On the record 2017, Part 3: Great for a bit of nostalgia

I was having a bit of a panic over the last few weeks that I’ve listened to lots of albums but can’t remember them all. What do I like? What don’t I like? Why so manyyy? And then I took a step back and realised this project isn’t about learning every single song I listen to. I compared it to the Film Watch odyssey, which isn’t about remembering all 700+ films consumed. Both projects are about immersing yourself in a medium, soaking up the general love and enjoyment of the genre, learning, growing, and, dare I say it, being in the moment.

For the music project, it’s not about being an encyclopedia of pop, it’s about vaguely knowing a band when they are mentioned, or finding a new album to love and one to hate, and most of all, it’s about having context for the songs rather than just knowing them from a five second clip on Peter Kay’s Car Share.

Relax, enjoy, it’s music and it’s wonderful.

Week 11

  • The Breaker, Little Big Town
    I was expecting better things from this, if I’m honest. It’s a perfectly pleasant album but it’s just not memorable. It’s got a very laid back, relaxed, California beach vibe to it, which is nice, but the best songs are the first and last one, bookending the album. Everything in between is instantly forgettable.
  • Actually, Pet Shop Boys
    I wasn’t sure I’d like this album, Pet Shop Boys are great but a whole album could have been too much. Thankfully, there’s a mix of songs: slow and fast, meaningful and just fun, catchy and forgettable. It’s not one of my favourites but certainly a listenable 50 minutes of music.

Week 12

  • So Good, Zara Larsson
    Good album this, I knew more of the songs than I thought I did and it’s a fine pop album – lots of catchy songs that will make you dance. It’s reminiscent of Rihanna, so some of the tracks I wasn’t so keen on, but overall the balance makes for a strong first international album.
  • Speak Now, Taylor Swift
    It feels like Taylor really had some things to say with this album, a lot of the songs sound more personal and meaningful than previous efforts. There are some great songs on here, I love Story of Us, but some of the slower ballad types didn’t really do it for me. I like the increased amount of storytelling, though, you really can get invested in the songs.

Week 13

  • Wonderland, Take That
    A perfectly pleasant album but nowhere near as good as I was hoping. A bit plodding in places, but mostly a feel good hour of tracks, unfortunately for the most part instantly forgettable.
  • Celebrity Skin, Hole
    This is a fantastic album – it’s grungy rock but with a melody, epic guitars but with good purpose, I love it. Great songs, starting with Celebrity Skin which is a proper choon, and could threaten to overshadow the rest, but thankfully the full album stands up to the challenge.

Week 14

  • The Afterlove, James Blunt
    I pre-judged this album, as many have, so was pleasantly surprised by it. It’s a good, modern, pop album, and you can really feel the influences from Ryan Tedder and Ed Sheeran – both on the songs they wrote and throughout. The lyric “I’d say you’re beautiful but I’ve used that line before,” is fab.
  • All Mod Cons, The Jam
    Loved this album. I knew the main Jam songs but anything outside that was lost to me. I was amazed at listening to a full album, the songs haven’t really aged at all. You can picture The Libertines or similar doing all these tracks and more. Great stuff.

Week 15

  • Pure Comedy, Father John Misty
    This is not really my cup of tea at all. Good voice and superb musicality, it reminds me of modern day Elton John. But it doesn’t grab me, it’s all a bit of a drag, and when your single average is almost six minutes, I’m always going to struggle.
  • Love, Aztec Camera
    Gets off to a slow start, but picks up speed and the brilliant Somewhere In My Heart is the turning point. Great eighties pop, not sure it’s aged particularly well but is very of its time and therefore great for a bit of nostalgia.

Been a while since I found an album I really didn’t like, but make that two now – Drake and Father John Misty. Otherwise it’s been an interesting few weeks where for the most part I have preferred the older albums to the newer offerings.