listen: keane “cause and effect”

I’ve been a fan of Keane’s since 2004. I mean, how could you not love “Somewhere Only We Know”? Their first album, “Hopes and Fears”, is like a lullaby. Their true gem is “Under the Iron Sea”, which I wrote about last month as an album I want to see performed live. “Perfect Symmetry” is a little rough, but they got back on the right track with “Strangeland”. And then, they took a break. For seven years. Sure, Tom Chaplin released a solo album to tide me over, but it wasn’t the same. I was ecstatic when they announced they were truly coming back.

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And I’m so happy they did. “Cause and Effect” is the perfect sequel to “Strangeland”. What they’ve always done well is construct beautiful melodies and pair them with insightful, yet sometimes devastating lyrics. And it continues. Tom’s voice sounded a little rough on the opening track, “You’re Not Home”, but after that, everything was like normal. The way I react to music may seem a little over the top (hi, have you seen my multiple John Mayer threads on Twitter?), but it’s really a form of connection for me. And Keane is one of those bands that just gets me. Even if I haven’t exactly been the situations they’re describing (there seems to be a lot of marital problems…), the way the lyrics are written and performed, you feel them in your bones.

The first single from this album, “The Way I Feel”, could have been a journal entry for me. But it was the song “Strange Room” that made me cry. Like how did they get that far into my head to make this song? And because I’m *that* person, I bought the deluxe edition and “Difficult Year”! So good! (The deluxe edition also includes three acoustic sessions of songs on the album and “The Way I Feel” might sound better this way…)

Please never leave me again, Keane!

Favorite Songs: “Strange Room”, “Chase the Night Away”


listen: jamie cullum “taller”

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It’s been four years since his last album, “Interlude”. That was an album of all covers; this one all originals (except for one song on the deluxe edition I was lucky to pick up)! He’s such an interesting musician. He’s always had solid original songs but the arrangements for his covers have been incredible. I think the covers is more of what drew me to him. (He and Michael BublĂ© are kind of contemporaries in the remaking standards but Cullum plays the piano and has composed way more original songs than BublĂ©. I also found them around the same time)

Cullum is considered a British jazz musician and I’m not going to dispute that. What was interesting about this album is that he leaned more in R&B for a few songs. This doesn’t surprise me because he’s previously been drawn to contemporary R&B and reimagining them (“Frontin'” on “twentysomething” and his “Don’t Stop the Music” cover on “The Pursuit” is brilliant).

The lyrics this time around were extremely mature. It’s really something. Like he went through something pretty serious. All I can say is that I probably could have used songs like “Life is Grey”, “Monster”, “Endings Are Beginnings”, and “The Age of Anxiety” when I lost my job last summer. Absolutely perfect for melancholy! Still, I’m very happy to have this album now even if I’m trying to break into more positive moods.

Which is wonderful for the fact that his cover of The Killers’ “The Man” made the deluxe edition. What I wouldn’t give for him and Brandon Flowers to perform the song together with Cullum’s arrangement. He somehow injects the song with even more life and that is impressive.

2019 is shaping up to be a year where all of my favorite artists are releasing new albums. None of them have let me down yet.


listen: may 2019

May was not a great month for me. And I think it showed on this slightly neglected blog. I have some ideas for more content here so please bear with me!

Here is my playlist for May. There are only 30 songs because my May 31st song was not available on Spotify and my own copy of the file didn’t show up either! (It was “If I Believed” from Starkid’s Twisted if you’re interested!)


listen: pink “hurts 2b human”

It’s crazy that I have been a fan of Pink’s for like nineteen years. Even more surprising is that she’s managed to stay around this long. The music industry is honestly one of the cruelest businesses out there and all her reinventions would have been for naught, if not for that voice.

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And here we are, album eight! Crazy! I wasn’t a big fan of “Beautiful Trauma”. As always, her voice was flawless but the songs were kind of meh. I know she said she wrote most of it after the 2016 election but I always enjoy some of her cheekiness and spunk. That album had none of her usual elements.

This is probably her strongest album since “Funhouse”. She manages to mix maturity with her badass self and I really enjoyed this. I don’t totally love the first single, “Walk Me Home” but there are quite a few contenders for future singles and I personally cannot wait to see what she chooses. I adored “Can We Pretend”, a collaboration with Cash Cash. It’s the perfect summer jam. I loved “Happy” and “Circle Game” too though they’re not particularly fun songs. What I did find interesting was the final song “The Last Song of Your Life” which sounded like her side project, You+Me (a project I’d love to here more of). It had a more acoustic vibe and the song is gorgeous.

It’s nice to see that “Beautiful Trauma” was likely a weird blip and this album kind of put her back on track. But again, it’s her voice that is always what matters most. And I’m glad that hasn’t changed yet.