Charlie Puth – Voicenotes (2018)
It doesn’t happen too often that you find an album where every song is a good one, but I must say this is that kind of album. The funky lead single “Attention” is still one of the best songs, apart from that one I especially like the opener, #8 which has got a rhodes solo (!) and the uptempo #11. The music will make you feel good even if most of the lyrics are sad love stories. I have a theory that music trends comes back in 20 year-cycles, and maybe I’m right, because you can hear some clear 90’s r’n’b/boy band influences here, and still it sounds new and fresh.
Michael Jackson – Xscape (2014)
Michael Jackson was a ground-breaker during his lifetime, and the sound on his albums were always a bit ahead of its time, no wonder he was called the King of Pop. When this posthumous album came it sounded completely up to date, and it’s possible that it would have sounded something like this if Jackson was still alive. The r’n’b influences are obvious, with 808 drums and trap beats. The most fun tracks though are those with 80’s influences, like the opening track, which is based on an acoustic version with Paul Anka on piano, or #4 where the bass line is actually reminiscent of “The way you make me feel”. Even if there are only eight songs this is possibly the most interesting by Michael since “Dangerous” from 1991.
Simian Ghost – Simian Ghost (2017)
Since the syncopated “Never really knew” proved to be the most popular track on their last record, the Swedish pop band decided to make a whole album with disco tunes. Or else, they were just tired of making deep, atmospheric indie pop and wanted to have “fun”, as the first track is actually called. The sound differs a lot from their home-made sound which can be heard on their earlier works. Here the sound is well-produced and the vocals are tight with some autotune. But it still sounds like a band playing which is a good thing. There are two tracks that are especially reminiscent of their previous hit; #2 and #7. But there are even more upbeat and funky songs here; #5 and #9 will surely make you move your feet even if the latter is called “Stop moving”. For those who want more of the atmospheric pop stuff, the closing 8-minute track is possibly the best example of that, or the only ballad #11 which has got some Bon Iver-ish free drum solo over it. This album may not be as beautiful as its predecessor, but it’s way more joyful.