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5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2016

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.

Enough said. 

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. 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

 

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5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2016/’90s R&B Edition

For week six (just two more!) of ‘5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2016,’ we’re going to lock the music bedroom door and get lost in albums by dearly departed legends  Luther Vandross and Natalie Cole, as well as make some music babies to 112’s debut set, find out if Christina Applegate ever became a P.M. Dawn fan and wonder what in the music world happened to Mr. Tony Rich.

Luther Vandross/Love Power/25 YO The seventh studio album by the late, great Luther Vandross, the sensual set would earn the gone-too-soon legend two American Music Awards for “Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist” and “Favorite Soul/R&B Album” and one Grammy Award for “Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male.”

Of course, as anyone who locked the music bedroom door and got busy to this album knows, the highlight was its sexy title track, which hit #7 at the Billboard Hot 100 which would help push the album to double platinum status. If you’ll also remember, the following year, Mr. Vandross linked up with Janet Jackson (and Bel Biv Devoe!) for the Mo’ Money inspired hit single, “Best Things in Life Are Free,” and it was certainly Love Power that helped Luther maintain a lucrative career well into the ’90s and beyond (Dance With My Father, anyone? Sigh),all the way to his unfortunate death in 2005. 

Mr. Vandross’ lost presence is still felt in the music industry today, and Love Power is one of the reasons why. 

Natalie Cole/Unforgettable (With Love)/25 YO A music world shattering set by late diva Natalie Cole. Unforgettable‘ focuses on covers of standards previously performed by her late legendary father, Nat King Cole. The critically acclaimed record also became very successful in crossing over into the Pop, Jazz, and R&B markets and is considered to be the major comeback recording that had been brewing since Cole’s late 1980s records. 

With 7 million in sales, Ms. Cole’s iconic album also took home the 1992 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and five additional Grammys: Record of the Year, Traditional Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, Arrangement Accompanying Vocals and Producer of the Year, as well as the Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Album, Female the same year.

While we still can’t figure out why the Grammy Awards didn’t pay proper tribute to the late songstress this year, there’s no denying that when you listen to her duet with her father on the album’s sultry title track, you know music heaven must be sounding really great right now. 

P.M. Dawn/Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience When it comes to P.M. Dawn’s critically acclaimed 1991 debut record, there’s pretty much one only one that can be said–“Christina Applegate, you gotta put me on.”

That and those harmonies and Spandau Ballet’s “True” for life. 

112/Self-titled/20 YO One of the first R&B records served to us from Sean Combs’ Bad Boy label (Bggie & Kim were also red-hot at the time), the album contained slick bedroom ready production from Mr. Puffy as well as vocal contributions from Boyz II Men crooner Wanya Morris.

A between-the-sheets that romp featured Bad Boy label mates the late Mase, Faith Evans and Mr. Biggie Smalls who assisted the boys on the classic remix of single, “Only You,” which still plays out as that ’90s music joint. And of course, there’s the love makin’ sonnet, “Cupid,” which still hits the right spots even twenty years later.

Those blessed 112 music days certainly were the days, weren’t they? 

Tony Rich/20 YO As any ’90s kid out there knows. male driven R&B was a force to be reckoned with baby makin’ crooners all doin’ their thing including 112, Boyz II Men, Keith Sweat (“Twisted” equals thief), Immature and Mr. Tony Rich, who delivered the acoustic guitar last jam “Nobody Knows” and award snatching accompanying album, Words. 

Thanks to “Nobody Knows,” Mr. Rich (who used the moniker “The Tony Rich Project”) and his sultry debut became an instant hit, mostly for the fact that the multi talented Rich produced, wrote, performed and arranged the entire set. The following year, Words won the Grammy Award for the Best R&B Album, and then Rich was pretty much never heard from again. 

However, “Nobody Knows” still gets us every time, so get ready to not call your ex and to not reach for that cookie dough in the fridge after listening again, because this track…sigh…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2016/Philly Edition

In week five of Philly Mixtape’s ‘5 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2016,’ we’re keeping it musically real in the City of Brotherly Love by reminiscing on landmark albums from some of Philly’s most recognizable music artists, including Hall & Oates, Boyz II Men, Joan Jett, Will Smith, P!nk, and of course, Mr. DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Hall & Oates/Private Eyes/35 YO Although the legendary local music duo had hit the upper reaches of the Billboard charts prior to Private Eyes with ’70s hits, “She’s Gone,” “Sara Smile”, and “Rich Girl,” they didn’t return to major mainstream success until the early ’80s–and it was this album that helped put them there.

Loaded with that smoothly undeniable Hall & Oates sound, which was all over singles, “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” the album’s title track (both songs also hit #1) and “Did it in a Minute,” Private Eyes eventually went platinum and helped the Philly music gentleman onto one hell of a career path in the ’80s and beyond.

It should also be musically noted that “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” also spent a week at the top of the R&B charts, which was a rare accomplishment for a white band. It’s all another reason to celebrate what a landmark album Private Eyes truly is, and you can bet that Hall & Oates will be celebrating their ’80s breakthrough record when they hit the stage at the BB&T Pavillion this upcoming July 10th. 

Joan Jett and The Blackhearts/I Love Rock and Roll/35 YO The second studio album by Joan Jett and the first to feature her backing band The Blackhearts, I Love Rock and Roll would not just make the whole entire music world fall in love with the legendary rock goddess, but the electrified title track would go on to become a karaoke staple around the globe.

The album became Ms. Jett’s most successful album to date with over 10 million copies sold, which was largely due to the success of the title track, which was released as a single soon after the album was released. What you may not know is that the original “I Love Rock and Roll” was written and recorded by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of Arrows, and after Jett saw them perform the juke box anthem live, she was was taken away by it and it quickly became a staple of her set list for 7 years before the album was even recorded.

Judging by how many times you’ve screamed it out at your local karaoke night, we’re so glad she did, and of course, so is Ms. Britney Spears, whose own version of “I Love Rock and Roll” has been playing on in her just rebooted Britney Piece of Me Las Vegas residency. 

Boyz II Men/Cooleyhighharmony/25 YO The harmonizing debut album from one of Philly’s biggest music success stories, Cooleyhighharmony was met with rave reviews upon its release a-quarter-of-a-century (!) ago. Written by group members Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman with production by ’90s super producer, Dallas Austin, the album went on to sell nine million copies worldwide thanks to thunderous lead single “Motown Philly,” which would help push follow-up their follow-up record, II, to even greater heights on the Billboard album charts. 

The album also came out at the peak of the early ’90s New Jack swing era, as fellow R&B acts like Bell Biv Devoe and ABC (hey, “Iesha”), we’re already dancing all over the charts. The Boyz’ Grammy winning set was truly the icing on the cake in a time for music that no one will ever forget anytime soon.

And you know what else we will never forget? That time on Full House when Ms. Stephanie Judith Tanner tore the roof of the place with her choreographed take on “Motown Philly.” Absolutely priceless. #soon 

Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince/Homebase/25 YO Whenever we think of DJ Jazzy Jeff’s & The Fresh Prince’s fourth studio set, there’s truly only one track that comes to mind–the Grammy award-winning lead single, “Summertime.” The perfect blend of Mr. Smith’s on point rap delivery mixed with that  Kool & The Gang “Summer Madness” sample, Ms. Perry’s “California Gurls” can take a seat to this one-of-a-kind sun-kissed anthem. 

If you’ll also remember, Will Smith was already flying high when “Summertime” hit the airwaves in ’91 as his NBC Monday night comedy, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, had just wrapped up a stellar first season. As we all know, Smith would eventually become one of the biggest movie stars on he planet in the mid ’90s, with the breezy, catchy flow of “Summertime” becoming another accomplishment that helped him get his star on the rise. 

P!nk/M!ssundaztood/15 YO Hard to believe, but it was fifteen years ago this year that P!nk gave her La Face record label boss, Mr. L.A. Reid, the middle finger after she wanted to stray away from the R&B influence of her debut record, Can’t Take Me Home and venture into more rock pop territory with her sophomore set. Lucky for us, Mr. Reid listened (did he really have a choice?) and she delivered not just one hell of a career defining album, but one that sold more than three times it predecessor. 

Led by the rousing, “Get the Party Started,” M!ssundaztood was a hit straight-out-of-the-music gate that was packed full of P!nk’s prowess alongside collaborations with 4 Non Blondes Linda Perry, who beautifully helmed most of the record.  Along with “Party,” three more top 20 singles were released from the set, including “Don’t Let Me Get Me” “Just Like a Pill” and “Family Portrait.”

M!ssundazstood would not only prove that Ms. Moore knew how to put out one hell of a slaying pop music moment in time, but that she knew what the f#$k she was doing when it came to following and trusting her music instincts. Because really, that’s why we still love her so much.