Three years after the successful release of their breakout LP Yesterday’s Tomorrow, Phony Ppl make an illustrious return with their sophomore album mō’zā-ik – a musical, genre-defying gem, baring nothing but the truth about lust, love and all the pending intervals along the way.
To merely categorise mō’zā-ik. as an R&B/Soul album wouldn’t pay this rare musical breed any justice.
Simply put, the Brooklyn-based five-man group are fearless – moving your mind to the sweet-sounding amalgamation of funk, soul, gamesome lyrics, R&B, and delectable shades of jazz, bossa nova and of course, the quintessential sax to gift your senses.
The unmatched vocal flair of lead singer Elbee Thrie, together with the band’s impeccable instrumentals, are what make Phony Ppl one of the industry’s most unique groups.
Phony Ppl explore what it means to fall in love with someone but never really know if they’re “yours” in the plush track “Think You’re Mine“, before proving one of the year’s best tunes in the funk-fuelled testament “Before You Get A Boyfriend“.
To end the album, Phony Ppl surprise listeners with an empyrean and passionate ode to the countless black lives taken by police brutality in the beatific melody “on everythinG iii love“.
A divulgence of personal musings, Love & Affliction embodies a superlative blend of R&B, neo soul, synth-pop and indietronica as KWAYE proves the ultimate chameleon.
His incredibly diverse musical style is both aberrant and invigorating, while his seraphic vocals in “Paralyze” resonate the likes of D’Angelo, before flickering flames with rock refrain “Made For It“.
Not only is he a must-watch artist, but everywhere from an emboldened aesthetic and unparalleled compositions, to an unprecedented range effortlessly brought to light by his inimitable voice, KWAYE manifests a genre all of his own.
— On May 18, 1993, legendary singer, songwriter, and dancer Janet Jackson, released her fifth and highest-selling studio album, Janet.
Just prior to releasing her fifth studio album, Janet Jackson was at a crossroads in her career. After releasing two #1 albums in 1986 (Control) and 1989 (Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814) the young star was also at the center of a major bidding war over her recording contract. Although her original label, A&M, sought to renew her contract, Atlantic, Capitol, and Virgin Records were all competing for her signature. After meeting with Virgin founder, Richard Branson, Jackson signed with his label for an estimated $40 million. This made her the world’s highest paid musical act until her brother, Michael, negotiated his Sony Music deal just days later. Soon after, Jackson began working on Janet.—her first album under her new label.
Despite her record-breaking contract and prior musical success, many still had doubts aboutJanet Jackson. Numerous critics attributed Janet’s success to her being a member of the Jackson family while others believed that she was a producer-dependent artist. This prompted her to write all of the lyrics for Janet. as well as co-produce each song alongside production duo,Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Also, as a subtle response to critics, the album’s title, read “Janet, period”, is meant to distance her public image from her family by dropping the last name. This would also allow Janet Jackson to be put into the same league as other one-name acts such as Madonna, Prince, and Bono.
Janet., while being an R&B/Pop album, included elements of Jazz, Opera, House, and even Hip-Hop. However, lyrically, Jackson ventured further into uncharted territory by making sexual intimacy the principal theme of the album. Although an abrupt shift from her conservative image, Jackson departed from her previous themes of independence and social injustice in order to dedicate this album to love, relationships, and intimacy—even proclaiming, “Sexual communication is the name of the game”.
When it comes to the critical reception, commercial performance, and continued legacy of Janet., even some of the world’s greatest albums are dwarfed in comparison. Janet. debuted at #1 on both the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts while also selling 350,000 units in the first week— the largest in history for a female at that point. The album even did well internationally debuting at either #1 or in the top 10 in Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. Janet. went platinum in just three months and was certified 6x platinum by April 1994. Today,Janet.has sold over 7 million copies in the US and over 14 million copies worldwide. Janet. has also won a Grammy Award for “Best R&B Song” (‘That’s The Way Love Goes”), a Billboard Award for “Best Dance Clip (“If”), an MTV Video Music Award for “Best Female Video” (“If”), and many more. The album has even been included in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s “Definitive 200: Top 200 Albums of All-Time” list where Janet.landed at #86 and Rolling Stones’ “100 Best Albums of the Nineties” list where Janet. landed at #58.
Numbers aside, Janet. is an album that has a vast worldwide influence. Already seen as an elite dancer and performer, Jackson’s elaborate MTV-sponsored Janet World Tourreinforced her status as one of the dominant artists of the MTV generation. Scholars have even argued that the concept of sexual liberation and the erotic imagery displayed in Janet’s music videos is believed to have led to a higher degree of sexual freedom amongst women.
By 1993, Janet Jackson had visibly become more confident in her own songwriting skills and musical delivery while also finding immense comfort in her own sexuality. This increase in transparency and vulnerability worked in Janet’s favor as many believe Janet. to be Janet Jackson’s best and most personal album to date. In fact, Janet. was so iconic that it remains one of only 7 albums in history to produce six top-ten hits on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The other 6 slots belong to Janet herself (Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814), Michael Jackson (Thriller and Bad), Bruce Springsteen (Born in the U.S.A), George Michael (Faith), and Katy Perry (Teenage Dream)… not bad company to be in.
Check out the full album above along with accompanying videos above.