Wednesday, 26 August 2009


I’m not usually an Album person. I prefer to listen to songs rather than full albums with only a few exceptions. Hence why my iTunes & Spotify playlists are almost constantly on Random/Shuffle. But recently I've decided that my neglect of albums needs to be rectified so I've sat down and listened to some of the artists that I have directly avoided due to hype. Before I go any further I will explain my aversion to hype. Its not that i think these artists or bands will be bad or that I wont enjoy them. I just feel that the media get so saturated with these over hyped artists that I can’t bring myself to listen to them in my private home world. I still hear their singles of course. I hear them at least once a night at work or when going around shops or listening to the radio or on the increasingly frequent Spotify ads. So I tend to avoid properly listening to the artists until after the hype has died down, sometimes the wait is longer than others… I completely missed the libertines era only sitting to listen to them a day or so before the announcement of their breakup. So this is my stance on hype. Its a fluid stance. sometimes I do hear about an artist and listen to the song and absolutely love it and think I must hear more of this. Whether that’s a result of the hype or the quality of the artist I’m not sure so I’m not ruling out either.

But on to the purpose of this Blog. I’m going to talk about a few of the albums I’ve sat down to recently and what I thought about them. I’m not going to call them reviews although that’s probably what they are. They are just my thoughts on what I’ve heard.

The first Album I listened to was Imogen Heap’s latest release Ellipse. Imogen is an artist I’ve listened to quite a bit (I’ll count her band Frou Frou among this as well) in my usual listening habit. I’ve heard a song, added to my collection and fell in love with it. But I’ve never actually sat down and listened to a full album of hers. In fact if it wasn’t for following her on twitter I’m not sure I would have normally remembered that the album was released on Monday when I listened to it. The record itself is great and unmistakably Imogen. I listened to it several times under the glow of my newly fixed lava lamp and fairy lights before deciding to call it a night. I loved it. but it wont be one of the albums that falls into my “must listen in one go” category. and I still find my self reaching to switch to the lead track of the album “First Train Home” which thanks to the magic of the internet I acquired some weeks ago and have been loving since.

Next up came Florence & The Machine and her debut album Lungs. Florence is definitely an artist I’ve avoided because of the hype. Like I mentioned above I’ve heard the singles. They’re everywhere and are played in work on a regular basis. But it was the constant quoting of lyrics by two friends on Facebook and the enthusiastic recommendation that came with it that prompted me to put this as part of my Tuesday album. Of course the mistake I made was trying to multitask while listening to the album and running about the kitchen cleaning and cooking. Something which I don’t recommend you do on a first listen to an album. So I didn’t get the enjoyment which my cohorts had exhibited. In fact I found myself turning it off half way through because I just couldn’t listen to it anymore. Something about the constant Full Energy vocals just didn’t do it for me. I’m all about the rise and fall of intensity and there was none of this that I could hear. I wasn’t put off though. I have resolved to go back to it and give it my full attention.

Which brings me to today. Wednesday. and my choice today is the original version of the recently remixed, Intimacy, by Bloc Party. Now again I’ve been multitasking by writing this blog and listening at the same time but with this being a much less strenuous task I feel that I am able to comment slightly better than with the Florence album. Again they fall into my category of Bands who I like maybe one or two songs (Flux & Banquet in their case) but generally avoid the rest. The album started well, the opening chord had a pitch which reminded me of current obsession And So I Watch You From Afar and made me smile. And for about a minute I enjoyed the swelling introduction. And then the vocals started. which ruined it completely. This was the first song Ares which has prompted me to go and listen to the great AISWYFA album after listening to this one but also almost made me switch off this one completely before it had started. Not a good thing from a lead track. However I stuck with it and I’m actually quite glad I’ve found two tracks that I would happily listen to again, although not necessarily seek out directly. You know the type of track where about half way through you realise “oh actually I don’t mind this one” and then have to seek out the name of it? Well there’s 2 of those on the album and that’s quite a lot for me actually. Those songs were Halo & Zephyrus with Biko coming in as a chilled out third. So on a whole a not bad album for my tastes. Works well as background music as I sit writing this, but I do feel as if I’m biding my time before something else comes on. In fact the interrupting Spotify adverts are quite welcome rather than being an annoying intrusion.

I’m not sure how long this album phase will last. It could end tomorrow or go on for a bit. When it does go on though I will keep it in mind to put a short paragraph up about my most recent listen. And will try to do them individually rather than all in one go so as to save my readers eyes from strain. So as the Bloc Party album finishes in a fairly timely fashion I thank you for reading, I’m off to listen to ASIWYFA now.

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