Honor roll: Rythm & Blues albums

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

Album:Voyage to India

Voyage to India

India.Arie

India Arie seems comfortable in her own body. She told us as much on both “Video” and “Brown Skin” from her stunning debut album, Acoustic Soul, which celebrated the diversity of feminine beauty, self-acceptance, and spirituality. She addresses similar themes on her second outing, although much of her original soul-scouring fire is gone. While she still preaches self-empowerment, many of her lyrics veer toward the trite, and that’s not where we expected to go on this Voyage to India. In fact, there are very few self-revelatory moments like the ones…

Album:Acoustic Soul

Acoustic Soul

India.Arie

India.Arie’s Acoustic Soul is just as advertised: grooving soul music with an acoustic bent. Arie herself plays guitar, supplemented by strings (instead of synthesizers) and drums (instead of drum machines). The first single, “Video”, is a calm, confident ode to self-love, comparing the dreadlocked, petite Arie to the average girl in a video. Arie is indeed anything but average: her debut marks the auspicious return of the black female singer-songwriter, in the vein of Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Tracy Chapman and Dionne Farris. If you like their music, with…

Album:Lovers Rock

Lovers Rock

Sade

Sade’s brand of elegant pop/R&B owned the charts in the ‘80s, making the Nigerian/British chanteuse one of those artists whose very name becomes the adjective to describe their sound. After an eight-year layoff, Sade and her core band (and longtime producer Mike Pela) are back with a CD that is both a stunning reaffirmation of her artistry and a solid soulful collection. Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Lovers Rock is that it picks up where Sade left off, which means you will hear no cool beats or hot hired hands or hip-hop cameos. This is…

Album:Songs in A Minor

Songs in A Minor

Alicia Keys

She may be beautiful, but Alicia Keys is a musician first and foremost. She plants herself firmly behind the piano keys on her debut, unlike many of the booty-waggin’ junior divas who are crowding the R&B videoscape these days. Though many of the tracks on Songs in A Minor are embellished with adolescent angst, this 20-year-old’s substantial, gorgeously soul-drenched alto putties the cracks between notes with astonishing ease. “Fallin’,” the album’s first single, showcases Keys at her best. She wails plaintively and passionately over rolling blues chords,…

Album:Voodoo

Voodoo

D'Angelo

Halfway through the languid midtempo ballad “Send It On” from D’Angelo’s new sophomore effort, Voodoo, the young retro-soul maestro and band shift tempo and melody. It’s a move so understatedly dramatic that it elicits comparisons not just to obvious touchstones Marvin Gaye and Al Green, but to the Jimi Hendrix of Axis: Bold as Love and Electric Ladyland. While Voodoo is hardly in a league with such major statements, it’s a record inviting enough to attract repeated plays of its 78-minute length. As on his 1995 debut, Brown Sugar, D’Angelo covers a wide range of concerns—sex…

Album:American Gangster: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

American Gangster: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Marc Streitenfeld

American Gangster: the story of Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas, played by Denzel Washington, highlights the heroin drug trade of the 70’s. Russell Crowe plays an ambitious detective who exposes the US government’s plans to transport drugs.

The film also stars Josh Brolin, Chiwetel Djofor, Carla Gugino, Ted Levine, John Ortiz, Yul Vazquez, Roger Bart, Common, TI, and RZA.

The soundtrack album gives you a diverse introspect on the film featuring artist such as Hank Shocklee, The Staple Singers, Public Enemy and Bobby Womack. The focus single (Do You Feel Me) on the album features platinum recording artist Anthony Hamilton. The song is also written by Diane Warren, one of the most successful and prolific songwriters to ever work in the music industry.

Album:Dreamgirls: Music from the Motion Picture

Dreamgirls: Music from the Motion Picture

Henry Krieger

The most highly-anticipated movie of the season also features the most highly-anticipated soundtrack of the year. With an outstanding cast comprised of the talents of singer-songwriter-actress Beyoncé Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, and rising star Jennifer Hudson, the soundtrack to Dreamgirls more than surpasses fans’ expectations. Soundtrack includes the critically-acclaimed hit song “Listen.”

Album:The Cookbook

The Cookbook

Missy Elliott

With The Cookbook, the innovative Missy Elliott proves to the masses she is a musical mad scientist whose artistic abilities are unparalleled and without peer. Elliott is a quadruple threat: rapper, singer, songwriter and producer; add that to her woman-empowered lyrics and Missy’s ability to be a musical and mental role model is inarguable. As a producer, Missy Elliott knows how to build a great project by incorporating the best talent available, an easy task since so many want to work with her. Not surprisingly, The Cookbook is filled with a…

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:Free Yourself

Free Yourself

Fantasia Barrino

Few would accuse Fantasia of a reluctance to abide by the wisdom that what you’ve got, you should flaunt, and the vocal gusto she slathers over her full-length debut gets partial credit for earning—and keeping—your attention. To a greater extent, though, the high-wattage help heaped over the Idol 3 champ and Patti LaBelle-sound-alike makes the disc dazzle. In addition to pitch-ins from Missy Elliott, who produced and co-wrote three tracks and busts out a two-snaps-up rhyme on “Selfish (I Want U 2 Myself),” Jazze Pha duets on the ultra-mod “Don’t Act Right”…

Views: 3,291 • Modified: • Elapsed: 0.027 sec