Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who Rocked it Better? IYAZ - At Last (prod by JR Rotem)

First recorded by Nat King Cole in 1957, the song At Last has been since covered more times than wide receivers opposite Darrelle Revis (assist Joey).

Regardless of what artist covered the song, the bluesy feeling that results from the harmony and strings in the background is timeless. I'd even opine that this track has been covered by three of the greatest ballad vocalists ever (Nat King Cole, Celine Dion, Beyonce). Pretty tall order for an up and coming R&B act putting out a first album to follow in those footsteps.

Buuuuttt...it helps when you have the sample master JR Rotem, who is re-shaping the genre of Pop-R&B with the likes of Jason Derulo and Sean Kingston . Dare I say this sounds strikingly familiar to JR Rotem's use of Ben E King's Stand by Me by Sean Kingston? Some may hate on JR for "borrowing" past songs and more or less cashing in on the built in familiarity that comes from sampling these songs, but you can't argue that he does re-shape the recycled tracks into something that this generation can relate to sound wise. By building musical generational bridges between sampled tracks and new tracks, he allows older generations to relate with the younger sound. Whatever JR supposedly lacks in originality by sampling these oldies, he makes up for in genius by flipping them into radio friendly pop anthems.

IYAZ isn't really a candidate for vocalist of the year, but his album (similar to Jason Derulo's) is shaping up to be a splash. It's hard to imagine that both Derulo and IYAZ have yet to release an album but both have two heavyweight radio hits with JD - Whatcha Say, In My Head and IYAZ - Replay, Solo.

Give the five songs a listen and I encourage donating your 2 cents on the poll below...

GWDJ Verdict: Overall, I give IYAZ's version a B+, it's catchy as hell and will make moves on the radio without a doubt. I can't take anything away from Nat King Cole and Etta James's versions, I bet if I was like 40 years older I would still be rockin' both those on 45' records. Celine Dion definitely brings it vocally in a grown and sexy way on her rendition of the track, but in my opinion Beyonce rocked it the best. She brings the soulfulness through her voice that was meant for this track, which is why she Rocked...it...Best.


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