So I didn’t think I’d make it in time to do the final countdown in the Heavy Rotation series. But here it is, the best of the best, and it wasn’t easy because I feel down deep in my stick recuperating bones that I’ve slighted somebody. Once again, I’m judging these albums based on listenability–listening to an album from beginning to end without skipping songs.
Through this journey, I sadly had to leave out some albums. I have to set some limits for myself ya know. I actually let myself go last week and stretched a supposed top 10 list to a top 15 with special exceptions. In this case, it will be a straight top 15 and a few notes about the album. Before I begin, let me name a few artists who did not make the list, or any lists I’ve made so far but I do have complete albums and truly enjoy: Gavin DeGraw, The Fugees, Sara Barellis, Talib Kweli, Will Smith, matchbox 20 and Gnarles Barkley. Perhaps in friPod posts to come, I’ll shine some light on what I like about these artists and/or particular albums.
I’d consider those to be honorable mentions, but I didn’t name their respective albums. I think it’s safe to say that those artists are also on my trust list, that if they came out with an album tomorrow, I would buy it knowing I’d enjoy. It’s always tough making these lists because I really have to consider what I really love about each album. Some of it is lyrical. Some of it is composition. Some is beats and production. Performance. Length. And of course, all of these together, it makes it difficult. But without further procrastination, here’s my final list, last edited about 37 minutes ago according to my feelings towards them.
14. Deitrick Haddon–Crossroads – It’d be criminal of me not to include at least one gospel album, and I almost went with Kirk Franklin. But over the years, I’ve come to listen to this guy a bit more also because of his voice, storytelling lyrics which are sometimes straight out of the Bible.
13. Daft Punk–Discovery – A musical journey through remixes, guitar riffs and computerized beats… and if you’ve seen the movie version, then you can see the music and it’s brilliance. Is it safe to say they have a style all their own? And that I love it? I’ll say it. I love it.
12. Panic! at the Disco–A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out – I’ll be honest, when I first heard this album, all the songs sounded the same. But after really listening, I was entranced by the lyrics and their energy. I still couldn’t tell you the titles of the songs, but I know the song when I hear it.
11. The Roots–Rising Down – I started following The Roots a few years ago, and I still haven’t heard everything they have done. I know they don’t seem very high on my list, but I couldn’t leave them out, and I really love this album for their hard hitting, painfully honest piece of work. Again, much love to production by ?uestlove and the genius rhymes of Black Thought (and friends).
10. Fall Out Boy–Infinity On High – I’ve recently been a converted fan, but these guys do play some great music. I may not understand what all the songs mean, but if it means having a good time, doesn’t it really matter? Truly enjoyable music to listen to at high volume and on repeat.
9. Prince–Purple Rain – I mention Prince before, suggesting I’d be better off with a “best of” album but I don’t have one that includes all my favorites, and this is the only album that seems to have most of them at once. Perhaps one day I’ll list all my favorite Prince hits, but so far, this is one of the top albums and top musical movies… even if it wasn’t that good of a movie.
8. Mos Def–Black on Both Sides – I really wanted to get Mos Def on this list, especially this album which I love listening to. Another dude with great wordplay and bringing on social awareness. What this album is, I wish so many more albums were like: full.
7. Raphael Saadiq–The Way I See It – Yeah, you already know. I won’t repost the link again, but just know that this guy is also musically genius and this album has such an awesome retro style that it hurts. I mean that in a good way. Like when your face starts frowning up because it feels so good. Yeah, that’s how I felt.
6. Joss Stone–Introducing… – One of my favorite soul singers on the planet. And both beautiful physically and vocally. Saadiq helped make this album as awesome as it is, but Joss brought it with her voice and lyrics. This also has a retro feel that I love. And Joss beat Saadiq because she’s a girl and I like girls.
5. John Legend–Get Lifted – I love all John’s albums, but I guess sometimes it’s best to start with the first. I remember when I first heard this album, it gave me comfort that there were some people who actually still sang from the heart and had some real soul in their voice. Everyone sounded the same to me, then the Legend hit the radio waves and I’d like to think that things haven’t been the same since.
3. OutKast–Speakerboxxx/The Love Below – More geniuses here. I had yet another hard time picking which album to list, so I applied the “island” rule: if you could only listen to one album forever on an album, which would it be? Well here is a double album. Overall, the best of both worlds and something different the world wasn’t ready for.
2. Lauryn Hill–The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – I knew without a doubt that she needed to be on this list. It just made sense that she be #2, but besides the number, she is just awesome. Both a singer and a rapper, with great messages in her songs and some really great wordplay, I just hope she takes the world by storm again soon. Only she can followup greatness with more greatness.