I wanted to mark the passing of Billy Graham here and I was reminded of a Ted talk he gave a number of years ago regarding Technology, faith and human shortcomings.
Based purely on my own personal preferences here are 10 picks from 2017.
Dirty Sexy Money by David Guetta & Afrojack ft Charli XCX & French Montana
Great synth sounds and then stunning rhythmic features that dominate the track in its entirety.
Bestie by Yungen ft. Yxng Bane by
More fun rhythms and some interesting vocal processing alongside an interesting background.
Pretty Girl (Cheat Codes x CADE Remix) by Maggie Lindemann
While perhaps predictable I consider this a delightful track with a nice pace of progression throughout.
Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
Maybe the most controversial on this list? I don’t know I think is the best track from the album.
Split Stones by Maggie Rogers
Yet more cool rhythms but with a nice change of feel from much of 2017 and a great vocal performance.
What Lovers Do ft. SZA by Maroon 5
Very pop and lots of fun I will offer no more defense.
Memory Lane ft. Tom Grennan by Bugzy Malone
It’s always nice to hear old lyrics reworked and I enjoy the creative of the lyrics within this track. The accompaniment is nicely done as well especially around 2 mins.
Castle On The Hill by Ed Sheeran
My favorite track from Divide and I don’t care what you say.
Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee by Luis Fonsi
I remember a friend playing me this track almost a year ago and thinking it was great. Little did I realise it would become what it did!
Blinded By Your Grace Pt.2 ft. MNEK by Stormzy
I remember this track as a surprise on my first listen through the album and have enjoyed it for the later part of 2017.
Honorable mentions to Boys by Charlie XCX, Know No Better (ft. Travis Scott, Camila Cabello and Quavo) by Major Lazer and Hourglass by LANNDS.
Merry Christmas One and All
It is obviously a Christmas album, but it is that season so something a little different seamed the best approach. Todays recommendation from the unsolicited music recommendation service is, The Dawn of Grace by Sixpence None the Richer.
Rather than remark on every track I will confess this album as a guilty pleasure and pick out my highlights.
The opening track Angels We Have Heard On High makes it clear that this is a Sixpence None the Richer with the guitar sounds and vocal backing parts.
The Last Christmas Without You is a well craft track with stunning song writing, narrative content and some haunting instrumental parts throughout. In fact I think this is possibly my favorite track on the album.
The exposed guitar opening and processed drum sounds give O Come, O Come Emmanuel a haunting aspect fitting of such a song.
The album continues with a pleasant collection of Christmas songs presented in slightly unusual arrangements. The duet within the later verses of Silent Night is stunning while the abrasiveness of the Carol of the Bells is a welcome relief. Christmas Island is very self aware and supported with a delightful mix. The recording of River features a stunning vocal performance over a well crafted instrumental arrangement.
The concluding track Some Children See Him features an initially exposed vocal performance joined by some delicate string parts.
If you use Apple Music you can listen to The Dawn of Grace.
Todays recommendation from the unsolicited music recommendation service is, MTV Unplugged by Bryan Adams.
One suspects than an unwritten rule of MTV sessions is the requirement to open with the big hit regardless of its suitability for the ‘unplugged’ treatment. Consequently Summer of ‘69 opens this album in a fairly unremarkable way but it is worth pushing on.
The track Back to You makes fair better use of the unplugged instrumentation while the version of Cuts Like A Knife is one of the best live recordings made of that track. I’m Ready and Fits Ya Good continue with interesting arrangements and treatments.
A significant change in feel happens with the track When You Love Someone featuring well captured and arranged strings. The backing vocals are also delivered with great sensitivity as well as the instrumental solos. Though the ending is perhaps a little disappointing.
The interesting use of the strings continues into the track 18 Till I Die with the strings driving the entire track even covering the typical guitar solo. The reworking of tracks continues with I Think About You to great effect.
The blues versions of If Ya Wanna Be Bad - Ya Gotta Be Good / Let’s Make It A Night To Remember is a welcome shift in feel but lacks the interest of the other tracks. Likewise the track The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You is perhaps a little bland as well and A Little Love is perhaps entirely miss-able.
As the album concludes there is a fear, especially if you have not checked the liner notes, that that song is on the way. Fear not an initially sensitive version of Heaven leads to the concluding track I’ll Always Be Right There.
Throughout the album the playing of Keith Scott is as always exceptional, However the performance specific contributions of Michael Kamen and Davy Spillane (Bagpipes) really stand out.
If you use Apple Music you can listen to MTV Unplugged.