Honor roll: Dance albums

Each of these Dance albums has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Album:The Emancipation of Mimi

The Emancipation of Mimi

Mariah Carey

Early buzz on The Emancipation of Mimi predicted that this would be the disc to mark “the return of the voice”—the voice being that glass-shattering instrument that propelled Carey to bestselling female artist of all time status—and mostly it is. But because of the small army of talent involved in its assembly, the album is way more than just a comeback vehicle. For proof, try straight-ahead, look-out-Beyonce-Mimi’s-still-got-it “Mine Again,” or ‘70s-soul cuddle-up, “Circles:” a don’t-attempt-on-American-Idol love song, or the gospel dazzlers “Fly…

Album:Love. Angel. Music. Baby.

Love. Angel. Music. Baby.

Gwen Stefani

In her own unique way, Gwen Stefani has managed to shift our culture since coming onto the scene as the lead singer of No Doubt. With years of defining style and 30 million in record sales under her belt, she will again turn heads with this debut record that is as fresh as it is retro and as progressive as it is feel-good familiar.

With this project, she has enlisted some of the biggest names in music (Dr. Dre, Eve, The Neptunes, Andre 3000, Nellee Hooper, Dallas Austin, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Linda Perry and Tony Kanal) to create a genre bending masterpiece that is guaranteed to be one of the most talked about records of this year (2004) and beyond.

Album:Dangerously in Love

Dangerously in Love

Beyoncé

The perfect timing of Beyonce Knowles’ career moves continues with the release of her debut solo album. Dangerously in Love’s best music is wildly up-to-date, craftily designed for both maximum street acceptance and positioning as some of the most cutting-edge stuff on current radio. The brash first single, “Crazy in Love,” melds Jay-Z with an unstoppable Chi-Lites horn sample, shape-shifting into something brand new. Collaborations with Outkast’s Big Boi and Sean Paul also prick up the ears, while changes of pace like “Be with You” and “Speechless”…

Album:Timeless

Timeless: The Songs of Hank Williams

Various Artists

Like 1999’s tribute to Gram Parsons, Timeless: The Songs of Hank Williams revives the tired “tribute” concept and applies it in homage to a key figure in country music. Interpreting songs from across Hank Williams’s short and troubled career, a range of high-profile artists use different approaches with equally gratifying results. Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow and Hank Williams III play familiar songs with traditional arrangements (Ms Crow’s yodel is an eye opener); Beck, Mark Knopfler and Keb’ Mo’ stay closer to their own idioms. Keith Richards’ reedy vocal…

Album:Destiny Fulfilled

Destiny Fulfilled

Destiny's Child

Some thought it would never happen, but after solo successes and a three-year hiatus the ladies of Destiny’s Child have reunited for the eagerly-anticipated Destiny Fulfilled. The Houston-based trio of Kelly, Michelle and some girl named Beyonce follow up their mega successful Survivor with another album full of infectious dance grooves and melancholy tales of women done wrong. Lead single “Lose My Breath” is their first offering of the former. Backed by a kinetic marching band sample, they sing with an urgency that bolsters the Rodney…

Album:Ray: Original Soundtrack

Ray: Original Motion Picture Score

Craig Armstrong

Album:Afrodisiac

Afrodisiac

Brandy

After a breakup, childbirth, and a reality show, the one-time teen star finds herself growing up a little more on Afrodisiac. While this isn’t a concept album—the songs aren’t ordered as such—it’s filled with the frustrations and pleasures of Brandy’s past few years. At the same time, her vocals are richer than ever, reaching a Blige-like level of expression on “I Tried” and “Who is She 2 U.” Timbaland’s production on nine cuts anchors the disc; he even makes the title track’s sampled baby, a link to his classic work on Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody,”…

Album:Damita Jo

Damita Jo

Janet Jackson

On her eighth studio album, Damita Jo—the title lifted from her middle name—Janet Jackson teams up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis once again on what is perhaps the most feverish album in her two decade long career. Whether she’s taking the listener on a torrid excursion in the four song island suite, or boasting of her sexual prowess on “Sexhibition’s” word games lyrics, where she tells fans “relax, it’s just sex,” the singer tries hard—maybe too hard—to establish herself as a sexual avatar with portfolio. But in “Strawberry Bounce,” she seems more like a…

Album:It's About Time

It's About Time

Christina Milian

Just when you thought the current surplus of pop princesses would cause the leather-miniskirted bottom to drop out, along vamps Christina Milian with a crackling new CD whose 12 songs outshine “AM to PM,” her 2001 hit. In the Cuban-American Milian, J-Lo has found her heir apparent (not that she was looking): The songs spotlight a similar sex-i-fied energy, jumbling attitude, vulnerability, and a jigger of jadedness into a heaving, R&B-leaning, red-hot heap. The secret is whip-smart production—credit players who have worked with Alicia Keys, J-Lo, and Mariah…

Album:Medúlla

Medúlla

Björk

Normally, an artist such as Bjork with a mass audience across the globe steadily eases off as the back-catalog starts to grow. However, Medulla, the fifth proper studio album from Bjork is without a doubt the most challenging collection of music she has ever released.

For the most part, the album is made up of layers upon layers of processed vocal parts arranged in either harmony or dissonance such as “Vokuro” and “Oll Birtan,” respectively. Some, such as “Show Me Forgiveness” are simple acapella, the aforementioned sounding like a vocal cut from…

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