Tag: Pop Soul

1983, Music

North of a Miracle (1983) by Nick Heyward

I know literally nothing of Haircut 100. I first heard about them in a Billboard chart book I had growing up, and that’s as far as it got. I don’t know what they sound like, as I think they were one of those UK bands which just never translated to a North American audience. So …

1973, Music

3+3 (1973) by The Isley Brothers

I know the Isley Brothers more by reputation than by their music. I know their most famous song, and I know the most famous song from this record, but that’s about it. (Also, I may have forgotten that “Shout” and “That Lady” were by the same band until I listened to this record.) This record …

1963, Music

Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul (1963) by Ray Charles

This record was a big success but, despite some positive reviews, doesn’t have the greatest reputation. (Example: the Allmusic review is 4 stars but really feels like a 3 star review.) The idea is that its source material is [i]too[/i] diverse. I call bullshit.

1993, Music

janet. (1993) by Janet Jackson

As I say all the damn time, coming at an artist backwards is a bad idea. And yet here I am doing it again. This is only the second Janet Jackson album I’ve ever heard, but the first one I heard was the sequel to this one. The problem for me is that the sequel …

1993, Music

Symphony or Damn (1993) by Terence Trent D’Arby

Somehow I managed to grown up when D’Arby was releasing music and completely avoid him. We listened to an Oldies station primarily, so we didn’t hear him there. And I swear I never saw any of his videos. (If I did, I didn’t see them enough to remember them.) So all I knew was the …

1968, Music

Eli and the 13th Confession (1968) by Laura Nyro

I was barely aware of Nyro when I listened to this record – I had heard her name, likely from seeing it listed in credits and mentioned here and there I guess, but I didn’t know what I was in for.

1982, Music

Thriller (1982) by Michael Jackson

Much like Bad, so many of the songs from Thriller were hits when I was a little kid that I know more of this record than I could have ever imagined. That knowledge once again puts me in a weird position, having the memory of what some of these songs sounded like to me as …

1987, Music

Faith (1987) by George Michael

I have never had any desire to listen to George Michael. Nothing about his music has ever really struck me. I find myself listening to this record only because of my podcast. It’s a weird combination of cheese and kitsch with earnestness and bravado. As someone who has only recently started (seriously) listening to music …

1982, Music

Midnight Love (1982) by Marvin Gaye

I don’t know Marvin Gaye at all, beyond his most famous singles. I guess his Motown stuff is just too slick for me, so I never bothered. I still mean to listen to What’s Going On at some point but I just haven’t gotten there. I don’t know much about his personal life, either, beyond …

1982, Music

Lionel Richie (1982)

I do not like Lionel Richie’s aesthetic: he is slick and sappy at the same time. That is a recipe for disaster, in my eyes (ears). But Richie has a rather incredible knack for melody. These songs are catchy, but it’s not just that. Some of his melodies for the ballads are super compelling, they …

1972, Music

Talking Book (1972) by Stevie Wonder

Of all R&B artists, I have been familiar with Stevie Wonder about as long as any, because Wonder was acceptable to the Oldies station I grew up with to a much greater extent than most of his contemporaries. (There was Motown of course – just the hits! – and a few Ray Charles hits, but …

1987, Music

Bad (1987) by Michael Jackson

I grew up with “Fat” and have a hard time separating the real song, the title track of this record, from its parody. But I haven’t listened to “Fat” in so long. Listening to Bad for the first time (and to the remaster, no less), I can’t help but wonder, “does “Fat” sound this terrible …

1987, Music

Whitney (1987) by Whitney Houston

This is one of the most commercially successful albums of its era, so I guess that’s why I felt I had to listen to it. But if I learned one thing from this album, it’s that the things that I like about music and the things that most consumers like about music are not the …

1968, Music

I Stand Alone (1968) by Al Kooper

When I was younger, I was utterly fascinated by Kooper’s career: how he went from a successful songwriter to a less successful session guitarist to one of the best rock keyboardists of his era (or, perhaps, ever) and the major creative force behind some interesting ventures in the late 60s. But, for whatever reason, it …

1992, Music

Diva (1992) by Annie Lennox

I am generally opposed to albums dominated by “modern” (read: contemporary) instrumentation. I hate bad 80s (and 90s!) synthesizers and generally do not like music that is made primarily by these instruments. Things that sound modern once do not normally sound modern later and that is a huge issue with so much of the pop …

1971, Music

Where I’m Coming From (1971) by Stevie Wonder

I’m glad that Wonder was breaking away from the creative constraints of his label and his handlers. And maybe, if I’d heard those earlier albums, I’d see more daring in this record, in his freeing himself creatively. I’d like to hear that, but without listening to those earlier records, I can’t. Instead, I hear a …