The penultimate round up of the year, a little bit later than planned, but I’ve been slightly busy plotting and planning which albums to listen to for the weeks that are left. At this point, there are just three weeks left, and that’ll be three years of album listening. Incredible!
As I’ve mentioned over the past few weeks, there are a handful of good albums being released before this year is over, and it’s getting harder to choose which ones to prioritise. But it also means there are a lot of good things to listen to and that’s where this roundup comes in. Here’s what I thought of ten of the albums listened to recently.
- VI, You Me At Six
This is a band that I’ve heard of in passing but really couldn’t have told you anything about. On the first listen, I thought this was a pretty good album and then second time round I enjoyed it even more so that’s a good sign. It’s the first time in a while, too, that I’ve thought an album was just a bit short and I’d have liked some more.
- New Eyes, Clean Bandit
I have mixed feelings about Clean Bandit, because their songs can be so different that you never really know what you’re going to get (except a bit of bonus cello!) I really liked the album, actually, it’s stacked with tunes, but there’s one song that is hugely not for me. Come Over gets inside my head in the worst ways, so I dreaded the very middle of the album, but the rest was great.
- Living in Extraordinary Times, James
As expected, this was a good album that just went a bit wonky in places. I said that about the last James album I listened to and this was more of the same. However, I also didn’t feel like I really enjoyed it first run through, but gradually it really did grow on me. Second time through I was on board, and Mr C suggests a sixth listen will sell it to me completely.
- Along Came Jones, Tom Jones
Tom Jones in his early career reminds me very much of Johnny Cash. It’s got that old school soul feeling about it, with stacks of shorter songs whipping you through a journey. Tom’s voice is unquestionably brilliant, and recognisable instantly, and they’re all solid songs. But of course, It’s Not Unusual stands out as a proper choon.
- Broken Politics, Neneh Cherry
This was one of the chillest albums I’ve heard in a long time. I was quite keen to listen to it despite the fact I realised I don’t know any of Neneh’s previous work – I’m just aware of the family and like their output. There was nothing wrong with this album but it didn’t stand out particularly to me. It was perfect for background, chill music.
- The Raw & the Cooked, Fine Young Cannibals
I went into this album anticipating that the first song, the single, She Drives Me Crazy, would stand head and shoulders above the rest of the tracks. And it did. The rest was okay, but when you start out with a great tune like that, it’s hard to make it all stand out. I wasn’t totally convinced, either, by the cover of Ever Fallen in Love at the end.
- Empress, RAY BLK
Love this album. Run Run is a great song to kick off with, and we travel through some great highs and lows to end with the inspirational Just a Kid. It’s a short album, just eight songs lasting thirty minutes, but it still had a pretty big impact on me.
- OK Computer, Radiohead
I was kinda hoping this would be better than it was. The album is billed as one of the greatest ever, and I do like some of Radiohead’s work. This album was perfectly good, with some real highlights, but I don’t know that I cared for the whole thing, particularly, and I certainly wouldn’t put it up there as one of the best ever.
- EL MAL QUERER, ROSALÍA
I was quite excited about this album because I love the single Malamente, and Julie Adenuga has been bigging up Rosalía for a while now. I didn’t really get on with the album as a whole, unfortunately. There are some good tracks on there, but then there are also some songs which are quite warbly, screechy even, and I just wasn’t down with it.
- Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Whenever I listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I tend to just think ‘this is good, sounds like Red Hot Chili Peppers, just as you would expect’. And this album was exactly the same as all that. It’s a long one, well over an hour, but never boring. Just lots of good rock tunes from a band who are very good at what they do.