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

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  • Originally posted by vinnie65 View Post
    I Like Prism from Katy Perry More better songs than Teenage Dream, but the predecessor had the hits.

    And Best album from Janet Jackson so far
    Glad you appreciate those two. Janet's got better, in my view.
    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


    • 062. Adele - 25



      One of the most anticipated albums in music history, '25' arrived in the autumn of 2015 with massive shoes to fill. There were several stumbling blocks to its release, including Adele considering quitting music and having writer's block. She had a collection of songs about her new journey as a mother, but scrapped those tracks, deeming them too boring. She also had several faulty starts in writing sessions, but finally managed to put together 11 tracks worthy of a standard edition follow-up to the new millennium behemoth that preceded '25'.

      Adele was intentional about not creating a heartbreak record, which gave her room to explore other themes. Nostalgia is a big one and it weaves from the charming and warm "When We Were Young" to a deeper and infinitely sadder "Million Years Ago", which has a slate of lyrics that break my own heart. I love the classic balladry of "All I Ask", a broad swath of emotion, and "Love in the Dark", a line-drawn-in-the-sand declaration of limits. (It was surprising to learn when the album dropped that Bruno Mars was at the production helm of "All I Ask" as I would've expected more of a soul or R&B slant on it). The melodrama of "Hello", the perfect song with which to lead off the campaign, is immense and ultimately satisfying of the four-year-long wait, and "I Miss You" has one of the album's most interesting melodies. My favourite track, though, is "River Lea". It has a melody akin to that of 21's centrepiece "Rolling in the Deep", but with a lyrical path all its own. I remember seeing figures showing that "River Lea" was the second-least-downloaded '25' track, above only "Sweetest Devotion", so I'm comfortable claiming it's the most underrated gem in her catalogue. (Speaking of "Sweetest Devotion", if the motherhood tracks she recorded were of the same quality, she made an extremely correct decision in shelving them).

      '25' shattered first-week sales records across the globe (after "Hello" did the same a month prior). In the US, it sold just under 3.4 million copies its first week out and in the UK over 800k. Conservative estimates have its global first week sales at 5.7 million. '25' went diamond in the US in less than a year, a feat only ever achieved by boybands during a much different period and scale of music consumption than the one into which '25' was born in 2015. Despite a Metacritic score of 'just' 75, '25' won Album of the Year at the Grammys at the same ceremony where "Hello" swept the Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance categories. Adele was on such a winning streak, I half-expected "Hello" to win Video of the Year at the VMAs. Ultimately, I think this was a successful follow-up and I applaud Adele and her team for doing so amid what surely was immeasurable pressure.
      Code:
      Significance rating: 11/20
      No. 1s on my daily chart: River Lea (x12); Million Years Ago (x5); Hello (x3); All I Ask (x1); When We Were Young (x1); Send My Love (To Your New Lover) (x1)
      Best lyric: Everybody tells me it's 'bout time that I moved on, and I need to learn to lighten up and learn how to be young, but my heart is a valley, it's so shallow and man made, I'm scared to death if I let you in that you'll see I'm just a fake, sometimes I feel lonely in the arms of your touch, but I know that's just me, 'cause nothing ever is enough
      Best melody: Hello
      Best video: Hello
      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


      • 061. Britney Spears - In the Zone



        Going into 2003, Britney Spears was very much the leading force in pop music and if you ask Forbes, who ranked her 2002's most powerful celebrity, she was the most valuable name in all of entertainment. With gargantuan commercial successes and a widely publicised breakup with another celeb behind her, 'In the Zone' was one of the year's most anticipated releases and Britney did not disappoint.

        Her most experimental album up to that point of her career, 'In the Zone' completed the transformation from child superstar to superstar vixen. Whereas "Slave" from the previous era walked the walk, indicating a more mature image shift, this album saw Britney talking the talk, with lyrics that matched that "Slave" visual. "Breathe on Me", reminiscent of Madonna's 'Erotica' album, sees Britney embracing the intricate dance of seduction, with some pretty convincing heavy breathing. I love how in control of the pace and comfortable Britney is on the track. "Touch of My Hand", a song about the pleasures of masturbation, leaves little to the imagination and further drives home that this was grown up Britney fans were listening to. It's not a point oftentimes raised, but I love her vocal on that track; it's so full and rides the beat skillfully. I don't think most folks would have put money on a hip/hop record to make the final tracklist, but right there, in plain sight as track two, is "I Got That (Boom Boom)", where Britney enlists the Ying Yang Twins for a feature appearance and tries her darndest to match their raucous energy. A more comfortable hip/hop-influenced song is "Outrageous", where Britney is in complete command of the affair, though I would side with fans in thinking that the song wasn't good enough to warrant the injury Britney picked up filming its video that would eventually nix the era. "Me Against the Music", a collaboration with pop queen Madonna, was selected as the lead single. Though the original mix is well below both ladies' best work, I do love how frenetic the song is; it's such an intense dance track, and the music video features my favourite Britney choreography...that I definitely cannot pull off. The Rishi Rich's Desi Kulcha Remix that ends the standard edition of the album is a bona fide bop, though, and much more befitting of pop royality combining forces. I love the reggae magic of "The Hook Up". It's the album's underheralded gem - so funky, so fun, so deliciously random but effective. There are two tracks in particular that get near-universal acclaim. The first is "Everytime", a gentle melody that is probably Britney's most potent ballad. It's so well-written and jam-packed with so much genuine emotion. With each verse, you almost hear the tears behind the pen-strokes of it being created. The second, "Toxic", is my favourite of the album and a candidate for my top Britney song ever. Orignally intended for Aussie pop legend Kylie Minogue, this fell in Britney's lap and she executed the assignment to an iconic level. Sonically, it's a rollercoaster of a ride and Britney steers the ship through all the exotic excitement. The music video for "Toxic" is my favourite music video of all-time and the fact that it won zero VMAs is enough to invalidate the credibility of that entire award show.

        Though she'd written sparingly on her first two albums, 'In the Zone' features the most prolific writing credits Britney's had on any of her albums sans...'Britney Jean'. Thus, she must have been that much more pleased when this opened to a big first week and gave Britney the honour of being the first female artist to score four consecutive US no. 1 albums (all debuts to boot). It's one of her most critically acclaimed LPs and its tour featured some of Britney's finest live performances. Many fans consider this her peak era, though I've never agreed with this notion.
        Code:
        Significance rating: 11/20
        No. 1s on my daily chart: Toxic (x15); Everytime (x3); The Hook Up (x3); Touch of My Hand (x2)
        Best lyric: With a taste of a poison paradise
        Best melody: Toxic
        Best video: Toxic
        Rank in 2010 countdown: 29
        Rank in 2011 countdown: 20
        Rank in 2012 countdown: 56
        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


        • Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
          I didn't mention "You Want This" partly because the write-up is already bloated as is, but mostly because it samples one of my favourite Supremes song and does a crap job with the interpolation.
          And I thought simply failing to mention it was too rude!
          • Damn, "Uncle DeShawn Ali" takes me BACK! If anyone asked me whether I prefer Teenage Dream or PRISM right now, I'd say TD without the slightest hesitation, but they're less than 10 Scrobbles apart on my last.fm, so PRISM clearly had greater staying power than I give it credit. I'm such a sucker for "Birthday," but that video really didn't do Katy any favors (for an already-contentious single choice), and following that with the equally-silly "This Is How We Do" just felt like straight-up self-sabotage (ditto for the unfathomable choice to leave "Walking On Air" on the table)
          • I don't revisit Spirit much these days (aside from the singles), but I definitely enjoyed several of the album tracks back in the day/found it to be pretty cohesive overall: "Misses Glass," "Yesterday," "Whatever It Takes," "Take A Bow," "The Best You Never Had." It was also really exciting to watch a British reality show winner smash HARD here in the States (with material I genuinely enjoyed too). "I Will Be" was such a strange single choice, though, and it sucks that people's interest in her basically tumbled off a cliff after this era
          • I don't have any piping-hot ITZ takes. "Toxic" is iconic, "Everytime" is gorgeous, MATM is a thing that happened (though I wasn't expecting a special shout-out for that remix). "Outrageous" was a weird choice even before the unfortunate video incident, because as you mentioned, "Breathe On Me" is a MOMENT (easily one of Brit's best non-singles). I had a huge soft spot for "Don't Hang Up" (probably one of my all-time-favorite international bonus tracks from Brit, up there with "Autumn Goodbye")
          last.fmPaulboard Top 30

          Comment


          • Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
            Damn, "Uncle DeShawn Ali" takes me BACK! If anyone asked me whether I prefer Teenage Dream or PRISM right now, I'd say TD without the slightest hesitation, but they're less than 10 Scrobbles apart on my last.fm, so PRISM clearly had greater staying power than I give it credit. I'm such a sucker for "Birthday," but that video really didn't do Katy any favors (for an already-contentious single choice), and following that with the equally-silly "This Is How We Do" just felt like straight-up self-sabotage (ditto for the unfathomable choice to leave "Walking On Air" on the table)
            A golden era for UKMix.

            Random question, but would you say Last.fm PRO is worth it? Does it let you do batch edits to scrobbles? For instance, one annoying thing I have in my music library is this inane split in 'Elusive Chanteuse' spins because of 'Mariah... The' versus 'Mariah...The'. The havoc a space can cause.

            Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
            I don't revisit Spirit much these days (aside from the singles), but I definitely enjoyed several of the album tracks back in the day/found it to be pretty cohesive overall: "Misses Glass," "Yesterday," "Whatever It Takes," "Take A Bow," "The Best You Never Had." It was also really exciting to watch a British reality show winner smash HARD here in the States (with material I genuinely enjoyed too). "I Will Be" was such a strange single choice, though, and it sucks that people's interest in her basically tumbled off a cliff after this era
            The Brits got "Homeless" instead of "Misses Glass" and I'd say the former is a good bit better!

            Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
            I don't have any piping-hot ITZ takes. "Toxic" is iconic, "Everytime" is gorgeous, MATM is a thing that happened (though I wasn't expecting a special shout-out for that remix). "Outrageous" was a weird choice even before the unfortunate video incident, because as you mentioned, "Breathe On Me" is a MOMENT (easily one of Brit's best non-singles). I had a huge soft spot for "Don't Hang Up" (probably one of my all-time-favorite international bonus tracks from Brit, up there with "Autumn Goodbye")
            I could see the method to the madness behind "Outrageous". It was a great opportunity to give her a song to score some urban spins, especially as R&B was pretty big at the time. Totes agree, though, that however many singles deep she went, "Breathe on Me" should've been one of them...and it might've been a risky move, but I'd loved for her to have released "Touch of My Hand", 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


            • let's see what's coming up, not keen on britney or adele but love janet
              what's going on?

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Plym View Post
                let's see what's coming up, not keen on britney or adele but love janet
                Right on time then!
                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


                • 060. Janet Jackson - The Velvet Rope



                  At the height of her commercial success, during the 125-date, two-year-long Janet World Tour, the dance legend had a bout with depression that would last several years. Writing and recording for 'The Velvet Rope' became a therapeutic exercise for the superstar, who opted to turn to music rather than drugs and alcohol, which she said were never her speed anyway. And from the depths of emotional hell sprouted Janet's most personal, diverse album of her career.

                  Some of Janet's finest album cuts live here, on 'Planet Velvet' (as Paul termed the LP years back). "Rope Burn" is one such gem. It was only a matter of time until Janet's voyages of sensuality took her to the shores of sadomasochism and bondage, but the way Janet broaches the subject is remarkable, highlighting the vulnerability, consent, and trust involved in such experimentation, rather than lazily focusing on the raw sexual pleasure derived. There's a soulfulness and tenderness that, interspersed with the eroticism of it all, makes for a dangerous track. Then there's title track "Velvet Rope", which I dub Janet's most interesting track due, in great part, to the eclectic melody, comprised of epic violin sections, courtesy of Vanessa-Mae, and a dark, grimy, almost metallic beat, as well as its lyricism. The opening sound actually sounds like a transporter, as if Janet is in effect taking everyone, who society punishes for expressing themselves, to this sanctuary planet. The velvet rope in which Janet is inviting everyone seems like an allusion to not just music, but all art forms, where people can channel feelings, or project ideas and beliefs that may be unorthodox or unacceptable to the general public. It's all about a safe place for self-expression, and whilst the utopia presented in this song doesn't exist, it is comforting to consider how partaking in art - either as a creator or consumer - can result in being part of the velvet rope, the chain of like-minded people who share similar struggles, and seek the same solitude and relief. Janet didn't go about hiding all her best songs as album tracks, though; "I Get Lonely" is a sterling single. Soulful and smooth, the emotional ballad is arguably the finest ballad in her catalogue. I feel something in my spirit when Janet pleads on the hook. The song is draped in one of the most exquisite, luxurious productions in Janet's catalogue. Paired with Janet's raw vocals and vulnerable lyricism, the whole thing feels so grand and I love how Janet harmonises with herself; it's almost as if there are multiple versions of herself all starved of happiness and love because of this singular missing person in her life. Other memorable moments include "Can't Be Stopped" with background horns that inspire pride and command attention, "God's Stepchild" with extremely touching lyrics, the mirror-check "You", the breezy dance reprieve "Go Deep", silky smooth "Accept Me", and the rock-charged "What About" with unfettered frustration. My favourite track, though, is a predictable one, "Together Again". It's not often you have songs that are both tender and dance-worthy, but Janet blends emotion with the booming bass of the house-influenced production. I love how Janet maintains an optimistic perspective about a topic that is anything but. Its scenic video is also my favourite solo clip of hers.

                  Widely regarded as her magnum opus, 'The Velvet Rope' is a testament to Janet's first-class artistry. It became her fourth consecutive US #1 album, eventually going three times platinum domestically. It's the second of the poll options to fall.
                  Code:
                  Significance rating: 11/20
                  No. 1s on my daily chart: I Get Lonely (x7); Rope Burn (x4); Velvet Rope (x3); Together Again (x1); Every Time (x1); Got 'til It's Gone (x1)
                  Best lyric: We have a special need to feel like we belong
                  Best melody: Velvet Rope
                  Best video: Together Again
                  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


                  • i think i prefer janet. over the velvet rope by a margin but both are 5*
                    what's going on?

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Plym View Post
                      i think i prefer janet. over the velvet rope by a margin but both are 5*
                      Agreed!
                      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


                      • 059. Céline Dion - The Colour of My Love



                        While Céline Dion had been releasing music since the early 80s as a teenager, it was only in the 90s when she started recording music in English that she was able to crack the US market. With 'Unison', she knocked and the door opened a smidgen. With 'Céline Dion', she opened it a good bit more. But with 'The Colour of My Love', she blew the whole house to smithereens.

                        'The Colour of My Love' is great balladry from start to finish and for as much as Céline is accused of being one-note (and it'd be a grade A note anyway), there's great dynamism to the music here. Whether it's the electrifying rock guitar instrumentation and the hint of a growling vocal on "Think Twice" or the funky, R&B-heavy "Everybody's Talkin' My Baby Down", Céline serves class that never bores. She gives great theatre on "Only One Road", with its great ebb and flow of cascading emotion and vocals. Like other members of the vocal trinity tended to do, she gently borrowed Jennifer Rush's biggest hit "The Power of Love" and elevated it several levels in quality (and octaves in range). I love her spiciness on "Misled", but the album's finest diamond is "I Remember L.A." Wayne lauded it years back and I remember thinking he was overselling it quite a bit, but the nostalgic lyrics of a love from yesteryear make this very much her version of "The Roof". Though Céline deserves significant credit for some of the classic vocal work she put down on this, I think this album works so well because it pairs classic songwriters like David Foster and Diane Warren with then up-and-coming producers like Peter Zizzo (who would later go on to work with names like Jennifer Lopez, Avril Lavigne, and Pixie Lott) and Ric Wake (who would later work with folks like Anastacia and Jessica Simpson).

                        So about that demolished house. Well, 'The Colour of My Love' saw Céline catapulted all the way to the top of commercial sellers, right up there with the biggest heavyweights of all-time. 20-million-plus copies worldwide, diamond at home in Canada, a healthy multiplicity of platinum everywhere on Earth plus Mercury, this was unprecedented (and likely unforecasted) success. And if you think she was anywhere close to done, you would've certainly been misled!
                        Code:
                        Significance rating: 11/20
                        No. 1s on my daily chart: I Remember L.A. (x2); Next Plane Out (x1)
                        Best lyric: This is getting serious, are you thinking 'bout you or us?
                        Best melody: Misled
                        Best video: The Power of Love
                        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


                        • Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
                          Random question, but would you say Last.fm PRO is worth it? Does it let you do batch edits to scrobbles? For instance, one annoying thing I have in my music library is this inane split in 'Elusive Chanteuse' spins because of 'Mariah... The' versus 'Mariah...The'. The havoc a space can cause.
                          Ugh, I feel your pain It's VERY particular about the precise dot sizes in CRJ's E•MO•TION and Side B (if they're too big, it counts them as as completely separate album). Unfortunately, I don't think what you're talking about is possible (editing/re-assigning Scrobbles to match the intended proper album), but there's a slim chance I just haven't toyed around with the site enough to figure that out. I mostly upgraded because I've used the site for so many years now and my personal chart is so dependent on it, I want to make sure it stays up-and-running for as long as possible.

                          Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
                          The Brits got "Homeless" instead of "Misses Glass" and I'd say the former is a good bit better!


                          Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
                          I could see the method to the madness behind "Outrageous". It was a great opportunity to give her a song to score some urban spins, especially as R&B was pretty big at the time. Totes agree, though, that however many singles deep she went, "Breathe on Me" should've been one of them...and it might've been a risky move, but I'd loved for her to have released "Touch of My Hand", too.
                          True, though I think "I Got That (Boom Boom)" could've achieved that goal even better (or "The Hook Up," which your write-up inspired me to re-examine).
                          • NGL, I have zero recollection of that Planet Velvet nickname but I'm always honored to get a name-drop here (especially attached to such a formative musical masterpiece). I definitely thought it would land higher than No. 60, but that's still a big improvement from not charting at all previously (and I might be projecting with this one too). All the sadness, angst, introspection, and sexual exploration across TVR really resonated with my young hormonal gay self (granted, not in 1997, but when I finally dove into the album in late middle/early high school). Although I originally associated "Empty" with stuff like AOL Instant Messenger and those chat rooms, it feels quite relevant again in the social media/dating app age (or even parasocial relationships). Shouts-outs to (the other) "Every Time" and "Tonight's The Night" too. Unsurprisingly, I'm extremely on-board with "Together Again" taking the crown here. I forget: do you have any thoughts on the slower Deeper remixes?
                          • I don't know that Céline album in its entirety, but I have to applaud that "Misled" mention! Sassy uptemo Céline FTW: "but when I've been dissed, I don't spend much time on what might have been..."
                          last.fmPaulboard Top 30

                          Comment


                          • Funny that 'The Colour of My Love' is featured on yesterday's update of your chart because I just rediscovered one of its album tracks, 'Refused to Dance'.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                              Ugh, I feel your pain It's VERY particular about the precise dot sizes in CRJ's E•MO•TION and Side B (if they're too big, it counts them as as completely separate album). Unfortunately, I don't think what you're talking about is possible (editing/re-assigning Scrobbles to match the intended proper album), but there's a slim chance I just haven't toyed around with the site enough to figure that out. I mostly upgraded because I've used the site for so many years now and my personal chart is so dependent on it, I want to make sure it stays up-and-running for as long as possible.
                              Well, it was worth asking anyway. I do hate those minor issues, but gotta give them credit overall for the service they provide. No one else even comes close to accurately tracking plays.

                              Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                              True, though I think "I Got That (Boom Boom)" could've achieved that goal even better (or "The Hook Up," which your write-up inspired me to re-examine).
                              I'd take "The Hook Up" over the other two, tbh.

                              Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                              NGL, I have zero recollection of that Planet Velvet nickname but I'm always honored to get a name-drop here (especially attached to such a formative musical masterpiece). I definitely thought it would land higher than No. 60, but that's still a big improvement from not charting at all previously (and I might be projecting with this one too). All the sadness, angst, introspection, and sexual exploration across TVR really resonated with my young hormonal gay self (granted, not in 1997, but when I finally dove into the album in late middle/early high school). Although I originally associated "Empty" with stuff like AOL Instant Messenger and those chat rooms, it feels quite relevant again in the social media/dating app age (or even parasocial relationships). Shouts-outs to (the other) "Every Time" and "Tonight's The Night" too. Unsurprisingly, I'm extremely on-board with "Together Again" taking the crown here. I forget: do you have any thoughts on the slower Deeper remixes?
                              Had to google the term parasocial as that was my first time coming across it. The Barbz, Hive, and others would do well to read up on it for a minute or two...

                              I'm not a fan of them. Do you care for them?

                              Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                              I don't know that Céline album in its entirety, but I have to applaud that "Misled" mention! Sassy uptemo Céline FTW: "but when I've been dissed, I don't spend much time on what might have been..."
                              Yes, I love when Céline serves attitude. She's definitely got the vocal chops to pull it off convincingly.

                              Originally posted by Benny View Post
                              Funny that 'The Colour of My Love' is featured on yesterday's update of your chart because I just rediscovered one of its album tracks, 'Refused to Dance'.
                              A happy coincidence!
                              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


                              • 058. P!nk - I'm Not Dead



                                After 'Try This' underperformed (selling fewer than three million copies when its predecessor did more than 13 million worldwide) P!nk and Arista severed their ties. She sought out a fresh squad of producers - for the first time she teamed up with Max Martin (she'd work with him on this and every subsequent project of hers) and Dr. Luke - and from those studio sessions came forth 'I'm Not Dead', an organic collection of all those gritty ballads and banjie uptempos for which P!nk would come to be known for and, for me, her magnum opus.

                                There is a classic pop-rock production that drives most of the album, whether it's a ballad about the long road from trauma to recovery expressed in "Long Way to Happy" or P!nk feeling her bad bitch oats on "Cuz I Can". There really isn't a misstep on this album (though on the title track, it does sound like she's singing "floaging" and not "floating" on the hook) and as the best albums tend to do, P!nk traverses so much lyrical territory on this LP. Perhaps one of the most significant is her open letter to then leader of the free world George W. Bush "Dear Mr. President". The way the song builds to that climactic bridge is almost overwhelming; to date, I still consider it one of her most powerful songs and though it's not a department in which she generally gets tonnes of credit, it's also a testament to her songwriting prowess. "U + Ur Hand" is also a special song for me, as it was the track that introduced me to P!nk and what a first 'meeting' it was. It's got all the fittings of her best uptempo pop-rock power anthems and would have been a clear pick for most outstanding song were "Who Knew" not present. In my view, "Who Knew" is not only the best song on this album, but P!nk's best song of her entire career. I think it is the most P!nk song as it takes the gritty rock energy of her brand and pairs it with her most accessible lyrics yet. The emotion is so palpable and I must admit that the song dredges up so many friendships and other connections that I thought would last a lifetime that eventually fell by the wayside. Although "Who Knew" is the star attraction of 'I'm Not Dead', it was sweet for her to end the album with "I Have Seen the Rain", a duet with her dad, who'd written the song 40 years prior in Vietnam.

                                'I'm Not Dead' saw P!nk ascending to the royalty tier of the Aussie charts - it was her first #1 album in the country and would eventually go 11 times platinum there. She would only ever go #1 in Australia with subsequent solo studio releases (up to five chart-toppers at present). "Stupid Girls" would win the VMA for Best Pop Video (beating Madge's "Hung Up") and this would be the first of a trio of highly successful releases.
                                Code:
                                Significance rating: 11/20
                                No. 1s on my daily chart: Who Knew (x3); Cuz I Can (x2); U + Ur Hand (x1)
                                Best lyric: If someone said three years from now, you'd be long gone, I'd stand up and punch them out, 'cause they're all wrong, I know better 'cause you said forever, and ever, who knew?
                                Best melody: U + Ur Hand
                                Best video: Stupid Girls
                                Rank in 2010 countdown: 64
                                Rank in 2011 countdown: 27
                                Rank in 2012 countdown: 20
                                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


                                • Great albums from Adele, especially Celine Dion and P!nk

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

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

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by vinnie65 View Post
                                    Great albums from Adele, especially Celine Dion and P!nk
                                    Glad you appreciate those three!
                                    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


                                    • 057. Christina Aguilera - Bionic



                                      2006's 'Back to Basics' saw a four-year stretch since 'Stripped' and with 'Bionic', Christina seemed to be making album releases a quadrennial event for fans. But since the music was top-notch, surely critics would rave and the charts would keep her as top billing for months, right? Well...

                                      'Bionic' is a terrific album, one which only seems to resonate more profoundly with me as the years pass. It's classic Christina in that there's the standard grade A balladry and some of her career-finest, most club-ready bops, but I think there's also a fierceness, confidence, and playfulness exuding from the album's highlights that is not as present in any other of Madame Aguilera's releases. From the metallic and futuristic title track, to the no-boundaries-allowed lead single, there's sleekness and uninhibited expression from an artist fully leaning into her womanhood. "Prima Donna" and "Vanity" are fantastic boss bitch tracks, and don't even get me started on the ballads. Heartbreak is so expertly woven into the vocal fabric of "You Lost Me", you can almost feel the thorny pain of the decoupling occurring in the track's plot. "Stronger Than Ever", as well-worn its tread may be, is rangy and anthemic. "Lift Me Up" is a big go-to track for me when I'm in need of an uplift. I love how she avoids the bombast and lays down a humble, honest vocal of weariness and need. It has been hilarious to put it on repeat over the years as she opens the track perfectly - "So the pain begins" - which so succinctly captures many of life's adversities. My favourite track, though, is "Woohoo". I've loved its unabashed sexual energy for years, but I think its cleverness is underheralded. And on a scale for which there really is no measure, I must say its YAAAAASSS-ification powers are among the strongest ever. It didn't even need a Nicki Minaj feature; adding the rap queen was just a flex.

                                      So back to this album's reception - it was appalling. Critics gave it mixed ratings and in the few places where the album did go #1, it would subsequently set freefall chart records. I recall there being a lot of derision directed towards Christina during this era, but for an album that has been so cruelly deemed a flop, I think, in hindsight, most folks might listen to this with kinder, more welcoming ears and appreciate it for the solid work of art it is. I'd even say I've seen some 'Bionic' influence in some other albums from certain prominent female pop stars that were released in its aftermath. At any rate, if the album ever needs an ardent supporter, it's found one in me, though I have seen retrospective commentary that colours 'Bionic' in more favourable shades. That's hindsight for ya.
                                      Code:
                                      Significance rating: 11/20
                                      No. 1s on my daily chart: Lift Me Up (x8); Not Myself Tonight (x5); You Lost Me (x3); Woohoo (x2); Stronger Than Ever (x1); Prima Donna (x1)
                                      Best lyric: You don't even need a plate, just your face, ha!
                                      Best melody: Bionic
                                      Best video: Not Myself Tonight
                                      Rank in 2010 countdown: NR
                                      Rank in 2011 countdown: 72
                                      Rank in 2012 countdown: 72
                                      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


                                      • 056. Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman



                                        'Yours Truly' was a solid first effort from Ariana, from which she took several steps up with her subsequent release 'My Everything' the following year. However, 'Dangerous Woman' saw her truly ascend to a new class of pop competence, à la Rihanna with 'Good Girl Gone Bad' almost a decade prior. She even came armed with that now iconic bunny ear artwork (that I would see many a fan don at her Sweetener World Tour).

                                        'Dangerous Woman', originally titled as 'Moonlight', showcased Ari's vocal range and talent, but also amps up the production to stadium-anthem levels. She gets the LP started in vocal tour de force mode, with "Moonlight" highlighting her mellow, gentle mid-range and "Dangerous Woman" peacocking her power, agility, and multi-octave arsenal. After her first collaboration with Max Martin, prior era's "Problem", became her biggest commercial success, Ari and her team figured more Max was a winning formula and his magic fuels the best-produced bops, including the era's biggest hit "Side to Side", where Ari manages to hold the spotlight despite the presence of notorious scene-stealer Nicki Minaj; "Greedy", which is linked to a cherished Drag Race memory for me; the daily dick dose of underheralded earworm "Everyday"; and the bejeweled "Bad Decisions", with a mic-drop of a lyrical highlight to punctuate its bridge. Max is crucially behind the album's highlight, "Into You", which, at that point of Ari's career, was the best song she'd done. The coolest song, though, is still "Let Me Love You", which I'd also say sees the album's top feature, with Lil Wayne dropping an ace verse to match Ari's icy confidence. 'Dangerous Woman' is such a strong album, I'd wager than every track could've been a hit; its first half in particular is disgustingly good.

                                        The album and its title track would earn Grammy nominations for the Floridian. It would, unfortunately, be the only album of her six LPs to miss the top spot in the US, debuting at no. 2 behind Drake's 'Views'. The Dangerous Woman Tour was her most-attended tour up to that point of her career, though the Manchester terrorist bombing would most certainly sour the experience and inspire several tracks on her subsequent release.
                                        Code:
                                        Significance rating: 11/20
                                        No. 1s on my daily chart: Into You (x5); Moonlight (x5); Side to Side (x2); Let Me Love You (x2); Everyday (x1)
                                        Best lyric: A little less conversation and a little more touch my body
                                        Best melody: Let Me Love You
                                        Best video: Into You
                                        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


                                        • 055. Michael Jackson - Thriller



                                          Michael Jackson's solo career, started as a teenager on Motown Records, produced middling success, at best, and barely charting LPs at worst. While that may have been due in part to the less-than-fantastic material as well as to competing priorities as the young frontman of the Jackson 5, MJ eventually separated from the family band and his old label to join Epic Records. 'Off the Wall', his first venture with his new label, was a big success, outperforming any release he'd ever do with his brothers, but MJ craved more. He sought to create an album where any track could be a hit and wanted more Grammy recognition than he got with 'Off the Wall'. He would co-lead this endeavour with Quincy Jones and three years post-'Off the Wall', 'Thriller' would be unleashed.

                                          I say "unleashed", but the lead single was "The Girl is Mine", the weakest song on the album (and probably the reason 'Thriller' didn't debut at no. 1). The other single choices were all fire, though, and from a nine-track LP, MJ sent seven singles to the top 10 in the US. Despite my disdain at such a landmark album being led off by its worst offering, there isn't an actual dud on the album. The production is immaculate, whether it's the rock-tinged "Beat It", the breezy "Human Nature", the funky "P.Y.T." (which features backing vocals from sisters Janet and La Toya) and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'", or the disco-funk Halloween soundtrack (and title track) "Thriller". Punctuated by the sensual, smooth soul-R&B of "The Lady in My Life", I'd say MJ achieved his goals with 'Thriller'. What stands out to me is just how much involvement he had in the album's creation. He's the sole songwriter on almost half the album and co-produced every track. There were reports that both he and Quincy Jones were dissatisfied with the initial product of each song and spent a week on each track painstakingly remastering it 'til their ears heard what they perceived as perfection. Perhaps it was that rigour that makes "Billie Jean", the album's cornerstone jewel, so damn good. I believe that song epitomises Michael's brilliance and nearly 40 years later, it is still my most-played MJ song. By most metrics, it is easily his most successful single so it's safe to presume that it's the GP's favourite MJ song.

                                          'Thriller' is a short but unarguably timeless album. Its chart exploits are well-marketed, but its most significant billing is that it became, at the end of 1983 and remains to date, the best-selling album of all-time. It elevated the music video concept and rocketed MJ to a level of superstardom that has not since been seen. 'Thriller' would win eight of its 12 Grammy nominations in 1984, including Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for "Beat It", Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Billie Jean", and, of course, Album of the Year. All that and still, the best was yet to come.
                                          Code:
                                          Significance rating: 11/20
                                          No. 1s on my daily chart: Billie Jean (x2); Human Nature (x2); Beat It (x1)
                                          Best lyric: Who will dance on the floor in the round?
                                          Best melody: Beat It
                                          Best video: Billie Jean
                                          Rank in 2010 countdown: 31
                                          Rank in 2011 countdown: 23
                                          Rank in 2012 countdown: 48
                                          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


                                          • Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
                                            I'd take "The Hook Up" over the other two, tbh.
                                            I've never considered myself a Ying Yang Twins fan, but something about "I Got That (Boom Boom)" has always really worked for me. Just the right mix of silliness, sexiness, and catchiness, I guess?

                                            Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
                                            Had to google the term parasocial as that was my first time coming across it. The Barbz, Hive, and others would do well to read up on it for a minute or two...
                                            Too true!

                                            Originally posted by JSparksFan View Post
                                            I'm not a fan of them. Do you care for them?
                                            The album version runs (many) laps around any of the remixes, but it does feel like some thought/care went into their creation, and there's a sense of novelty to them too (since the reverse situation seems much more common: ballads getting dancified remixes).
                                            • I choked a little reading about My Everything being "several steps up" from Yours Truly (though at least you called YT "a solid effort," which is more gracious than most fans seem to be with it these days). That precise ranking aside, I definitely appreciate all the praise you heap on Dangerous Woman. I remember being terrified that "Moonlight" would get cut after the title change (since I'd already fallen in love with the song based on a leaked clip). Big shout-out to the unmentioned "Be Alright" too! Most importantly, though: do you own a pair of bunny ears, and did you wear them to the concert?
                                            • Ha, yeah, "The Girl Is Mine" might be in a league of its own when it comes to lame, un-representative lead singles that thankfully didn't jeopardize an entire era (granted, its brand of cheese did fit in better in the '80's, even if it didn't really fit Thriller, and I've seen similar complaints lobbied at "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" too). Didn't realize "P.Y.T." was such a sisterly affair!


                                            last.fmPaulboard Top 30

                                            Comment


                                            • Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                                              I've never considered myself a Ying Yang Twins fan, but something about "I Got That (Boom Boom)" has always really worked for me. Just the right mix of silliness, sexiness, and catchiness, I guess?
                                              There was also that scene in White Chicks.

                                              Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                                              The album version runs (many) laps around any of the remixes, but it does feel like some thought/care went into their creation, and there's a sense of novelty to them too (since the reverse situation seems much more common: ballads getting dancified remixes).
                                              Fair enough. Like with many of MC's remixes, for instance.

                                              Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                                              I choked a little reading about My Everything being "several steps up" from Yours Truly (though at least you called YT "a solid effort," which is more gracious than most fans seem to be with it these days). That precise ranking aside, I definitely appreciate all the praise you heap on Dangerous Woman. I remember being terrified that "Moonlight" would get cut after the title change (since I'd already fallen in love with the song based on a leaked clip). Big shout-out to the unmentioned "Be Alright" too! Most importantly, though: do you own a pair of bunny ears, and did you wear them to the concert?
                                              Yeah, I definitely do tie "Moonlight" to you. It was your love for it that made me revisit it when I'd initially felt it too tame for my liking.

                                              Originally posted by crystalphoenix View Post
                                              Ha, yeah, "The Girl Is Mine" might be in a league of its own when it comes to lame, un-representative lead singles that thankfully didn't jeopardize an entire era (granted, its brand of cheese did fit in better in the '80's, even if it didn't really fit Thriller, and I've seen similar complaints lobbied at "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" too). Didn't realize "P.Y.T." was such a sisterly affair!
                                              Yeah, I'm confident that he went with that one because it featured such a heavyweight, but it was a 'dud' selection.


                                              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


                                              • 054. Amy Winehouse - Frank



                                                Born into a family where several of her uncles were professional jazz musicians and with a father who often sang Frank Sinatra to her, it wasn't a leap to imagine this North Londoner would eventually find her way to recording music, but with 'Frank', released the month after she turned 20, Amy Winehouse lay the groundwork for a most legendary career.

                                                'Frank' is impeccable soul-R&B work and the fact that it was a four-year-long songwriting process, meaning some songs were penned when she was just 16, is incredible. When you look down the tracklist and see that she has songwriting credits on every original track (the only track where Amy isn't a credited writer is her cover of the jazz standard "(There Is) No Greater Love"), the breadth of her talent begins to reveal more of itself to you. As for the highlights, there are quite a few, though the playful and cheeky "Cherry" most certainly deserves a mention. The self-cautioning "Amy Amy Amy" is the LP's catchiest moment, whereas crowd favourite "F**k Me Pumps" sees Amy a long way from her youth orchestra group. "What Is It About Men" is a song I loved reading the title alone and though it lost the competitive battle for best lyric, that "Freudian fate" lyric is pure brilliance. "Take the Box" is a song I got into thanks to my time on the site and I adored it years before fully delving into 'Frank'. It's such a straightforward, simple, yet beautiful track, that it's no surprise that it was the highest-charting single from the era. My favourite track is actually one of the songs Amy wrote at 16, "You Sent Me Flying". It's nearly five and a half minutes in length, but armed with a rich production, intelligent and vulnerable lyrics, and a fun key change, it feels like this full jazz-soul cake, where you eat it slice by slice before realising, in shock horror, that you've had your own Matilda character moment and consumed the whole thing. "In My Bed" is one of the most interesting melodic moments. I love how Amy pronounces "reunion" and her scatting at the end is a fine touch. As much as the album's maturity is well beyond the 16-20-year-old that wrote most of it, "Know You Now" with its pressing sense of urgency does show her age, and I love it for that.

                                                The album was met with decent commercial success, but much more impressive critical acclaim. Its initial UK chart run saw it peaking at no. 13 and its Metacritic score stands at a solid 78. 'Frank' would win an Ivor Novello Award for songwriting and composing and Amy would earn BRIT nominations for Best Female Solo Artist and Best Urban Act losing to Dido and Lemar, respectively. Her next era, though, wouldn't see her doing much losing.
                                                Code:
                                                Significance rating: 11/20
                                                No. 1s on my daily chart: You Sent Me Flying (x5); What Is It About Men (x1); Take the Box (x1)
                                                Best lyric: Although my pride is not easily disturbed 
                                                Best melody: Mr. Magic
                                                Best video: Stronger Than Me
                                                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


                                                • 053. Janet Jackson - All for You



                                                  After a successful 80s and 90s on the charts, where she stood tall as one of the big pop titans of the era, with early influence already starting to show on some of the burgeoning pop acts of the late 90s, Janet Jackson stepped into the 21st century with 'All for You', a dancier and happier LP than its predecessor.

                                                  'All for You' is Janet's most sexually explicit release of her career and given Janet's love of sensuality, that's no small statement. Singapore was not down for all the moans, whimpers, and sex references, banning the album from its shelves (as they did 'The Velvet Rope' since Janet had some Team-Rainbow-friendly lyrics on several tracks). What I do love about 'All for You' is that it very much is her smooth as butter release - it's so light, easy on the ears, breezy, upbeat, and fun. "Come on Get Up" exemplifies the soundscape of the album well. I love its big energy, appreciate certain lyrical moments (like Janet telling her man to shake his ass for her, which is a refreshing role reversal moment), its gulp-like bass moments, and its catchy hook. "Someone to Call My Lover" has one of the best bridges on the LP, so reminiscent of 80s Janet. "China Love" is one of the album's regal moments, with its intriguing bell-chimes-like melody. "Love Scene" is also mostly classy, decked with one of the best atmospheres of any Janet track. Coming off a divorce from her longest-lasting marriage, Janet was inclined to have a few songs about her ex and "Truth", a relatively simple R&B ballad, features some gorgeous vocal inflections from her. And while "Truth" was a gentle, at times veiled, reference to her ex, "Son of a Gun" was the inverse of that. To this day, I think it's one of her most adventurous tracks and even though it's a bit busy, I love it for its ambition. In my view, the album does have three mega-highlights. Lead single and title track is the first and I love its uninhibited expression of sexual desire. It's a song that starts in fifth gear and stays there the whole way. Similarly, the second mega-standout "Trust a Try", my favourite non-single of Janet's, starts at full throttle and features some fantastic speed-singing with an exquisite rock guitar insert. The third and greatest of the ultra stunners is "Doesn't Really Matter", my favourite Janet song. For me, the definitive characteristic of Janet isn't her daring sensuality, but her joy, and you can hear the smile and delight in her voice on this song. It's a delight forged through fire ("I've finally found someone whose heart is true"), which makes it all that more worthy of celebration. I can tell how much I love a song by the number of different versions of it I listen to and with "Doesn't Really Matter", I love the original album mix, the Spokane remix, and the Number Ones mix. My favourite version has shifted over the years, but it's now the Number Ones mix.

                                                  'All for You' was another big era for Janet. Lead single "All for You" broke airplay records upon its release and ended 2001 as the song with the longest run at #1 on the Hot 100 that year. It also won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording. The album opened with Janet's career-highest first-week sales in the US (605k). It would seem Janet's transition into the new millennium was a runaway success, though dark professional days were on the horizon. Still, though, I do find it impressive that from 1989's 'Rhythm Nation' to this album in 2001, Janet's albums got, for me, progressively stronger.
                                                  Code:
                                                  Significance rating: 11/20
                                                  No. 1s on my daily chart: Doesn't Really Matter (x10); Trust a Try (x1); All for You (x1)
                                                  Best lyric: I've finally found someone whose heart is true
                                                  Best melody: Trust a Try
                                                  Best video: All for You
                                                  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


                                                  • Dangerous Woman and THRILLER are great!!
                                                    https://www.ukmix.org/forum/chart-di...-first-edition

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

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