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8 Albums Celebrating Milestones in 2017/Those 2002 Albums, Though..

So, why eight albums on this week’s list? Read on to find out and relive those 2002 albums, though…because you most certainly will. 

Ashanti/Self-titled Let’s just get right down to business, because when it comes to the music of 2002, Ms. Ashanti was that business. Fresh off the hook from Ja Rule’s (ahem..)chart topping “Always on Time,” the diva served us life with the Marley Marl/Biggie sampling lead single, “Foolish,” (plus that Goodfellas inspired video, though) which spent an unprecedented eleven weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the former Princess of Murder Inc Records/Hip Hop & R&B was featured on, like, forty-five tracks that year(“What’s Luv?” “Down 4 U”…sigh), but it was this album and all of the pre-Ciara goodies that were laced all over it (“Happy,” “Baby”) that further proved that when it came to those grooves of 2002, Ms. Ashanti was always on time for all of us. 

Norah Jones/Come Away With Me Long before Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga gave us Cheek to Cheek realness and a touch before Xtina went all Back to Basics, Ms. Norah Jones served us with the lighter side of jazz with her whimsical debut set, Come Away With Me

While every song on the album still remains as light as a sun-kissed breeze (the title track, “Don’t Know Why“) the album itself was a straight up beast on the charts where it would go on to sell a whopping twenty million copies worldwide and continue with Grammy snatch (six for our girl) that still remains in a historical class of its very own. Although Ms. Jones doesn’t own our adult contemporary hearts these days like she used to, the magical music memories on her stellar debut will certainly last a lifetime. 

Nelly/Nellyville In 2000, the Band Aid promoting rapper made us learn that down home Country Grammar. (“Ride Wit Me” 4 lyfe). In 2002, he had us take off all of our clothes because he made it so f#$king “Hot in Herre” for all of us, which was soon followed by a romp on the Desperate Housewives set with Kelly Rowland in the “Dilemma” video.

There was a shoe or a song or something called “Air Force Ones,” which proves that if we were a tossed a one-way ticket to Nellyville right this very second, we would do it all over again, even the Country Grammar era for that matter. Right, Ms. Vanna? Let’s go. 

J.Lo/J to Tha L-O The Remixes/This is Me…Then While could easily spill about how 2002 was also the year that gave us….Bennifer, there’s just not enough words on the page for all of that. Especially since ’02 was also the year that Ms. Lo gave us not one, but two blockbuster records, the first being The Remixes album (“Ain’t it Funny” all day), which was followed a touch later down the road with the release of her third studio album, This Is Me…Then.

Yes, “Jenny From the Block” and “Dear Ben” are still the worst, but we’ll forever be grateful for the L.L. co-starring and (and Deborah Laws Very Special” sampling), “All I Have,” the Flashdance inspired clip for “I’m Glad” will always do it to us and the “Juicy Fruit” tasting, “Loving You” will always be quite delicious.

Because it was both of these albums that truly turned J.Lo from being a diva into being that diva. And we’ll never forget it. 

Missy Elliot/Under Construction Oh, Missy try to maintain…our lives when it comes to the funky fresh flavors on your still red-hot fourth studio album. Without going on and on here (because..this record), you must dive in at once and relive this glorious 2002 music moment, because there’s simply no flippin’ and reversin’ it when it comes to the Missy truth that will always be served up on her Grammy owning, career defining album, Under Construction. 

Christina Aguilera/Stripped Here…we…f#$king go, right, that now oh, so infamous Rolling Stone cover that truly served us Xtina realness when it came to this album? Gone were the Mickey Mouse ears and Britney comparisons, and waaaay in was Linda Perry, assless chaps, more Lil’ Kim, one “Beautiful” ballad and one “Dirrty” video that will forever remain in a delightfully skanky class all on its own accord. 

While we may never know when–or even if–Mizz Xtina will get up out of her chair on The Voice and serve us with Blonde (or whatever it was supposed to be called), but Stripped certainly gave every Xtina queen an album for days (sorry, Back to Basics), especially when it comes to album cut, “Get Mine, Get Yours,” which pretty much sums this era of the window destroying diva all sorts of up.

Well, that and the Justified & Stripped tour, of course.

Justin Timberlake/Justified One word..”Britney” followed by five more words…”Cry Me a River Video”….do you really need anything else? How about, everything else on the album that started the still ignited JT era, including “Like I Love You,” “Rock Your Body,” and of course, “Señorita.” Ay dios mio, Mr. Timberlake. 

8 Mile Soundtrack Eminem….the dearly departed Brittany MurphyKim Basinger…”Lose Yourself”….no further questions if you dare to ask any when it comes to this soundtrack

 

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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 

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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…