5 Faves: …Just One More Album

Posted October 20, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

What we really could use right about now are 5 comeback albums from 5 incredible faves. We don’t ask for much…or maybe we do. Check out our list of notable mentions.

2010 is been staged as a grand year for comebacks. Fantasia, El DeBarge, Monica and Faith Evans have whipped up new albums for the R&B market, Bobbi McFerrin has won the hearts of jazz lovers again with his first studio album in over eight years (VOCAbuLarieS) and Phil Collins, Cyndi Lauper and a special collaborative effort featuring Elton John and Leon Russell have proven to be the spice of life for classic pop revivalists, even if their albums bear more soul and blues than their used to recording.

Just last year, we welcomed new releases from rock groups Bon Jovi (The Circle), KISS (Sonic Boom), and U2 (No Line On the Horizon); proven once more that more nuggets of unearthed success awaits them. Already in the plans, announced by various musical outlets, are a number of big breakthrough in group reunions, collaborations and comeback albums from big names like Blondie, Stevie Nicks (with production by Eurythmics’ member David A. Stewart), George Clinton & Sly Stone (on a 2011 collaboration effort) and Prince’s former experimental funk outfit The Time.

Certainly some artists – full of dynamic raw talents and divine potential – are in need of a new album more than others. After releasing only one solo project to her name, Lauryn Hill had that opportunity. And even after headlining the recent Rock the Bells Festival and with a few unreleased tracks from the vaults (“Repercussions”) hitting the Billboard R&B charts, her live performances – anchored by careless, sped-up reversions, an angry band and lots of loud belting – left more to be desired.

But there are a set of artists that needs that extra shot. That one more album to help complete that gorgeous discography. And so, we’ve decided to just name our leading five for this feature. The compiling of this kind of list can be egregiously long, if it was not to have a limit. There’s tons of artists that could be mentioned, but we’ve limited it to five. Go ahead and thank us in advance for not allowing your eyes to bleed profusely to such a long, tiresome list.


Big Boi released his critically-acclaimed solo project, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, earlier this year and sent out a powerful message that his musical stroke of creativity had not diminished since his last piece of work. That last project, Idlewild, was done in 2006 alongside André 3000 as the platinum-selling funky hip-hop duo OutKast. The pair decided to take a necessary break to work on their individual careers. So far, it’s been somewhat rewarding, but none of their recent steps as solo acts have touched the mighty opuses that have now defined the best of Dirty South crunk funk. Earlier in July, André  3000 did confess that the pair would reunite and work on a new album once Big Boi finished his solo album. Already, Big Boi is at work on his second solo album. So what the hell is really going on? We need another OutKast album that’s “so fresh and so clean.”

Daryl Hall & John Oates

The blue-eyed boys of soul remain the “kiss on our list” for a sweet comeback album. Their last album as a pair, after their holiday foray Home for Christmas, was Our Kind of Soul; a tribute album dedicated to their Philly inspirations and some of their other musical influences. In just the last couple of years, the pop world has opened up their hearts to recognize Hall & Oates as their influences. Kanye West and Wyclef Jean have sampled their stuff. They’ve performed on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ in 2009 and on behalf of their 4-CD box set, performed on ‘American Idol’’s finale in 2010. Also, this year indie pop duo The Bird and the Bee recorded a tribute album dedicated entirely to them. Surely these occurrences, buoyed by the public’s passion, all symbolize a growing trend towards a demand for one more H&O event. We can go for that.

Aretha Franklin

For two years, we’ve been quarreling over Aretha’s highly-talked about independent project, A Woman Falling Out of Love. The Queen of Soul hasn’t neglected us all entirely; entreating us to her first holiday project in her entire five decades of music. And she’s been hard at work on a motion picture based on her autobiography. Her last trip to the top of the charts came in 2007 with the Fantasia-duet “Put You Up on Game.” While she performs regularly in front of sold-out crowds, $100-dollar-a-plate receptions and in front of acclaimed symphonies nationwide, one more terrific album from Franklin isn’t hard to ask. Lately, Aretha, much thinner and healthier after going on a Jenny Craig diet, has been singing well and revealing a woman in need of some R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as seen at Albertina Walker’s home going service. That album we mentioned earlier is set to feature production from Franklin along with BeBe Winans and Gordon Chambers. Until then, we’re just going to have to wait patiently until the Queen makes her move.

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

An Rex Rideout-produced all-star tribute album loaded with music giants (Musiq Soulchild, Mary J. Blige, Ledisi, Kem) united together to give their respects to a living legend. One thing the album reignited was a stronger appetite amongst diehard Maze fans of a new album. Frankie Beverly’s silky soul continues to be a major attraction at major music festivals and small concert halls, but the revival of Beverly’s hit albums (all certified gold, except for 1983’s We Are One) are in need of one more golden crown. It’s certainly possible for that to happen. The demand for another Maze record is on the scale of Sade’s and Maxwell’s big return to the recording world. Beverly spoke with Tavis Smiley in 2005 and told him in an interview that he was definitely working on a new album. That’s good news we can use.

Tramaine Hawkins

After her Kurt Carr-produced 2007 project on GospoCentric, gospel sensation Tramaine Hawkins has been busy performing and ministering at churches, musicals and concerts bold enough to have her. That’s because Hawkins, a dynamite Pentecostal singer with her roots around the Top Ten crossover pop hit “Oh, Happy Day” and a list of gospel standards like “Changed” and “Goin’ Up Yonder,” has one of those instruments that hasn’t changed one bit. She still packs a punch; working both her signature squalls and swooping high notes. So why haven’t our gospel legend been given another shot at a revamped recording deal? That’s only a question the Almighty God can answer.

Notable Mentions:

Brenda Russell, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Aerosmith, O’Jays, Pointer Sisters, Shania Twain, Eurythmics, Patrice Rushen, Sinead O’ Connor, WAR, EnVogue, Angela Winbush, Stephanie Mills, LeAnn Rimes, D’ Angelo, Huey Lewis & the News, Chaka Khan, Chicago, Dixie Chicks, Celine Dion, Mississippi Mass Choir

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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