I’m at an age where I’m not as willing to get past a first listen if I don’t feel an immediate connection, and I nearly gave into that instinct with Raven. But I gave it another listen, and something took hold. Every subsequent listen hooked me further. Now I’m predicting Raven will end up in the year-end favorite list because it just seeped so deep into my subconscious.
Robert Palmer, The Island Records Years
Robert Palmer’s first albums are seriously underrated. He starts of singing blue-eyed soul, but then pivots multiple times throughout his career — first to new wave, then to the hard rock of The Power Station. This boxed set of his Island Records albums stops just past his breakout hit, “Addicted to Love.” And if your perception of Palmer is a dapper guy singing in front of models, then you need this set to get the fuller picture. Palmer always had a great voice, but his curiosity was his greater asset.
Daryl Hall and John Oates, Private Eyes
Hall and Oates had all those great singles that radio pummeled to death. I would like them at first, but after a while, I would want to hear nothing more from the duo ever again. Enough time has passed for me to re-evaluate that legacy, and I have to admit — this album is all kinds of catchy.
Queens of the Stone Age, Like Clockwork …
I like Queens of the Stone Age, mostly because I think Josh Homme is a handsome man. But I do like those early albums up to Songs for the Deaf. But as a casual fan, I can’t say I followed the band much after 2003, so when Like Clockwork … came out in 2013, I wasn’t entirely sold on the favorable critical consensus. Boy, did I miss out.
Sudan Archives, Natural Brown Prom Queen
This album should have ended up in the 2022 Favorite Edition list as an honorable mention. Natural Brown Prom Queen scratches that reptile part of my brain that digs pop music that takes its shot.
Luscious Jackson, Electric Honey
I’ve only ever owned one Luscious Jackson album, and it’s Electric Honey. I spun this album so much that I actually went to see the band on tour, unfamiliar with the two albums that preceded it. Then I had to sell it for cash when I got caught up in the economic downturn of 2000. But I picked it up again at the thrift shop and marveled at how I could have ever let it go.