I had a bit of a crisis of confidence at the beginning of the year, realising there’s no way the next twelve months could be as good as the previous twelve – all those incredible albums that came out last year and made it a brilliant journey, it’s impossible to repeat that, isn’t it?
Well, we’re off to a good, if not exceptional, start. Pop, folk, country, rock, and even a bit of reggae. A little bit of everything to kick the year off right.
- Gang Signs and Prayers, Stormzy
Stormzy burst onto my radar over the last few weeks, and so I had to start the year with the album everyone is raving about. I enjoyed it, although found it to be quite eccentric, a lot of different pieces thrown together. Still, there are some real highlights, and of course, Blinded By Your Grace is a wonder.
- Wish, The Cure
I’ve been waiting to listen to this just so I can quote The Wedding Singer legitimately, but I’m glad I finally got round to it. This is a slightly happier sound for the band, and I really enjoyed it. It was quite distracting how much the songs and particularly the lead singer reminded me of The Killers, but hey, The Cure came first!
- hopeless fountain kingdom, Halsey
Great album this one, I loved it. Having only heard Bad at Love before, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed the concept and the way the album worked together. It kicks off with a bit of Shakespeare and winds through love and hate and many great songs.
- Duran Duran (The Wedding Album), Duran Duran
The thing about Duran Duran, and I think I found this when I listened to Rio as well, is that I really enjoy the music. Yay, Duran Duran, great songs, great voice, fun to listen to. But if you asked me anything about this album now, just a few days later, I couldn’t tell you. Ordinary World is fantastic, the rest mostly forgettable. But it’s so good when you’re in it! Weird.
- Camila, Camila Cabello
I was expecting quite a lot from this debut album from Camila, and in the end I think I’ve ended up a bit disappointed. It’s a really strong debut, lots of good songs and I like the pop vibe tinged with the latin edge, but it’s very short and I’m not sure it’s going to end up as a top five.
- Tease Me, Chaka Demus & Pliers
This was a bit of a weird one for Mr C to pick, but actually, I really loved it. The famous songs, Tease Me and Twist & Shout, obviously are fab, but I enjoyed all of it. Lovely, chilled reggae vibes and lots of Chaka Demus saying, hey Mr Pliers, my turn. Such fun.
- Ruins, First Aid Kit
Mixed feelings about this album, really. The two are exceptionally talented and their songs and harmonies are really clear and good and strong. The trouble is, the style of music is, for me, better suited to background listening, which is fine, except I find the close harmonies quite distracting (in a good way), so can’t just let it wash over me. I’m not really sure where this album fits for me, but that’s not to say it isn’t a good one.
- Hysteria, Def Leppard
I was a bit nervous about this, thinking it was going to be quite hard, heavy music but it wasn’t. Hard rock, maybe, but no screaming and shouting, so all good. It’s not an album that had huge standout songs, although Pour Some Sugar on Me is fun, of course. But otherwise it’s just some really good, solid rock.
- The Time is Now, Craig David
This is just Craig David through and through, exactly what you’d expect from the guy and pretty much what his sound has always been (perhaps a little more grown up than before). The only oddity is his song with Bastille, which is great, but sort of sounds different to the rest of the piece.
- Sings the Songs that Made Him Famous, Johnny Cash
My obsession with Johnny Cash is growing, so this is his second album and I loved it, naturally. It’s similar to the first – lots of short snappy songs, great train-like guitars and fab beats. There were more backing vocals than before, I felt, which gave it a different ambience, but it still worked for me.