Greatest Britsoul albums of the Decade So Far (2010-2016)
From Paloma Faith to Corinne Bailey Rae to Estelle to John Newman and lots more, my personal picks for the best popular Soul albums in the UK scene of the last six years.
10- Emeli Sandé - Our Version of Events
Delightful vocal chords, an outstanding voice, great instrumentations, and a marvelous lyrical content… Brilliant project!
Great moments: River/Next to Me
9- Estelle - All of Me
7/10 by Pitchfork and 3,5/5 by Rolling Stones, Estelle the proud graduate of the Lauryn Hill/Mary J. Blige school of warm, tough hip-hop R&B, delivers one of the sweetest and most pleasant music projects in a while. Gorgeous melodies, pound beats and many styles from reggae to boom-bap incorporated into her songs, without trying to create a weird hybrid sound.
Great moments: Thank You/Break My Heart/Found My Way…
8- Marsha Ambrosius - Late Nights & Early Mornings
If you’re familiar with Aftermath Records albums, you surely heard of Marsha Ambrosius on some “The Game” song or even Dr. Dre’s latest joint “Compton” singing the hook so gracefully and with an incomparable passion. Concerning her first full-length solo album “Late Nights & Early Mornings”, she delivers a brilliant vocal performance with the appearance of established hip-hop producers such as “Just Blaze” and “Focus…” Marsha has that rare talent to channel true emotion through her voice.
Great moments: Hope She Cheats On You (With a Basketball Player)/Far Away.
7- John Newman – Tribute
You surely recognize John Newman by his smash hit “Love Me Again” which peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart. This white dude has the main ingredients to make it big and push the genre forward; He’s from Settle, heavily influenced by the Northern Soul and literally has a strong goat voice.
John never missed a chance to pay tribute to the originators, to the first idols as his debut album suggests. I mean what’s better than producing a great body of work to do so? This project is a cohesive combination of the traditional Soul elements and the modern pop sounds (fast piano plays, heavy consistent drums…) in addition to his unique voice.
Great moments: Love Me Again/Cheating/All I Need Is You.
6- Corinne Bailey Rae - The Sea
“The Sea is a remarkable accomplishment. It’s a step toward something, Rae’s inner peace, and her next artistic breakthrough, that has its own considerable rewards” According to the Los Angeles album review. Now personally this album is for anyone who felt a great loss, this comes just at the right time to comfort, to share feelings of confusion, love, pain and anger.
Great moments: Paris Nights/New York Mornings/Closer/I’d Do It All Again.
5- Alice Russell - To Dust
Ahya had l’album s3iiiib am3elem and very slept on. I don’t know If it’s media’s fault or the music industry’s exclusion policy, but the artistic community is ignoring a god level talent over here. We’re talking about a woman with the largest vocal range you’ll ever hear. She switches the temper from 0 to 100 so effortlessly. People give check on her, check on this album you’ll be surprised.
Great moments: I Loved You/Heartbreaker/To Dust.
4- Amy Winehouse - Lioness: Hidden Treasures
Bruh this is some tear bringing shit, a posthumous compilation album by the late great Amy Winehouse featuring several unreleased songs from the classic “Back to Black” with Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson on the production. A 45 minutes project, taking you into Amy’s love and addiction struggle. The single “Body & Soul” with الفنان المقتدر Tony Bennett, is the type of song that a fancy restaurant would play if you were on a date with Ava Gardner. My other favorite song is “Like Smoke” featuring the legendary rapper Nas, and Lord the chemistry between these two… Anyway it worth every damn second.
Great moments: Between the Cheats/Body & Soul/Like Smoke/A Song for You.
3- Paloma Faith - A Perfect Contradiction
One of the best albums of 2014, as playing it you’ll feel like walking between 40s until 90s decade.
There is not any filler on A Perfect Contradiction and it never manages to get boring (Paloma would never allow that). However, it does leave you expecting and wanting more from her. Her influences are perfectly pitched with a hint of exaggeration. I mean what’s more pleasing than a white soul singer LP with a niggerish soul and back tattoos? We’re glad to have this type of singer in the mainstream scene.
Great moments: Trouble with My Baby/Only Love Can Hurt Like This.
2- Plan B - The Defamation of Strickland Banks
What happens when a British rapper switches his style into a sweet-voiced soul boy? The result is the bad motherfucker “Strickland Banks” the main character of this concept album. The story is about a Soul singer who’s sent to jail for somewhat accusation. NO SPOILERS, Get that shit as soon as you can.
On the musical level, the album is major contribution to the UK Soul scene and mostly associated with the syncopated beat and fast tempo of mid-1960s Motown Records. All of the tracks develop hypnotic grooves and explosive wall of instrumentations of guitars and drums and background vocals, horns and keys… The type of feels you get once at a James Brown late night concert.
Great moments: Stay Too Long/She Said/The Recluse/Darkest Place.
1- ADELE – 21
NOTHING TO SAY, END OF DISCUSSION, TALK IS CHEAP.