As 2023 rolls on, we continue our backward glance at Texas-tied albums celebrating significant birthdays in the next 12 months.
For this batch, we’ve arranged, chronologically by release date, an array of mostly North Texas-rooted records which will mark 15 years of existence over the course of 2023. (In case you missed it, here are the albums celebrating their 30th anniversaries this year, the 25th anniversary LPs, and the 20th anniversary records.)
Erykah Badu, New Amerykah, Part One (4th World War) (released Feb. 26, 2008)
For her fourth studio effort, the pride of Dallas enriched and expanded her sound further to fold in bluntly socially conscious lyrics and themes. By stirring social commentary about violence, poverty and identity into the heady stew that was and is her boundary-less style of neo-soul, Badu found fresh ways to engage the mind as much as the body.
PlayRadioPlay!, Texas (release March 18, 2008)
The mid-2000s were a heady time in North Texas, as seemingly one promising young band after another was snatched up by major labels. One such artist was Aledo’s Daniel Hunter, who began making electronic music in his garage as a high school student, before landing a deal with Island records before he graduated. He changed the band’s name to Analog Rebellion in 2009, and continued performing until disbanding the outfit in 2016.
Forever the Sickest Kids’ Underdog Alma Mater (released April 29, 2008)
As mentioned above, the pop-punk foursome Forever the Sickest Kids — Jonathan Cook, Kyle Burns, Caleb Turman and Austin Bello — were among those North Texas acts scooped up by major labels. This LP, the band’s major label debut, catapulted them into the spotlight, landing them gigs on the Warped Tour and late-night television.
Old 97’s, Blame It on Gravity (released May 13, 2008)
For the follow-up to Drag It Up and the Dallas alt-country outfit’s seventh album, it turned toward long-time friend and collaborator Salim Nourallah to produce. The resulting 13 songs are a trademark mix of tender and rowdy, and another fine showcase for Rhett Miller and the fellas.
Jonas Brothers, A Little Bit Longer (released Aug. 12, 2008)
We’re right in the thick of JoBros mania with the release of this third album, and you may be asking yourself: How does this connect to North Texas? The answer is that one Nick Jonas was born in Dallas in 1992, so he’s a native. Singles from Longer like “Burnin’ Up” stoked the fandom’s flames ever higher.
Jessica Simpson, Do You Know (released Sept. 5, 2008)
For her sixth album, the Dallas-raised Simpson pivoted to country music, but was just about finished with the music-making phase of her life (she would release one more LP, the holiday-themed Happy Christmas in 2010). Although singles like “Come On Over” are pleasant enough, Simpson soon turned her attention to building a billion-dollar fashion empire.
Demi Lovato, Don’t Forget (released Sept. 23, 2008)
Breaking free from the Disney Channel machine, Dallas-raised Demi Lovato made the transition from child star to promising pop singer-songwriter with this LP, her major label debut. In a bit of North Texas cross-pollination, Lovato got an assist producing and writing Don’t Forget from the Jonas Brothers, with whom she co-starred in Camp Rock.
Secret Machines, self-titled (released Oct. 14, 2008)
Born out of legendary Dallas acts like UFOFU, Comet and Tripping Daisy, Secret Machines — originally Josh Garza, Brandon Curtis and the late Benjamin Curtis — exploded into the national consciousness in 2004. Brandon, Josh and Phil Karnats (replacing Benjamin) were the core trio behind this eponymous LP, the band’s third overall, and last studio effort for a dozen years, until 2020’s Awake in the Brain Chamber.
Vanilla Ice, Vanilla Ice is Back! (released Nov. 4, 2008)
What is there to say about this record, from the Dallas-raised rapper Rob Van Winkle (better known as Vanilla Ice)? That it features four different versions of his signature track “Ice Ice Baby”? Or that the remaining tracks — all covers — move from the GAP Band to Sir Mix-a-Lot to Bob Marley, illustrate the material’s durability in spite of Ice, if nothing else?
Jamie Foxx, Intuition (released Dec. 16, 2008)
The Terrell native cemented his place in the R&B landscape with this, his third album. It contains one of his biggest hits, “Blame It,” which features liberal use of the mid-2000s phenomenon known as AutoTune. Foxx worked with a glittering roster of producers to make Intuition, including Timbaland, Just Blaze and The-Dream.
Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.