Not to go all Boyz II Men on everyone, but sadly we’re reaching the end of the road with Philly Mixtape‘s 5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2016 column, However, in true grand finale fashion, we’ll be serving up not one, not two, but three more rounds with 10 more albums to go and one special tribute to the late and oh, so great Aaliyah as one of her immaculate sets is celebrating a major milestone this year. Do you know which one it is?
In the meantime, go out and get some botox because these next five albums just might make you feel your real age (27, of course), but hey, at least you’ll have some great music to rock out and dance to while preserving your youth. Go.
Rolling Stones/Black and Blue/40 YO While the Stones’ 15th album isn’t noted as their greatest music achievement, it’s monumental in the fact that it was their first set not to hit the right chords with music critics since their debut over a decade earlier. The legendary overseas rock band’s first studio album released with Ronnie Wood as the replacement for Mick Taylor, as Mr. Wood played twelve-string acoustic guitar on the track “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)” and appears on half of the Black and Blue album on backing vocals. The group also brought on musicians Wayne Perkins and Harvey Mandel to play guitar on the remaining tracks. Confused? Band member Keith Richards certainly was as he would later comment “Rehearsing guitar players, that’s what that one was about.”
The album also saw the band incorporating its traditional rock and roll style while mixing in heavy influences from reggae and funk music. Though recorded at a transitional moment for the Stones, the release was met with mixed to positive retrospective reviews from publications such as Allmusic, with critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine stating that the album’s “being longer on grooves and jams than songs” ended up being “what’s good about it.” However, fellow music critic Lester Bangs was not so kind as he noted–“the heat’s off, because it’s all over, they really don’t matter anymore or stand for anything” and “This is the first meaningless Rolling Stones album, and thank God.”
Either way, the Stones Black and Blue show certainly went on as the set would produce two hit singles–“Fool to Cry” and “Hot Stuff” and lead the band to record follow-up record, “Some Girls (“Miss You,” “Beast of Burden” )which would become their most successful studio albums to date. It all just goes to show that there’s no such thing as bad press as long as you can learn from your blunders–and that’s what the Stones certainly did when it came to the Black and Blue era.
Nirvana/Nevermind/25 YO An album that really needs no introduction as Nirvana’s sophomore set would not just become responsible for bringing both alternative rock and grunge to a large, mainstream audience, but would change the music industry forever. Produced by Butch Vig, dearly departed frontman Kurt Cobain sought to make music outside the restrictive confines of the Seattle grunge scene, which would see the band drawing influence from groups such as the Pixies and their use of “loud/quiet” dynamics. It should also be musically noted that Nevermind is the first Nirvana album to feature the soon-to-be legendary drum stylings of Mr. Dave Grohl.
Despite low commercial expectations by their record label as well as the band themselves, Nevermind would eventually become a major surprise success in late 1991, largely due to the popularity of the Samuel Bayer directed video for iconic lead single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” By January of the following year, the album would serve out three more hit singles–“Come As You Are,” (that bass line though) “Lithium” and “In Bloom,” which would propel the groundbreaking set to diamond certification (at least 10 million copies shipped), and sell a whopping 24 million copies worldwide.
If you were to look for pure music truth in the ’90s (since we all know it got a little lost sometimes), Nirvana’s Nevermind is simply it. Go on, Mr. Cobain.
Destiny’s Child/Survivor/15 YO Not only did Destiny’s Child chart topping third set have us saying “bye” to those other girls and give life to the coveted phrase, ‘Not the Michelle,” but it’s also home to “Bootylicious,” which is still a track we still escape from no matter how hard Beyoncé tries.
Aaliyah/Self-titled/15 YO Sigh…..no words needed. We all still miss you, boo. “Rock the Boat” for life.
Britney Spears/Femme Fatale/5 YO While Britney’s dance moves weren’t nearly on point as they are during her current Piece of Me Las Vegas residency (go here for the slay), but it was the album that brought Brit Brit back to her Billboard chart topping game as it would also become her first set to give birth to three top 10 singles in “Hold It Against Me,” “I Wanna Go” and “Til’ the World Ends.”
Speaking of “World,” the tantalizing tune was wonderfully co-written by Ms. Kesha (anyone remember the remix? Of course you do), and for that we must always show love to Ms. Spears dance pop soaked extravaganza. Because it really was…and still most certainly is.
Miss a week? No worries, peep on down below for all the 2016 music milestones truth.