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  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
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  Extras
  • Animated menus
R&B Lovesongs
Sony Music Video/Sony BMG . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . E . PAL

  Feature
Contract

R&B used to be about the music. R&B used to be romantic. R&B used to be funky. R&B has really turned into (C)Rap & B-S. Now that’s not saying that this isn’t a decent mix of music, it’s just saddening to see it labelled as R&B, and especially the “love song” part. Normally love songs are slow, peaceful, tender and idealistic, but half of the artists on this disc have a totally different representation of love, and a more aggressive way of expressing it. And I mean ‘word’.

OK, here’s an imagination game. Picture yourself with your loved one about to cuddle up on that rainy winter’s day with some love song DVD, such as this, to pass the time away. It’s all warm and fuzzy, isn’t it? You’re halfway through doing... um whatever it is you happen to be doing and then some angry young man who looks like he's on probation comes on screen with some (c)rap in the middle of the so-called love song DVD. Now if that doesn’t spoil the mood, this reviewer does not know what else would – and c’mon, the cold temperatures do enough as it is! All that can be said about that is thank God for the 'Next Chapter' button.

If the hip-hop type music is going to thrown into this R&B love song DVD, ditch the male screamers and stick with the female wailings – they are much more tranquil and romantic. For example, look at alternative rock group Garbage, led by a strongly seductive, yet similarly soothing Shirley Manson compared to a group like Blink 182. Both groups do songs about love of some kind, but who would build up the hormones in you? OK, there’s no accounting for taste either.

But the concoction on this DVD isn’t totally lost. You Gotta Be by delightfully delicate Des’ree has been thrown in along with the sportily strong Anastacia, tenderly tight TLC and daringly delectable Destiny’s Child. Skip the guys. Groove (at least that word is "G" rated for the kiddies) with the girls and you have a good time-waster for the winter break, and just in time for Mothers’ Day too – but who’s mum is a fan of Top 40 R&B? So if you haven’t already guessed, this DVD is a compilation of Top 40 tunes, but not just audio – there's video clips too! That is just in case any of you are having blonde moments...

Track listing...

Craig David – Fill Me In
Destiny’s Child – Say My Name
Toni Braxton – Unbreak My Heart
Macy Gray – I Try
Donell Jones – U Know What’s Up
Brownstone – If You Love Me
Kandi - Don’t Think I’m Not
Mary Mary – Shackles (Praise You)
Jon B – Don’t Talk
Ruff Endz – No More
Groove Theory – Tell Me
Jagged Edge featuring Run of Run DMC – Let’s Get Married (ReMarqable Remix)
TLC – Dear Lie
Des’ree – You Gotta Be
3LW – No More (Baby I’ma Do Right)
SWV – Right Here
Wyclef Jean – Gone Till November
Anastacia – Cowboys and Kisses
Joe – Stutter
R. Kelly – Your Body’s Callin’
Aaliyah – At Your Best (You Are Love)
Ginuwine – Just Because
Deborah Cox – Sentimental
Chantay Savage – I Will Survive

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

The video transfer is presented in a variety of letterboxed widescreen aspects on a basic 4:3 transfer. Aspects ratios come in thick and fast with an odd mix, just like the Heaps Cool and How Good Is That? DVDs that Sony released earlier in the year. There is nothing terribly wrong with the un-anamorphically enhanced transfer, just little bits. Compression related artefacts such as posterisation, aliasing and pixelation occur here and there, but there's nothing that screams out too loud. These same artefacts were also seen in the two earlier Sony discs, so it may even be an issue with the source clips. Colours are bright, and at times overly saturated with a rich luminousity and a gacky representation of the world often seen in video clips. Blacks are solid, and whites are stark, adding great contrast with no edge issues at all, and it is great to see Des’ree’s 1994 video clip on the DVD medium for good with such a beautiful transfer. It’s just a pity about the inclusion all of the other (c)rap music that has been given an equally as good transfer too.

The solo Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack that accompanies these video clips is sufficient, yet, as always, the fullness of a surround soundstage would be beneficial. Bass levels, surprisingly, giving the windows a good rumbling. Dialogue/vocals/(c)rapping-on is clear and audible, when accents, poor English and a heavy bass track are all removed from the equation. To put it another way, it faithfully renders the stereo effect given by CDs and the radio. And isn’t that the goal for this sort of disc?

Animated menus hardly count as an extra feature, but hey there’s nothing else to say. It’s not like you can say, “how about some music videos as extra features?”, now can you? But still, the menus look more like a PowerPoint presentation brought to the screen. And no, that’s not exaggerating.

So overall, for fans of the genre, and the hits (???) on the disc, this is a definite goer, whether it be party material or make-out material it serves its purpose well.


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  •   And I quote...
    "...R&B has really turned into (C)Rap & B-S..."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Philips DVD 736K
    • TV:
          TEAC EU68-ST
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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