Golden Oldies: Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake

I’m not saying Justin Timberlake is underrated. He is perfectly rated. He can’t be overrated because he is a five-tool musical threat that can dance/sing/act/love. He is one of the greatest poets of our generation, and nobody is denying that.

Still, with so many hits under his belt, there are always going to be a few gems that get buried down the list when people go to make their significant others JT mixtapes for Valentines Day. Here are three songs you shouldn’t overlook next February if you know what’s good for you.

Week 5: Justin Timberlake

Until The End Of Time

We’ll start things off with the mother of all collaborations. If Justin Timberlake and Beyonce put out a song together today, it would break the internet in approximately two seconds. So tell me how this song has existed for almost 10 years and still doesn’t get the love it deserves? If you close your eyes it almost sounds like a Prince jam from the ’80s, and Beyonce’s vocals really push it over the top.

Dead & Gone

I was legitimately shocked when I saw this only 22 million views on Youtube. Pour one out for the millions—no BILLIONS—of poor souls who haven’t heard Justin Timberlake’s chocolatey sweet voice on this chorus: “I’ve been travellin’ on this road too long / Just tryna find my way back home / The old me dead and gone, dead and gone.” Damn Justin. That hits home hard.

LoveStoned / I Think She Knows

The first part of this song would fit perfectly in any James Bond soundtrack. The  glitchy driving beat is heavily overproduced in the classic Timbaland style and makes you want to floor it down a highway in an Aston Martin. The second part is vintage JT: a Southern boy crooning about sex and girls. I personally prefer the upbeat A-side, but the B-side is also incredible and hugely underrated.

BONUS: Justice Remix

 

Sugar Ball By The Numbers

12

Height in feet of the three-layer display cake at the centre of Candyland’s Cupcake Commons.


70

Number of staff on-site on the night of the Sugar Ball, including 20 amazing volunteers.


70

Length in feet of the main 34-piece open bar run by Brahm Mauer Bar Services, provided by Luxe Rentals


80

Collaborators working together bring you the Sugar Ball this year.


127

Years since Windsor Station was opened as Montréal’s Canadian Pacific Railway station in 1889. The building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1975.


1,000

Number of oysters Flyjin Restaurant will be shucking on-site at the Sugar Ball.


3,300

Pounds of ice on hand at the open bar. 


5,400

(And counting) Pieces of sugary-sweet desserts provided by some of Montreal’s most creative confectioners.


 

8,500

Number of individual bites of delicious food provided by the six participating restaurants.


10,000

Number of kids who will benefit from greater accessibility to the McCord Museum’s diverse programming and exhibitions about Montreal’s social and cultural history.


25,000

Square footage of open sky-lit interior and additional courtyard and terrace space at Windsor Station.


70,000

Total wattage of the sound system designed by Total Events and Entertainment for the Sugar Ball.

“In my ten years working at Total, I’ve never set up a sound system with this much power.” —Andrew Jarvo, Production Manager

Golden Oldies: Mary J. Blige

There are so many things to love about Mary J. Blige. That she is a radiant goddess, that she revolutionized the way we thought about lip gloss, that despite the fact that she has a middle initial in her artist name, she is known simply as “Mary.”

As 2000’s R&B artists go, Mary J. Blige is in no way underrated. She has nine Grammys, and a record 30 Grammy nominations. She is one of a very small group of artists who have had eight or more albums go multi-platinum. Her 1994 breakthrough album My Life revolutionized hip hop by infusing it with a soulful, real, and tough sound. Her vocal range sounds amazing whether she’s singing along with Wu-Tang or with Mariah Carey. She is the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul.

So without further ado, lets get into some of her lesser known songs that deserve to be played from the rooftops today.

Week 4: Mary J. Blige

Everything

Full of beautiful harmonies, sweet island vibes, and truthful lyrics, this song makes easy listening whether you’re relaxing at home or on the bus. After the chorus Mary sings “You are everything/And everything is you” and you wonder who she’s so madly in love with. Close your eyes and try to imagine a man good enough for Mary J. Blige.

Also, check out this sweet teardrop jewelry. Very 1997.

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You Don’t Have To Worry

We’ll get to how great this song is, but first: Check the swag!!!

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The lyrics are about placing your trust in an undeserving man, but it’s soulful and happy because she’s glad to be washing her hands of this scrub. The old-school beat and chorus (“You don’t have to worry/I won’t waste your time/I ain’t satisfied”) is the heart of this track. OK, one more GIF for good measure:

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We Ride (I See The Future)

The piano hook draws you in and then the snare kicks and she opens with the line “Everybody askin’ why Mary ain’t mad no more.” The lyrics are about her settling down with her husband and letting her anger and troubled history melt away into the past as she rides into the future with her true love.

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A fun fact is that the video actually features her real husband, Kendu Isaacs, who has been married to Mary since 2003.

BONUS TRACK: One (ft. U2)

Just listen to her voice dominate this track and turn it into an instant classic. Bono doesn’t even try to sing over her. A lot of hip hop soul vocalists wouldn’t be brave enough to touch a U2 cover, but Mary just went for it. I can’t think of any other vocalist who could do with this song what Mary did. It gives me chills.

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Golden Oldies: Akon

Akon is best known for his sun-soaked summer bangers and being the soundtrack to every middle-school dance from 2006-2008, but most people don’t know that Akon has recently stepped away from making beats in order to focus on philanthropy.

In 2014, the St. Louis native launched Akon Lighting Africa, a project that aims to bring solar electricity to all of Africa. Since then, Akon has brought energy to 11 different nations across the continent.

Obviously Akon is too busy to be worrying about music, so let’s do the worrying for him. Here are three Akon classics that you need to dig out of the bottom of your iTunes and bump this summer!

Week 3: Akon

I’m So Paid

This is just a classic brag track from Akon, and the T-Pain style auto-tune chorus is on point. Lil Wayne and peak-Young Jeezy drop Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps references in their verses, and the James Bond video is so 2009 it hurts. Also, hello DJ Khaled. Fancy running into you here!

Cameo in an Akon video? Major key.

Cameo in an Akon video? Major key.

Locked Up

This was the debut single off Akon’s first album Trouble, and yeah, it doesn’t really sound like anything else Akon has done. It’s a throwback gangster rap track with verses from Styles P, but the chorus sung by Akon is where this song really shines. According to Akon’s producer Knobody, the plan was for Akon to start his career out as a street rap/R&B dual-threat before crossing over to poppy R&B. Thank god he made that crossover sooner rather than later.

Dangerous

OK, this one is technically a Kardinal Offishall song (shout outs to T-dot), but Akon is the reason this song is famous because he absolutely slays on the chorus. The heavy Timbaland beat is still stuck in my head to this day, and Chanta Patton is looking fiiiiiine in the video.

Also, DJ Khaled is that you again???

Illumaniti confirmed.

Illumaniti confirmed.

Here’s a little taste of what to expect at the Sugar Ball

The Sugar Ball is known for many things. A great cause, networking opportunities, fancy outfits, and of course, the legendary open bar. The drinks will be handled by Brahm Mauer Bar Services this year, so we know we’re in for some creative surprises and classic cocktails. But other than unlimited gin and juice, VIP ticket holders will be treated to a spread of delicious food made on-site by some of Montreal’s best restaurants and caterers. Here’s a preview of what to expect!

Estiatorio Milos

Milos

This Mile End establishment is known for having the best Greek food in Montreal, and for importing its seafood from places like Athens, Nova Scotia, New York, and Portugal. Since starting out as a specialty food shop in Montreal years ago, Milos has expanded to Manhattan and Greece by popular demand. Expect incredibly fresh fish, authentic Greek delicacies 

Sneak Peek: Octopus on octopus.

Café Ferreira

ferreira-1437 PETITE

Another Montreal establishment, Café Ferreira has been serving quality Portuguese fare to Downtowners since 1996. It does spicy spit-roasted chicken to perfection, and in a city full of authentic Portuguese food, somehow Café Ferreira has managed to stand out as the best for over two decades.

Sneak Peek: Fresh seafood.

Soubois

Chef Guillaume Daly Soubois (John Kenney:Montreal Gazette)

Soubois is known for it’s crazy interior that looks more like a fantasy forest than a restaurant, but they also make some of the best French food in Montreal. The dishes range from countryside comfort food to Quebec-sourced charcuterie and cheeses. Expect some local delicacies from around Montreal. 

Sneek Peak: Duck Tartar. 

Le Richmond

Le Richmond

Le Richmond takes all your favourite Italian dishes and adds a delicious twist. Their menu features adventurous items such as spaghetti topped with pulled pork and duck heart ragout, and grilled eggplant with sheep ricotta. You’ll be going back to their food station for seconds at the Sugar Ball. Trust us. 

Sneak Peek: Foie-gras.

Flyjin

Flyjin

Flyjin is known for its $1 oysters on Wednesday nights, and for being one of the hardest places to get into in Montreal after midnight. In the winter, it’s an underground paradise filled with gourmet takes on Japanese cuisine and seafood delicacies. They also have some of the best mixologists in the city working behind their bar.

Sneak Peek: Oysters. A lot of oysters.

Traiteur Breira

Brera

This Italian-style caterer is always mixing things up. They are known for doing traditional events, but have a keen sense for current catering trends that keeps you on your toes. You can never tell what you’re going to get with Traiteur Brera, but you can count on it being amazing.

Sneak Peek: Cheese and more cheese. 

With the Sugar Ball less than a month away, be sure to get your tickets so you don’t miss out on this smorgasbord of mouthwatering food!

P.S. We didn’t even mention desert. Or midnight snack.

 

Golden Oldies: Usher

Take a moment to guess how old Usher is.

….

Did you guess 29? 31? Trick question because he is an ageless demi-god sent from Heaven to make love in this club?

The correct answer is 37.

Let that sink in for a moment.

This column is called Golden Oldies, but Usher, if you’re reading this, I promise that’s not a jab at your age. The world just needs to hear your underrated songs. So without further ado…

Week 2: Usher

Lay You Down

If I had one song to convince someone that Usher had the sexiest falsetto of any man on earth, this would be the song. This is a classic old-school Usher song, the kind of song that comes on when you’re driving alone in a rainstorm and you get all tingly inside. To any younguns who think Usher’s all about the upbeat club bangers, listen up.

You Remind Me

This is an all-time 2001 R&B classic, and even made it to #1 on the charts that year, but it still doesn’t get the love it deserves today. It’s got a catchy riff that sounds like its being played on steel pan, a great chorus, and Usher’s beautiful voice. It’s also one of the first videos that Usher really shows off his insane dance moves.

U Don’t Have To Call

This funky tune is my favourite Usher song besides Love In This Club. The way he stretches out the “Iiiiiyaiyaiiiiayayayaiiii”, the bass line in the background, the upbeat mood, it’s a song you can never get tired of.

usher

The song is rumoured to be about Usher’s breakup with TLC’s Chilli, and he’s pretty much saying he’s too hot and fly to stay at home moping about getting dumped. Next time you’re fresh off a breakup, queue this song up and you’ll stop feeling sorry for yourself.

BONUS: A great song by Mura Masa that samples “U Don’t Have To Call” beautifully

 

 

Golden Oldies: Rihanna

If you walk into our offices on any given day, the one thing you can be sure of is that Costa (our founder) will be blasting 2000’s R&B from her desktop. Aaliyah, Rihanna, Destiny’s Child,  Toni Braxton, Mary J. Blige, Nelly, Mariah Carry, Missy Elliot, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Usher, Ashanti, you name it.

2000’s R&B is the comfort food of music, and sometimes it can be tempting to just listen to the classics on repeat because—like mac n’ cheese—they never get old. But every once in a while, it’s good to go back to the ones that don’t get the airtime that they should. We’ll call them the “Golden Oldies” even though technically they’re not even 20 years old.

Every week, we’re going to pick three songs by a 2000’s R&B artist that we haven’t heard in a while, and your job is to play them whenever, wherever so they can finally get the respect they deserve.

Week 1: Rihanna

Disturbia

The same year the global economy tanked, a naive Barbadian beauty combusted and out from the flames stepped a fully-formed, unstoppable Rihanna. If 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad was a subtle hint, 2008’s Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded was a roundhouse kick to the throat. Jay-Z anticipated precipitation, but even he couldn’t imagine the torrential downpour that Rihanna would unleash upon the world with her single “Disturbia”, released shortly after that Shia LaBeouf horror movie.

The song kicks off with a chilling scream and a chant: “bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum.” Rihanna asks “What’s wrong with me?/Why do I feel like this?” before giving a terrifying description of some ghastly being that “can creep up inside you/and consume you.” The music video is set in a subterranean torture chamber, where a possessed Rihanna twitches against her rusty shackles and twists on top of a rickety insane asylum bedframe, her eyeballs rolling back in their sockets. The imagery is scary enough, but the thought that will give you the spooks is that this song marks the dark fork in the road between innocent Rihanna and badgal Rihanna. As Daniel Almir—YouTube commenter on the video for “Pon The Replay”—put it, “It’s hard to believe that this woman is the same from ‘Bitch Better Have My Money.’ How time changes people…”

Hate That I Love You (ft. Ne-Yo)


First thinks first, what the hell happened to Ne-Yo? His voice is out of this world and he had that tipped-down fedora look going for him, but for some reason decided to go into songwriting instead of launching a solo career. We can thank him for writing Mario’s “Let Me Love You“, as well as songs for Mary J. Blige and Beyonce. Maybe that’s enough for Ne-Yo, and maybe that should be enough for us, but it still feels like a waste of talent.

fedora on fleek

Fedora on fleek

The music video makes little to no sense, but the song itself is a heartbreakingly beautiful duet that features unreal harmonies and great lyrics. If your relationship is on the rocks, go home tonight and sing this song as a duet and watch all of your problems melt away like magic.

Breakin’ Dishes

We’re pretty sure this video is the first and only “MSN Concert” in history. Future historians will come to this blog post. Welcome to the past.

This song gets buried under the nonstop hit singles of 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad, but any fan knows this as the track that let us all know that Rihanna isn’t afraid to get a little crazy. It’s her version of of Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”, and even though nobody in their right mind would ever cheat on RiRi (or Carrie Underwood), she’s just letting you know the protocol.