Saturday, 20 February 2021

Dancing Machine/ The Jackson 5 (1974): Albums of my Life: An A-Z

...watching 'Moonwalker' as a kid. I was a Michael Jackson fan from a young age and soon got to liking the Jackson 5 too. The first CD I ever owned was Michael Jackson's 'Ben' at 9 years of age. I had cassettes of some Michael Jackson albums and some Jackson 5 ones too from Boot fairs that we would visit on a Sunday as a family. My dad would always like to find bargains and any time we would see a Michael Jackson tape he would get it for me because he knew I loved his music. I realise that not only do kids today miss out on the thrill of physically owning an album and playing it over and over because what they own is the limit of what they can listen to; but also that not every parent is as nurturing of their child's interests as mine were.

Back to 'Moonwalker'-- there was a brief part of a montage of Michael's earlier music which featured him dancing with a robot. The small clip featured a section of 'Dancing Machine' and it always stayed in my mind, but I didn't recognise the song. Later in life I heard the song and, of course, loved it. 

'Dancing Machine, the album, came to my consciousness most probably in one of my returns to Jackson's earlier music after one of my many hiatuses. I found him at 7 or 8 years old when 'Dangerous' was out. I then returned to him in my late teens and early 20s, finding a few new Jackson 5/ Jacksons tracks due to the internet opening up a few more avenues for music exploration. A friend from Primary school who had complimented my MJ T Shirt at a school disco became a good buddy to me at this age. He was probably the only person who I've been able to muse with about about my devotion to Michael Jackson's back catalogue and feel like there was a shared degree of enthusiasm. I re-kindled a love of  MJ materiaI at this point; I'd love to reconnect on our shared love of music one day.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Corinne Bailey Rae (2006): Albums of my Life: An A-Z

...liking Corinne Bailey Rae's music immediately, in particular her most well-known singles 'Like a Star and 'Put Your Records On'. Her vibe was carefree and fresh; her voice sweet and open-- what wasn't to like? Her first, self-titled album debuted at number 1 in the UK charts which I never really took note of at the time, but speaks for the power of the album. For context, the chart that week also featured Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs and Gorillaz. Corinne Bailey Rae's music would fit the genre of modern soul/ R 'n B music, but this was a time where we might see more 'real' voices in the charts (as opposed to over-produced, auto-tuned sounding vocals that are popular right now). Now it feels like you have to seek out the Corinne Bailey Rae's of the music industry because chart music is of a particular 'sound' (with a few exceptions). I was in my early twenties when this came out and it was a joy to me then and now.

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2/ Jill Scott (2004): Albums of my Life: An A-Z

 ...Jill Scott was such an exciting artist to find back in 2000. I think I came across her on a music channel (probably taking off her earrings in the 'Gettin' In The Way' video) and thinking 'who is this amazing, sassy woman?' That video was so iconic and her spoken word style was effortless and just so cool to me, different to the more poppy chart R n' B I was accustomed to. 

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Anywhere/ New Musik (1981): Albums of my Life: An A-Z

 ...being young, six or seven maybe, and my parents always played music loud. Mum would play music whilst ironing, or just to let off steam herself-- having two small children around the house and all the chaos we entailed was probably no picnic at times! My mum played New Musik quite a bit and I although at that age it was just backdrop, it was the type of music that made me want to spin around in the middle of the carpet until I was dizzy and had to crash land on the sofa (Lionel Ritchie's 'Dancing on the Ceiling' had, heck, still has, the same effect-- in a good way!) It is music like this that laid dormant in my psyche for years, only for a craving for it to emerge years later as an adult. It's only as time passes that you reflect on the music your parents listened to and how it has impacted your own taste. My parents' choices, that were once, at best, catchy, and at worst, 'annoying', are in hindsight, pretty damn cool. Not least because they span a few genres and niches. I'm grateful for the passion for music they instilled in us by osmosis.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

December: A Roundup

2020 is over and for some it's as if we're purging ourselves of some devious foe who's been loitering around for far too long. 2020 was just another year, but instead of potentially being filled with personal grievances, it was (and still is) a shared grievance. Granted, I have been extremely fortunate personally, so I can talk about it from the point of view of being relatively unscathed, but unless Covid has touched our lives in the form of death, extreme ill health or job loss, we've done ok. People metaphorically high-fiving each other for surviving 2020 is, to my taste, rather nauseating if they have actually just not been able to go to the pub for a few months of the year.

December was dark and wet and bleak. There was no family celebration, drinks or food with friends or other festivities. There was not a Christmas tree at home. But that was ok. It needed to be that way, and Christmas is what you make it. We had lovely food and presents and company within our little unit, some didn't have that.

I'm not ready to reflect on the year because it feels that until we find out what is happening with work and vaccines and tier systems, it is just a continuation of 2020's situation. We must buckle up and just get on with it. Mentally, shutting down and watching Netflix is a good option. Twitter, less so. 

December brought illness (again, probably not Covid related-- miraculously seeing as I've been in a room with coughing and sneezing teenagers all day); exercise (then not, due to gym closures); and eating, lots of eating. Now it's just more of that maybe (trying to get out for walks and maybe runs if it's not too slippery). Who knows.

But the 'Photo a Day' challenge is completed once again. It has been a pain to say the least, but a constant-- and with constancy comes comfort. So maybe for the new year, something else will come to fill its place. We'll see.