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What’s new from Beyoncé, SZA and Timberlake?

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star
What�s new from Beyoncé, SZA and Timberlake?
Beyoncé’s first foray into country music, Texas, Hold ‘em, is now the No. 1 tune in the Hot 100, her ninth as a solo artist and her follow-up to Break My Soul from two years ago. It is a playful, uptempo, even danceable tune with her usual great vocals.
STAR / File

Looks like Beyoncé’s initial adventure into country music land is going to pay off big. I really had doubts if it would succeed. You see America of the Midwest is very possessive about its music. Not everyone, ofttimes even the biggest pop stars are allowed to venture into their territory. Country music belongs to country music singers. And that’s that.

Happy to find out though that the exclusivity rule was relaxed or done away with for the sake of Beyoncé. Why not? This girl was born and grew up in Houston, Texas. She performed in rodeos as a kid. It is a fact that country music has not been kind to black female singers or even bi-racial ones. But then this is Beyoncé. She has earned the right to break rules with her music.  And she did.

Beyoncé’s first foray into country music, Texas, Hold ‘em, is now the No. 1 tune in the Hot 100, her ninth as a solo artist and her follow-up to Break My Soul from two years ago. It also made No. 1 in the Hot Country Songs chart. This is her first time in this list and the first ever No. 1 by a girl singer of color. How’s that for ramming ancient boundaries down.

Texas, Hold ‘em is named after a variety of the game of poker played in Texas. I say it was quite clever of Beyoncé to title the song after a much-loved card game and to have the name Texas in the title. How can any Texan turn away something that proudly carries the name of their state. It even features a banjo. So, they had no choice but accept the song and their native Beyoncé into the realm of country music.

Justin Timberlake is in top form with Drown, vocally and musically. It is one great ballad about a broken heart taking on his errant lover.
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To Beyoncé’s credit, Texas, Hold ‘em is a playful, up-tempo, even danceable tune with her usual great vocals. It is one of two singles from her upcoming album Act II. The other one is 16 Carriages which also sounds like something from Texas. So, I guess Act II will be her first country music album. While she’s at it, maybe it would be nice for her to include a standard country ballad or two like Crazy perhaps.

SZA, the breakthrough star of last year, has a new single. Titled Saturn, it started out as a Mastercard commercial. Why Saturn for Mastercard? Well, it turned out that the credit card company is into improving this world that we are living and will begin the campaign by planting 100 million trees. Noble undertaking. We can really use a lot of trees.

So, where does Saturn come in? The song is from a disillusioned soul who is disappointed with this world and what fate has dealt her. “This must be what hell is like… don’t believe in paradise…” Maybe Saturn can be that better place.

SZA, the breakthrough star of last year has a new single titled Saturn. The smooth and slow R&B ballad is very easy on the ears and does show off SZA’s beautiful singing voice.

I prefer listening to SZA when she is being deliciously wicked as in Kill Bill or Snooze. Saturn is not that type of tune. It is a smooth and slow R&B ballad. Very easy on the ears and it does show off SZA’s beautiful singing voice.

Giving the females strong competition is Justin Timberlake, who has lately been on a recording and uploading binge. Now available is Drown, JT’s second single from his upcoming album Everything I Thought It Was, which drops on March 15.

Remember, Timberlake recently reunited with his N’Sync friends for Can’t Stop the Feeling for the Trolls Band Together soundtrack. Then he released Selfish which echoed his original solo sound, Cry Me a River, Sanctified, etc. Now with Drown, he completes his return.

JT is in top form with Drown, vocally and musically. It is one great ballad about a broken heart taking on his errant lover. “You let me drown, you didn’t even try to save me….” Ouch, ouch, ouch. It is just what his fans adore getting from him. And isn’t it nice that his new song sounds lyrically and structurally. Drown should give today’s composers a useful lesson on how to create a great pop song.

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