K. Michelle is never one to mince words. With the arrival of “Birthday,” the club-ready first offering from her upcoming fourth album Kimberly: The People I Used to Know, the Memphis, Tenn. native enters yet another chapter of her career, this time more honest than before. The LP, which features contributions from Chris Brown (“Either Way”), Jeremih, Yo Gotti and Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, mines directly from her personal life and those around her, something that isn’t necessarily new for the R&B singer but continues to give her motivation to make more honest music. “I always say people use us for some things: men might use us for our hot pockets, women might use us just to be cool with us or whatever,” says the singer, born Kimberly Pate. “But whatever the person that’s using you, you should use them to learn something.”
In the face of the legend that he once was, it's very fashionable to dismiss Eric Burdon's '70s-and-later output as little more than an afterthought – which may or may not be true. But from the moment 1988's I Used to Be an Animal kicks into groove, it's clear that Burdon has spent the last few years doing more than kicking over old traces. The putative soundtrack to the singer's recently published autobiography, I Used to Be an Animal chases that band's career through its own chops and changes, pitfalls and high points, but without ever actually looking back. Situations and ambitions are recalled, to be sure. But the ice-sharp production and soaring, anthemic attack merges memory with modernity, to produce an album that still turns unsuspecting heads around – "what is that you're playing?" The sharpest shock, of course, is the opening title track, a brittle slice of late-'80s funk rap that manages to blend themes as diverse as the Who's "Baba O'Riley," Disco Tex's "Get Dancing," and Falco's "Das Kommissar," and still comes up sassy and fresh.