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read_me.gif Southern Voice Washington Blade

10 (Least) Favorite CDs of 2004

The bad and the ugly

by j. brotherlove

Before I reveal my favorite music of 2004 I thought it would be interesting to share what rubbed me the wrong way. In reality, this list should be called my most disappointing CDs of the year.

Disappointment is the result of a person, place or thing not meeting expectation. That being said, these aren’t exactly bad CDs (well, at least two of them are). The dissatisfaction I have with the following discs aren’t entirely the fault of the artists. I simply had higher expectations, based on previous material or hype.

The results:

10. Hip Hop In General.
Last on my list of most disappointing because I didn’t expect much from this genre in 2004. I know… hip hop rules the airwaves and is the voice of now - yadda, yadda, yadda. But most of it - this new age of hip hop - is recycled, trivial and degrading. I effectively boycotted rap and hip hop for most of 2004, with few exception.

9. Afrodisiac ~ Brandy.
Brandy got buckwild after the excellent (and under-appreciated) Full Moon. She split from her “husband” and dropped producer Rodney Jerkins. In return, she released a moody contemplation on life, love and growing up. Lyrically, it’s a standout by R&B standards. But Timbaland and crew have difficulty showcasing Brandy’s unique vocals and many tracks lack the crackle and sass of her previous two CDs.

8. Tipping Point ~ The Roots.
I could’ve included this disc in “Hip Hop In General”. But I’ve come to expect more from The Roots. Haven’t you? This is the second time they’ve dropped the ball, in my opinion.

7. Outrun The Sky ~ Lalah Hathaway.
Yeah, I’m shocked, too. I have always held Lalah in high regard and couldn’t wait for her to release a new CD. But I can’t honestly say this is her best work. In fact, it’s definitely my least favorite of her three. The songs are not bad (well, except for the idiotic “Your Favorite Song”). But there is too much mediocrity for even her warm voice to overcome.

6. Cee-Lo Green Is the Soul Machine ~ Cee-Lo.
Cee-Lo has tons of personality and solid skills but I can’t help but think he would benefit from better production. He gets an A for effort. Final grade: C+.

5. Musicology ~ Prince.
I’ve been a Prince fan as long as I can remember. Although I don’t set my watch to the erratic way he records and distributes his music today, I do praise him for doing it. Unfortunately, there’s not much in Musicology that begs for me to listen. It certainly isn’t as good as The Rainbow Children. But I’m happy to see black folk embrace him, again.

4. The Grind Date ~ De La Soul .
Jason is going to kill me, I know. I really had a hard time getting into this latest release by my favorite hip hop group. And then it hit me, maybe because it’s their sound isn’t like anything else I’m listening to (having banned hip hop and all). That doesn’t exactly make it great. I still listen to it and try to change my mind.

3. Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds 2 ~ Jill Scott.
Clutch the pearls! This inclusion will garner me some enemies. I dig Jill Scott’s vibe and talent. But just what the hell was she going for here? Sure, there are standouts like “Golden” and “Not Like Crazy”. But overall, the disc lacks direction and cohesiveness. It certainly isn’t the caliber of sophomore releases by contemporaries Erykah Badu and India.Arie.

2. My Everything ~ Anita Baker.
If this is Anita Baker’s everything then she’s in deep doo-doo. After an absurd amount of time away from recording, this former R&B diva dropped a collection of songs which sounded as fresh as freezer-burned pot roast. In a suspected effort to “keep it real”, the cryogenically unfrozen tunes remain technically sound but musically regressive. A major disappointment in my eyes but hopefully one from which she’ll recover.

1. ClassicKhan ~ Chaka Khan.
Chaka Khan is an undisputable diva with a powerful voice and influence in music. When I first heard she had recorded a collection of standards I was impressed. That said, ClassicKahn is the worst CD to ever bear the Chaka Khan name. It’s even worst than Come 2 My House (which was pretty damn bad). Her take on classics like “Is That All There Is” are piercing and irresponsible. Easily my least favorite joint of the year.

Now that I have this list out of my system, let me put some polish on the the good stuff.

pub: 01/07/2005 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 8 | subscribe

this is a great list and you’re the first person i’ve seen to go this route. now i see why most of what made my list didn’t make yours.

You know, {gasp}, we think alike. Brandy, The Roots, Lalah, Prince, Jill, and Chaka were dissapointments to me as well. Can’t wait to see what your best-of are. That’s sure to spark some discussion. I love it.

You are my soul brother! *lol* Great list. I didn’t like much hip-hop last year, except for Nas. Anita Baker broke my heart, Brandy was clearly on drugs (I saw that on that first single she released with Kanye), and Jill and Prince just fell short (even though I liked particular songs on those CDs).

Damn man, How slapped De La and Cee-Lo in the face like dat? Damn…

But true. There were some major disappointments this year. I like thd De La joint. Anita was a GREAT disappoint, especially since this is the first tanker we’ve ever got from her.

Hip-hop in general? I AGREE 100%

Jill Scott?!? Nah, man. Now you’ve gone to far…

Ummm…I love you and all, but we bout to fight. Not Jill.

6. Kathleen

I am dying j. “If this is Anita Baker’s everything then she’s in deep doo-doo” LOL!

I sadly agree with you on most of this, as I attempted to listen to Jill Scott’s album on my drive to D.C. and found myself turning it off (not even skipping songs) pretty early on. If I remember correctly I listened to some country station instead before popping John Legend back in (I will be pluggin the hell out of this album lol)

Let’s all hope that 2005 brings us something better than what we got in ‘04!

i agree with the majority of your list but I do not agree with Lalah Hathaway being added to the list. Outrun the Sky is the first full release I have purchased of hers and I have been playing it since I bought it, maybe I need to check out her old stuff and see how it measures up. You are right Jill and Brandy were the big disappointments of 2004, because you know they can do better. Anita was probably the biggest disappointment because you know we all were holding our breath for when she would come back and she did and I was not pleased. Maybe when she tours this year we will get what we want, which is her old stuff.

8. hickeyburr

Damn, you are right! cept for Prince and Jill, and I’m kinda diggin’ Brandy more and more. The Roots get at me too, but the cd is too short. So 6 out of 10. I skipped the Chaka joint altogether when I heard the samples on Amazon, and she is my GOAT vocalist.
I think I’d have to include John Legend despite all the hype, his cd doesn’t move me. And Alicia Keys as talented as she is, will be the next Mariah Carey.
Hip hop has become a caricature, all cartoon posturing and nonsense. A shame.
Maybe 2005 will be kinder.