On Sunday, May 10, Prince performed at an impromptu concert in Baltimore intended to bring some much needed unity and peace to the city, which is only the latest area to see the death of a non-white citizen, Freddie Gray, in this case, spark racially-motivated protests and riots. Alongside the show, he’s released aptly named ‘Baltimore’, featuring Eryn Allen Kane, a song with a sentiment that couldn’t be more plain: peace.
2012 was a phenomenal year for music, and, for me at least, British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas was the crowning jewel. Her debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, was a record of astounding colour and emotional depth. So it’s encouraging that La Havas has steadily been refining new songs, and a little under three years later her second album is at last ready to be released.
Of course, there’s more to music and life than sales, who’s got the biggest entourage or who wins the next X Factor. Which is why I find it especially interesting to learn about artists or albums that I’ve not come across at all. The best albums can help you understand who you are or who you wish to be, take you to places you’ve never been and even comfort you in hard times.
Through sheer will – and madness – I’ve upped my annual round-up of the year’s best albums to 50. Some of them you many have heard about, but, with some luck, they’ll be a fair few you haven’t. In the words that follow I hope you find reason to give at least one album you’ve never heard a try.