We are gearing up for midpoint reviews at work, so it seems appropriate to do a review of this year’s music so far, as well. Some of these categories might seem quite specific, and I admit that at times the tail wags the dog. I like to think of posts such as this as public service: I listen to bad music so you don’t have to. And without further ado, here we go.
Biggest Surprise Album: Ed Sheeran X
If you think Ed Sheeran just sings pop songs about getting drunk and having his heart broken, you’re right. BUT, he does so in a surprisingly enjoyable and diverse way on X (pronounced “multiply” so you don’t sound dumb in from of your
kids’ friends). My usual pattern is to listen to an album a few times through, pull out the song(s) that stand out for a playlist, and then move on to the next album, but I am continuing to enjoy listening to X five days in (that is statistically significant for me). Three songs from the album have made my “2014 Favorites” playlist: “Sing” (which you have no doubt heard on the radio), “Runaway” and “Don’t.”
Best Posthumous Song: Michael Jackson with Justin Timberlake “Love Never Felt So Good”
I know the purists will say that if an MJ song wasn’t good enough to release while he was alive (or for the mediocre posthumous album released a couple years ago) then it shouldn’t be released at all, but this one is good. The JT pairing is a smart one as they have a similar sound/vibe. It’s a belt-it-out song for me.
Most Disappointing Album: Bruce Springsteen High Hopes
My problem might be that my expectations of The Boss are too high. He played such a huge role in the development of my musical taste as Music Teen that now I want every album to be incredible, and this one was just okay for me. Maybe he has evolved while my growth has been stunted somehow. I blame myself.
Most Frustrating Spotify Moments
I really hate it when artists won’t agree to have their music on Spotify. I get it- they don’t think it’s a good deal for them monetarily, particularly for big names since their fans will pay to hear their music. But it’s still annoying. Those artists who I would have listened to if they had been on Spotify include Beyoncé, The Black Keys and Coldplay. Boo!
Most Exciting New Discovery: St. Paul & The Broken Bones
I’m like an evangelist preaching about these guys, which is appropriate since I think they sound like a gospel choir. In real life, they’re a bunch of white dudes, the lead singer a former accountant who is a decent likeness of Drew Carey. Man, can they belt it out, though! I would love to see them live.
Favorite Country Song: Tim McGraw “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”
I make this its own category because I don’t really listen to whole country albums, just songs here and there. My country lovin’ daughter told me that she was listening to this song, and I quickly had it playing on repeat myself.
Best Cover Album: Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Super 40th Anniversary Album
There is a section of this album on which Elton features his favorite covers of his songs, including some that I wasn’t previously familiar with (I’m not necessarily an aficionado, though). Artists featured include Hunter Hayes, The Band Perry and Fall Out Boy. Diverse!
Best Bee Gees Impersonation Song: Broken Bells “Holding on for Life”
If you are a sucker for that cool seventies sound like I am, you will love this song. Ironically, the album that houses the song is called After the Disco. Might be more apropos to call in During the Disco, if you ask me (no one did).
This is what you’ve been waiting for, right? I have only put really solidly good songs on this list, so go ahead and purchase them all- it’s literally risk-free.
1. “Love is the Answer” – Aloe Blaac
2. “Addicted to You” – Avicii
3. “Grey Seal” – The Band Perry (can't find it on YouTube- just trust me that it's good)
4. “Holding on For Life” – Broken Bells
5. “Heaven’s Wall” – Bruce Springsteen
6. “Boom Clap” – Charli XCX
7. “Lonely Press Play” – Damon Albarn
8. “Don’t” – Ed Sheeran
9. “Runaway” – Ed Sheeran
10. “Sing” – Ed Sheeran
11. “Downtown Love” – G-Eazy, John Michael Rouchell
12. “When Did You Stop Loving Me” – Hunter Hayes
13. “Wonderful Unknown” – Ingrid Michaelson, featuring Greg Laswell
14. “Temporary Ground” – Jack White
15. “Come With Me Now” – KONGOS
16. “I’m Only Joking” – KONGOS
17. “Love Never Felt So Good” – Michael Jackson with Justin Timberlake
18. “Come Get It Bae” – Pharrell Williams
19. “Hunter” – Pharrell Williams
20. “Stranger to My Happiness” – Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
21. “Like a Mighty River” – St. Paul and The Broken Bones
22. “Digital Witness” – St. Vincent
23. “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” – Tim McGraw
24. “Ordinary Love” – U2
25. “Harmony” – Zac Brown Band (again, can't find it on YouTube. I swear it's good)
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Filed under: Album Reviews