What’s the good word, my peoples? You know what time of year it is. Can you imagine? Even though you haven’t seen me on the regular recently, you didn’t think I was going to go out without a peep, did ya? We have already come down to the end of the year, which in turn is the beginning of all the “Best Of” lists flooding your timeline. Your girl is no different, and this is the 3rd year that I have sat down and completed this asinine idea of mine. I say asinine because the amount of music that comes my way during the year is utterly maddening (but I love it!). Needless to say, slimming down a list to merely 10 albums that tickled my fancy this year is inconceivable, but hey, I like a challenge! 😀 The album picks are a melange of jazzy and soulful tunes, to eclectic synthesized grooves. Please take note – the albums are not listed in any predefined order. If you click on the album cover, it will take you to the artists’ website. Head on over and learn a little bit more about them, spread the word, and keep the good vibes moving! Are you ready? Read on, and get into Soulafrodisiac’s Best of 2014!
The Foundation by George Tandy Jr: The first time I heard “March” I stopped in my tracks. I also quickly realized why CBC’s soul and R&B station had it in heavy rotation. The push and pull of the song is melancholy, yet commands attention – and so does the entire album. Groovy grooves, sexy slows and man, those vocals – all come together on this must have album.
Soulafrodisiac Favs: “March” and “Gravity”
Jarrod Lawson by Jarrod Lawson: Remember when social and political commentary were abundantly present in songwriting? Well, Mr. Lawson served up his perspective about our state of consciousness on world issues and more with a healthy amount of jazz and soul. A fantastic debut album from an artist who has shown us that he has plenty more of the goodness left up his sleeves.
Soulafrodisiac Favs: “Sleepwalkers” and “Redemption”
Black Messiah by D’Angelo and The Vanguard: While we’re discussing social commentary and impact, I would be amiss if I failed to mention D’Angelo’s gem. The album that we thought would never come to be, finally came to life a few weeks ago – and just in time. Even though there already was a future release date set, in the midst of social injustices with the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases Black Messiah resurrected after 14 years. I feel that the album primarily rests on its insane instrumentation, while his songwriting follows close behind. Nonetheless, press play and judge the greatness for yourself.
Soulafrodisiac Favs: “Really Love” and “Sugah Daddy”
Naturally Me by Angela Johnson: We waited patiently for a new album by this lady for 4 years! I’ve said it many times before – Angela is our indie, Roberta Flack. Singer and songwriter, producer, pianist and consummate artist. An album of this calibre was expected, and Angela delivered on every single track. You can tell when she’s having fun on “I Don’t Mind” and she also turns the tunes on us with a serious reflection of how #BlackLivesMatter on “Black Boy Lullaby.” Solid production and incredible songwriting make Naturally Me all worth waiting for.
Soulafrodisiac Favs: “I Promise” (M.O.N.E.Y.) ” feat Raul Midon and “To Love Again”
Amplified Soul by Incognito: Bluey and the team really came correct with this one. Their “Silver Shadow” cover is sublime and it had my heart on the first play. This is an album where acid jazz and soul meet and allow for the soulful vibes to be even more infectious. If that’s even possible when it comes to Incognito. From start to finish, Amplified Soulhas jazz, soul, R&B and a little touch of something for everyone to love.
Soulafrodisiac Favs: “I Couldn’t Love You More” and “Silver Shadow”
Fly by Tony Momrelle: I’ve always been a fan of Tony Momrelle, but he brought my love to higher highs with Fly. Okay, its an EP. But it’s an awesome and divine set of tracks that will age like a fine wine. Booming baselines to get your feet moving, songs that will catch you in a sweet harmonious flow on the subway – that’s what this album is all about. I’m so in love with this piece of work, it’s not a game.
Soulafrodisiac Favs: “With You” and “Fly”
In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith: I don’t think anyone has a lock on melancholy like Sam Smith. He pretty much solidified his stance on the scene with his cover of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know.” Who would’ve thought a dance track could be so sad? Interpretation is everything! But don’t let his dispirited disposition fool you. There are also up-tempo tracks to get into. “Money On My Mind” is proof of that. Hopefully, this album was therapeutic enough for Sam to leave the bad times behind him, and embark on a fresh start. Would love to hear what else he can serve up for the masses.
Soulafrodisiac Favs: “I’m Not The Only One” and “Leave Your Lover”
Electric Yellow by Teresa Jenee: Myself and DJ Sean Sax are pretty much obsessed with this album. The synthesized-infused electro groove album is all around sweetness. Teresa’s vocals (and short bursts of partial rap flows) are ever so lovely. For me, it’s the futuristic vibe that takes me to another place. The track “Electric Yellow” – Yes please, all day long, on repeat.
Soulafrodisiac Favs: “Electric Yellow” and “Tahitian Vanilla”
The SunRoom by Avery Sunshine: This lady swept up at The Soultracks Readers’ Choice Awards a couple of weeks ago with 3 big wins! Avery’s recent release is a nod to soul at its best. That hold your lover close/spin your honey ’round/don’t disturb this groove kind of flow. Avery brings you to church and back singing from her gut (and soul!) and serving it with love. Shine on, lady. Shine on.
Soulafrodisiac Favs: “Call My Name” and “Sweet Afternoon”
JHud by Jennifer Hudson – Jennifer took it back to the days of dance and house music. I hear some Aveda and Indeep influences in there. I’m not mad at that at all.
Home For The Holidays by Anthony Hamilton – Y’all know how I feel about Christmas Carols and Christmas music on the whole. I think this is the only Christmas album I had on repeat this year. I just may play it during the summer – it’s that amazing.
Mali Is by Mali Music – The Grammy nod is surely deserved. Pure unadulterated goodness.
Soul Movement by Slakah the Beatchild – Stand up Toronto! Slakah came through with another great compilation with phenomenal guests on the mic.
The Box by Eric Roberson: Erro came straight for the jugular with serious live instrumentation. It kind of felt like being in a Spike Lee Joint – Mo’ Better, to be exact. He had me from jump.
Peeps, there are SO many albums to get through, but so little time. Trust me when I say, I listen to a lot. But these picks should keep you busy if none are in your catalogue as yet. Get on these gems pronto!
Until then, I would like to wish you guys a prosperous and amazing start to your New Year! Wishing everyone the best of what’s to come for you in 2015.
Happy New Year! See y’all then…