Top 10 Soul Music Albums of 2010

Soul music laid the groundwork for disco, funk and hip-hop styles today; its direct emotional delivery and ethnic pride remain alive and kicking today among musicians.

While younger and hipper R&B has tended toward trap drums and rap flows for quite some time now, neo-soul artists like Daniel Caesar and H.E.R are pushing the limits of quiet storm style.

Jaheim’s Another Round

Jaheim has been on our soul music radar screens ever since his Gold certified 2007 release of “The Makings of a Man,” when his album Another Round (Druk in Danish) was released February 9th by Atlantic Records. Boasting an irresistibly seductive baritone while possessing enough street cred to appeal to male listeners, Jaheim continues his legacy of classic urban love songs with This Round (Druk in Danish).

Although his album doesn’t deviate too far from his signature sound, it does explore new musical territory on several tracks. On “In My Hands,” for instance, he pays a moving tribute to Luther Vandross while performing an exquisite ballad as though written especially for him.

“Impossible,” an emotive Motown-influenced track that speaks about longing for an old flame to return, features acoustic guitar strums, live sounding programmed drum beats and church hymn-esque piano chord progression – along with an impeccable lead vocal performance that would do Teddy Pendergrass proud.

Although There were some production issues on Another Round, including an awkward vocal treatment on “II Pink Lines” and an off-putting sexual innuendo in “Closer,” Another Round delivers on its promises. Though not breaking new ground in R&B, Another Round should satisfy fans who have been waiting patiently for Jaheim to return to his formative style – something this set accomplishes quite nicely without needing guest appearances or production help – quality always counts when talking about Jaheim!

Sade’s Soldier of Love

Sixth album of downtempo RnB from Sade, an almost reclusive soulstress who refuses interviews and releases albums at a snail’s pace. She’s often been likened to Kate Bush when it comes to mellow soul, yet her commitment to consistency has given her an almost fanatical following – some listening fans even mistakingly perceive Sade’s restraint for repression or lack of flashiness as lacking soulfulness.

Soldier of Love proves that restraint can also be strength. The album sounds unlike anything Sade had ever released before it, while at the same time feeling fresher than either Lovers Rock or Stronger Than Pride. Guitarist Stuart Matthewman, bassist Paul Denman and keyboardist Andrew Hale all deliver stellar performances on Soldier of Love; their naturalistic sound features strings and brass.

Sade has not lost her captivating vocals after ten years between albums; her captivating tone remains as potency-filled as ever and Soldier of Love showcases it perfectly. Songwriting aside, Sade’s unique ability to convey emotion through songwriting alone really stands out on this record.

Sade’s production on Babyfather is more natural than it was on Lovers Rock or Stronger Than Pride; few attempts are made at trendy sonic techniques (although Babyfather features interesting dub-esque snare crashes). Sade allows herself and her vocals to take center stage.

Darien Brockington’s The Cold Case Files

Darien Brockington (aka D-Brock) is a beloved artist of Brooklyn’s Daptone Records and has contributed vocals for projects by artists like The Foreign Exchange. His debut album Somebody to Love became an instant classic among alt soul fans; while The Cold Case Files represents an innovative artistic direction that should have garnered more praise; with three segments providing insight into life of an indie musician not quite at his peak performance level.

Gospel group The Staple Singers added funk to their style, creating pulsating rhythms and inviting call-and-response style choruses. Their song “I’ll Take You There” became an instant classic and remains one of the best soul songs ever released.

Jhene Aiko’s Souled Out was an outstanding showcase of her Neo-Soul style. Her vivid storytelling and emotive songwriting shone through on this project, which also featured various genres and styles like clapping cadences and foreign language excerpts.

Ari Lennox epitomized the revival of soul music through her seductive voice. Signed to J-Cole’s Dreamville Records label, Lennox exuded passion on her sophomore album Shea Butter Baby; its high vocal range and flawless runs making for an effortless neo-soul listen. Additionally, this project gave listeners a peek into R&B world with this irresistibly seductive experience.

Jhene Aiko’s Souled Out

After her tranquil debut EP, Sail Out, Jhene Aiko is taking it a step further with her debut full-length album Souled Out. Aiko’s soothing voice floats effortlessly across various production styles–from neo-soul and dark alt-pop to dreamy synths and psychedelic licks. Her album serves as a journey towards self-discovery and maturity: on Promises she opens up to both her daughter and late brother while explaining life’s challenges through W.A.Y.S (which stands for “why Aren’t You Smile”)

Aiko’s musical journey is marked by a powerful lyrical catharsis, from relatable themes of love and loss to introspective nostalgia. Her opening track Limbo Limbo Limbo sets the narrative trajectory over swelling synth and tumbling drums; she describes being trapped in an ego-driven relationship that leaves her feeling like an angry lion that kills gazelles and zebras before lazily laying back to let them escape and feed on them later. On tracks like It’s Cool and Brave she speaks out about finding strength to move on or her home town Hawaii-reminisces about her teenage summers from when she lived there before ending with her final track titled reminisces about growing up and spending her summers growing up and singing about being alive today!

Although she collaborates with numerous hip-hop producers and rappers – including Kid Cudi collaborator Dot da Genius – the soundscape on this album is predominantly Aiko’s own. While such an approach might seem bold in an age where featureless projects seem as unassuming as hashtagged photos on Instagram, Aiko is uniquely skilled to lead this exploration of self-discovery and reflection through music – making her a worthy guide through this journey of self-exploration and reflection. Overall this debut album offers plenty of promise for future success!

Fatboy Slim & Christopher Walken’s Weapon of Choice

Spike Jonze has amassed an impressive resume as a director and producer, and his 2001 clip for Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice stands out among many iconic music videos in pop culture history. Notably, Christopher Walken proved himself capable of dancing by appearing briefly during this video (though not for its entirety).

The video begins with Walken relaxing in a chair in a deserted hotel lobby, before hearing his song of choice play out and jumping up and dancing in an energetic display of musical bliss. He flips, twirls and even flies about while completely engaging the space through flips, twirls and even flying as soon as his dance music kicks in – an act that was definitely unique!

Before embarking on his acting career, Christopher Walken had an interest in dance – perhaps thinking it as a full-time profession when this video was made – however he soon gained fame through films like The Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction and True Romance.

Jonze had seen Walken perform dancing on Saturday Night Live and decided to take advantage of his talents. While most of the dancing would be performed by Walken himself, more complex moves were handled by Michael Rooney who served as his dance double.

Jonze’s video became so iconic that it was recently included as part of a DVD compilation featuring all his music videos and short films, along with Walken’s first and perhaps only commentary – adding even further appreciation of the film and video. Walken reveals in his commentary how the video came together while also discussing Frank Herbert’s Dune novel which states travelers on Arrakis must walk carefully along sandy roads so as to avoid massive sandworms that are present there.