Picking albums this week crept up on us a little bit, hey, it’s the weekend again already?? But here we are and here we go! Very eclectic selection this week, so let’s dive right in.
My pick is the lovely Neneh Cherry. I feel like I love her but actually I don’t know why. I’m also a fan of Mabel, Neneh’s daughter, and we’re all waiting for the inevitable duet, aren’t we? Anyway, Neneh has a new album out called Broken Politics, which Apple call “poetic avant-pop” whatever that may be.
And Mr C’s pick this week is Fine Young Cannibals, The Raw & the Cooked for which I can tell you nothing, except I know and love this song.
There’s quite a few neat things that have been introduced in Apple’s latest software update for iPhones and iPads, but today I’ve been thinking about the new Screen Time feature. It’s on my mind today because Sunday morning is when the report pops up and tells you just how well you’ve managed to waste your week.
As a concept, Screen Time is a really good addition. More information is always better, and when I got the very first Screen Time report, I immediately deleted an app that was clearly taking up far too much of my daily life. Since then, my reports have been pretty consistent, but I haven’t yet dug into the vast amount of detail that is available within the Screen Time pages.
I’ve always been in two minds about things like setting app limits and time out screens. I can see why that would be useful as a parent but for my own device, I have always hoped that I can make decisions like that on my own without having to set a nanny on me. However, I am starting to see the use of it, because it’s not about not being able to make decisions, it’s about allowing yourself time off but not indulging in too much of it, setting rewards and goals and just generally trying to live a more creative and less consumer lifestyle.
I’m all about that.
So, we were watching High Fidelity and yes, maybe had had a drink or two along the way.
This bit happened:
Which I naturally forgot about.
So this came as a surprise:
And now I have this:
It’s a real, physical book because it wasn’t available in Kindle format. And I still went and bought it, which is unusual for me and can mean only one of three things:
- I really, really like Johnny Cash that much
- It was a very good and persuasive film
- I had enjoyed one more glass of wine than I’d originally thought
At this point, I suppose, we’ll never know. (But we can have a pretty good guess.)
This week’s new album is nominally my pick but actually came from Mr C, and it is James – Living in Extraordinary Times. This was released back in August, and apparently Mr C has been enjoying it ever since. We saw James perform on Jools Holland and Better Than That was a great tune.
I have previously listened to a James album and enjoyed it, although said it went a bit wonky in the middle. Mr C says this album is also greatness with the odd wonky moment, so I look forward to seeing how it turns out.
His own pick this week saw us digging way back into the archives. We settled on Tom Jones relatively easily, but then it’s like… where do you even begin with Tom Jones? Acts like this have such long and varied histories – do you start at the beginning, or at the peak, or nearer the modern day? We settled for the album that has It’s Not Unusual on it, because, well you know, choon!
Our third and final South West Coast Path adventure of the summer was all about cliffs. The theme of our adventures so far has been spontaneity and this was another one that we hadn’t really planned out. It was the kind of trip that saw us driving along a coast road and eventually just deciding to take the next left turn to end up at a beach.
Unfortunately, the beach we ended up at wasn’t that inspiring, so instead, we decided to follow the acorn which took us climbing up some pretty steep cliffs. It was hard work, but it was so, ridiculously, worth it. These are the kind of views that you see on TV… and views you just can’t look away from.
We passed beaches, cliffs and even little mini fort bunker things, which made it one of the best walks ever. We went further than we had anticipated, as Mr C kept saying “let’s just see what’s around this corner,” and that’s when I knew I had him hooked. If he wasn’t convinced about the SWCP deal before, he certainly was after this.
Three walks in and our project is properly kicked off… just in time for winter!
I can’t quite believe we’re heading into the final stages of this year’s album journey. I don’t feel like it’s been anywhere near a standout year as 2017, but there’s still time and I know there are some good releases coming up soon, so watch this space!
With ten weeks to go, I’ve started posting what I’m listening to ahead of the week so you’ll get a sneak peek of what’s coming up from now until the end of the year. And I’ve got to start thinking about the end of year top five and top ten lists. Already! Let’s just get on with it, while I put that to the back of my mind again.
- Runaway, Passenger
Lovely chill album, this one. I think I liked it more than the last one I listened to and there were no embarrassing “who does his voice remind me of” moments. It was just a nice, relaxing album with intense but reflective vibes. I feel like this is the kind of music you could have on in the background and never get bored of it.
- It’s My Life, Sash!
I used to listen to Sash albums by stealing them from my brother’s room, so this was nice and familiar. Encore Une Fois! Stay! Ecuador! Good nineties dance beats, but I think it’s mostly nostalgia for me at this point, and I’ll stick with the singles rather than indulging in the album too often.
- Language, MNEK
I was really looking forward to this album coming out, having listened to a handful of the singles and loved them, as well as Julie Adenuga on Beats1 really bigging it up. I loved the album, but could really have done without all the chatting and interludes along the way. They’re fine(ish) once, but not necessary time and time again. Otherwise, it’s a brilliant album, love it.
- Blue Lines, Massive Attack
I loved Mezzanine, one of the early albums in this adventure of mine. This album didn’t really do it for me at all. Unfinished Sympathy is the best thing on there, and even that wasn’t exactly a favourite. The rest of it wasn’t memorable and wasn’t something I’d choose to listen to again.
- Cry Pretty, Carrie Underwood
I was super keen to listen to this because I loved the last album from Carrie, but this one was something different. It’s clear that Carrie has been through a lot, and of course we’re in a different and more difficult world now, so it was a more contemplative and slightly more downbeat offering. Good album but not up there with Storyteller.
- August and Everything After, Counting Crows
I really enjoyed this! Weirdly, I thought I knew something about Counting Crows but I didn’t know any of the songs and can’t remember why I’ve heard of them. However, it was a good album, a genre of music I really like, and one I will likely to listen to over and again.
- Chris, Christine and the Queens
This took a few listens to grow on me, if I’m honest. I’ve been waiting and waiting for the album to be released, and was superbly excited for it so expectations were high. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d been let down – the songs are all great but did it live up to the previous work? I listened a couple more times though, and loved the Beats 1 special Chris did running through all the tracks, which has really helped open it up to me. I still don’t know which album I like better, but at the moment it doesn’t matter!
- Different Class, Pulp
Loved this. A bit of nineties Britpop to get the week going nicely. As always, I knew more of the songs than I thought, and although I was worried William Shatner would have ruined Common People for me, he absolutely hadn’t. So, fab work from Jarvis Cocker and his crew!
- Queen, Nicki Minaj
I was a bit intimidated by this album, if I’m honest, but I really quite liked it. There’s the odd moment where Nicki goes into her weird voices mode which I’m not so keen on, but overall it’s a lot of fun. I don’t know if it feels like a body of work as opposed to a collection of songs, but they’re good so I don’t think it matters.
- A Flock of Seagulls, A Flock of Seagulls
Up until this point, Flock of Seagulls was just the punchline of a joke about Chandler’s hair, but this week I discovered I really enjoyed their debut album! The stand out tune is I Ran (So Far Away) obviously, but actually they all stood up to the test of time, and I really liked the pop from the first moments of listening.
It feels a bit incongruous to write about the beautiful sunny days of summer when autumn has more than arrived, but I want to catch up the final two stretches of South West Coast Path we walked this year, before settling down to make plans for the next batch.
So, after finding the start of the path, our next adventure was another that came about by accident – we hadn’t particularly been planning on finding the other end of the national trail, but I sort of had an inkling in my head as we drew nearer and nearer that we could make it happen. A glorious blue sky was overhead when we rocked up to the beautiful Studland.
Our mission had been to find a beach and boy did we succeed – a gorgeous, unhindered stretch of sand that we ended up just walking and walking along, dipping our toes in the water and putting the world to rights.
Of course, this stretch of beach does include a portion that is dedicated to nudists and that was an interesting ten minutes or so. Out the other side and we rounded the corner to see the chain ferry in action and our destination.
I read later that there’s a compass inset into the ground which you can’t make out in any of the pictures I took. I wish I’d known about it sooner, because I was too busy looking at the top half of the sculpture. The first of no doubt many rookie mistakes.
At this point in our journey, Mr C was still highly dubious about the whole South West Coast Path adventure. I wrote previously that he figured seeing as we had found both ends that was probably enough. Unfortunately for him, my appetite had only been whetted by the whole experience and I couldn’t wait to find the next stretch of path we could follow.