Sunday, December 27, 2009

Albums Of The Year 2009 - No.4!

It might be a predictable choice, as I usually always put the newest Matthew Good release in my top 5. And as he's my favourite recording artist, this probably won't change as long as he's putting out records of this quality. But I should state first, this album's ranking at #4 (the lowest I've ever placed a Matt Good record) is in no way a reflection on it's comparative quality, more a comment on the standard of the albums yet to come in the list.

2007's 'Hospital Music' was a landmark record for Matt. Marking the end of a dark period, and the start of a new beginning, it was a sublime piece of work. But even a huge fan like me can recognise it was a sometimes challenging and stripped-down album. 'Vancouver' is a return to form of classic status from the 'Avalanche' era. Big, epic, stadium-sized anthems abound, and Good's voice has never been in better form.

Equal parts a love and hate letter to his long-term home city, 'Vancouver' is uplifting, damning, but more than either of these, sees Good easily at the top of his craft. The man is such a naturally gifted songwriter, that when he's as inspired as he clearly was in the process of making this album, the end result feels so effortless and enjoyable.

Albums Of The Year 2009 - No.5!

I have to be honest, I never really rated Jamie T before. He emerged onto the UK music scene two years ago, with what can only be described as shouty, wannabe chav hip-hop. It wasn't bad, exactly, it just didn't really grab me.

I was wrong. Although his first album still isn't brilliant, I'm happy to admit that it was simply me that didn't get it. The man is talented, and has an original gift for urban storytelling in a totally original style, with a completely natural ability for vocal deftness.

Which brings me to this new album. Jamie still has his rough-edge lyrics, but he's also crafted some stunningly subtle and low-key music to balance it out. 'The Man's Machine' expertly blends some of the best, most rhythmic spoken word I've heard with gorgeous music behind it. Album opener, '368', uses samples and re-balanced vocals to great effect while Jamie tells a story of a London council estate.

All in all, I was wrong. Jamie T is a fantastic new talent and has made a blinder of an album. Consider me now a fan.