Vol 61: the year is 2004
this one is for the album lovers
Good Day Friend, and Happy Black History Month!
We are already in month two of 2023, or the Jordan year, as some folks have called it. The saying the days are long, but the years are short when referencing watching your kid(s) grow is so true.
John-Joseph will be ONE in nine days. NINE!
It feels like yesterday he was less than 10 pounds in my arms. Now he is almost a solid 25 pounds, and the best thing that has ever happened to me.
We are only on day six of February, but I’ve already begun to celebrate my bubs.
We flew to Chicago Friday to see one of my best girlfriends and her family. I wanted everyone to meet JJ, especially her son, who has been asking about him.
But before I saw her, I stopped by my firm’s HQ. They hosted a mini brunch bday party for JJ that was so cute.
But these moments were 1000% worth the 11-degree weather we flew into.
Traveling solo with a baby is a talent. Traveling period with a baby is a challenge, but when you don’t have another set of arms to help you, shit gets real. But we made it, and it was love.
Okay, let’s set the scene for today’s topic.
The year is 2004. Here are some pop culture events that happened to get you into that mindset.
The Facebook launched
George W. Bush was re-elected
The Incredibles, Passion of the Christ & Napoleon Dynamite were released
Beyoncé won her first Grammy without Destiny’s Child
Bennifer called it quits
Brad & Jennifer were still a known thing
Desperate Housewives had us all in a chokehold
Cameron Diaz & JT were dating
Ashlee Simpson got caught lip-syncing on SNL
And just to make us all feel old, these folks were born in 2004
Marsai Martin & Miles Brown (Diane & Jack from blackish)
Okay scene is set.
Now, who remembers CD clubs?
In the 90s Columbia House and BMG Music rapidly entered our homes with insane CD deals that seemed way too good to be true.
BMG started with the infamous “buy one get 12 free,” and Columbia House slung “eight CDs for a penny.”
Back when these were a real thing, I wasn’t asking any questions about how this was even possible. I was pointing to the CDs I wanted my mom to get me.
But now that we are adults let’s really talk about how this was even possible, cliff notes style.
The answer is negative option billing.
This is a shady business practice where consumers (not customers, customers are folks who have purchased before) are given goods or services that were not previously ordered. Unless they decline the service or refuse the product before they are billed, they will have to pay.
Let’s go a little deeper.
Every month catalogs were mailed to consumers. Some got multiple catalogs each month. For every catalog received, you had to send back a postcard within ten days of receiving that catalog, indicating that you didn't want the month's selection. If you didn't do that in time or just forgot, you would be shipped that record and billed for it. Of course this was after you took advantage of the eight CDs for a penny or whatever promo they were running to drag you in.
Remember, this was the 90s. CDs were not $9.99 like they were when digital music began to hit the scene. During this time retail price for a CD ranged between $15.99-$19.99.
These mail-order CD scams lasted almost a decade, and the fall began in 2003.
By 2005, Columbia House purchased BMG and reinvented itself as a mail-order DVD club because music was moving into streaming. They thought, okay, we can do movies because while we didn’t think music would ever stream, we know movies will never stream, so we will build our new business off this.
And we know how that ended.
Since the mid-00s didn’t get to take advantage of the CD clubs, let’s see what eight CDs for a penny you would choose.
Remember, this is 2004. Think about where you were, what you were wearing, and what you were doing as you make your choices.
I was a freshman at Arizona State University, a brand new [neo] member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, and rocking a light pink Motorola RAZR V3!
Here is your catalog. You can only PICK 8! Go!
Okay, so what did you pick?
Before I tell you my picks, I want to remind you that we are in 2004. You don’t know what to expect when the album drops. All you know is that you heard a single on the radio or saw a music video on 106 & Park; when A.J. & Free were still the hosts.
Are your picks the same? Or do you need more time?
Here is my selection, in no particular order, I think.
My first pick is Usher’s Confessions because no album released this year is better than this one. And this album did NOT disappoint. Favorite track: Superstar
Destiny Fulfilled by Destiny’s Child is selected next. While Lose My Breath was their first single from this album, it was Soldier the reason I bought this album. That video was one of my favorites by this trio, behind Bills Bills Bills, which includes the original members. But my favorite track of this album is T-Shirt.
Sidenote, I was today’s years old when I caught the wordplay in the title. This was their last studio album as a group, and the title has the world Fulfilled in it.
Dip It Low is what made me buy Christina Milian’s It’s About Time. The video introduced this very raw artist to us when we’ve previously seen a more delicate side of her. I ended up playing this album over and over and over again. Favorite track: I’m Sorry.
I was already intrigued by this Kanye person when I found out he rapped one of his major hits when his mouth was wired shut. Off that, I was buying The College Dropout. Then you have Kanye shouting out all of the Black greek organizations. It made for a great experience being greek in college. We miss you Kanye. Favorite Track: I can’t pick one. This one is hard. But I’ll go with The New Workout Plan because it’s very entertaining.
There is no way I am not picking up Ma$e’s Welcome Back album because who is not going to want to hear what this rapper turned pastor now back to rapping is going to give us? This pick is solely based on “is he really back”. He wasn’t. Favorite Track: Nothing really. I guess Breath, Stretch, Shake, but this was one of those albums you are mad you picked once your CDs are delivered.
Based solely off the single No Better Love, Young Gunz’ Tough Luv is an easy pick. But then you realize after listening to a one-hit-wonder type of group. Favorite Track: No Better Love. This song is still in my TOP today!
Country Grammar and Nellyville had many hits. Now you giving us a double album. Of course I am going to choose Sweat Suit. It didn’t hit the same, but Sweat was the better of the two. Favorite Track: Flap Your Wings - this one had us all getting our eagle on. This is when Nelly should have hung up his career.
My last pick is T.I.’s Urban Legend because in 2004, living in Arizona, T.I. is what we heard first when the south, aka Atlanta, made its way to Arizona. This pick didn’t disappoint me, and from there, I fell in love with the south and eventually moved to ATL four years later. Favorite Track: ASAP
If I was picking from these albums today, knowing that I knew this list would look a bit different.
Confessions, Lyfe 268-192, Southside, Crunk Juice, Destiny Fulfilled, Bravebird, Beautifully Human, The College Dropout
Send me your picks! Comment, reply or text me your picks.
Well friend, lunch today was great. I had a lot of fun with this one. And I will be listening to a few of these albums for the rest of the day.
See you soon. xo, Jemia