I hate putting these lists together. Ok, I lied. I love doing it. But it’s so hard. Putting all of the songs and albums together that I heard in 2007 into one conclusive list is tough. There are even things that came out in 2007 that I know are good, but that I haven’t even listened to enough to make a solid decision on.
But let’s start with the American Idol stuff. I guarantee that I’m the only one thinks about Idol albums on “best of” lists like this. In 2007, a bunch of Idol albums came out with the best being Elliot Yamin’s self titled debut. Carrie Underwood followed up her big hitter rookie album with another strong album titled Carnival Ride. I’m certain more than one song on the album is about Tony Romo. Kelly Clarkson argued with Clive and released an album that’s emotional and all her own, but yikes, does that mean I have to listen to her downpour of depression? Even Katharine McPhee dropped an album that was actually decent. It bricked (and caused her to get dropped from her record deal), but it was much better than it had any right to be. In late 2006 (but they count here for me for being so late in the year), Fantasia and Taylor Hicks put out good albums, though both didn’t sell. And Hicks’ debut got him dropped from his deal. So much for the idea that all Idol winners are stars. Also, Ruben Studdard’s third album dropped and it was a mess and a half. Not surprisingly he was also dropped from his deal as well. There were others that I didn’t get a chance to listen to like Kellie Pickler and Bucky (that dude should just drop his last name).
The two albums that dropped late in the year were from Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks and runner up Blake Lewis. While Lewis is going to get shredded because he doesn’t have a great singing voice, his album is the better of the two. It’s creative and in a style you’d expect from him. Sparks’ isn’t creative, and that’s the downfall. She’s at a weird age in which she’s too old to be Hannah Montana and too young to be a sexy songstress. I’d expect much better from her in the years to come. As for Blake, he’s probably not going to last long in this game, but he gets an E for effort. At least Break Anotha was hot.
I still haven’t been able to give enough time to Lupe Fiasco’s second album, The Cool. I love the single, but in order to put it on a list like this, I have to give it more than just the random listen that I did. I apologize to Lupe. Next time, release your album a little earlier bruh.
There are a bunch of albums that I really liked, but didn’t love, or simply haven’t listened to enough to know if I love or not. Unless it’s something I know I’ll love immediately, music and me aren’t necessarily always love at first sight. Joni Mitchell’s Shine is impressive considering I wasn’t raised on Mitchell and thus haven’t heard a lot of her classic work. But when two of my closest friends both told me to give it a shot, I did. And when one of them decided to send me all the songs in e-mail, I really couldn’t say no. To say I was impressed is an understatement. I was also impressed with Bruce Springsteen’s Magic. It’s really the first album of his that I’ve given a hard listen to since The Rising. The single Radio Nowhere was genius. Chrisette Michele is an artist that didn’t get much love, and one can understand why. It’s not a pop album at all. Her I Am is an album that I had to listen to more than once in order to get it, and I don’t even think I’ve fully gotten it yet. It’s very much an R&B/soul/jazz clash that’s void of bubble gum. Joss Stone’s Introducing … is a fun album that takes advantage of her voice and gives her good material to work with. She does good stuff with not only Common, but Lauryn Hill, and no one did anything with Lauryn Hill except for her own ego.
Maroon 5’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long came strong out of the blocks with the funky Makes Me Wonder and stayed strong throughout. Talib Kweli and Common also hit with albums this year. Kweli’s Eardrum was consistent throughout and for rap fans, is right up there with the best hip hop releases of the year. But I thought there was definitely something missing. It might just be Kweli. I love his rhymes, but he lacks charisma, and that’s why I think I’d rather listen to a lesser rapper like Kanye, but also one who makes complete songs, even though toe to toe, he can’t flow with Kweli. Common’s Finding Forever wasn’t as good as Be, but it found many spins in my iPod. Spins? To me, The People was one of the bangers of the year. Timbaland took the “featuring …” to another level with Shock Value. It was chock full of radio ear candy. One of the things I love about Timbaland is that he simply enjoys getting people to go crazy in the clubs, but he is not afraid of experimenting with different types of artists. He’s not going to go completely left, but he’ll rock with One Republic and The Hives and then on the same album throw a bone to his old buddy Magoo. He still can’t rap though.
Ne-Yo and Rihanna converged with Hate That I Love You and at that point, I pretty much considered them one and the same. I found Ne-Yo’s Because Of You superior to his first album. Maybe it was the title track that I loved so much. But I just found more reasons to listen all the way through. Rihanna’s Good Girl Gone Bad was the one album that you could’ve thrown on at a party and not had to worry about changing the music for an hour. She had the biggest single in the world and seemingly grew up right before our eyes. Have you seen the video to Hate That I Love You? If not, go now. You can always come back here. I won’t mind.
The list of albums that I loved is much shorter. Though Alicia Keys hasn’t yet made that one near perfect album, she came closer to that goal with As I Am. It’s a much stronger album from a song writing perspective and as with any Alicia Keys song, you know you’ll get your goodie bag of awesome love songs. Like You’ll Never See Me Again was a brilliant second single. Jay-Z’s American Gangster and Kanye West’s Graduation were the two hip hop albums that I played most this year. With Jay-Z releases, I usually get a copy at least a week and a half before it comes out because someone had a bootleg and burns me one. Don’t worry y’all, I then go buy a copy when it’s finally released. With this one, I didn’t hear it until it dropped. I was slightly worried that it would be rushed, but after it was all said and done, it’s one of the best albums of his career. It’s on the soulful tip like The Blueprint, but is even more retro. And it also features the party jam of the year, Roc Boys (And The Winner Is …). We in the house, house, house. West’s Graduation came out of the gate with two singles that weren’t the type of radio song that you were used to. There was no Golddigger to be found. But he sampled Daft Punk and found his black Kate Moss. Stronger might’ve been my single of the year if I had a vote.
The release date on Elliot Yamin’s debut album wasn’t circled on everyone’s calendar. But when Wait For You dropped, I knew I’d love probably everything on this album. He waits for his girl in Wait For You, sees warning signs in their relationship in Train Wreck, and then kicks her to the curb and wants to date her friend in Movin’ On. But he makes it all better with the iTunes only In Love With You Forever. Dreamgirls was probably my second favorite movie of 2006 (why Rocky Balboa of course) and even if the acting sucked (which it didn’t, and Eddie Murphy was robbed), I would’ve still loved it because of the awesome soundtrack. Even though technically the soundtrack was released in late 2006, I listened to it more than any other album in the first half of 2007. From Jennifer Hudson’s roaring rendition of Jennifer Holiday’s And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going to the bad a** Steppin’ To The Bad Side, it’s the shortest hour car ride ever. And I’ve probably listened to it no less than 35 times.
My favorite album of the year isn’t a surprise. It’s not an original choice, but oh well. Amy Winehouse may be locked up at a looney bin with Britney Spears pretty soon, but at least someone in the looney bin will be able to sing. Ok, that was mean. I enjoyed Brit’s Blackout more than I probably should’ve and still think Break The Ice should be sent to the clubs immediately. Winehouse and producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi created soul music that simply isn’t created these days unless your name is Anthony Hamilton. Though Rehab was the hot single, Love Is A Losing Game and Tears Dry On Their Own are the real head turners. Back To Black is one of the few anythings I gave 5 stars to this year.
Favorite Song Of The Year
It’s true that I live in a whole different house
But that doesn’t mean I won’t come around
I’m still best friends with your mom have no doubt
We’ll still make time to hang out
I promise I won’t let you down
I will admit to liking things that others won’t even dare listen to. One of my favorite songs of the year was the Carrie Underwood song I’ll Stand By You, which was only found on iTunes I believe. My favorite sing isn’t earth shattering and it’s not going to hit the charts anytime soon, but it was the most meaningful to me. Not simply Babyface anymore, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds penned a song that could’ve been written for me. Not Going Nowhere is a love letter to his son about why he and his ex-wife Tracy Edmonds (Edmonds-Murphy?) decided to be best friends. It really touched home with me because my ex-wife and I made a promise to each other that we would put away any hard feelings we have for each other and work to keep our family together. Our two sons are too important for pettiness and so far, we’ve done that. I live 2 minutes away from my boys, have them whenever I want, and life isn’t really all that different. The boys will have to deal with us having new significant others (and they’ve really done great in that area), but having a family with divorced parents is much better than having a divorced family. Thanks ‘Face.
I know you feel a little scared
I know you think it’s not fair
And you think it’s all your fault
But it’s not I swear
If it wasn’t for you things could never be so cool
So I thank you
For being the one in our life
That showed both of us we did something right
(forgive the ads in the beginning)