5. Amsterdam - The Journey
Back in 2003, I saw the Bluetones live. They were supported by a band called Ricky who were fantastic. Anyway, I've bought everything Ricky have done since, including a double A sided single of "Stop Knocking The Walls Down" together with a track called "The Journey" by a band called Amsterdam.
For some reason I initially wasn't a huge fan, and waited to see how good second single "Does This Train Stop On Merseyside?" was. Suffice to say it was good enough to make me consider buying the album when it came out. Before it came out however, I was able to listen to one more track from the band on an HMV Playlist CD at a listening post - "You're A Phoney". Well, from that moment on, I realised that Amsterdam were a truly great band. I'd love to see them live if they ever came down this way - one of two bands like that in the top 5 - because this album is just full of truly great songs. Still, I guess it only really fits in nicely at No. 5 on my list, because there's been 5 truly stunning albums this year for me.
Top 5 tracks
1. You're A Phoney
2. Takin' On The World
3. The Journey
4. Joe's Kiss
4. Ludovico Einaudi - Stanze
Wasn't sure whether to include this album or not, but I guess it does deserve a place in this list. My parents have had a copy for a few years now, but at the start of this year, in my bid to put some much needed classical music into my collection, this was the first album I turned to straight away. Ludovico Einaudi might be a composer that few people on here are familiar with, however his chilled classical works are truly sublime. Put this album on and lie down in a darkened room, and you'll be able to think all your cares away in the deepest thought imagineable. Last Christmas I had an incredibly long conversation with my mother in such a situation (as she wasn't that well over New Year) and we really set the world to rights.
The album all flows into one truly marvellous unified piece, and whilst there's different themes in different works on the album, the album as a whole is just simply a fantastic work. Cecilia Chailly who performs the work on the harp puts the most phenomenal expression into it with such perfectly timed paused for reflection in between the beautiful relaxing notes.
Top 5 Tracks (rather meaningless as this album works as a single package but here goes)
3. Farrah - Me Too
I have never been sent an album to review that is quite as phenomenal as "Me Too" by Farrah. (Well, aside from the Mark Joseph one that I already owned two copies of, but still). What I mean is that my work reviewing albums for UKMIX introduced me to this band, a band that deserved to be truly massive this year, but for some reason have never made it. The only single "Tongue Tied" only seemed to get released via amazon.co.uk and therefore failed to chart entirely, despite it getting enough airplay for a predicted top 40 hit.
The album just has so many different styles on it, opening up with some really fun punk numbers, but then going on into ballads through the middle before returning to some more upbeat stuff at the end.
Looking at some of the tracks
Tongue Tied / Daytime TV
- Two great punk tracks to open up on. Tongue Tied made it as the single, but "Daytime TV" with its humourous take on the world of MTV, Richard and Judy and Jerry Springer and those who sit in all day every day watching them would have been just as great a choice.
He Gives An Inch
is a very nice track, with the "She's got him wrapped around her finger now" being a really anthemic bit. Then, it suddenly goes all emotional
Listening to The One That Got Away
and This Is My Life
was at times difficult to do without crying, they're such emotional songs, and when I got to Hopelessly Devoted
, singing along to "What can I say? What can I do? What can I say cause I'm hopelessly devoted to you!" was at times a really rather painful experience, particularly on those occasions when I was feeling a bit down. First and Last
continues the same theme but brings you up a bit, before It's Different For Girls
- a track I find a lot of truth in - you can never work out the opposite sex, and what you think might be one thing for you is totally different for them.
As for the last four tracks, well things get a lot happier again, with The Last Word
being a top notch pop-punk track whilst High and Low
is so irreverent and light-hearted, it makes the Beautiful South's lightest moments sound like Radiohead.
Anyway... from all that lot... how on EARTH do I find a top 5 tracks in order? Here goes
Top 5 Tracks
1. Hopelessly Devoted
2. It's Different For Girls
3. First and Last
4. Daytime TV
5. Tongue Tied
When one of my top 14 singles of the year ranks in at a mere 5th, you know how great the other four tracks must be!