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This week is for Mel

Kendrick Lamar - Mr. morale & The Big Steppers (2022)

This album is so musically complex. I'm not generally drawn to listen to rap, though I enjoy it when I do sit to listen. I find the first few songs musically interesting but lyrically and melodically I'm not so drawn to it.

Rich Spirit - I love the use of vocal ad-libs in the background to create texture and melody. The flipping back and forth between accent on the downbeat vs the upbeat is so well placed.

Purple Hearts - everything about this song is great. The vocals are amazing.

Savior - Interlude : I was not at all expecting a strings section on this album.

Mother I Sober : I now need to listen to music by Portishead. Beth Gibbons' voice is angelic.

The Heart Part 5 : the perfect way to wrap up the album. It feels like being downtown in a big city.

In all, I love the second half of the album. The first half is good too, just not as melodic, where I am very very drawn to melody.

Vance Joy - Nation of Two (2018)

I'm listening to this one in the car, so it might not be as detailed song by song, but I can listen to it as a whole composition, a whole album and assess it that way.

I like the beginning of this album because it fluctuates in intensity. The first song is really chill. I also have to admit that I don't really know much about Vance Joy other than the song Riptide, which is on ukulele. So I appreciate that so far he's using other instruments.

The song "Like Gold" uses like a vocal ooh to do the underlick and I really like that. I feel like that's something that I could easily implement in my production because I do hear melody really easily, but I can't always translate that on my instruments and often I forget when I'm doing production that I need a secondary melody. So maybe I need to write that on a big post-it and stick it on my computer.

In 'Alone With Me", here's a syncopated part on the drums, specifically a snare hit, in the verses, and it's everything. It's perfect. I don't know how this to describe it. It hits just right.

I'm noticing a lot of the same picking pattern in a lot of the songs but on different instruments, which is really cool because it's a way to tie the whole album together without playing the same thing every time on the same instrument.

"One of these days", something happens with the time signature in the chorus. Where either they're doing a measure of four and a measure of two or something like that. I'd have to listen way more intently than while I'm driving but it's really cool. It might even be that the chorus is in five four? Someone help me!

I really like where the album ends on like a slow song. I didn't expect that from Vance Joy, but i really enjoyed the whole album!

Arkells - Campfire Chords (2020)

Listening to this one in the car too.

I like the concept of this album from the get go.. it's like a "greatest hits" but without just being a compilation. Hats off.

All I can think from the start of the album, though, is that Max scream sings and his voice probably hurts a lot at the end of shows. Then I started thinking about how the internet is a really mean place, and if a woman was scream singing, she would be criticized (Jessica Simpson has been destroyed on TikTok lately...).. and then I started wondering how many of the albums I'm listening to this year are by women or have female leads so when I got home I counted them and I have less than 50 of the 200 albums with a female lead.. so that made me kind of annoyed and made me think I should do 200 female-fronted albums in 2024.

ANYWAY, that is what my brain does when I'm driving. Now to the music!

Lots of great songs on this album. I'm a fan of "Michigan Left". Makes me want to buy a really high quality tambourine. I like the background vocals - it's easy to get into and sing along without too much thinking involved. Perfect for around the campfire.

"A Little More" love the warped piano sound. The story is beautiful. LOVE the rich background vocals.

Overall a really great acoustic album. Reminds me that good songs don't need bells and whistles. They can just be good songs.

The Glorious Sons - Young Beauties and Fools (2017)

First thought: YES this album is only 32 minutes. I can fit it in my busy week! Then I got distracted and waited til the last minute to listen.

The first 5 songs are so singable - classic pop rock band vibes.

"Godless, Graceless and Young" - the descending pentatonic bit on electric guitar feels like it's being slightly panned from left to right as it plays through, adding so much dimension and making it stand out. A great little detail.

The opening drum sounds of "My Blood" are unexpected. Cool. "S.O.S." is great. The horns are amazing.

Overall really great album. I will likely listen through again (in the new year).

Side note: I hate that on Spotify it doesn't say who the producer is. This seems like a huge oversight on the part of a big band like this..

My playlist is getting really stacked.

Check it out!

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