Albums of the week - from Kylie Minogue to Thom Yorke
We take a trip down memory lane as Kylie Minogue drops her new greatest hits compilation, Step Back In Time: The Definitive Collection ahead of her Glastonbury appearance.
KYLIE MINOGUE - STEP BACK IN TIME: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION
Adopted national treasure Kylie couldn't have imagined in her wildest dreams when she released Step Back In Time as a single in 1990 that it would one day be a very apt title for this collection.
From I Should Be So Lucky to Dancing, her pop career has spanned an incredible four decades (so far) and this 42-track collection is breathtaking as it relentlessly goes from hit to hit. It includes her seven UK number ones and the majority of her singles, along with fan favourite Your Disco Needs You and new track New York City.
With a long-awaited appearance at Glastonbury in the legends slot, this is perfect timing for an updated compilation (this is her fourth major hits collection) and an important reminder of how Kylie earned her pop princess status.
THE BLACK KEYS - LET'S ROCK
The title says it all. After the more experimental and downbeat Turn Blue, followed by a five-year hiatus spent largely on collaborations and production work, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have fired up their amps again and returned to the form of 2011's El Camino, hitting their stride immediately on album opener Shine A Little Light.
It may be a record aimed more at returning fans glad to have the duo back, rather than bringing new admirers on board, but fans of El Camino will lap it up.
THOM YORKE - ANIMA
It'll be no surprise to anyone who's followed Thom Yorke's solo work (almost always supported by long-time Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich) that Anima is a heavily electronic affair. Think Boiler Room rather than The Bends. But a record that begins with mid-tempo Modeselektor-esque grooves also has a series of, frankly, bangers.
That includes its very best moment. The brooding electronica of Not The News, like many of Yorke's greatest songs, is at first bewildering but rewards the listener with a little more of itself on each listen.
It's dark, epic and absolutely thrilling.
Whether he's talking about Brexit, climate change or something else entirely, the words could barely feel more resonant in 2019.
IGGY POP - ZOMBIE BIRDHOUSE (REISSUE)
Adventurous, abstract, downright bizarre. Depending on who you ask, Iggy Pop's sixth solo album is either an intrepid experiment or a tuneless disaster. The decision to reissue Zombie Birdhouse some four decades after its release is an intriguing one: on one hand its melange of afrobeat, drone music and stream of consciousness lyrics shine a light on one of his most adventurous musical periods. On the other, the record's foibles are even easier to hear with the benefit of time.
Cuts like The Villagers and Watching The News sound just as vital and avant-garde. But on the ballad-y Angry Hills Pop's voice cracks. The record was produced by Blondie guitarist Chris Stein and it shows, not in the music but in the quality. It's easy to imagine Stein being so awe-struck working with his hero that he didn't have the nerve to tell him when his vocals wandered off key.
Sleeve notes penned by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and a previously unreleased version of Pain And Suffering featuring Debbie Harry on backing vocals pad out the reissue package. But there's not a huge amount here to satisfy the collector. Instead it offers a chance to revisit and re-evaluate Zombie Birdhouse, an interesting relic that attained near iconic status mainly for its sheer oddity.
JADE JACKSON - WILDERNESS
Erring on the "edgier" side of country music (i.e. a bit more rocky and a bit less pop), American singer-songwriter Jade Jackson's second album is brimming with unchallenging but worthy tunes. Jackson has a comfortable, tonal voice; her songs are confident and not too complex. Some of them, particularly Multiple Choice, pleasingly sound like they could have been the theme tune to late 1990s/early 2000s American teen dramas like The OC or Dawson's Creek.
Worth a listen by anybody who has ever felt some kind of hurt, and who doesn't want the challenge of a genre-bending artist trying too hard to be different.