‘All Night’ is the penultimate track on Beyoncé’s extraordinary 2016 “visual album” Lemonade. The early single ‘Formation’ closes things out, but this track is the emotional resolution, and on of the album’s best songs.
Much was made of the anger on Lemonade‘s early tracks (“he better call Becky with the good hair”), and people initially thought the album might even be Beyoncé’s very public way of leaving Jay-Z.
My list of favorite albums in recent years is so dominated by female artists that it’s a shock to look back at 2001 and see how bro-tastic my tastes were then.
Lucinda Williams’ Essence, my #6 album of that year, is the only work by a woman in my top ten.
Now, in my defense, I haven’t found a lot of strong female contenders among the albums I missed out on in 2001. Maybe it just wasn’t a strong year for women in music. But it is striking, especially coming off of a year when five of my top seven albums were by women.
Ron Sexsmith’s Blue Boy comes in at #7 on my list of 2001 albums. This was my first exposure to the Canadian singer-songwriter and remains my favorite of his albums.
Produced by Steve Earle, Blue Boy has a more polished and eclectic sound than Sexsmith’s first few releases. He dabbles in reggae and torch styles, along with his usual quiet balladry and pop rock staples, and manages to make it all sound of a piece.
Ryan Adams isn’t too popular these days, after a New York Times investigation earlier this year exposed him as an overbearing #metoo villain who promised music industry success to women as a way to get them into his bed.
He is reportedly the subject of an FBI investigation and his current tour, as well as three planned albums, have been postponed indefinitely.
I once ranked Reveal as the 12th best R.E.M. album, which isn’t saying much because they had released only 14 at the time. But I guess that’s enough to make it my #9 album of 2001.
Reveal was the band’s second album without drummer Bill Berry, and while none of the post-Berry records measure up to R.E.M.’s work as a quartet, this one does have several of their best tunes from that era.
Of the various theme weeks I cover on the blog, I think my favorite is the Decades series. That’s where I dive into the same year across four decades (1972, 1982, 1992, 2002, for example) and write about noteworthy album releases.
I like it because it gives me a chance to both highlight some of my personal favorites and dig into albums I missed along the way. And jumping ahead a decade at a time allows me to explore different popular music movements.
Ah, one of my favorite things, a holiday that falls on a Random Weekend. A chance to spin the wheel and come up with a match that’s surprisingly appropriate, hysterically inappropriate, or somewhere in between.
Before I find out which it is, let me wish a heartfelt Happy Mother’s Day to my own beloved mother, who brightens every day with her warmth, wit and wisdom.