L‘Absente – Yann Tiersen – I loved Tiersen’s soundtrack work, particularly for Amelie. He’s done some great solo work, too – he’s also popular as an indie rock performer, too. I love the kinds of instruments he uses on his records – harpsicords, accordions, guitars – he’s an eclectic and eccentric talent.
The Colored Section – Donnie – I learned of Donnie from The Advocate. He’s an out LGBT R&B artist and he’s pretty political in his music; I love socially conscious music, particularly the kind that addresses racism. This will remind some viewers of India.Arie – Donnie came out when Neo-Soul came out in the mid 2000s and he released his debut album at the genre’s peak. He gets even more political on his second CD so I’ll be sure to pick it up when I see it.
Diana Extended – The Remixes – Diana Ross – This remix album came out when Diana Ross released her boxed CD set and her memoirs. The remixes were done by some of the best in the industry – David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, Steve Hurley. The set includes remixes of her old 70s work as well as some of her 80s singles, and one remix of a Supremes hit record. This album showed that Ross could’ve found a new career as a dance diva a la Loleatta Holloway or Martha Wash. As an added 90s trivia, on the album cover Ross looks like Robin Givens.
All Mixed Up – Alexander O’Neal – This is another remix album, this time by late 80s funk star Alexander O’Neal, a Prince adjacent artist (he’s produced by former Time players Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis). Some of his music sounds a lot like New Edition or Janet Jackson (two other Jam and Lewis clients). I’m especially excited about his duet with fellow Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis artist Cherrelle.
“Hanky Panky” – Madonna – This is a song from Madonna’s soundtrack album to Dick Tracy. The song is a novelty-type number with a rumbling bass and naughty lyrics about being spanked. There are a couple remixes of this pretty-obscure tune. It’s what would happen if swing was married with dance-pop.
Not That Kind – Anastacia – Anastacia is an American pop singer who is a huge star in Europe. She’s like a late 90s, early 2000s Taylor Dayne, with a similar loud growl of a voice. Her sound is a bit like updated Dayne music, too – dance-pop and loud, arena-style rock-pop. “I’m Outta Love” was a huge hit for her. This CD was in the bargain bin – Reckless has awesome bargain bins.
All World – LL Cool J – LL Cool J was recently in the news because of shitty anti-racism song with Brad Paisley “Accidental Racist.” Because of his successful film and TV career, it’s easy to forget that for a time in the late 80s and early 90s, he was a major player in the rap/hip-hop genre. He had a long career and has become a legend of sorts, even though he’s very young. I wanted to get this greatest hits collection for a long time. All his classics are on it – “Mama Said Knock You Out,” “Around the Way Girl,” and even his latter-day hits like “Doin’ It.”
Something Real – Stephanie Mills – Stephanie Mills was a huge Broadway star in the late 70s because of her role as Dorothy in The Wiz. She had a great career as a R&B singer during the 80s. This is an early 90s effort by Mills – it’s a mixture of midtempo songs, ballads and a couple dance numbers. Mills has a monster voice – she was called the little girl with the big voice.
Megalomania – Aqua – Yes, that Aqua – the “Barbie Girl” Aqua. Except this is an awesome electrotrash/dance record by the dance outfit that was released in 2011. It’s a great album with fantastic dance songs that prove this band isn’t just a one-hit wonder.
A Salt with a Deadly Pepa – Salt N’ Pepa – I love Salt N’ Pepa – it’s my favorite rap band – they were the first successful all-female rap band, with a string of huge hits. The three ladies in Salt N Pepa each provide some great contributions to their pop-friendly, pro-women rhymes. This is the second album.
A Blitz of Salt N’ Pepa Hits: The Hits Remixed – Salt N’ Pepa – Salt N’ Pepa was known not only for their raps and rhymes, but also because their music worked well on the dance floor. The remixes are pretty awesome with some great synth and drum work.