On the record 2018, Part 10: Pop grooves to boost your confidence

And we’re done! Another 100 albums in the bag, and 300 in total. I am really proud of keeping this up for so long, and it still being incredibly fun. My music knowledge just keeps growing and my respect for the album process is also taking huge strides forward.

Week 46

  • Simulation Theory, Muse
    I liked this, I mean, it was very Muse-y, so you know what you’re getting. I know that Muse can write about deep and meaningful topics but I don’t know if I got in that zone in just two listens. But what I did find is that I really enjoyed the music behind the words, and found it great to listen to, regardless of subject matter.
  • I Love Rock ‘N Roll, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
    Loved this! I know Joan Jett from Bad Education, but that album wasn’t available on Apple Music so this was a close second. It was great, just some pure pop rock from a kick-ass lady who can pull off a tune, whether original or a cover. I Love Rock ‘N Roll is a great title track too.

Week 47

  • LM5, Little Mix
    I like the direction the girls have taken with this – standing up for themselves, not caring what people think, and championing all the right things: feminism, feeling good about yourself, not taking any nonsense. The singles are good, the rest of it didn’t really stand out but was exactly what you’d want from Little Mix – pop grooves to boost your confidence.
  • Living Years, Mike + The Mechanics
    Right, there are two parts to this. First time through, I couldn’t really look past The Living Years. Why would you bother with the rest of the album when you have such a good song to start with. But then, of course, the second time I listened through, I quite enjoyed the rest of it too. It’s wonderfully eighties, of its time, and just a solid listen.

Week 48

  • You Know I Know, Olly Murs
    The thing about this album is, it’s exactly what you would expect. Olly Murs makes good pop so it’s a perfectly pleasant and listenable album with a few good guests. The one mistake he’s made is, on the version I listened to, he finished off the album with a handful of his other singles, like a greatest hits. And that meant I preferred those a lot more than the new stuff.
  • Tea for the Tillerman, Cat Stevens
    Ah, what a lovely album. I recognised the title and the title track from the theme tune to Extras, and of course there are a few great songs on there – Wild World, Father and Son, etc. It’s a really good, quite relaxing, occasionally moving, piece of work. God I really do love Wild World as a song.

Week 49

  • A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, The 1975
    I have mixed feelings about The 1975, they make good songs but I don’t like the quirky edge they force upon themselves. The name of that last album gives me rage every time I see it. However, this is a new one with a reasonable album title and some really good choons included. I love the songs that sound like real songs, they’re right up there with some of the best of the year, but then the weird stuff just isn’t for me at all. The “song” that is actually a tale about a robot was even less fun second time round.
  • Up!, Shania Twain
    Lovely Shania produced another album with lots of great crossover country/pop tunes, and there’s not a lot to dislike about this. The only thing that raises question marks is why there are three different versions – country, international, and you’re regular pop. And the mix and match that goes on in Apple Music is crazy. But I like what I heard and I still love her.

Week 50

  • Origins, Imagine Dragons
    I’ve been looking forward to listening to this since it was released, but it’s always dropped down the order because I knew exactly what it was going to be like – and it was as predicted. Another solid Imagine Dragons album, stacked full of great songs, but sounding very much like the previous work. If you bundled Evolve and Origins together, they would make one cohesive mega album. Still good though!
  • So, Peter Gabriel
    I really liked this! Mr C has been talking about Peter Gabriel for a while now, every now and then pondering whether to pick this album and finally it gets its chance. There’s a nice selection of songs, most slightly different from each other, but with some really good ones tucked away. Sledgehammer is the main one, of course, but I thought Don’t Give Up was just lovely.

And that’s it! Already I can’t wait to select my albums for the first week of 2019, but before that, I’ll be doing some wrap up posts – including the one where I tell you about my top five of the year just gone. Eek, I’m just off to listen to the shortlist again.