Released August 25, 1998 her debut and only solo album was inspired by her pregnancy and touched on themes of love, turbulence within The Fugees, religion, and past loves. Incorporating various music styles the album debuted at #1 and broke records for first week sales by a female artist. It sold 1 million copies in the first month and spent 81 weeks on the Billboard 200.
Jason: So, Lauryn Hill. Former member of The Fugees, also known as L. Boogie, star of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, tax evader, am I missing anything?
Brad: No, I think you got it.
Jason: When she left The Fugees did you think she would have such an impressive solo debut?
Brad: Not at all. I liked The Fugees, their album The Score was pretty great. I thought that would be the high point in her career but this totally eclipses that album.
Jason: And she had exactly one album post The Fugees, this one. Then what happened?
Brad: She had an Unplugged album too. I’m not sure exactly what happened. I know she had several children and I think maybe there were some mental health struggles. But luckily this album remains great.
Jason: Normally you don’t like albums that have a lot of talky-talk interludes.
Brad: This one doesn’t bother me that much. I like the classroom discussions about love.
Jason: “There is a song called ‘LOVE’?” The discussions are fun. One of my favorite songs is “Doo Wop (That Thing You Do). I think the video to Doo Wop is a classic as is the song. She does a good job of combining hip hop and doo wop.
Brad: I agree. This album reminds me a little of a 90s version of the Songs in the Key of Life album.
Jason: What do you love about this album or why do you think it is considered such a revolution?
Brad: It combines Soul & Hip Hop in a way that makes it appealing to multiple generations. I think the most impressive thing is that it doesn’t sound as dated as most 90s Hip Hop/Soul music. It still sounds really good over 20 years later.
Jason: It definitely does sound fresh to this day. I appreciate this album but to be honest I don’t love it. That’s not to say it’s bad. I think it’s very good it’s just not something I would choose to sit down and listen to.
Brad: I love it. In fact, Madonna’s Ray of Light album lost to this for the Album of the Year Grammy in 1999 and I wasn’t even mad about it.
Jason: Quite frankly, this sounds less dated than Ray of Light twenty years later. SORRY!
Brad: I know what you mean actually. Ray of Light is still one of my favorite albums of all time but some of it does sound like 90s music.
Jason: Another good song on here is “Everything is Everything” I actually think the video elevates the song itself a bit.
Brad: That is my favorite song on this album. Also, it is rare for me to say this but I think her version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” is better than the Frankie Valli version.
Jason: Okay, so that song is NOT available on Spotify. Thanks a lot Frankie Valli’s estate!
Brad: It’s available on Apple Music.
Jason: Well, you can just play it for me when we get home.
Brad: One more thing I love about this album is that she interpolates The Doors “Light My Fire” in “Superstar” and the Welcome Back Kotter theme song in “Every Ghetto, Every City”
Jason: Interesting, I don’t think I realized that. I will go back and listen to those with that in mind,
Brad: I had wanted to see her perform live since this album came out but over the years I had heard so many horror stories of her shows starting several hours late, her being cranky during her shows and performing unrecognizable versions of these songs.
Jason: Basically my concert nightmare.
Brad: Exactly, so I started to think maybe it was for the best that I not purchase tickets to one of her shows. But then last summer (2018) she was one of the Pitchfork Festival headliners and she performed this entire album. It was really moving. At one point I looked around the audience which included a lot of women of color and so many were crying tears of joy. It was so powerful and I’m so thankful I got to see her.
Jason: It’s pretty cool when an entire live audience feels the same energy from a performance. It’s rare when it happens but when it does you realize that you are experiencing a moment together.
Brad: Exactly, it was so moving.
Jason: What’s next for her? Is there any talk of a new album or a Fugees reunion? We pronounce it “Foo-jeez” but is it really “Fyoo-jeez”? Like ‘refugees’?
Brad: I don’t know. I haven’t heard of anything. Although, you and I were talking the other day how it is time for a Sister Act 3. Maybe Whoopi and can talk Lauryn into it
Jason: Yes! Where her character, Rita Louise Watson, has become a star but had tax issues and she returns to St. Katherine’s Parish/St. Francis’ Academy as a PR move or community service to help her image and she calls in Dolores to mentor. It writes itself!
Brad: Sounds like a Box Office hit.
Jason: Okay, so what grade do you give to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill?
Brad: No surprise, I’m giving it an A.
Jason: I figured. I am going with B- because while I get what she is going for, and I see her, and I appreciate the effort and message it’s just not something I would ever sit down and listen to.
Brad: That’s too bad.
Jason: Well, spoiler alert, I think there is going to be a lot of that sentiment from me coming up in the next weeks based on our list.
Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.