On the record – Unicorns and rainbows all the way (Weeks 1 to 4)

I introduced where this 2016 music goal came from already, and here it is – the first set of results are in. The idea in brief is for me to listen to more music, and specifically to understand what albums are all about.

Below you’ll find what I have listened to for the first four weeks of the challenge, with a short note on my feelings afterwards. My picks come first, Mr C’s second, but you’ll get that from the release dates.

Also, please don’t judge me for starting with a country artist – I had to ease myself in gently.

Title Artist Year Notes
Week 1
The First Time Kelsea Ballerini 2015 Perfect country pop, little bit on the sweet side, but not a bad tune on there. Except maybe I wear my pain like stillettos.
A Night at the Opera Queen 1975 Beautifully eclectic mix of grungy rock & roll alongside the more poppy pieces, some country influences and more. Crazy but brilliant.
Week 2
Purpose Justin Bieber 2015 An electro-pop looping journey that has so many Ed Sheeran influences, it’s mad. Felt very defensive too – Sorry, What Do You Mean, I’ll Show You.
Heroes David Bowie 1977 What’s amazing about this album is how you can see the effort and crafting gone in to it. Not all to my taste, but the bizarre mix means there’s got to be something to like.
Week 3
A Head Full of Dreams Coldplay 2015 Very poppy, quite an 80s feel, but really – who are these people and what have they done with Coldplay? It’s almost oppressively optimistic. Unicorns and rainbows all the way.
Straight Outta Compton N.W.A. 1988 Loved this so much more than I thought I would, good beats, angry ranting, and a great sense of camaraderie.
Week 4
White Light The Corrs 2015 Lovely to hear their voices again, bit disappointed that it started out strong but descended into epic easy listening by the end.
Let Go Avril Lavigne 2002 Wonderful pop-rock, teen angst without being depressing, catchy songs and solid lyrics – not so sure of the one where she raps though.

After the first few weeks, I was totally hooked on this whole concept. Who knew albums could be so brilliant and contagious and how can I listen to more and more please?

I quickly discovered that I needed to listen to each one more than once for it to really sink in and take hold, so I’ve endeavoured to listen to each at least twice. A couple of them I’ve wanted to listen to more than that – Kelsea’s album really is a beautiful slice of country pop, whilst Straight Outta Compton also really grabbed me (much to my own surprise). I already listened to it twice over and above the requirements for this challenge.

Two hits out of eight albums, is that a decent strike rate? We’ll have to see how the next batch goes.

Notes for future research:

  • Listen to more of N.W.A. together and apart, and learn more about the East/West Coast hip-hop battle.
  • Find out if Coldplay’s albums in the period in between the last time I listened and this time were as positive, or if this is just a bizarre outlier.
  • Continue to ponder what it must have been like to hear Bohemian Rhapsody at the time in its natural habitat.