On the record 2017, Part 8: Chilled out vibe rather than angry rage rapping

I can’t believe we’re getting towards the end of the year now, if only because it means there’s just a few weeks of albums left before I have to start coming up with a top five list! It’s been an incredible year of music and there are some real potential highlights coming over the next few weeks as well. It’s going to be agonising forming the best of lists for 2017!

Week 36

  • Freedom Child, The Script
    First listen through this was a bit disappointing – it doesn’t really stand out like previous singles and albums have, and it’s not as inspirational as previous work. However, second listen was better, there are some good ideas on there and it’s quite a chilled out album to relax with. The single Rain grew on me after many listens, so I reckon this album is also a grower.
  • Control, Janet Jackson
    I was highly anticipating this, but it didn’t quite work for me. No question Janet Jackson is fab but as a whole, it was all just a bit eighties and the songs never quite seemed to go anywhere. A few of them were too repetitive and although not a bad listen, I wouldn’t pick this out again.

Week 37

  • Broken Machine, Nothing But Thieves
    Didn’t know this band before listening, but actually really enjoyed this one. They have a sort of blend of established guitar bands, like Muse, The Killers and Stereophonics, which kind of makes it a new take on a very saturated genre. Good stuff.
  • The Truth About Love, P!nk
    Really love this album, there are so many tunes on it, it’s a real collection of genius. Pink has always been kinda inspirational and her recent thoughts on just being yourself and proving you’re awesome by getting on with it and ignoring the haters just add to the weight behind great songs like on this album. Can’t wait for the new one.

Week 38

  • Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, Calvin Harris
    This is a pretty good album to chill out to but I was expecting more of it to stand out than it did. The fun game of “who is going to guest on each song and what are they going to sing” only lasts for so long. I really like Feels with Katy Perry, and the Nicki Minaj song was good, but otherwise it wasn’t as memorable as I’d thought it might be, considering the calibre of talent on it.
  • Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, Meat Loaf
    Not sure you’d have got me listening to an album that kicks off with an 11 minute song this time last year, but I’m all on board now. Very similar to the first Bat Out of Hell, this is piano rock opera at its finest, but I think if you pushed me I’d have to say I preferred the first album to this. All good though.

Week 39

  • Wonderful Wonderful, The Killers
    Great to hear The Killers again, such a distinctive voice and some great songs to go along with it. I didn’t really like the title track so the album got off to a very inauspicious start but it picked up as it went along, and I quite enjoyed the rest of the piece.
  • No Need to Argue, The Cranberries
    Really enjoyed this album – didn’t know very much about The Cranberries going in, other than Zombie. It’s all so very Irish, great accents, great instruments, and a lilting pain that pervades even through some of the more upbeat stuff. Perhaps some of the songs were a little samey, but overall a great album.

Week 40

  • Tell Me You Love Me, Demi Lovato
    Was looking forward to this album and it mostly delivered, although I was curious about the tone. Kicking off with an empowering anthem then switching immediately to a weepy “I’m nothing without you” song is a bit weird. Demi gets quite personal, and there’s some good songs, but I didn’t enjoy the one with ridiculous amounts of swearing.
  • Country Grammar, Nelly
    I know a few of Nelly’s main singles but from this album I was only aware of Ride Wit Me (which I love). The whole album has a similar feel, a sort of chilled out vibe rather than angry rage rapping, and that makes it a really nice listen. It’s not all as strong as Ride Wit Me, but still I liked it.