Following a year that gifted pop music lovers game and/or career-changing albums like Justin Timberlake‘s ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds,’ Christina Aguilera‘s ‘Back To Basics,’ Beyonce‘s ‘BDay,’ Amy Winehouse‘s ‘Back To Black,’ Ciara‘s ‘The Evolution,’ and Fergie‘s ‘The Dutchess,’ 2007 had some big shoes to fill.
For many of the artists who stood to the challenge (see: Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Jay Z, etc.) the results may not have matched the commercial response of their previous efforts (or collectively those of the big named releases the year prior), but critically the class of 2007 wielded what many consider some of their (if not their) best work(s) to date.
As we kick off 2017, let’s flashback to 2007 to ode 10 game and/or career-changing albums that turned 10 this year. Your gateway to feeling “old” awaits below:
‘Ms. Kelly,’ the sophomore effort from Destiny’s Child alum Kelly Rowland, came as a turning point project for the songstress.
Giving the singer her second top 30 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 courtesy of the Eve-assisted, ‘Like This,’ its parent album came as her first top 10 placement on the Billboard 200 (and still boasts her best first week numbers to date).
The follow-up to his critically and commercially acclaimed freshman and sophomore efforts, ‘College Dropout’ and ‘Late Registration,’ rapper Kanye West‘s third album, ‘Graduation,’ came as yet another homerun for the acclaimed emcee.
Venturing out of the realms of Urban and dabbling into genres of electronica, house music, and more, the project won a new group of fans for the hitmaker as it not only gifted him his second run atop the Billboard 200, but also his highest first week sales to date – a whopping 957,000 copies!
Like West, Grammy-winning diva Alicia Keys also unleashed her third album in 2007. Titled ‘As I Am,’ the project – kicked off by the #1 hit ‘No One’ – would also share another commonality with West’s ‘Graduation’: major first week numbers.
In fact, with the whopping 742,000 it shifted its inaugural week the opus set (and maintains to this day) the record for “highest official first week sales of a female artist of color.”
Curious to know whose royal chart triumph she had to surpass to get the title? Yup, it’s Mary J. Blige.
Mary J. Blige delivered what many consider her magnum opus in 2005’s ‘The Breakthrough,’ an opinion staunchly supported by its commercial and critical response.
Yet, while it set a seemingly insurmountable mark to pass for the diva, she came damn close with its follow-up, ‘Growing Pains.’ A critical homerun, the album may not have been kicked off by the heights of ‘Breakthrough’s ‘Be Without You,’ but we can say its lead single did ‘Just Fine’ *insert chuckle.*
Shifting an impressive 629,000 copies its first week, the project would go on to win ‘Best Contemporary R&B album’ at the 2008 Grammys and be certified platinum in 2011.
‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ is unquestionably the album that turned Rihanna into a superstar thanks to a pass from Mary J. Blige.
Indeed, the Queen of Hip Hop Soul gave the album’s signature tune, ‘Umbrella,’ a royal thumbs down upon hearing it. Once Rih and team picked it up and ran with it, the rest – as they say – is history.
Skyrocketing to #1, the tune helped introduce the Barbadian beauty’s sexier side in a way that seemed to get a thumbs up from music lovers. Leading ‘GGGB’ to double platinum status, the project – thanks to ‘Umbrella’ and a host of other top 10 gems lifted from it – remains her best selling effort in the U.S.
As if earning his 9th chart-topper with ‘Kingdom Come’ in 2006 wasn’t enough, rapper Jay Z got a redo courtesy of ‘American Gangster.’ Selling over 425,000 copies its first week, the project gave the rapper his 10th #1 on the Billboard 200 and tied him for “most number titles” with Elvis Presley.
He’s since broken that record.
Like Roc Nation mentor Jay Z, Ne-Yo also enjoyed a #1 album in 2006 with his inaugural release ‘In My Own Words’ and followed-up with another #1 in 2007 thanks to ‘Because of You.’
Lined with hits ‘Because of You,’ ‘Do You,’ ‘Can We Chill,’ and more, the opus went on to platinum certification in the U.S and remains his best selling album to date.
Considered by many to be her magnum opus, pop icon Britney Spears’ most critically acclaimed album to date – ‘Blackout’ – serves as the highlight of a particularly low period for the singer personally and professionally (at that point).
After a shambolic MTV VMA’s performance that is still being touted as it and her worst showing ever, the diva’s ‘Blackout’ – featuring hits ‘Piece of Me,’ ‘Gimme More,’ ‘Break the Ice,’ and more – became her first album to miss the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 due to a newly instated technicality.
And, while her fans still cry foul to this day over the mishandling of the album, many still praise its sonic daringness and demonstrations of artistic development for the singer.
A critical masterpiece from producer/rapper Timbaland, ‘Shock Value’ was chock-full of guest appearances from some of music’s biggest names (Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott, 50 Cent, and many more).
After thrilling fans in 2005 with his self-titled debut album, the pressure was on Chris Brown to deliver a follow-up worthy of comparison (and to avoid the sophomore slump). Needless to say, as history as proven, what the singer/dancer delivered did just the aforementioned and more.
Titled ‘Exclusive,’ the album – kicked off by the Sean Garrett-penned ‘Wall To Wall’ – initally seemed to have hit a wall when fans disregarded the tune, but thanks to its T-Pain-assisted follow-up, ‘Kiss Kiss,’ Brown kissed worry of the sophomore slump “goodbye.”
Thanks to hits like ‘Kiss’ and ‘With You,’ the opus went on to earn a Grammy nod (which was lost to Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’) and notch double platinum status.
(read our full replay on this project by clicking here)
Kelly Clarkson – ‘My December’
T-Pain – ‘Epiphany’
Jordin Sparks – ‘Jordin’
Leona Lewis – ‘Spirit’
Chrisette Michele – ‘I Am Chrisette Michele’
Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em
T.I. – ‘T.I. Vs. Tip’
Jennifer Lopez – ‘Brave’
Jill Scott – ‘The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3’
Joss Stone – ‘Introducing Joss Stone’
Trey Songz – ‘Trey Day’