed. Most of Elvis’s distress is blamed on the death of his mother and the dominance of Colonel Tom Parker, his longtime manager and a dark father … [Read more...] about What Else Is Left to Say About Elvis?