Sunday, December 23, 2007

Don't Stop The Music

I have to say that for me 2007 was a good year for music. A lot of my faves released new albums, there were a few new singers here and there who sparked my interest and if my overflowing CD shelves are any indication, I can honestly say I enjoyed quite a bit of music this year. Unlike years past, I have decided not to rank my fave albums of 2007. So let's just list them in alphabetical order (by first name...because I feel like it). I even had a hard time choosing just 10 so I added 2 more. Hey this is my blog so why the hell not! So here goes...

Amerie Because I Love It Now in the past I haven't really paid any attention to Amerie. Not because I didn't like her (I admit I liked 1Thing) but rather I didn't really think there was anything that special about her. Out of curiosity I downloaded this album (which from last I hear won't even get a US release) and eventually got a copy of the import. Let me just say this has become one of my most played albums of the year. Some might say she's a Beyoncé knock off, well I can get the comparisons, but she's so not as annoying as Miss B. Musically she is far more interesting and does not have an annoying voice. Now this album has a great 80s funk throwback feel, and it's obvious in my favorite song on the entire album Some Like It. Buy this album for this track alone, it sounds like Amerie raided Pebbles archives. There are some great funked up tracks, some lovely ballads. Other standout tracks include Gotta Work, Hate 2 Love U, Crush, Crazy Wonderful. It's a shame this didn't get a US release, especially since it was such a good album and stands out amongst the cookie cutter female R&B US releases.

Armand Van Helden
Ghettoblaster Now I have never been one for DJ albums. They always come off as too samey or too pretentious. But can we talk about this album for a sec? My only past musical relationship w/ Mr. Van Helden is his wicked remix of Tori Amos's Professional Widow (someone whom I find really boring and only likeable in remix form). I heard about this album on a message forum I frequent ( and was intrigued by people's descriptions. After hearing this album I can not get enough of it. It's like being at a late 80s house party (I was but a mere child so I can only live vicariously through this album)! House, Freestyle, High Energy, Funk, Hip Hop, etc. are all present. I know you must be thinking, another 80s throwback album. What can I say? I love the 80s. It's my favorite era of music (more specifically the late 80s/early 90s). A reworking of Taylor Dayne's Do You Want It Right Now is one of the standout tracks as I Want Your Soul. Who would have thought I'd actually enjoy a song featuring Fat Joe. I'd be lying if I said Touch Your Toes isn't one of the best songs I heard all year. All Night sounds like a hidden freestyle treasure. Cynthia would have given up her Aqua Net for that hook.

Belanova Fantasía Pop After listening to Dulce Beat a nauseating amount of times, I was really ready for something new from Belanova. And while it doesn't steer that clear from its predecessor, there is just something so endearing about this release as well. While some of their music tends to become electro sappy after awhile, when they get a little oh man watch out. Songs like Bye Bye, One Two Three Go!, Por ésta vez, Rockstar show why this group has taken over the Mexican pop scene in recent years.

Elan What Can Be Done At This Point Elan's debut Street Child has become one of my favorite albums of all times. With this, her 3rd release, she continues to entice me w/ her scratchy voice and moody lyrics/music. While nothing has yet to come close to the haunting beauty of her debut, this is a step in the right direction after her sophmore Beatles love fest London Express (sorry they just do nothing for me). Instead we find a happy medium of her first two albums. What is it about this girl that I can't get enough of? Killer voice, intelligent lyrics perhaps? Just listen to songs like Made Myself Invisible, Rolls Like Dice, This Time Around and find out what you're missing.

Kat De Luna 9 Lives Everyone summer comes a song that becomes the summer jam. For me this year it was definitely Whine Up. This dancehall-esque jam had me dancing all summer long. But beyond this upbeat number was quite a talented vocalist who is able to dabble in many different genres (R&B, Reggae, Pop, Opera, etc) all on one album. By bringing in elements of Domincan heritage on several tracks, she even made me a fan of Am I Dreaming by incorporating elements of Bachata (a genre I personaly loathe). Not just another teeny bopper singer, this girl has the vocal chops to have a very long career. I'm looking forward to hearing what this young singer has to offer us in the future.

LeAnn Rimes Family By far one of the most talented & versitile vocalists around, LeAnn has a voice that is full of such passion and life, and she's barely 25. Transending genres, country, jazz, pop, dance, etc. she can sing it all. But I have a soft spot for LeAnn's country albums of late. This is the genre where she truly shines, and that's a pretty major thing when you take into consideration Country is one of the few genres where vocal skills still matter. Probably her most mature effort to date, LeAnn continues to build an impressive catalog of recorded material. Standout tracks include the stomper Nothing Better To Do, Family, Fight, Doesn't Everybody. Basically the whole album.

Mandy Moore Wild Hope Who knew the same girl who uttered the infamous lines "I'm forever yours, love always, Mandy" would still be releasing music even after the teen pop phenomenom of the late 90s/early 2000s faded away. I think Mandy has found a genre that really suits her sweet voice, adult pop. A very melodic pop album there are some really amazing songs on this album such as Slummin' In Paradise, All Good Things, Most Of Me, and my personal fave Looking Forward. Here's hoping we don't have to wait another 4 years for her next album.

María Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser Juventud en extasis After releasing one of the funnest and fresh sounding albums in the last 5 years, I didn't think it could be done. But María Daniela has released an album that is as good (or maybe even better) than their debut. While some people don't get this group, for those of us who do we can indulge in their fun so bad it's good pop music. Harking back to an era when pop music was carefree and silly, María Daniela is a breath of fresh air on the Mexican music scene where too many sappy crappy cookie cutter bands like Camila or Reik are stuck in an eternal coffee shop. Campy, electro and oh so fun. Standout tracks include Yo asesiné a mi novio, Pecadora normal, 100 x hora and their cover of Mexican 80s high energy girl group Click's Duri Duri.

María José María José Kabah was one of those groups your either loved or loathed. Personally some of their music was pretty crappy, and some of it pretty good. I never really thought any of them were spectacular singers...except for María José. 2007 finally saw the release of the ex-Kabah's self-title debut album. After a so-so first single, ¿Quién eres tú? (trust me it grows on you), I purchased the import and instantly fell in love w/ the fresh and fun album she put forth. I probably listened to this album more than any this year (ok almost...more on that soon); and why not? This is a fun, slick pop album w/ some of the most of the most addicting melodies I've heard in ages. Mixing elements of current R&B, pop electro and 80s, this is one of the best debut albums I've heard in a long time. Stand out tracks include Detrás de tus palabras, Ya te dije adios, It's A Party! (w/ Plastilina Mosh) and my personal favorite Habla menos.

Marta Sánchez Miss Sánchez Oh Martita. She's been one of my faves since the mid 90s. Apart from her sophmore effort Mi Mundo she's always released albums that were pretty hit or miss. 2 or 3 good songs and the rest filler. Well not this time. In 2007 Marta fagged it up and released a full fledged dance album. The first single Superstar sampled Depeche Mode's Just Can't Get Enough and it pretty much set the bar for the rest of the album. While some anti fans accused her of copying Madonna (but seriously when has Madonna released an album this good?) she made a slick pop dance album w/out taking herself too seriously. Levántate, Si me cambian los recuerdos (a duet w/ Alaska...can life get any better??), Reina de la radio, Frida y sus flores, etc. make this album worthy of my best of list.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor Trip The Light Fantastic After a lacklust sophmore effort, Sophie returned in 2007 w/ her third and best album. I just love Sophie, not just because she's drop dead gorgeous, but because I just can't get enough of her. I love her snobby English voice, something not too many British singers do for fear of not breaking international markets. But this album was a fun return w/ catchy songs such as Catch Me, Me & My Imagination, If You Go, and Supersonic (not to be confused w/ the JJ Fad classic).

Tiffany Just Me I didn't intentionally save the best for last...but I guess I did so anyway. As you all know I have been a HUGE Tiffany fan since her 1987 debut, so since the tender age of 10, I've been following Tiffany's musical lows and highs. After an amazing breakthrough w/ 2000's s The Color Of Silence and a dance album in 2005, Tiffany came back in 2007 w/ a beautiful album that showcased her amazing and versatile vocals. Combining country, pop, rock and even hints of gospel, Tiffany continues to wow fans old and new alike. Ok so remember when I said I listened to one album more than any other this year? Yeah well you guessed was this one. I could listen to Tiffany sing the phonebook, she's just that good. Everyone song is good, one of the few albums I was able to listen to from start to finish. So no standout track because they all are.


Chicago_Sexbox said...

Sista M! You're on a blogging roll. It must be the wind, lol. I loved the comment "too many sappy crappy cookie cutter bands like Camila or Reik are stuck in an eternal coffee shop"

LMAO! So true. As for your picks, I either agree or don't have an opinion because I am not familiar with the album.

George CP Lin said...

Maria Jose!!!! I used to love Kabah!!!! LOL. LA CALLE DE LAS SIRENAS... I'll make sure to listen to her CD.