Audio Diva 2000's: Gettin' Loose, Evolving and Going 'Back To Black' [2006]

Monday, December 28, 2009

2006 brought on my year of "responsibility". So after shaking off all the silliness and nervous jitters of my first year in college, I got to crackin' with the books and with the social activities. I joined a "young women's club" or rather this really lovely group called, Sister 2 Sister. In some sense we were a quasi-sorority with meetings, discussions about living life as a college girl of the 21st century, doing charity work and pigging out, just without all the pledging and keg parties. I oddly became a staff member and was probably the worst secretary they had ever had. Still, I do take pride in creating the club's website, which I believe is still in operation today. With that, my Internet and blogging career began as I began blogging towards the end of the year as a means to get out of a depression that cropped up after my mother fell ill. 2006 was also the year I said "hasta la vista" to the dorms and got my own apartment, and I learned how everything is rent...and that if you leave Stoffer's Mac n' Cheese in the freezer without your name on it, your ungrateful roommate will eat it, and not apologize for it.

2006 was another great year for music, in fact, its my favorite year for music, as I discovered so many sounds and artists around that time. The British Invasion of the 21st Century began with acts like Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Corrine Bailey Rae emerging, all with varying styles and all filled with promise. Justin Timberlake was "bringing sexy back" or whatever that was supposed to be...he didn't need that gimmick as his 2nd effort, FutureSex/LoveSounds did just fine with the single "My Love" ruling the airwaves. "Sexy Back" wasn't the only catch phrase as Omarion felt like an "Ice Box" and Fergie left the Black Eyed Peas' for awhile and let her "London Bridge" fall down....The collective of Cee-Lo and producer, Danger Mouse made Gnarls Barkley and gave us one of the finest songs of the 00's. Gwen Stefani was on solo album #2 and took us on a "Sweet Escape". The Killers had us enter Sam's Town which showed off their Americana rock sound. Food and Liquor was not a grocery list but Lupe Fiasco's debut album title, and it remains one of my favorite releases from the 00's. Pink didn't want to fool with "Stupid Girls" and Prince was working up a "Black Sweat". Christina Aguilera took us Back To Basics, with an ambitious double album and John Mayer made me become a fan of his through his stellar Continuum album. The musical movie of that year was the feather boas tossing and beehive hairstyle revival of Dreamgirls. Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson battled it out vocally (J. Hud won out though) and gave new meaning to the Diva Catfight. And that was just between the fans and stans, not the singers themselves....

The Big 3 of 2006

Amy Winehouse 
Around '06, I was fortunate to have Internet buddy who introduced me to lots of overseas acts that my Star Spangled self would never come across. One of the acts that was suggested to me was a Miss Amy Winehouse. At the time of exposure the States had no clue who she was, thus I got hooked on "Rehab" before the rest of the world went into a frenzy. From first listen, I knew Winehouse was going to have a hit on her hands because her style, though vintage in mindset, was fresh and nobody sounded like that on airwaves at that time. Though she has detoured off the road as of lately, Back To Black will always be a classic album that featured some great soul revival-esque tracks. 

Robin Thicke
In 2006, Robin Thicke got off that bicycle, cut off his Jesus Christ Superstar hair, and experienced evolutionism. The Evolution of Robin Thicke consumed the latter half of my '06 and it was an album that I think everybody who I knew that was an R&B/Soul head owned. As an alternative to Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke brought out the more plush and seductive approach of R&B at that time. Songs like "I Need Love" and "Would That Make U Love Me" made you want to be with someone, and for a single gal like me, it was impossible to find someone as romantic as Robin. Cause boys on campus can barely ask you out on a date without some sort of catch. Yep, the bar was set for standards of men upon hearing Evolution...well, I should say standards for male R&B vocalists.

Nelly Furtado  
Nelly Furtado was the granola bar section of music prior to Loose, sweet, yet good for you. At the start of her career she was the quirky flowerchild of pop's craftiest songs such as "Like A Bird" and "Turn Off The Light". When 2003's Folklore didn't catch on, Nelly gathered up a hit-making arsenal by enlisting the help of producers Timbaland and Nate Hills and creating the electro-funk of Loose. While I like the earthier Furtado, the dance club Nelly is just as exhilarating, because tracks like "Glow" and "Promiscuous" were tons o' fun to sing and gyrate along with. In retrospect, Loose was an album that sprinkled sugar upon the sour parts of '06.

Top 15 Tracks of 2006 

1. Back To Black - Amy Winehouse

2. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
You couldn't go anywhere in '06 without hearing this track. In under 3 minutes this song does exactly what you want it to do. It sounds from another time, has catchy lyrics, a startling chorus, a tight arrangement and its done by a group called Gnarls Barkley--what a awfully awesome name for a collective.

3. Say It Right -Nelly Furtado
4. Love Stoned - Justin Timberlake

5. Gravity - John Mayer
Never did I think I was ever going to be a John Mayer fan. But this song changed all of that thought process. A friend made me listen to this song, and note: "made me". But the tenderness this song possesses won me over and provoked me to buy the album Continuum, which is probably one of the 00's finest records. I may not like Mayer as a person, and pretty much stuff he has done after this, but I have to give props for this gorgeous song.  

6. Ask Myself - Robin Thicke
7. Kick, Push - Lupe Fiasco

8. Enchantment - Corrine Bailey Rae
9. Let Go - Joy Denalane 

10. Fidelity - Regina Spektor 
There are avid Spektor fans, and there are those who latched onto her due to "Fidelity". I'm the latter. The music video would play on early morning VH1 and as I would get ready for class, I would hear this little comforting song and it got me revved for the day. It's just a really nice warm cup of java. And I hate coffee, but I like this song.

11. Understand - Christina Aguilera 

12. Glamorous - Fergie (ft. Ludacris) 
Yes, I like this song. And I actually liked a lot of what was on Fergie's misspelled solo opus, The Dutchess. Sometimes there are albums that are meant for mindless fun, and this one is it. "Glamorous" feels like champange going down, it taste good, but you shouldn't have too many. While people were still sholocking up "Big Girls Don't Cry", I was sipping champange and flying first class on this luxe track.

13. Ice Box - Omarion
14. Everything's Just Wonderful - Lily Allen
15. U + Ur Hand - Pink


  1. You continue to be spot on...I swear we're musical twins in some kind of retrograde in which you have branched out into the r&B and I've branched out into the pop. Love all of these. Yet again making a playlist to listen to ad naseum. Keep 'em coming. :)


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