Saturday, July 2, 2016

Popular Music - May 2016

Tori Amos - From the Choirgirl Hotel
Tori Amos - Night of Hunters
Beyonce - Lemonade
Toni Childs - House of Hope
Paul Dempsey - Everything is True
Francis Dunnery - Tall Blonde Helicopter
Radiohead
  • The Bends
  • Kid A
  • Amnesiac
  • Hail to The Thief
Sting - Live in Berlin (CD version)
Rachael Yamagata - Chesapeake
Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes 

Goodness me, is that the time?

I set everything up so that I could be punctual with my posts about May, but then didn't follow through.

It was an exciting month in pop music for me. So many albums I was interested in appeared in such a short space of time, although the listening list doesn't quite convey that. Obviously I jumped on the Beyonce bandwagon. Because I'm still one of those people who likes to have a physical product I had to wait a little while, but I'm also not one of these people who gets in a state if they can't have something the moment it's announced.

Besides, it was definitely worth the wait. In some ways it's too soon to be certain how much I like Lemonade, but it certainly didn't take long to know that I was impressed with it. It's a bold album, taking all sorts of risks - musical risks with the diversity of styles, and big huge thematic risks. How much this is art imitating life is not something I'm going to speculate on, but the story laid out on the album is a vivid one (and it should be acknowledged that the work itself points to it being highly personal). It's very rare to have a pop album that has such a clear thematic arc, made even more explicit in the video version.

And the videos are worth talking about, because there's something different going on compared to Beyonce's previous album.  On Lemonade, the spoken word is just as important as the sung, and many of the songs are interrupted. Where Beyonce played as a sequence of (very good) music videos, Lemonade plays more like a single film with music.

News of a new Radiohead album led me into a bout of reminding myself how much I liked the old ones, which was just as satisfying as I'd hoped. I did get to hear the new one online thanks to a BBC streaming of it. However, the wait for a physical copy was longer. At the time of writing, I still haven't bought it due to some personal circumstances that meant it wasn't convenient to rush out on the CD release date in June.

And then, in a less surprising move, Paul Dempsey released his 2nd solo album. So I decided it really was time to get to grips properly with his 1st one, which I only bought last December. It's slightly more melodic and slightly less forceful than his band work, but cut from similar cloth. And given how much I like Something for Kate, that's a good thing.

I did buy his new album very shortly after it came out. But, at the time of writing, I still haven't listened to it. It is sitting on the top of a pile, waiting for the moment when I can give it the genuine attention it deserves.

The moment is getting closer. But what's the rush?

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