Annal: 2004 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album

Results of the Grammy Award in the year 2004.

Album:Genius Loves Company

Genius Loves Company

Ray Charles

The fact that Genius Loves Company will be Ray Charles’s final new album inspires an unavoidable blue feeling. But it’s also a happy reminder that the man spent the last months of his life at work doing what he loved. The overall effect of these dozen duets is autumnal and smooth. Brother Ray is on point and cruising here. Fine moments abound—you can hear his delight even in the rather stiff company of Diana Krall and Natalie Cole. His voice sounds a bit frayed by ill health at times, but it also allows for great performances like the slyness behind the…

Album:Afterglow

Afterglow

Sarah McLachlan

Is Sarah McLachlan a secret punk rocker? To be sure, her rebellion is hushed. On Afterglow, her first studio album since 1997’s Surfacing, McLachlan’s music is as tempered as ever; at times even the piano chords at the heart of the sound are tucked neatly beneath layer upon layer of strings and overdubbed voices. Listen to what’s being sung within this soothing aural bed, though, and hear the just-before-sleep murmurings of the quietest riot grrl: “I’m a train wreck waiting to happen…. a wildfire born of frustration,” “How stupid could I be…. you’re…

Album:Feels Like Home

Feels Like Home

Norah Jones

Norah Jones blew everybody away with her jazzy, country-tinged, Grammy-winning debut CD, Come Away with Me. On this recording, Jones doesn’t mess with her trademark formula. Under Arif Mardin’s cozy coproduction, Jones is supported by her writing partners, her Handsome Band, and some special guests (country legend Dolly Parton, Levon Helm and Garth Hudson of the Band, and jazz drummer Brian Blade, to name a few). Jones’s Texas-twanged vocals and her sparse acoustic and electric Wurlitzer piano lines enliven the CD’s 13 tracks, from the light and lively…

Album:Mind, Body & Soul

Mind, Body & Soul

Joss Stone

These days, it seems anyone can make an R&B album. However, recording a soul album takes that special intangible element. The 17-year-old Devon, England, native first proved that she has it with The Soul Sessions, a collection of rare soul grooves. She does it here again with Mind, Body & Soul, her first album of original material. For those who thought that Stone could only interpret vintage ballads, witness the midtempo attitude of “Jet Lag.” Backed by a thumping backbeat, Stone tells of a love of so all-encompassing that it is physically…

Album:Smile (Brian Wilson)

Smile

Brian Wilson

The Greatest Album That Never Was finally is. The Beach Boys’ uncompleted 1967 album Smile has remained the elusive touchstone of Brian Wilson’s brilliant, star-crossed career for decades. Artistic Holy Grail and troubling professional Waterloo for Wilson, a tantalizing prism of unfulfilled promise to his loyal cadre of fans, its story has become pop music’s Rashomon. Finally completed via spring 2004 recordings with his stellar, longtime touring band (none of the original ‘60s sessions were used, though they’ve been recreated here with often…

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