Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Saturday, 27 December 2014

The 10 albums that I enjoyed most in 2014

Here are the 10 albums (in no particular order) that I've got hold of and enjoyed the most in 2014:

Popular Problems by Leonard Cohen is his best since The Future and, as with that album, deals both explicitly and ambiguously with religious imagery and spiritual reflection: 'Word of Words / And Measure of all Measures / Blessed is the Name / The Name be blessed / Written on my heart / In burning Letters / That's all I know / I cannot read the rest.' ('Born in Chains')

Ricky Ross is in a rich vein of inspiration with The Hipsters in 2012 quickly followed by solo album Trouble Came Looking in 2013 and now A New House. Deacon Blue's best album since under-appreciated classic Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, both albums featuring songs centred on Bethlehem: 'I long to be there / As bright as the sky / At Bethlehem's gate' ('Bethlehem's Gate') and 'You got to go back, gotta go back, gotta go back in time / To Bethlehem / To begin again.' ('Bethlehem begins').

Robert Plant's Lullaby ... and the Ceaseless Roar is a wonderfully original melting pot of blues, country, indie and world influences. Somebody There explores a sense of the sublime: 'When I was a young boy / And time was passing by / Real slow / And all around was wonder / And all around the great unknown / With eyes that slowly opened / I set about the wisdom to know / And living out of language / Before one word I spoke / I heard the call / There is somebody there I know.'

Neil McCormick's initial reaction to U2's Songs of Innocence to me seems fairly accurate: 'I wouldn’t put it on a par with their greatest work - Boy, Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby or even the seamless songs of All That You Can’t Leave Behind ... But ... it certainly does the job it apparently sets out to do, delivering addictive pop rock with hooks, energy, substance and ideas that linger in the mind after you’ve heard them.' 'It is, at heart, a highly personal set of songs' with 'no flag waving anthems, no big social causes.' If there is a moral, he suggests, 'it appears in the coda of Cedarwood Road: “a heart that is broken / is a heart that is open.”'

Dry The River have been described as 'folky gospel music played by a post-punk band' (BBC). Their second album, Alarms in the Heart: 'is bold, expansive, confident and cohesive - an undeniable step up in both diversity and volume from their critically acclaimed debut, Shallow Bed (March 2012). Gethsemane, uncovers the spiritual heart of the record, delivering a Buckley-esque narrative: "Excavating down you'd find the drowning and the drowned /And then there's us, babe."' (Rough Trade)

The first Shovels & Rope album, O’ Be Joyful, is 'a delightful combination of knee-slapping, bordering-on-gospel folk tracks and bluesy guitar-driven rock' (Filter). Husband and wife team, Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, both have solo careers, while Trent is also lead singer of The Films. Together they make: 'Thrilling music rooted in old country with touches of blues and gospel, that can’t help but remind you of Jack and Meg and Johnny and June.' (The Pabst)

The Guardian had an excellent article about the wonderful reissued album Dylan's Gospel: "Conceived by record producer Lou Adler, who admired backing singers so much that he sometimes paid them triple scale, it features 27 vocalists, including [Merry] Clayton, Clydie King, Patrice Holloway, Gloria Jones and Edna Wright, injecting the likes of Chimes of Freedom and Lay Lady Lay with Baptist gusto. It's a righteous, inspiring, beautiful piece of work."

'There are many factors contributing to the uplifting feel of “The Flood and the Mercy,” the second solo effort from ex-Live frontman Ed Kowalczyk. There’s the gently jangling production of Jamie Candiloro; the singer’s spiritual lyrics, rooted in his Christian faith and a synthesis of other beliefs; and the appearance of vocalist Rachael Yamagata and R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck on three tracks: “Supernatural Fire,” “All That I Wanted” and “Holy Water Tears.” (SF Examiner)

'Scott Stapp’s Proof of Life is a poignant snapshot of the artist, showcasing his journey over the past several years. It doesn’t shy away from encountering the dark places that he’s wandered into, acknowledging those missteps nor does it neglect highlighting the faith-filled elements that have helped to draw the artist back into the light. Proof of Life is an insightful and honest record, capturing Stapp at his best lyrically and musically, proving to be a great listen.' (soul-audio)

Linda Perhacs, says Sufjan Stevens, who released The Soul Of All Natural Things on his Asthmatic Kitty label, “has a prophetic voice that speaks beauty and truth with the kind of confidence and hope that has been lost for decades. There is nothing more real in music today.”


The Brothers & Sisters - I Shall Be Released.

No comments: