A few months ago everyone on Facebook was picking their favourite 9 or 10 albums.. I’m late to the party because it has honestly taken me this long to possibly narrow it down! I thought I’d do a little twist on that, as I get to the end of recording my album and look at my top influences for Songwriting, Lyrics, Style and Sound. I think I’ve just about done it.. so here is a little review of my top 9 albums, plus some extras at the bottom.. and probably ALL OF THE ADJECTIVES I KNOW!
So in no particular order...
Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer, Different Park
“ Soulful, Sassy, Sad & Sarcastic”
I loved Kacey Musgraves since hearing her at C2C fest and quickly bought all three of her albums! Be prepared to laugh out loud at her sassy, hilarious lyrics, alongside a blend of old school and modern country vibes. Definitely draw some inspiration for my own production!
“If you can’t lose weight then you’re just fat, but if you lose too much then you’re on crack” - she quite literally cracks me up!
Song Pick: Follow Your Arrow
Gabrielle Aplin - Miss You EP
“Short, Honest & Dramatic”
Loved hearing her sound progress over the past few years, Aplin has nailed it with this one. In Miss You she captures the aftermath of a breakup perfectly with a new quirky pop sound. Although the acoustic piano version is just as beautiful. Lyrically imaginative and so honest, she really paints a picture.
Song Pick: Miss You
Lorde - Melodrama
“Just WOW, honest, heart wrenching, bizarre lyrical genius”
Weird Pop music that I just love! It’s hard to say what stands out most, the breathtaking range of husky vocals, honest, biting lyrics or bizarre production sounds. Somehow it all ties together on this incredible melodramatic record! A huge lyrical inspiration for me: ‘Bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark’ - GENIUS!
Song Picks: Liability// Writer In The Dark// Hard Feelings .. (EVERY SINGLE SONG BASICALLY)
Andy Shauf - The Party
“Beautifully heartfelt, introspective and observant”
Discovered this guy from a cover on instagram by Lennon Stella (who is also incredible!) and became obsessed for about a week, listening constantly. The Party is a concept album, all set on the same night at a house party. Shauf goes into almost stream of consciousness poetry with his lyrics and gives a real insight into his mind and the messy relationships between friends. ‘I’m spilling my drink as I really start, tearing one of my best friends apart’ The sound is almost like circus music, quirky and ever so slightly unnerving. I just like it.
Song Pick: Quite Like You
The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
“Harmonies to break your heart”
So sad to hear this band split up as their Alt-country sound and gorgeous vocal harmonies are so incredibly stunning! Atmospheric, mesmerising and almost erotic. Poison and Wine in particular is a beautiful song with it’s heartbreaking hook ‘I don’t love you but I always will’ repeated anthemically.
I also love their collaboration with Taylor Swift: ’Safe & Sound’ from the Hunger Games films.
Song pick: Poison & Wine
Joni Mitchell - Blue
“Intricate melodies, soaring vocals and pure poetry”
Lovely raw, acoustic sound, Joni’s are almost poetry put to music alongside a blend dramatic guitar strums and intricate finger picking. Fantastic lyrics on both of these song picks, ‘I wanna renew you again and again’ (All I Want) and ‘Part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time’ (Case Of You).
Song Picks: A Case Of You// All I Want
Meg & Dia - Something Real
“Powerful melodic rock, punchy lyrics and painful subject matter”
There’s something so powerful about Meg & Dia’s harmonies over the backdrop of heavy, raw guitar sounds. I loved listening as a teenager and taking apart their lyrics to try and work out the meanings behind each song. So much emotion on every track! ‘Then he slowly saw their nightmares were his dreams’
Song Picks: Roses// Monster
Catatonia - International Velvet
“My favourite Welsh band”
My parents loved this album, a firm favourite in our car as we twisted and turned the winding roads of mid-Wales, with about 5 huge maps (yes, actual paper maps!) - causing car sickness and more than a little ‘Road Rage’. Wonderful, Welsh rock with real substance, crazy song titles and intriguing lyrics for my ten year old brain to ponder over.
I was also incredibly lucky to have been writing recently with Owen Powell, one of the guitarists and writer of one of my favourite songs. Our co-write ‘Never Get To Say Goodbye’ is gonna be Track no. 8 on my album!!!
Song Picks: Strange Glue// Goldfish & Paracetamol (How are those for song titles!?!)
Taylor Swift - Speak Now
“Nostalgic, Confessional, Beautiful, Innocent, Painful - Like reading my own diary”
Of course Miss Taylor had to feature being my main inspiration and influence to start writing songs back when I was ‘Fifteen’. I love every single album but ‘Speak Now’, written solely by Swift is so heartfelt and beautiful; Pure nostalgia for me and takes me straight back to my first year of university and writing lyrics in my lonely dorm room. She connects and transports like the smell of an exes old t-shirt. ‘And I go back to December all the time’
‘The girl in the dress cried the whole way home’ - classic Swift!
Song Picks: Dear John// Long Live// Back To December (Oh just listen to the whole thing.. <3)
Extra Listening (cause who can only pick 9 right? Also I clearly have a bias towards female singer songwriters.. )
Roxanne Emery - For Weddings & A Funeral
Colbie Caillat - CoCo
Jade Bird - Something American
Sam Gardner - Traumatic Honey
Ashley Campbell - The Lonely One
Katie Melua - Piece by piece
Ed Sheeran - +
Gabrielle Aplin - English Rain
Lauren Aquilina - Isn’t it strange?
Clare Bowen - Little By Little
Lennon Stella - Like Everybody Else
The Beatles - Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Ward Thomas - Cartwheels
Carter Sampson - Wilder Side
James Taylor - Sweet Baby James