Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Best 50 Pop Albums from 2000-2009: #30-#21

This week, I'm counting down the top 50 pop albums of the 2000s. This is part 3 of 5.

30. Girls Aloud - Tangled Up (2007)

Coming off the disappointing Chemistry, Girls Aloud once again set the standard for British pop music with an invigorating fourth album that showed growth while keeping their trademark fierce attitude intact, ditching the ballads—long one of their weak spots on their albums—in the process. The group had always skirted with sex appeal, but Tangled Up felt like the first effort that made a conscious decision to show that the former reality show contestants had finally grown into women.

Key tracks: "Can't Speak French," "Black Jacks," "Call The Shots"

[Amazon] [Spotify]

29. Madonna - Confessions On A Dance Floor (2005)

After 2003's lackluster American Life, which saw Madonna more interested in politics than delivering tuneful songs, Confessions on a Dance Floor was a return to basics that downplayed her recent social and spiritual awareness in favor of throbbing dance cuts. With the help of renowned remixer Stuart Price, who served as executive producer, Confessions was conceived as a seamless night out at the club, with the songs mixing into one another using Euro-house and Italo disco as the foundation of its sound.

Key tracks: "Jump," "Hung Up," "Future Lovers"

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

28. Josie and The Pussycats: Music From The Motion Picture (2001)

It's a bit unfair that this album is associated with a flop of a movie (although I still think the film has its merits). While it may be pretty hard for anyone to accept that anything good came out of this project, the names attached to the soundtrack at least warrant an open-minded listen. Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go's and many other notable artists had a hand in its creation, crafting one of the fizziest pop/rock efforts of the decade in the process. That committee approach, however methodical and calculated, was nothing short of effective. Along with Kay Hanley (Letters of Cleo) standing in as the voice of Josie, the Pussycats soundtrack was never short on peppy hooks and spunk.

Key tracks: "3 Small Words," "Pretend To Be Nice," "Shapeshifter," "You're A Star"


27. Lykke Li - Youth Novels (2008)

The debut album from Sweden's own Lykke Li was proof that pop didn't always have to sound happy to be classified as such. Although the tone reached varying levels of grey at times on Youth Novels, what truly earned Li her pop stripes was the bare and gripping emotion she showed on songs like "Tonight" and "Little Bit," not to mention that her fragile, pixie-like vocals would have been palatable in most genres.

Key tracks: "Breaking It Up," "Little Bit," "Tonight" "I'm Good, I'm Gone"

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

26. Sugababes - Three (2003)

Throughout their career, Sugababes have been compared to TLC, seeing as how the British trio obviously took their inspiration from the teen-targeted R&B of the '90s and marketed themselves based on their sassy personalities. With their third album, Sugababes continued to draw upon their influences and translated them into a modern sound with state-of-the-art pop production. Their singles have always gotten most of the attention, but Three arguably boasted some of the group's best album tracks, with "Whatever Makes You Happy" and "Situation's Heavy" adding to their list of other potential hits.

Key tracks: "In The Middle," "Hole In The Head," "Whatever Makes You Happy"

[Amazon] [Spotify]

25. Junior Senior - D-D-Don't Stop The Beat (2002)

This multi-colored debut effort foreshadowed the kind of diverse pop music that would come out in Denmark for the rest of the decade, with songs dabbling in surf rock, garage, disco and many other unlikely, energetic genres. Like their Danish peers, Junior Senior approached music with a carefree zeal, but with a goofier spirit and a willingness to do just about anything for a smile.

Key tracks: "Move Your Feet," "Rhythm Bandits," "Shake Your Coconuts," "Chicks and Dicks"

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

24. Justin Timberlake - Justified (2002)

It's easy to accept Justified now as a terrific pop album since Timberlake has achieved near universal approval, but at the time of its release, there were still doubts as to whether a former boy band member could have an enduring solo career. With little room for error, Timberlake delved into the playbook of his influences and wisely employed Timbaland and The Neptunes to produce the bulk of the album, leaving behind the best Michael Jackson album that MJ never recorded.

Key tracks: "Cry Me A River," "Rock Your Body," "SeƱorita," "Like I Love You"

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

23. PUFFY - Bring It! (2009)

"Aggressive" usually isn't a word associated with the Japanese duo of Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura (better known as Puffy AmiYumi in the States), but their ninth album cranked things up to a level that the ladies had never maintained over the course of an album. In addition to songwriting contributions from Butch Walker and Avril Lavigne, Bring It! embraced a crunchier pop/punk sound with the kind of delirious glee that PUFFY made their name off of.

Key tracks: "Hare Onna," "Bring It On!," "Wedding Bells," "I Don't Wanna"

[Amazon] [iTunes]

22. Pink - M!ssundaztood (2001)

Credit goes to this album for making it possible for the Avril Lavignes and Kelly Clarksons of the world to have an audience. What seemed like a questionable move at the time to go from R&B to pop is still adding mileage to Pink's career eleven years later, and in retrospect, M!ssundaztood sounds just as current now. Many female pop/rock albums have been made since then, but few have matched the confessional nature shown here or made angst nearly as catchy.

Key tracks: "Just Like A Pill," "Family Portrait," "Get The Party Started," "My Vietnam"

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

21. Madonna - Music (2000)

As any ardent Madonna follower can tell you, her albums are usually only as interesting as her collaborators. Coming off the worldwide success of "Disco Science," French-based house producer Mirwais was a proper choice to bring Madge into the new millennium, with booming, atomic-sized synths that recalled the vibrancy of her younger days. With only ten tracks and its simple album title, the intentions of Music was likely a back-to-basics approach after the sweeping, ambitious Ray Of Light. In the end, it capped the best three-album run of Madonna's career, with Ray and Bedtime Stories before.

Key tracks: "Don't Tell Me," "Music," "Impressive Instant," "What It Feels Like For A Girl"

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

Check back tomorrow for #20 - #11.

#50 - #41
#40 - #31
#20 - #11
#10 - #1

No comments:

Post a Comment