July 24, 2008

David Sides - The Collection // Volume 1 (2008)

Dubbed as "Mozart Gone Hip-Hop, Pop and R&B," David Sides is a Cali-based pianist that specializes in covers of popular mainstream R&B, hip hop, and sometimes pop rock songs. The best part about "D-Sides" (as he's known in the Industry) is that he is basically self-taught and plays songs by ear. He's working on an album of originals, but for the time being he's garnered quite a following on YouTube with The Collection: Volume 1 (Volume 2 isn't officially out yet, but he's already leaked a few tracks on YouTube). Already one of the top watched artists of 2008, he boasts upwards of 40 million views thus far. His most popular cover to date, OneRepublic's "Apologize," racked up 4.5 million views alone!

He's so much fun to watch because he just looks so happy and into what he's playing. He sways around like Ray Charles, snaps his fingers like T-Pain, and I love the head nodding during his more hip-hopified tracks as if he's driving around, with the top down of course, listening to his favorite jam. Plus he covers everyone... from Shop Boyz's "Party Like A Rockstar" and a Kanye West Medley, to Linkin Park's "In The End." He can play fast during Ne-Yo's "Because Of You" or crank it down a notch for slow jams like the gorgeous "Bed" by J Holiday and the super-sexy "Lost Without U" by Robin Thicke. He goes cutesy with Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" but comes hard with "Anonymous" by Bobby Valentino (one of my favorite R&B songs of last summer). He really hits the vocals and intricate Timbaland beat-work of that tune in each note on the piano, it's rather wondrous how he manages to capture all the musical layers so well. Plus, I think Timbaland may have found his new "Danjahandz" here, literally!

D-Sides would be perfect for live background music for that hip-hop-lovin' couple who want to add a little flava to their wedding reception, but still want to keep things classy. It's awesome for laying around on the couch, with or without someone. You get all the fun energy of hip hop minus the sometimes vulgar, profane, and misogynistic lyrics we're not always in the mood for. If you've been looking for a way to combine your love of classical music while still getting your daily dose of hip hop in a one-two punch, David Sides is the man for the job.

My favorites are his versions of T-Pain's "Buy You A Drank" (the snapping is hysterical), Usher's "Love In This Club" (he really captured the music, vocals, and even the rap in true pretty piano fashion) and, perhaps his best one... the most beautiful rendition I've ever heard of the already beautiful "Forever" by Chris Brown. I highly recommend it.

The Final Verdict:
Give D-Sides a chance, whether you're into hip hop and R&B or not. It's great mood music for those times when you're in "a mood" and simply want to get in "the mood." So lose the 'tude, dude, because who doesn't have the time to get in "the mood?"