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Monday, December 23, 2013

End of Year Review: Album(s) of the Year

This is the second part of the end of year review I started running yesterday. If you missed it, find here.

Album(s) of the year:

Aisha: I hate answering questions like these mainly because what I choose to listen to depends on my mood rather than anything else. That said, I have several albums I frequent every time I’m travelling underground or taking a long shower. Love and War by Tamar Braxton – the only album on this list I didn’t purchase – is definitely a shower favourite. Tamar decided that she was tired of singing dowop-pop-pop and demanded more. Look at her now! She’s got 3 Grammy nominations. Red – Taylor Swift is ultimate country pop in my opinion. I’m going to include Eminem’s The Marshall Mather’s LP2 because… favouritism. The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles is the perfect combination of fun and sorrow; everything I look for in music. I love it when music makes me feel like something other than dancing. I have known she was talented since Love Song and this album has been the thrilling climax of her career. Drake’s Nothing Was The Same is hot as well.

Afam: This one is easy. The Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend. It's an internal dialogue with atheism. I don't like talking about my faith because it's incredibly private and it hasn't really got anything to do with anyone else. Anyway, I have discussions with myself about faith all the time, so it was nice to listen to an album about the same thing. Vampire Weekend are amazing. Their Grammy nomination for best alternative album is well deserved. 

Faridah: I'm going to be very biased and say Yeezus. The album broke musical boundaries and blew my mind. It also blew other peoples minds either way you look at it: You either went "WTF" or "Woah"

Mayowa: Kanye West is a genre unto himself. Yeezus is unlike anything we've ever heard and whilst I wish the lyrical content was a bit stronger, its production is flawless. In a post modern world, this is the ultimate fusion album with elements ranging from New Wave, Punk Rock, Reggae to Hip Hop. There are some things that only Mr. West can get done: Get Charlie Wilson to sing that glorious hook on 'Bound 2'. Have Chief Keef play sing along with Justin Vernon and not wonder who drank your orange juice and replaced it with water. Kid Cudi soulfully summing  up what we've always wanted to say to those exes who break our hearts and have the temerity to suggest they want to be friends was another high point. Against a backdrop where artistes tend to be immersed in corporate culture in a bid to maximize marketability, Yeezus was the perfect antidote proving that mainstream music can still hold some artistic merit.

Love in the Future, John Legend: The mark of a good album: using you hard earned money to purchase it as opposed to sitting back and going on im1 or Torrent to get it for free. Besides 'Yeezus', John Legend's Love in the Future'  was the only other recipient of this heartfelt gesture. Legend is one of the greater male r and b singer of the 2000s era in that he has balanced the traditional requirement that r and b is love based with a stream of social consciousness.  ( Check 2010 release with The Roots, 'Wake Up'). Love in the Future lived up to my expectations with its soft beats and top notch lyrics. Great soundtrack for a little sexercise?  Lines to impress girls with? You're welcome.

My Name is My Name, Pusha T; The street album of the year. In the wake of Kendrick Lamar's Control verse and the hope that rap would return to its strong lyrical base, the backdrop was perfect for Terrence Thornton to come clutch with an album reminding us why he's been long heralded as one of the underappreciated greats. All the pot shots about Kim Kardashian getting a release date before him rendered invalid. This project provided a lot of high points: The best Rick Ross verse since 'Devil In A New Dress' over Mr. West's moans and groans. Pause. The flawless impersonation of Mason Betha on the album's weakest cut 'Let Me Love You'. Kendrick Lamar cementing his place at the forefront with another gem of a verse.  The Dream and Pusha creating another memorable collaboration to stake their claim for a 'Best Chemistry' award.  The best description of the project coming from a Pusha lyric " Unpolished/ Unapologetic".  Everything is Pusha T!

Honorable mention to Janelle Monae's The Electric Lady, M.I.A's Matangi and Burna Boy's L.I.F.E

Georgette: John Legend's Love in The Future – already explained in the Song of the Year post.


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