Cinema (Ludovico Einaudi)

Ludovico Einaudi is an Italian pianist and composer. He began his career as a classical composer, later incorporating other styles and genres such as pop, rock, folk, and world music.

His album Cinema features his greatest works from film and television. This compilation album is one of my favourites of 2021.

Regarding the use of his music for film and television Einaudi noted, “They say my music is cinematic …it is always interesting for me to see my music combined with images; it is like rediscovering reading my music with a different perspective.” Source

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Blue Weekend (Wolf Alice)

This album just missed out of my list of favourites in 2021 but, listening to it again in 2022, I’m warming to it. Looking back, it would probably have been included.

Blue Weekend is the third studio album by English alternative rock band Wolf Alice. The album received widespread acclaim from music critics, with many naming it the band’s best work, and it was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize in 2021.

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

= (Ed Sheeran)

Although I wouldn’t describe myself an Ed Sheeran fan, I do enjoy his albums, and he always comes across as a thoroughly nice person.

He’s a very gifted singer-songwriter, and I love the way he creates his own accompaniment using loop pedals. His most recent album just missed out and didn’t make it to my list of 2021 favourites, not that he’ll be particularly worried.

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Welwala (break_fold)

break_fold is an electronic producer based in the North of England. He was a veteran of the 2000s touring circuit, but swopped bands, guitars and service station pasties for beats, delays and reberb in 2015. His self-titled third album was one of my favourite albums of 2020, and you can find it on Bandcamp and Spotify. Tim Hann (his real name) subsequently released two tracks in June 2021.

Welwala (his latest single/January 2022) is about seeing something from two different points of view. Structured around two contrasting synth lines with focus shifting between them, layered with an insistent drum track in a sequence that hints at narrative evolution. Source

It’s an excellent track (which I was fortunate to hear before its official release) and I’m also pleased to have Tim as a Facebook friend now.

Favourite Albums 2021

My listening to new albums has not been as comprehensive as I would have liked this year, but here are 24 great albums released in 2021 for your aural pleasure.

My standout favourite album of 2021 is Collapsed in Sunbeams (Arlo Parks).

All 24 of my favourite albums are listed below in alphabetical order of artist:

30 (Adele)

Collapsed in Sunbeams (Arlo Parks)

Happier Than Ever (Billie Eilish)

Young Heart (Birdy)

Submerged (Cousin Silas)

The Lockdown Sessions (Elton John)

Flat White Moon (Field Music)

Medicine At Midnight (Foo Fighters)

Senjutsu (Iron Maiden)

Apocalypse: Lifting of the Veil (Jack Hertz)

Flock (Jane Weaver)

Pink Noise (Laura Mvula)

Californian Soil (London Grammar)

Cinema (Ludovico Einaudi)

As The Love Continues (Mogwai)

Idiot Prayer (Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace)

Graz (Nils Frahm)

Immigrants (Nitin Sawhney)

Who Am I? (Pale Waves)

First Farewell (Peggy Seeger)

Bright Magic (Public Service Broadcasting)

More Signals, More Dreams (Puppy Bordiga)

Raise The Roof (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss)

Great Spans of Muddy Time (William Doyle)

Note: I’ve not written about all the albums.

Albums that missed out in 2021

You can see my favourite albums of 2021 here, these are the ones that just missed out for a variety of reasons. They’re all good, but I had to draw the line somewhere.

Lost (Cousin Silas)

Riding on the Tide of Love (Deacon Blue)

Fear of an Obtuse Earth (Home Brewed Universe)

Consequences (Joan Armatrading)

Home (Rhye)

= (Ed Sheeran)

Surrender of Silence (Steve Hackett)

Under a Mediterranean Sky (Steve Hackett)

The Future Bites (Steven Wilson)

I Don’t Live Here Anymore (The War on Drugs)

Mars Perseverance (Various Artists)

Blue Weekend (Wolf Alice).

Note: I’ve not written about all the albums.

Aqualung (Jethro Tull)

The classic and influential Aqualung album by Jethro Tull is 50 years old today (19 March 2021). I bought it on vinyl soon after its release in 1971 and have listened to it countless times since. It impressed me then, and continues to inspire me today. It’s a very thought provoking and challenging album using language in ways that may offend, but to powerful effect.

With its iconic cover and distinctive opening, it’s a concept album focusing on the differences between organised religion and God. It’s been described as musical musings on faith and religion.

The album also links in the themes of homelessness and poverty, with the title track perfectly describing the life of a homeless man, ‘you snatch your rattling last breaths, with deep-sea-diver sounds’. The Salvation Army even gets a mention, ‘Feeling alone, the Army’s up the road, Salvation a la mode and a cup of tea’.

The album covers many genres, with some great guitar work, and the distinctive flute sound of Ian Anderson (an instrument not common on rock albums, but central to the sound of Jethro Tull). This is an album unlike any other, and the best way to appreciate it is to simply give it a listen.


Here are some lyric tasters:


People, what have you done?
Locked him in his golden cage, golden cage,
Made him bend to your religion,
Him resurrected from the grave, from the grave.

He is the God of nothing,
If that’s all that you can see.
You are the God of everything,
He’s inside you and me.

And the bloody church of England,
In chains of history,
Requests your earthly presence,
At the vicarage for tea.


Well, the lush separation enfolds you,
And the products of wealth,
Push you along on the bow wave,
Of their spiritless undying selves.
And you press on God’s waiter your last dime,
As he hands you the bill,
And you spin in the slipstream,
Timeless, unreasoning,
Paddle right out of the mess,
And you paddle right out of the mess.


And I asked this God a question,
And by way of firm reply,
He said: “I’m not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays”.

Well, you can excommunicate me on my way to Sunday school,
And have all the bishops harmonise these lines.


Ambient Mood (Bandcamp)

Bandcamp is a website for musicians and labels upload music and control how they sell it, setting their own prices or the option to pay what you like and offering occasional discounts. I use it to discover independent music, listening mainly to ambient music, although not exclusively. I’ve also made a number of online friends through Bandcamp. You can find my fan profile and public music collection here.

Bandcamp’s website offers users access to an artist’s page featuring information on the artist, social media links, merchandising links and listing their available music. Artists can change the look of their page and customize its features. Source

You can stream the music on the website, listen via an app or download. Downloads are offered both in lossy formats as MP3, AAC and Ogg Vorbis, and in lossless formats as FLAC, ALAC, WAV and AIFF. Some artists may offer the purchase of their music on physical media such as CD, vinyl, and even cassette.

I download my purchases and listen to them on a dedicated music player, as well as listening on the website and app on my smartphone. You can read about some of my favourites by clicking here.

Here at the Mayflower (2001)

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You might be surprised that I’m writing about a Barry Manilow album, which (believe it or not) one of my favourite albums of 2001. I’ve previously written about my eclectic musical taste, so actually you might not find it as strange as it first seems. I’m not one to shy away from a particular musician simply because some might consider that choice uncool.

Here at the Mayflower is a concept album, based on the Brooklyn apartment complex where Barry Manilow grew up. The album contains a mixture of musical styles, and some you not might expect. It’s very different from his work of the 1970s and 80s, and something of a hidden gem. Each song tells a story about the occupants of an apartment block. It’s a wonderful album.