Neo-soul was a memorable musical movement in the late ‘90s and early 2000s that gave classic soul grooves a contemporary polish. It’s an imperfect umbrella term for a wide range of great artists, from Erykah Badu to Maxwell to Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill. My favourite artist associated with neo-soul is Jill Scott for her fierceness, her fine voice, and her consistency—her 2016 album, “Woman” is just as good as any of her previous releases. This irresistible, empowering tune is one of Scott’s best-known tracks.
Jill Scott — “Golden”
Reconsidering the Aughts
Initially I balked at doing a 2000s list because when I think of that decade, my mind immediately goes to vapid boy bands and Auto-Tuned pop princesses and the death of the music industry. But when I did my “19 Days of Songs from the ‘90s” series, I discovered that a lot of my favourite recorded works that I was sure were pre-millennial actually came out in 2000 or after. Like “Music for Imaginary Films,” for instance, a delightful concept album by the Dutch electronic duo Arling & Cameron. The title is self-explanatory: 14 spot-on theme songs for movies that don’t exist. There are even fake promo posters in the CD booklet! (See photo.) This retro-spacey jam is a highlight.
Arling & Cameron — “1999 Spaceclub”
Part Four: The Breakup
Like most first loves, it wasn’t meant to last.
I broke up with Kiss in 1980. I probably should have ended it sooner. After the honeymoon highs of “Alive!” and “Destroyer,” the romance continued for a while with “Rock and Roll Over” (late 1976) and “Love Gun” (’77). A reserve of goodwill carried me through the spotty solo efforts released simultaneously by each member in 1978. But by 1979, the flame had started to fizzle. The next album, “Dynasty,” featured the Top 40 hit “I Was Made for Loving You,” a woeful attempt at disco. The poppy follow-up, 1980’s “Unmasked,” made almost no impression. I listened to it maybe one-and-a-half times and I couldn’t tell you the name of a single tune on it. And its tantalizing title—implying that the perennially disguised rockers might expose their true faces behind the makeup, something fans had buzzed about for years—was a tease. They kept the masks on. (Although they would follow through with the reveal a few years later and it wasn’t pretty.) Continue reading