Best Music of 2009 Pick: Maxwell ” BLACKsummers’night”
You can blame Maxwell as the catalyst of what music writers coined as Neo Soul in the late nineties. As this genre title faded, Maxwell remains standing. It seems he’s always popping in and out of obscurity just to bless us with another album. The first of his 3 part series of albums after his long absence, “BLACKsummers’night” (caps on the present installment) continued like he never left.
There are no complicated upgrades in his sound. There are no guest rappers, nor duets with any notable ingenues of song. The album speaks of love as obviously most do, some with more explicit detail. In other words, if you were searching for his signature baby making music, you won’t be disappointed. Recently the lead single “Pretty Wings” was nominated for a Grammy which gives all song writers hope that the voting committee actually honors artists for impeccable songwriting.
2010 Music Pick: Sade “Solider Of Love”
There’s a long list of music dropping in 2010, but the long awaited return of Sade dilutes the hype of anyone other release in the new year. The R&B vocals and “quiet storm” Jazz sound have never waned even after a decade since the band’s last studio album “Lover’s Rock.”
A few weeks ago a leak of the single, “Soldier Of Love” resulted in heavy internet buzz , proving that the British native’s fan base remains resilient. The lead single sounds like an updated version of their proven formula, adding to the curiosity of what the have in store for this album. The album, “Soldier Of Love” is set to be released on February 8th on Epic Records. I’ll be there with the rest of the fanboys in line for my copy.
Jason Hortillas (Music Contributor)
2009 was a bittersweet year for music.
Bitter because of all of the great talent that was lost. 09 saw the passing of electric guitar innovator Les Paul, DJ AM and most notably, the death of the incomparable Michael Jackson. Not to say that everyone else who died this year wasn’t significant, but losing MJ was like losing the musical ambassador to the world; a loss that everyone around the globe mourned. A loss which motivated millions to dust off their copies of Thriller, doing level best to keep the King’s memory alive through his iconic music.
09 was also sweet because of the breakout musical acts that had masterstrokes this year. One of my favorite new R&B artists this year that you may haven’t heard of yet is Mayer Hawthorne. His album, A Strange Arrangement, is a varied mix that has inklings of Smokey Robinson and Eddie Kendricks Motown inspiration. If you’re a fan of classic soul and smooth R&B, I highly suggest you download Hawthorne’s debut album or check out his video for Green Eyed Love. Chester French is an under-the-radar breakout act this year whose music sounds like a clash between Outkast and The Beatles. If you haven’t already, definitely get your hands on their debut album Love the Future, which released in April. A new artist that you probably have heard of already, that carved out her own niche in the music industry this year, is Lady Gaga. Whether she’s dancing half naked on stage or just sitting behind a piano, Gaga definitely gave some of the best performances of the year. Gaga’s re-packaged first album, The Fame Monster, earned her five Graammy nods and solidified her as a bona fide artist, definitely someone to watch in 2010.
Gerald Flores (Contributor)
2009 was another great year for music. Many artists let their creativity and pure genius shine through (Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs – It’s Blitz), others decided to speak their mind for a cause (Thom Yorke crashing the UN climate talks), and others just decided to spaz out for no particular reason (Kanye West during the MTV awards). In between Jay-Z declaring auto-tune was dead, Lady Gaga’s gender ambiguity saga, and the emergence of the indie music scene into mainstream culture, there were moments of sadness and reflection. The abrupt and sudden death of the Michael Jackson, The King of Pop and one of the greatest performers in the history of entertainment, is easily the most poignant and memorable moment of the year in music. 2010 will surely bring us more memorable moments, highs and lows, fascinating talking points, and plenty of new music to keep us nodding our heads and stomping our feet. As far as new material goes, keep an eye out for the highly anticipated releases from Vampire Weekend, Dr. Dre, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Strokes, and Big Boi to keep you busy through out the year.
To bid farewell to 09, I have compiled quick recap of my favorite albums of the year. The list consists of my top 10 plus 5 other albums that I had on heavy rotation. As always, comments and opinions are welcome…
1. Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs – It’s Blitz
2. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
3. Mos Def – The Ecstatic
4. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus
5. Madlib – Beat Konducta Vol. 5 – 6
6. Raekwon – Only Built for Cuban Linx, Pt. 2
7. Bear in Heaven – Beast Rest Forth Mouth
8. Japandroids – Post-Nothing
9. DOOM – Born Like This
10. John Mayer – Battle Studies
Paul Castillo (Editor)