Friday, January 02, 2015

A to Z - S for Symphony

Happy New Year everyone !

Another A to Z post has been rather overdue ... Although saying that, I'm not through listening to the T albums quite yet. Where to start with S ?

Mark Knopfler has done a few solo albums since Dire Straits finished, Sailing to Philadelphia is one of them. Not a bad album, highlight is Speedway to Nazareth.

One of my early favourite albums was Say Something Good by River City People. This had an outstanding cover of California Dreamin' but you've heard that one. This album has a bunch of cracking songs on it, including the one that kicks off the album, What's Wrong With Dreaming. What is wrong with dreaming ?

I started collecting Texas again and they're in here with Say What You Want and I'll go right back to I Don't Want A Lover from Southside for my highlight here. One thing Sharleen Spiteri shares with Siobhan Maher of River City People is one incredible voice with massive range.

And talking of a singer with an incredible voice, there's Scarlet and Other Stories by All About Eve. There's a lot of story telling on this album and many highlights. Including ... Scarlet, Blind Lemon Sam and the poignant The Pearl Fishermen. (struggling for links cos the swines are putting full adverts on and monetizing other people's works - I'm not linking those)

The incredible voices keep coming, this time it's Tori Amos with Scarlet's Walk. I've linked my favourite (I Can't See New York) a bunch of times but there's many more excellent songs here, including the title track, Scarlet's Walk.

Scissor Sisters are a bit of a departure for me, a taste of the unusual. And I seem to like songs called Laura for some reason ... (Perhaps I'm remembering someone I haven't seen for too long ?)

Lisa Hannigan is another who owns an incredible voice, although the strength of this one is partly in its fragility shown off in Sea Sew with I Don't Know.

I don't just listen to female singers, blokes like Seal catch my ear too. He has a habit of calling his albums after himself and there are two of those here (plus Soul). Highlights from each are his breakthrough hit Killer, Fast Changes and ...

Few quick ones :

Katie Melua's Secret Symphony is another pleasant album from her.
Peter Gabriel's Security was another strange album from him
While his So was rather commercial. Good but ... not his distinctiveness
Levellers See Nothing, Hear Nothing, Do Something is typically them
Kate Bush's Sensual World is possibly her last good album (highlight Deeper Understanding)
Iron Maiden's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was a wonderful experiment.
While their Somewhere In Time is more familiar 

There's soundtracks here too :
Settlers 2 and IV, Star Wars (from episodes 1, 4, 5 and 6)
Shadowrun Returns - good stuff here, it sets off the game well.
Sid Meier's Colonization (must play that)
Star Trek's here too !

Back to the incredible voices we go with the first Goldfrapp album I bought, Seventh Tree. This is a fantastic album to close your eyes and relax too. Goldfrapp in wonderfully chilled out mode with tracks like Road To Somewhere.

The Beatles are here ! With Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I'd own more Beatles albums but they are ridiculously overpriced for such old albums. Highlight here is With A Little Help From My Friends.

After picking up on The Cranberries (check out Linger), I remembered Shakespears Sister as a similar band from that time. They're not quite as good as I remember, although Stay is still worthy of a listen now.

Few more quickies (lots of S albums here !) :
Lily Allen came back with a Swear-Bomb Bang with Sheezus, more likeable nonsense !
Enya's second was Shepherd Moons with the ethereal Caribbean Blue
Michelle Shocked's Short Sharp Shocked has a few protests
The Pretender's collection of Singles pleasantly surprised me
Clannad's Sirius is the best of their pop-commercial style albums
Sadly the best track on Sixpence None The Richer's self titled album is a cover of There She Goes
Bon Jovi shows up with Slippery When Wet, bit too impressed with himself for me to be honest
Alanis Morissette is here with So Called Chaos, not as inspired as Jagged Little Pill
Coves disappointed me a bit with Soft Friday

Another excellent voice that's come into my awareness is Caro Emerald. It's an older night club type style supported by an outstanding voice. The album is the Shocking Miss Emerald and my highlight is Liquid Lunch showing off her sense of humour too.

Sleeper are here with Smart, with possibly my signature track, Pyrotechnician. Kiss Your Fingers Goodbye. (I'm not that bad with fire - honest)

I heard the track that titles this collection in Tesco the other day, still makes me stop and listen. It's Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly With His Song.

I've followed Suzanne Vega for a long time too. That pure voice continues to enchant, although here we go back to the very old Solitude Standing with Calypso. Her Songs In Red And Grey is here too.

More quickies (so many S albums !)
Robbie's Songbook is here ... another collection album. Yawn.
Maroon 5 started up with Songs About Jane, with the lovely She Will Be Loved.
Snow Patrol's Songs For Polar Bears was a bit ... meh.
Mike Oldfield's Songs For Distant Earth has its moments
U2's Songs of Innocence cause way too much controversy for a rather so-so freebie
Ennio Morricone has penned the soundtracks to some very distinctive films

And I think I'll break it there and make a Part 2 soon ... So many S albums !

Last one is by the Ting Tings (and there's a second in Part 2) - Sounds From Nowheresville was their second and continues the quirky theme of the first. I like this album, with tracks like Soul Killing.

Cya soon :-)

PS I'm steadily getting more addicted to Elite Dangerous. I upgraded my ship to an Adder and am steadily pimping it out ...

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