When you can free yourself to listen to any and everything that comes your way, the anxiety from anticipation disappears.
I used to be a wreck, scavenging for the newest Incubus record weeks in advance. And each day leading up to the release would be the same drill: Find what leaked, listen to it profusely and search some more.
I was so consumed with my favorite artists and all of their upcoming music that everything else just flew on by. These days, I take what comes and it prevents me from looking too far ahead. It’s wonderful.
Several of my favorite artists are releasing albums this year and I don’t really care at the moment. I’m focused on the albums below and the ones that came before it.
There’s so much good music out there, it really doesn’t matter when your favorites are coming. You’ll get there, but remember to enjoy the ride.
Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out
Rating: Still doing it her way, still beautiful.
I know Kansas City is a bit of a musical quagmire, but I have never heard Ingrid Michealson on a local radio station. I can’t name a station that would.
It’s only been two years since Ingrid’s last album, so why does this sound so fresh? It’s because pop music is so saturated. It comes from the same writers, the same studios, the same producers, the same nonsense.
Ingrid writes and composes her own music and it makes all the difference in quality. The arrangements are sometimes unorthodox, but completely digestible for the average listener.
She brings the beat in “Time Machine;” “Girls Chase Boys” is a harmless addiction waiting to happen; and Ingrid unites with A Great Big World for the heartbreaking “Over You.”
It falls in line with, yet expands upon, the quality music she has been producing for the past decade. Just not enough people notice.
Sevendust – Time Travelers and Bonfires
Rating: Unplugged and back to Earth.
Since I will be seeing these guys in a month, I thought I should familiarize myself with their acoustic material. Acoustic albums should be a staple for heavier bands because casual listeners can dive in without fear.
Back when Godsmack put out their stripped down The Other Side, I hadn’t been a huge fan until I heard that album. Bands can win over a lot of new fans when they show a softer side.
Time Travelers and Bonfires has the power to do the same, with acoustic versions of old favorites (“Denial,” “Black,” “Trust”) along with some new racks. Of course, you should only do an album like this if you have the talent, which Sevendust has.
Paolo Nutini – Caustic Love
(Note: I can’t access this album on Spotify yet because I live in the states)
Rating: Bringing back the soul.
I have no idea why Paolo Nutini is thrown into the pop category. He has too much soul for that.
Maybe Caustic Love, his third album and first since 2009’s Sunny Side Up, will be the breakout he needs to distinguish himself as one of today’s best singers and songwriters. In this one, Nutini goes for big brass, heavy strings and groovy percussion to accompany his uniquely mastered vocals. He addresses love, life and everything universal, making this album highly accessible for any newcomer.
The transcendent “Iron Sky” might be my favorite song of the year, aided by Charlie Chaplin’s powerful monologue from The Great Dictator. If you want to hear someone who believes in their art with the utmost conviction, here you are:
Updated Best of 2014 playlist:
So many great things came out of 2013, but London Grammar has had the staying power. Can’t wait to see what they become.