(As you probably noticed, I’m breaking the radio silence I announced last week. I reached a point with my various projects where I have to step back for a while. I’ll be going back down the rabbit hole around the July 4 holiday.)
The second quarter is pretty much done, and I’ve got to say that old English band name is quite prescient — pop will eat itself. Rather than spreading the release schedule out, the labels are stacking all the marquee names for fall. Used to be spring would ramp up to the summer tours, while fall ramped up to the holiday shopping season. Now it seems everything gets dumped in the fall, which means a lot of material overlooked.
Last quarter, I assumed releases wouldn’t start picking up till Q2. They haven’t really. And it makes drafting preliminary favorite lists difficult. That doesn’t mean I won’t try.
Because of the slow release schedule, many of the names which appeared the last time show up here again. I’ll only expound on the new entries, and this time, I’m going to take a stab at ranking.
- Explosions in the Sky, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
- Björk, Volta Björk’s last two albums were great creative exercises, but they weren’t long with the staying power. Volta is the first album since Homogenic to get really dirty with the beats. It’s also the first album of hers I’ve really liked since, well, Homogenic.
- Rufus Wainwright, Release the Stars Rufus is just fabulous, thank you very much. He knows what he does, and he does it well. "Going to a Town", of course, has the line every critic loves to cite: "I’m so tired of America."
- Sasagawa Miwa, Mayoi Naku
- UA, Golden green I’ve only been listening to this album for a week, but when UA wraps her voice around a hook, it’s a sublime sound. Her last few albums have been short on hooks, which makes Golden green a welcome return. But she doesn’t give up the eclecticism which drove those albums, resulting in an work that probably encompasses the entire range of her career.
- Voxtrot, Voxtrot We have thankfully moved onto the point of the 80s revivalism where simply carbon copying bands from 20 years ago is not enough. You could probably namedrop any number of 80s bands to compare to Voxtrot, and you would not be wrong. But you would also be inaccurate, because Voxtrot feels comfortable enough in their own skin to sound like, well, themselves.
- Ore wa Konna Mon Ja Nai, 2
- Tommy heavenly6, Heavy Starry heavenly
- Shiina Ringo x Saito Neko, Heisei Fuuzoku
- Chara, Union (Honestly, I don’t think this album is so good to land on the list, but nothing else has really come up to knock it off. I would have left Hyakkei’s Standing Still in a Moving Scene, but that album was actually released a year ago.)