Mars' Hill Melodies
Tom Odell – Long Way Down You may remember Tom Odell’s song “Another Love” if you listened to CBC Radio 2 Drive this summer. The devastatingly beautiful earnestness he presented to us purged all of our deep love frustrations. Well, Tom Odell is back with his first full length album and it doesn’t disappoint. Long Way Down expands upon Odell’s repertoire of a raw and honest portrait of suffering that was put forward in his former EP. With “Hold Me” we hear what could be an old Arcade Fire song, and he even begins to wink at future hope. Just listen to “Heal” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Jordan Klassen – Repentance
Jordan Klassen and his friends are taking the Vancouver music scene by storm; in many ways fitting right into its little folk-pop niche; and in many ways traversing new territory as an unflinching yet humble prophetic voice. With lines from “Go To Me” proclaiming “You’ve got nothing on me, that’s the best place that you’ll ever be/ Come beside me/ With the pen in my hand and your hand in my hand” and a triumphant melodic chorus on “The Horses are Stuck” Repentance resonates somewhere far beyond mere words. If you only hear one album for the next two weeks, make it this one.
John Legend – Love In The Future
Coming in at the end of the summer, Love In The Future comes just in time for fall lovers, declaring “This is a new year for love” and follows it up with 19 of the most emotionally resonant love songs I have ever heard. Possibly the most striking thing about John Legend is the dignity with which he writes his songs. Where his friends like Kanye West tend to be dignity-taking in their sexualized love ballads, Legend is dignity-giving. On “All Of Me” Legend sings, “What’s going on in that beautiful mind?” And then turns to ponder, “All your perfect imperfections.” But to stay on the safe side, this album should be enjoyed by couples who are married.
CHVRCHES - The Bones of What You Believe
This past March, as you headed into that time at the end of the semester marked by all-nighters and 10-cup coffee days, you may have tuned in to Recover, the three song EP of Scottish synth-pop band CHVRCHES. Giving us a tantalizing taste of the versatile electronic sound the band is capable of, Recover turns out to have just been the welcoming mat for the band’s debut album, The Bones of What You Believe. From the electric ambience of the guitar and strings led “Tether”, to the almost Tron-like synth melody that drives “Science/Visions,” CHVRCHES has proven itself to be an electronic heavy-weight worthy of staying on your radar.
Janelle Monáe - Electric Lady
When I first heard Janelle Monáe’s The ArchAndroid, I was blown away by her ability to mix so many different musical genres into one beautifully polished album. I was even more blown away when I read that the album was in fact only two parts of her seven part concept series, Metropolis. The series, continued in Electric Lady, follows an android’s journey through a social enlightenment fueled by dance and music. It sounds crazy. Truth be told it is a little bit crazy, but it is also well worth your time. Janelle Monáe is an extraordinarily talented musician who has managed in Electric Lady to create a gorgeous blend of jazz, R&B, and dance sounds all carried forward by her wonderfully soulful voice. Do yourself a favor and give the album a listen, even if only to hear the sound of musical genres being redefined.