Do you ever hear a song and remember exactly where you were in that moment? It is easy to think that perhaps the purpose of music is to be everything and nothing. To form a narrative. To creatively induce. To counsel. To seek respite in our conscious and subconscious. To inspire. Whether it is playing in the background or in the forefront, try to keep it ever present in your life. They say when you are happy you enjoy the music, but when you’re sad you understand the lyrics. So, listen. Grow. Repeat.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway Warner Bros – Alternative Rock On their 11th studio album, the Red Hot Chili Peppers return with their funk-jam athleticism. The result stays within range, but is somewhat more transformative with the successful engagement of guitarist Josh Klinghoffer (replacing John Frusciante) and employment of producer/instrumentalist Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse), replacing their usual go-to collaborator Rick Rubin. Sonically, the music works. The tome to this piece is slightly darker and more focused than predecessors, lyrically likened to the hardship of Kiedis’ recent break-up. Standout tracks include ‘Sick Love’, a collaboration with Elton John on piano with lyrics by Bernie Taupin, an uncanny partnership that works marvellously.
Frank Ocean – Blond Apple Music – Contemporary R&B We now live in an age of overt instant gratification and ubiquity. A time where not hearing about someone quickly makes us think the worst could have happened. Frank Ocean’s disappearing act over the last 4 years since his award-winning album ‘Channel Orange’, has left a void in the music world. His return attempts to brand himself as a creative force – with the release of two new albums ‘Blonde’ and a ‘visual album’ called ‘Endless’. On top of this is an oversize art magazine titled ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. The highlight however is ‘Blond’, an album that picks up where its predecessor left off. A tactful approach to soul that evolves and plays on the empathy of loneliness. The collective result is a modern reminder that sometimes the best thing you can do for your career is to maintain your mystery.
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Miss Sharon Jones! Daptone Records – Soul / R&B Fans of Sharon Jones may need not look further than the new single track on this album “I’m Still Here”, however for a strong introduction to her career to date, this is a surefire addition to any music collection. Like many great female artists before her, Jones is part of the history of bucking the joke of music label management dominated by males who arguably lambasted and judged looks over pure talent. Jones commands attention for her powerhouse voice and knowing what to do with it. She is perhaps the biggest breakout artist of the soul revival scene for good reason, who understands soul as part of the present. This album serves as the soundtrack to a befitting documentary on her and supporting band led by Academy Award-winning filmaker Barbara Kopple.
Lydia Loveless – Real Bloodshot Records – Pop/Rock/Contemporary Singer/Songwriter Smart and fearless, serves as a poignant foundation for any artist. Loveless has been tackling this mindset and more across 4 successive records. She has traversed the tightrope between honky tonk country and rock for some time, and now shape-shifts her studio craft into a more pop-oriented sound. While this will not be your standard radio friendly fare, her lyrics and measure are more candid, honest, and eloquent than most. She is a master of narrative – bold and passionate, questioning the trustworthiness of the world, and harder yet, of her own head and heart within it.