Over the course of this year, I’ve been frustrated many times on account of the AOTM section in Cedric Suggests. Sometimes, it was such a close call between albums, one taking the lead on account of minor details. But here, dear readers, I will provide the 12 runners-up which did not quite make it. In so doing, I will ease the heavy burden on my soul. Bear with me here, this will be a long post. These are not in any particular order.
Parliament – Funkentelechy vs the Placebo Syndrome
Perhaps one of my greatest frustrations was not being able to award AOTM here. FTVTPS is a masterful creation from which the eternal ‘Flashlight’ stems. This ‘funk-opera’ is set against a background of fighting against this mystical placebo syndrome.
“George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and the rest of the Parliament Funkadelic and Rubber Band hydra seem blessed with unlimited inspiration.”
My personal highlight is the bridge on ‘Funkentelechy’. There’s something so beautiful about the way the music moves.
Sparks – Halfnelson
Todd Rundgren is the only artist, and I mean that in a wide sense, who has won two albums of the month on Cedric Suggests. Something/Anything and Utopia are groundbreaking and enormous in their scope. So you won’t believe my surprise to find that Rundgren produced Halfnelson! Sparks/Halfnelson was the first album from Sparks, a legendary duo from San Fransisco. One of my top ten songs in the world is on this album. The whole thing (aside from Simple Ballet and Biology 2) is masterful. Fletcher Honorama is my highlight. I often play it before listening to my favourite song. But I cannot tell you what that is. It’s simply too powerful.
Radiohead – OK Computer
This is another belter. OK Computer could be described as ship sailing the soundscape during a storm. You are taken up and down, battered with waves of the most beautiful melodies. Some have suggested this could be the greatest album of all time. I disagree, I find it somewhat patchy. Albums have a chance to win AOTM if the whole thing is numinous. There are just one too many songs which don’t take me where I want to go on OK Computer. Nonetheless, its majesty cannot be ignored. Paranoid Android is particularly astounding. Listen to OK Computer, it is hard to despise.
Rüfüs – Atlas
I saw Rüfüs du Sol (previously Rüfüs) with my friend James last month. I had not heard their sound before. But I must say I was astounded at the richness of the sound they produce. They’re an Australian quartet. Their debut Album, Atlas, reached #1 in Aus. And I am not surprised. The third track ‘Tonight’ is something of a bass anthem. I am so impressed by the ingenuity of their production. There’s a lot going on here. And Rüfüs du Sol are astounding live. I didn’t like having lights flashed in my eyes for the later half of the show, however. One can truly appreciate the effect Kraftwerk has had on their showmanship. Overall, fantastic album.
Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
What can one say about Cyberpunk? The quote below from Paul sums it up really. Terrific album start to finish. Heroin is a particular highlight. It hurls knives of sharp electro straight at you, with such precision that it will take you weeks to recover. Shangri La is also up there with blissful release songs. Tracks which make one want to float away on the soundscape are the best kind. As a whole, this album is detailed and varied in a way which compliments the vast capacity of its author.
Cyberpunk kicks the shit – my father
Cloud Control – Bliss Release
This is an album which my father showed me when he came to Warwick to see me. Chill vibes could be defined by this album. It is an excellent summer evening album. You know the kind of parties you’d go to and hear fabulous music and you’d be really proud to be friends with the host as a result? This is that kind of album. Gold Canary is a favourite of mine. the cadence and rhythm are just unbelievable. If you don’t dip your hip listening to this, I don’t know what will make you groove.
The Foals – Total Life Forever
Usually, I’d listen to this when I want to jam. Not when I want to make jam, that requires a TV show in the background, but when I want to have a little private boogie. Total Life Forever and After Glow are my highlights here. This is new pop/rock and really quite refreshing. There is a wonderful interweaving of gorgeous melodies and powerful solos holding songs together. The bass in the background of After Glow builds into a terrific crescendo, for example, taking it from a ‘finger-clicking’ chill to an all out dance-a-thon. Have a listen for yourselves:
Tame Impala – InnerSpeaker
Oh my. This one really surprised me. People tend to know Tame Impala for their weird squid basketball video, but their repertoire is vast. InnerSpeaker is another Aussie debut album. That’s two in one list. I should go over there. Expectation is my highlight. My only problem is that it finishes well, but then comes back for a seemingly pointless ‘extra psych rock’ moment. Like ELO’s Mr Blue Sky. Why is there that bit at the end? Why Jeff Lynne? But seriously overall this is one of the greatest stoner albums you will ever hear.
Innerspeaker is a psychedelia-heavy outing that toys with paisley pop, stoner vibes, and an expansive array of swirling guitars – Pitchfork
Howard Jones – Dream Into Action
Oh Howard, we don’t deserve you. This album is ram packed with astounding tunes. My favourite is Things Can Only Get Better. It hits you with a medley of synth and a sickening bass line. Why Look For the Key is equally blissful. That is like a cascade of bliss. You feel the music wash over you in the most marvellous way. It does not surprise me that Dream Into Action made #2 in the UK in March 1985.
Jeff Buckley – Grace
Buckley’s voice is angelic. His death at 30 is a deeply regrettable tragedy. Grace is his only studio album. The 2007 re-release is currently 7x Platinum in Australia. The tracks on this album have often moved me to tears. Corpus Christi Carol is something of a miracle. Each track is deeply moving, especially Halleluia. We all know this cover of Leonard Cohen, but few have sung it so well as Buckley. This album is completely fantastic. You won’t regret listening to it.
Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever
I feel ashamed that I did not discover Boy George before I saw him live. Kissing to be Clever really threw me off guard. Boy Boy (I’m the Boy) is a masterpiece in new pop. There are several chart-toppers in this album, the whole thing itself made #5 in the UK Charts.
The danceability factor is strong in numerous songs, for example, in the song “I’m Afraid Of Me”, it carries a disco-like beat throughout the track, which provides a jumpy atmosphere that would be perfect for a club. Sputnik Music
I was taken aback with the variety of genres espoused here. In case you were wondering, Boy George was fabulous in concert.
The Squeeze – The Squeeze Is On
Funk Me Gently is an undeniable masterpiece in music. It made it to my Top Ten Tracks, which is high praise indeed. The Squeeze is On shocked me to no end. Funk is seldom so groovy as in this album. I think this represents the apex of late 70s funk. What is strange is that I cannot find a review to cite for you. This must be a more obscure album than I thought initially. Nonetheless, the genius of its composition is difficult to ignore.
I hope you’ve enjoyed Almost Album(s) of the Month 2018. I’ve had a grand old time listening to this wonderful music. I encourage you to listen to a new album every day to widen the ambit of your musical knowledge.