I’ll likely be reprimanded by soul and indie folk alike for proclaiming 2010 as the year of the new soul diva. Now they come in so many shapes and sizes, it’s hard to keep up with whom if fronting, and who is truly tapping into the soul of rhythm and blues. The “classic” stuff that still gets its own station. Here it’s Magic 98.9 (yes, the station our dearly departed Ted Williams cast on the street). In Dayton, it was the slightly more engaging, U-92 (which is now, apparently, where “hip-hop lives”). And while Rhianna is strong (slightly less engaging) and Alicia Keys remains an icon – there were more subversive divas on the lot, buried in urban radio only. Out of the charts we know and love. It was possibly indie-rock-critic/hack suicide to include Jazmine Sullivan’s Love Me Back (released by the empire known as J Records) on a year-end Top 20 list, but I don’t care. In a year when I came to passionately appreciate once-novelty, guilty pleasures, like Sade and Anita Baker, it made perfect sense. Usually those types of albums go on alternate lists – separated from the typical rock-trend zeitgeist. In saying this, I’m just as guilty, only picking one record to be emblematic of a bounty of soul diva revelations. Here’s a YouTube primer of my Top Five Soul Divas of 2010.
Jazmine Sullivan - Holding You Down
Monica - Love All Over Me
K. Michelle - I Just Can't Do This
Cassie - Skydiver
Ciara - Speechless