Joanne’s Picks

This page is just for fun and ever-changing (with the exception of the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin who has been archived here). I’m Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse. I like books (and you might like mine), I like music, I like movies, I like TV. So, I’m just sharing some of what I like. Keep checking back as I’m always keeping things fresh.

When I think of my faves from the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, I don’t necessarily think of technical acuity (though that’s there as well) but about how her songs make me feel. That’s her super power. Very Aretha-like in that way (though The Queen is in a class by herself).

This is one of my faves of hers for that reason

When she sings “you ask for me to enter/but then you make crawl/and I can’t keep holding on/to what you’ve got/cause all you got is hurt”, I feel that all in mi belly.

That I’m such a Mary J. stan was not a foregone conclusion. In fact, I was late to the party. My first album of hers was My Life, her second, but it was the live album that really sold me – raw as it was, it was perfect (talk about leaving it all on the floor). Over the years, I also bought the Mary, No More Drama, and The Breakthrough CDs (I think I might have or had Share My World and Love & Life too). So it’s about time I try to figure out my personal top 10. I don’t know if I’m going to put them in any particular order (or if I’ll be able to stick to 10) but these will always be on the playlist.

Still remember watching this live…one of the best Grammy performances ever
Queen Bee!
Talk about a CD with no filler, it was Waiting to Exhale and Mary was a high point
Underrated (produced by L-Boogie)
effervescence
It’s a groove
The drama
One of the most emotional performances from the live CD
The revival
Alter ego spittin

That’s my 10

You know I had to do a separate list for her features right?

Well ‘One’ with U2 (at the top) is number one and then…

Love George, love Stevie, love Mary, love this
Just beautiful
Brook Lynn re-emerges
One of the best hip hop love songs (up there with The Roots’ You Got Me and Common’s The Light)
another great hip hop love opera
The heft of her voice in this (only wish you know who wasn’t on this but can’t have everything)
Miseducation
Come on now!
Yes, Mary isn’t technically on vocals but she is on…check the tape

Bonus