Ranking the Best Tamia Albums

Tamia has been on fire lately.

Her single, “Leave It Smokin’,” has been one of the highlights of summer 2018 and we’re just a couple of weeks away from Passion Like Fire, her hotly anticipated new LP. Check back here Sept. 7 for a full review of the project.

In celebration of the new album, I decided to look back at Tamia’s entire discography, ranking it from bottom to top. But, there was a problem.

It was a MUCH, MUCH harder task than I anticipated. Not because her albums are bad, no. Because they’re too good.

Tamia has unfairly been denied the mainstream superstardom she deserves. Her voice is one of the purest and strongest in R&B for two decades. And her albums, which I was quickly reminded of when making this list, are all equally strong. Every single LP features strong vocal performances, memorable tracks, great songwriting and concepts.

Passion like fire isn’t a new concept for her. She’s always had it.

Let’s embark on the near-impossible task of ranking Tamia’s solo catalog. Since quality is equal across the board for almost all these releases, I leaned more on things like album sequencing and consistency, memorable tracks and vocal performances for purposes of this list.

Tamia never lets you down. These albums are proof of her longevity.

beautiful surprise

6. Beautiful Surprise (2012)

Soul in Stereo Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Yes this album is bringing up the rear of Tamia’s discography but by no means is this a poor release. In fact, it wasn’t until I revisited all her releases while researching this post did I remember just how solid this album truly is. Tamia’s vocals – as always – shine brightly here. But this is also arguably Tamia’s safest release thus far, and while the first half is pretty incredible, the second half is just business as usual. Thankfully, her business still outshines the competition.

Forgotten favorites: “Believe in Love,” “It’s Not Fair,” “Because of You”

a nu day

5. A Nu Day (2000)

Soul in Stereo Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said:  Tamia’s sophomore project is probably her most daring. The production is much more upbeat and trendy that the typical Tamia release, yet she adapts well. And the results speak for themselves – it’s her best selling release so far. Despite being home to Tamia’s biggest hit, “Stranger in My House,” the album as a whole is very much a product of its era (some of that early 2000s production might not age well for younger listeners) and it’s a little uneven in spots but it was easily a highlight of the year 2000.

Forgotten favorites: “Dear John,” “Love Me In A Special Way,” “If I Were You”

more

4. More (2004)

Soul in Stereo Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: For my money, More is Tamia’s most underrated release. It gets love for big singles like “Officially Missing You” and Fabolous-assisted version of “Into You” but the album cuts are powerful in their own right. Sure, not all the features here hit the mark but the blend of pop and R&B was slightly more seamless than its predecessor A Nu Day. More deserves more love, y’all.

Forgotten favorites: “Questions,” “Whispers,” “Why Ask Why”

between friends

3. Between Friends (2006)

Soul in Stereo Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Between Friends is highly regarded among Tamia’s fanbase and it’s easy to see why. While the previous albums on this list, while very good, still suffered from slight weak spots, this one is air-tight. If there was ever any doubt that Tamia stands among the best vocalists of our generation, this is the album that silenced critics. Memorable singles and underrated album cuts (that Eric Benet duet!) round out some of the best work of her career.

Forgotten favorites: “Happy,” “Have to Go Through It,” “Please Protect My Heart”

love-life

2. Love Life (2015)

Soul in Stereo Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: Yes, I’m ranking this album THIS high. I SAID WHAT I SAID. Tamia’s 2015 release, her first major label release since More in ’04, was highly anticipated and man did she deliver. Easily Tamia’s most sensual release, she wasn’t afraid to get her grown woman on and flaunt her sexuality a bit. The result was a smoldering LP that, while lacking the signature tracks of past releases, eclipsed them with sheer passion. This right here is a baby-maker.

Forgotten favorites: “Chaise Lounge,” “No Lie,” “Lipstick”

tamia

1. Tamia (1998)

Soul in Stereo Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Edd said: When you make a first impression this good, it’s hard to top it. I still remember Tamia being touted as Quincy Jones’ next big megastar back in the mid 90s. And while a lot of that hype had died down by the time we got our hands on Tamia’s debut in 1998, we quickly saw – and heard – what got Q so hyped in the first place. Tamia’s debut featured absolutely incomparable ballads and midtempo tracks – they were the perfect fit for her matchless vocals. 1998 was a year filled with incredible debuts and Tamia’s stand among the best.

Forgotten favorites: “Never Gonna Let You Go,” “Loving You Still,” “Rain on Me”

Which Tamia album is your favorite? Share yours below.

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3 Comments

  1. Live in Europe, Germany and listen to this music since 1985, there is no better music style than R & B, Soul, Funk and Jazzfunk and Soulmusic…

    I love……

  2. Beautiful Surprise should be in the top 3 to me

  3. 1. Tamia
    2. Between Friends
    3. A Nu Day
    4. Passion like Fire
    5. Love Life
    6. More
    7. Beautiful Surprise

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