6000 miles…album of the year update

We’re almost halfway through the year (cue comments like: “doesn’t time fly?” and “Christmas only seems like yesterday”) and if previous years are anything to go by, I’ll probably have forgotten what’s already happened so far when it comes to looking for my favourite album of the year in December.

So, herewith an ongoing (i.e. may be updated at any time) recap of the early contenders, in no particular order.

Delta Machine – Depeche Mode
Classic “back to their roots” stuff from Gahan et al. Much improved on their recent offerings. Really good. Really, really good.

Diary – The D.O.T.
My goodness, but this has been taking up a lot of airtime in my car. It’s one of those albums where you actually hope for traffic so that you can get to listen to it a bit longer. Don’t Look At The Road and Blood, Sweat And Tears (brilliant video here) are particular favourites, but it’s all so very listenable. And I think I will do that right now while compiling the rest of this post.

Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
It took a lot to get me to even listen to this. Hyped things usually have to be hyped for a reason and thus, I tend to avoid them. In addition, as someone who caught the tail end of disco first time around, I have a completely understandable pathological hatred for all things disco.
But wait. This is updated, experimental disco, with busy electronic bits decorating it. And it’s just ever so slightly mad. Even “serious” songs like Touch have an element of self-deprecation about them. It’s fun, and for that reason, it’s rather addictive.

In A Time Lapse – Ludovico Einaudi
Yeah. Incongruous, I know. But Ludovico slipped this one in early on in the year and it’s typically classy. And while some might argue that it’s typically typical as well, do I really have to take the time to explain once again that there’s really no need to fix stuff what ain’t broke? It follows on perfectly from 2009’s Nightbook, and there’s definitely a place for this calming, take-me-away-from-the-madness music in my life (probably more often than I’d like to admit). Here’s the video for Walk, a perfectly representative piece from the album.

Of course, all of the above could pale into insignificance come October, when the new Morten Harket offering is due to be released. Once again, he’s teamed up with Swedish producer Peter Kvint (Andreas Johnson, Britney Spears) and recently described what they’re doing as

…possibly the best stuff that I’ve ever done.

which, when you’re a fan of the other stuff that he’s done, sounds rather promising.

But, in the meantime, what did I forget? What else should I consider?
Your suggestions are more than welcome (terms and conditions apply).

UPDATE: New Pet Shop Boys album next month is surely set to complicate things further.

Best album of the year?

The 6000 miles… Best Album of the Year 2011 voting is in full swing. I say “voting” because that makes it sound vaguely democratic and democracy is good, mmmkay? In actual fact, I’m using the term “democratic” in the full Zimbabwean tradition – basically, what I say, goes, and if you wish to disagree, I’ll beat you with some sticks in the bush of Matabeleland.

And there are some strong contenders this year. The Streets’ Computers and Blues, Arctic Monkeys’ Suck It And See and now Kasabian’s Velociraptor!, from which this track Days Are Forgotten is taken:


I have gone on record (somewhere that I can’t find) here [Thanks Joe] as saying that the first five songs on Velociraptor!:

  1. Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To
  2. Days Are Forgotten
  3. Goodbye Kiss
  4. La Fée Verte
  5. Velociraptor!

are the best opening side (for those who can remember records and cassettes) to any album I can remember since October 1986: that month marked by the release of a-ha’s second album, Scoundrel Days, which had this line up on Side A:

  1. Scoundrel Days
  2. The Swing Of Things
  3. I’ve Been Losing You
  4. October
  5. Manhattan Skyline

See also, The Killers’ Day & Age, which came close, but which was let down  by the rather weak Joyride.

These tracks just work together. And they’re good. Sometimes with an album you want to skip a track or two, but not here. Musically, the combination of fast and slow, loud and soft (from tracks 3 to 4 on Scoundrel Days and the other way from 4 to 5 on Velociraptor!) is there in both cases. More on Kasabian’s Muse meets Beatles style when they pop out some more videos.

In the meantime, why not (carefully) stick down your thoughts on other contenders for this illustrious award in the comments below? Or maybe your thoughts on the best first five songs on any album. You may want to remember my Mugabesque approach to dissension, as described above.