"Bob Dylan was a chameleon. He would go wherever that fertile, wildly imaginative mind took him. And it took him on some interesting, unexpected and, at times, controversial detours. But that’s what made him Dylan."
"Prince was always going to respond to Thriller with something just as good, if not better — and if you use Rolling Stone as your guide he topped it. In its list of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time, Thriller comes in at No.12 — but Purple Rain, Prince’s next album, comes in at No.8."
"Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy was written from start to finish in chronological order while John was sailing from France to New York — a journey last lasted just four days. Captain Fantastic doesn’t sound cobbled together, however. It lives up to its name — and John regards it arguably ...
“Dig Lazarus Dig may have been a critical triumph, but it didn’t represent a reset for the band — in fact it is their last album with this much energy. Part of that is probably due to the fact Mick Harvey left and the other critical factor is the influence of Warren Ellis.”
"The Smiths not only made normal special, they made sure it came with a duty to think and examine. You didn’t get to be 'ordinary cool' mindlessly in the world of The Smiths. It took effort. But you felt part of a collective and that felt special. It felt special then and still feels special today."...
"Interestingly, McCartney [the album] was hammered by the critics for the very thing that made it so unique — most reviews calling it under-produced and unfinished. But that was the whole point of it. McCartney was simply being McCartney — ahead of the game."
"When the band played OK Computer to the American label, Capitol, they were told it was 'commercial suicide'. The band knew it wasn’t commercial, but they didn’t care. It was art and they were artists."
"Sinead O’Connor lived a life like few others — a life she would have probably wished on few others. And that life was played out in song. Like John Lennon, she almost found it impossible to write about anything but herself. And then there’s that voice. How would you describe it? Truth is, you don’t...
"Yeezus was universally fawned over by just about every critic who heard it. Even Lou Reed loved it. In 2013, shortly before his death, he described it as majestic and inspiring, saying: 'He's really trying to raise the bar. No one's near doing what he's doing, it's not even on the same planet.'"
"Every artist who has released as many albums as Morrison is bound to have one that gets overlooked, underrated. And that record to me is Morrison’s third, His Band & The Street Choir, which came out the same year as Moondance."
Like some kind of child actor, it feels like we’ve seen Beck grow up and mature before our very eyes. Along the way there have been any number of detours and excursions into foreign territory, but that’s why people love Beck, you never know what you’re going to get, you just know there’s always goin...
"It didn’t take long for Simone to hit her stride and justify Philips’s investment. Her next album, I Put A Spell On You, which came out in June 1965, was arguably the best album of her career — only Wild Is The Wind rivals it."
"Goats Head Soup is an album that often gets overlooked in The Stones’ catalogue and while it’s not a classic it doesn’t deserve to be consigned to the scrapheap. You can certainly hear The Stones trying new things on a couple of tracks and that alone makes it more than a curiosity."
"Rolling Stone regards Talking Book among the top 60 albums ever made — and that’s quite the compliment. When it came out, critic Vince Aletti said the album was 'ambitious', 'richly-textured', and 'exceptional' and 'the work of a now quite mature genius'. And that’s quite the compliment, too."
"For whatever reason, Lucinda Williams continues to fly under the radar. One day, we’ll all wake up and realise what a treasure she is. We’ll all appreciate the music she has gifted us."
"The thing that sets Elvis Costello apart from many of his peers is his command of the English language. He’s always had a nice turn of phrase. This is the guy who drops lines like 'you lack lust, you’re so lacklustre' into songs."
"In grouping these three artists together, I’m not suggesting they are cut from the same cloth because they aren’t. In Gambino’s case, music isn’t even his day job. It’s television."
"Jeff Tweedy writes songs that often reveal themselves slowly. They don’t hit you over the head, you have to tease out their charms. But he’s a master craftsman — a songwriter who's tuned to chords strung down his cheeks, bitter melodies turning his orbit around."
"Leonard Cohen’s music CV isn’t overly long — just 15 albums in the 52 years between 1967 and 2019 — but quantity never guarantees quality and there is a lot of quality in Cohen’s collection."