Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Billboard 2008 Critic's Picks

CHUCK TAYLOR, Senior Correspondent/Pop, Single Reviews Editor
(Click on link to see all Billboard staff picks)

1. Lucy Woodward, “Lucy Woodward Is Hot & Bothered” (Barnes & Noble). Penultimate disc of 2008. One-stop shopping for pop, soul & jazz; mirth, elegance & sensuality; across-the-board melodic idealism.

2. Jon McLaughlin, “Beating My Heart” (Island). All the joy that music conjures is captured in this uptempo pop pearl. Single of the year. He’s right handsome, too.

3. Leona Lewis “Spirit” (Syco/Sony). A global debut that stands alongside Whitney, Mariah, Celine. Vocal perfection, pistol-packing songs, ace production.

4. Delta Goodrem, Five-star live performance of 2008 at New York’s Canal Room April 15, accompanying CD “Delta” (Decca/Mercury), as the millennial Olivia Newton-John finally reaches the States.

5. Sarah McLachlan, “Ordinary Miracle” (Nettwerk/Arista). Kids, don’t mess with the master. Fragile, angelic, handsome, smart.

6. Adele, “Chasing Pavements” (Columbia). Among so many trendy old-soul vocalists, a talent for all time. Jaw-dropping intensity.

7. Celine Dion, “This Time” (Columbia). The world’s greatest singer’s most poignant moment from “Taking Chances.” A shame that Sony was asleep at the wheel.

8. Danity Kane, “Damaged” (Bad Boy/Atlantic). With apologies to the almighty Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music,” the jam of the year.

9. Sarah Brightman f/ Paul Stanley, “I Will Be with You” (Manhattan). Volcanic bravado to absurd excess. Ain’t it grand?

10. iPod essentials: Matt Zarley, “Here I Am” EP (mattzarley.com), Val Emmich, “Get On With It” (No Code); Ryan Cabrera, “Say” (Papa Joe); I-Nine, “If This Room Could Move” (Ten Star/J); Ace Young, “Addicted” (acemusic.com); Idina Menzel, “Brave” (Reprise); Daughtry, “Feels Like Tonight” (19/RCA).