On the record – Some ballads and some brass (Weeks 21 to 24)

I’ve really, really enjoyed the older albums this week, and although the new ones have been interesting, Mr C has been picking some proper classics! Nice mix of genres again, we’re deliberately trying to mix it up depending on what each other has chosen, and I must admit I am loving listening to so much music constantly. I do worry that I’m forgetting some of the earlier ones, but I know that the really good stuff sticks with me and that’s all that matters.

As always, my choices from 2015 or 2016 come first in the list, with Mr C’s choices from any other time second. Get to the end of the post and you’ll see the updated top ten – a process which I’ve been wrestling with and now understand why Mr C’s end-of-year agony isn’t quite as funny as I thought.

Title Artist Year Notes
Week 21
Dangerous Woman Ariana Grande 2016 I liked this far more than I expected. It was the perfect mix of pop and RnB – a lot of it reminded me of the RnB from the 90s, which is my era of music. I also really enjoyed the bonus Macy Gray!
Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman 1988 I properly loved this album, so much that I listened to it twice straight through, and was then humming Fast Car for the rest of the week. Brilliant, lyrical, moving. I love it, although it did open my eyes to why some people aren’t such fans of Boyzone. Oof.
Week 22
7/27 Fifth Harmony 2016 Very catchy pop, high production values, but not totally special. Influences of Beiber and even occasionally Taylor Swift. Enjoyable enough to listen to, with plenty of good songs, but not all that memorable.
The Marshall Mathers LP Eminem 2000 Love the rhythms here. Subject matter can veer too far for me, I couldn’t listen to Kim the second time round. But then again, Stan is an absolute classic so it’s swings and roundabouts.
Week 23
Black Dierks Bentley 2016 Good modern country – mentions both the moon and time machines, so I’m confident that he wrote it all with me in mind. Branches out occasionally with some ballads and some brass, but otherwise it’s a nice comfortable country album.
Metallica Metallica 1991 I was nervous about listening to this but it’s about as accessible as heavy metal can be. I ended up quite enjoying it, although listening to all that angst in one go did make me anxious. The intensity and the harsh vocals can be a bit much but I still loved a few of the tracks along the way.
Week 24
Last Year Was Complicated Nick Jonas 2016 Really good album. If you like the single Close, then it’s very much more of the same. So many songs packed together, though, made me realise how often Nick uses the falsetto and that grinds my gears when it is overused.
Pet Sounds The Beach Boys 1966 Wonderful album, stacked full of shorter but well-crafted songs. God Only Knows is just under three minutes of perfection. I wasn’t expecting there to be instrumentals, and as a whole Sloop John B stands out as not quite fitting in, but otherwise it all works well.

My top ten after twenty-four weeks of listening to a wide variety of albums is below. The only change this time is that Tracy Chapman jumped in at number three, meaning we lose Bjork from the list. Had a real struggle trying to decide if Pet Sounds should sneak in at number ten – basically pitting You Can Call Me Al against God Only Knows, two of the greatest songs ever. In the end, I stuck with Paul Simon.

  1. Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A.
  2. Come On Over by Shania Twain
  3. Tracy Chapman by Tracy Chapman
  4. Let Go by Avril Lavigne
  5. Get Weird by Little Mix
  6. The First Time by Kelsea Ballerini
  7. Chaos and the Calm by James Bay
  8. Thriller by Michael Jackson
  9. Play by Moby
  10. Graceland by Paul Simon