The Top 10 Best Soul Albums of 2015

 

 

It was another great year for soul music, it kind of started slow the beginning of the year. It seemed like the summer was the perfect time for some of these albums to drop all at once. Every artist on this list gave everything you need to make a great soul album. Alright enough small talk, let’s go ahead and get into the list.


 

 

 

tyrese

Tyrese – “Black Rose”

This is probably one of Tyrese’s best albums to date. He delivered vocally, especially on his hit single “Shame”. Definitely replay value with every song, it’s commendable he had artists like Tank and Jennifer Hudson giving background vocals on songs.  Hopefully, he started the wave back of established artists supporting and just lending background vocals on songs. Like when the legend Stevie Wonder had the icons Betty Wright, Eddie Levert, and Michael Jackson doing backgrounds on “All I Do” from the Hotter Than July album. Even Babyface still does backgrounds, and many more examples to give. Just leave it as, something unheard of and rare this day and time, and it lets you know the comradery in R&B music still exists.

 

 

liannelahavas

Lianne La Havas – “Blood”

Lianne La Havas is definitely a young lady to expect continuous growth from with her music. Being a musician, her guitar/bass skills shine through on every song. Making the guitar the lead instrument opened the melody to so many creative sounds. When you’re this good of a singer/musician, it’s not wise to box this kind of artist into a genre. It’s just pure soul.

 

Jill Scott

Jill Scott – “Woman”

Conceptually, one of the best albums this year. It’s like she’s telling a story from her own experience, but also putting it in a second person kind of narrative through the whole album. One second she’s giving you straight up rhythm and blues, pour me a glass of whatever brown liquor you have, and hit play on the juke box, and let me drown my sorrows in peace on “You Don’t Know”. Then, making you feel like you’re in a expensive convertible with the top down, enjoying life on “Cruisin”. It’s completely a lyrically sound album.

 

 

lovelife

Tamia – “Love Life”

Definitely one of the best feel good albums that was released this summer. Sexy, sultry, smooth album all the way through. Giving the perfect balance of vocals and music that sounds relevant and still musically taking you somewhere. With one of the best written songs on the album “Black Butterfly”, and the high replay value of “Stuck With Me”, this album gives you everything you need to vibe out and relax.

 

 

jossstone

Joss Stone – “Water For Your Soul”

How brilliant is it that she called this album “Water For Your Soul”, water = music. Put all that together and you get a reggae-soul album. Really, if you think about it. That’s the way reggae music hits you. Actually, the way soul music hits you in general. It hits you like it’s something you need in daily life and can’t live without. You can’t necessarily call it a straight up reggae album, because it has an essence of 70’s vintage soul vibe to it as well. Even though it’s all the same thing. However you want to put it,  Joss Stone does a masterful job of putting those soul elements together on this album.

 

teedra-moses

Teedra Moses – “Cognac & Conversation”

Another artist to look out for that gives constant musical growth. Talk about a solid album from beginning to end, it’s hard to even critique it. Let’s stop there, you just can’t. It’s that great. From the vocal arrangements to the eclectic production, it’s pretty solid. Any songwriter that can take personal stories, and creatively/lyrically make it enjoyable, should be considered a genius. Cognac & Conversation is just a continuous vibe from song to song, and if this album ages right (and it is aging that way) could be called a classic.

 

bilal

Bial – “In Another Life”

The fact that this album was almost, if not completely done in a matter of days; and sounds like some classic 70’s movie soundtrack; it’s still not registering to the brain. How is this possible? Easy, he’s brilliant. Him and producer Adrian Younge’s chemistry together is undeniable. The guitar being the lead made the melodies create twists and turns throughout the music arrangements. The way he presents his music like abstract art is incredible. Not wasting another sentence explaining how layered this album is lyrically and musically, all in agreement that it deserves to be on the list? Nice, let’s go to the next album listed.

 

emilyking

Emily King – “The Switch”

This was Emily King’s sophomore release; this album had elegant vocals, thought provoking lyrics, and real instrumentation. All the elements you need for a soul album. Definitely an album you can appreciate the quality of the live instrumentation.

tamarbraxton

 Tamar Braxton – “Calling All Lovers”

Tamar didn’t disappoint at all with this sophomore release. Giving you a gourmet entrée of sounds to give to her fans. Vocally, one of the best albums of the year. The background harmonies/arrangements on “Simple Things” alone, put this album in the upper class of quality. No doubt, Tamar Braxton should be mentioned as an elite vocalist.

lalah-hathaway

 Lalah Hathaway – “Lalah Hathaway Live!”

This is the singer’s first live album recording, and it didn’t disappoint one bit. Over 25 years in the music business, always staying true to the craft. This album is a testament to her longevity, stead fast career, and reaffirms how amazing her voice remains with every project.

garyclarkjr

[Bonus] Gary Clark Jr. – “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim”

It wouldn’t be right to leave out this extraordinary guitarist, Gary Clark Jr. Raw vocals, and elite musicianship is displayed perfectly. How he conquers sounds is beyond unprecedented. This album is filled with edge, and intensity. Every record he’s doing a guitar riff, that will knock your hair back. The great mixture of blues, rock, soul, and hip hop makes this album deemed one of the best to be released this year.