Saturday, 29 September 2012

August 2012 - Popular Music

Tori Amos - Under the Pink
Fiona Apple - When the Pawn...
Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...
Gotye - Making Mirrors
David Gray - A New Day at Midnight
Patty Griffin - Impossible Dream
Wendy Matthews - Emigre
Wendy Matthews - The Witness Tree
Joni Mitchell
  • Ladies of the Canyon
  • Court and Spark
  • Dog Eat Dog
  • Turbulent Indigo
Powderfinger - Vulture Street
Radiohead - OK Computer
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Simply Red - Picture Book
Something for Kate - Beautiful Sharks
Something for Kate - Desert Lights
Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

I jotted down this list at the start of September, but no thoughts to go with it. My initial reaction when looking at the list again was... did I have any thoughts?  Not a good prospect for this blog.

Then, however, the entry that jumped out at me was the last one, for The Colour of Spring.  Which it seems I may not have talked about before.  And that surprises me given how often I listen to it.

It really is one of those albums that has become so comfortable for me.  I see the title, I start hearing parts of 'Happiness Is Easy' in my head and think "yes, I enjoy listening to that".  And so I pop it on quite frequently, and always with pleasure.  The tapestry of sound weaving in and out and around my head always gives me pleasure.

I have no memory of being aware of Talk Talk in the 1980s.  They were a much later discovery for me.  The main cataylst for that was this wonderful blog, which I was introduced to via his writings on Tori Amos albums.  His description of Talk Talk intrigued me.  Here was a band that had evolved rapidly across the space of a few albums.  And I'm definitely interested in bands that evolve, rather than churning out more of the same style.  Radiohead would suggest itself as a more recent example of a band that drew me in with their ability to do different things.

Another catalyst was No Doubt's cover of the song 'It's My Life', which was one of those things I became very obsessed with around the time of first hearing it.  Those key changes between verse and chorus were so smooth, so skillful, and so utterly delicious.

It happened that The Colour of Spring was the first Talk Talk album I heard, because a work colleague lent it to me.  It's possible that it's remained my favourite of the three I have (the others being It's My Life and Spirt of Eden) simply because it was my entry point, but I think it is more that it's an album of transition between two styles.  I tend to like transitional albums.  Here, it's a move from more mainstream pop to the radical ambient work that followed.  Caught in the middle, The Colour of Spring is pop that's full of subtle little moments, interesting instruments, often a quiet sense of repose and an air of sophistication.  It adds up to an album that is highly listenable and doesn't come across as dated 1980s material. It is most definitely one of those albums that I can't see myself tiring of.

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