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5 Recent Albums Reviewed

Home > Everywhere > Lists | Music | Performing Arts
by Steven G (subscribe)
Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published December 1st 2021
All good albums deserve some love
I've done more new album releases this year than I've done in any previous year. Part of that comes from the fact I've sold some writing so have a small amount of disposable income, and part has been there's been more new music this year that I have actually enjoyed than there's been for ages. There's only been a couple of albums I've bought that I haven't enjoyed this year. A few, but more than I wished I'd spent money on.

However, going back over everything, there's five albums I missed. Three I missed because I didn't get them until months after their release, one because I don't think it would make for an exciting solo column, and one because everyone has done the album to death.

I'll let you decide which of these fit into those last two categories. No? Okay, I'll tell you.

In order of release date, but all are from 2021.

January 29
OK Human by Weezer
weezer, album, cd

Weezer said this album was harkening back to the late 60s when rock bands combined their talents with orchestras, giving us such amazing albums as The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and the Moody Blues Days Of Future Past. This doesn't quite reach those lofty summits, but it is still one of my personal favourite of their releases. Yes, this is up there with Green and White and Maladroit in my opinion. Problem was, I didn't get this until after they released Van Weezer five months or so later. I didn't even know it was a thing until then. But I really do recommend it.

April 23
Surrounded By Time by Tom Jones
tom jones, cd, album

I had this album pre-ordered. I was looking forward to it. Come the middle of May, I called the supplier and, yes, they had sent it. After some back and forth, it turned out, it was lost in the mail. So, the supplier sent me a replacement, which arrived at the end of June. In August the original one arrived. But the album shows that Jones is still in full vocal force. I know Jones is an acquired taste, but I enjoy him and at his age to be able to sing like that and deliver such good performances the man is amazing. There is some modern production that doesn't quite work, but when Jones goes for it it hits.

September 17
Lindsey Buckingham by Lindsey Buckingham
lindsey, buckingham, cd, album

This is another album I was looking forward to, but I reasoned it wouldn't be that popular here in Australia. I was right so unpopular I couldn't get a copy in Australia. I ended up ordering it from the USA, and so that meant a six-week wait. The thing is, this is probably Buckingham's best work in years. Yes, I liked his album with Christine McVie, but this is even better than that. His voice still has it, he can still play a mean guitar and the songs are really strong on the whole. The thing is, like Paul McCartney on McCartney III, Buckingham played all the instruments and did all the vocals on this album. This should have been as regarded as Macca's album, but it fell under the radar. That is not right. This is a great album and I really do recommend it.

November 19
30 by Adele
adele, album, cd

Yes, this is the album everyone is writing about. And talking about. I couldn't escape other reviewers. I bought it because I have her other three albums, not to review, so I am more than happy with it. But all those reviews are one reason why I didn't review it at WeekendNotes. The other reason is I struggled to write an interesting review. A lot of the songs I would have said the same thing over and over again. There are some great songs on this album, but there are a lot of songs that are just there. The thing the album has that lifts it, though, is Adele's voice. That has not changed. She has one of the best singing voices of the artists to have appeared in the twenty-first century and this album does not hide that. Some of the production does leave a little to be desired, but Adele can really sing. Not as good as 21 but on a par with 25. Sort of like Ed Sheeran's Equals.

November 19
At My Piano by Brian Wilson
brian, wilson, album

This is my favourite album on this list (just Buckingham's is still awesome), and some might say that it just fell by the wayside being released on the same day as Adele's latest, but I feel it is probably way too niche to get a wider acceptance. This was never going to top any charts. Why? Because this is virtually a classical album, or the sort of album Richard Clayderman would release. Wow, that sounds negative. Sorry. Wilson plays piano. Fifteen songs of just Wilson on the piano. He does not sing. There are no backing instruments. Just a self-taught pianist playing the instrument. No! Come back! He plays covers of a bunch of hits from The Beach Boys and his own solo career. And it is stunningly beautiful. The second listen I found myself supplying lyrics. And the third listen. And the fourth. This is just an amazing musical album. But, yes, it is one man, playing familiar songs on a piano with no accompaniment, for fifty minutes. And, yes, I stand by it it is beautiful.

So, sorry about the lack of full-on reviews (or maybe you prefer things done this way), but these five albums are still all worth your time and your effort. I would recommend all of them.

2021 has proven itself to be an amazing year for music. Before this, I'd reviewed 21 individual albums. And there were other albums I bought that had some good tracks but were not worth a full review. Only two albums I bought left me feeling flat. Great year for music. Being in lockdown seems to have replenished and regenerated the creative juices in so many artists.

I hope 2022 is as good.
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