Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“A look at Beyonce’s new song/video entitled Sorry”)

I thought this latest project by Beyonce was important to check out on many fronts. First, she is arguably the biggest entertainer for this age (My apologies for those who are behind Taylor Swift).  The interesting thing about being “number one” is that “everyone” studies you and your methods to see if they can find a way to emulate your success. Beyonce took a much different route this time when it came to her music. She did “not” go after immediate radio play to promote her music (to be honest, if her songs are being played I have not heard them yet on conventional radio). Since so many artists have relied in the past on being featured in radio rotation I can’t help but wonder if she is somehow playing “Russian roulette” with her career. After all, the radio industry still controls a lot and they can still shut her down just as easily as they built her up. Next, I wonder how the sales of her new CD are going. Without radio play how do people know whether or not they like her songs? Since she is Beyonce, a LOT of people will just buy it without hearing a note, but can she expect that to last using this promotional formula? I FINALLY got to hear one of her songs ( The CD has been out for awhile now), and that is the song that I heard about before. The song is entitled “Sorry” and the much talked about lyric in this song mentions something about going to “Becky with the good hair.” I just got the chance to check out the song/video and wanted to feature it today. I realize that I am “old school” so I tried to be neutral and understanding when I listened to this track. I was trying to figure out the symbolism behind making this video black and white. I just couldn’t figure out the rationale behind that. Then I checked out her vocal performance. To me it didn’t feel like one of her best. When she did “Love on top” she absolutely “killed it” singing. For this particular track I didn’t feel any of the same energy. Musically, it felt very watered down to me. I assumed that she did this purposefully and that she wanted to be more creative with this project. That is all said and good, but normally for songs there is a hook that grabs the attention of the listener (For instance, “Ain’t no stopping us now”). I couldn’t get that with this latest release from her.I will not bash her with this project, because the one thing to remember is that “one man’s music can be another man’s misery.” I do realize that the most important part of this song was the “message” that she was trying to convey lyrically. Under those circumstances I can understand this a little more. I listened a couple of times, but it has still not grown on me “yet.” You can make your own decision. Here is the song/video by Beyonce entitled “Sorry.” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.


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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Beyonces’ “Lemonade…” Real life story?)

The stories have been put out there for all to check out. Now it appears as though the saga is now displayed the the music and video of Beyonce’s newest musical project simply entitled “Lemonade.” Here is a video update on her new release:

I have always said that “Music is expression.” As great as a certain beat might be sometimes it’s the “message in the music” that makes the song the biggest hit. From the video of Beyonce’s sister fighting her husband Jay-Z in an elevator to the published reports of his infidelity speculation has run rampant over what people think “really” happened between Jay and another woman. Now it is quite interesting that Beyonce appears to be telling the world through her music her thoughts and feelings. In that regard I “admire” this, because true artists will “paint a story” through their crafts. However, part of me is sincerely skeptical about it, because we all know how this industry can be. If Beyonce is indeed portraying her true life story of infidelity in this project, the “only thing in my mind that cheapens the strength of this episode is the fact that she is “still with him.” Even if there are divorce papers out there, who does she come home to after each show? Who is she still seen in public with? Is it quite possible that Beyonce is only telling this story in order to get people to buy her material? Consider the fact that her husband now wants to tell his side of the story and respond with his new musical project. If you really want the public to know, then just “hold a press conference and talk.” If you prefer to sell your music and make money off of it, then “come up with a story that you want your public to hear and have them believe that this is your truth.” Games sell, and that formula applies to the music industry as well. I can’t tell you for sure if “Lemonade” is “fact or fiction.” I can, however, advise people to “listen with your minds instead of just your ear.” Even though I have not heard “any” cuts from her new project yet, the whole purpose of putting your project out there is to “sell it.” As long as Beyonce accomplishes that, then this project will be a success. Hopefully at some point I can actually get to hear her tunes and then come back with my own assessment. Until then, I hope you follow your heart and your mind when it comes to anything you wish to purchase. There is always “another story beyond the surface.” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.


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Vintage photo of Brett Jolly and Verdine White (Bass player for Earth, Wind and Fire)


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: My “own” assessment of Beyonce’s song “Drunk in Love”)

Recently I was asked to do my “own” personal assessment of Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love,” a song  which started off “very” strong along with the rest of her CD after it “broke records” when it was “initially released.” In an industry where “marketing is everything” it is difficult to say whether the initial strength of her song was derived from the actual “content and quality” of it or whether it’s popularity resulted from the “promotion” of Beyonce herself. If an artist is “already” big like Beyonce is, chances are a lot of people will “automatically” buy her tunes “without even hearing them first” and that “could” be the reason why it had such a powerful beginning. However, even the greatest of artists have been known to put out “bad product” every once in awhile, and while I am  not labeling this tune as a bad product at all, I am noting that once the “novelty” of this CD’s introduction “wore off” then the “hype” around it seemed to weaken considerably.  I decided to check out the song “and video on Youtube, and this is what I came up with: First, I realize that “technically” I am considered “old school.” What that essentially means is that I am “only supposed” to like the music of “my” generation, and according to younger folks I am not supposed to even “understand” what the new music is about. I can respect that, but I also know that as a musician I have to listen to just about “everything” because I have to be prepared to “play” just about everything, and there “are” new tunes out that I “do” like.  I wanted to give Beyonce’s song my “unbiased ear” and that was sincerely what I attempted to do. First, we need to determine what really “makes a hit… a hit…” Some people like the “lyrics, some like the lyrical concept of the song, while some like the performance of the song by the artist and lastly some like “the beat” to it. When it comes to the lyrics of this song, I think that could go both ways. Some people will love the words, while others may not understand what she is saying or how she is trying to say it.  When it comes to the lyrical content, then that is derived from how many people can “relate” to the song. If a lot of people have actually “felt drunk in love” at some point, then it could lead to bigger sales (for these people, music is expression).  When it comes to the actual performance of the tune, that is difficult to assess because Beyonce actually sings the song “as though she were intoxicated. It is difficult to label it as a great singing performance because she “purposely” was not “trying” to give a great singing performance on this track (She was trying to emulate a singing drunkard).  That kind of “takes away” from the impact of her vocal performance, unless you relate well enough to the other factors we just mentioned. The music quality of it has me a little baffled. The drums sound like one of those old small “drum machines” and doesn’t seem to have enough power of “body” to it for me. I could not find a “musical hook” in the song at all. In other words, can anyone “hum” any instrumental portion of this song and people will automatically recognize it?  I just can’t feel that. When we add to this the fact that this song seems to feature “tuned bass drum parts in it” that feel out of place then  the song feels empty to me. The keyboards are “light” and there is no “real” bass presence in the song. In other words, musically this song seems to lack some “identity.” I don’t know if this was done “purposely” to capture the effect of “intoxication” for Beyonce but for me it just feels as though it is lacking something.  Finally, my biggest factor in determining the greatness of this song is based on this formula: We all know Beyonce can sing and she is quite talented, but I had to ask myself this one particular question: “If someone else who could sing as well as Beyonce had put this song out “instead” of her (and sang it equally as well), would this song “still” have the same hit impact as it does now?” I am trying my best to give this a “neutral” answer but no matter how I play this in my minf the answer I keep coming up with is “no.” This song “is” a hit, but this song is “only” a hit because it was done by Beyonce. Her “star power” sold this song, but the song doesn’t necessarily “sell her.” . I apologize if anyone feels offended by that remark. Regardless of what I say, the song has already made its impact. From a lot of people I have talked to, about half like it and about half don’t. Rather than rate it here, I will let you come to your own conclusions. Thank you and have a great day.


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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “How Beyonce’s new music affects the music industry”)

For those of you who have not heard, Beyonce just released a new CD album appropriately entitled “Beyonce.” This really shouldn’t be much of a surprise, because professional singers are usually “required” to release music. However, the difference in this case was in “how” the pop diva managed to do it. Without “any” pre-release promotion, she put it on I-tunes, and it broke records in it’s very first 3 days. I believe the numbers were over $617,000 in the United States and over $828,000 internationally. The way it usually works is that most artists “need radio play” to hype their music out there for people to buy it. Rarely do people buy a music product before they even get the chance to “hear it.” Getting radio stations to play it can be a “very costly” measure (even though the stations themselves won’t admit to it). Payola (the practice of paying to have your music played on air) is supposed to be “illegal” (but try getting your songs played on air without it and watch what DOESN’T happen). I found this interesting because instead of paying exorbitant amounts of money to have it played on radio, she opted instead to make videos for “each” song and released them on the internet (which can be done for “free”). I have always told new and upcoming artists that this is the new way to go. Regular radio is struggling right now and they are mostly controlled by the few record labels that are left. These labels “allegedly” pay the stations to play their artists and they also pay them to “not” play anyone else. That is mostly why a lot of new music lacks quality (and a lot of it sounds the same as well). Beyonce’s move was good for her (of course) but it also may be a great game changer for the industry. NOW because of the fanfare  surrounding the release more people will want to check out her music, and instead of waiting to hear it on radio they can just go online and not only “hear” it but they can actually “see” it as well (with the videos for each song). If you are an aspiring artist, I hope you take heed to what just happened. Beyonce not only “made” a lot of money with her release, but she also “saved” a lot of money without having to pay the radio stations. That… is “major”… However, not EVERYONE is ecstatic with this news. Target has said that it refuses to sell the CD because it was available “digitally” before it was available “physically.” If I were Target, I would pay good attention to what happened with Sam Goody’s and Tower Records. BOTH of these music selling giants went out of business because they were selling CD’s in an industry where digital downloads became the new wave of purchasing new music. If Beyonce’s music is selling and people are willing to buy it, what difference would it make WHO has it first? I would like to congratulate Beyonce on being such a great business woman. I only “hope” that this revelation will help “other” up and coming artists as well who are looking for outlets to promote their music. Maybe, just maybe, you can totally “skip” radio play, and “still” make a “hit.” Stay tuned, and please have yourself a wonderful day.

Jill Scott and Brett Jolly in concert



Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: Did Beyonce lip sync the National Anthem?)

I just happened to come across an intriguing story on the internet. There seems to be “speculation” that Beyonce Knowles “lip synced” the national anthem when it was performed at the Presidential inauguration the other day. Since I play music professionally and I tend to pay “particular” attention when it comes to these matters I figured I would check this out for myself. I read the story and from what I can remember it stated that originally she was “supposed” to sing it with the band, but somehow they didn’t have the opportunity to rehearse. That’s interesting to me, because when it comes to “any” big live performance (and especially one of “this” nature) there is ALWAYS a “sound check.” According to the story, when they couldn’t rehearse the song, Ms. Knowles just “happened” to have a “track” handy with the music on it. How “very” convenient… Now I am one who “loves” to read between the lines, and I know enough about the industry to figure most things out. First and foremost, it is a “well known” fact that Beyonce is one of the “few” new generation artists who actually CAN “sing.” If she did in fact lip sync to the track, it was NOT because she couldn’t sing it. However, in this business an artist is only as good as his or her next performance. If, in fact, there were some technical difficulties arising from the cold temperatures to the setup of the sound equipment then that could have had a MAJOR impact on her career. You see, performers have to be able to “hear” themselves above the music (and hopefully not too loud) to be able to vocalize a song correctly. Most times what the audience hears and what the performers hear are usually two distinct and “separate” things. If you look at the video of her singing, at one point she “pulls an ear piece” out of her left ear. That was her monitor for her to be able to hear her music (and her vocals). If she pulled it out, then that means what she was hearing in the monitor was “not right” musically. Sound problems can reek havoc on “any” vocalist, because in order to sing well you first have to “hear” well. As an artist, if I had the choice between lip syncing to a track or performing with a bad sound job I would choose the former “every” time. Also, most audiences rarely notice, but MANY of today’s artists (and yesterday’s as well) perform to “some” form of track. The voice is one of the most sensitive instruments, and if abused it can “go out” on you, making it possible for you to lose your voice. Back in the day, many concerts were canceled whenever an artist lost his or her voice. Rarely do you hear of concerts being canceled for that reason today. That is because technology can “save” today’s artists without the audience knowing of it. I, personally have been on the same program as Beyonce, and I witnessed her performance as well as checked out her back stage setup. MANY of the things you will hear in her concert are in fact “prerecorded” but that is actually normal in the music industry. She sings well on her performance (when she actually does sing) but rest assured her management tries to make it as easy on her voice as much as possible. If you remember back in the day, there was a group called Milli Vanilli, who were imposters when it came to the hit songs they had. They lip synced to all their music and none of them sang on the original track. Well, they were found out to be imposters and they were subsequently stripped of their Grammy awards (One of the them eventually committed suicide). The funny part is that today they would probably be considered “cult heroes.” Music has gone through many changes over the years, and we all need to accept the fact that when you pay money to go to the concert in some instances you will only see your favorite artist move his or her lips to the music. While it may not be authentic or genuine, it is becoming widely acceptable. Yes, Beyonce did lip sync… and yes, Beyonce could have sung the song if she chose to. Let’s just accept it for what it is, and how far the music industry has come… Here is the Phantom Poet and he promises NOT to lip sync this verse today:

Beyonce just performed the national anthem at the Presidential Inauguration
But people are wondering whether or not she gave a lip synced interpretation
Like most artists, she has to market herself right, and she has an image to sell
And it works as long as she lip syncs and no one in the audience can tell
She is the number one artist and most people want to hear her sing live
But if she has to sing through tough conditions, her image might not survive
In fact, just about ANY artist today will have a performance that is not how it appears
If you don’t believe me, then go check out Rihanna or even Brittney Spears
Yet their concerts still sell out and although they lip sync no one is really loathing
Most of the guys go because they want to see these women were very little clothing
Even for some of the older established artists seem to be feeling the impact
Even The Whispers and Boyz II Men will sing along with the vocal track
This is the new music era, and right about now we ALL should know the deal
We have discovered that “real is fake” and of course, “fake is real”
So when you pay big prices for a concert from off your credit card
Watch to see your artist dance a lot, and then sing without breathing hard (?)
Just know that what you may get at a concert could be beyond your own contemplation
Because today’s concerts are made for a much “newer” generation

“Would a Milli Vanilli reunion tour sell out today? The Phantom Poet

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Teddy Pendergrass and Brett Jolly in concert at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles