Finally got to see Haim live last night! To celebrate their new album they held a a special one-off gig at the Electric Ballroom in London, and it was fantastic! Definitely one of my favourite shows ever, and the album is pretty great too. It continues to blend indie rock, pop and RnB with their unique harmonies making a sound that is their own. I like a band whose music isn’t easily defined because you get interesting albums like this with tracks that mix up and cross genres. It means you get an album with a cohesive sound that you can identify without a bunch of same-sounding tracks. I also liked the breezy feel that their debut album had, maybe because of it’s sunshine Californian heritage, something that this album retains. Make sure you also listen to the percussion and melodies – just great!
Standout track: Walking Away
For me Stanley Road is a summer album. I don’t know why but it just sounds good in the sun, however there is a darker tone to the album that you can hear in some of the tracks. Paul Weller referred to this album as perfect, and its difficult to disagree with so many great songs and it’s hard to pick a favourite among them. The drumming is particularly excellent on tracks like Whirlpools’ End and the melancholy of You Do Something to Me betrays its love song disguise. The way Weller captures emotion in these songs is wonderful and shows how brilliant a song writer he is. I can’t believe it was released in 1995!
Standout track: Time Passes
Egotistical, self-deprecating, angry, melancholy are all reasons why I like Robbie Williams and this album is my favourite of his. His later stuff hasn’t grabbed me at all but this album has loads of great tracks on it. The self-referential nature of his songs is attractive. Someone trying to analyse their life and feelings is something I can relate to, after all we are all trying to find meaning in our lives aren’t we? This sounds a bit deep and it is, but its wrapped up in ballads and faster-paced pop tunes that are great to listen to. A lot of his albums do have a similar sound and style so I can understand that some people just don’t like his music, but as with most artists who I really like its the people as much as the songs that get me listening.
Standout track: Nan’s Song
The Purple Rain era was the zenith in Prince’s career in terms of commercial success and recognition which cemented Prince’s purple imagery in the public psyche. If you really have no idea about this album you get lots of screaming guitars as well as funky synthesiser laden tracks in a pop/rock/funk mix that only Prince could produce and provides his main source of radio airplay to this day. The 2015 Remaster is one of those releases where you are not quite sure what has been “improved”, other than the volume! I’m sure a close listen would pick out some changes but for me regardless its a solid album that is always a great listen. Its just a shame they wasted a disc in the “Deluxe” release with singles and B Sides that are available elsewhere when much better unreleased material is known about, but the unreleased stuff included is great!
Standout track: The Beautiful Ones
I can’t remember when I first got into Graceland. It certainly wasn’t in the 80’s when I was much more into dance music and rave culture! The singles that charted give a flavour of the South African musical contributions and influences of this album, but the real gems sit on the album itself. Simon’s lyrics are cleverly constructed but it is the musical and vocal performances that make this album worth listening to. The drums, percussion, accordions and guitars create rhythms and tunes that are uplifting and joyful, even when the lyrics aren’t quite so. The harmonies are just great and are wonderful to listen to. If you haven’t listened to Graceland and “world” music isn’t your thing then you should give it a listen if you want something different. It still holds up fantastically after 30 years.
Standout track: Under African Skies
I have always liked U2 but never enough to really invest in their albums. I owned the Joshua Tree once but other than that I mainly listen to their singles that I like. I probably bought this on the strength on Vertigo, and it is my favourite track on this. The thing about bands that have been around a while is that their musicianship shows through so the music just sounds good. The Edge’s guitar is always great to listen to and this album is a consummate rock album. Its a good album to listen to on the tube, as you can almost zone out of the vocals and just enjoy the music. The instruments all seem to have room to breathe and not be overwhelmed by production. The fact that I can’t say any more probably sums up my attitude to U2 albums!!
Standout track: Vertigo
50 years on it’s easy to see why some people don’t get Sgt. Pepper. It’s not just about the music, it captures the spirit of a particular time in 60’s British culture that can be hard to appreciate. Hearing this music for the first time back then was revolutionary and whatever you might think of the lyrics the music is spectacular. What we take for granted at the click of a mouse today the Beatles invented with customised equipment and tape loops literally sped up or slowed down. I love catching the little things that are easy to miss when you are engrossed in the melodies, like a little guitar flourish or Ringo’s squeaky seat. It’s difficult to pick my favourite between Paul’s bass lines or Ringo’s drumming. It is an album where you can close your eyes and let it fill your minds eye, perfect for the tube!
Standout track : How can you pick one? Whichever I pick you are probably going to disagree anyway!
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.