Klinger: As you know, Mendelsohn, we take our orders from the Great List over at Acclaimed Music, the aggregation of critical opinion compiled with great love and care by a genuine Swedish mathematician, so the fact that we’re covering an album by Lauryn Hill is sheer happenstance. While it is true that Ms. Hill was recently released from the Big House and is apparently set to resume her performing career, it’s pure coincidence that her breakthrough solo album is clocking in this week. Still, its presence does provide us with a unique opportunity to consider one of the most baffling careers in modern pop music.
I recall that when The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released back in the waning days of the Clinton administration, it was heralded as a near instant classic. Hill appeared on the cover of Time magazine, she was declared the latest heir to the R&B/hip-hop throne, and by all accounts she appeared to be unstoppable. Until, of course, she stopped. What’s followed has been series of bafflements, each more baffling than the last. So even though it’s hard not to feel the joy that’s all throughout this album, it’s also impossible to avoid thinking about what could have been. Am I missing anything here, Mendelsohn?