I try to save weekends for writing about – or even just sharing – things that bring me joy. Here’s some music that brings me joy!
Even in the age of streaming, playlists and songs, I’m still a lover of the the full-length album (and more specifically the pop album). Scot often laughs, but one of my criteria for a really good pop album is “flow” – how well the songs on the album work together in the order presented, and the overall feel of the album. Today I’m taking that a little further, and sharing my picks for pairs of albums that I think work so well together that listening to them together as one is pop music synergy.
Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna & System, Seal
Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor is easily my favorite album to date: I love the songs and I adore Stuart Price’s production. Sitting alongside, though, is another favorite of mine, System by Seal, also produced by Stuart Price. Both are polished dance records with gorgeous layers, synths and sequences. Good beats.
Highlights from Confessions are Get Together, Let it will be, and How High, and my favorites from System are Loaded, Dumb, and The Right Life.
Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell & Seventh Tree, Goldfrapp
A couple of breezy, folky albums that are perfect for Sunday afternoon listening. Although I’m definitely a fan of Goldfrapp, and love Seventh Tree, I don’t know much of Joni Mitchell aside from Ladies of the Canyon.
Top picks from Joni’s album are Conversation and The Circle Game, and, while it’s hard to pick the best tracks from Seventh Tree I’d suggest Happiness, A&E, and Caravan Girl are unmissable.
Zonoscope, Cut Copy & Made In The Dark, Hot Chip
Quirky dance albums are definitely my thing, and though male voices tend not to be, these two albums have the kind of posh non-American male voice that I find pleasing. Both albums are definitely what some people might call overproduced, but it’s the kind of thing I like. Also guitars and a mix of dance and pop will always win me over.
From Zonoscope I recommend Pharaohs and Pyramids and Haning onto every Heartbeat; and from Made in the Dark my stand-out tracks are Out at the Pictures, We’re Looking for a lot of Love, and Hold On.
A Joyful Noise, Gossip & The Family Jewels, Marina and the Diamonds
JB Hi-Fi files both of these very excellent albums under ‘Alternative’, but I’m not sure I agree with them. They’re both really good pop albums, just with growling. As is the (almost) theme, they are a bit quirky, quite dark in places, and have hard-hitting beats.
From A Joyful Noise my favorites are Move in the Right Direction and Into The Wild; and my favorite tracks from The Family Jewels are all of them, but particularly Shampain, Mowgli’s Road, and Hollywood.
Blood Like Lemonade, Morcheeba & The Reminder, Feist
I’m lying to myself a little here – I actually think the perfect companion to The Reminder by Feist is O by Damien Rice, and I’ve had more than one evening with those two albums and good red wine, but I’m here suggesting pairing The Reminder with Blood Like Lemonade, a perfectly nice and understated album by Morcheeba. Another couple of records that are a little folksy with some quirks, they bring me a sense of calm.
My picks from Blood Like Lemonade are Crimson, Recipe for Disaster, and Beat of the Drum. The Reminder is another one to pick favorites from, but if pushed I’d recommend So Sorry, The Park, and The Limit To Your Love. I also have a deep love for Brandy Alexander and I’m including it here because it reminds me of a friend.