Now this is in random order, of course. Most of these albums on my playlist received universal critical acclaim; some are mixed and few of them were welcomed with negative feedbacks from critics upon its release. Nonetheless, I didn’t use anybody’s preference in creating this post but mine.
THE MISEDUCATION OF LAURYN HILL.
Released in ’98, ‘Miseducation‘ was welcomed with both commercial and critical success from critics and the GP. I am in my kindergarten days when this era happened so I haven’t really experienced it in its full glory. Although I do see ‘Doo Woop (That Thing)‘ being played on MTV (you know, back when MTV really plays music videos) and thought it was really a good song. Shortly after the ‘Miseducation‘ era ended, Lauryn found her musical career and her personal life down the Hill. She suffered depression due to the pressure of making another album that can surpass or at least achieve the same status as her debut. She was also found guilty of tax-evasion in 2012-2013. But let’s not talk about her struggles, shall we? Recognized as her only studio album; ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill‘ opened the doors to other women in music especially in the hip-hop genre to succeed. She became the first woman to be nominated in ten categories at the ‘99 Grammy Awards and won five; another first for a female artist. The album’s latest achievement was its inclusion in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
favorite track/s: To Zion.
BORN TO DIE
If you’re familiar with my blog, you know I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Woolridge Grant a.k.a Lana Del Rey. As a matter of fact, my very first entry to the (professional) blogging world was my article about one of her latest studio album Ultraviolence. But I’m going to be honest here. I actually find her boring at first. I didn’t even bother to check her out the first time I saw ‘Video Games‘ on Channel [V]. Unexpectedly, when I decided to give this album a spin; I instantly fell in love with how dark it is. It’s so different and I can’t stop listening. Lana is such a wonderful musician, dedicated to her craft more than achieving commercial success. After several screen-name changes including Lizzy Grant, Lana Del Ray and May Jailer; Lana finally found a major label and a commercial success she always wanted. It was her first platinum-seller in the U.S and was re-issued as ‘Paradise‘. Aside from the songs, one thing I like (or maybe the thing that I like the most) about ‘Born’ is the official CD cover. It’s simple yet haunting, just like the entire concept of the album. And it’s amazing how Lana can show you the mood for the entire set by just a simple gaze. She looks sexy but she is totally covered on the photo. She’s really a stunner. Absolutely gorgeous. When I first introduced Lana to my group of friends (they all love Pop music, by the way) the reaction was negative. “Sounds like you’re in a funeral”, “did someone died?” and ” She’s definitely Illuminati. Like a demon singing.” Even myself couldn’t understand how I became a Lana stan. I just think she’s a breath of fresh air. None of her songs are catchy, you can’t dance to it. As a matter of fact, it sounds boring and sleepy-ish. But at least, she’s not naked all the time and doesn’t look weird. She’s on her own lane.
favorite track/s: Summertime Sadness, National Anthem and Dark Paradise.
Of course I have to include this album (although me thinks it’s a bit overrated). The impact this album made on this (our) generation of music is undeniable. ‘21‘ helped revitalise the declining sales of music industry in general for two consecutive years (2011 and 2012). Let’s admit, as much as I enjoy pop music in general; music really sucks these days. Overly sexualized lyrics and music videos etc. Adele is a breath of fresh air. She deserves all the record-breaking success she had with this album. She doesn’t need fireworks, massive stage productions, dancers and revealing costumes to gain attention; just her standing with her mic singing is enough for all her songs to become multi-platinum. I can’t wait for the third album though. She’s coming to slay so you better hide your faves! LOL!
favorite track/s: One and Only and Someone Like You.
The album that saved my life. Hands down, the best album ever! The message of this album alone (self-acceptance and equality) is enough to bring tears to my eyes. From start to finish, the album is life! Another thing that makes ‘Stripped‘ special is everytime I listen to it; it reminds me of my childhood a.k.a Britney v.s Christina era. The golden days of bubblegum pop era! Like!
favorite track/s: Fighter, Infatuation, Cruz , Soar, and The Voice Within.
THE FAME MONSTER
A fast follow-up to her glorious debut album ‘The Fame‘, ‘Monster‘ established GaGa as pop’s newest superstar. Enough with those Illuminati sh*t, this lady is talented and it’s pretty obvious she’s certain on what musical direction she wants to go to.
favorite track/s:Dance in the Dark, Speechless, Bad Romance and So Happy I Could Die.
If you’re a ‘RiRi stan’ or a big pop music fan as I am, you’ll be familiar with the term ‘RihVember‘. The term came from the fact that Rihanna releases her album every November of each year for four consecutive years namely: ‘Rated R‘ (2009) , ‘Loud‘ (2010) , ‘Talk That Talk‘ (2011) and ‘Unapologetic‘ (2012). Among these Riri eras; I’ve gotta say that Loud is my most favourite! From the singles consecutively reaching no.1 on Billboard Hot 100 to making history by playing 10 dates at the O2 Arena in London (the most by a female artist, breaking records set by Britney Spears with a total of 8 shows). The visual for this album is the best I’ve seen from the Bajan superstar. I mean, she can color her hair with different shades every single time but I’m pretty sure she can’t channel a red hair anymore since the red-haired Riri is exclusive for Loud era only.
favorite track/s: What’s My Name, Cheers (Drink to That), Fading, Only Girl (in the World), California King Bed and Complicated.
THE VELVET ROPE
Janet Jackson will go down in history as one of the most talented female musicians ever. That’s a fact. The queen deserves that recognition not because of her last name or the popularity of her brother, but because she was able to make an impact in the pop culture until now and opened the doors for other female stars in the industry all by her own.
To be honest, I found myself confused onto what album I would include from her. I’m not a big fan but her musical catalog is one of the best so I would consider another Janet album in the future (maybe on the part 2 of this article). The main reason why I chose ‘Velvet‘ first among her CD’s is because most music lovers agree that this is her best work to date. It’s the first time people saw the 50-year old singer with red hair, tattoos and body piercings. It’s also on this era where she dropped her last name and start promoting as ‘Janet’.
The album’s content also sparked my interest and she have my biggest respect for being brave and bold in tackling sensitive issues like domestic violence, AIDS and homophobia.
favorite track/s: Together Again, Empty and Every Time.
RAY OF LIGHT
From queen Janet to another queen, Madonna. If Ms. Jackson has the ‘The Velvet Rope’, queen Madge has the ‘Ray of Light’.
After starring in the musical Evita in 1996, she released ‘Light’ two years after as her seventh studio album and ninth overall.
The musical atmosphere during that time was dominated by bubblegum pop stars like Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. It was a bold move from her part to release an electronic-techno album on the mainstream pop scene. ‘Ray of Light’ is considered responsible for bringing the genre to the top of the music charts. The album also used Oriental themes like the Kaballah wisdom and ancient religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Songs from the album was also inspired by her practice of Yoga, as well as the birth of her daughter Lourdes and her mother’s death.
favorite track/s: The Power of Good-bye.
WHERE WE BELONG
If you think you’ll not see an album from a 90’s boyband on this post…..think again! Compared to N’Sync and Backstreet Boys, these boys from Ireland has a better discography in my opinion. They didn’t make any cheesy,generic bubblegum pop. Their approach is more mature and this album is a pure gem!I’m a sucker for ballad songs and the physical copy that we have is a cassette tape. I remember me and my mom singing along to ‘All That I Need‘: “You’re the air that I breathe, girl you’re all that I need, And I wanna thank you lady.” Pure nostalgia! Good memories man, good memories! When I was less than 10 yrs. old, I am already familiar with Boyzone and how good their music is; but since during their prime, I couldn’t care less about them, it makes me feel sad that I wasn’t able to enjoy their music knowing that they could never make another album like ‘Where We Belong‘ since one of the main vocals Stephen Gately isn’t with us anymore ( ICYDK, Gately died in October, 2009 of a congenital heart defect).
favorite track/s: All That I Need, And I , That’s How Love Goes, Where Did You Go, While the World Is Going Crazy and Will Be Yours.
The album that made me become a ‘Swiftie’! Yes!! I never hated the old Taylor Swift but I think her new image(post-RED era) is better. I mean her music is good and she’s a great songwriter; that’s a proven fact. But I just can’t relate to her songs before. Having a crush on a handsome football player, falling in love with your best friend or those cheesy break-up songs for your ex-boyfriend.Not me.
Although ‘1989′ still have those kind of songs (Style and How You Get The Girl); most songs from the album showed the maturity in her lyrics: gender equality(Welcome to New York), making fun of how much people hate her (Shake It Off and Blank Space),revenge (Bad Blood) and being young and free (New Romantics).
Here’s hoping she’ll consider Philippines to be part of her 1989 tour just in case she’ll add additional venues for the show.
favorite track/s: Welcome to New York, Blank Space, Style, Shake it Off, Clean, How You get the Girl, New Romantics , Out of the Woods, Bad Blood………..can I just say?! I love the WHOLE ALBUM. Period.
The first K-Pop entry on this list! I know a lot of you would raise your eyebrows thinking I just put this album in because of my severe love for KPOP but you’re wrong. Yes, KPOP is becoming more and more generic as time flies. Idols look and sound the same, as well as their songs (since they’re working with the same producers, same make-up artists and stylists). And i know you’re familiar with the Wonder Girls as well. They were able to put their name out there by releasing the catchiest, most generic KPOP anthems of the last decade (Nobody and Tell Me). But this album
might will change the way you look at this group from JYP Entertainment.
Wonder World (released November 7, ’11) is the group’s sophomore album and their first full length album release after their moderately successful activities and promotions in America. I was a big ‘Wonderful’ (name of their fandom) and a witness of how this group dominated the KPOP scene by their singles all reaching No.1’s , triples crowns and all-kills on the charts. From ‘Tell Me‘ to ‘So Hot‘ to ‘Nobody‘; from Hyuna(4Minute) leaving to Yubin‘s chubby days; it was all going so well until JYP made the stupid decision (that he regrets until this day)to bring them in the U.S. Although Sohee,Sunye and the rest of the girls were able to achieve something (first and only KPOP group to enter the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at #76, starring on their own TeenNick made-for-television movie); it will be nothing compared to what they’re going to achieve if they stayed in Korea longer and keep on releasing catchy, danceable songs. I’m also certain that they could’ve been bigger than Girls’ Generation if they didn’t leave. Way back in 2007, when both groups are promoting together, GG couldn’t even stand a chance. The Wonder Girls fever is unstoppable back then.
Now, in case you’re wondering why I’m talking about their American promotions more instead of the album, let me ask you this: “Did their US activities brought anything good to the group?” . YES. A big,fat YES! “Receipts?” This album. Wonder World is not you typical KPOP album. It doesn’t have that aegyo-ish feels to it. It still has that Wonder Girls sound but it’s more mature and westernized for some obvious reasons. The girls also contributed to producing and writing some of the tracks for the LP and all of them have done an incredible job! It’s not about the chart success or the bragging rights to be the first Asian artists to breakout in the ever-so-racist US market. It’s the maturity of the girls themselves. Musically, they’ve grown so much. And as a fan who supported them since their debut, I am very,very proud.
And they recently made a comeback as a four-member band with the single ‘I Feel You’ and the third album ‘REBOOT’ last month.
favorite track/s: Me,In
ON YOUR RADAR
(“The Saturdays, ugh. My favorite UK gurls!” (in British accent)). While the whole world is crazy fighting over Fifth Harmony v.s Little Mix, there’s another girl group in the U.K who (in my opinion) gave up in finding ways to gain relevancy in the US and the rest of the world. They’re happy and satisfied in dominating both the bottom and top of the charts in UK and Australia. They are The Saturdays. And before you judge them and call them “another girl group”, just wanna remind you that they’ve been on the game since 2007.Yup, years before FH or LM has been formed via X-Factor. 3 of the five members are happily married and enjoying their new life as mothers. The group is currently on hiatus; right after finishing their first compilation album ‘Finest Selection‘ and its supporting tour, ‘Greatest Hits Live!’ One of the group’s main vocalists Rochelle Humes will be hosting The Xtra Factor , while the rest of the ladies will be focusing on their individual careers and personal lives. So while I’m waiting for their next album, I’ll just go ahead and listen to their amazing catalogue.
Like what I’ve said, The Saturdays aren’t really popular globally so if you’re interested about their sound, go listen to ‘Chasing Lights’ or ‘Wordshaker‘. If you enjoyed the ride, then that’s the time you listen to ‘On Your Radar’. All of their releases are quite phenomenal in my opinion, but if I had to choose one album per artists; then ‘Radar’ will be the chosen one. ‘Twas their most experimental album and they succeed (musically) and failed (commercially) with this one. If you wanna party, the track listing will work out just fine for you. No need to skip tracks because the ballads from this album are also good (maybe you can wipe your sweat while listening to ‘My Heart Takes Over’ or ‘Wish I Didn’t Know‘).
favorite tracks: ‘ I Say OK‘ , ‘My Heart Takes Over‘ , ‘Last Call‘ and ‘Faster‘.
HOOK ME UP
If I could include all of their three albums, I would! That’s how much I love these twins! I chose ‘Hook‘ tho because it is the parent album of one of the greatest songs of all time, ‘Untouched‘. This LP is sooooooo goooood! It’s the kind of CD you play without skipping any song. Also, my love for Lisa and Jess grew more after their 7-long year of hiatus because of label conflicts and all. They stood up for what they believe in and I hope they’ll create more beautiful music in the coming years.
favorite track/s: I love their entire discography!!!!
Upon the release of Lorde‘s ‘Pure Heroine‘, the kiwi girl is already receiving a lot of love from fans all over the world. Lead single ‘Royals‘ already peaked at No.1 on Billboard Hot 100, making her the youngest solo artist to achieve a US number-one single on the charts since 1987, ‘Heroine‘ welcomed with universal critical acclaim and achieved multi-platinum status in her native New Zealand, Australia and the United States. She was also included in Forbes magazine’s ’30 Under 30′ list of young people “who are changing our world”, the youngest under the music category. Time magazine put her on top of the list of the most influential teenagers in the world. Lorde also became the youngest New Zealand act to win Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for ‘Royals‘ at the 56th Grammy Awards– all happened at a tender age of 16.
I’m not hating, the girl is so totally deserving; although she’s quite shady towards other artist. ‘Heroine‘ is a pure gem. It’s truly amazing how her artistry bloomed while she’s still so young. She doesn’t sing about sex, partying or boys. I can’t wait for this girl to grow up and experience life even more so she will give us more meaningful music in the future! With the type of musical climate we have today, she’s one of our last hope!
favorite track/s: ‘400 Lux‘ and ‘Buzzcut Season‘.
SIDE EFFECTS OF YOU
I’ve gotta say, this is my most favorite Fantasia album. Probably because it’s her only album that I paid attention to (I’m not trying to be shady, by the way). Added to the success of this LP is the good choice of singles and her ability to give justice to the song when given a live treatment. Not sure what I mean by that? Just check out her performance of ‘Lose To Win‘ on American Idol.
favorite track/s: In Deep
Released 14 years after his sophomore set ‘VooDoo‘, D’Angelo is back with 2014’s most critically successful album. Coming from someone who experienced being dropped from his former label, left by his girlfriend, his friend committed suicide, suffered insecurity, drug addiction and alcoholism; ‘Black Messiah‘ is the reflection of everything he’s been through and the current state of racism in America.
‘Messiah’ is more of a protest album and D’Angelo and his band promoted it while wearing “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe“statement shirts during their ‘The Charade‘ performance on ‘Saturday Night Live‘ as a tribute to the death of Eric Garner and Michael Brown that garnered worldwide attention about law enforcement’s relationship with Black Americans.
Released after his universally-acclaimed mixtape, ‘nostalgia,ULTRA‘ is ‘channel ORANGE’; the much anticipated, best album of 2012 by American recording artist Frank Ocean. This album is soooo good when you listen to it as a whole. Don’t skip any songs and don’t even try to play it in shuffle. ‘Channel Orange‘ is great as it is. It’s my favorite travel album and I consider Christopher Breaux (Ocean‘s real name) as one of the most amazing songwriters that we have right now.
favorite track/s: ‘Super Rich Kids‘ and ‘Sierra Leone‘.
From covering top hits on YouTube to becoming today’s most promising girl band; Fifth Harmony truly have come a long way and the future is brighter than ever before! I’m not really expecting too much from this album so you can just imagine how surprised I am when I heard ‘Reflection‘ for the first time!
I just hope that on the next album they will not put too much shine on Camilla anymore because the four other members are equally talented. Like, I understand that she’s the most popular on Twitter and Instagram but talent-wise, sorry but she isn’t the best singer or dancer. I like her. I like all of them. What I don’t like is how either Lauren or Dinah haven’t given any solo lines on at least one or two songs while Camilla sings 75% of all songs from the album. ITS.JUST.NOT.FAIR.
favorite track/s : ‘Like Mariah‘ , ‘Sledgehammer‘ and ‘Going Nowhere‘.
GIRLS’ GENERATION (JAPANESE)
Although ‘Mr.Mr‘ is still my favorite single from Girls’ Generation, their self-titled debut Japanese studio album is definitely their best one; although I do think the addition of Japanese versions of ‘Gee‘ and ‘Hoot’ is a little out of place since the album sounds mature (by SNSD standards) over-all. I’m a huge fan of K-Pop (how many times do i have to say that, LOL) but every time a Korean idol group release something in Japan, it’s 10,000X better than their Korean discography. Maybe because idol groups only perform/promote one song per comeback so the rest of the songs are just fillers. Only few K-Pop albums are good from start to finish. After all, the Korean Entertainment in general are not after critical acclaims, it’s all about sales, charts and popularity. The Japanese music industry on the other hand, is the second (or third) biggest after America. They take their music more seriously. Even their second Japanese album ‘Girls & Peace‘ is a total fire and shits on their Korean releases like ‘The Boys‘.
favorite track/s: ‘Born To Be A Lady‘, ‘The Great Escape‘ and ‘You-aholic‘, ‘Mr.Taxi‘, and ‘Let It Rain‘.
OUR VERSION OF EVENTS
Jessie J and Ellie Goulding might be the two most popular female Brits right now. Both are talented on their own rights. But if there’s a female singer from UK that deserves just as much recognition; it’s Emeli Sande. I love her artistry. Her songwriting style and her voice. ‘Our Version of Events’ became 2012’s best-selling album in the UK.
favorite track/s : ‘Where I Sleep‘.
COME AWAY WITH ME
Brought to you by American jazz record label Blue Note is the biggest winner of the 2003 Grammy Awards; Norah Jones’ ‘Come Away with Me’. It is Jones‘ debut album and easily became one (if not the most) of her commercially and critically successful albums ever. I always feel good when I listen to this album. Very relaxing and soothing. Gives you inner peace and solace. All you need to do is to turn off the lights and close your eyes. Truly a classic!!
favorite track/s: ‘Shoot the Moon’
Just like Fifth Harmony‘s ‘Reflection’; I also caught myself enjoying this album. It was totally unexpected. Giving this album a listen out of curiosity is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! 🙂 🙂 In case you missed it, even before the Queen of Pop herself revealed the actual release date of ‘Rebel‘, there were already around six tracks that has leaked online after Madonna’s computer was hacked by an Israeli man. One of the first tracks I’ve heard from the album was ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’ , a song that features the Trinidadian belle Nicki Minaj. It was followed by the first and second singles ‘Living For Love‘ and ‘Ghosttown‘. Judging the LP by these songs alone, you know it was a generic pop album. It doesn’t interest me at all. ……..Not until I landed on the track ‘Joan of Arc‘ and the bonus track ‘Rebel Heart’ . My feels on the album totally changed. Somehow it was a heartfelt album and it’s interesting how the 56-year-old entertainer still loves to talk about the struggles she had in the past knowing how big she became. It’s really inspirational. Of course, she would talk about her fame, her wealth and just being her. It’s a Madonna album. What do you expect? It’s still a bummer how ‘Rebel Heart‘ is just a bonus track and just available on the deluxe edition of the LP. In my opinion, it’s still so much better than some songs on the standard version. And it’s the freaking title track! Hello! The first two singles from ‘Rebel‘ (‘Ghosttown’ and ‘Living‘) both tanked. Both didn’t enter the Hot 100 charts so I think Joan of Arc should be released as a third single because her performance of the song at the Ellen DeGeneres show received good reviews.
favorite track/s: ‘Joan of Arc’ and ‘Rebel Heart’.
Promoted with the singles ‘NoScrubs‘ and ‘Unpretty‘, ‘FanMail’ is the third studio album from the BIGGEST selling RnB girl group of all time, TLC. Uhm, I don’t have much to say about this album because TLC‘s catalog of music is one of the best the 90’s could offer. I love everything they made. And I still haven’t fully moved on with the death of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes. She’s simply one of the best rappers of all time! The heart and soul of the group. R.I.P baby girl!
Led by her debut single ‘Ghost’ which enjoyed the top spot in UK Official Singes Chart and became the fourth fastest selling single of 2014 is Ella Henderson‘s ‘Chapter One‘. Fresh from appearing at the ninth season of The X Factor in 2012 , the nineteen year-old signed a record deal with Sony Music. Compared to the season’s winner James Arthur, Ella’s debut was more of a success since she deserved to win in the first place.
This girl is so talented. She touches everyone’s heart whenever she performs.
She is 2014’s best new artist in my opinion and I’m sure a lot of music lovers would agree with me. Although she’s been in the music scene since 2007 (as the lead singer of The Stunners), it was last year when she released her hotly anticipated debut album, Aquarius under RCA Records. Among all the newcomers, Ms. Kachingwe is one of the most hardworking. For a rookie, it’s quite impressive that she takes creative control of her career. From her image to her music. She’s in the middle of working and recording her second studio album ‘Joyride‘ but that didn’t stop her from creating and directing music videos from this album.
favorite track/s: ‘Aquarius‘, ‘Cold Sweat‘, ‘2 On‘, ‘All Hands On Deck‘ , ‘Feels Like Vegas’ and ‘Wildfire‘.