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Frankie Crisp

UKFF Album of the Decade

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I think we should have done an Album of the 80s thread, and we could have had a lovely chat about why it's The Lexicon of Love. 

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Couple of days to get any more votes in.

Being honest, there haven’t been enough to make this a proper countdown so there’ll be plenty of joint 20th, joint 18th and the like.

I’ll still put the results up but probably won’t invest too much time in making it a countdown with write-ups over the course of a week or two as I’d planned. But if there are any others who want to throw their lists over, it may help get a clear top five at least.

Happy to extend it by a few days if people want to chip in but are pushed for time.

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Right, here we go. The most disappointing countdown since Channel 4 employed that awful Tory Riley.

There were just enough entries to make it interesting and give us a top 25 (ish)... there are loads of equal placings but we do have a proper top 3. Before we get to that, here's a useless chart showing the most popular years from the voting:

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I'll do the first one when I've had my butties.

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Okay. Here it is. It starts at joint 8th but involves 23 albums because of Thatcher.

JOINT NUMBER 8.

Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again (2012)

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The critics:

Home Again's strength lies in the fact that it manages to tick a lot of boxes without sounding like it set out to tick a lot of boxes. It seems a faintly ridiculous thing to say about an album that's so clearly busting a gut to sound 40 years older than it actually is, but it feels natural rather than forced or calculating. That's partly down to Paul Butler's production. It's perhaps a bit much to coat Kiwanuka's vocals in a thin layer of distortion – a kind of sonic equivalent of distressing furniture with sandpaper – with the implicit accompanying suggestion this music has recently been unearthed in the vaults of Blue Thumb or Cadet Records rather than recorded on the Isle of Wight last year with the bloke out of the Bees, but there's something beguiling about its warm, live sound. Mostly, though, it's down to Kiwanuka's voice and songs. The former is rich and fluid, the latter balance a sure grasp of an immediate melody against chord sequences that shift in ways you don't quite anticipate. Listening  to Tell Me a Tale of I Wont Lie, you're struck by the way they manage to sound both comfortingly familiar and slightly unexpected, an impressive trick to pull off.

The forum:

Noboby could be arsed to review it.

Has old man Frankie heard of them?

Yes!

Edited by Frankie Crisp

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JOINT NUMBER 8

Electric Youth - Innerworld (2014)

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The critics:

“Before Life” encapsulates the soaring, cinematic quality of their songwriting, which is set against the warmth of nostalgic electro-ballads, like “Runaway”. However, the album doesn't really deliver pop gems as consistently as you might hope. There's an ill-conceived cover of John McGlynn's “If All She Has Is You” slap bang in the middle of it all, which kind of spoils the general the flow of things a bit. “WeAreTheYouth” is pretty lacklustre, as manifestos for staying “young at heart” go, and “Another Story” seems to wander around for three minutes without giving you a single hook to cling to.

It's in these moments when the record feels as if it needs an injection of testosterone. It's all just a bit, well... nice. There's a lack of aggression and conviction, which makes Electric Youth seem a little bit toothless in comparison to say, Chvrches, who are able to pedal a kind of analogue synth-pop which is simultaneously completely uplifting and layered with a definite sense of broodiness.

That said, even if Innerworld is hardly the definition of 'all killer, no filler', the moments of brilliance of that album shine pretty brightly. “The Best Thing” is a glowing, bitter sweet symphony of synth and, of course “Real Hero” might be one of the best pop songs of the past half a decade. Innerworld is a bit of a mixed bag, but one that's absolutely worth dipping into - every now and then you'll pull out some real gems

The forum:

Nobody cares.

Has old man Frankie heard of them?

Who?

 

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JOINT NUMBER 8

Stormzy - Gang Signs and Prayer (2017)

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The critics:

"Gang Signs and Prayer is a daring debut. Stormzy could have played it safe with this album, but rather challenged himself with gospel. A key factor about this album is the complexities to Stormzy’s character—displaying a multi-dimensional black British man who goes against a simplified image that’s usually portrayed. Balance makes this album beautiful, as Stormzy worships on "Blinded by Your Grace Pt 1 & 2," falls in love on "Velvet" and raps his socks off on "Cold." Gang Sign and Prayer is a multi-faceted masterpiece and a testament to Stormzy’s talent that warrants his phenomenal rise to the top"

The forum:

"Stormzy's debut album, containing 'Blinded By Your Grace', 'Big For Your Boots' and 'Mr Skeng', is an ideal leaping off point for anyone who wants to get into Grime. Plus, he hates the Tories"

Has old man Frankie heard of them?

The rapping chap from Croydon. Oh yes, I know him.

Edited by Frankie Crisp

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On 2/2/2020 at 7:56 PM, Frankie Crisp said:

The forum:

Nobody cares.

Has old man Frankie heard of them?

Who?

 

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JOINT NUMBER 8 (STILL)

Alt-J - An Awesome Wave (2012)

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The critics:

"Alt-J indulge in impatient, complex songwriting. From the twisted a cappella interludes offsetting the distorted vocal and jagged guitars of ‘Intro’, to the wafting clap-happy breeze of ‘Dissolve Me’, each song flits between genres with the rapidity with which one would imagine Alt-J completed their algebra homework... It’s a welcome injection of dirge, adding yet more sounds to the mix with rasping bass riffs and storming vocal before ‘Taro’’s finale, which fizzles disappointingly to the finish line. The charm of Alt-J’s musical scatterbrain is that it works. On the surface, this is smart alt-pop, but Alt-J have messed with the formula just enough to make this a brilliantly disquieting debut. In refusing to submit to the rigours of a genre, they might just have made themselves masters of their own"

The forum:

"Leeds-based collective produce electric sounding fun that brings a different slant to your usual indie rock fare. Released around the time I spent every year at T in the Park trying not to get stabbed or drink Buckfast, so fond memories as a result"

Has old man Frankie heard of them?

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(and @PunkStep, you've used one of the picture replies I had lined up you rotten shit)

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JOINT NUMBER 8 (THE LAST ONE!)

Oscar Isaac - Inside Llewyn Davis  (2013)

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Yeah, yeah. I know we said no soundtracks but when there are thousands of girls on Tinder and you only get three matches you take what you can get.

The critics:

"... it’s a look at both the ‘60s folk revival’s humble-but-stern values and where the scene might have gone if it had been branded further than it actually was. In one category are the songs that are mostly convincing, in the sense that they sound like real Kennedy-era ramblers. Particularly effective are Isaac’s renditions, like “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me”, on which the 33-year-old adopts a mournful tone. It’s one of a handful of songs here about saying goodbye, upon either death or geographical relocation, and it borders on harrowing even though it was originally written to communicate resignation. A song like The Downhill Strugglers and John Cohen's take on “The Roving Gambler”, meanwhile, works as much for its rollicking but grainy banjo as its strained vocals — two elements reflecting the unvarnished approach favored by the Village’s performers... This soundtrack may be Hollywood-ized, but it’s also spirited in its reflection of America’s past 50 years"

The forum:

"Really pushing the technicality here, I I know, but I will argue it counts because it is mostly Oscar Isaac doing folk songs. And who couldn’t enjoy that"

Has old man Frankie heard of them?

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On 1/16/2020 at 9:20 PM, gmoney said:

I think we should have done an Album of the 80s thread, and we could have had a lovely chat about why it's The Lexicon of Love. 

It would be a bare-chested knife fight between that and Dare. 

 

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JOINT NUMBER 7

Childish Gambino - Camp (2011)

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The critics:

"Gambino can really rap. Scratch that; he can really, really rap, plus sing and emote and put on a show better than 90% of his hip-hop counterparts. What’s funny isn’t that some dude who used to work with Tina Fey has big-time rap dreams; it’s that they’re about to come true.

As depressing and open as Gambino can be, there’s no denying the Jekyll and Hyde aspect of his personality. From the depths of family despair, the MC can turn it all around with cuts like “Heartbeat”. Where he shows musical development in utilizing a rip-roaring electro beat, the rhymes tell the story of a truly tasteless Gambino (one who is even more emotionally vacant than on previous efforts, which is saying volumes), offering up primo lines like, “So I’m chilling with my girlfriend/But she not my real girlfriend/She got a key to my place but/She’s not my real girlfriend.” And the rest is filled with unrepentant cheating, loads of self-deprecation, a heaping helping of harassment, and an overall sheen of douchebaggery on Gambino’s part. The feelings expressed in “Outside” and “Heartbeat” are diametrically opposing, yet flesh out the inner workings of a complicated man who is beyond his years and yet overwhelmingly in need of a reality check"

The forum:

"Gambino's debut album, Camp did not get as much positive press as his newer stuff, but Fire Fly is an incredible song, as are the majority of the others on the album. His sound changed as his albums went on, but Camp is still my favourite"

Has old man Frankie heard of them?

Yes.

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JOINT NUMBER 7

Sub Focus - Torus  (2013)

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The critics:

"Torus" is both melodically stunning and bass bumping goodness. From the track "Safe in Sound," playing on Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead," to the much played "Endorphins," I was already hypnotized by the unique vocals and infectious sound three songs deep. This album plays heavy on the emotions and really utilizes unique vocals to help build a connection with the listener. As I continued on my electric journey track after track, I was kind of reminded of what I'd imagine people back in the 80's would cruise the coast to. "Until the End," made me want to hop into the car and ponder life with a good drive. "Tidal Wave," which is probably one of my favourite tracks besides, "Torus," had my heart beating directly with the bass, feeling like I was in the song and made for me. I highly suggest checking out the full album yourself and building a connection to "Torus," like I have. It's one of the best feelings in the world"

The forum:

No comments from those who nominated.

Has old man Frankie heard of them?

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I've heard of two of these so far, are you sure you're not making them up? Did more than one person vote for any of them? Am I really this old and out of touch? 

 

 

Yes, yes I think I am.. Carry on Frankie.

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Torus is brilliant, even better than his first album (which, from 2009, just missed my list!).

Until The End is a fantastic piece of electronic music and a great shout for that respective thread, I might've mentioned it in there already. With Foxes providing vocals, this is just lovely. 

 

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