This week Self Made Man looks back and looks forward – as he considers a few early shouts for 2013’s Albums of the Year.
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It’s usually around late-August that I start thinking of the leading contenders for best album of the year.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, I don’t think 2013 has been a particularly vintage year – yet – for new releases.
In the past few months, I have been fortunate enough to attend some of the best live gigs I’ve been to in recent years and trying to pick out the top five in order will prove a thankless task – and that’s even before my Manchester date with Roger Waters and his Wall.
Choosing 10 albums I’ve enjoyed listening to won’t be a problem though, right now, there is no outstanding candidate for top spot or even a place in my top three.
Last year I had the opposite dilemma with three albums vying for the No. 1 position. Eventually, I settled for Neil Young’s Psychedelic Pill, followed in hot pursuit by Clockwork Angels by Rush and Boys And Girls, the excellent debut album from Alabama Shakes.
As things stand, there are two albums which might be in the frame for pole – Deep Purple’s Now What?! and Black and Blu by American blues artist Gary Clark Jnr while David Bowie’s epic comeback The Next Day is a certainty for a place in the top five or six.
I enjoyed the self-titled album by Snakecharmer, the Whitesnake off-shoot fronted by Micky Moody and Neil Murray while Eric Clapton’s Old Sock is a vast improvement on his previous release.
A surprise contender for a list place is Terms and Conditions, the solo album by versatile UFO stalwart Paul Raymond and his Project while I’m also a fan of Tracer’s follow-up to Spaces In Between, the wonderfully-titled El Pistolero.
Black Sabbath’s 13 _ their first full album of fresh work with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978’s Never Say Die, will no doubt feature in countless end-of-year polls. Mine, too. Though it won’t be challenging for top spot.
Neither will Airborne’s Black Dog Barking despite the album featuring two or three of their best-ever tracks. Live It Up might well be Single of the Year but there are too many fillers for it to be given the five-star treatment.
In recent polls, the prolific Joe Bonamassa has figured prominently with a spate of outstanding albums, none better than Don’t Explain, his stunning collaboration with Beth Hart.
Sadly, it’s follow-up Seesaw is nowhere near as good and the only poll it’s likely to top is in the Biggest Letdown category.
At the start of this blog, I wrote that 2013 has not been a vintage year YET and there are three albums to be released in the next few weeks which could lift it into this category.
If the Kings of Leon’s Mechanical Bull is half as good as its title, then it should be a belter while I’m expecting big things from The Answer – though I’m presuming New Horizon does not refer to a change in musical direction from the Irish quartet so loved by classic rock fans.
Perhaps the album I’m most excited about – and have been since listening to their singles on Planet Rock – is The Temperance Movement’s debut of the same name.
The five-piece band have built up quite a following across the land with their blistering live shows and their management have cleverly raised expectations by delaying the release date until late in the year.
Their EP was good, their album should be even better. Best album of 2013? Don’t rule it out.