Thursday, December 27, 2007

Forgive me, but it's hard for me to digest the fact that it's almost 2008 already! I had a blast in 2007 and I hate to see that it's coming to an end. That just means even better things will be happening in 2008, so buckle up your seatbelts and keep your ears open. It's been a GREAT year for music lovers this year! It seemed like everyone was dropping hot records all year, which lead into wonderful albums as well. In the fast food style of obtaining music these days, it easy to overlook quality for quantity. As always though, the cream rises to the top. Today, I have posted my favorite 16 soul albums of the 2007. I call them my HOT 16 actually! These are albums that got heavy rotation in my automobile CD player throughout the year.

16 ~ Emily King - East Side Story: This was one of those albums that took me a couple of listens to fully appreciate what she was doing. Her lyrics are so heartfelt and rich that it's hard to deny her talent. I learned a lot about the artist Emily King on this album. She opened herself up for her fans to take a peek inside of her life from aspects of where she's come from to where she's at now. Outside of the lyrical content, the production was pretty solid as well. It seemed to fit perfectly with her vocals without over-shadowing the content. This album was slept on by most, but it's definitely worth a listen. This is not one of those bubble-gum gimmick type albums, so it may take a couple of listens to grasp the full understanding of this project. That's not a bad thing though.

15~Davina - Return To Soul V.1: I really enjoyed Davina's debut album back in the late 1990s, so it was a shock and a treat to realize that she was back at it 2007! She hasn't lost a musical step either. The vocals on the new joint were crisp and the beats were hypnotic. I love the way Davina combines the different genres of music like dance, hip-hop, soul and jazz into a tasty musical gumbo for all to enjoy. This album got absolutely not promotion, so most Davina fans and soul music lovers alike didn't even know that it had been released. That's terrible that a great album like this one will probably go unheard by the masses. Davina seems to be taking everything is stride though, so hopefully we will be getting some more music from this young lady in the near future.

14~Donnie - The Daily News: Personally, I have been a fan of Donnie since he debut release "The Colored Section" back in 2003. It's funny because normally when I mention the name Donnie to someone they automatically think I mean the legend Donny Hathaway! Then I say "No, not that Donny, the other Donnie!" This Donnie carries the same spirit of many great singers of the past though. He's not just a singer, but he's a preacher of the truth. While many singers prefer to remain detached from the world's problems that plagues us all, Donnie takes them on directly. In the spirit of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" record, "The Daily News" album delivers a powerful message that should be heard by the masses. This is one of my favorite albums because it deliberately goes against the grain and it promotes change. I applaud Donnie for this album!
13~Carl Thomas - So Much Better: Mr. Thomas had been missing in action for a minute before this album dropped, so it was good to see him back at it once again! Personally, I am big Carl Thomas fan. I enjoy his cool-smooth vocals and his production seems to always be on point for the most part. After reading that Carl had almost put the microphone down for good after his brother was killed a few years ago, I was pretty curious to hear what he was bringing to the table this time around. I was pleasantly pleased. Plenty of of love ballads, mid-tempo and uptempo joints, which is typical for a Carl Thomas album. He knows what his fans like, and that's what he brings each time. I kept this joint in rotation for a minute, and I still pull it out when the mood is right. If you missed this one, it's never too late to put a little Carl Thomas in your life.

12~Joss Stone - Introducing Joss Stone: Joss has been doing her thing for a minute now, but her previous albums have been hit and miss with me overall. I liked some of her songs and others I didn't, but I have always felt that she was a great talent. Once I put my ears on her latest release I knew she had come into her own. This album is catchy due to those rememorable hooks and groovy beats babie..yeah! Initially, I thought her choice of album title was strange because this was like her third album, but now I get it. She's "Introducing" her defined sound to new music lovers that have been sleeping on her. I could be wrong, but who cares? The album is dope no matter how you chop it, so do yourself a favor and get familiar if you haven't already.

11~Amy Winehouse - Back To Black: Amy definitely wins the "2007 Most Criticized Award' of the year hands down! Every time I clicked on a web site some where on the internet there was new dirt being posted about Amy Winehouse. Yes, she might have worse teeth than a pack mule, and she may like to stay drunk all of the time, but you can't front on her music. The girl is nice with hers, and I got caught up in the Winehouse craze with the rest of the music lovers in the world. I was skeptical, but after a couple of listens to this album it was clear that Amy was the real deal. This album was disfunctionally entertaining and unique in its own right. I am a Winehouse fan in all of her disfunctional glory. It's about the music for me, so I can care less if she urinates on herself daily because of over drunkeness. If her music is dope, I'm wit it!

10~Chrisette Michele - I Am: I had a lot of high hopes of Ms. Michele. She seemed like she had the potential to take the music world by storm, and that's exactly what she did! I was lucky enough to to put my ears on some early promo joints from this album before it dropped, and I was pretty pleased. It is obvious that her record label wanted her to be successful because they spared no expense with promotion, production and guest appearances. Let me be frank, the girl can sang! Her strong yet smooth vocal style definitely rivals some of the greats, but she has managed to make her own nitch in the music game. Tracks like "Be O.K.," "Mr. Radio" and "Lets Rock" kept me hitting the repeat button my CD player (yep, I still have one)! How anybody that likes music hasn't heard this joint yet is beyond my comprehension, but if that's the case check it out.

09~Musiq Soulchild - Luvanmusiq: Musiq Soulchild has been pretty consistant with his album releases over the years. He always seems to easily balance that soulful vibe with little tidbits of hip-hop scattered throughout. I know plenty of folks that didn't like the album at all, but I beg to differ. Honestly, this project is not Musiq's best album to date, but it's still pretty good overall. I think where he may have faultered was the tricky bonus track situation that was created depending on what store you purchased the CD. There were about 5 bonus tracks scattered amongst the different versions of this album, which sucked for true Musiq fans. Some of those bonus tracks were better than a few that were included actually. Regardless, I still enjoyed this project overall. Personally, I can't go wrong when it comes to Musiq's music, so take the plunge if you haven't already.

08~Chaka Khan - Funk This: Chaka Khan....Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan...Chaka Khan let me rock you, let me rock you Chaka Khan! Sometimes, when your favorite singers get older you start to wonder if they still have it? Well, let me tell you that Chaka Khan still has it! She's sounding better than ever actually. I'll admit that I was initially sleeping on Chaka's new joint. I wasn't that excited about putting my ears on it, but a couple of wise music lovers informed me that I should make a point to check it out. Once I did it was easy to understand why they liked this album so much. Nice grooves and outstanding vocals makes this album a definite winner. If you have been sleeping on Chaka Khan like I have then you need to get on the bandwagon too!

07~Angie Stone - The Art of Love & War: I have been an Angie Stone fan since she was a member of Vertical Hold group back in the 1990s. Even back then I could tell that she was the star of that R&B group. It wasn't until she dropped her debut solo album "Black Diamond" in 1999 that folks really started to take notice. Now, it's almost a decade later and Angie is still making quality music. Her music seems to be getting better to me. It's always been good, but her latest release seems to have hit the target perfectly. This album is full of the typical soulful goodness with that attitude and flare that we have come to know and love about Ms. Stone. Outside of this great music, Angie is looking good these days after losing a few pounds. Don't act like you didn't know!

06~Sa-Ra - The Hollywood Recordings: These Sa-Ra katz are some funky dudes. Not musty funk, but musical funk! They're sound is Reminiscent of George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, but with a new school twist on it. I have been a fan of theirs for many years now, but this is their first official full album release. It was definitely worth the wait too. The funk on this album was hypnotic and it kept my head bobbin' the whole time. I know most folks don't even know who Sa-Ra is, but these katz are the truth. This album has a nice mixture of soul, hip-hop and funk, so if you want to hear something different from the same ole' rubbish you've been hearing on the radio give Sa-Ra a chance. If you enjoy the music from artists like the Platinum Pied Pipers and Plantlife, Sa-Ra is right up your alleyway.

05~Tweek - Like This: I am big Rurals fan, so when I got wind that Tweek (lead singer of The Rurals) was releasing a solo joint I was pretty hyped about that! I dig her voice a lot because it's soothing. I expected that Tweek's album would be full of those good ole' Rurals uptempo house grooves they are know for, but I was pleasantly surprised. Tweek flipped the script and went soulful on us, which I actually enjoyed tremendously! Don't judge a book by its cover, because the girl can sing. Outside of the wonderful vocals that Tweek put down, the production is on point. It seems like this album got better with every listen. This joint is still get rotation in the automobile. Due to this being an import release, it may be difficult to get your hands on this one initially, but don't let that stop you from checking for it.

04~Ledisi - Lost & Found: Unbeknownst to the masses Ledisi has been putting it down for soul music lovers for years on the underground soul music scene. Her jazzy type vocals have been stimulating my eardrums since the late 1990s, but this latest release is the one that has finally put her on the map amongst the masses. I'm happy for her because she's a true talent that should be adored by all. I've heard some folks say that Ledisi is some how copying Chrisette Michele vocally, since they both have that Ella Fitzgerald jazzy vibe in their music at times? Huh?? I am aware that those can only be uninformed listeners that would make such a ridiculous statement, but don't get it confused because Ms. Michele was still riding her ten speed bicycle when Ledisi began putting it down. I am a fan of Ms. Michele, but she has a long way to go before she can be compared to artists like Ledisi!

03~Rahsaan Patterson - Wines & Spirits: This album is classic Rahsaan material! I have been a fan of this kat for a long time now, but this album is definitely one of my favorites. I have tried to turn everybody that I know on to Mr. Patterson's new joint, and most folks dig immediately after the first listen. What I like about Rahsaan's music the most is that it sounds like he's having fun when he's making it. He always keeps things on a positive vibe to uplift your spirits instead of pulling you down with a whole bunch of negativity. The lyrics and the production are definitely banging and the album flows well. This is one of those albums that once I put it on I just let it play. I finally got a chance to meet this brotha recently and he's a cool dude as well. If you haven't heard this one yet, check it out and hear what you think. If you don't love it on the first listen, listen to it again and again until you do.

02~Eric Roberson - Left: If you don't know by now, Erro is that dude! He's what you would call the full package when it comes to being an artist. He writes, sings, produces and puts on some of the best live shows that I have ever seen (hands down). His laid back, but humerous personality has made him a fan a favorite amongst the masses of soul music lovers around the world. He's an independent artist, but you'd never know it by the promotion he gets for his projects and concerts. He's everywhere it seems. His latest project is a definite winner in my book. His other albums are great too, but this new joint is definitely my favorite. The production is bananas and his lyrics are exceptional. Why folks are still sleeping on Erro I'll never know, but I advise you to wake the "beeeep" up for really real.

01~Jill Scott - Words and Sounds Vol. 3: The grand prize of my favorite album in 2007 award goes to none other than Jilly from Philly! Honestly, it's hard to say anything bad about Jill Scott because this woman has been putting it down for years. She's definitely a true talent and a gem in the soul music genre. I still get amped when I know Jill is releasing another album. This Vol. 3 joint takes it back to the days of her debut album. This is vintage Jill Scott. It's raw and edgy, just how I like my music! This album has much attitude and lyrical content had me hanging on every verse. Her storytelling abilities are simply amazing. Seriously, if you don't have this album in your collection by now you are missing out big time! If that's actually the case, I want you to get up from your computer and get yourself over to the nearest music store and buy this album immediately.

There you have it folks. There are a lot of other great soul albums that dropped this past year, so if your favorite album didn't make my HOT 16 list don't fret. Fill me in on your favorite joints of the year just in case I missed them. I know that the majority of you visitores are not going to leave a comment though, but I thought I'd ask anyway...

1 comment:

THE XFACTA said...

This is a great list of albums... I love the Joss Stone and Angie Stone albums the best!

Peace Jamz