Monday, 21 December 2009

Lady V's Top 'ahem' 20 albums of THE DECADE!

Posted by Lady V

Shit! Allow desperate job hunting, a last minute Christmas shopping dash and getting caught up in the London blizzard (er, is it ever gonna stop?!), I've just done the hardest thing ever, EVER today - well, most thought-consuming, problem solving of the last month; I've chosen my top albums of the decade!!


This was seriously difficult, I've already popped a few paracetamols to deal with the headache. When first thinking about it, I thought 'simples; John Mayer, Kanye, The Streets, Amy Winehouse....' then I went on,

and on....

and on....

and on....

and I got to um, 27! And that was just off the top of my head! Thinking I could narrow it down, I consulted my Cd collection - BIG MISTAKE, as I got distracted with my wardrobe of classics for over 2 hours, there's still a pile of albums I took out with the excitement of listening to again tonight....hmm, if I've got the next 15 hours or so spare.

So, although this was tres, tres difficult, the best I could do was get my list down to 20...that's fair enough isn't it?

Now what was my criteria? Well, my list is based on a very intricately sophisticated analytical and statistical method, for an album to qualify in the list, it must tick the following boxes:

- I know the words to every song inside out and back to front.
- The album moved me; heart, mind and feet!
- I have an emotional attachment to the LP.
- The artist is too friggin important/influential in our times to ignore.
- it's AWESOME.

In no particular preference (I started but it all went horribly wrong, and ended up with a long line of Cds side-by-side cluttering my corridor and me jumping up and down beside them with excited confusion), apart from chronological order, here are my essential Top 20 albums of the 00s!

Coldplay 'Parachutes' - an AMAZING album, and at the time, I was so in love with Chris Martin, convinced that 'Yellow' was about me. 'Shivers' still gives me that ecstatic MDMA-induced-euphoric-like feeling when the chorus drops.

Craig David 'Born To Do It' - this was Craig at his best, this was British R&B at it's best! Packed with catchy songs, sweet harmonies mixed with Garage lad-swag (if you get what I mean) and completely un-Americanised (again, you get what I mean, right? Cross-reference this with his second LP 'Slicker Than Your Average' and you'll understand). My favourite tune was always 'Last Night' for the Italian linkage.

Erykah Badu 'Mama's Gun' - with lyrics like 'my eyes are green, cos I eat a lot of vegetables, it don't have nothing to do with your new best friend' and the loving wails with Stephen Marley on 'In Love With You', this is one of the finest albums produced...EVER! I was a bit late and only got a copy of this around about 2006, but once you hear Badu, there's no going back - like a goddess of wisdom and love, she can only but enchant you.

Jill Scott 'Who is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol 1' - this woman can do no wrong. I adore her! Her voice can be powerful, strong and sexy, as well as gentle and romantic. Her words are delivered effortlessly and perfectly as if she was born to provide such inspiring and deep lyrics and nothing is hotter than that! Jill Scott's songs = sex, pure passionate, wonderful love-making on a higher spiritual level. 10 years later, and every single phrase from this album brings back a memory or means something special to me - if you don't know about Jill Scott, you NEED to get to know.

Eminem 'The Marshall Mathers LP' - there is nothing Eminem can do for me to hate on him, no matter how vile, vulgar or misogynistic he is, I still think he is a complete genius! This is one of, if not my favourite, hip-hop albums of all time. I'll be honest, the fact that he was naughty was very appealing to a 14 year old Lady V at the time, but even when I listen again to the album now, there are moments which I recognise for the first time and think 'wow!' Lyrically, it takes a lot to be as intelligent as Eminem and in my eyes, very very few rappers will ever be as great as him.

John Mayer 'Room For Squares' - I first heard '3X5' whilst working Christmas hours at the Gap, and it reminds me of happy times. His voice was a lot more earthy and raw on this first album, and his songwriting still had that geeky but innocent touch - man, I want the old pre-Aniston and Simpson etc, John Mayer back!

Destiny's Child 'Survivor' - If I'm honest, the best DC album was 'The Writings On The Wall', but that was a 90s release, although this comes very close at a second best. It was with this album that the girl's accomplished that sexy, glamourous, Hollywood look, but with honest and witty Girl Power lyrics, still kept a real feel. I was 15 at the time of it's release and remember singing 'Nasty Girl' on the bus with my girl about a skanky Year 10 nice!

Alicia Keys 'Songs in A Minor' - fact for you; only one song, 'Jane Doe' on the album is in the key of A Minor, but so what? Alicia's debut is glittered with beautiful melodies. I love the classical piano mixed with a modern twist of R&B and Soul. When I first heard 'Fallin' I fell in love with both her and her voice...very fine female, one of those that we'd either wanna get with or wanna be!

Basement Jaxx 'Rooty' - One of my favourite producers full stop, Basement Jaxx KNOW how to get a party started. Their beats are intricate but infectious and everything they do from videos to stage shows have a weird-non-conventional-ness attached to it which I heart! Apart from the classics 'Romeo' and 'Jus 1 Kiss', my favourite is 'I Want U' and I still try to keep up with the singer for the whole way through and never manage to!

Justin Timberlake 'Justified' - Every single tune on this album is special. Everything from vocals, lyrics, production, style is spot-on...the accompanying tour I also watched (um, 4 times!) was spectacular too! 'Let's Take A Ride' is still blasted on long car journeys - damn, I wish I was the girl he's singing about!

The Streets 'Original Pirate Material' -

Intelligent, honest garage - I use these words as I was listening to this album whilst studying Blake, Heaney et al for GSCE English, but it was Skinner who was really speaking volumes, and looking back he has to be viewed as one of the finest creative writers of our time. As with Ms Dynamite, finally there was a voice that we could fully associate with, one that felt familiar and wasn't chatting exaggerated shit like 'brap brap, ahhh, guns, dough etc', but simple real-like lyrics like 'all line up and grab yer seat, cos Tony's got a new motor, SR Nova, driving like a joyrider' (Has It Come To This).


Damien Rice 'O' - his voice gives me shivers and makes me cry with joy. If any man sang 'The Blower's Daughter' to me like Damien Rice does with such sincere passion, I'd be his in a second.

Un-Cut 'The Un-Calculated Some' - I'm sure very few people have heard of this album, but I'm sure you would have heard of Jenna G, who is the vocalist of the Un-Cut. I love 'The Un-Calculated Some', because musically, it's as rich as a triple chocolate gateux and melodically, Jenna gets it right - I love her slight-Mancurian slur. 'Midnight' is still one of my favourite songs and reminds me of Summer in London, still raving it up as the sun comes up.

Amy Winehouse 'Frank' - Before Amy grew a beehive and was still a chavtastic wannabe classy size 12, she released her finest work to date 'Frank'. As a North Londoner too and round about the same age as me, she was my idol! I wanted her voice, I wanted to be able to have guts to pour out my heart and soul into amazing lyrics, and I wanted to be a white girl who could scat as jaw-droppingly wonderful as she does. The best tune on the album is by far 'Take That Box', it was on repeat for a good couple of weeks.

Jamie Cullum 'Twentysomething' -
One of the best gigs of my life, was sitting at a table at
Ronnie Scotts, a metre away from this amazingly-talented little dude literally jazzing up jazz, and jumping all over a piano. No matter what mood I am in, this album will always make me happy, whether it's because of the old-skool (think Rat Pack more than Jungle Brothers) energy that runs through it, or just Jamie's charming English accent which I've always been a sucker for, this album is one of my fave ever!

The Killers 'Hot Fuss' - rigid indie pop - this was the album, that made me fully understand and appreciate indie music. When I say rigid, I mean this was the moment, I stopped dutty wining and grinding in clubs and developed that wannabe cool robotic swaying movement and decided it was ok to not go out with tits, legs and probably everything else on show. I kinda, dare I say became an Indie girl, fully embracing music sung in monotone and fancying men who wore make-up (yes, Brandon Flowers, that was you!)

Kanye West 'The College Dropout' - Kanye didn't have to thug out, no need for excessive expletives just catchy chorus and cleverly penned rhymes. This is my favourite Kanye album as it was before he got consumed by ego and bling. Don't get me wrong, self-obsessed Kanye was always lurking but it hadn't mutated yet into a billion dollar marketing strategy. One of my favourite hip-hop verses ever is '1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and get them sit ups right and
Tuck your tummy tight and do your crunches like this
Give head, stop breathe, get up, check your weave
Don't drop the blunt and disrespect the weed
Pick up your son and don't disrespect your seed
It's a party tonight and ooh she's so excited
Tell me who's invited: you, your friends and my dick
What's scary to me is Henny makes girls look like Halle Berry to me
So excuse me miss, I forgot your name
Thank you, God bless you, good night I came..' - Work out plan

Usher 'Confessions' - I always liked Usher, but this was the album where I 'felt' him...that sounds a bit weird, but the album's name suits the compilations of songs down to the ground. His words were honest and I understood him. This album epitomises the real talk of a twenty-something male; whether it's about throwing your hands in the air to party or just being bate about sexual desires. His honesty, mixed with a beautiful singing voice is enough to make any lady melt, more specifically 'Superstar' does the trick!


Tom Vek 'We Have Sound' - electronic, experimental noises with clashing guitars. This was another special album for me, as here was this crazy, geeky, not really attractive, solo singing, multi-instrumentalist and pretty much forward thinking genius making music out of his garage. 'I Ain't Saying My Goodbyes' was a fave when it came to rocking the rigid robotic movement.

Chase & Status 'More Than Alot' - the duo's debut was a very very big LP, every tune on it a dance music hit. Although many D&B fans judge Chase & Status for taking a bite of the commercial world/Rhianna apple, I look beyond that and appreciate their skills and talent in being able to fuse various genres and still make stompingly great, bass heavy dance music! At a time when I was still very anti - dubstep (yes, it took me a while before I understood it), the drop in 'Is It Worth It' began my conversion, and of course there are D&B anthems like 'Hurt You' and 'Take Me Away' which are always welcome at any rave.

So that's my Top 20 albums of the decade!
Hang on, there's nothing from 2009 and very few albums post 2005...I think that says quite a lot really! What d'ya reckon? Did you expect such a mix of genres, huh? And where's the D&B (?!) I hear you ponder - well don't get me started on mixtapes and D&B sets because WOAH NELLY (Furtado) that would easily involve popping a few more paracetemols to even start thinking about! But to occupy me over the Christmas hols, I may just have a go and if I manage to work it out, I'll let you know!

Happy Holidays!
(in thick NY accent, cue Christmas carols in the background, accompanied by my family portrait Christmas card on it's way to you)