Peter Gabriel – So

A lot of artists have one big album that projects them into mainstream consciousness and for Peter Gabriel this album was ‘So’.  As is typical of the mid-eighties the album isSo_(album) full of synthesisers and electronica and is an album for the MTV generation, with some of his biggest singles featuring. I saw him in concert around this time but, as what can happen with live shows, only have a fleeting memory of the light show during “Big Time”.  It captures a mood of the time where many people faced the reality of unemployment while others grew wealthy.  Despite its commercial feel his experimental side still appears on some of the tracks which makes it an interesting album to listen to.  It manages to do what good albums do – convey a range of emotions to the listener and draw you into to the lyrics.

Standout Track – This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds)

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The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

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 bspappreciate. 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.

Wendy and Lisa – Eroica

Wendy and Lisa are Prince’s greatest collaborators and with him are responsible for wlesome of his greatest work, whether credited or not.  It was always going to be difficult for W&L to step out of Prince’s shadow but I don’t think fame and fortune were necessarily their goal.  W&L are musicians at heart and Eroica, their third album, has a more mature feel about it as they seemed to have grown into their sound.  It really is a listenable album from the view that there is depth to the music. Whether its the layered guitars on one track, or layered vocals on another or the little guitar licks that hop between the stereo channels there is always something interesting to listen to.

Standout track:  Why Wait For Heaven – those guitars!

Bastille – Wild World

Dan Smith has such an unmistakable voice. It seems that whatever the song his vocals just lift it, whether its an Wild_World_album_coverupbeat dance track or lower key song.  Maybe its a result of Dan writing all the songs himself, a possible subconscious attitude with an air of positivity seeping into each one. Bastille have a great sound combining a synth sound with guitars and drums creating songs that are meaningful rather than just throwaway pop.  Some albums can sound too repetitive if the band has a particular style, but I don’t feel it with Wild World.  I didn’t know what I wanted to listen to today and just scrolled through my recently added albums, and it wasn’t a bad way to suffer the trains after a long weekend.

Standout track :  Good Grief, mainly for the “Weird Science” soundbites!

Harry Styles – Harry Styles

Harry was always the 1D member with a wild glint in his eye, exhibited in his many tattoo’s that hinted at a grittier side than his boy band membership HarryStyles-albumcovermight allow.  That’s What Makes You Beautiful is actually a brilliant pop song but his new solo album is not quite pop, having a more indie-rock sound.  I am surprised how much I am liking this album.  Thankfully Sign of the Times is not a Prince cover but it is a pretty good song. Some have slated Sweet Creature for sounding too much like McCartney’s Blackbird, but I am sure there are other acoustic guitar songs that do too. The album kind of tails off a bit towards the end for me but after a few listens it’s a pretty good debut, although I could have done without the hotel room imagery. Thanks for that, Harry!

Standout track : Carolina , but Only Angel is great too!

Various Artist – Blues Brothers Soundtrack

bb ostI was too young to be able to reference the film when it came out in 1980 but by the mid 80’s the legacy of the Blues Brothers was still going strong ( and still is!), not only with the film which we watched on VHS (yo kids, go look that up…) but with loads of tribute bands.  It was they who introduced me to Atlantic RnB and classic soul tracks.  I think this soundtrack still holds up as a great collection of music in its own right.  The music is fantastic, particularity the horns and bass, played by some of the musicians who worked on the original tracks back in the 60’s.   Of course the supporting cast including Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles bring their great performances, but John Belushi’s vocals stand up well amongst the Kings and Queens of Blues and Soul.  A great album to start the day to!

Standout track: She Caught The Katy  – easily overlooked as the opening track.

Various Artists – Classic Funk Mastercuts Volume 1

MC funk 1The bass line, drumbeats or breaks from a few of these tracks might seem familiar because they form the base of many hip hop tracks.  As much as I like funk its that element that attracted me to this CD as I am a big fan of old school hip hop, but I mean proper old school – 1986 and older.  A good funk track just finds its groove and takes you with it, and when it does you happily succumb.  There is a good mix of loud funk with some smoother mellow tracks. I like collections like this where the tracks aren’t all well know and Mastercuts albums are great for this, particularly the original releases.  If you fancy dipping your toe into any genre and there is an MC collection for it then its worth picking up, and you can usually get them pretty cheap too.

Standout track: Fatback Band- Wicki-Wacky – I love anything with a cowbell sound!