The third installment of 100 songs to listen to before you turn twenty.
11) Didn’t It Rain - Hugh Laurie - Who knew Hugh Laurie could sing? It turns out, he’s remarkably talented at not just acting, but singing and playing the piano too! This album is heavily blues focused, and is a great album to listen to if you’ve tried to get into the blues before but not been that impressed. Here, Laurie collaborates and has many other singers featuring on his album, making for a varied album. The instruments are deep and bluesy, with their melodies well written. It’s a surprisingly catchy album, and will stay in you head for weeks.
Notable songs: Didn’t It Rain, Wild Honey, Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair
12) Our Version of Events - Emeli Sande - An album of silky smooth soul and R&B. A vocalist with amazing talent, who can not only nail the high notes, but can perform the dusky low pitched lyrics with ease as well. Her lyrics are sweet, honest and soulful, talking of love, hope, inner turmoil and more. Instrumentally the arrangements are relatively simple, and thankfully, not overproduced as so many albums are these days. On vocal ability alone, Sande’s album is worth listening to, but it just so happens her songs are wonderful too.
Notable Songs: Wonder, Clown, Read All About It
13) HIStory - Michael Jackson - Michael Jackson is a legend for obvious reasons. This album, for me, completely solidifies that reputation. Released in 1995, this album contains two discs; the first disc, of his previous hits, such as ‘Bad’ and ‘Thriller,’ and the second disc containing his new material at the time. So with this album, you get a taste of the tracks the cemented his status as pop-sensation, and with the second disc, you get to see a different side to his song-writing abilities, with soft, sad, thought-provoking ballads, powerful polemic pieces, and everything inbetween.
Notable Songs: Stranger in Moscow, Don’t Stop til You Get Enough, Earth Song, The Way You Make Me Feel
14) Hello - Irit - I discovered this little known artist when she performed as the opening act for a Caro Emerald concert. From Israel, she is a breath of fresh air to modern music. Her music is innately soulful and jazzy, and despite being simple with its instrumentation, it is immensely effective and immediately draws you in. Irit makes particularly good use of the accordion, which can really make or break a song. Luckily, in her cover of R.E.M’s ‘Shiny Happy People,’ the use of the accordion made me feel such a sense of euphoria that I was genuinely questioning whether I even needed the R.E.M original any more.
Notable Songs: Shiny Happy People, Throw Him Away, Lies
15) Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae - Another eponymous album that certainly does not let the artist down. A northern singer from Leeds, Rae has beautifully rich, jazzy, soul-infused vocals, and she can run up and down between every high and low note with complete ease. Her arrangements are lush, with wonderful horn sections complimenting everything; the album is the perfect embodiment of Summer.
Notable songs: Trouble Sleeping, Breathless, Like a Star