5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2017/50 Y.O. Edition

Yes, the 5 albums on this week’s list by Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin, The Doors, Beatles and the late, great David Bowie will be…fifty years old in 2017. 

But all music truth be known, they still have the ability to kick, stretch, kick and own our music lives to the fullest with every listen. 

Take a look…

David Bowie/Self-titled  Although we still can’t believe it’s been a year since the world lost the great Mr. Bowie, what’s even harder to believe is that it’s been fifty years since he graced the stars and all of us with his iconic presence on his debut set.

While its content bears very little resemblance to well, anything the superstar put out during his massive career, it’s still the one that started it all, especially when it comes to tracks, “Rubber Band Man,” “Love You Til Tuesday” “Come and Buy My Toys” and even oh, so eclectic opener, “Uncle Arthur.”

But perhaps Bowie biographer David Buckley perfectly summed this record and its status in the late rocker’s discography perfectly when he described it as “the vinyl equivalent of the madwoman in the attic.” 

And there you have it. 

The Doors/Self-titled  In case you’re wondering, ’67 was quite a year in music as Jim Morrison and The Doors also made it their debut year and simply rocked with it. Starring their breakthrough single “Light My Fire” and the lengthy psychedelic wonder “The End” with its Oedipal spoken word section, its been said that the iconic rockers credited the success of the record on being able to work the songs out night after night at the Whisky a Go Go and the London Fog nightclubs in West Hollywood

Those influences were certainly no f#$king joke as the set went on to sell twenty million copies worldwide and was indeed one of the only albums to hit stateside that was most prominent in the progression of psychedelic rock. If that’s not enough tripped out heat for you, “Light My Fire” found a home in the Grammy Hall of Fame (although Ed Sullivan might’ve not been too happy about that) and after you get down with Mr. Morrison and the boys of The Doors and this record, you’ll certainly be reminded why. 

Aretha Franklin/Aretha Arrives Although she had already begged for us to “Rescue” her a few years earlier, it was this album that cemented Ms. Diva as That Diva.

Loaded with soul, soul and more soul, Billboard smashes “Baby I Love You,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and “(I Can’t Get No)Satisfaction”(yes) proved that Franklin could not just make it through the rain after a stage accident that left her without full mobility in her right hand, but carried on through all of that record label drama between Columbia and Atlantic. 

It was also this album that paved the way for ’68 follow-up Lady Soul, a set that needs no introduction since you most likely sang “Chain of Fools” and “Natural Woman” at the top of your lungs in the shower today. We have Aretha Arrives to thank for that because boy, did she ever fifty years ago this year. 

Dolly Parton/Hello, I’m Dolly Keeping on with the ’67 truth, it was also the year we rightfully got served with everything the legendary Ms. Parton has to offer including that hair, those boobs and of course, those pipes which were beautifully laced all over her debut set. 

While we could easily sit and spill all day about everything this album has to offer including those catchy melodies (“I Wasted My Years”)swinging riffs (“Something Fishy”) and irresistible charm, but when your first album starts off with a little track called “Dumb Blonde,” we must pay our respect and attention right away to Ms. Dolly and her feast of infectious debut ditties. 

The Beatles/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Does this one really need an explanation? 

Cover photo courtesy of Daily Express 


5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2017/Divas of ’92 Edition

So, who’s ready to musically live it up as if it’s 1967-2012 all over again?

Well, how about for the next ten weeks as Philly Mixtape is serving back up its oh, so special 5 Albums column, where we’ll get lost and get down to 50 albums celebrating all sorts of fabulous milestones in 2017.

Because in a year that’s (already) heading towards the future at a rapid pace with days laced throughout that are guaranteed to make some of us (let’s face it, all of us) feel like we have no seat belts on, these albums will make us stop, secure our seat and listen to that dear, sweet music that still makes us live today. 

Case in point, Madonna’s Erotica, En Vogue’s Funky Divas, CeCe Peniston’s Finally, Vanessa Williams The Comfort Zone and our dearly departed Whitney Houston‘s The Bodyguard soundtrack, all of which are served up and ready to flow with a kick off ‘Divas of ’92’ edition, which will get you ready for all of this TBT truth that’s headed your way over the next ten weeks.

Let’s go.

Madonna/Erotica Starting this milestones tea off with a spot of truth–and this certainly isn’t a question–Madonna’s fifth record isn’t just the most overrated, most sexualized, most honest, most right album in her bountiful bunch, but it’s her best. Complete with deep ’90s beats that still sound as bedroom/life ready as the day producer Shep Pettibone cooked them up for us, Madge delivered us straight up life (especially on “Where Life Begins” once you understand what it’s really about. Right, Colonel Sanders?), intertwined with tales about love (and that bitch on “Thief of Hearts”) and most of all…served us with a piece of art that’s still unlike anything any other music artist has ever put out since or…ever. 

Of course, all that greatness always comes with a side of shade, and that’s just what was thrown, or heaved at the Material Girl during this era due to its overt sex dish and imagery, as dually noted by every parent in pretty much the world who slammed the diva for talking about sex and all of the other (fun) things that trot along with it. A woman talking about sex and bedroom fantasies? Off with her career! ’90s bish, please…and Madonna give us more, now. 

And when it came to the accompanying Sex book? Well, let’s save breaking a mug because you know you just looked through it to see it all about five minutes ago. 

While some say that it derailed Madonna’s career (hence its softer, smoother follow-up, Bedtime Stories) but others, namely those who, like, live, say it changed their worlds and inspired them to the fiercest, baddest, dominant bitches they can be whether in our out of the bedroom. 

Isn’t that right, Ms. Dita? Yas. And “Deeper and Deeper” and “Rain” for life, of course….because respect. 

En Vogue/Funky Divas “Prejudice. Like to talk about it? Like to hear it? Here it go.” Yes, it was those still insanely relevant words that set off “Free Your Mind,” just one of the monstrous Billboard charting singles from En Vogue’s blockbuster sophomore set, Funky Divas. On a track list that also includes the James Brown sampling “My Lovin(Your Never Gonna Get It,” the gals breathless take on Ms. Franklin’s “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” the sassy “Love Don’t Love You” and the sensual, “Give It Up, Turn It Loose,” it was this album that not only cemented a decade that would end being full of girl power and that Ms. Beyonce should be forever thankful for. 

Because if it wasn’t for the strong, sleek, stylish (we learned how to walk for our lives from the “Free Your Mind” video) musical stylings of Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson and Terri Ellis setting the bar for Destiny’s Child in the late ’90s or any other diva after (right, Ms. Grande?) that dared walk in those successful shoes despite it all, who knows where our music lives would be now. 

Most likely basic and just not as funky. Thank you, ladies of En Vogue.

Ce Ce Peniston/Finally If there was one genre that stormed the radio airwaves and our lives back in the early ’90s (besides, well, all of them), it was certainly those grooves from the always underrated genre of dance music. And if there was diva at the forefront of those now classic anthems who still has checkin’ our music view lens on the dance floor of life (we love you, too, Ms. Crystal Waters), it’s Ms. CeCe and her frothy freshman record.

Loaded with gusto, those grooves and that voice, it’s singles like the titular title track, “We Gotta Love Thang,” “Lifeline,” “Crazy Love,” (for baby makin..even dance divas get down) and of course, “Keep on Walkin,” which will always have us running to this record whenever we want to feel it the most. Which is mainly the weekends as CeCe’s debut still provides the perfect soundtrack for wherever your T.G.I.F. life may take you. 

Let’s dance.

Vanessa Williams/The Comfort Zone “Sometimes the snow comes down in June…sometimes the sun goes around the moon..” Oh, you know the words and still clutch those music pearls to “Save the Best for Last,” just one of the many delightful pop ditties off of the diva’s successful ’92 set.

And after you’re done listening to it (or if you hear it at the supermarket, which you will, take a moment..clutch) in all of its Billboard chart topping prowess for the hundredth time (because…life), you should also get comfy with the blissful “Just for Tonight,” the dance pop man kiss off (or 2016, for that matter) “Running Back to You,” or “Work to Do,” her busy diva cover of Marvin Gaye’s classic. Because that’s what it’ll make you do as well as any other grooves on this record provided and served up by the one-and-only, Mizz Vanessa L. Williams


The Bodyguard/Soundtrack The video for our beloved dearly departed Ms. Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You” sums this world shattering soundtrack all sorts of up. And if you do need a further explanation, you’re simply not Whitney-in-’92 worthy. That and S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M for life, because it’s always quite a lovely day whenever this record takes over our lives…which is still does every damn day of the week. 



5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2016/Divas Edition

In this music life, we must always remember…so many divas, all day to vocally sort them all out. 

In fact, an eardrum full of your favorite leading music ladies are helping close out Philly Mixtape‘s 5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2016, column, including Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, Xtina, Beyoncé and Janet Jackson, all of whom probably have an album on this list that you’re most likely screeching it to as we musically speak. So until next year, dive right in and let the divas take a hold of you once more…as if they weren’t already. 

Diana Ross/Self-titled/40 YO Ms. Ross’ second self-titled set (because we all know only a true diva can get away with that), the lively record would become the legendary chanteuse’s biggest-selling set since 1973’s Touch Me in the Morning, and the first of her albums since her debut to yield more than four hit singles. Peaking at #5 on the US Billboard 200 album chart,  two of the singles served up became #1 hits: “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” (also included on the Mahogany soundtrack), and the slinky disco anthem, “Love Hangover.” Both tracks wouldn’t both just go on to become the iconic soul goddesses most widely regarded solo hits, but ones that prove why Ms. Ross is still a diva force to be reckoned with today. 

Mariah Carey/Emotions/25 YO If there’s one thing to take away from MC’s now quarter-of-century old sophomore opus (besides the fact that it’s home to two of the diva’s most underrated singles “Can’t Let Go” and “Make it Happen), is that you really, really, really need to stop trying to hit all…those high notes in the bouncing title track during karaoke nights. Because much like Gretchen Wieners and “fetch” in Mean Girls…it’s just never going to happen. 

Janet Jackson/All for You/15 YO This may be very, very hard to believe, but it was 15 years ago when Ms. J served us with her last Billboard chart topping single, the Luther Vandross “The Glow of Love” sampling title track, but that it was also her last set to achieve multi-platinum chart status. Either way, what music bliss, because not only is All for You full of light, coo-ey R&B grooves, but it showcased a newfound growth and maturity for the singer being that a year prior to its release, Ms. Jackson-if-you’re-nasty announced that she divorced Rene Elizondo after being married to him for seven years. Janet’s newfound grown-and-single sexiness glows in tracks like, “Someone to Call My Lover,” “Come on Get Up,” and “China Love.” But the true standout is the Carly Simon inspired “Son of a Gun” which would be later rewerked by Ms. Missy Elliot into one hell of a remix. 

We also can’t forget that the fun-loving title track was also accompanied on radio by the one, two Billboard chart punch of Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and that rewire of “Lady Marmalade,” all creating a magical moment that anyone who lived that 2001 music life has never forgotten since. Sigh…

Christina Aguilera/Back to Basics/10 YO Waaaay before she was a coach on The Voice, Ms. Christina Aguilera actually made albums…that people paid attention to. (no music shade…when’s the last time you listened to Bionic and Lotus?) Recorded as a double album (although some critics weren’t sure why), Xtina took her love for 1920s–1940s music idols, including Billie Holiday, Etta James, and Ella Fitzgerald, while enlisting modern-day producers DJ Premier, Mark Ronson and Rich Harrison to combine all the elements to give the set a mainstream radio feel. 

Lead single, “Ain’t No Other Man” (which was inspired by her future ex-husband, Jordan Bratman), would become her last top 10 solo smash, that would help the album hit #1 on the album charts as well as launch the ultra-successful Back to Basics Tour, in which she closed the road spectacle by announcing to the world that she was then pregnant with her son, Max. While some fans grumbled that Xtina was taking it back to the old school way too soon n her career, the jazzed up record was met with positive reviews from music critics who complimented its musical diversity from Aguilera’s previous albums (hey, Stripped), which helped the record secure a Grammy win for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Ain’t No Other Man” the following year. 

While we’re all still waiting for Christina to make her next album move (seriously, when is it coming out), it’s always nice to go back in time (literally) to hear that voice when it wasn’t just on The Voice

Beyoncé/B’Day/10 YO No explanation needed because you’re most likely doing the choreography from the “Get Me Bodied” video as we speak. Right, Michelle? Or, you’re kicking your ex to the curb while playing “Irreplaceable” at full Bey blast. Enough said.

And purr on, “Kitty Kat,” of course. 

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