The end of another week, one where much happened and I learnt lots. And all I want is a weekend where I do nothing but crochet with either tea or wine at arm’s reach, alas my time for doing nothing at all is pretty limited this weekend.
Funnily enough, I have been trying to get this post written all week and every time I listen to Florence and the Machine I think about how she is someone I would pay many many dollars to be able to see live. And then literally about half an hour before finishing this post (which was actually on Friday before I decided to procrastinate posting for 2 days) I found out she’s coming and pulled out my wallet rather enthusiastically (spilling coffee on myself in the process) before realizing the tickets don’t go up for a few days. I would link you to them but I don’t want you to steal my seat…sorry.
Anyway, on to three of the albums that I have been listening to a lot in the last couple of months (along with a rather random collection of hip hop). They all happen to be released this year, which means I am being surprisingly up to date (relative to my other music tastes which are almost always at least 10 years behind everyone else’s).
Florence and the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (2015)
This album is theatrical, hystrionic and melodramatic, and yet somehow Florence makes it work. These songs are the ones you want to belt out to when driving around by yourself (ignore the weird looks from other drivers, you’re too good to bother with them). This album is 100% Florence, with her big vocals, story telling lyrics and powerful melodies, taken to a big, beautiful level. Maybe a reflection of my preferences, but some of my favourite moments on the album are the ones where it’s stripped down to her wavering voice and low-key backing music. Having said that, she shines brightest when she is shouting out the most beautiful, wailing lyrics against a theatre of drums and instruments, and she’s the only artist I know who can do this and be amazing. I love this album, and prefer it over Ceremonials (although Lungs will always hold the special place in my heart).
Songs: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful; Queen of Peace; Delilah; St Jude
Alabama Shakes – Shakes, Sound & Colour
Not my usual musical choice, but this irresistable combination of soulful jazz vocals and rock and roll guitar riffs are something I find super enjoyable. This is a fun album, with spunk and character. The leads incredible voice is something special, shouting out barely audible lyrics one moment against an electronic psychedelic combination of instruments, and then intimately whispering the next. Raw and edgy, this album keeps me on my toes in a good way, and I appreciate any album that gets me out of my usual realm of quiet, unassuming acoustic tracks.
Songs: Dunes, Future People, Gimme all your love
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
This is definitely the album I have listened to the most over the last couple of months. After discovering Sufjan Stevens I spent a while perusing his large collection of music, before deciding that his most recent was the one I connected with most. FIrst off, a warning; it’s not a fun listen (like either of the other two), and the more you get to know it the more that the music becomes some kind of morose sound track to a beautifully fragile life. The album is all about Sufjan coming to terms with the passing away of his mother, and their relationship. It’s painful, but so so beautiful. Each song feels stripped down to the basics, and it leaves Sufjan’s haunting voice to do a lot of the work. He’s incredible, like an angelic love child of Kings of Convenience, Bon Iver, and Ben Howard. Listen with a glass of red wine and plenty of tissues. Sorry.
Songs: Should Have Known Better, Fourth of July, John My Beloved, No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross
Enjoy the last few precious hours of the weekend! I’m going to spend it watching Honey I Shrunk the Kids (which somehow was skipped during my childhood) and eating Jaffas. Cause if you can’t be self-indulgent on a Sunday, when can you be?