My Top Ten Albums for Chris Brooks
Chris Brooks chastised me for not knowing who "Brian Wilson" is or why "Good Vibrations" is supposedly the greatest song in the world. Of course, I didn't mention that Tenacious D was the greatest band and had the greatest song, but that's another story.
Here's my list of great songs and albums, for me, for the last five years, so that Chris might expand his collection. Yes, this is not a technical post, so feel free to delete and move along. Nothing to see here.
- Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company - A wonderful rollup of a complex man's complex career, made even more accessible by its inclusion of a number of other geniuses.
- Amel Larrieux, Infinite Possibilities - The beauty and soul behind Groove Theory, this album is a fusion of R&B, Middle Eastern and African beats.
Khaled, Sahra - The King of Rai's "Aicha" is an internationally known anthem. Singing in Arabic and French, Rai is pop, reggae and funk.
Floetic, Floetry - Soft soul from the UK with a focus on spoken world and ballads. "Say Yes" is already a classic.
Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite - A lot of babies were made while listening to Luther, and a whole lot were made while listening to Maxwell.
- Youssou N'Dour, Egypt - An unlikely title from a man hailing from Senegal, Youssou is the African continent's Paul Simon, pulling in beats from the whole hemisphere.
- Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill - Undeniably versatile, singer, poet, rapper. Also check out her Unplugged album. The title of this CD is a play on the title of Carter Woodson's The Mis-education of the Negro which in itself is must read if you're interested in African-American history and the American educational system.
- John Legend, Get Lifted - Very much a child of Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder, John Legend's album is pure gold, with every track in its place. He's one side of a single coin with Alicia Keys on the reverse.
Mos Def, Black on Both Sides - True, lyrically driven Hip-hop at it's best. Mos Def is a much a contemporary lecturer as he is an artist. Also check out the Roots, or KRS One's classic Edutainment.
Rent, Movie Soundtrack - A quintessential American Broadway show, while written with the late eighties beatnik village culture in mind, it's message still rings true today.
Kanye West, The College Dropout - The king of preppy rap, Kanye shows other rappers that lyrics drive rap even while he uses clever hooks to sell his message.
Alicia Keys, The Diary of Alicia Keys - She writes her own music, plays her own piano and sings. Not hard to look at either. So, why do we need models?
India Arie, Acoustic Soul - Feel good, light on first glance but desceptively deep, self-esteem music.
Erykah Badu, Baduizm - Funk meets soul in this afro-powered fusion between spoken word and soul.
Musiq, Aijuswanaseing and Donell Jones, Where I Wanna Be - tragically hip and retro ballads harkening back to the best Motown-era ballads.Jill Scott, Who is Jill Scott - Poet turned singer has some serious pipe.
Angie Stone, Black Diamond - D'Angelo's baby mama is a bit more thematically dark than Jill Scott. The Duet with Snoop is brilliant.
D'Angelo, Brown Sugar - Progressive neo-soul rooted in the decade of my birth, brought forwarded into the 90's. Still a classic today.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Rhetorically speaking of course.. ;)
Being originally from the UK I really appreciate the inclusion of Floetry.
'The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill' and 'Who is Jill Scott' this blog could begin and end right here for me.
Here are a few suggestions to tickle your neo soul fancy:
Javier (album: Javier) neo soul with heavy spanish guitar influence
Heather Headley (album: This Is Who I Am) she is just totally kick ass. Tracks to download: Sista Girl and He Is
Donnie (album: Colored Section) My fav track on this album is "Welcome to the Colored Section"
Les Nubians (album: One Step Forward) two soul singers singing in French - what's not to like?
Erykah Badu's new album Mama's Gun is my new favorite Badu album. Jill Scott's Beautiful Sounds album is worth about a million listens. Mos Def's new album The New Danger is just as good as Black on Both Sides.
By the way, I saw John Legend at the Roseland in September - he is incredible live.
JK, my own tastes are:
Medeski Martin & Wood
bluegrass (Dillards, Bill Monroe, Old & In the Way, Doc Watson)
some (c)rap (Beastie Boys, eg.)
Dave Matthews (earlier stuff)
Robert Walter's 20th Congress
BTW - *really* looking forward to the podcast.
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