Friday, 11 December 2009

Holiday Special ONE: TOP 10 LP's of 2009 MIX

SoulNRnB's Top 10 LP's 2009

Here is my selection of the 10 LP's YOU MUST OWN of this year. Truth be told,recent years have not been great for soul LP's. Theres been a tendency for artists to move to Electro/Pop, and so real soul albums are hard to come by.

The last couple of years has seen the trend of looking back to the 60's for influences, and for more emphasis on groove rather than melody.
That being said, there are always LP's out there that soul lovers must own, andso this mix is a representation of this years best in no particular order save for my number one. Thats the best LP of the year in my opinion.
As Marcell from Marcell and the Truth said this year...."SOUL IS THE NEW HIP HOP." Soul music is Underground but its followers are passionate. Its cool to love Soul music dontacha know?

10. Eric Roberson - Music Fan First
Ive always been a big fan of Eric, and this LP was widely anticipated by all soul lovers.He writes great melodies, has a soulful voice and turn of phrase, and is an honest to godall round artist. Independant too, so add buisinessman!Whilst I didnt think this LP was as rounded as "LEFT", its still a must haveand contains great tunes like "Newness", "Borrow You" and "Howard Girls". His duet with Lalah Hathaway is a peach too. A must purchase!

9. N'Dambi - Pink Elephant
Truth be told, Ive enjoyed and respected N'Dambi's previous LP's rather than Loved them. She has a wonderful voice, and a good ear for grooves but I haven't "felt" a complete LP of hers. Until now. Maybe its the input from the great Leon Sylvers (a personal hero from his SOLAR days), maybe its a development in songwriting.....maybe its just me being an ass. Who knows!What I do know is that this LP is one of the years best with the cheeky "Cant Hardly Wait", the topical "L.I.E", Soulful "Take it out" and "Nobody Jones". Looking forward to her next LP thats for sure! Quality SOUL.

8. 4Hero - Extensions
Only 4Hero could get a "remix" project on a top 10 list. Well, thats a lie....(see later)...they are in a handful of artists that could get a remix project on this list. Mainly because this aint a remix project per se, but an interpretation of some of thier tunes by modern Nu Jazz artists,signed and unsigned.

No shortchanging the fans here.

By the nature of this kind of project, there will be some tracks where you prefer the original. But thats not the point. These are interpretations...EXTENTIONS....and so bask in the greatness of tracks like SKO's version of "Universal Love". It makes you appreciate the original whilst enjoying the new twist. Open your mind, ears and purchase!

7. Michael Olatuja - Speak
This man came out of nowhere for me, and what a pleasant suprise. Some great UK vocalists like Lynden David Hall (R.I.P) and Terri Walker along with musical stylings from all over the globe. Lyrics move from English to other languages, music moves from Soul to Jazz to Afro....class.Highlights for me are the percussion led afro tune "Ma Fova", the midtempo jazz/soul tunes "Little Sister" and "Unconditional", and the haunting downtempo tune "Le Jardin" with a touch of the Stevie's about it.

6. Marsha Ambrosius - Yours Truly
Dont actually know if this ever got a proper release, but this is probably the best R&B LP of the year. Never been a Big Fan of Floetry, more respected than loved thier tunes, but they did write the only great Michael Jackson song of his latter period, Butterflies. As for this LP, its quality R&B.
"Co-star" is a great soul tune, "Cloud 9" the closest to a collabo with 4Hero and a left field grower, and then theres "I lost you", "Impossible", "Forget about you" and "Sunshine" which are all excellent. Guest spots from Little Brother and Busta Rhymes for that hip hop flavour too.

5. Ryan Leslie - Transition
Probably my hardest choice on here, mainly because Im a musical snob a I really didnt want to like this LP. Ryan is definately talented, especially as a writer and producer. But to be fair hes not the greatest vocalist in the world.
BUT - Like the Marsha Ambrosius LP, this has great moments of modern R&B. Ryan writes nice hooks and soulful melodies. He also dosent stetch too much vocally, which works for him. He incorporates organic instruments into modern R&B grooves, which is refreshing.
Out of all these notes Ive written, this may seem the most negative, but remember, this things on my top 10 of the year. And thats because tunes like "Your not my girl", "Zodiac" and "Promise not to call" are catchy R&B tunes whilst "Rescue Me" is an instant classic in my opinion.

4.Jiva - Reloved and Reloving
Like the 4Hero LP, this is another remix project, albeit with some classy remixers like Louie Vega. From the great Jiva remix of "The Dove" featuring Julie Dexter which floats on some great bass work and feels like summer 1978, to Tom & Joyce laying down some vocals on "Stars", to a great guest spot from Anthony David on the "50/50" remix (With a great Latin Vibe), this was another great project that sits alongside the 4Hero project as more than a remix LP.

3.Marwan - Immortal
Cross Dwele with Jamie Hawkins, and you have the feel of the majority of tunes on this LP. "I got you" has a great Dwele feel,whilst "Aint Nobody Better" could have been a cut off that aforementioned unreleased Jamie Hawkins gem of an LP.

Great guest spots from Patrice on the old school "If you want it", and Ezra on down tempo jam called "Follow me". Tempo is definately slower than others on this list, but Marwans vocals are very good, and this is nice soulful listening music. And the Title track is a potential modern rare groove IMO.

2.Excellent Gentlemen - Just say yes
From the organic and Funky "Yeah Yeah Yeah", coming over like a Rebirth track, to the Clinton/Zapp Like Vocoder led "Get Down Baby", great modern soul track "You Gotta Believe", old school good time mid-tempo hand clapper with a modern twist "All in time", to the soulful "Remember your Love". Diverse, organic, and most importantly soulful in a way that few of the other LP's of this year were.

1. Slakah the Beatchild - The Soul Movement

LP of the year. No doubt.
Heres the cocktail. One part Jay Dee. A splash of 4Hero. A touch of ATCQ.
Where to start? "Crate Love" with Divine Brown is a Jay Dee like soul joint with some great vocals, "The answer" feat. Melanie Durrant is Latin Hip hop, "Share" is like a Tribe called Quest/Jay Dee produced joint and is TOO SHORT! "B Boy Beef" reminds me of a Marc Mac production, as does "A way". "Its all good" is Neo Soul at its best.

And theres more. Even when he tries his hand at a rock track, its like a Police outtake and you could be sure that Stewart Copeland was on drums. There are Hip hop beats and more full blown tunes and I would urge you to pick this LP up as its SLEPT ON.

LP of the year 2009, for sure.

Nearly made its....Maxwell, whos LP had moments, but there was something missing for me, and I cant put my finger on it yet. Want to love the LP cause the mans doing his own thing, but........Marcell and The Truth came out with a quality soul LP which almost made this list. Marcells vocal's are quality, and thier sound is refreshing, but there wasnt a jam on the lp that I LOVED. Thats not to say you wont, and Ive got a feeling I'll regret this as the LP could be a grower....Ayah's 4:15, Produced by this years hero Slakah, was also a quality release....

BIG DISAPPOINTMENTS. Angie. What have you done?? My Neo Soul goddess...why make a pop LP??? And as for you Alicia Keys....your more talented than this! The world has Beyonce and Lady Gaga....why go to the dark side??

Below is the link to my mix of a selection from the above LP's. Support the artists!!

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