The soundtrack from the movie Once. Absorbing, beautiful movie with great soundtrack, so I bought it. Not disappointing! Pretty, even beautiful music; original flavour; really well sung; passionate and thoughtful; has that musicality, the sound that doesn't rely on electronic effects and only needs an acoustic guitar or piano to sound striking; has everything. Not just good vocalists but true musicians. My favourites: "Falling Slowly", "The Hill", "When Your Mind's Made Up", and "Say It to Me Now" although basically I love them all! FIVE STARS.
Duffy's Rockferry. Felt like a risk to buy because I'd heard only one single, "Mercy" - but it was totally worth it. This Welsh chick has one of the coolest soul voices I've heard in a while, and she hasn't come to fame on the strength of a one-hit wonder. The whole album is fantastic. I especially love the songs "Warwick Avenue", "I'm Scared" and "Distant Dreamer", besides "Mercy" which will easily top the charts. FIVE STARS.
Kate Nash's Made of Bricks. I would describe her as somewhere between Lily Allen and Regina Spektor. She's got the cool British accent like Lily Allen but she's also got something deeper in her lyrics and I think her music is better too, while her music is a lot more playful than Regina Spektor's. The singles "Foundations" and "Pumpkin Soup" are great, but "Birds" and "Nicest Thing" are really, really sweet, and "We Get On" is such a fantastic story of unrequited love. I especially love the lyrics: "I don't ever dream about you and me / I don't ever make up stuff about us, that would be classed as insanity / I don't ever drive by your house to see if you're in / I don't even have an opinion on that tramp that you are still seeing..." Her singing is also storytelling if you know what I mean, and it's original and funny or bittersweet storytelling. FIVE STARS.
Jars of Clay's Redemption Songs. This has been out for a few years now, I think, but I only recently bought it. Some of them I find really annoying, like their bouncy version of "It is Well With my Soul" which really shouldn't be interpreted in that way in my opinion. However, I love their interpretations of "God be Merciful to Me", "I Need Thee Every Hour", "Nothing But the Blood" (featuring the Blind Boys of Alabama) and "On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand". An overall cool way to do some of the old hymns. FOUR STARS.
Missy Higgins' On A Clear Night. This Australian singer has done really well in Oz and is starting to do much better in New Zealand. Not sure if she's broken into the US market yet. Like the musicians in Once, she knows how to write a good song that doesn't need much fiddling with. Amazing lyrics, a unique and very expressive voice, good tunes. "Where I Stood", from this album, is on my Allie's Top 15 Songs playlist on my ipod because it's just that good. I also really like "Steer", "Angela", "Sugarcane" and "Peachy". FIVE STARS.
The soundtrack from De-Lovely. Another CD that has been out for a while. I only saw the movie recently, though, and went hunting for the soundtrack immediately. Cole Porter's music as interpreted by big names like Diana Krall, Robbie Williams, Elvis Costello, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, the list goes on and on and on. I think my favourite tracks off the CD are Sheryl Crow's "Begin the Beguine", Lara Fabian and Mario Frangoulis' "So in Love", Diana Krall's "Just One of Those Things" and (possibly my favourite) Natalie Cole's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye". FOUR AND A HALF STARS.
So, obviously, I am either very nice and very reluctant to do a bad review of anything I purchase, or I got lucky and bought some wonderful CDs that I listen to all the time.
[By the way, isn't it great to have so many cool women singers again? A few years ago I felt like all I was listening to were men.]