The Audio Diva 2000's: Hey Ya and Like Wo! [2003]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some things about 2003 are escaping my memory possibly because for me, it was a bit boring. Save for a few occurrences such as seeing Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguliera live on stage and enjoying every moment of it, even right down to these two girls in front of us that were so wasted out of their minds that one was slumped over the side railing crying, "Cry meee a rivvverrr!!" when the song Justin was performing was "Like I Love You". Fail. From that day, I swore to not drink heavily at concerts for fear of looking the fool and missing the concert.

2003 was also the year my school's drama club went to the high school theater convention that was held in Wichita Falls, Texas. It was quite fun because we got to see some great performances of high schools putting on productions of Godspell and Ragtime. All the while my drama class wondered why our high school was so cheap and wouldn't let us put on spectacular performances like what we were seeing before us. Aside from that, the convention was also fun, because I actually had my first "acting" role that year, and went from being the soundboard girl to actually having time in the spotlight. This was all thanks to the girl who had the role originally pissing off the teacher to the point where she was kicked out of the production we put on that year. I ended up being in this crazy comedy of errors production called, "Cut!" and well, I played a girl named "Jennifer", who's character was described as "The Nerd". Such a big stretch for me....

Elsewhere, on the musical front, we saw the rise of Beyonce, the solo star as well as American Idol's first winner, Kelly Clarkson. No Doubt released their Singles collection with a cover of Talk Talk's "It's My Life" as well as the news that frontwoman Gwen Stefani was embarking on her solo career (we'll get to that next year). Kelis brought boys to her yard with her "Milkshake" while Daniel Bedingfield gave Justin Timberlake a run for his white soul boy money with his catchy single, "I Gotta Get Thru This". Dannii Minogue was having Neon Nights (and hasn't released an album of brand new material since) while Blu Cantrell was experiencing Bittersweet feelings. I also became an even bigger fan of Nelly Furtado after she released her long hibernated on Folklore project, which gave me my anthem of the year, "Powerless (Say What You Want)". 2003 also saw the emergence of Amy Winehouse with her album, Frank, but she would catch on with Americans untill 2006. 50 Cent was "In Da Club" and was the coolest thing in Hip-Hop at that time due to the factoid he had been shot in the mouth multiple times. Gangsta.

The Big 3 of 2003

Alicia Keys
True facts. Keys' best album is Diary of Alicia Keys and to me, she hasn't really gone back to this sound. True, she has evolved (and not to everyone's liking at the moment) and we'd want her too, but Alicia was much more the trendsetter than the trend follower back in 2003. Her 2001 debut, Songs In A Minor, set the tone that Alicia was bringing back the artist/instrument concept, but she took it to the zenith point with Diary. She dipped her fingers deeper into the vintage soul, even making her come close to being the Patrice Rushen of her day. She came up with gems like the comforting title track, the stark "Karma", and oh, the physically amazing, "Nobody Not Really".

If you weren't a fan of this duo from Atlanta by now...well, now you were, and so was your Mom, Dad, and your Auntie....everyone. It seemed that everywhere you went, "Hey Ya", "Way You Move" or "Roses" was being played. I can recollect hearing "Hey Ya" being played in the dentist office every time I went to get my braces tightened and it made it just a little bearable having those pliers in my mouth (blech). "Hey Ya" was inescapable and it brought Big Boi and Andre 3000 to mass attention. OutKast were at the top of their game with their Grammy-winning double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (the second hip-hop album to win that title) and it was quite a sprawling piece of hip-hop artistry. This double album was one of the last testaments where mainstream hip-hop was actually fun and smart.

There was a time where Mya wasn't subjected to B-list reality show tendencies and albums that can only be found in overseas CD shops. She had some catchy radio hits ("My Love Is Like Wo..." was loads of fun) and she was quite the dancer (well, she still is, but she's on Dancing With The Stars...). In 2003, Mya surprised me with her third offering Moodring, which was a nice collective of thumping R&B/Hip-Hop numbers and Pop smarts. The sweet "Fallen'" was the single that should've been her biggest hit, as were the Sean Paul assisted "Things Come and Go" and the slinky, "No Sleep Tonight". Plus Rick James' classic, "Cold Blooded" was given the Mya treatment with the biting "Sophisticated Lady". A slept on album by many, but not by the Audio Diva.

Top 15 Songs of 2003
1. Diary-Alicia Keys ft. Tony! Toni! Tone!
2. Hey Ya-OutKast
3. Love Of My Life-Erykah Badu

4. Gotta Get Thru This-Daniel Bedingfield
In some ways, Daniel Bedingfield was in the right place at the wrong time. Around this time there seemed be room for one soulful white boy and we all know who that was. His sister, Natasha hadn't made waves yet, but Daniel emerged out of nowhere with this exciting piece of pop. The 2-step skittish hi-hat percussion was engaging as was Daniel's voice bouncing up and down. Some found it annoying and liked it when he was all smalschy with "If You're Not The One", but this was good. Debut album wasn't too shabby as well.

5. Fallen-Mya

6. Crazy In Love-Beyonce ft. Jay-Z
I may not always be on Team Beyonce, but you cannot deny that her debut solo single was quite a stompin' jaunt and a nice little wake-up call to R&B starlets out there. Sure it sampled the heck out of , but it was still a rock solid joint and was just the beginning of Beyonce's effervescent reign.

7. Frontin'-Pharrell Willams ft. Jay-Z
8. It's My Life-No Doubt

9. So Gone-Monica
To my ears, this is the last great Monica song before she fell off and is now reality show fodder and releasing "buzz" singles and calling them "comeback" tracks with no album in sight (I swear she's been on the comeback trail since 2007, give it up or stop playin' Monica). In 2003, Monica was still kind of fun to follow, and this song, which featured the always eager Missy Elliott, was a nice little throwback to 70's soul.

10. Willing & Waiting-Mary J. Blige
11. Powerless (Say What You Want)-Nelly Furtado
12. Strict Machine-Goldfrapp
13. Sugar Honey Iced Tea-Kelis

14. When I Get You Alone-Robin Thicke: My initial thought process when I saw the video and heard this song for the first time: Who is Thicke? Oh, he's Alan Thicke's son. Really? Mr. Seever's son? Oh, and look he's got long hair and he's riding around on a bicycle singing a great song that was based on the disco classic, "A Fifth Of Beethoven" . The song is awesome though, and man he can sing, hope he sticks around.... Little did I know this was the beginning of something mighty beautiful...

15. Miss Independent-Kelly Clarkson

1 comment:

  1. You touched on a lot of my favorites of 2003! Memories...

    You're so right about Mya's "Fallen"- shoulda been a huge hit.

    I concur- 'Diary' is Alicia's best album. maybe she needs to team up w/ Kanye again b/c "You Don't Know My Name" is top notch.

    I love Kelis' 'Tasty' album; such great production. "Sugar Honey Iced Tea" is my ish!


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