07. "B'Day" by Beyonce
I don't know if anyone's going to be shocked that this album is on here. Beyonce has had a special place in my heart ever since the first time I laid eyes on her in the 1999 Destiny's Child music video for "Bug-a-Boo". It also helped that she was the stand-out performer of the group and, by 2002, my favorite lady in American music.
If you know of Beyonce and know she's good, but don't really know Beyonce the performer or Beyonce the personality, you are sincerely missing out. Beyonce is the closest Western approximation I can find to the style, heart, and love for life that Ayumi Hamasaki has. That's how much I love her - you know I hold few, if any, artists in the same esteem as Ayumi when it comes to pure humanity and kindness.
I truly believe Beyonce loves her fans, and I truly believe Beyonce loves what she does. Yes, she's gorgeous, and yes she's talented. But she brings it all together in a package that really does merit the legend status.
"B'Day" is her finest album for me. From start to finish it is a classic, something I can and do tend to listen to over and over without skipping to the next track. The USA CD release included only 10 tracks, but the iTunes International Deluxe version includes 19 tracks. It's remarkable that almost every track really does belong on the album. I couldn't imagine it without songs like "Check on It", "Beautiful Liar", or "Flaws and All", and that's just to name three.
Not only that, "B'Day" has one of the most exciting visual canons of this whole list. I just can't wait to write this; obviously I'm not going to be sharing my musical criticism of the lyrical depth of social commentary in this album. This is just... pure... fun.
( WAIT. LET ME FIX MY HURR )