Published Jan 31, 20111. Janelle Monae The Archandroid (Bad Boy)
The Archandroid is astounding in its breadth of material. This is soul as symphony, yet doesn't sacrifice the groove for pushing artistic boundaries. Monae, like Santogold and M.I.A. before her, reinvents the genre in which she would ordinarily be pigeonholed, and, thus, a classic is born.
Alan Wong, Montreal QC
Watch this girl, she's one of the most exiting artists around today.
Rourke Fay, Montreal QC
First complete concept album in the genre. Others have claimed to be but this one is definitely the most realised.
Tyler Hammer, Regina SK
A big, sprawling effort, that is highly conceptual at its core. It's loosely based on the classic film Metropolis and offers funky soul, locomotive percussion, space folk plus a whole kit-box full of various and diverse influences. It is a mixed genre effort with a sci-fi vibe.
Wayne Yuzik, Saskatoon SK
2. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings I Learn the Hard Way (Daptone)
She just kills the vocals on everything and using analog is a nice recording touch for the style.
Dave Johnson, Fall River NS
It would be easy to say I'm biased because I've seen her play live and she basically has more energy and presence than a 19-year old hardcore frontman, but with Mrs. Jones and crew, it's all about class. And their latest oozes tastefulness from every pore. They've actually managed to outdo their previous efforts, no small feat in itself. This is date music, dancing music, break-up music, make-out music; it suits the mood, whatever the mood is. And, like the Motown and Stax phenoms of the past, 50 years from now, it still will.
JF Allard, La Prairie QC
3. Aloe Blacc Good Things (Stones Throw)
Aloe gives up MCing (momentarily) to become a full-time soul signer and the end result is best R&B album of 2010.
Kortnee Borden, Toronto ON
Forget how to make it in America, I need to know how to make it in Canada. "I Need A Dollar" is the jam of the year!
Christopher Cheung, Toronto ON
4. Cee Lo Green The Ladykiller (Elektra)
If soul isn't supposed to be fun I want nothing to do with it.
Darcy Ibson, Toronto ON
Cee Lo Green is again doing something that so many artists have failed to do: take their talents in a new direction by expanding their range. Just as he did with his two Gnarls Barkley albums, as well as the many that came before it, Cee Lo has once again proven his multi-dimensional approach to music to be in a class of its own.
Michael Glustien, Ottawa ON
5. Erykah Badu New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh (Universal Motown)
I absolutely adore Erykah Badu. None of her albums have disappointed me. New Amerykah Part Two is no exception. It's very profound musically and message-wise. I found it an incredible journey into human inmost feelings and emotions. Incredible as always, Ms. Badu.
Christopher Whelan, White Rock BC