Thursday 29 December 2022

22 Quick Picks for 2022: Albums of my Life: an A-Z

2022 has been another year of discovery in terms of music and also of revelation. Many of the artists I enjoyed in 2021 have released new music which has been really exciting. MUNA and The Big Moon have released albums and I was lucky enough to see the latter in a record shop just a few months ago. My love for 80s music has grown and the realisation that the band, Toto, have been involved in music that I have loved for years of my life has ignited a deep love for these incredible musicians. I've walked miles to these tracks, endorphins have been overflowing in the gym and I've also shed the odd tear. I've procrastinated, dreamed, reveled, despaired, lusted and mused over these songs, listening again and again-- such is my obsession with music. I wanted to document twenty-two of my loved tracks for 2022.

Saturday 29 October 2022

Prodigal Sista/ Beverley Knight (1998): Albums of my Life: an A-Z


  the cover of this album. Its shade of blue has adhered to my memory with Beverley's iconic presence looking you right in the eyes as you slide the CD out of its cardboard cover. Prodigal Sista came into my awareness as a teen when the single 'Greatest day' was released. Her voice, her positivity and her vibe had me captured within one listen of that song. I'm talking about the 'classic mix' of course, with its upbeat keys,brass and strings.

This was one of the earlier CD albums that I can remember purchasing with my own money and listening to a lot. Though it won 'Best Album' and 'Best R&B Act' at the 1999 Mobo Awards, it's always felt relatively lowkey to me-- none of my friends had it and, to this day, it's one of those albums that I've never spoken to anyone about. Until now!

Tuesday 16 August 2022

One Touch/ Sugababes (2000): Albums of my Life: an A-Z

  being aware of the single 'Overload' and not immediately loving it, but knowing that it felt a bit different to other girl groups. I'm imagining that I saw the music video because it is definitely a factor that set the tone of who these young girls were (and they were young, only 15 and 16 years old). The video is shot on a plain white background and pans across to reveal the girls in mid and close-up shots, and they just look so fresh, natural and 'normal'. It doesn't surprise me to read that they were formed in 1998 by the same manager as the group, All Saints, because they had this cool edge and their lack of frills and girliness appealed to me at that age. Also, the fact that they were about the same age as me at the time made them feel relatable.

I'm not sure about when I took the plunge and purchased the CD, but I did and I got it on vinyl last year-- testament to what a great album it is. When we were teenagers my dad would let us load up a CD into the car's player and in hindsight, it strikes me how much of a champion he was for us being into music because he always took an interest in what we listened to. Even though his music taste lay in the 70s for the most part, he (and my mum) have always been open to new music providing it had substance and musicianship to it. I recall him liking some of what he heard with this album, only a brief comment, but it was clear that he recognised the groups' skilful harmonies, something that I think makes the Sugababes a  standout group.

Monday 1 August 2022

Northern Star/ Melanie C (1999): Albums of my Life: an A-Z

 being part of the wave of excitement over the Spice Girls. I was the age for it, about twelve, I guess. The fun, the cameraderie, the outfits and colour-- I loved it. I think I went to see Spiceworld at the cinema twice! Watching that film as an adult was a real disappointment; the acting and cheesiness is cringe-worthy, but the album Spiceworld is still as wonderful as ever. Never Give Up on the Good Times, for example, is such a feel-good, innocent pop record. When I listen to it I still visualise their accompanying dance move and it brings a smile to my face.

I had the platform trainers, the Ginger Spice-inspired red hair with a yellow-blonde 'money-piece' (self- dyed of course) and some questionable bright and flamboyant clothing items, and I loved it!

Then I got a bit older and too cool for all that pizazz! And the Spice Girls went their separate ways with solo projects, and I was curious. I remember either owning or borrowing from the library (and recording) Emma, Geri, Mel B and Mel C's albums. I enjoyed parts of all of them at the time, but it is Melanie Chisholm's Northern Star that stood out the most, both then and now.