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Best R&B Albums of 2007

The Cream of the Crop

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2007 started off with quite a few mediocre albums, but the year was rescued in its second half thanks to phenomenal albums by household names Alicia Keys, Prince and Chaka Khan, among others. But your Guide to R&B's hands-down favorite of the year was Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, an album that offers a deep look into this troubled woman's heart and soul and gives the answers as to why she's such a mess. For the full list of About.com's picks for the 20 best albums of 2007, just look below.

1. "Back to Black," Amy Winehouse

Album cover © Universal Republic.
This album, which was released in March 13, 2007 in the U.S., is one of the best break-up albums in years. If you don't already have this in your collection, then your Guide strongly recommends that you get your hands on a copy. Your ears will thank you.

2. "As I Am," Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys is tops at what she does. And most other singers, even those who are above average, pale in comparison. Evidence of this is inherent throughout Alicia's third studio album, As I Am, which is probably the most powerful R&B release of 2007.

3. "Planet Earth," Prince

Planet Earth is amazingly Prince's 24th studio album, but not only has the Purple One not lost a step, he appears to be getting even better with age. The album's definitely better than some of the material he released very early in his career and as good as anything he released in the 1990s and earlier this decade.

4. "Growing Pains," Mary J. Blige

Album cover © Geffen Records.
Growing Pains is a well-produced, extremely well-sung album about both the joy and pain, the sunshine and rain that comes with living life. Mary J. may have sworn off drama, but on this album she finds out that it's much easier said than done.

5. "Back of My 'Lac," J. Holiday

All the songs on this album are earnest, heartfelt anthems by a young artist who, like most of us, has many aspects to his personality. J. Holiday and Back of My 'Lac are a breath of fresh air compared to the stereotypical poseurs who jump through musical hoops for a quick buck. Or in other words, J. Holiday's definitely a true, genuine artist.

6. "Funk This," Chaka Khan

Funk This isn't just an album, it's a clinic for singers, showing vocalists the world over how a true diva handles her business in the recording booth. Throughout the album, Chaka's vocals are consistently powerful, self assured, compelling and most of all, warm and inviting.

7. "The Daily News," Donnie

Album cover © SoulThought Entertainment.
This is a great alternative to all the empty-headed, souless R&B and urban pop out there in the marketplace. Donnie's music with a message is a dream come true for socially conscious music fans.

8. "Wines & Spirits," Rahsaan Patterson

Wines & Spirits is a terrific Soul album that would probably have topped the charts in the 1970s. Unfortunately, it's out of tune with the contemporary music market, but despite not fitting in with current trends, it's a fresh, enjoyable Soul album that leaves you wanting more.

9. "Music from the Motion Picture: Daddy's Little Girls," Various Artists

Soundtrack cover © Atlantic Records.
The movie may not have done well at the box office earlier this year, but the soundtrack is still great. Lots of big-name artists like Beyonce, R. Kelly, Anthony Hamilton and Whitney Houston give great performances. Many soundtracks these days contain a lot of music that has little - if any - relation to the movie itself. But in this case, much of the music directly relates to scenes in the film, and that alone makes this soundtrack above average.

10. "The Real Thing: Words & Sounds Vol. 3," Jill Scott

Album cover © Hidden Beach Recordings.
Although there was no need to, Jill Scott proves on this album that she still is - and will likely always be - the real thing. As she's done on all her albums before this, Jill thrills listeners with her wonderfully powerful voice and introspective and insightful lyrics.

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