Ranking the Best Case Albums

Recently in the Soul In Stereo Cypher on Facebook we debates artists who have the strongest discographies among their peers. Usually the greats tend to have at least one … questionable album (and in some cases, two or three).

But if you want to look for true consistency, take a look at their peers. Many might not grab as many headlines or trending topics but they have quietly put together a cohesive catalog that rarely let listeners down. Tamia, Joe, Janelle Monae are just a few names that come to mind.

My man Case has to be in that convo too.

Most of Case’s mainstream success always has revolved around soundtracks. Nutty Professor? “Touch Me, Tease Me.” Nutty Professor 2? “Missing You.” The Best Man? Uh, “The Best Man,” duh.

If there was a Nutty Professor 3, he’d probably have another hit there too.

But Case is much more than The Soundtrack Man, he has quite an underrated solo discography to his name. Today, we’ll look back at all his LPs, ranking them from bottom to top.

7. Case (1996)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Case’s debut is home to one of the best singles of its era – and one the most noteworthy of his career – so it might surprise you to see this one bringing up the rear on this list.  It’s not a bad release, it’s just not very remarkable. The first half of the album is pretty typical of the era and doesn’t bring much new to the table. However, it’s the second half the really allows Case to, um, showCase his brand of soul.

Forgotten favorites: “Crazy,” “Fallin’,” “Cryin Over Time”

6. Here, My Love (2010)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Dropping just a year after his fourth LP, Here, My Love seemed to slip through the cracks of the early 2010s. As always, it’s a strongly sequenced and consistent listen – the excellent use of interludes particularly tie the tracks together. Case tinkers with his sound a bit on this one but the results are decidedly mixed. A couple of the tracks don’t feel like a good fit. Overall though, it’s a solid listen.

Forgotten favorites: “Love 2 Love,” “Just Leave,” “Jealousy”

5. Therapy (2018)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Case’s most recent album is yet another that didn’t get its just due. That’s a shame because it’s a great time. Therapy is a surprisingly feel-good record that allows him to dig into his sonic toolbox a bit, mixing traditional soul and upbeat records. Even the guest list is full of surprises – Tank and Teddy Riley bringing the energy on “Make Love,” the Floacist spitting sultry spoken word over “Trust,” Case keeps you guessing in all the best ways.

Forgotten favorites: “This Could Be,” “Treasure,” “Maybe”

4. Heaven’s Door (2015)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: I know I’m sounding like a broken record but yet again this is another sorely overlooked gem. Heaven’s Door is laced with intriguing production – from the evolving symphony sonics that permeate “Timeless” to the keyboard clacks that invade “Think About Us” it’s really a treat. Pair that with sound songwriting and you’ve got one of the more unappreciated releases of the past decade.

Forgotten favorites: “Juggle,” “Difficult,” “Shook Up”

3. The Rose Experience (2009)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: From here on out, the next three albums are pretty much neck-and-neck (and neck) in quality. 2009’s The Rose Experience is such a satisfying, soulful experience – a lot of it due to the album’s construction. Each song flows nicely into the next, every track tying into a larger musical narrative. This isn’t one of those albums where you pluck two songs for your playlists, kiddos, it demands to be experienced as one session. My only nitpick is that it’s missing the standout tracks that the albums higher on this list feature. However, a strong argument could be made that The Rose Experience, front to back, is Case’s most consistent release to date.

Forgotten favorites: “Be That Man,” “Smile,” “Betcha Don’t Know Y”

2. Personal Conversation (1999)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: After a solid but pretty unspectacular debut, Case really found himself on his sophomore release, and you can tell he’s much more comfortable in his own skin. True to its name, it’s the intimacy of Personal Conversation that makes it feel so good. This also is the album where Case found the consistency in sound and sequencing that made his albums such easy listens. Personal Conversation is where everything clicked for Case and launched his most memorable run in the game.

Forgotten favorites: “Having My Baby,” “Caught You,” “He Don’t Love You”

1. Open Letter (2001)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: As I said earlier, the slot for No. 1 was a very close race between Open Letter and Personal Conversation, with The Rose Experience nipping at their heels. Personal Conversation may have the more memorable singles but Open Letter gets a slight edge due to its strong array of album cuts. You can tell Case is a student of the game – Open Letter is laced with classic arrangements and melodies, tools he would use to create a modern sound all his own. Case has plenty of great albums – this one is his best.

Forgotten favorites: “A Song for Skye,” “Every Time,” “Sex Games”

What are your favorite Case albums? Do you prefer Personal Conversation or The Rose Experience over Open Letter? Let us know below.


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