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Top Pop Albums of 2004 - Top Pop Albums of 2004

2006-07-17 10:24

But there's more to pop music than one hit wonders like Eastlife or Kim Lian. There are also the people have real star quality and talent, and who'll stick around for years to come, change and develop. People like Darren Hayes, Kylie, and lesser known stars like Angela McCluskey, Air or Pheonix. Or perhaps something from closer to home?

Ok, to be honest, I don't like every CD I've listed. I don't think much of Britney, for instance. But I had to include her because she's good at what she does. Basically, she has a very pretty tummy, so she made the cut. Needless to say. Phil Collins doesn't need a cut. I chose him for his lovely hairless head...

Note: The CDs are ordered roughly by release date - older CDs first. You can listen to a selection of songs from each.

Brenda Fassie - Greatest hits 1964-2004 (46664 Benefit edition)
Bubblegum pop with soul and brains from Africa's queen of pop. Brenda was controversial and difficult, but she was more than tabloid fodder. She had one of the most beautiful voices you'll ever hear, and she wrote great pop songs.
- Review and sound clips

Air - Talkie Walkie
Sophisticated, beautiful, strangely weightless, but not lightweight, French pop, with unintentionally funny English lyrics. You just have to hear it to believe it.
Review and sound clips

Yizo Yizo 3 (official soundtrack)
Banging track after banging track - hip hop, soul, kwaito and African urban folk music that'll make you proud of where you come from. Probably my personal favourite album of the year.
Review and sound clips

Angela McCluskey - The things we do
Beautiful, lyrical, subtle and emotional pop. You may not have heard of Angela before (she was in a band called the Wild Colonials) but once you hear her, you'll be hooked.
Listen to her now

Sweetback - Stage [2]
Possibly the sexiest album released in 2004, from the band that used to back the sultry and cool Sade.
Review and music clips

Prince - Musicology
Prince shows he still has the funky stuff it takes to rule the pop world. Although there isn't a standout hit on this CD, it's proof he's back.
Hear sound clips, read the review

Pheonix - Alphabetical
Clean, slick, muscular and sometimes quite moving. Fans of Steely Dan (famous for "Riekie Don't lose that number", "Deacon Blue") simply have to have this album. It's adult contemporary rock/pop with the rough edges removed. Who'd have thought that possible? Well, it is.
Hear it, and read about them

Phil Collins - Love songs
A compilation of Collins's very good, simple and mushy songs.
Listen to sound clips, read the review

Janet Jackson - Damita Jo
She's sexy, she's pretentious, she's full of contraditions. Hey it's probably genetic. Damita Jo is er... stimulating stuff. So, as with other Jacksons, parental guidance is advised.
Hear her, read all about it

Darren Hayes - The tension and the spark
An unusually good synth pop album from the guy who used to be in Savage Garden. Hayes has a much more mature sound, and there isn't a bad track.
Listen to sound clips

Robbie Williams - Greatest Hits
Robbie's the ultimate pop star. Everyone loves him, even straight men think he's cool. Women drool at the mention of his name. And his body of work isn't bad either. Great Christmas gift for almost anyone.
Hear it, about it

Kylie Minogue - Ultimate Kylie
The sweetest of them all, and pretty talented too. Disc one is fun worth having for the sake of nostalgia for the days when pop songs were all the same song sung by teenagers impersonating hamsters. Disc two is actually a good CD, showing Kylie really maturing as an artist.
Review, clips and Kylie gallery

Britney Speares - Best of: My prerogative
Her greatest hits, five years after "Hit me baby one more time". You'll like it if you like Britney. Well packaged. In other words, plenty of pictures of Britney looking cute in the CD sleeve.
Review, clips, and a gallery

Just so you know...
Both Air and Pheonix featured on the Lost in Translation official movie soundtrack.

- Jean Barker

Pop is a treacherous kind of music. No sooner is it a hit than it's gone and forgotten and likely to show up in the bargain bin - if you can call useless household clutter you pay for a bargain, that is!

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