Review by Ben
When an album comes out, loads of people review it. And that’s all well and good, but the real test of an album is how much you like it after a few months of having it in your playlist. So I have decided to apply this test to a number of albums that I reviewed last year. Wow. Last year. Seems such a long time but it was only a few weeks ago. So, this’ll be fun if nothing else.
The first album I listened to – not ever, I mean out of the five – was In Your Hands by Eliza Doolittle. At the time I complained it wasn’t like her debut album, but by now I don’t really care about the first album. In fact I haven’t listened to the old album since hearing the new. I still like the first album, but the quality of the songs seems less refined. That said, I still only like less than half the songs on the newer album. I still haven’t gotten over the croaky voice bit in No Man Can. Euston Road and Back Packing are probably my favourite songs.
The main thing I find with this album is that I shouldn’t like it… but I do. The artist is the epitome of what I don’t like about a lot of singers and the album is still full of love songs. And yet I can’t help listen to it now and then. The songs are damn catchy and the voice is unequivocally cute. Damn you!
Since the release of the album, she has released a video for one of the songs, Walking on Water. And quite honestly, I didn’t like it. In fact I didn’t even watch it all the way through, that’s how bored I was. The video is just her in a house sitting down or singing and wearing a big hat, and then a guy somewhere else running to see her. Admittedly the only saving grace is a countdown that follows the man and counts down to how many miles away he is from her. That a nice touch. But the rest is crap. From what I got of the song it was her saying she would run across the water for him. But the video is the other way around. And it’s just a generic music video that’s not very imaginative. Here’s the video, the thumbnail for which is her lying in a bath of… whatever that is.
On to NEW. At the time I thought this album a disappointment with no stand out tracks. I was a fool. The album is great! Save Us, On My Way To Work, Queenie Eye, Early Days, New, Everybody Out There, Turned Out… that’s seven songs that I love off the album and most of them could be very good singles! Again that’s less than half, but the other songs aren’t terrible. So I retract my statement about ‘the lack of stand-out tracks’. I also said Early Days wasn’t as good as Here Today. I retract this also, as it’s as good as it. Not necessarily better, but they’re two different songs.
I have listened to this album a lot since I got it. Considerably more than any of the others. It’s perfectly Paul. It’s as good as anything else he’s ever done, and considering he’s been making music for over 50 years that’s some achievement. Queenie Eye and Early Days are probably my favourites. I say probably cos I like some of them a lot.
Paul also put out a video for his song Queenie Eye. This video was much better. It starts with him in the famous Abbey Road studio doing a quick take of the song on piano. As the video progresses people start appearing in the studio intermittently – only from our point of view, not the controller’s – and by the end there’s a big crowd having a party. The crowd is made up of celebrities including James Corden, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Kate Moss and many more. This could seem like an obvious attempt to get people to watch the video, but then you realise… this is Paul McCartney. One of the most famous men on the planet. He doesn’t need to have all these famous people in the video. Okay so he’s showing off a bit with his friends list, but still, it’s kind of showing how even really big famous people like his music. It’s them enjoying his music. And we’re enjoying his music. So maybe we’re a bit like them. A much better video than Walking on Water.
Then I listened to Andy and His Grandmother which I raved about and even gave 5 stars. Now, I still think this is a brilliant piece of work, but, as you’d imagine, it’s not an ‘album’. It’s not music that you’d listen to. In fact it’s not even music or spoken word so it doesn’t really fit into any category (much like Andy himself). Since buying it I have only listened to one track again and that is Andy Can Talk to Animals. I still maintain that this track is hilarious. I’ve listened to it a few times and it still cracks me up. The sincerity in which Andy delivers his lines against a screaming ‘monkey’ makes it all the funnier.
So yeah, I’m not going to say much more on this because it’s not a music album. It’s something you’d probably listen to if you’ve just watched [the 1999 biopic] Man on the Moon or if you’re in the mood for something Kaufman.
I then listened to Silent Cynic by Sophie Madeleine. I continue to enjoy the album, and as with Eliza I have found myself listening to Silent Cynic more than any of her old stuff. Which is surprising because of the lack of ukuleles! Yes, i’m still not happy about that. I’ve also found myself listening to the lyrics more, which has lead to me hearing what i’m certain she sings: “I can hear those snot boys call to me” in Rufio.
There was a surprising development after a week of listening to the album. I found something. I was clearing out my room and found the envelope the album came in. I smiled at this, partly because it had her address on it and I started thinking about funny things I could send her. Like a shed. But then I found in the envelope a little card that looked like – and was – this:
And that made me so happy. It was a lovely little touch – which I had admittedly missed – that made the whole album feel very personal. Yes, I know everyone who bought the album through the funding site got one, i’m not an idiot. But still, it proves why artists like this are so great. Because she has a lot of fans now, but she’s still one of us and she still makes the effort to make them happy with nice little things like this. So yeah, still a good album. Automaton is still my favourite. Love that song.
Sophie Madleiene also released a video to support her album, however the video came before the album. The song is not the song I would have chosen to do a video for, but I guess this was the first one she had ready (it is marked as ‘demo’) so it makes sense. The video is a home-made film consisting of romantic clips from old black-and-white movies. For someone with a considerably smaller budget than the likes of Paul McCartney, this is a valiant effort and is actually a rather sweet video. The editing is pretty good. It’s just a nice little video that perfectly suits both the song and Madeleine’s character. One thing I do like about it though is that she isn’t in it. That’s not an insult to her by any means. I mean I like the fact that, as with the album cover, she has chosen to do something artistic rather than just a typical video of her singing the song (I’m looking at you Doolittle and McCartney).
The final album I listened to was Shangri La by Jake Bugg. Now… I’ve only listened to this once (on my own) since the review and that was when I was fed up of the other music on my computer. But then again I never really listened to much of him before the album, so that’s hardly surprising to me.
However, I did listen to the album with my brother, Lee, because he likes Jake Bugg. In fact he was the one who played me Lightning Bolt and bought me the first album. And Lee said the new stuff is ‘good’ but as with the first album ‘It’ll take a few listens before I really like it. I didn’t like that first song he did [Lightning Bolt] when I first heard it but after a hearing it a few times I really liked it.’
When I have listened to the album again I did enjoy it. The songs on this album are stronger i’d say compared to his previous album, but again very similar.
Bugg also has a video for one of the songs… or rather Shane Meadows does and it features Jake Bugg (that’s what the titles say). The video is for the song Slumville Sunrise (great title for a song). The film opens with Bugg in a jewellers buying an engagement ring. This is the first time i’d seen/heard him apart from the album and I’m going to go with the assumption that he’s playing a character in the video, because otherwise it means I want to hit him. He’s dressed in a tracksuit and quite honestly I kept thinking he was going to pull a gun out and demand the ring. Which… he does. Sort of. He pulls a party popper on the man and runs off with the ring. Cue the song and terrible green screen mixed with bad acting. Again i’m going to assume this is meant to be ironic. The video is pretty much him running (not dissimilar to the man in Walking On Water actually) with a few moments that i’m guessing were meant to be funny, like an old woman hitting him with vegetables or a black Elvis appearing. Then it ends with another two minute video of him giving his girlfriend the ring and her accusing him of stealing it.
The comments on the video say stuff like ‘hilarious’ and ‘probably the best music video ever’. Well, I’d consider it probably one of the worst ever. Terrible acting, awful green screen and beyond that it’s not even boring.
So, there you have it. The album I liked the most is now the one I haven’t even listened to again. Eliza Doolittle is (annoyingly) not that bad and the album I thought was a disappointment was actually a huge excitement.
Best Album: NEW (McCartney)
Best Album Artwork: Silent Cynic (Madeleine) OR New (McCartney)
Best Video: Love in Monochrome (Madeleine)
Best Song: Queenie Eye (McCartney)
Most Annoyingly Catchy Song: Euston Road (Doolittle)
I reccomend you buy: NEW (but if that’s out of stock then get Silent Cynic)