It's the end of the year, and everyone is making their lists highlighting the year's best songs and albums.
So, you know I had to make my own lists.
My fellow journalism buddies - Mesfin Fekadu and Melanie Sims (both of the Associated Press) - agreed to make their lists as well.
It was a "challonge" issued by Fekadu on Twitter to do top albums of the year. Then, Sims upped the ante requesting that we do top songs of the year as well.
In the words of my homie Calhoun Tubbs (of In Living Color), like to hear it, here it go:
Top 10 Albums of the Year:
1.) Kanye West "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"
Say what you want about Yeezy, but the dude made a masterpiece of an album. He had tons of assistance from some really talented pals, but it didn't even matter. Kanye is a musical genius for bringing all those people together for this album. "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" plays from start to finish, no skipping. No wonder he was named "Man of the Year" by MTV.
2.) Erykah Badu "New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh"
She stirred up some controversy when she stripped naked at the site of JFK's assassination in the video for "Window Seat." It had everyone talking. Too bad more people didn't talk about the amazing album she put out. Ms. Badu definitely should have been nominated for a Grammy. But she got snubbed (and I don't think she cares). Oh well. Life is about more than Grammy's, right?
3.) Eminem "Recovery"
Em roared back with this album. "Love the Way You Lie," "No Love," "Won't Back Down"....doesn't matter what song you pick. There's no space fillers on here. Definitely deserving of the 10 Grammy nods. And this album sounds great no matter where you listen to it -- on the computer or sitting in the stands at Yankee Stadium.
4.) B.o.B. "B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray"
I didn't know what to expect from this B.o.B. album, but it easily became one of my favorites and one the best albums of the year. "Nothin' on You" featuring Bruno Mars was one of the year's biggest songs. But this album was carried by more than just a hot single. For his first album, this is what every artist should strive for on their introduction to the music world.
5.) Bruno Mars "Doo-Wops & Hooligans"
Another hot debut that really caught me by surprise. "Just the Way You Are" was big song this year, but like B.o.B.'s album, the lead single wasn't all the album had to offer. In fact, "Grenade" is just as good as the lead single, maybe even better.
6.) Alicia Keys "The Element of Freedom"
This year for A-Keys was probably more about her personal life. She's now married and a mother. But before all that, she released a pretty solid album. "Doesn't Mean Anything," "Love Is Blind," "Wait Til You See My Smile," "Like the Sea"....are just a few standout tracks. My favorite though was "Unthinkable." Looking forward to her next album, which I'm sure will be strongly influenced by her hubby, Swizz Beatz. She definitely got robbed of a Grammy nod for this album.
7.) Rihanna "Loud"
Like Eminem, Rihanna returned to her old ways with this album. Maybe the red hair helped a bit. She was also helped by going back to her uptempo roots. "What's My Name," "Only Girl," "Raining Men," "Cheers"....they were all great for the album. But the song that stole the show goes to the reggae influenced tune, "Man Down."
8.) Drake "Thank Me Later"
It was easily one of the year's most anticipated albums. While it may not have been as good as his earlier mixtapes, this was still a great success for the Canadian rap star. "Over," "Fireworks," "Show Me a Good Time," "Up All Night," "Fancy".....this album was stacked with radio-friendly tunes --- the best part was you good sing-along to just about all of them.
9.) Chris Brown & Tyga "Fan of a Fan" (mixtape)
It's the mixtape that produced "Deuces," and also included "No Bullshit" (which was on his previous mixtape). Those two songs are C-Breezy's biggest tracks since the whole "Rihanna incident," bringing him back to where he belongs in the music game. If the mixtape world has helped anyone bounce back, it would be Chris Brown. He released three mixtapes this year.
10.) Usher "Raymond v. Raymond"
This was an easy album to like, considering his last album, Here I Stand, wasn't very good. I would go out on a limb and say his divorce was a tremendous factor in the success of this album.
Top 5 Songs
With so many great songs to choose from, this was really tough. But these are *my* top songs of the year.
1.) "Nothing on You" - B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
2.) "Monster" - Kanye West feat. Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Jay-Z
3.) "Unthinkable (I'm Ready)" - Alicia Keys
4.) "Just the Way You Are" - Bruno Mars
5.) "Teach Me How to Dougie" - Cali Swag District
Honorable mention: "Omg" - Usher; "Deuces" - Chris Brown; Rick Ross - "Blowing Money Fast"; "All I Want Is You" - Miguel; "Beamer, Benz or Bentley" - Lloyd Banks; "Love the Way You Lie" - Eminem