The past five weeks have seen a really solid selection of albums that have made it a really pleasant time to be doing this adventure. I can’t promise that I remember every track or even liked everything I heard, but an over-arching theme of the recent records has been nice to listen to and just more to go in the memory banks of my musical education.
I do think I’m missing the critical stand-out albums this year, which makes me concerned for my top five/ten lists in a couple of months (yes, time is going by that quickly). I’ve got one, maybe two, definite contenders and the rest is totally up for grabs. But there’s still time. If there’s anything I’ve learned across the last couple of years it’s that the music just keeps on coming.
- MASSEDUCTION, St. Vincent
Enjoyed this album. I wasn’t really aware of St Vincent before seeing her perform Los Ageless on a couple of TV shows, but I was keen to hear the full album. I don’t think it was as outstanding as I thought it would be, but certainly enjoyable from start to finish. The two singles stand out, and I really like Slow Disco although think it’s been slightly ruined by the Fast Slow Disco version.
- Remain in Light, Talking Heads
I had never heard of Talking Heads and when I started listening, I did wonder what I’d let myself in for. Most of the tracks didn’t really work for me, but of course, Once In a Lifetime is a proper tune which almost makes up for the rest of it.
- Pray For the Wicked, Panic! At the Disco
Good album this one. Only discovered Panic at the Disco relatively recently so it’s nice to have a new album almost straight away. I liked all the songs on here but have to admit it felt quite a short album, almost over before it’s begun. Few of the songs are longer than three minutes, but they’re all good so I just wanted more.
- Sigh No More, Mumford & Sons
I know a few Mumford & Sons songs, and they’re the kind of band where you actually know more than you think you do. The trouble is, as this album demonstrates very well, is that whilst they are good tunes, they sound quite similar. Listening to 12 in a row was a nice experience, it’s good music, but I can’t lie and say I could distinguish one song from another.
- Know., Jason Mraz
I love Jason, his witty lyrics and fast-paced patter and this album is another one to add to the collection. There were a few good tunes on there but actually, as an overall effect, I found the album to be oppressively saccharine. The guy is clearly in love, which is great, but every song was about how he likes to watch her sleep and doesn’t want to do anything but be in love with his partner. At which point I start wondering if he needs a hobby. Nice songs but perhaps needs more variety.
- Dookie, Green Day
I don’t think there was too much memorable about this album but there doesn’t really need to be. It is exactly what you want it to be – Green Day through and through. Strong guitars, solid beats, that recognisable lead vocal… enjoyable album but perhaps not my favourite of their work.
- Sweetener, Ariana Grande
At first I really wasn’t sure about this one, it’s quite warbly in places, but parts of it started to grow on me. No Tears Left to Cry grew on me enormously after a couple of listens, and I cannot get the ‘mix it, and mix it, and mix it and mix it’ thing out of my head. It’s clearly a departure from Ariana’s previous efforts, more adult, more soulful, and I quite liked it despite its oddities.
- Organisation, Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark
A great album, this one. I only knew the song Enola Gay and I really wasn’t sure I knew what OMD were, but the rest of the album was a triumph. It didn’t stand out as much as the lead single but even so, I liked the moody synth overtones and the general feeling that it left with me after a full listen.
- B. Inspired, Bugzy Malone
I really, really liked this album. Its been a while since a rap or hip hop album has appealed to me but this one was great. I love the main single with Rag N Bone Man, and generally speaking all the features are really good. Top notch and a welcome change of genre for this year.
- An Innocent Man, Billy Joel
I don’t know how I’ve managed to get this far without listening to any Billy Joel but how can you not love this? Happy, optimistic, joyful music that sort of sweeps you along and doesn’t put you down for 40 minutes. I thought I would only know Uptown Girl but I also knew Tell Her About It.