The second installment of the 100 albums to listen to before you turn twenty.
6) Deleted Scenes From the Cutting Room Floor - Caro Emerald - This is an offering from a Dutch Jazz-Pop artist, who owns and began her own record label. She writes her own music, and has an incredible singing voice. The album is a wonderful fusion between pop music and jazz - making jazz relevant to all generations. It is infused with Swing, Electronica, and more. Lyrically as well as musically, the music is brilliant, offering something a bit different to typical pop music. The whole album is lushly orchestrated with vibrant horn sections, and the use of other more unusual instruments such as accordions. This is one album that is actually better live than by mp3 or CD - definitely worth a listen.
Notable songs: That Man, A Night Like This, Just One Dance.
7) Taylor Swift - Taylor Swift - Taylor’s eponymous debut album, that made her the first Country artist I was ever enthusiastic about. This album is in stark contrast to her latest albums, ‘1989’ and ‘Red,’ where she has ditched her Country roots for a commercial pop vibe. Vocally, Swift is on form, and her lyrics are sweet and meaningful, and you can hear the emotion behind each and every lyric. Instrumentally, the arrangements are fairly simple, but utterly perfect for being so. Even if you aren’t a fan of Taylor’s recent music, this album may just convert you.
Notable songs: Mary’s Song (Oh My My My), Should’ve Said No, Tim McGraw
8) 1989 - Ryan Adams - Speaking of Taylor Swift, this album is a cover of Swift’s ‘198,’ which is arguably better than the original. Yes, Swift’s is a pop music dream, but in my opinion, Adams’ version creates a much deeper connection with the audience. Genuinely, the tracks are virtually unrecognisable. Adams does so much more with the music he has been offered, creating beautiful pared-down arrangements, bringing to the fore simple acoustic guitar riffs. He writes his own melody lines which significantly improve all of the songs. Ultimately, it is not just his beautiful arrangements which make this a fantastic album, but his vocals really demonstrate a sense of pain and love and loss to match the lyrics, which Swift never quite manages.
Notable songs: Out of the Woods, Bad Blood, This Love
9) How to Train Your Dragon: Music from the Motion Picture - John Powell - This album won Powell his first Academy Award, and subsequently, a BAFTA nomination, and for good reason. This is an example of film music composition at its finest. Featuring a lushly orchestrated score, and intricate interlocking melodies, the album is nothing short of a masterpiece. Each track perfectly conveys different scenes within the film, and you really feel like you are there, flying on your own dragon as you listen to the score.
Notable songs: Test Drive, Astrid Goes for a Spin, Romantic Flight
10) Hunting High and Low - A-ha - 80’s synth-pop at its finest, with an album of solid electronica infused hits. Lyrically wonderful, and vocally, magnificent, thanks to Morten Harket’s dulcet tone. He has an incredible range, and the vocal support to hit every note with astounding power. The riffs are insanely catchy, the melodies complex and exciting. This album is still more than worth a listen more than 30 years on.
Notable Songs: The Sun Always Shines on TV, Take on Me, Living a Boy’s Adventure Tale