Early February brought with it a bounteous collection of albums to listen to, with a handful of legends (Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Phil Collins and Tori Amos) mixed in with a bit of nineties nostalgia (Boyz II Men, The Fugees), giving way to some more recent and most unique artists (Yugen Blakrok, Anderson.Paak, Kendrick Lamar).

031 Yugen Blakrok – Anima Mysterium (2019). I became aware of Yugen through her guest spot on “Opps”, the highlight track on the soundtrack to Black Panther. This album is probably overlong, but it makes up for that in sheer word count – Blakrok raps like a gatling gun, fast and very much to the point. And the various science fiction images she conjures made this an enjoyable listen. (January 31, 2021).

032 The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow (2011). Some albums, its surprising how old they are – like, I don’t feel like this album is ten years old, it feels more like five. And yet it is a decade old now. The songs are timeless though, even if the album is a bit samey. Its a shame these kids couldn’t figure out their relationship; the only released one more album and eventually split for good in 2014. One wonders how their careers may have progressed had they made it work. (February 1, 2021).

033 Neil Young – Harvest (1972). Arguably Neil Young’s best, this album contains two of my favourite of his songs – “Old Man” and “The Needle And The Damage Done”. I got super into this record back in late 2008 after Neil was announced as the headliner for the 2009 Big Day Out; fortunately he played both those songs I loved during his (admittedly pretty iconic) set list. (February 2, 2021).

034 Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977). I don’t know if I could ever make a Top 5 Favourite Albums list, but Rumours would be in the discussion. Except for “Oh Daddy” – which, I just can’t even – there isn’t a weak song here. I mean, its like Track 8 (“You Make Loving Fun”) before you even hit a song that isn’t a five-star classic. (By the way, I almost made a “if you ever feel inadequate, remember that Christine McVie was writing songs in Fleetwood Mac alonside Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham – but shit, even her songs here are pretty great. Except for “Oh Daddy”.) (February 3, 2021).

035 Split Enz – True Colours (1980). I mean, Split Enz are one of the greatest bands to ever come out of NZ – and is this their greatest album? It might be; it contents three of their biggest hits (“I Got You”, “I Hope I Never” and the criminally under-rated “Poor Boy”), as well as two of the best non-singles (“Shark Attack”, “What’s The Matter With You”), and maybe their most under-rated song ever, “The Choral Sea”. You could make the case for it, is what I’m saying. Thoroughly enjoyed re-listening to this one. (February 4, 2021).

036 Weezer – OK Human (2021). Okay, I’ll say it – this is the best start-to-finish Weezer album since the 1990s. Named in reference to Radiohead’s OK Computer, OK Human is a collection of pretty standard – if a little better than usual – Weezer pop-rock. However, Cuomo and co made the ingenius decision to accompany every track with orchestration; strings swell, adding depth to every song here. I loved this album. (February 5, 2021).

037 Phil Collins – Face Value (1981). Did you know that Phil Collins took a fresh photo for the cover of this album when it started hitting streaming sites? If that doesn’t tell you the importance of this album to Phil Collins, nothing will. (February 6, 2021).

038 Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes (1992). This album gets better and better as it goes along – honestly, the last three songs might be the best three songs.
(February 7, 2021).

039 Various – Black Panther: The Album (2018). “Opps”, the track featuring Vince Staples and Yugen Blakrok, is one of the most invigorating hip hop songs I’ve ever heard, and I love it. Under the guidance of Kendrick Lamar, this is a great collection of songs, far better than it needed to be for what is essentially a movie tie-in. (February 8, 2021).

040 Foo Fighters – Medicine At Midnight (2021). What do you want me to say? Its a Foo Fighters record – though maybe a little more overblown than in years past. I feel like the same 3-2-1-4 chord structures and Grohl vocals are all here, but they’re somehow undermined by the keyboard, the third guitar, the backing chorus. It’s all too much. (February 9, 2021).

041 The Shins – Wincing The Night Away (2007). One of the seminal albums from the early 00s indie rock explosion. I loved this album so much at the time that I even bought tickets to a Shins concert and went alone because nobody else I knew was even really aware of who they were. The tracks “Phantom Limb”, “Turn On Me” and “Spilt Needles” still hold up, tbh. (February 10, 2021).

042 The Exponents – Something Beginning With C (1992). Is it ‘crap’? (Okay, yes, this album contains a handful of their biggest hits – “Why Does Love Do This To Me”, “Who Loves Who The Most” and “Whatever Happened To Tracy” to name three. But c’mon, the rest is just junk – and derivative junk at that: Midnight Oil and Inxs were doing this stuff in the mid-80s.) (February 11, 2021).

043 Rush – Moving Pictures (1981). The first four tracks on this album are iconic, fantastic pieces of music. It gets a bit drab from there on. But those four songs. Wow. (February 12, 2021).

044 The Fugees – The Score (1996). I can’t remember being super across this album at the time of its release; I knew the singles, “Ready Or Not” and “Fu Gee La” and the covers of “No Woman No Cry” and “Killing Me Softly”, but 96-Chris was very much listening to bands like Sepultura and Korn. Nowadays I can appreciate the genius, even though I appreciate Lauryn Hill’s solo output more than this record. It is legendary though – and 25 year old this year! (February 13, 2021).

045 Boyz II Men – Cooleyhighharmony (1991). This one landed almost exactly 30 years ago. I didn’t become aware of Boyz II Men until late 1992 when “End Of The Road” became a mega-hit; I ended up dancing to it with a girl I had a crush on at our Form 2 social. Listening back now, I can’t say that it has aged well – but “End Of The Road” is still brilliant, opener “Please Don’t Go” is pretty great, and the acapella “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” is spine-tinglingly good.
(February 14, 2021).

This post is part of my ongoing effort to listen to a new album every single day of 2021. If you have any suggestions on what I should listen to next, send them through to me@chrisphilpott.nz.