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Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time [2022 Edition: #22]

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  • #76
    Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
    That was cute shade from Janet, though I don't know if I'd say it's super accurate!
    For sure. That interview makes for a very meme-able moment, but where's this alleged "class" in lines like: "your smooth and shiny feels so good against my lips, sugar," or like...any of "Throb" I wonder if Janet was thinking of her visuals moreso than her music, which never got as "graphic"/"explicit" as M's (especially around that time. AKA no full frontal. Not that I support judging/degrading that either).

    Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
    I don't think I knew it was your most-played Janet album! Interestingly enough, my most-played Janet album isn't my favourite from her.
    Ah, a very intruiging little teaser!
    • Was NOT expecting to see a 1D album above the likes of folklore, Golden Hour, RN1814, etc, but it makes for a fun, fascinating reminder of how this is a personal favorite/personal impact list (the albums that shaped Akini - and still hold up to him today). 1D's first two albums felt pretty filler-heavy to me, so I'm very surprised to learn that critics rated TMH their highest (and Midnight Memories their lowest! That's the album that really showed me they could be more than singles artists/put together a full compelling LP). "Back For You" was always my biggest standout among Take Me Home's album tracks (that and "Kiss You" were their Paulboard No. 1's from this era). Apparently I never added any of the Yearbook/Expanded Edition bonus tracks to my library, so thanks for giving me a reason to finally do that!
    last.fmPaulboard Top 30

    Comment


    • #77
      Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
      For sure. That interview makes for a very meme-able moment, but where's this alleged "class" in lines like: "your smooth and shiny feels so good against my lips, sugar," or like...any of "Throb" I wonder if Janet was thinking of her visuals moreso than her music, which never got as "graphic"/"explicit" as M's (especially around that time. AKA no full frontal. Not that I support judging/degrading that either).
      Yeah, I actually think Janet's music is considerably more sexually explicit than Madonna's. With all the moans, there have been more than one occasion where I turned Janet down in public for fear that someone would think I was watching porn in public.

      Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
      Was NOT expecting to see a 1D album above the likes of folklore, Golden Hour, RN1814, etc, but it makes for a fun, fascinating reminder of how this is a personal favorite/personal impact list (the albums that shaped Akini - and still hold up to him today). 1D's first two albums felt pretty filler-heavy to me, so I'm very surprised to learn that critics rated TMH their highest (and Midnight Memories their lowest! That's the album that really showed me they could be more than singles artists/put together a full compelling LP). "Back For You" was always my biggest standout among Take Me Home's album tracks (that and "Kiss You" were their Paulboard No. 1's from this era). Apparently I never added any of the Yearbook/Expanded Edition bonus tracks to my library, so thanks for giving me a reason to finally do that!
      I did enjoy Midnight Memories. "Best Song Ever" has their best music video and "Story of My Life" is arguably their best ballad.
      Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
      Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
      Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
      AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

      History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

      Comment


      • #78
        079. Adam Lambert - For Your Entertainment



        Fresh off a runner-up finish in S8 of the world's biggest singing competition, Adam Lambert signed an RCA contract and swiftly got to work to crank out his debut album in time for the busy holiday rush of the 2009 calendar season.

        A heavyweight camp of A-list producers and songwriters were assembled for this debut effort, including Dr. Luke and Ryan Tedder, and Max Martin, Linda Perry, P!nk, and Lady Gaga. Adam himself co-wrote just under half of the album and was able to push for that glam-rock sound he showcased through the rounds of the pressure cooker American Idol. The critics' pick was "Whataya Want from Me", which the label would wisely push as second single and Grammy committees would inevitably honour with a nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. I personally enjoyed the hypersexual, slinky dance-pop gem and title track "For Your Entertainment"; the straightforward synthpop, doe-eyed, lovestruck "Music Again"; and the great vocal scaling of underheralded home-run "Pick U Up". The melodrama of "Sleepwalker" and the accessibility of "Aftermath" made those ones instant favourites as well. Of course, nothing on the album was quite as infectious as "If I Had You", which felt like a typical Mika song on pop steroids and that was back in 2009, and remains to this day, the album's brightest highlight.

        The night before the album was released, Adam had that memorable AMA performance, with raunchy man-on-man grinding, oral sex simulation, and same-sex kissing, for which he was raked over the coals by conservative media-houses, with some declaring his career DOA. Despite the GP's histrionics, the Glambert fanbase showed up in full force and the album opened up with a solid 198k its debut week (more than double what the S8 champ was able to do, so Adam won the contest that really mattered), debuting at #3 and eventually earning gold and platinum certifications across multiple major music markets. 10 years ago, on the 2012 iteration of this countdown, 'For Your Entertainment' was the highest ranking debut record from a male solo artist and it replicates the achievement this time 'round. A big part of that comes down to Adam not being the 'typical' debut artist, having spent almost a decade as an 'underground' act performing on cruise ships, on Broadway, and working as a demo singer. He'd already had a good sense of self and sound, and was just able to use the Idol attention to give himself a mainstream platform to do what he always wanted, which he did here to great effect.
        Code:
        Significance rating: 10/20
        No. 1s on my daily chart: If I Had You (x13); For Your Entertainment (x1); Music Again (x1); Whataya Want from Me (x1); Aftermath (x1)
        Best lyric: But my heart's no stranger to upheaval
        Best melody: Fever
        Best video: If I Had You
        Rank in 2010 countdown: 9
        Rank in 2011 countdown: 24
        Rank in 2012 countdown: 41
        Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
        Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
        Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
        AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

        History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

        Comment


        • #79
          Adam's album was OK at the time, I don't think it has aged well for me.
          Waffles are checked cookies

          Comment


          • #80
            Originally posted by heppolo View Post
            Adam's album was OK at the time, I don't think it has aged well for me.
            For me, it's still his best album, though Trespassing and Velvet are pretty damn good, too.
            Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
            Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
            Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
            AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

            History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

            Comment


            • #81
              078. Bruno Mars - 24K Magic



              After two hugely successful, multiplatinum smashes, Bruno Mars and his team got to work recording and releasing home run no. 3.

              Speaking of his team, Bruno engaged familiar songwriting and producing partners Phillip Lawrence and the Smeezingtons for '24K Magic', who'd been key parts of each of his studio releases. They helped him continue his short but sweet, tried and proven formula to album tracklisting and arrangement, though he did admit to suffering a bit from writer's block during the creative process. As an aid to this, he took the unconventional step to impose a dress code at studio sessions, insisting that attendees wear jewelry and fine clothes to really bring to the fore the era he was tapping into for the album's sound. His thought was that "if you show up in sweatpants, you're gonna get what sweatpants sound like." The means may have been slightly strange, but there's no arguing with the results as the retro R&B styling here is ace, showcased in undiluted form on the retro-inspired (and Halle-Berry-featuring) "Calling All My Lovelies", fan-favourite and primary vocal showcase "Versace on the Floor", the funky and sexy "That's What I Like", the playful "Chunky", the lost-in-the-pack-but-still-very-solid "Straight Up & Down", and secondary vocal highlight "Too Good to Say Goodbye". Even "Perm" has grown on me over the years, though it's still my least-favourite track. My favourite track is the Cardi-B-less version of "Finesse". It's such a tailored-for-summer pop/R&B earworm that doubles as a pretty powerful gym companion.

              Bruno cleaned up at the Grammys during this era - lead single "24K Magic" won Record of the Year; the album won Album of the Year, Best R&B Album Best Non-classical Engineered Album; "That's What I Like" won Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Performance. Bruno actually won more Grammys during the '24K Magic' era than the two preceding eras combined (seven vs. two) and has been on an impressive winning streak, winning every Grammy nomination he's had since 2016 (to date).
              Code:
              Significance rating: 10/20
              No. 1s on my daily chart: That's What I Like (x3); Finesse (x1); 24K Magic (x1)
              Best lyric: I got Alicia waitin', Aisha waitin', all the -eeshas waitin' on me, so why you contemplatin'? Playa hatin'?
              Best melody: 24K Magic
              Best video: That's What I Like 
              Rank in 2010 countdown: NR
              Rank in 2011 countdown: NR
              Rank in 2012 countdown: NR
              Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
              Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
              Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
              AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

              History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

              Comment


              • #82
                The album from Adam Lambert is very great !!
                https://www.ukmix.org/forum/chart-di...-first-edition

                https://www.ukmix.org/forum/chart-di...-first-edition

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
                  Yeah, I actually think Janet's music is considerably more sexually explicit than Madonna's. With all the moans, there have been more than one occasion where I turned Janet down in public for fear that someone would think I was watching porn in public.
                  Right?! Like that transition from "Would You Mind" ---> "Lame" Maybe I'm just having a brain fart right now, but I can't recall M ever simulating a (near) orgasm SO vividly on any song of hers.

                  Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
                  I did enjoy Midnight Memories. "Best Song Ever" has their best music video and "Story of My Life" is arguably their best ballad.
                  Yes! I always thought of that as the single that elevated them from teenybopper boyband to something more (but apparently critics thought they'd already peaked in quality before then).
                  • Bruno doesn't do flop eras, but "24K Magic" "only" peaking at No. 4 as the lead single had me thinking this would be his dip (until he turned things around with "That's What I Like"). Slight eyeroll @ the studio dress code, but I gotta respect/need to take notes how a man of similarly-short-stature manages to exude SUCH sex appeal (I know Prince was petite, but I imagine it was a bit easier to get away with disguising that in the pre-Internet/social media days). I'm still a little perplexed by your disapproval of the Cardi B version of "Finesse," but I'll trust your instincts as the bigger Bruno fan. Where did "Versace" peak on your chart?
                  last.fmPaulboard Top 30

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by vinnie65 View Post
                    The album from Adam Lambert is very great !!
                    It definitely is.

                    Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                    Right?! Like that transition from "Would You Mind" ---> "Lame" Maybe I'm just having a brain fart right now, but I can't recall M ever simulating a (near) orgasm SO vividly on any song of hers.
                    Nor can I.

                    Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                    Yes! I always thought of that as the single that elevated them from teenybopper boyband to something more (but apparently critics thought they'd already peaked in quality before then).
                    In most folks' eyes, I don't think this ever happened.

                    Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                    Bruno doesn't do flop eras, but "24K Magic" "only" peaking at No. 4 as the lead single had me thinking this would be his dip (until he turned things around with "That's What I Like"). Slight eyeroll @ the studio dress code, but I gotta respect/need to take notes how a man of similarly-short-stature manages to exude SUCH sex appeal (I know Prince was petite, but I imagine it was a bit easier to get away with disguising that in the pre-Internet/social media days). I'm still a little perplexed by your disapproval of the Cardi B version of "Finesse," but I'll trust your instincts as the bigger Bruno fan. Where did "Versace" peak on your chart?
                    I just think "Finesse" has a coolness and smoothness that she interrupts.

                    Shockingly, "Versace..." peaked at no. 3 on my chart and that was just this past Sunday. Before that, its peak was no. 5 dating back to 2017.
                    Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
                    Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
                    Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
                    AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

                    History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      077. Miley Cyrus - Can't Be Tamed



                      After achieving five consecutive no. 1 albums in the US (either as Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus) in just under three years, the Disney queen decided to shift her sound and image to something dancier and sultrier; surely, this would be a simple, winning formula!

                      The theme of rebellion is pervasive on the album and 15-year-old me felt quite connected to such breakout desires. I loved title track and lead single "Can't Be Tamed" with its theme of empowerment and self-expression. Other gems include "Liberty Walk", (a thumping album opener featuring rap vocals from Miley), "Who Owns My Heart" (a pulsating club-banger with clumsy but charming lyrical choices and the eventual second single...in select markets), "Permanent December" (an uptempo dance-pop number that was obviously written as a pledge of love and commitment to then-boyfriend, eventual-husband, current-ex Liam Hemsworth), "Stay" (an impeccable ballad and an impressive vocal performance from Cyrus), and "Robot" (an anthemic number about not being someone else's puppet and having value outside of one's skillset and talent, a theme upon which a brilliant film Encanto would later expound more than a decade later). My favourite track on the album 12 years ago is still my favourite to this day, "Two More Lonely People". It's as catchy and infectious as it is universally accessible, and it's arguably the best thing Miley's done in her career.

                      Back to that winning formula - well, it didn't win. The critics panned it, giving it an average of 48 on Metacritic, the lowest ever in her career (even below that godforsaken 'Dead Petz' album). The album would debut 'only' at no. 3 in the US, before tumbling off, never to be seen again, three short months later. It would be her last album under the Hollywood label and she wouldn't even bother touring the US the following year on her Gypsy Heart Tour. All this because of what the GP deemed to be outlandish outfits (her feathers) and her provocative dancing (her flipping her hair every so often) in her "Can't Be Tamed" video. Miley would return to great heights and fresh 'Bangerz' years later, but 'Can't Be Tamed' remains my favourite album from her and a testament to the GP's image-centric, awful taste.
                      Code:
                      Significance rating: 10/20
                      No. 1s on my daily chart: Two More Lonely People (x4); Can't Be Tamed (x4); Who Owns My Heart (x4)
                      Best lyric: Well, you know my heart is aching, you don't have to break it, if love don't change your mind, then there's two more lonely people tonight
                      Best melody: Two More Lonely People
                      Best video: Can't Be Tamed
                      Rank in 2010 countdown: NR
                      Rank in 2011 countdown: 47
                      Rank in 2012 countdown: 25
                      Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
                      Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
                      Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
                      AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

                      History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        What a powerful group of five you have from 87-83 - some real classic albums from three of our five favorite divas. I kind of love that the frozen soundtrack is randomly in that mix.

                        Erotica is such an essential part of M's discography - it's such a work of empowerment. When I listen to the album, I have to think that it was really the Sex book that sent America over the edge because the music itself is not really that explicit. Her messaging was absolutely on point with regard to sexual freedom, and I feel like our society is always pushed in both directions on it, but overall we are in a more sexually healthy place than we were thirty years ago, and I think Madonna has some part in that.

                        Golden Hour was really a revelation - I was already a Kacey fan when it came out so I was perched, but then to expand the definition of country in the way she did, and have such wonderfully written songs was more than I ever expected. It helped make 2018 one of my favorite years in recent memory. High Horse, Space Cowboy. Slow Burn, Oh What a World, Rainbow - they are all still huge favorites. It deserved its AOTY even if that would have been my 2nd choice that year.

                        Frozen had some massive cultural impact - didn't it? I went to Disneyworld around that time, and you should have seen the way the children FLOCKED to Elsa when she appeared. I was surprised to see her as the movie was still in the theaters at that point. It's one of the very few movies I've ever seen more than once in the theaters.

                        I love Whitney's debut and even if it was safe music, it's still rendered beautifully. How Will I Know will always be THAT song for me, and perhaps a good part of why I stan her so hard. That diction, the spring in her voice, the diction - she somehow makes her youth come straight across the song. There's a couple clunkers on the album, but I even have some love for some of the lesser known songs like the duet Take Good Care of My Heart and as you mentioned Someone For Me. I didn't know all those facts about its promo, but it is fascinating in its haphazardry.

                        I know Velvet Rope is Janet's opus, and I expect it to finish quite high here, but I find I listen more to songs from this album. I love the variety of it. Miss You Much would have to be in my top three Janet tracks. And then you have Black Cat, which sees Janet approaching the Dirty Diana territory her brother did a couple years earlier. And her voice on Love Will Never Do sounds a but unworldly - not even the regular Janet voice you hear. I wonder why she decided to highlight the Star Spangled Banner?

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
                          Shockingly, "Versace..." peaked at no. 3 on my chart and that was just this past Sunday. Before that, its peak was no. 5 dating back to 2017.
                          Ah, does that mean it was a grower for you (or that you think it's overrated by fans)?
                          • We've probably talked about this at some point before, but you must be the reason I have "Permanent December" and "Two More Lonely People" in my library (along with Can't Be Tamed's singles). It's wild/funny/interesting that the backlash for Miley being too "provocative" tanked this whole era...but then she got even more provocative for Bangerz and that smashed. I guess people still needed a few more years to stop seeing her as/wanting her to stay Hannah Montana (not that I think the hysterics around CBT were at all justified, it's just fascinating what a difference a few years can make - well, and a new label and team of producers). "well you KNOWW my heart is aching, YOUUU don't have to break it, if love. don't. change. your. miiind..."
                          last.fmPaulboard Top 30

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            the only one I can weigh in that's left is Bruno Mars' - I do think it was important for him to pivot from his first two releases, though I still prefer those. He did have songs on the album that I enjoyed - all the singles were good - though I liked Finesse once Cardi hopped on (or was she always there? I can't remember now.) My favorite was Versace on the Floor, and I'm surprised it never got a single push. Maybe they wanted to steer clear of ballad Bruno.

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                              What a powerful group of five you have from 87-83 - some real classic albums from three of our five favorite divas. I kind of love that the frozen soundtrack is randomly in that mix.
                              Delightful randomness is my MO.

                              Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                              Erotica is such an essential part of M's discography - it's such a work of empowerment. When I listen to the album, I have to think that it was really the Sex book that sent America over the edge because the music itself is not really that explicit. Her messaging was absolutely on point with regard to sexual freedom, and I feel like our society is always pushed in both directions on it, but overall we are in a more sexually healthy place than we were thirty years ago, and I think Madonna has some part in that.
                              What's interesting is that for as much controversy the Sex book generated, it was actually super successful, sales-wise.

                              Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                              Golden Hour was really a revelation - I was already a Kacey fan when it came out so I was perched, but then to expand the definition of country in the way she did, and have such wonderfully written songs was more than I ever expected. It helped make 2018 one of my favorite years in recent memory. High Horse, Space Cowboy. Slow Burn, Oh What a World, Rainbow - they are all still huge favorites. It deserved its AOTY even if that would have been my 2nd choice that year.
                              Totes agree.

                              Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                              Frozen had some massive cultural impact - didn't it? I went to Disneyworld around that time, and you should have seen the way the children FLOCKED to Elsa when she appeared. I was surprised to see her as the movie was still in the theaters at that point. It's one of the very few movies I've ever seen more than once in the theaters.
                              Yeah, I've seen it more than once as well, but never in theatres, sadly. The follow-up I did see in theatres, but it wasn't as good.

                              Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                              I love Whitney's debut and even if it was safe music, it's still rendered beautifully. How Will I Know will always be THAT song for me, and perhaps a good part of why I stan her so hard. That diction, the spring in her voice, the diction - she somehow makes her youth come straight across the song. There's a couple clunkers on the album, but I even have some love for some of the lesser known songs like the duet Take Good Care of My Heart and as you mentioned Someone For Me. I didn't know all those facts about its promo, but it is fascinating in its haphazardry.
                              Agree extremely hard on the bolded bits.

                              Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                              I know Velvet Rope is Janet's opus, and I expect it to finish quite high here, but I find I listen more to songs from this album. I love the variety of it. Miss You Much would have to be in my top three Janet tracks. And then you have Black Cat, which sees Janet approaching the Dirty Diana territory her brother did a couple years earlier. And her voice on Love Will Never Do sounds a but unworldly - not even the regular Janet voice you hear. I wonder why she decided to highlight the Star Spangled Banner?
                              I think it was her way of linking the future with the past. Moving from the US national anthem of the past to a new kind of anthem.

                              Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                              Ah, does that mean it was a grower for you (or that you think it's overrated by fans)?
                              Both!

                              Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                              We've probably talked about this at some point before, but you must be the reason I have "Permanent December" and "Two More Lonely People" in my library (along with Can't Be Tamed's singles). It's wild/funny/interesting that the backlash for Miley being too "provocative" tanked this whole era...but then she got even more provocative for Bangerz and that smashed. I guess people still needed a few more years to stop seeing her as/wanting her to stay Hannah Montana (not that I think the hysterics around CBT were at all justified, it's just fascinating what a difference a few years can make - well, and a new label and team of producers). "well you KNOWW my heart is aching, YOUUU don't have to break it, if love. don't. change. your. miiind..."
                              Highly likely, tbh.

                              Yeah, maybe they just needed the extra three years, but I don't think the 'Bangerz' sound is a far shot from 'Can't Be Tamed'. More urban-influenced yes, but still a healthy serving of dance and pop music.

                              Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                              the only one I can weigh in that's left is Bruno Mars' - I do think it was important for him to pivot from his first two releases, though I still prefer those. He did have songs on the album that I enjoyed - all the singles were good - though I liked Finesse once Cardi hopped on (or was she always there? I can't remember now.) My favorite was Versace on the Floor, and I'm surprised it never got a single push. Maybe they wanted to steer clear of ballad Bruno.
                              She hopped on!
                              Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
                              Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
                              Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
                              AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

                              History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                076. Rina Sawayama - Sawayama



                                Between Paul lauding it, at the mid-year point in 2020, as his most-played pre-'Chromatica' album that year and a pop fan page on Twitter naming it as the best album of 2020 up to that point, there was more than sufficient motivation for me to step into the world of 'Sawayama' in the summer of 2020.

                                I recall being extremely impressed early on as to the breadth of the album's soundscape; so immense was it that at different points, I thought Spotify had inadvertently taken me from the album to an entirely different project. Rina co-wrote every song on the album and was a co-producer on most of the LP. Working with Clarence Clarity, who'd taken on the main producer role on her 'Rina' EP three years prior, the album seamlessly and competently covers metal, soft rock, and pop bases. There really isn't a dud in the mix and the competition for highlight tracks is fierce. "Snakeskin" has this grand, regal, theatrical, and dark magic to it, which I was able to enjoy in its full glory as one of my favourite British drag queens performed it at a concert I attended earlier this week. "Who's Gonna Save U Now?" is another big, stadium-rock-esque kind of track, with a colossal chorus. "Love Me 4 Me" scales skyscraper-level production back to bare synthpop necessities and features a potent Drag Race reference that is obviously not lost on me. Another 'simple' production gem is "Tokyo Love Hotel", a commentary on soulless one-night stands. "Chosen Family" is one of the least adventurous tracks, sonically, but is also the track that most directly touches me. As someone who underwent the tough decision and journey emigrating from familiarity and ever-present physical support to the unfamiliar and solo living arrangements, "Chosen Family" asks, in empathetic and patient tones, some powerful questions. I'd initially been lukewarm to the Elton John duet version, but I now prefer that mix, which has solidified "Chosen Family" as the 'Sawayama' song that means the most to me. Paradoxically, though, my favourite track is actually "XS". I love the wild sonic shifts from hard rock to bouncy pop and its video is spectacular. All the visuals from this era are truly outstanding.

                                As this was an independent release, it didn't really body-slam the commercial charts the way I believe such a strong album like this should have. The critics raved, though - it boasts a score of 89 on Metacritic, indicating universal acclaim. Rina's set to release her sophomore effort later this year and topping this is going to be a formidable ask, but kudos to her and her very small team, with limited resources, carving out what is easily one of the finest debut releases ever.
                                Code:
                                Significance rating: 10/20
                                No. 1s on my daily chart: XS (x3); Akasaka Sad (x2); Chosen Family (x1); Tokyo Love Hotel (x1); Love Me 4 Me (x1)
                                Best lyric: Show me the rivers crossed, the mountains scaled, show me who made you walk all the way here
                                Best melody: XS
                                Best video: XS
                                Rank in 2010 countdown: NR
                                Rank in 2011 countdown: NR
                                Rank in 2012 countdown: NR
                                Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
                                Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
                                Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
                                AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

                                History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

                                Comment


                                • #91
                                  075. Christina Aguilera - Lotus



                                  Recorded at Christina's home studio, 'Lotus' marked the first time in the pop diva's career that fans didn't have to wait a four-year turnaround between albums; instead, it was the far more palatable, standard two-year hiatus. The impetus for this was likely her divorce from her husband of five years as she would do what many a singer-songwriter did before her - channel intense emotions into some of her career-best work. Being a judge on 'The Voice' at the time also went some way as far as profile and promotional opportunities were concerned.

                                  In an interview with the LA Times, Christina commented that 'Lotus' was about freedom and self-expression. In the freedom corner, there were bops galore, not least of which was lead single "Your Body", a song with every ingredient for a bona fide, fully baked chart smash, but which the GP opted not to embrace. There was also the huge ray of light, queer-friendly anthem "Let There Be Love" that topped the official gay chart in the US (dance club songs chart) and the spicy and seductive "Red Hot Kinda Love". In the self-expression corner were the expected collection of grade A ballads. "Sing for Me" spoke to her own personal gratification derived from exercising her right to practice her craft, whereas "Blank Page" was very much on the nose regarding the post-divorce feelings she held for her ex. "Just a Fool" saw her team up with fellow Voice judge Blake Shelton on the country-leaning "Just a Fool". "Cease Fire" is a dialled down, white-flag-up surrender to maintain peace and some level of functionality. So much of this album is widely accessible and deeply relatable, and Christina liberally employs her full range, as she tends to, and as I generally enjoy. My favourite track, though, is easily "Army of Me". It's essentially the best sequel to "Fighter" she's ever put together. High-energy and with lava-hot passion, Christina roars through a declaration of intent to survive.

                                  Commercially, this ended up doing even less than predecessor 'Bionic' did commercially and the critics panned it just as harshly as they did 'Bionic', but for me, this is quality pop music from start to finish, with a noticeable more compact and robust tracklist than we'd had from Christina up to this stage of her career.
                                  Code:
                                  Significance rating: 10/20
                                  No. 1s on my daily chart: Army of Me (x6); Your Body (x3); Blank Page (x1); Just a Fool (x1)
                                  Best lyric: So don't even tell me your name, all I need to know is whose place
                                  Best melody: Let There Be Love
                                  Best video: Your Body 
                                  Rank in 2010 countdown: NR
                                  Rank in 2011 countdown: NR
                                  Rank in 2012 countdown: NR
                                  Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
                                  Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
                                  Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
                                  AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

                                  History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

                                  Comment


                                  • #92
                                    Solid album by Rina - my favourite ones are STFU! and the melancholic Bad Friend.
                                    Waffles are checked cookies

                                    Comment


                                    • #93
                                      Great album from Rina Sawayama
                                      https://www.ukmix.org/forum/chart-di...-first-edition

                                      https://www.ukmix.org/forum/chart-di...-first-edition

                                      Comment


                                      • #94
                                        Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
                                        Yeah, maybe they just needed the extra three years, but I don't think the 'Bangerz' sound is a far shot from 'Can't Be Tamed'. More urban-influenced yes, but still a healthy serving of dance and pop music.
                                        For sure: "Drive" (easily my favorite non-single on Bangerz), "Maybe You're Right," "Someone Else," and more.
                                        • Immensely honored to be associated with Rina's masterpiece She really is a genre-chameleon across that album, but her gift for combining catchy melodies with powerful messages never suffers (no matter what sound/style she adopts for each song). I owe YouTube for steering me in the right direction: the "XS" thumbnail caught my eye whilst scrolling, and after just one watch I HAD to know more about her. I've been a bit hard on "Chosen Family" in the past, but it makes sense how your move to the States completely on your own would give that song extra significance (in addition to the usual queer-individuals-finding-their-chosen-family aspects). "Snakeskin" is also among my least-played SAWAYAMA tracks, but your enthusiasm is inspiring me to revisit it. Absolutely agree about her visuals!

                                        last.fmPaulboard Top 30

                                        Comment


                                        • #95
                                          Lotus has some great songs:

                                          Army of Me
                                          Your Body
                                          Blank Page
                                          Let There Be Love

                                          My most streamed artists: 1. Mariah 2. Madonna 3. Debbie Gibson 4. Céline Dion 5. Lara Fabian 6. Kylie 7. Whitney 8. Meghan Trainor 9. Ariana Grande 10. Tina Arena 11. Sam Smith 12. Janet Jackson

                                          Comment


                                          • #96
                                            Originally posted by heppolo View Post
                                            Solid album by Rina - my favourite ones are STFU! and the melancholic Bad Friend.
                                            Both solid picks. "Bad Friend" I feel doesn't get enough love.

                                            Originally posted by vinnie65 View Post
                                            Great album from Rina Sawayama
                                            A killer debut.

                                            Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                                            Immensely honored to be associated with Rina's masterpiece She really is a genre-chameleon across that album, but her gift for combining catchy melodies with powerful messages never suffers (no matter what sound/style she adopts for each song). I owe YouTube for steering me in the right direction: the "XS" thumbnail caught my eye whilst scrolling, and after just one watch I HAD to know more about her. I've been a bit hard on "Chosen Family" in the past, but it makes sense how your move to the States completely on your own would give that song extra significance (in addition to the usual queer-individuals-finding-their-chosen-family aspects). "Snakeskin" is also among my least-played SAWAYAMA tracks, but your enthusiasm is inspiring me to revisit it. Absolutely agree about her visuals!
                                            Yeah, I love the melodrama of "Snakeskin". You definitely ought to spend some more time with it.

                                            Originally posted by RayRay View Post
                                            Lotus has some great songs:

                                            Army of Me
                                            Your Body
                                            Blank Page
                                            Let There Be Love

                                            Agreed. "Army of Me" is actually one of my favourite songs ever. Such an anthem!

                                            Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
                                            Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
                                            Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
                                            AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

                                            History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

                                            Comment


                                            • #97
                                              074. Carrie Underwood - Blown Away



                                              It was the first time Carrie made us wait three years between albums, the start of what would be a reliable trend throughout the 2010s, but with a new husband on her arm, shifted priorities could be expected. Just how would the burgeoning country queen return?

                                              From lead single "Good Girl", it seemed that she'd return in much the same vein that she left. It was a respectable copy/paste job from the previous era's "Cowboy Casanova", which in itself had suspiciously high levels of "Before He Cheats" energy. (I wouldn't care, though, as "Good Girl" would spend 10 consecutive days atop my chart). However, when the album finally dropped, fans were treated to a pair of truly outstanding, dark, thrilling chapters of storytelling. The lesser of the two was "Two Black Cadillacs", an elementary-school-level murder mystery, arranged and delivered in stellar fashion. The greater of the two, my clear favourite from the album, and among my top six most-played songs ever is title track "Blown Away". In my view, it's the most enthralling story Carrie's sung and its video is her most ambitious yet, by her own special standards. Getting to see that one performed in a live setting three years back will go down as one of my happiest and most memorable moments on this planet. Other noteworthy treats are the reflective "See You Again", the delightfully and devilishly clever "Cupid's Got a Shotgun", and the simple but impactful "Who Are You". There isn't a single dud on this album (though I will admit that "Do You Think About Me" gets dangerously close to "skip" territory) and I've noticed that as I've grown older, I've developed more of an appreciation for this album's softer moments. Even sans the bombast, there's a lot to enjoy and 'Blown Away' was certainly a step in the right direction as far as songwriting was concerned.

                                              Accolades-wise, "Blown Away" quite deservedly won two Grammy awards, one for Best Country Solo Performance and another for Best Country Song. Each of the four singles peaked at either #1 or #2 on the country airplay chart and four albums deep, Carrie would still manage to go all the way to triple platinum with this release. She also left the North America continent for the first time on the supporting tour, stopping by in the UK, Ireland, and Australia to say hello.
                                              Code:
                                              Significance rating: 10/20
                                              No. 1s on my daily chart: Blown Away (x26); Good Girl (x10); Two Black Cadillacs (x1); See You Again (x1)
                                              Best lyric: And the preacher said he was a good man, and his brother said he was a good friend, but the women in the two black veils didn’t bother to cry
                                              Best melody: One Way Ticket
                                              Best video: Blown Away
                                              Rank in 2010 countdown: NR
                                              Rank in 2011 countdown: NR
                                              Rank in 2012 countdown: 57
                                              Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
                                              Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
                                              Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
                                              AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

                                              History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

                                              Comment


                                              • #98
                                                Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post

                                                Agreed. "Army of Me" is actually one of my favourite songs ever. Such an anthem!
                                                Same for me. I love "Army of Me". Can't believe it wasn't released as a single.
                                                My most streamed artists: 1. Mariah 2. Madonna 3. Debbie Gibson 4. Céline Dion 5. Lara Fabian 6. Kylie 7. Whitney 8. Meghan Trainor 9. Ariana Grande 10. Tina Arena 11. Sam Smith 12. Janet Jackson

                                                Comment


                                                • #99
                                                  • You just HAD to specifically single out poor "Do You Think About Me" for a public shaming The title track really is exceptional, though. A shining example/gold standard of modern Country. Catchy, engrossing, haunting: "some people called it taking shelter, she called it sweet revenge..." I never knew that Carrie actually toured abroad at one point!
                                                  last.fmPaulboard Top 30

                                                  Comment


                                                  • Originally posted by RayRay View Post
                                                    Same for me. I love "Army of Me". Can't believe it wasn't released as a single.
                                                    Maybe if the era had been longer, it might've gotten the single treatment.

                                                    Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                                                    You just HAD to specifically single out poor "Do You Think About Me" for a public shaming The title track really is exceptional, though. A shining example/gold standard of modern Country. Catchy, engrossing, haunting: "some people called it taking shelter, she called it sweet revenge..." I never knew that Carrie actually toured abroad at one point!
                                                    I sure did.

                                                    Yeah, I remember being so proud of her for recording such a great ballad like "Blown Away". I remember introducing it to folks who weren't Carrie or country fans and they really enjoyed it.
                                                    Akini's Top 100 Albums of All-Time: [#22]
                                                    Akini's Favourite Music Videos: [95-91]
                                                    Your Billboard Top Ten: #1 Anti-Hero (3 weeks)
                                                    AlbumClash 2.0: [Rina Sawayama vs. Rosalía]

                                                    History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

                                                    Comment

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