6. Sleeping In The Nothing by Kelly Osbourne
Which brings us to our next record, the Linda Perry-produced second album of Kelly Osbourne called Sleeping In The Nothing. No, you’re not hallucinating, that is Kelly Osbourne’s name on a top ten music list. So here’s the scoop, remember when Kelly tried to do a bratty rock record and failed miserably? Well, she got the memo that she couldn’t sing and decided to turn to the one musical genre that required little singing talent: Electronica! Fresh out of rehab, Kelly Osbourne enlisted the help of Perry to make a collection of songs that sounded straight out of the eighties. Think of it as sounding like Missing Persons but with a lot more Vicodin. Shockingly, the synths and retro guitars worked perfectly for Osbourne. The songs were super catchy—even the one about date rape—and her vocals were bearable. Yay!
7. Blackout by Britney Spears
If Blackout is what happens when you lose your damn mind, maybe Britney Spears should have nervous breakdowns more often! The record was released during a time in which the troubled pop star was shaving her head, wearing pink wings, and getting carried out in a stretcher. You would think that all of these distractions and chemical imbalances would’ve prevented her making a fantastic dance record, but you’d be wrong! Blackout is, in my opinion, the best Britney record of all. Maybe it’s because she was so hands-off during the recording process that the producers were really able to stretch their creative wings. Whatever the reason, I’m happy the record exists. There’s not a bad track on it; the songs all flow together in one giant melting pot of pop and psychosis.
8. Back To Black by Amy Winehouse
Speaking of trainwrecks, do you ever wonder why people ever gave a shit about Amy Winehouse? It’s because of her throwback soul record, Back To Black. It’s basically a work of retro pop art with Mark Ronson’s production sparkling over her lovely vocals. The whole thing just feels like a joyous ride through the 70s. Her downfall happened almost immediately though so the record often got overshadowed by her crack addiction. It’s a shame too because she’s actually really talented. Not in the way people say Lindsay Lohan was talented either. I mean, like, actually talented.
9. Ray Of Light by Madonna
This is my favorite Madonna record mainly because she took a genre of music that was considered unemotional and gave it some feeling. Granted, nothing on the record resembles legit techno but producers William Orbit and Mirwais borrow generously from the sound and expertly lay it over poppy hooks. Songs like “Ray Of Light”, “Swim” and “Frozen” don’t follow the usual framework of pop music but still manage to kill it with the melodies. Plus, Madonna was just in a really good place then, you know? She just had Lourdes with her hot personal trainer and was behaving like Buddha. I was really into that phase of Madonna’s life.
10. Rock Steady by No Doubt
I know. You’re pissed because I didn’t say Tragic Kingdom and I get that “Hey Baby” is super annoying. But Tragic Kingdom is too obvious of a choice. Everyone knows it’s brilliant. I’m more interested in the pop sheen of their last record, Rock Steady. To me, it’s a strong record because the band crosses multiple genres all while maintaining that No Doubt sound. They recorded with a bunch of producers, went to weird places like Jamaica for inspiration, and still managed to make something that didn’t sound completely schizo. Songs like “Detective” and “Don’t Let Me Down” were irresistible power pop, “Underneath It All” was a sweet ballad spiked with reggae and “Waiting Room” paired the insane Prince with Gwen Stefani’s vocals. It’s so good. And just try not to get misty when listening to “Running”, okay?