I was looking through the admin page of my blog and realised that there are many posts that I wanted to publish (mostly reviews) this year, but unfortunately did not because I did not finish writing them. Well it has been a crazy year, with the final year project earlier this year, the passing of 2 family members, and the crazy job search. Anyway, I still did managed to cram in some time for music, though I have only chosen 5 albums this time round, instead of the usual 10.
- Adele – 25
Just when you thought it was going to be Taylor Swift’s year again, Adele decides to drop her third album and send the whole world into a frenzy. Released only last month, it has become the best-selling album of the year, with many 2016 tour dates sold out in minutes (or even seconds). Then again, who could fault her?
While many have said that 25 does not veer to much from her previous effort, 21, for me I think she brought more of what was on her debut album, 19. The album also features her raw emotional intensity, differentiating her from many popular singers today. Some of my favourite tracks include “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”, “When We Were Young” and “River Lea”.
Adele’s appeal, I guess, is not only confined to her brilliant music, but also her down-to-earth personality.
- Sam Hunt – Montevallo
So this album was released back in 2014, but elsewhere in the world it was only released in 2015 and therefore justifies the inclusion. Anyway, while Sam Hunt’s voice reminds me of Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger’s, what really stood out for me is his music, which is sort of like a cross of country and urban music. Not that this matters to me (or him).
A real favourite of mine is “Take Your Time”, among many others of course. Appropriately, it is the first track of the album, and gives a glimpse of the direction of the album. What also stood out on his album is that is rather respectful towards to women in his lyrics, as opposed to treating them like sex objects or the like. Other standout tracks include “House Party”, “Break Up in a Small Town” and “Cop Car, originally written for Keith Urban.
He is not nominated for many Grammy awards next year, but I do hope he goes home with one.
- Madonna – Rebel Heart
I am not a crazy big fan of Madonna’s (the first Madonna album I had was 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floors which I thought was a great album), but I do listen to her music once in a while. That said, I believe Rebel Heart is her best album since the aforementioned one. Among many others, she works with Avicii, Diplo and Nicki Minaj on the album. There are really quite a few good tracks on the album, including the acoustically-driven title track, “Rebel Heart”, “Ghosttown”, “Unapologetic Bitch”, “Bitch I’m Madonna” and “Iconic”. In a way, this album is proof why she is the Queen of Pop.
- The Corrs – White Light
The last time we heard from The Corrs was a decade ago. This year, they bring back the nostalgia with their new album White Light. 10 years is a long time in popular music, but it is incredible that they still sound (and look) the same! While some critics might be displeased with the fact that they still tread the same path, I think it is perfectly fine – not every musician/ music group has to keep changing with times, and sometimes we listen to certain artistes because of their “sound”. That said, they have updated their distinctive blend of Irish folk and pop sound with more current production (inevitably).
Some of my favourite tracks include the first single, “Bring on the Night”, “Ellis Island” with the very nice harmonies, “Unconditional”, as well as “Kiss of Life”, co-written with John Shanks and Natasha Bedingfield. Additionally, White Light also features an instrumental track, “Gerry’s Reel”, seemingly to remind us that they play their own instruments.
- Miguel – WildheartI have not heard of Miguel until Mariah Carey duetted with him on “#Beautiful” last year, and I was not a fan of his hit “Adorn” nor Kaleidoscope Dream. Then I heard “Coffee”, and I knew I had to get his album. With Wildheart, he brought sexy to a whole new level. What is also interesting is the soundscape and textures he explores on the album. The album is not solely about sex though. On “What’s Normal Anyway”, he touches on the topic of self-identity, giving us a glimpse of his brilliance.