I’m not going to do a list of my favourite songs of 2009 because that would be boring and unoriginal, and chances are you’ve probably read about the exact same songs in a million other places. Instead, here’s my playlist containing fifteen album tracks, none of which were released as singles, which I notched up on my bedpost as having loved dearly over the course of the year. When you’ve read through it all, you can also feel their brilliance as nature intended, by hopping over to the superconnected playlist I’ve made over on Spotify (though the Tortoise track will be absent because their oeuvre is not yet available). Continue reading Songs of 2009 – Out of the limelight.
Doves make music that’s very soulful and stirring, but whenever I think of their albums in the abstract i.e. without actually listening to them, I always feel like they’re strangely hollow, as if all the bluster is just for dramatic effect, without actually meaning anything. Luckily, when I put the record on, my fears are put to rest. Not only is their sonic palette diverse yet consistently moody, but their lyrics are also deeply ingrained in their roots – Manchester, Britain, nostalgia, industry. As their career has progressed, these lyrical themes have become more and more personal and intimate, as has the music – I can’t quite imagine them writing another “There Goes The Fear”. Their previous album, Some Cities, gained unusually high levels of popularity owing to the catchy Motown-esque lead single, “Black And White Town”, and, on the evidence of their new single, “Kingdom Of Rust”, taken from the forthcoming album of the same name, I’m hoping they can repeat their previous success, and hopefully gain more of a respected position. Their fans adore them, but I can’t think why they don’t capture a wider audience. Songs like “Snowden” and “Friday’s Dust” may be somewhat mournful and echoey, but they speak volumes of the thematic context and – interestingly – their hooks pervade.
This new album has been gestating for a considerable length of time, and the band have reportedly taken on Krautrock influences, alongside possibly more of a country tinge. While their songwriting capability is never doubted, I just hope the lyrics don’t get more *universal*, and that they remain attached to a particular geographical landscape that has given so much to England, and yet has also suffered greatly in terms of social breakdown and industrial decay. Doves write such elegiac tributes to their hometown. For sure, the album opener “Jetstream”, released in January as a free taster, packs in a lot of varied musical flourishes – think Vangelis meets Elbow! – but I’m hoping that, on deeper inspection, it reveals similarly thought-provoking lyrical details. I’m definitely very excited about Kingdom Of Rust. I’ll be even more excited come April 6.