12. Changes-Charles Bradley (2016)

Charles Bradley is an incredible story. He’s a real life rags to riches story who spent decades as a James Brown impersonator in New York prior to finally scratching through and releasing his debut record No Time for Dreaming in 2011 at age 62. Prior to his death in 2017 he’d go on to release two more records in his lifetime and one final one posthumous record in 2018. All of these albums are phenomenal and worth your time if you haven’t heard them yet, it was a really tough choice trying to figure out which album should be placed on this list. I could have picked any of them and been happy with my decision, but I ended up giving the nod to 2016’s Changes, the final record Charles released in his lifetime. I think this record shows how Bradley could take any song and breathe a heart and soul in a way none of his peers could come close to doing. Look no further than the title track, a cover of one of Black Sabbath’s greatest and most beloved songs. For Black Sabbath “Changes” was new ground. At the time a lot of people were confused as to how the metal band who penned iconic genre tracks like “War Pigs” “Paranoid” and “Iron Man” also wrote this deeply beautiful and personal ballad. It’s a change of pace that ushered in a new dynamic and layer for Ozzy and company, all of this to say, the song is beloved and a big fucking deal. With Charles Bradley though, all of that seems to go away as he completely makes it his own, breathing new meaning and life into what has now become a standard. It’s a might big statement, but Bradley’s version is the definitive rendition of this song. While he finally received some of the love and praise he rightfully deserved, Bradley was still underappreciated in his lifetime. However none of that negates the fact that the Screaming Eagle of Soul was one this decade’s greatest voices and someone who was able to completely takeover a song with a tender soul that we seldom, if ever see anymore.

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