I’m finding this year a real struggle compared to 2017. There are a few new albums that have raised my eyebrows but nothing that’s getting me excited. I know you can’t have great stuff all the time, but I’m just hoping this year picks up soon!
- Man of the Woods, Justin Timberlake
I was surprised how much I liked this one. It’s stacked full of great rhythms and hooks, which you can tell came from the great mind of Pharrell more than anyone else. Some of the more mushy interludes aren’t my favourite but I do like the down-to-earth natural feeling of it all.
- Touch, Eurythmics
I think I was expecting a bit more from this album, given how epic Annie Lennox is, but even so, this is full of great songs. I’m not sure it’s as memorable as I thought it would be, but still totally enjoyable to listen to.
- Always Ascending, Franz Ferdinand
I haven’t really even thought about Franz Ferdinand for years so it was nice to hear them again – it’s all very similar to how they used to be, perhaps progressing to a slightly more adult and adventurous sound, but for the most part just solid guitars and that recognisable voice. Good stuff, but never going to be a particular favourite.
- Performance and Cocktails, Stereophonics
I really enjoyed this album. At first glance, I thought I only knew one of the songs but more of them were familiar than I had anticipated. The songs are well put together and with the dulcet tones of Kelly Jones to ease the way, it’s just a really nice, solid listen.
- I Like Fun, They Might Be Giants
I didn’t get on with this album at all, I was expecting it all to be a bit random which it was, and I didn’t mind the sheer randomness really but it needed to be backed up with some good songs. I didn’t enjoy the construction of the songs, and that made it a bit of a slog to get through.
- Brave, The Shires
I’m fond of The Shires because it takes a brave duo to try and take on the might of country music from the UK, and they’re doing pretty well and gaining respect for it. The songs are what you’d expect from a country album, my only real complaint is that there’s a disconnect between songs that celebrate being from the UK, and then others that talk about ‘dimes’ and ‘state lines’. Doesn’t quite stack up.
- American Teen, Khalid
Incredible debut, really. I love Young Dumb and Broke, which is why I chose this album to listen to in a very quiet week of music. The rest of the album is filled with more of the same, which makes it both really good listening but also perhaps just marginally too long. Great work though, refreshing soulful sound.
- Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston
I can’t quite believe this is Whitney’s debut album, it’s got such incredible songs on it and of course her powerful voice just blows everything out the water. Such a strength shines through the album even in her first recording, and it almost feels like a privilege to listen to.
- Love is a Basic Need, Embrace
Embrace do one thing and they do it really well – the songs that start slowly and softly, have a bit of piano come in, and gradually build to a big, soaring, string-enhanced ending. Much of the album follows this pattern which is nice for a while but perhaps doesn’t sustain a whole record. Still good though.
- Spice, Spice Girls
What a classic album this is. I was, obviously, a huge fan in the 90s, and so this was like diving into a wonderful world of pop-soaked nostalgia. It’s short and sweet, this album, with female-power lyrics, bopping tracks and ultimately just some fab pop. There’s also some dodgy rapping but that just adds to the enjoyment, really.