I’m gonna get right to it – this week I had to make the choice between Imagine Dragons and Muse. HARD. In the end, despite knowing that I’d love the Imagine Dragons album, I figured I should go for something a little bit more outside my comfort zone.
And so, Mr C’s choice has to be something a little bit different. It didn’t take long for us to settle on Joan Jett – kick-ass rockstar. I wanted to listen to Bad Reputation but unfortunately that’s not available on Apple Music. So, instead, it’s all about rock ‘n roll.
It’s gonna be a pretty rocking week I think!
This week, I’ve opted for an album that probably would have passed me by any other time, but I’ve heard the main single from it so many times on Julie’s Beats1 show that it’s lodged in my brain. EL MAL QUERER by ROSALÍA. There’s also a Beats1 special where she goes through the album track by track, which I’ll also have to listen to. It makes a big difference when you can put these things in context.
Mr C’s pick this week is in the completely opposite direction. We realised I had only listened to a more recent Red Hot Chilli Peppers album, and that needed to be rectified quite quickly. So: Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Which I am spending quite a lot of time calling Love Angel Music Baby because I am weird. Looks like quite a long album, but should be interesting.
Oh, Mr C is also hoping this will rectify my “mistaken” belief that the All Saints version of Under the Bridge is better than the original.
We’re really getting towards the sharp end of the year now and album releases are picking up. I’ve got seven weeks of this year’s album adventure left and at least ten albums that I had hoped to fit in. Some hard decisions are going to be made about who makes the cut this year and who gets relegated to next year.
I’ve also noticed a significant number of albums left on my 2017 list that are soon going to drop out of my reach. (For those new to the game, my choices have to be current year or prior year.)
I do move my leftover albums to Mr C’s list (he gets the pick of the rest of musical history, so unfair) but I don’t know how many ever make it to my ears. Oh well. It’s no bad thing for there to be too much music in the world.
Anyway, this week:
Empress, by RAY BLK. I love, love, love Run Run, and Empress is pretty good, so hopefully the album stacks up. It’s only short but I’m hoping it’s brilliant.
And Mr C’s choice this week is OK Computer by Radiohead. Which Apple Music previews with the following: “The greatest album of all time? Plenty of polls suggest that, with Radiohead’s third set of songs frequently vying for that almighty accolade.” So , no pressure then.
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.
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!
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.
For the last ten weeks of this year’s album adventure, I thought I’d mix things up a bit and post about what albums I’ve got to listen to before I’ve listened to them. The usual reviews (if you can call my brief thoughts a review) will follow, but this is a fun heads up of what is on the menu this week.
So, it looks like some really good albums are coming up, but releases over the last couple of weeks haven’t totally stirred my blood. For the new album, my choice, this week, I’ve gone for You Me At Six, with VI.
I feel like I should know this band but as always, I couldn’t tell you a single thing about them. I will probably find out I know all the songs later, that’s what always happens.
And the older choice, from Mr C, is Clean Bandit, with New Eyes.
Clean Bandit are the type of band where every song can be completely different so a whole album is going to be an interesting one to digest.
I will report back!