On the record 2019, Part 3: The actual singers sounded out of place

Every album I chose for the past five weeks was a solo female, and what a variety of genres they cover. From quirky pop to singer-songwriter and… well, whatever genre we’re putting Billie Eilish in. One of my favourite things about this album adventure is how the type of music I’m listening to changes week to week, sometimes pushing me out of my listening comfort zone and sometimes offering up real surprises. There’s more of that in this batch of albums, and I’m sure more to come in future too.

Week 11

  • Sucker Punch, Sigrid
    Great album, this one. I’ve been looking forward to it since Sigrid’s first single, because I love the quirky, unique and upbeat pop from the Norwegian. The album didn’t disappoint, packed with lots of great tunes. There was just one that I wasn’t a fan of and it slightly mars my enjoyment of the latter half of the album… but still a great one.
  • Tragic Kingdom, No Doubt
    A classic 90s album, this, and one that I’ve not listened to in its entirety before despite the tunes on it. My conclusion at the end of my second listen is that I really like the music, the ska/reggae feel to it. I’m not such a big fan of Gwen Stefani’s vocals. She’s a really great singer but some of the choices along the way aren’t my favourite.

Week 12

  • GIRL, Maren Morris
    What a fab album this is. Great country songs, with less of the pop influence of some of my other favourite country artists but still a great feeling to the whole thing. There are some really good individual songs on here, but also as a body of work it flows well and has a great relistenability (not a word) to it.
  • Please, Pet Shop Boys
    I’ve realised, now, that I’m not really a Pet Shop Boys fan. Obviously, I like some of the singles, and who doesn’t want a bit of West End Girls in their life? But if I’m honest, I found the rest of the album a bit of a chore. I wasn’t that keen on listening to it the second time round, but got through it. Not a favourite, unfortunately.

Week 13

  • Under My Skin, Gabrielle
    This album is a complete surprise. Firstly, I didn’t even know it had been released last year, it totally passed me by. Luckily the deluxe version was promoted and so I was keen to have a listen. It was really good! Nothing superbly outstanding but just a full album of great Gabrielle tunes. She has a wonderful voice and it’s all just very listenable.
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
    Somehow it has been more than three years I’ve been doing this album adventure and I haven’t yet listened to Elton, old or new. This being the first, it has some of the big classics on there, but I have to admit, it being a double album was a little bit long. It’s good, obviously, it’s Elton and his talent is unquestionable, but it did just feel like a lot to get through each time.

Week 14

    The hype for this album has been unreal but I was very nervous about listening to it. My feelings afterwards are mixed and complicated. I thought it was a really good album, maybe not quite so good as the hype, but up there as a great debut. However, it’s a very specific mood, and one that I can’t really put my finger on. When am I going to be in the mood to select this album for a listen? I’m just not sure.
  • Every Valley, Public Service Broadcasting
    Just like the Billie Eilish album I listened to this week, I don’t think this is one that I would reach for on the every day. I was worried, too, because I’m not a huge fan of talky talky bits in albums. But this, this really worked. I guess because it’s designed to be music behind carefully selected snippets, rather than people trying to be funny. It was good – fab music with moving anecdotes, so that the actual singers sounded out of place. Again, not sure when I’d seek this out, but really glad I heard it.

Week 15

  • Amidst the Chaos, Sara Bareilles
    I was kinda disappointed in this album. Seeing Sara on the recent Carpool Karaoke had me keen to check it out, the Armor song sounded amazing in the car. But it sort of didn’t translate for me. The songs were okay, but as a whole there didn’t feel like a lot of oomph to the album. Where’s the inspirational Brave-style anthem?
  • One By One, Foo Fighters
    I was surprised to read that the Foo Fighters fell out of love with this album because this is quintessential Foos to me. All My Life and Times Like These are fab tunes and propel the album on to more of the same. I enjoyed it, even if the band didn’t!