Friday, August 08, 2014

A to Z albums - the I's have it

Seems like I'm really crashing through these albums now :-).

There's still about 2700 tracks to listen to, I'm wondering if I'll have listened to them all by the time the 1 year point (end of October) comes around. So - how about these I albums ?

But before I do - a shoutout to an amazing film : Guardians of the Galaxy. If you're a scifi fan, GO SEE IT !!! It's the best film this year by a long way. Varied characters, an adorably psychotic raccoon and his guardian tree steal the show. You're never quite sure where it's going to go next and the humour is ever present. Hugely funny. I wanna see it again because I was definitely out of sorts last night when I watched it. Excellent music too.

First up for A to Z is a collection - I Am Sasha Fierce by Beyonce. This was another speculative buy. Beyonce has a decent voice, has done some decent songs but ... I'll not collect the albums like I usually do with someone I like. The saddest thing about this collection is that the best track, Crazy In Love, isn't actually on it. Why ?

We have soundtracks again ... The legendary game Baldur's Gate spawned a couple of companion games called Icewind Dale and Icewind Dale 2. They're based in the icy far north of the Dungeons and Dragons world of Faerun. I didn't play these the first time around cos of ... time ... and I was still trying to get through Baldur's Gate. These are more party based than story based. I really must give it a good run. Why do I own it ? It was part of a bundle ! Which means soundtracks ;-)

Alisha's Attic have been one of my favourite artists and Illumina is the album I consider their best. I suspect they were going through the ringer here, there's some serious emotion in these tracks. But my favourite is a happy one, The Incidentals. Actually, it's loaded with incredible tracks, from Barbarella to Wish I Were You which shows off the different characters of the two girls voices. Highly recommended.

The Hoosiers had a distinctive first album, followed by the Illusion of Safety. Sadly more mainstream than the first ... But Sarajevo was the standout for me.

I've always been a fan of Clannad and there's a lot of their albums coming under L ... But here we see a collection album, In A Lifetime. It collects together a lot of their best tracks and is well worth a look as a Clannad sampler.

And now something completely different - Art Of Noise with In Visible Silence. This group is electronically dominated, not much singing here. But there's lots of outstanding instrument play, check out the guitar on Peter Gunn.

More soundtrack ! Independence War and its sequel are another couple of space sim games that came out and aroused lots of interest. I actually bought the second ages ago yet never played it (lent it to someone and lost it for years !). They appeared again dirt cheap from The music is outstanding ...

About these soundtracks - I get them in the sales when the games are selling for maybe $2 or $3. Even if I don't play the game, the music is usually worth picking up as part of the package.

And talking of that, I've never played or seen Indie Game, The Movie but it's another Jim Guthrie soundtrack which stands up on its own as a quality bit of work.

Short one next - we didn't go as far as buying their album but Stiltskin's Inside was definitely well worth picking up as a single. Grindy guitar for the win.

But I tend to go for soaring lady vocals instead. Cue KT Tunstall with Invisible Empire / Crescent Moon. My favourite here is Crescent Moon. It's not just the voice, she's a master musician with the instruments too.

Not so much soary vocals but definitely wonderfully cheeky stuff comes out of the gifted Lily Allen. Half her songs are too rude to link but great to listen to. I think from the theme of half the last post, I'll pick the gorgeous song Who'd Have Known.

A golden oldie - Sleeper emerged with songs from the classic The It Girl. It's a definitely poppy album but Click Off Gone redeems it from that and is a fantastic album closer.

It Girl kinda spawned a nickname for a dear friend. A) She looked after our IT and did a wonderful job of it. B) She was the one everyone wanted to be friends with. I think that's the definition of It Girl isn't it ?

Maroon 5 is in here with It Won't Be Soon Before Long. Sadly I don't have any favourites from this. It's more of the same from Maroon 5, which is high quality pop music. I like it.

And to finish off, a pair of iTunes Originals albums ... These are special Greatest Hits style albums that go past collecting the best tracks together, they also include short snippets of interviews with the artists which add so much value. I have these from Norah Jones and The Cardigans.

Norah Jones is just such an adorable person and has a distinctive husky, oh so sexy voice. Lots of highlights here but I'd pick out Sunrise. It's not just the voice, it's how it's complemented by the band.

And talking of a band that combines with an amazing voice, The Cardigans collection was done before my favourites of their albums (Super Extra Gravity) but this collection is so good it may attract a post all of its own. I'm not kidding - when I finished listening to the collection, I started listening to more Nina Persson A Camp and Cardigans tracks from Youtube.

Cardigans highlights are : 03.45 am No Sleep, For What It's Worth, Please Sister and Communication. I guess with Communication there's a lot of synergy with my own situation as I struggle to connect with people. Cardigans lyrics are exceptional. They can combine ultra dark lyrics (e.g. domestic abuse) with ultra cute melody.

And Then You Kissed Me (which I won't link) is a prime example. And what Nina says about it on the interview : "it starts up totally innocent and then someone throws an axe at you ... [giggle]", with that spoken in that clipped Scandinavian accent that just makes the singing crisper.

This collection does miss a few - In The Round, Daddy's Car and all the A Camp stuff is magic. But - a collection can only have what exists when it's made. Keep watching for what I say about Long Gone Before Daylight, most of which is on this collection.

J will come soon, I've listened to all the tracks, but will listen to them through as albums before I post. I'm actually listening to L tracks ...

Cya next time !

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