Adele took home every accolade under the sun for her blockbuster sophomore album 21, but she just earned another: The young songstress’ album was just certified Diamond, meaning it has sold 10x million copies. The last album to sell 10 million in under two years was ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached, which came out in 2000. Wow. You’re old.
This got me thinking: There aren’t too many female solo acts who’ve sold 10x million copies of a single album. How do they stack up in quality? I’ve ranked my picks for the best ten below, and hopefully it’ll inspire you to scream and complain. (Note: I haven’t included bands with female singers, obviously. Rumours and Tragic Kingdom would surely shake up this list.)
10. Mariah Carey, Daydream (1995)
Mariah’s best and biggest singles pepper Daydream: The Tom Tom Club-riffing “Fantasy” is a transcendant roller-coaster ride; the melodramatic “One Sweet Day” remains the biggest charting single of all time; “Always Be My Baby” is the churchiest, most foot-stomping example of R&B balladry in existence. I’m even fond of some the slower stuff, namely the twinkly “Underneath the Stars.”
9. Celine Dion, Falling Into You (1996)
Never forget that even Celine Dion wore midriff-baring tops in the ’90s. Falling Into You was an Album Of The Year-winning smash, and that’s definitely due to the album’s two bombastic, unbelievably unapologetic opening tunes “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” and “Because You Loved Me.” Could “BYLM” be the best Diane Warren song? Shhh, I’m actually a holdout for Faith Hill’s “There You’ll Be.” Shh!
8. Norah Jones, Come Away With Me (2002)
My friend Monica once complained that Norah Jones sings like Elmer Fudd, and I’ve never been able to get that out of my head. Still, what makes this album great is that clearly no one expected it to dominate the charts, as it’s a low-key jazzy affair with indigo-tinged production. “Don’t Know Why” is instantly familiar (though I still don’t know what “the house of fun” is), “Come Away With Me” is lovely, and my choice for the album’s best moment is “Shoot the Moon.”