A Subway TV ad introduced me to Charlie Puth. And I haven’t been able to stop playing this album since.
Mandy Barnett, A Nashville Songbook
Barnett released “It’s Now or Never” as a single, and I can’t say I was a fan. I even made an uncharitable prediction about whether this album would work. Then I heard it in full, and the song selection is impeccable — “The End of the World”, “Love Hurts”, “I Love a Rainy Night”. Perhaps the apex of this songbook is “The Crying Game”.
The Streets, None of Us Are Getting Out of This Life Alive
Mike Skinner’s first two albums loom large, but this return after a nearly decade absence stands up to that legacy.
The Chicks, Gaslighter
A friend of mine had an extra copy, so I took it. It’s my first ever (Dixie) Chicks album. If I get curious enough, I can pick up Fly or Wide Open Spaces from the thrift shop.
Julius Eastman, Unjust Malaise
Julius Eastman was post-minimalist at a time when his minimalist colleagues were still minimalizing.
SARS-CoV2. Silicon Valley companies would give their left tits to emulate the kind of disruption you’ve wrought.
The spring release schedule was slowly coming together when the virus shredded the calendar. Dates have always been subject to change, albeit never with this level of uncertainty.
Mandy Barnett, A Nashville Songbook , Aug. 21
Barnett has a wonderful voice that often has served unspectacular music, so the things that would sink this album are uninspired arrangements. A single of “It’s Now or Never” bodes none too well.
Johnny Hates Jazz, Wide Awake, Aug. 21
Magnetized was a favorite in 2013, so I’m looking forward to this long-awaited follow-up.
Prince, Sign O the Times (Deluxe Edition), Sept. 25
I’m actually going to settle for the remastered regular edition. I’m still waiting for any news on the Love Symbol album.
Jónsi, Shiver, Oct. 2
Does Sigur Rós even record albums any more? I know they’ve released collaborative projects, but what about a boring, traditional album with at least 10 tracks and a total running time around 40 minutes? No? I guess a Jónsi solo album it is.
The Replacements, Pleased to Meet Me (Deluxe Edition), Oct. 25
I might check this one out, but I’m totally dropping cash on deluxe editions for Tim and Let It Be.
Kylie Minogue, DISCO, Nov. 6
Intriguing though the idea of Kylie in Nashville may have been, I couldn’t actually bring myself to get Golden. In fact, I’ve passed over the last two albums. I’m hoping DISCO is not the third.
Guided by Voices, Alien Lanes (25th Anniversary), Aug. 21
I had this album on CD, but I didn’t keep it. Then I downloaded it from eMusic. Why am I interested in this vinyl edition?
PJ Harvey, Rid of Me, Aug. 21
I nearly bought a bootleg version of this album on vinyl.
A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.
Here’s my matrix of the most important years in music for the last 4 decades:
2010s: 2015 (so far)
The years adjacent to the ones listed are also pretty pivotal, which is the case for 1999. The list doesn’t change much, but a lot of great music came out that year.
NUMBER GIRL, SCHOOL GIRL DISTORTIONAL ADDICT
Shiina Ringo, Muzai Moratorium
Utada Hikaru, First Love
ACO, absolute ego
Nina Hynes, Creation
SUPERCAR, Jump Up
The Flaming Lips, The Soft Bulletin
Port of Notes, Complain Too Much
Mandy Barnett, I’ve Got a Right to Cry
The Kiss Offs, Goodbye Private Life
Other favorites from the year:
Jordan Knight, Jordan Knight
eX-Girl, Kero! Kero! Kero!
NUMBER GIRL, DESTRUCTION BABY
OBLIVION DUST, Reborn
Maná, MTV Unplugged
Dr.StrangeLove, Twin Suns
The Roots, Things Fall Apart
Fantastic Plastic Machine, Luxury
Asylum Street Spankers, Hot Lunch
Café Tacuba, Revés/Yo Soy
A retrospective addition of SUPERCAR bumps L’arc~en~Ciel to the extended list. Futurama was the first SUPERCAR album I owned, and I liked it so much, I was hesitant to explore the band’s early work, out of fear it wouldn’t live up.
As it turns out, Futurama was the last of SUPERCAR’s great albums. The first two albums are classics in their own right. I’ve yet to dig into Ookeah! and Ooyeah!
I’ve only added Moby, The Roots and Fantastic Plastic Machine to the extended list, but albums by Wilco, Rage Against the Machine, Built to Spill and Mos Def could have made it on there. I just wanted to avoid the kind of crowding we saw in 2002 and 2003.
A few titles didn’t get included in the last round-up of new releases, and the release schedule for late autumn hasn’t quite yet coalesced. So this list is thinner than I prefer.
Perfume, Future Pop, Aug. 15
We probably reached peak Perfume two albums ago, if the cool reception to COSMIC EXPLORER is any indication. Imaginative videos can’t quite make up for the weakness of the last few singles, but will either stop me from placing a pre-order? Unlikely.
Blood Orange, Negro Swan, Aug. 24
How did I miss news about a new album by Dev Hynes?
Oh, he announced it when my mom was in town and caught the flu, about a week before I would become briefly unemployed. Has it really been two years since the release of Freetown Sound?
Mandy Barnett, Strange Conversation, Sept. 21
I’ve Got a Right to Cry is a classic album that has been relegated to bargain bins and thrift store shelves. The Owen Bradley-produced album probably did too good of a job calling up the ghost of Patsy Cline, whom Barnett has portrayed on stage.
Barnett recently did a duet with Kenny Chesney, which … whatever. But I would still check out this album because I’ve Got a Right to Cry is an album that just doesn’t wear out, even after nearly two decades.
Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Live from the Nyman, Oct. 19
It’s easy to marvel at how effortlessly it seems Jason Isbell spins his tales, but when he shreds on stage, it’s a sight to behold.
Fastball, All the Pain Money Can Buy (Deluxe Edition), Nov. 9
Oh, hey, it looks like part of my wish is coming true — All the Pain Money Can Buy is headed for a vinyl release, albeit saddled with bonus material for its 20th anniversary, which I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting anyway.