Best Albums of 2010 (24-19)

Numbers 24-19 after the jump.

 

Miguel_All-I-Want-Is-You 24. Miguel – All I Want Is You

Miguel came out of nowhere and managed to make the best debut album that I've heard this year. And it's the rare album that has all the earmarks of a commercial smash but doesn't feel trendy for trendy sake. You can tell these are sounds that move Miguel because he fronts them like the star that he's destined to be. Miguel never lets the melody get lost in the production and so you can hear the melancholy that permeates the album (particularly on lead single "All I Want Is You" and "Girls Like You"), which makes it more than just a cool electronic soul album.

 

D_brockington 23. Darien Brockington – The Cold Case Files

Darien Brockington has been doing great work with The Foreign Exchange for years. But his albums, good though they are, have always been a bit too samey to showcase what he's really capable of. Good then that he decided to loosen up and get a lil funky on The Cold Case Files. Everything you thought you knew about D-Brock goes out the window when you hear him do his best Prince on "Meet Me in Paris" or go all the way deep into hip-hop soul with "Girl Its You" or get charming and seductive on "Take You Home." Despite being a few songs too long, The Cold Case Files is the kind of album that redefines the way you see the artist. And that is a very good thing.

 

Lyfe-jennings-i-still-belie 22. Lyfe Jennings – I Still Believe

Lyfe Jennings is the greatest of our contemporary urban griots. Listening to this album, with songs like "It Coulda Been Worse," "If I Knew Then, What I Know Now," "Learn From This," and "If Tomorrow Never Comes" you get the sense that Lyfe is still struggling to make sense of his life. This is a man who is truly introspective and thoughtful at a time when we are being told that we should confuse Kanye West's navel-gazing narcissism for vulnerability. I Still Believe is ultimately quite hopeful and makes a marvelous swan song for a troubled singer who used his music to inspire millions of people. Pick up this album and appreciate that we had, for a short time, a Black male artist who was genuinely open and vulnerable.

 

Anotherround 21. Jaheim – Another Round

Another Round is the album that fans of good sangin' have been waiting for Jaheim to make. It's the first album that makes terrific use of his amazing voice. Gone are the endless references to the ghetto and in its place is a humility and maturity that comes from having lived a bit. In other words, Jaheim is getting his grown man on. And it's glorious. Just listen to him do a great update of Ray Charles' call-and-response on "Her" or prove that he has been really listening to Luther Vandross on "In My Hands." It may have taken five albums for Jaheim to fulfill his great promise, but it is just as beautiful as I imagined it would be.
My full review over at Popmatters.

 

Monica 20. Monica – Still Standing

Monica's in a similar boat as Jaheim this year – finally making the album that is worthy of her talent after more than a decade in the game. Still Standing sounds like a young woman reborn and ready to take on the world. And Monica invites you to celebrate that with her as she tackles love and insecurity with genuine heart and terrific singing. And yet it isn't overly sentimental or cheesy (though "Mirror" is really really close). We always knew Monica could sang, but we never really got to hear her do it to the best of her ability consistently. This is what that sounds like.
My full review over at Popmatters.

 

Treysongzppp 19. Trey Songz – Passion, Pain & Pleasure

Trey Songz has always been the young R&B new jack who seemed to have the most potential of his contemporaries. He has an instantly recognizable voice that makes every song he sings uniquely his and an almost arrogant sense of self that, for better or worse, makes him an unforgettable presence. Songs like "Gotta Go," "We Could Be" and "Black Roses," from each of his previous three albums hinted at greater depth and stronger singing than any of his monster singles showcased. Well, Passion, Pain & Pleasure finally took all the elements that made those songs work and expanded them album-length. Songz gives us a little peak into who he is at this moment and, in the process, makes what is the finest statement to date by a young male R&B star of this generation.
My full review over at Popmatters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.