This year I invite you all to offer your case for your favourite album of the year, and to eloquently explain why it should be higher in this list (or why I should investigate or revisit it).
Just to clarify:
“Our” albums of the year list was compiled by taking into consideration:
Conversations + monthly polls on our forums
Opinions of our core editorial team
Then human filtered by me (so it isn’t my list, it’s a refraction of the above)
I loved the first Wolf Alice album. The new one is average. They’re a huge band now. I was hoping for a smaller artist to get number one spot. Still, a thumbs up for Hooray For The Riff Raff making the list.
I know it got critically praised, with a 10/10 on DiS etc, and battled Shania Twain to top the UK charts, but take some time to dive into the new Wolf Alice album. It really is an exquisite piece of work. It’s not quietLOUD, it’s loudSOFT.
I love how - despite the likes of the Gallaghers rummaging through their draws for song ideas written on packs of Benson & Hedges - they’ve managed to make a rock record sound like it’s made in modern times, for humans wrestling with the endless thrust of now-now-now, whispering about love locked behind screens, and puzzled by the anxiety that hits in unexpected places. It’s abrasive, spiralling, and also has some of the most deft heart-stroking moments. In fact, in ‘Formidable Cool’ they manage to juggle their spiralling molotov cocktail of brash and lush.
In the gentler moments, they’ve also managed to make the shoegaze album of the year, which is no mean feat when Ride, Slowdive and even The Horrors are having a go at making swirly gorgeousity
On first hearing Exile in the Outer Ring (which I’ve now listened to 100s of times) I wrote:
The new EMA record is sublime. Currently blasting it beyond the edge of the m25 (the literal outer ring of London) and never has a record felt more like an etching on my emotional void. It’s written in neon pink graffiti across the walls of my heart, saying something like: ‘Adulthood is happening to other people’ whilst pondering if I’ll ever grow out of this angst.
It’s rife with the FOMO feeling that something amazing but awful is happening elsewhere, and I don’t really care that I’m not there but I’m all too aware that this place, this situation, this pleasant jejune commuter haven is little more than a rest stop between now and death. And yet, for all that fug of bleakness, for all the raw anger and spiralling anxiety atop heaving drones of sound exhumed from some place of blissed out cacophony, there’s this sense of belonging to a lost tribe, living a shared (virtual) reality of broken promises and projected realities. There’s something vivid about its ache. It’s realising everything most people aspired to is amounting to nothing but a pile of dirt and some bricks, trinkets and commodities that numb the sense that you’re teetering on the edge of an abyss filled with nuclear waste.
This is the record I needed, especially today, alone in the Outer Ring. Possibly my first 10/10 record of the year.