Reflections on a Decade of Music Listening

End of year list season always feels so overwhelming for even the most ardent music fan like myself and that feeling was even worse this year with the stream of ‘end of the decade’ lists adding to the the deluge.

Yet as a nerdy fan I was intrigued to assess the last decade and what new music has resonated with me, how my music listening has changed over time and how the decade has shaped my current tastes. I didn’t want to just write a list and thanks to my use of Last Fm I was able to look back and reflect on my decade year by year. I am mainly writing this for myself, to try and understand how I ended up here writing this blog but if this post resonates with you then let me know your own thoughts about how the decade has shaped you as a music fan in the comments or on social media. Continue reading “Reflections on a Decade of Music Listening”

Albums of the Year 2019

 

In 2019 I have reviewed nearly sixty albums 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. This year I was also aware of how overwhelming such lists can be for fans too so I have written a more general albums of the year recommendation post for those searching for some musical self-care instead. 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 of the year. I have based this list on a combination of gut instinct, critical perspective and how often I listened to the album but my mood changes so much that anything beyond the number one album might have changed order if I wrote this tomorrow.

This list only includes albums I have reviewed so obviously I don’t include any male artists and there are a few other albums I’ve enjoyed that I haven’t reviewed for various reasons but overall this is an accurate reflection of what I’ve enjoyed over the year. This list includes links to my original album reviews, rather than risk repeating myself. Let me know your favourites in the comments or on social media.

Continue reading “Albums of the Year 2019”

Songs of the Year 2019

How a song goes from a casual listen to becoming part of your musical lifeblood is one of the mysteries and magic of being a music fan. Some achieve this status by being daily companions on the walk to work or in the evenings, others are tied to places, times, memories, emotions so much so that they feel like old friends you’ve known all your life.

Across the span of a year and hours of music listening certain songs just rise up and catch your attention with undeniable force. A few stand apart from the album they were released, others are linked to the wider collection of songs they come from. Therefore artists that rate highly on this list may be in lower places on my album list and vice versa.

So without further ado, here are the twenty songs that have laid claim to my heart in 2019. Continue reading “Songs of the Year 2019”

Musical Lowlights of 2019

One of the benefits of running your own music blog is that you can choose what you write about. I generally don’t write entirely negative reviews and I aim to be a place of positivity and advocacy for good music by women. Despite that, I do think it’s important from a critical perspective to be honest about what you didn’t enjoy or what really disappointed you as a listener.

Firstly I’d like to point out the limitations of this post since there will be endless amounts of bad music out there that I just haven’t heard. I don’t listen to the radio (except 6music and specialist country music shows in the U.K.) so I don’t stumble across bad music that way. Sometimes though, thanks to streaming, I do try popular albums and songs out of curiosity and also give a few random things a listen. Inevitability, I don’t always like what I hear. Continue reading “Musical Lowlights of 2019”

Recommended 2019 Albums for Serious Self-Care

After writing about the overwhelming paradox of choice that comes from the tidal wave of music released in 2019, I started thinking about how I could recommend some of my favourite albums of the year in a different way so that no one is sent into a tailspin of anxiety about what’s cool, what’s good or worrying about what you’ve missed out on.

We should never underestimate the importance of music as self-care. I believe it is vital in helping us to deal with this tumultuous, chaotic world. While I do still plan on writing traditional ranking end of year lists too, read on for recommendations as to how 2019’s best music can be used as serious self care. Continue reading “Recommended 2019 Albums for Serious Self-Care”

Music Blogging and the Paradox of Choice

My mother once told me a story about visiting a library when she was a young girl. She walked in and immediately felt overwhelmed. Where did she even begin? Which of the thousands of books should she choose? Shelf after shelf, stack after stack the place was suffocating. She wandered around in a daze, left empty handed and didn’t return.

What she was suffering from is what philosopher Barry Schwartz calls the ‘paradox of choice’. Humans crave choices and the right to freedom but too much choice and the magnitude of the decision becomes paralysing and detrimental to our social and emotional wellbeing. The result is that we often fail to choose at all or go for the safe option and deeply regret our choices, adding more stress to the next time we have to decide.

Continue reading “Music Blogging and the Paradox of Choice”

Review: Allison Moorer‬ – ‘Blood’

Blood, Allison Moorer’s new memoir and album, recounts the shocking story of how her father killed her mother and then himself after years of abusive behaviour. The unmitigated horror of her childhood experience is faced head on and she contemplates the legacy of such trauma and loss in her adult life. Unflinchingly honest and achingly raw, Blood is one of the most profoundly moving testaments to the pain of grief and the power of love that I have ever experienced. Continue reading “Review: Allison Moorer‬ – ‘Blood’”

Dolly Parton’s Discography: Heartbreak Express (1982)

1981 was a significant year for Dolly – it was the first gap in her album release schedule since her debut in 1967. During some of those years she had released up to three albums a year, and such insane productivity had led her to country music superstardom, moderate pop success, opportunities in Hollywood but ultimately brought her to her knees. It is during this time in the early eighties she endured a crisis, with serious personal and health concerns that led her to contemplate suicide. Furthermore the difficulties of filming her movie ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ would prove that becoming a Hollywood star was not the stuff her dreams had been made of. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: Heartbreak Express (1982)”

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