Most of the music introduced this month was released in 2021, but I am sure we’ll all cope perfectly well. 2021 was a great music year in many ways, as last year’s review of best albums hopefully proved.
I am adding one more feature in 2022: A listen back to this month in 1972. 50 years ago some of the best pop and rock music ever were released, and I will add tracks from the album that dominated the British Top 40 charts at that time, starting this month with T.Rex’s album «Electric Warrior».
Also, from this month you will THREE playlists available for your enjoyment!
Petter’s Long List will be a bit shorter, starting from December 2021. Tracks reviewed before this time will be available in a new playlist, Petter’s Blog Archive, found here.
Petter’s Short List contains all music reviewed in this blog post. Click here to listen and/or subscribe. The playlist changes every month.
Petter’s Long List contains all music previously reviews from December 2021 and onwards. Click here to listen and/or subscribe. The playlist is extended every month.
You may also listen to the singles and sample tracks from each album reviewed by clicking on the title.
The album reached number 1 in the charts in 1971, already in January, and remained the most popular album of the year. In many ways the album also introduced glam rock to a wider audience. The single «Get it on» reached no. 1 as well.
Sample track: Song of the Seasons
Believe it or not, this is Neil Young’s 41st studio album – and the first for a long time that has excited reviewers – including me. This album takes me back to the reasons why I liked Young’s music in the first place. The music is simple and basic, yet sophisticated in its own way. And it took me back to Harvest again… (Let’s hope you will find the album in my list, Neil Young has threatened to pull all his music from Spotify, if they don’t pull Joe Rogan’s content.)
Sample Track: The Bird Has Flown
Singer/songwriter Solheim is out with her 7th albumn in 20 years, showing off a matured artist, offering a wide range of music with the only truly coherent her careful and almost hesitant voice. She is in full control, though, and the sweet music is also sprinkled with a bit of sorrow and wisdom.
Sample Track: Over the Houses
The Californian trio Coco have released their debut album. I am normally not thrilled with dream pop, but even though the album certainly offers samples of that, it is surprisingly varied and interesting. Here is a lot of musical talent poured into ten songs, and I have picked five of them.
Sample Track: A Song For Barcelona
I am way out over my due date, sings 72-year old Jackson Browne on his new album. I beg to differ. Perhaps because he has nothing else to prove, he lets his hair down and gives us (at times) equally great music as he did in the 1970s and 1980s.
Sample Track: Leave The Door Open
Lots of soul and passion in this new album from Bruno Mars and his friends, first and foremost Anderson .Paak (god , these ridiculous artist names…). We are taken back to a time when R&B was mainstream, and then forward again to today when it is possible to create a perfect soundscape. Because this is pure aural silk.
Sample Track: Celebrity X
There is a lot of Dylan in the Felice Brothers, a quartet from New York, with lyrics that you takes you on a mental ride, more poetry than song lyrics, and not always comprehensible, at least not to me. But I keep listening, can’t help being intrigued by their musical universe.
Sample Track: De Couleurs Vives
I have been an avid fan of the French singer Zaz since her debut 12 years ago. There is sometinhg captivating in her whiskey voice that I never stop enjoying . Still, her new album has frustrated many fans, as she is taking off in another musical direction. I still follow where she is going. It may not be music to dance to anymore, much, if not all, of the ethnic layer is gone, but Zaz-MOR is also worth listening to.
Sample track: Farewell
The Canadian folk singer Myriam Gendron has created an album of old North American folk songs and interpreted these her own way. Strength and fragility go hand in hand on the album. Ma délire serves as a source of mindfulness, but also forces one to listen. Farewell is an original composition by Gendron, but fits the rest of the songs perfectly.
Sample Track: Keep the Coordinates
Falkevik offers a style hard to pin down at all – jazz rock and intimate indie pop, perhaps? The compositions are just so playful, throwing us this way and then that way, without losing a sense of direction. The final track Så gikk jeg meg vill igjen (Then I got lost again) is so bristle and beautiful it is almost enbearable to listen to.
Caitlin Rose was only 23 when this album was first released. Now she is 34 and it is 8 years since she last released music. Sometimes I have to add re-releases (so-called deluxe releases), particularly when the music is as great as this. I loved The Stand-In from 2013, but country music turned indie music never sounded greater than on Own Side Now. The feminine feistiness of Cailtlin Rose is unsurpassed. Please, please, please release another album, Caitlin!
In 2007, the oddest couple ever in country music appears, bluegrass singer Alison Krauss together with rocker Robert Plant. The album Raising Sand was an instant hit far outside the traditional country music fanbase, winning six Grammys along the way. Who would have thought they would try again – and succeed? Raise the Roof is another victory, a collection of classics from country and folk.
Sample Track: Papale
This is a first, even for this playlist: An Estonian album, with lyrics in Estonian. Haldi is a singer/songwriter and Taevalaed is her second album, a collection of low-key, accoustic songs of immaculate beauty, lowering you blood pressure – if that’s an issue for you.
Sample Track: The Tears of Hercules
Rod Stewart refuses to lie down. And we thought it would stop after his row of incredibly successful American Standards albums? But no. A new album of mostly new songs is out, and 76-year old Stewart sounds nearly as great as he did god knows how many years ago when he started. This is both an album brimming with fun and laughter, and also with reminiscence and homage to people and places.
I have a genuine goodie bag for you this week. Many singles are clearly previews of exciting new albums we haven’t seen yet. Watch this space, you will – if the album is as good as the single , that is… All the singles below are in the playlist, but you can also click on eack name to have a seperate listen.
Beautiful Life – Michael Kiwanuka
Believing – Kristin Asbjørnsen
Dear past i’ve seen the apocalypse and i wanna go home – Askjell & Emilie Nicolas
House On the Bay – Alex McArtor & Nick Waterhouse
LA FAMA – ROSALíA & The Weeknd
Mr. Bojangles – Marlon Willams
New Shapes/Good Ones – Charli XCX
No Erasing You – Silje Nergaard & Lyder Øvreås Røed
Summerside – Federico Albanse & Marika Hackman
Two Ribbons – Let’s Eat Grandma
Your Nearness – Triosence & Paola Fresu
Eurythmics’ fourth album from 1985 was groundbreaking, both for the duo and, I would argue, for pop music. The duo had already pushed limits for pop and rock with their previous albums with their electionic sound, but here they entered into the world of superstardom, dominating the charts with their catchy and self-confident performances. Other superstars like Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello and Aretha Franklin lined up to collaborate, contributing to eternal classics like There Will Be an Angel Playing With My Heart and Sisters are Doin’ it For Themselves. What a thrill to re-listen!