5. Ken Burns – Country Music (Documentary): Several years ago, I loved the Prohibition documentary that Ken Burns produced for PBS so was excited when the country music one was announced some time ago. It did not disappoint. Covering the inception of country music through 1996, Burns hits the major highlights of the genre and successfully ties it into the larger music scene and American society in general. All eras are fascinating. A review of the two-disc soundtrack will be posted soon.
4. The 1975 – TooTimeTooTimeTooTime (Song): The 1975 album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships had several bangers but this lighthearted romp was the one that really caught our ear and who’s video was played almost nightly for a few months. Sounding like an updated version of a Sugar Ray track, it’s hard not to sing along to the chorus of this infectious single from 2018.
3. Otha – I’m On Top (Song): Otha’s “One Of The Girls” was our 2018 track of the year and in early 2019, we heard this one that was released towards the end of last year. If we had heard it last year, Otha may have had our top two favourite tracks of 2018. Never changing her bored, deadpan vocals to sing the lyric, “right now, it is time to have fun” adds a layer of detached cool to this terrific dance pop song. Otha’s 2019 single, “Tired and Sick” narrowly missed our top 10 this year.
2. The Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks 1964-1971 (Album): We finally put our money down for a compilation from The Rolling Stones and picked this tried and true classic. We discovered some new favourites such as “Mother’s Little Helper” and were reacquainted with the greatness of tracks such as “Paint It, Black”. The run of tracks from “Get Off My Cloud” to “Street Fighting Man” is breathtaking. This isn’t just some of the best rock n roll ever made, this IS the best rock n roll ever made.
1. The Kinks – Are The Village Green Preservation Society (50th Anniversary) (Album) – We picked up the two disc anniversary version of The Kinks classic even though we already had a version from a few years ago that covers mostly the same tracks. For some reason, the first time around I liked it but didn’t really love the album. Upon, hearing it again I was completely knocked out by it and listened steadily for several weeks.
The title track, “Village Green”, “Starstruck”, and “People Take Pictures of Each Other” are all standouts on an album that covers rock, psychedelia, whimsey, nostalgia, and British music hall. Looking back, I followed a micro version of what happened to the album upon release. Mostly unloved when new, The Village Green grew in stature over the years and is now considered a classic and an album to truly cherish.