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Retro Rewind: 10 Albums That “Turn 10” In 2017 #FBF

Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Kanye West, & More Make Our “Faves” List

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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:

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Product Vs. Promotion: Tinashe’s ‘Superlove’ & ‘Player’

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Tinashe‘s 2014 summer anthem, ‘2 On,’ came as a signal the southern beauty had finally arrived on the music scene.  Sliding right to the top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 (where it peaked at #24), the tune – alongside the host of other gems making a splash on her debut album ‘Aquarius’ – was building some serious buzz for the-then stageblazing newcomer who was hearing her name in mention amongst “those to watch” for the following year.

As anticipation built for her sophomore set, T shocked fans with the announcement her album – reportedly helmed by serial hitmaking producers Max Martin, Dr. Luke, and other well-known pop producers – would sonically abandon the very Urban Pop approach that made her inaugural release buzzworthy.

After months of teasing, delays, stops, and restarts, Tinashe cranked up fan excitement by unveiling the project’s title, ‘Joyride’, and gave them their first taste of its content, the Chris Brown-assisted ‘Player’… 

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Product Vs. Promotion: Fergie’s ‘M.I.L.F. $’

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After the false alarm that was 2015’s ‘LA Love,’ Fergie finally rang the alarm on news surrounding her long-awaited sophomore album, ‘Double Dutchess.’  Rumored to have been completed as early as March 2016, social media-lifted photos and unconfirmed reports started to get wheels spinning that some official release from the set was nigh.

Though the rumors began to cool by the end of spring, they were given a fresh douse of heat when the singer’s husband, actor Josh Duhamel, went on record stating the project would arrive by Mid-June.  With refreshed excitement over the album – 10 years in the making – Fergie Ferg finally took to Instagram to began teasing it herself via snippets for songs ‘Hungry’ and ‘M.I.L.F. $.’

The latter – a critical polarizer – would be gifted a full fledge roll-out with star-studded video to boot.  Initial response signaled that maybe, just maybe, the world really was ready for a new Fergie album:

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Product Vs. Promotion: Fantasia’s ‘The Definition Of…’

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Grammy-winning R&B gem Fantasia has always shone as an anomaly (in many ways) for the genre.

A fiery performer whose career-long stage shows boast one of the most consistent deliveries of any of her contemporaries (and beyond), Fannie’s commitment to her craft seemed to be only matched by the commitment of her fan base.  Indeed, much like the failing music industry around her, each of her album’s numbers may have taken hits over time, but without fail, the figures associated with each of the songbird’s first week sales easily soared above the others in her lane  (a testament to fan loyalty if you ask us).

Well, that was until 2016’s ‘The Definition Of…‘ – the latest addition to the soulstress’s self-coined ‘Rock-Soul’ movement.

Released July 2016, ‘Definition’ – Fannie’s fifth album – was executive produced by veteran record producer/songwriter/engineer Ron Fair and featured contributions from the likes of R&B royal R. Kelly, Brian Kennedy, Stacy Barthe, Neff-U, and more.  Yet, while the production credits was lined with proven winners, their efforts seemed lost upon music lovers who generally ignored the set’s two official singles – ‘No Time (For It)’ and the Kelly-penned ‘Sleeping With the One I Love.’

Their failure on the singles chart and streaming front seemed to signal the worst for their parent album:

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Product Vs. Promotion: Lady Gaga’s ‘Perfect Illusion’

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While the critical and relative commercial failure of 2013’s ‘Artpop’ (and its singles) signaled to some a significant fall from grace for Grammy winning songbird Lady Gaga, the three years that followed proved quite the opposite.  Redemption arrived in several packages including a highly praised, Grammy-winning chart-topper with jazz legend Tony Bennett, two stunning Academy Awards performances, and a Golden Globe win for her role in the ‘American Horror Story’ franchise.

As the feats above collectively seemed to spell great anticipation for a “proper” comeback of the eccentric songstress, many-a-diehard fan was sure the singer/songwriter’s reignited star would see her new music greeted with similar fanfare – a notion only solidified by word she’d reconnected with serial hitmaker RedOne for production contributions to the new project.

The setup would ironically prove to be a perfect illusion:

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Calculating A Comeback: Christina Aguilera

TGJ Weigh-Up How Xtina Can Make A Renewed Mark In Music

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Christina Aguilera finds herself in a junction many 90s & 00s veterans have unfortunately come to know.

With her last Platinum album dating a decade back to 2006, Aguilera has some serious ground to make to win back her pervious prowess – especially after the limp response to her last LP ‘Lotus’ in 2012.

In an age so saturated with female Pop stars and after a lengthy spell out of the spotlight, what can Xtina do to set herself apart?

We have a few suggestions. Join us after the jump…

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Album Certifications: Is Silver The Solution?

TGJ Assess Whether A Fresh Tier Can Calm The Confusion

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There once existed an era where obtaining a Gold and arguably Platinum record was a given for even the most modest of acts. Today, we see “A List” artists struggling to hit bronze. With 2016 nearing its end, only three acts (Drake, Beyoncé, and Rihanna) have reached Platinum status with their new releases; and even that count has been called into question (see: ‘ANTI,’ Samsung, and streaming).

As sales have dived, streaming has thrived – helping the U.S music business grow by 8.1% over the last year. And still, in the sea of changing rules and weekly revisions, it remains difficult to decipher who is dominating and whose success may be attributable to smoke and mirrors. Indeed, it’s now become commonplace for projects that have yet hit to hit Platinum in pure sales being certified double and even triple Platinum thanks to “other” factors.

A simple sign of changing consumption patterns? Perhaps. But what is becoming problematic is how said plaques are being used and arguably abused to market the meagre as major.

This reality has led some corners to call for the implementing of a Silver certification by the RIAA. It’s already a “thing” in large markets such as the U.K and we, here at TGJ, feel the States could benefit from the same.

Tune in after the jump to see what me mean…

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Why Is Usher So… ‘Hard II Love’?

TGJ Weighs Up The Singer’s Missteps & Moulds A Comeback Plan

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Usher unleashed his eighth studio album ‘Hard II Love’ on the masses last week. And though the final tally has yet to be counted, the official sales forecast sent the net into a flutter.

For, the set – led by singles ‘Crash’ and ‘No Limit’ – is on course to debut with 25,000; the lowest US numbers of the crooner’s career.

Given the unforgiving nature of today’s age and the fickleness of select fans, some have deemed it “the end” for the 8-time Grammy winner.

We’re not so sure about that, but can’t distract from the fact that something is…off.

Join us below as we unpack the problems and size up the solutions…

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That Grape Juice’s Fall 2016 Release Preview

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As last days of the summer season play out, the fun doesn’t stop this Fall. Because an onslaught of new music is set to be unleashed in the months ahead.

Many of which we are all sorts of excited about.

Join us after the jump to see which releases we here at That Grape Juice are most eager to get our hands on.

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Product Vs. Promotion: Rihanna’s ‘Kiss It Better’

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After a number of false starts courtesy of singles ‘FourFiveSeconds,’ ‘B*tch Better Have My Money,’ and ‘American Oxygen,’ Grammy winning pop diva Rihanna saw her 8th era finally get an official kickoff with the Drake-assisted single ‘Work.’  Skyrocketing to the top of the Hot 100 shortly after its debut, the Caribbean-kissed tune would at long last lead her faithful fans on the path to unlocking her octonary opus ‘Anti.’

Yet, while ‘Work’ won week after week atop the singles charts thanks to some serious sales and streaming, its parent album wasn’t exactly singing the same tune.  Living up to its apt titling by boasting a track list of some of her most sonically adventurous and daring work to date, initial critical and commercial reception almost seemed to reflect her fan base’s displeasure with the product and the long wait for its delivery.  Evidenced by a less than impressive #27 debut on the Billboard 200, the project’s promotional campaign didn’t help matters and left many-a-head scratched (see: free downloads, “platinum status,” etc.).

But, as officially counted streaming figures helped float the island beauty’s 8th project to the upper rankings of Billboard 200, fans continued to whine their waists to ‘Work’ with hopes its follow-up, ‘Kiss It Better,’ would be just what the doctor ordered to remedy the era’s shortcomings.

However, time would prove the suggestion a misdiagnosis:

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Product Vs. Promotion: Alicia Keys – ‘In Common’

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By 2012, 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys began seeing her once hot sales streak cool.

The ‘Girl On Fire’ – whose first three albums consecutively topped the Billboard 200 and her fourth, ‘The Element of Freedom,’ delivered fair numbers in comparison – was no longer burning up the charts in means fans had become accustomed to.  In fact, some 12 years after her commercially and critically acclaimed debut ‘Songs in A Minor’ (2000), the ivory tickling diva didn’t exactly find much to laugh about when her fifth album, ‘Fire,’ crashed and burned after making a #1 debut to the first week sum of 159,000 – almost a third of what ‘Freedom’s first week declared just three years prior

Taking a period to cool off to focus on philanthropy and family (see:  giving birth to her second child in late 2014), the singer/songwriter continued to tease new music throughout the downtime – even promising fans something they “wouldn’t expect.”

That promise was finally manifested in May 2016 thanks to ‘In Common’

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Product Vs. Promotion: Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Aint Your Mama’

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After spending the latter half of the noughties garnering more misses than hits on the Billboard Hot 100, Jennifer Lopez‘s musical career hit a homerun in the early ’10s courtesy of the RedOne-produced ‘On the Floor.’  With the assistance of rapper PitBull, Lopez’s return to dominance and prominence spelled of much promise until fans were greeted with a number of rehashes of the J.Lo/Pitbull formula over the four years that followed.

The absence of ‘On the Floor’s catchiness and magical flair proved an impotent punch for its successors as all of them failed to come anywhere near its chart performance.  But, while she was hitting a number of sour notes on the Hot 100, Jenny’s star was proving itself hotter than ever thanks to ‘American Idol,’ a hit scripted series ‘Shades of Blue,’ and a hotly-selling Vegas residency.

The reignition of overall public interest in “Jennifer Lopez: the star” may have acted as the catalyst for the triple threat diva to try her hand yet again at her ailing music career.  Tapping an unused number from hitmaking newcomer Meghan Trainor and producer extraordinaire Dr. Luke, the trio birthed ‘Ain’t Your Mama’:  the first official single from Jenny’s 9th album…

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