Playing Another Slow Jam with Gyrl

gyrl-pasj

Over the weekend I surpassed the “2,000 items in my physical collection” mark. Can you believe it, 2,000 already! But it did took me 10 years to build it up and I have more to collect. I usually purchase stuff that I can’t find on iTunes or other media sites. I also like stuff that weren’t very popular or just one-hit wonders. And, of course, I like extended 12″ singles, which the local second-hand usually has a lot of.

A 12″ single I recently picked up was “Play Another Slow Jam” by a short-lived R&B girl group named Gyrl. This group was orginally made up of three members: Jamila (who was a dancer in Prince’s “Diamonds and Pearls” video), her sister Miyoko, and Paulette. They started off as backup dancers, under the name Innosence, for the R&B group Immature. It wasn’t until 1995 when the group made their debut with the single “Play Another Slow Jam”. The single reached #74 on the Billboard Top 100 R&B singles.

The group experienced a loss soon after the single’s release as Paulette quit the group. Jamila and Miyoko kept dancing while looking for a replacement. The girls got their wishes answered a while after after when Jeanae’ Briley and Tai-Amber Hoo joined. The now quartet released their second single, “Get Your Groove On”, in 1997. The single, which was featured in the Halle Berry movie “B*A*P*S”, was a success as it reached #30 on the R&B charts. But, the group broke up soon after.

The members went onto focus on different careers. Jenae’ Briley did some songwriting and became a cosmetologist. Tai-Amber Hoo joined Nobody’s Angel in 2001 for a brief time. Miyoko became a stylist. Paulette Maxwell appeared as a dancer on a late 90s’ UPN show “One on One” and composed for another UPN/CW show called “All of Us”. She also became the CEO of her own company, Creation Soul Productions.

However, the most successful member was Jamila, who now goes by the name Mila J. She has appeared on various songs done by Omarion, Treyz Songz, and other artists. The latest song she appeared on was Timberland’s  “Don’t Get No Betta”, which its music video was released earlier this year. She made her debut in 2014 by releasing the EP “M.I.L.A”. She is expected to release a full LP by this summer. She recently released a song, entitled “#TBH“, from upcoming LP on Soundcloud.

 

“Play Another Slow Jam” is a mid-tempo jam that isn’t hard to follow alon. It doesn’t feature a lot of synthesized instruments, opting to a bare instrumentation in favor to feature more of the vocals. Speaking of the vocals, they are a hit or miss depending on which part you listen to. When the girls sing together, the vocals can be very strong and pleasing to listen to. The chorus features the typical 90s’ R&B girl group sound but it’s not overly annoying, it actually sounds pretty nice. However, whenever Paulette or Jamila sing their solo parts, their vocals come off as airy and weak with little or no breath support. Jamila does hav a voice that suits the song well and can control her breathing better than Paulette. Nevertheless, I am going to chalk up the weak vocals to the reason that these girls were pretty young when “Play Another Slow Jam” was released and it was their first song. The second single and the girls’ newer releases prove this as the girls learned from this song and improved their skills.

This Gyrl song isn’t anything too special; it has a basic melody, basic instrumentation, typical R&B sound, and sub-par to weak vocals. But, it’s pretty decent to listen to if you want to remember the 90’s or just want something to chill with.

Besides, doesn’t this song sound like Aaliyah’s “Old School“?

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Les Cinq Branches d’Une Etoile by French Girl Group L5

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Welcome back to ☆ai love music☆! I am sorry for the month-long hiatus! I really enjoyed the challenge of writing for NaNoWriMo, even though I didn’t reach my goal of 50,000 words (although I wrote past 40,000, yay!). Also, work and real life became severely busy recently with Christmas-related events and always catching some sort of virus or cold. Now that everything has sort of calmed down and I am healthy again, I am resuming my blog writing with a serene goody from the French girl group L5.

Formed in 2001 to compete in the French version of the internationally acclaimed talent search show Popstars, L5 was composed of five members: Alex Dana, Claire L., Coraly Emoi, Louisy Joseph, and Margie Nelson. The group eventually won the competition’s inaugurate season, leading them to score a record deal with Mercury Records. The band proved to be super popular as their debut single, entitled “Toutes Les Femmes De Ta Vie”, sold over one million copies and is currently the forty-eighth best selling single in France. They released their self-titled debut album a month later with moderate success. The group also released two follow-up albums in 2002 and 2006 with some success due in part to their relationship with Popstars.

However, that popularity soon faded as their last original album, Turbulences, sold only around sixty-five thousand copies due to a lack of proper marketing. The girls also felt like their time in the limelight was fading as they were considering future projects and life after L5. One of the first members to announce their departure from the group was Claire, leaving in early 2006. However, this didn’t stop the other members as they released a cover of The Bangles’ “Walk Like An Egyptian” as a quartet a little while after. The same quartet would eventually reunited in 2011 and 2012 for special live performances.

Though the girls tried to keep the group from breaking up, the walls eventually caved in as L5 announced their breakup on the French morning program Morning Coffee on December 20, 2006. The girls went on to do their own separate careers with a variety of success. Claire participated in the blind auditions of the French version of The Voice but was eliminated before the finale. Meanwhile, Louisy Joseph went on to pursue a solo career and was featured in the dance competition show Danse avec les Stars in 2014. At the same time, Margie and Alex appeared as guests on the reality show L’Île des vérités.

“Les Cinq Branches d’Une Etoile”, a track found on their first album, is a soothing yet uplifting tune. The diversity of the group’s vocal tones are accompanied well with the acoustic instrumentation of snaps, a drum kit, tambourine, a bass, and a guitar or two. One of the gems is found during the chorus part due to how the girls blend together beautifully. The harmonious blend between the different voices are excellent as no one really sticks out or there isn’t a sour note anywhere. In fact, I feel this arrangement is so fitting as it represents the lyrics perfectly. Judging by the partial translation of the lyrics from Google Translate, the words to “Les Cinq Branches d’Une Etoile” are so serene and features a positive message, just like the musical side.

Some might criticize “Les Cinq Branches d’Une Etoile” as a tedious piece as there isn’t a lot of variation since it features a light instrumentation, a heavy presence on group choruses, and a simple pattern. However, this song is a precious treasure with it’s tranquil ambiance and a harmonious balance between the girls and the instruments. The simplicity in “Les Cinq Branches d’Une Etoile” is what makes the song very beautiful.

 

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