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The 10 Best R&B/Soul Albums of 2010

It was fashionable to say R&B was dead in 2010 because it wasn't the commercial force it was in the late '80s and '90s. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Music

José James Amplifies His Debut with 'No Beginning No End 2'

José James has a rich, velvety voice that simmers and smolders. He takes it easy in a seductive way. The vibe is romantic and sexy on No Beginning No End 2.

Music

SZA and Justin Timberlake - "The Other Side" (Singles Going Steady)

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell re-imagined for 2020. SZA does most of the heavy lifting here, while Justin Timberlake busts a selection of moves in a charmingly self-deprecating way.

Music

Leon Bridges and Khruangbin Imbue Texas with Some Fresh Air

Texas artists Leon Bridges and Khruangbin create some mellow, cosmic soul on a delightful EP that shows off their respective strengths.

Music

D'Angelo's Anti-Producer Project, 'Voodoo'

D'Angelo's Voodoo may well be the working blueprint for "post-Soul" black pop, but are pop fans ready to embrace more than the same five melodies and the same five bass-lines?

Music

'Jimmy Lee' Shows Why Raphael Saadiq Is One of the Most Compelling Voices in Modern Soul

On his first solo album in eight years, Raphael Saadiq proves the power of the personal narrative by placing personal tragedies in heartbreaking context.

Music

Bryony Jarman-Pinto Dazzles with Genre-Bending Debut 'Cage and Aviary'

London's Bryony Jarman-Pinto explores R&B, jazz, and Afropop in exhilarating fashion to create her unforgettable debut, Cage and Aviary.

Music

DJ Chillz Pulls You onto the Dancefloor on "1111 Accord" (premiere)

With its punchy beats and electrifying groove, DJ Chillz makes "1111 Accord" sound so effortless.

Music

Jordan Rakei's 'Origin' Is a Neo-Soul Masterclass

Origin is a rich, intoxicating listen that benefits from Jordan Rakei's clear, succinct vision. The desire to challenge himself to write a more thematic, conceptual album has encouraged Rakei to write more immediate, more impactful songs.

Music

The Heavy Defy Musical Conventions on 'Sons'

The Heavy's latest release, Sons, demonstrates that their musical trajectory is far more complicated and nuanced than what's been embraced by popular culture.

Music

Seba Kaapstad's 'Thina' Revels in Subtilty

South Africa's Seba Kaapstad have created a deep musical statement in Thina, in which music, lyrics, and performance interact in a way that will wash over you and leave you feeling musically and emotionally refreshed if you let it.

Music

Iceland's Junius Meyvant Prepares American Takeover With "Ain't Gonna Let You Drown" (premiere)

Junius Meyvant's "Ain't Gonna Let You Drown" is a soulful love song that recalls the classic soul/R&B era.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Jamila Woods Honors Her 'Legacy! Legacy!'

Jamila Woods, herself, a poet, singer, activist, and teacher, casts Legacy! Legacy! as a beacon for a type of self-empowerment informed by the predecessors who built and shaped culture.

Music

Kehlani's 'While We Wait' Waxes Poetic on the Art of Patience

On While We Wait, Kehlani rests her case on the ins and outs of modern love on her latest project with defiant candor, featuring some of the freshest sonic accouterments millennial R&B has to offer.

Music

Lion Babe Hits the Sophomore Slump with 'Cosmic Wind'

As far as talent goes, Lion Babe boasts it in abundance, but originality remains in short supply on their sophomore album, Cosmic Wind.

Music

London's Nubiyan Twist Try a Little Bit of Everything Soulful on 'Jungle Run'

London-based collective Nubiyan Twist lean toward neo-soul on Jungle Run, a style that tends to be a free-flowing mélange of jazz, soul, hip-hop, and electronics.

Music

KING Rules Supreme on New Single "Shit Show" (premiere)

Danish R&B singer KING releases a fresh, playful slice of laid back neo-soul full of character as a taster for forthcoming debut EP.

Music

Ray BLK Proves She Is Ready for Her Crown on 'Empress'

Empress is brilliant. Ray BLK has earned a spot at the top of the R&B heap. Hand her the crown.

Music

With 'Outer Song' GADADU Help Redefine Jazz in Contemporary Culture

The second album from the unique New York jazz/pop/soul outfit GADADU is an odd – and oddly inviting – collection of songs that combine old-school tradition with new ideas.

Music

Noname Comes of Age on 'Room 25', But Not in A Typical Way

Noname's Room 25 sees a brilliant writer finding her outlet, taking in the world around her, and spinning it into her own extraordinary web.

Music

Noname Stands Front and Centre of the Movement Redefining the Contours of Rhyme on 'Room 25'

Noname's Room 25 is vintage neo-soul and future rap hand in hand; a soulful sanctuary for those turned off by the austerity of mainstream mumble rap.

Music

Jungle - "Heavy, California" / "Cherry"

Jungle are nothing if not original.

Music

The Internet Serves Up Easy-Listening Funk on 'Hive Mind'

The Internet's fourth album, their most focused if not their most compelling, is a distillation of everything that makes them so distinctively cool.

Music

Janelle Monáe Is Still Mostly Electric on 'Dirty Computer'

Even with its shallow letdowns, Janelle Monáe's Dirty Computer succeeds overall because it mostly delivers the same elements that made the Metropolis lineage soar.

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Justin Timberlake Exits His Imperial Period with a Thud on 'Man of the Woods'

At the peak of his powers, Justin Timberlake could probably get away with a confused backwoods-pop hybrid like this. As it stands, people are seeing it for what it is: the most misguided album of his career.

Evan Sawdey
Music

Curtis Harding - "Need Your Love" (Singles Going Steady)

Curtis Harding combines sweet soul and a funky bass line to create a smooth confection that makes one want to dance, hug, and kiss.

Music

Mac Miller: The Divine Feminine

When you can't rap or sing, but you want to declare your love to your new woman, you might as well do it through groove.

Music

Fitz and the Tantrums: Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitz and the Tantrums find contentment in the soft, sleek, and simple on their infectious but frivolous third album.

Music

D'Angelo and the Vanguard: 'Black Messiah'

The urgent Black Messiah proves that sometimes, life won't let a cultural statement that's chomping at the bit wait for a proper marketing campaign.

Music

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings: Give the People What They Want

Give the People What They Want doesn't mess too much with the neo-soul formula Sharon Jones has built her musical career on, but it adds in touches of funk and country to the proceedings.

Music

Jesse Dee: On My Mind / In My Heart

Dee embraces authentic soul as well as unrelenting focus on On My Mind/In My Heart.

Music

The Sugarman 3: What the World Needs Now

On its first album in a decade the Sugarman 3 sounds as fresh as the moment of its debut.

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