Albums of the Year 2021

In 2021 I have reviewed nearly forty albums and which have all connected with me on some personal level. Overall I have found this year tough as I have struggled to really love a lot of the albums released this year, compared with the last few years.

So for this end of year list I have tried to single out the fifteen albums which really stood out among the gloom, ones which have helped me in some way.

For the top spot I have gone with the criteria which I have used since I started this blog: most listened to solo female artist with the majority of songs on the album solo written. This choice has helped me single out the talent from a sea of quality offerings.

Please note that this list only includes albums I have reviewed so obviously I don’t include any male artists.

This list includes links to my original album reviews, rather than risk repeating myself. Happy new year and thanks for reading!

Continue reading “Albums of the Year 2021”

Songs of the Year 2021

Well this has been the strangest year of my blogging life. The triple whammy of a pandemic, lack of live music and mid-life apathy has caused me to struggle to connect with new music. The less I blogged, the more I felt out of touch, the more writing became harder and social media became terrifying, until you wonder why you ever started in the first place.

In the end what brings me back here are the songs. There are so many amazing female artists whose music inspires me to write, helps me, entertains me, moves me and that will never change even if the world does.

If you’re reading this then thank you for bearing with my sporadic blogging schedule this year. Here are a list of songs that got me through, that kept me believing in something, anything, everything. I hope you find a kindred spirit & song in this post. Continue reading “Songs of the Year 2021”

Thoughts on the 2022 Grammy Nominations

What a long, strange year it’s been. The fact that we’re even having an almost normal 2022 Grammy ceremony is a miracle in itself, considering the pandemic has caused havoc to the music industry on so many different levels. Consequently it’s been a variable year in terms of quality releases, so I’m thankful to have these nominations to remind us of what good stuff deserves further attention. Continue reading “Thoughts on the 2022 Grammy Nominations”

Slight Return

Doesn’t everyone at some point dream of going back in time to their youth? Who wouldn’t want to experience life again without the crushing reality of adult human existence weighing us all down?

After the last eighteen months of coronavirus hell, I was craving such a moment. So when I saw the chance to get tickets to see two bands I had loved as a teenager – Britpop legends Sleeper and the Bluetones – it felt like a strange kind of serendipity. Restrictions had just been lifted in Scotland. I was double jagged and desperate to get some kind of normality back to my flatlined existence. Continue reading “Slight Return”

The Other Side of ‘Cancelled’

After the string of abuse allegations against Ryan Adams were published by the New York Times I was one of the first fans to write my cancellation statement. As far as I was concerned we were done. I didn’t want to hear his music again. Life was too short to put any more of my personal energy into supporting his career.

Two and a half years later the reality of what ‘cancelled’ means as a music fan is actually way more complex than I ever imagined. Continue reading “The Other Side of ‘Cancelled’”

Stay On Your Feet and Other Life Lessons From the Mosh Pit

My first near death experience happened in a mosh pit, summer 1996. I had been bouncing around, a fourteen year old wearing DMs and an oversized band T-shirt, lost in the innocent, musical sweat of my youth. The band were britpop also-rans Northern Uproar whose star burnt out before they’d even released their debut album. But I wasn’t to know that at the time, since I was so deep in the joy of being a music fan that every new single heard on the radio felt like it could save your life. Continue reading “Stay On Your Feet and Other Life Lessons From the Mosh Pit”

Music to Look Forward to in 2021

Apart from some initial delays and postponements, 2020 ended up feeling like any other year in the music calendar, albums wise anyway.

What we don’t know is how 2021 will play out. So far we have some releases scheduled but nowhere near as many big names as in previous years. You wonder if delaying until 2022 makes more sense for most especially in alternative, roots and Americana music which relies so much on touring to promote a record. At the same time independent artists may fear losing career momentum if they don’t release a record at all.

All we can do to counter some of these issues is to support the artists who do decide to release new music by buying their albums, merchandise and spreading the word to others.

So here are a selection of new albums I’m really excited to hear in 2021! Continue reading “Music to Look Forward to in 2021”

Blogging Resolutions for 2021

Since I started my blog a few years back I have always begun the year with an overview of what my plans are for the year ahead. 2020’s list is pretty depressing looking back now, with my talk of live shows and improving the speed of my writing, both things which the pandemic managed to curtail.

So even though this year is hugely uncertain I think we can all benefit from a moment of reflection and positive planning. Here are some of my resolutions for the year ahead in music blogging. Continue reading “Blogging Resolutions for 2021”

Albums of the Year 2020

In 2020 I have reviewed sixty albums/EPs and listened to many more. The albums I have chosen to review have all connected with me on some level, so picking a favourites list feels almost cruel to those I have left out. Despite this I still think a ranking list is also a satisfying way to reflect on the year in music, as a writer and a fan.

In the end I have chosen twenty favourite albums and the order was decided on a combination of time spent listening and gut instinct. Some of these artists did not appear on my favourite songs of the year as their albums work as a collective whole rather than having one individual brilliant song (and vice versa). For me that total immersion into an artist’s vision makes albums still my preferred way of listening to music.

Please note that this list only includes albums I have reviewed so there will be some omissions. This list includes links to my original album reviews, rather than risk repeating myself. Please let me know your favourites in the comments. Continue reading “Albums of the Year 2020”

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