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Tuesday, August 25, 1998

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill released August 25, 1998

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Originally posted 8/25/2012. Updated 3/9/2013.


Released: 25 August 1998
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) 1. Intro 2. Lost Ones (5/30/98, #27a RB) 3. Ex-Factor (1/2/99, #11a US, #4 UK, #1a RB) 4. To Zion (with Santana) (1/2/99, #63a RB) 5. Doo Wop (That Thing) (10/3/98, #1 US, #3 UK, #2 RB, sales: 0.5 m) 6. Superstar 7. Final Hour 8. When It Hurts So Bad 9. I Used to Love Him 10. Forgive Them Father 11. Every Ghetto, Every City 12. Nothing Ever Matters (with D’Angelo) (1/2/99, #20a RB) 13. Everything Is Everything (5/8/99, #35 US, #19 UK, #14 RB, sales: 0.5 m) 15. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 16. Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You (6/13/98, #35a US, #10a RB) 17. The Sweetest Thing (with Refugee Camp Allstars) (4/5/97, #61a US, #18 UK, #2a RB)

Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 0.6 UK, 15.6 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 14 US, 2 UK

Rating:


Review: Lauryn Hill had distinguished herself as “most distinctive voice” AZ and “social heart” AMG of the rap group the Fugees, but “few were prepared for her stunning debut.” AMG It sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, was a number one album in the U.S., and landed her eight Grammys, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist. She took “seventies soul and made it boom and signify to the hip-hop generation.” RS

Miseducation “is infused with African-American musical history.” EW Not only does Hill serve up an “Aretha Franklin–caliber vocal,” TM but she “has the funky grunt of vintage Stevie Wonder” EW and “recalls the moral fervency of Bob Marley” EW as well as the “uptown soul of Roberta Flack.” EW However, “Miseducation is no withdrawal from the nostalgia bank.” EW She also keeps things current, collaborating with R&B superstars like D’Angelo and Mary J. Blige, and “flowing from singing to rapping, evoking the past while forging her future.” EW Her “verses were intelligent and hardcore, with the talent to rank up there with Method Man” AMG and “she could move from tough to smooth in a flash, with a vocal prowess that allowed her to be her own chanteuse (à la Mariah Carey).” AMG “If her performing talents, vocal range, and songwriting smarts weren’t enough, Hill also produced much of the record, ranging from stun-gun hip-hop to smoother R&B with little trouble.” AMG

While she wasn’t shooting for a blockbuster, “she clearly realizes the benefit of wrapping even the harshest rhetoric in mesmerizing grooves.” EW “The swinging sermon” RS Doo Wop (That Thing) was a chart-topper which also was “an intelligent dissection of the sex game that saw it from both angles.” AMG That song’s line, “How you gonna win if you ain’t right within?’ also “turns out to be the defining question of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” TM

Doo Wop (That Thing)

“You can hear and feel the messages she tries to get across about God, love, motherhood, and life.” CS The album was “a collection of overtly personal and political statements.” AMG On To Zion, which features Carlos Santana, about putting her family before her career. She also “speaks eloquently on how the creators of urban music could use a moral compass,” TM putting the industry – including her own former bandmates and record execs – for putting “more emphasis on the bottom line than making great music.” AMG

“Yet the beauty of the album lies in Hill’s ability to make her self-righteousness ravishing.” EW She made “an album of often astonishing strength and feeling” EW which is “a perfect blend of hip-hop, R&B, gospel, and soul.” CS It is “one of the best solo female albums ever recorded.” CS


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