Reaching the half point of a year is often a good time to pause and reflect on everything that has happened so far in such a short space of time before looking forward to what the rest of the year as to offer. It’s scary how fast 2016 has flew by and even more giving how much has happened in just 6 months with the majority of the award ceremonies now done and dusted, two of the UKs biggest festivals sadly now over with for another year.
So with V festival, Radio 1 in Ibiza and Reading and Leeds ever fastly approaching lest take a look back on some of the top albums to have released so far in 2016…
Coldplay -A Head Full Of Dreams
A Head Full Of Dreams, the seventh studio album from the British band Coldplay, offers an eclectic mix of good Coldplay magic- a slightly mellow pop rock sound- with an uplifting colourful and somewhat experimental sound not heard from the band since the release of single ‘Paradise’ from Mylo Xyloto. From start to finish the album is an 11 track treat to ears jam packed with collaborations from the likes of Beyonce in the form of ‘Hymn For The Weekend’, Noel Gallagher and Tove love -in the mellow number ‘Fun’- guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face and in a good mood for the rest of the day. A go to album then so may say if your in need of a good old cheer up and an on the up look after the release of the slightly more mellow Ghost stories from which ‘Everglow’ and ‘Amazing Day’ are clearly influenced. While rumors are a rife that A Head Full Of Dreams may be the last record we see from this chart topping band it is safe to say that they would be going out on a high with the “brightest Coldplay album ever” and a headline set at Glastonbury 2016 that will go down in history as one of the best!
Recommended tracks; A Head Full Of Dreams, Hymn For The Weekend, Army Of One and UP& UP
David Bowie – Blackstar
Blackstar, the 25th and final ever studio recorded album from British legend David Bowie was released on Bowie’s 69th birthday . The album widely described as a parting gift received critical acclaim as “the most extreme album of David Bowie’s entire career” and massive commercial success shooting to number one in 28 different countries after Bowie’s death was announced but had already been tipped to preview at number one shortly after its release. The album as a whole incorporates a variety of genres predominantly of an experimental rock and art rock nature. While lyrically Blackstar is very raw revealing a man suffering mortality. Considering that over the years Bowie was renown for reinventing himself and and being the most innovative artist of our time it is no surprising that Bowie’s last album wasn’t a show case for his fan but more a raw album influenced by his own experiences and vulnerability – a show of the David Jones and not the Ziggy or the Bowie.
Recommended Tracks; Blackstar, Lazarus, Dollar Days and I Can’t Give Everything Away
Sia – This Is Acting
This Is Acting is the seventh studio album by Australian singer- songwriter Sia and is a direct follow up to her previous release 1000 Forms Of Fear. Much like the last offering, this new album features many displays of Sia’s powerful vocal range as bold as it is haunting and beautiful especially through tracks such as ‘Alive’ and ‘Bird Set Free’, as well as raw emotional and somewhat cinematic lyrics for which she has become renown for over the course of her career. However, in comparison to 100 Forms Of Fear which featured track of a personal nature, This Is Acting is a lot more impersonal and indirect but yet more fun and experimental- perhaps down to the fact the record was composed of songs written for other artists that were in no other sense of the worse rejected. Another notable difference between the two albums is that this latest offerings content is more pop than much of her previous material but is done in such a way as to avoid sounding mainstream and can not be categorized by a single genre. Put it simply This Is Acting appears to somehow capture all elements of her career- staring in the indie world and moving over to mid level pop majesty then into near icon status – but in full album form none of that really matters.
Recommended Tracks; Bird Set Free, Alive, Unstoppable, Cheap Thrills, Footprints and Broken Glass
The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It is the second studio album from Manchester based band The 1975 and was released three years after their debut self titled offering. The record displays a completely new thematic, effortless and sophisticated sound, image and style from the indie-pop rock band offering a delightfully eclectic mix of indie, soul, jazz and experimental 90s pop- presumably inspired by INXS. Upon it’s release in February the album received huge commercial success appearing at Number one in album charts in America, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The complexly nostalgic 17 track release has a little something for everyone from the dreamy sounds of ‘Lost My Head’ to the funky emphatic sounds of ‘Love Me’ , ‘Somebody Else’ and ‘Loving Someone’. Lyrically the album extremely ambitious pact with Healey’s intelligent wit and sharp observations. The lead track ‘Love Me’ focusing heavily on celebrity squad culture, self awareness and deprecation for fame but is as equally bonkers, bold and sensational as the album as a whole.
Recommended Tracks; Love Me, Loving Someone, A Change Of Heart, Somebody Else, She’s American, The Sound and This Must Be My Dream
Catfish and The Bottlemen- The Ride
May 27th marked the long anticipated release of Catfish and The Bottlemen’s second studio album The Ride- a follow on offering from their debut record The Balcony released 2 years prior. This latest indie rock record from the Manchester band is a treat from start to finish with the final track ‘Outside’ ,of which the albums title The Ride was taken from,leaving fans and listeners alike wanting more. Much like debut album The Balcony most of the songs on the album are quite short in length but follow on nicely from one another as the record progresses. Tracks such as ‘Soundcheck’, ‘7’, ‘Twice’ and ‘Oxygen’ all feature very prominent guitar riffs and indie rich solos similar to their single ‘Pacifier’ on The Balcony and also bode very well in a live atmosphere. In terms of the sound and style of the record it appears the band have opted to “stay inside of the box” rather than experiment with new sounds and genres like most artists of this era tend to do which sets this album apart from most second albums. However, while this appears to work for the band at this stage it does beg the question whether the band will continue to go with the Coldplay method and stick to the tried and tested. Either way this 11 track delight serves as a short and sweet masterclass of all things classic indie and could even be up their with some modern greats.
Recommended Tracks ; SoundCheck, 7, Twice, Oxygen, Red and Outside