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Recommended CDs: Popular Music > J

      Good! Recommended
      Very good! Highly recommended  (This rating is on webmaster's personal taste.)

 imageartist/title (release year), memo
 Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814Janet Jackson/Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)

An American singer, songwriter and actress, who was born as the youngest child of the Jackson family including Michael Jackson, and achieved commercial success as an artist since the late 1980s, escaping from her brother Michael, Janet Jackson's fourth studio album (#1 on the US album charts. #4 on the UK). A collaboration with the production team, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, as on her previous album "Control" (1986), and it became a blockbuster selling 12 million copies worldwide. A maspterpiece of contemporary R&B/New Jack Swing, mainly consisting of dance pop songs with heavy use of sampler (E-mu SP-1200) and drum machine, and ballads with strings. A concept album dealing with social themes such as racism, poverty, and substance abuse. Includes seven top five hit singles, "Miss You Much" (#1 on the US), "Rhythm Nation" (#2), "Escapade" (#1), "Alright" (#4), "Come Back to Me" (#2), "Black Cat" (#1) and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" (#1). "Black Cat" is a song in the heavy metal style. "The Knowledge" is a song in the industrial music style.
 ThrillerMichael Jackson/Thriller (1982)

Ex-The Jackson 5 lead vocalist, Michael Jackson's 1982 blockbuster album. The world's best-selling album with over 59 million copies sold. Black contemporary music/dance pop based on soul and funk, with smooth and sophisticated sounds. Features 8 single hits such as "Thriller", "Beat It" (featuring Eddie Van Halen on guitar. #1 on the US charts), "Billie Jean" (#1) and "The Girl is Mine" (a duet with Paul McCartney). Produced by Quincy Jones.
 Rising Above BedlamJah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart/Rising Above Bedlam (1991)

A group formed by ex-Public Image Ltd bassist Jah Wobble, Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart's second album. Pop-oriented ethnic fusion featuring the elements of Spanish/Latin/Middle Eastern folk music, Jah Wobble's dubby bass, Spanish guitar, Arabic percussion, drum programming, and sampling. The guest vocalists are an Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor (on two tracks) and a Belgian singer Natacha Atlas (on four tracks). Natacha Atlas' Arabic style vocals are exellent.
 All Mod ConsThe Jam/All Mod Cons (1978)

The punk band featuring Paul Weller (guitar and vocals), the Jam's third album. The sound is in the mods-style of the mid 1960s. The British music paper New Musical Express selected this as Album of the Year in 1978. 'David Watts' is a cover of the Kinks.
 At Last!Etta James/At Last! (1960)

An American blues and R&B singer born in 1938 in Los Angeles, California, Etta James's debut album. Released from Argo, the label under the Chess Records. Pop-oriented album with orchestra arrangements. You can enjoy the variety of songs, from blues to pop R&B ballads and jazz standards, featuring her powerful and shouting vocals. Includes four hit singles on the US R&B and pop charts, "All I Could Do Was Cry" (#2 on the US R&B charts), "My Dearest Darling" (#5 on the US R&B charts), "At Last" (#2 on the US R&B charts. Her famous song covering Glenn Miller and His Orchestra's 1942 hit), and "Trust in Me" (#4 on the US R&B charts. A cover of Mildred Bailey's 1937 hit). "I Just Want to Make Love to You" is a cover of Muddy Waters's blues song (written by Willie Dixon). The original 12-inch LP includes ten tracks. The digitally remastered CD was released in 1999 with four additional bonus tracks (duets with Harvey Fuqua).
 Emergency on Planet EarthJamiroquai/Emergency on Planet Earth (1993)

A British band led by Jay Kay (lead vocals) and formed in London in 1992, Jamiroquai's debut album (#1 on the UK album charts). They had led the early-1990s London-based acid jazz movement, alongside groups such as Incognito and The Brand New Heavies, with the sound blending the elements of jazz and the 1970s soul/funk. Featuring tight funky rhythms, vocals/song melodies influenced by Stevie Wonder, and sophisticated sound production. Includes singles, "When You Gonna Learn", "Too Young to Die" (#10 on the UK charts), "Blow Your Mind" (#12 UK), and "Emergency on Planet Earth" (#4 US dance charts). The 2013 2-disc remastered edition include 10 bonus tracks (single B-sides, remixes, demos and unreleased live tracks).
 Ritual de lo HabitualJane's Addiction/Ritual de lo Habitual (1990)

An alternative rock band from Los Angeles. A hit album (3rd). Artistic sounds mixing heavy metal, funk and punk. Includes 'Been Caught Stealing'.
 Quiet LifeJapan/Quiet Life (1979)

An English new wave band formed in 1974 in Catford, South London, Japan's third studio album (#53 on the UK album charts). After the transition from their earlier guitar-based, glam rock/funk-tinged style to the synth pop style in the single "Life in Tokyo" (1979), a collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, they established their distinctive artistic style of synth pop in this album, featuring David Sylvian's sticky vocals with baritone voice and Mick Karn's undulating fretless bass. European style sound closer to Roxy Music and David Bowie at "Low" (1977) . The title track "Quiet Life" was released as a single in Japan in 1979, in Germany and The Netherlands in 1980, and in the UK in 1981 (#19 on the UK charts). "All Tomorrow's Parties" is a cover of the song by The Velvet Underground and Nico.
Very good!Gentlemen Take PolaroidsJapan/Gentlemen Take Polaroids (1980)

The UK synth-pop band featuring David Sylvian (vocals). The funky, polyrhythmic techno-beat (in a soul/African style) is cool. 'Taking Islands In Africa' is a collaboration between David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Very good!Tin DrumJapan/Tin Drum (1981)

The rhythm ensemble is brilliant, like the previous album "Gentlemen Take Polaroids". Chinese mood. Artistic and aesthetic sounds.
 OxygèneJean Michel Jarre/Oxygène (1976)

A French composer, keyboardist and record producer known as one of the pioneers of the electronic and new-age music genres, Jean Michel Jarre's third studio album (#1 on the French album charts. #2 on the UK album charts). Spacey and ethereal electronic music with a feeling of floating. Many-layered sounds created by EMS VCS 3 and other analog synthesizers, Mellotron, electronic organs, rhythm machine and others. Its concept is inspired from a painting (used as the album cover) by a French visual artist Michel Granger. A classical work which had an influence on later electronic music, including ambient house such as The Orb.
 Breakin' AwayAl Jarreau/Breakin' Away (1981)

An American jazz vocaist who is active in pop/R&B fields, Al Jarreau's 1981 album (#9 on the US pop album charts). A pop album based on R&B and funk, in the adult contemporary/soft rock style. Ever-changing vocal technique using voice as an instrument. Includes singles, "We're in This Love Together" (#15 on the US charts) and "Breakin' Away". Very smooth and easy to listen to. This album won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, and the eighth track featuring high-speed scats, "Blue Rondo a la Turk" won it for Best Male Jazz Vocal Performance. Procuded by Jay Graydon. The guest musicians are David Foster (keyboards, string arrangements), Steve Lukather (TOTO, guitar), Jeff Porcaro (TOTO, drums), Steve Gadd (Stuff, drums) and others.
 Doing It to DeathThe J.B.'s/Doing It to Death (1973)

The back band for James Brown. Featuring Fred Wesley (trombone), Maceo Parker (alto sax) and Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis (tenor sax). The 2nd album. Pure funk sounds with a jazzy touch. Written, produced, and arranged by JB.
 Surrealistic PillowJefferson Airplane/Surrealistic Pillow (1967)

A psychedelic folk-rock band from San Francisco. This album gives the atmosphere of "Summer of Love".
 Spilt MilkJellyfish/Spilt Milk (1993)

A first-rate pop album. The sound is like the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Queen.
 DarklandsThe Jesus and Mary Chain/Darklands (1987)

This second album is more melodic and tuneful than the 1st featuring noisy, feed-backing guitars.
 DoubtJesus Jones/Doubt (1991)

They introduced house and hip-hop into the mainstream rock in the UK. The second album that includes "Right Here, Right Now".
 AqualungJethro Tull/Aqualung (1971)

A British rock band led by Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, etc.) and formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in 1967, Jethro Tull's fourth studio album (#7 on the US album charts. #4 on the UK). Progressive rock featuring ever-changing sounds, including variety of musical styles, such as hard rock with heavy guitar riffs, traditional folk with acoustic sounds, and earthy blues rock. A concept album with the theme of "the distinction between religion and God". The compositions with full-scale use of flute in solos and improvisations, which is an instrument rarely used in rock, are unique and impressive.
Good!Are You Experienced?The Jimi Hendrix Experience/Are You Experienced? (1967)

An innovative sound of guitar with effects. Destructive feeling. The debut album.
 WaveAntonio Carlos Jobim/Wave (1967)

The Brazilian composer/arranger noted as the originator of bossa nova, Antonio Carlos Jobim's solo work. A masterpiece of instrumental bossa nova. Arranged and conducted by Claus Ogeman.
 Greatest Hits Vol. 1-2Billy Joel/Greatest Hits Vol. 1-2 (1973-1985)

A singer/songwriter and pianist from the Bronx, New York, who became one of the most popular singer/songwriters with pop/ballad/rock'n'roll hits in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. The single compilation that features lots of hits such as "Piano Man" (No.1 on the US charts), "Say Goodbye to Hollywood", "The Stranger", "Just the Way You Are", "My Life", "Honesty" (included only on the Japanese edition), "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" (#1 US), "Pressure", "Allentown", "Tell Her about It" (#1 US), and "Uptown Girl".
 Greatest HitsElton John/Greatest Hits (1970-1974)

An adult contemporary-oriented popular singer/songwriter from England. Known for his sweet melodies like the Beatles/Paul McCartney and impressive ballads with piano accompaniment. A best compilation that collects his every nine singles from 1970 to 1974, including eight Top Ten hits, "Your Song", "Rocket Man", "Honky Cat", "Crocodile Rock", "Daniel", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "Bennie and the Jets" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", plus three more tracks.
Good!The Complete RecordingsRobert Johnson/The Complete Recordings (1936/1937)

Includes all the recordings (29 songs, all the 41 takes) by Robert Johnson, the most celebrated figure in the history of the blues. Songs with acoustic guitar accompaniment. Transcendental techniques of bottleneck/slide guitar playing. The prewar Mississippi delta blues accomplished by him formed the foundation of Chicago Blues, and it had a big influence on later popular music in general.
 NightclubbingGrace Jones/Nightclubbing (1981)

Club music in an electro-reggae style. Sly and Robbie joined.
 Human's LibHoward Jones/Human's Lib (1984)

A musician from Southampton, England, Howard Jones' debut album. Song-oriented synth-pop featuring digital synths. Catchy melodies. A hit album (#1 on the UK album charts) that includes hit singles, "New Song" (#3 on the UK charts) and "What is Love?" (#2 on the UK charts). Produced by Rupert Hine.
 Come Away With MeNorah Jones/Come Away With Me (2002)

The vocalist and pianist born in New York (the daughter of Ravi Shankar), Norah Jones' debut album. Acoustic vocal pop blending the elements of jazz, soul, folk and country. The sound is like Carole King and Joni Mitchell. Lack of belongingness to a particular genre. A smash hit album that sold 18 million copies worldwide and got Grammy awards (Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical). Produced by Arif Mardin. 'Cold Cold Heart' is a cover of Hank Williams.
 Ultimate CollectionQuincy Jones/Ultimate Collection (2002/1974-1999)

An American record producer/arranger/composer, Quincy Jones' compilation album (18 tracks) including his popular/R&B productions of 1974-1999, on both A&M and Qwest labels (Hip-O Records, Universal). Very smooth sound. Features "Stuff Like That" (#1 on the US R&B charts/#21 on the US pop charts) featuring Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson and Chaka Khan on vocals, "Ai No Corrida" (a cover of Chaz Jankel's song. #10 R&B/#28 pop) featuring Charles May on vocals, "Razzamatazz" (#17 R&B) featuring Patti Austin on vocals, "Just Once" (#11 R&B/#17 pop) featuring James Ingram on vocals, "One Hundred Ways" (#10 R&B/#14 pop) featuring James Ingram on vocals, Patti Austin/"Baby, Come to Me" (a duet with James Ingram. #9 R&B/#1 pop), "I'll Be Good to You" (#1 R&B/#18 pop) featuring Ray Charles, Chaka Khan on vocals, "The Secret Garden" (#1 R&B/#31 pop) featuring El DeBarge, James Ingram, Al B. Sure!, and Barry White on vocals, and others.
 Rickie Lee JonesRickie Lee Jones/Rickie Lee Jones (1979)

A female singer/songwriter from Chicago, the United States, Rickie Lee Jones' debut album. Acoustic and natural sound influenced by folk, jazz, and R&B. Includes a hit song "Chuck E's in Love". The guest musicians are Steve Gadd (drums), Dr. John/Mac Rebennack (keyboards), Michael McDonald from the Doobie Brothers (vocals), Randy Newman (synths), Andy Newmark from Sly & the Familystone (drums), Jeff Porcaro from Toto (guitar), Nick DeCaro (arrangement) and others. Produced by Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman. Recommended to those who like Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell.
 PearlJanis Joplin/Pearl (1971)

A great white female blues/rock singer of the 1960s. After acting with San Francisco psychedelic band Big Brother & the Holding Company, became a solo artist. The last recording and greatest album released after she died. Includes 'Move Over', 'Me and Bobby McGee' (No.1 on the US charts) and 'Trust Me'.
 The Only Fun in Town/Sorry for LaughingJosef K/The Only Fun in Town/Sorry for Laughing (1980/1981)

Scotland's guitar pop band featuring Paul Haig (vocals, guitar) and Malcolm Ross (guitar). Includes all the tracks of their two albums, the unreleased debut album (recorded in 1980) "Sorry for Laughing" and the only official album on Postcard label, "The Only Fun in Town". Post-punk/new-wave style guitar pop influenced by New York punks such as Television.
 Unknown PleasuresJoy Division/Unknown Pleasures (1979)

The post-punk/new wave band from Manchester, Joy Division's debut album. Featuring Ian Curtis (vocals). Melancholy sound like the Doors. Includes 'Disorder', 'New Dawn Fades' and 'She's Lost Control'. Produced by Martin Hannett.
Good!CloserJoy Division/Closer (1980)

This second is a masterpiece. Includes 'Isolation', 'Heart and Soul' and 'Decades'. The rest of the band members formed New Order after Ian Curtis (vocals) killed himself.
 PainkillerJudas Priest/Painkiller (1990)

The twelfth album of Judas Priest, the English heavy metal band that spearheaded the movement called the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. A heavy metal album of good quality, leaning toward thrash/speed metal. The first album featuring the drummer Scott Travis (ex-Racer X), and the last one featuring the vocalist Rob Halford.
 Straight Out the JungleJungle Brothers/Straight Out the Jungle (1988)

A masterpiece of Native Tongue/New School rap. Includes "I'll House You", a collaboration with Todd Terry.
 †(Cross)Justice/†(Cross) (2007)

An electronica duo from Paris, France, Justice's debut album. Released on Ed Banger Records, a French electronic music record label run by Pedro Winter (manager of Daft Punk). Disco/rock-oriented electro house, like Daft Punk. Includes "Waters of Nazareth", an international hit "D.A.N.C.E." (a dedicated to Michael Jackson) featuring a children's choir from London, and "DVNO". Recommended to Daft Punk listeners.

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