Records for Reflection

by Niema Jordan

When Lauryn Hill’s Unplugged premiered, I had no clue that it would have such an impact on me. While my friends complained about it not being The Miseducation, the simple guitar chords, and that “damn hat,” I was thankful that she gave us her poetry. Sure, it wasn’t the Lauryn I expected, but it was the Lauryn I needed. And when I need a break from the world and a bit of time to myself, it’s the Unplugged album that serves as the soundtrack for my reflection and meditation.

There’s a rawness in Lauryn’s storytelling. From the interludes to the lyrics, she exposes herself. Her vulnerability allows me to become just as open and undone, if only for a few tracks. As she sings about the need to rebel, feeling refreshed afterward, finding peace of mind, and the conquering lion, I am transported into a zone. I write. I meditate. I think. I rethink. When all seems to fall apart, I can light a candle, grab a glass of petit syrah, light a candle, play Lauryn Hill Unplugged, and pull it all together.

What is your go-to album for reflecting? Why?

  • Fit_MissC

    Amen to this. When this record came out almost no one was feeling it. But yes, when I just need to hear the truth — Unplugged is it. I especially like “Just Want You Around” and “I Get Out.”

  • Christa

    I agree this is a good album. Anything by Mary J. makes me reflect and get in my own zone.

  • Ms. Information

    Baduizm (E. Badu) or Jagged Little Pill (Alanis Morisette)…also any jazz i.e…Miles, Coltrane

  • Leonie UK

    I hated the album, I hated watching the show also. I never got back into the unplugged shows till Jay-Z and Ms Keys show.

    The albums that give me my reflection will always be anything by Mr Marvin Sapp. Something about his live shows on dvds, make you wish really hard to be in the audience.

  • kidole

    I was probably 14 or 15 when this album came out and of course I didn’t understand it. Around 2 years ago, I had lost so much of myself and was struggling to get of an unproductive and unprogressive relationship. I listened to this album everyday, all day. “I Get Out, “So Much Things to Say, and “Water” really helped me reflect and release myself from the baggage of that relationship.

  • NinaG

    Some Erykah songs:
    Out of My Mind, Just in Time

    Nneka too:
    God of Mercy

  • Whatever

    “Voodoo” by D’Angelo and “Mama’s Gun” by Erykah Badu

    For some reason I can listen to these 2 albums in from start to end and just relax.

  • Chic Noir

    Oh I love that album, I have no idea why so many Lauren fans don’t think much of it. Maybe it’s because the unplugged album(s) are more Folk music and less Hip-Hop.

    Just Like Water is so touching.

  • Kanyade

    This album of Lauryn’s, even with the majority of the songs ‘unfinished’ >>>>>> most of what is in today’s mainstream.

    I must echo those above. Baduizm and MAMA’S GUN continue to bring forth life and reflection. D’Angelo’s Voodoo…India.Arie’s first two albums, etc.

  • Mr. Man

    I really liked her unplugged songs, so real, so raw. A very polarizing piece of work. I noticed that Folks were either, totally diggin it or wanted to dig a whole and bury it.

  • The Antifash

    Voodoo is my go to album too! It’s reigns supreme over any other album as far as I am concerned. I am also a big Badu fan, and New Amerykah pt 1 is number two on my all time fav list.

    The one song that always seems to provide clarity for me at any time of the day is Equinox by Coltrane. St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley got me through a really dark time…

    This is the very reason why I love music so much.

  • OSHH

    Telepopmusik/Angela McCluskey
    This new Norah Jones esp a track titled “after the fall” and her work with Danger Mouse
    Esthero and quite a few others…………..

  • Perverted Alchemist

    I never saw the appeal of Lauryn Hill’s albums. To me, they came off as boring, trite and uninspired. Oh well…

    For me, my go to album for reflection is either Bilal’s “1st Born Second” or Little Brother’s “The Minstrel Show”.

  • Perverted Alchemist

    I copped both of those albums on vinyl twelve years ago, and I still have them. Also, add in Common’s “Like Water For Chocolate” as well as Slum Village’s “Fantastic, Vol. 2″ and it’s safe to say the Soulquarians were gettin’ it in that year with those classics!

  • Dalili

    Enya: A Day Without Rain There’s something ethereal about her voice.This album calms me down in the way meditating does for some.

    Sarah McLachlan: After Glow Just Lovely. I listen to this album from start to finish. “Push”(is such a beautiful ode to loving relationships) and ‘World On Fire” ( which encourages me to do my share in making this world a better place) are by far my favorites.

    Zahara: Loliwe Beautiful & powerful voice aside, the songs on this album are socially conscious (Thekwana is an ode to South Africa’s freedom fighters including Mr. Nelson Mandela) and offer encouragement for life’s situation. It’s rejuvenates me.

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