I’ve compiled a list of CD’s that I’ve listened to over the past year that I think are some of the best music I’ve run acrossed in the past year. Here, in no particular order, are those CD’s. (Keep in mind that these CD’s didn’t come out this year, in fact a lot of them came out a while ago, I’ve only just discovered them.)
Amos Lee – Amos Lee
A mix of Tracy Chapman’s story telling and Norah Jones’ Blues, Amos Lee’s album will easily become one that you will listen to over and over. Amos Lee is also the master of getting to the point. Ten songs all around three and a half minutes long. Perfect.
Highlights: Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight; Arms of a Woman; Love in the Lies.
Sufjan Stevens – Come on Feel the Illinois!
I can’t remember when I got this album, but all I know is that it continues to inspire me to write music and appreciate great song writing every time I listen to it. A couple of my favorite lyrics: “Tuesday night at the bible study, we lift our hands and pray over your body but nothing ever happens…” and “But in my best behavior, I am really just like him…”
Highlights: Decatur or Round of Applause for Your Step Mother!; Concerning the UFO Sighting…; Casimir Pulaski Day; John Wayne Gacy Jr.
Justin Timberlake – FutureLove/SexSounds
Don’t hate, participate! This CD was an incredibly amazing step into something different. Seriously. This is a good CD…although all of Timbalands stuff sounds the same.
Highlights: My Love; What Goes Around; Damn Girl.
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
I am a sucker for R & B music. Not Keith Sweat or D’Angelo (though I do love them also), but the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, etc. Amy Winehouse brings back rhythm and blues and adds her own twist to it. Though the content isn’t really great, at times it is hilarious and sad at the same time. Think Lauryn Hill with a major drug and alcohol problem that she brags about constantly.
Highlights: Rehab; Me and Mr. Jones; Addicted.
Robin Thicke – The Evolution of Robin Thicke
Yes, the son of Alan Thicke. This album was one of the smoothest albums I heard all year. He sings in his falsetto a lot showing that Robin Thicke was an obvious Prince fan. With the likes of Faith Evans, Lil Wayne, and Pharell showing up as some of the highlights how can one go wrong with these guests?
Highlights: Lost Without You, Would That Make You Love Me?; Wanna Love You Girl.
Ben Harper – Diamonds on the Inside
Folk Rock/Gospel/Funk. Could it get any better? I stayed away from this album for a while. I regret it now.
Highlights: When Its Good; Picture of Jesus; She’s Only Happy In The Sun
Death Cab for Cutie – Plans
Another band I tried to avoid, I tried to avoid DCFC simply to deter the hype of the Northwest, but I came to find out that I actually liked them. Great lyrics + Catchy melodies = unavoidably likeable. I tried not to conform. I really did!
Highlights: Marching Bands of Manhattan; Soul Meets Body; I Will Follow You Into the Dark.
Eva Cassidy – Song Bird, Live @ Blues Alley, Time after Time, and American Tune
All four albums are incredible. Eva died in 1996 of melanoma. She has one of the purest voices you will ever hear.
Highlights: Fields of Gold; Song Bird; Time after Time, and Aint No Sunshine
Copeland – In Motion
These guys made me believe in the magic of the hook again.
Highlight: Pin Your Wings
Jay-Z – Unplugged
Jay–Z + The Roots = awesome. If you are a fan of the Jigga Man and the roots this is a must listen. If you are a fan of just one of the two, it is still a must listen. If you are not a fan, this will turn you into one.
Highlights: Izzo (H.O.V.A.); Big Pimpin’; Jigga What, Jigga Who; Song Cry; I Just Wanna Love You.
Xavier Rudd – Solace
Literally a one man band, Xavier uses a Didgeridoo, Djembe, Lap Steel Guitar amongst his many instruments. A native Australian, Xavier is also an advocate for the Aborigines and who speaks and sings about the importance of their history and teachings in showing us how to preserve the land and the ocean.
Highlights: Let Me Be; Yirra Curl; No Woman, No Cry.
Jonny Lang – Turn Around
Liked him in the 90’s, but I liked Kenny Wayne Shepherd better. Where did Kenny Wayne Go? This album is full of Gospel, Funk and R & B. Great Album.
Highlights: The Other Side of the Fence; Thankful; That Great Day
Damian Marley – Welcome to Jamrock
Taking reggae to a different level. I think that his uncle would have been proud of this.
Highlights: The Master Has Come Back; All Night; Pimpa’s Paradise
The Roots – Game Theory
I LOVE THE ROOTS! I have loved them ever since I saw them open for Rage Against the Machine when Wu Tang got kicked off the tour. This album is a strange step away from their usual music but well worth a listen.
Did I forget any? What were some of your favorites?